HONEYMOON: Page 1

“Do you still want to travel today?” the woman behind the check-in desk of Virgin Airlines asks me for the second time, her voice barely audible, due to it being directed from the top of a deep, emotional well, of which I am standing at the bottom.

I blink once. Twice.

“She needs to stop talking.” I manage to form the words quietly to my husband of two weeks, whose passport happens to expire just shy of two months from today, the day which will forever be known as the day we were meant to fly to Bali for our honeymoon.

“Do you still want to travel today?” the woman asks me again, this time the words bounce thinly around the walls of Tullamarine’s international departures arena, coming in to land smack bang on the dividing counter between young love and Janet, otherwise known as the airline employee apparently devoid of any shred of human understanding.

“Shhhhhh,” I reply. I can feel the familiar glaze start to settle over my eyes - a kind of removed, despondent rage inherited from my father, with the power to conveniently, if only temporarily, abolish any responsibility for whatever comes next.

“Excuse me?” asks a bewildered Janet, for how could an emotionally and physically depleted newlywed, who has pinned the vast majority of her sanity on this tropical getaway, possibly take issue with the idea of honeymooning alone?

Janet: “I’m simply asking if”

“Shhhhhhhh,” I say again, louder this time and accompanied by a hand gesture, four fingers descending to meet a thumb, symbolising a mouth that was open becoming a mouth that is now closed.

At this point, a single beam of reason miraculously appears through the fog. I respond by slowly picking up my suitcase and walking in a daze to a nearby row of plastic chairs, my back indifferent to Janet’s spray of outrage, mostly in the form of threats to withhold any refund we might be entitled to. Sam is left to pick up the pieces, and to no doubt contemplate the weight of the legally binding decision he’s recently made.

Vows of customer etiquette somewhat restored, thanks to the grace of the most handsome diplomat ever to walk the earth, a stream of lattes are promptly filled with tears, as we perch uncomfortably on the cold hard stools of an airport island café. “This isn’t even a swim up bar,” I note solemnly to myself, staring down at the pile of luggage on the ground beneath us, filled with nothing but bathers and short shorts, mocking us.

“This is either going to be a really good story, or a really bad story,” announces Sam, between misty-eyed sips of coffee. I nod in agreement. 

Relax guys, it’s brunch!

Contrary to the carefree nature of its portmanteau, brunch can be a serious business. Originally designed to be a delicious celebration of the Sunday sleep-in - where cocktails before noon are expressly encouraged - these days battling the late morning brunch crowd can be one of the most anxiety-ridden activities of the weekend.


Nevertheless here you are, somewhere within The Age Good Cafe Guide’s top 20, masking your violent caffeine craving with your friendliest smile, as you try and catch the attention of the bustling twenty-something ponytail taking names. After what seems like an eternity, the omniscient clipboard floats through the crowd and beckons you to the holy destination. What is it about waiting 45 minutes for a table on a Sunday morning that makes you feel dead inside? No time for thoughts, you’re too busy ordering a large latte only to discover they just have the standard size available, then settling for the tiny pretentious beverage feeling a fresh wave of irritation.


As a weekend waitress somewhere within The Age Good Cafe Guide’s top 20, it’s my job to bring you your decaf skinny long mac without judgement, listen patiently as you reel off your Gwyneth-inspired textbook of dietary requirements and smile warmly at your annoying kids. I’m employed to make your experience as painless as possible. 


And now, dear customer, I’d like to share some tips on how you too can assist in ensuring a smooth brunch time operation. 


1. Get a takeaway coffee while you wait for your table


It helps to take the edge off, especially if you’re hungover. Personally I’d also arm myself with a banana to stave off hunger pains while watching the clock/staring down the pork belly extravaganza on table nine. 


2. Remember there are other people in the cafe/world besides you


In a busy cafe, structure is mandatory. Your waiter has a minimum of 12 tasks queued in his/her head at any given time, but don’t sweat it, your food order is one of those tasks. If you want to be really helpful, stack your menus in a pile to signify that you’re ready to order. We’ll get to you when it’s your turn. 


