How To Break Up With Your Phone- week 1

Gaaahhhhh. Enough, enough, ENOUGH! I am so fed up of myself. So fed up of wasting my time on my phone, caught within a cycle of social media platforms. So fed up of not being productive and frustratingly reading yet another click bait article about how some celebrities look older than -shock horror- they did when they were 30 years younger (who knew people looked older as they got older). I’m also fed up of the neck ache that seems to accompany me most days and I hold my mobile phone use fully responsible for this. I am also becoming painfully aware that I am some kind of role model to my daughter (god help her) and seeing me hunched over my phone most of the time, is not…cool. So I read the wonderful and fascinating Irresistible by Adam Atler (my review of it can be found here). It gives a very insightful look into why us humans get addicted in general and why we are becoming addicted to our phones and the internet. Whilst this book was great and equally terrifying, it still wasn’t enough to stop me from picking up my phone every 5 seconds to check if anyone has “liked” a recent photo that I’ve uploaded or to complete a Buzzfeed quiz to find out which Parks & Recreation character I am (Donna obvs). I needed to be nannied and told exactly how I can break free from my habitual and unnecessary use of my phone.

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And along came How To Break Up With Your Phone. Not only did this very simply and succinctly reiterate everything that I learnt in Adam Atler’s book, but the majority of the book is a step by step daily guide of how to -well- break up with my phone. The plan stretches over 4 weeks and at the end of it one will no longer be addicted to one’s phone. Hooray! I love this book as Catherine doesn’t believe in just going cold turkey. She believes you need to understand firstly, why you’re reaching for your phone so often. She also feels that not using your phone at all, ever again just isn’t realistic. There’s nothing wrong with going on social media or indeed doing the odd Buzzfeed quiz, it’s when your phone use is addictive that it becomes problematic. It’s not the phones nor social media that are the issue, it’s how much and how often you use them that is. The scariest part of this book is how our phone use is changing how our brains work and shortening our concentration span. This in turn is changing society as a whole and making us much less empathetic. This is not good. So, for the next 4 weeks, I will be doing the How To Break Up With Your Phone programme and detailing how I get on with the daily tasks. Here is how I got on with the first week.

[By the way, this week’s post is a bit wordy, but I think the following weeks’ posts will be less so. Also, I’ve been completely honest with myself in my answers as I won’t get anywhere if I don’t look at thing truthfully.]

Week One- Technology Triage

Day 1- download a tracking app

So, my first day is fairly easy. I just had to download an app that monitors how much you use your phone every day and how many times you pick it up. I used the Moments app. I had to write down what I predicted these numbers would be. I predicted that I used my phone for 2hrs every day and picked it up around 30 times a day. I have a feeling though these predictions might be waaaaaaay out. Time will tell.

Day 2- Asses your current relationship

Today I just had to answer four questions.

  1. What do you love about your phone?  I love it! I hate it! I love it! I hate it! Ok, so I love the convenience of it. I love being able to research things quickly and buy things swiftly. I love how easy it makes keeping in contact with friends (though I also worry that social media and phones make me less sociable. We don’t keep in contact with friends in the same way as before. We don’t call people up to see how they are as we know or rather think we know how they are via their social media).
  2. What don’t you love about your phone? I hate how it is a gigantic rabbit hole. I pick up my phone to do something quickly and than BAM two hours later I’m still faffing about doing nothing in particular. It is the biggest waste of time and stops me from being productive. I also hate how my phone use sometimes results in me ignoring people rather engaging. There is also the added pressure I feel from my phone to reply to emails/texts/messages/comments. It sometimes feels never-ending and not because I’m so wonderfully popular, but because phones and social media have been designed this way. Then there’s the RSI…
  3. What changes do you notice in yourself  -positive or negative- when you spend a lot of time on your phone? It actually makes me less sociable with the people that I’m with. Ironically, as I’ll be using social media most of the time I’m on my phone. I also feel slightly twitchy and that there’s always something else that I should be checking or doing on my phone (oh my god I AM addicted). I can also get irritable with people around me, if I get engrossed with something on my phone and they have the gall to demand my attention (I’m the actual worst). Since having a smartphone, my concentration span has definitely deteriorated. I find I start doing one thing, then within moments I start thinking about doing another and have to break off to start doing that and so on. I’m far too easily distracted and I never used to be like this. I also find that I don’t make my brain think for itself. Need to remember where I’ve seen that actor before? No need to try and think of the answer myself. I just need to quickly look it up on my phone. My short term memory is now pretty awful. That could be age of course, but I do think my phone use has something to do with it.
  4. Imagine yourself a month from now, at the end of your break-up. What would you like your new relationship with your phone to look like? What would you like to have done or accomplished with your extra time? I would just like to be freer from it, not chained to it. I want to stop wasting time on it doing useless things (I agree that doing this from time to time is perfectly fine). I want to be more in the moment and not engrossed in a screen all the time. I’d like to stop and observe things around me. I want to stop reaching for it all the time and for it to be the first thing I do whenever I get a chance. With my extra time, I would like to read and write more. My daughter has noticed that I use my phone a lot and I would like her to notice that this has changed and that I use my phone a lot less. I would like to be more engaged with her in the mornings and after school too. If I faff less on my phone, then I’ll have more time to do any essential internet tasks. I would like to do these essential things that I need to do on the internet when I’m not with my daughter, so by the time that she sees me on my phone is minimal. Easy peasy, yes?

Day 3- start paying attention

Today, things got slightly more…mindful. I had to observe my phone use over 24hrs. I had to change my lock screen to something that would prompt me to think about how I was using my phone. Catherine suggested I changed it do note saying “Why did you pick me up?”, but then I found that passive aggressive, like my phone was trying to start an argument, so I changed it to “Notice”. These are the things I had to think about:

