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Hello one and all, after spending a month’s trip to Los Angeles and many lunches discussing what new blog I could set up with a USP, I’ve launched a new one…..I’m pretty excited about it…

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I Don’t Believe in Diets, But I Do Believe in Sam Bourne – aka Food Spa

I hate diets, I hate rules, I hate limitations, I like to drink and enjoy my life. Diets bring on this obsession and depression for many women – I’m not interested in that. It’s a multi-million pound industry with a 90% failure rate. You do the math.

I’m also not going to spend my entire day cooking when I have never got my kicks over the stove. I’m a ‘food for fuel’ kinda gal.

I am aware however, that what you put into your body – will determine your moods and energy levels. I’m tired, grumpy in the mornings and relying too much on caffeine to get me through to dinnertime.

When I saw NotNowNancy last month – I wanted to know how come she’d lost almost one stone and more importantly, how come she was annoyingly ‘perky’. She introduced me to Sam Bourne, a biomedicine nutritionist who had a body to die for and the appetite of, well, me.

Sam, who was previously a creative director in advertising, once suffered with similar ailments to me; she was constantly fobbed off by doctors – stomach pains, lethargy and wavering hormones – were all down to ‘IBS’.

But that gets pretty annoying after you’ve been off for 6 months and have lost so much weight you can barely recognize yourself. You know it’s more than IBS but doctors won’t look into what caused these problems, just how to fix it. So Sam had to diagnose herself and many symptoms were the same to mine. I’d just learnt to cope with it.

Sam gave me a consultation to look at my immunity and my eating habits. Before this session, I would have told you I eat healthily. Whole grains, olive oil, fish, chicken, the occasional packet of Monster Munch and a guilty pleasure for cheddar, occasional Korma – but pretty good compared to most. Not the case.

We all know the repercussions sugar, dairy and salt have on our body, but when you’re talking to a women who practices what she preaches and has a better body than a 22 year old – I’m all ears.

My regular food diary includes:

Wholegrain toast with butter/Fruit, Greek yogurt and seeds/protein shakes

Coffee – Soya latte or English Breakfast Tea

Hangover breakfast: Bacon sandwich (wholegrain bread)

Egg and cress sandwich/tuna salad with feta and avocado/Soup/Rice cakes with humus

Snacks – bounce balls

Dinner: Pasta/Tomato/cheese or Thai Green Curry or Quorn with sweet and sour sauce or Chicken/Veg/Potatoes/Rice

Drinks: 2 glasses of wine – often 3 (red not white)

Pretty healthy – but actually there are some major issues with this.

I have pains with digestion – I don’t have enough hydrochloric acid in my stomach to take in the energy from food, so I’m prone to illness, never mind grumpiness.

1. Smoking, stress, alcohol are all depleting my mineral, vitamins and essential fatty acids. (explains why my waistline is larger due to water retention) – And why I’m grumpy in the morning.
2. Caffeine – to get rid. Again – a huge influx in sugar levels. Green tea here we come.
3. Wheat – most of us are actually unable to digest wheat – even if you’re not celiac. If I switch this for spelt – I should see rapid results. I should stop being so grumpy too.
4. Dairy – horrid on digestion and hinders clear breathing (don’t have this much apart from cheddar) To replace with goats cheese, oats milk, mozzarella and feta
5. Exercise that will increase my circulation and relieve stress/anxiety
6. Vitamin C (for my smoking) Vitamin B (for my energy levels and nervous system)

What was great about Sam – is that for every ingredient she wanted to take out of my diet for a month – she had an answer for the replacement.

So for this next month, I will give up the above. This might sound dull, but this is a decision I have to make, in order to improve my energy levels, hormonal mood swings, and sleep deprivation.

I do think some discipline helps us feel better about life, just as the comfort eaters need to revaluate their relationship to food and the heavy drinker needs to check through their dependency on alcohol.

I can’t be blogging about treating each other with kindness, if I’m not being kind to my own body.

Sam will now send me a whole host of recipes and yummy dishes so I won’t miss my old habitual choices.

After my session I immediately changed accordingly and ate:
Snack was: Spelt bread, goats butter and molasses spread (YUM! HONEST!)
Lunch: Goats cheese, (grilled) rocket salad, cucumber, avocado, pine kernels, flaxseed oil/olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing) (took 10 minutes)
Dinner: Salmon (wrapped in foil with olive oil, spring onions, herbs, garlic, lime) Potatoes, crushed with olive oil, Dijon mustard) and sprouted broccoli (took 20 minutes)

Exercise – 20 minutes bike ride this evening to the river.

