Wednesday, 25 November 2015


It's been recently decided (as in, yesterday afternoon) that we'll be doing Secret Santa at work. I'm petrified as much as I am excited. I DON'T KNOW THESE PEOPLE. They're not going to understand my crude and odd sense of humour. And the cap is £7, so my usual go-to Secret Santa gift of Seamonkeys is out of the question...

So when all else fails, I always turn to stupid humour. Here's what I'm eyeing up to include for my Secret Santa/Stocking fillers this year...


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These gifts are all available from Stocking Fillers.

Everyone has fond memories of these as a child and me especially. Who wouldn't have fun playing around with one of these? And can you imagine the fun havoc that can be created in the office with one of these badboys?!

For the bearded man in your life and/or office, the fabulous Beard Baubles. Yes, glitter beards are now a new trend too, but hey, you can buy glitter anywhere...

I've heard of these things before and think they're beyond cool, as well as actually USEFUL. The wallet ninja is a bottle opener, can opener, phone stand and even a ruler all in one. And it's also some other cool stuff. Totally guaranteed to be one of very few stocking fillers that will actually come in handy.

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These gifts are all available from Accessorize.

This sweet chalk mug is a great gift because a) everyone loves tea and b) it can also be quite sentimental. It's cool because whoever receives it can doodle on it to their hearts content, but you can also decorate or deface it yourself before giving them the gift. You can write how much you love someone, or call them a loser (which is my endearing term of choice) or anything you want!

Get ready for all those upcoming festivals with a do-it-yourself flower garland kit. Flower garlands can be overly expensive and, well, over the top too, despite being a really cool trend. With this kit you can make your own personalized garland, as subtle or as over the top as you like.

I mean, yeah. It's just a faux fur tassel to add to a bag. But it's still beyond cute and stylish and a total necessity for any bag...


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All these products are available from Firebox.

OMG. A UNICORN. YOU CAN MAKE WITH YOUR HAND. GIMME NOW. I can already think of at least three people I know who would totally dig this.

Okay so the weirdest thing about this gift is the name but it's kind of quirky and also educational too, so win-win.

It's a giant STD! Who doesn't want a giant STD - or any form of STD for that matter?! Chlamydia, Crabs, Herpes, Syphilis and The Clap are all obtainable in adorable cuddly critter form here. Collect them all to become a true STD master...

So here's just nine stocking fillers - all under £10 - for (almost) everyone in your life, from the weird to the wonderful.

What stocking fillers do you usually give out at Christmas? Let me know with a comment!

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*This is a sponsored post

Monday, 23 November 2015


It's that time of year again. I know it's freezing cold outside and the idea of wearing anything less then at least five layers on a day-to-day basis is horrifying, and yes, the single thought of summer music festivals is the last thing on your mind but if you actually want to go to a decent festival next summer then now's the time to start planning.

Now is the time when all the cheapest pre-sale tickets are released (something I've ALWAYS missed out on in previous years) and the time when most people buy tickets regardless of the fact that they have no idea what the line up may be. 

Could this be because music is no longer a staple when it comes to festivals? These days it seems the location, the atmosphere and who's there with you is just as - if not more - important than the music.

Which is why I've put together this mini guide of the best offbeat festivals you simply need to look at visiting or attending next year. Sure, the music is good, but overall these festivals have a lot more to offer...

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Festival Number 6 at Portmeirion
Lost Village is a festival that was actually recommended by my cousin and seeing his awesome photos last year has tempted me. Taking place in abandoned woodland, it takes on the theme of a rustic, magical like land, with fairy lights, wandering characters in costume and oddball experiences. You're encouraged to bring your 'tribe' and dress to the occasion for this surreal experience. There are a number of different stages and sets, all found by exploring the forest which is part of the experience on it's own.
Best part | Despite being an Instagrammers heaven, the festival only launched last year, meaning it's still relatively unheard of. You'll definitely feel in the know when attending.

