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Posts Tagged ‘social’

  1. Hanging On the Telephone

    July 15, 2012 by Amy Hansford

    I had a brilliant hen weekend. My amazing maid of honour and co found a fantastic house with a maze of rooms, a great chill out lounge plus a pool and jacuzzi. We relaxed, we had the Amylympics and generally escaped from it all which is what we all needed.

    I did witness a curious occurance, and probably would not have noticed it had my phone had an ounce of signal. Unintentionally, I ended up on a communications blackout as I only had signal on my mobile in a small area of the bedroom. This turned out to be a good thing – it forced me to relax. I found myself holding a cup of tea with both hands and being able to observe and enjoy everyone having fun. I wasn’t checking my emails, Twitter or Facebook every two minutes*. I had no idea what the rest of the world was up to – I was happy in the one we’d all made in Lincoln.

    It also gave me the chance to look around. I saw a room full of friends alternating between sharing the experience of a duvet day and near silence as everyone checked their friends’ Facebook statuses. I saw people take photos of what was happening and upload them as soon as they could. Even on a getaway, people were drawn to share their experiences with the rest of the world rather than with those in the room at the time. There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s the world we live in – I just found it curious.

    Similarly, on the last night when there were only seven of us, we had a karaoke session. Karaoke is something that is very much a social experience. You reciprocate the support your friends give you while singing by supporting them when it is their turn. I found myself singing a tune and looking out to find silent friends checking their smart phones. Again, that’s now the norm and wouldn’t be noticed in the pub, but it was a strange thing.

    I should reitterate, had I had normal reception on my phone, I would have been doing exactly the same.

    So what did this experience teach me?

    I am too reliant on my phone and, specifically, my internet access.
    I’ve started leaving my phone on the table at home rather than having it stuck to me.
    I’ve vowed not to live life through a lens – I will watch gigs and shows and giggles, not record them.
    I appreciate seeing friends and family and keep reminding myself that tweets, messages and emails won’t disappear if I don’t look at them.

    How much do you rely on your phone?

    *Yes, that’s pretty much the frequency I check. I am addicted to my iPhone.

  2. Puntastic

    March 18, 2010 by Amy Hansford

    Regarding puns, none can beat the one I saw in today’s Metro. Sadly, the online story is missing this top journalistic treat.

    The premise: surfer surfs with Alpaca.
    The gold: “You bring a wetsuit, Alpaca surfboard”.

    Absolute genius.

  3. Costumes: Pubs

    December 21, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    This year, one of the New Year party invites came with a theme I’d not experienced before; Pub Names. Fairly obvious when you think about it, but still one I’d not given much thought to. I’ve pretty much figured out what I’m going as now, but for those of you in my earlier predicament, here’s a handy list of ideal pub names.

    All Bar One – paint every number over your top over and over again, except the number 1
    Bat and Ball
    The Black Cap
    The Blind Beggar – host to 10,000 London cabbies, all seemingly present at the Kray shoot out.
    Bricklayer’s Arms – brickie
    The Bright Star
    The Butcher
    The Castle
    Cat and Fiddle
    Charlie Brown’s
    The Chequers – black and white dress
    Cock and Bull – oh, behave.
    The Compasses
    Cross Keys
    The Crown – Beefeater
    The Devil’s Punchbowl
    Dirty Dick’s – Dick Turpin
    Dog and Bear
    Dog and Duck
    The English Rose
    The Fisherman’s Arms
    Flame – gay pub in Luton
    The Fox
    Fox and Hounds
    George and the Dragon – think Saint George in his knight phase
    The Globe
    The Grapes
    Green Man – meant to be a spirit of the woods; with modernisation, now the Green Giant who sells sweetcorn
    The Halfway House
    The Highwayman – Dick Turpin
    Hog’s Head
    Hope and Anchor
    The Horseshoe
    Hungry Horse
    The Jolly Sailor
    King’s Arms/Head – choose a king
    Leaky Cauldron
    Lord Nelson
    Man in the Moon – think the Mighty Boosh
    Nag’s Head
    The Phoenix
    Pig and Whistle
    Pink Punters
    Prince of Wales
    The Queen Vic – Queen Victoria
    Queen’s Arms/Head – choose a queen
    The Railway Tavern
    Red Dragon
    Red Lion
    Robin Hood
    Rose and Crown
    Sherlock Holmes – the famous detective
    Slug and Lettuce
    The Smugglers
    Three Broomsticks
    Three Tuns
    White Bear
    White Hart
    White Horse
    White Lion
    The Winchester – go as Shaun of the Dead
    The Woolpack – sheep

  4. Costumes: Excellent 80s

    May 23, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    The key to decade themed parties is to pick up on key trends. Fashion, music, movies and tv are the things that people remember the most, they being what was represented in the popular culture of the time. Today’s theme is the Excellent 80s, so here’s a few ideas.

