Do you use Sarcasm?

Who? Me? Never…

I can only assume I started using sarcasm in primary school, and only because that’s where I learnt hitting people wasn’t ‘nice’. Even if they deserved it.

So I reserved the right to roll my eyes, make a cutting remark or sneer in derision. That’s actually where the word ‘sarcasm’ comes from – the Greek verb Sarkazein which meant ‘to tear flesh like a dog’, before evolving to mean ‘gnash one’s teeth’ or ‘to sneer’. Look it up. 

So I wasn’t so much taming my bad mood, as replacing my armoury. I’m trying to pinpoint a particular time I was sarcastic that doesn’t (out of context certainly) make me look like a massive bitch. It’s proving tricky.

I know when I started at one of the schools I taught at, I was told not to use sarcasm with any of my students. And I thought, in that moment, ‘that’s half my teaching practice – what am I going to do?’ The headmaster insisted that I shouldn’t use sarcasm because the student’s ‘didn’t understand it’. But if I was using sarcasm since primary school, these secondary school kids should surely recognise it?

I think there’s an intrinsic honesty to sarcasm that students can appreciate. Maybe not when it’s directed at them, but on the whole. But I do agree there’s a time and place for it. Responding ‘yeahhhhh…’ when a student asked if he was my favourite student is one thing. Responding ‘Nooo…’ when asked if you went drinking at the weekend would be different.

But I’m a very sarcastic person – because it amuses me – but I’m also (some would argue blindly) optimistic. And when I say ‘you can do it!’ sometimes I’d get looks from my students questioning whether I was being sarcastic or not. Which is fair. They get a constant stream of critique; from teachers, parents and their peers. But the way I see it, if I’m an intrinsically sarcastic person, but even I think this praise is warranted, it must be.

Also – and thank you Smithsonian for this tidbit of support for my continued use of sarcasm – being able to recognise sarcasm is a sign of a strong creative mind, able to problem solve quickly and more efficiently. So to anyone I’ve been sarcastic with, you’re welcome.

Do you use sarcasm? Let me know, and like and follow!

Have you ever done a prank call?

My friend’s house wasn’t like my house. My house wasn’t clean, but at least there was colour. Her’s was brown, and brown, and beige. Maybe there were more colours, and I don’t remember any more. In my mind’s eye, everything was brown in the way every council house has a faded brown and red upholstered sofa, with brown detailing which might have been ‘golden’ when the sofa was new, and leather sofa-cushions that deflate the moment you sit on them mimicking the deep sigh the adults release when they finally get to sit. Beige linoleum flooring in the kitchen, with brown rings where the cat bowl was put. Beige walls with scuff marks and posters in frames chipped corners and ring marks. Net curtains you could see in through. Waste of time if you ask me.

But for all the brown, it’s where I liked to be. In her room, on her bed, watching her straighten her long – don’t call it ginger – hair. Freckles on her nose. Blue eyes she’s pop wide to make me laugh. White shirt, untucked. School kilt – yeah we had those even in 2003 – rolled up around the waist like a thick belt. Or a thick belt with studs on, half the studs missing because she played with it. Black eyeliner, only on the bottom waterline of the eye. Mascara. Lipgloss if you were feeling fancy. And the strong smell of hairspray, to keep it straight.

For her birthday she had a sleepover, about six girls crammed into a small living room in front of the television to watch The Ring. Not a good film. But in the dark, girls crept out of their sleeping bags and hid upstairs with her mum, one by one, until it was just she and I left. The girls came back when the film ended, and my mum called to say good night. It scared the crap out of everyone, except me – who could see the caller ID.

It gave us an idea though. We could prank call someone. Anyone. Pick a number at random. So we did. Put in our area code and then six random numbers. No idea who it could be. It was late too, some people didn’t bother answering. Finally, someone did. She put on a voice, we tried not to laugh. They got angry, asked who it was. We laughed out-loud and hung up. Continued with a couple more numbers. Called people we knew, told them our friends fancied them. Or we knew where they lived. Or that their car had been stolen.

Then the first person called us back. Asked to speak to her mum.

We’d forgotten to do that 1471 thing – where you block your number. Her mum went mad. Not just because we’d wound people up late at night, but because we didn’t pay the phone bill. How long had we been doing for? Who knew. We kept pretty quiet after that.