Secet Garden Party isn't so much secret anymore, but it still has that whimsical different world feel to it, making it one of the quirkiest in the UK. It's bright, bold and colourful but I've heard this is a festival that really thrives on good weather with what looks like a boat stage and lots of lake inspired activities. It's a festival that doesn't rely on the music - there's plenty of secret events to be found if you explore and next years theme is The Gardeners Guide to the Galaxy. Oh and it must be fun if my faves Regression Sessions were there this year...
Best part | The glamping options will make you feel even more on point with the festival and the glamping sites have their own community feel so you won't feel like you're missing out on anything. With bell tents, yurts and tipis, there's also on site hot tubs, saunas and restaurants (according to 2015's festival options - the options for next year haven't been announced yet so bear that in mind!) if you choose to splash your cash and go for the boutique camping option - a worthy choice considering it p*ssed down constantly at last years festival...

Said to be one for the foodies, Wilderness festival is again family friendly with plenty to do for kids, couples or even just those there for the food. With morning meditation sessions, sock wrestling championships or even roasting marsh mellows over a campfire, there's something for everyone. The music is always varied with both big names (Bjork and Sam Smith have both headlined in previous years) and musicians you may have not even heard of, and there's plenty of free talks and debates if you want to, y'know, feel cultured and learn whilst you're there.
Best part | There's a champagne tent. Champagne at a music festival! Need I say more?

Boomtown you've probably heard of and is probably quite different from the other festivals I've mentioned here. Again, it's quite an immersive experience where you're encouraged to just fully give yourself over to the festival. Boomtown, as you can guess, takes on a movie theme. A custom built city is constructed of various sets, for example next year there is a district called Mayfair Avenue, described as 'a playground for the wealthy'. It's perfect for if you want to seriously dress up and try a bit of role play - this is not a festival for morph body suits fancy dress...
Best part | You'll feel like your starring in your own movie - is there anything better then that? And if you get bored of one set, you can wander into another within minutes...

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Festival Number 6 at Portmeirion
Based in a picturesque village in Wales, Festival Number 6 offers a diverse line up in a fairy tale setting, with the sleeping arrangements to match (you can glamp here or even sleep in a castle). The setting looks like a sleepy seaside town but is anything but - it's vibrant, colourful and electric. It's also perhaps for a more sophisticated but still rather fun crowd - you won't find raves here with kids drunk out of their heads and it's almost like a more grown up version of these earlier music festivals where you can still have fun but don't have to rely on drink or drugs to really experience the out of this world feeling that often comes bespoke with this kind of festival.  It's family friendly, but there's plenty to do to escape the screaming kids (and plenty of activities just for kids too for that matter). This certainly isn't just a music festival with art, comedy, cinema and more on offer - you'll never run out of things to do...
Best part | There's so much variety. A floating dance floor, a swing band who often get the audience up and dancing and even an on-site spa which must be well needed at points throughout the festival...

Did I mention that tickets for a lot of these music festivals are perfect for Christmas presents? You could put together a mini travel/camping accessories kit along with the tickets!

Are you planning to attend any music festivals next summer? If so - which ones? Let me know with a comment!

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015


So I don't know about you, but I've never been good at cooking/baking/experimenting with food. I've tried to be, but it just doesn't work. I don't know what flavours work well with others (and usually I'm too scared to experiment and try) and I've had my fair share of embarrassing cooking stories including mash potatoe, salad and, um, £200 in cash hidden in the microwave. But the less said about that the better...

The one thing I do feel I'm getting better at though (with the help of Pinterest anyway) is lunches! I've always been pretty content with a sandwich for lunch and if I add a packet of crisps to the ensemble, then, well, I feel like the Mary Berry of the lunch world. Move over British Bake Off lot, I've just had a ham and tomatoe sandwich with cheese and onion crisp! WHOA. CALM DOWN THERE. THAT'S ONE HELL OF A CRAZY MIX.

