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The Secret Diaries of Very Mentally Stable Adult Woman

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Hiya, love! It’s TV’s Beth Rylance here (pictured above), and I’m here to talk to you for a very important reason: that’s right! About diaries.

Oh bloody hell, here she goes! Off on one again! Well, yes. Sure. I absolutely reek of being an avid diary keeper. You can smell it a mile off. I probably cry while I write them as well.

I have had a diary since I was knee-high to a pig’s eye, and I’d write in them weekly if not daily (depending on how much I fancied someone at the time). Having said that, the last proper diary entry I made was… (I actually went to go to a drawer to find my diary and check during this gap)… TWO YEARS AGO! That is a long time.

I tend to note things down more on my computer or in my phone notes now than with a pen and paper. In fact, I haven’t touched a pen, let alone written with one since the late 80s! And I wasn’t even born then!

But I got to thinking the other day about diary writing. And how interesting and important it is. Diaries can tell a very personal story, or they can tell a small part of a much bigger one. Diaries make history. Diaries tell history. (Or herstory. #NotAllMen). I started thinking about things like who are you writing it for? And why? And where?

Well, not really that last one. Unless you’re writing it in Space, which is pretty cool, in which case you’re probably writing it for NASA, so that answers most of those questions.

My childhood best friend and I used to write ours together, in fact, and then show them to each other on the weekends. I suppose it was like an early, much more personal version of the Daily Mail Showbiz, where we would just rip each other to shreds with comments like ‘Beth was such a bitch this week’ etc and noting down what it was like starting your period and/or when our Mum’s had read our diaries and how much we hated them for it. Really juicy stuff. In fact, my friend found one of her diaries a few years ago when she was clearing stuff out at her parent’s house and she sent me a photo to remind me of the good old times we had:

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As you can see, she had very strong feelings about something I had told her in utmost confidence, and coming from a girl who had stickers of Gareth Gates plastered all over her diary, I personally don’t think she had a leg to stand on. I would also like to stress I didn’t fancy him, I just thought he had a certain je ne sais quoi and very piercing eyes and have since moved on from this fleeting ‘crush’. Don’t @ me.

As I’ve written in almost every blog I’ve ever done, I had a very difficult relationship with my step mother growing up. And this mixed with secret diaries did not go very well. One of my earliest memories of this is being on holiday aged 9, and having, less of a diary, more of a note book, where I’d just write down bits and bobs. To set the scene of what kinda gal I was at the time, my summer reading that year was in fact ‘Chicken Run: Book of the Film’ (PHWOOOOOAR!) which I very quickly finished (I mean, the film is only 84 mins long) and had to read my cousin’s copy of the Prisoner of Azkaban, having not read any other Harry Potter books previously, and with very little understanding of what was going on. That’s right, boys. I was a smokin’ hottie.

BUT. The point of this story is, in this notebook I had written down a list of things I loved and things I hated. I don’t really remember what I had written in the ‘love’ section (probably something like ‘marmite sandwiches’, ‘pencil cases’ and ‘Chicken Run: The Movie’) but in the ‘hate’ section I had put ‘vests’.

God I hated wearing vests. All year round with this weird too hot undergarment underneath my school dress. What purpose did it serve? Maybe it’s the reason I’m such a fan of plunging backs on tops these days. Can’t wear vests with those, CAN YOU MUM!?

Having innocently left this notebook next to my bed to continue filling in my likes and dislikes, my step mum went through it with a biro and crossed off all of the things on my list that I ‘wasn’t allowed’ to hate. Vests being one of them.

She MADE NOTES in my diary about what thoughts and feelings I was allowed and not allowed to have, and that it was rude to say I ‘hated’ anything. It was a huge invasion of privacy, even for a 9-year-old. From then on I was always aware that if I was keeping a diary, I may not be the only reader.

