This is basically borne out of the plethora of charming and whimsical blog posts I’ve read lately about how great it is that sodding autumn is here. It’s an antidote to all the smug happiness. As ever, I am your loyal servant, readers…
Quite often when people who don’t live in London talk to me about how I live in London they often say, “I could never live in London,” in such a horrified tone it’s as if I have told them my pastime is eating babies or licking tramps toes.
More often than not I shrug my shoulders. Horses for courses, isn’t it. Some people want to live in the middle of nowhere, some people want to live in the town they grew up in, some people don’t want to live in any one place. Me? I want to live in London because I love it here. I don’t feel the need to justify my lifestyle choices to people just as I don’t expect them to justify theirs to me. Having said that, here’s five of the many reasons why I love London.
1. The people
Yes, that’s right, the people. Londoners get a bad wrap; people say they’re mean, moody and impatient. And yeah, we can be, but that’s only because we have to traverse hoards of kids of school trips, provide travel advise to tourists and sweat on the tube during our daily commutes. We aren’t bad peoples deep down, and there is no better place in the world for people watching than London. All of human life is here: there’s so many different people doing different things and for the most part we’re living harmoniously together (just move down the carriage and we’ll all be friends, yeah?). I love how London embraces people from all walks of life and rarely questions what people are up to – want to walk down the street singing at the top of your voice? Go for it. Want to do the waltz to the busker in Leicester Square tube – knock yourself out.
2. The restaurants
No massive news to most, but London’s restaurant scene is a constantly evolving, innovative place these days. Gone are the days of bad British food – people who say this haven’t been to London in time. Fancy an amazing Turkish meal cooked authentically? Pop over to Green Lanes and you have more options than you could wish for. Want some wicked-good curry in the most lively restaurant you can imagine? Tayyabs is for you. Sushi, veggie, raw, falafel-only, dim sum, Vietnamese, French-style burgers, food trucks, market stalls – there’s everything and anything you want here. I love that whatever I want, there’ll be somewhere I can go within about 30 minutes travel and fill my boots. And sure, a lot of cities have lots of restaurants (next person to show off about getting a Bill’s in their town gets a punch in the face, though), but the thriving nature of London’s dining scene means anything sub-par doesn’t survive and every restaurant is kept on their toes. It breeds creativity and innovation and I love it.
3. I became an adult here
My first real job was in London, and after two years of commuting to Kent where I lived, I moved up here. I moved into a flatshare, which was a nightmare of horrific proportions (every time a bus went past – and we were on the main bus route in north London – it knocked out the TV reception. Also there were no windows in the house and the outside was painted gloss brown) and quickly moved out and into another one. Since then I have progressed in my career, moved in with my boyfriend, bought a flat and got engaged. I’ve made friends for life, including one who will be my bridesmaid next summer, and had lots of ups and downs. This is where my whole adult life has been. When I was at uni in Liverpool, sure I was 18 but I was a pseudo-adult (real adults are able to get out of bed before 10am); before that I was at school and lived at home, aka very much not an adult. London will always have that place in my heart that no other city will have.
4. It’s iconic
London has led the way in so many direction, not least of all style and fashion. It’s also got some incredible designs – the architecture is truly breath-taking and the skyline is instantly recognisable with the sharp spire of the Shard next to the beautiful dome of St Paul’s cathedral. Even the transport is unique; black cabs, Routemasters and underground roundels are all synonymous with the city. Glance at a tube map and you instantly think ‘London’ – nothing else looks like it. And what a beautiful piece of design work the tube map is. It’s so inspiring to be constantly faced with all the beauty and creativity you see every day in London.
5. It’s where I got engaged
I’m sure you’re all bored of hearing about my engagement now, but London will forever be in my heart because it’s here I got engaged. It was a very London-based affair, with the final down-on-one-knee bit happening right by a London street sign. As I only plan on getting engaged the once, it’s incredibly special to me and something I’ll always remember.
