Thursday, 25 April 2013

Northern girl seeks London town

My life is about to take off in a whole new direction. A particularly southern looking direction.

So first things first, congratulations to me for getting myself a snazzy job. I'm allowed to brag about it because it's well documented how unlikely getting a snazzy job would be for me. And it is unbelievably snazzy. Snazzy.

But before I go on to talk about all the snazz (I'll stop saying that now), I kinda need to move. About 150 miles. To The South. And soon- my start date is less than seven weeks away- so now is the perfect time to initiate a life crisis.


It's a lot to come to terms with. Especially when you're the sort of person who deems any place below Sheffield as The South. In fact, looking for a flatshare in the Big City has made me realise how little I actually know about London.

My entire knowledge of the city is based completely on Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, the queen jumping out of a plane into the Olympics, the music video where the girl from Black Eyed Peas sexually assaults the Queen's Guard, and that time I went on an open top tour-bus for my 18th birthday. So narrowing down a place to live in the giant city is proving pretty difficult, but I think I've just about settled on Clapham, Balham, or somewhere else in the Wandsworth area- based entirely on a quiz I did online and what my only Londoner friend, Jaime, told me.

So that's the big news. But never fear, if anything my accent will be stronger and I'll be more determined than ever to call people "love". You can take the girl out of the North, but I'll be damned if you ever try to take the North out of me.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The best restaurants in York

I LOVE going for meals. It upsets me that society limits us to two "going out for a meal" opportunities a day. I'd quite happily walk from one three course meal to the next day, all day, every day. Here's where I'd do it in York- a city of beauty and glorious, glorious food.

5. Melton's Too
Looking for some proper Yorkshire food? Good, because there's stacks of it in the deceptively massive Melton's Too, on Walmgate. The best thing about this tasty, tasty stuff is it's also got a Yorkshire price tag, with Early Bird Menus at £13 each. Did I mention the real ale? Yup, if you're looking for somewhere to soak in a Yorkshire pub atmostphere with just a touch more chic, then book a table here immediately.

4. Ambiente
On the edges of the city centre, past the Minster and up Goodramgate, Ambiente is the most authentic Spanish experience you could possibly find in York. They have a huge range of delicious- and I mean delicious- tapas. If you don't order their paella, then you're doing it wrong. Reasonably priced, with a wonderful atmostphere and insanely knowledgeable staff. Get yourself a jug of sangria and settle in for the night- with tapas you can just keep on going and going and...

3.The Lime House
CONFESSION: I work here. That doesn't mean I don't love coming to eat here, even if I twitch every time the phone rings in the middle of my meal (!). Come at lunchtime, ask for table three/four, order a large glass of white, the mushroom risotto to start, the duck for main and the sticky toffee pudding for desert, and thank me later. (Plus the service is golden, naturally).

2. Ning
I've already written a pretty extensive review of Ning York here, but it warrants another mentioning in my top five York eateries. Seriously good Malaysian food, I can practically still taste the Beef Rendang and Gado Gado salad. Yum :)

1. Nineteen
Nineteen, tucked away on Grape Lane, is my number one restaurant in York for pretty simple reasons. The food is delicious, the wine servings are generous, the rooms are so quintessentially York- creaky and quirky-, and the service was a charm. Order the trio of lamb and let it melt in your mouth. DO NOT forget to order the triple fried chips, because you will secretly harness a hatred for your boyfriend for denying you them for the rest of your life.

So, that's it. I'd also like to shout out to Siam House, the best Thai food I've ever eaten, who only narrowly missed out on being on this list by inconveniently closing a few months ago. We miss you, Siam House.

Where did I miss off? Where should I go next? There's so many places in York I can't wait to get my jaws around...

Friday, 5 April 2013

Q&A Session: Past and Future

This is the last of three Q&A blogs. This was really fun to do, I was expecting questions like "What's your favourite colour" or ""why are you such a cow", but got really interesting stuff to work with! The only questions I chose to ignore were the creepy ones ("Are you good at sex"...) and the ones from my boyfriend asking me why I insisted on cyberbullying him. I'll be back to normal blogging as of now, but please keep commenting and engaging with me, that way all the time I spend behind my laptop won't look as lame!