Which is a shame if you ask me, because it just means that you’re less truthful. And diaries can communicate so much. Even if what they communicate is not what’s written. If you read my early teenage diaries, from say the age of 12-14, all you would hear about is very polite statements about my step-grandparents at the time and how much I enjoyed going to stay with them in Norfolk, even though I absolutely hated every second of it. And that was all because I was worried my step-mum would be reading them and I would be once again given detailed notes on what thoughts and feelings I was allowed to have. This was of course in between entries focused purely on the boy you had sat next to in Art and were now worried you might fancy a bit because you both liked playing The Sims. I thought all the endless pages upon pages of how wonderful Norfolk is in the late summer would be enough to put anyone off reading all the way to the juicy ones. Probs not.

Once I grew a tiny bit of a back bone I actually began to write properly again and hiding my diary down the side of my bed. During this period of time, I actually unwittingly stumbled on a note pad of my brothers when trying to write down a phone number. They had been using a pad in the kitchen as one of their ‘diaries’, or more a book to express themselves in, whether through drawing or writing. They had written some very detailed and articulate thoughts on certain bands of the time, as well as their artistic interpretations of celebrities. One of my favourite of these to this date is Shirley Boobie, which was just a drawing of Shirley Bassey with around 8 boobs, and this:

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I was so proud when I found it I immediately confronted them with it and they both looked scared and said ‘you haven’t found Shirley Boobie, have you?’ Yes, boys. Yes I had.

 

But what I’m really interested in is diaries you write for no one. Just for yourself. Because if you can write something that you truly think no one else will ever read, what a pure piece of communication with yourself. What a personal intricate look into your own personality and how you feel about yourself. Do you write to make yourself laugh? To remind yourself of mistakes not to make again? It’s a real sign of self-care. To want to preserve yourself and what you’ve experienced in writing.

 

Diaries can take you back to exactly how you felt when you wrote them, even if how you felt was that you fancied Daniel Radcliffe when you were 11 (it was VERYbrief.) But they can also be important to help us understand how other people think or thought. Diaries are your own personal version of history. There are historians who exist that purely study diaries. Diaries of normal people, from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s which tell what might seem like the most boring, mundane details, but they paint an exact picture of how a person alive in that time felt to live there.

 

I came across an incredible example of this while at uni, of a midwife called Martha Ballard, who lived in 1700s Massachusetts and made over 10,000 entries in her diaries over 27 years. A historian, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, constructed a whole map of the village Martha lived and worked in and a timeline of all the births and deaths purely from reading Martha’s diary entries. She made a map of who lived in what house and who were neighbours, just from boring entries like ‘Popped over to Mr and Mrs So and So’s on Tuesday night for a bit of mead and a chin wag’. FASCINATING INNIT!

 

It’s incredible. All you could work out from my diary is that I was a big fan of using smelly gel pens and that someone at school had been a massive bitch at lunch. I bet Martha Ballard had no idea how important her diary would be when she was writing it. Just like mine will be someday… probably on a Channel 5 ‘WE LOVED THE 90s!’ talking head compilation show.

 

I was lucky enough to be able to read my Mum’s teenage diary when I went up into the attic once. My Dad kept a box of her books up there. Pages upon pages about her snogging some lad on the school ski trip. And then a dates diary from when she was older, where it was more noting down what she did that day, and sometimes more detail here and there about how she felt. My favourite entry was one where she said she’s been cleaning the flat on her own while my Dad had sat on his arse watching TV all day and it made me laugh because I felt an affinity with her. My Dad doessit on his arse and watch TV all day long sometimes, and she thought that too! God, it’s almost like we were related!

 

This isn’t a call to arms to get everyone to start writing a diary (except that it is). It’s just a mere thought I had while sitting on the tube the other day, writing something in my phone notes about how scared I am of death halfway through writing a list of what I needed to buy from Boots and I thought ‘God I hope no one ever sees this’ but also ‘God I hope no one ever sees that I buy FemFresh’. Oh and also that writing for yourself and to yourself are very important things to do.

 

The one thing I’ll leave you on is this: I’m sure Norfolk is a very nice place to go, I just hate it and will never go there again. And write in as many notebooks, pads, pieces of paper and iPhone notes as you can, cos they are always so funny to read back. And just make sure no one else ever sees them. Especially your daughter.

