I WILL ONLY SAY THIS ONCE: until about a year ago, I didn’t really have any interest in visiting a Disney Park that wasn’t Paris. Alright? I admit it.

This wasn’t because I didn’t like the sound of ’em – more because I felt INCREDIBLY protective and defensive of Disneyland Paris (my French baby!), and I worried that visiting another Disney Resort would make it cry. Whatever, I’m weird.

If you’re a DLP fan you’ll know what I mean: it’s a regular occurence that Brenda from down the road who has never stepped foot in our beloved Parisian resort will tell you it’s “NOT A PATCH ON FLORIDA!!” and you will seethe silently while trying really hard not to burst into tears.

So that sums it up for you, really. Defensive Sophie. Sad Paris. Stfu Brenda. etc etc. But the more I thought about it, the more I was like “Sophie, Disney Parks don’t have feelings,” and the less I felt like I needed to stick to just the one. After all, there is a lot of world to see, which means there are also a lot of Disney Resorts to see, and I decided that top of my list was the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

I mean, Disneyland is WALT’S PARK. He walked in it. He spent years dreaming of it and planning for it and building it. He had a little apartment above its fire station. There are photos of him exploring it, all of which make me sob very loudly. How can you be a Disney fan and NOT want to see that? (This is what I asked Past Sophie. She said she wasn’t sure and then felt a bit silly).


SO WE BOUGHT OUR TICKETS! One day, two Parks (you have to cap up the ‘P’ because Disney caps up the ‘P’ okay, please let it be known that I am nothing if not a stickler for Disney accuracy despite my usual lack of interest in capital letters). In an ideal world we would have opted for a 273-day/two-Park ticket but beggars can’t be choosers and we had a lot of elsewhere-California to peruse.

The car park in Disneyland is called the ‘Mickey and Friends parking structure’. Is that not the cutest thing you ever heard? I know that it is. We don’t call them ‘parking structures’ in England, we’re just like “OI MATE WHERE’S YER CAR PARK??” so the concept of a parking structure was all very new and exciting. AND the best thing is that this one LITERALLY MEANS MICKEY AND FRIENDS, because we parked in the Donald area and then we took a photo of it and I cried a bit:


Well who wouldn’t. Did you ever see a more pastel-candy-perfect-aesthetically-pleasing parking sign, because I sure as hell did not.

It turned out we needed to get on a cute little tram to take us from the parking structure to Downtown Disney, which I was only too pleased to do. A TRAM! A MAGICAL TRAM! It sounds dull and practical but the elderly lady in me was very impressed by said tram: barely any wait time and very friendly Cast Members. A+++ re: the trams.

BUT WE DIGRESS, because the real excitement OBVIOUSLY starts as soon as you exit the tram and realise you are standing in Downtown Disney, staring at things that you have lowkey (read: HIGHKEY) obsessed over since the halcyon days of 2012 Tumblr.

Was it emotional? Yes it was. But I was also very conscious that we had BUT ONE DAY in Disneyland and that I wanted to stuff as many activities into it as humanly possible, so we scurried along to the front gates of Disneyland.

Seeing the railroad and flowerbed Mickey and ACTUAL DISNEYLAND kind of took me aback. It was surreal: you know when you have a dream and it’s very vivid and as you wake up you need a few moments to realise it didn’t actually happen? It was a bit like that, except I kept having to tell myself that it WAS happening. As soon as I saw the main entrance I instantly thought of Saving Mr. Banks, and then I thought of Walt, and then I felt like my heart was going to set alight, but in the kind of way where I wouldn’t need a fire engine or anything else. 20170920_092318

(I cried again at this point. I know right, quelle surprise. I probably cried some more on Main Street. I AM NOW EMPLOYED AS DISNEYLAND’S TOWN CRIER! They bring me out on the hour, every hour, and I bawl uncontrollably while regaling guests with tales of That Time Mickey Mouse Remembered Me.)

(I know a town crier doesn’t actually cry. Imagine if they did. A new career path for Sophi— OH, WE DIGRESS AGAIN!)

In my eyes, you have to begin your Disney trip with a favourite attraction. Mine is Pirates of the Caribbean – I always say “Oh! I don’t know! How could I possibly choose?!” but like, if someone told me that I had to select a favourite or they’d kick me in the shin or something then I would just say “PIRATES,” no questions asked. (Phantom Manor and “it’s a small world” are my joint second, in case you were wondering.)

Seeing Pirates from the outside was CRAZY. So, so crazy. Its facade is v. different to Paris’s so that was another “wow” moment for me – in Paris, Pirates is kind of nestled towards the back of Adventureland and genuinely looks like somewhere Jack Sparrow would hang out on a Friday night, whereas the Disneyland Pirates is very… smart and beautiful and grand.   20170920_094728.jpg

The ride itself is wonderful, which is nothing less than I expected. The best way I can think to describe it is LIKE PARIS BUT BACKWARDS, but obviously that’s not a very good description because Paris came after Anaheim, anyway. What I mean is, the village-y scenes come second to the skeleton-y scenes (SKELETON-Y! I AM SO ELOQUENT) in Anaheim, which is the opposite of Paris, and I found that very interesting.

I said “I can feel Walt” a lot as we made our way around Disneyland, which would no doubt sound dumb to some people, but I really could feel him. He was there in Pirates and everywhere else. While I was sitting on the ride I thought about the piece I wrote for the Walt Disney Family Museum, about how PotC was created, and I had this little SWELL of pride. Walt made this, he thought about this for years, and now I am here.

The Haunted Mansion has always been one of those attractions-I-feel-like-I’ve-been-on-even-though-I-haven’t, probably because I have listened to the ride spiel more times than I have ordered Domino’s pizza. I know it by heart. I love it. I want to hug the Ghost Host and tell him to CALM DOWN BECAUSE I WON’T TOUCH HIS DAMN SAFETY BAR IT’S ALRIGHT JUST BREATHE. You know? Anyway, despite feeling this way I have in fact NOT been on a Haunted Mansion ride IRL, and I was kinda disappointed to realise that when we were due to visit there’d be no ‘classic’ attraction to go on, due to the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay.


You know what, though? Haunted Mansion Holiday is a HOOT. Russ and I had so much fun on it, AND it wasn’t like I didn’t get to see what the original mansion looked like – we had a good ol’ stare at the tombstones in the queue (which anyone who’s read my Disney poems will know I am obsessed with) and I did a lot of “LOOK! TOMB SWEET TOMB! THE WALLPAPER!” gasps as we swung around in our doom buggy. In short, it was amazing. I would’ve loved to see the stretching room in its full glory and experience the whole ride as it was originally intended, but I guess not being able to just means I WILL HAVE TO RETURN SOMEDAY.

After the Haunted Mansion I felt like I was really getting into the swing of things. I had a packet of tissues to hand in case of crying emergencies, I had eaten a Disneyland chocolate muffin (MAGICAL and much better than a standard chocolate muffin I will have you know) and I realised I was walking around like I knew where stuff WAS. That was because I kinda did – I’d studied the Park map in slightly obsessive detail ahead of our trip and that meant I knew (albeit roughly) where Fantasyland was, how we could get to Big Thunder Mountain, and so on. I’d expected that Disneyland would feel like this unfamiliar-yet-wonderful place, but after being there for an hour or so I genuinely felt as ‘at home’ as I do in Paris. Isn’t that nice?

(Sidenote: if you thought of Jungle Cruise skipper Albert Awol when I said “Isn’t that nice?”, pls CALL ME NOW AND BE MY BEST FRIEND.)

This is where stuff starts to get hazy. Do you ever find that? You’re on the holiday of a lifetime and you’re like “I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS. NEVER. I WILL REMEMBER EVERY SECOND UNTIL THE LAST BIT OF BREATH LEAVES MY COLD DEAD BODY!!” but then three days later you realise you are in fact struggling to recall Quite A Lot Of It and you wish you’d written it all down in a little notepad or something.


I know we walked past Splash Mountain. I say “walked past” because YES I am one of those boring people who doesn’t really like getting drenched on water rides. I wish I was different and that I LAUGHED IN THE FACE OF DANGER and CARED NOT ABOUT DAMP JEANS but I am afraid that this is just me and has been since a chilly school trip to Alton Towers in 1998.

No reason why we couldn’t have a look at Splash Mountain, though. Isn’t it pretty?! ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH.

As I said earlier, “it’s a small world” is another all-time favourite of mine. It’s also an attraction I’ve written about for the Walt Disney Family Museum, despite never having actually experienced the original ride in person, so it was very high on the Disneyland to-do list.

Being on IASW in person was pretty overwhelming – I felt as if I had to cherish every single moment and see/hear/smell EVERYTHING. It was so much fun to see real-life-Mary-Blair-flair, and I also loved spotting the Disney characters along the way because we don’t have ’em in Paris. I know opinion on these are kind of divided, and I get why, but as a one-off Guest I didn’t feel that the addition of Lilo and co detracted from the attraction in any way for me, if that makes sense. I had a blast.


