29 Jan 2019

A Photo A Day | 21-27 January 2019

A Photo A Day, 21-27 January
21 Jan 2019
Location: St Albans
Kick-starting my weekly to-do list wearing two jumpers and sitting veerrry close to the portable heater.

A Photo A Day, 21-27 January
22 Jan 2019
Location: Fitzroy Square, London
Some happy things from today: the meatless meatballs from Leon. Eating them on a bench with my sister. The glorious blue skies in London. The enormous thick snowflakes falling when I got off the train back in St Albans.
Less happy things from today: the water tank deciding to overflow... We now have no water and the over-spill pipe created a waterfall all over the patio which, given the temperatures, means we’ll probably have our very own patio ice rink come morning...  

A Photo A Day, 21-27 January
23 Jan 2019
Location: St Albans
It was short but sweet; loved waking up to snowy scenes and watching the beautiful white fields fly by out the train window this morning.❄️

A Photo A Day, 21-27 January
24 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Today was a work-from-the-sofa day. Mainly because it’s marginally closer to a radiator than the desk...

A Photo A Day, 21-27 January
25 Jan 2019
Location: Towcester, Northamptonshire
Reunited with some of my favourite gals 😍 

A Photo A Day, 21-27 January
26 Jan 2019
Location: Towcester, Northamptonshire
Took a break from sitting around eating to take a photo 💛

A Photo A Day, 21-27 January
27 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Feeling knackered at the end of the weekend usually means I’ve had a cracking time. I’ve gossiped with my gals, played with beautiful dogs, introduced the in-laws, opened belated Christmas presents (an enormous hamper full of so many treats) & found out where I shall be going for my hen do 😍 Now about to face plant a bath and then my bed 😴

28 Jan 2019

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside
Photo by Enzo Nardi 

We have hit that time of year where it’s FUCKIN’ FREEZIN’ and once again, I am politely astonished at how poorly equipped our flat is to deal with it. So yes, I am freezing my arse off, thank you for asking.

Weekend before last, we hit up a family shindig in a cute cottage in rural Kent. It was a joint birthday thing for my mum and step-dad with some of our family friends. The cottage had creaky doors, big open fires and the ceilings were low enough that everybody cracked their heads at least once.

The glorious North Downs were on the doorstep and we were graced with beautiful clear blue skies. There – what we think – was a vineyard in the field next door and yes, okay, I momentarily thought it was a very tightly-packed graveyard much to my mum’s amusement. We went for a frosty – weather wise – walk on the Saturday, admiring the rolling hills and the premature snowdrops. And then we did the same walk again but backwards on the Sunday. The Kent countryside really is a stunner.

There was the most dreamy pub right across the road and, yes okay, G and I were very eager to get inside it. Can you be addicted to pubs, I dunno. Seriously though, it scored top marks on the cute and cosy scale. Candlelit, roaring fire, jar-lined walls, roast dinners; I mean, what’s not to love?

We scoffed this Bosh vegan cake (which was spot on if I do say so myself), made sure our clothes truly smelled of open fire and G continued hinting that we should get a dog. Tbf, I might be wavering…

Some photos:


A Weekend In The Kent Countryside

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside
Photo by Enzo Nardi 

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside
Photo by Enzo Nardi 

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside
Photo by Enzo Nardi 

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside
Photo by Enzo Nardi 

A Weekend In The Kent Countryside

21 Jan 2019

A Photo A Day | 14-20 January 2019

A Photo A Day, 14-20 January
14 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Still have a cold, still struggling to get a decent nights sleep. Yet I’ve been bizarrely productive today. The Anna Edit new book has got me so motivated to organise the shit outta my life... so much so that I did a massive wardrobe clear out before breakfast 🤷🏻‍♀️. I also went to my first yoga class in a year and feel all the better for it!

A Photo A Day, 14-20 January
15 Jan 2019
Location: Fitzroy Square, London
Me: I have no ideas for today’s photo of the day. Sibling: Go stand over there. 