If you could undo one mistake in your past what would it be?
I used to stay up every night reading past bedtime using a light from a glowpen. It's totally ruined my eyes and now I can't look into the middle distance without squinting/glasses. Harry Potter would have been there in the morning, I should've just waited.

If you won the lottery what would you do with your winnings?
Buy my mum a house so she can stop bloody moving every year. Buy myself a round the world plane ticket, and spend my time volunteering and writing across the globe. Help out important causes to me, and make sure my family's future was secure happy and fun :)

When you were a little girl what did you want to be when you grew up?
True story, I wanted to be a student.

My mum likes the notion of "show me the girl at seven and I'll show you the woman", so if we're going off that, I was the kid who made and wrote up magazines, forced my sister and friends to buy them. I've always been into forcing people into reading my stuff, apparently.

Who is your best friend and why?
The darling Emma Bennett, ofc. Because she can make me cry laughing, read my mind, we have the same values, she picks me up when I need it, she is honest and funny and inspiring and I couldn't be more grateful for (or cheesy about) her. Also because she pretends not to notice when I steal her clothes. And food.

If you could have any career (not taking wages/talent needed/level of difficulty into consideration), what would you pick? 
I really want a career in communications. I want to write for people, I want to talk to people, I want to make people talk to each other. So I'll work at that, regardless of wages, talent and difficulty!

If you could bring one old friend from the past back, who would it be and why? 
There's so many friendships that kinda fazed out, simply due to being too busy, not making efforts, and moving far away. I couldn't begin to name them, and I couldn't pick one. Needless to say, I'd love for them all to be part of my life still :)

What would be your ideal job? 
Coronation Street's Official Previewer. Bill Bryson's Suitcase. Queen of Blogs.

What's the best and worst thing about York uni?
Best: The quality of some of the work, the opportunities to get involved with so many societies, the
cheesy nightlife, how beautiful it looks on a sunny day, padding around the library at ten at night in slipper socks.
Worst: My syntax lecturer.

What would your last meal be?
Giant plate of salt and pepper prawns to start, duck leg with sweet potato main, giant sticky toffee pudding for dessert with a massive fruity cocktail to wash it all down.

So that's it! I've deleted my now (I have EXAMS to be thinking about) and hopefully you all feel like you've been suitably nosy and I've been suitably compliant in answering you. If you're desperado to find out something else (like, seriously, WHY do you insist on cyberbullying your boyfriend?) then tweet me, email me, or comment on a post! It makes my day.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Q&A Session: My Values

Yesterday I posted the first of three Q&A Sessions, and this is round two! It's loosely themed on my beliefs, values and politics. You guys are so deep.

Which public figure do you admire most, living or dead?
Maybe CatMo. Maybe Beyonce. Farrah Fawcett. I used to have a burning admiration for suffragette Marion Wallace-Dunlop, the first woman to go on hunger strike for the vote.

Favourite book?
I read "Walking Naked" so many times growing up. I will read and treasure anything by Bill Bryson but if I had to pick one of his I'd say... Neither Here Nor There. How To Be A Woman, To Kill a Mockingbird, HP series, A Clockwork Orange, We Need To Talk About Kevin, There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom, White Teeth.

What's more important, being English or being Northern?
I'm aware this is a joke, but genuinely, Northern. Being English is fab and all, but being Northern means proper gravy and walking past Roy Cropper in a train station and having an accent and hills and being able to call complete strangers "love" and "pet" and if you're feeling daring "duck". Being English is having Pimms and being quietly disgruntled and meeting the queen.

Who/what was your biggest political influence (writer, politician, event, book)?
Ooh. I read a lot of Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell when I was a teenager, so I absorbed a lot of "look how ridiculous everything is" from them. On a more personal level, my stepdad Steve Yates taught me a lot about politics, and my own common sense. I probably became most interested in it when the general election was on last, and thanks to the NUS/EMA protests. I don't know anything about the ins and outs of politics, I kinda go with my gut feeling.