I think I fall into a trap a lot of people do when you’re busy and feeling uninspired: I cook a lot of the same meals with semi-regularity. I mean I am a self-confessed foodie, as this blog shows, but I do have a few fall-back meals that I cook over and over because they’re easy and after a hard day at work, plus a commute and maybe a gym session: I just can’t find the energy to whip something new up.
My favourite fall-backs are chicken zorba (a really easy Greek-style meal that I’ll post up here some time), extra spicy fajitas and good ol’ spag bol. But I do plan meals a bit better now thanks to my goal of being more organised in 2014. And I’m really enjoying trying new things and adding them to my repertoire along with the old stalwarts.
And I’m a sucker for a recipe book. I pour over the pages, oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the photography and getting all excited about the new food I’m going to cook. Quite often I read them late at night, when I have no intention of starting to cook. I just love feeling excited by possibilities. Having said that, I much prefer a functional recipe book to one that’s style over substance. I want the recipe to be clear, the ingredients to not involve getting a rocket to the moon to source some space dust and also written in a friendly yet informative way.
So I thought I’d share my top 5 go-to recipe books at the moment (they’re liable to change as I’m always buying new ones to add to our already-overflowing bookcase)…
I wouldn’t be an Islingtonite if I didn’t bow to the foodie might that is Ottolenghi. Israeli-born Yottam Ottolenghi owns a small chain of self-titled restaurants in London, as well as NOPI. His style of cooking is a wonderful fusion of anything that captures his attention, but mainly lies in North African, Lebanese and Italian cuisine. The result is lots of delicious salads, perfectly marinated and cooked meats and veggies done in lots of surprising and delicious ways. His cookbook reflect this, as one would hope, and have lots of Ottolenghi favourites that you can make from home.
This 70s beauty is iconic within my family. For us, it’s one of those recipe books you hear people mention sometimes: it’s got all our the meals of my childhood inside it and just hearing the spine crack as I open my copy takes me back to helping my Mum make brownies when I was little. And I am sure it can’t just be a nostalgic hit for my family (me and my siblings all have our own copies now) – there’s so many delightful and forgotten gems in there. And also the best flapjack recipe there its.
I bought this book relatively recently, but I already know it’s going to be a much-used and often-turned to book in my library. It has a wonderful section at the front that goes through a lot of different foods (fruit, veggies, pulses, meats etc) and lists why they’re good and healthy for you, what they do to your insides and all that good hippy stuff. The back section is crammed with recipes and even has a day’s menu of meals for targeting particular aliments. Although I am a self-confessed “foodie”, I have to admit that I don’t know enough about nutrition, and it’s something I am really enjoying learning about from this bible.
Err, yeah, it’s a Weight Watchers book but WAIT! Bear with me! I only bought this book after my lovely sister-in-law cooked something for me out of it – and she wasn’t on WW either, she just liked the recipes. And most recipes are a winner. So much so, my Mum also bought the book after I cooked her a few meals out of it. My copy has the hallmarks of a well-loved cookbook: split spine (ugh, I know), splashes of food all over it, warped pages from being propped up in a steamy kitchen. Even though I am not on WW and pay no attention to the Points values, the recipes are WINNER. I love the maple chicken traybake and the citrus-crusted salmon. Seriously, none of the recipes I’ve made from it have tasted like “diet food”.
This is Delia’s comprehensive guide to, well, how to cook. From boiled eggs, rice, making a white sauce and how you should be cooking fish, this book is surely a fixture in every keen cook’s kitchen. Sure it has the basics of how to make things, and then it gives you recipes where you can apply the skill and maybe take it up a notch to the next level. It has loads of my meal staples in here, but the out and out winner for me is the Toad in the Hole recipe (renamed Huskies in the Drift by Andrew’s Scandinavian side of the family) with caramelised onion gravy. It’s a winner every single Goddamn time.