  1. Situations that you nearly always find yourself using your phone: in queues, when my daughter is watching TV, when my husband is doing the bedtime routine, when I’m waiting for something, after I’ve watched my evening TV programmes before bed, when I first get out of bed, when my daughter is eating her breakfast, during the day when I’m working from home- I am constantly picking it up and putting it back down again, as soon as I get out of the shower. Quite a lot then.
  2. How your posture changes when I use my phone: very slumped. Neck bent over. It’s a very insular pose.
  3. Your emotional state right before you reach your phone: bored, sometimes anxious, restless.
  4. Your emotional state right after you use your phone: bored, sometimes anxious, restless and frustrated with myself.
  5. How and how often my phone grabs my attention (i.e. notifications etc): actually not that often. I’m wise enough to turn ALL notifications off and I rarely get texts. I have to go in to apps to see if I have any messages or comments.
  6. How you feel while you are using your phone as well as how you feel when you don’t have your phone: while I use it I feel frustrated and annoyed quite often (WHY THE FUDGE DO I USE IT SO OFTEN THEN?!). I occasionally feel relaxed if I’m having a funny conversation with a friend. When I don’t have my phone, I feel one of two things. If I’ve recently posted something and I don’t have my phone nearby, I feel twitchy and unable to concentrate. If I haven’t posted anything recently, without my phone I feel chilled.
  7. Moments (either on or off my phone) when I feel engaged, energised, joyful, effective and purposeful- what was I doing and who was I with? I felt energised and purposeful after finishing a piece of work. I was not on my phone and by myself. I felt engaged and joyful when chatting and laughing with my family.
  8. How and when other people use their phones and how does it make you feel? Oh this is when I actually feel dreadful. My husband came home from work and I start telling him about my day and he just gets his phone out and starts reading a text. It made me feel so annoyed. He had put this person that texted him before the person right in front of him that had started talking to him before he received the text. The worst thing is, I do this to him ALL THE TIME. So I must make him feel this annoyed. I told you that I’m the worst. I also really hate seeing people on their phones when out for meals or at bars. What’s the point in making the effort and spending money to go out and socialise with the people you’re with if you’re just going to ignore each other? I am glad to say that this is not something I do. At least, I hope I don’t. Shoot me if I do.

Day 4- take stock and take action

Oh God and today we analyse the data I’ve been collecting since day 1.

The results from the tracking app: Okaaaaay, so bearing in mind I happened to be tracking my usage during the two days I work in an office, where I never use my phone and also it happens to be the Easter holidays, so I’m out and about with my little darling and not using my phone as much as I normally would, my results are….3.5hrs a day usage and I picked my phone up on average at least 60 times a day. So what would my data results have been if it was a normal day working from home with my chid at school?! I dread to think. Needless to say my predictions were way out.

So, after this I tracked my usage when my daughter went back to school and I wasn’t working and I used my phone for 5hrs and picked it up 81 times in one day. FFS.

Notice what you’ve noticed: reflecting on what I noticed when I was using my phone, what patterns did I notice and what surprised me? That using my phone didn’t alleviate boredom. That I used it most when sitting on my couch. That it was a reflex that most of the time I wasn’t even aware of. That it caused more frustration than pleasure.

Day 5- delete social media apps 

So, today is the day that I delete all social media apps. Wtf? Seriously? Ok, so this isn’t an irreversible action, I can still check social media via a browser and Catherine does explain that later on in the programme I will be “reintroduced” to these apps, but for now- they’ve got to go. Okaaaaaay.

Also, Catherine introduces me to the WWW speed bump. Every time I go to use my phone or the internet, I have to ask myself:

  • What for? (why am I using it?)
  • Why now? (why am I using it right at this moment and not later?)
  • What else? (what could I be doing right now instead of using my phone?)

The idea is that if I ask myself these questions every time I reach for my phone, the delay creates an obstacle that slows down the action of reaching for my phone. This gives us the opportunity to change course i.e. decide to do something else. It’s a pause between our impulse and our actions.

So, now I’ve deleted all my social media apps (I deleted Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Whilst I did find myself just logging in on a browser and checking those platforms, I did fid that there were plenty of times that I reached for my phone and couldn’t be bothered to check social media as it wasn’t quite going to be as quick and simple as normal, so I *gasp* just put my phone back down again. I have to say, jut doing this alone was already making a difference.

Day 6- come back to (real) life

So, now without my social media apps, I need to start thinking about how I’m going to spend this reclaimed time. Catherine suggested some prompts to help me think about this.

I’ve always loved to: walk, write, sing, socialise

I’ve always wanted to: write a book or play

When I was a kid I was fascinated by: music, books and animals (and Shakin’ Stevens, but I don’t think that’s relevant right now)

If I had more time, I would like to: play with my daughter, go for walks, bake, read and write more

Some activities that I know put me into flow are: socialising and getting fresh air.

People I would like to spend more time with: more quality time with daughter, my husband and my friends (and my family, but they love 200 miles, so more difficult to see them frequently).

Next, I need to make a list of several specific fun off-phone things to do over the next few days/rest of the programme: go for a walk, read, play a game with my daughter

Day 7- get physical

Today, unsurprisingly, Catherine asks that we do something physical. Her point being that she wants us to remember we’re not just a brain sitting on top of a body. So, I went for a long walk with my daughter. It was kind of like killing two birds with one stone [NB: no birds were killed whilst completing this programme]. I had some quality time with my daughter and I got some fresh air and exercise. I do have an issue with doing physical things as I suffer from chronic pain, but luckily today my body allowed me to go for a walk and it was lovely. My daughter was also in her element.

So, that’s the end of week 1. Tune in next Monday to see how I get on with week 2. And if you feel like joining in too, comment below on how you’re getting on.

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I strongly recommend you read this book. Now.

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Top Ten Tunes- 1998

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1998.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997

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Parisians celebrate France winning the World Cup on the Champs Elysses

in 1998, Mohammed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi Fayed who was killed in the Paris car crash alongside Princess Diana, claims that the crash was a conspiracy to kill rather than an accident instigated by the Queen and Tony Blair, the Good Friday agreement between the UK and Ireland/Northern Ireland is signed, the USA reveal that they have arrested British footballer Justin Fashanu over an alleged sexual assault of a 17yr-old male, he shortly afterwards commits suicide, both the DVD format and the £2 coin are released in the UK, three young children are killed in a loyalist arson attack in Northern Ireland, Anti-Social Behaviours Orders are introduced in the UK or ASBOs as they become known, a terrorist attack occurs in Omagh in Northern Ireland by the IRA which kills 29 in a bomb explosion, General Pinochet the former dictator of Chile is placed under house arrest in the UK while he receives medical treatment, Tony Blair becomes the first Prime Minister of the UK to address the Irish government, 3 British tourists are killed in Yemen, the IRA announce a ceasefire, Google is founded, 250 people are killed in terrorist attacks on 2 US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the football World Cup take place in France and France wins, Bill Clinton denies he had “sexual relations with that woman” (Monica Lewinsky), the official famine of Sudan is declared, the Yangtze river in China breaks through the main bank and kills more than 12,000 people, the films the Big Lebowski, Saving Private Ryan, The Truman Show and Shakespeare in Love are released and I turn 22 years old.

