Awkward Moment #29: Mug-gate

The office kitchen.

A place of relaxation and a break from the computer screen, a tranquil yet delicate atmosphere is needed to maintain the balance in this breeding ground for awkwardness. Many unspoken rules command office kitchen etiquette, but the main ones are…

  • Don’t eat anything noisy or smelly
  • You burn it or accidentally eat it, you buy it
  • Never use someone else’s mug.

It was this final unspoken rule, my dear friends, that was callously broken in the office kitchen this week. And it wasn’t just any mug, oh no…

…it was my mug.

My favourite mug, no less. I can hear your gasps of horror already. I know. The nerve.

It was Thursday morning, about ten minutes before the monthly team meeting, where strong tea is crucial to making it through the three hours in full consciousness. Having attended five of these meetings since I started my job, I have discovered that timing the making of a good cup of tea right before the meeting can make or break you.

So, at ten to ten, I head to the kitchen. I go to the dishwasher, expecting to retrieve my orange penguin classics mug, denoting Jane Austen’s Persuasion, from the dishwasher.

But before I even reached it, something stopped me in my tracks. There it was, on the worktop.

Hmm. That’s weird. What’s it doing there? As I moved closer, what I saw shocked me to my very core.

Coffee granules. Waiting patiently to be bathed in boiling water and mixed with milk. In my mug. My bloody mug. My. Mug.

Oh hell no.

How can this be? Everyone knows this is my mug, my obsession with penguin classics is evident to all who know me. I collect them, I have a notepad…IT’S ON MY HANDBAG FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.

Somebody is using MY MUG?!

I’m appalled. This is completely inappropriate. That mug should be used for tea and tea only. Who is this person that insists on breaking the rules? I demand to confront this vagabond of unspoken office kitchen etiquette.

And then, there they were. They swept in, took the mug over to the urn, made their coffee and off they went. The worst part? THEY’RE IN MY TEAM.

Crap. Now what? What am I supposed to do? Should I say something? How do people deal with this type of situation?

I stood there inwardly debating my next move long enough to almost miss the start of the meeting. In the end, I reconciled to a plain white mug they keep on the side for spares, like the singles table at a wedding or those without a date. relegated to the benches at a school dance.

My tea tasted horrible.

And so, for the next three hours, in the spirit of being dreadfully British, I said nothing but threw serious eye daggers as I sat across from my mug’s captor, forced to watch as they enjoyed their coffee slowly and painfully.

After the meeting, I waited for them to leave for the day before going in search. I found it abandoned in the sink, still harbouring the last of the cold coffee dregs.

Unbelievable. Couldn’t even finish their drink. No respect.

It’s safe to say, I’m never using that dishwasher again, that’s for sure. Now that I know it’s basically a prime spot for mug crime, my mug is now washed at home and escorted to and from the office every day.

That’ll show ‘em.

Awkward Moment #28: A Great Week

So, a few months ago, we found out that we're getting a brand new member of the family. That's right, I'll be Auntie Em to an inevitably awesome and well-dressed baby boy come November. The first grandchild in the family, it's akin to the birth of Christ and there is no limit to how much love will surround my future nephew. 

We found out on Mothers' Day, and to no surprise, Mum was on cloud nine. There were screams, laughter, tears (mostly from me), but there was no beating the sheer joy radiating from my Brother and Sister-in-Law. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of a great week for Mum.

"I mean, this is just the best week EVER!" She chirped over our Sunday morning cuppa. "I have waited so long for this moment, and now it's finally happening. I can barely believe it!" It was so nice to see her this happy. "…and after this long, and all that hard work, I didn't think it would ever happen…"

Wait, what? They haven't been married that long, what is she-

…"but now that it has, it's all been worth it to hear those magical four words…"

"Oh you mean, we're having a baby?" I guessed.

She looked blankly at me for a few seconds. "Oh of course, yes. Well, that too!" She replied.

What now? That too? I'm confused. Did I miss something? Did anything else life-changing happen this week? Did Trump get impeached? Did Poldark come back? Are Pringles half price!?!

