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Thursday 29 August 2013

Ask The Sluts: What do you do when life gets really shit?

For when life gets you down - or when something really, really awful or annoying gets in the way - don't break glass and risk damaging your hand and getting arrested. Just put something in this mug, and Steel Magnolias on the telly. Job done. It's also the perfect receptacle for an emergency jaffa cake recipe.

If it's something that requires something more than cake in a mug - more?! - here's what the Sluttery girls like to do when it feels like the whole world's gone to hell.

Kat: I am a strong believer in making things as simple as possible. If you're feeling terrible, chances are your brain will only be operating on a very basic flight or fight mode. Being kind to yourself is key. Get yourself something nice to eat that's comforting and easy to prepare. Have a bath. Hole up in bed with seven volumes of Fables comics and a lot of Mad Men

I also like to go to Waitrose and just walk around. The bathroom section is particularly soothing: for some reason, staring at own-brand bubble bath and extremely expensive scented candles makes things a bit better, as does buying the perfect chocolate cookie, or those lovely Monty Bojangles truffles. Making a cup of tea, or hot squash, or just sloshing in some whisky and hoping for the best, can help to calm even the most frazzled nerves. And don't forget to pick up the phone: sometimes this solves problems you didn't really know existed. 

Frances: My strategy is two-fold. First a Top Model marathon on the telly. Things fade into insignificance when confronted with how Courtney's beauty just isn't translating into her photograph, or other such dramas.

Then, when I am completely vegged out, I force myself to run to the top of the very tall hill in Brixton's Brockwell Park. It has the most amazing view across London and beyond and it always helps put things into perspective. When I'm done I always find I'm breathing a bit easier - and not just because I'm on the easy downward descent.

Sara: Go on long train journeys. Arm yourself with flapjacks and walk as far as you can. Dance to  Icona Pop every morning. Keep your body moving even when your mind tends to inertia; I promise you'll feel better for it. Let your mantra be "I am awesome for even getting up and trying this" rather than "I am a terrible failure and should go back to bed". Find a friend who will give you enormous hugs and say lovely things, and remember that this too shall pass.

Laura H:
1. Gaffa tape. It solves almost any problem. Knocked something off your car? GAFFA TAPE. Shoes come apart in the middle of the day? GAFFA TAPE. Garden hose / curtain pole / shower head / house fallen apart? GAFFA TAPE. Yes, sure it's not a permanent solution, but it means you can take a breath, carry on with things, and deal with the problems when there's time.

2. Glass of wine. On a terrible day, sometimes there's no better option than to retire to a cosy corner of a favourite pub with a large glass of something. Especially if - like me - you sometimes work from home, it forces you to leave the work and stress behind for a little while, by going somewhere completely unrelated and talking bollocks to someone you like.

3. Baking. What kind of cake inventor would I be if I didn't suggest baking? When I'm bothered about something, putting everything else down for a while and baking is very therapeutic. Some chilled out music on in the background, butter, sugar and the prospect of cake warm out of the oven tends to make everything feel a little better.

4. Hugs. Friends, family, cats, all of the above.

5. Friends, especially ones that live far away. Troubles tend to lose their urgency when catching up with my favourite people. Combine all five of these things (maybe not the gaffa tape) and it's a foolproof menu for cheer-up. 

Sian: If things are a little bit crap, some sort of potato-based dinner will usually sort me out. But when things are really shit? Once I've stopped feeling sorry for myself, I watch Working Girl. Always, always Working Girl. It's something about the outfits and hair (Joan Cusack I bloody love you), the gumption and the amazing one-liners. It's so cheesy, but it works for me every time. By the end of the film I'm screeching along with Carly Simon and wanting to kick Sigourney Weaver's bony ass.

I like the very staged nod/wink thing she does at 3:13. Don't pretend you're not dancing at your desk.

Caleigh: When everything in life goes pear-shaped, I do two things. First, I put the Wizard of Oz in the DVD player. Nothing is ever too tough to face when lions, scarecrows and munchkins are dancing in your living room. Plus, its message of "the thing you really want is right there inside you" is uplifting, and often pretty apt!

Secondly, I cook. There's something therapeutic about chopping piles of vegetables. Focusing on something mundane gives me time to work things out in my head, and then I'm left with a tasty soup or stew at the end of it all. I've suffered from a couple of bouts of depression in the past, and I would spend hours every day in the kitchen: my freezer has never been so well stocked as it was during those periods. Also, when I cook mountains of food, I can give it to my friends, and giving to others always makes you feel better.

Laura B: I have a tried-and-tested coping strategy for when life is being a pain in the neck.

1. Make risotto while listening to Liberace's rendition of Love Is Blue. All that stirring is very soothing, and Mr Showmanship provides the perfect soundtrack.

2. Eat said risotto while watching either Scott Pilgrim vs. The WorldThe BirdsClueless, or all three in quick succession.

3. Call Mama B, because obviously she makes everything better.
4. Crack open a box of Guylian chocolate seashells.

5. Write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience and victims of human rights abuses around the world. I am a long-time Amnesty International supporter and fundraiser, and it only takes a few minutes to write a letter to a government or organisation. If I channel my energy into helping others, my worries never seem so vast.

What do you do? Leave your shit coping strategies in the comments.


  1. Waitrose wondering! Yes please. Their lemon meringue is wonderful, and often featured in my "Thursday at The Times, pie for tea" plans.

    1. What witchcraft is this! I have not tried it before. I...I would like to go and eat it now. NOW.

    2. It's only £2.99 and absolutely MASSIVE.

  2. I cook - if it's just a bad day, macaroni cheese. If it's really bad, bacon macaroni cheese. If it's really REALLY awful, bake a cake.

    Also I watch When Harry Met Sally, or Bridget Jones's Diary. Can't lose.

  3. Wine and tea, obviously. Also salsa dancing, even if it's just on my own around the kitchen, has almost magical smile inducing powers.
    If it's ill, not just rubbish, the day will also involve pyjamas, a blanket, and an enormous pile of Disney films.


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