Shift 2 – Simply the best

 

Panorama of StadiumYou really do forget just how big the stadium really is, especially when you walk out onto the track again. But it’s hard to put it all into perspective when, once again, it was a morning shift and I was far from bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – these 4am starts and over two-hour drives were starting to take its toll…

Nevertheless, most of us had made it to check-in with time to spare (rather impressive for a Sunday morning) but the start of the transportation issues surfaced for a few unlucky team members. One of the women in our group may only live about 7 miles away from the stadium, but the joys of restricted tube services on Sundays meant that Tweet to Clare Baldingthe journey took 90 minutes instead. However, there was a silver lining to another commuter story and our trusty WhatsApp group played a role.

Another of our lovely ladies was stuck at Stratford International Tube Station and would miss the start of training before the session began. But the power of social media was amazing. Not only did she let us know so we could tell our Team Leaders, but she decided to also tweet Clare Balding whilst waiting: next thing you know, she’s being mentioned on Clare’s morning BBC 2 Radio show! Always good news when the volunteers are getting recognition!

You’d think that once you’d done a full session, you’d know exactly what to do for shift 2; how wrong were we all… The previous day had left us completely shattered and then, new starting block set-ups were being thrown at us. We would like to say that we took it all in our stride – in reality, most of us were stressing about putting the lane marker in the right place and wondering if our tired arms would be able to pick up the starting Cablingblocks without putting another part of our bodies out of alignment. And that’s before we even get to the cabling.

The cabling is Satan. It’s as simple as that. Trying to create a figure of 8 with cables that have kinks in them and are at least 10 metres long is difficult enough. But trying to do that as fast as the blocks coming back in and avoiding getting tangled up with the next lane’s cables is nigh on impossible. I’m a lefty as well, so for me, everything is backwards, so my brain is automatically screaming out at me saying I’m doing it wrong, but on the 100m start, there is one set of cables out of the 9 lanes where everyone else shares my pain!

What makes it even more confusing is that each race distance has a different way of clearing the track, and there are certain races that need different set-ups. For instance, the completely blind runners who have guides helping them round the track (T11) need to have the starting blocks alongside each other. Can you see the cogs turning in our brains?!

Starting Blocks TeamBut the training is doing us the world of good – the session was as smooth as we could have hoped for and we finally got to relax and enjoy some of the action up-close and personal. We got to witness the fastest Paralympian in the world, Ireland’s Jason Smyth, race in the heats of the 100m, watch Britain’s Aled Davies smash the Championship record in the F42 Discus and claim gold, and be a part of two different world records being obliterated. It was a magical morning for us volunteers.

Shift 2 selfieAnd it didn’t end there: we were all settling down after the session for our debrief and the feedback was incredible. The official timekeeping company for the Championships, Seiko, said that our team for the morning session were the best group of volunteers that they had seen in 30 years. We were simply the best. We are the dream team!

 

We’ve covered most of the bases by now – surely shift 3 would be a doddle?!

The trials and tribulations of a Paralympic hopeful – Chapter Two

I am in a world of pain. A world of pain I have never experienced before, and wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. A pain that SAS hopefuls pray won’t happen to them in the selection process, and all this pain from sporting exercise. One day I will learn my lesson – I hope from now on I remember padded shorts will forever be my friend on a bike, and use this version of hell as a horrific anecdote of what happens if you don’t.

Rewind one excruciatingly painful week…

alarmHearing your alarm go off at 3.45am is about as pleasant as gauging your eyes out with forks whilst standing on hot charcoal. I’d imagine. I’ve never been particularly good in the mornings, let alone on a pitch-black night in the middle of November, so I was pleasantly surprised I managed to get out of the house and into the car without waking up everyone else down the street. The tricky part was to get my incredibly patient boyfriend awake enough to sit in the driver’s seat and do the four-hour journey up to Manchester for the second time in the space of two weeks – mission successful… just about. Two Red Bulls and a Square bar later anyway!

I’ll be honest, the drive up is all a little bit of a blur to me, mostly because I was seeing it through my eyelids. Clearly a distinct lack of sleep was catching up to me, but I woke up just in time to arrive at the National Cycling Centre. To my surprise, only eight of us were there for testing, but recognised a couple from the Athletics trials so I felt right at home. (Feel free to have a read of the Athletics blog – it explains a lot more about how I got here!)

