Life’s little irritations…

Readers. We are nothing if not diverse. This week we’ve covered topics as wide ranging as alcoholism in your family to how to be the best possible best-man, we’ve had way too many pictures of a smushy baby with food all over her face and Anna’s beautiful letter to Mr K on their third wedding anniversary, and now today we’re going all light-hearted on you and letting the (lovely and ever so sane) Sarah M tell us all about the little things in life that just make her want to scream…

Life’s far too short to sweat the small stuff but every now and again things start to bug me. I’m not talking about the earth shattering, life changing woes of the world but the small, insignificant stuff. The things that you really ought not moan about but if you don’t let out every so often can bubble up into a bit of a rant. Sometimes even into a tirade of complaint that takes your poor, unsuspecting husband by surprise. Every few months of so I have one of these rants and normally my poor chap bears the brunt of it, sat there laughing at my perceived injustice at a completely ridiculous set of issues. Well guess what, folks? I thought I’d share them with you this time.

Brace yourselves.

First up for me: scented toilet roll. Why? Just why? It’s a sickly, tangy smell that gets right up my nose the moment I enter a bathroom where it’s used. Surely no one in their right mind wants their bathroom to smell of synthetic lavender and vanilla combination? In fact, sod your bathroom, why would you want your bum to smell like cheap air freshener? The perfumed gubbins they add can’t be working wonders for your nethers, ladies – keep it clean, keep it natural, keep it old-lady-lavender free (happy to sell that tag line to you, Proctor & Gamble, just contact me about my fee…).

Heck, whilst I’m at it, why stop at scented? Coloured loo roll, I’m looking at you! Peach has a home here on AOW, it should not be lurking in your bathroom. The same goes for pale pink or even aqua. Your destiny is as soft hued nail varnish, palate cleansing sorbets or even slinky lingerie – you should not be staring back at me from the toilet roll holder. Here you are wasted and a source of annoyance. So there.

Second, but on a similar vein, scented sticks. You know the sort. They sit, all innocent looking, in a glass jar of essential oil, like butter wouldn’t melt. All of a sudden there they are, waving their stick hands in the air and acting as a conduit for the vile smelling ‘Spring time love’ or ‘Christmas chez moi’ or whatever tosh the fragrance is called. You might think they’re an inanimate object but you’re wrong. They’re clever buggers. Walk past them and the breeze gives them heart, their smell increases and they start to engulf you. An overreaction you say? Perhaps so when they’re acting alone as the fragrance isn’t all consuming but it’s when they breed, becoming an army of stinky sticks taking over your house that you need to worry. Their long armed tentacles of stench will reach out when you’re asleep, crawling their way up your nose and attaching their spiky tendrils into the backs of your eyes ensuring the most pounding of headaches when you awake. Yes, my dad’s fiancee, I’m looking at you and your sticks in every room.

Third, it’s got to be the common-or-garden coaster. Yep, the things you place on your table to stop your drinks from marking the surface. Really. I’ll tell you why. Innocuous? No. Gallant Protector of the Table Top? Not on your nelly! Coasters are evil. They suggest they’re Dobby-the-house-elf-super-helpful with their carefully-chosen-to-coordinate-with-your-lounge appearance but what they really are is an accident waiting to happen. Oh yes. Coasters are dangerous and they make me nervous. They may only be a few millimetres tall but it’s a veritable cliff face enough on which to catch the bottom of your scalding tea or your just topped up glass of wine. It sits there, lulling you into a false sense of security with it’s ‘Ooooh, rest your weary (drink) bottom on me, just for a while, you know you want to’ look and then the moment you do, the glass catches and the content spilt, doooooooooom. I swear I’ve lost more drinks (and received more frowns from the owner of the table or carpet) due to coasters and coaster-induced-nerves than I have to intoxication of the vino variety. Beware the coaster, I say.

Am I alone in this bubble of irritation? I have plenty more I can share, if the AOW ladies will have me back (and promise to ensure a fragrant free bathroom experience at AOW Mansions) but I can’t wait to hear what gets your goat.

Categories: Frippery
45 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Roz
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I am so with you on the coasters!! But you missed one of their evilest of tricks…usually carried out by my glass coasters sitting innocently with a chilled drink, I pick up my drink and the coaster has stuck to the bottom, then gravity kicks in and the coaster flies back to earth / table top with an almighty clatter often scaring the shit out ofme and causing me to spill my drink!

    • Clare
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      THIS. Drives me nuts.

      • Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Gah, coasters. Even more annoying than I first gave them credit for!

  2. Mahj
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I am laughing so hard at this, I’m actually wheezing.

    On a related note, I hate those bloody air freshner thingys that spray out at regular intervals or even worse, work on motion sensors. It’s like air freshening to the Nth degree. And it usually scares the crap out of me. Plus the smell sticks to you and you carry it around for weeks.

