mercredi 28 juillet 2021

Been a minute.

 Oh, hi there, stranger! How are you? What have you been up to?

I've been dog-wrangling. Being cosy. Cooking a lot. Re-learning to drive again after a ten-year hiatus (terrifying, tbh). Listening to Self Esteem. Also a bit of Stevie Nicks, who I never used to rate particularly highly but have lately been in the mood for. I went to Hastings.

Like everyone, obsessed with this song.

I wrote, like, half a book and abandoned it because it was really depressing and awful. Then I wrote another really weird but really fun book in a ridiculous record time and... we'll see.

I'm halfway through training to be a therapist now. I do a weekly shift on a women's domestic violence helpline, which has unexpectedly become a highlight of my week.

I've been doing a lot of YouTube workout videos and this is my favourite.

I read Sorrow + Bliss and, like everyone, am a bit obsessed. It's been a long long time since a book has made me cry that much.

My dog is lovely. I am over two years sober. I turned fucking forty. I just got my first post-lockdown haircut and it's very 70s. My friend tattooed me at her kitchen table and then I went on the trampoline with her kids and then we all went to the pub for chips.

mercredi 2 décembre 2020

Dog Days

 I have a dog. This is a sentence I never thought I would be able to write. I was never in one place enough. I have a terrible fear of commitment! That sort of grown-up thing is for 'other' people.

I have a dog. It blows my mind a bit. Nobody and nothing has ever really relied on me in that way before. Sometimes I look at her and she seems so little and helpless. It's lovely and it's awful.

I feel a bit behind other people, sometimes. Like, when everyone else was growing up, I was drunk and having terrible relationships I didn't even realise were terrible. I thought I was really grown-up when I was about twenty-five. I didn't realise what a fucking joke that was. I've spent the years since unpicking how very wrong I was.

Some of my friends got pets when we were in our twenties. That seemed unbelievable to me at the time and even more so to me now. Like my friend Susie, who bombs around in a van and takes her dog everywhere and has this amazing air of capability and an assumption that it'll all work out fine. Incredible. How the fuck do they do it?

I have had a dog for one month and four days and I regularly cry because it's so overwhelming. I realise I don't think I could have done this at any point in my life before now. Especially at the times when I thought I definitely would have been able to. I was an idiot.

I have to remind myself often that it's OK to do things at your own pace. It's OK to do things differently to other people. It's all OK. Sometimes I even believe it.

I am so happy that I have a dog now. We are still getting to know each other but I love her a lot.

Which is good, because she takes up most of my time at the moment. I have a half-written book that is currently remaining that way. I am behind on my homework. I haven't done any exercise since I got her and I can't wait to get back to it. I kind of want her to stay a baby forever but I also can't wait until I can actually take my eyes off her without her chewing my wooden floor/record player/sofa to shreds.

In the (very) brief windows between dog wrangling, it's currently the perfect time of year to:

  • listen to White Chalk by PJ Harvey in the bath
  • rewatch Gilmore Girls
  • read the new book by Charlotte Duckworth
  • eat veggie shepherd's pie.

mardi 25 août 2020

Bookish Things

 I didn't read at all at the beginning of lockdown. Couldn't concentrate on a book at all, which was a shame as it's my favourite thing to do.

I am pleased to report that since then I have read some EXCELLENT books and highly recommend all of them:

PRETENDING by Holly Bourne

QUEENIE by Candice Carty-Williams

HUNGER by Roxane Gay

SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid


At the end of the week, I am planning a payday new book extravaganza. Please let me know on Instagram/Twitter if you have recommendations!

When not reading, I have also been bouncing on my trampoline, cooking, going on my favourite new secret forest walk, meditating and making jam from graveyard blackberries.

I watched a whole crazy soap opera (three series!) about cage fighters in Venice Beach and now I am strangely sad it's over.

I miss holidays.

