THE LAUGHTER

large (1)

Not a day goes by where I don’t laugh. I mean it. It’s not a conscious thing, I just don’t think my subconscious would allow for anything else.

I’m not saying that I laugh my tits off at funerals and I certainly don’t always see the best in everyone. I don’t have a constant, deranged smile on my face, but nor do I succumb to frowning more often than necessary- not only because it gives you wrinkles but because it’s just plain ugly. School reports would often ask why I found things so funny, why I couldn’t sit still in class and stop messing around with friends. I think I just realised – perhaps a little too young – that life shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

And by that, I don’t mean the big things. Of course, there are elements of life that we must treat with a little more tact than making a cheese and pickle sandwich on a Thursday afternoon, such as raising kids or forging a career.

But when it comes to the small stuff? Don’t sweat it.

I’m talking about the rude people you encounter on your morning commute and the self service tills that just don’t seem to work, despite it being 2016. I’m thinking of the times your friend cancels on you at the last minute or the promotion you missed out on at work. I’m thinking about losing bank cards or missing the 28 day curfew on a return. You know what I’m talking about: the niggly annoyances of every day life that make you just want to scream (until you get a little perspective, of course). The same niggly annoyances that make everyone look so grey and miserable as they move around the city.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re permitted to be annoyed – in fact, it’s healthy to react to things – but negative thoughts lasting longer than 30 minutes? You’re wasting your time. You won’t get that half an hour of wallowing back, that person is still going to have been rude to you and you won’t be able to change the past: so why are you still making it your problem? Instead, find the strength to turn the situation around: laugh at their ill manners and know that it will come back to bite them on the bum; shrug at your boss’ poor decision making skills and, most of all, keep your goddam chin up.

Whether you are the CEO of a billion dollar corporation, a cleaner at the cafe around the corner or an overworked NHS nurse, the truth is, the perils of daily life can get us all down at one point or another. Things bother us and, in our own little worlds, the small gripes become big gripes and, when they add up, it can become really difficult to get up in the morning.

But there’s not much we can do about bad days, sadly. They happen to the best of us.

What I am trying to say though, is that we should try to deal with them better. In fact, I suggest you do one (or all) of the following: Feeling ill? Take your favourite colleague out for a warm bowl of soup and spend your lunch hour (and actually take an hour) talking about your love life, your aspirations or simply what you did at the weekend. Do not, under any circumstances, discuss your 9-5. Feeling undervalued at work? Find a hobby or start a blog and showcase your talents to those who want to hear and see them. Feeling lonely or out of touch with things? Set up a Twitter account and search for a hashtag relevant to you. Start a discussion. Ask a question. It’s free. Feeling demotivated? Sign up to a half marathon, join a gym or go for an evening walk. A little exercise really does go a long way.

But most importantly? Find a way to laugh at least once a day, no matter how hard it might seem sometimes. Find out the name of the person who makes your morning coffee or greet the TFL worker at your station. Force a smile in the face of difficulty and chuckle away the negativity. You burn calories, you acquire fewer wrinkles and – I promise – your world will become a much better place for it.

Still not feeling the fun? Click here. This clip is never not funny.

THE FRIENDSHIP GROUP

large (3)

At school we were called cliquey, at university we were deemed long-distance lovers and now we’re not sure what people say because it’s just us, without anyone looking, or getting in.

Some might focus on the downside to surrounding myself with the same five women everyday; they might wince at some of the intimate details we’ve shared with each other from the bedroom… or bathroom; they probably think we should get out more and meet new people and some might not give a damn.

Don’t get me wrong, we have our own friends, a few of us have men in our lives and we spend enough time with work colleagues and university pals in our free time, but when the shit hits the fan, or we sky-rocket to success, we know who to dial (or WhatsApp) first.

Although I adore my home town, it can be a scary place when you’re growing up: being robbed is a reality; navigating the tube at eleven years old is the norm; bomb scares at school were a regular occurrence and being turned away from the clubs of Soho at 16 years old was a rite of passage. So, as opposed to growing up in the country, where the biggest threat is the nearest cow, living in the big city since birth means that there is more of an urgency to cement yourself within a group of friends- not only to listen to your tales of woe, but to make sure you make it home in one piece.

I’m lucky. The girls who surround me now are the ones that I have grown up with. From first loves, first times, and first Bacardi Breezers, to graduating, getting engaged and securing the perfect jobs; we’ve been there. These ladies aren’t just around when times get hard, nor are they only cheering you on as you complete your most recent triathlon or to welcome you home from a year-long adventure across the globe; they’re there all the time. When you’ve over-filled yourself on dim sum or when you’ve broken a nail: they’re interested, they’re present, they’re listening.

And that is why friendship is important.

Finding the perfect partner is a wonderful thing, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. I’d be perfectly happy spending my final days with this lot; reminiscing about teenage flings and that night in Mexico that we’ll take to our grave. Sounds like a much better option to me than watching your other half lose his teeth, hair and marbles trying to keep up with your progressive banter.

Although we never go to the bathroom in a bar without a hand to hold and are deemed to be the less independent of the sexes, men need friends too. My bearded buffoon has a group of friends so tight that I think they might one day combust. Secrets never to be divulged and infinitely fall-out-proof, this group of men make my girls look like we don’t even know each other. And that’s pretty cool if you ask me. People with friends are people to rely on and are the types of people you want to have relationships with: their loyalty has been tried and tested, they’re guaranteed to have some great stories and if you’re really, really lucky, their friends will become your friends too.

I know that with most things in life, quantity doesn’t trump quality, and friendship is no exception to this rule; one really good friend is far better than five average ones. But what if you have five epic ones?

I’m starting to think I’ve struck gold… until I remember that they too are flawed.

One tells me off for putting salt on my toast; one farts freely in my presence; one (I’m almost certain) is unsure of what planet she’s on half the time; one insists on getting the night bus home instead of a taxi and one nicks all the male attention on nights out. But for all of their flaws? They’re the most water-tight bunch of women in the world with a collection of the best brains and beautiful faces this planet has ever known. Without them, I’m not sure I’d still be standing.

So here’s to the friendship group; your very own handpicked family- a little shoddy, embarrassing at times, but arguably more important than your best friend or lover.

Two’s company, three’s a crowd, more than that is a fucking adventure.

Cheers to them.

28281_10150176859555615_6193496_n  10849027_10154903554665717_5005474869754949285_o 10612981_10154605211080717_2080584194315055146_n 10499491_10154442561505481_4256799855809952867_o