It may thrill/horrify you to learn that I have been commissioned to write a book.

A real one.

A sort of ‘Diary of a 21st Century Wastrel’ that you can turn to in times of great need (I use the term ‘times of great need’ loosely- use the book to even up a wonky table leg, wipe your arse with or use the pages to wrap up fish. I don’t mind, DO WHAT YOU WILL WITH IT).

The logical solution when faced with the task of writing 80,000 words would be to set aside a few hours each day and calmly write from the safety and confines of ones own flat.

Being mentally unstable, I decided against this plan.

Instead, I chose to rent myself a cottage for a week, ALONE, in a remote fishing town on the outskirts of Cornwall.

It was a good idea, in theory.

Admittedly, the whole thing was greatly inspired by the 2006 romcom ‘The Holiday’.

You know the one.

A highly strung Cameron Diaz swaps houses with Kate Winslet for a week, finding herself in an isolated cottage in the middle of Surrey. Bored shitless after day one, she packs her bags to leave, only to be interrupted by the incredibly dashing Jude Law knocking on her door, who she spends the remainder of the film getting pissed with and shagging.

Although I was more likely to be propositioned by some randy old fisherman and spend the whole week drinking alone, I felt inspired.


Cornwall Day One 

4pm- Suitcase packed, I’m all set for a literary adventure!  To get myself into the swing of things, I’ve even bought myself an old-fashioned typewriter on Ebay, for the bargain price of £10.99 (having arrived through the letterbox, in an ENVELOPE, it soon became clear that I had accidentally ordered myself a miniature toy typewriter, intended for dolls house enthusiasts. But never mind, the thought was there).


As my train isn’t till 6pm, I decide to pop my head in to wish my friend Cat a happy birthday, seeing as I’m going to be missing her drag-queen themed party tonight.

4.30pm- Just staying for a very small glass of wine, before heading off.

5pm-Having a little top up, still plenty of time to get the station.

11.30pm-(Blur of arse slapping, slut dropping and cries of ‘IF YOU STUFF THE JOCK STRAP WITH LOO ROLL, IT WILL LOOK MORE LIKE A PENIS!)

Cornwall Day Two 

2.30pm- Shit. SHIT.  I’m not in Cornwall. I’ve instead awoken on Cat’s sofa, wearing a pair of platform heels, a Cleopatra wig and pantomime rainbow eyelashes.

In a blur of pain and determination, I manage to get myself back to the flat, hurl my suitcase onto the tube and board the 3.45 train from Paddington to St Austell, Cornwall.

8.45pm-Where the bloody hell am I?

10pm-Finally, having frightened several locals and located a taxi firm, I arrive at the cottage. I am dimly aware of a searing pain in my back of my mouth but, due to my utter exhaustion, I push the thought aside and collapse into my small and lumpy bed.

Cornwall Day Three

8am- Oh my god. The entire left side of my head has swelled up. I look like The Elephant Man. Or a large piece of ginger.

The pain that I felt in my mouth last night is now off the scale and seems to be coming from my back tooth.

Through a great deal of googling and phone calls, I finally manage to book myself an emergency appointment with a local dentist.

‘You have an impacted wisdom tooth’ the dentist informs me.

‘That’s ironic’ I mumble, my mouth wrapped around his hand.

‘I’m prescribing you a five-day course of Metronidazole. These are very strong antibiotics, so it is vital that you consume no alcohol on them’

‘Of course doctor’ I nod sincerely (‘HA! That old chestnut!’ resounding through my brain) ‘Not a drop shall pass my lips’

Having picked up my pills at the local pharmacy, I head back to cottage.

‘Honestly, these medics’ I chuckle to myself, as I pour myself a large glass of wine to wash down my first antibiotic ‘So overly-cautious. So LILLY LIVERED! No alcohol indeed. It’s health and safety gone mad!’.

Now I am a girl with a frighteningly strong constitution. But if there is one thing I have learned from this whole experience, it is that you should absolutely NOT mix Metronidazole with alcohol.

I am awoken four hours later, face down on the sofa, by the sound of my mobile ringing.

Feeling as though I have been beaten over the head with a large frying pan, I answer.

‘Hello darling!’ says my mother ‘I’ve been trying to get hold of you for hours!’

‘HELLO MOTHER!’ I yell down the phone, ‘Just had a little nap!’

The combination of just one of these pills and a glass of wine had sent me completely off my tits.

‘How’s your tooth? Did you manage to find a dentist?’ she asks, concern ringing in her voice.

‘Mmm, yes’ I reply ‘he’s given me some lovely pills’

‘Right… good. You sound a little, um, tired sweetheart. Perhaps you should pop out of the cottage for a bit? Get some fresh air?’

‘My god, mother… That’s a splendid idea!’ I gasp, as if she has just come up with some life-changing scientific discovery.

Like some half tranquillised rhino, I rear up from the sofa and scrabble around to find my bag.

‘Ok just remember to keep your phone on and call me if-‘

‘BYEEE!’ I cry, hanging up.

Two seconds later, my phone rings again.

‘Hello darling’ my mother begins for the second time ‘not sure what happened there, did you accidentally hang up on me?’

‘I don’t know’ I reply ‘did it sound like THIS?’ To which I hang up the phone again.

Chortling at my humdinger of a joke (god, mother would find that ever so funny) I cavort around the cottage and out the door.

Now then.

In hindsight, by ‘get some fresh air’ my worried mother clearly meant that I should go for a gentle walk by the harbour, where I was in crawling distance of the cottage and under the watchful eye of the local fishermen.

Instead, in my irrational state of mind, I decide to pay a visit to the local tourist attraction-The Lost Gardens Of Heligan.

For those that don’t know, The Lost Gardens of Heligan is compiled of 200 acres of woodlands, including Victorian gardens, a bamboo tunnel and an ‘outdoor jungle garden’. A place so utterly huge and disorienting that even the keenest of boy scouts would get lost.

I arrive at the ticket office.

‘Hello!’ I cry, walking straight into an incredibly clean, closed glass door.

‘Gosh, are you ok?’ the young girl behind the desk asks, hurrying to open it for me.

‘Fine, fine’ I smile, seeing an assortment of black spots ‘One adult ticket please’

‘Well it’s 4.30pm now and we shut in an hour’ the girl informs me ‘You’ll have to make it round quickly, but you’re just in time’

‘A stitch in time saves nine!’ I reply, giving her a horrifically flirtatious wink, like some sexually promiscuous grandma.

‘Um.. right. Well here’s your ticket and here’s a map of the grounds’.

‘I need not a map’ I declare, batting it away dismissively ‘I shall use my finely tuned sense of direction’.


I spend the first ten minutes walking round in a daze of shapes and colours, before standing stock still for a further five minutes, laughing uproariously at a sign pointing towards the ‘Insect Hotel’.

It is then that I come across a cluster of small children, stood around a blue placard.

‘What animal am I?’ says the placard ‘Follow the clues to find out!’

‘Ooo goody!!!’ I cry, beside myself with excitement ‘A treasure hunt!’

I follow the swarm of children to the next sign.

‘I’m a mammal with big claws…’ it reads.

‘What could it be? A tiger? A BEAR?’ I gasp in anticipation, batting aside several children in my haste to get to the next sign.

‘I have long whiskers and love being underwater…’

‘A fish? A hairy crab?!’ I gabble, barely able to contain myself by this point.

I reach the final sign.

‘It’s an otter!’ cries a small boy, pointing to a pond up ahead.

‘DO YOU HAVE TO SPOIL IT FOR THE REST OF US?’ I thunder, turning on him in rage.

In a delirious strop, I ramble further into the grounds.

It is then, inevitably, that I get lost.

Completely and utterly lost.

Sweating and panting, I run up and down little mud tracks, realising in horror that the whole place will be closed in 15 minute and I am most likely going to be locked in for the night.

‘HELP ME!!!’ I wail, scrambling over a fence and landing ankle-deep in mud.

Seeing movement up ahead, I wade across the boggy field and unexpectedly find myself on a pig farm.

I have since visited The Lost Garden of Heligan website and realised that there is no pig farm. Meaning that I had either managed to wander onto someone else’s land or, rather more worryingly, hallucinated the pigs altogether.

‘Please help me’ I whimper, reaching out to stroke a large sow ‘I’m lost and completely off my tits. Or teets in your case’

Help eventually arrives in the form of a rather perturbed farmer, coming to give the pigs their evening sack of corn.

Faced with the terrifying sight of some insane, tear-stained girl, arm in arm with his prize sow, he very kindly doesn’t call the police and instead gives me a lift back on his tractor.