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A Motherless Daughter

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Hello everyone, it’s me again! TV’s Beth Rylance.

I wanted to write about something a bit sad. There won’t be as many jokes as usual, or possibly any at all, and you’re just going to have to shut up and deal with it. So here it goes.

I lost my Mum when I was one year old. Just.

She was knocked down and killed outside the school she taught at 4 days after my 1st birthday.

For me, this has been something that has always defined my life and who I am.

I am the Daughter of a Father because of it. My whole life has happened how it has because of it. I don’t know what I’d do without my Dad because of it. I am the person who I’ve grown into because of it.

It is something I have always known, and I am surrounded by people that talk about my mother and bring her to life for me, despite the fact that I never knew her.

Her name was Jane. She was really tiny. My Dad says she lied on her passport and said she was 5’2’’ but actually she was only 5’. Her and my Dad got together when he invited her to his birthday party because his friend wanted to get back together with her, but she thought it was because my Dad liked her. So he snogged her.

She came out of a cake in a bikini for my Dad’s 21st birthday. She had a mum and a dad, and brother and a sister who were almost 20 years older than her, and a childhood best friend called Trish who is my godmother. She had one child, and that was me. I feel very lucky that I managed to make it out in the short time she lived. These are some of the things I know about her.

I spoke about growing up without her on Cariad Lloyd’s brilliant podcast Griefcast, and because of this, a lovely author called Hope Edelman got in touch to ask if I would speak at an event she was hosting in London for Motherless Daughters and tell them my story.

So I said yes. And I did it.

I went to the first Motherless Daughters Symposium in London and met over 80 women who had also lost their mums, and it was an absolute revelation.

To me, my story is so personal, and something that to my knowledge, hasn’t happened to anyone I know.

I am the one with a dead mum. I am the one who grew up with a ‘wicked’ stepmother. I am the one who doesn’t speak to her stepmother anymore and is all the better for it.

My stepmother came into my life when I was 3 years old and her and my Dad divorced when I was 16. They had my twin brothers, who are really great guys that I love with all of my heart. They’re really tall, they drive me insane and we used to share a bedroom.

She raised me and then dropped me, a pattern me and my Dad had watched her do repeatedly with numerous friends and family throughout the time we knew her. When they were getting divorced, my Dad said to her he was scared that she would do the same to me. And she did. And just like that, I didn’t have a mum all over again.

I stopped speaking to her when I was 21 years old and it was the easiest decision I ever made. I was glad to see the back of the woman who had banned me from saying the word ‘sorry’ at the age of 10 because she said I’d said it too much and it didn’t mean anything anymore. So, Sorry not sorry.

My life has been a dream and a breeze without her* (*it hasn’t. I mean, it’s been a lot better, but it turns out there are these things called ‘men’, which cause all sorts of problems). But I have no desire to talk to her or communicate with her in any way. In fact, I called her a dick in front of the audience at the Motherless Daughters symposium and they laughed and clapped. I hope one day that gets back to her.

And to my surprise, after I’d spoken, several women came up to me and told me they grew up with a stepmother who was a dick too and that I wasn’t alone, and that some of them didn’t even speak to their Dads anymore because of it. And I thought ‘this is mad. There are people who’ve had lives just like mine. And they’re EVERYWHERE!*’ (*in this one particular room.) It even made me feel lucky that I have actually had such a lovely life, considering. There were some women who had been physically abused by their step mothers, and I thought ‘Thank god I was only emotionally abused by mine!’. Which is a nuts thing to think, but hey, I was emotionally abused, guys. I have very little self-worth.

The Motherless Daughters event made me realise (not through my own thought process, but through someone actually saying it) that the first person that ‘replaces’ your mother after you’ve lost her is so incredibly important in your grieving and development.

And you either get a corker, or a shitter. And it just turns out that I got the latter. As, it seems, did a lot of women at the event.

But what I did have, which many of the women didn’t, was a really brilliant, loving and open Dad, who never let me forget that I had a mum, and that she meant the world to him, and that I meant the world to her. The older I get, the more I can’t believe he managed to survive what he’s been through and make it out the other end, and still be the sweetest, kindest Dad to end all Dads.