Yorkshire or Lancashire?
I know I'm Manchester born and bred, and it took me long time to get out of my Manc Mindset, but I think I'd have to say Yorkshire on this one. I love York, and home is where the heart is. In truth, I'd ideally like a mix of both. Traditional Tudor Rose, me.

How important is personal ambition to you? Though firstly how do you define it, and how much of it do you expect from the people you want to be around?
AAH serious one.
It's very important. I'd define it as a future you see for yourself, and I think it's really important for people to have a positive outlook on their futures. It's nice to have serious things to work towards, and to know that what will be, will be. I'm not overly ambitious, money and power aren't that important to me, and I wouldn't want it to be the main priority for those around me either, it breeds negativity and sucks.

Could you live of £53 a week
For a single week, easy. £53 a week forever, I'd go crazy.
(Incidentally, I wrote a Yorker Comment piece about this)

Factorise 5ab + 10a??
Is this some kind of sick joke?

What has been the strongest affirmation of- and challenge to- your identity with feminism?
In terms of my strongest affirmation, I guess I'd say realising how much work my mum put in to bringing up me and Beth. Sounds a little cheesy, but I took her for granted growing up as a kid, and after a point I began to recognise single mumhood was significant, and she'd had to deal with a lot to give us opportunities. Looking at how she did it all with a smile and without ever doubting herself kinda gave me my first insight into what feminism looks like. Funny, because she never talked of herself as a feminist. That and reading How To Be a Woman- gave me a definition I identified with. Beforehand I thought if you hadn't read Germaine Greer you didn't count.

My biggest challenge has been EITHER coming to university and discovering that people think I'm the wrong kind of feminist, finding out that other women, especially ones close to me, fundamentally disagree with what I see as basic feminism, and accepting mistakes I've made in certain life choices that I saw as reducing my credibility as a "real" feminist.
Good question (Y).

What's on your bucket list? 
I can't really answer this because it'd basically be a list on countries. Travel, as much as I can, helping as many people as I can. Join a protest, buy a cool apartment, go to slam poetry events. There's so much.

Coffee or TV?
Ooh. Coffee keeps me awake but Corrie keeps me Mancunian. That said, I only actively watch Coronation Street, nothing else, and I drink coffee daily to get me out of zombie mode. Tough call. I genuinely don't know, this is causing a real identity crisis here.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Q&A session! Blogging + etc edition

On seeing some friends using, I thought I'd do a little experimental Every Second Song post. I don't really get much chance to interact with the people who read ESS, I don't know what you want to know or what you think about me, really. It's been pretty interesting! This is the first of three answer posts, loosely themed on my blog and a couple of relationship-y ones. The next two will be loosley themed on "values and beliefs" and "Past and Future".

What are your guilty pleasures when browsing the internet?
I am a sucker for Youtubers. DailyGrace, Zoella, Sam Pepper, Jenna Marbles, It's Kingsley Bitch, LLYMLRS, My Drunk Kitchen, Laci Green. I can't help watching them.
Also "failbook" and "facebook fails" etc. And Buzzfeed.

Who have been your biggest supporters for your blog?
Emma Bennett used to proof read them for me, Jonathan Frost designed it for me, my mum gave me ideas for it. There's a few other names who really gave me confidence in embarrassing myself online, be it giving me the idea in the first place, staying up late to talk about post ideas, forcing all their mates to read it and nominating me for awards. (That's you; Laura Reynolds, Dan Williams, Sam Dumigan, Ian Lau) (P.S Thank you all)

Are you as confident as you come off on your blog?
Do I come off as confident? Oh my, I thought I came off as... confused. It depends. I can be shy and quiet and need to take my time around things, but for the most part I'm pretty confident. It's a combination of being Northern, trying to be Beyonce, and practice in handling people. I'll happily talk to strangers, make a complaint, tell jokes to the bus driver, follow my instinct, etc, but I don't mind taking a back seat occasionally :)

If you had to pick one blog post as a personal favourite, which would it be and why?
My first rave; a review
I think this is my favourite blog post because it was such an incredible night. I am the LAST person you'd expect to find at a French rave in the forest, and the experience was so utterly new to me that all my incredulousness, my ridiculousness (who takes a book to a rave, for god's sake?) and my excitement really comes across. It reminds me of a really fun night, and is probably by favourite travel post too.

