THE MORNING AFTER

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.

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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:

ALL THE FIT MEN WERE IN THE SMOKING AREA.

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

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FAT CAMP

In my first year of college, I gained what is commonly known as the Freshman 15.

Except in my case, it was more like the Freshman 475.

Having been kept on a rather healthy, regimented diet by my mother over the years, when I moved away from home I went slightly AWOL.

‘What is FUN about a fun-sized mars bar? I’ll tell you what will be fun… WHEN YOU WATCH ME EAT SIX!’

‘Awww don’t you just LOVE potato smiley’s? That cheeky, impish grin gets me everytime! DON’T WORRY LADS, I’M COMING FOR YOU!!!’

‘Oh dear, I appear to have put my knickers on backwards… Oh no wait, it’s just that my arse has grown. OH WELL, IT MUST BE GODS WILL! Let me celebrate the nature of the Lord by cracking open this pound of brie!’

Things reached a head when I came home for the summer and one of my best friends Andrew tentatively asked if I was ‘still eating fruit’.

‘Still eating fruit? STILL EATING FRUIT?!! I may be carrying a bit of extra timber Andrew but of course I’m STILL EATING FRUIT. Only last week I had a Terry’s chocolate orange! JESUS!!!’

‘That’s not quite what I-‘

‘I’M JUST CARRYING A BIT OF CHRISTMAS CHEER!!!’

‘Gabby, it’s July’.

So I took myself in hand. Having always been a ‘go hard or go home’ sort of girl, I signed myself up for 5 days at Army Camp. Which was basically intensive Fat Camp in disguise.

Please find below an account that I kept of my ordeal. IMG_2875-1

Day 1

KILL ME NOW.

I cannot move my arms. Or face. I don’t even know if I own legs anymore.

You know how in the novel 1984 Winston is taken to Room 101 to face his ultimate fear of rats? I THINK MINE RIGHT NOW WOULD BE AN EXERCISE BIKE.

We started off in a team of 15 women but three have left already so we are down to the final 12. I am also the youngest by about 20 years.

On the plus side, the staff are all ex-Army men and are smoking hot. At least I think they are. Frankly, it’s a choice between them and a border collie named Albert so the selection is a little limited.

The exercise is horrific.

We got up at 5am (I have never seen this hour sober before) for an hours run, followed by an hours boxing, an hours circuit training and an hours life coaching.

I CANNOT take the life coaching seriously. It’s run by this bat-shit crazy woman called Mary- Lou, who looks a cross between Pat Butcher and a boiled egg.

I spent a ridiculous half an hour with her intensely probing me, DESPERATE to find out some shred of dark, juicy information.

‘So Gabrielle.. WHY do you think that you’re here? Do you think it’s possibly some DEEPLY ROOTED, DARK CHILDHOOD TRAUMA that makes it difficult for you to accept your body the way it is?’

‘Err no Mary- Lou, I think that I’ve just eaten too many pies’.

‘Ahh! Do you think these PIES you speak of could symbolise the PIE OF TURMOIL COOKING IN THE OVEN OF YOUR SOUL, FILLED WITH THE SECRET AGONY OVER THE LIFE THAT YOU ARE NOT FULFILLING?’

In the end, I got so racked off with the whole thing that I blurted out ‘Well frankly, I’m a little constipated right now, Mary-Lou’.

She leapt on this like a fly to shit (sorry).

‘CONSTIPATION!!!!!!!! Oh Gabrielle, I’m so glad that you have finally shared this. This ‘feaces’ that you are holding inside you is your bodies way of clinging on to past regrets and pain! Let it go! Let it go! Let the universe claim back what is rightfully theirs!!’

In the end I asked her to give me a bloody Senakot and leave me alone.

The day ended with 2 hours of ‘team games’, an hour of Zumba and an hours hike.

At the end of the hike a mini-bus came to collect us.

‘OH THANK JESUS!’ I cried, plonking myself in and doing up my seatbelt.

The army men absolutely fell about laughing.

‘No, no love… You’re PUSHING the bus home!’

They were not joking.

Day 2

Went for a 5am run and promptly threw up in a bush.

The army men appear to find my pain hilarious and refused my request to carry me home (in hindsight, they were probably scared that they would put their backs out).

Staff Langley (our team leader) has also changed my name from Gabby to Gobby, which I think is distinctly out of order.

Then followed a monstrous blur of boxing, circuit training (which is seriously getting on my tits now), an ab class, an hours stretching and another 1.5 hours ‘team games’, which involved crawling through the mud with a pretend rifle. I have worryingly taken quite a shine to the rifle training. Probably because I’m fantasying about shooting myself with it. Or Mary-Lou.

The meals are quite nice but TEENY TINY ANOREXIC HAMSTER PORTIONS.

