Friday, 14 June 2019

Whatever happened to the Birthday Monster?

Does anyone remember Birthday Monster?

Now I am older, my Birthday Monster has mellowed out a lot. He's happy to go with the flow. He's 'wound his neck in', so to be speak. He's shed his thick, bristling fur to reveal soft, downy skin like one of those naked cats. He's so much less high maintenance now.

His ears still prick up when anyone asks me, 'So what are you doing for your birthday?' but now he does not react, merely listens, simply interested rather than enraged. 

He nods as he hears me say, 'Oh probably won't do much, can't be bothered to be honest.' 

He shrugs when he hears me say at a later date, 'I think I'd quite like to do some casual drinks, actually.

He barely reacts when, the next week, he watches me invite people to 'My 30th Birthday Drinks' WhatsApp group; he just sits, thoughtfully stroking his fringed cloak, which has somehow unfolded itself and crept down from the top of the wardrobe.

He is silent when, in a WhatsApp group of my old work friends, the conversation turns to planning a weekend away together and somebody proposes the first weekend of July and everyone else says they are free that weekend even though that is the weekend of my 30th birthday drinks thing. I am silent too; we are silent together. We do not want to bring attention to our birthday as not all the old work friends are invited (we suspect one of them is cheating on his girlfriend and we will not have that sort of thing at our birthday), so we cannot mention it but also we do not want to mention it out of principle. 

Anyone who wants to come to my birthday party would have written it in their diary, right? 'Right,' soothes my smooth-skinned imaginary friend. (I cannot call him Birthday Monster anymore, perhaps he should have a new name.)

He approves of my plan to make a new WhatsApp group with all the same people minus the old works friend who have forgotten about it. He is understanding when I abandon this plan as it is petty and ridiculous and also who gives a fuck? He agrees with me that it is much better to be silent and wait for one of them to realise and say, 'Oh shit mate hang on isn't that your birthday thing?' and I can just reply breezily, 'No worries.'

My little friend knows all this because – and this is just dawning on me but maybe I knew it all along – he is now Birthday Martyr.

We can take or leave birthdays, can't we Birthday Martyr? 

He smizes at me, a picture of serenity, stroking his cloak absent-mindedly. By his feet, I spy that little birthday hat he used to wear with such aplomb... strange how it has ended up on the floor. Even stranger, it has somehow become all scrunched out of shape, as if someone has been holding it tightly in their little fist.

Just found this very old photo from 2012 (almost seven years ago, where does the time go??):

Saturday, 12 January 2019

How to be a Copywriter

I am editing my blog into a book. Don't laugh. When I say editing I mean HEAVILY editing, as there are a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes and typos, and loads of posts where I start with 'Let me tell you about the amazing thing that just happened to me' and then digress into tales of babysitting and buying Milka chocolate and then either never mention the amazing thing again, or bring it up five months later for No Reason.

Old Left Bank Manc readers may be surprised that I am a now copywriter, as it requires serious attention to detail and sometimes, people will ask you how to spell words from across the office and you have to shout back 100% correct first time without hesitating or you look like a FRAUD. (Once for 'a laugh' I shouted back random letters and then while the designer typed them in silence, getting more and more confused, my brain brought up the real spelling for me. When I am a very old, very senior copywriter I think I will do that all the time until people know to stop asking me.)


I thought that I would write down how I became a copywriter in case anyone is interested. If you love writing it is a great job. Of course being a novel writer or a poet might be your first choice, but if you don't have the luxury of spending a year or two 'working on your novel' without doing much else (in my heart of hearts I know that if I was really able to write novels, I would have been able to juggle my writing with bartending, but in reality, when I first moved to London, working in a pub a) made it hard to pay rent and b) made it hard to see any friends or have any kind of life.

SO here is what happened that made me become a copywriter:

Emailed a website called House and Heels, which publishes articles about house music, which at the time I was bang into (I have no idea what's happening nowadays, which is sad) and fashion, which I'm always into. They emailed back and basically said it started as a uni project, so no money in it, but that I could write content for them if I fancied. And I fancied!