This is a commitment I’m willing to make just to try it out and see how I am – because I’m tired of feeling tired and looking tired. I work hard and so I need to replenish my system with as much goodness as possible. I already feel better – and I left Sam at 2pm. It’s only 9pm.

Please note – that the above changes are after a consultation with Sam and you shouldn’t follow this according to my specific needs. For more information – go check out her website with a load of new recipes.

Will keep you posted on how I’m doing!

Got check out her website: FoodSpa


The Woman that is Francesca Lowe

When I worked at M&C Saatchi, my boss would seek his art buying advice by a guy called Tot Taylor. The owner of the Riflemaker gallery on Beak Street.

It was at this time that I learnt you could be an art buyer from as little as £50. But only if you bought with some research and wisdom.

His particular paintings (a little more than £50 I should add) would be delivered to his office. I remember one piece, painted by the artist Gavin Turk. He won the turner prize later that year. Because of his new found prestige, I had to contact insurers as the painting had gone up by 200% in price.


4 years and no longer owning a mortgage (I sold my flat in 2009) I wanted to invest my money in something – but with the fear of the double dip recession, it wasn’t going to be bricks and mortar.

I visited Riflemaker to see their latest gallery. I called Tot, asking him for his latest tips. ‘There’s a girl, 31, who’s causing a small storm’.

I’m always sceptical with art, even with Rothko it took me a good decade to get the point. But with Lowe, it was emotional. Instant. The moment I came across her Grace picture – (above) I experienced the ‘I have to have this in my life’ sensation.

A whirl wind of stunning images (sexual women, wolves, cars – the demise of everything that used to be masculine) immersed in a tree and thickened by about 16 different sets of oiled layers. Amongst all this were topographic map style words – leading from darkness to light. Like our lives, we have light and dark moments. At the top of the tree is the word ‘ascend’, at the bottom left was the word ‘prick’

It was as if the oxytocin hormone had been released in my brain.

I wanted to meet her. Just one soya latte later, I decided to commission Francesca to paint me the same painting, with some of my own personal afflictions. A triumph motorbike of my father’s to stand underneath the tree. Mrs Tiggywinkles (my friends call my mother this), the 171 club logo (a hell’s angels club my parents founded in the 60s which gained 1,000 members and became known as the heaven’s angels). Burlesque women to show my adoration of the female form and how us ladies must be proud of it. The white butterfly. Then poems, the Desiderata, scriptures, my favourite quotes, words all flooded Francesca’s way.

And last week I visited her studio to see the progress. There she was with two more commissions in an awesome personalised white space, in a warehouse in east london.

Last week the Sunday Times had written her as one to watch. Tot Taylor had made his investment in her work, and much of her work had already sold before she launched her exhibition. Tot had made a great investment.

You see the difference about this girl is that, apart from the clear influence she had from her incredible skill and her time in Rome (the colours are renaissance led), is that the girl has serious insight. An incredibly creative mind, even if she does put her skill down to a lot of practice.

But there it was. The painting that I chose to spend some of my savings on.

It was this moment where the investment didn’t matter, it was merely an excuse to get my grubby little mitts on her mind. With her hands, she describes a world I fantasize about. We ate jaffa cakes, drank coffee. Talked about being an artist and then I left her to it. I gave her LOVE magazine for thoughts on the style of font for the title, but that was it. I trusted her, and although she was nervous about how I’d see it, I like using people’s interpretations of my thoughts. Especially hers. It’s much more fun and more enlightening that just dishing my own dirt and getting silence as feedback.

I can’t wait for you to see it. I should tell you this, photos don’t do justice to the kinesthetic experience.

Like a Foo Fighters gig, you have to be there.


My Memoirs

Your appreciation of any latest posts have persuaded me to begin my memoirs. I enclose the proposed chapter headings, but feel a little hampered by my reluctant modesty. Suggestions welcome.

Chapter Headings:

1. Early Years. The Confrontation with MENSA

2. Jared Leto – it could never last

3. My Hidden Work with the CIA

4. Osama Bin Laden – the awkward moment in our five-a-side.

5. The Sex Change – from Carrie to Cary.

6. And Back.

7. Confessions – Romantic Nights with Theresa and why she became Mother.

8. Was Halle Berry Jealous? The Untold Story

9. Refusing the Booker Prize

10. Carrie’s Theory of the Big Bang – Where Einstein and Hoyle went wrong

11. My work with DNA – the National Association for Dyslexics

12. Attenborough, the Final Frontier.

The Case of the Stiff Upper Lip

A wise chap once asked me ‘has anyone crossed the road yet?’ I shook my head in confusion. That question stayed in the subliminal until that exact occurrence happened one day. Not too long after we had cremated the flesh and bones of my father. My hero, my greatest friend, the love that no man of mine could compare to, my greatest challenger, my biggest cheerleader, the one who cried when I was in pain and the one who laughed when I was happy, my unconditional love, my light in the dark, and sometimes, the darkness to my light. Nevertheless, unhealthily, I lived for his pleasure and praise – because I adored him. I was the ultimate in Daddy-girl material and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  The man who was my substitute to a brother and sister and my greatest teacher to date – had gone. Caput. Yes – a neighbour crossed to the other side of the road, because they just didn’t know what to say to me. Grief can be a lonely trial, and made worse so by those around you. Not many know how to grieve, never mind how to react to it in others.