Remember a time before Facebook was released to the masses, and society was a nice, normal place where people from primary school didn’t scream in your face about potty training their child? Yeah, I can barely remember it either so full is my mind of constant updates of what someone I met once’s cat is wearing today. Facebook has completely changed the way we interact with one another, and I for one pretty much hate it. Yeah, I still have a profile, obviously, but I can still hate it.
I like Facebook for it being able to connect me to loved ones that are far away, and for us to share events, pictures, jokes without it having to be a big, formal ordeal. It is useful for reminding me of birthdays, which I am prone to forget. And I suppose it’s useful for communicating things sometimes.
However, as I might’ve said before, I still predominantly hate it. I hate it because of other people – the same reason why I hate most things. Other people have ruined Facebook. Here are the top five offenders, in my mind.
1. People I don’t care about sharing strong, and often offensive, views I don’t care for
BF (Before Facebook) I didn’t know that Mike from accounts was a filthy biggot, or that Michaela from primary school was a devout Christian who felt the need to preach to everyone, every day. Now, with the advent of Facebook, it’s all up in my grill all of the time.
Yeah, I have the facility to hide people, but I only do that in extreme circumstances. This is because I live in constant fear of seeing people in real life and them saying “I’m married/had a kid/whatever, didn’t you see it on Facebook?”. I don’t know what to say then. I literally panic, go red and hope to have a heart attack immediately so I don’t have to answer. Why? Because, dear reader, I am a terrible liar – there’s nothing I am shitter at than lying. So basically because of my lack of ability to think on the spot and make up lies, I cannot hide these people and my life is plagued with people’s stupid (to me) opinions. It takes all types you say? Don’t mean I want it on my feed, buddy.
(See also: those who invite me to join groups like “ALL DISABLED PEOPLE SHOULD BE FORCED TO WORK. SCROUNGERS! LOL. YOLO. ” – yeah, not the target audience for that type of thing, thanks all the same. Welcome to the cold, stark world of not being my pal on FB anymore…)
2. “It’s a times like these you find out who your real friends are” et al
Christ! Put a sock in it, love. These attention seekers are the worst. I find these passive aggressive updates, which are obviously aimed at some poor sucker on the person’s FB friends list who has probably made a minor indiscretion, awful. I actually cringe every time I read one. Why do people think these things are a good idea?!
If you have a serious problem with your friend, which you hope to resolve, posting cryptic crap on FB is not going to get you to your ultimate goal. If you’re looking for attention, you might get that from some of your more nosey FB friends in the form of “U OK hun?”, but essentially they’re just after some gossip to fill in the ad break between Corrie.
FB is not going to help in this situation. Ever. Chalk the whole thing down to experience and move on. Get some new friends. Whatever, just step away from FB.
3. “I LOVE YOU, WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT YOU?” etc
This doesn’t have to be between those in a romantic relationship with one another, it can be between family members, friends um… that’s pretty much all the kinds of people isn’t it? Anyway, whatever the relationship it’s still nauseating. And I find it fake, and for mostly other people’s benefit.
If you like them so much, take it to a private channel where you can bleat at them all the live-long day.
Basically this one is born out of pure jealousy on my part, but doesn’t it seem that some people are just on holiday all. the. time. When do they work? How do they afford this crazy lifestyle if they’re on holiday all the time?
I content myself with the fact that after soaking up so many rays they will look like this old age (look, I’m not saying I’m a good person myself here!):
5. People who use the word “frape”
You need to get a new word for that, guys. That particular portmanteau is pretty offensive.
Honourable mentions: Religious views, inspiration quotes, loads of video posts, private messaging in general, daily updates on some mundane aspect of your life.
P.S. Sorry to all my FB friends, I am sure I do all of these things at one time or another. Apart from the last one.
I turned 30 a few months ago. I try not to notice people in their twenties balk when I say I’m 30 (smug gits). I try not to let my brain spiral into hysterics that I am 30 and still don’t know my left from my right, or that I struggle with the 24 hour clock (stop judging me, guys!).