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1998 gave me lots of fun (too much fun) memories of living in London. I remember the World Cup dominated my summer as myself and my French friend became obsessed with it. Obviously, her World Cup journey had a happier ending than mine. So, this week Madge is back and so are the Spice Girls, but everyone else is making a first time appearance. So, in no particular order, here’s the best of 1998.

1. Brimful of Asha- the Norman Cook remix by Cornershop

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2. Ray of Light by Madonna

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3.…Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

4. It’s Like That by Run DMC vs Jason Nevins

5. Tragedy by Steps

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British culture at its finest.

6. Celebrity Skin by Hole

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7. Concrete Schoolyard by Jurassic 5

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8. Doo Wop (That Thing) by Lauryn Hill

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9. Get Myself Arrested by Gomez

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10. Goodbye by the Spice Girls

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Well, this week my favourite is either Madonna, Britney or Run DMC….so very close, but I think I have to go with Britney. You know the score, let me know your favourite below in the comments.

See you next week for the last of the nineties- 1999!

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The Representation of Brits in American Culture

As you know, all of us Brits are incredibly posh, very wealthy, extremely intelligent, we’re all white and we all speak in the same posh southern accent (or RP = received pronunciation as it’s known). Yes, we are all a walking/talking everyday version of Four Weddings and a Funeral. All my male friends are just like Hugh Grant and I’m *exactly* like Kristin Scott-Thomas. Now, excuse me whilst I visit my pal at his beautiful large country house and chortle away the hours whilst quaffing* champagne.

Except, as you may have discerned from my tone or if indeed you in fact, like me, hail from the British Isles then you will realise this is not the case at all. It is in fact a grossly stereotyped idea of what Britain and the British are like. Don’t get me wrong, some people do live their lives like they’ve stepped straight out of a Richard Curtis movie, but this proportion of the British people is very, very small. For a small island, we are a varied breed. However, the representation of us Brits is never more strongly stereotyped than it is within American culture.

Now, please realise, I LOVE American culture. I’ve already praised it’s comedy HERE and have mentioned my love of American films, books and music throughout many of my posts. However, I can’t help but roll my eyes when a British character is introduced on American TV and film. Here we go, I think to myself, they’ll be posh, well spoken, a snob, white and no doubt probably quite dull. Or they’ll be plotting to destroy the world. One or the other. Either way, it’s never that pleasing and rarely accurate.

So here’s a few pointers about how American culture get their representation of British people wrong. Before I start though, none of the below is a dig at Americans, it is a dig at the people who make their TV shows and films. Americans can’t be blamed for thinking the British are only a certain way if that’s all they see of us:

  • We are all posh snobs. Trust me on this one, we are NOT like this. Most of us are not posh (I’m speaking from a personal perspective here) and most of us are very down-to-earth, genuine and self-deprecating. We are nice people who just like a good laugh. The worst example of this representation is bloody Emily (great, classic British name there. Really used your imagination coming up with that name, didn’t you?) from Friends. She was indeed very posh, spoke with the so-called classic British accent (more on this is in a moment), was a complete snob, uptight, showed no sense of humour and most of all was very unlikable. The most annoying thing about Emily is that the writers of Friends created her and the episodes that took place in London as a way to thank the British fans of Friends, but in actual fact all it did was insult us. It’s ok, we got over it once they got rid of the character of Emily as that’s the kind of easy going people we are (we are rarely represented as being easy going either). Interestingly, well respected British actor Helen Baxendale who played Emily was asked to return for the final season of Friends, but she declined. She says that playing Emily was the biggest regret of her career.

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  • We all speak with the same RP accent. We are a small country, a lot smaller than America anyway, BUT we have so many different accents  for such a small country. Geordie (Newcastle), Scouse (Liverpool), Brummie (Birmingham), Manchester, a variety of Yorkshire accents, Bristolian (Bristol), the west country accent, Essex, Suffolk, Home Counties, and at least 4 different London based accents…to name, but a few. Also, that is just England. There is also a wide range of Scottish and Welsh accents too. So, it is safe to say, we do NOT all speak the same. This has been made very apparent to me when I have spent time in the US. Too many times Americans have mistaken me as Australian when they meet me and hear me talk (I am rolling my eyes so hard right now, I’ve almost given myself an eye hernia). In Vegas once, there was this guy on the street that said he could guess what state you were from and if you weren’t American, he’d be able to guess what country. He seemed pretty sure of himself. We had to pay, but if he guessed wrong we’d get our money back plus a prize. I confidently handed him my dollars. I spoke and his answer was….Australian? Nah mate. Not quite. You’re just a whole hemisphere away. For the record, I come from the same part of the UK as both Kate Winslet and Ricky Gervais are from. My accent is half way between the two. Interestingly, the vast difference between Ricky & Kate’s accents is an example in itself of how varied British accents are as they are both from the same town. Occasionally, a “cockney” accent will be portrayed within American culture, but a) it’s usually done badly b) it’s not that often and c) it’s the same area of the UK as the RP accent. Therefore, yet again that British character with the token “cockney” accent is still only representing the same area of the UK.
  • We are all white. Whilst I’m probably not the best person to speak on this subject, being a white Brit myself, it is such a painfully important point, it needs raising. Plus it’s something that properly gets on my tits. Once, I was at a music festival in Coney Island, NYC. The British band the Noisettes came on stage and immediately performed their first song. The lead singer happens to be black. When they finished the song, the lead singer said in her broad London accent “ALRIGHT NEW YORK?”. I was then astounded when surrounding me, everyone turned to each other and questioned “oh my God is she British?” or….”is that singer…you know…British?! I’m so surprised”. They were clearly shocked, but not as shocked as I was that they couldn’t quite believe this black person had a British accent. That some British people could in fact be black. However, we can’t blame these shocked American gig goers. How often when a British character is introduced on American TV or in film are they black? Or Asian or anything other than white? The issue is whenever a black British actor gets work in America they play an American or an African. Never or very rarely do they get to play their own nationality. As I’ve already talked about in a previous post of mine, many Brits play Americans on American TV and if you look at my list HERE you will see that many of them are not white. It is seemingly the only way non-white Brits can get work over there. Idris Elba had to use his well-practiced Baltimore accent when speaking to The Wire fans at it would freak them out if he spoke in his own London accent. This might partly be that they couldn’t handle that this Baltimore character was played by a Brit, but am I too bold to suggest it might also have freaked them out hearing a British accent coming from a black person? After witnessing the reaction of those particular Americans at the Noisettes gig, it could also be a possibility.
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Gratuitous Idris Elba photo because…oh my God just look at the man.

