Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Ten Favourites This Week

I know – I’m posting this on a Thursday and it’s weird! I normally post my favourites on a Friday, and I know some other people post them on a Monday, but, as I said in this post I wrote earlier in the week, I am going to try and just write what I want to write, when I want to write it. And I haven’t written a weekly favourites post in ages, and they are some of my favourite (lol) posts to write as well as to read. So before you actually die of boredom from listening to me waffle on, HERE ARE MY FAVOURITES THIS WEEK (SO FAR)! (Cue fanfare).


Why trash TV is good for you

When I was fifteen, I – very suddenly, it felt like it happened overnight – started suffering from anxiety.

I didn’t really talk about this very much to anyone except my parents, and it didn't last for a particularly long time. I was studying for my GCSEs and I felt a pressure that it’s hard to explain or even feel now; like trying to remember a nightmare, I can remember the facts but not the fear. However, I kept a diary at the time, which reads a bit like somebody living with a permanent fever. It’s a series of to-do lists – ‘memorise 15 formulae by lunchtime OR YOU WILL FAIL MATHS, re-read five chapters of To Kill A Mockingbird, DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE YOU ARE FAT,’ mixed in with pleadings – ‘I just want to feel normal again. I just want this feeling to go away. I want to wake up tomorrow and feel normal.’


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

On feeling the pressure and being the perfect blogger

I don’t know what this post is going to be – some kind of total mind dump? Word vomit? Who knows. Maybe I won’t even post it –if I do, apologies if you’re now reading it like ‘nobody cares about your first world problems!’

So recently I’ve just been feeling like the world’s worst blogger.

 I went out for dinner last week and met some absolutely amazing bloggers who blog full time and it was absolutely lovely and inspiring, but it also made me feel a bit down that my blog/Instagram just isn’t as good as theirs is. (God I just wrote ‘there’s’ instead of ‘theirs’ and was just staring it wondering why it looked wrong – send me back to school at once, my English teachers would be turning in their graves, if they were dead - which surely some of them MUST be by now because they were like 100 even then. I digress).


Monday, 11 December 2017

Las Vegas

AND HERE IT IS, the last of my America posts.  PHEW, because I bet you are all bored to death of me rambling on about how good it was and also it’s so long ago now because it has been taking me an age to get through them all, and looking at the photos and thinking about how it felt to be in the sunshine (sunshine? What is that?) when it is freezing and LITERALLY snowing is a bit too much for me. I want to start talking about hot chocolate and Christmas trees and so on. I did actually think about skipping this last post but I couldn’t finish up without talking about Vegas.


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Las Vegas Shooting

On our second day in San Diego – October 1st -  we were tired, slightly sunburnt and a tad hungover from the night before, so we decided to get an early night. We probably headed to bed around 10.30pm. At that exact moment in Las Vegas, happy festival-goers were running for their lives.

We didn’t hear about the shooting immediately. In the UK, it was 9am in the morning, and as my family and friends started to hear the news, they began to worry. We’d been pretty vague about our route and due to lack of internet/signal in America we hadn’t been the greatest at keeping in touch. My phone started to flood with messages and the light flashing so often eventually woke me up.

I checked the BBC, horrified. I reassured my family that, no, we weren’t heading to Vegas for a couple of days – that we were fine, tucked up in our hotel room, Ian breathing softly beside me. Then I just sat and looked at him. People thought it could’ve been us precisely because it could’ve been us. We go to festivals all the time. We were due to be in Vegas in two days’ time. All I could think was that somebody just like my sister texted their sister on that day and didn’t get a reply. Thinking about it makes my blood run cold.

I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the anger and hatred I feel towards people who commit these sort of actions. I find it difficult to define how although I understand America’s complex relationship with guns, incidents like these make things so crystal clear to me and many others that it seems impossible to imagine how they remain murky for anybody. I don’t want to define my trip to Vegas by the actions of a mass murderer. It’s difficult not to. When I returned home it was the first thing anybody asked me about. But he does not deserve that. I won’t name him. He does not deserve that either.