    Adam Ant – stand and deliver!
    Alf (US link) – I have no idea how you’d do this, but I’d be impressed.
    Back to the Future – will you be Marty McFly or Doc Brown?
    Bananaman from Acacia Avenue.
    Basil Fawlty offering the back of his hand to Manwell.
    BBC Test Card
    – blonde wig, chalkboard and freakish cuddly toy.
    Beetlejuice who says an alarming number of naughty things.
    Blues Brothers – you’ll notice that some of the best and most iconic films were made in the 80s.
    Boy George (Culture Club) with braids and every colour of the rainbow.
    Breakdancer – don’t forget your bling and practice your moves.
    Care Bears – with the Care Bear stare.
    Carrie – white dress, red colourant, ace costume.
    Charlie’s Angels because it grants the best team pose.
    Cocktail – black logo tee and shaker. Everyone’s friend at a party.
    Dangermouse with his faithful companion Penfold.
    Darth Vader/Princess Leia/Luke Skywalker et al from the Empire Strikes Back.
    Debbie Harry (Blondie) with the big blonde hair and dark roots.
    Dirty Dancing – don’t spend the whole night in the corner.
    Doctor Who was Tom Baker in the 80s. Big hair and big scarf.
    Edward Scissorhands although perhaps not in a confined space.
    ET – remember to phone for a cab at the end of the night, not just home.
    Flashdance – in dance outfit or in overalls, just leave the water at home.
    Fonzie from Happy Days. Eehhhhhhhh!
    Frank Spencer – keep referring to Betty in your flasherjacket.
    Frankie Goes to Hollywood – hey – relax!
    Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street.
    Ghostbusters – because it must be in as many of my lists as possible.
    Gizmo/Gremlin – I will love you forever if you do this costume.
    Grotbags – the greenest witch pre-Elphaba.
    He-Man compelte with sword. Could even have a fight with Skeletor.
    Indiana Jones – a whip can be very handy you know.
    James Bond is the costume for every decade.
    Jason Vorhees – the one with the hockey mask from Friday 13th.
    Jessica Rabbit from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’
    Knightmare – with an oversize horned helmet.
    Labyrinth – but only if you play with your glass balls.
    Madness – bonus points if you do the walk.
    Madonna all in white with lace and bows. Remember your beauty spot!
    Magnum PI – genius excuse for a massive moustache.
    Mermaid from ‘Splash’
    Miama Vice with a white suit and coloured tee, remember to roll up your sleeves.
    Michael Jackson with his silver glove, white socks and loafers, team with black leather jacket for a ‘Bad’ look or a red leather jacket to give a ‘thrill’.
    Mork from Ork in his red lycra suit with shiny triangle.
    Mr T or indeed anyone from the A Team.
    Olivia Newton John from the ‘Let’s Get Physical’ video – legwarmers, headbands and lycra agogo.
    Orville the Duck with the man attached.
    Ozzy Osbourne as the Prince of Darkness always lights up a party.
    Pob – no spitting please.
    Prince all in purple with a bit of stubble for ‘Purple Rain’
    Prom night – consider your taffeta gown, your corsage and your perm.
    Punk was all the rage. Think black leather mixed with denim and bright hair. Love your lipstick.
    Queen in a group of four, each wear a black top and choose a member of Queen to dress the head as. When questioned on who you are, run into a group? with your heads in the right place and start singing.
    Rainbow – such choice in puppetry!
    Rainbow Brite – shiny fabrics ahoy!
    Ralph Macchio (the Karate Kid) in your white uniform, head tie and a bit of wax on, wax off.
    Red Dwarf with a H head, robot face, Cat clothes or boiler suit, you’re set. Or just a black rollneck.
    Robert Smith (The Cure) – black black black, with a smidgeon (or smudge) of red lipstick.
    Rod Hull & Emu available from all good retail outlets.
    Roland Rat – Alright ratbags!
    Rubix Cube – it’s amazing what you can do with a cardboard box.
    Scarface – white suit, water pistol and scar.
    She-Ra – Brilliant chance to wear a cape.
    Smurfs and of course, Smurfette
    Spit the Dog
    worthy of his own entry.
    Superman – see, that stag night costume *can* be worn again.
    Superted with his friend, Spotty.
    The Breakfast Club if you can blag a gang of you to go, this would be mega fantastic.
    The Incredible Hulk – green it up!
    The Young Ones – choose from Neil, Vyvyan, Rick or Mike.???? ***new***
    Thundercats because everyone fancied Cheetara as a boy.
    Tiswas – Are you OOOOkaaaaay, the Phantom Flan Flinger, or HoudiElbow?
    Toni Basil in a cheerleader outfit from ‘Hey Mickey’.
    Top Gun with a jumpsuit and helmet. Don’t forget the shades.
    Toyah Wilcox because we love her. Colour, glam and attitude!
    Transformers – hey, people are really inventive with cardboard!
    V – get with the lizard face!
    Weird Science – jumpers + bras on heads. Pazzaz.
    Wham – choose life, and a quiff!
    Willo the Wisp with Mavis Cruet the Fairy.
    gives you the golden opportunity to demand booze.
    Wonder Woman – the tv heroine of the 80s.
    Worzel Gummidge – don’t forget the robin inside your tummy. And Aunt Sally.
    WWF – not the animal one, the wrestling one. Spandex, masks, and the occasional snake in a bag.
    Yuppie – with the introduction of mobile phones the size of a large brick, another sleeve roller. Remember the hair slick.
    Zombie from ‘Day of the Dead’

