There’s no avoiding it.
I’m about to hit the big three zero.
To quote Tinie Tempah, I live a very very very wild lifestyle.
I always have. If I’m not eating cheese on toast in my slippers, I’m out and about on the streets of London trying to get home so I can eat cheese on toast in my slippers.
This post is all about life lessons. I’ve got plenty to share. Three decades worth.
Here are thirty of the most important things I’ve learned in thirty years.
1. Don’t boil milk in a kettle
If you fancy a latte, don’t boil the milk in the kettle.
You’ll have to buy a new kettle.
2. Back pudding is surprisingly good
I’d never tried it. I was freaked out by the blood.
If you’ve never tried it, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions. Do you like tasty food? Do you like sausages? If you tick both boxes, you’ll like black pudding.
Don’t be afraid. I was afraid. Look at me now. I’m a changed man.
I can’t truly enjoy a Full English without black pudding now. Sure, I’ll eat it. But it’s not the same.
Black pudding is life.
3. Custard creams are the best biscuit
As you can see, this list could quite easily be a list of thirty foods I like to eat.
I’ve often said, I could write an entire blog on food I like to eat. I love food.
I love biscuits. Custard creams are the best biscuit.
4. Claiming you know that custard creams are the best biscuit causes controversy
If there’s one way to divide a room, it’s claiming to have discovered which is the best biscuit. Especially when it’s the custard cream. I’ve always been shocked at the aggressive backlash of this opinion.
If you ask a group of say five or more people which biscuit is the best biscuit, you can start a full-blown riot.
Nobody agrees, everybody falls out. There’s always raised voices. Sometimes physical violence.
The last one I was involved in, someone suggested the pink wafer.
Of all the biscuits. What was he thinking?
5. Don’t build flatpack furniture with your wife
It always tends to start well.
You’re both excited. You’re both looking forward to it.
You’re making an afternoon of it. You’ve might have even put some music on in the background.
You’ve both tried to forget about how awful it was last time and you’ve made a verbal agreement to not fall out with each other.
Fourty-five minutes later you’re on step three of thirty-nine.
She’s stormed out three times and you’re now sweating profusely. You’ve got a piece of flatpack in your hand and you can’t really remember what it is you’re even supposed to be building.
It once took me four days to build a wardrobe.
A fallout is guaranteed. Don’t do it. Build separately.
The last piece of furniture we purchased was pre-built. For the sake of our marriage.
6. You will never be as happy as your dog
I’ve always considered myself an optimist.
Turns out, I’m not that happy. I’ll never be as happy as my dog Ralph. Come rain or shine, he’s having a good day.
I’ve never seen him have a bad day. Yesterday he smacked his head on the coffee table. It didn’t phase him. He just carried on with his little life.
That’s the kind of happy I want to be.
7. Don’t put pinecones in the microwave
At school, we once learned how pinecones open and close depending on how hot or cold they are.
On my way home from school, I happened to find a pinecone.
I’ve always had an inquisitive mind. I wondered what would happen if I put that pinecone in the microwave. I wondered if that pinecone would open up before my very eyes. What an amazing story to tell my teacher the very next day. Essentially I’d be doing my very own science experiment. I’d be taking what I’d learned at school and using the knowledge in the real world. I’d be bringing science to life.
The microwave never quite worked the same after that day.
8. Magnums are the best ice-cream
I’ve been an advocate for White Magnums for most of my adult life.
There’s no greater ice-cream.
9. Black Lace are incredible live
Without a shadow of a doubt, the best gig I have ever been to is Black Lace at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.
The gig was free entry, which is always a great start.
Dressed in Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses, they put on what can only be described as an evening of pure magic. There were inflatable crocodiles and palm trees littered across the stage, at least ten times more pineapples than you’d normally see at a gig.
It was two hours of non-stop hits.
Hokey Cokey. Agadoo. Superman. Music Man.
Not to mention I was part of a three-hundred person conga line.
10. Don’t try to add rips into old jeans
Bloody Gok Wan.
If you don’t know who Gok Wan is, he helps people dress well. Gok’s philosophy, because he is a very philosophical man, is that it’s all about the confidence.
On this TV show, Gok was recommending that the old jeans you never wear could be transformed into trendy jeans with a pair of scissors and a cheese grater.
(This was the early 00’s when ripped jeans were all the rage.)
I immediately took some old jeans and attempted the transformation.
I was feeling good until I put them on. I’d made the cuts to high. Too close to the groin.
They were also very dark jeans and my very white legs looked ridiculous.
11. The Veggie Delite from Subway is just salad in bread
I like to mix things up once in a while.
I once ordered The Veggie Delite from Subway. I thought I’d have a change, why not?
Turns out, it’s salad in bread.
When I was asked which salad I want, I said cucumber and lettuce.
I left with a cucumber and lettuce sandwich.
12. Steak should be served rare
Is it even a steak if you don’t order it rare?
I don’t know if I could eat a meal with someone who ordered their steak well-done.
Anything medium-rare or above, you’ve ruined your meal.
13. Your wife is usually right
I’ve come to terms with it.
Even if you think you’re right, you’re probably not.