  • The British are just English. I also feel American culture forget about the Scottish and the Welsh. If an Irish person does appear in American culture they are usually from the Republic of Ireland and very rarely from Northern Ireland. Out of these three nationalities the Scottish are probably represented the most. Yet, as you can guess they are largely stereotyped too. I’m thinking about the school caretaker in the Simpsons right now (maybe not the best example because as much as I love the Simpsons, they do like to stereotype- hello Apu). Welsh characters never appear within American culture. I’m struggling to think of one. Can you?
  • If we’re not uptight posh snobs then we are evil villains. We just don’t come across well to Americans, do we? If we did, then maybe just maybe we’d be represented more favourably. However, playing evil Brits has done/did wonders for the careers of Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons et al. Whilst it’s not altogether pleasant, this stereotype doesn’t bother me as much (perhaps it should) as at least these villainous characters are quite fun unlike the boring, haughty British characters. I love this car advert starring Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong that sends up the stereotype of the British being evil villains.
  • We can’t rap. Admittedly, if I did a rap for you right now, you would be well within your rights to point and laugh at me until I walked off in shame. Nonetheless, there is a strong animosity towards British rappers in general. Last year, Drake released his new album and a few tracks featured British rappers Giggs and Skepta (as well as British singers Jorja Smith and Sampha). The reaction on the internet was not positive. Many Americans claimed that the album was ruined by the British rappers. People even created memes to show how angry they were about it (granted, the memes were actually quite funny. You can find some examples HERE). It seems that Americans don’t seem to appreciate our rap/grime music. Again, is this because British rappers don’t fit the only British representation that Americans are exposed to? Possibly, they hear the accent and think that a British person cannot relate to what rap music is about because all we do is drink tea and discuss the merits of Shakespeare over here? I get it to a certain extent. Americans are bound to prefer American music as it represents their culture more. However, to have no tolerance of other countries producing the same genre of music is hardly inclusive and thoroughly audacious. There is one thing that I cannot stand and that is music snobbery. A particular genre of music should never be limited to just one continent.
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British rapper Giggs

  • It rains all the time. So this is more of a stereotype about our country rather than its people. Every time an American TV show or film relocates to the UK, this is typically signified by rain pouring down on the streets of the UK somewhere. Yes, it does like to rain over here. That’s why are countryside is so luscious and green. I appreciate the rain for this reason, but here’s the thing, we also get other weather. We even get hot, sunny days. Only recently, America has been experiencing spring time snow and we on the other hand, have been sunbathing in our back gardens. We get weather that allows us to enjoys days at the beach, allows us to have BBQs in our gardens, picnics in parks and even swim in outdoor swimming pools. The problem being, that it will be like this one week and then a lot cooler and rainy the following week. Our weather is “interestingly” unpredictable over here.
  • We have bad teeth. Yes, some of us have bad teeth, but also lots of us have good teeth. We just like to keep things a bit more “natural” across the Atlantic.
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An excellent example of a natural British smile.

  • The one stereotype about the British that is 100% correct. We drink a lot of tea. First thing in the morning? Yup tea please. Just finished breakfast? Better have another cup of tea. Mid morning break? Tea. Just had lunch? More tea. Mid-afternoon, just got home from work, after dinner, after doing the washing up, after having a bath, someone’s just popped round, someone’s having a crisis, just broken your leg, just had your car stolen, someone’s died, TEA TEA TEA AND MORE TEA. According to us Brits, there is literally nothing that can’t be cured by popping on  the kettle and having a nice cup of tea. The Americans have this stereotype on the nose.

I am sure there are the odd occasions when the British haven’t been stereotyped within American culture, but it’s safe to say these occasions are few and far between.  Why should it bother me that we so often get misrepresented? American culture is huge and dominates across the world. Therefore, this stereotype of the British (and indeed other countries. Did you know that all Russians are also evil villains? Only when the British are too busy drinking tea to take over the world that is) is constantly being seen and compounded across the world. With the worldwide influence American culture has, comes great responsibility. Just to reiterate, I don’t blame Americans at all for thinking the British are all of the above. Also, I realise there will be many Americans that won’t think any of this about the British at all, as they’ll know that a whole nation of people won’t have the same personality and background. It’s just a touch annoying that American culture can’t sometimes broaden its horizons when it comes to representing us Brits. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to put the kettle on and make myself a nice cup of tea. Cheers.

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*WHAT THE FUCK IS QUAFFING?!

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Top Ten Tunes- 1997

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1997.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

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In 1997, Princess Diana calls for an international ban on landmines, 160 vehicles are involved in a motorway pile-up on the M42 which kills three and injures 60, Channel 5 the UK’s 5th TV channel is launched, the Labour party defeat the Conservatives in the general election with a landslide result and Tony Blair becomes the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the UK wins the Eurovision Song Contest, the first Harry Potter novel is published, the IRA declares a ceasefire, 58 tourists are killed by terrorists in the Valley of Kings in Egypt- 6 of them were Brits, Mother Teresa dies in Calcutta, Scotland vote to create its own parliament after a 290 years union with England, Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match and is suspended from boxing, a civil jury panel find OJ Simpson guilty, Australian rock star Michael Hutchence diesGianni Versace is murdered and the Notorious B.I.G. is shot dead in a drive-by shooting.

Princess Diana is killed in a car crash whilst being chased by paparazzi in Paris, a week later Diana’s funeral takes place which is watched by 1.5 billion people across the world.

The films Titanic, The Full Monty and Life is Beautiful are released and I celebrate my 21st Birthday.

