Post-Lockdown Bodies Are None of Our Business

We’re in a unique scenario right now where a huge chunk of the world is all experiencing the same thing. Lockdown, quarantine, self-isolating, social distancing (phrases I never want to hear ever again once this is all over) – whatever you’re calling it where you are, it’s safe to say this is something new to us all.

And with new experiences comes new discussions. Great, right? Well yes, in some respects. For example, it’s great that decent pay for NHS staff and working from home accessibility is being discussed, but what’s not so great is all these conversations about weight suddenly cropping up out of nowhere. As if we didn’t have enough body image woes to worry about, now it’s become one of major talking points during a pandemic – like washing my hands until they look like Leatherface has started making a range of gloves doesn’t stress me out enough!

The thing is, like most stories, there are two sides to this one. More families than ever are starting their day with virtual PE lessons, outdoor exercise is being embraced and healthier home cooking has become a necessity for most of us – and who can say any of that’s a bad thing? I’m certainly not against kids doing more exercise and a daily dose of fresh air, that’s for sure. And, of course, there’s the very rare gift of time that many of us have been given during lockdown to actually fit a workout into our otherwise hectic days.

One of my rare post-workout moments

But, of course, as with anything to do with weight, diets, exercise and all that gumpf, there’s also the horribly negative stuff that comes along with it. People are beating themselves up about not moving as much as they usually do, perhaps because they’re feeling lethargic or experiencing mental health issues, or maybe because everything is just shit and they’re lonely and they can’t be arsed to do jumping jacks in their living room. As a result, I’ve seen dozens of people going on about gaining ‘lockdown weight’ as if it’s the worst thing that could possibly happen right now.

HELLO! We’re in the middle of a PANDEMIC! People are dying. Workers are losing their jobs. Local businesses are closing down. The government is ballsing everything up. You’re using every last ounce of strength you have to keep going while you’re separated from your loved ones, your plans are being cancelled and you can’t find any god forsaken toilet roll in the supermarket. The last thing you need to worry about, you lovely, precious, glorious human being, is putting on a few extra pounds while staying at home and keeping yourself and the rest of us safe. 

Let’s rewind a few weeks when Adele posted those photos and we all lost our minds. She looks bloody gorgeous – but she always has. She is so much more than those photos; she is talented, funny and a modern day cultural icon. It doesn’t matter whether she’s decided to spend lockdown jogging along with Joe Wicks every morning or if the trip from the living room to the kitchen and back is her daily exercise, she is still all of those wonderful things. She is more than just her weight. 

And so are you! Alright, so we can’t all be Adele (if only…) but you are worth more than your weight. We shouldn’t be judging people for eating a little more and moving a little less during quarantine, just as we shouldn’t judge those who have lost weight during this period. And, more importantly, you shouldn’t judge yourself for those things.  

It honestly, truly, doesn’t matter. You are literally surviving a pandemic and we’re all just trying our best to get through this rather rubbish time. We were all beautiful before we went into lockdown and we will all be beautiful once we come out of it. Right now, being fatter isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you – but getting through this safe and well is the best thing that can happen to you, so let’s all just focus on that.

Sit back, relax and enjoy bread and cheese to your heart’s content

RECIPE: White Wine Mushroom Sauce | #ThisGirlEats

Sometimes cooking is exhausting but, for me, it’s always a labour of love – like this luxuriously creamy white wine mushroom sauce made from some of my all-time favourite ingredients!

Serves: 2
How much does it cost? This white wine mushroom sauce cost me less than 75p per person
What are the benefits? This dish contains at least one of your five a day, is fairly low in sugar and makes a lovely veggie sauce to accompany your meal.

I love mushrooms, okay? I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea and, quite frankly, I’m sick of arguing about it. Please just accept that I love them unconditionally, could eat them every single day of my life and think they are a culinary gift from the gods. I will not be taking any further questions at this time, thank you.