But in all seriousness, since working in an office (oh yes, that old gem again, I have my dream job now, so sue me for bragging) means a) I'm sat on my arse all day b) I'm so, so far away from takeaway places.

I suppose it's swings and roundabouts really. In my old job, I could walk to Mcdonalds, Burger King (in fact Burger King was practically right across from our shop), Subway and this yummy Chinese place in less then five minutes. And me and my work colleagues would often pop down to Ed's diner or the Whitehouse for a long lunch (and a well deserved glass of wine). But in my old job, despite my shoddy eating habits, I was on my feet all day.

Now I'm sitting down a lot but also because I can't yet drive legally, I have to bring my own lunch to work with me everyday regardless, because I don't have any means of leaving the office to grab something from a nearby shop. The office is well out of the way of MK central and the closest places to get food is at Sainsbury's by the pub (still a five minute drive away, and I'd totally choose the pub over Sainsbury's any day) or a M&S garage...somewhere or other.

So it's safe to say I've been relying a lot on Pinterest for quick and easy healthy lunch ideas. Some have been delicious and some have been a hit and miss - so I'm going to share a few of these with you. 

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This tomatoe cucumber salad with olives and feta is super yummy and is something I've made a few times now. It strays away from your typical 'leafy' salad but is also quite healthy because although you're skipping out on the lettuce and such, you're also skipping out on the pasta which, to me, seems to be the usual alternative to a green salad. The olives are what really make it and add the flavour and I would have never of thought of adding these into a salad. It's real easy to do - just throw it all together in a bowl and season with a dash of olive oil and some salt and pepper if you so wish.

The actual recipe uses a dill and garlic dressing but I found it had enough flavour just with the olives and the seasoning so chose not to add the dressing. All in all this took me less then five minutes to make and cost me less then a fiver for a large bowl of it, meaning it could probably do me for lunch two or maybe even three times a week. 

Next, the wraps.

Oooh, I do love a good wrap. They seem just that tad more healthy to be then bread and it eliminates the possibility of soggy bread too *shudder*. 

These Italian wraps I've actually made today and they are GIANT. But, again, they've been quick and easy to make and have tons of flavour. And I love salami also, which is another thing I never thought about adding to a wrap. I don't actually know what provolone is, and roasting peppers just seemed like so much effort to me so I swapped these for sun dried tomatoes. I saved money this way too as I got a little mixed pot in tescos with some mozzarella (which I'll use for another lunch) mixed with the tomatoes. It meant the pot gave me just enough for these ingredients too, so I wasn't paying out extra for full jars of sun dried tomatoes for example that wouldn't get used. BOOYA. Saving money.

And the ones that didn't work...

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These mini bread things I was probably most disappointed about because it looked SO yummy and just tasted...well, so not. First of all it was quite fiddly to make for and eat in work but I don't doubt that it would be better for a side order or a starters when having dinner at home, or even an evening snack. And second of all, I felt it didn't taste particularly nice because I didn't manage to find any garlic salt so had to substitute it for something similar. This is one of those instances where I found you have to be quite spot on with your ingredients and I think that's one of the things I struggle about with cooking - if I don't have something in, I don't know what to substitute it for or even if I CAN swap it with something else. Whereas with the salad, I chose to forgo the dressing and add my own seasoning - that worked well - but with this one, the seasoning for the bread I used just didn't work at all.

So what I'm trying to say here with the ones that went wrong is I'm no way saying these particular ideas aren't very nice altogether, I'm just saying that by attempting to make them my own, I've discovered which ones need to be spot on with the ingredients and which ones you can have a bit more creativity with. 

This spinach feta wrap (not pictured) just didn't work for me and I don't know why. I think maybe I didn't cook the eggs properly (they weren't very fluffy) and the mushrooms had no flavour which is a shame cause I really love mushrooms. I did use all the right ingredients and, admittedly, the whole thing wasn't horrible, it still tasted okay and not nasty, but it didn't taste nice either. I'd probably try making this one again though as maybe it's just an example of experimenting with a recipe until you get it right.