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This week is a special week as we are now officially at the half way point of this weekly music series. So, I just wanted to thank everyone who tunes in every week. Discussing our music memories is the highlight of doing this music series, so I hope I still see you all every week for the second half of this series. Anyway, back to ME. In 1997, I’m living in London and generally getting up to mischief. I remember getting the news that Princess Diana had died. At the time, I was living at my cousin’s flat, sleeping on his sofa. He got a phone call at 3am from his girlfriend crying on the phone. Her flatmate worked for Tokyo TV (yes really) and she’d been called in to cover the story, so his girlfriend then immediately called us to tell us the news. It was a surreal time to be living in London. I remember visiting Buckingham Palace and seeing the sea of flowers laid down by the gates. I moved out of my cousin’s place and into my own flat on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral (yes excellent timing, I know) and I have never known London transport to be so quiet and deserted. It was like 28 Days Later. And I’ve never seen London like that again since.

So anyway, here we go. My top ten tunes from 1997, in no particular order (sorry yes more Blur, Bjork & Kylie).

1. I Am the Black Gold of the Sun by Nuyorican Soul

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2. Some Kind of Bliss by Kylie Minogue

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3. Someone’s Daughter by Beth Orton

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4. Song 2 By Blur

5. Late in the Day by Supergrass

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6. Never Ever by All Saints

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7. Bachelorette by Bjork

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8. You’re Not Alone by Olive

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9. Into My Arms by Nick Cave

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10. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

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Oh look what I found- a very rare photo of me at 21. We didn’t really take photos of ourselves or each other much back then. I didn’t even own a camera when I was 21, but here I am all baby faced and full of youth.

You have no idea how close it is between Nick Cave and Blur. I think it’s the closest two songs have ever been for me, BUT Into My Arms is probably one of the most beautiful songs ever written and never fails to make me tearful, so by a hair- it’s my favourite this week. Soooooo, which one is yours? And do you remember where you were when you found out about Princess Diana’s death?

See you next week for 1998!

Just Another Blog From a Woman has been nominated for an award. If you enjoy my blog and you have a spare few seconds, would you mind voting for me HERE It’s very simple and there’s no need to register or provide an email address, just vote for Just Another Blog From a Woman under the Best Pal category. Thank you SO much.

Annual Bloggers Bash Awards: Who to Vote For

There’s only 2 weeks left to vote in the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards and you may be wondering to yourself: hmmmm, but just who shall I vote for? Well, never fear Just Another Blog From a Woman is here to help. This post is mainly a shout out to all the wonderful bloggers that have been incredibly supportive of my blog over the years and also a shout out for the excellent and talented bloggers I’ve had the luck to come across. When you’ve perused everyone’s blogs below, you can cast your vote HERE

Best Overall Blogger

  • I’m Sick and So Are You: I’m not sure why you would vote for Christine. She’s trying to take down every blogger in existence. Plus she writes terribly, she isn’t funny in the slightest, her posts aren’t remotely deep or profound nor cleverly entertaining at the same time and she definitely didn’t write one of the best posts I’ve ever read. You can read it HERE and check out her blog whilst you’re there. It’s awful*
  • But I Smile Anyway: Lovely Ritu, Meter Maid. Actually she’s not a meter maid. She’s a very good blogger, mother, wife, teacher and very lovely person (rumour has it that she’s also an amazing baker. I’ll have to report back to confirm whether this is true or not). This blog post of hers HERE was extraordinary.
  • A Brummie Home and Abroad: Our Emmalene is definitely the kind of girl you’d want to sink a cocktail or two with. Her travel posts will leave you insanely jealous, the photography in her blog is stunning plus she is an exceptionally good writer, but don’t tell her I said any of this. Check out this dreamy post on her love for Italy HERE
  • Gin & Lemonade: First of all, here you have one of the best blog names ever. That’s enough to win a vote alone. Luckily, Lorna has a lot more to offer on her blog than just a name (and I’m not just talking about her awesome hair). She writes well on her family and very important topics. My favourite blog posts of hers is HERE. It’s one of those posts that everyone should be made to read. And I mean everyone.

*it’s clearly not. It’s definitely the opposite of awful.

Funniest Blogger

  • Fatty McCupcakes: I love Katie, mainly because she makes me feel like I’m not the only idiotic person on this planet who constantly gets themselves into ridiculous situations. Also, she happens to be very funny. She could tell you a story about watching paint dry and she would have you in hysterics. My favourite post of hers is HERE and it had me LOLling so much, I was very grateful that I didn’t read it on public transport.
  • The Phil Factor: Sexiest man alive, Phil has been blogging since 1807. However, he’s not just a sex symbol. He has brains too. And he also happens to be very, very funny. It was so hard trying to pick just one of his posts as they are so consistently funny, but have a gander at this one HERE then take yourself on a little stroll around his blog.
  • Hot Mess Memoir: The delectable Angela does something very clever with her blog. Not only is she very funny, but she makes everything so relatable you feel like you’re chatting with a mate whilst reading her posts. As a Brit, I found this post HERE particularly enjoyable.
  • Midlife Smarts: The highly entertaining Jill is the woman behind this very funny blog. I loved her post on Henry VIII’s wives HERE. Not only was it lots of fun to read (like all of her posts), but it was actually very informative too.
  • Lutheranlier Looks At Life: Alice is a woman who has lived and is living a full and fascinating life. And she looks at this life with great humour. My favourite post of hers most definitely has to be her tale about dating none other than Steve Martin. Check it out HERE!
  • Judy E Martin: Lovely, lovely Judy. Please do check out her blog. She’s a great writer and I particularly enjoy her humorous limericks. Especially the Christmas ones. I know this isn’t very seasonal of me, but check this one out HERE for starters.
  • Shallow Reflections: This blog is run by Molly who provides a light hearted look at life. Check out her latest blog post HERE.

Most Inspirational Blogger

  • You Are Awesome: Not only is Angela one of the loveliest people you could come across in the blogging world, BUT she also happens to be a very good blogger and an excellent writer. Every single week after reading a wonderful post of hers, I ALWAYS find inspiration. Warning: her blogs will make you think and then think some more. As with Phil, I found it so hard to pick just one of her posts as they’re so outstanding, but this one HERE in particular went down very well when I shared it on my personal Facebook page.
  • Unfold and Begin: Jennifer provides much inspiration and sage advice with her blog. I also feel her blog is bit of a hidden gem too. Please have a good look through her blog. there are so many wonderful posts. I particularly like her posts that detail how people have changed their lives and started over. She recently published a very important post HERE, so I just had to share this one with you.

