Friday, 30 January 2015

Fear of Flying? No. Fear of Missing the Plane? Always.

I'm not afraid of flying, I'm afraid of missing the plane. 

On the days I have to fly, my shoulders freeze level with my ears, my stomach turns to jelly and I relive all those near misses of my childhood. 

As a family, we've spent our lives going back and forth between Spain and England. Whatever the hour, we always had to stop off at our shop on the way to the airport. There was always a chandelier to dissemble / assemble/ pack or deliver. It was always a race against time. 

We would arrive at the airport at the skin of our teeth (except for that time we arrived a whole day late). My Mum would drop us off at the airport, then speed off to the car park which always seemed to be miles away. Her parting words were a variation on: "Save Yourselves! Hopefully we'll meet on the other side!" The thought of my Mum not making it to the other side filled me with dread. 

My prefered way to fly is alone. My husband is Colombian so customs is always stopping him, because, you know, obviously all Colombians are drug dealers. Oh wait, no they're not! ( That joke just isn't funny people!). So far, I'd say American customs are the most unwelcoming. In fact they should just give us foreigners all orange jump suits so at least we can get into character of the criminals they think we are. 

I like flying alone so I can be in control of my time. My tradition is to eat a BLT at the airport. My tradition is under threat because all the cafés insist on adding chicken to what is a perfectly good combo. Isn't one dead animal enough? 

At least on long haul flights I can watch all the soppy films my husband refuses to watch at home. On a recent flight to America, I kicked off my shoes, wrapped the fleecy blanket and selected The Fault in Our Stars. 

In the seat next to me was a little boy, about five years old. When I saw him, my heart sank. I thought he might spend half the flight crying. In the end, the only person wailing was me. 

Have you seen that film? It destroyed me. I sobbed the whole way through. Lucky for me I had noise cancelling head phones so I didn't have to put up with my racket. At one point I noticed my little neighbour, crayon frozen in the air, staring at me in alarm. 

My condition deteriorated after I ordered the wine and chocolate special. I arrived at my destination looking like I'd been stung in the face by a jelly fish. 

Having said all that, my family is all over the world, so thank goodness for planes!

Feel free to offload your flying-related traumas in the comments section... 





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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The £80,000 a year school - Not so 'Rosey' in my eyes!


Did you hear about that Swiss school, Le Rosey, that costs £80,000 a year? 

From six feet under, a ghost of a French revolutionary howls, “Cut off their heads!” The head master rolls his eyes, “Oh do shut up and have a designer cupcake. ”

It’s a bit obscene, isn’t it? Also, slightly baffling. You can’t have much faith in life or your child if you think they need that much support.

What does £80,000 guarantee a year anyway?

Intelligence? Happiness? Self-esteem? Good relationships in life? Emotional Stability? Self-awareness?

Will £80,000 a year guarantee that your child will love you? Or, that they will love themselves?

No.

So, what on earth does the money go on?

I tried making a list

1)    Uniforms designed by Prada
2)    Singing lessons taught by Elton John
3)    A petting zoo with snow leopards
4)    Diamond studded pencil cases
5)    Mink bound notebooks

I’m probably miles off. I can’t think rich enough. I’ve since read they’ve got golf courses and go carts and horses. So, basically their school is a posh holiday resort.

“But how will they integrate with normal people?” I asked my husband.
“They won’t need to,” he said.

No, I suppose they won’t. 

If only the super rich aspired to be superheroes set on eradicating inequality. I’m sure many are philanthropic, but we need even more compassionate hearts with big wallets.

Then again, why shouldn’t they be able to do what they like with their money? Well, true. They should. They can.

I suppose I just feel we are all connected. The human race, that is. We have to look after each other. It just doesn't sit comfortably with me that there are schools costing £80,000 a year, while not so far away, there are children without schools at all.



 


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Friday, 23 January 2015

The Temp Book Launch - Chandeliers & Pink Bananas

Last night The Temp was officially launched in my parents' chandelier shop. It was the setting of my first book Shop Girl Diaries and seemed like the perfect place to welcome my new novel into the world.

I had a pinch yourself moment as I laid out my books. One minute you're writing a book about a girl leaving spray painted bananas around London and the next, well, you're spray painting bananas to decorate the launch of that very same book, which got picked up by Harper Collins.  

When I say one minute to the next, I'm actually talking years. I wrote the first draft of this book at the end of 2012. That's why I really wanted to celebrate and have a party!

My worrying about the space not being big enough or the fizz running out was unwarrented. No chandelier fell down à la Fools and Horses and even the bananas were unharmed at the end of the night.






A heartfelt thank you to my multi-talented friend, Piera Lizzeri, for helping me organise the launch and for spray painting the bananas. Thank you to my writing buddy, Rachel Malham, for welcoming and pouring drinks for all the guests. Thank you to my wonderful Uncle, for being the doorman, and my lovely Mum for till duties. 





Thank you to everyone who bought my book, brought me flowers and joined me in celebrating such an important moment...

I better stop before I well up...


If you would like a signed copy of The Temp, you can buy one direct from the blog. I'll be thrilled to pop one in the post for you! 





Signed Copy of The Temp (including UK postage) £9.99


                                              Signed Copies of The Temp
                                                     

*If you are in the USA and would like to get a copy of The Temp, please get in touch* emily@emilybenet.com



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Monday, 19 January 2015

The Birthday Invoice - Would you pay it?

Top Story of the Day! A 5 year old child is invoiced £15.95 for not turning up to a friend's birthday party. 