3. Specify if you would like a ‘hot’ coffee


Any cafe worth their beans will serve its coffee at around 65 degrees - this is in order to achieve optimal flavour. However, if you would like a HOT cup of coffee, just ask! We’ll make it for you without batting an eyelid. 


3. Be generally an okay guy


It’s an even split between customers with basic manners and those who lack them. To the latter, I’ll let you in on a little secret: a smile, please and thank you will guarantee you excellent service. However, to the very small percentage who are outright rude, I keyed your car while you were waiting for your eggs.


5. Don’t fake an allergy


I work in a cafe with a STRICT no changes to the menu on weekends policy. This enables the kitchen to have orders ready in 25 minutes or less when the restaurant is at capacity. Of course, if you’re lactose intolerant, celiac, pregnant or the like, we’ll cater to your needs as best we can, but chefs can smell a fake allergy from a mile away - and those cats are under pressure. It’s kind of like asking your waitress to take a bullet for you. If you don’t like tomato, give it to your friend! (Also grow up)


6. The DIY stackers


I appreciate that you’re trying to help, really I do, but a latte glass teetering precariously on top of a stack of three wobbly plates of food and cutlery isn’t helpful, it’s a safety hazard. Stack it like you mean it or leave it to us, we’ve got it down to a greasy art.


7. Don’t outstay your welcome


When the furniture starts going up around you and ‘Cafe del Mar Volume 307’ becomes ‘Britney’s Greatest Hits’ at twice the volume, it’s time to leave. Because the only thing standing between us and ice cold knock off beers while sitting down for the first time in seven hours, is you. Come on mate, pack your things. 


Best -
A.x
Pre-internet guys, where are they now?

When newspapers start being referred to as ‘yesterday’s twitter’, it’s time to examine what else has changed since the dawn of the digital age. Oscars parties in the southern hemisphere no longer make any sense, DVDs are now the pagers of video content and the roles of the following boys have shifted…

 

The confident weatherman.

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Once a crucial part of the evening broadcast, the weatherman had a science degree, a sense of humour and a sharp suit. Plus he could predict the WEATHER. What?! Having been replaced by an app that costs exactly $1, he’s now free to follow the spring. He also manages his own weather-focussed facebook fan page, which his wife and kids feel sad about, but don’t have the heart to tell him how they really feel. 

 

The cowboy journalist.

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The once swaggering prince of media has now gone shy. He’s in a committed relationship for the first time in his life, regularly attends his AA meetings and checks his newly opened superannuation account obsessively.

 

The cute, bored video store guy.

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Video store guy never went to uni, so naturally after the casual work dried up he got a job packing shelves at his local supermarket. Ever the anti-establishment enthusiast, he started a brown cardiganesque website which he later sold for in excess of 100 million dollars. 

 

The paperboy.

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Sadly, the poor young paperboy was hit by a car. He’s in heaven now with his two gay dads, the milkman and the door to door salesman.

 

Duckie.

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Instead of finding the odd private mixtape in your locker or being treated to a surprise Otis Redding lip syncing performance, your social media accounts are now plastered with clips of him serenading you via his YouTube channel. He’s braver but less creative with his attempts to win your love.

 

The playa.

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The post-internet player is less likely to go after someone in your immediate circle, but much more likely to have coincidently slept with your entire netball team. Thanks to their numerous Blendr and Ashley Madison accounts, cheating is now a game of vast numbers.

 

The inventor.

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Once the crazed loner confined to his shed on the edge of town, ridiculed by the townspeople, the inventor now consults to the UN and is a regular contributor to TEDTalks.

 

The magician.

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From supermodels and sold out shows in Vegas, the magician has now moved into the corporate world, where he runs leadership seminars using ‘magic’ as a term for basic leadership skills. For example, “Your productivity will double like… magic.“

 

The stalker.

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Stalking was an art form before the internet. You really had to work for that lock of hair! Nowadays with our every move being documented and announced to 1000 of our closest friends, it’s all gotten so casual. Gone are the days of missing underwear and death threats made from newspaper clippings. The modern stalker is just a regular boring guy who you bump into at parties, a lot. 