Most Informative Blogger

  • Global Housesitter x 2: Suzanne is a marvellous woman. She travels all over the globe (mainly Europe) housesitting for various people and looking after their furry friends. Her posts are not only informative about the places that she visits, but she also provides a lot of information about how you too can become a housesitter (it sounds amazing). Like Emmalene’s blog, the photography is fantastic. Check out her latest post on Turkish culture HERE.
  • Talk About Pop Music: Just Another Blog From a Woman connects closely with Talk About Pop Music. We both love music and a lot of the time, we have similar tastes. Steve’s blog is THE place to go to find out about new music. Check out this wonderful post that he wrote about our Kylie HERE
  • An Historian About Town: The very stylish Jessica has been very helpful indeed. She wrote a post about how to look after your clothes and taught me things that in my 42 years, I didn’t have a clue about. She also loves castles (I mean, who doesn’t), has a very cute dog called Agnes and does a monthly feature that I adore, recommending a favourite book and a favourite tea (two of my most favourite things). Her post about clothes care is HERE.
  • Notebook and Glasses: As someone who lives with chronic pain, I find Ali’s blog such a fantastic source of information on how to live with pain. This post HERE is particularly useful.
  • A Writer’s Perspective: April must have a very, very big brain. She knows so much about history, in particular medieval history. Her posts are fascinating and you can learn a great deal from her blog. I loved this post HERE about what peasant’s used to eat and found it very interesting. Also, did you know she owned the month April?

Best Book Review Blog

  • Lisa’s Ramblings: Lisa has excellent taste in literature and her reviews make me want to read the books she talks about. She’s also a very lovely lady. Check out her latest post of book reviews HERE
  • The Book Owl: This book review blog is run by a very nice man called Denzil. He also runs the Discovering Belgium blog which is equally excellent. Check out his review of a book by some bloke called Phil Taylor HERE

Services to Bloggers

  • There’s only one person that you should be voting for in this category and that’s Em Linthorpe. Not only is she the nicest person, has excellent taste in music and is incredibly kind hearted. She does so much for other bloggers. She helps run the Big Up Your Blog Facebook group in her spare time, she’s written blog posts that are incredibly helpful for us bloggers and she is very approachable if you ever have a blogging query. If you don’t vote for her, then I’m sorry we can’t be friends. Oh she’s also a good blogger too. Have a look at this post HERE. In it, Em loses her mind and makes claims that no one should take seriously. I’m not sure why I’m directing you towards this post. It’s literally the worst blog post every written.

Hidden Gem (blimey there are so many blogs in this category that I love, so I’m going to be very succinct with each one. Good luck choosing out of this lot).

  • A Mindful Traveler: Lovely person, lovely blog for all your travelling and eating needs. Read this post of Lorelle’s HERE
  • KalifornicationX: Incredibly talented writer, very funny, bit saucy, hates millennials (even though he is one). Read why HERE
  • Deb’s World: I love Debbie. Her warmth and love of life will jump out at you off the screen. Read this outstanding post HERE. You might need tissues while you do.
  • Unbound Roots: Erin is a wonderful woman. She has a love of the outdoors that is infectious. She’s also a very good artist. Read this fascinating post HERE.
  • Fiction is Food: Like so many bloggers, Gary is the loveliest person. He’s also a very clever fantasy writer. Please go to his blog and read his writing. You won’t regret it. HERE is a fine example of his work.
  • Wheelescapades: A marvellous blogger who always provides an interesting read. Plus she loves cats and books, so why wouldn’t you vote for her? Check out this excellent post of Gemma’s HERE.
  • Willowdot21: I adore Willow. Such a kind soul and she has very good taste in music (being a music blogger, you soon learn everyone’s personal taste in music). Check out her post HERE about random acts of kindness.
  • Retired? No-one Told me!: Carol is not taking retirement lying down. Have a look at her pro-walking/anti-diets post HERE

Newcomer Blogger

  • Vote for Losing the Plot. You’ve been told, now get and do it. Please have a look at her wonderful stories about us bloggers HERE

Best Pal

Well, it may not have come to your attention, but yours truly has been nominated for this award! Thank you to whoever did that. I love you to the moon and back. Now, as I’m talking about myself, I thought I’d take the liberty of recommending several of my posts.

*I’m bigging myself up here, aren’t I? Obviously not the whole internet, but it is my most liked post ever.

Now, you might think my blog is all right, but not brilliant or you might indeed think it’s the biggest pile of shit you’ve ever come across. If either of these scenarios is the case for you, you may want to vote for one of the following lovely ladies. I am honoured to be nominated along with them and if I’m honest, they are probably much nicer people than I am (I haven’t heard any of them swear about scooters once. Oh actually, Cherie may have…)

  • So let’s start with Cherie then as she is awesome. If you want an American living in Germany who loves a beer, has a handsome ice hockey playing German husband, has great taste in music and has her own tattoo salon then From Michigan to Germany is the blog for you. I love this story HERE about how her German in-laws “welcomed” her to Germany.
  • Next up is the lovely and bubbly Josy. Her fantastic blog is A Walk and a Lark. It is a beautiful blog as she details her hiking adventures. First it was in and around London and the south, but now she lives in Vancouver, her blog has become even more stunning. She also used to live in Japan and travelled extensively in New Zealand and she has done some wonderful posts about those countries too. Have a look at this post HERE and you’ll see what I mean Josy’s blog. I would also say that Josy is one of the most informative bloggers out there too.
  • Then please can you have a look at Orla’s blog Fancypaper. Orla is an excellent writer who writes about a variety of subjects, but it is her blogs about parenting that Orla’s writing really shines. I adore this stunning post HERE about motherhood that highlights the difficulties of motherhood and how we all do things differently.
  • Next, we have Rachael at Rachael’s Thoughts. She proudly resides in the North East and has written a great post about it as well as an excellent post about changing her career, but it’s her beautiful post about her Step-Mother HERE that I’m going to leave you with. It is incredibly heart-warming.
  • Last, but by no means least, we have The Wandering Darlings. Melanie is a fantastic travel blogger and has seen so much of the world. Her blog is incredible, but the post of hers that I enjoyed the most is the post that she wrote about her parents and how they gave her this love of travelling. Incidentally, Debbie at Deb’s World, just so happens to be her Mum. How lucky is Melanie? You can read her post HERE.

So, that’s your lot. I probably haven’t helped you decide who to vote for as there are so many good blogs to choose from, but if you vote for any of these that I’ve mentioned then you will have voted for a good ‘un.

