Tuesday, 27 February 2018

24 hours in Brussels

To start with, a quick disclaimer, because if you follow my Instagram you might be thinking 'hang on, wasn't she in Brussels for about six weeks?' Whilst that's a slight exaggeration, I was in Belgium for a week - but a lot of that time I spent working, and we also visited Bruges (post coming shortly). So I actually only spent around 24 hours exploring Brussels itself.


Another slight disclaimer - I think 24 hours, or maybe 1-2 nights, is probaby long enough, if you're looking for a rough guide. Brussels is a really pretty city and you certainly could spend longer (especially if you happen to be luckier with the weather than we were), but you won't feel rushed if you haven't got long.

And FINALLY, just in the interest of disclosure - I did not pay for my hotel, but equally I am not obliged to say nice things about it - I'm just going to anyway because it was very nice.

Alright! With no further rambling - here is how I spent 24 hours (ish) in Brussels!

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Friday, 23 February 2018

Life loves lately

So this week, I ran a work course abroad (which if you follow my Instagram I'm sure you'll be tired of hearing about, so I'll stop mentioning it!) I was in Belgium for just over a week, and while it was great and we got to explore lots (blog post coming soon I promise) it was also just so amazing to get home. This blogpost isn't strictly a Friday Favourites post - more just a little ramble about the things I've been loving lately. So let's get on with it!


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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

For when you're having one of those days


This morning when my alarm went off I thought it was a mistake. Not, like, ‘oh, I’m tired, I probably should’ve stopped watching Peaky Blinders before 11pm.’ More like – oh dear, how did I set my alarm for 2am when it is clearly not time for any human to emerge from slumber? Perhaps my iPhone has malfunctioned; perhaps I rolled on it in the night (because I sometimes sleep with it under my pillow, which I know is not a healthy relationship to have with your phone; we are working through our co-dependency thank you).




But it wasn’t 2am, it was 7am. So I got up. And if this were a story being told to you by my Mum, she would tell you I got up on the wrong side of bed.


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Monday, 5 February 2018

10 Weekly Favourites!

Okay people. It's alright. January is over. I know, I know it's been dragging on for so long that Wednesday felt like January 78th. I know we all have no money, we are sick of the gym, tired of not drinking, fed up with staying in. But we can come out of hibernation now! February may still be cold (it is England, after all - I mean, it's cold in August) but there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. There's Valentine's Day, which is - if nothing else - an excuse to buy yourself chocolates and clothes with hearts on (I'm buying these tights as soon as I'm done writing this blogpost) and there's PANCAKE DAY, aka the tastiest day of the year. All those boring people doing Dry January (who I actually believe all failed at work drinks on the 12th but felt guilty and have pretended to carry on nonetheless, so now have no sense of achievement AND have been bored every weekend for four weeks) want to go for wine again. And finally, February is SHORT. Spring will soon be springing. I am HAPPY. Here are the other things that have been keeping me happy this week:



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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

26 things all Instagram bloggers do

'OH GOOD, THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM HAS CHANGED AGAIN!'

Said literally no one ever, as they happily like a photo of an ex-colleague's cat that they uploaded three entire days ago, like a weird stalker with no social skills.

I have such a love-hate relationship with Instagram. On the one hand, it's this lovely place filled with avocado on toast and nice outfits and hot chocolates with cream and girls who say 'Hair looks gorgeous, hun,' and on the other hand it's all weird bots following and unfollowing you and commenting senseless things on your photos, and Instagram refusing to show anyone a photo you edited for two hours, and people who clearly have veneers selling tooth whitening products.


Touching hair: check. Looking down: check. In sketch: check mate.

 
But we can't live without it, can we? And on that basis I decided to write down the 26 things that I think all Instagrammers do. Please do comment and let me know that I'm not alone/crazy - and let me know any I have missed!

Oh, the things we do for the gram...


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Friday, 26 January 2018

10 Friday Favourites

It's my second week in a new job this week, which is - well, it's the week you actually start doing the work, isn't it? I don't want to jinx anything this early on (literally crossing my fingers/touching wood RN as I am so insanely superstitious) but I am really enjoying it so far! This weekend we are going to see the UK's Strongest Man competition with my husband's family which I am SO excited about - I know that might not sound like a very 'me' thing to do, but we watch the World's Strongest Man competition every Christmas and it's become a little tradition and I love it! Cannot wait to see Eddie 'The Beast' Hall in action.


Probably enough rambling so here are the things I have been doing/loving/lusting over this week...
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Thursday, 25 January 2018

I am 30 and I don't know where to shop


 A few days ago I stood in front of my wardrobe, stared blankly at the clothes looking back to me, and uttered those famous words:

‘I have NOTHING to wear.’