‘Don’t worry love’ he reassures me ‘I find young lasses up here all the time’

It is a blatant lie, but one which I am immensely grateful for.

Cornwall Day Three

Things reach somewhat of a head today.

Three antibiotics down and still feeling completely pole-axed, I take a solitary walk down by the harbour.

It is then that my best friend Henry calls, dropping the utter bombshell that he may be moving to LA for eight months in September.

‘That’s… fabulous!’ I croak, trying not to projectile vomit in horror.

‘How’s the writing going?’ he asks.

‘Oh swell thank you, absolutely swimmingly’ I nod, skirting over the impacted wisdom tooth, pig farm visit and the fact that I have yet been able to put pen to paper.

‘Getting lots done. In fact, I’m in the middle of a very important chapter right now, so I’d best be off. Fabulous news about LA. Byee!!’

I hang up, sway back and forth for several seconds, before bursting into self-pitying sobs.

‘OH GOD!!!’ I cry, sinking down to sit on a large log by the water and wallow in my own misery.

It is then that an elderly couple, clearly alarmed by this melancholic sight, walk up the path to join me.

‘What’s that you’ve found there, love?’ asks the man, pointing to the log beneath me.

‘What?’ I stammer, somewhat thrown by this question ‘I don’t know. Just a bit of wood’

‘No’ he persists ‘The thing you’re sat on’

In a hideous moment of shock and disgust, I realise that I am not sat on a log. Far from it. I am instead sat upon a large, decaying fish carcass. One that has clearly been washed up on the sea front and left to fester for several weeks.

‘Looks like it was some sort of shark’ chimes in his wife, cheerfully.

I decide that it may be best to write from the flat after all.

G xx

Holiday Hell

It’s Sunday 19th of June and I’m about to go on holiday with my boyfriend. 

Yes, that’s right.  I have a boyfriend now! 

We’re spending a romantic week away together in the Maldives. 

I am spray tanned, manicured and ready to go. A week of sun, sex and sangria; strolling hand in hand across a moonlit beach, whispering sweet nothings into each others ear and basking in the glow of newfound love. 


It’s Sunday 19th June and I’m about to go on holiday with a horse. 


I don’t know quite how this has happened. 

I had originally planned on going on holiday with the girls. Somewhere hot, cheap and sticky- a place where  I could chug 7 pints of sangria, whip off my bikini and bitch slap the local pool boy with my breasts. 

Somewhere I could develop third degree sunburn; spending the day in a bath of ice, like a disgruntled piece of pork, before shedding my entire skin, like some lardy, drunken snake. 


Trawling through Google one night, dressed in my pyjamas and gin goggles, I found myself on a website called

‘Yes!’ I slurred, smiling encouragingly around my empty living room. ‘A riding holiday is what I need! Sunshine, countryside and the company of a sturdy, yet loyal equine friend. Less booze, more exercise. Fewer fags, fresher air. Out with the cock.. IN WITH THE HOOF!’


Excitedly, I started to fill in the the online application form.

A very small voice at the back of my mind reminded me that I had not actually been on a horse since attending Pony Club, twelve years ago, and that this resulted in me shitting myself on day one and having to ring my mother to collect me from the portaloo. 

‘Ahh well!’ I trilled, pushing this alarming thought aside and taking another slug of gin. ‘How hard can riding be? I shall use my natural finesse and instincts as a horsewoman to see me through. Surely it’s just like swimming… or riding a bike!’

(Note- I cannot swim and the last time I rode a bike, my jeans got caught on the pedal and I was propelled into a hedge). 

Eight hours later, I was awoken by an email back. 

‘Hi Gabrielle! Great news! You’re booked in on our Black Mountain Weekend- two days of intense riding for the competent and experienced jockey!’

(‘What? WHAAAT?!’ I lurched in horror, last night coming back to me like some terrible nightmare) 

‘This ride is not for the faint hearted, but judging by your impressive levels of experience it will be no problem!’

(‘Oh God. Oh dear sweet God no’)

‘You’ll be staying at our on-site B&B, run for over 40 years by Hilda and her husband John. Payment can be made by cheque or bank transfer. Be sure to bring all your riding gear and we look forward to meeting you next Saturday!  P.S congratulations on your recent win at the Royal Windsor Showjumping Trials’ 



I am tired, bruised and exhausted. Every drop of my physical and mental juice has been drained, like an empty carton of Um Bongo. 

I have unfortunately not even got on the horse yet. 

Having set off this morning in torrential rain, I was taken on a 4 hour ‘scenic detour’ by my WHORE of a satnav, who decided to completely lose her shit somewhere in the middle of the Welsh mountains, refusing to direct me any further and simply showing my car spinning in tight circles on the screen. 

However, roused by visions of the rosy-cheeked, softly spoken Hilda, perhaps bearing a steaming tray of schnitzel, I finally arrived at the farmhouse, lugging along behind me my 8 stone suitcase of riding gear. 

I rang the bell. 

Eventually, an elderly, red faced and rather pissed off looking lady answered. 

‘Hello. You must be Hilda!’ I smiled  ‘My name’s Gabrielle and I’m here for the riding weekend’. 

‘WHAAAAT?!’ she hollered. 

I blinked in surprise. 

‘Hello! My name’s Gabrielle and I’m here for the-‘


‘…Gabrielle’ I repeated, by this point starting to question it myself. 

She stared at me suspiciously. 

‘Are you single?’ she asked

‘Christ, not this already’ I thought to myself. 

‘Well currently, I am single yes. Now I must be honest, Hilda’ I said, wagging my finger in a roguish manner 

‘I’m not ACTUALLY looking to date anyone at the moment. But if you leave me their name and number, I will most certainly take a look. In fact, I did quite like the look of that young farmhand who I drove past on the-‘

‘I mean did you book the single room?’


Hilda then begrudgingly showed me to my accommodation, which consisted of a single bed, Bible and something resembling a porcelain potty. 

Dinner was at 7pm. 

Rather than gently enticing us out our rooms with the smell of home cooked food and perhaps a crackling fire, we were summoned for our evening meal by Hilda viciously banging the ‘supper gong’. 

‘YOU COME OUT NOW!’ she yelled, before storming back in the kitchen. 

Nervously, myself and the three other weekend guests (a friendly looking mother and daughter and a rather lop-sided looking Frenchman) assembled round the dining table. 

It was then that Hilda’s husband, John, introduced himself. 

‘Bread is in the basket over here’ he said, gesturing to the table with a smile.

 ‘Butter is in the dish over there-‘ 

‘Ahh that’s better’ I reassured myself ‘Hilda may well be as welcoming as a skunk at a lawn party, but at least her husband seems nice and normal’ 

‘AND YOUR HANDS ARE ON THE ENDS OF YOUR ARMS! HA HA HA!’ he cackled at us all, before taking a bread roll from the basket and banging himself over the head with it. 

John, it transpired, was completely insane. 

Dinner time talk was rather intense, with Hilda determinedly finding fault with everything with everything I said and did, whilst John rambled along the path of the mentally ill. 

‘What job do you do?’ Hilda asked me, beadily.

‘Oh look- a penis!’ cried John, spearing a carrot in his plate.

‘I’m an actress’ I smiled, pushing my food around the plate and praying for a change of subject. 

‘THAT FIGURES’ Hilda replied, throwing me an accusatory glare. 

‘Had any work?’ she asked.

My mind reluctantly flitted back to my most recent job- an advert for a Welsh pie company, where I had to sing the song ‘Live and Let Pie’, in the middle of Cardiff’s Queen’s Arcade, dressed in a pie outfit. Then was paid in pies. 

‘Ohh, you know’ I waved, vaguely ‘this and that’ 

‘Very tricky career, acting’ piped up John, in a rare and unwelcome moment of lucidly ‘Most end up on the dole’

Having endured three courses, Hilda then brought out some forms for us to fill in. These asked for our height and weight, so we could be matched with a suitable horse for the weekend. 

Having last night ordered myself a Chinese takeaway so large that the delivery man provided three sets of chopsticks (I was so ashamed when opening the door that I shouted ‘Food’s here, guys!’ behind me, to an entirely empty flat), I decided that it would be wise to knock off a few pounds. 

‘There we go!’ I sheepishly handed over my form, having knocked off a good 3 and a half stone. ‘Christ, I hope I haven’t made myself sound TOO thin and light. Perhaps they’ll bring out a nimble young filly for me to ride. Or a greyhound’ 

Day 1

After a disturbing breakfast of cheese and ‘cold meats’, we assembled in the yard at 8am to meet out allocate horses. 

I do not look good in my riding gear. 

I can’t QUITE put my finger on it, but think it may be due to this GARGANTUAN FUCKING HAT. 