Don’t forget, voting closes on 30th April and you can vote HERE. It’s very quick and easy and there’s no need to register nor provide an email address. Best of luck to everyone nominated.

Every Live Act I Have Ever Seen #MusicMonday

Sexiest man alive Phil Taylor, suggested we publish a post on the same day listing all the bands and singers we’ve ever seen live. I mean, my ageing memory may struggle to remember all of them, but hell yes, let’s do this! So go check out Phil’s posts too (after you’ve read mine of course). I didn’t know what order to do it in, so I decided to start small and go big.

Blessed Ethel (am I the only one on this earth that remember this band?)

The Muddiefunksters

Darlinghearts

Salad

Digable Planets

Back to the Planet

These Animal Men (so many times that I can’t remember)

Credit to the Nation

Chumbawamba

Corduroy

Kuala Shaker

My Life Story

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Huggy Bear (twice)

Spiritualized

Galliano

Stereo MCs

Roni Size

Cornershop

Menswear (twice)

Echobelly (3 times)

Divine Comedy

Imelda May

The Cribs

Noisettes

Kate Nash

Belly

Curve (twice)

Lush

The Orb

Orbital

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Billy Bragg

Sam Brown

Julian Cope

Sleeper (4 times)

The Boo Radleys

L7

Elastica (twice)

Lemonheads

Primal Scream

Garbage

Supergrass (twice)

Suede

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Beverley Knight

Cypress Hill

Groove Armada

Saint Etienne

Gossip

Shakespear’s Sister (twice)

Neneh Cherry

Lenny Kravitz

James

Macy Gray

Joan Armatrading

The Chemical Brothers

The Pretenders

Manic Street Preachers (twice)

PJ Harvey (4 times)

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Ringo Starr

Regina Spektor

Hole

The Bangles

Tori Amos

Pulp (twice)

Oasis (twice)

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Radiohead

Blur (14 times. I quite like them)

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Girls Aloud

The Kinks

Kylie Minogue

REM

Madonna (The Girlie Show tour)

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And if you’ve ever been to a gig with me and I seem to have forgotten to include it here in this list, then please let me know!

Who would I still love to see and somehow never have? The Cure, Kate Bush, Bjork, the Smashing Pumpkins and Beyonce.

Just Another Blog From a Woman has been nominated for an award. If you enjoy my blog and you have a spare few seconds, would you mind voting for me HERE It’s very simple and there’s no need to register or provide an email address, just vote for Just Another Blog From a Woman under the Best Pal category. Thank you SO much.

 

Top Ten Tunes- 1996

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1996.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995

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Dolly the Sheep and her…umm Dad? (Sir Ian Wilmut the Dolly project leader). She was the only surviving lamb from 277 cloning attempts. Dolly actually helped push stem cell research forward by 20 years. Well done Dolly.

In 1996, the first genetically modified foods go on sale in the UK, the IRA end the 17-month ceasefire and bomb the docklands in London killing two people and injuring 39, Take That (the most successful British band of the 90s) announce that they are splitting up, an IRA bomb explodes on a London bus killing one and injuring eight, in a primary school in Dunblane a gunman kills 16 children and their teacher, wounds 13 others plus another teacher and then commits suicide, as a result of this tragic massacre tighter gun laws are implemented in the UK, a massive IRA bomb is detonated in Manchester city centre which devastates its retail district, Dolly the Sheep the first mammal to ever be successfully cloned from an adult cell is born, the Olympics take place in Atlanta, USA, the Prince and Princess of Wales complete their divorce proceedings after 15 years of marriage, an IRA bomb explodes at British army barracks in Northern Ireland killing one and injuring 31, 4% of the UK population now have internet access, Mad Cow Disease hits the UK, a bomb on the Paris subway kills four people, 12 minutes after leaving JFK airport a jumbo jet crashes into the sea killing all 230 people on board, the films Independence Day, Scream and Trainspotting are all released and I leave my teenage year behind me and turn 20 years old.

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By 1996, I’m living in Oxford and having far too much fun. I also celebrated my Birthday exactly 22 years ago, to this day. Yes, that’s right it’s my Birthday today! I’ll extend the deadline to get all your gifts and flowers to me by Monday. I’m kind like that. You can read how I feel about getting older HERE. Whilst, this year we have Bjork and Tori making another appearance, all the other acts here appear for the first time.

1. On & On by Erykah Badu

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2. Underground by Ben Folds Five

3. No Diggity by Blackstreet featuring Dr Dre

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4. Don’t Let Go (Love) by En Vogue

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5. Hyper-ballad by Bjork (I also equally love the Brodsky Quartet Version of this song, so much so that I’ve added it as bonus track at the end of the playlist for you)

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6. 2 Becomes 1 by Spice Girls (I will always stand by my opinion that this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written).

7. Ladykillers by Lush

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8. Professional Widow (It’s Got To Be Big) by Tori Amos

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9. Being Brave by Menswear

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10. Born Slippy (NUXX) by Underworld

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Bjork or Underworld? BJORK OR UNDERWORLD?! I’m not sure I can choose….oh ok, I’m going with Underworld. Probably for personal reasons. Come one then. Which one is your favourite?

As a bonus for this week only, I’m posting an extra song. I wanted to add this to this week’s playlist, but it doesn’t exist on Spotify. So, here’s a YouTube video of it instead for you to enjoy. It is an incredibly stunning song and deserves recognition.

One Night Stand by the Aloof

See you next week for 1997!

Just Another Blog From a Woman has been nominated for an award. If you enjoy my blog and you have a spare few seconds, would you might voting for me HERE It’s very simple and there’s no need to register or provide an email address, just vote for Just Another Blog From a Woman under the Best Pal category. Thank you SO much.

Celebrities That Should Just Get Back Together

I’m a nostalgic person, ladies and gentlemen. This can be witnessed in my weekly music, film and news posts, which start from 1976 and will go through to 2017. However, it’s not just music and film that I’m nostalgic for. I sometimes look at celebrities who have yet again split up with someone and think “oh why didn’t you just stay with him that you once went out with in the 90s. I know your relationship was deeply flawed and you probably hate each other now, but just get back together. Just for me?”. So, here’s a little list of all those now dispersed celebrity couples that should never have split up.

Winona Ryder & Johnny Depp

 

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Please note the tattoo.