  5. London London London

    April 2, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    A friend visiting London was asking for some advice on places to eat and shops to visit. It’s not the first time, but I always forget what I’ve said. Through sheer laziness of not remembering this nugget of information for every person, I thought I’d put a few notes down here for future reference.


    TREAT: Ping Pong. These do Dim Sum and are cool without being snooty. There’s a few around including one near the National Theatre on the Southbank.
    PUBBY: The Crooked Surgeon. This is just off Leicester Square (not far from The Prince Charles CInema) and does decent pub grub. It’s not a traditional pub – they’re so hard to find these days – but it’s okay value.
    CURRY: Masala Zone. This is off Covent Garden. They, like most places in London, do a pre-theatre deal. You don’t have to be going to the theatre to use the deals! About a tenner for a very tasty three course meal.
    FUN PUB: Ben Crouch’s Tavern. It’s off Oxford Street. Probably the only place I feel at home in London! Again, good menu, great value and it has a horror theme. Don’t tell your family about the screaming/chainsaw sound track playing in the toilets!
    Plus there’s plenty of Wagamamas around and all the usual chains.


    CAMDEN is all there and complete. The smaller market by the canal’s closed, but everything’s there. Sadly, they ditched the hotch potch covered stalls in all the arches for some glass monstrosity that I’ve not looked into – all glassware and t-shirts – but Punkyfish and the New Rock boot shops are all around as are the goth shops.
    OXFORD STREET is still packed with every shop imaginable.
    Check out FORBIDDEN PLANET for amazing sci-fi and film goodness.
    For your musicals, check out DRESS CIRCLE off Covent Garden. It has everything to do with every musical ever made.

  6. Save Jason!

    March 16, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    Do you ike the Gadget Show?
    Adore the weekly challenges they do?
    Take Part in Jason Bradbury’s flashmob this Friday at 1pm in London to help him win this week’s challenge, and get to appear on the show too!
    Details to follow, or alternatively follow @JasonBradbury on Twitter.

    Date: Friday 20th March 2009
    Time: 1pm
    Location: Somerset House
    Reason: To prove the power of Twitter in getting the word out!

    Jason Bradbury can only use Twitter to organise this, so do please follow him to keep fully updated or check here for more news. However, you, my wonderful lovelies, are free to spread the word any way you wish!

  7. Picturesque

    February 19, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    I’ve had a bit of a falling out with Facebook.

    First he took my apple, then my lunch money, then he said that even if I closed my account he’d still own all my images and information and he’d use it anyway he wanted forever. Then he pulled my hair and ran away.
    The teacher told him off and he took it back, but I don’t trust him anymore. So I’ve pulled off my information and pictures to keep them here instead where I have a little more control of things. He’s in detention until he gets his act together, so I have time to sort things out.