Crying uses up a lot of energy, so we decided it was time for lunch. We went to the Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland, which is Beauty and the Beast-themed and LITERALLY IDENTICAL INSIDE to Au Chalet de la Marionnette in Disneyland Paris, except that Au Chalet is Pinocchio-inspired. It was bizarre and slightly surreal, but in a nice way.

After we ate, we carried on with some attractions:

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (ADORABLE, and we met both Pooh and Eeyore after which was wonderful)
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (they really did continue. I enjoyed myself a lot, cried in the queue line and spent too much in the gift shop)
  • Big Thunder Mountain (SO GOOD SO GOOD. Also really cool to see the queue area and how different it is to Paris. ALSO x2: COULD NOT BELIEVE THE QUEUE WAS 15 MINUTES AT 3PM. A SEPTEMBER MIRACLE)
  • Mickey’s Toontown (beyond cute. I bought a proper mouse ear hat which I have ALWAYS WANTED and then we met Mickey in his house)
  • The parade (I won’t lie to you, we kinda stumbled across the parade, but I was really glad we did. Mickey PLAYS THE DRUMS in California and very good at them he was too)
  • The castle (rude not to. Genuinely. I don’t ever use this word but it was EXQUISITE)
  • Jungle Cruise (a classic in every sense of the word. I laughed too loud at the skipper’s jokes cos I got overexcited)
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room (the best ever. Walt was in this room, and I know you think I’m odd for saying it but he WAS. He was singing with us and laughing along. I had a photo taken with José afterwards and it felt like I had taken a pilgrimage to the US purely for that. He looked at me while he was singing and I burst into tears. Colette! Suzette! Mimi! Gigi! Fifi! Sophie!)

I know I rushed those last few summaries a bit, but that is because we are 2,000 words in and not everyone has as keen an interest in reading lengthy blog posts as I do. My apologies.

BUT I HAVE TO MENTION THIS NEXT PART, because it’s the part where I met my internet pal Katie! I can’t even remember when Katie and I first started chatting online – I think it was via Instagram a few years ago! – but she is an absolute gem and when she heard I was coming to Disneyland we decided to meet up. She’s a CM, so she had some super-useful tips for us as we planned our visit – then when we actually arrived in Disneyland, we met her and her fiancé Mitch and they were the sweetest.


This photo makes me so happy! I can’t wait until I go back to Disneyland or Katie comes to Paris (or England, though we don’t have a Disney Park so I mean…) and we can meet again. Sort-of-sidenote, but one of my favourite things about this whole holiday was being able to hang out with people I’ve made friends with online – when we went to the Walt Disney Family Museum I met Bri, the museum’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, who I’ve been emailing and working with for over a year, and I was also lucky enough to visit the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, where my lovely and super-talented friend Rachel works. CAN YOU BELIEVE how cool the internet is? Cos I can’t. I wouldn’t know any of these amazing women without the wonders of social media – I know it has its drawbacks in other ways, but I’m beyond grateful for it.

OH LOOK, I’ve just added another 400 words without trying. STOP TALKING, SOPHIE. I kinda can’t, though. Not without telling you about the end of our day, which took place in DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE! We didn’t get over there until about 7pm, which at the time I was all “Oh it’ll be fine” about, but then I realised:

a) we had missed Oswald’s meet ‘n’ greet (Oswald! ANOTHER REJECTION FOR HIM oh my god)

b) World of Color started at 8.15pm which only gave us an hour to see everything else

c) I had made a grave error and should have planned DCA into our day a LOT earlier on.

But hey, you live, you learn. We made a beeline for Oswald’s store – YES HE HAS A STORE AND IT IS DELIGHTFUL – and I bought a couple of pins and the most adorable sweater. Real talk I am SO HAPPY Oswald is getting the recognition he deserves – I was sad I hadn’t been able to meet him but I felt a weird surge of pride in knowing that he had his own little place in Walt’s original resort.

Walking around DCA was super-exciting – it was all geared up for Halloween and the decorations were beautiful. The whole Park just felt CLASSY and it was so much bigger than I’d expected – we could have spent at least two full days exploring it, I’m sure.


I know everyone says it but CARS LAND IS INCREDIBLE. I am not the biggest Cars fan by any stretch of the imagination but like… it is impossible to walk around that area and not leave with 528 new Instagram photos to edit and a Mater plush. It just is.

We ended our visit with World of Color – I wasn’t sure what to expect (for some reason I’ve never watched the whole thing on YouTube, which is very off-brand for me) but I LOVED it. The way the water is used honestly took my breath away, and I may or may not have shed another few tears. There is something about being in a Disney Park at night with all those other people and feeling all that anticipation… I don’t know, it always makes me get shivers.

I should probably stop now, because we’re heading towards 3,000 words and I KNOW WE CAN GET THERE if I don’t abandon this laptop asap. But if ya made it this far, thank you for joining me in my reminiscing. If you’re going to Disneyland in the near-ish future and you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them as best I can! In the meantime, I will be thinking ’bout José and wondering How Soon Is Too Soon when it comes to a return visit. HAPPY DISNEYLAND BLOG DAY EVERYONE, I’m sorry this took almost three months! xoxo


HELLO FRIENDS. A while back I said I might write about my cat, but the other day I realised I have not mentioned him, as of yet. I feel like it is important to tell you that this cat isn’t actually alive anymore, and I don’t mean that in a morbid way but really because I was making it sound like he is here sitting on my lap or something and I don’t want to be misleading.

My cat’s name was Mr. Tiggs. We collected him from a rescue shelter when I was in year 5. I remember reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in class and passing my friend a note behind it that said “WE R GETTING A CAT TODAY!!! HIS NAME IS MR. TIGGS!!!!!!” We didn’t know quite why his name was Mr. Tiggs, just that his previous owner had called him that and that we weren’t sure about it but that there is no accounting for taste. I mean, Mr. Tiggs is really quite cute, if you think about it. His owner had gone to work on a cruise ship, which is no place for a kitty.

We dropped the ‘Mr’ when we felt like we’d got to know him a little better. He didn’t seem to mind, and he responded to anything. In fact, IMO one of the best things about having a pet is that you can give them all sorts of different pet names (LITERAL PET NAMES FOR YOUR ACTUAL PET) and they sort of just go along with it. EEE JEE:

  • Tiggs
  • Tigg
  • Wig
  • Wiggy
  • Baby Wig
  • Mr. Wigglesworth
  • Mr. Tigglesworth
  • Tiggy
  • Tiggsy
  • TiggsywiggsyohmygodwhyareyousocuteOWstopscratchingmeIjustwantedtotouchyourtummy

I liked the idea of a cat who would be my best friend, but in my experience cats don’t really like BFFs. They like food and giving people dirty looks and sitting in the airing cupboard. Mr. Tiggs was a fan of lying at the top of the stairs and swiping at my leg when I tried to walk past him, and my mum would say “He thinks he’s above you in the pecking order because you don’t feed him*.” Excuse ME. I know this is a lie b/c when I did feed Mr. Tiggs he tried to eat my ankle. There was no pleasing that cat.

*Also I don’t mean like, I tried to starve him. I mean, my mum took care of the adult stuff like getting food for the cat and doing the litter tray.

Sometimes I tried to gain the trust of Mr. Tiggs by being the one to perform his nightly brush (he had long fur and I found it very cute that he had his own hairbrush) but this didn’t work either because I gave him too many treats and exposed my weakness. There was this girl at my primary school who used to give out Mars Bars in the playground if you promised to be her friend and I believe that Mr. Tiggs viewed me in the same way as I viewed this poor girl. He would take my snacks but HE WOULDN’T GIVE HIS RESPECT IN RETURN. Can you tell that my childhood cat had a weirdly large impact on my self esteem. CAN YOU??

I’m being silly; he didn’t really. Well maybe a bit. But he did make stuff really fun, in a grumpy, I-don’t-want-to-be-stroked kind of a way. We still talk about him all the time, even though he died in 2008. He got cancer, which I didn’t even know cats could get, and we had to have him put down. On the day he died I went to see Horton Hears a Who with my boyfriend-of-the-time, who said “I don’t know why you’re crying; it’s just a cat.” I cried some more. (That one quote is representative of our entire relationship and I would just like to zigzag off for a moment to say that if your boyfriend ever talks to you like that then maybe tell him HORTON ALSO HEARS A BREAK-UP ON THE HORIZON).

I liked that movie, though. It was an okay distraction. I went home after and it reminded me of when our first cat, Kash, died and my mum took us to the Science Museum so we wouldn’t have to think about it all day.

