Elf Lyons Says: What I've learnt in 2014

Well, here we have it, it’s my last post for Pippa this year. Thanks for reading the last two blogs I did (and if you haven’t WHY NOT??), and thank you so much to wonderful Pippa! I am very privileged to know such a talented woman.

I currently write this sitting in the corner of a dark pub in Camden, on my own, at midday. “Who goes to a pub at midday?!” You may ask! “And drinks coffee? Shit pub coffee?” I do. Because I am an ‘artist’. And lonely. And hungover. But mainly an artist. A lonely, caffeinated, hungover artist (who is not wearing a bra because they are all in the wash). But hey, still an artist.

This year, well, it’s been a year. Fair to say my diet has been almost 90% reliant on berocca, red wine, whisky, coffee and recreational drug use***. It’s not been necessarily the healthiest year, but it’s been the type of year which will be a great source of entertainment for the memoirs.

One MA, one 10k, one operation, tons of morphine, four theatre shows, five hats, one heartbreak, one Ed Fringe, 100+ hangovers and too many Tinder dates. It’s been emotional and it has been fun. Personally, the most tragic thing about this year is the fact I’ve learnt so late in the day that a Christmas Wreath makes an EXCELLENT hat. Simple, stylish, a little bit kooky. Grab one for the pound shop and decorate it with all your own toot. It will look fabulous. Do it now before New Year.

Thus, to conclude this year, here is a small collection of TOP THINGS I HAVE LEARNT from 2014. Please feel free to take it all ridiculously seriously and then send me hate mail via my blog telling me what a ‘w*nker’ I am*.

Warning: This blog includes TOO MUCH INFORMATION. 

1. You can never have too many jumpers.

And jumpers are always best when layered with other jumpers. Challenge yourself to see how many jumpers you can feasibly wear on a day out without evolving into the body shape of Winnie the Poo or becoming a fire risk due to the amount of polyester you are carrying.

2. Shopping vintage and shopping local is the way forward.

The benefits of sourcing your clothes from charity shops and from new independent supplieres are endless. Not only will you find an item of clothing that is unique and unlikely to be found somewhere else, but if you are buying second hand you are often giving a helping hand to your community AND being eco-friendly too by recycling. 

There are so many new designers trying to break out at the moment it is CRUCIAL to support their entrepreneurial adventures by buying their clothes rather than rushed copy pieces at Primark or the like. Personal tip: The best place to find unique and beautifully tailored clothes is Spitalfields Market on a Sunday. There are some amazing designers there at the moment.

3. There is never an inappropriate time to wear Leather.

I will argue even a funeral is a good time. Though ideally make sure the leather is black.

4. Don’t buy a bra drunk.

No, you are NOT a 38B. Just sit down, have a tap water and ask the kind lady by the door to help you get that glittery leather corset from Harmony off. Then go to sleep and RELAX.

But DO buy leather pants drunk.

5. Life is better in a hat.

Only cool creatures wear hats - Paddington, Lincoln, The Queen, Cary Grant, Jack Sparrow and many others- which is why YOU should get one.

No one looks bad in a hat - from Pork-Pie, Trilby, Beanie to the beret, there is something for everyone's head shape. Not only do they protect you from falling rocks and masonry, they shield you from the rain, hide bad hair day and are a subtle way of re-inventing an outfit. Get one. Now.

As Philip Treacy said “There is no attitude required. The hat brings the attitude. And when people try on a hat they like, it is a bit of fun. It makes them laugh. You don't laugh when you put on a pair of shoes, but you do with a hat."

6. If you say the phrase 'I really need a boyfriend/girlfriend' it’s a clear sign that you don’t.

You need to go on holiday with yourself and sort yourself out. You don’t need someone else to complete you. You need someone who will compliment the person you already are. YOU ARE A PRIZE. 

7. Never kiss a man you meet in a Graveyard.

No matter how good he is at speaking French.