I met a woman at the event who hadn’t seen a photo of her mum until she was 18. I had photos up of mine all around my room. I met women who no longer spoke to their fathers because of their evil stepmothers still being with them, and the Dad picking the new wife or partner over the daughter. My Dad gets incessant phone calls from me twice a day asking him to pay my phone bill. He wishes he could get rid of me. (He doesn’t.)

I couldn’t believe it. It made me realise how lucky I was to have had a family who so openly dealt with their grief and never denied me mine. I think it’s one of the most dangerous thing to do.

The most interesting and comforting thing was regardless of what age we had lost our mothers, or how we’d lost them, what we all felt was incredibly similar. Struggling with mental health, mainly anxiety and depression directly connected to our grief, struggling in your relationships due to a fear of loss of that person and everything in general, a fear of death. The idea that nothing lasts forever and anything can happen to anybody, and how that holds you back in relationships, work, and life.

If there is something I’ve learnt from growing up without my mum, it’s that there isn’t really an end to it. You don’t suddenly one day feel better that you don’t have a mum. Every big event in your life, you realise. Every anniversary of her death, you realise. When you are coming up to the age she was when she died, you realise. That is a huge one for me. The day that I turn older than my Mum ever was will be a strange one. It’s something I think about all the time. And it will be 30 years after she died.

Grief goes in circles. I think we are slowly coming to realize as a society, that it is okay to grieve your whole life. That doesn’t mean you’re going to sit wearing a black veil and in a darkened room taking a visitor who brings a lasagne over once a week for the rest of your life, but it is also more realistic than this idea that you get over someone’s death within a year or two. What I learnt at the Motherless Daughters Symposium is that the Five Stages of Grief are not meant to apply to the grieving. They were part of a pamphlet based on the model by Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross to be given to patients who themselves were dying to help them come to terms with it, not for those left behind. I didn’t even know who Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was, but I knew what the Five Stage of Grief were. And I knew they have been applied to most people who have experienced the death of someone close to them and to the time frame that they could be sad for afterwards.

I have since been asked to be an ambassador for Grief Encounter, a charity that specialises in child bereavement, and providing support to families dealing with the effects of death on a child. I know you would assume that this is something that would happen anyway, but it really isn’t. People think that children deal with grief well because they can move on from things quickly, or have less of an understanding, but all these events simply get logged for later on and can come out again at any time. Which like I said, is something I’ve been experiencing over recent years.

The strange thing is, that none of my life would have happened how it has had my mum not died. I wouldn’t have been at that event, I wouldn’t have been writing this, I wouldn’t have called up my Grandma to tell her I’d called my step mum a dick (I didn’t use the actual word. She would’ve told me off.) in front of an audience, I wouldn’t have my brothers, all three of them (there’s a new-ish one, he’s great.) and although it has been a life much like an award winning episode of Eastenders, it isn’t one that I’d change, because I can’t.

But I can talk about it all the time, and hopefully that will help.

I’d like to thank all the men in my life, who have looked after me like a mum. And my Grandma, who is not a man. I love them so very much.

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Below I’ve included a large bunch of links to everything I’ve mentioned.

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Goutbusters

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Like all good things, gout must come to an end.

As much as I have absolutely loved having gout and telling you, my loyal fans all about it, unfortunately for you all it seems like it’s on it’s way out. Having said that, I had 3 glasses of wine and a pizza last night, so hopefully that’ll keep it going for a few more days.

This is my farewell swan song to my life*long affliction.

*week.

It has been a rollercoaster ride of a week, with ups and downs. Mainly due to me limping. At an audition yesterday, my limp is now so barely noticeable that the people in the audition room didn’t even ask what was wrong. I couldn’t believe it. So I made sure to say ‘by the way, I’ve got gout!’ once I’d done my lines. I also tripped up as I left the room. So I feel like I’ll be hearing back from them preeeeeeeetty soon, if you know what I mean! 😉

What I won’t miss is the constant media coverage of my plight. I will be happy to finally be able to walk down the street without being harassed by every passer by. saying ‘can I get a photo’ or ‘move out the way you fat pig’. The photo below is actually just a picture of me popping to get some ibuprofen from Boots. I had to sign two customers bottles of Herbal Essences. It was carnage.