A Photo A Day, 14-20 January
16 Jan 2019
Location: Near St Pancras station, London
Pushing through the rain, wind & hump day so I can be reunited with my really-should-go-in-the-wash dressing gown...

A Photo A Day, 14-20 January
17 Jan 2019
Location: Franco Manca, Kings Cross, London
Throwing any thought of January-health out the window and knocking back wine & pizza with my gal Beth.

A Photo A Day, 14-20 January
18 Jan 2019
Location: Dartford Crossing
Made a birthday cake, met with the wedding-venue coordinator, bought some wedding rings, headed to the depths of the Kent countryside for my rents birthday weekend. And now to sleep...

A Photo A Day, 14-20 January
19 Jan 2019
Location: Brabourne, Kent
Our gaff for the weekend. There’s open fires & creaky doors, the north downs on the doorstep and an absolutely gorgeous pub next door!

A Photo A Day, 14-20 January
20 Jan 2019
Location: North Downs, Kent
Filled my lungs with fresh country air and inhaled a roast dinner before heading home. Note to self: get back into the countryside soon...

13 Jan 2019

A Photo A Day | 7-13 January 2019

A Photo A Day, 7-13 January
7 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Went into the first full week and first Monday of the year on a poor nights sleep and as a result have spent most of today staring at the computer screen with glazed eyes and a grumpy face. It hit me about mid morning how slow I find January - is it only the 7th?! Heading to bed with a very battered copy of my favourite book in the hope that an early night and the magic of Hogwarts will see me right 📖 

A Photo A Day, 7-13 January
8 Jan 2019
Location: Fitzroy Square, London
Blue skies in London today 🌤

A Photo A Day, 7-13 January
9 Jan 2019
Location: Fitzroy Square, London
In between six hour meetings and cursing about the fact I underestimated how cold it was today, I walked past some cute buildings because: London.

A Photo A Day, 7-13 January
10 Jan 2019
Location: St Albans
Working from home days are slowly turning into how-much-wedding-admin-can-I-squeeze-into-my-lunch-break challenges. Today, wedmin involved visiting the florist and pretending I know the names of flowers 🌷

A Photo A Day, 7-13 January
11 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
There was a beautiful sunset this evening and I am now stuffed full of nachos & binge watching a box set so I’m presuming it’s Friday!

A Photo A Day, 7-13 January
12 Jan 2019
Location: Ely, Cambridgeshire
Lil bit of sight seeing before my first wedding dress fitting 👰🏻

A Photo A Day, 7-13 January
13 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
One of those days where you feel yourself thinking ‘can you not’ every five minutes. I have a beast of a cold. DPD seemed to think it was acceptable to leave our food delivery by a random bin behind a Thai restaurant, our food delivery was missing half the items, I dropped my very old copy of HP & goblet of fire and it now resembles two piles of tatty paper rather than an actual book (tbf it lasted nearly 20 years) and yeah, did I mention the cold? None of this was remotely photo-worthy but then I looked out the window and, yup, this was my view. Life’s alright really!

10 Jan 2019

Why I Won’t Be Using Pendolino Trains Again

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Be it bad luck or my frequent use of Britain’s rail network, but on a semi-regular basis, I take a journey and find myself in some bizarre predicament. There was the time the train derailed outside of Paddington and I ended up sleeping in a stranger’s bed in Winchester. And then the time we got stranded in Brussels for 24 hours. And who can forget the time our car had to be pulled out of a swamp by a tractor?

And so here we are again.

Back in November, I was heading up north to go see my mum do a speech at her work conference. At some point, I thought it would be a good idea to book the 8:07pm train from Euston to Liverpool. This was based on the absurdly high rail prices combined with a very recently expired young person’s railcard (rest in peace my friend).