    Phew, I feel better now I’ve got that off my chest!


    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Oooh, good one, Mahj. What about the plug in ones in cars, too?

      • Mahj
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        Oh god they are even worse because your in a confined space! And what if they spritz into your eyes whilst your driving?? Hazardous to your health I tell ya!


  3. Alex D
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Hehehe! *makes note to self – get rid of my reed diffusers prior to Mrs M’s next visit* Mahj – totally with you on those automated air fresheners. Hate the blighters.

    My irritation – illegible handwriting and terrible spelling – sadly my husband is guilty of both. If I start a shopping list and he adds to it, I have to start it all over again. Yes, I am very odd.

    Also, I don’t get wet toilet tissue. Why do you need it? Surely then you’d just get a wet arse?

    • Frances
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      I edit shopping lists too.

      What on earth is wet toilet tissue?

  4. Steff
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I love this. I have so many of these that Mr P tells me on a regular basis to be more patient and get less annoyed by the little things.

    This morning’s irritation of choice – people who stand at a pedestrian crossing without pressing the button and then wonder why they’ve been standing there for ages.

    And squint things, always squint things. Necklace fastenings being round the front, backpack straps or collars tucked the wrong way, paintings that hang awkwardly. I have been known to fix near-unknown strangers such is my madness.

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Oh yes, that’s me too. You know when people put the toilet roll on the holder but round the wrong way? I change those.

      (I can feel the pool of people who invite me round to their houses shrinking as I type).

      • Katy W
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        Out of interest, which is the wrong way? Just for future reference…! Actually I am not sure I want to know, it’ll just be another thing on my list of irritations. I love this post – I definitely get far more enraged by inanimate objects than I do with people. Mr W therefore thinks I am bonkers.

      • Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        I change those too. I can’t help myself.

        • Frances
          Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          I change them too…

  5. Peridot
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Ah but Sarah M, you’re welcome to come to mine anytime because I agree! So does my mum – problem is is that we each think the loo roll should be a different way round. We’ve had to declare an amnesty in the interests of any kind of cordial relationship but it still drives me INSANE. She likes hers hanging down the back whereas it should CLEARLY hang in front of the roll.

    I am clearly very crotchety because I agree with most of these. Coloured loo roll is a long-held pet hate. I also hate the idiots who haven’t pressed the button to cross the road – morons! And malevolent squirting air ‘fresheners’ – freshening with what? Stinky sickly-sweet chemicals, that’s what. Car air fresheners make me throw up – literally. That’s not a fresh smell.

    I also hate poor grammar: ‘could of’ instead of ‘could have’ is probably the worst but there’s a lot of competion with randomly placed apostrophes. I actually correct signage. No arrests so far… And I’m prepared to suffer for this in any case.

    People who push on to the tube before allowing people to get off. I mean, how tricky is it to work out that there’s more room to get ON if you let people OFF first. I have a lot of tube rages though – people who sprint for the seat, shoving you out of the way; people with loud music and inadequate headphones; people with noisy games on their phones; people who lean on the poles and won’t let people hold on to them (I may have passively-aggressively snagged somone’s scarf who did this!); men who seem to think if they spray a whole can of cheap deoderant on, that’s pleasant; people who DON’T WASH. The list is almost endless.

    People driving but in the wrong lane who then just thing they can push in and get furious if you don’t allow it. They almost inevitably drive a BMW or Merc. Yeah mate, want to scratch that? Because you’ll notice I’m driving a banger…

    I need to leave now as I’m beginning to pant and I suspect my eyes are bulging. But I reserve the right to return.

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Peridot, I hate people who try and sneak up as far along a junction as they can to avoid joining a queue of traffic too far back. I always refuse to let them in, even when they’re practically nudging my car. My car’s already bashed up, so I figure they won’t *actually* touch me in their big shiny cars. And if they do, I’ll take pleasure in getting money out of their insurance for hitting me.

      Almost all my pet irritations are car related, I grew up in Greater London, learnt to drive in Greater London, so I’m a very determined ranty driver. The thing that annoys me most? People who don’t drive their cars through a space at least double the width of their car. Learn how wide your car is, people, it is NOT hard. And you live in a place where cars are ALWAYS parked lined up along both sides of the road so how have you not yet managed to learn which spaces you can quite easily get through?! I am regularly found on the streets of suburban London yelling “You could get a goddamn TANK through there you moron! MOVE!” Gareth finds it hilarious because it never stops annoying me. ……/End Rant

      K x

      • Zan
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Arrghhh – this – all driving related things! I particularly dislike the people who try to avoid queuing. I think this annoys a lot of people – one time we were stuck in a queue of traffic as a car had broken down on the outside lane of the motorway and even though there were ‘lane closed’ signs flashing, there were still idiots driving down as far as they could to get in further down the queue in the middle lane.