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Just some of the new coverage from the past week. 

But I feel like I’ve learned a valuable lesson about myself and what the people I surround myself with think of me.

What I’ve taken from this experience is that I will not be changing my diet in any way whatsoever, but I have learnt that my not-boyfriend thinks I eat an abnormal amount of cheese, which I wholeheartedly protest. (We had this argument while I was eating rice cakes with a pot of cream cheese. Point proven!) And also that my French housemate after a lengthly discussion about my predicament (she’d googled Gout on French wikipedia and said she still didn’t understand what it was) commented ‘You do eat a lot of ham. I think you should try and eat less ham.’

Unfortunately this I can’t deny, but in my defence, I did give up salami for lent, and I cant help but think that my gout happened in reaction to not having enough salami. I’m hoping to get this confirmed by a doctor within the week, as I am pretty confident my blood test results will come back saying ‘LOW LEVELS OF SALAMI IN BLOODSTREAM’.

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An artists impression of a magnified image of my blood test results. 

If theres one thing I’d like to leave you all with, it’s that gout actually really hurts, and is actually very prevalent in women. So there. I hope these blogs have done something to raise the awareness of gout being not only a fat old man’s illness, but a fat young woman’s one too.

This goes out to all ma GoutGals out there. This ones for you.

Over and gout.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/gout-started-affect-growing-numbers-5681926

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The Goutfather: Part II

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So, where was I? Oh yeah, I’ve got gout.

So there I was, on Day Two, gouting it up like nobodies business. I was in pain, I was ashamed, I was alone, I was enraged. How could I possibly have gout? And how on earth was I going to go about telling my close friends and family? Surely this would be the last time they’d ever speak to me.

Unfortunately for me, my not-boyfriend had been the one who’d taken me to A&E, so he already knew. So, that spelt the end of him ever finding me attractive again… I’m kidding. I am a timeless and ageless beauty, like a young Angelina Jolie. I never go out of fashion. And also it turns out disgusting fat pigs are kind of his thing.

I rang my Dad to tell him the news and I opened with ‘I’VE GOT GOUT BECAUSE OF YOU!’ as apparently gout can be hereditary, and he’d contracted it a few years ago from eating too much Taramasalata on holiday*. All he had to say for himself was ‘Beth, I’m in a meeting.’

I was devastated. Disowned by the very Father who had genetically predisposed me to gout. That was the last time I’d speak to him. (Until I called him about an hour later.)

Then I rang my Grandma to tell her, and she was very worried about me, but I eventually made her laugh about it because I can’t bear to see my Grandma sad. She asked me what I was going to eat for dinner (when does she not) and I said ‘nothing, because I’m a fat pig, Grandma.’ and she said ‘Oh, well have a pizza at least!’ and I said ‘I cant Grandma, that has cheese on it, and I have gout.’ And she then went on to list several other dinner options which I also couldn’t eat like trifle, carbonara, profiteroles etc.

The reality is, I actually have no idea how or what or why I got the gout. It genuinely might be to do with a stress injury. So avoiding eating cheese on pizza might be wholly pointless. But I’ve barely eaten anything over the past 2 days for fear of that being what caused it. In reality, all I eat is one small mouthful of porridge a morning, a deconstructed egg and a handful of seeds for lunch and then 15 bottles of Malbec for dinner, so I really can’t see where the problem lies.

The news of my gout spread like wildfire. News outlets** were swarming my house, and I could barely get out the front door (mainly to do with my foot, not the reporters. But also because I hadn’t actually bothered trying.)

I had to text into my part time job to let them know I wasn’t going to make it in, and my colleagues rallied round me in support by covering my shift after receiving a heartfelt plea from our boss:

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People started calling me ‘Gouty Beth’, or Henry, after Henry VIII. My friends offered to buy me a gout pony, for transport. There were outpourings of support from Twitter and innumerous texts of support saying things like ‘do you really have gout?’ and ‘what is that?’. Someone set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise some money to keep me in parma ham while I’m out of work.

