HI GUYS! Missed y'all.
I've just got back from a big old holiday, one that had me over your side of the pond, where the air is sweet with the fresh scent of hope and dreams, and the sun shines just that little bit brighter. It was great. At the end of the Florida part, Chris and I even got to meet up with our very own xoBabes Marianne and Claire, and their partners Ed and Sean who had very lovely beards.
We went to a Cuban restaurant and ate stuff covered in delicious, delcious cheese (YAY FOR LACTAID, FYI), then we went to a place called House of Beer (!!) where they have like FORTY beers on tap that they change all the time, and I had a beer that tasted of PINEAPPLES! PINEAPPLES!
Then we went to watch an NFL game and Chris loved it and I was mainly impressed that there was a massive pirate ship in the stadium so I spent most of my time looking at that.
Oh, and then I had to tell off the really loud and obnoxious Dolphins fans behind me who kept spitting in my hair. They were fine after that. Success! Claire sourced me a Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt so I totally looked local, you guys. You'd have definitely thought I was from the area. I think our team won, too? I think so. I'll go with yes, they did.
We love getting to hang out with other xoJaners when we're in the states as we get to visit cool places we wouldn't have otherwise known about, like Datz in Tampa, which served us DEEP FRIED BACON and cocktails with candy corn in. My brain was well and truly blown.
The latter part of the holiday saw us in St Lucia for my Mum's wedding. It was beautiful, bloody hot, and the day itself was brilliant. I pissed my Mum off by drinking too much and throwing up in a bin whilst in my bridesmaid dress, but we'll gloss over that. Here's a photo of me, my Mum (the bride!) and my fellow bridesmaid, for your enjoyment. I hadn't puked at this point.
The only shit part of the time away was that I got my phone stolen, whilst at the wedding. I'd been using it to take photos of the ceremony, so I lost a ton of photos I'll never get back, but after a sweltering day at the police station I was ready to write it all off. They'd gone, I needed to deal with it.
I spent the rest of the holiday in a constant pattern of thought of "Oh what a lovely sunset, I'll Instagram that!" or, "My friend would love this outfit, I'll post it to Facebook so she can see" or more accurately "Eff ME I'm brown. Better Instagram this moment so that it truly exists!" before realising my handy companion was no more.
Gone. My link to the world outside our resort, disappeared without a trace.
A better, more well adjusted person than I may have used this time away from a phone as an opportunity to really live in the moment, to live without the constraints of constant notifications and beeping and flashing lights. Not me! I love the little flash of blue at the top of the screen to let me know that someone has tried to get hold of me. I enjoy the vibration in my bag to let me know that someone has tweeted me. I love interacting on social media the same as I love interacting in real life. For me, there is a real cross over. The internet IS real life.
Without my phone, I genuinely feel lost. I can't check my train times. My online banking has to wait until I got to a PC. I can't quickly check to see if my friend has sent me her address on Facebook so I can send a birthday card.
I've got these amazing new shoes on and I can't even show anyone! Rendering purchasing them completely pointless!
The stupid little temporary phone I had to buy for the meantime hasn't even got an alarm on it so I woke up at 9am today, when I have to be actually in the office at 9am. I had to brush my teeth in the office. I HAVEN'T EVEN GOT ANY MAKE UP ON.
LIFE IS SO HARD, MAN.
Now, I totally know these are the most First World Problems ever, but the inconvenience has been quite high up on the Annoyance-O-Meter. But then, as if all this wasn't enough, I had that stomach curdling feeling where your tummy flips and feels like it's going to fly out through your open mouth. The thought that whoever has my phone is going to be able to scroll through about 700 photos of my face in slightly different lights and angles, trying to capture the best one for that hallowed upload. GRIM. Eugh. The SHAME.
So will this time without my handset free me from some of the shackles of modern life? Will I get my new phone when it arrives, smooth and shiny as a pebble, and cast it aside, and fail to add any apps?
WILL I HELL. No way. I cannot wait to get it in my hands and play Candy Crush on the toilet. I cannot wait to be able to WhatsApp my friends a photo of the spot I have in my ear. I cannot wait to Instagram a photo of my new ring I got as a Bridesmaid present.
All of you who can live perfectly happily without the trappings of social media and the like, I applaud you. I really do. But I am not one of you. Now, how many seconds is it until my new phone arrives?
Natalie's back on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM