23 Nov 2017

Here's what I don't put on social media...

Here's what I don't put on social media

I’ve felt pretty disengaged with social media recently. I’ve been questioning a lot whether I would feel more free without it in my life (I probably love JK Rowling's tweets too much to actually act on this feeling but you get the vibe).

I think the feeling is related to the fact that I’ve been thinking a lot about the unhealthy nature of portraying a perfect life on social media. This is an issue being discussed more and more, and I think there are many out there who are becoming wiser about it every day. A lot of us are learning to a) take whatever people are posting on social media with a pinch of salt and b) to not succumb to the belief that everyone but you is leading a perfect, Instagram-worthy life.

Because no one is.

And yet, I still see all of us feel the pressure of social media all the time. It’s supposed to be a bit of fun, yet it’s turned into this huge aspect of our lives and many feel like they have to put across a certain image via these platforms.

An image that not only portrays that life is going well, but that life is going really well. Impossibly well.

Life can be going well, but nothing will ever be perfect. That’s just the way it is. So it is literally impossible to have a life that can live up to social media, and if we continue to aim for that 'social media perfection', we will constantly be disappointed in all walks of life.

So here’s a few random facts from recent life that haven’t made it to social media; call it a friendly reminder to take a break from your phone, don’t allow social media to fuel anxiety and to always remember that even the most perfect-instagram-account-holder probably has food stains on their dressing gown.

Yeah, so, there is currently a food stain on my dressing gown. I mean, it’s small, but still means my extremely fluffy friend needs to go in the wash. But it would take forever to dry and, quite frankly, I’m not prepared to go without my dressing gown for the day or two it would take. So, er, I’m just wandering around in a food-stained dressing gown. I don’t really know how this situation will resolve itself tbh. 

The heating situation in our flat is poor. I Instagram gorgeous shots of the view of the cathedral from our front windows and the Hertfordshire countryside from our back windows… but our bathroom is like a fridge and sometimes there’s a bit of damp smell. 

Whilst we’re discussing the flat, there’s a small chunk of ceiling missing from our back room. The plaster just fell down one day. So that’s nice. 

I’ve been known to get so anxious about things [that one really shouldn’t get anxious about] that I get heart palpitations. It’s a joy. 

I’m friggin’ awful at eating enough fruit and veg. I have good intentions but, well, bread. 

I need a wee. But it’s too much of an effort to get off the sofa *insert shrug emoji*. 

G just opened the fridge. The fridge smells. 

The air conditioning situation in my office has got so dire that I’ve started taking an extra pair of socks into work with me. WHY ARE THEY TRYING TO TURN ME INTO AN ICE CUBE. 

The other day, I was having a perfectly fine afternoon and then I burst into tears randomly. THERE WAS NO REASON. G just had to sit with me whilst the wave of irrational anxiety/hormones passed. I’m such a laugh to be around. 

Earlier, I googled ‘how to wear a beret’. Because I momentarily forgot how to put a hat on my head apparently. 

Most of the photos on my phone camera roll are of bath bombs and my dinner. Try not to be jel of my exciting life. 

19 Nov 2017

Little Gems: 30

St Albans cathedral in autumn

Currently sat on the sofa with a fried egg sandwich sitting in my belly and listening to the cathedral bells play their usual Sunday tune. G is winding me up by refusing to book tickets to go see Paddington 2 at the cinema and I'm debating whether it's too early to go buy a mint hot chocolate from Costa.

How's your Sunday going?

Here’s some highlights from the last few weeks.

Hen do. I spent last weekend at my gal’s hen do. She’s the first out of our group to get married so naturally it’s very exciting. We did a gin distillery tour, went out for a lovely meal, drank a number of bottles of prosecco in a wine bar and ended the night dancing for several hours to an uh-mazing combination of 80s and 90s music. Bring on the wedding!

A cosy flat. I’ve cracked this year and insisted that we invest in a portable heater for the flat. Despite it being small, we have an open plan kitchen/living area and the small radiator at one end of the room is not sufficient enough to heat the place up in winter. G took a trip to Argos and now the flat is really cosy and this makes me v happy.

Tapas night. After a particularly dreamy meal in a tapas restaurant in south London, G and I decided we would recreate our own tapas night at home. We made our own patatas bravas, goat’s cheese croquettes, padron peppers, wine&honey chorizo and a load of hummus, and omg so good. Particularly the padron peppers; they were truly addictive.

The Handmaid's Tale. I finally got round to watching this series and OH MY GOD IT IS INCREDIBLE. That is all.

Work. Yeah, I know, not one to usually make my highlights. But, well, it’s going pretty well atm. In a stressful, slightly nerve wracking kinda way for sure. But well all the same.

Labour of Love. G and I saw this political comedy a few weeks ago and it was honestly one of the best theatre shows I have ever seen. I came out with aching cheeks from laughing so hard. It’s only running for a couple more weeks and I couldn’t recommend more. You can buy tickets here.

My first sponsored post. It was pretty cool when a brand reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in doing a paid blog post (over here if you’re interested). Whatever the scenario, getting paid to write is always gonna feel pretty surreal, and special, for me. One day I’ll get paid for that novel…

Scrapbooking. I. Have. Finally. Started. I’ve been meaning to start getting my millions of photos into scrapbooks/albums for god knows how many years. Seriously, it’s embarrassing how long it’s taken me to get round to it.

Cinema cheese plate. We've had two cinema trips at The Odyssey this weekend and on last night's trip we tried out their new cheese plate for £7. Sitting in a cinema with a plate full of cheese, crackers, grapes and apple slices = life goals.

Festivities. Fiiiiive weeks until Christmas. I feel my festive spirit is bigger than ever before this year and I am loving seeing all the decorations go up everywhere! From the shop windows, to the lights around St Albans to the floral Christmas tree in St Pancras; it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I am so darn ready to spend the rest of the year being as festive as I possibly can.

London gin distillery tour

London hen do

London hen do

Padron peppers

Floral Christmas tree in St Pancras

14 Nov 2017

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

Whilst staying in Newcastle a few weeks back, G and I spent a Saturday having a mini road trip along the Northumberland coastline. If you’ve never been, Northumberland is a gorgeous area of the UK and you absolutely should be adding it to your bucket list. If only for that glorious coastline.

We set off from Newcastle, our bellies full of brunch, and drove the hour or so to Alnwick Castle, now famous for being used as one of the filming locations in the Harry Potter films (and, I think, Downton Abbey). It’s the second biggest castle in England and has been home to the Dukes of Northumberland for over 700 years. It’s actually still used as a family home but not like any family home you’ve ever seen cos, you know, these people very rich. It’s seriously lavish with silk walls, glamourous furniture and elaborate carved ceilings. Plus the double-level library with beautiful bound books packed onto every shelf. Oh mumma, how do I get my own library eh?

We had a wander round the rooms and the exhibitions which were interesting. Although, is it just me that finds it seriously weird that you can just wander round somewhere that people still live in? Like, it feels like a stately home but oh wait, there’s a tv remote and family photos. Huh.

Anyway, for me, it’s the outside of the castle that makes it feel like a magical place. I mean, you really could be in Hogwarts. There’s courtyards and dungeons and endless countryside stretching out as far as the eye can see. There’s also ‘broomstick training’ if that sorta thing floats your boat (running around on the ground with a broom in between your legs; personally I’d prefer to actually fly on a broomstick but whatever).

Then there’s the gardens, full of the weird and wonderful. Magical twisted iron gates; secret, star-covered doors, grand water features, fairy sculptures, hill-top swings; getting lost amongst the grounds is enough to keep you entertained for hours.

The real treasure though? The Treehouse restaurant. Which is exactly what it says on the tin. You can see it peeking out of the trees as you head towards it but it’s only once you’re there, up amongst the trees, does it feel like you’re properly in a fairy tale. I think I’ll leave the below pictures to describe this one, as I won’t do it justice. We only had chance to have a quick wander round this time but I ate here on another visit a few years back and can confirm the food is really good.

After we’d finished pretending we lived amongst the treetops, we jumped back in the car and drove further up the coast to Bamburgh Castle. As spectacular as it looks, we were more there for Bamburgh’s endless beach which, let’s be honest, wouldn’t look out of place somewhere in the Caribbean.

Although the water’s a lot colder.

And I can confirm that because I was persuaded to whip off my shoes and socks and tip my tootsies into the North Sea.

We paddled and wandered, and sat amongst the sand dunes. And then, when we eventually managed to pull our eyes away form that endless beach view, we drove about a mile up the road to eat freshly made fish n chips on the cliff top.

Cos did you even go to the beach if you didn’t eat fish n chips whilst staring out to sea?

With salty hair, sandy toes and greasy fingers, I reluctantly accepted we had to leave and we headed back to the car for a sunset drive back down the coastline to Newcastle.

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

A Mini Tour of Northumberland

6 Nov 2017

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

When you think about it, hundreds of people traipsing through a muddy field/park on a dark, winters night to stand around freezing one’s arse off for a good while all so we can stare at some lights in the sky for a few mins… it’s kinda ridiculous.



