School reunion: 5 years later

You know all those films you watch where you see your favourite teenage stars get to season 5 or 6 and end up at a really awkward school reunion where there’s one pregnant one, one engaged one and one who’s gone off the rails? Well that’s where I was this weekend! Except there wasn’t a pregnant one or one who’s gone off the rails, just an engaged one I’m very happy for, and it actually wasn’t awkward AT ALL, I had a lovely time!

Here’s that fabulous bunch…

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In this picture you’ll see a soon to be Doctor and 2 lawyers amongst many other impressive sounding careers, such as a Data Analyst and something to do with building which is like Architecture but not quite, I forgot what that one was called! Anyways, all of these were much more impressive than my ‘Social Media’ job title and so when met with the inevitable ‘soooo what do you do now?’ question I felt a little bit silly saying that and was mostly met with looks of ‘is that even really a job?’.

Can we also just discuss that I haven’t seen this group of people in FIVE YEARS!? When I was in sixth form the thought of even being a functioning adult in 5 years time was laughable and yet now I live in London, as do all of these lovely people, and we’re all fully functioning, like we can feed ourselves and house ourselves and even buy alcohol in All Bar One without being asked for ID, crazy world I tell ya!

A reunion involving Siana French wouldn’t be complete though without some embarrassing moments where I tried to keep conversation going or make a joke and instantly regretted the words coming out my mouth. For example, I basically admitted that my agreeing to attend this event had made my mum so happy because I would ‘make more friends’…fully aware that makes me sound like a very sad loner. I also admitted a crush that I had for the entire of secondary school. When you’re at school and keeping a secret you automatically think your entire year group knows just because a few people tease you about it, turns out no one knew until now. That wasn’t enough though because after several glasses of wine I felt the need to create a ‘funny’ story out of it and delve deeper into the absolute insanity that was head over heels in love Siana in years 7 and 8, safe to say once the words had left my lips they didn’t seem so funny and I’m praying everyone else had had enough prosecco to forget because I’m majorly cringing. Siana where the hell is your filter?

Taking this back to a more serious note though, I find it amazing that people I went to school with, that I was chucked into classes with purely based on the first letter of our last name or our sixth form subject choices could still be in my life after all this time. Granted i’ve not seen them in 5 years and can’t take any credit for the great idea it was to stage this reunion but I’m so happy that a little piece of my childhood still exists. Looking back on my school life I had such a good time and that is partly down to these people. We didn’t all have the same interests or even hang around in the same friendship groups but we did all spend at least 7 if not more years of our childhoods experiencing the same things day after day amongst the same people and being forced to do the same boring school rituals and celebrate the same amazing life milestones like 18th birthday parties – 2010 to 2011 really was a great year!

I hope I can stay in touch with these people and this be just the beginning because despite not quite recognising all of them straight away due to significantly more facial hair and a much more developed Irish accent, we all have a lot more in common that I may have given credit.

I’ll leave you with this blast from the past, all the girls featured above are in this picture from our last day in Ladies’ College Sixth Form in 2011…

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You’re all lovely 🙂 xxx

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Trip to Europe: Part 2

On the second day of our little European adventure we leapt out of bed anxious to see what the weather was deciding to do today…it was DRY! but for how long? Just in case it decided to take a turn for the worst we quickly got dressed, popped to our favourite patisserie across the road…

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…’nibbled’ on our sweet treats…

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…and were on our merry way to central Paris to begin our second day of sight seeing. Of course the weather didn’t hold out very long and by the time we had to walk to our hotel it was raining again. Key memory from the walk to the hotel? Amy being slapped on the bum by a far too forward French boy who she literally ‘shooed’ away like some sort of rodent, well done Amy! When we found out our hotel room was on the top floor and there was only a lift halfway we thought we were in trouble but it turned out to be a gorgeous, modern room, so modern the shower was IN the room *ooo errr* but don’t worry there was just enough frosted glass to cover your modesty, unless someone was lying in the bed next to the shower (yep that was me!).

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Time to head to the Big Bus Tour but only far enough to take us to somewhere we could eat! What an ordeal that was. After walking around in circles we decided on the cafe with heaters outside it, for obvious reasons, but choosing our meals wasn’t the greatest success and poor Amy (a fussy veggie, never easy to cater for) ended up with eggs mayonnaise from the starter menu because that was all she would eat. Picture 2 boiled eggs chopped in half and served with a dollop of mayonnaise on top of them, oh and a little bit of salad on the side YIPEE! Luckily the crepes we had for dessert were much better and the customer service was highly entertaining with our waiter taking it upon himself to test our French skills and laugh at us when we said things weirdly. With some questionable food in our bellies it was time to hop back on the tour bus and head to the sights such as The Louvre, Notre Dame, L’Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, you know all the usuals! Unfortunately due to the extremely poor weather, did I mention it was raining? We didn’t get off anywhere other than the Eiffel Tower. Instead we sat on the top of the bus with macs on, free Big Bus Tour ponchos covering our legs and my umbrella shielding the wind (pictures below for comic value).

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You can’t go to Paris without at least standing in front of the Eiffel Tower though so we did get off there and as if by some miracle the sun decided to come out for us, it couldn’t have been more perfect timing really. To make the most of this we made our way up the tower, lift not stairs don’t worry, and took in the amazing view from up there. We also met a lovely Australian lady who offered to take some group pictures of us, always an awkward thing trying to make eye contact with someone and get them to photograph you so it was a relief when she offered and of course I did the same for her!

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Trip to Europe: Part 1

Picture the scene, 4 girls who haven’t spoken French in about 5 years (and even that was only GCSE level) arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport with very little idea where they’re going or how to get there…

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Part one of our mini European trip was a visit to Versailles/Cheville just outside of Paris. Not going to lie the main reason for this was because much like London, staying outside of the main city is a lot cheaper, and we thought whilst we were there we might aswell explore Versailles a little too. After figuring out which tickets we needed we proceeded to get on our first train into central Paris…whilst on this train we were met by two French rappers who positioned themselves right next to us and sang VERY loudly. Everyone on the train avoided eye contact with them and each other although I did share a little giggle with the lady opposite me. Once they had FINALLY finished their extremely repetitive song they walked up and down the carriage asking for money, we said we didn’t have any even though they were saying they were happy with any currency. After they left I exclaimed “My Mum definitely would have given them some” (Mum if you’re reading this then don’t deny it you so would have!). Train one successfully completed we then had to get ourselves to the Metro. Having managed to find it I was SO excited to find that underground trains in Paris are DOUBLE DECKERED! A double decker train…underground! How cool is that!? Whilst on the train to Cheville it began to rain, the rain we had been expecting when we all accidentally bought matching Mac in a sacs prior to the holiday. This was just the beginning of what was to be a very wet holiday. We put our macs on and exited the train. On the platform there was an escalator, an outdoor escalator, in the rain! Forgive me for being slightly concerned to mount an electrical machine whilst it’s getting wet, I thought I was going to be fried. Being the brave soldier I am though (HA!) I offered to go first and we did all survive the escalator ordeal…success! Then we had to find our way to our hotel, in the very heavy rain, with suitcases! We were using google maps which…did you know…doesn’t work very well in the rain! I was trying to use my nose, my chin, my elbow, my knuckle, anything that may be dry just to make the darn thing cooperate with me enough to get us to our hotel quickly and in a semi dry state. The semi dry state definitely didn’t happen but we did find our hotel and stumble into a reception which was hosting a Chinese conference looking like drowned rats. Thank god our room was ready but unfortunately we weren’t going to be able to eat at the hotel due to the event they were hosting…we NEEDED food! Once we got to our room we began to remove wet pieces of clothing and hang them anywhere and everywhere in the hope they’d dry enough for us to put them on and get them wet again the next day. Food time…there was the most delicious looking patisserie across the road and so lunch on day one consisted of a pommes au tatin, half a baguette and some sliced Gouda, mmmm!

So we had found our way to France, we had a bedroom, we had changed our shoes to pairs that didn’t resemble a reservoir and it was time to begin the tourism regardless of the monsoon currently happening outside. We decided to brave public transport and got the bus to Chateau de Versailles, a huuuuge house with a lot of gold, a lot of tourists and free entry for EU citizens (bargain!). Jess being the history enthusiast I recently learnt she is, was super keen to get a tour headset and learn everything about every room in the house, I on the other hand was just more interested in taking pretty pictures of pretty rooms, either way we all enjoyed the visit and felt like we had succeeded at making the most of a rainy day. Day one was a wet success and spirits were still surprisingly high, little did we know how many more wet days we were going to have to swim through. See what I did there?

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I GOT A JOB!

Well today definitely seems like something that needs blogging. I FINALLY got offered a permanent position at AKA. I’ve been interning there since 13 October 2014 and today (13 May 2015) I got asked to stay permanently.

Dream job?

YES! When I was leaving uni I told everyone I was going to get a marketing job within the arts industry and I don’t really think anyone believed me because it was such a niche role within a difficult industry. But hey look…I did it! I pinpointed AKA as the agency I wanted to work at and was thrilled when an internship came up, not only that, a social media internship which I am pretty sure was made for me. I clung on desperately despite there being no job at the end of it and am so excited to have got here and achieved this alllllll by myself.

Quite a few people have asked me what I actually do so here you go (in a nutshell):

1. Manage the social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) for a number of West End plays and musicals. This involves posting everyday and replying to comments, tweets, private messages etc.

2. Create content ie. Editing photos and videos, doing backstage photography, attending events with the cast in order to photograph/document.

3. Social advertising – something new that I have learnt since starting. You know all those ‘Sponsored’ posts you see on your newsfeed? Yep that’s us. We create the posts, upload the images, choose who we want to target based on their interests and ages and put money behind them to push them out to lots of people.

4. Report on what people like and don’t like on each show’s social media channels, how much engagement we have had, how many people have used our pages to go through to the website and buy tickets etc.

5. Report on how our advertising has performed. Which age and interest groups were most engaged, how many people clicked through to the show website, how many people we reached etc.

Personally I currently work on 1 musical and 5 plays alongside helping the rest of the team on creating content for our other shows, of which we have about 17 between us, and doing advertising and reporting for about 20 other museums, galleries, theatres and production companies.

Oh and did I mention I LOVE it? Ye I do. I am such a happy bunny that I get to stay there carrying on doing a job I love with sooooo many lovely colleagues and seeing new shows all the time.

Basically, dream come true.

On this day…

Picture the scene…

On this day last year I woke up with a feeling of dread. I showered, got dressed and looked in the mirror wondering if I had made my outside look too put together for what I was about to tell someone was going on inside. I stood for 10 minutes in the middle of Alexandra Square in Lancaster, waiting for a friend to meet me and take me to the doctors because I couldn’t go by myself. I had to go by myself. I sat in the waiting room trying to imagine how on earth this was all going to happen, picturing what the doctor might look like, wondering what she was going to say and how we were going to start this conversation. I sat in the chair next to her desk, pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from my pocket and started reeling off symptoms which I thought made me sound like a loon or attention seeker…
– I’m scared all the time
– I shake, I can’t breathe, I feel sick
– I feel like I’m a burden to all of my friends and I’m losing them
– I feel lonely all the time
– I wake up every morning with butterflies in my stomach regardless of what may be happening that day
– I can’t concentrate
– I can’t sleep
The list went on…

Never had I ever told anyone this, not out loud anyways. Usually I am really good at keeping a strong ‘front’ and that was what I was convinced I would do today but I completely broke down, my voice cracked and my hands started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t even get to the end of my list because I knew I would cry and I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried in front of someone.

That was when she told me I had anxiety and depression. In some ways it was a relief because that was what I was expecting to hear but in other ways it was terrifying, I was actually mentally ill, I was one of those people! I was given leaflet upon leaflet and offered medication, of which I took because it felt like the only way out.

