A week ago today I was sat in Taylor Swift’s front room, in her London home, listening to her latest album a month before it was due out. Yeah. Not a throwback I ever thought I’d be making. And nope, I am still not okay.
So yeah, let me start at the beginning.
I was on the way back from a concert when I got a message from Taylor Nation (the management for Taylor’s fans). I’d just had an incredible night seeing Kip Moore with my Mum and we were on our way home when I saw the notification pop up on my screen. I remember getting goosebumps, but still feeling a little doubtful as it was so out of the blue and I’ve never really won anything before.
It was only when I opened the message up and saw it was from the official account that tears literally came to my eyes.
They had a secret even that they wanted to speak to me about.
A secret event. Um, what?
I quickly messaged back, even though my hands were shaking, with my full name and phone number. And then the waiting began.
Two days later, just after I’d finished work, I got the call.
I was actually surprised at how well I managed to keep it together on the phone. I spoke to a lovely lady called Laura who had an incredible American accent (I had to do my best not to copy). She told me the time and date of the event and said they’d email me nearer the time with a location, but that it would be somewhere in the London area. And, yeah, was I free and able to come?
My answer: hell yes. Trains might have been a little pricey and I didn’t have an outfit to wear whatsoever, but I was 100% down.
The next two weeks were probably the longest two weeks of my life. And having to be quiet about the whole thing made it even harder. I wanted to tell my friends and scream it from the rooftops. Like, literally, I wanted too. Every time I heard one of Taylor’s songs on the radio, I wanted to turn to the person next to me and whisper it to them. I was smiling and dancing all week.
And then it was the day. After two weeks of absolute silence and secrecy, it was FINALLY all about to happen. Although I had no idea what “it” was. It was crazy.
I caught a train down to London and met up with my friend and plus one, Jemma, for some food before hand. Then, even though we were ridiculously early, we headed to the first checkpoint. Mainly because we would never forgive ourselves if we were late.
I thought things were crazy enough at this point, but finding out who else had been invited and bumping into some of your best friends only added to the buzz. There were lots of hugs and ridiculously big smiles and “oh my god you’re here too”s. I will never be over that moment. Never.
And then it was time to sign confidentiality agreements and leave our bags and phones behind, as we climbed onto a coach to be taken to our next and final location. We weren’t told where or what, but that didn’t stop us from having a major coach karaoke session on the way there.
We may have gotten a few weird looks from the cars next to us, but we sang and danced so hard because we were so damn happy.
At the top of the stairs we were greeted by Taylor’s dad, Scott, who shook everybody’s hand as they came up and handed us a couple of guitar picks each from his pocket. That’s his thing, in case you didn’t know, always handing out guitar picks wherever he goes.
Then we were shown into a kitchen, full of people with music playing in the background. And, guys, Taylor’s kitchen was beautiful. Honestly. I never thought I’d say that about a kitchen, but guys, it really was. There were two table islands in the middle of the room; one had several ice buckets with different drinks in each of them, the other had plates of food.
And despite feeling nervy as hell, I managed to stomach a couple of chicken tenders, a cookie that said “REP” in black icing and some M&Ms that (yep you guessed it) also said “REP”.
T Swift was really going all out.
Only problem was, after eating one of the “REP” cookies, a few of us suddenly realised that the icing had turned our teeth black. Which was a major, “oh shit”. I remember almost downing a bottle of smart water to try and get them back to normal. I mean, that could have been embarrassing, right?
After we’d had a few nibbles and everyone had arrived, we were then told it was time to go sit in the lounge. So we abandoned our plates and followed everyone through to the next room.
It was super cosy, with blankets and cushions scattered across the floor, the lights slightly dimmed and candles on the coffee table. Taylor’s parents, Scott and Andrea, were sat on one of the sofas smiling at everyone as they came in and sat around this armchair in the middle of the room, next to the TV.
I think THIS was the moment when it sunk in. Like, oh god, this is actually happening. I’m no mathematician, but I can bet my ass that the Taylor Swift is going to sat RIGHT THERE.
And oh boy, I may have been right but I sure as hell wasn’t ready for it. Because a couple of minutes later, when everyone had settled – Taylor Swift walked in. And hell did we scream for that girl.
She sat down in the arm chair, tilted her head and smiled before saying, “Hi, I’m Taylor.” Because, y’know, just incase we’d gotten the wrong address and ended up in the wrong house.
What happened in the next couple of hours I will keep with me for the rest of my life. Taylor played her latest album, Reputation, to us all and opened up about the stories behind each song. She gave us a piece of herself that night, talking about where she was in life and about how happy she is currently.
I can’t tell you much, but I can tell you one thing; Taylor was glowing. I’ve never seen her so truly happy. I couldn’t stop smiling seeing how happy and proud she was of where she was at in life, and how she’d taken some time away to be with her family and loved ones and focus on having a normal life and being herself.
I am proud of her.
When it was finally my turn to meet Taylor, my heart tensed up so much. This was the moment I’d been waiting for since I was twelve years old and I didn’t want to mess it up. I remember squeezing Jemma’s hand and then walking through the door together. And Taylor’s face lit up when she saw us, “Oh my god, you guys are beautiful.”
We hugged. We laughed. I pointed out a pink streak in her hair and then we laughed some more over the fact it was actually lipstick. She complimented us. We thanked her for inviting us. And she listened so intently when we told her how much we loved the album. The whole moment was so damn surreal.
When it came to taking photos, I had no idea what pose I wanted to do so just asked for a cute one. Because, hey, I was going to treasure this photo for the rest of my life. “We could do a hugging one like this?” she suggested and before I could react, she had grabbed my arm and pulled me right into her chest, throwing her arms around me. I may have died in that moment, my ghost forever haunting Taylor’s house, who knows.
My heart had never been happier and my smile had never been more genuine. I can honestly say that.
We took one more photo, this time with all of us in it, on her sofa. Taylor said it should be sassy (and I totally agreed), so we all crossed our legs and arms, then pouted into the lens. The whole moment only felt like a minute long, seconds even, because suddenly it was time for us to go.
I hugged my idol one last time, squeezing her a little bit tighter, and called “I love you,” over my shoulder as I left. “I love you too,” Taylor replied, with so much conviction that my heart melted. How did I get so lucky?
It didn’t take long for the tears to follow, my whole body was numb and I was just so incredibly happy. I’d waited so long for this moment, years even, and Taylor had personally requested that I be there. She’d watched us online, stalking our social media profiles, and selected people she trusted to share the beginning of her next era with.
Mama Swift wiped my eyes just before I left, saying, “Oh, come here girl,” when she saw my tears and pulled me into a hug. I was so damn grateful. And if the night wasn’t already incredible enough, we were given bags of merchandise to take home with us – including an exclusive keyring, only given to those who attended.
Thank you Taylor for the best night of my entire life. Thank you for welcoming us all into your home and sharing so much with us. I’ll never be able to describe how thankful I am for the whole evening, but I’ll always have you back. Love you.