Emailed hundreds (OK like 50) marketing agencies introducing myself, sending links to my best Left Bank Manc articles and asking if they needed any content writers, two got back to me. One while I was still in Paris, asking me to write a one-off article for them about 'off the beaten track' Paris (I got fifty quid for that I think) and another said they would have regular content work for me, which I started once I'd moved to London.

I moved to London in September, got a pub job and started writing content articles for the marketing agency. They gave me a couple of examples to make sure I was alright, and then they started sending me more and more articles. I was paid eight quid an article (only 800 words), so I learnt how to write each one EXTREMELY fast, so that I was at least getting paid sixteen quid. They paid me through Paypal (just in case you ever get work like this and wonder if Paypal makes it dodgy) and wouldn't pay me until I had registered as self-employed. So it was all above board but took a long time to sort out. The 'articles' were pieces of content for mad brands, e.g. '5 times famous footballers won big at the casino' for a gambling site, or 'Top tips for surviving your first term' for a car insurance company that wanted to target students. Absolute crap.

A lovely copywriter friend of Glasgow Laura's called Claire, who I made a couple of times in Paris, sent me a link to a copywriting internship. I applied, sending the content articles I had written (didn't mention my blog at this point as realised it was full of swearing and shagging and somehow it felt weird letting them know the Real Me, when I might be working in an office with them). I got it!

Just before I started my internship, the au pair family had emailed asking me if I would return to Paris. I was SO tempted as life was pretty shit at the time, but I thought I should at least give the internship a go... The work was great, writing for fashion advertising campaigns and in-store stuff, and after three months they offered me the position of Junior Copywriter and that was that!

Now I'm a Senior Copywriter, working for a lovely agency, writing for foodie clients. I LOVE IT.

If you have any questions, comment below and I will get back to you.

If you're not interested in being a copywriter hopefully you didn't read all the way to the end.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018


I've got a new job. Praise me, I mean praise be!

I'm so excited. It is a million times better than my current job in every single way. I am genuinely excited to do the work that I will be doing (one of the clients I will be writing for is in my top five favourite brands), whereas currently my day is split evenly between: making tea, drinking tea, staring out of the window, stretching and sighing, and reading recipes online.

Today I have been quite productive actually. I have written a spell to make Boris Johnson fall into a hole. I really feel that it could work. Please feel free to light a candle tonight and incant it in a hoarse whisper like a spooky lunatic.

Jen gave me the idea. In my WhatsApp group with Lauren, Jen and Claire we were all trying not to get worked up about Brexit and Jen said 'I wish Boris would fall into a hole'. And I realised that he SHOULD fall into a fucking hole. He absolutely needs to.

And so I wrote this spell. You never know, it could work! Stranger things have happened. (It doesn't wish him serious harm so I don't think the karmic implications are too dire. Anyway, the shit that Brexit is about to slick across all our lives is dire enough. I think we get a karma pass, don't you?)


On the bright side, Christmas is coming and I am BUZZING for it. I start my new job after Christmas so I am not going to go mad on Lidl's snide Bailey's like I did last year, resulting in streaks of festive acne along both sides of my jaw. But I can still be merry and bright. And maybe Boris Johnson will fall into a hole!!!! We can do it!!!! Visualise it!!!! This video will help.

See you on the other side of Christmas, probably!

Thursday, 6 September 2018


Fuck it. I'm writing a blog post from work, I have nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do.

We've moved offices, to the Strand, I'm writing this looking out of a huge wide window, it's great for people watching. And it's so strange, because Mum used to work in Somerset House, when she lived in London and before I was born (obviously). I popped out the other day for lunch to explore the area (we've only been here for a few days) and I was struck with this weird nostalgic feeling, for Mum's lunchtimes. She told me once about going to a local sandwich shop, where she'd eat a weird combination that at the time everyone thought was great (grapes and hummus? I can't remember now) and one of the guys in there took a shining to her, and the old fellers would call him out from the back when she came in, "Your friend's here."