I had an old phone with a video of Mr. Tiggs on and I used to watch it when I was sad except now the battery has died and I accidentally threw the charger out. It was me stroking his back and saying “AWWWW” really loudly while he glared at me. I loved it when you stroked towards his tail and the fur rippled back into place. He hated it. He hated ME, but sometimes we still find bits of his fur in bags we haven’t used since the mid-noughties and it is the sweetest softest weirdest thing.


Today I have no energy to do anything, largely because I keep sniffing and sneezing and my back aches and I’m just really Not Very Well. I’ve done that thing where you keep using the same tissue for hours on end in an ‘am I lazy or just the least wasteful person ever’ kind of a way, and every time you wipe your nose you realise what you’re using is less ’tissue’ and more ‘tiny wet rag with loads of rips and holes in it’. And then you feel even more sorry for yourself.

I’m fine really, though. In my head I’m good, and that’s more important than a cold that’ll be gone in three days. It’s really sunny today, which means I am sitting in my usual spot with sun streaming through the window and I keep having to squint, in a nice way. I am shocked by how dirty my laptop screen is, which never happens when it’s raining, but I’d rather have sun and a grubby screen.

Cheese is on my mind right now. Like, actual cheese, because I have this undiagnosed dermatitis (is that how you spell it?) slash eczema sort of thing that only affects my hands and I had a small epiphany yesterday that MAYBE IT IS CHEESE THAT CAUSES IT. Cos I eat a lot of cheese, and when I say a lot I mean cheddar on everything. I am a Mini Cheddar’s big sister, Maxi Cheddar. I’m not an adventurous cheese eater who’s all BRING OUT THE STILTON or even MAKE MINE A BRIE, but bog-standard cheddar I am all over.

My hands were really bad yesterday (wake-up-in-the-night-because-they’re-bleeding-from-all-the-sleep-scratching bad) and I had a sudden realisation that it is possibly maybe because this week I have eaten cheese-stuffed jacket potatoes every lunchtime and things like pizza or pasta with Grated Goodness on top for tea. I think I ate broccoli once this week. I had a bit of spinach on Monday. I don’t know.

So this coming week is a cheese-free week, just to see. I miss Babybels already if I’m being completely honest, but I have to think of my hands and not my stomach. *blows mournful kiss to Papa John*

An analysis of Marissa Cooper

Most people watched The OC between the years of 2003 and 2007, and then moved on. They enjoyed the series and CONTINUED WITH LIFE, satisfied in the knowledge that Summer was off to save the world, Ryan was “hey kid, you need any help??“-ing like a champ and Seth was pretty happy being Seth. And that was that.

For me, it wasn’t that. IT WASN’T THAT AT ALL!!! And as a result, I have been watching The OC on and off pretty much non-stop since the day it first aired on E4 13 years ago. I love everything about this show. Sandy and Kirsten Cohen taught me more about adult relationships than I could ever hope to convey. Ryan and Summer are the king and queen of character development. I enjoy analysing Volchok’s minimal backstory, I boo internally when Oliver arrives onto the scene, and I marvel at Kaitlin’s occasional profound moments.

But you know who I’m most taken with, always? MARISSA COOPER. Coop, if you will. CosmoGirl, if you read Atomic County. Newport Barbie, if you’re a jealous girl from Harbor’s state school equivalent. Marissa, in my eyes, gets a raw deal. Despite her untimely screen-death 10 years ago, she is still discussed on pop culture websites and Twitter profiles (mostly mine) on a regular basis and seems to be largely regarded as A BIT OF A BRAT – a spoiled, privileged, melodramatic little rich girl who does nothing but destroy the lives of those around her.

To that I say: NOW JUST HOLD ON ONE SECOND. Seriously, please do. I have a lot to say about Coop, and seeing as she’s not here to defend herself (GET ME A TISSUE), I’m happy to share it with you. I get that she’s not perfect, and yes, I agree that she has her fair share of selfish and straight-up annoying moments, but I ALSO think that she deserves to be cut a little slack from time to time. I have overthought perhaps every word that has ever come out of Marissa Cooper’s mouth, and so I feel sort of, maybe, potentially qualified to talk this through with you. Are you ready?? Let’s go, Ryan!

That was an OC reference. Expect a lot of them.



I’d describe Marissa as a bit of a family girl – or at least someone who wishes her nearest and dearest were tight-knit enough for her to be one.

It’s obvious from the outset that her relationship with her mother, Julie, is strained – in season 1 she tells Ryan she’s “scared” of her – but it’s also clear that Marissa cares about the Coopers. She describes her dad, Jimmy, as the “one thing” keeping her sane (no pressure, Jimmy!!) and in season 3 she’s totally willing to leave her boyfriend Ryan and everything else in Newport Beach behind if it means her family can regroup in Hawaii. Like, I wouldn’t put it past Marissa to pull some Parent Trap stunt with Summer in tow, because that girl seems to yearn for a nuclear family – even one as dysfunctional as hers. She looks to the Cohens as a source of normality, stability and bagels during Cooper family disputes, and compares her own parents to Sandy and Kirsten. During one argument with Jimmy, she says “For once, I wish you would just grow up and be like a real dad.”

The trouble with Marissa’s relationship with her family is that it’s shaky. Her parents adore her in their own messed-up ways, but they’re always coming and going: leaving without notice, becoming obsessed with tennis instructors, marrying for money. They’re 15 year-olds in adult bodies. And Marissa is often sneered at for crying at family events and shouting obscenities at her mother, but I’m wondering who can blame the gal. She aches for a unit – a solid, dependable team. But instead she’s given a mother who sleeps with her ex-boyfriend and tries to frame her current boyfriend for attempted murder, a father who steals from his clients and leaves town at the first sign of trouble, and a sister who returns to Newport ~FOR THE DRAMA~. The Coopers love each other, I’m sure of it, but there’s nothing anchoring that family down. Not even Jimmy’s boat.

The only thing that could come close is Julie, who, despite being manipulative and ruthless, does almost all of what she does with Marissa in mind. Julie’s “personal sacrifices” with Caleb might creep Marissa out – and being dragged to live in his mansion doesn’t help much, either – but Julie does what she does to provide for her daughters. She literally refers to it as “keeping a roof over our heads” in season 2. This is why season 4, despite any flaws, wasn’t a waste of time – because we get to see Julie move from the Riverside-denying, depressingly-dependent housewife to the college graduate with self confidence and, for once, her own money. U GO GIRL.

Season 1 Julie, however, is a different story. Season 1 Julie attempts to have Marissa sent away to a psychiatric hospital, embarks on a weird, motel-based relationship with Marissa’s 16-year-old ex, Luke, and marries Caleb Nichol just months after divorcing Jimmy. Season 2 Julie isn’t much better: remember when she tried to bribe hot-yard-guy-DJ to stay away from Coop?? The less said about that, the better.

Marissa’s dad is kind and well-meaning but that doesn’t get rid of the fact that if you looked for the word ‘flake’ in the dictionary, the definition would be: ‘JIMMY COOPER’. Jimmy lives in a dream world where stealing millions of dollars is totally okay as long as you say sorry – even almost-angel Sandy becomes frustrated with his sheer lack of interest in taking any responsibility for the things he messes up. If there’s one thing Jimmy’s good at, it’s burying his head in the sand. He also seems to hold the belief that IF ONLY HE’D MARRIED KIRSTEN things would be perfect and amazing and never ever sad. Ignoring the fact that if he’d married Kirsten his own children would not exist, I think this mindset kinda blows. Marissa and Kaitlin are young and impressionable, and to see a strong-willed, determined father who says things like “YES! YOU CAN DO THAT! LET’S ACKNOWLEDGE OUR MISTAKES AND MOVE ON! POSITIVITY IS KEY!” would be great for them. But instead they get Jimmy, whose self-defeating, woe-is-me outlook is enough to make anyone have a tantrum with the pool furniture.

Julie and Jimmy, although unintentionally, make everything worse for poor Marissa. After dealing with their divorce, she later has to put up with:

  • the whole Luke thing
  • Jimmy leaving
  • Jimmy coming back
  • Jimmy getting back together with and later proposing to her mom
  • Jimmy leaving (again)
  • being blackmailed into living in Caleb’s mansion
  • the whole sex tape thing
  • the whole YOUR DAD IS STILL A THIEF thing
  • Julie bribing Trey to say Ryan shot him (wtf)
  • Julie getting together with Summer’s dad (…….weird at best)

Right? RIGHT?? I’m not saying Marissa is perfect, far from it, but you have got to give her that. Her parents try their best, sort of, but Julie admits herself that the Cooper household is “no place for a child” (i.e. Kaitlin). I’m not sure it’s really a place for an alcohol-dependent teen either, but that’s just my two cents.