I needed clarity. "What were you talking about if it wasn't the baby?" I ventured, curious as George. She held up her diary with a sticker on the back. It had big, silver writing: Slimmer of the Week. 

"I'm not being funny or anything, I'm chuffed about being a nan…but do you have any idea how long I have waited to be Slimmer of the Week?!?"

The struggle is real.

A poem for the many.

Today’s the day, the time is now to have your say in this political row.

It’s up to us, we can’t back down. This isn’t the time to sink and drown.

If you do nothing else today, go outside. Make today the day you tried.

People have given their lives to make our voices heard and see the ground shake.

Change won’t happen without your say, and things don’t have to be this way.

Yes alright, we might not win, but Jezza believes in me, and I in him.

Do yourself and your future a favour. Get off your butt and #VoteLabour

Awkward Moment #27: Chocolategate.

Every year around about now, my parents can be found on board a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean.

After 40 years of graft, scrimping and saving to give me and my siblings the best possible start in life, they treat themselves once a year to a fortnight of luxury, and I very generously and altruistically, look after the house and hound.

To say thank you for this act of kindness, my mum comes into my room on the night before they leave.

“I got you something to say thank you for looking after Molly for us.” She presents me with a box of chocolates. Best day ever.

“Aw, mum! You didn’t have to do that, Molly is my dog too. I’m happy to do it!” My subconscious chimes in: What are you doing, fool!? Don’t let her take the chocolate away!?!

“I know, I know, but it’s just something to say we appreciate it anyway.” Phew. “Only, there’s been a bit of a problem…”

“Oh?” Eh?

“…yes, well. You see, the thing is…I started eating them.” Of course you did.

And lo and behold, upon opening the box, I found it to be true. Because she put the empty bloody wrappers back in the bloody box.

She’s a piranha when it comes to chocolate, my mother. She can’t help herself. And that’s how I know we are definitely related.

Stockholm Library

They say that libraries drive you crazy
And you can lose all sense of self.
Leaving behind any concept of time
And your mind, right there on the shelf.

But in my case, it’s the work that makes
Me start to question it all:
Why I started? Will I finish?
Double, Grande or Tall?

I’ve been here six days straight now,
And I can’t really complain
About the lighting or the vending machine,
Or that enormous coffee stain…

But staring at this page again,
And the ache behind my eyes
From sitting at a computer screen
is how my motivation dies.

Enough is enough! I whisper to myself,
After all, I’m in the Quiet Zone.
I can’t take this anymore,
It’s time to head back home.

But there’s that knock on the door again,
And that guilty feeling comes back.
Every second not spend doing this
Feels like I’m losing all the slack.

And so, I read on in silence,
Hoping someday, I’ll be free.
Hoping to be back in the light outside
Stockholm Library.


Masters in the Making

I’ve just enrolled at Liverpool John Moores University to start a Masters. It’s official: I’m a student again.


So far, I’m 45 minutes in and everything is going smoothly. I’ve enrolled, picked up my student card (which I have to admit, I look fabulous on. 4 years of my undergrad with a squashed pixel face was more than enough to make me take my photo seriously, and we’re talking perfect eyeliner flicks, fresh makeup and hair that only took three hours) and I started exploring.

I’ve logged onto a computer (after finding the computers), all of which are so big and shiny, it’s fantastic and part of the reason why I’m writing this is, because of how great this keyboard sounds when I type. WORDS.

I’ve also found the Communications, Marketing and PR section on the first floor and picked out a couple of books to borrow ahead of my first classes this week. #keenbean #thatshowiroll

I’ve even topped up my printing account and printed out the receipt – just so I could figure out which buttons to press on the printer (did not go well, had most of the computer space staring at me because there was a paper jam, but that’s a blog for another time).

The next step is to take the books I’ve picked out and actually scan them at the desk – looks easy enough. #famouslastwords

Over the weekend, I went to the Freshers’ Fair (vom). It being my fifth fair, I bombed round, grabbed what freebies were handed to me and fled from the place like a bat out of hell. In short, I nailed it in 20 minutes flat. #likeaboss

So here I am, officially a student again. Now 53 minutes in and still no major disasters! So far, so good. 53 down, 1,051,147 to go.