The other women look great in their riding hats. Really great. Sleek little velvet numbers, which fasten jauntily under the chin and are not comical in any way shape or form. 

However, in order to cater for my bulbous head, I have been given something resembling a gigantic breeze block. It weighs about 2 stone and extends about 3 feet up in the air. I look like a traditionally dressed Welsh lady. Or Mr Ben off the rice packets. 

Eventually, the horses were brought out. 

‘Gabrielle- you’ll be riding Ester!’ said Paul, our instructor for the day

Out minced a sweet looking, nimble, black haired pony. 

‘Oh how sweet!’ I enthused, leaping forward to stroke her and skidding in a large horse poo

Suddenly, Paul consulted his notes. 

‘Sorry-‘ he asked, looking up ‘Are you Gabrielle Fernie?’

‘Yes’ I happily replied.

‘Ahh my mistake’ he replied ‘Good job we checked. BRING OUT JEMIMA!!’

The ground suddenly shook beneath us as a huge, a huge, muscular SHIRE HORSE lumbered in. 

Having assessed my weight and clearly agreeing it to be of monstrous, crippling proportions, I have been put on the fattest horse known to mankind. In fact, I’m not entirely sure it is a horse. Maybe some rare breed of elephant. Or a bus. 

Immediately sensing my fear and incompetence, Jemima stared at me with the eyes of an axe-murderer. 

‘Perhaps she is a relation to Hilda’ I found myself thinking, nervously.

In fact, my Jemima was so wide, that once heaved up into the saddle (by use of a step ladder) my legs stuck out completely horizontally, in the manner of the splits.

‘Good Jemima, sweet Jemima’ I cooed, hysterically. .

To start with, the ride went pretty well. 

Clearly incensed at being dragged out her stable, Jemima plodded sulkily at the back of the ride, pausing occasionally to snarl at passing children or pull entire branches off trees and eat them. 

‘This is actually quite pleasant!’ I smiled to myself, patting my horse’s hulking shoulder ‘Perhaps I truly do have a natural gift for riding. This could be the start of a whole new, wholesome lifestyle!’ 

Then.. something happened. 

Something so utterly traumatising that I will remember it to the end of my days. 

There’s no easy way of putting this really… 

I farted in the saddle. 

Clearly thinking a nearby bomb had gone off, Jemima reared up in terror and began to gallop at breakneck speed across the field. 

‘FUUUUUUUUCKK!!!!!!!’ I screamed, clinging on to her neck for dear life 

‘Gabrielle!!!!’ cried Paul, now a good mile and a half behind us ‘Sit up in the saddle! Stop squeezing her with your legs!’

‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN STOP SQUEEZING WITH MY FUCKING LEGS!!’ I screamed, ducking under a passing branch ‘IT’S THE ONLY WAY I CAN STAY ON!’ 

Clearly enjoying herself now, Jemima tossed her head and carryed on careering to the nearest hedge. 

Good god. Were we going to… jump it?! 

‘Please Jemima!’ I jabbered deliriously ‘Have mercy! I’m sorry I called you fat. You’re not fat…just… just carrying a little extra Christmas weight! It suits you!’ 

Ignoring my compliments, she ploughed on. 

‘This is it’ I thought to myself, dementedly ‘This is how I’m going to die. We’re about to take ourselves out in the manner of Thelma and Louise. Maybe they’ll make a film version of this… Gabrielle and the Fat Horse’ 

‘GOOD BYE CRUEL WORLD!!’ I sobbed, shutting my eyes. 


Having reached the hedge, Jemima suddenly screeched to a halt and immediately put her head down to graze, whilst I sailed gaily over her head and thumped onto the ground. 

I did not make the second days riding. 

Instead I was taken back to the B&B on the back of a quad bike, driven, rather alarmingly, by John. 

He patted my on the head in a reassuring manner as a climbed off. 

‘Good boy’ he smiled ‘I’ll just go and get your lead then we’ll take you for a walk’. 


Crystal Ball(s)  

I broke our toilet last Saturday.

Breaking a toilet is never sexy. It’s probably right up there with sporting a camel toe or farting in a packed out elevator.

And before you ask, no, I didn’t lay some gigantic dump and block the U- bend. After a few too many G+T’s, I rather over-zealously flushed and the whole thing came off in my hand.

Matters were made worse by the fact that I live with two boys. Two sweet, unassuming guys, who I think expected me to bring a touch of femininity to the place- fresh flowers on the table, loaves of homemade bread in the oven, whilst merrily floating around with a duster, trilling ‘I Feel Pretty’.

Instead, they found themselves lumbered with some drunken old soak, who is allergic to housework and has on three seperate occasions managed to set fire to the wok.

Therefore, the following evening- head pounding, room spinning- I was faced with somewhat of a dilemma.

With the toilet rendered completely unusable, I found myself in desperate need to… you know. Download a brownload. Release the chocolate hostages.

I took to Wattsapp for moral support.

‘Hey girls!’ I cheerily wrote ‘No need to panic this time.  I’m feeling completely fine and mentally stable… HA HA HA. Just wondered- what are the social implications nowadays of pooing in one’s own garden?’

The answers were varied.

The majority warned that in no way in hell was this acceptable- instead I should find a pub or a cafe somewhere and use their toilet.

Others were a bit more happy-go-lucky in their approach. My friend Erin suggested that I simply ‘shit in a carrier bag and fling it’.

Having ruled out the pub/cafe due to my frightening physical appearance (and abandoned the idea of the shit-bag due to fear of receiving an ASBO), I soon found myself squatting in the dark at the end of our garden, clutching a roll of toilet paper.

‘This is a low point, Gabrielle’ I warned myself.

‘You are behaving like Stig of the Dump. Or rather, Gabrielle of the Gigantic Dump’.

Matters were not helped by the fact that I had been joined by the neighbourhood cat- a large male tabby- who sat opposite me and insisted on watching the entire incident.

‘Oh god, look at the judgement in his eyes’ I thought to myself, fretfully.

‘Look away, you perv! Actually, he probably thinks I’m now feral. Perhaps tonight we’ll go hunting for mice together and then share a bowl of Whiskers’.

Having completed the deadly deed and had a firm word with the cat (‘May we never speak of this again, Jasper’) I scurried inside and poured myself a large gin.

Oh god. What had I become?

As I waited in dread for my shadowy figure to appear on the 6pm news- the Phantom Shepherd’s Bush Shitter- I came up with an action plan.

Time to get some direction in my life.

Should I put myself forward for some rewarding voluntary work? No.

Take my parents up on their offer of a place at finishing school? Hell no.

Instead, I decided that an excellent solution to my problems would be to BOOK A CRYSTAL BALL READING, with a local clairvoyant named Kami*

The day dawned.

Hungover, delirious and once again questioning my mental sanity,  I set off in search of Kami’s shop.

It only took me a 4 minute walk to find it. Good god, we were neighbours! This was a sign, surely?

I found myself outside a small green wooden hut, situated behind the local kebab shop. The same kebab shop I had been drunkenly visiting for the past 6 months.

I waited patiently, whilst the familiar smell of meat filled my nostrils and the owner eyed me warily.

I was just about to order an extra large chicken doner and do a runner, when Kami appeared.

I’m not quite sure what I had expected. Some old, withered hag perhaps, with a wandering eye and metal hand- muttering to herself whilst smoking a crack pipe.

Instead, I was greeted by an average middle- aged Indian lady, dressed in jeans and a brown polo neck sweater.

‘Come in’ she whispered, ushering me inside the hut.

‘Now tell me’ she asked ‘How did you manage to find me?’ Her piercing eyes bore into mine.

I didn’t like to point out that there were several socking great signs outside and instead improvised some twoddle about having been ‘drawn by her aura’ and having ‘followed the spinning compass’, vaguely aware that I was now quoting lines from Mother Willow in Pocahontas.

We sat down.

Looking around, I found myself in some elaborate, religious shrine- with burning incense sticks, crucifixes and rosary beads lining the walls. These were dominated by a gigantic, life-sized portrait of Jesus Christ, who bore a striking resemblance to Noel Edmunds.

With a lot of rustling in carrier bags, Kami then proceeded to bring out the crystal ball.

I stifled a small laugh/scream.

The ball itself was outrageously battered and chipped, as if Kami had rather too often dropped it out of her Tesco Bag For Life and had to chase it down Uxbridge High Street. This was held in place by four grotesque, gnarled black plastic hands. It looked very similar to something on sale in the Harry Potter Studio Tour gift shop. In fact, I’m sure it WAS currently on sale in the Harry Potter Studio Tour gift shop.

