My Guilty Pleasures

One night last year, in the midst of revision, I put on Michael Flatley’s ‘Riverdance’ performance on Youtube for some light relief. I didn’t think anything of it, until my flatmate came in the room and scoffed at my choice of background music. I was a little bit offended, but then realised that watching ‘Lord of the Dance’ on a fairly regular basis is not done by most normal 21 year olds. And that got me thinking about some of my other slightly unusual habits. Here’s my top 5.

1. A fondness for ‘Lord of the Dance’
You may very well laugh at me like my Australian flatmate did. But this show is the epitome of 90s cheesiness, mixed in with dramatic music and some form of Irish culture. The uniformity of their dancing and the way the girls’ gorgeous curls bob around freely, the pretty velvet dresses, the classic good vs evil (if slightly tenuous) storyline – watching the full length ‘Feet of Flames’ performed at Hyde Park is pure entertainment gold. The moment Flatley struts, or rather leaps enthusiastically, onto the stage to save the day, I know I’m in for over an hour’s worth of drama, not least just being on the edge of your seat as to whether he will actually make it through the show without collapsing of exhaustion. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it; there’s a reason why ‘Riverdance’ is still on tour after nearly two decades.

2. Peanut butter and jam on toast
This is the best breakfast combination out there, in my opinion, but for some reason many people can’t stomach the concept. I can’t eat peanut butter on its own, but the jam (and for me, it’s got to be raspberry jam) makes it so much better. Recently I’ve stopped eating this as much for breakfast, trying to wean myself off for my waistline’s sake, but writing about it now makes me think about just how tasty it is.

3. Milkybar Chocolate
This chocolate is clearly aimed at a younger market, given that a) its logo is a young boy dressed up as a cowboy riding a cartoon horse and b) the nutritional information is based upon the GDA of a 10 year old child. I should probably be eating more sophisticated bars such as Green and Black’s. But Milkybar is just too irresistible. And quite low on the calorie count too, so I seem to think that it’s a perfectly viable decision to have twice as much of it simply because it’s half what I would normally consume in terms of energy. Come to think of it, there are a lot of products aimed at kids which I enjoy frequently. Milkybars, Ricicles (not as good now that they’ve taken half the sugar out, mind you), Smarties, Petit Filous…

4. Watching ‘Made in Chelsea’
Moving away from the food-orientated pleasures, this is probably one of my favourite programmes on telly. The first series coincided with my first year exams in summer, and so began a cycle of watching these posh lovelies discussing their romances during my revision-breaks. Whilst I usually boke at ostentatious displays of wealth, I just can’t keep away from the tangled, addictive lives of Spencer, Cheska and Francis. If nothing else, it reminds me that money does not necessarily make you nicer or happier, and whilst it often annoys me that people who are apparently so stupid are able to enjoy lives of privilege, I always switch off quite happily, with a deeper appreciation for my normal, if slightly less exciting, life. I’d take a night in scoffing pizza any time over a night guzzling champers in some fancy club.

5. Launching ‘Sage’ on the careers website
For those of you not at Edinburgh University, ‘Sage’ is basically a massive database of jobs for students. From part-time, one-off, and graduate jobs to vacancies for volunteering, there are hundreds of slots. And I have somehow developed an unhealthy obsession with logging on every morning after my first lecture and checking for updates. Not that I actually ever apply to any of them. I’m not sure why I enjoy it so much; it could be the mere reassurance that there are jobs available, whether they are poorly-paid psychology experiments (I have previously done one of these and it was good fun) or £35k graduate schemes with BP. It’s almost as if I’m reassuring myself that I could apply for these if I absolutely had to. And that in itself is a nice reminder – I am thankfully not in the position where I have to work to support myself from university. When I logout of the site, I do so with a renewed sense of wellbeing and positivity. Additionally, all the careers advisers are chuffed to bits when I tell them I have looked at Sage.

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