8. If a man named Daryl at a Game of Thrones party says to you “Come into the bathroom with me and see what I can do with some bleach” do not go into the bathroom with him****

9. If you stay in the hotel jacuzzi long enough you WILL learn about someones messy divorce *****

10. There is no such thing as an ‘easy’ or ‘fun’ diet.

Don’t trust a word that has ‘DIE’ in it. This year I’ve been 10st, 11st, and now I’m 11st 7. My body and I have had tough times and good times, but the reality is my body is different now and it’s going to be different again. That’s what bodies do. They change.

Bodies are NOT static creatures so don’t bully your body to conform to a regimented specified shape. So let it be. Don’t starve it off food and don’t drown it in exercise and booze. Treat your body the way you’d treat a good friend. Not an enemy who you want to suffer a mental-breakdown.

11. Pick your poison the way you’d pick a life partner.

No one likes the guy who slams down all the booze on the table at the party. Not all of us can handle whisky, the same way not all of us can slam tequila shots through the eyeballs, so work out whether you are a G&T or Merlot girl and work with it. It helps when it comes to budgeting, working out how many units you actually slobber in a week and it surprisingly really calms down your hangover if you only drink one spirit. 

Prosecco is never a bad idea. Champagne is a brilliant idea. Gin is a bitch, stay away from her. She may look nice but all she wants to do is make you cry. Her friend Tonic is okay, but a bit of a wimp. White Lightning is very stupid and you should just smile and walk politely away from him when you see him on a park bench. Whisky is a player. Water is the best though. AM I RIGHT? You always gotta bring him out with you. He’s your wing man. Especially when Gin is involved. Bloody gin. 

12. Veto the Venus & Veet

For lent I gave up shaving. Everything. It was a spurred on by the fact I am still emotionally tortured by the memory of being called “Gorilla Legs” and “Fire Crotch” as a teenager . It was also to see how I could cope whilst working as a life model - trying to slowly ease myself into loving my body more and more, despite the elements of it I had been conditioned to dislike from women's magazines and films.

Although I feared I’d transform into a thick ginger haired creature that it would repulse those around me, it was an empowering, emotional experience, and, surprise surprise, really not that big a deal at all. I loved it and it changed my 2014. I am fed up of how conditioned women of all ages have been to the notion that we must be hairless dolphin-like creatures, with hair that one cannot see, sense or smell.

I’ve spent so many wasted hours spread-legged in front of the mirror veeting my upper legs (seriously) and it’s about time we told these creams and shavers manufacturers to bog off. There is nothing wrong with the occasional wax or shave of course, but every day? Every week? From my experience, everything got better. My skin was AMAZING after not spending a month of covering it in chemicals, creams and raking it with a razor blade.

I was WARMER, and well, lots of other things were better too...  No one else cares about whether or not you have hairy legs. And if they do, are they the type of person you want to hang out with? Someone who makes unnecessary comments at your body? Also, nothing is more irritating than the two day bristle that can slice skin open. GIVE UP THE SHAVERS LADIES.

13. Release your inner sex yeti. 

14. Write letters to people.

Buy a fountain pen and take inspiration from Cyrano de Bergerac. I’ve started writing to 12 people a month - some people I do know, some I don’t. I put a shout out on twitter and on my fb page. It’s been a brilliant little creative initiative for me and the act of receiving and sending post is one of the most delicious small pleasures I get from this 24/7 techno world. Pass the love on and send some post.

15. FINALLY - Do not listen to a twenty-three year old comedians advise.


Happy New Years Bastards & Biatches xxxx

If you would like a letter or a postcard from me, follow me on Twitter (@elf_lyons) and DM your address. 

* This is in response to the reaction to last months article.

**I love Benadryl

**** This will just result in you cradling a drunk man as he tells you about his drink problem.

**** Her name was Joyce and she kept the kids.

FriendsPippa Says