‘What is your name, child?’ Kami began.


‘Gabriella’ she repeated, jotting it down on a pad of paper.

‘No, no- Gabrielle’ I corrected ‘No A at the end’.

She studiously ignored me.

I fretfully wondered how badly the misspelling was going to affect my reading. Perhaps I would mistakenly receive the predictions for a completely different woman, named Gabriella- some rosy-cheeked vixen who lived in the Scottish Highlands and reared a family of goats.

‘We will now start the reading’ Kami instructed.

She stared deep into the ball, making a low, gurgling sound, like a blocked drain that’s just had a good dosing of Mr Muscle.

‘I’m seeing the letter P’ she suddenly announced. ‘Who in your life has a name beginning in P?’

I wracked my brains. Nobody I knew had a name beginning in P. Seriously, nobody. The only person I could think of was my deceased hamster, Peepo, who died of extreme portliness in 2001, having got stuck in her plastic tubing.

Undeterred, Kami ploughed on.

‘V? I am strongly getting the letter V’.

I trawled through my memory, panicked. Nope. Not a sausage. Truly, this woman had a gift of predicting the only letters that had no meaning to me whatsoever.

‘J?’ She continued to bulldoze through the alphabet ‘U? E, Q, X, R?’

‘Well my mum is called Rosemary-‘

‘Aha!’ She cried triumphantly ‘I can see that. She is a very strong presence in your life’.

She then stared at me, pointedly.

‘Do you have a boyfriend?’

‘Umm, no, no boyfriend I’m afraid. Loving life though.. Fat, single and ready for a Pringle! HA HA HA’ I laughed nervously into the silence.

‘But why?’ she asked, her green eyes once again penetrating mine ‘Why should such a young, pretty girl have no man?’

‘Well, I’m not sure Kami. I think-‘

‘You don’t want a relationship?’

‘Well, yes. Of course I do. The thing is I think sometimes I-‘

‘Then why are you alone?’

It was at that point that I nearly lost it.

‘I don’t know, Kami!’ I nearly yelled.
‘CHRIST! If I’d wanted an interrogation over my lack of love life, I would have arranged to have Sunday lunch with my parents. You, however, are supposed to be a psychic. USE YOUR SODDING BALL, LOVE!!!’

Sensing that she may have hit upon a sensitive topic, she moved on.

‘The past year has been stressful for you, work wise..’

I fleetingly thought of the past 365 evenings… Largely comprised of gin, one night stands and copious cocktail sausages.

‘Mmm, yes. Rather stressful’ I murmured.

‘But something wonderful will happen to you on May 18th, this year. Your life will change for good’.

Christ, that was very specific wasn’t it?! May 18th. Blimey.

I suddenly had visions of myself winning the lottery rollover or waking up to inexplicably find myself three stone thinner and in bed with Brad Pitt.

Or maybe the change could be something less superficial? Perhaps I will find my spiritual calling working night and day in a soup kitchen. Or take up lessons in the lute, which I shall merrily play on the street to the delight of passers by.

I had barely had time to process this nugget of gold before Kami dropped the next bombshell.

‘You will also be married by the age of 28’ she confirmed.

Bloody hell. 28! That’s a bit soon, isn’t it? Only 4 years away. Quite frankly, I should already be on the Atkins diet and have started choosing the hymns for the service.

‘Yes…’ She continued, staring into the ball. ‘Your husband will be tall, wear brightly coloured clothes and have a huge smile’

I hastily pushed aside the alarming vision of myself stood at the alter with Ronald McDonald.

‘His first name and surname will be compromised from the following letters: D S M P A R C’

I stared at them, entranced. Oo how exciting… An anagram!!

I have since arranged the letters in every possible order and have come up with two conclusions. My future husband is either going to be called Dr Spam… Or Mr Crap.


Staring at the letters, I suddenly noticed the distinct lack of vowels. That can’t be normal, can it? It almost looked Welsh… Or Indian.

Good God… Perhaps Kalyani was planning to set me up with one of her own sons? Was this all an elaborate ruse?!

‘Great news son, I’ve found a lovely new suitor for you… A sweet, slightly unhinged girl by the name of Gabriella. Drop round her flat on May 18th with a bunch of flowers, there’s a dear’.

Kami then moved on to the cheering topic of my death.

‘You will live to a respectable age’ she promised ‘between the ages of 88-90’

Well, this was music to my ears. Having spent the past 6 years smoking and drinking like some lusty, wall-eyed pirate, I had fully expected not to make it past the age of 35.

‘But be careful’ Kami warned ‘You will later suffer problems from high blood pressure and knee stress’.

High blood pressure and knee stress, did she say? Was Kami suggesting that I was going to die… OF OBESITY?! That I will soon be roaring round in a wheelchair, clad in a flowery fat gown and poking stick? Terrorising my beloved Dr Spam into buying me another Cornish beef pasty?

She interrupted my thoughts.

‘What do you do for work?’ She asked, beadily.

‘Um.. Well currently I work as a writer’.

She stared deep into her crystal ball.

‘Mmm. I can see something here. Yes. You’re going to enjoy a successful career… As a writer!’

I stared at her.

‘I’ve just told you that, Kami’

Clearly put out, she gazed moodily back into the ball.

Feeling the stern yet strangely arousing gaze of Noel Edmunds upon me, I also stared into the crystal ball, noticing the words ‘Suitable For Ages 8+’ written on one of the handles.

‘Ahh yes! I see something now’ she suddenly cried.

Oh god, what now? Some sordid affair with a Mr Shit? A star appearance on ‘Extreme Bodies’, as my 86 stone bulk is forklifted out bed by a team of firefighters?

‘Beware.’ She murmured, her face suddenly deathly pale ‘In your life you will have many friends… But many GREAT ENEMIES’.

I jolted to attention.

‘What? What do you mean, great enemies? Who will these enemies be?’

She paused, eyes flashing.

‘I can give you one, crucial piece of advise. And that is-‘


A sudden blast of Beyoncé from Kami’s phone made us both jump.

‘Ahh there we are. Times up!’ She smiled, breezily.

‘But wait, what about-‘

‘That’s it I’m afraid’

And that was that.

Thirty pounds to be told that I’m destined for a life of obesity, married to some spam obsessed doctor/possible clown.

As for now? Time to treat myself, I think.

Let’s take this new toilet for a spin.

G xx



My life has been a series of poor decisions. 

Most recently was my decision to become a weekend van driver. And not just any van driver. Oh no. A van driver entrusted with the task of transporting FIFTEEN DOGS TO AND FROM A DAYCARE CENTRE. 

My trial day was a nightmare.

Sensing my nerves, the dogs were horrendously behaved from start to finish. 

Having spent the entire journey barking and humping on the back seat, they then proceeded to CLIMB INTO THE FRONT WITH ME at the traffic lights; panting in my face, chewing the gearstick and putting their feet up on the dashboard. The only well behaved member of the party was a sweet, old Westie, who curled up quietly on my lap before proceeding to lay a steaming shit down my leg. 

Needless to say, I did not return. 

HOWEVER, by far my most catastrophic decision of the year was applying to go on a daytime dating/cookery programme. 

For those that do not know, this resulted in me face planting into a raw chicken on national television, before being put to bed by the film crew with a cold flannel. 

I WAS RATHER BAFFLED, THEREFORE, to receive a call from from the production company last month inviting me back on the show. 

Having provided them with such comedy gold in the last episode, they were now offering me the coveted role of the ‘picker’. This involved simply going on three blind dates, having three dinners cooked for me and picking the winner at the end. 

Restless, jobless and mentally unstable, I found myself agreeing. 

‘This will be easy!’ I thought. ‘All I have to do is go on the dates, eat the food and have a nice time. I can’t possibly fuck this one up’. 


Date Number One- Pete*


 Most girls would be prepared for this day. They would spend WEEKS preparing themselves. 

 I had envisioned myself undergoing a complete transformation:  hair freshly highlighted, nails manicured, sexy outfits chosen and half a stone lost through a rigorous cabbage soup diet. 

Unfortunately, things did not quite go to plan. 

I have resurrected this morning looking like a hungover gargoyle.

This includes grown-out hair ( even managing to form a DREAD-LOCK at the back, which I have resorted to cutting out with a pair of kitchen scissors, leaving a small, chilly bald patch), a black fingernail which I drunkenly trapped in a toilet door last weekend, 10 pounds of extra weight gained (morphing into 3 extra chins, like Desperate Dan) and not a single outfit to wear. 

‘HELP ME!’ I sobbed down the phone to my friend Rowena. ‘I have nothing to wear. NOTHING. I am morbidly obese. Every dress I try on makes me look like Dame Edna’.