Building your solace in those that are yet to experience the gut wrenching, belly crying, curtain tearing pain of grief, need not apply. This is the only circumstance where I definitely sense a story of ‘them’ and ‘us’. The ones who have lost, and the ones who are yet to. Some are wise to not even imagine, and some are foolish enough to compare it to a break up, or redundancy, the death of a dog, or most possibly, they have no patience to bother a comparison at all. Why should you? It’s not your problem.

Being there without judgement is the ultimate in the best friend award category. Perhaps you don’t cross the road; perhaps you do listen to the one who has finally encountered the eye-opening visual of mortality. After all, we think little about death, until it strikes at our heart and has stolen us of the hero, the best friend, the child, the soul mate, the life partner, the be all and end all of our mundane existence. They made your life entertaining, and now the laws of nature (or perhaps not) have thieved us of that joy – apparently I should reserve my expression in the more palatable medium of song, or interpretive dance?  In this instance, crying is a winners game and you’re going to have to lump it, whether you like it or not.

You find comfort in the hundreds of flowers, the letters, the repetition of your beloved’s name in cathedrals, but it doesn’t bring them back. It’s soothing though and makes the hours pass by at a more bearable pace. Even cards from people I hadn’t heard from for years. The love spewed out and I washed myself in it each day whilst I switched onto autopilot.

I will never forget the ones that came forward; I will always remember too, the ones that walked away.

You take the murderer to court, but it doesn’t bring them back. You light candles and pray for a miracle, but even God doesn’t always repeat his ‘rise from the dead’ party trick. This is our life. This is the most accurate statistic to date. We all die and leave a wake of mourners behind us.

This is a personal one and one not to be meddled with by the onlookers’ opinions. But somehow, in some twisted way, the ones who have never encountered such loss are the ones with the loudest, bloody opinion.

‘This’ll be her ‘thing’ now, – she’ll keep going on about the loss of her dad’ said one friend, the same friend who found it irritating that I was hanging out with ‘the dead dad’s club’ (girls who had also lost their father at younger ages than I – I know, such heart warming sentiments should be put into rhythmic prose surely? Oh wait, they did). I’d have appreciated it more from Philip Larkin perhaps.

I didn’t expect sympathy from many, but I did my friends. Surely I have a voice on that one? Scratch that off the record, because even strangers could show compassion. Particular ones. The ones who had gone through it, often in much worse case scenarios.

As I’d lie in the dark at nights – the same room my father suddenly died in, I would receive phone calls from friends about how others were reacting to my grief. After 6 weeks it was expected I’d have ‘got over it’ or at least ‘shut-up’. Not many, but a couple. I was functioning, I was working, my body did as it was told, I just talked about Dad sometimes. As I write this 8 years on, you can see the issue still highlights itself.

I forgave those who had such a narrow minded, angry stance on life to not just focus on their own projections – they knew not what they did.  I promised myself I’d never be so heartless. The ambivalence of what was going on inside compared to the pettiness around me, became toxic. I was trapped in a horrid demand of ‘must keep busy’ syndrome and not to bring it all up. Please note, this only pauses the feeling and suffocates any process needed for a stable flourishment.

They care not for your pain. These same ambulance chasers who were crying in the same funeral of which you’re thinking ‘my DAD is in that coffin?’ were in no delay to change from tears to criticism in such a swift pace.

The younger you suffer loss, the more robbed you feel and I think 23 years was pretty good going. Many have never known their father or mother, or indeed the laws of nature back-turned, and they’ve lost a child. Something I couldn’t begin to create an opinion of, I only hear that it’s seen as one of the most painful things to experience in human existence.  Many marriages don’t survive it.

There were many, that despite how hard they’ve had it compared to me, shared nothing but an abundance of love that forced me to flop into their arms and thank them for their grace. We’d wipe both sets of tears on our jumpers and thank the universe that there was someone else on the planet willing to talk about the dreaded G word.