The difference between this time and every other occasion on which I’ve uttered that phrase (usually two glasses of white wine deep on a Saturday night, red in the face with every dress I own screwed up in a ball on the floor behind me) was that for once, it was true. I have just started a new job and I literally cannot seem to find a single thing to wear.


This seems to be occurring more and more - I just don’t know where to shop anymore. I cannot find a shop on the high street that caters for a working girl of 30 (and by working girl I mean a girl with a job, not a prostitute, which would actually be much simpler).
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Monday, 22 January 2018

10 things that annoy ALL London commuters

The tube. It's great, isn't it? People from other cities will tell you all the time about how lucky you are to have such a great public transport system ('You don't even need a car!' - actually, you'd quite like a car, but you can't afford to park one...but that's another story, ahem), and deep down you are quite proud to be a London commuter. But...well, it's awful, isn't it? It's really awful. 

And so on this delightful Monday morning, I have decided to round up the ten things that annoy me most about commuting in London. Please feel free to let me know any I have missed!


1. The people who think it's really fun
The tube being rammed? Doesn't really annoy me.
Obviously it isn't ideal but it's a bit like being annoyed by, say, night time. There is no point in being annoyed about it; it just is. 
The people who think it's absolutely fascinating that the tube is rammed? Who discuss it loudly to each other, debate on why it might be ('Is the district line down? Maybe there's a football game on nearby?') who discuss other options they will never take  ('We could walk to Holborn? We could get an Uber to Clapham Junction?') and who sometimes -  these people are the worst of all - take a photograph, reaching up into the air to take a photo of what is basically just your daily grind?
That annoys me.
Bank in the morning? Always busy. Chancery Lane at 5pm? Always busy. Oxford Circus at any time of the day? Busy. The Northern Line, anywhere, at all times, even the middle of the night? It's ALWAYS BUSY.
And look, I'm really glad for you that you don't know that. I'm glad that instead of spending your morning staring blankly at the back of a man's suit so close up you can see the individual fibres, you are having a lovely relaxing time doing something more worthwhile - eating a hearty breakfast, maybe -  doing some yoga, hugging a puppy.
But please, do not make a spectacle out of my mediocre, painful existence by exclaiming loudly that you COULD NEVER DO THIS EVERY DAY and then proposing you walk the rest of the way 'to get some air.' I thank you.
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Monday, 15 January 2018

Sourced Box Review - How to snack healthily!


My name is Catherine and I am a snackaholic. 

There, I said it. I know it’s bad, but I honestly seem to snack more than I even eat meals. Having started a new job this week, I need to leave the house early – but I still somehow manage to snooze my alarm five times before I can finally work up the willpower to crawl out of my warm, cosy bed into the shower. Which sadly leaves me just enough time to grab something to eat on the train, rather than making myself the delicious eggs-and-avocado on toast I really feel I DESERVE to have for breakfast. Equally, lunchtimes can involves calls and meetings and so while I’d like to tell you I always take the time to eat something filling, I often just grab a salad at Pret – leaving me starving (I mean, not literally, after Christmas trust me when I say my body has some stores it could happily work through) and reaching for the biscuit tin. 


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Friday, 12 January 2018

10 Friday Favourites

I was going to make some sort of rash promise to put one of these posts up every week, all year, but I know that would probably last as long as my New Year diet (i.e. just long enough for me to get distracted by a nice glass of wine!) But I do like writing these - I feel like they capture little moments in time, and I like reading other people's, so I'm going to try and make them as regular as I can. 

This week in particular has been a strange one for me, as it's my last week in my old job. I've been working for my current employer for three years now and today I looked back on the post I wrote when I actually got the job. (First off, my blog was appalling back then! Why did I post all those blurry photos?! Unforgivable.) Even though it feels like forever ago, I still remember the excitement and the anticipation - how much I was looking forward to having a new challenge, being able to start over and give it my all. Honestly, it has been a really positive experience overall - I've been promoted, managed a team and generally gained so much more confidence in myself. I've also made some friends that I think I'll hang onto for a long time, if that's alright by them. 



I think it's natural to feel a certain melancholia when leaving somewhere you're so familiar with, even when you know it's the right decision - and I do, I really do; the new job sounds perfect for me and it'll give me new experiences, but more than that, I know I'm just done here - too much has happened and my heart just isn't in it anymore. But I did feel sadder than I expected to leaving the building and I know I'll always look back on my time here fondly. 

Also, I am typing this on the train back to see my sister, on my only day off between jobs, because I planned to write it last night but instead ended up watching a programme on Channel 5 about people who have too many children or something. So there's that. But I have Diet Coke and I just found a necklace in Accessorize that I've wanted for ages for £4.50, so it's all good. 

ANYWAY. Enough rambling - on with the favourites!


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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

A long weekend in Edinburgh

I get the WORST January blues.