Equally, I didn’t want to write a frivolous post about Las Vegas – what I wore, saw, drank, did – without paying my respects to the 58 people who died and the 546 people who were injured on that day. Please know that I think about you and your families often, that the event touched us all.

My next post won’t mention it at all, but I thought the response in Las Vegas was perfect and I have included the signs they posted around the city. Ian’s friend said it seemed quiet to her – having nothing to compare it to, it still seemed like a madhouse to me. You can find out how to help here.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Disneyland - the happiest place on Earth

I honestly cannot explain to you how excited I was to go to Disneyland.

I’d been to Disneyland Paris several times as a child, and adored it. But we’d never made the trip to America (deprived childhood,I know). 

I’ve looked at so many people’s photos and being a big kid at heart, it was my number one thing to do in California! My husband…maybe not so much, but luckily he loves me and so on our first day in LA we headed over to Anaheim,  queued for far too long in desert-heat to get our tickets, spent an extortionate amount of money on glittery mouse ears I could've bought in Claire's and will never wear again, and went into the park!


Thursday, 16 November 2017

San Diego

I left my heart in San Diego.

To be honest, we left quite a few of our belongings scattered across California – my sunglasses disappeared into the ether somewhere, Ian left his Kindle on the beach – but San Diego, you have my heart. I’d quite like it back please *heartbreak emoji.*

Laguna Beach

When I was 17 I was completely obsessed with the OC. I thought Marissa Cooper was absolute goals (even though looking at her now she was clearly completely awful) and I couldn’t imagine being more in love with a TV show – until MTV brought out ‘Laguna Beach – the OC,’ all about the supposed real lives of these privileged people growing up in Laguna Beach. Did anybody else love that show? Way back before The Hills when Lauren Conrad had bleached out blonde hair and Kristin Cavallari fought with her over a boy called ‘STEEEE-PHENNNN?’ Watching it now is like a flashback into 2005, when Death Cab For Cutie was the height of cool and everyone wore waist belts. Take me back... 

Anyway. I thought it seemed like the most glossy, perfect, beautiful place in the world, filled with gorgeous people living charmed lives. I made it my life’s mission to visit Laguna Beach one day, and as we were driving right past it on our way to San Diego, I finally got my chance.  


Los Angeles, I’m yours

I didn’t know what to expect from LA.
Venice Beach at night

My husband, who lived in California for around a year at university, has never been it’s biggest fan. Other friends have absolutely raved about it.


Santa Barbara Sunshine

We got to Santa Barbara on our second wedding anniversary (I can’t believe it’s been two years since this moment!) Our plan had been to find somewhere nice for dinner. It didn’t quite work out like that, because we spent too long in Monterey Bay and ended up arriving at our little hotel pretty late. We’d also been listening to the CaseFiles podcast, which I can’t recommend more – unless you’re driving down a one-track road in the dark in a country you don’t know. By the time we got there I was tired, hungry and thoroughly freaked out! The only answer?

Denny’s. Obviously. 

This was my first experience at Denny’s and I am 100% converted. I love Denny’s. I can’t wait for them to come to the UK!


Friday, 10 November 2017

London antidote

I’m running away from London this weekend.

The whole family, husband and baby nephew included, are piling into cars this evening and heading to Kent. We’ve booked the most beautiful cottage in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a country pub and a little shop for company. I’ve got no plans, but a pile of books, a tin of gorgeously decadent hot chocolate and a couple of Lush bath bombs. We’re going to stamp through chilly countryside all day and then retire for cosy dinners and cold glasses of wine in the evening.

I cannot wait.

See you next week!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Health kick

I’m on a health kick this week. 

The last three weekends have all involved nights out that end in Uber journeys home well past 4am, aching feet, and Sundays spent on the sofa curled up under my throw eating takeaways. I’m not going to deny it’s been fun, but with the festive season approaching, I want to take a little bit of time out to regroup before I start my yearly Oliver Reid impression so that I can actually continue to fit into my skinny jeans. 

So if you're anything like me, perhaps the below tips might help you out... 