So, I thought I’d make a post about my favourite things about being an adult. Here they are… *excitement builds to a palpable level*
1. Friday Nights
Oh yeah, sure, Friday nights were fun when I was in sixth form. After a tedious A Level Geography lesson we’d go to my town’s biggest pub, Weatherspoons, as would ever other teen under 18 in the town, and drink Reef while breathing in lungfuls of hearty second-hand cigarette smoke (this was 1999). But the trouble was I had no money and had to hide in the toilets from the in turn belligerent and jobsworth-y bouncers.
But now Friday nights are better. I have money (I don’t really) and a face so craggy and old-looking that no one chases me to the loos. No one chases me full stop. Instead I pile out of work and into a pub with work friends. I stand outside for as long as possible, freezing slightly (and still getting a passive smoke in), enjoying the thought that I don’t have to answer another work email for two whole days. Or I’ll meet up with my boyfriend and we’ll go for dinner and drinks. It’s just brilliant, thinking about the whole weekend spread out ahead of you. This is much better than my teens, considering getting up and having to go and work in Topshop the next day, manning the fitting rooms and trying not to be sick in people’s faces (oh, the glory days of my late-youth).
2. No Housemates
Oh don’t get me wrong, I have met some of my closest friends in houseshares (big up Number 26!) but Christ, houseshares (and other people) are grim aren’t they? I lived with eight people in Highbury for four years; I am happy to live with just Andrew now. There are no emails saying someone’s friend is going to crash on the sofa for a month, or finding my kitchen knives blunted because someone used it to open a can of beans, or crap music being played at ear-splitting volume as I am trying to cook a meal after a hard day at work. Or my clean washing being taken out of the machine and left on the kitchen floor with the potato peelings. Or people hoarding the ironing board in their room. Or people coming in and drunkenly talking through my Sky Plussed episodes of The X Factor. Or the download speeds grinding to a halt every night at 7pm, my computer struggling to buffer a YouTube video.
One of the best parts of being an adult is being able to go home, shut the whole world out, sit in your pants and watch Catfish while drinking warm white wine (I’m not saying I’m fully a mature adult here).
3. Letting Haters Hate
When I was younger, I used to care if people I didn’t even like didn’t like me. I didn’t want people talking behind my back! What if they persuaded everyone I was a chump while I wasn’t looking, and I turned around and everyone had ditched me? [Ed: keep it lighthearted, yeah?] What was that all about, eh? The folly of yoof.
Now, I really couldn’t care less. I read something recently that said write a list of the most important people to you, then any time anyone judges your life if they’re not on a list then they don’t really get a say. It’s sort of true (although I’ve not written a list, that seems slightly cray). I am happy, I love my life, I have brilliant friends and an awesome family, so screw you guys.
I have gone to about 20 weddings in the last two or so years. Everyone is getting married. And do you know what? Bloody, ruddy great. I love weddings. I love watching my friends making this massive step, and being so happy. They’re all like, “Yeah, this is my person who I am going to hang out for a long time, maybe forever – will you be happy for us please? You are? GREAT!” I LOVE speeches. I quite enjoy a champagne and canape too. I realise the weddings will slowly peter out the further I lurch into old age, so for now I am embracing them and all the chicken satay skewers I can cram in my massive gob.
If you’re a teenage girl, friends tend to be a bit crappy, right?! It can’t just be me. I mean sure there are the core guys, the people you have remained fond of and actually enjoy seeing pop up on your Facebook feed even now. But the rubbish friends I am talking about are the moody ones, the ones who use phrases such as “I can’t believe you’ve done this to me!”, “You’ve got a bit prettier recently, but you’re still not great” and “I thought you were my friend!!!!” They get upset if you go to the cinema without them, or if you have a spotty-faced personality-less boyfriend and they don’t have a boyfriend (not even a spot-encrusted one), or if you get better marks than them. Ostensibly, these people aren’t friends, but when you’re a teenage girl fighting for survival in an all-girls’ boarding school you kind of think they are your friend.