But then it turned nasty. I realised people were laughing at me and not with me. My not boyfriend sent me this…

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To be fair, it is very funny, I just hadn’t eaten all day. 

…and I flew off the handle. The gout had sent me mad and I was storming*** around the house saying that I would behead anyone who came within a 10metre radius of me or married me. I barely remember it. I saw red. I managed to calm myself down after my not boyfriend bought me some crackers.

And then I felt a little better. I realised maybe I’d overreacted and he could live another day.

After not hearing from him for weeks, my brother sent his condolences:

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My family keep me grounded. 

And all was well with the world. The swelling was going down and I was able to walk a little better, and a little lighter, knowing that one day I might be able to eat cheese again. And that day, was today, cos I actually ate cream cheese with crackers last night and my gout felt much worse this morning. So. Lesson learned there.

Tune in tomorrow for more GOUT, more GOSSIP, more GLAMOUR! 
Find out what happens when Beth leaves the house for the first time in 2 days and whether she’ll be able to get her shoe on or not… 

Read all a-gout it in the third and final installment…

Goutbusters

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Gout: Pig in the City

Hiya everyone! It’s TV’s Beth Rylance here, world famous* actress and world famous* gout sufferer.

I’ve decided to give my fans an exclusive look into my life and struggles with gout. Which I’ve had for a total of one day. It’s been really hard. So far.

Gout, as you all may know, is a disease that hasn’t been suffered by anyone at all since Henry VIII in the 1500s, so I’m really happy to be bringing it back and updating it’s image. I feel like I can do a lot for it. For example, I don’t think Henry VIII vlogged his journey, which would really have missed out on engaging with his millennial audience. I’m hoping that during my time with gout, I can help to rebrand and bring it to a more female market.

For me, it all started a fateful week ago, when I’d got the tube to my friend’s house and noticed a slight pain in the ball of my foot. I just thought it was a twinge, so carried on walking on it regardless. I of course continued living in denial for a few days like lazy people do, until KABLOWIE, my foot blew up and I could barely walk.

I was beginning to wonder… what was my foot thinking? Was this the end of the road for us? Did my foot want some time apart from me?

It got so painful yesterday morning, that I packed up my worldly belongings and headed off to A&E, fully expecting to be there for the rest of my life.

I took my Kindle, a spare pair of pants, the other shoe that I couldn’t get on my foot, my make-up bag, my CV and portfolio (you never know!!!!!), some release forms, some paperclips and a stapler for filing etc. For all you fashion fans out there, I was wearing one shoe (left one) and one of my not-boyfriend’s socks (right one). It was raining, which gave the sock this sort of ‘wet look’ feel. Super on trend.

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I had an X-ray because they thought I might have broken something (SPOILER ALERT: I hadn’t.) Then the doctor came back in with my x-rays and a huge grin on his face and said ‘So we think you might have Gout……lolololololololololololol.’

I was in shock. So in shock I took this picture. Cute, right?!

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Gout? How could I have gout? I am just a young, free, single* (*taken! Sorry boys!) woman, who only indulges in a hog roast two to three times a week MAX. How could I possibly have got gout?

Just the day before, my friends and I had laughed the day away at even the thought that I might have gout and that I’d have to get a horse to carry me around everywhere. I’d done some research on it (powered by Google™), and this seemed like the most reasonable solution. In hindsight, horses are expensive, and I don’t have anywhere to keep one. It was silly of me.

Mainly I was relieved to find out that I hadn’t broken anything, and was in fact just a fat pig like everyone had long suspected. I went to the M&S Simply Food in the hospital and bought myself a BLT to celebrate.

My not-boyfriend came and picked me up from A&E and we laughed so much about the fact I had gout that we drove into the back of a van and punctured his tyre.

It really was an ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS DAY! I came home and decided to make productive use of my time incapacitated, popped a couple of anti-inflammatories and spent a good two hours making this collage of famous gout sufferers.