I’d been to the Manchester Velodrome a few times before, but not in the same capacity, at all. Cheerleading competitions seem to have no relation whatsoever to going round and round in circles on a bike that weighs about as much as my left arm. The actual cycling part of the trial was eventful in itself. Considering I haven’t been on a bike since I was about para-cycling-line-up14 and my lack of balance on two feet – let alone two wheels – is almost non-existent, I wasn’t expecting to become Laura Trott after just one attempt.

Much to my relief, and everyone else’s, we were on static bikes for the day and not let loose on the Velodrome just yet. Baby steps Chachi. Instead, we were introduced to speed and endurance testing – a whole new version of fresh hell! We knew roughly what we were getting into, but jeez, I don’t think I was quite prepared for it.

For starters, it took about 20 minutes to get all eight of us set up on the bikes, and it was the first time I’ve ever been strapped onto a bike. Definitely a new experience, especially when you wanted to get off for a drink or needed assistance in order to fall off after interval training. Four sets of six-seconds flat-out to show your top speed, followed by three gruelling minutes of pedalling as fast as possible. And all this includes changing the gears with my right hand that has no co-ordination and no way of defining which handle I’m moving.

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Trust me, it doesn’t show just how steep it really is…

 

My body isn’t used to hard-core physical exercise (or exercise in general) at the moment; after just a minute, my legs were burning, 30 seconds later, my knee was cracking with every single rotation and two minutes in I was literally screaming in pain. I’d say that was most probably the longest three minutes of my life, quickly followed by collapsing on the handlebars, and then falling off the bike. I’ve never been a particularly graceful person, but trust me, that wasn’t exactly one of my proudest moments…

Leaving the inside of the track walking like John Wayne also wasn’t pleasant, but still, the comedic value was worth it for everyone else watching. Three and a half long hours pass waiting for my personal classification testing – the minutes elapse, time is killed walking around the local shops and the Etihad Stadium with my ever-patient img_3421boyfriend, and yet we still have more than two hours to kill. Perfect. Eventually, the safest solution is for him to kip in the car for an hour or two in preparation for the drive home, whilst I aimlessly sit around in the café in silence. At least the Rugby is on.

Finally, I’m called into the medical room to determine whether my disability is actually severe enough to even be classified (if not, the morning’s cycling efforts would have been for nothing). Technically, each individual session was supposed to last 30 minutes – Me be awkward as always, mine lasted 75 minutes. Never one to fit in with the crowd and be (in relative terms) normal.

 

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I’m in the red top and clearly suffering with sitting down already!

It turns out that amongst many of the tests I had done, I have no reflexes at all on either side of my body, leaving the physiotherapists completely dumbfounded as to why. But after endless poking and prodding from two different people, it’s official, I have a classification. I would be a C5 athlete (the least severe of the categories) but I thought I wouldn’t even be put in a class. The pain, the genuine screaming, the burning legs hotter than an erupting volcano was all worth it.

My dream is slowly becoming a reality – Tokyo 2020 is almost impossible, but with every step, the closer I will get and there will be light at the end of the tunnel. I have been defying expectations since I was born, why stop that now?

The trials and tribulations of a Paralympic hopeful – Part One

 

 

alarms4:45am: (Beep, Beep, Beep…) The never-ending, dreaded sound of the alarm in the morning. Except it doesn’t feel like morning when it’s pitch black, and trust me, this was no ordinary day. Today was my first ever paralympic trial, and I had no idea what to expect. Not a Scooby.

I applied for the Paralympic Talent Scheme back in September, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, watching Team GB earn their highest medal haul in history and thought to myself, ‘why not?’ thinking nothing of it at the time. Yet, three weeks later, not one, but three emails confirming my place for the trials made their way into my inbox if I wanted it them, and I sure as hell wasn’t about to turn down that kind of experience.

para-athletics-trackHowever, when I signed up, I was expecting a regional event somewhere fairly local where I’d get to try out a few different sports, meet a few people who may actually make it to Tokyo in 2020 for the GB Squad and I could finally put my sports journalism skills to good use. No. Couldn’t be more wrong if I tried. Instead, I’d be given a 10-12pm session slot half way up the country in Manchester – ridiculously early start it is then…