‘What you need’ advised Rowena ‘is those sucky-in pant things. You know, the big, granny elasticated ones. They knock inches off’. 

Transfixed by the vision of my 4 chinned head balancing on the svelte body of Kate Moss , I bought myself a very skimpy, tight playsuit from Topshop before heading to M&S. 

Ignoring the gangs of young, pretty girls pondering over lacy pants with their boyfriends, I doggedly followed the stream of elderly women to the ‘corrective underwear’ section. 

I surveyed the garments in horror. God, they were TERRIFYING. Like some medieval method of torture.

Also what size does one go for? The size one actually is (12) or the size one would ideally like to become after putting them on?! (4-6).

Eventually, I settle on a sturdy looking lycra number, complete with little elasticated legs that extend over the thighs. A bit like an adult babygro, without the arms. 

Excitedly, I dash home to get ready. 


Problem. Hideous, HIDEOUS problem. 

The legs of the giant pants… extend BEYOND THE LEGS OF THE PLAYSUIT. 

Letting out a strangled scream, I fish out a pair of scissors and begin manically hacking away at them. 

This, it transpires, is a grave error.

Once cut, both knicker legs lose elasticity and ROLL UPWARDS, like a pair of unruly condoms, forming two small sausage rings at the top of my thighs. 


In the taxi.

Dolled up to the nines, I have abandoned the pants and decided to embrace my fat rolls, like a cross-dressing Michelin Man. 

Time to meet the love of my life! HA HA HA. 

We’ve nearly reached the destination when I receive a call from the director. 

‘Gabrielle, I’m so sorry but there’s been a bit of an emergency at your date’s house’ she explains ‘Could you get the taxi to drop you off in a bar and we’ll come and collect you?’

Oh no. Oh sweet Jesus no. 

‘Just the one wine, Gabrielle’ I tell myself sternly, as I climb out of the taxi. ‘There will be plenty of time to drink tonight. Just one little glass of red to see you on your way’. 


PHWOOAR the blurry red wine is blurry fantastic, innit?!! WHEEY. Hot diggity damn. Top notch beverage. 

I don’t know where the arsing film crew have got to but I am beyond caring. 

I have befriended a lovely, LOVELY bartender called Greg, who finds my situation hilarious and has been plying me with free tequila shots all night. He’s rather tall with a long, bushy beard; an irresistible cross between Gandalf and Mr Twit. Mmmm. 

I am just on the verge of inviting Greg back to my flat for a game of twister and some ‘hot tea’, when my director pulls up. 

‘I’m so so sorry about the delay. It’s inexcusable’ she pants. ‘The thing is, one of our cameras broke and then- Christ, are you alright?’

She stares at me in horror, as I sway precariously on the pavement. 

‘Hmm? Oh yes. Absolutely dandy’ I slur, trying desperately to focus on one of her six revolving heads. 

I flash what I hope is a sober smile, looking more like a stoned Cheshire Cat, before climbing into the car. 


Nearly 3 hours behind schedule, absolutely trollied and reeking of tequila, I finally knock on the door or my date’s house.

The cameras start rolling. 

‘HELLO!!’ I beam, clutching the doorframe for support. 

Well. He does not look pleased to see me. Quite the opposite in fact. For a second I wonder whether I have been brought to the right house

I’m met by a tall, thin man, dressed in tight black trousers, a black polo neck sweater and a black bowler hat. I feel like he’s going to spontaneously burst into a mime routine. 

Introducing himself as Pete, he eyes me suspiciously before hastily ushering me inside, as if worried that I’m about to take a shit on his doorstep and carve my name in it. 

‘This is lovely!’ I enthuse, as we walk through to the dining room- two plastic garden chairs and a garden table with a curtain thrown over it. Hideous. 

We sit in silence on the sofa. 

Pete does not offer to take my coat or offer me anything to drink. Luckily, I have an emergency bottle of white wine in my handbag, which I pour us two glasses of. 

‘Cheers! Here’s to us’ I beam at him. He stares stonily back. 

Thankfully, we are then separated to film our ‘first impressions’ for the camera. 

‘Well, he’s not my usual type but I’m really looking forward to getting to know him’ I enthuse, deciding to give him the benefit of the doubt ‘I can’t wait to see what the night has in store’.

 Poor Pete, I muse as I’m sent upstairs to wait. Perhaps he’s just shy and not used to having female company. The poor man is clearly so dazzled by my sparkling wit and good looks that he can barely speak! 

Clutching my glass, I creep out to listen at the top of the stairs. 


I splutter quietly into my wine. 

‘She seems very… ‘jolly’ but frankly there’s no spark there. Quite the opposite in fact’. 

No spark? No spark?!!!! YOU’RE TELLING ME, LOVE! Christ, getting conversation out of you was like getting blood out of a fucking turnip! 

‘And I didn’t like to say anything…’ Pete continues. ‘But she’s clearly been drinking before she arrived. She’s absolutely plastered’ 

That did it then. 

‘RIGHT! I’M READY FOR MY STARTER!’ I cry, stamping crossly down the stairs and planting myself heavily on the garden chair, nearly falling through it. 


The evening steadily went from bad to worse. 

Pete sullenly brought out each course, whilst I necked back more and more wine in retaliation. Plastered? I’LL SHOW YOU PLASTERED. 

Now, this show is supposed to be a laid back, warm bubble bath of a programme.  It’s aired before the watershed. The height of drama is usually someone not taking their quiche’s out the oven in time. 

The camera team were astounded, therefore, by what followed next. 

‘So, now that the meal is over I would like to say a few things’ announced Pete, placing his knife and fork together.

I smiled encouragingly, thinking he was going to apologise for his bad temper and perhaps whip out a bottle of tequila. 

‘I feel that you’ve been fake laughing the entire evening. And fake smiling. You’ve been mocking me all night’

I stared, flabbergasted. 

 ‘You’ve been drunk and disorderly from start to finish’ he continued ‘You’ve barely touched my food, just knocked back the wine AND I heard you tell the camera that my raspberry coulis looked like a plate of Ribena. I think it’s time that you left’. 

Completely speechless with shock, I was ushered outside to  film my final comments. 

Now I am not a crier. I never have been. But the combination of fresh air, tiredness and 4 litres of wine suddenly got to me. 

‘THAT WAS THE WORST DATE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!’ I cry, bursting into noisy sobs.

‘He was r-really mean a-and his food was h-horrible, I’m t-t-tired, my chins are weighing me down and I- I— I JUST WANT TO ORDER A DOMINOS AND GO HOME!’ 

Date 2- Daniel*

11.30 am

Oh God no. I cannot face going on a another date tonight. No no no. 

It’s the morning after and I am sat on the bathroom floor, hugging the toilet bowl. 

Last night keeps coming back in a series of hideous flashbacks. The argument. The tears. The drunken review I wrote of my Uber driver, detailing how he was ‘a wise, witty and beautiful man, with an excellent command of the steering wheel’. 


Having had a very boozy lunch with my friend Henry, who convinced me that last nights date was an utter pillock, I set off for my second date in much higher spirits. 

The cameras start rolling as I knock on the door. It opens.

’SHIT A BRICK!  I cry out, involuntarily. 

This guy is hot. Actually hot. A real fitty. 

I am quickly taken off to film my first impressions for the camera, before my loins catch fire. 

I don’t know whether it is the stress, the hangover or the sexual frustration but I inexplicably turn into an aroused grandmother. 

‘Well… Ding dong!’ I whistle, heavily winking for the camera. ‘Sizzle my sausage! He’s a bit of a humdinger, isn’t he? Twit twoo. MOTHER MAY I!’ 

The beauty of my evening with Daniel is that he got equally as slaughtered as I did. 

‘Time for the third bottle!!’ he cried, stumbling through to the kitchen, followed by the sound of crashing pans and gushing water. 

It was at that point that I realised I had absolutely no idea what his name was. 

’Shit, what was it?’ I whisper to the camera, snorting with laughter. ‘Draco? Derek?… Domino? Oh god knows. COME ON DESMOND, BRING THAT WINE THROUGH!’ 

Clearly thrilled that we had hit it off, the director then asked if I was going to give him a goodnight kiss. 

‘A kiss? I’ll be doing more than that, love!’ I cackle ‘PANTS DOWN, DONALD!’ 

Date 3- Raymond*


Hungover, bloated and tired, I wearily set off to meet my final man.

If I have taken anything away from this experience it is that I never want to date again in my life.

I don’t want to truss myself up like some prize Christmas turkey and think up interesting conversation all evening.

I want to be sat in my pyjamas, watching The Apprentice and steadily working my way through a bottle of gin. 