Please don't ask me what that other photo is because honestly? I don't know. I think its an avocado salad thing but who knows. The point is, it tasted as bad as it looked. That's all you need to know...

Do you experiment with your lunches? Or do you just grab something quickly from the shops? Let me know!

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Friday, 13 November 2015


After reading this great post from From Roses, I felt inspired to do my own. I think setting yourself personal goals for a new year is always a good idea and is much different then new years resolutions. Personal goals are more laid back, long term goals, as opposed to 'I must lose this amount of weight per month' or 'I have to save at least 25% from each pay check every single month'.

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I think setting yourself goals actually works too because you're the one that decides which ones are most important to fulfil and if say there's a big goal you're desperate to complete and you don't, you can end up feeling quite disappointed. Although I obviously wouldn't recommend putting so much pressure on yourself, what I'm generally trying to say is that you'll probably have more motivation to complete these types of goals.

So I don't actually have any 'goals' as such from this year to reflect on, but if I look back to my annual 'My 2014' post I can see that I have managed to bag myself two out of three things I wanted to get in 2015 and that is not only a job related to my degree but in actual fact my dream job, and my own car. Even if I can't drive it 'officially' just yet, with a license, but I do get a lot of use out of it and drive it pretty much everyday (with someone in the car with me obvs, so legally).

I haven't got a rockstar boyfriend STILL *sob* but I'm getting there, don't worry. I dated a few 'rock stars' (okay dudes from local bands, the same thing though, right?!) throughout the year though. That makes me sound like a hussy. I'm not.

Reflecting back on 2015 seems rather bittersweet because although from the outside it looks like I've got my shit together with my own car, my dream job and a smashing social life, on the other hand, it's all entirely weird and, well, not so important anymore now what Mamaw isn't around. All these things were the kind of things she wanted for me - well, we both wanted, really - and I can't help but thinking it's the type of things I should have focused on more whilst she was still alive so that I could have made her proud.

I suppose in some odd way, I still want to make her proud, which is why I've really been getting my head down and sorting my life out I guess. 

So. My goals for 2016.

I guess this is a given any year as everyone loves to travel, but I think I'm already on track for next year. With travelling around Mexico in February and camping at a music in May, I'm already feeling confident. Travelling around Mexico will be my first time travelling properly, and I'm also hoping to get in a few weeks away next year too, even if just with work.

Hopefully this will happen before Christmas but if not I'm feeling pretty confident it'll happen in the next year. I can drive. Just, y'know, not legally. Just need that bit of paper to make it all official and ting. Innit.

Generally I want a bit of a re-brand and I'm considering moving over to Wordpress (sorry blogger) but I also want to add more enriching content. I definitely need more fashion and travel posts as lately all I've been blogging about are lifestyle posts.

Well, I need at least one easy goal in there, don't I?!

I'm looking at you Bex and Lisa. We all live within, what, half an hour of each other (and you've moved even closer now Lisa, you've even proclaimed MY local as your own...) so there's really no excuse.

And by that *that* project I mean interview hot band guys for a living. For music purposes. Obviously. Basically I want to set up a YouTube channel interviewing local bands to help them get their name out there a bit more. I just need a camera and a bit more practice and I'm all set.

This was a new years resolution from January and I think I've succeeded. It just refers to looking after myself more - eating more healthy but treating myself to a chocolate bar when I need it. enjoying my own company and accepting that nights in being lazy are okay (lol jokes, I spend whole weekends having Netflix marathons in bed already) and just generally putting myself first and doing things for me.

So there you have it, a few goals for next yearish/from now onwards. Nothing fancy, but all incredibly doable.

What do you think? Do you set yourself any similar goals each year? Let me know with a comment!