Britain’s take on the stiff upper lip leaves many of us who are used to expression and freedom of speech, out in the cold. There is no room at the inn, unless it comes sound proofed. The hostility we can face does nothing but marinate my mind in perpetual boredom.

There are therapists to go to should you so wish it, but most of us wouldn’t need to, if the pompous righteous could just shut up for a minute and let us have a good old boo.

I cunningly learnt tactics to disguise my real tears by the use of the news headlines, the job promotions of friends and timid break ups in minor relationships, as my moment to get it all out. Why are you crying so hard Carrie? ‘Oh well I broke up with xxx’ ‘Yes but it was a 4 months relationship?’ ‘I know AWFUL isn’t it??’ *Cue cry*. I’d exit stage right to the toilet and wink to myself in the mirror, thinking, ‘I think they bought that one, I should be in the fucking West End.’

Yes, I wear my aorta on my sleeve, I mean you’re reading this after all, but I don’t know many times where keeping private helped anything other than their own dignity. How real is dignity in death anyway? A stoic silence may help keep judgements at bay, but we talk about bereavement, because there’s no Haynes Manual out there to fix the problem. I searched for answers in conversations, tools on how to let go. In response to such pain, comes not a derailing of emotions, but a healthy awareness that made me a more understanding version of who I was 8 years ago.

I didn’t hide under the wing of grief, nor do I make that my identity. This is not about me anymore; this is about how we judge others who express their emotions, in whatever way they choose to.

My appearance on The Big Silence caused mixed reaction. Letters thanked me for my bravery on showing how grief can be so deep rooted if we don’t allow ourselves the freedom to feel what we need to. Others, including a family member, decided it was appropriate to tell me grief was selfish. I overheard them later talk to a partygoer on how it must be a private thing and not to parade it to a nation.  I don’t remember the brass band that accompanied me on that 8-day retreat, but silence makes you hallucinate after a while, so I wouldn’t have put it passed me. Hell, I probably sang my woes to the tune of ‘Oom pa pa, oom pa pa, that’s how it goes!’

They were bang-on though, grief can be selfish, we can wallow and be of no use to anyone. But if you twist the situation to see what gain can be from pain, then you have a different output, your grief mellows into that of campaigning, doing right, getting out of yourself, saving others from the same formulaic destruction and in some cases, correcting the cause of justice.

Realisations can come out of this; we note how resilient humans can be to emotional roller coasters. We filter out the friends who were clearly not friends before this incident, as we learn to stand on our own as individuals. We see the world in its true vibrant colours because before all of this, we lived in a fluffy cloud, where I believed everyone would be around indefinitely. Death brings us back to earth and reminds us to live for every day; this may be our last moment or the last for someone else.

Never again could I leave a respected loved one on an argument. The only one I had with my father (ironically about how badly he was taking care of himself) left us in silence for a few weeks. The phone call I received from my parents home phone number was, I hoped, an apology or his usual terrible attempt of a Jamaican accent whilst he pretended to real off some hideous medical condition in lurid detail and then burst into his asthmatic laugh like he did, to say ‘it’s me, it’s me – I’m only kidding’; I didn’t expect a stranger calling from my parents phone, to say my mother was being interviewed by the police and my father had died that afternoon.

I never got a chance to say how in love with him I was, how much he rocked my world and how all was forgiven, we were just caught up in a moment, a moment that I deeply, deeply regret.

Some people even judged my grief into relation of our argument. ‘But they fell out anyway?’

I kid you not. The charm from these people leaves me breathless. Truly.

Sometimes you have to cease friendships with these people. I’d rather eat Gillian McKeith’s knicker-cured herbs, than watch the damage they cause to me and others.

I’d break every limb in my body, go through all the hurdles in life I could possibly imagine, for one more hour with him – but I’m no martyr, I’m no victim. I was just a daughter, coming to grips with him never walking me down the aisle, never holding the tiny hands of any children I may give birth to, aswell as grasping to the reality that your mother now shares her retirement with just me and the cat.

All this whilst in simultaneous timing I had to listen to the ones that believed they were righteous in their opinions telling me to batten down the hatchet.

Yet righteousness was never their friend.

Our decision on how we grieve is not for unsolicited, public opinion.

It’s also not a moment to use as a token addition to some TV review critic who can’t help but lower the level of a personal attack, because someone talked about themselves on Sky1. I mean, how dare someone cry in the fear of a potential genetic disease that killed their own mother? What preposterous behaviour. Lock it up, keep it to yourself and let thousands of others sit in their own isolation of fear and bewilderment, whilst they watch countless renditions of Countryfile. Much better.

Besides, John Craven wouldn’t have taught me how to check my tits.

I digress.

