Alexa Chung: The upturn in interest in baking proved to be the breaking point for me

Girl About Town
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The Independent Online

I'm sure there's an art to doing nothing – I just haven't worked out where the gallery is.

I always thought it looked like fun to spend the day lazing around whenever I left my boyfriend snoozing in bed as I rushed out the door panicking about call times and tripping over my undone shoes. And if I happened to be privy to conversations about Doctors or 60 Minute Makeover, I felt truly hard done by, knowing I would never get to catch them.

Last week, I was granted the luxury of having very little to do. A couple of days' work here and there and that was it. Finally, I thought, I can breathe, get things done, feed the post box the pile of stampless letters littering my table, meet up with friends, actually relax. But as I pulled my third batch of cup cakes from the oven on my second day off, I realised I was actually going to be driven mad by boredom.

The upturn in interest in baking was the breaking point for me. As I frittered about collecting the essentials to make some mind-blowing icing, it occurred to me that this had been the sole focus of my entire day. Never before have I been so consumed by the right shade of baby pink. In an effort to escape the house before I morphed into Delia Smith (if Delia couldn't cook), I made an appointment to get my hair dyed. I wanted to get it highlighted as if the sun had made it lighter, which basically meant I had to ask for "frosted tips", a phrase that should never be uttered by anyone the least bit embarrassed by their own vanity.

My hair has been the source of much displeasure ever since I decided to go back on my promise never to grow it long again. The frosting of its tips was an attempt to make this middle length more bearable/interesting. I am frustrated by its refusal to grow beyond shoulder length: the worst of all lengths, the veritable plain Jane of the haircut family. When it was a sharp bob, I was forever having to get my fringe trimmed; I remember this and it mocks me.

Having had my hair washed in a basin next to Kirsty Gallacher (very pretty up close, even with a towel for a head-dress), I overheard a girl in the salon bemoaning her own thick locks. She was annoyed it took so long to dry. I growled to myself and flicked the three treasured strands on my head from my eyes.

On my way home I was called a "miserable cunt" near my house. I didn't think I was being miserable, I was just on the phone to a friend, and not, apparently, paying enough attention to the toothless man who was lurching and shouting in my direction, bellowing that I was the girl on T4. I shouted back at him not to be rude and felt like an idiot for the rest of the day.

I suppose I've become accustomed to operating under fairly high levels of stress. I hate not having too much to do. I'm not a person who finds it easy to relax. I called my agent and asked when I would next be unfathomably busy. She told me to enjoy this time off and remember how stressed I was with too much on my plate, remember how I had been telling her I was "broken". "I long for 'broken'," I replied. "Really? Can I have that in writing?"

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