        In the end, the massive lorry behind us actually moved over and straddled 2 lanes, just to stop people doing it (it got ridiculous) – so ha! to those drivers :)

        I find I’ve got more ranty now I drive through the countryside everyday…there’s always at least one person a day who doesn’t understand what the national speed limit is! And that it’s not really acceptable to straddle two lanes while driving around a blind corner…..

      • Peridot
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        I had a boyfriend who said if he were ever very rich, he would have a fleet of bangers (and a lawyer on speed-dial) which he would deliberately crash into cars – to teach them a lesson. I don’t think I loved him more than at that moment…!

    • Emily
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Yes, bad grammar/spelling, and people who think it is necessary to use far too much scent/aftershave and then get on a train at 6.20am. It is too early for overpowering smelliness.

      And my train to Dorset and husband on a Friday night which goes really quite fast to Southampton to show it can zoom, then becomes an arthritic snail for the last 40 miles/2 hours so I’m always a bit grumpy when I arrive.

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink


  6. Alex D
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Loo roll has to be over rather than under. Just thought of another thing – Magic Tree “new car smell” air fresheners. It does not smell like a new car! It smells like cheap deodorant and it makes me sneeze.

    Another one for you – old people. Driving – shouldn’t be allowed. Shopping during peak hours – again, shouldn’t be allowed. They have all day to do it whilst us poor sods are at work. Then they proceed to pay in pennies. Bah.

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Weirdly, old people are the one group of drivers who don’t annoy me, I think it’s because I remember how gutted my Grandpa was when he was finally told he couldn’t drive anymore, to him driving meant his independence, so I’m always nice to elderly drivers, because I know if they didn’t drive they might feel very isolated and dependent. I’m actually also very nice to learner drivers, because I remember how scary that was. All other road users are fair game though, and I hate 90% of them. Most especially people driving 4x4s badly around London.

      K x

      • Emily
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        I’m very nice to all drivers because I am a terrible one (I may have backed the car into someone elses on the way out of the hotel car park on the first day of our honeymoon…). I am really bad at space and width and to me, anything bigger than a very small car feels like a tank so must need tank sized amounts of space. I grew up in the country and had more issues with cows crossing the road, or horses, than parked cars. Very bad training for future life in London (with no car).

      • Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        “I hate 90% of them” – hahahaha!

        • Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          I’m honestly a horrible driver, I can’t help it, I think it’s because I learnt to drive in such a frustrating area!

          Emily, my main problem is with people who live around me in Richmond driving gigantic 4x4s but with no idea how to drive them, or park them, or how wide they are. It annoys me mostly because there is less than no need to drive a 4×4 where I live, it’s pure suburbia. And I think if you really *must* drive a whacking great 4×4 to demonstrate your great wealth, at least learn how wide the silly thing is. But I am indeed a very grumpy driver.

          K x

          • Emily
            Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            Ha! Yes – I used to take on clean 4x4s with my bike when I lived in West London. I don’t in SE – more likely to be filled with people I don’t want to annoy then those in Exhibition Road! E x

  7. Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I’m actually quite good at not letting little things annoy me, which is odd because I’m almost permanently letting insignificant things worry me to distraction. Apparently all my energy is on worrying, not getting irritated. I’m not sure which is worse. The exception is driving, I find almost all drivers irritating. I’m such a horrible person in a car.

    K x

  8. Kate S
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Coasters, specifically glass ones, are evil.
    I get disproportionately angry at a computer mouse that sticks.
    I hate hate hate it when people leave stickers on the soles of their shoes.
    I loathe freezing cold bathroom floors.

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes Kate! The shoe sticker thing – I hate it then realised I did it the other day! ERK. The best advice I have for anyone who reads this is: baby wipes. A baby wipe takes a tricky sticker off no trouble. You’re welcome.

  9. Posted June 14, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Oh I have loads of pet peeves! Pretty sure I’d qualify to appear on Grumpy Old Women…

    - People that insist on walking four people wide on a pavement at a pace I’m pretty sure is so slow it isn’t even humanly possible (how do they not irritate themselves?!)
    - People that don’t say please or thank you. In fact rudeness in general.
    - People that push their buggies straight at you. Yes I know you have grown a baby and given birth (and all power to you) but really you don’t need to run over my foot just to prove your point.
    - People that have really loud and really irritating conversation on their mobiles. Particularly on trains or buses or in the supermarket. It makes me want to stab things in my ears.
    - People that insist on parking in a nightmare space right outside wherever they’re going when there is a whole car park of spaces they could use. YOU HAVE LEGS FOR A REASON PEOPLE.

    Phew. That’ll do me for now. It would appear that people just annoy me! ha!