I try, I really do. Every year I think ‘this year, I’m going to OWN January. I am going to be all shiny and new, and drink two litres of water a day and take up yoga.’ Every year I THINK this will happen - I think I've had enough of excess and will be pleased to get back to normal life. But the shift from the sparkle of December to the dullness of January – from drinking prosecco at 5pm every day and guiltlessly eating chocolate oranges for breakfast, to swilling down green juice and spiralising courgettes – it’s just too great for me. Unlike September, when I get a proper ‘back to school’ refreshed feeling and I want to buy new books and start anew, January makes me want to hibernate. I want to stay in my room with the Christmas tree up, chain-drinking caramel lattes and eating cut-priced advent calendar chocolates until it’s Spring.
Edinburgh

Luckily, after hoping year after year that this would be the January I came out of my cocoon rather than hid in it, I’ve figured out that it's just never going to happen. So to pre-empt my January blues and try to see them off a bit, I decided to book a little long weekend for my husband and I in the first week of January.  I know, it seems extravagant to take time off when you’ve only just gone back to work – but honestly, it helped SO much. (Plus the trip was his birthday present…something about birds and stones…)

I picked Edinburgh because Ian had never been and I knew he wanted to go and my budget didn’t stretch to the Maldives (plus also – nobody wants to see me in a bikini in January). In hindsight, perhaps I should’ve picked somewhere that wasn’t COLDER THAN YOUR EX-BOYFRIEND’S COLD DEAD HEART.

But never mind.

I had been to Edinburgh once before, but a.) It was eons ago, b.) I was hungover and c.) all I can actually remember is walking around with my Dad for ages to find this clock made out of flowers that he remembered from his childhood (we did find it and he said ‘hmm, not as impressive as I recall,’ and we wandered off). So off we went. I did a little shout out for recommendations on Twitter/FB before I left and my friends actually really came through for me, so I thought in case YOU were considering a lil mini break (and you really should), I’d do a little round up of what we did/ate/liked – and actually get it up on the blog on a timely basis!!!

I know. Wonders will never cease. Well, that’s the longest introduction of all time, so I will get on with it!

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Monday, 8 January 2018

Blog goals for 2018

So I touched on it in this post here, but 2017 was a funny year for me in terms of blogging. And by straight up, let's be real - I mean shit. 

I wrote a few posts that did really well (e.g. this one which is my most viewed post EVER, even counting when I did an Urban Decay eyeshadow competition, ha), and I was proud of them. I got to collaborate with some brands I never thought would be interested in my little blog. But at the same time I just felt I’d fallen out of love with blogging. It wasn’t just me– I felt everyone had moved on from blogging, to some extent. Even ‘bigger’ bloggers seemed to be much more focused on their Instagrams and Youtubes and I just felt like people were losing interest in actually writing quality blog posts – which was the whole reason I got involved in the first place. The market started to feel somewhat saturated and it seemed to me like the only success stories were girls with nice hair posing on beaches – I mean, I get why that’s aspirational, but in all honesty my hair looks like a bird’s nest on the beach, so I don’t think anyone’s going to aspire to that - and anyway it just wasn't what I signed up for. 


This all basically culminated in this blog post here – and I want to say thank you to every single person who messaged, commented or tweeted me following that post because it made me feel SO much better. In all honesty, just knowing that one person enjoys my post makes it worth it (except my sister – I mean, that’s nice (hi Sarah), but I could just Whatsapp her really, couldn't I?). And just thinking it through made me realise what I want to focus on for 2018 – so I thought I might sum up my goals in a lil blogpost, and then you can all harass me if I don’t stick to them. Okay? 

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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

17 good things that happened in 2017


T R A V E L

I have been so, so lucky this year in that I’ve got to go on so many amazing holidays/mini  breaks. Obviously our big, main holiday was our 3 week US road trip (start here) which was possibly the best holiday of my life, but I’ve also been on so many smaller breaks I literally keep forgetting them – from Cornwall, to Ireland, to Kent, to the Lake District (twice), I’ve just had the best year of exploring and I can’t wait to continue it into 2018 – starting early with Edinburgh this weekend!

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Why you should make going to Park Run your resolution this year

So first off  - writing this post kind of makes me want to go back in time 2-3 years and say to my former self ‘hey, in a few years time, you’re going to write a blog post encouraging people to go running at 9am on a Saturday morning,’ just to see how much my former self would laugh. Things change!



Because honestly, as a child, I never ran. I’ve mentioned it before, but I was genuinely the kind of kid who pretended to sprain her ankle to get out of PE. When I was 13, I dislocated my knee for real and it was as if life had handed me the perfect get-out-of-jail-free card; I never ran anywhere (unless maybe a barman called last orders, or someone mentioned the food was running low at a buffet).

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