I don’t shiver at the thought of people talking about a parent or child they lost so many years ago. I find comfort in it. They clearly loved them. They had the ability to express that however they wanted to when they were alive, why must that change when they are dead? They were prevalent – death doesn’t change that. It is a separation of bodies, not emotions and though we must move forward, we should be allowed to keep them in our hearts, in thought and in our renditions of stories.

As a girlfriend once told me, one who lost her own boyfriend tragically, ‘I cry for him now, because I’d want that. If you don’t cry at my funeral Carrie and make a huge debacle on the matter, by all means, jump into my grave if you can wade your way through my rent-a-crowd mourners. Because somehow, it’ll be the final moment that I knew you loved me in my life, as you will do in my death’.

Your Purpose

I found something I wrote in 2006, time hasn’t changed my thoughts on the matter…apart from the ‘single’ bit.

What is it that we should do?

Can we carry on without a hint or clue?

Our purpose in life we might not know

But I damned if I don’t dig into this snow

Seeing all the city boys walking past

I smile to myself not knowing if I’ll last

The bustle of taxis and mumble of trains

I’m counting the pixies, whistles and chains

Oh God, What is it that I should do?

Tread the boards or fix people with glue?

Our purpose can be covered with certain desire

Of respect, of status or approved by the friar

Watching all those amongst us here today

When shall my heart change thoughts to obey?

Through the montage of manners and childhood roles

To the passage of scripture, keep walking on coals

What is this purpose in our life?

To be single, to marry, to be somebody’s wife?

To adopt, give birth or nurture other angels?

Or simply to focus on food testing bagels?

No, I’m stuck to find it you see

I’ve done all I ever wanted since 2003

The premieres, the parties, the plays, the partners

I’m troubled to seek it written on Holy charters

Surely on there, the answer will be

Whether I marry or perhaps live in a tree?

Father believed I’d be single til I die

I’m starting to believe his prediction no lie

Regardless of love, we want that purpose

That legacy, the eulogy and depth to our surface

But this is all part of His sharpened point

And of course through prayer I’ve bust a joint

Finding the purpose is part of the adventure

And yes, I believe it to be my core, my centre

For there is each a purpose in our lives

Please note, it’s more than the footballer’s wives’

The purpose is to find that ultimate notion

That your life helped someone in this giant ocean

The purpose is the ultimate. The grand finale

We should strive to find it, so down your skinny latte

Forget the agendas, forget materials and such

This is your life – Still accounting to not much?

Then look at your actions, this isn’t a game

Fight for your brothers, remember your parents’ name.

It does take patience, wit and thought

But avoid self-indulgence, you have been taught

After the cars, the children and your houses

Think of your funeral, your friends and your spouses

Will the service hold wisdom, laughter and pain?

Or will no one show up because of the rain?

Think of your life as an adventure for purpose

Chase no more your own, just dig through that surface.

In The Room.

Inside the room is a 13 year-old girl. Pretty, sweet and lovely. She’s also pregnant. This is where I spend some of my days off – in a pregnancy crisis centre.

I sit still for a while before I enter the room to find some form of serenity and am haunted by the reminder that I’m 31 and have never yet encountered what this girl is currently experiencing; an unplanned pregnancy.

I have two options. I can whip outside and call ABC cabs, which will take me to the Crown Pub, where I can call my girls on speed dial. Or I buck up and enter the room. You might think I’d be scared because I don’t want to have to hear her circumstances, or indeed listen to how she might have got into this situation. But actually, the reason why I’m shaking in my heels, is that I don’t want her to ask if I believe in God. She can ask me anything, but not that. Please not that.

Sadly these days, if I’m asked this question, my interviewer can sometimes believe I’m judging them, all the way from their colour of nail varnish to their soul. Such is the reputation we, as an entire generation of church, have accomplished. To some people, we’re the judgement brigade – without the uniform.

A gay friend of mine once told me that the last place he ever expected to get a hug, would be in a church. Pass me the Kleenex, because this was never the intention and I’m bought to tears.

Too many extreme fundamentalists shove out the space for grace and mercy, and hop on the band-wagon of finger pointing and judgement. I believe it’s why 50% of my friends don’t want to step into church, if I’m honest I don’t blame them.

So here I am, sitting in a room, with a broken girl, unsure of what she should do. As soon as I see her eyes, I’m home. Because we’ve all been broken. We’ve all been very frightened at some point. We (the other adviser and I) kick into compassion and just listen. That’s all she wanted. Her friends, family, teachers, siblings are telling her what to do. No one has once listened to her heart.

The words unfold and we sit quite comfortably. Over our hour together, she tells me more and I reflect back with her on pain, her confusion, how this is one mighty life changing decision. That whatever she chooses to do, we’re here for her. I am ready to hold her hand during a termination, should that be her choice, and be poised for post-help conversations.