‘Now just to let you know, Raymond is very nervous’ the director warned me at the door. ‘So just be your usual bubbly, witty self’

‘Oh brilliant’ I thought, darkly. This is just what I need. I feel about as witty as a pile of sick.

Raymond did indeed look like he was about to shit his pants as he answered the door.

‘Right. This is going to need two large doses of wine, swiftly followed by several shots’ I thought sagely to myself, diagnosing the situation like some alcoholic doctor. 

I reach into my bag for my emergency wine bottle.

Amazingly, the emergency bottle was not needed. Raymond had laid on enough alcohol to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. 

He wasn’t even repulsed when I’d lapped him by three glasses of prosecco, instead handing me the bottle to finish. 

‘This is smashing’ I beamed at the camera, merrily filling up my glass, ‘I’m not sure I fancy him but he’s made such an effort. There are flowers on all the tables. And candles in the loo. And he’s promised me that I can take the remaining wine home for the taxi ride!’. 

The evening got steadily better and better from this point.

Raymond was indeed the perfect gentleman- filling up my glass as soon as it was empty (no easy task) and not seeming to mind when I barely ate any of his food.

He wasn’t even offended when I got the giggles at his mother’s prized portrait on the wall (it was HILARIOUS- a painting of Raymond as a baby, lying coquettishly on a velvet cushion and wearing nothing but a golden dock leaf), laughing so hard that I shot wine out my nose.

By the end of the night I was in such raring spirits that I even agreed to Skype his mother with him. 

‘HELLO MRS RAYMOND!’ I beamed drunkenly down the lens, swinging my bottle of prosecco.

‘I would just to congratulate you on raising such a lovely, LOVELY young man. So kind and considerate, with such excellent taste in wine and a delicate hand at flower arranging’ 

‘That portrait hanging on the wall is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. What a strapping young baby you bore. I myself would be honoured to have a copy one day to hang on my own wall-‘

Realising that I was starting to talk completely out my arse, I hastily said my goodbyes and got in the taxi home. 

In tearing spirits, myself and the taxi driver sang raucously to Magic FM, whilst I dished the dirt on my three dates. 


It was only when I got home that I discovered 5 missed calls on my mobile and a hysterical voicemail from the director saying that I had spent the entire journey with my microphone still attached. 


I will not spoil the surprise by admitting who I chose, but quite obviously it was between dates 2 and 3. 

I quite fancied turning up on date 1’s doorstep, just to annoy him- ‘Congratulations… you’ve won ANOTHER EVENING WITH ME!!!’ but decided against it. 

Either way you are in for a corker of an episode. Whilst I shall be forced to emigrate abroad. 


My Day As A Nurse

As mentioned previously, I work as an actor.

Actually, I think the correct term right now is ‘resting’ actor.

Fuck it, I’m unemployed.

ANYWAY, having endured three long years at drama school (once you have spent a half-hour class ’embodying a piece of bamboo’ you can cope with anything) I graduated in a whirlwind of excitement, ready to seize my career on stage and screen.

Yet, something wasn’t quite right.

Instead of attending castings for films and West End plays, the only audition I landed in 3 months was for the role of a magicians assistant. In an advert for a NORWEGIAN SEWAGE COMPANY.

 This involved pretending to be ‘conjured into a chicken’ (quite what this had to do with sewage I will never know) and crawling around on my hands and knees, loudly clucking, in front of a casting panel of four people.

 I was also sent a script to audition for a new short film. This, rather insultingly, was for the role of ‘an older, more overweight version of Vicky Pollard’. I mean, I was SELECTED to audition for this role. As in, the casting director will have scanned a database of hundreds of faces, stopped at mine and gone ‘FUCK ME, SHE’S A RIGHT MUNTER, ISN’T SHE?!’ and put me forward for the casting.

So things were looking rather bleak.

Meanwhile, I was working full time in a local bar, pouring pints for drunken louts who would shout ‘CAN I GET SOME MORE HEAD WITH THAT PINT, LOVE? WHEEEY!’.

Then, around Christmas time, something miraculous happened. I landed my first proper job, in a popular soap. This was to play the small role of a nurse working in an STI clinic (yes I know, very appropriate, ha de ha ha).

For the sake of my career, im not sure  whether I should name the programme in question, but lets just say that it half-rhymes with JOLLY GROPES. WALLY BLOKES. Or TROLLY JOKES (you get the picture).

My character was called ‘Nurse With No Name’ (it looks stunning on my CV) and had the task of imparting one crucial line: ‘THE TEST WAS NEGATIVE, JON PAUL. YOU DON’T HAVE AIDS’.


The day of filming dawned.

Having not slept for the entire night, one eye permanently trained on the alarm clock like a keen lizard, I arrived for my 7am make-up call looking a little ‘groggy’. In fact, groggy is an understatement. We are talking shiny skin, wild hair and mad little piggy eyes. Like I had spent the night in a wheelie bin.

This was, of course, when I ran slap bang into my scene partner; the gorgeous actor playing Jon Paul.

Now, I have had fan-like crush on this actor since the age of about 13.

So much so, that I used to have a topless poster of him hugging a baby rabbit, ripped out of a Girl Talk magazine.

 And the problem was, although I was well aware of who HE was, I completely forgot that he had never seen me before in his life.

‘HELLO YOU, OLD SAUCE-POT!!’ I cried, embracing him in a bear like hug and slapping him heartily on the back. ‘How’s your rabbit doing?’.

If slightly shocked as to who this delirious, Hagrid-like girl was cradling him to her breast, he didn’t show it and was perfectly lovely.

‘Looking forward to working with you today’ he smiled.

‘Ahh what a delightful young man’ I thought to myself. ‘Today’s going to be brilliant. A memory that I will fondly cherish forever and ever’.

Little did I know what utter horrors lay before me.

Having left makeup, I was whisked up to costume to put on my ‘nurse attire’.

I had been phoned up by the costume department a few days previously and asked for my dress size.

 ‘Ohhh I’m quite petite. A slip of a thing, really!’ I flagrantly fibbed , fearful that upon learning my real dress size they would cry ‘CHRIST, WE CAN’T HIRE THIS HEFFER!’ and offer the role to someone else.

‘Yes, I think I’m somewhere between a 6 and an 8!’ I trilled.


I stared at my costume in horror.

Laid out in front of me was the teeniest tiniest pair of trousers and shirt I had ever seen before in my life. Something that might just about fit a Cabbage Patch Kid doll.

Trying not to hyperventilate, I plastered on a joyous smile.

 ‘Oh thank you SO MUCH! These look PERFECT. I’ll just slip into them and be out in a sec’.

What ensued thereafter, I can only liken to trying  to stuff a large blancmange into a thimble.

I somehow managed to get the clothes on… But any sudden movements and I would have literally EXPLODED out of them. The only way I could physically move in the trousers was to maintain a sort of ‘squatted’ position, like I was about to lay a  large dump.

‘How do the clothes fit?’ called the costume boy through the door.

‘LIKE A BLOODY GLOVE!’ I called back through gritted teeth, panting and sweating with the exertion of trying to do up my fly.

I was already starting to lose the sensation in both my arms. The short cotton sleeves were so tight that they had cut off all circulation. Like some butchers string wrapped around a piece of pork.

‘Ready!’ I cried, walking bow-legged out the door, numb arms swinging wildly.

The poor boy looked completely horrified at my appearance but was clearly too polite to say anything.

The only adjustment he made was to attach a large safety pin across the front of my shirt, which unable to cope with the strain of my heaving breasts, was gaping open like some lardy stripper.

I waddled my way to the set.

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly strong stomached girl. One has to be growing up in rural Wales. Such as the time, aged 12, when my Shetland pony was castrated and the vet HANDED ME THE BALLS TO KEEP.

But if there is one thing that I cannot abide, it’s blood and needles.

I was the girl at school who had to have a crash mat put down when having injections. And fainted whilst dissecting a pigs heart.

I rather disturbed therefore, to be met on set by a real nurse who would be instructing me on how to REALISTICALLY INSERT A NEEDLE AND PERFORM A BLOOD TEST.

Cheerfully, she laid out the instruments of torture on the table- wipes, needles, tubes, cotton wool- and talked me through it step by step.

The room started swaying as I broke into a cold sweat.

‘KEEP IT TOGETHER, GABRIELLE’ I told myself ‘This is your first ever day of filming. Now is NOT the time to faint, throw up or shit yourself’.

Unfortunately, having already lost all sensation in my limbs due to my child-size clothing, I was very near the point of face-planting into the floor.

The cameras started rolling.