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015


There's just something about a hidden or secret bar, isn't there? The idea of something so exclusive - sometimes totally out of the blue and stumbled on - that makes you feel very VIP for being there and totally in the know.  

Telling your friends about your experience (and how you got there) is often half the fun and is in fact almost as fun as being in the bar in the first place. Luckily, London is filled with secret bars. From hidden passageways to passworded (is that even a word?!) entries, the vibrant city has it all. 

And luckily I've put together a little list of some of the best ones that are worth putting in the extra effort to visit... 

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Portside Parlour [source]
La Bodega Negra, Soho, is a bar and Mexican grill, boasting dark lighting, great music and a relaxed and exciting atmosphere. It's a great place to hole up and spend your evening. Start with food (tacos are great when socialising) followed by drinks and then finally, plenty of dancing when it acquires more of a night club feel towards the end of the night.

Typical for Soho, entry is through a sex shop - but that's half the fun... 

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, Spitalfields, is becoming less and less secret and is still one of London's most original and best known hidden bars (to me, anyway). But just because the name is familiar, doesn't quite mean everyone knows how to get there. This includes entry through an entirely different cafe altogether, a secret password/saying and finally, entry through a fridge too, making it super hard to get in but super worth it. 

The Jam Tree, Clapham isn't a secret bar as such, but inside it does boast a hidden passageway. Hidden beneath a subtle bookshelf, the door opens to reveal a secret bookcase bar. It's great for parties and private functions, and somehow reminds me of the old butler from Tombraider and Tombraider's badass house.

The secret venue of The Candlelit Club is rumoured to be a cushty, hidden away venue and party goers only really know where they're heading via text the day of the event. It's exclusive, but this pop up bar offers a vintage theme too. 

The Looking Glass Cocktail Club offers secrets within. A slightly bonkers Alice-in-Wonderland themed kind of place, this bar - hidden behind Shoreditch high street - offers adventurous (and strong) cocktails galore. Inside, if you spot it, you'll find the bars Saturday night entertainment behind a giant mirror.

Evans and Peel Detective Agency, in Earls Court, really go for it in this 1920s themed bar and pull out all the stops for their detective agency front. Even making a reservation is fun, where you submit a 'case' online which the doorman (aka the detective) will question you about upon arrival. If successful, you'll be led through a secret bookcase into this candlelit dive that has a real old fashioned feel to it.

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Cellar Door [source]
30s Berlin meets New York basement dive (as described on their website), Cellar Door, Aldwych, may have once been a public toilet but now oozes glamour and sophistication. It's not necessarily secret, but more that type of bar you've walked past a thousand times without actually realizing it. To gain entry,  head to Aldwych and slap bang in the middle of town you'll find purple-lit stairs leading down to this vintage bar. It's free entry and with live entertainment often, it's the perfect bar to duck into on a cold night. 

Danger of Death, Shoreditch is for those nights when you like your drink strong. Heading through what seems to be a pizza joint, find a door (disguised as an electrical cupboard), go through a specific set of light-switch presses and find yourself inside this swanky bar with an excellent cocktail menu. It was once a members only club, having only recently opened to the public on Wednesdays through to Saturdays, meaning it's still got that exclusive edge.

Finally, we have Bunga Bunga - a bar, pizzeria and karaoke joint all in one. It's not dark and exclusive - more like bright and lots of fun, but with it's unique bar-come-pizzas-come-karaoke twist, it's definitely pretty out there. The bar does offer two exclusive karaoke rooms upstairs, and entry is though an Italian phone box in Battersea. So at least entry is fun too. 

So if you're looking to impress a date or simply wow your friends with your in-the-know knowledge, then a trip to these places is the way to do it..

And please don't kill me (at least not until after I've managed to check out these bars personally!). I already feel quite bad for clearly doing the complete opposite of keeping these bars secret..

Will you be visiting any of these bars - or do you know any super secret hidden gems in London? Let me know!

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