Whilst I may have been the one getting all hot and sweaty with the gruelling drills, I managed to avoid the four-hour drive each way (thankfully, because I would have fallen asleep at the wheel more times than Garfield says he hates Mondays): That job fell to my fabulously supportive boyfriend – I wouldn’t have been capable of doing half of what I did today without him… or allowing me to kip in the car.

adam-hillsI had no idea what I was walking into or how to react when I arrived at the Etihad Stadium today. I met and spoke to The Last Leg’s Adam Hills (famous for his Paralympic coverage) last weekend, and asked him what to do when being in a room full of ‘disabled’ people. He came back with the best response: “Everyone you’ll meet will be in exactly the same situation as you – no-one knows how to react cause you don’t really round up disabled people often! I had no clue what to do the first time, just be yourself and enjoy the experience.”

He couldn’t have been more right. Most of us were completely new to trials and had been inspired by Team GB; it didn’t matter what we did today, the main aim was to get the most out of the experience and meet people with similar disabilities.

It’s probably time for a bit of context. I am a mild right hemiplegic suffering with Cerebral Palsy. I say suffering – it’s not remotely obvious to the naked eye and I don’t class myself as disabled (I can do pretty much everything… except do buttons up with my right hand…) because I had so much physiotherapy as a baby. But I was unbelievably lucky, I was caught at six weeks old. Most people with CP -including many that I met today – weren’t diagnosed until 18 months, even later. para-athletics-smiles

So I turned my hand to sport, mainly gymnastics, from six months old as a form of physiotherapy to keep my muscles active. Turns out, I may have stood out in the crowd in the warm up alone at the Athletics trials today because of it – my flexibility (which I thought was non-existent) resulted in one of the GB coaches calling over the Head of Paralympic Scouts to watch me lift my leg higher than they had ever seen before whilst sitting in a particularly awkward position on the floor. I’m sure it was a sight to behold… and most certainly something I’m glad I don’t have photographic evidence of!

My first area in Athletics was jumping (mainly long jump for the day) and as it happens, I’m not too shabby at it. As a cheerleader, my jumps are the only thing I can do and do well (tumbles are a no-go with a back like Quasimodo, stunting – not a chance, and I’m more of a show-off than Beyoncé when it comes to the Dance section), and apparently impressed the GB jump coach – I believe his exact words were, “You clearly have a natural talent and ability for long jump. Have you got springs in those trainers?!” Not bad for a person who has no ligaments left in her ankles and rolls both of them on average about five times a week.

para-athletics-talkingOur group of seven were starting to interact a lot more by the time we made it to rotation 2 – sprinting. Of course, I’m not one to keep quiet for very long and ended up talking more than Lorelai in Gilmore Girls, but it was the first time I’d ever had a full-blown conversation with people with CP and I couldn’t help myself; my inquisitive nature kicked in. Or another way to put it – I’m nosy.

I’ve never really been one for running; between the gammy ankles and a distinct lack of stamina, I wasn’t really expecting miracles, but I thought I’d have a crack at it. Maybe sprinting would be better because it’s a shorter distance? Wrong again. Admittedly, it was only 40 metres for the coaches to get an idea of our speed. I’ll give you a hint, I wasn’t about to beat Usain Bolt in a race anytime soon, but there may be a glimmer of hope if I put a pair of roller blades on instead!

para-athletics-action-shotThe throwing events aren’t exactly my cup of tea either. I’m more akin to doing the splits on a crate of fire rather than managing to do anything more than a pansy throw. Still, it was all part of the experience, which I wouldn’t have changed for the world. I’m not expecting anything out of the trial, for me it’s just another story to tell and possibly a chance get some journalism work out of it; a callback for phase two would just be the icing on the cake.

But I’m not done yet. One trial down. two to go. Track Cycling should be interesting considering I struggle immensely with cornering on a bike, let alone balance, and Triathlon may be the death of me, but I promise to write about it before collapsing in a heap.

Three Paralympic Trials, five weeks – what could possibly go wrong?!

The Life and Times of a Technophobe

As many of you may be aware, I’m certainly not a technical goddess as much as I may try. So I wrote this article for work, showing to the other technophobes of the world that it is okay to not always get it right! Feel free to laugh, share, and comment your thoughts if you struggle with the same issues!

It’s always a nerve-wracking experience when you walk into a new job, especially when stepping into the jaws of an office full of women who will instantly judge you as a person just by what you’re wearing on your first day, and then proceed to tell everyone else who hasn’t met you yet about their perceptions of the ‘newbie’. Admittedly, not every office falls into this category (thankfully), but first impressions are the main concern  for someone who’s about to start a new career with a job title they can’t even define!