 

Best - 

A.x

TOP TEN WINTER WORKWEAR DON’TS.

It’s 8.30am on a Monday, corner of Collins and Exhibition. An army of trench coats and takeaway lattes storm the grey-faced pavement of Melbourne’s CBD. For those of you travelling, unemployed or footloose & fancy freelancing, the reason there are so many people on the streets at this time of day is because most people have their shit together. That being said, there are a number of questionable fashion choices present throughout the parade, among which are these glaring worst-case scenarios.

 

1. The too slim fit suit.

There’s a slim fit suit, then there’s looking like a tiny, business-themed gymnast. 

 

2. The slutty secretary.

Apart from putting working women back 1000 years, it’s just way harder to type with acrylics. Spend a little less time looking like a real housewife of Miami and a little more time on the job at hand, you might learn something.

 

3. The personality tie.

Nothing screams “I broke into my own car this morning just so I could feel something” louder than a goofy tie worn with a classic, dark suit.

 

4. The schoolboy shoes.

Why is it that 80% of my male colleagues still wear the same pair of shoes their mum picked out for their year 10 formal? We see them babe.

 

5. The flimsy flat in winter.

Unless little orphan Annie is the look you were going for, a shaky pair of Cotton On flats won’t get you far down Collins on a rainy day - or further up the corporate ladder am I right ladies?! (On account of you looking so broke).

 

6. The Eurovision conference.

This can include any combination of animal print fur-trimmed accessories, caramel leather products, shiny suit fabrics, stage makeup, white pants and/or an oversized silver handbag. The discothèque is thataway. (You can use my name on the door).

 

7. The corporate uni student.

The uni student’s work attire typically includes a hoodie, cons and jeans that, let’s be honest, kind of smell like dick cheese. We’d all rather be at home getting stoned and playing xbox, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear it on a sign around your neck.

 

8. Wet hair.

You’re a mess. Get up 10 minutes earlier!

 

9. The leather blazer.

I get really confused and upset by these. What are they trying to be? It’s exactly what a geography teacher would wear to a Mad Max party, most likely in tan.

 

10. The girlfriend trench.

A failed attempt at a trench is worse than never wearing one at all. Hot tip for the boys in the too short version with a little extra hip room, you either go wildly expensive or moth-eaten and secondhand, there is no in between.

 

After careful observation, the best fashion advice I can offer to those participating in the 8am walk off is really very simple: strut. Only one in ten actually do and they look incredible, leather blazer or not (preferably not though please for the love of god). Failing that, a sweet ankle length coat with all the buttons/ties done up is fucking flawless.

 

Best -

A.x

Morning motivation - 5 songs to wake up to

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I have a love-hate relationship with mornings. The soft light glowing through your blinds combined with a vicious headache on account of the bottle of wine you consumed before bed. Your chiropractic cloud-like pillow alongside your close to bursting bladder forcing you into the cold. A warm sleepy body to cuddle up to and their inevitably heinous breath. The shiny, wondrous possibilities of the day ahead and the knowledge that it will probably just be shit like yesterday.

It could be my self-diagnosed bipolar, but most mornings I tend to wake up either life-psyched and beaming or irritable and depressed. Although I’ve found that adding music to my morning routine tends to nudge me in the direction of the former. That and saying ‘no thank you’ to ecstasy the night before. Whether it’s setting your alarm with the title track from Grease, dusting off your Nan’s Peggy Lee record to float away with over breakfast, or carefully curating a playlist for the commute to work - a sweet morning melody is a cute way to get things rolling.

Here are my top five…

Sweet Inspiration by The Sweet Inspirations
http://youtu.be/RDSKwY6KwPg

Make like Cissy Houston and open your peepers to some swinging sixties sister soul. The girl group dropped this mega hit in ‘67, catching the ear of none other than a Vegas bound Elvis Presley, who consequently summoned the ladies to sing backup on his comeback special. Before my feet have even touched the floor I’m inspired and hopeful as hell.