Sweating, teeth chattering and body parts inflating in random places due to my restricted blood flow, I descended on Jon Paul with the needle. To be fair to him, he handled it well. It must have been a truly terrifying sight- less jolly nurse, more the angel of death.

 Traumatused, I was driven back to the studio canteen for lunch.

Everybody sat in cliques. It was like Mean Girls. All the make-up women at one table, all the camera crew at another, all the extras… There was nowhere for exploding trouser girl.

I rang my mother from the toilet cubicle.

 ‘I’M ALL ALONE, MUMMY!’ I cried. ‘Everybody knows each other and it’s really intimidating and I can’t really move properly incase I ERUPT FROM THESE CASTRATING TROUSERS!!!’

This is when my mother imparted her usual Marge Simpson- like advice.

‘You stroll on over there’ she instructed ‘And say Hello! My name is Gabrielle and I would like to be your friend! Or perhaps you could hand something around, like a packet of Werther’s Originals’.

‘No, Mum-‘

‘Or I could ring up whoever’s in charge and ask someone to come and sit with you, if you like. I used to do that for you when you were little. I remember when you were at Pony Club and you were too scared to use the portaloo by yourself, so instead chose to defecate in-‘

I think it was at that point that I hung up.

Lunch hour ended and it was time to film the last part of the scene. This involved simply sitting behind a desk and delivering my one line of dialogue-‘The test was negative, Jon Paul. YOU DON’T HAVE AIDS’.

‘Let’s try and get this in one take guys!’ the director called.

I nervously got into position.

‘And… ACTION!’

A dramatic silence fell. Composing my features into what I hoped was an expression of wisdom and authority, I cleared my throat ready to deliver my one, crucial line.

‘The test was negative, Jon Paul. You don’t have- AAAGH!’.

A sudden, sharp pain stabbed into my right boob, followed by a cool gust of air.

I looked down.

Unable to take the strain anymore, my safety pin had snapped, sticking itself into my chest. Therefore allowing the shirt to burst wide open.

There was a horrified silence in the room. We are talking an entire film crew, director and actors all staring in utter disbelief, whilst I casually sat in front of the camera with both tits hanging out.

I kept the transmission date of my episode a dirty secret.

Which is just as well really, as when it aired they chose to cut out my head out from the scene  (By this I mean that my head wasn’t in shot. I don’t mean like a severed head).

Instead, there is just a beautifully filmed shot of my clammy, inflated clown hands, shakily administering a needle.

My friends rang me afterwards with words of encouragement, as a sat necking back gin in horror- ‘We could tell they were your hands, Gab- we recognised your mole!’

I am going to stick to nursing a pint.

G x


Am I dead? I must be.

No human being can physically consume 2 bottles of wine, 5 jagerbombs, 2 mojito’s, 3 tequila shots, an entire pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea and still live to tell the tale.

I feel strangely calm about it all.

‘At least she died doing what she loved’ they will say. ‘Getting off her tits’.

I am ready. Take my hand, oh Lord and lead me through those pearly gates!

Let me feed you grapes and plait your beard. Sit on your lap and confess to you my sins.

(I don’t mean that in a prozzy, lap-dancey sort of way. That would be totally wrong. I mean like innocently sitting on Santa Claus’ lap. A family friendly Santa. Not the perverted kind, where people pay to be put on the ‘naughty list’ and be beaten over the bottom with a candy cane).

Blearily, I peel open one burning eye.

Well I must say, heaven isn’t quite how I expected.

There are no angels, for starters. No fat cherub plucking a harp. No Elvis Presley donning a loin cloth and singing ‘A Big Hunk O’Love’.

Instead, I am staring into the eye of a battered sausage. A half-eaten battered sausage.

Whilst lying spread eagled on my kitchen floor.

Oh god. This is not death. This is something far, far worse.

This is the hangover from hell.


I’m not talking the bearable kind, where you pop a couple of painkillers, untag the photo of you shitting in a bus shelter and head off for brunch.

Oh no.

We are talking the type of hangover sent by Lucifer himself.

The sort where every limb feels like it’s been through a Christmas tree shredder. Like a small family of possums have curled up and died in your mouth. A group of primary school children have just learnt to make scrambled eggs. WITH YOUR BRAIN.

I also appear to be stark bollock naked, bar my ancient pair of Winnie the Pooh pants, which depict a map of the 100 Acre Wood. They are by far the most shameful item of lingerie I own and are only worn in times of desperation.

Oh please, God. Please say I didn’t bring a man home in these. Right now, I have about the sex appeal of a courgette.

I peel my head from the floor and look towards the door.

Mens shoes. Oh god. Big brown suede ones. That will be him. They are bloody huge actually, aren’t they? Like flippers. Maybe I brought back a clown. Or a walrus.

Oh Christ. Did I choose to be rogered in my own kitchen? Perform some hideous striptease for him, wearing nothing but stiletto’s a pair of oven gloves? Bend myself over the hob and demand a good porking?

I don’t know who this man is, or where he has come from but fear it has something to do with the battered sausage.

I sometimes find it hard to believe that life has turned out this way.

I led a very sheltered childhood.

A proper country bumpkin, who’s favourite hobbies included bailing hay and accompanying my father to the rubbish dump.

‘Why would I choose to drink alcohol when I can get FRESH MILK from our very own cow?’

‘You’re all going down the park to do balloons and poppers? Oh goody, I LOVE poppers! I’ll bring the paper hats. And know how to make a balloon stegosaurus!’

‘Sorry Ben, it’s really sweet of you to invite me to the party tonight but Mum’s making me my favourite casserole. With EXTRA DUMPLINGS!’

I drove a tractor . I sang in the church choir. I owned a pig.

I didn’t care much for clubs and would rather make my own fun on a Friday night. Such as farting in the bath and pretending it’s a jacuzzi.

But then I moved to London. And all hell broke lose.

It started with the fags.

I had previously written off smoking as a filthy habit.

‘Why would anybody choose to deliberately knock years off their life?!’ I cried to my mother, whilst she vacuumed the dog.

‘I cannot WAIT to grow old. I can watch Miss Marple. Eat biscuits. And sit on a COMMODE! That’s a chair that you can actually poo in!’.

(As a toddler I used to have daily ‘potty and video’ time. This involved being sat in front of my favourite show, usually Playdays, whilst cheerfully laying a gigantic dump. It remains one of my fondest childhood memories. So the thought that I could go full circle in about 80 years time was all too much).

But at uni, my opinion on smoking started to change. Due to one, small fact:


Like, seriously. All of them.

I soon realised that this dirty, glorious little death stick was my one way ticket to a giant cock fest.

And I was diving in head first.

Being a smoking novice, there were some slight mishaps along the way.

Such as the time I borrowed a guys lighter, locking eyes over the flame in what I considered to be a sultry manner and inadvertently set my fringe on fire.

Or the time I nervously rolled a fag in front of the guy I really fancied, realising too late that I had licked the wrong side of the paper. Therefore making the cigarette baggy and completely un-smokable. Determined not to lose face, I casually took a drag and managed to actually INHALE THE FILTER. As in, it shot straight out the back of the cigarette and down my throat.

It is quite hard to look sexy whilst being given the heimlich manoeuvre.

And then I met him.

They say that love can strike from anywhere. I didn’t believe them till it happened.

Gordon was more than just a lover- he was a soulmate. The ying to my yang. The bean to my burrito.

Someone who warmed me through cold winter nights, lay down with me on hot summer days, and came as my date to every party.

And he went with so much. Tonic water. Elderflower. Orange juice. Cucumber. I’ve even tried him with dried mango, which I would thoroughly recommend.

Ahh that beautiful, strong bottle in that murky green shade.

God, I want my wedding dress to be that shade of green. And my husband’s suit. In fact fuck it, I don’t even want a husband. I will happily walk down the aisle pulling along a bottle of Gordon’s on wheels. Exchange rings. Read vows. Sing from hymn books. Or should I say gin books. HA HA HA.

I’m going mad. I need to get up off this kitchen floor and stick my head in the fridge.

I’m unsure at this point exactly who lies behind my bedroom door, but judging from my recent conquests it will be one of three types of men:

  1. An arrogant suit wanker, who secretly gets spray tans and lives with his mother.
  2. A balding man wearing a yellow anorak and waterproof trousers, which I thought last night to be funny and ironic. But now just realise that he loves wet weather gear. And is planning on taking me fishing.
  3. A genuinely lovely, normal man, who took one look at my 100 Acre Wood pants and ran straight out the door, not bothering to take his shoes.

G x

The Wedding

The dresses had arrived. The hymns had been selected. The letter of apology had been sent to St David’s Hotel and Spa.