Luckily, there are some like-minded people out there who also appreciate these little earthy nuggets of flavour and will (hopefully!) enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

I know that, at times, a withering glance towards the kitchen at the end of a long, hard day can fill us with dread and despair. The thought of having to interrupt our well-earned rest, peel ourselves off the sofa and drag our heels into the kitchen can be a real slog. But it can also be joyous when you love your ingredients and can’t wait for the end result.

For me, this recipe was one of those. I’d stocked up the fridge and set aside the time but, when it came to it, I honestly just couldn’t be bothered to get off my butt and actually do some cooking. Thankfully, the thought of putting in basically ten minutes of effort to then indulge in a lavish plate of thick, rich, creamy mushroom sauce was, in the end, totally worth it.

1 Onion, Finely Chopped
4 Mushrooms, Sliced
50ml White Wine
100ml Vegetable Stock
100ml Double Cream
2 tbsp Crème Fraîche
1 tsp Plain Flour
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Soy Sauce


This is a pretty quick sauce and doesn’t take much time to turn around, so all you need to do is chuck in a little dried garlic (fresh if you prefer) at first, shortly followed by dried parsley (fresh if you prefer), ground coriander, salt and pepper along with the rest of the ingredients.


1. In a large pan with a drop of oil or cooking spray, gently cook the onions and mushrooms on a medium heat with the garlic for 5 minutes.

2. Turn up the heat, add the white wine and simmer on a high heat until the wine is reduced – this should only take a minute or so.

3. Add the vegetable stock, double cream, crème fraîche, flour, mustard, soy sauce, parsley, ground coriander, salt and pepper.

4. Simmer for around 5 minutes until the sauce thickens, then serve up as soon as it’s ready!


As an Introvert, How Do I Connect With People? | #ThisGirlEats

The first answer that comes to mind is: force.

I make myself. I have to, otherwise my time on this planet would be a very single, solitary existence and, believe it or not, I actually do have friends. Some, anyway. When I’m having a particularly bad day and just want to banish all communication with the outside world it baffles me how I actually came to make those friends but, nonetheless, they do exist.


My social circles are relatively small and have always been forced out of situations; work, university, sixth form, etc.. I don’t think I’ve ever made a friend as a result of me optionally putting myself out there through something I’ve chosen to do, like taking up an evening class or striking up conversation with a friendly stranger at a bar.

That’s not to say I can’t form close friendships, or maintain them; okay, I could definitely be better at keeping up with everyone (or at least replying to my messages – sorry!) and I have been known to breathe a sigh of relief when plans have fallen through. But really, I’d consider a lot of my friendships to be pretty strong and most of them have been going for a number of years.

But, with me, you don’t really get a choice in that last part – if we’re truly friends, you better believe it took us forever to get there! You see, for me, being an introvert means it takes a painfully long time to even begin edging out of my shell. I’m not kidding – however long you think I mean, double it. At least. People I now consider to be good friends often say they had to spend loads of time with me for at least a year before feeling like they even started seeing a glimpse of my authentic self.


Not that I’m playing a part or anything, but my social hang-ups mean I hide a lot of myself away, only showing very small flashes of my personality. You might hear a quip of my dry sense of humour or see my eyes light up briefly when we talk about music or Disney holidays; you might get an idea about me from my colourful hair, or my Dr Marten boots, or my tattoos, but it’s just an idea. It’ll take a lot longer before you really get to see beneath any of that and understand me as a person.

It makes it really hard to connect with people, and especially hard to fit in, when you can’t show all the way up. Every time I meet a new bunch of people I tell myself, this is it – this is your chance to start all over again, reinvent the wheel, squash your insecurities down and be yourself right from the start. But does it happen? Does it hell.