The first few hours and days in your new environment, you begin to understand how Bambi felt when tentatively stepping onto ice for the first time; you’re being dragged in so many different directions trying to keep up with the flow of the office and end up face-planting the 20-year-old, rarely-hoovered carpet. Perfect. But between attempting to memorise where every piece of stationery is carefully hidden and explaining to your boss for the fifth time, “I’m okay, I don’t need another plaster, the bleeding has stopped now,” you’ve yet to warn anyone your biggest phobia – technology.

You’re like the man in the Skittles advert who touches things and objects magically disappear when it comes to anything remotely technical. It’s the kiss of death – if you come into contact with electrical equipment and it doesn’t break, shut down or catch fire, it’s been a good day! However, explaining this fear to a colleague (or god forbid, someone in HR) sends shivers down your spine, especially after applying for an admin job and subtly misleading your employers on your CV saying you’re ‘competent in Microsoft Office.’ Surely it’s not lying, just bending the truth ever so slightly?

And it certainly isn’t helped being constantly surrounded by machines almost the same size as you, and hundreds of thousands of black cables knotted together that would even give someone from MENSA a headache to unravel, knowing that if you tugged or tripped on just one of these death traps, the whole building could be sent into an unwelcomed blackout for hours to come. It’s as if these robot-like automatrons are baiting you into making a mistake.

But you carry on attempting to understand the complexities of an Excel spreadsheet, and refuse to cave in to technical difficulties until you’ve exhausted all other possible options, including hitting the computer with the hammer you snuck into your desk drawer from your partner’s toolbox. Although, it gets to the point where you have no choice but to ring up someone from I.T support to help you find some important client documents you accidentally deleted from your boss’ file two days ago and haven’t yet been able to retrieve.

A few weeks pass, and you’re starting to settle into the normal 9-5 routine for the first time in years, so you decide to brave the printer and change the paper. But you got a little cocky, didn’t you? You inadvertently lean on one too many buttons and suddenly English isn’t the Canon’s first language anymore… It’s in German. Another trek with your head held down to Tech Support – you’re on a first name basis with almost all of the team, despite only calling for them in emergencies, and you’ve been there less than a month. That’s got to be a new record in the building.

However, you’re forgetting the bigger picture. Yes, you may not be the most technically-gifted person like the guys in the Apple Store, and you still might not fully grasp the concept of Microsoft Office despite numerous tutorials from almost every member of staff in the office, but you’re still here. The women who instantly judged you in those critical first seconds have now become drinking partners out of working hours, and the injuries sustained at work have dropped to just about an acceptable level for an overly-clumsy human being. But you’ve done it, you still have a job, despite setting the fire alarm off instead of turning the light switch off, forcing everyone in the building to frantically save their latest work and peg it outside knowing a practice drill wasn’t announced in the last newsletter.

These colleagues have taken you under their wing and haven’t kicked you out yet; you must be doing SOMETHING right…

 

 

Bruges on the waves: an insight into the ‘Venice of the North’

As the Belgian city bustles with over three million tourists each year, Talia Jones writes about the heart and soul of the city from the calmer waters of the canal routes.

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“…And whatever you do, don’t fall in, yes?” muffles our tour guide through plastic headphones as we tentatively step into the sun-soaked canal boat. That was exactly the confidence boost we needed to hear. Michel had been explaining Bruges’ history and culture for the last three hours in his broken English, adding ‘yes?’ to every other sentence. It was as though even he was not certain of his facts.

We had spent most of the tour lagging behind the guide; amidst copious photographic opportunities of the idyllic surroundings and only two good ankles between the pair of us, my mother and I had firmly found our place as the tortoises of the group. Dipping in and out of headphone range left a constant static ringing through our ears, but we didn’t care – it was her 50th birthday and we were going to enjoy ourselves.

28The boat appeared derelict at best, with rotting wood and an attempt at covering up the cracks with a translucent-looking lick of white paint, so we were grateful when Vincent offered us a helping hand onto the water. Very grateful indeed. He was a gorgeous specimen of a man – exactly the physique and chiselled jawline you’d expect to grace the London Fashion Week catwalk. This was a welcome distraction from Michel’s constant, incessant mumblings.