All those lunchtimes of walking up and down the Strand, little did she know that in thirty-odd years her grown-up daughter would be doing the same thing, while she was back up north, living in Another Northern Mill Town, with her son too (he moved in with her this week, to save money for travelling, he's got a one-way ticket to Vietnam and I'm very excited/terrified for him).

I love this window, even if I can mainly see buses going up and down. I can see a couple of theatres too, I won't say which ones in case my ultra determined (and ultra fictional) stalkers are reading.

This job. What the hell is it.

I'm just trying to enjoy having money. Moved in with my boyfriend at the weekend, I live in Walthamstow now, it's in Zone 3 but we've managed to get a two-bedroom flat and it's close to the marshes and wetlands. Every window looks out onto trees, I wonder if they'll turn red and gold soon, or if they'll just drop all their leaves, leaving us our windows all naked and exposed.

My boyfriend was at a stag do in Margate on the weekend we moved in, so I was there on my own, unpacking. The flat looked so spacious with one person's stuff in. On Monday when he brought his stuff over from his friend's house, we realised that I had used up most of the storage, so flat is a bit messy now. Oops.

I was worried about him going on the stag do, to be honest, as he told me about one in the past where they all shot BB guns and someone gave the groom an electric shock. I needn't had worried this time, however. he got there too late to go clubbing on Friday night (they came back at 11pm, all very drunk and tired), everyone slept in and missed the paint-balling they'd booked on Saturday afternoon, then they got to Dreamland just as it was closing. He told me this on the Saturday night on the phone. "What are you going to do then?" I asked, and he said 'mushroom tea'. Someone drank his while he was on the phone to me, so in the end he ordered a pizza and had an early night.

It's funny isn't it, how you can get old with without think you are? I mean, I know I'm not old. But moving in with a boyfriend (Lauren moved in with her boyfriend, by the way) is quite an old thing to do, even if loads of people in London seems to do it as soon as they both move here from uni.

I've been reading my old Left Bank Manc posts, I was literally still a teenager in my mind, thinking I was grown-up because I was in my twenties. LOL. I acted like a child. My spelling was terrible. I did stupid, ridiculous, dangerous things.

It's a shame I haven't been blogging since I moved to London, because it would be nice to look back as a fifty-year-old woman and think 'Wow, I was literally still a teenager in my mind, thinking I was grown-up because I was almost thirty."

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Back to Paz

Sneaky blog post at work!

I am going to Paris tomorrow I am so excited, can’t quite believe it. Haven’t been back for three years. All I want to do is eat bread by the river. I haven’t told the au pair family I will be in Paris, I reckon the kids are too old too care now. Right?

The youngest girl follows me on Instagram so can’t post any pics. Don’t know what to do.

Will worry about it another day. I just want to finish work now, pack and go to bed.


I’ve forgotten all my French. Maybe I will collapse under the weight of all the nostagia.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Time Touchpoint

Ooh is there anything nicer than having a tidy bedroom?

I feel as if I can relax now, and do some blogging.

Yesterday I even did some Big Cleaning Jobs - scrubbed mould of the bathroom ceiling (tied a sports bra round my face and wore sunglasses for protection) and cleaned the bin. I wonder if I don't blog as much now because I have so much more to do?


I had a lot to do in Paris too, I just never did it. 

I have been rereading my old posts, from my first year in Paris. Wow, is all I can say about my grammar and spelling. It was very idiosyncratic. It's funny how I used to talk A LOT about how time was flying by, and that I didn't know what to do in the future. Now I feel the same, apart from the future thing. Enough has happened since I moved to Paris almost eight years ago for me to know that the future unfolds itself, one way or another.

Really, I am writing this blog as a little touchpoint for Future Me, as I have found my old blog posts really useful for remembering things.