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Monterey Bay Magic

I left you in San Francisco, where we picked up our car to start our winding drive down the 1. We’d ordered some bog standard car, but somehow ended up driving out in a convertible Camaro. 

Don’t you just hate it when that happens?


Monday, 6 November 2017

Little luxuries this week

Wanderlust Dream candle from Crabtree & Evelyn – deliberately designed for the bedroom, this smells to me like an upmarket hotel. It’s smoky but somehow floral at the same time – perfect for the winter months, and a balm to soothe my missing-California soul.

candles cosy hygge home decor


Monday, 23 October 2017

If you’re going to San Francisco…

….you might never want to leave.

Honestly? I didn’t know how much I’d like San Francisco. I’d read so many blog posts recently about how many people didn’t love the city (The Londoner, Hannah Gale, to name a few ). But oh my god, I completely fell in love with it.

SF was our first stop on our road trip of California. We flew there directly, which took 11 hours from Heathrow. It was a Virgin Atlantic flight, which I find really hit and miss – this was delayed 4 hours because the flight after ours had broken down, so they decided to combine the two…okay?!


Friday, 15 September 2017

This week I’ve been…

This time next week I’ll be in San Francisco, two days into our California-Vegas road trip! Somehow, I’ve felt like this trip isn’t actually happening and so I haven’t made any plans at all – like I literally hadn’t even sorted my visa out, so this week has been a bit of a mad rush to do all that and get a nail appointment and all those important things. But around that I’ve been…


Friday, 1 September 2017

This week I’ve been…

Ill. But let’s skip over that, shall we? Onto lighter things…

Watching –

Well, the Game of Thrones final, OBVIOUSLY. You can read my thoughts on that particular intrigue over here, if your heart so desires.

Also, the Great British Bake Off. Ohhh I can’t help it – I so wanted to be loyal to Mary Berry and Mel & Sue, I so wanted to start watching and think ‘eh, this is rubbish now,’ and go on Twitter to complain about it – but then the credits rolled and there was the tent and those pretty pictures of cakes and, well… it’s all just… pretty much exactly the same, isn’t it? There’s an old lady fussing and Noel cracking puns and it’s still the cosy old bake off, and I’M SORRY I STILL LOVE IT.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Things I don’t get about the Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale

This blogpost contains spoilers

So for background: I picked up Game of Thrones when it was around its second season. Once I’d back-watched it, I read all the books and I’ve watched ever since. And I’m one of those annoying fans who thinks the show has gone downhill since the show passed the end of the books. I don’t know – it just seems so safe nowadays; you never really feel concerned for the wellbeing of the good or ‘popular’ characters. I’m also quite troubled by the fact that the makers of the show are apparently about to wrap everything up in a neat little bow in one more season, because George RR Martin’s books are sprawling and untidy and it just doesn’t feel like we’re even approaching the end yet. I wonder if the books will be different, or maybe never even be written now, which will be sad.

Anyway, ignoring all my misgivings, I’ve been able to enjoy season 7, despite a few plot holes and the weirdly fast pace. But this week’s finale left me speechless for all the wrong reasons and I just had to write about it because I have questions, so without further ado, here are all the things I just don’t understand about season 7 of Game of Thrones.


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Made in Chelsea, slut-shaming, and the problem with ‘girl code’

First of all, I know, I know – many people would think me ludicrous to base any deep discussion on the goings-on of Made in Chelsea: Ibiza. But while past story arcs have appeared somewhat dubious to say the least, the latest love triangle – which has spilled out into the Twittersphere – seems very real, and has opened up some really interesting debates. Not least, in my opinion, in its constant referring to the unwritten rules that female friends should live their lives by – the ostensible ‘girl code.’


Friday, 25 August 2017

This week I’ve been…


Storyville: Silk Road – I recommend almost all of the Storyville documentaries on the BBC – they are generally well thought out and researched with a lot of thought put into the interviews that lead the narration (as there is no external narrator to guide the plot). This is no exception – the story of ‘Dread Pirate Roberts,’ or how and why a person came to set up an online marketplace for the trafficking of illegal substances. Fascinating, shocking in places and well worth a watch.