It was time for Sarah to get married.


The Rehearsal

I drove home to Wales and headed straight to the gin cabinet.

I say gin cabinet… I have now learnt to refer to it as the ELDERFLOWER cabinet.

‘Just pouring myself a refreshing elderflower cordial!’ I smiled breezily at my parents, unscrewing the cordial bottle with my right hand whilst surreptitiously pouring Gordon’s with my left. It is a skilful act that has taken many attempts to master. Like an alcoholic Jackie Chan.

‘Are you sure that tonic water and limes really go with-‘

‘WHY YES! That’s the beauty of elderflower… It goes with everything!’

I then charged off to my bedroom before I could be questioned further.

I stared at my flushed and slightly mad reflection in the mirror.

Sarah is getting married. MARRIED. Is this the end of life as she knows it? Good God, what if she gets a perm? And starts going to oven glove conventions?

KEEP YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, GABRIELLE. Now is not the time for the bridesmaid to get cold feet.

I must accept that my partner in crime is moving on.

The final parting of Pegleg and Bitchtits.

(Note: for those that don’t know, the nicknames Pegleg and Bitchtits stem from a girls holiday we took to Magaluf in 2010. Along with the entire population of Bridgend. Hundreds of rowdy Welsh eighteen year olds keen to drink their own body weight, sleep with strangers and stick fireworks up their arses.

Sarah badly sprained her ankle one night and needed to be taken to A&E.

However, we chose not take that option… As that would waste precious drinking time! WHEEEY!

Instead we decided to fashion her a homemade splint, consisting of ripped up bed sheets, kirby grips and TWIGS.

The result was outstanding- Sarah mincing around the clubs in a little mini dress, with a gigantic club foot.

I don’t remember how I acquired the name Bitchtits but suspect it has something to do with my penchant for tossing my bra off in clubs and lassoing it around my head. Or the time I whipped both my breasts out on the dance floor and banged them together like a pair of bellows).

Five hours later and it was time to head to church for the rehearsal.

Unfortunately, I was also seven elderflower’s down and could barely see straight.

‘I’M OFF TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD!’ I called cheerfully to my parents, doing my very elaborate ‘sober’ walk down the driveway, which looks rather like I’ve soiled myself.

I arrived to find Sarah and the three other bridesmaid’s huddled outside, looking rather stressed.

Apparently some prankster had managed to blow the fuse in the church, so we would be conducting the entire rehearsal via candle light and the torches on our iPhones.

I could feel a horrendous bout of ‘church giggles’ rising up inside me, a condition stemming from my school days.
For instance, the time when the vicar read out the Bible story of ‘The Miraculous Catch of Fish’ and referred to how Jesus ‘seized his tackle’.

We were ushered inside.

Now, our local reverend is a lovely man…. But one gets the impression that he is not actually a real vicar. More like an actor playing the role of a vicar in a Carry On film.

‘Right then!’ he cried, rubbing his hands in excitement.

‘I’m going to start the service by revving up the audience!’

‘The congregation, Allen’ Sarah’s mother worriedly corrected ‘We’re in the house of God’.

‘Yes, that’s the badger!’ He beamed, bounding up the aisle.

‘And then I’m going to take to the stage-‘

‘The pulpit’

‘Yes, yes PULPIT’.

By this point, us bridesmaids were finding it very hard to keep things together and had resulted to quietly crying tears of laughter behind our Bible’s.

It was during the vows, when the vicar instructed Sarah and Alex to hold hands, adding ‘I’m a two-hander man myself!’ that I completely lost it and had to call it a day.

The Night Before

Armed with dresses, hair products and 40 tonnes of make up, we arrived at Sarah’s mother’s house to stay the night.

A strict two drink rule had been installed (‘There’s nothing worse than a drunk bride, Sarah!’) so I had taken it upon myself to smuggle us in a bottle of vodka in an Evian bottle.

Like a scene from Malory Towers, we sat in our matching pyjamas, sniggering and taking it in turns to have a swig.

Just before bed, I blearily peered my head round the door of Sarah’s old bedroom, a place where I had spent half my childhood.

Dear God, the antics that went on inside these four walls.

The time aged seven, when we laughed so hard at a ghost story we made up- ‘The Haunting of the Naughty Teapot’- that I physically wet myself and had to ask for some spare pyjamas.

Our elaborate games of truth and dare- such as when Sarah dared me to go outside and walk bare foot across the garden thorn bush. Which I did and promptly fainted when having my foot seen to with tweezers.

The pillow fight, where I overzealously hurled a cushion through the air, with all the strength of a male shot putter, managing to take the bedroom light out clean from its hinges.

Or as thirteen year olds, when we made a ‘snogging scale’. This hideous piece of work was a scale of how far we had ‘been’ with boys, ranging from a peck on the cheek to a cheeky finger.
It was unfortunate that Sarah accidentally wrote this on the back of a piece of Religious Studies homework, that she later asked her mother to help her with.

Ahh, fond memories.

The Wedding

The day had dawned.

I mean, I may be biased but she looked achingly beautiful. Some people are just made to pull off a wedding dress and Sarah is one of them.

I fear that I would end up looking like a baked potato wrapped in a doily. And probably stumble up the aisle with a fag in my mouth.

Stood outside the church with my fellow bridesmaids, a crowd of onlookers and the vicar (who was doing vocal warm ups) we eagerly awaited her arrival.

‘Can ducks change sex?’ piped up the vicar behind me.

‘P-pardon, Allen?’

‘Because I’m looking at that duck pond, see. And there were most definitely three girl ducks there last night. But now there’s one girl and two boys.’

‘Allen, now’s really not the time for-‘

‘THE ROLLS ROYCE WONT START!’ came a cry from the distance.

The beautiful old car intended to take Sarah to the church had given up the ghost right at the crucial moment.

‘I know!’ piped up a helpful villager. ‘It’s a downhill stretch from the house to the church… We’ll roll it!’

Horrific visions of Sarah hurtling down the lane and straight into the duck pond flashed before my eyes.

Panic stations set in.

I then decided that I desperately needed to pee and wondered whether I would go to hell for squatting behind a gravestone.

However, just as I was hitching up my dress and handing myself over to Satan, the Rolls started and Sarah arrived. A smiling vision in white, linked arm in arm with her older brother.

Now, I am not a crier. I never have been.

As a toddler, my parents took me to see The Lion King at the cinema. Apparently, the gut-wrenching scene where Simba’s father dies caused me to burst into such raucous laughter that I had to be taken out.

But looking at Sarah and Alex stood reading their vows, I suddenly found the floodgates opening.

‘DEAR GOD, WHAT’S HAPPENING?’ I whispered to the girls, as snot violently cascaded from my nose.

The best man valiantly reached for the tissue in his breast pocket, before realising that it was actually sewn in.

‘And now, Gabrielle will do the reading’ smiled the vicar.

I looked at him with a mixture of panic and hysteria, before deciding to blow my nose in my flower bouquet.

I slowly climbed the pulpit.

‘Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl’ I began in a shaking voice.

‘And her laughter was a question that he wanted to spend his whole life answering’.

I then proceeded to make a strange strangled sound, somewhere between a honk and a moo, before stumbling through the rest of the poem.

Then they did it. They tied the knot.

Before we knew it, we were heading out into the sunshine, throwing confetti onto the newly wed couple (which unfortunately got stuck to my sweaty palm and ended up being thrown over myself).

‘That vicar was brilliant’ beamed my father ‘We’ve already booked him for your wedding’.

‘OH HA DE HA HA’ I crossly replied, cannoning off in search of booze.

It was a dazzling reception. The worlds biggest marquet, decked with flowers and copious amounts of champagne.

Alex had written such a moving speech- detailing how Sarah used to run away from him in town, throwing her chips at him, that she had to read it for him.

There was also a blinder of a slideshow, including a rather embarrassing photo of me sat fully clothed in the bath, clutching a bottle of red wine. Followed by my red thong being publicly returned to me, that I had lost on the hen do.

I wish I could remember more of the night but I apparently consumed two hog roasts before passing out at the buffet table.

Bridesmaid down

God knows what I was dreaming of,  but when my friend woke me with a cry of ‘Gabby, get up! It’s Sarah’s wedding for God sake!’ I replied with ‘IT’S IN THE CUPBOARD UNDER THE KITCHEN SINK’ before passing out stone cold again.

My dearest Pegleg. In the words of Mr Bennet in Pride and Prejudice- ‘I cannot believe that anyone could deserve you. But I heartily give my consent’.

Or perhaps a W.C. Fields quote would be more appropriate- ‘Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer’.

Your faithful hound, Bitchtits xx