This must be the place by Talking Heads
http://youtu.be/pVrVY540xdc

David Byrne’s obscure, dreamy love song (with just a glimmer of darkness) really floats my boat first thing. Home is where the heart is, or so the saying goes, and this early 80s beauty delves into that notion and takes a leisurely stroll. Floating out of my iPhone at 7am it whispers “Relax babe, you’re exactly where you need to be. Hey, it’s okay. Hit the snooze babe. You’re worth it.”

Where do you go to (my lovely)? by Peter Sarstedt
http://youtu.be/TTAvNkiml9k

French ballerinas and fashion houses fill the bedroom air with this single of sixties perfection. And for just a moment, before registering that you’re about to catch the tram to your average job, you’re teleported to a life of excessive wealth and arty enchantment to the backdrop of an accordion against a Parisian sky. Treat yo’self.

Maggie May by Rod Stewart
http://youtu.be/f45cn42vn1I

Who doesn’t want to wake up to a true tale of Rod Stewart’s deflowering by an older woman? Character-filled and fearless, this rambling rock classic will sock you out of bed and into the shower. Originally released as the B-side of his ‘71 single ‘Reason to Believe’, the success of Maggie May launched Rod’s epic solo career. The track also features a gratuitous 5-bar mandolin solo which I’m really into.

Chelsea Morning by Joni Mitchell
http://youtu.be/DXe95iTtci0

Sunny, sweet and tipsy with innocence, this early Joni number will dulcify even the most discordant of mornings. Rainbows, bowls of oranges, toast and honey and straight up Pollyanna optimism. On that note, in the words of Ms. Joni M, put on the day and wear it ‘til the night comes.

Best -

A.x

Ladies, please do not shut the fuck up.

As a woman in my 20s working full time in the media industry, I was very interested to read an article published by Mumbrella on Monday, addressed to women working in media and frightfully titled ’Ladies, could we shut the **** up?’. I was also interested to hear the vehement reactions to the piece within my professional network, male and female.

At this stage in my career, like Peta Southcombe (author of the piece in question), my gender has not inhibited me getting to where I want to be. However I embrace this fact with a proverbial grain of salt. I haven’t had kids yet, nor am I eligible for an executive role at this point in time.

At the heart of the article, the author looks longingly towards the day that men and women are seen as individuals in business, which is a dream that I too share. But the fact remains that right now there are far fewer women in senior roles across the board. So when Katie Rigg-Smith is appointed as the new CEO of Mindshare, i.e. the lone she wolf currently leading a major Australian media agency, it’s difficult not to be excited for her as a woman as well as an executive.

Like Peta, I often take for granted the abundance of opportunity that is available to me, an Australian woman in the year 2013. However the occasional whisper of gratitude to those who fought for said abundance wouldn’t go astray. The gender equality that exists in the Western world today should be celebrated, acknowledged and examined, certainly not ignored.

The journey towards total gender equality in this country is at a wonderful, exciting place - where the focus is genuinely starting to shift towards individual ability as opposed to presumptions on account of gender. But the quite overwhelming evidence remains that women are massively, absurdly underrepresented in professional leadership roles.

And personally, I’m not going to shut up until that changes.

The official rebuttal to the piece was posted by Mumbrella the following day. And it is truly, deeply wonderful. Have a read if you’ve got the time.

http://mumbrella.com.au/why-ladies-shouldnt-shut-the-up-151942

Best - 

A.x

Honey, I’m home.

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After a false start in ‘11 my boyfriend and I have settled back into de facto bliss…. Two bedrooms, a tomato vine with actual tomatoes growing on it, parking permit, a motley crew of about 30 hand me down towels (where do you even buy towels?) and enough cupboard space to store the entire range at Greensborough Savers. Truth be told it’s a small slice of heaven. But I’m curious as to why it’s working out for us this time round and not the last - a fateful 12-month lease in Carlton North that ended in segregated book boxes and broken dreams. Not to mention a lengthy solo mission to Berlin on my boyfriend’s part. But like a couple of lovesick adelie penguins we found our way back to the nest. And are currently feeling our way through round two, armed with better communication skills and slightly nicer crockery.

