Girls Nights In

Rewind to 2018, when flavoured gins exploded in popularity, and I fell into a deeper love; gin suddenly overtook the deep love affair I’ve had with prosecco all the years, and became the centre and focus of any girl’s night in.

I was never particularly creative when it came to food or drinks, and would’ve much preferred having something readily prepared for me, that I could put in the microwave for 4 minutes, or pop open and pour in a glass.

In recent years, my domestic tendencies have surprisingly gone from strength to strength (not least surprisingly to myself) and I’ve found actual happiness in concocting things in the kitchen, some may not have been entirely digestible over the years but…I’ve got there in the end.

Another thing I’ve learnt aside from how to make a lasagne or an Aperol Spritz as I’ve got older, I’ve realised the importance of friends more than ever; as friends get married, have careers and babies and houses, and people move in with their partners, it becomes more difficult .The value of good friends isn’t something to be underestimated; in life, we tend to think the person we’re romantically involved with is the one we can turn to no matter what. This is true in many people’s lives, but if anything is to go wrong our friends are the people we can always rely on. A night in with food, drinks and laughter, is the cure for all manner of things. And gin…I mean, it was used as medicine years ago.

When I was younger (God I’ve noticed how old I sound saying that these days…someone intervene when I start sentences with” back in my day”), I couldn’t think of anything worse than a night in; a night in?! What is this strange concept? Staying indoors? How could something that didn’t involve a packed, sweaty nightclub and a kebab at 5am bring me any joy? The years passed by and the pure exhaustion has hit me at 8pm every night, alongside the deep yearning inside me to stay in my pyjamas and not have to leave my house to socialise. Thankfully, my friends feel the same, and we are of mutual agreement that why on earth would you put on shoes and a bra, when you could stay in the comfort of your own home and drink gin instead whilst blasting out the Female Power Vocals Spotify playlist?

Grow through – What you go through

It’s a quote I see on Instagram all the time, and usually cringe at, because I cringe at most things, but when you’re going through a shit time, you tend to not cringe as much. When I saw this quote the other day, I started thinking about the shit times in my life; the properly shit times, not just when I’m due on and cry at Britain’s Got Talent auditions whilst snorting a 12 bag of Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire Puddings (cooked, obviously – I’m not a complete animal) through the sobs. All of those experiences, at the time, I thought would quite literally kill me, and yet here I still am, slightly changed from them, but here all the same. 

When my relationship broke down a couple of months ago, I genuinely thought my world was over. I could not see a time ahead when I wouldn’t feel like that. It was a bit like going through a pitch-black tunnel where you can’t see the end. Your friends and family are outside the tunnel, and they’re shouting through telling you that you’re nearly out of it and to keep going, alongside ‘He was a fucking twat anyway!’, but it doesn’t help at all, because you’re still stuck in that bloody tunnel and try as you might, you can’t see even a glimmer of light. 

A few weeks ago, I read back some old messages between me and the boyfriend from when we started talking and from when we broke up, and it was the strangest experience because I was laughing out loud at texts that once upon a time had seemingly broken my heart. Maybe I’ve grown as a person since then, or maybe I’d just grown a better sense of humour; maybe I’d just grown better eyesight at identifying when someone really was a fucking twat. The best feeling in the world with that relationship, and the previous ones, was realising I didn’t feel angry or upset…I felt indifferent. Indifference really was the most content of emotions 

However, there are messages in my WhatsApp archive I’ll never be able to look at without feeling like someone’s drop kicked me in the spleen, but that’s life. You won’t be able to look back and laugh at everything, but you will be able to look back one day and feel glad it happened, and sad it’s over. 

I think back to all the shit, sad, heartbreaking moments in my life. Illnesses, deaths, relationships ending, friendships dwindling; every single one shaped me in some way, but also taught me. 

Illness taught me that no one is exempt from anything, even when you’re in your own little bubble; it also taught me to make sure you’re nice to your parents so that when you are in hospital with a life threatening illness, they don’t leave you to eat hospital slop (everything seems identifiable as shepherd’s pie, even when it’s not), and bring you Nando’s instead. Death showed me life is short and precious and no one bloody gets out alive anyway, so you may as well do what the fuck you want because what else is there to do? Relationships ending showed me that A) He’s not the one when he asks you to transfer him 50p for the packet of crisps he bought you and B) Time is the biggest healer, even though it’s a pain in the arse waiting around to stop feeling sub-human. They also showed me that there’s life after someone, even if it doesn’t feel like it, and you’ve spent the past week on a diet of wine and Cheese Strings. Friendships dwindling showed me that you will have different friends throughout your life, some come and go, some come and stay, and you should hang on to those that have your back, don’t judge you, and happily sit and listen to the same old shit you’ve been going on about for the last 8 months and don’t tell you to shut the fuck up, even if they’re thinking it. 

You really do grow through what you grow through, although sadly in my case, it’s not in the boob area. 

Breakup

I am the Queen of Failed Relationships. I have been on, and I sigh and mutter a lot of dates in my time. Most have led to nothing; a lot have been a date singular; some have been 3 or 4 dates; some have led to me seeing them and some have led to a relationship. All of them have led to them either going nowhere, or a breakup. I’m not the girl who’s on speaking terms with her ex. You will get over a break up, and not just that, but you’ll love someone else again. And sadly, probably quite a few more people before you find The One. At the time the thought of anyone else makes you want to retch, but anything good takes time, trust me. 

There were times when these boys, these men (I never know what to call them)the thought of not having them in my lives felt like I’d been stabbed repeatedly in the chest, and then my bloodied, bruised heart had been ripped out, used in a game of 5 a side, and then stuffed back in. When people tell me they’re heartbroken over someone and literally cannot get out of bed, I fully understand how they feel. I have been there, done that, got the t-shirt but bought the entire franchise. I know how you feel. You just have to laugh it off and get on with your life 

You go through life and relationships, and you learn more as you go along, and take things with you, so that with each relationship and romantic encounter you’re a different person to who you were before, and you know more and have learnt more. And hopefully the same things don’t happen again. Each love will be different as you get older, and that’s a good thing. What I’m trying to say, in the most roundabout way, is that you will move on, and not just that, but you’ll fall in love again too. I can promise you that .