Now, I am not confined to being friends with people I go to school with. I can meet someone and think, “Hey you’re cool” and then be friends with them (if they like me, they tend not to though… hmm). And now I am surrounded by spigging awesome people. Recently I’ve realised just how amazing my friends are, and how much richer they make my life. N’aww. Friends! They’re great, right?
BEING AN ADULT IS AWESOME.
I’ve got Sky+ now, like I’m affluent or something (I am not). I’ve got money to burn (I haven’t) and I am going to give it to Rupert Murdoch. He seems like a nice guy. I’ve got Sky+ now so I don’t have to bother with adverts. Except you do, because I watch live TV and they either can’t or won’t invent a system to let you fast forward through life as it happens. Selfish. I blame Rupert Murdoch. I’ve gone off him.
Some adverts I can watch and not take in, and then there are other adverts that are the commercial equivalent of the sound of squeaky styrofoam. In short, they make me want to be sick and/or punch someone in the face. But I shan’t suffer through this predicament alone. Oh no. I’ve decided to share with you my top 5 most hated adverts (at the moment, I’ve had loads over the years). Here they are:
1. Kevin Bacon/EE advert
This is Kevin Bacon, off of A Few Good Men and Mystic River. He’s a pretty big deal ok. So much of a big deal there’s a thing called The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Everyone knows what this is. EXCEPT Kevin, according to this advert. What Kevin does here is links a load of random things together in a way that’s more akin to Whack-a-day’s Mallet’s Mallet than the Six Degrees thing. It makes me think, “Kevin Bacon, you are a damn fool. I hope you’ve been paid well for this blot against your name.”
2. Jennifer Aniston/Sky Broadband advert
This is in a similar vein to the above. Basically a famous actor has seen a pay check and not really thought or cared about how crap what they’re about to do is. Jennifer Aniston here seems to be a neurotic caffine-addict who hates being without the internet. She keeps swatting imaginary flies – I am guessing to make her seem a bit mental. A strange choice on behalf of Aniston. And then the cafe workers just tell her about Sky broadband and she’s like “Oh yeah! Other providers!” and goes off as if it’s that easy to change providers (I will tell you through bitter experience, it is NOT). Ugh. What is the point of this ad? To annoy me, I’m guessing.
3. M&Ms Red Carpet ads at the cinema
I hate the M&Ms animation men. They’re bloody annoying. The doltish peanut guy and the smart-guy red thing? I want to smash them up with a hammer. Harsh you say? Maybe if you went to the cinema enough you’d be feeling the same way. They are there before every film, slurping away and talking in these hyper-American adverts. And then there’s the Red Carpet segment, which is a sort of rip off of E! – and just terrible. They’re always bland and uninteresting and the presenters make me cringe. You’re talking to an animated chocolate peanut for God’s sake – HAVE SOME PRIDE.
4. Oreo/dog advert
Andrew actually laughs at me every time this advert comes on TV. I shout at the child every time. Basically, it’s a kid teasing his dog by eating a chocolate biscuit in front of him and then not sharing it. Look, I had a dog with a kid and I shared my food with him. Sure, he was fat and had a bad wind problem thanks to me, but we were best buds and that’s what kids do with their dogs who are their best friends (just to clarify, I had human friends too, I’m not weird). So to see this kid be an absolute idiot to his dog annoys me. And quite frankly, this kid does not deserve to have a dog. There, I said it.
5. Fosters advert(s)
I hate these Aussie guys. I can’t really put my finger on it, but ok I hate the lazy stereotyping, the gentle misogynistic attitude, the product, the lame jokes and everything else to do with the ad. Who are they trying to appeal to with these adverts? “LADS”? Shudder. It all makes me feel irked.
I don’t really like a lot of blogs. I barely even like my own. I don’t like reading mediocre writing; it upsets me more than it should. I can’t see the point in people wasting their time shouting about on a blog in some amateurish fashion. And there seems to be a whole internet full of that. But sometimes I find a blog I like and I get a bit addicted and then I get why people love blogs (then I find yet another crappy one and go back to hating the world). I’ve decided to share some of the blogs I am enjoying at the moment. They’re probably really passé, but then so am I, so shut the hell up and go somewhere else.