I was v casual about killing the 3 hours between finishing work and actually getting my train but when it came to the day, the prospect of hanging around London stations for 3 hours, doing a two-and-a-half hour train journey and arriving in Liverpool quite late was suddenly seeming rather unappealing. It also dawned on me that I’d never actually dined alone in a restaurant before (assuming we’re not counting many a lunches had alone in Costa) and I felt even more put out. I have no idea how I’ve gone so long without going out for a meal with oneself but I felt like the first date should be somewhere more special than London Euston.

But hey, I am a strong, independent woman and all that. So yeah I had a date with myself in Cafe Rouge. Was v much into it and am all for repeating again. A success.

Kinda went downhill on the train though. Okay, it went downhill big time.

As I strolled onto the platform, chipper from my very pleasant date with myself, I clocked that the train was a Virgin pendolino.

(If you’re unfamiliar with pendolino trains, they tilt back and forth a lot to enable them to take curves at high speed without – apparently – causing any discomfort to passengers. HA HA.)

Probably worth mentioning here that I am prone to travel sickness, and whilst trains are usually a method of transport that don’t strike me down, the last time I’d been on a pendolino train – a few years previously – I’d spent a lot of the journey having to take deeeeeep breaths. But that had been on a completely different line and given my track record with trains is better than any other mode of transport (let’s not discuss boats), I was determined to remain chipper.

This lasted for about half an hour. At first, I was amused by watching people attempt to stay upright whilst walking down the aisles which was akin to watching Bambi learning to walk after one too many tequila shots. I was trying to remember whether that was standard for pendolino trains or whether I was just on a particularly unsteady one.

But then I stopped thinking about much at all because nausea hit with the force of a freight train. Oh the joy. I did all my usual tactics. Moved seats, pressed my face against the window, sipped water, a lot of heavy breathing blah blah blah. What would have really helped was if the train could stop wobbling about like we were in the middle of a hurricane but no such luck.

I eventually decided to brave walking to the loo, naturally chose the exact moment the train tilted really suddenly and I was thrown into the side of a woman’s chair, my arm taking the full blow of the fall and the innocent woman’s ear taking the full blow of my excessive swearing. It hurt, a lot.

This was the final straw as far as my stomach was concerned but don’t worry, I did make it to the bathroom. As the £25 I’d spent on dinner was quite literally going down the toilet, I was suddenly disturbed by a bodiless voice.

‘Hello. This is your toilet.’

Because, you know, Virgin train toilets talk to you. I think it’s supposed to be funny. To take your mind off the fact you’re in a dark-but-glowing-with-a-weird-colour cubicle that smells like piss because what man can be expected to hit the bowl when the train is swaying more than drunk Bambi?!

Reader, you may have guessed, I did not find it funny*.

The very last thing I wanted at that point was to be bombarded with Richard fucking Branson’s sense of humour. Fuck off Richard.

It was only when I finally made it out of the trippy prison cells that are Richard’s toilets that I noticed that my arm had swollen up to twice the size. GOODO. I tried to ignore the pain for a while but the swelling seemed to be getting worse so I eventually concluded that I probably needed to go on a quest for ice. So I staggered on down to the café carriage and asked the bemused woman if she had any ice. She gave me a blank look and seemed unwilling to help me until I held up my marshmallow arm and she told me to head up to first class where they’d give me some ice. Because apparently frozen water is not for the likes of us peasants.

First class was coach A. I was in coach H. Uh huh, I had to stagger through NINE coaches trying to maintain my balance with an arm I couldn’t use because I’d injured it trying to maintain my balance. It is, quite frankly, a miracle I didn’t fall over. Anyway, I got the ice. First class staff were a lot more amenable to helping me and I got a bag full of ice and some sympathy. One of the staff members even admitted that the train was much more unsteady than usual. Of course, the ice bag leaked so by the time I got to Liverpool – approximately 87329873897 hours later – I was damp, bruised and smelling a little bit funky.