My wife is usually right about everything. I’m fine with that.
There will, on very rare occasions, be moments where your wife is wrong. These moments should be celebrated.
14. You can’t say goat if you’re from Leeds
I’ve always struggled with the word goat.
I elongate my o’s and I don’t really say my t’s. So goat sounds more like go.
Luckily goats don’t come up very often in conversation.
15. Pot noodles sandwiches are life
If you’re not going to try Black Pudding, at least have some bread with your Pot Noodle.
A great way to fill yourself up at lunch.
16. Own a moped at least once in your life
In my early twenties, I drove around on a Vespa.
I wore an open face helmet, a duffle coat, a scarf and a pair of aviators.
I looked like a Mod.
People would often shout as I drove by, “You look like an absolute Mod!”
(At least I think that’s what they were saying, I struggled to hear over the noise of the 125cc engine struggling to reach thirty miles an hour.)
17. The Peach Melba is the nicest thing you can purchase from Greggs
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Peach Melba is the nicest thing that Greggs do.
You might not even know what one looks like. Try it.
18. You will slowly turn into your parents
I’m slowly but surely turning into my Dad.
One of my Dad’s favourite things to do is go mental if he ever gets lost.
I recently got lost in Woolwich and did the same thing. It was raining, I had lots of bags. I went full blown Dad rage.
Luckily I’ve not started bringing things home that I find in skips. Not yet anyway.
“Can you believe someone just threw these away?”
“Yes Dad. Yes I can.”
19. A curry from Akbars is about as good as it gets
I moved to London before knowing that they don’t have Akbars down here.
I like my curry served with a Naan Bread that’s four times the size of my head.
20. Don’t go to Go Ape if you don’t like heights, climbing, exercise or sports
I’ll never again spend the day at Go Ape.
I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I had to be rescued almost twice.
I got stuck in a net, like a fly in a spiders web.
21. Most problems can normally be resolved with a good sit down and a cup of tea
One of the first things I did when I got home from Go Ape was have a good sit down and a cup of tea.
That’s because most problems can normally be resolved with a good sit down and a cup of tea.
22. Ants don’t like cinnamon
We recently discovered a line of ants in the bathroom.
After panicking quite a lot, we googled a way to get rid of ants.
Cinnamon, apparently. Ants don’t like cinnamon.
It seemed to work. We put down a lot of cinnamon and the ants didn’t seem to like it.
The bathroom smelt like Costa Coffee at Christmas.
23. Raisins are grapes
You know when you don’t know a piece of information that everyone else seems to know?
This happened to me with raisins.
I was part of a conversation that a Mother was having with her five year old son.
“What fruit do you dry to get raisins?” she said to him.
I had no idea what he was going to say. What fruit do you dry to get raisins? Is it a trick question?
When the kid responded “Grapes”, he genuinely blew my mind.
Who’d have thought?
24. An all day breakfast is not a breakfast so big that it fills you up for the entire day
I thought an all day breakfast was a breakfast that was so big it filled you up for the day. Turns out, it’s a breakfast that is served all day.
That makes more sense when you think about it.
25. It’s Filet Mignon, not Flaming Yong
I had another mind-blowing moment when I saw Filet Mignon written down on a menu for the first time ever.
Now, hard to believe, I’d never seen that written down until moving to London. I’d heard it before, several times.
I’d always assumed people were saying ‘Flaming Yong’. I don’t know what I thought a yong was. I guess I assumed it was some kind of dish that was served on fire?
“How would you like your yong sir?”
“Certainly, one Flaming Yong coming right up”
26. Don’t put your Dad on live radio
I used to host the breakfast show on a radio station in Newcastle.
My Dad would be a regular caller.
(When I say regular caller, I would call him. He wouldn’t call the show. He’d rarely listen to the show. He once admitted on air that he’d rather be reading a book.)
One morning I called my Dad off air and he said he had a good story about a squirrel.
I put him live on the radio and asked him to tell his story, without knowing what the story was.
I don’t feel comfortable posting on here what he said. Let’s just say he was trying to protect his cabbages.
I was surprised we were allowed to remain on the air.
27. It’s ok to own an umbrella if you live in London
You’re not going to get very far on a rainy day in London without a decent brolly.
In the North it’s frowned upon to even wear a coat, never mind carry an umbrella. The rule in Leeds is you turn up soaked and go “Have you seen the bloody weather!?”
28. Sacking your window cleaner should be approached with care
I once had to sack my window cleaner. He didn’t take it very well.
I wasn’t sure if he was about to cry or punch me in the face.
29. Shave your head
You save money on haircuts. You don’t get hat hair.
30. The comfiest fancy-dress outfit is a Mexican in a poncho
I once went to a fancy dress party dressed as a Mexican.
I wore a poncho and it has to be one of the comfiest items of clothing I have ever worn.
If only I could wear a poncho everyday. That’s my dream.
So there you go.
Thirty pearls of wisdom (or knowledge nuggets as I prefer to call them) for you to carry with you throughout your own lives.
Getting older. It happens to all of us.
If it all gets too much, have a good sit down and a cup of tea.