Unfortunately, the moment was abruptly ended by my inability to fathom where I was going, having to be saved from face-planting into the canal. Not exactly my finest hour.

Picturesque views were at every sweeping corner in the city they named ‘The Venice of the North’; the 12th century hospital still stands with the original brickwork and has been resurrected as a museum almost rivalling the Louvre. Meandering up the river, you encounter a piece of modern art living in the canal made entirely of white steel pipes standing three storeys high – something Tracy Emin would have been immensely proud of creating. And all this before you get to experience the three tallest buildings within the five-mile city walls.

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“Get your cameras out now,” Vincent says, with a knowing grin on his face, “The Church of Our Lady is straight ahead of us.” And he isn’t wrong about wanting to capture this hugely impressive feat of architecture on film – it is a thing of absolute, man-made beauty. The 13th century, gothic-style cathedral has been modified with a Victorian era twist to give the building a more modern interpretation in the historical centre of the city. “Oh, and one of Michelangelo’s sculptures lives there too. I think it’s called Madonna,” he adds, as if this unintentional comment was just an afterthought and not one of the most widely recognisable pieces of artwork in the world.

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The other two masterpieces of Bruges’ skyline are also cathedrals of varying style and stature, but equally outstanding in the dusky lighting. But these startling structures were to be just three of the many highlights of the canal tour. “If you look to your right, you’ll see Marilyn Monroe in the window,” Vincent nonchalantly declares, as if it is a sight you would see anywhere in the world. Marilyn’s iconic pose resides in one of the shop windows and would send shivers down even the coldest of spines.

People wax lyrically about the unequivocal beauty of the autumnal colours dissipating into the narrow waterways, but observing the reddish-green leaves falling around you under the sunset sends you into some zen-like trance. Until the women at the back of the boat giggle like schoolgirls so much that the boat nearly overturns – magical moment gone.

22We had already been given a warning before we even started covering the sparkling water – Vincent had the audacity to ask one of the larger women on the boat to kindly sit on the other side, attempting to even the balance out. He was obviously one who was unafraid of offending people, but we found him oddly charming in spite of this. In fact, all the middle-aged ladies were hanging on to his every word throughout the tour like pre-teens at a One Direction concert.

It was lucky we were so attentive to his stories – we may have only met him twenty minutes previously, but he clearly had an understanding of the females on board, pointing out the best chocolate shops across the city, in between the historical highlights and majestic museums. But it’s the houses on the river that stand out the most. The pastel-coloured, medieval-style buildings that line the canal front astound me. It is like the adult, real life version of Balamory.

Before we knew it, our journey through the centre of Bruges was over and we would have to go back to the rather dull musings of Michel, suffering once more with headphones too big to fit comfortably in our ears and contend with static that would haunt us for the next three days. But half an hour with a dishy-looking man, husky voice and a sat down tour around a city with undoubtedly rich history: Priceless.

19This overwhelmingly stunning city has hidden treasures encompassed within the five-mile radius of handmade bricked wall; from chocolatiers that share melt-in-the-mouth milk chocolate with tourists for free (which, incidentally, we exploited as much as we could) to the obliging natives who direct the clueless among us without a moment’s consideration. Bruges is not just a medieval city; it is a land of unwavering possibilities.

The daily struggles of a twenty-something

images2XE68VO1So our twenties are supposed to be the time in our lives where we get our shit together, find the job we’ve been working towards since we started school aged 4, find the man of our dreams and settle down. But truthfully, this is the decade where we drink until we hit the floor, weep over endless amounts of exams that none of us have revised for and generally screw ourselves up just in time for our thirties.

imagesHAKNWPEMThe relationship thing just seems to be a nightmare for everyone, no matter what age. Whether it’s going to town three nights a week to find ‘Mr Right’ or signing up for online dating, (because everyone you’ve met in town turns out to be a creep and you’ve given up) the wait to find the one is a bitch. There are so many stories of people finding their childhood sweethearts, and then there’s us; the people who are busier falling in love with Mr Grey (whips and paddles and fictional characters and all) than actually going out to find, in Pinocchio’s words, a real boy.

Then we start scrolling through Facebook, – a daily ritual – and spot another couple we went to school with who are now engaged and flaunting a very sparkly and flashy ring, making our egos shrink to the size of Yoda again. If everyone else can manage it, what are we doing untitled (18)wrong?! None of us were ever warned in school how difficult it is to find someone, let alone hold down a relationship without killing our partners, surely it’s time to add commitment struggles to the curriculum?