The mottled bruising on my arm that came out over the next few days was quite spectacular and my mum was genuinely concerned that I’d broken it. I’m fairly sure I didn’t although perhaps if I had, Virgin would have been a tad more sympathetic. Apparently - according to a letter they sent me - ‘the train was tilting as normal and expected meaning a smoother ride, and there were no reports of rough riding’. Uh huh, sure pal.

Still, they refunded my ticket which sort of made up for the cost of the dinner that was never digested. Maybe I’ll have another date with myself at the Café Rouge in London Euston. Won’t be catching a Virgin pendolino train though. Screw you and your toilets Branson.

*Until later when my sense of humour returned along with my appetite.

In case you were keen to see my mouldy arm

6 Jan 2019

A Photo A Day | 1-6 January 2019

A Photo A Day, 1-6 January
1 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Back in 2014, I took a photo every day for a year. There were days where I couldn’t be bothered and those days where literally nothing happened and finding something to photograph was hard work. But it forced a little slice of creativity into each day that didn’t revolve around staring at a screen, and the result was a year-long photo diary; a record of each day. I’ve been thinking about doing it again for a while now and seeing as it’s going to be quite a big year, 2019 seemed like a good one to document. So here we go 📸

A Photo A Day, 1-6 January
2 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Despite not being a big fan of the ‘new year, new me’ malarkey (mainly cos it seems to revolve around making women thinner), I am a sucker for the fresh possibility of a new year & can’t help but write down some plans and goals for the year ahead. Today was a very slow start but I worked at home so I could do laundry/tidy the flat in my lunch break. I also sat in the online queue to buy the 26-30 railcard & headed straight to the gym at 5. Not really feeling the return to reality today but excited for the year ahead!

A Photo A Day, 1-6 January
3 Jan 2019
Location: Regents Park, London
Back in London after 2 and a half weeks out of the office. Can’t say I’ve missed the commuter trains tbh. 

A Photo A Day, 1-6 January
4 Jan 2019
Location: Caffè Nero, St Albans
Today’s non-working Friday afternoon included getting back to novel writing in the corner of Caffè Nero & being fussed over by a very lovely woman in Jo Malone. My mum got me a voucher for Christmas so I could pick out a fancy perfume for my wedding day. I am officially stuck between three different scents and that’s got to be top of the list of ‘most wanky first world problems’... 

A Photo A Day, 1-6 January
5 Jan 2019
Location: Bill's Restaurant, St Albans
Started the morning with brunch in Bill's, spent the afternoon doing ‘wedmin’ (a word I introduced to G today and he was not having it) and am now off for a long bath before face-planting some homemade pizza. Happy Saturday!

A Photo A Day, 1-6 January
6 Jan 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Sundays were made for toasted sandwiches, box sets and writing in bed. 

2 Jan 2019

Plans For The Next 12 Months: Come At Me 2019

Plans for 2019

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R ! 

G and I welcomed in 2019 by dancing away to the band who are going to play at our wedding. The night went from ‘if we want to leave at 10, we’ll leave at 10’ to eating cheesy pasta at 3am. It was such a gem of an evening.  

It does, however, mean that the first day of the year somewhat melted away without much thought in a hungover haze and, after several days of feeling rested and re-set, we have returned to reality feeling tired and hungover. 

But, hey, 2019 is here and I am so very excited for this year. If everything goes to plan, it will be big one for G and I, and I am itching to pull myself out of the new year hangover and crack on. So here are my plans and goals for the year ahead: 

Get married 

The most obvious one: I can now say I’m getting married this year! There are less than five months until our wedding and it does feel a lot closer this side of December. I have my first dress fitting in a couple of weeks and the wedding to-do list is feeling just that little bit more pressing. 