So right now, it is Marathon Day and the race goes right past my road on the Isle of Dogs, except I've been in Brighton today to see my boyfriend's family, they were having a big get-together. It was hot and sunny, and all of a sudden, when we got down to the seafront after lunch, this thick white mist started rolling in and within minutes the sea, the pier and the hideous viewing tower had completely disappeared.

Back in London, we went for a quick drink round London Bridge, just a half as both of us skint two days before payday (another thing that hasn't changed since the Paris blogs - not being able to keep some money back for the end of the month). I love London Bridge, and in the sunshine it reminded me of auditioning for drama school, I felt that same excitement and old worldly, theatrical atmosphere (completely in my head), and it brought back memories of finding out I hadn't got in anywhere.

We talked about an upcoming holiday to Scotland, we're going after my cousin Chlo's wedding in August. She's got a little girl and is due another next month. Wouldn't have believed it if you've told me when we were disco-dancing in Geneva five or six years ago - I got the coach to see her while she was living there as an au pair.

It's been so sunny in London this week, feels like being on holiday. At lunchtime I've been going to Kensington Gardens as it's close to work, and when I get off the tube at the end of the day everything's lush and green, and the air smells of perfumed trees and heat.

Lauren and I are going to make the most of our summer here, because we're moving out on the last day of August. I'll be moving in with my boyfriend, North London so we're close(ish) to his brother and sister-in-law and his niece and nephew. Lauren isn't sure what's she's doing yet, but after our very successful and stress-free move last summer, she says she isn't too worried.

I can hear birds singing outside, I feel all emotional for no reason really. Had quite a bit of wine at lunch and then half a pint, maybe that's why. Just spoke to my gran on the phone, she is gutted they the M&S in Stockport has closed, I can't believe it either. She knows where all the staff in the cafe are going on to next, it's her favourite place for a coffee. Most of them have been made redundant, the rest are going to other stores. My gran said the big Debenhams is going too. I didn't say this to Gran, but Stockport really gives me the creeps and now it will be a complete shit hole. I feel bad for the town though, it could be so nice. They built a road and a massive bus station over the river. Am I being a London wanker when I say they should have bought cafes and wine bars along it?

Actually I know for a fact all the grannies in Stockport would love to have a coffee along the river, I'm not being a London wanker.

I am a London wanker though. Or I don't know. 

I've started making my own toothpaste, does that make me a wanker? I'm trying to use less plastic.  Lauren said she is going to tell me as soon as my teeth look bad or my breath smells. She's not convinced...

Anyway, I'm going to make a cup of tea and maybe watch Mad Men. I'm only on the third series, and already I want there to be a sequel set in the 1980s, showing us Peggy as a hotshot Creative Director.


Ooh, I remember when I used to finish posts off with a nice track, here you go:

Monday, 12 February 2018


I come to work early on Mondays, so I can leave early and go to tap.


Work is still quite quiet... I hate this feeling in London that you can never relax. I spent so long trying to get a new job and now I've got one, and I'm constantly thinking is this going to be good for me, is this interesting, should I be doing something more interesting?

I've got more money now and I'm worried I shouldn't be spending it, should I be saving it should I be saving up to buy a house even though I don't want one really. I just want to go to India but my boyfriend doesn't want to go so is it ok if I just go to all these places on my own?

Will people think I'm selfish but what if I get run over by a bus and I haven't been to any of the places I wanted to go to.

It's mad isn't it, my problems compared with other people's all over the world. It's kind of disgusting actually. That's why I don't blog anymore.

Enough posts about how I'm going to blog all the time/am never going to blog again.

Something that happened at the weekend. We went to a farm for my boyfriend's neice's birthday. Lee Valley. I saw my name written on a blackboard in a barn - some of you know, my name is not that common and I don't meet people with my name very often (twice in my life in fact).

Anyway I couldn't see what the animal was but when we got closer, it was a huge fat pig lying in the hay. A special pig apparently, an ancient breed. So there you go.