Vuelta Espana 2017 – I’ve only ever watched the Tour de France before but I’ve been really enjoying the Spanish race this year, and I want to encourage everyone who is interested in cycling to watch it. It’s really only by getting more spectators involved in sport that we can elevate it – the more we watch, the more sponsors will spend on getting good riders involved, and the better it will become. Plus the itv4 commentary is just as amusing as it is on the Tour de France, so well worth watching the highlights.

That GoT episode – I mean, I kind of agree with the Guardian article that came out earlier this week on how silly this show is becoming. It’s so fast-paced that I think I’m about to have a heart attack every other scene. But still… the dragon. That’s all I’m saying.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Summer v.s. Autumn

A question:

Why is everyone so excited for Autumn? I could understand if everyone was sad about how it keeps raining in summer, but no – all I keep seeing are tweets wishing Autumn would ‘hurry up and arrive.’ So…why?
Autumn in your mind

I could completely understand if Autumn was like it is in American movies – crisp but sunshiney days, a carpet of red and orange leaves on the ground, girls wearing cosy sweaters and scarves but no coats – a bit like a perpetual version of Hocus Pocus, only without the witches. The vision of Autumn these people conjure up is utterly beautiful, pumpkin pie cooling on a windowsill, candles burning, hot chocolate in mugs with cream on top, rosy cheeks and fresh air. Having never been to, say, Massachusetts, I can’t tell you if Autumn (or ‘Fall’) there is actually like that. But what I can guarantee you is that Autumn here is not like that at all.


Friday, 18 August 2017

This week I’ve been…

Reading: The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks. My Kindle is broken (RIP) and so wherever I go I just buy cheap paperbacks (plus I keep ordering them for 28p second hand on Amazon), but I ran out in the Lake District and my husband bought this for me in a little touristy shop that mostly sold fudge and flavoured jam. Anyway, I’m only about a quarter of the way through but I adore it. I just got back from the Lake District, which helps, but this gives a completely different, totally unromantic and yet somehow still beautiful perspective. I want to crawl into the pages and live in this earthy, real world where the air is clean and life is simple and pure. I know this actually got a bit of a cult following but it still somehow passed me by, so if it passed you by too, buy it, read it, trust me.

Listening to: The High Low podcast – Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes basically rattle through the news of the week, both trivial and serious, focusing in on certain pop culture aspects of it (they spend time this week, for example, discussing a tweet Lordes wrote following the Charlottesville rally) in a way that manages to be both thought-provoking, entertaining and completely absorbing. It helps that both girls are acerbically funny, and that they manage to be self-deprecating without being embarrassed or ashamed to have their own thoughts on big problems. I sort of felt that feeling you get when you’re two glasses of wine in round a table with good friends and you decide to put the world to rights; like suddenly you have all sorts of views and opinions and want somewhere to put them – and then I looked up and my tube journey was over. 100% worth a listen.
Instagram: @catscruse

Thursday, 17 August 2017

IAAF World Championships

How amazing, shocking and fascinating was this year's world championships?! 

I've got to be honest, when it started I wasn't really sure how involved I was going to get. I absolutely love the Olympics and practically mourn it when it's over because it's just so amazing to watch, but it's partly the variety I like - how you can flick from gymnastics to boxing to horse riding and so on. I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy just watching pure athletics, but as we had tickets to the Sunday night I decided to watch it from the beginning and so quickly I was totally addicted. 


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Cornwall Family Time

I don’t know why it’s taken me over a month to write this post. I feel like part of the problem is this year is that I’ve just done so much, it’s almost impossible to keep up with myself. We have just gone from one trip/holiday/birthday/event to the next and I feel like I’ve barely had time to sit down and look at the photographs, let alone edit them and write a blogpost about it…

Which is actually why Cornwall was such a relief.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

How I cured the eczema on my face and eyes

REALLY OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor. If you didn’t know. I’m not qualified to deal with eczema, dermatitis, or skincare in any which way, except that I used to have really severe facial eczema, and now I don’t. As you will see, I did – and absolutely recommend that you do – seek medical advice with this condition first and foremost, so please don’t blame me if you, I don’t know, put coconut oil on your face and spontaneously combust, okay?