I keep quiet, I smile politely, I turn down kind offers of joining colleagues for lunch because it’s easier to spend an hour alone plugged into my headphones. I laugh at jokes but am too shy to make any of my own; I say the appropriate thing when inside my head I’m screaming something completely different; I nod along with chit-chat even though I’d rather spend my bank holiday weekend in a festival field than sunbathing in Saint-Tropez and I’ve never even heard of Heidi Klein (isn’t she that woman off Project Runway?!).

Sometimes I feel trapped inside my own skin and, let me tell you, it’s a bloody horrible feeling. I wish I could just snap out of it, but it’s like someone pulls an imaginary zip up over my head and that’s it – every part of me is hidden away except for a breathing hole. It’s frustrating, of course, but that zip is like a comfort blanket, it’s my safe space where I think, if I can just make myself as small and silent as possible, people will leave me alone.

It’s difficult when it takes you twice as long to open up and feel ready to make real connections and bond with people. It’s really, really difficult and, in all honesty, not everyone will always understand that. They’ll expect you to get there faster, and leave you in the dust as someone they “never really clicked with” when you don’t meet their deadlines. But you can’t rush it; the important people will wait for however long it takes you to get there and, trust me, once that foundation for friendship is in place, it’s unshakable.



We All Have Bad Days – Here’s How I Pick Myself Up | #ThisGirlEats

No matter how great things are, we all find ourselves in a bit of a slump every now and then. I’ve been having a bit of a rubbish week myself, for literally no reason whatsoever – which, in a way, makes it harder to shake off because you don’t really know what brought it on in the first place!

I’ve got a few techniques in my back pocket that I pull out at times like this, and they’ve got me out of more than one sticky situation in the past…

1. Spruce myself up

I’m not talking about some expensive luxe spa day, but it’s always nice to pamper myself when I’m feeling down in the dumps. It’s only ever something small and simple, like finally refreshing my chipped nail varnish, or getting rid of those nasty roots with a fun new hair colour. Just a little self-maintenance makes me feel like I’m presenting the best version of myself to the world, even if I don’t feel like it on the inside.

2. Get some fresh air

I’m not exactly the outdoorsy type, but there really is nothing like getting some air in your lungs when you’re in a bad mood. Moping around the flat by myself only makes me more miserable, but getting outside for a walk or run (if I’m feeling particularly energetic!) always helps me feel as though I’m one step closer to getting out of whatever funk I’m in.

3. Quality cat time

I’m a cat person – I think we’ve all established that through the constant Instagram stories of my rescue Chinchilla Persian floof, Flora. It might sound silly to those who aren’t “animal people”, but anyone with a pet – be it a cat, dog, whatever – knows how important those precious playmates are to the household. I adore my little munchkin (yes, I call her disgustingly soppy nicknames like that) and she never fails to cheer me up when I’m feeling down with plenty of fluffy cuddles.


4. Get productive

One of the most common causes of my bad moods is when I’m unsatisfied with how I’ve spent my day. If I’ve wasted an entire weekend doing nothing, or I planned to get loads of things done and just didn’t get round to it, I always end the day feeling seriously frustrated – which sucks, obviously. A quick fix for this is simply to do something. Anything! Write that blog post, send that email, upload that video, edit that photo; the more I tick off my to-do list, the better I feel when bedtime rolls around.

5. Do some spring cleaning

This might surprise you if you’ve ever dropped in on me unexpectedly and seen the chaos littered throughout my flat, but nothing puts me in a negative head-space more than mess. When the washing piles up and the layer of dust on the telly gets thicker and mounds of crap stands between me and my bed, I can instantly feel a migraine coming on… Going on a de-cluttering spree or a cleaning frenzy helps organise my home as well as my mind.

6. Throwback

I know puberty was a traumatic time and most people wish they could just forget their teenage years but, for me, I’m one of the lucky ones; I got off pretty easy. Despite the usual teenage girl drama, those years hold some of my fondest memories and remind me of a time when life was, for the most part, fun and carefree. So when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the real world, I take myself back to that time, whether it’s by playing tunes I loved listening to on the walk to school or flicking though embarrassing Facebook photos taken on my Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot.