Marissa is shown as a caring friend who occasionally goes off the rails a little (a lot) but means pretty well. She’s less stable and dependable than her best friend, Summer, who comes across as a fairly rational person and a calming influence in Marissa’s life (as soon as she moves on from hotboxing Luke’s car and saying stuff like “gnarly”, that is).

Is Marissa a GOOD friend? It depends which way you look at it. Like all of us, she’s got so much going on at times that she physically can’t deal with much more than she has on her own plate – but most of us are able to push past this and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, at least temporarily, and that’s where Marissa seems to struggle.


Her friendship with Summer really interests me. I love Coop, but I want her to be like “How are YOU, Summer? Stuff with Seth seems kinda tough recently; how’s that going? Are you okay? Do you miss your mom? Are you sad that your dad isn’t around much cos of all the rhinoplasties he’s performing???”

This never seems to happen. Summer grows from a vapid, fairly one-dimensional character at the start of season 1 to an intelligent, mature, loyal friend in seasons 2, 3 and 4, and although we’re dropped hints about her backstory I feel like we could use some more in-depth Summer storylines. We know that her mother left when she was younger and that she lives with her dad, who works all the time. So that’s literally just only child Summer, in a mansion, on her own.

Summer also has a stepmother, Gloria, who she refers to – completely unaffectionately – as “the stepmonster.” Summer goes to a Mexican pharmacist in season 1 to buy drugs for this woman and regularly mentions that Gloria has passed out at home or is so dosed-up that she doesn’t know what’s going on. If this was a Marissa sub-plot we’d hear a lot more about it, I’m sure. There’d be tears and underage drinking and POSSIBLY SOME SHOPLIFTING. But Summer, like Seth, tends to only be around for the comic relief most of the time, and so it barely gets mentioned. Marissa doesn’t question it or even ask how Summer is doing, and that seems like a cop-out when you consider all the times Summer has supported her.

It kind of doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that Summer and Marissa fall out in season 3. Marissa – jealous of Summer’s long-term relationship with Seth and ‘perfect’ home life – lashes out, and Summer tells her to grow up, adding “Aren’t you just the saddest girl in the world?”

I get Summer’s frustrations. I really do! And the thing is, if Marissa would just BREATHE, she’d be able to see that Summer’s life is far from perfect. Everything that Marissa deals with, Summer deals with too, because it’s impossible to avoid Marissa’s melancholy. Summer’s relationship with Seth is pretty much fraught with drama throughout The OC, and between Seth blowing off his Brown interview and telling her he doesn’t love her anymore, I’m sure season-3-Summer has enough to deal with. But, as usual, she’s left to battle it on her own. Perhaps Marissa’s worst quality as a friend is that when the chips are down, she becomes so consumed by what’s happening in her world that she doesn’t always remember that her pals are trying to navigate scary little paths of their own.


‘Niceness’ might not feel like the right word, but I feel like Marissa, despite her flaws and what I’ve just rambled about above, is actually one of TV’s quintessential nice girls. For starters, she’s kinder than she gets credit for. She shows her generosity in season 1, when she opts to make friends with Theresa Diaz, Ryan’s ex, even though she can’t think of anything worse than Ryan getting back together with her and rekindling his love of musicals and Girls Who Used To Live Next Door To Him In Chino. She even goes as far as giving Theresa a makeover so Ryan can come out with his annoying “Wow… you look… you look… amazing” spiel that he uses every time a girl he’s dating makes an effort.

And when she discovers Theresa is potentially pregnant with Ryan’s baby, does she freak out? Not as much as you’d think. While everyone else is falling apart, Marissa wishes Ryan well and tells him that although she wishes he didn’t have to leave, she totally gets why he has to. Sure, she goes home and drinks straight vodka on her balcony later but THE MAIN THING IS THAT SHE’S THERE FOR HER FRIENDS. She could have been mean to Theresa. She could have yelled at Ryan and called him a bed-hopping scumbag. BUT SHE DIDN’T, and no-one ever seems to remember that. When it comes to the big stuff – especially big stuff that isn’t about her – Marissa can actually get it together and support the people who need supporting.

But when I say ‘niceness’, I actually don’t mean ‘generosity’. I mean the good old-fashioned nice gal syndrome that Marissa encapsulates perfectly. If you don’t know what I mean, I will say a few words which might jog your memory: OLIVER. TREY. JOHNNY.

What do all three of these characters have in common? They all stuck around for longer than they should have done because Marissa is nice.


Let’s take Oliver as our first example. He lives alone in a hotel, he meets Marissa at therapy, he has an imaginary girlfriend, blah blah. Oliver is clearly troubled, and Marissa is visibly uncomfortable to be around him at times – she doesn’t even seem to like him the first time she meets him – but before we know it she’s attending his New Year party instead of hanging out with Ryan, skipping school to plan trips to Paris and so on.

Trey is Ryan’s brother. Marissa looks out for him when he gets out of jail, throws him a birthday party, finds him a flat and buys him a lava lamp. All perfectly lovely things, hmm?? Trey thinks so, too – so much so that he gets it into his head that Marissa wants to switch Atwood siblings. I’m not sure if the word ‘rape’ is ever actually used in The OC, but if it isn’t then it should be, because Trey snorts coke, takes Marissa to a beach under the premise of a PALLY WALK and then tries to rape her. It’s really hard to watch. When Trey tells Marissa that no-one has ever been this nice to him, Marissa says “Yeah, because you’re Ryan’s brother!” and her voice cracks.

Remember Johnny? He’s season 3’s Guy Who Becomes Obsessed With Marissa And Then Meets A Sticky End. When everyone realises he’s got it bad, it’s suggested that he and Marissa stop hanging out for a bit – Johnny just wants to be left alone with his broken heart and his broken leg!! – but Marissa won’t hear of it and turns up every day to be Johnny’s nurse. And then he falls off a cliff and dies (no really).

This is, in my humble OC-loving opinion, where stuff starts to get complicated. I really feel for Marissa in every single one of these situations, because throughout all of them she was genuinely, honestly just trying to be a good friend. Summer later admits that Coop isn’t the best judge of character, which is possibly true, but you know what? Coop also isn’t the best at allowing outsiders to keep feeling like outsiders. I really do believe that. Behind her incredible face and privileged lifestyle it’s clear that Marissa struggles to fit in, and as a result she does seem to gravitate towards other people who don’t quite slot into typical Newport life. You know how we all have that one friend who only dates boys who need a bit of looking after and would adopt a shy dog with three legs instead of a Cockapoo? I feel like that’s Marissa.

Plus, she’s pretty much besotted with Ryan for 90% of her time on the show. We can all see that. When she’s making Johnny food or helping Trey find jobs, she’s not doing it because she wants them to fall madly in love with her – she’s doing it because she’s nice. Is she too nice? Is she so afraid of hurting people’s feelings that she doesn’t feel able to remove herself from certain situations? Are the characters in The OC still buying into the whole ‘women can’t be attractive and down-to-earth and if they are then they definitely want to have sex with you’ myth that should have died a death many moons ago??? Maybe. I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: you can’t blame Marissa for the people who read too much into her kindness.

That said, there are occasions where I just wish Coop would slow down, take a step back and think “Is my friendship with this boy I didn’t care about three weeks ago REALLY worth upsetting Ryan and all my pals over?” Largely because if she did, I reckon the answer would mostly be “No.” The Oliver situation, for example, is not one of her proudest moments. Sure, Oliver was manipulative and a liar, but there was still something in Marissa that said “Ignore everyone you trust and tell your boyfriend – who has thus far shown himself to be pretty sensible – he’s imagining Oliver’s craziness. Don’t worry about that time Oliver got caught trying to buy drugs, or the fact that his girlfriend doesn’t go to the school he said she did. It’s totally fine.” Why did it take her so long to cotton on? Why did things get to the stage where Oliver had isolated her from everyone she was close to? I’m not sure even Marissa would be able to explain that one, but it’s interesting.


Marissa’s appearance is a huge theme throughout the entire series – as a viewer, you get the impression that although people think Summer’s a hottie (duh), Marissa is somehow on another level, one of unattainable, ethereal beauty. Boys can’t talk to Marissa without wanting to date her and save her from danger (“The compulsive need to rescue Marissa Cooper”). Girls seem to automatically hate her a bit (early season 3 Taylor Townsend) or feel jealous of and intimidated by her (Jess, face-down-in-the-pool girl).

Lindsay, Ryan’s season 2 girlfriend, is a great example of someone who takes one look at Marissa and wants to curl up into a ball and never leave the house again (I feel ya, Lindz). She describes Marissa as “the most beautiful girl in the history of high school” and wonders why Coop turns up to school every day looking as if she’s dressed to star in a fashion show. This awkward/jealous sorta theme gets explored as season 2 continues: Lindsay tells Marissa she likes her outfit and Marissa – surprised – struggles to genuinely return the compliment, eventually mumbling that she likes Lindsay’s “…backpack.” There’s no malice on Marissa’s part. She’s portrayed a bit like Belle from Beauty and the Beast – unusual and obscenely beautiful, while not really realising she’s either.