Yes I know Johnny is clearly bit of a dick and she can do so much better than him, but 90s Winona & Johnny were so cool and so beautiful (my God Johnny was beautiful back then), but I still want them to get back together. Incidentally, this is what they both look like now. Hmmmm, now who’s aged better?

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Britney Spears & Justin Timberlake

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Yes, I know he’s very happily married to Jessica Biel with a kid and everything these days, but ignoring all of that- look how cute Britney & Justin were! Britin? Justney? They quite rightly didn’t have an ambigram*, did they?

*I looked this word up. I’m not clever enough to know words like this.

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Julia Roberts & Kiefer Sutherland

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Okay, so she did practically leave him standing at the alter (she dumped him 3 days before the wedding. Julia mate, that wasn’t cool), but they were so cute and seemed so in love. I’m still mourning the break-up of this relationship today (oh I’m fully aware that I should possibly get out more. Leave me here, I’m happy).

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Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon

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I absolutely loved these two. Nothing brings me more pleasure than seeing Mariah happy (seriously, this is the woman who demands puppies to play with before a show so that she can relax. I 100% relate to her) and she always seemed so happy with Nick. Also, here’s the categorically best reasons for them to still be a couple, they have two children together.

Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan

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These two should NEVER have split up. It’s the biggest mistake they made in their lives. I’m still very cross about it and I won’t rest until they are back together.

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Look! They still love each other, don’t they? DON’T THEY?!

 

Anna Faris & Chris Pratt

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Why did they do this to me? WHY? Whether celebrities stay together or not is definitely based on how it will make me feel, but arrogantly Anna & Chris never consulted me before they went their separate ways. They just went ahead without any consideration for my feelings and the word that best describes how this break-up made me feel is: gutted.

Jennifer Aniston & Brad Pitt

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Ooh, so this one might be the only one with some potential of reuniting. As you no doubt know already, Jennifer has recently split up with husband Justin Theroux and Brad ain’t with Angelina no more and apparently Jennifer and Brad have “reached out” to each other. Whatever that means. Anyway, fingers crossed, they were perfect for each other.

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The Couple That Were Never a Couple, But Really Should Have Got Together as They Would Have Been So Beautiful Together and Clearly Love Each Other in My Opinion*

*yes I can come up with longer subtitles if I tried, thank you.

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Yep, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio would have made a fantastic couple. I love their loyal friendship which has remained strong over the past 21 years since they made Titanic together. Kate’s currently married to someone called Ned Rocknroll, so that’s reason enough for her to split up with him and get together with Leo.

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Maturing has worked well for both of them

 

The Couple That Must Never Ever Split Up 

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If Chrissy Teigen and John Legend ever DARED to split up, I would give up on love and the idea of soulmates and leave my husband immediately*. They’re hot, they have a very cute kid together and another on the way and I love how much fun they clearly have together. In fact, my favourite thing about them as a couple is how much Chrissy trolls her own husband online. I mean that’s inspirational relationship goals right there.

*ok I may have gone a bit too far there. Possibly.

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So which famous couples do you wish were still together, but aren’t anymore?

Just Another Blog From a Woman has been nominated for an award. If you enjoy my blog and you have a spare few seconds, would you mind voting for me HERE It’s very simple and there’s no need to register or provide an email address, just vote for Just Another Blog From a Woman under the Best Pal category. Thank you SO much.

Top Ten Tunes- 1995

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1995.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

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Eric Cantona’s Kung Fu Kick. I love this photo mainly for the spectators’ reactions. A lot are in shock, but one bloke is having the time of his life.

So, at the beginning of 1995, serial killer Fred West takes his own life in prison, French footballer Eric Cantona assaults a spectator when he is sent off whilst playing for Manchester United and he is banned from playing football for 8 months, the first female chief constable in the UK is appointed, Essex student Leah Betts, 18, dies after four days in a coma as a result of taking an ecstasy tablet, this sparks a media campaign against the drugs and its suppliers, Princes Diana gives a candid TV interview detailing her adultery, her depression, bulimia, the media and the future of the monarchy- it becomes the most watched current affairs programme on record, Rose West is found guilty of murdering 10 women and children including her 16-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old stepdaughter- she is sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that she is never released, head teacher Philip Lawrence is stabbed death outside his school whilst trying to protect a pupil who was being attacked by a gang, race riots break out in Brixton, 168 people are killed and 680 are injured during a domestic terrorist attack on a federal building in Oklahoma, an earthquake in Japan kills 6,433 people, broker Nick Leeson loses $1.4billion which results in the collapse of the UK’s oldest investment banking firm (the klutz), an earthquake in Russia kills 2000 people, an unprecedented heatwave in the US kills at least 830 people (the majority of which were in Chicago), Isreali Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated and OJ Simpson is found innocent.

The films Toy Story, Braveheart, the Usual Suspects and Heat are released and yours truly turns 19 years old. Aren’t I growing up?

Braveheart

So, here we are in the deepest, darkest “Brit Pop” era. I was going to say that only one act isn’t British this week, but then I remembered that Bjork wasn’t British either. We did kind of adopt her though, but I don’t think the Icelandic would ever let us claim her as one of us. Quite rightly. 1995 saw me hop on a plane and travel around Australia all by myself because -well- I quite I fancied it. It was one of the best experiences of my life. My obsession with music and seeing bands live continued on, so much so that yet again, I really struggled trying to narrow this list down to just 10 songs. Here they are, nevertheless, in no particular order.

WARNING: the first bit of the first song is a bit sweary- just in case you’re listening to the playlist near young ears.

1. Reverend Black Grape by Black Grape

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2. Yes by McAlmont and Butler

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3. The Universal by Blur

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Blur winning 4 Brit awards in one night in 1995

4. Inbetweener by Sleeper

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5. C’mon Billy by PJ Harvey

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PJ Harvey giving very few fucks at Glastonbury Festival ’95. As I was there right at the front for this performance, I can confirm she was indeed fucking glorious.

6. Common People by Pulp

7. Isobel by Bjork

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It’s just a suggestion from Bjork, not an instruction.

8. Human Nature by Madonna

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9. Missing by Everything but the Girl

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10. Never Forget by Take That (no, you sat with your best mate watching Take That perform on Top of the Pops for the first time without Robbie and cried throughout. Shut up)

Black Grape is a very close second, but I have to go for Pulp as my favourite, for so many reasons. So, pray tell me, which one is your top choice?

See you next week for 1996!

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