Oh, and I was a guest on the Cosmo 'All The Way With' sex podcast, which was super fun! I felt like a pound-shop Carrie Bradshaw (jk, Carrie was awful!!!). Woke Charlotte 4 ever.

mardi 7 juillet 2020

Lockdown living

It's been so long! I'm still mostly indoors (although this morning I took my flask of coffee and my freshly baked pains aux chocolat to the park with my friend who lives down the road). We sat at opposite ends of a picnic blanket in the walled garden. It was wonderful.

I have a mini trampoline and I am obsessed. OBSESSED.

I turned one year sober and I had a birthday!

I've been working really hard and I am grateful.

I painted my stairs bright pink and decorated my bedroom.

My podcast is now on Apple! Look up 'The Staunch Podcast' and please leave a nice review.

Incidentally, if you have read my book and want to do a nice thing for me, please leave a quick review of it online somewhere. It can just say 'this book is good'. The number of reviews really, really helps, more than it saying anything useful or exciting. Something to do with algorithms.

Having not read a book in the longest time, I have inhaled a couple of books in quick succession: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid and Hunger by Roxane Gay. Highly, highly recommend both.

But not as much as I recommend spending half an hour a day on a mini trampoline listening to a bad 90s playlist you have titled 'Gypsies, Trampolines and Thieves'.

My music tastes have become those of a middle-aged man. Been listening to a lot of Don Henley. Hmm.

I have taken up gua sha.

I have been writing just a very tiny little bit.

Tonight I will make two types of curry.

And... I think that's all for now.

mardi 21 avril 2020

Dance memory

Years ago, I spent a year living in a tiny top-floor flat, with a view of treetops from the sitting room window and a very distant view of the sea from the fire escape out the back. The miniature galley kitchen in that flat reminded me of Paris. The sun came in through the window in the afternoons and the ancient cabinets were trimmed in bright egg-yolk yellow. That kitchen was so tiny, the fridge had to be kept out in the hallway at the top of the stairs.

The year in that flat coincided with my temporary obsession with Tracy Anderson. This sounds strange and felt out of character. Tracy Anderson is Gwyneth Paltrow's personal trainer and I am not at all sure that we would be friends in real life (who knows, though?!). She looks like an Olsen twin, or a small woodland creature in very tiny outfits. She says cheerful motivational things - 'Let's have fun! I'm so proud of you!' - in a very flat monotone. There is something very corporate, maybe even robotic, about her. She talks in pseudoscience and fetishises being 'tiny' and 'the dancer's body'.

For some reason, I bought all of her DVDs. In that flat, I did them diligently every single evening.

There is something about Tracy Anderson that I find incredibly relaxing. All of the movements are very repetitive, to the point of being boring. Her choreographed dances seem to have no logic to them whatsoever. Some of the movements are so insane, she reminds me of Kate Bush, even though she is the exact opposite of Kate Bush.

All of her workouts are set to bland electronic music that just fades into the background. I discovered that this could easily be muted and replaced with Sonic Youth. There is something about this combination that works perfectly.

Whenever I hear Lee Ranaldo's solo album 'Between the Times and the Tides', I am instantly transported back to that flat, doing Tracy Anderson dance moves for hours on end on the nasty brown rental-flat carpet, with a view of the trees. Incidentally, Lee Ranaldo was really the underrated member of Sonic Youth.

I've been spending a lot of my lockdown time exercising. Physical movement is currently helpful.

I find repetitive motion very comforting, so I suppose it's natural that I looked up Tracy on YouTube. It's almost like meditating, maybe because I've done it so many times now. Just add the Sonic Youth member of your choice.

vendredi 17 avril 2020


As I start writing this, I am 313 days sober. That’s 10 and a bit months. That’s nearly a year. I did not anticipate this. It’s the longest (by a very, very long way) I have been without drinking since I was 14 years old. Actually, I talked to my dad about this the other day, and he thinks it might have been 12 or 13. He might be right.

Originally, I was aiming for 100 days. Then I kept going. I’m currently aiming for the full year. I am still learning new and surprising things about myself and my old relationship with drinking, so – at least until that stops, and maybe beyond – it seems a good idea to keep going.