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And this was all just DAY ONE of the gout. Who knows what the rest holds in store… I for one can’t wait to see the adventures that Gout™ is going to take me on.

So stay tuned for more hilarious tales of gout, glamour and life as a young woman in a vibrant city!
Tomorrow on Gout: Pig in the City… Beth tries to break the news of her gout to her close friends and family as well as trying to Deliveroo a Medieval Meat Feast to no avail

Read all a-gout it in the second installment…

The Goutfather: Part II

 

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Ode to a Cat Caller

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Thank you. No, really thank you so much. It has absolutely made my day to have you, a man who I have not looked at, made eye contact with, spoken to or even know, comment on what you think about my body and what I’m wearing as I walk past you. I’m so glad we live in a society where you feel open enough to share your inner thoughts and opinions with me, a completely random stranger, that hadn’t asked for them! What I like about you is that you just instinctively knew I wanted someone to say something about me as I was walking down the road with my Sainsbury’s bag (#ad). You just knew I needed that affirmation that someone I did not know, or ask for any attention from, thought I was looking good today. It really perked me up when you muttered under you breath about my nice legs and my nice ass. They really are lovely aren’t they?! If only more men were like you and would comment on them, maybe I’d get out the house more! Your comments make me feel so much happier and safer as I’m walking home looking attractive. They really do.

I’m just sorry that our exchange was so brief that I didn’t get a chance to comment on how nice I thought your legs were in your shorts. You’d really made an effort and I could tell it was all for me, which is really sweet, considering I don’t know you and have never met you. Quite an effort to get so dressed up like that for a random stranger! But it was all for me, which was just so thoughtful of you. Thank you for that. I’m so glad you’re enjoying what random strangers wear in the hot weather as much as I am. Keep on trucking, and make sure you don’t forget to comment on every single woman who happens to cross your path! We wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out now, would we?! But mainly because believe you me, us women absolutely love it.

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Let’s Talk About Lent, Baby. Let’s Talk About You and Me


Hey guys, wanna talk about Lent?! Great!

 

Fun Fact: It’s Lent right now! Get on board! Except you can’t because it started last week and if you haven’t already given something up then you’ve missed the boat.

I don’t know if any of you know this, but Lent is actually something people do because of this guy called Jesus and this super niche thing called ‘religion’.

Me? I just do it because of my friend called Arthur.

I’ve known Arthur for quite a long time now, over 10 years. Gross! We went to school together and while we were at school, we were also in a TV show (hashtag showbiz, am I right ladies?!) One day, during rehearsals for this show, Arthur announced that he was giving up sweets for Lent, and that everyone else had to do it with him and pick something that they would give up.

I think everyone picked the usual stuff like chocolate, fizzy drinks etc. Hey, we were just kids back then. If it was these days it would probably be Class A drugs and social media. I picked chocolate, because I love copying people and jumping on the bandwagon. And because we were rehearsing all day and spending such a lot of time together, Arthur enforced Lent like, dare I say it, a Nazi. I did say it. God I can’t believe I just compared my friend to a Nazi. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

In rehearsals every day it was a nightmare, as a teenager and binge eater, to not eat sweets or chocolate or constantly snack. They always provide several packs of mandarins or oranges at rehearsals and no one ever fucking eats them. (I stress this was back in 2005, and no one gave a shit about Nutri Bullets or kale back then. Healthy eating was just a twinkle in an avocado’s eye. And avocados hadn’t even been invented yet.)

But Arthur looked at Lent as a real challenge. Something that should be adhered to. You should pick something that was difficult to give up and really stick to it. I think most of us fell off the wagon within a week or two. I managed to hold on.

Then one day in rehearsals someone bought in a box of Ferrero Roche. I had unwrapped the whole thing and was in the process of placing it in my mouth when Arthur saw this, leapt at me from the other side of the room like someone jumping in front of a bullet, and knocked it out of my hand onto the floor so that I couldn’t eat it.  It rolled across the carpet to a better life.