I say ‘I’; I mean G spent 50p in Asda cos I kept banging on about how I wanted to do sparklers like a kid again.

We lit them out on the terrace and epically failed at trying to get a good picture of them. I tried to write my name with them like I did as a kid (I hope you know what I mean) but, lol, 50p sparklers don’t currently have this feature installed.  SIGH.

(Still loved them though.)

St Albans Cathedral put on a firework display in the park every year. We timed it better this year, so we weren’t freezing to death for too long and managed to avoid standing next to any drunken morons. This year: 2, last year: nil.

I also made G take a selfie which he hates so more bonus points for me.

Anyway, there was music and bangs and lights and Catherine wheels; so basically everything you want from a firework display right?

Again, learning from last year’s mistakes, we’d booked a table somewhere for afterwards (not that being turned away from several fully booked restaurants last year wasn’t fun…).

We tried a newish Italian place called Alloro. You could easily miss it from the outside as the narrow front door simply leads down a long corridor and you do wonder if you’re gonna get a pizza or if you've accidentally walked into someone’s lounge.

Spoiler: I got the pizza. It was piled with parma ham, rocket, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella in case you were wondering.

I left cradling a pizza-wine-sticky-toffee-pudding food baby.

And then we went home to bed and I moaned about the flat being cold. Cos I like to end an evening on a high.

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

3 Nov 2017

Life lately

Life lately

I’m currently sat in Costa chomping my way through their new Christmas menu in a real classy fashion. My favourite mint hot chocolate is back and the brie, bacon and cranberry panini is going down a treat.

It’s November I hear you say? Go tell someone who cares.

You see, if November is gonna show up alarmingly quick, then I figure it's time to start getting in that chipper Christmas mood.

Cos October? Yeah, October was rubbish.

There was family drama, an ear infection (my ears were literally bleeding), a hefty cold and new-job-stress for both G and I.

I’ve had one of them cartoon grey clouds hanging over my head and am struggling to shift it. I’ve been a delight to be around obvs.

G had to work all last weekend and late every day this week so I’ve spent a lot of the last week on my own and I’m not entirely sure that’s helped the glumness. I mean, tbf I like my own company a lot of the time, but I’ve made no effort to bring myself out the glumness and now here I am, stuck in Glum Town.

And I need this to change because it’s glum being glum. So, yup, I’m using Christmas to propel my mood upwards. Despite my excess love for it, I do try and contain most of my Christmas celebrations until December. Music, films, tree decorating and wrapping are all contained to the last month of the year in one chaotic, glorious, twinkly fashion. But I like how it starts to kick off in November and I can indulge in the little things. Like present planning and Costa menus and advent calendar shopping. Oh and the Lush Christmas range! And, er, online window shopping for Christmas pyjamas…

(Is a Christmas duvet cover taking it too far or nah…?)

The next few weeks are looking pretty sweet. I have a hen do, a trip to Paris, a trip to the Netherlands, a trip to Bath and a couple of cinema trips thrown in for good measure. And naturally I’m eagerly waiting for the St Albans Christmas market to appear right outside our flat again.

It’s going to be hectic but, hopefully, ridiculously fun.

And in between it all, I plan on spending a lot of time on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by candles and fairy lights.

Last Sunday, whilst G was stuck at work, I rediscovered my love for the TV show Scandal. I put on the first episode of season 6 and then suddenly it was five hours later and I hadn’t moved. And it was really freakin’ glorious. It was only later that it occurred to me how it had been an age since I’d done that. Settling down with a good boxset (lol am I the only one who still refers to TV shows this way….?) is definitely one of the few ways I properly relax and I barely do it anymore. Same goes for taking a solid amount of time to curl up with a book. Cos life is busy, sure, but also because I’m not making the time to switch off. But I’m now resolved to rectify that. To have a solid few hours a week where both technology and my brain are switched off. And I am really excited at the prospect.

Other things to report: I keep having flash backs to tripping over my own scarf half way up a staircase in St Pancras station last night. I might have had some wine but nowhere near enough to justify such ridiculousness. Hands up if you’re a cheap date…

G  just texted to say he’s bought some sparklers for me so I am now extremely excited for celebrating bonfire night tomorrow. Love me some fireworks.

I’m also wondering about heading to Tesco after I’ve finished whatever this ramble of a post is and buying a shit load of Mexican food for dinner. Like enchiladas and nachos and ALL THE GUACAMOLE.

And on that note…

Here’s to the final two months of 2017 being about switching off, indulging in the Christmas spirit and having a jolly good time.

(sweet mother, have mercy, I’ve just clocked the Costa Billionaire hot chocolate… *dies*)

Kay, cool, bye.