On one occasion, Lindsay is mad as HELL when she sees Marissa and Summer are eating burgers for lunch. When she realises the duo aren’t gonna be “hours on the elliptical trainer” workin’ it off, she asks “So… you guys can just eat cheeseburgers and look like you?” This comment flies far over the heads opposite her. Marissa is confused and Summer simply replies “Sometimes we get chili fries, too.” Lindsay stares at her low-carb meal the way Ryan used to stare at Oliver.

Marissa seems to have a strange relationship with food. When we see her eating it’s almost all stodgy junk food – fries, milkshakes, bagels – but that isn’t often at all. In season 1 a psychiatrist asks about her ninth grade anorexia, and on one occasion Summer actually remarks that her friend is looking “a little thin.” Marissa responds in a slightly defensive way, firing back with “I… eat!” But it feels like her brain is ticking away, wondering when her last full meal actually was.


Why couldn’t we have expanded on this conversation? Why did Marissa struggle with anorexia? Did it ever really go away? Is she healthy now? It would have been interesting to explore her relationship with food in a deeper way but we never really got much more than this, which I think is a massive shame. The chili fries scene could have opened up at least a short dialogue, but instead it reinforced the ‘Marissa is so insanely beautiful she doesn’t even have to try – she never exercises and actually eats burgers all the time, so don’t even bother‘ thoughts that every 15 year-old girl was having along with poor Lindsay.


Would you describe Marissa as confident? I think it’s a toughie. On one hand, she can definitely switch it on when she needs to – she arranges that fashion show in season 1, remember? They play that ALL AROUND THE WOOOORLD, HEY GIRL song and she flashes Ryan a winning smile (soz Luke), so we know that she can do it. She’s social chair (although Oliver hits the nail on the head when he says he doesn’t find her to be very social at all) and seems to get involved in occasional extra-curricular stuff as and when she needs to.

On the other hand, there’s a real shyness to Marissa, which I don’t think anyone could miss. While Summer’s body language is largely relaxed, Marissa crosses her arms, slouches and looks at the floor. She’s tall – when she wears heels she totally dwarfs Ryan – and when she sits her shoulders hunch downwards, as if she’s trying to shrink herself. If I was gonna really overanalyse, I’d throw that out as a potential early insecurity for Coop, who might have started developing before the rest of her class and been embarrassed by the attention her appearance brought her as a quiet ninth grader. But who am I to say?

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I feel like Marissa has a lack of self-confidence – she never seems to feel as if she can make it on her own. As much as I love her, she’s someone I’d worry about being friends with because I’m pretty sure that if I ever drifted away from her or forgot her birthday she’d use it as a reason to drink alone in a bathroom or write a list called Reasons Why Marissa Sux.

When she discovers Luke has cheated on her – on the same weekend she finds out her dad is moving out – she tells Summer “I have no-one.” The thought is enough to push her to overdose, while Summer, Ryan and Seth frantically search the streets of Tijuana for her. After the incident with Trey, she tells her friends that she won’t be applying to college because that’d mean she’d have to discuss what happened. She talks about not fitting in and tells a guy she meets at a college open day (who also wants to date and then save her, by the way) that some people “just get lost.”

You can’t blame Marissa for freaking out – especially with the plethora of shit that she has to deal with between seasons 1 and 3 – but part of me wants to step into the TV, take her by the hand and have a chat over a bagel in the Cohens’ kitchen. I want her to get that even if her dad doesn’t live with her, her boyfriend cheats on her and she doesn’t feel comfortable at college, she can still do it. She doesn’t need everything to be perfect in order to move forward with her life. But she never quite seems to realise that.


Marissa occasionally dates girls or yard-guys, but she’s at her happiest with Ryan Atwood and I will absolutely fight anyone who says otherwise. Ryan, despite all of his own issues, is a real source of stability in Marissa’s life – he looks at her like I look at enchiladas and he genuinely wants nothing more than for her to be safe and content.


Although I will defend their relationship until I am on my deathbed, I do agree that Ryan and Marissa had an intense, angst-ridden few years together and that it might not have been sustainable on a long-term basis unless stuff changed. I always wonder if Ryan – in a Freudian kind of a way – might be attracted to Marissa because she represents the only kind of woman he’s ever really known: vulnerable, sad and unpredictable. She’s familiar – and he’s so used to taking care of his mother that he doesn’t really know that other, more-emotionally-stable girls are out there, except for maybe Theresa. You can see in season 3, when Ryan goes out with Sadie, that he almost breathes a sigh of relief and thinks “OH. So you can date a girl who does stuff on her own and doesn’t cry five times a day.”

That said, Lindsay, Theresa, Sadie and other short-lived flings aren’t ever quite enough to fully take Ryan’s attention away from Marissa. Their close friendship serves as a source of jealousy and anxiety for Alex and Lindsay respectively and it’s not surprising – you just KNOW that if Ryan was on a ~hOt DaTe~ and Marissa called about her broken-down car, he would be by her side with a toolkit within seconds.

But even Ryan has his limits, and when Lindsay gets drunk and almost dies in the sea in season 2 (ahh, memories), he isn’t happy. Assuming that Marissa encouraged her to drink, he yells “You spent all of last year trying to drag me down with you, and now her, too?!” This is an unusually honest revelation from Ryan – and although he speaks in the heat of the moment and later regrets it, you can tell that he’s kept that resentment buried pretty deep for a while. Maybe some of it was directed at his mother, not Marissa…… But again, that’s just my opinion. PRETTY SURE I’M RIGHT THO.

What I think is really interesting is that although Ryan is a sweet, caring boyfriend, he’s also someone who struggles to talk about his feelings – and he can’t deal with Coop talking about hers, either. Ryan likes to save people but he likes that to be the end of the situation: he doesn’t enjoy revisiting awkward or upsetting moments. That’s partly why Marissa is drawn to Johnny as a friend – he lets her vent to her heart’s content. He doesn’t just want to fix things and close the case.

Coop seems to have one criteria for her significant others: if her mom doesn’t like ’em, she’s onto a winner. Julie goes as far as to call Alex Kelly (WHO IS 17 BUT SOMEHOW RUNS A FREAKING BAR???) Marissa’s latest “weapon of torture” – she’s well aware that her daughter likes to act out and doesn’t believe that her new relationship will be anything but short-lived. And when Kevin Volchok comes onto the scene as Marissa’s season 3 boyfriend, no-one’s quite sure what to make of him. First of all, how do we say his name? The characters on The OC seem to flit between “Vol-chuck”, “Vol-check” and “Vol-chock” but in all honesty it’s still a grey area even 10 years later. That doesn’t really matter, but SECOND OF ALL, why is Marissa even entertaining the idea of dating someone who clearly isn’t going anywhere and once held her hostage under a Newport pier?

I think it’s all down to self-confidence, once again. After Johnny’s death, Marissa kind of flounders for a bit. She and Ryan break up, she spends a lot of time hanging out near lifeguard huts… you know the drill. Kevin Volchok is affected in his own way – he tells Marissa he was always jealous of Johnny, who – from his perspective – had a perfect life and everything going for him. Maybe Marissa can understand that. Maybe she can see a bit of herself in Kevin and a bit of Summer in Johnny.

Volchok can’t get his head around what happened and suddenly starts to think of Marissa as a kindred spirit who also happens to be really hot, so he decides to follow her around and skulk outside her trailer park until she eventually relents and sleeps with him. Like, that is literally what happens. And I think that’s one of the saddest moments of season 3: that Marissa reaches the point where she feels so damaged and afraid that she embarks on a sort-of relationship with someone she has no attachment to and who doesn’t really care about her.

Volchok isn’t there to upset her mom – worse than that. He’s there because she doesn’t believe she deserves any better. She’s gone from the popular social chair with a mansion and a ‘normal’ family to the girl who lives in a trailer park and can’t deal with the events of the previous year. Everyone is moving on and doing well and Marissa can’t see herself doing the same, so she gives up.

But the old Coop is still in there, and although she’s nervous to remove Volchok from her life, she still does it. Something inside of her knows that she is worth more than what she’s giving herself right now, and I feel like that’s THE very best realisation she could have had before her death. She prepares to leave Orange County single and afraid, but not in a bad way. She’s going to help herself. And this is maybe the first act of self-love we’ve seen from Marissa.

“Sorry for all the craziness.”

“I wouldn’t have done it any differently.”

I can harp on about happy endings and self-love as much as I like, but we all know what happens next. Marissa dies, and everything changes. But was her life a waste? Was what we saw from her genuinely all brat-fits and life-ruining? Absolutely not. We can tell from season 4’s pretty much constant theme of grief that Marissa is desperately missed and was nothing short of CHERISHED.