I’m a huge fan of living together. It’s the best! Tough at times but mostly just one long pajama party giggle fest. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…

Make it your own
Any good love shack worth its bath of rose petals looks and feels like the people in it. Blend your parents’ life saving furniture donations with stuff you’re both really into. Try and keep an open mind when it comes to clashes in taste - although it’s perfectly okay to suggest his collection of glass-framed insects be displayed in the spare room.

Keep IKEA trips to a minimum.

Break the rules
Hang out your laundry in the dining room (naked of course). Make a bed of pillows and blankets on the living room floor. Have sex in the kitchen. Sleep in the garden. Riverdance down the hallway. You get the picture. Free yourself from the confined courtesies of share house living and tap into the anarchy of your new private playground paradise.

Cook
As a recent convert to the world of buying fresh produce from the market and cooking stuff with it, I can safely tell all you stoveaphobes out there the water is fiiiiiine. Do it together, for each other, whatever! It feels fruit salad kind of wholesome.

Have friends over
With all those living room floor nests and fridges full of meat & veg, it’s easy to forget about the outside world. However this is a one-way ticket to codependent creepville. Keep it healthy with a steady flow of social activity through your shack’s front door.

Find your other couple
Discover the Fred and Ethel to your Lucy and Ricky, the Rubble to your Flinstone. Double dates are the biz. Find a couple who speak your language and put in the time. Because fourway holidays and movie nights are fucking FUN.

Break the sex-chedule
Anyone who works full time knows that Saturday mornings were invented for sex. But if you find yourself in a repetitive routine rut try busting some moves mid-week. Too tired? TIP: Go to bed earlier instead of watching that third episode of Parks and Recreation.

Build a luxury tree house that’s yours alone
Failing that, find one metaphorically in your heart. Failing that, claim a room or a nook in the house that’s just yours. While you’re sharing a bed, bedroom, wardrobe space and car key, it’s important to stake out your own territory from time to time.

Boundaries
Pee with the door open, close for everything else.

Be your own person
Relationships in general are a soft-shoe shuffle between exercising your independence and being joined at the hip to another person - a dance which only intensifies when you live together. My advice? Hang onto a keen sense of who you are as an individual… And make sure you’ve got some cool shit going on outside the love nest.

Best -
A.x

30 ways to be a better person

The turn of another year is bound to stir up all manner of ambitious aspirations… Exercise more, smoke less, be a better daughter/lover/friend/sister, find a good therapist, a better job, have more patience, make more money, learn a language, eat healthier, drink less coffee/more water, find love, meditate twice a day and figure out what you want to do with your life.

I just vomited in the paper bin under my desk.

Every year we pile these enormous tasks on our shoulders and go marching into January hungover as a sailor wearing a little pasted on smile. The pressure! Instead of focusing on the big, overwhelming changes why not break it down into bite-sized, achievable pieces. Let’s get real for a second. What are some cute tweaks you can make to your life that will result in lasting positive change? Ones you can actually stick to and feel an overwhelming sense of achievement come 2014?

Here’s 30…


1. Register and top up your myki online.
Avoid the inevitable disdain for all humankind while waiting in line at a station as your train slowly coasts away.

2. Squeeze from the bottom of the toothpaste tube.
A tiny, everyday practice in efficiency and self-discipline.

3. Pick a different banger song to wake up to every morning.
SUGGESTION: The title track from ‘Grease’.  
 

4. Listen to this american life.
Want to learn about the invention of money, how to get through a break up and Poland’s intense political divide as well as the fact that their version of ‘So you think you can dance’ is just called ‘You can dance’? Get smart here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

5. Help the war on machines by stealing the occasional item at the self-serve checkout.

6. Send a postcard.
Why do postcards only happen on holidays? Send one to a friend just because. Guaranteed day brightener!