When I went home, my mum asked what we’d gotten up to – and I told her about The Ring and how her phone call had freaked everyone out. She laughed, so I left it there and didn’t tell her about the prank calls. That was kid stuff anyway.

What is your favourite smell?

Good morning!

I think we can all agree, of the five main senses, smell is the most underrated. It can tie us back to nostalgic memories. Hold onto those heart strings. Remind us of good positive things. Which is nothing to be sniffed at! (Spoiler alert, not sorry. I love a pun and I’ve got a couple more lined up below).

So here’s my compilation of favourite smells!

My first perfume: 

  • DNKY ‘Green Apple’ Be Delicious: £74 (Boots)

A girls first perfume is important. It’s the scent you’re going to have tied to every ‘first kiss’ or ‘puppy love’. All of those formative, pubescent years.

That’s what Green Apple was for me. Before I got my first proper perfume, it was all about ‘So…?’ and ‘Charlie’ body spray. Being given a first perfume was a milestone. Especially as this was a favourite amongst my favourite boys, who described the fact I always smelt nice as a ‘super power’. Nothing super about it, tucked in this orb of deliciousness was the secret. I’ve still got some, for those moments when I want to remember night walks, camping in a broken tent, drinking at the coastal park, kissing in treehouses.

 

My ‘Dress to Impress’ Perfume:

Burberry Touch for Women: £64 (Debenhams)

This perfume was on the other end of the spectrum. Also a gift, a much more subtle smell. I imagined I’d wear it in the vast office of a marketing company, high heels and blazer. Instead, I wore it as a teacher, wearing jeans and a long top so my boss wouldn’t see. Stretching over a whiteboard because I’m only 5’5 and I can’t reach the corners.

I don’t go on a lot of dates, but there’s something about the bottle and the smell that makes me feel – when I wear it – that I’ve got my life together. Even if my socks don’t match and my writing feels stunted.

Smells like my mum:

Most of my favourite smells are linked to my mum. She’s got a fantastic perfume collection, but she always relies on the same two. Paul Smith ‘Rose’ and ‘Dolce’ by Dolce and Gabbana.

For a long time, she wore nothing except Kenzo flower, or Poppy as I called it as a little girl. It’s the smell that, whenever I catch it in the air it makes me think of her. Which is good. I should call her more.

  • Kenzo Flower (Poppy): £64 (Boots) – the original
  • Dolce & Gabbana ‘Dolce’: £49 (Perfume Shop) – what she wears now
  • Paul Smith Rose: £30 (Boots)
  • Jean Paul Gaultier ‘Classique’ for Women: £86 (Boots)

My 2018 Favourites:

  • My Expensive: Prada Candy Florale: £81 (Boots)

Christmas had come and gone, but my birthday was still weeks away. My mum and I were wandering through a department store, wafting all the perfumes on those little sticks and I kept coming back to Prada Candy. My mum saw me pining, and pointed at a gift box that had both the perfume and the body lotion. Reduced to £54.

She made me promise not to open it before my birthday, but didn’t hold me to it.

  • My Cheap: Avon’s Little Black Dress: £7.50 (Avon)

Same year, same birthday, I was given a box of Avon goodies that I was too much an entitled, spoilt brat too appreciate. Inside was Avon’s perfume, little black dress. I refused to wear it. Admittedly, I refused to wear anything that wasn’t Prada Candy at the time. But when I went on holiday, it was the only bottle of perfume small enough to take on a plane. Now the smell is intrinsically tied to adventure for me, and it’s a really soft sweet smell. Which’ll teach me not to be such a scent-snob in future.

Not Perfumes:

Tarte palette In Bloom (Tarte – £41) is Blooming Lovely! (There it is!) Every time I open this palette it has me salivating. Chocolately smells and gorgeous colours. Delicious.

MMMelting Marshmallow Moment B – Bath Melt and Oils. £2.50 (Lush) – If, like me, you’re obsessed with Lush products but are restricted by not owning a bath, then here’s a little life hack for you. The bath melts can go in anything and make it smell incredible. I leave them in my make up case, memory boxes, underwear drawers. So I’m greeted with that sweet sugary smell every time I open them.

I’m not ashamed to admit there’s a strong theme of ‘sugar’ in my favourite smells. I’ve got a sweet tooth, it’s who I am.

But I’d love to know what your favourite smells are! Comment below and let me know if they match any on my list.