I can’t pretend that Coop is perfect – I said that before. There are moments when I want to throw her damn Berkeley hoody in her face and say “JUST PUT IT ON AND SUCK IT UP, MARISSA.” Sometimes I can’t watch what’s coming next, knowing that she’s about to ignore the people who care about her and run as far away from The Rails as humanly possible. But Marissa is a teenage girl who dealt with more in three years than most people can expect to juggle in a lifetime – and to me, she’s endearing, frustrating, exciting and exquisitely tragic in equal measure.

Why Frozen’s Anna is my insecure hero

It’s weird to think that Frozen came out almost three years ago. This is partly because time is bizarre and moves a hell of a lot faster than any of us would really like it to, and partly because thanks to Frozen’s never-waning popularity, it hasn’t really had chance to fade out of the limelight in the same way other films might have done.

Pretty much everyone has seen Frozen. And ask almost anyone about their favourite character and it’s likely you’ll get an “Elsa!” in response. Elsa – the tense, frightened Queen of Arendelle – quickly became a Disney heroine, but not just in the eyes of young children. When I spoke to friends and read pieces online that suggested Elsa was an obvious metaphor for depression and anxiety, it made sense why so many teens and adults were so taken with her, too.

I bought an Elsa doll before I even saw Frozen. There was something about her that I immediately liked and trusted, despite having no knowledge of what her character might be like. I felt like Elsa got it, whatever ‘it’ was. But when I watched Frozen in 2013 – and then again when the DVD came out, and again and again after that – I found that it wasn’t actually Elsa I related to. It was Anna.

At first glance, Anna is Arendelle’s version of the Girl Next Door. She’s sweet, freckled and friendly. She talks about gas. She accidentally knocks things over. She says herself near the start of the film that she is “completely ordinary,” and you’d be forgiven for thinking “Yeah, that sounds about right.” Elsa’s the one with the hidden powers. Elsa’s the one with the awkward hand movements and the closed doors and the visible anxiety. And then there’s Anna: sleeping in, asking to build snowmen and skipping down the halls. Anna seems fine, and so Anna gets forgotten.

But it was Anna actively encouraging this “completely ordinary” talk that made me stop and look at her again. Why was someone so outgoing and confident able to talk about herself so negatively? When Anna meets Hans (of-the-Southern-Isles, AKA the sneakiest Disney villain you ever SAW), he apologises for knocking her into a boat (remember the adorable “I’m awkward – you’re gorgeous! Wait, what?” mumbling from Anna?) and she insists it’s not a problem, because she’s “not that princess.” If it was Elsa, things would have been different, she assures Hans. I realised that Anna is so used to thinking of herself as a sprawling, inelegant version of Elsa – as the loud nuisance who can’t stay put in her room or keep her sister’s attention – that she doesn’t really like herself very much.

It’s this self-deprecating language that really piques Hans’ interest. Sure, he can’t believe his luck when he finds out he’s come face to face with the Princess of Arendelle (WE KNOW YOUR PLAN, NASTY HANS), but when she also turns out to be outwardly insecure (“If you’d hit my sister, Elsa, it’d be… yeesh! But lucky you: it’s just me”) he questions it (“Just you?”), as if he’s trying to gauge just how low Anna’s self esteem might be. Why even bother approaching Elsa now? If her sister is this self-conscious and unassertive – giving strangers permission to hit her with wooden boats and suggesting she’s not worth a whole lot – Hans’ plan has already kicked off, without him lifting a finger.

Although we know that Elsa’s excessive amount of time spent behind closed doors is purely to protect Anna, it makes sense that Anna herself – unaware of Elsa’s powers – feels differently. From Anna’s perspective, Elsa just doesn’t care about her anymore. Elsa feels distant and almost scary. Remember the post-coronation party, where Elsa waits coolly on the stage? Anna rushes into the picture – late and flustered – and suddenly realises she has no idea where to stand. Unconvinced that she should be up on the stage with her sister, Anna flounders awkwardly at the side until she’s instructed to move. A moment later, she is visibly surprised when she realises Elsa’s laidback “Hi” is actually directed at her.

Even when Elsa’s not involved, Anna seems to go out of her way to place herself at the bottom of the metaphorical pile. When she stumbles upon Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (ooh, and sauna!) and meets Kristoff while paying for her new winterwear, she says “Excuse me” shyly and moves out of his way, despite the fact that Kristoff – painfully afraid of people in his own way – has spoken to her rudely and cut in front of her in the two-person queue. Anna’s polite and kind – both brilliant qualities – but her behaviour frequently suggests that she views other people as more important than her.

As the film continues, Anna pushes herself and comes out on top. She asks Kristoff to take her up the North Mountain, which he refuses to do, and Anna realises she needs to demand, not request: “Let me re-phrase that. Take me up the North Mountain.” She adds a hurried “please” at the end – understanding that she doesn’t have to be rude to get what she wants – and Kristoff agrees. Encouraged by the results but irritated by his lack of urgency, she blurts “We leave… now. Right now.” You can see from her body language and facial expressions that she’s not quite comfortable with this kind of behaviour, but in my eyes, that’s what makes her so impressive – she’s afraid, but she tries anyway.

What I love the most about Anna is that she acts as her own metaphor, too, perfectly depicting so many people who struggle with self-worth and assertiveness. While Elsa is coming to terms with her powers, Anna’s dealing with her own issues – learning that she isn’t there to be ignored or dismissed, and realising that sometimes she might get to call the shots, as well.

But Anna doesn’t change overnight – she puts the work in. She takes small, tentative steps, and her lack of self-confidence and attempts to build it up are realistic, whether she’s breathing a frightened, relatable sigh of relief after standing up to Kristoff or plucking up the courage to tell Hans “The only frozen heart around here is yours” as the movie ends.

To me, Anna is not “completely ordinary” at all – she is quirky and clumsy and excitable and anxious and lonely, and her layered personality is equally as complex as Elsa’s.

How to deal with an adult tonsillectomy

About to have your tonsils removed? Considering it? Sitting at home post-op with a mouthful of ice and a deathwish?

I had a tonsillectomy at the start of July and am now about 80 per cent recovered, which means I can actually get out of bed and write and think and I don’t have to plan my day around antibiotics and baby food. It’s great. But you know what? For the first 60 per cent of recovery I felt like a small, smelly man was living in my throat and enjoyed stabbing me with a pair of scissors every time I tried to swallow my own spit.

So let me share the trauma of the last two weeks with you in case you ever have to deal with the same thing or have stumbled across my blog after Googling ‘why is recovering from a tonsillectomy so horrible?’.

HERE’S WHAT YA NEED TO KNOW (warning! It’s gross at times. I will not skirt around the icky bits):

Before the operation:

Clean your house
Get everything in order and make sure you’re happy with how clean stuff is, unless you live with someone who’s happy to keep the place lookin’ dust-free while you’re ill. It’s not nice to be bedridden in a dirty house or to keep looking at piles of clothes you wish you’d washed while you could actually get off the sofa. Preparation is KEY.

Pack an overnight bag
I was a bit confused about the possibility of staying overnight post-op, because a letter I’d been given said I wouldn’t need to, but the leaflet it came with said I might, which wasn’t overly helpful. Me being me, I packed a ‘just in case’ bag.

In the end I did need to stop at the hospital, so I was glad of my rucksack full of home comforts. I was SO tired after the op – probably due to the anaesthetic – so the thought of getting dressed and leaving wasn’t too appealing anyway. I literally slept from 3pm until 7am, and only woke up to eat (and then cry over not being able to finish) some fish and chips that a very nice nurse brought over for me.

Not sure what to take with you for an overnight stay? I’d recommend: PJs, socks, spare underwear, a book (or a couple of books if you’re a fast reader), toothbrush and paste, face wipes, phone charger, a dressing gown, some slippers, and maybe a DS or something along those lines. AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE of some sort. That should keep you busy.

After the operation:

Don’t be freaked out by white stuff in your mouth
It sounds vile, and it is kind of vile, but it’s not anything to worry about. Everything I read/heard/was told advised me not to pay it much attention – it will fade over time. I think food ‘knocks’ it off, too. Yummy.

Expect the pain to get worse
The general consensus post-tonsillectomy is that your pain will get gradually worse before it gets better – my nurse told me that day four would probably be the worst of them all. When my mum and my boyfriend picked me up the day after my op (a Saturday) I was all “I’m fine! I’ve got my co-codamol! Let’s have a takeaway!” but by Monday I was lying in bed crying with the Harry Potter audiobooks on in the background. Apparently this is pretty normal (the pain, not the Harry Potter audiobooks).