Second disclaimer: this is going to be quite a long, informative post – I want it to be that way, because this is what I would have wanted to read last year when I was going through hell and back with my eczema – but if you just want a quick round up of the products I recommend, with links, I’ll put that at the bottom so you can just scroll straight down. I hope that helps!

Third and final disclaimer: I don't have any photos at the moment because although I took some 'before' shots, annoyingly I can't find them. If and when I find them I'll add them here. 

Okay, so: here we go!


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Canary Wharf Weekends

When I first moved to Canary Wharf (nearly four years ago now! Where does the time go?!) a lot of people would kind of give me a weird look when I told them where I lived. It’s the same response we still get now… ‘but isn’t it really dead at the weekends?’

Not only has it NEVER been dead at the weekends (but it is usually quiet enough that you can get a table! Good for those who have always been a bit old at heart – like yours truly!) the introduction of the cross rail and the new shops and restaurants that have come alongside that means there is literally SO much to do in Canary Wharf that you could never get bored of living there (to the disappointment of my mum who wants me to move back to my hometown today!) Recently we spent a whole sunny Saturday and I thought I’d run you through what we did…


Monday, 10 July 2017

Glastonbury 2017 – Worthy View

Around this time last year I wrote this post and in it I asked how people do Glastonbury, at least when they’re not 21 anymore and they can’t spend a weekend sleeping drunk in a puddle without spending an entire month in a spa to recover. And this year, HOORAY, I actually figured it out!

Last year’s Glasto was such a hard slog. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but I came home exhausted and covered in mud and just genuinely wondering if I was going to do it again. When my friends started the yearly group chat around who was going to get up early for tickets, I honestly considered saying I was out, and when we managed to get them (thanks to my extremely hungover husband, who then immediately slammed the laptop shut and went back to sleep for 3 hours!) I couldn’t tell if I was pleased or nervous. And THEN, one of my friends admitted he was kind of feeling the same way, and we came up with a secret plan to convince the others (who still think sleeping in the puddle is fun and ‘authentic’) that camping at Worthy View was a good idea.


Monday, 5 June 2017

Camden Rocks Festival

On Saturday, my friends and I headed to Camden for Camden Rocks festival. I’d been to the Camden Crawl a couple of years back and LOVED it, so I had high hopes…and they were not in vain! Not only was the weather amazing (so sunny after getting caught in a complete downpour the night before) but the music was excellent and we had such a nice day drinking (too much) and wandering from venue to venue. I think it’s such a good idea, and definitely something to try if you’re not keen on the traditional spend-the-day-outdoors-in-a-field type festival. Basically you just buy a wristband, and that gives you entry to multiple venues across Camden, where you can see a variety of rock/indie/metal bands playing throughout the day.


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Summer in the city

I’ve got so much to write about at the moment that it’s somewhat overwhelming, because when the weather cheers up the way it did last week, there’s literally nothing you can do to keep me in the house! After a weekend celebrating birthdays I thought I might have a quiet one, but I accidentally… didn’t. But honestly – HOW nice has it been, just to walk down the street in a skirt and sandals and not feel even a little bit cold?


Monday, 22 May 2017

30 things on my 30th birthday

I don’t know how, but this week I turned 30. I KNOW. I’m not okay with it either. Luckily, I was super spoilt and it was genuinely one of the best weeks of my life (update on that soon) so I’m kind of okay with it, but I STILL don’t know where my twenties have gone.  

Somehow, both slowly and quickly, the years since I was a teenager have flicked past and now I’m getting to the point where people are going to start giving me those ‘over the hill’ joke birthday cards,  and there’s nothing much I can do about it. And although I don’t particularly dread getting older (it is, as Maurice Chevalier once said, better than the alternative) it does make me think about the last time I changed decades (in my second year of university – I made my friends wear pink for the day and I wore a tiara – yes, really) and what I’ve learnt since then. So here are a few select nuggets of advice that I would tell my former self. 30 things I’ve learnt in 30 years.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

So Eco Brushes Review

Since watching a number of horrible TV programmes that focus on animal cruelty (Vegucated, I’m looking at you) I have been doing whatever I can to try and alleviate the suffering of animals in this world. I’ve been eating primarily vegetarian food in the week, minimising dairy and also looking to use natural products wherever possible.