She asks me if I believe in God. He hasn’t been mentioned until now, in fact that’s an official guideline. Do I quickly change the subject and ask her thoughts on the seasonal Palazzo trouser, or perhaps quiz her on which celebrity should play her in a movie?

If she’s been so honest with me, I have to be with her.

I surrender.

‘Hmm.’ She replies. ‘This is the last place I thought I’d meet one of you’.

Silence comes between us and we smile.

I note to myself, that my fingers are no longer itching for speed dial.

I’m glad I’ve not run, because from outta nowhere I reply:

‘Yet, this is the first place I should be. Here with you, telling you that grace still exists and that you’re very much loved.

…..You will always be loved….’

Being yourself, only better….

Lessons I’m learning as I go through life. 84 things that I believe make life a little easier and a little more enjoyable…of course I’m 31, so I know nothing. But I like to think I’m learning….

  1. Keep your heart open to everyone, regardless of how many times you’ve been hurt.
  2. Never compare two people; that includes yourself with others.
  3. Never expect others to treat you the way you treat them.
  4. If they do treat you as you do them, they’re more likely to stay in your life forever.
  5. The most important tool in all relationships is respect. You won’t survive without it.
  6. Communication, communication, communication.
  7. Email is the best way to mis-communicate. Re-read your emails before you send, and if necessary get someone else to check it.
  8. If you speak and someone misunderstands you, it’s more likely they’re projecting some fear, or opinion they’ve already made up before you opened your mouth. Clarify, and try again.
  9. Take on new friends with caution, if you become friends when they’re going through a tough time, chances are, they’ll be friends with expectations.
  10. Make sure friendships are balanced, if you stay at someone’s flat a lot, tidy, clean, buy them wine, find places where you can return the favour. It’s important they know you’re grateful.
  11. If someone is grateful and shows appreciation, don’t snub them or tell them not to, it’s a pleasure for them to show you how much they love you.
  12. Never begin the reasons as to why you love someone with they do…..for me and …..for me. You’re in the relationship for selfish reasons.
  13. Don’t get a mortgage with a friend. Just don’t. I’ve seen too many friendships fall apart. If you must buy – make sure it’s 50/50 deposit.
  14. If your friend can’t be happy for you in a new relationship with a mutual friend (so therefore they have no reason to question how ‘good’ they are), they weren’t your friend in the first place.
  15. You must, always apologise. If you can’t say sorry, even for the smallest thing, say goodbye to all your relationships.
  16. Mothers – remember, just because you’re having children before your other friends are, don’t snub them as if they don’t know what life is, without being pregnant.
  17. If you’re bitching behind someone’s back, but you can’t say it to their face, you’re weak. Get a backbone, and confront them, with diplomacy. Because one day you’ll get busted.
  18. Most of the time, if you’re negative about someone, it’s often about you, not them.
  19. Allow your friends to make new ones, and your true friends, will still remember you. True friends won’t replace you.
  20. If you want to know if you’re new man will be reliable and loyal, watch him with his family, if he’s loyal, calls his mum regularly, spends special days with his cousins/nephews/nieces and values them in his affairs, he’ll be the same with you.
  21. Taking drugs every weekend pass the age of 30, makes you a nightmare to be around. Unless you want to become short-tempered, irritable, highly strung, have a lack of awareness and be a narcissist in all your ventures. In which case, blow your money love.
  22. If your have a friend with a total difference in opinion, respect their right to have a totally different opinion. You needn’t take it personally.
  23. Avoid aggression, at all costs, not only is it unbecoming, you look like you’ve lost control with something out of your control and in this society, that’s no longer seen as cool.
  24. Nothing is worth lying over.
  25. Nobody is worth cheating for.
  26. Being dishonest will take you an age to win back trust when it comes to a relationship. For some, it may never come back. Don’t take the gamble.
  27. Never tell someone to calm down. It’s like putting alcohol on a burning fire. You immediately lose the faith of the person that’s shouting/panicking/getting upset and you look like you’ve just demeaned their problems.
  28. Number 27 is especially bad if you yourself freaked out 5 minutes ago over something just as trivial.
  29. If you borrow things from your friends, look after them. Treat the items with as much respect as you treat your friend. If you lose it, or break it. Replace it immediately, they entrusted you in the first place with lending you their stuff.
  30. Don’t be hot and cold with friends. Be consistent. If you’re going ‘off’ someone for no real reason, or if they’re ‘smothering you’. That’s saying more about you over them.
  31. Treasure your family members, you might not know when will be the last day you spend with them.
  32. Impatience with others, is highly unattractive, and infantile, grow up and learn to accept everyone has flaws.
  33. Tidiness is not more important than people. Don’t make them walk on egg-shells by looking at the mess they’re making.
  34. Don’t bully your friends into attending events, parties, outings. Invite them once, and leave them to it. Calling them everyday and buying them tickets to go and then being mad at them if they can’t make it, comes across as desperate and over-zealous.
  35. Don’t keep count. If someone wasn’t there for you when you needed them, maybe they had a good reason for it. Don’t hold it against them. If they’re not there at all, then change the status of the relationship, i.e. you’re not that close.