Why is your blog named "every second song?"
"Are you watching them pair off, and thinking alone? Are you falling in love, are you falling in love, are you falling in love every second song?"- Elbow, Forget Myself.

You know that thing- "nothing says regret like the email you picked as a kid"- it's a little bit like that. It's my all time favourite song, and a beautiful lyric, but I can't deny how Myspace-esque it is. I get a lot of traffic from people looking for music blogs. I did consider changing it to plain ol' or something, but I've kind've fallen in love with ESS now :)

Your blog is really entertaining. Would you ever consider writing for a living?
N'aww thanks. My ideal job involves writing, and writing a lot. I'm looking for a career in communications, however that manifests itself. Maybe one day I can pack a bag and become the female Bill Bryson :)

What made you want to start a blog?
My friends got sick of me retelling the same anecdotes. I had too many opinions to bottle them up, and a pretty website was a good way to publish them. It got me involved with a community of bloggers I'd always read but never been an active part of. It's a public outlet for writing about my feelings, helps me organise them in a way that others can find (hopefully find) funny and relatable. I wanted to talk to people.

I also had an essay due the week I set up ESS. So mostly to procrastinate, honestly.

Who is the best person?
Toss up between my mum and Norris Cole

If you had to go to an island and you could only take one thing with you, what would you take?
ONE thing? I guess a pen. A camera would eventually die, ditto laptop, paper is no use without something to write on, books would run out. Gah, but so would ink! A huge tin of paint. I'd write stuff onto rocks with my fingers, keep me entertained a good long time.

Where is your favourite place in the world?
That I've been to, Rodos Old Town, Rhodes. Or Hebden Bridge, UK. Or Szimpla Bar in Hungary. Or Fethiye Bay.
That I've not been to yet, anywhere in Croatia, Tallinn. They're on the list after extensive researching.

Pirate or Ninja?
Pirates get all the girls, so...

why are you such a bender lol
Charming, lil sis.

Really enjoy your blogs, do you ever feel self-consious about putting yourself out there? and similar question: I really enjoy reading your blog. But do you ever feel uncertain about putting so much of your life onto a public internet site, and the way in which people, who you don't know anything about, could know an awful lot about you? 
It is weird. But everyone gets talked about, and everyone has opinions on others. I'm well aware that there will be people who will look at ESS and think I'm being a show off, or whiny, or stupid, etc. That's fine. It's helped me develop thick skin.

In terms of people knowing a lot about me, that's okay too. Everything I publish I'm happy with. I try to be honest, and I try to let my mood come across, because that's what makes it interesting. What use would a personal blog be if it was only the positive stuff? Would you read a blog about how my student finance loan came in on time? It's not as interesting, and I guess I'm okay with the idea of using my own life to entertain people.

 I know where to draw the line with my posts. I'd never feature someone who I thought was unhappy with it- it wouldn't be fair for me to take their choice away in whether people can find out more about their lives.

I've had to delete posts that I've reread and thought were too personal. While I'm happy for my friends, strangers, employers, anyone to read most things, I'd never make myself vulnerable. I want ESS to be a happy place for me, not somewhere I come to tell my bank details and how hormonal I am.

What is your perfect evening?
A great restaurant, good company, maybe some cocktails, holding hands, York river/Shambles,

Describe your perfect man

Do you have a boyfriend? 
See above picture.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


For a little ESS experiment I'm answering anonymous questions on

Please ask away, I'll be reposting my answers in a blog tomorrow. I'll be getting rid of the afterwards, I don't want to end up addicted (!) and it gives people a chance to find out more about me. Knock yourselves out!