Try to differentiate between ‘normal pain’ and ‘return to the hospital’ pain
What I mean is, it makes sense that you’ll feel rough, because your body has suffered a trauma. You’ve gotta expect to feel like your throat is on fire, at least a bit. But I reckon that if you get to day seven and you don’t feel like you’re improving at all, you should book an appointment and get checked out.

Know what an infection looks and feels like
I say (/write) this because I had no idea what an infection looked or felt like. From day three to day six of my recovery I thought the intense pain I was in was just normal, post-tonsillectomy hell, y’know? IT WAS NOT. I’d managed to get an infection, which basically meant my mouth smelled like a small animal had crawled into it and died, my throat had weird grey stuff coating it and my voice had completely gone. All I did all day was sob, point at stuff, and write notes on a whiteboard, like a literate baby.

The best way I can describe ‘normal post-tonsillectomy pain’ is “sore but manageable” – I experienced it at the start and end of my recovery and it was bearable, despite not being much fun. ‘Infection pain’ is not really manageable. It hurt to swallow, to drink, to eat, to cry. My whole head felt like it was being knocked against a wall every thirty seconds. I wished I’d known the difference, so I could have whizzed back to the hospital sooner than I did.

If you wind up more on the ‘infection pain’ end of the spectrum than the ‘normal post-tonsillectomy pain’ end, definitely go and see a doctor. Make sure you have someone around you to take care of you (I was too zonked to move) and ask for some antibiotics from your GP. Some people seem to get given antibiotics as standard – ask after your operation and see what comes of it.

Eat whatever you can
If you can eat toast and crisps and that sort of thing, it’s totally advised. Apparently the more crunchy stuff you eat, the more likely you are to promote healing in your mouth, which can only be a good thing. However I got to the point where I was so poorly I physically couldn’t eat any kind of harder food (it took me fifty minutes to eat half a bowl of soup and a cracker) and the GP I saw said that it was better to eat ice cream three times a day than nothing at all.

I ended up on a diet of the aforementioned ice cream, as well as baby food and yoghurt. I then moved onto stuff like mashed potato, porridge and pasta when my antibiotics kicked in. I’m no doctor, so I can’t say what’s definitely good and bad to eat, but if you’re struggling to get anything down the hatch at all, I’d suggest softer food and a check-up to make sure you’re healing properly.

Know what to do if something scary happens
The scariest part of my post-op recovery was when I woke up from a nap and realised my ‘wounds’ were bleeding. I was terrified, largely because I’d recently read a very helpful and not at all disturbing article in the Daily Mail about a girl who died when the same thing happened to her (I’m a worrier, okay?). My boyfriend called the hospital, we did some Googling, and it transpired that blood is okay – the advice I was given was to gargle with very cold water and keep checking to see whether the bleeding had stopped. If it’s still going strong after five minutes, head to A&E.

I also threw up (I’m not sure why) which I was scared would burst my stitches or cause extra bleeding along the way. Luckily it didn’t, but again, being sick is something that seems to be quite common. These things happened to me within the first four days of recovery, so I’d recommend having someone in the house with you at all times during this period. I literally showered with the door open and that sort of thing – it’s important to make sure you’re within earshot of someone who can help you ASAP if something bad does happen.

Get an ice pack
You know those floppy blue ice bags people’s parents keep in the freezer? BUY YER OWN. On my darkest, grumpiest days, my ice pack was the only thing that really helped. All you need to do is get it cold (the chillier the better), wrap it in a tea towel and hold it up to your neck/glands: BAM, instant relief.

Ice is very helpful in cubed or crushed form, too – put some in a cup, grab a spoon and eat it like you would a Disney on Ice snow cone. Ice-snacking is helpful for two reasons: number one is that it numbs the painful area, and number two is that it’s a good way to get some water into your system if you’re struggling to drink.

Stay hydrated
I know, I know – how the hell are you meant to stay hydrated when taking one sip of water feels like you’re being slowly attacked with an in-mouth chainsaw? I can’t even say. It’s the worst. But drinking loads is supposed to be THE most important thing when it comes to tonsillectomy recovery. Get as much water in you as you possibly can.

Be prepared for stuff to taste a bit odd
The taste in your mouth after a tonsillectomy is GRIM. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was so I did a bit of digging online – someone said it tasted like the smell of burnt hair, which was spot on. I’m on day 17 of my recovery now (!) and I still can’t drink squash or any kind of fizzy drinks because they genuinely taste like dust to me. I didn’t know what dust tasted like before I had my tonsils out, but here we are. I am a water-only gal until further notice. I also am avoiding chocolate wherever possible because I can’t taste the sweetness at the moment. It’s quite sad.

Don’t be worried if that dangly bit in your mouth has swollen loads
It’s called an UVULA. Did you know that? I didn’t, until about three days ago. Mine swelled up after my op and hasn’t done a whole lot since then – my doctor told me it’s likely that it got burnt during the procedure. From what I can work out, there’s not much you can do about a swollen uvula, except drink icy water and hope it’ll shrink a bit soon.

Try sleeping with more pillows than normal
You know when you have a cold and you can’t breathe properly when you lie down? It’s a bit like that. TMI TIP: I found that every time I lay down I was gripped by a fear of choking on my own, un-swallowable spit in my sleep, so I actually slept sitting up some days. It helped quite a lot.

Keep up with your painkillers
I am AWFUL with painkillers because I always think “I’ll be fine” and then realise I won’t be, by which point I am in extreme pain and wish I had taken my co-codamol many moons ago. Maybe set some alarms on your phone or draw up some kind of a daily plan to make sure you stick to a schedule. When you’re starting to feel better, you can wean yourself off them to test how you’re doing.


If you’re preparing for a tonsillectomy or have just had one, I wish you a real speedy recovery – I hope this guide has helped a little. Try not to cry (YOU NEED TO STAY HYDRATED) and make a list of all the yummy things you’re gonna eat when you feel better. It won’t be too far away!

A non-exhaustive list of times The OC was the best show to ever exist

Ask most people my age about their memories of 2003 and they’ll recall a year spent learning the words to Ignition by R. Kelly and deciding which text messages to delete to free up space on their Nokia 3310. But for me, that year mostly involved crying over Seth + Summer, wondering whether Caleb was supposed to be as funny as I found him and wanting to raid Marissa Cooper’s wardrobe. AND THAT WAS JUST SEASON 1. Here are just a few of the occasions when The OC was the best thing ever…

When Luke stopped being a jerk and loved Rooney

Wasn’t this Luke at his absolute finest? When he found out his dad was gay, got beaten up, realised he’d been a right old idiot and then hung out with the Core Four? Yes, it WAS. Bonus points if you can remember this Rooney episode where he embarrassed the rest of the group through shouting so loudly and then played a cringey song on the guitar backstage (“No he didn’t, yes he d-d-d-d-did, WHOOSH!”)

When Marissa smiled at Ryan during the season 1 fashion show


This song was playing (“HEEEYY GIRRRL!”) and you KNEW stuff was gonna get interesting. Go away, early-season-1-Luke. Ryan and Marissa, JUST KISS ON THE FERRIS WHEEL ALREADY *cries*

When the music became your listen-to list

…and theocmusic.co.uk became your go-to website. Thank you, The OC, for showing me Pinback, Modest Mouse and the Dandy Warhols and for leading me to sit by the TV with a notepad every week so I could write down the exact point the songs I liked came on and later Google them.

When people shouted stuff at Seth every time he stood on something to tell Summer he loved her

“That’s not Zach Stevens!” “Seth Cohen’s a tool.” “You’re dating this emo geek?”

When it was raining and no-one wanted to leave the house

Seth tried to tempt Ryan in with bagels. Ryan wanted Seth to come to the poolhouse. In the end they spoke on the phone and it was adorable. PLUS as soon as you re-watch the rainy day episode you know the upside-down-Spidey-kiss is coming soon. HOORAY, Sethummer is BACK ON.

When Atomic County became a real-life thing


Remember Johnny, the guy who broke his leg and loved Marissa a lot (and then died)? His Atomic County character turned out to be called Johnny Tears, which is something I still marvel at all these years later.

When Seth was ‘ill’

As Ryan said, he had a bad case of the Summer flu. Maybe he needed some… ANNA-BIOTICS! Aw. And who said Ryan wasn’t funny?

When the Mallpisode was a thing

Yes, there was an episode called ‘The Mallpisode’ BECAUSE THEY GOT TRAPPED IN A MALL OVERNIGHT BY A PRE-FAME AMBER HEARD AND IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER. The Core Four played hockey, The OC’s music supervisor played E-Pro by Beck and it was amazing.

When they didn’t try and pair Ryan + Summer or Seth + Marissa together, ever


Say what you want but this is RARE for teen TV shows. At no point in the entire four seasons did one couple get swapped over – The OC went the other way, making a point of how ever-so-slightly awkward it could be when it was just Ryan and Summer, or vice versa.