#heregoesnothing #somanyhashtagsinthispost #hashtags


Awkward Moment #26: Avocadogate

As I’ve probably mentioned by now, I work in the NHS. More specifically, I work in Communications, which is pretty much a mixture of PR, Journalism, Media Relations, Corporate Communications, Crisis Management…the list goes on.

It’s something I didn’t know much about when I left uni, but was lucky enough to get some work experience, and then an internship, and then an actual job! Jammy, amirite.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve learned a lot about the NHS, the public sector and the people who make the cogs turn.

But I’ve learned something else recently, and it’s that there’s someone in my office who is an avocado thief.

I discovered the majesty of the avocado earlier this year, when my sister made a bangin’ chicken salad that I couldn’t stop thinking about for days.

I may not have mentioned that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which means that from time to time, without any warning, my stomach doesn’t play ball. So, I’ve switched my diet up to make it a bit easier on my tum, which has caused a significant influx of avocado into everything.

So, I’m in the office. It’s a Wednesday and I’m heading to the kitchen. I’d brought in a large avocado for lunch, half of which would be spread on toast, the other half of which would be chopped and eaten, all of which would be in my belly before the hour was up. I wrapped it up in cling film which, in case I didn’t fancy the whole thing, I could wrap the neglected half up and have it later.

I get to the kitchen and notice someone’s salad on the side, in an uncovered Tupperware box. I also notice that there’s avocado in it. I think “Aha! Great minds think alike, anonymous salad-eater!” I proceed to the fridge and retrieve my cling-film clad avo. And that’s when I notice half of a large avo, unwrapped and helplessly exposed to the elements, on the shelf below mine.

That’s weird.

I look at mine again and suddenly notice how small it is. But it wasn’t small this morning. In fact, when I took it out of the fridge at home, it was next to a small one. I chose that particular avo because it was large. It even said on the sticker: “Large Avocado, Ripe & Ready”. It was ripe and I was ready, hence why I brought it in to work for lunch.

This is the moment when the anonymous salad eater gains an identity and enters the kitchen to retrieve their salad. “Ah, yes! Finally get to eat my lunch. See you later!” They say cheerily as they walk back out of the kitchen, starting to eat the greenery.

I look back to the teeny-tiny avo in my hand and then to the lonely large half-avo and it clicks. That salad-muncher has stolen my larger-than-life avocado and replaced it with their smaller, inferior avocado!

I’m livid.

I want to storm back through the corridor, into their office and sweep everything of their desk. Red-faced with rage, I’d grab them by the collar and with my nostrils flared with anger, I’d yell “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID.”

Instead, in true British form, I go back to my desk quietly and worry. I pick up my phone and message my mates Jo and Fliss on a group chat where we exchange advice, compliments and the odd “Does anyone else ever have a nervous poo?”.

Me: Guys, I know this sounds mental, but I think someone in the office has stolen my avocado.
Fliss: …most random thing ever stolen?
Me: I know the large avo was mine because there were two in the fridge at home, and the one on the left was large. It even said on the sticker and everything! I WRAPPED IT IN CLING FILM FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.
Fliss: Are you absolutely sure this has happened?
Me: I don’t know what to do. I know who it was and everything – they’re just sitting there, practically eating it in front of me.
Fliss: Go over there and confront them.
Me: And say what, “Excuse me but I know you stole my avo and replaced it with your smaller one. There’s nothing I can do about it because you’re eating it right in front of me now but I wanted to make you aware of the situation in case you were subconsciously doing it and didn’t mean to because it’s really upsetting me and how dare you and please don’t don’t do it again ok thanks bye.” ???
Jo: Maybe they’ve got an unquenchable thirst for avo
Fliss: Could be.
Jo: Which, tbf, I wouldn’t blame them for. Avos are da bes.
Me: But it’s mutual – I also love avos. Doesn’t mean you get to steal a woman’s avo!
Fliss: Unacceptable!!!
Me: Thanks guys, I’m glad you don’t think I’m nuts

…did I mention Jo is an Ecologist?