That was one year ago today…

Today I am sat at my dream marketing agency, doing a job which was basically made for me and makes me extremely happy. I have successfully moved to London, carved a life for myself teaching dance to a lovely group of children who make me smile every Saturday, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones and continuously proving to myself that I am so much braver than I thought. I haven’t a clue if I am any better, if the medication is working or if a change in environment is what has caused these changes but I can definitely look back on the past year and be extremely grateful I’m not still lying in the bed in my attic room, unable to even think about moving let alone doing anything.

Motto for the day: things will change if you try hard enough. Even if it scares you.

Make it count

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So I haven’t blogged in a while, the reason being I have been ridiculously busy. Since my last post I travelled home from London, spent 6 days catching up with my family and enjoying the company of 2 adorable little (not so little!) doggies I had staying at my house, one of whom was my gorgeous Dudley and the other, the little terror that is Baxter.

After a brief visit home it was time to head back to Lancaster and since I have been here, I have not stopped! First came a bit of DIY when Becky moved me into my house and decided we definitely needed to buy Polyfilla and fill the millions of holes there were in my walls. Picture 2 female students attempting this….ye…..pretty amusing to say the least! I also spent my first night in bed with my arm firmly wrapped around my mouth to make sure that no creepy crawlies came and attacked me in the night! Oh the perks of an attic room! I have since got over this paranoia though so all is good hehe.

Before the whirlwind of Freshers week hit me I did have a few days of not doing much around the house so it was nice to spend some time with Jenny and Flo (yes I am now using your real names, deal with it!) who had already moved in. We even got perhaps a little ahead of ourselves and started jogging! That didn’t last long though as my stupid ankle issues started playing up and I was left a silly limping mess. *Poor me*

Anyways, when Freshers week finally came around, it hit me like a tonne of bricks! I don’t think I had quite realised JUST how much work being LUDanS President was (Emily Pollitt I take my hat off to you) and juggling that with a job, far too many nights out and the impossible task of unpacking my room….it is safe to say I was a little niggly and was savouring every hour of sleep I could get. 4 days into Freshers Week and it was evident it had all got too much when I got on a bus headed for my 9am shift at work, only to realise 15 minutes into this bus journey that it was going in the wrong direction and I had now ended up in Morecambe. After a severe panic, and I mean panic, stood at the bus stop weeping and shaking, I got myself on a bus going in the RIGHT direction and got to work an hour late, 1 hour and 45 minutes after I left my house. I am an idiot.

I did eventually make it to the end of Freshers Week, but the fun has not stopped there, since then my degree has actually started, yep that’s right I am doing a degree too, sometimes I forget that! And we have been running LUDanS taster sessions and Competition Squad auditions. It is probably worth noting here that I am SO happy with how many people we have had sign up to and attending classes these past 2 weeks. When I ran for President I always said that my main aim was to get more people involved, and so far I could not be happier with the results. I have however had a bit of a hard time with auditions as trying to remain impartial and choosing people purely based on their performance, not my friendships has been hard and backfired on me a little. I’ve spent the past 3 days feeling like the Wicked Witch of the West and am pretty sure I’ve had a sign stuck to my back saying ‘hate me’ but hey, it comes with the territory and i’m hoping things will blow over in the next few days 😦 I need my friend(s) back.

Okay I think I may have finally caught up on everything that has gone on these past few weeks, in a very whistlestop tour, so I would just like to make a quick mention of the title of this post. I called it ‘Make it count’ because that is what I want to do this year. It has all too suddenly hit me that this is my last year at University. It’s my last year in Lancaster, my last year living with amazing people, my last year dancing with LUDanS and probably my last year having this many people I love this close to me. Working alone in London over Summer made me realise that whilst, I hope that when I get a job and move somewhere new, I will make new friends, the chances of me ever being together with all of these amazing people again are pretty much 1 in a million. And the friends I have made at Uni really are 1 in a million *CHEESY*…….So with all of this in mind I want to cherish every moment of this year. I want to make a million memories and finish the year not feeling like I have missed anything! So far it’s going quite well 🙂 I just hope I can do all of this, and get a degree at the same time, whilst not completely killing myself off by June!

FINGERS CROSSED!! xxx

I thought I’d finish on a few pics of the amazing Freshers week I had 🙂

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