Enter the So Eco brushes range! Isn’t it nice to know that the brushes you use on your face every day are completely natural? So Eco’s brushes are 100% ethically sourced – including their packaging and transit. The brush handles are made from bamboo and recycled aluminium. In short, they’re made from plants!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Friday Favourites

It’s been a good week! Let’s ignore the part where I’m so hungover that I’m drip-feeding myself a whole box of watermelon, shall we? Good! Onto the favourites!


Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Lake District – Buttermere Lake

I woke up on Sunday, if I’m being honest, with a slightly sore head. Too many glasses of wine in the Jacuzzi I guess…


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Lake District – Ullswater Lake

I like going on mini breaks in the UK. Over the years, I’ve covered pretty much everywhere, from York to the Cotswolds, to Cornwall and Kent, and I’ve got to be honest – although I love it, I really didn’t think England could surprise me anymore.

Recently we really needed a break, but my husband has just started a new job and couldn’t get a lot of time off so we decided to stay in the UK. The Lake District just stuck out to me as a place that, weirdly, I’d never been, so as we had four days, we booked a little cottage with a hot tub in Pooley Bridge, and last Friday made the long road trip (made longer by me drinking a large Costa caramel latte and needing to stop for the loo roughly six times) down to Ullswater Lake.

And honestly – I was amazed by how stunning it was. I have honestly never seen scenery like it in real life. We dropped our bags in the little cottage and walked out onto our little veranda and just stared at the view. Even in the rain, with the sheep huddling under the trees for shelter, it was so gorgeous.

I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen snow-topped mountains in real life and it just felt like every direction we looked, it got more beautiful. We spent the first evening in the cottage, eating dinner and trying out the hot tub, which – despite it being freezing cold and raining outside, was really enjoyable!

It had rained solidly for 24 hours on the Friday and so we were happily surprised to wake up on Saturday to beautiful sunshine. We made the most of the morning by completing Keswick park run – I’ve written about my love for park runs here, and this one, which took you through a winding wood, past waterfalls and over bridges, might be the most fun one I’ve ever done. Not my fastest time by any means, but so worth it!

After recovering via eggs and avocado, we headed to the Ullswater Lake where we spent our first day. The second largest lake in the Lake District, and often considered the most beautiful, Ullswater Lake is home to the Ullswater steamers – boats which take you across the lake from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding.

We followed a typical walkers route, getting the steamer across to Glenridding – where we had a little wander and warmed up with a cup of tea – and then back to Howtown, before we walked the 6 miles back to Pooley Bridge.

I love a good countryside walk. In London, everyone is always rushing everywhere, and it’s so nice to just wander along in the sunshine. 

Just the act of putting one foot in front of the other and not really think about anything. The views were insane and we also took a little detour to see the Cockpit stone circle, a prehistoric site which – like Stonehenge – is something of a mystery.

It’s a bit smaller than Stonehenge, though!

We arrived back at our cottage, tired but happy, and celebrated with drinks in the Jacuzzi! It's a great length walk - about two and a half hours with lots of different terrain and views so you don't get bored. Fully recommend it. 

Afterwards we headed into Pooley Bridge for a well-deserved pub dinner at the Pooley Bridge Inn.

We chose our location in Pooley Bridge completely at random, based on the accommodation available. Since then, a lot of people we’ve spoken to who know the Lake District well have said we were lucky to pick Ullswater rather than some of the better-known tourist destinations (like Windemere/Ambleside). Having not been to the latter, I can’t make a comparison, but I will say that Ullswater Lake was so beautiful we are already making plans to return, and that our cottage was the perfect base!

Have you ever been to the Lake District - what did you think? 
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