“Mind the closing doors” is a phrase that commuters are sick to death of hearing. Its also a phrase that most people adhere to, save a few that we immediately roll our eyes and tut at. But that’s because they barge on for themselves, getting their arms or bags caught, just to save an extra few minutes waiting for the next tin can stuffed to the brim. But today, reader, I was that person. Or, rather, someone else was that person for me.
As I approached the platform, through the network of tunnels, I saw the tube waiting, with its doors open. I broke into a half-run, expecting to catch it, but alas, I heard the warning beeps of the closing doors, just as I reached the dreaded yellow line. But then, oh but then. A foot stuck itself out from where the doors slide out, and a kind stranger stopped the door, giving me time to board and promoting the message “please stand clear of the doors”.
Now, I wasn’t too bothered if I missed the train; the bakerloo line runs every couple of minutes so it made no real difference to me. But it was an act of kindness, from a man who owed me nothing, expected nothing in return, and that I would never see again. It’s prompted me to look again at my commute, at every aspect of my life, and think about how I could use small, random acts of kindness, just to keep the cycle of goodwill alive. Giving up my seat without hesitation (come on, you know we all think twice before offering it up); buying a round of coffee in the morning to help the day along for my teammates; smiling at strangers; all small acts that could really go a long way to improving someone’s day.
So, thank you, kind stranger, for keeping that door open for me. Please do mind the closing doors though. The delays can be a real inconvenience…
The sky is grey, the rain is threatening, but life is good. Why? Because today I saw a dog on the tube.
Dogs on the tube are the most precious of all dogs. They are well behaved, they are (usually) quite quiet, and all they want is to be friends with everyone. There, on a hot, stuffy tin can jostling through the tube network, was the sweetest creature who just wanted to be petted and loved, and who are we to deny them that?
Of course, not everyone is a dog-person but I’m sure everyone can appreciate how a sweet and fluffy creature can have a calming effect on the road-rage of public transport. The tube network is hot, it’s cramped, it’s loud and uncomfortable, but whenever someone brings a dog on board, I can’t help but smile.
So, an entirely selfish plea to all you dog-owners out there: please bring your dogs on the tube. Take them for walks throughout London’s parks and bring them home on our tube network. Bring a smile to someone’s dull commute.
Inspired by a recent Guardian article, I’ve started to examine my own experiences of dinner parties and how they present themselves, both at university and after graduation. There are some key differences about the expectations of both guests and hosts at these dinner dates, so to avoid you committing a faux pas and becoming a social pariah, here’s a handy guide to navigating adult dinner parties.
The most irritating answer to the question “what do you want to eat?” is “I don’t mind”. It’s non-committal. It’s indecisive. It’s weak. And it’s exactly the answer my sister gave when we were on our way to the London Coliseum last Winter.
I am a pole dancer. Very loosely. I’m more of a pole climber and fall-off-er. But I’m working on it. If you’ll let me, I’d like to bring you along for the ride, and show you what pole will end up doing for me, and what it could do for you! I want to document my progress as this will, finally, be a permanent and regular fixture in my life, from now on.
Why do people care so much about what other people like? Why do we police people’s opinions so much?
Let me clarify – I do not mean that your rascist/homophobic/intolerant opinions are just guilty pleasures that you shouldn’t be ashamed of, because you should be. Feel ashamed. Shame.
What I really mean is who cares if you like Justin Bieber or trashy romcoms or, God forbid, Nickelback? More importantly, why? I can’t imagine anything less dull than telling people that thing they enjoy is terrible and they should be ashamed of it, but so many people seem to think their opinions matter more than everyone else’s.
As I type this, I’m on my way to see Pitch Perfect 3 – the epitome of a guilty pleasure. Singing, dancing, romance, it’s basically a Bollywood film written in English. And I love it. It speaks to me as a woman, as a singer, as a recent graduate. But so many of my colleagues and friends turn their noses up at it. Why? Maybe because it’s a “chick-flick”? Maybe because they all wish they had those angelic voices? Maybe because it’s just something fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously?
We all seem to make the mistake of taking ourselves too seriously and wanting to portray a certain image to the outside world, but really all that matters is how things make you feel. And if Pitch Perfect makes me feel happy on the inside and let’s me relive my university days, well I’m all ears. Because who’s going to remember how cool you were when you’re 80? No one. But you’ll be the one left with regrets of the things you tossed aside because they were too “cheesy”, “sad” or “dorky”.
Embrace your inner nerd. Embrace your loves. Embrace your self.
It’s mid-January and most people will have broken their New Years Resolutions by now. Not because they want to. Not because they’re weak. But because they made unrealistic promises.
So many people decide to eat healthy, go to the gym, or otherwise better themselves, but it’s always on such a huge scale that they’re practically setting themselves up for failure, right?
What if people made resolutions to drink more water, buy more fresh food or walk instead of taking the bus? These goals would be so much more achievable, and people would feel better about themselves at the end of the month.
By this time in January, many people have thrown the baby out with the bathwater and don’t just break their diets, they eat more junk than they did before! Because they feel like they’ve failed. But they haven’t. You haven’t. Keep at it, break it into reasonable chunks, and go for it.
Me? My resolution is to blog twice a month – achievable. One post per 2 weeks? Yeah, I can do that. But a post a day? Well, for me, that’s just inconceivable.
1. Siestas. For about three hours every day, most shops are closed to enjoy lunch and an afternoon chit-chat session. The exceptions are the bigger, international brands like Primark and Zara, which tend to remain open, but are usually pretty quiet. In terms of banks and public services, though, forget about it – once they’re closed for siesta, they rarely reopen.
2. Mañana culture is real. So real. Don’t expect anything to get done for deadline unless you ask for it three weeks in advance. On the other hand, if you don’t get things done by the deadline they’ve set, expect all hell to break loose.
3. Fiestas. Spain has tons of fiestas. If a city is celebrating a fiesta, all rules are broken. For example, drinking on the streets is illegal most of the year, but during fiesta days the botellon culture takes over. And I love it. Because even though people drink on the streets, they aren’t getting drunk the way us Brits do on holiday; Spain’s relationship with alcohol is, dare I say, healthy.
4. Spanish Speaking Speed. Spanish people speak so, so quickly. Especially if they think you can speak Spanish too. They’ll run with it and you’ll just have to smile and nod.
5. Iberian Passion. While the Spanish people I’ve met haven’t necessarily been short tempered, they’ve all had their moments of passion. Whether it’s over heating bills or The Lion King, when they’re particularly invested in something, they really fight for it. Honestly, it’s fantastic to see such conviction in one’s beliefs.