  10. Frances
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    This post and comments have made me both laugh and worry that I am about to spill large amounts of inane ranting at you all…

    I have quite a lot of tube and train related peeves: people sitting on the outside seat so you have to climb over them to sit down; those who don’t let people get off first (if it’s me trying to get off I probably will bump into you ‘accidentally’); those who talk and laugh loudly on trains (I do not need to hear this first thing in the morning)

    People who walk slowly in the middle of an escalator or pavement (or tube platform,etc etc) – why??!!

    Also can’t stand bad spelling, car air-fresheners (they do NOT smell of pine tree), toilet roll the wrong way round… or the IT department at work – they waste hours of my week sometimes.

    *breathes and goes for lunch*

    • Peridot
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      The getting on tube thing – I had a friend who told me that she would just pause in the doorway, say ‘excuse me’ and it worked like magic, the crowds would part, allowing her to disembark. I tried it. I got “Get out of the f-ing way”. I wonder if it’s because she’s almost 6′ and I’m almost 5’4″? Secretly I would like to become a master of martial arts so I could smite these people down.

      • Zan
        Posted June 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        ‘Smite’ is definitely a word that should be used more often! :D

        • Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          I do the excuse me thing, and I’m only 5’4″, you just have to look determined and stick your elbows out. And be prepared to respond to people telling you to get out of the way with a glare and an angry “that’s what I’m trying to do, asshat*”

          K x

          *I don’t actually call people on the tube asshats, even when they clearly are.

  11. Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink


    Our downstairs neighbours SLAMMING their doors making the whole building shake.

    Bad lighting eg. lounges where people just have the overhead light on, no lamps (makes me shudder just thinking about it). Really – does anyone else have this???

    People who bump into you and don’t say sorry.

    The lack of vegetarian options in every restaurant, pub, cafe. Ok, goats cheese tart again it is then.

    And worst of all, bad drivers. People who speed, people who tailgate, and people who overtake on the inside. Feel my wrath!

    • Peridot
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      yes but (and I know I’m getting FAR too involved in this whole post) re the people undertaking – sometimes you have to. ie when someone is dawdling down the motorway in the middle lane with absolute nothing as far as the eye can see in the slow lane.

      • Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes. True. We’ve had that recently. GET. OUT. THE. FAST LANE!!!

    • Helena
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you on the poor lighting and can never understand how people can be so insensitive to it!

  12. Helena
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    My not so little irritation is people who cannot say the word confused without suffixing it with .com after a well known insurance ad. I have also recently heard (and wept at) and I think I may have to “defriend” them on Facebook to protect both my blood pressure and sanity.

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      yes – and it’s always the most surprising of people who come out with it…

  13. Peridot
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    And hawking (people who spit up saliva.phlegm, rather than falconers)

    • Roz
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Hahaha thanks for the clarification!

  14. Katielase
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Just had to come back to add one more… people who make out in crowded public places. Spent 2 awkward minutes in a very crowded lift at Russell Square station, so close to a couple that I could hear the slurping sounds of their snogging. ECK.


  15. Sarah
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    This post is hilarious. Fact.

    I am easily irritated it turns out. Many, many of these public transport related, 7 years of commuting in and around London and I have one very long list of these to get stuck into. I was thinking of this on a train in rush hour the other day, as I was stood too close for comfort to a man chewing gum with his mouth open (actually makes my stomach turn), unable to hold on to the nearest pole as someone was leaning their whole body along the length of it. And why was I squashed against chewing gum man (and several others)? Because people would not move down inside the carriage. This winds me up so, so much. And when asked by someone to move down, the usual response by aisle blocker, is to look up in suprise at an entirely empty aisle, sigh dramatically and then shuffle a few inches down in to empty aisle. Just move down!!

    - Those who sit on the aisle seat next to an empty window seat and harumph when you ask to sit down.
    - People standing on the wrong side of the escalator, or potentially worse, those who manage to walk the entire length of the escalator and then stop as it near the top/bottom – carry on walking!! This also applies to those who stop directly in front of escalator to consider next move, rearrange bags, find tickets etc. oblivious to pile up behind them.
    - Those who get to the ticket barrier, stop and then have the novel thought that maybe it might be about time to have a think about maybe trying to find ticket at bottom of bag.
    - Tube minutes. By which I mean the time to next train helpfully displayed on the information boards at each platform. Time that claims to be minutes, which actually bears no relation to minutes used in any other context. (Yes, I know this time is driven by distance, rather than actual time, but still riles me!)

    Rant over. That feels better…. Thank you x

  16. Celestine
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    The word “invite” used as a noun. I think you’ll find it is “invitation”. Not sure why this one irritates me more than all other grammatical errors combined, but it DOES!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

More here.

image by Lucy Stendall Photography

Find me a random post