7. Cook up a storm

It’s not for everyone, but cooking really relaxes me. Sure, it’s a bit hectic when you’ve got a million pans on the go, no-one in the house eats the same meal and the stuff on the top shelf of the oven is burning while the stuff on the bottom still looks anaemic – but hey, it’s all part of the fun! Giving myself a challenge in the kitchen distracts me, allows quality time by myself doing something I love, and I always feel proud as punch when it all comes together and tastes delicious in the end.

8. Grab a big mug and fill to the brim with herbal tea

This trick is especially handy when I’m feeling physically sluggish; if I’ve eaten a lot of junk food over the weekend or I’ve found my eyes to be bigger than my belly once again. I never get a good night’s sleep if I’m going to bed feeling uncomfortable, but a lovely cup of green tea is a great pallet cleanser and refreshes my digestive system. I also find camomile helps when I’m feeling restless and irritable, and lemon and ginger is great for banishing the sniffles.

9. Make plans

Sometimes, when you feel stuck in a rut, it’s really hard to find your way out of it. It can almost cloud your perspective and feel impossible to see through the fog of your current state of mind. Something that pushes me to get out of wallowing in the present when things aren’t so great is to make plans for the future; not always easy when you’re feeling down, I know. But if you can muster up the energy to look ahead, having something to look forward to – a holiday, a date, a day out – can give you back some of the focus that you might’ve lost.


10. Take a deep breath

Simple, but always effective.

Being Fat Isn’t the Worst Thing a Person Can Be, Y’unno | #ThisGirlEats

There’s a disturbing narrative that exists today, and we just can’t seem to shake it. It’s simple, really: Fat = Bad. It’s everywhere; we see with advertising selling us slimming products, the press fat-shaming celebrities, and people bombarding social media with before vs. after photos. No matter where we might find it, the message is always the same – being fat is the worst thing you can be.

And I’m so sick of it.

My most recent encounter with this was watching the latest TV ad for Weight Watchers. I can’t remember the exact words and, annoyingly, can’t find the advert anywhere online, but I distinctly remember the spokeswoman telling people to sign up on the basis that it will make them a “better version of themselves” – come to think of it, she might’ve even said the best version of yourself.

Weight Watchers: Wellness that Works (umm…)

Because apparently, thinner ALWAYS equals better.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, especially when it’s affecting your health and you think you could be in better shape; hell, I could stand to lose a few pounds myself! But the idea that being slimmer automatically makes you a better person – and, in turn, being bigger somehow detracts from you as an overall human being – is total bullshit.

Not only is it a load of rubbish, but it’s incredibly damaging. Pushing the “fat = bad, thin = good” narrative is bound to have a negative impact, particularly where eating disorders and mental health are concerned. Imagine telling someone with anorexia, for example, that being the thinnest version of themselves makes them the best version of themselves. Or how this could easily recycle that feeling of guilt in someone with bulimia to the point that they experience dangerous symptoms such as binging and purging. It seems so obviously dangerous to me in this context, I’m amazed we allow it to continue.

It’s clearly designed to make us feel terrible about ourselves. Telling us that we’re better when we’re thinner makes those of us whose bodies don’t fit these very particular – and sometimes unobtainable – specifications feel worthless, unattractive and uncomfortable in our own skin. It also strips us of our identities as people; it ignores all other aspects of our personalities and achievements, reducing how we measure up on the “good vs. bad scale” to nothing more than our weight.

I look at photos of myself from a few years back, before I gained the weight I now carry around with me (mostly in my lil’ tummy pooch), and sometimes I’m swept up in that narrative. I look at photos like the one below and think, “Wow, how did I let this version of myself slip away?!” And literally the ONLY reason I think that is because I’m thinner in those photos. That’s it. It’s not based on where I was at that point in my life, or how happy I was, or what I’d achieved. It’s because I was thinner – so I must’ve been better, right?