I was fucking furious. But, I didn’t eat it. If there was someone who didn’t want me to eat a Ferrero Roche THAT much, then maybe I should try and stick to it. And that person wasn’t Jesus, but my friend Arthur, Our Lord and savior. And because of that, I made it through my first Lent without breaking it. And it felt pretty good. And ever since then I have been a Lent Nazi just like Arthur.

Every year I gave up chocolate. But after a few years of that I realized I actually don’t eat chocolate that much, and it wasn’t actually that difficult. So I decided, being the masochist that I am, that I should choose something that I really like to give up, or something that would benefit me to not do. If you’re going to give something up for 40 days, it might as well have a purpose.

My Grandma always gives up chocolate for Lent every year, except she only gives it up in its ‘pure form’. Which means she can still have chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, chocolate biscuits, hot chocolate etc. Which if you ask me is taking absolute liberties. She also says Lent ‘doesn’t count on Sundays’. Or on Mothers Day. This coming from a woman who has been to church every Sunday of her life. Disgraceful.

One year I gave up bread and wooooooah nelly let me tell you as soon as it hit midnight on JC’s big back to life party day, I had already toasted two pieces of bread, buttered them, put marmite on it, plated them up, and was just sat there waiting for the clock to hit midnight.

I fucking love bread, man. Anyone who tries to keep me and bread apart can go F themselves. We’re 4 lyf. One of the worst things anyone has ever said to me is ‘bread has absolutely no nutritional value’. Not on my watch, mate. Bread makes anything a meal, mark my words.

But I managed it, somehow, and actually it was probably quite good to not eat bread for that period of time, because it changed my eating habits from different variations of bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner to trying some other things, that I suppose you can call food, every now and again.

The only thing I regret from this particular Lent is that I made all my flat mates at university also join in with me, and they all decided to become vegan for Lent, and they still remain to this day, vegans. Revolting. Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Another thing I absolutely love is salt. I’m addicted to it. I know I’m going to die early because of it, and I don’t even care. As long as I die how I lived: eating salt. When you bury me, please throw salt on my coffin instead of earth. It’s what I would’ve wanted. I’ve given it up three years in a row now, and it’s like my yearly detox to try and wean myself off it, because as much as I say I want to die, I’d like a few more years at least. Before I top myself in a self induced salt coma.

When I say ‘giving up salt’ everyone goes ‘Errr well how are you going to do that?! Salt is in everything lololololol.’ What I mean (dick’eads) is adding extra salt to my food, or eating salt flavoured things. Like soy sauce. Or crisps. God I miss crisps.

I’d say the only benefit of it, besides the fact i’ll live longer and become a lot healthier, is that not being able to add salt to things just makes you eat a lot less cos everything tastes so gross without salt. Just imagine for one second eating completely plain chips. What a miserable, healthy and well-balanced existence.

Like I said before, I always think Lent is a good time to try and stick to giving up something that you really like, or something that it would really benefit me not to do. Which is why this year I have given up salt, again. And talking to my ex.

It is incredibly difficult. I really liked the guy, but a gal’s got to move on with her life innit. And as long as I keep talking to him, I don’t. We’ve tried to stop speaking and it just doesn’t work.

Then it clicked, the only time I’ve ever stopped doing anything with a 100% success rate (bar the time I accidentally had a whole tub of chocolate ice cream during the interval at The Woman in Black four days before Easter) is Lent. So that was what I was going to do. Give him up for Lent. And sure, it is a pretty weird thing to do to give a person up for lent, but we were a pretty weird pair of people. And if you’re going to do anything like this, you should do it for Jesus. Cos then you know you’ll stick to it. And also cos Jesus loves Winners.

It’s been a week now and I haven’t had any salt and I haven’t even drunkenly text my ex, even when I really wanted to. I feel like a whole new woman. He will be absolutely furious that I have written this, but it is Lent and I’ve given him up and can’t talk to him so he can’t say anything. Plus he’s shouldn’t be reading this. And I’m just a really naughty boy. So.

But at least I know my heart will be in a better place at the end of this year’s stint. Mainly because I’ve lowered my salt intake.

Happy Lent, everybody! This one goes out to salt. I miss you, baby.

 

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