What can I say? Take it back, all you lot saying journalism is dumbing down. It tops last week's news story about the dog with different coloured eyes. Did the BBC lose a bet with Blue Peter? The dog had a number of possible new homes lined up so it's not like he was in desperate need of saving. 

Anyway, back to the scoop. Father finds invoice in child's school bag, all neatly typed up. Twitter explodes: 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD WE LIVE IN?! 
FOLLOW AND RETWEET FOR MORE OUTRAGE! 
OUTRAGE FAVOURITED AND RETWEETED! 

The missed birthday party was no ordinary jelly and spider man extravaganza. This party involved a dry ski slope. Yes, a part of me is judging, and thinking someone holding a five year old birthday party on a dry ski slope must have a spare £15.95 knocking around. But it's the principle. 

Did the boy's parents confirm he was going? If it were written confirmation then I have some sympathy for Mrs Invoice. She was too trusting. She probably thought that 'Yes, I'm going,' meant that he was going. Clearly Mrs Invoice has not had enough experience organising events on facebook. If she had, then should would realise, 'Maybe' means 'No', and 'Yes' means 'Maybe'. 

I'm going to stick my neck out and say £15.95 is fair punishment for being flaky. This experience will help the boy in the future, even if he has no idea what is going on in the present. He'll now grow up into a considerate, reliable young man who will be there when he says he will. Most importantly, I hope he will be someone who is not afraid to say no to things he doesn't want to do. 

Hey... I wonder how many other parents got that invoice and didn't want to mention it? 

What would you do? Would you send one, and how would you feel if you got one?





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Thursday, 15 January 2015

The moment you finish your novel...

And my blog makes it into 2015! Phew! 

Last night I was editing my new novel until midnight. Wide awake at 4.45 am, I decided I may as well get up and finish it off. I took this video to capture the moment:




The new book is called #PleaseRetweet and it's about a young woman (May Sparks) who takes on the job of looking after celebrities' social media profiles. In her words: 

"My job is to show the world the best side of a person. I'm specifically talking about the kind of person who given half a chance(or half a drink), will show the world their worst side. C and D list celebrities mainly; the loose cannons of the group. The ones who lash out, fall apart, reveal their prejudices at the slightest provocation and spew their guts across the Twittersphere." 

Fingers crossed Harper Collins like it! 

In other news, a box of copies of The Temp have arrived at my parents' chandelier shop in time for the launch next week. I'm looking forward to getting behind the till and signing some books! Maybe even some chandeliers? ... can you sign chandeliers?




I'll be on the radio this Saturday 17th January talking to Claire Hickson (@musicnostalgic) of Meridian FM about The Temp and I'll be choosing music for Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Blue

Tune in from 10am - 12am on meridianfm.com and there's a tunein app if you have slow broadband. 



Well, that's as far as I've got this 2015... I'm off to plan my blog calendar! (What was it you wanted me to blog about again?)








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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

5 Essential Questions to Ask on New Year's Eve

1. What colour underpants are you wearing?

My Spanish family instilled in me the sensible belief that one must wear red knickers on New Year's Eve. My Colombian husband says the colour of my underpants should be yellow. After a little research, it would appear that it's predominantly Latin countries that seem obsessed with the colour of their new year skivvies, and that different colours are worn in the hope of specific outcomes. Red is for love, and yellow is for money, and both are entirely acceptable. Next problem, how to wear them? According to a Bolivian site I stumbled across, if you wear them backwards all night you're making a wish for a new wardrobe in the new year!

2. What are you going to burn?

I used to think you were supposed to burn your new year red knickers, but I think my Spanish family must have been teasing me, because we never actually did any ritualistic burning of undergarments. Not knickers, but Año Viejo (Old Year) is what I'll be burning with my Colombian family this year. He takes the form of a scarecrow, much like Guy Fawkes. A nice addition to the proceeding is to write down on a strip of paper what you don't want from the last year, and what you want for the new year, and burn that too. Therapeutic, I reckon.
  
3. Is your suitcase ready?

Just after midnight in Colombia people run around the block with an empty suitcase to ensure a year filled with travel. Tonight will be my first experience of this. The best bit about it is you don't actually have to pack!

4. Who is bringing the grapes?

My friends in London were baffled when I asked before one New Year's party who was bringing the grapes. It made me realise I must have spent most of my new year's in Spain or at home with my family. In Spain, people eat twelve grapes, one at each dong of the bell at midnight. The TV presenters televised from La Puerta del Sol in Madrid chatter away until that moment, always looking freezing cold in their glamorous outfits. Eating 12 grapes is a lot more fun when you're a little kid and you can't eat them fast enough and then you get the giggles. If you don't fancy grapes, then why not eat a spoonful of lentils as they do in Chile?

5. Have you scribbled down your New Year's Resolutions?

On 31st December in 1661, Samuel Pepys wrote down his New Year's Resolutions. I think they involved starting back at the gym and giving up drinking in January. Could this hint at New Year's Resolutions being a British tradition? I need at least one! Don't worry, I'm not going to write out a long list here, I'm still working on last year's New Year's Visualisations!


Whichever colour underpants you decide to wear, whether you choose to eat twelve grapes or drink twelve shots, whether your first meal on New Year's Day is lentils or alka seltzer - I wish you all the love, good health and prosperity for the New Year


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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Stocking Filling Tips for Christmas!


HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS LOVELY READERS AND THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT OVER THE YEAR! 


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