NO, SAM! Of course not! That’s just such a ridiculous notion, I can’t believe I bought it for even a second! I look at what’s happened in my life since those photos and almost laugh at how absurd I’m being when I think I’m worse off now simply because of my weight. I’ve achieved bucket loads since then; I’m in a happy, committed relationship, moved out, learnt to drive, started (and ended!) my own music publication, created my blog and worked my way up to my dream job. I’m more accomplished, level-headed, hard-working, ambitious, sociable and confident than the person in that photo. I’m more comfortable with my body and appearance than I’ve ever been, regardless of my size.

I’m a better person for so, so many reasons right now, and it all has absolutely zilch to do with my weight.

I’m lucky enough that I can see that, despite falling down the rabbit hole every now and again. But all the while we give into this narrative that being fat is the worst thing you can be, and the only way to make yourself a better person is to lose weight, then this narrative will continue to win and companies like Weight Watchers will keep making these shitty adverts.


Supermarket Essentials for a Basic Budget Shopping List | #ThisGirlEats

I’ve always shopped on a budget and learnt to create tasty, nutritious meals out of pretty basic ingredients. For many, working out how to feed yourself and your family well when money is tight can be a real nightmare.

I’m going to share which ingredients I’ve always made a beeline for in three of the most essential spots in the supermarket to keep my costs down. Hopefully this will help you in creating a shopping list full of basic, adaptable ingredients for the least amount of money possible!

Tins, glorious tins

Honestly, if your cupboard is fully stocked with tins you can’t go wrong. There’s definitely some kitchen snobbery around tinned food but the fact it’s cheaper, more widely accessible and very convenient for quick, basic cooking.

Just because your food comes out of a tin doesn’t mean you have to miss out on basic nutrition; tins can be a great way to get healthier food into your life without spending lots of money on fresh produce that goes out of date every week. And don’t forget, some of the nation’s favourite foods – soups, baked beans, and even fish – are commonly found in tins! 

Chopped tomatoes. The most cost-effective and essential basis of so, so many meals.
Beans. Black beans, kidney beans, baked beans – they all count as one of your five-a-day!
Soup. With a chunk of delicious crusty bread, soup is the perfect winter warmer.
Potatoes. Tinned potatoes are pre-peeled (YAY!) and only take five minutes to cook – stir through some butter and mixed herbs, you’d never know the difference.
Mixed vegetables. The most convenient way to get your five-a-day.
Peaches. Tinned fruit usually sits in syrup which whacks up the sugar, but hey, it’s still fruit! Drain them off and enjoy some sliced peaches for a fraction of the cost.
Lentils. Tinned lentils can be used just like beans to bulk up meals as they’re super filling and nutritious. 

Jack Monroe’s ‘Tin Can Cook’ is a great read for inspiring, delicious recipes made from tinned food

Eat your vegetables

You might want more variety than the tinned aisle can offer, or simply prefer fresh fruit and veggies – and that’s fine! But the problem for many of us is that these ingredients can be more expensive. 

However, if you know where to look you’ll find plenty of low-cost options. I’ve picked up some right bargains before, and most fruit and vegetables that regularly make my shopping list are cheap, versatile crowd-pleasers.

With fruit, you can usually find decent-sized bags of apples, pears, bananas, peaches, nectarines and oranges for under £1 but, if you’re trying to save money, you’ll probably want to avoid melons and berries as these are often the most expensive fruits on the shelves.

With vegetables, you can stock up on carrots, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, courgettes, tomatoes, mushrooms, cabbage and parsnips without breaking the bank; however, you might want to think twice about avocados (I know they’re technically a fruit but whatever), celeriac, sweet potatoes and sugar snap peas because of their price tag.


For the carnivores

I don’t eat meat myself anymore – one of the reasons being it’s too expensive! – but it was part of my regular shopping list for years, so I know what it’s like to hunt down the cheapest cuts in the supermarket.