I wonder if lots of people are accidentally sober at the moment, as usually they only drink when they go out and see people. I am very deliberately sober. A lot of the time, now, I don’t think about it. Then, suddenly, I am hit round the face with a sense-memory: a cold glass of white wine with lunch, a delicious glass of red wine by a fire, a French 75, an icy margarita, a late-night whisky, champagne when it’s free. It passes.

Incidentally, I love(d) free booze more than almost anything in the world. The things I find hardest are still a) catered events; b) long-haul flights. I always joked that the classiest thing in the world would be to go on a business-class flight and not drink the free booze. I guess I’m classy now.

Anyway, I most definitely did not only drink when I went out and saw people. I loved drinking alone almost more than I loved drinking with friends. I loved all kinds of drinking. I was known for it. I was the person who you would call if you were in the mood to get drunk on a Tuesday. I was the one who would always be guaranteed to say ‘let’s get another bottle’.

I do miss it. But I’m better without it, these days. I’m glad not to be hungover. 

It’s good to keep assessing what you miss and what you don’t. Sometimes it changes. Sometimes it’s surprising.

A few weeks before the lockdown started, I realised I was exhausted and I simultaneously realised how much time I used to spend horizontal and unproductive because I was hungover. I would get home from work, get straight into bed, and order enough takeaway food for at least two people. Then I would fall asleep with a film still playing on my laptop. If it was a Saturday, I might only get up in the evening to cook a mixing bowl full of pasta. I do not miss hangovers, but I kind of miss those days. I’m always so upright and productive now. Sounds perverse, which is probably why it took me a while to figure it out. There is something about a hangover that makes you treat yourself as you would a child, because you can only deal with an immediate and very base level of need. ‘Am I hungry? Might I like to get up and have a bath?’ I resolved to recreate those days occasionally, even though I no longer need to.

Sometimes you miss things you shouldn’t miss. Like hangovers. And having an excuse for poor behaviour or an irrational outburst (‘I was just sooooo drunk!’). But mostly, I don’t miss a thing.

I received a message yesterday, out of the blue, from someone I have not seen in a long time. Someone I used to miss a lot. Someone who I associate more than almost anyone else with days and nights of drinking – pink cocktails and white wine and pints of Asahi and even bright green absinthe. Secret boozy lunches, impromptu evenings, missed trains, hungover breakfasts. Never, ever sober.

Admittedly, in my life, this could be quite a few people. But this was the one I once enjoyed drunken arguments and poor decision-making with the very most.

‘I miss you,’ it said.

I used to miss this person so, so much. But when somebody offers you a plate of crumbs and tells you it’s a goddamn feast, you change your phone number and you move on.

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the past, but it sometimes occurs to me that I do things very differently now. This is not a coincidence.

I gave up smoking. I cut all my hair off. I went back to school. I gave up drinking.

I feel like a different person now.

mercredi 15 avril 2020


  • You can eat dandelions!
  • I am obsessed with attic conversions
  • The Ordinary has actually improved my skin - acid is exciting
  • I love being basic now
  • I think I need to talk to my therapist about my feelings for Don Draper
  • I wonder if the actors who play Don and Joan look as sexy in ordinary modern clothes
  • I want a pink boiler suit
  • I know this sounds self-centred but it's so mind-blowing to think that all the world is still out there!
  • Peanut butter noodles
  • Homemade kimchi on everything
  • The light on the walls at times when you are usually never at home
  • Please leave a nice review of my book somewhere if you can
  • I am looking forward to moving meditation with music at 6pm today (currently keen on any kind of livestream situation)
  • Jet was the best Gladiator
  • I'd really like to be commissioned to write things I would never have thought of writing
  • The roses are starting to bud in the front window
  • At lunchtimes, my kitchen is now officially called the Moon Dust Diner
  • Set up a tent in the sitting room for a holiday at home!
  • I keep thinking a lot lately that what is meant for you will not pass you by
  • I'd like to adapt a book for the screen (any screen)
  • It's hard to knit when the weather is getting warmer
  • Five minutes outside makes a (lucky) difference
  • Oreos are accidentally vegan
  • So is most ready-made pastry - information that, to me, has been nothing short of life-changing