1. Recipe Rifle
Written by journalist Esther Walker, this is a recipe blog – but there’s not a cupcake in sight. Instead, there’s lamenting about how rubbish things are and quite a bit of swearing. I enjoy both of those things – they make me laugh. And then there’s a recipe at the end, written in an accessible tone. I really enjoy the combination of reading about Esther’s life (her partner is Giles Coren) and then getting an interesting recipe at the end.
If you haven’t heard of this then a) you obviously don’t live in London (you poor sausage) or b) have been living under an internet rock for the last year. It’s a Tumblr of gifs about how annoying London is. I don’t know what else to tell you about this, other than it makes me laugh. Oh, there’s a lot of Tiny Fey, Lena Dunham, Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Lawrence on there. They’re my favourites!
Written by Chris Pople, this is a foodie blog reviewing restaurants. And it’s good. I like reading good writing about food. I very much enjoyed Chris’ Worst Places to Eat in London post. Oh, it is London-focused so if you don’t live in London you might not care (YOU IDIOT).
Full disclosure: Daisy, the editor, is a friend of mine. But don’t hold that against her. Cupcakes and Cherries is a lovely blog full of beauty reviews and anecdotes from Daisy’s life. Daisy is just about the sweetest person in the world, and you can’t help but feel a little bit happier about the world after reading a post by her.
OK, I am a contributor (somewhat lapsed recently – oops) for this blog, but in spite of this it’s great. It’s a book review site written by a range of women – some professional writers, others who are just passionate about books. I have found all the books I’ve read in the last year on there. The reviews aren’t sponsored, and if they are review copies the editor, Nik, actively says to her writing team to not let that sway them into giving a book a good review. It’s kind of like an online book club I suppose. Where you don’t get a say. Oh there is a comments section – so you do get a say! Ha! Look, everything is catered for there.
Can you guys recommend any blogs to me? I need to get reading some more. Answers on a comments thingy below pls…
Over the last 12 months London has seen a surge in junk food makeovers. That is food previously dismissed as junk (burgers, fried chicken et al), which has been done badly by cynical corporate Mcchains, being restored to its former glory. Burgers with glossy buns and plenty o’ pickles, smokey and meaty hot dogs, fried chicken that’s juicy and crunchy.
I’m on this UnJunk Food badwagon heart, spirit and soul. And I plan to blog about all my UnJunk food endeavours here. I’m feeling really excited about London’s dining scene at the moment. Here are some of the places I’m itching to get to…
1. Slider Bar, Soho
Mini burgers from the folks at Lucky Chip. What’s not to like? I’ve only heard excellent things about this place. They even have an ice cream burger! Gimmicky joy! Reading Cherry Healey’s tweets about her meal there made me green with envy.
Slider Bar @ The Player, Broadwick Street, Soho
2. Burger & Lobster
Twenty quid for a burger? WELCOME TO LONDON! But £20 for a lobster? Hell-o! The concept of Burger & Lobster is simple. There are two options on the menu: burger, lobster. Both come with sides too. Both are £20. You pays your money, you takes your choice. This place has been such a hit they’ve opened at another location, in Soho. Get me there, STAT.
Burger & Lobster, Dean Street, Soho.
3. Lucky Chip
The big sister of the Slider Bar, Lucky Chip is located at the Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green. Lizzie’s review of the place has made me desperate to go. I love the creative fillings for the burgers, and that they all have film star’s names. The Darryl Hannah fish burger anyone? I can’t wait to get my chops around one.
Lucky Chip @ Sebright Arms, Coate Street, Bethnal Green.
4. Spit & Roast
Ahh, a food truck. Many of London’s UnJunk food establishments have enjoyed a stint as a food truck. There was Meat Wagon, Pitt Cue Co under Hungerford Bridge and Engine Hot Dogs.