Buying meat does tend to hike up the price of your shop but, for some, it’s part of their diet that does need to be catered for. Unfortunately, most cheaper options are the least healthy, being higher in fat or more “processed”; however, if you look after yourself you can still work these ingredients into a healthy diet.

I always had three main meats that got me through the week and still stayed within my budget.

1. Sausages. A staple of working class diets for donkey’s years, and with good reason. Sausages are reliable family favourites and you can pick up sizable portions for very little – especially if you venture down the frozen aisle.
2. Mince. Is there a more wonderfully versatile thing than a pack of mince? It’s much cheaper than other cuts of beef and can go into endless meals – a winning combo!
3. Chicken thighs. Chicken is one of the UK’s most popular meats, but it can be pricey. Chicken thighs give the best bang for your buck, and are more flavoursome than other cuts too.

Sausage Party / giphy


Why Kathy Burke’s ‘All Woman’ is a Must-Watch for – Well, All Women! | #ThisGirlEats

I’m currently at home by myself while my boyfriend is living it up and drinking beer touring in Canada and you know what that means – lots and lots of watching telly.

I was scouring the web for things to watch – no, not THAT kind of stuff, you filthy animals – and, because I’m a bit of a nerd, I spent a lot of time looking for new documentaries. I’d watched all my usual suspects like Louis Theroux and Stacey Dooley, and eventually stumbled across a three-part series with Kathy Burke.

For those of you who were born in this millennium, Kathy Burke was very popular in the ’90s for her role in British comedy with shows like Gimme Gimme Gimme, Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders. She’s not only known for being funny, but also for being an independent, no-fucks-given woman who don’t need no man (but makes no secret of the fact that she does like to get off with them).


Her latest show, All Woman, is something I absolutely smashed through in a matter of hours and, as a woman, I can safely say that she nailed it with this one.

The episodes touch on three main things – beauty, motherhood and relationships – and really explore these topics from extreme to the other. The whole thing is fascinating from start to finish, but there’s almost definitely at least something in each episode that will really tap into the experiences of so, so many women out there.

It’s just such a personal show, with Kathy herself opening up about feelings that some of us might be too afraid to express ourselves. When she says she doesn’t regret putting her career first, or that she was more hurt when people insulted her intelligence rather than her looks, it’s refreshing and encouraging.


And it’s not only Kathy’s voice that is a welcome relief; we meet a whole range of women in the episodes, including celebrities, from Katherine Ryan and Samantha Morton talking about their experiences as single parents, to Megan Barton-Hanson discussing the double-edged sword – or knife – of plastic surgery, and Caroline Flack opening up about being slut-shamed for her singlehood. It’s not just celebs who open up either – we also meet a great group of women who support each other by getting together to regularly stitch swear words into blankets. We even meet a nun along the way!

It’s a real deep exploration into being a woman, by women, for women. And I’m all for that!

So, ladies, if you’re stuck for something to do, or something to watch, this is my latest recommendation for some supportive, life-affirming girl power. All women should be watching All Woman!

Kathy Burke’s All Woman is available on All 4.

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Finding Your Feet & Fitting In At Work | #ThisGirlEats

We all have times when we feel a little uncomfortable in our own skin. It’s hard to always feel like yourself, especially when you’re environment you aren’t used to with people you don’t know. It happens to some of us more than others, but I think it’s pretty much a universally accepted fact that trying to fit in and find your feet in a new job is always a challenge.

After being yelled at down the phone by strangers every day, I finally decided call centre work just wasn’t for me (although who on earth is it “for”?!) and applied for a few other positions, including one at a big, scary London office that I was well under-qualified for. But I thought, hey, what the hell?!

After that I thought practically nothing of it; I can’t even COUNT the amount of times I’ve sent off job applications and never heard back. It’s like they’d get lost in some sort of internet void as soon as I’d hit the ‘Send’ button. When this application was even acknowledged it was a surprise, so you can imagine my shock when I actually interviewed and then went and got the damn thing!