When Seth got the comic book club to spy on Summer and Zach


Any time Anna said “Confidence, Cohen”

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Sometimes I still think “Confidence, Cohen” in my head when I’m about to do something very brave and scary. Anna was a wise, well-dressed BABE and I missed her when she left.

When George Lucas was a guest star and Zach finally had enough

George didn’t go to prom, because he was too busy drawing ewoks. Did you know that? I’m not sure if that was true or if he was making it up. But Seth didn’t really care in the end, because he needed to go to school ASAP and declare his eternal love for Summer (again. Sorry Zach).

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When you realised how different life would’ve been for the characters without Ryan

The season 4 episode that sticks out for me is the one where a still-grieving Ryan gets knocked out and ends up in an alternate universe where he never came to live with the Cohens. Seth’s sad and lonely, and Kirsten and Sandy are divorced. Marissa is still dead – except this time it’s because she successfully overdosed in TJ and Ryan wasn’t there to find her. THAT’S RIGHT, HE GAVE HER TWO MORE YEARS. I’m not crying. You’re crying. Shut up. EVEN MORE BONUS POINTS if you spotted the poster of Johnny Harper, award-winning surfer, in the background.

When Seth’s bedroom was what you truly wanted in life


The posters, mostly. Why couldn’t we be Seth Cohen? Why couldn’t we date Seth Cohen? There were no boys at school with Misfits, Ben Folds Five AND Nirvana posters, or if there were they certainly didn’t also own a plastic horse named Captain Oats.

When Julie Cooper said anything, ever

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I LOVE JULIE COOPER. I love her comments to Gus the trailer park man, I love how much she adores Marissa even though it doesn’t always come across and I love that as much as she wants high-speed internet access, it’s not worth Kaitlin becoming suspicious.

When the show referred to itself

The Valley, the time Seth wondered whether it was Oliver at the door, when Lucy Hale (ARIA, IS THAT U?) mentioned a boring, old love triangle during the S3 Anna episode, when Seth noted that Zach ACTUALLY came back (“People never leave and come back…”). And that Bait Shop comment. I am happy-crying just thinking about it.

I’m still only scratching the surface here but I figure I should stop. I SALUTE YOU JOSH SCHWARTZ, this show will never stop being anything short of a masterpiece.

Long hair, kind of care (AKA Rapunzel problems)

I had a SERIOUS hair cut almost exactly ten years ago. When I say ‘serious’, I don’t mean that it made me look like an office worker or that it gave me a studious vibe – I mean I had a lot chopped off. It was a trim and a half, a trip to the salon that would result in a few raised eyebrows and several “Oh my god!”s when I arrived back at school.

Sick of straightening an unruly mop, I’d opted for what could only be described as a duck-butt (Google it, I’m sure some kids in your year had it too. Probably the ones you threw stuff at during your lunchbreak). I used my brother’s hair wax to keep it bouncy but soon realised that my hair styling skills weren’t so hot when a boy in my class named George kindly pointed out that I had really attractive globs of glue-like wax stuck to the back of my head most days.

After a while I got bored of this style too and decided that all I could do was wait for my hair to grow back again. So I waited. And waited. And before I knew it I had hair down to my waist. It’s been this way for years now – I’m well-versed in all things Rapunzel. But having long hair can be a royal pain in the ass.

Did you know you are never more than 6ft away from a hairball?

The absolute worst are the hairballs that appear ALL OVER THE HOUSE. I sit on the floor to read a book or cry over life’s injustices and what am I greeted by? Bloody clumps of my own hair that have somehow joined together to create a gross brown THING closely resembling a spider. These clumps struggle to find their way up the vacuum cleaner. They like to live on the floor. Occasionally they attach themselves to my sock and I think I might be sick. I think they are the only reason my mum really wanted me to move out of her home – the carpet is a lot nicer since I left, you know?

I also have nightmares about someone cutting my hair, probably due to the time SOMEONE ACTUALLY DID CUT MY HAIR AND RUINED IT. This wasn’t the duck-butt occasion – it was in 2013, a simpler time when having ‘princess hair’ was a very real priority for me. I knew I had split ends. I knew I needed a trim. But I was not prepared for the emotional trauma that was to come. I ended up with half of my hair on the floor of the salon and a week-and-a-half of disturbed sleep because I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like Aslan the lion when they sheared him, which I know is an awful thing to say because he is supposed to be a metaphor for Jesus. But still.

Me crying to my friend post-haircut. WTF IS THIS?

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and feel around for my hair, to check it was just a bad dream and that no-one has actually broken into my house with the sole purpose of attacking my mane with a pair of scissors. I can normally tell it’s still there, though, because I am lying on it and then struggle to move. Sometimes my boyfriend lies on it, too, and I have to poke him and say YOU’RE ON MY HAIR! PLEASE MOVE. I wonder if I should just tie it up in a bun.

Have you ever tried to use your hair as a scarf? It doesn’t really keep the cold out but when hair gets to the scarf stage you know it’s REALLY long. Occasionally I think about how much I’d be paid if I chopped it all off and sold it to an evil extension/wig maker called Claude. Probably not very much.

I went to the hairdresser yesterday and my hair was so long that I had to stand up to have it cut. I felt a little bit like the creepy girl we all knew in Year 3 who was obsessed with growing her hair to hip-length and looked a bit like a deranged pony. I had some layers put in and I keep looking at them in the mirror today because I don’t like them. Does anyone really love their hair? I’m attached to mine but not because I’m big on it. I’m just used to it, like I’m used to eating cheese sandwiches for lunch at work. They’re not fantastic but I’m not sure I have the creativity or energy to branch out right now.

9 things that are only true for UK emo kids of the mid-2000s

Did you like From First to Last? Did you learn HTML? Did you watch Donnie Darko just so you could add it to the Movie section of your MySpace profile? Join the club and reminicise. PC4PC, anyone? (Yes, that is me posing with a plastic bird above. I can’t explain.)

1) You used to stand with your feet pointing inwards

No-one knew why this was a thing – it just WAS. You’d take photos with your feet like this, you’d walk up stairs with your feet like this, you’d even try to sleep with your feet like this. It felt gross but you stuck with it. Outward-pointing feet were the feet of obnoxious, trainer-wearing kids. Inward-pointing feet were misunderstood and awkward and always housed by Converse, Vans or Macbeths.

2) You had at least one friend in a band

Going to a gig and knowing the person on stage was great – you’d walk around the venue (normally a village hall or a city pub) feeling like your own children were about to perform. “Did you know I’m best friends with the drummer?” you’d say (lol what a lie), while scoping the place out to see if ANDREWANARCHY© was attending that evening.

3) You remember a two-month period when almost every girl on MySpace changed her username to MISS MURDER

Or MISS MURDER™ if she wanted to be REALLY cool. Before that album, AFI was a punk band for older kids that you’d never really listened to. After that album, AFI was moved to the top of your Music section on MySpace. Until three months later, when the fad had worn off and you never listened to them ever again. Sorry, Davey.

4) You’d vehemently deny being emo

Actually REFERRING TO YOURSELF AS EMO simply wasn’t done. Shudder. You know when people call themselves hipsters because they’re wearing a pair of 3D cinema glasses with the lenses poked out? It was on a par with that.

5) You knew Skrillex before he was Skrillex

We struggle TO THIS DAY to be close friends with people who don’t remember these images. They are too important to not be discussed. Back in 2005 we listened to Ride the Wings of Pestilence non-stop and wrote Note to Self lyrics on our hands in English classes. From time to time, we wonder if Sonny still speaks to Emily.

6) You got into HTML for a bit and overused &this;

It never occurred to you that this minor social media-enhancing skill might come in handy in future job roles, but occasionally it does and you feel very proud of all the times you edited your profile instead of revising for your GCSEs. HOW’D YOU LIKE ME NOW, MOM? &smug;

7) Sometimes other people say they were emo too but their story doesn’t stack up

Neon yellow tutus? Stripey socks? Please. We would not have accepted your friend request. (Actually, we would, because we wanted to reach the big 1K and weren’t quite desperate enough to join one of those whore trains. Plus we didn’t really get what they were.)

8) Seeing this was the biggest dopamine rush of all time8kqibqh

Sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever feel the same kind of anticipation again. MySpace was pre-smart phones, pre-laptops in everyone’s bedroom (unless you were really lucky or really rich). When you logged in for your allotted few hours of MSN-and-social-media and saw those notifications, you knew you were in for some fun. NEW BLOG COMMENTS? BUT THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

9) The people who once mocked you for taking photos of yourself now think the term ‘selfie’ is really cute

2005: “Er, why don’t we just get someone to TAKE the photo for us?”
2016: “OMG, let’s have a selfie! I love selfies. Ooh, a selfie. Shall we take a mirror selfie?” NO. You had your chance, pal.