7. Dance.
In your living room, at a salsa club with a tiny yet unnervingly powerful Colombian man, under the stars at a music festival: dance when you get the chance™ (streisandsuperman). It makes you happy, in turn making you nicer.

8. Check for cyclists before opening your car door.

9. Go to the movies alone.
This is a great way to restore and rejuvenate. It also makes you seem cool/interesting.

10. Give blood.
Saving lives and free food. #seeya

11. Sign out of your social media accounts for one whole day every week.
Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and sexiness of the physical world for exactly 24 hours.

12. Watch Australian movies.

13. Go to your friend’s gig even when it’s raining.

14. Don’t hate Lena Dunham.
It makes you smell like jealousy/misogyny.

15. Buy affordable art.
Rose street needs you.

16. Walk to get places.
Apparently one day you open your eyes and realise you’re 80. Life is a flash in the pan. Take your time where poss.

17. Pick up knocked over bicycles.
It takes two seconds and you feel like an angel. A real one.

18. Talk politics.
You’ll need: 1 x newspaper.

19. Pick a charity.

20. Get an rdio/spotify account.
If you support music’s ongoing existence it’s the absolute least you can do.

21. Make a make out mix.
Make love to it.

22. Buy free range.

23. Wear an outfit that slaps people in the face.
In a FUN way!

24. Have a birthday party.
This is the one event of the year where you get to do exactly what you want - Day/night/themes that have been done to death. I’m so bored of people being shy about their birthdays. Go for it.

25. Save $1,000 by next new years.
Realistic.

26. Ask your parents for gardening advice.
It marks the transition from surly, life-sucking teen to wholesome real person. They’ll love it.

27. Wash your teaspoons as you go.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Never leave that ‘til tomorrow which you can do today.” I think that applies here.

28. Rinse.
Post-hand washing and pre-dishwasher stacking. (I’ll be watching)

29. Don’t worry about getting older.
Too late? A quick review of ‘Death Becomes Her’ will sort you out.

30. Worry more about being brave.

Until next time friends. Like Nina used to say… It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day… And I’m feelin’ good. http://youtu.be/jpv6xwFZzg4

Best -
A. x

Christmas: A survival guide

Christmas is my favourite day of the year. Hands down. It makes me so happy I want to knock on people’s doors, introduce myself and tell them I love them. The smell of pine, champagne in the morning, Mariah Carey, my mum’s face when she opens her presents from my sisters and I. Sweeter than leftovers on boxing day.

So I’m always shocked to hear that, for some, Christmas is a horrible time. Like being force-fed dense fruit cake while your nanna tells you she’s disappointed you haven’t had children yet. Although with the excessive booze mixed with random family members in a room together for so long, I can see how it could all turn to a stale mince pie. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you sail through this wonderful/kind of deeply religious when you think about it holiday.

Don’t be hungover

A christmas eve tipple is one thing. Six espresso martinis followed by a spiked mosow mule is quite another. You’ve got a big day ahead of you, take it easy kid. I want you tucked in with a hot chocolate and Home Alone/Meet Me in St. Louis by midnight. Or, if you’re feeling frisky, consider A Long Kiss Goodnight with Geena Davis.

Know your place in the kitchen

After extensive research, including numerous graphs and (mince)pie charts, I’ve discovered that 95% of all christmas fights stem from the christmas kitchen. It’s important to remember that just like a kitchen in a restaurant, there can only be one head chef. The head chef appoints a sous chef and everyone else is a kitchen hand or dish pig, if you will. It’s a delicate hierarchy that can only function if people stick to their assigned role. So swap your ego for a paper hat and work together as a team.

Don’t have disturbingly full sex on christmas night

Climbing on top of someone after eating your weight in ham is weird and gross. I’ve heard stories of people who, instead of having an orgasm, just let go a three minute ham scented air biscuit. Save it for the morning after.

Be nice

Make the decision before you even get out of bed to be a generally nice guy for the entire day. It means a lot to your family. And to Santa.