I was excited, happy and proud of myself but, of course, also anxious and nervous. It sounds mad, but it wasn’t the fact that I had zero experience, loads to learn or even the thought that I might not be very good that worried me about starting a new job; it was the thought of having to try and feel like I belonged all over again.

Before work picture in black peplum top and tartan skirt

When you’ve worked somewhere for a long time, it almost becomes your home away from home, right? We often refer to our colleagues as our “work family” and, sadly, many of us spend more time at work than we do anywhere else! You find yourself settling in, you realise who you get on with (and who you don’t!) and you pick up on all the little quirks of the place.

For me, the social cues of every workplace are different, and it’s figuring those out that often make it hard to feel like I fit in. I’m incredibly socially awkward and I get hugely anxious when meeting new people, especially in an office where the social side of things usually comes with so many unspoken rules.

I’ve only ever worked in small teams and casual environments, so moving up to a fancy London office with these equally fancy people was so nerve-wracking for me. There I was, being introduced to these slender, sophisticated women and suited-and-booted men, shuffling around in my Converses and talking about festivals with my skull tattoo creeping out of my sleeve…

Pink, blue and yellow sugar skull tattoo

I looked different. I felt different.

No matter where you are, whether it’s a corporate head office or a small team out in the sticks, a new job can sometimes feel like a whole new world. It’s still early doors for me so, if I’m honest, I still don’t think I’ve found my place just yet.

All I can do is think back to one of my earlier jobs, when I’d walk around the block at least twice every single day before going inside because I was so nervous about fitting in – and then think about how much I loved them all by the time I left. It takes time, but hopefully one day I’ll look back on how I felt at this point and laugh at myself because, now, it finally feels like home.

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These Are MY Top 12 ‘Friends’ Episodes | #ThisGirlEats

I recently read online that twelve episodes of my favourite ’90s sitcom ‘Friends’ have been picked to be shown on the big screen in cinemas all over the US.

These fan-favourites have been selected to be screened over three nights and include some cracking episodes such as ‘The One With The Blackout’ and ‘The One With The Prom Video’. It sounds like a cool event for those lucky enough to live close to the cinemas. I’m like 98 per cent happy, maybe 2 per cent jealous. And what’s 2 per cent? That’s nothing.

Anyway, I thought as a ‘Friends’ fan who doesn’t live in the US and won’t be able to go to any screenings I’d make my own list of the twelve episodes I’d pick to be shown in cinemas. I mean, I could just watch them at home for the millionth time, but where’s the fun in that?!

1. The One With The Jellyfish


Although Ross and Rachel are really the stars of this episode with the break-up scene providing so many quotable lines, let’s not forget the iconic recounting of the jellyfish story by Monica, Joey and Chandler.

2. The One With Chandler In A Box


Monica absolutely slays everyone in this episode when they judge her for dating Richard’s son (which is kinda weird, I have to admit). But still, she’s brutal and I love it.

3. The One With Ross’s Wedding


Okay, there are three big reasons that this is one of my favourite episodes.
1) It’s in London, baby!
2) The guest stars are awesome. Jennifer Saunders, Fergie, Richard Branson…
3) It’s a huge milestone in the Ross and Rachel story, not to mention it’s the start of Chandler and Monica!

4. The One Where Everybody Finds Out


They don’t know we know they know we know.. it gets confusing, right? I also love watching Phoebe and Chandler essentially play nervous with each other like a couple of school kids at a house party.

5. The One With The Ride Along


I’m sorry, but between Joey risking his life to save his sandwich and Ross being over-dramatic enough to think that a car backfiring is a near-death experience, this episode is an absolute classic in my eyes.

6. The One Where Ross Got High


What’s not to like about this episode?! Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Beef? Good!