But on the days where no engagements are fully documented with soppy statuses and no end of generous well-wishers, we go downstairs to open the post only to find a wedding invitation tucked in between your latest bank statement and yet another phone book. It’s like we’re being mocked at every opportunity that we’re alone. This is the moment when we realise that Bridget Jones is no longer just fiction; it’s now our life.

The next thing our families expect in our twenties are kids. Endless amounts of kids. Every family party you go to, there’s always that one aunt who comes up to you at the buffet table with that knowing smile that her remark could go one of two ways. “Are you pregnant? You’re starting to show.” No, that would be from last night after eating half my body weight in ice-cream, knowing I was coming to this party. I shall name the food baby Ben. Or Jerry.

untitled (20)Of course we’re broody. Every friend we’ve had since the age of seven is pregnant or a housewife with two kids already. The amount of baby showers we’re expected to buy gifts for leaves us more broke than when we were 16 and jobless, but the second someone mentions the word baby, we’re like putty in their hands. The only joy of not yet being a parent is being able to act like the fun pretend aunt when babysitting but still have the option of giving them back.

untitled (21)Unfortunately, we don’t the same option of giving university modules a few attempts to get better results, even though it’s no secret how useful it would be. It’s obvious to tell which year we’re in by what we’re doing;

  • First year, we get stupidly drunk at least twice a week, turn up to more lectures hungover than sober and barely scrape through with the required 40%.
  • Second year, the social life still exists but we’ve had to cut our drinking sessions to once a week now we’re paying for the house and bills, and results actually count towards our degree so slightly more effort is put into revising for exams
  • Third year, no social life whatsoever, many alcoholic drinks just live in the fridge so we don’t have to leave the house, and our dissertations leave us confused as to whether we need to punch someone, have a hug or do six tequila shots without taking a breath.

imagesRIVEURO0 (2)And then to top it off, there’s the annual nightmare of sorting out student finance. Between trying to work out which tax year they are after this time round, and getting our parents to actually remember their memorable information before the Alzheimer’s sets in, we end up wanting to pull our hair out before we even start the new term. The best screw up with student finance though, is when the parents don’t follow the procedures properly and find themselves applying for their own student finance instead of enhancing ours. There’s nothing funnier or more bewildering than seeing your mum apply to do Sports Coaching at university when she struggles to make it up the stairs without losing her breath.

We’d rather be skiing down a black slope with a blindfold on and going backwards rather than the thought of holding down one job in our twenties, and yet we find ourselves with three part time jobs just to make ends meet after uni. This wasn’t how we planned it. Our plan at graduation was to meet a famous footballer in town that night, fall in love, never have the need to work and reach the ultimate goal of a closet of shoes. Instead, we spend our daytime attempting to catch up on sleep and creating a never-ending list of CVs, the evening are spent stacking shelves at the local supermarket, and the nights as a bartender at the local club. No, it wasn’t meant to be like this.

untitled (22)But the jobs are essential to pay for our shopping addictions and numerous first (and only) dates, it’s just a shame we now have to shop online because we no longer have the energy to make it into town. We can’t get away with wearing the same outfit you wore on the last date, despite being a completely different person. They might not know, but we would, and that’s just unacceptable. Starting to feel like a vicious circle, no?

And as if this wasn’t enough to deal with every day, then you also have the family to contend with on a daily basis. After all, we’re fed up of Dad’s sexist and no-so-funny jokes that he keeps bringing home from the lads at work, as well as his tendency to humiliate you out in public at every given opportunity. Then there’s mum; clearly the menopause has started and the HRT hasn’t completely kicked in yet. Obviously, it would explain the mile a minute mood swings and the memory loss, but does she have to take it out on us?

imagesJ17G8FGUThere’s nothing and no-one who is willing to warn us how rough our twenties are going to be, not least the people who have already survived this horrific decade – they want to see us suffer! Wouldn’t you just love to be four years old again, without a care in the world, and marrying a different boy each week with Haribo rings for your wedding? No bills or student loans to pay for, or going days on end without any sleep, just having sleepovers and chasing boys in the playground. But then again, you’re able to drink many many cocktails in your twenties; maybe it isn’t so bad after all…