Which is made even more fun by the fact that we have to eat our food face down on the plate, as everyone’s arms are too stiff to move their hands up to their mouths.

Day 3

Can you build up muscle in your fingers?! Because my fingers have most definitely inflated over night. To the point where they are starting to resemble giant clown hands.

It is absolutely sheeting down with rain here. BUT THAT’S FINE BECAUSE THE MORNING STARTED WITH 3 HOURS OF OUTDOOR ‘FUN AND GAMES’!!! WHOOPIE! This involved throwing 10 pound sandbags and chasing after them. Oh, what larks.

There was a distinct air of depression in the room at lunch, so the staff decided to cheer us up with the reward of a ‘dessert’. This caused great excitement. What would it be? Eton Mess? A nice bowl of sticky toffee pudding, perhaps?

Oh silly me! A quarter of an apple and a singular acorn. I kid you not.

The weather brightened up a bit after lunch, so we were taken out on a joyful 23 mile cycle ride.

Staff Langley told us that we would need padded cycling shorts and if we didn’t have them then we would need to line the crotch of our leggings with a flannel or small towel.

This caused great hysteria (we have basically all gone mad with lack of food). One woman came downstairs with a gigantic beach towel stuffed into her trousers and cried ‘SADDLE ME UP LANGLEY, I’M READY FOR A LONG RIDE!!’

The bike ride was actually a hoot. We are talking twelve delirious woman pumping up a hill with our padded crotches, florescent bibs and special ’emergency bells’. I’m sure I heard someone ask if we were out on day release.

Tempers ran high half way through, with one of our team jumping off and shouting ‘I’M GOING TO CHUCK THIS BIKE AT A FUCKING WALL!!!’

One of the army men, Staff Shenton, appears to have taken a bit of a shine to me. To the point where he insisted on cycling behind me the whole way and valiantly pushing me up the hills. I would normally be flattered but frankly I’m too exhausted to flirt and starting to get a bit racked off with him.

THEN, when we stopped for a break he went off and PICKED ME A DAISY!!! Everybody thought it was incredibly sweet. I was nearly sick in my mouth.

Day 4

Oh god. Something rather disturbing happened last night. It was 10pm and we were all walking to our beds ready for the hell to restart at 5am.

I say walking- what I really mean is WADDLING. I have basically become so stiff that the only way I can physically move is to walk in a ‘squatted’ position, like I’m riding a small invisible pig.

Suddenly, Staff Shenton popped out from around the wall and pulled me aside.

‘There’s a pub down the road’ he said in a furtive whisper, his mad piggy eyes darting back and forth. ‘They do an offer… two pints and a pie for ten pounds. Meet me there in half an hour’.

For a second I was too stunned to speak.

‘Sorry’ I spluttered ‘SORRY STAFF LANGLEY? You think you can tempt me out of fat camp…WITH A PIE?!!! Christ! It’s like some sordid Enid Blyton novel! What were you going to do next? Carve out a love letter for me in mashed potato? Lower me out my bedroom window tonight by a string of Cumberland sausages? Leave me a trail of chocolate bon bons leading to YOUR COCK?!!’

Day 5

The end. IT’S THE BEAUTIFUL END.

After the final morning of torture, we lined up one by one to be weighed and measured like prized pigs.

Having not had any mirrors at the camp, it was rather hard to estimate just how much weight we had lost. But judging by my level of fatigue and starvation I was imagining a hell of a bloody lot.

First woman came out- 8 pounds in 5 days. Not bad, not bad.

Second woman- 10 POUNDS IN 5 DAYS. This was getting rather exciting.

By now, I was starting to envisage having to buy a whole new wardrobe for myself. Golly, maybe even I was TOO thin?! Could people actually see me if I stood sideways? Perhaps I will have to go to another fat camp.. To get FATTER!

Smiling dazedly, I skipped into the room and onto the scales.

‘Congratulations’ smiled Staff Langley ‘You’ve lost a pound!’

I’m not sure quite sure what expression I was pulling at this point but I can only imagine it was rather terrifying.

‘I know it doesn’t sound a lot’ he reassured me, looking slightly nervous ‘But the great thing is you are young so will have built up loads of muscle!’

I finally managed to form words.

‘P..p…a pound?’ I stuttered ‘A pound?!!! I COULD SHIT A POUND, LOVE!

‘But Gobby, the muscles-‘

‘I don’t want the muscles!!!! Take them back!! I wanted to come out of here looking waif-like and gaunt! NOT RIPPED LIKE FLAMING POPEYE!!!!!!!!’

Needless to say, I have never been back.

G x

P.S WELCOME to the rush of new followers, very excited to have you in my clutches!

Myself and Nigel had a candle lit dinner together to celebrate your arrival (it was a rather one sided conversation). IMG_3202