7. The One That Could Have Been


I love these flashback-style episodes, and this one in particular because it gives us a totally different narrative for the characters we’ve become so familiar with by season six. Monica’s a 30 year old virgin, Phoebe’s a high-pressure business woman and Rachel’s fan-girling over Joey Tribbiani.

8. The One With Monica’s Thunder


I’ve always identified with Monica, but perhaps never more so than in this episode when she calls off her entire engagement party because she thinks Rachel is stealing her thunder by kissing Ross. I don’t blame her, my petty ass would be mad too!

9. The One With The Videotape


The Europe story is genius, but probably best not to use it on the best friend of the guy who invented it…

10. The One With The Rumour


There are some very, very special guest stars that appear in many episodes of ‘Friends’, going right back to the first season. However, I think Jennifer Aniston’s then-husband Brad Pitt playing Will, Monica’s formerly fat friend and member of the I Hate Rachel Greene Club, has got to be my all time favourite.

11. The One Where The Stripper Cries


I don’t know what I love about this episode more, Danny Devito performing his stripper routine to ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ or Monica, Chandler and Ross revealing their most embarrassing secrets about each other.

12. The Last One


Okay, okay, I know this might seem like a bit of a cop-out, but the last ‘Friends’ episode really is one of my favourites! I remember we were out the night that the final episode originally aired on TV so my mum videotaped it (yes, I am that old..) and I watched the VHS of that one episode over and over as a kid, years before I got the DVD boxset and definitely before it was all on Netflix! I knew all the lines from this one before any other episode, so it will always have a place in my heart.


Taking a Break: My Social Media Vacation | #ThisGirlEats

Like most people, I’ve come to accept that social media is just part of our lives these days. It’s there all day, every day, right at our fingertips and accessible in seconds, making it hard to take a break from it.

I’m such a sucker for tapping into social media on my phone at any given moment. I scroll through Twitter for my morning news, get updates from my family on Facebook and follow my friends’ lives through Instagram stories. Practically half my life is played out online; it’s just a habit I’ve fallen into and, to be completely honest, never really had any intention of breaking.

That is, until Reading Festival.

Pale Waves @ BBC Radio 1 Stage at Reading Festival 2019
Pale Waves @ BBC Radio 1 Stage at Reading Festival 2019

I spent five days in a field, surrounded by tents, portaloos and tens of thousands of other people, where my phone was rendered pretty much useless – except for capturing drunken candids on camera and using the torch to avoid tripping over the maze of guy ropes at night. But an internet connection? Forget about it!

I could just about refresh my social medias once a day (usually in a desperate attempt to find secret set rumours!) and reply to a couple of messages that managed to sneak through, but that was basically it. Endless scrolling was completely off the table.

At first I found it quite frustrating, but it ended up being a very welcome break that I didn’t even know I needed. It was so refreshing to not fall back on my phone and, as we were all in the same boat, no-one was glued to a screen and we relied on each other to fill the gaps.

Smirnoff Waterfall at Reading Festival 2019
Smirnoff Waterfall at Reading Festival 2019

I’m not saying that now I’m back in the world of hot showers and flushing toilets (thank god!) that I won’t go back to my old ways. I’m sure I’ll be tapping away on my morning commute and retweeting before bed as always; in all honesty, I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

But I feel grateful that a real break from social media was forced upon me because it does have its downsides. Whether it’s comparing ourselves to insta-models and their picture-perfect lives or getting wound up by Twitter trolls, there’s always one aspect or another of social media that takes its toll on our mental health. I don’t think we realise when we’re mindlessly tapping into these apps every day just how much that can mess with our heads.

I don’t expect us all to just switch off right here and now, but if you’re going away somewhere – be it a festival, holiday, mini-break or just to some sort of occasion or day out – perhaps consider logging off for a while.

You’ll thank yourself, I promise.

Foo Fighters @ Main Stage at Reading Festival 2019
Foo Fighters @ Main Stage at Reading Festival 2019