Take a photo a day 

Back in 2014, I took a photo every day for a year. There were days where I couldn’t be bothered and those days where literally nothing happened and finding something to photograph was hard work. But it forced a little slice of creativity into each day that didn’t revolve around staring at a screen, and the result was a year-long photo diary; a record of each day. I’ve been thinking about doing it again for a while now and seeing as it’s going to be quite a big year, 2019 seemed like a good one to document. So here we go!

Less sugar, more stretching 

Ah, a somewhat stereotypical new year’s resolution. Thing is, I’m a sucker for a goal and if I don’t write it down, it becomes this vague idea that I never follow through. So, yes, I want to cut my sugar intake. Hell, right now, post-Christmas, I’m pretty sure I should never eat cake, chocolate or cheese again but I figure this might be a tad unrealistic. But cutting down on sugar (okay and maybe cheese) is 100% something I generally want to do and a new year is as good as time as any to say LET’S CRACK ON. And when I say sugar, I mean ‘obvious’ sugar – I’m not about to cut back on fruit because cough I’m not an idiot cough. 

Oh and also, I want to stretch more. I’m thinking morning stretches as part of the routine as well as trying out more yoga and pilates. 

Refine my Instagram use

This feels such a daft one but I also think it could be really beneficial so I’m throwing it in as an attempt to hold myself accountable. Since my phone break-up challenge, I no longer have the facebook or twitter apps on my phone and, as a result, I barely use them anymore. Instagram on the other hand has been a harder cookie to crack. I think partly because I get a lot of enjoyment out of Instagram and, when used correctly, it fuels my creativity. But I know I’m spending too much time on the app and still find myself pointlessly scrolling. My aim for this year is to refine my feed and refine my use. I aim to reduce the amount of time I spend using it and I want to curate my feed so that I only see the people I really want to see. The people I automatically know I would seek out should I not see their posts popping up on my feed. This will involve a lot of muting/unfollowing and I plan to be ruthless at first – potentially only having a handful of people or so on my feed - and then see who I go to seek out. I’m hoping it will be a bit like starting again and will prevent me from having hundreds of photos to mindlessly scroll through. Hopefully it means I will spend less time on the app, but also really enjoy the time I do spend on it. 

Buy a house 

2019 is, hopefully, the year. We love our flat and living in St Albans but the moment we’re ready to leave is fast approaching, and we now feel pretty set on where we want to move to. We’re hoping to throw ourselves into the house-buying process when we get back from our honeymoon at the end of June and ideally, we’ll have moved into our new house by Christmas at the latest. But I am trying not to plan too much when it comes to buying a house because you hear so many stories of things going wrong. We’re just going to crack on in the second half of the year and see what happens. 

Travel 

After a year of squeezing in as much travel as possible in 2018, it does feel a little weird to not be making lots of travel plans for the year ahead. A small part of this is because we would be reluctant to book to go away at all post-June right now because we have no idea where we might be with the house buying process.

But mostly it’s because we are focussing on one big trip for 2019, which is taking up a lot of expense and annual leave. Two days after our wedding we will fly to America for an 18-day honeymoon, splitting our time between New York and California and I AM VERY EXCITED. 

Before then, I’m really looking forward to a few UK-based weekends. My family and I are staying in a big cottage in Kent for a weekend in January, I already have a couple of weekends with my girls planned in Jan and Feb and I’m taking G away for a surprise weekend for his birthday in April. I’m also so excited for my hen weekend in March! 

Depending on how the second half of our year goes, I quite fancy trying out a Srprs Me weekend. If you’re unfamiliar, the company books your city break for you and you don’t know where you’re going until you get to the airport. I’ve heard good things and I like the spontaneous nature to it; arriving in a new city without any prior plans weirdly appeals to my usual plan-loving self. I also love the idea of heading to Berlin for a festive weekend towards the end of the year. But these are very much just vague musings at the mo, and very dependent on all our other plans! 

Remember to pause

A reminder to myself to step away from screens, accept the days where it’s just not happening and take moments to pause and breathe when needed. 

Come at me 2019!