  36. Don’t ever assume you’re close to someone, unless they reflect the same feelings with you.
  37. If mutual friends fall out, don’t take sides, let them fight their own battles. Remind them they are both loved. If you do take sides, let both of them have their story before you make that decision.
  38. Don’t berate people with long hideous dissertation emails that are condescending and nit-picking. Have face to face talks with people if you have a problem you need sorting.
  39. If you speak down to someone, don’t expect them to treat you with the same respect as before, without an apology.
  40. Explain to your beloved WHY you love them. Don’t just keep repeating those three little words. Be specific.
  41. True love is about listening, when you really don’t want to.
  42. Don’t give unsolicited advice, unless you’re asked for it. NEVER give your opinion, until you’re asked. That applies to twitter too.
  43. Regarding Twitter: Don’t ask people to follow you, it’s unnecessary. If you’re interesting enough for whatever reason, or you talk about the things that stimulate that person, they’ll follow you. It’s no reflection on the person you are.
  44. Everyone on this planet is equal. Which is unfortunate for Charlie Sheen. That point will particularly piss him off.
  45. Always keep an eye out for other people’s business ventures. Be their sales agent whenever is appropriate. You never know what could come of it for that person.
  46. Be good at networking – it provides the seeds to great relationships and amazing adventures.
  47. If you have a pattern in your relationships, go seek a therapist. They are the most valuable people to date, and your life changes once you’ve received therapy.
  48. Pets are good for your health.
  49. Make sure you rely on as little people as possible, but when you’re in need, remember to ask for help, they might have a brand new perspective on something that you are too subjective in.
  50. The key to a happy life is in loving who you truly are. Warts and all.
  51. Life isn’t just about being happy. Life has so much more to offer than just that. In fact, if happiness is all you’re looking for, life is going to be even tougher for you.
  52. How you handle your ups and downs, dictates and projects to your friends who you really are.
  53. Admitting to problems in relationships is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
  54. Never, ever bitch about someone else’s choice of partner. Especially if you’re two-faced to them. If you’re complaining about your friend’s partner but pleasant to their partner’s face, you’re no friend at all and should your friend find out your sentiments, they’re right to ask you to leave their life.
  55. Never use God as your reason to cheat/dump/murder/abuse/judge/condemn/hate/dismiss others. It’s embarrassing for the rest of us.
  56. To judge someone else’s grief, when you’ve never been through it yourself, is downright niaive. Read a book, find a hobby and quit commenting on how someone else is coping with one of the most painful experiences of their existance. When it comes to your turn with grief, you’ll have one less friend to comfort you.
  57. Number 56 also applies to someone going through divorce.
  58. If you have a relative with an addiction problem, go to al-anon immediately.
  59. You can never give enough compliments to everyone in your life.
  60. Accept compliments graciously and don’t shun them, sometimes it’s hard for someone to do.
  61. Avoid cliquey sets of friends. Embrace people who keep their arms wide open to those who are new.
  62. Make sure you get your own space, at least once a week. It’s important for your brain.
  63. Listen carefully to your parents and their stories. You’ll treasure the stories when they’re gone.
  64. Never assume your children know how much you love them.
  65. Never assume your partner knows how much you love them.
  66. Don’t expect people to be friends with you if you have nothing in common, if you’re chasing someone and they’re not as in touch with you, maybe you’re not right for each other.
  67. Keep a box of note cards and sentimental gifts, ready to give to anyone who might need to know you care.
  68. Dancing – with friends or alone, is the ultimate mood changer. You can’t be grumpy dancing to the birdy song.
  69. Whatever you do, however you project yourself to others, do it with sincerity.
  70. Avoid gossip, it’s poisonous to the soul and the atmosphere in which you work.
  71. Remind yourself that every day is another day in which to grow, improve, mend something or someone.
  72. In a relationship with a friend or lover – if you’re not growing as a person, you’re dying.
  73. Think of a creative way, every day to tell your friends and lover how much your world revolves with them in it.
  74. Encourage people with positive, don’t discourage with the negative.
  75. I’ve never regretted my own actions when, in conflict with someone who hurt me, I was completely silent.
  76. In other words, kill people with kindness, they hate it when you do that.
  77. If other woman/men are trying to crack onto you or your partner, make it clear you guys are a team. They’ll not hang around for long.
  78. Act with grace in all things.
  79. Never shout out because you weren’t acknowledged for an idea at work. If it’s that good, other people will shout for you on your behalf.
  80. The ego is the lower half of the self. Avoid with all caution.
  81. Be cheerful in all adventures and fear nothing than the negativity of your own mind.
  82. You need more than love in relationships. It also requires, forgiveness, forgetting and fight.
  83. Never burst someone’s bubble, no matter how grounding you think you are. Let them have their moment of joy, life will bring them down to earth, they don’t need your help aswell.
  84. These 84 points are my opinion in how i should live MY life, this doesn’t mean they’ll work for you.
  85. Live by ‘The Desiderata’ and you’ll not need to read the above.