Spit & Roast are paying tribute to that old southern American favourite, fried chicken. Served with potatoes and a little pot of gravy, this place has made me, a loyal burger fan, excited about fried chicken.
Spit & Roast, Hackney Homemade Market (St John’s Churchyard Carpark).
5. Big Apple Hotdogs
These guys supply my local, The Lamb, with their meaty treats. I can’t wait to go to the pig’s mouth, so to speak, to sample their smokey porky all-American hot dogs from their cart.
Big Apple Hot Dogs, Outside 239 Old Street EC1V 9EY.
Mad Men is my all-time favourite TV show. It was love at first sight. I love the theme tune, the opening credits, the mise-en-scene, the characters, the scripts, the… I could go on. But let’s get down to what this post is all about: my top five Mad Men characters. There are potential spoilers here if you’re not up to date with Mad Men (season 5 finale).
1. Peggy Olson
Peggy is the character I always find I am rooting for. I think this is for two key reasons: she is often the character the show uses to explore attitudes towards women and their careers in the 1950s and 60s (admittedly there’s a wealth of fleshed-out female characters who also do this in Mad Men, but I think Peggy’s career has arguably been the most stratospheric rise). And the other reason is that Peggy is just so damn classy.
Characters in Mad Men go on journeys. They’re often quiet, subtle, only-hinted-at journeys, but they’re always going on. I love Peggy’s journey best out of all the characters in Mad Men. The illegitimate child with Pete, the battle with her matriarchal mother, her desire to be treated equally to men within the ad agencies and her quiet loyalty and love for someone she knows is fundamentally flawed – Don.
Peggy evokes such a loyalty from me that no other character has done in TV. She’s totes my number 1.
2. Sally Draper
Sally Draper hasn’t had an easy life so far. For one she has the philandering Don Draper for a father, and for another she has a self-obsessed brat for a mother in Betty.
When Mad Men first started, Sally was a wee scrap of a thing with a lisp. Cute, and a scene-stealer for sure, but no real storylines to speak of aside from being able to make an punchy Old Fashioned for Don. Over the past five seasons, Sally has (I want to avoid the words “blossomed” or “developed” here, as they make me cringe) emerged as one of the most interesting characters on Mad Men. I love her complicated relationship with Betty – it’s so realistic of one between a teenage daughter and her mother. I love the simplicity of her love for Don, however misguided that may be. It’s such a realistic parent-child dynamic that they have set up.
I really enjoy watching Sally grow up and discover the adult world – both with positive and negative experiences. The scenes of her at The Codfish Ball (an episode that beautifully explores strained parent-child relationships) were some of the best Sally Draper moments so far.
3. Joan Holloway
Do I need to say anything more? Joan is amazing – she is strong and vulnerable all at once. I think I will be preaching to the choir with Joan. Something Mad Men does so well is to have “good” characters do bad things, and vice versa. I think Joan, with the exception of Pete Campbell, is the prime example of this. I don’t ever quite know where Joan is coming from, and I like it.
4. Pete Campbell
Pete Campbell is a grade-A douchebag, and man do I love him. I LOVE watching Vincent Kartheiser tell Pete’s story. As well as his all-round brattish personality, Pete has done many terrible things including rape, blackmail, essentially pimping out his employees and all of his extra-marital liaisons.
Pete is a mass of contradictions, and that’s what makes him brilliant. He is desperate to gain approval from Don, and yet his all-encompassing competitive nature means he often screws Don over. I love watching his arrogance played off against the fact that he is essentially completely miserable with his life. That all sounds quite negative, but I find it massively cathartic to watch his storyline unfold.
5. Roger Stirling
After all the heavy-going storylines, Roger is pretty much guaranteed to make me laugh. I love his don’t give a fuck attitude. I love how much he detests Pete. I freaking adored his acid trip storyline from season five, and his resulting epiphany. I find Roger’s love of Joan completely believable and one of the most genuine relationships within in the show (even though he has a funny way of showing it).
Disagree? Agree? Tell me in the comments!