And finally, say Merry Christmas to someone like you mean it. It’s the end of a long year… People have fallen in love, had their hearts smashed, been fired, hired, had flus, got better, travelled, felt really sad, danced until 6am, the works. It’s a time when we all should just look at each other and say ‘you made it!’ And everything is going to be okay. (e.g. http://youtu.be/5g4lY8Y3eoo).

Merry christmas party animals.

Best -
A.x

10 things to pack when shipwrecked

It’s finally happened… You’ve been shipwrecked. Except unlike Tom Hanks in a little twice-oscar-nominated single performance based masterpiece called ‘Cast Away’ you get to have 10 of your favourite things shipwrecked with you. This isn’t about water, food, sticks/basic survival stuff, it’s a list of the things which give you true pleasure. Choose wisely. And remember to make the distinction between a fleeting thrill (i.e. hearing a Destiny’s Child song on the radio when you’re driving to a party) and the stuff of lifelong love affairs (Beyoncé).

For the sake of the exercise, no family or loved ones please. 

1. George Harrison

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Forget that Beatles noise for all eternity. Bit hectic. I’ll just take George and his guitar thanks genie. Talk about longevity. Plus he could teach you about spirituality and eastern thought, art, love, meditation, the 60s and how to be an all round nice guy.

2. Vegemite

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A smear of vegemite every morning on a couple of slices of edible bark would be the equivalent of a firm yet reassuring hug from my mum. Ready for anything the island could throw at me!

3. Anna Karenina

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I could read this book a million times and still be just as blown away by the richness of Tolstoy’s exquisitely drawn universe - each time finding a new fire cracking phrase or concept to jump off the page and explode in my face/heart. It would remind me to shut up about the heat and the flies for a second and just drink it all in. Because if Tolstoy taught me anything it’s that everything is amazing.

4. Cher’s outfit from Half-Breed

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At long last. A chance to wear my dream outfit every day for the rest of my life for no reason other than it makes me feel incredible. Very little chance of offending people either. Except maybe George… I could live with that!

5. Xanax

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I’m going to need something that won’t make me green out, freak out or talk too much in front of George. So keeping with the relaxed island vibes, xanax, you gorgeous bitch, it’s you babe.

6. This photo by Diane Arbus

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D.A’s 1964 photograph of burlesque dancer Blaze Starr in her living room in Baltimore makes my heart sing every time. The pose, the pride, the dog, the faded glamour, the carpet, the Buddha statue. It’s everything. No matter how bored, crazy and sunburnt I became, one look at this would remind me to be eternally grateful that I still get to live on this cool and sik planet.

7. Truman Capote’s beach house

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Unpretentious but at the same time, very much so, Capote’s 1960s Hamptons studio encapsulates all your island accomm desires/needs. In this private beachside oasis designed by and dwelled in by the great man himself, you can enjoy Truman’s devastating style without having to put up with him bitching about you constantly.

8. Amy Poehler 

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I’m obsessed with Tina Fey. And god knows I love Louis. But if I’m completely honest, Amy is the one I see myself being best friends with. We’d laugh and do improv and play the most breathtaking tricks on George. I think we’d make a really good team.

9. Pretty Woman (DVD)

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I was 10 years old when I first watched Pretty Woman and subsequently only realised Vivienne was a prostitute years later (“Ohhhh Carlos wanted to be her pimp not her friend!”). But I’m glad in a way. Because unlike Richard Gere, right from the start I was able to see past her profession to the person she really was. I’ve finally realised that out of all the movies in all the world, this one is my favourite. And it feels good.

10. Champagne

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Being stranded on a desert island shouldn’t get you down. Make every day a celebration with a splash of deliciously decadent champagne, followed by dancing and sparkling conversation (naturally).

I don’t know about you guys, but ‘post Meredith 2012’ will now be known as one of the most vicious comedowns known to man. I really needed this list. But generally speaking it doesn’t hurt to focus more on the positive things in life. So the next time you’re stuck in traffic or your doctor tells you you’re barren/the tumor has come back, in the words of Julie Andrews, simply remember your favourite things and then I don’t feeeeeeeel… sooooo baaad! 

Best - 

A.x