The Diana Diaries – Thermals and Marble Madness

Now this story is actually not written by my father, but by me. This was the story of when I met the Princess for the first time. Over the years, she did very sweet things, for example when father and her flew abroad, she knew I was obsessed with flight packs from upper class, so she always passed her pack to my father to give to me. I still have them….I’m not normally star struck, they’re just human, but she was my exception.

I’m one of thousands that had the pleasure in meeting the Princess, and at 11 years of age, I was a huge fan. My story is nothing new, pretty bland really. Many people have much better stories than mine. But a lot of us wanted to be a Princess when a kid and I was shaking so much just before meeting her. I was to present the bouquet to her when she walked down the aisle of Peterborough Cathedral. As I walked towards her, this was the first time I’d experience what Dad called ‘the white wall’. You couldn’t see a thing – too many camera flashes, blinding my every step. Once I had given the flowers, she said to me, ‘I hope you’re wearing your thermals Carrie, because it’s very cold in here.’ Mesmerised by her and totally star struck, I forgot all about the 50 photographers and any manners for that fact, I pulled up my top and said ‘YES! I AM! Look!’

She giggled and turned to her guide, ‘Carrie’s right you know, you need to get some heating into this place for next time I come.’ Met with laughter, she left and I stood there, wide eyed and in awe.

I jumped all the way back to the guide who had trained me to do my duties. ‘I love her’ was all I could say.

Who’d have thought the subject of thermals would have bought us together and made us such good friends?

This was to be the first of my many excruciating moments in front of the Princess. It seemed the older I got, the more I was unable to control myself around her. Awkward corkscrew curtseys when I wasn’t expecting her so soon, going shy when she made conversation so I’d dry up and then as she went around the room, she’d spot me nearby by peering around the corner at her. A few times, she’d look at me and we’d smile at each other, then my Dad would notice who at this point was in hysterics at my banal behaviour.

One time I was wearing a velvet black dress. Exactly the same dress as hers, another dreadful decision on my part, except mine was C&A (wearing a white t-shirt underneath) – I know, AWFUL – and hers was probably D&G (she, needless to say, was not wearing a t-shirt underneath). I was the sad, uncool person that probably always had a bit of food in her hair. The one that in order to join in with jokes, would just repeat someone else’ funny sentence a millisecond after. I was one of those.

You remember that scene in ‘Friends’ where Ross is trying to flirt with the pizza delivery girl, and as he closes the door he asks ‘did I just talk about gas?’. Well I can relate. Because when I met Prince Harry, we were cushioned into a sense of ‘you two are young, you can talk to each other whilst the rest of us mingle, drink and eat canapes.’ He was visibly bored and didn’t really want to be there and would rather be with his brother who was shooting that summer evening, so in a desperate attempt, I thought of something ‘cool’ to talk about. I could have talked about sports, or drinking, or movies but no – my chosen subject was to talk about the Sega Megadrive. I can feel you roll your eyes already. “Marble Madness” I said. ‘I’m sorry?’ He replied. ‘Marble Madness is my favourite game on the Sega Megadrive.”I explained. ‘Oh yes, yes, no it’s good, I play Marble Madness’. “Brilliant” I reply. Followed by an awkward silence. I was relieved to see the nanny take Prince Harry into another room. I breathed a sigh of relief – I learnt I was terrible at entertaining a Prince on demand. Then in fear it dawned on me, I asked my father as he came up, ‘Did I just talk about Marble Madness?’

We left Kensington Palace and I comfort ate my sorrows with a MacDonald’s Quarter Pounder. My father would watch me for the rest of the night on our journey back saying ‘WHY DID I TALK ABOUT MARBLE MADNESS?’??????!!!!!’