    That means there’s pretty pictures here! Not all of the ones I had on Facebook, but a few for now. Beware – my camera may well travel with me from here on in!

  8. Snow Day

    February 2, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    It’s been lovely seeing everyone’s comments and emails on the snow. For those reading this in retrospect, it’s Monday morning and most of Britain has woken up to 5 inches of snow, a rarity.

    I’m planning on posting some of my favourite comments here for posterity and also to allow you to share too, even if you’re not getting your ‘Snow Day’.

    “Cats sleeping apart from Otter, who is calling me to look at the disaster that has happened in the back garden. I tell him it’s ok, and he cries “no it’s not ok, it’s all out the front too, loooooooooook”, and we have to go look at the front. If I dont look he howls.”
    ~ My sister on her cats ~
    “I have one unhappy cat taking a crap in the house. Ack!”
    ~ A friend on her cat’s reaction ~

    “I feel like writing on a big piece of paper, ‘how many survivors?’ and showing it to the office across the street.”
    ~ via Twitter ~

    “Watching the TfL home page is a bit like a view into some sort of civic apocalypse”
    ~ via Twitter ~

  9. To Ceroc or not to Ceroc

    January 29, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    Ladies and gentlemen, forget the gym, forget going for a run – if you’re only doing (or failing to do) one bit of exercise in the week, let Ceroc lead the way to your new sustainable regime.

    If you don’t have time to read this note (I have a feeling it’ll be a long one), check out for more information. In the meantime, here’s the word from the horse’s mouth on what it’s like to be a newbie at a Ceroc night. Note the use of ‘night’ over ‘lesson’.

    I hate the gym and I hate the outside world, so I figured I needed some sort of keep fit class. Inadvertantly stumbling onto Weight Watchers and discovering Ceroc earned you more food points, I thought I’d check it out. The above website pointed me towards a regular event taking place on a Thursday night nearby, appealing to my lazy not-liking-to-travel-far nature. Having read all the FAQs and other information available, I went expecting a structured dance lesson with a bit of free time at the end.

    Arriving at the church hall armed with my already completed membership form (downloadable) and small fee I breezed in, was given a membership card and a dvd with all the beginners moves on. At this point there were only about 8 people there – would I be dancing alone? By 7.30pm there were about 30 people with plenty more arriving through the night, relieving my concerns. Important note: no-one made a fuss out of me being a beginner. Huge benefit. Means you feel on a par with everyone else in the class instead of having your incompetence pointed out.

    Quick note: I thought Ceroc was going to be like keep fit utilising dance moves. So wrong. It’s more like a jive or lindyhop or salsa dance. Very social.

    The coach was great – friendly yet not overbearing and demonstrated all the moves on the stage. Excellent man:woman ratio with the women moving along the men in turn. In 45 minutes we covered just THREE moves. Perfect. Not loads to remember, but plenty to practice, ending up with a smart looping routine. And it was informal – no-one pointing at your feet and telling you you’re going the wrong way. If it goes with the flow, it’s all good. While the intermediates started their lesson (by now there being at least 50 people there) 7 of us went upstairs with two instructors to review what we’d just learned.

    With extra attention from the instructors we were all fluidly working through the routine by the end of the extra 45 minutes. It was great having the opportunity to hone where I should end up after a spin and practice with others. Then back downstairs for the ‘Freestyle’.

    By now I’d been dancing an hour and a half. The previously well lit church hall had now turned into a proper party – decent disco lighting in a darkened room, a table with water/pop and a window with tea/coffee. Everyone was going for it, beginners mixing with intermediates, people spinning here and there and everyone just having a damned good time. An intermediate asked me to dance. He was really good at leading and so he made me look like I was a professional, spinning me here and dipping me there. Magic.

    But this is the thing – it didn’t feel like I was going there to keep fit. It felt like I was on a night out. Everyone is friendly and no-one is left out or, equally important, hassled. It’s a brilliant concept, and you don’t get lost if you miss a week as you learn new moves each session. I will be cancelling my gym membership this week. And investing in a plaster collection for my little toe – it’s going to be hard pressed every Thursday from here on in.

    I attended the Ceroc night at St George’s Church Hall, Muswell Hill, N10 3AH.
    Sessions are Thursdays with beginners 7.30-8.15, intermediates/beginner revision 8.30-9.00 and freestyle until 10.30pm.
    ?8 per session, ?2 membership payment on your first visit, ?6.50 if you’re just there for the freestyle.