Friday, 20 November 2015

Another 10 Ways To Sneakily Celebrate Christmas Early



One of my most popular posts of all time is  my suggestions on 10 ways to sneakily celebrate Christmas now! It seems like it isn’t only me who starts feeling festive the second the Halloween pumpkins come down, or wants to deck the halls as soon as the fireworks have stopped ringing in my ears. Sadly, we’re still surrounded by Scrooges who moan about how
it’s only November, stop singing Mariah, you are not starring in a Hallmark movie where you're about to quit your high powered job and marry a baker in a small town.

Sigh.





As that post is now two years old, I’ve had a little bit longer to come up with EVEN MORE ways to sneak around these holiday Grinches and start feeling the Christmas spirit, like, now. So without further ado…hide this list from your partner/mum/friends, and start rocking around the (at this stage imaginary) Christmas tree!



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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Debenhams Christmas Make Up - #FoundIt



Until last week, I would never have considered Debenhams as the place to go for high end make up. I’ve always wound up buying it online and paying shipping costs, or searching out tiny boutiques in London.

Debenham's #foundit
 

Earlier this week, I attended a Debenham’s Christmas Party at Mahiki where Debenhams were promoting their #Foundit campaign, which aims to demonstrate the number of Christmas present crises that can be solved by a quick trip to Debenhams.


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Monday, 30 March 2015

20 things you think when planning a wedding


1. OH MY GOD I'M ENGAGED! Now, I'm going to be completely normal about this. No bridezillas here. I am going to be chilled, cool, this is going to be a really laid back wedding where nobody gets stressed out or worries about details. Because, who cares about the colour of the doilies, really? Am I right? God, I'm cool.





2. OK, so apparently I should've signed up for my dream wedding location on the DAY I WAS BORN. Three year waiting list? What? OK...would it really be that bad to get married on a Tuesday? 

3. Should we get married abroad? Would anybody actually come? Oh, you have to pay for them all to come? Scrap that then.


4. Wedding magazines are just the BEST. OK, so they're all the same, and they say completely bizarre things like 'this year will see mini conifers taking over from last years' paper flower trend!' but at the same time, they've made me realise I really NEED giant light up initials and an ice cream van. Plus I can only legitimately read them for this one year without looking a bit like a crazy person so it's fine that I'm spending £22 a month on them. 

5. Wedding dress adverts are really strange...why is the bride lounging on a tree like that? And why is the groom in a state of undress? Better look at Pinterest instead.

6. I'll create a wedding inspo board and just have a look for five minutes... oh, it's 2am. 

7. Still - I've learnt that the most important thing about my wedding is that I have jam jars filled with candles on the tables. So that's good to know. 


8. Flowers. Must focus on flowers. The thing is...they do all sort of look very similar, don't they? Think about any wedding you've ever been to and try to picture the bouquet...you can't, can you? Also whenever I ask my fiance about flowers he glazes over and starts talking about the weather. So I will just nod a lot at the Latin words the flower lady is using and hope I don't end up with a pile of weeds.

  9. £2.50 seems a LOT for a wedding invitation when you think that what it really is amounts to 'a folded piece of card.' 



10. None of the wedding dresses in this shop look ANYTHING LIKE the ones on Pinterest. They are all giant meringues with diamante blobs on them and they are all £2000. I hate all wedding dresses. My mum keeps pointing out ones that are even worse. I want to go home.

11. I think this is the dress! I wish I could ask my fiance about it. I can't remember the last time I spent this amount of money and didn't at least vaguely ask if they thought it looked OK. What if he hates it?! Awkward. That must actually happen quite a lot.

12. When I asked six girls to be my bridesmaids, I didn't consider that I was going to have to buy each of them a dress. Can you de-bridesmaid someone?



13. Something borrowed? What can I borrow? Does Mum have any antique jewellery she never mentioned? That would tick off off 'old' as well. Also, blue?  Maybe I could get a blue garter. What's a garter? ARGH.

14. What do you MEAN, I can't have jam jars with candles in at my venue because it is a 100 year old barn and might catch on fire? THIS IS A DISASTER. A DISASTER.

15. VW Beetle limos are a thing? That's cool. Do I want one? Should I get a Rolls Royce? Is a horse and carriage romantic, or is it a bit Gypsy Weddings? I want it to be glamorous but not like Katie Price's idea of glamorous.

16. Is my wedding soft and romantic, or timeless and elegant? How 'rustic' can I make it before it becomes like Jenny's wedding in Forrest Gump?

17. A 'hair and make up trial' seems mad until your first go, when the beautician smiles delightedly at you and you look into the mirror and see yourself looking like a clown who has gone a bit overboard with the hair curlers.

18. I love my fiance, but he has a LOT of friends 'from football.' Have I even met all these people? And their wives and children? Really, he should pay a bit more towards the wedding, because I don't have a whole sports team attending. I won't mention that because it would be churlish. 



19. OK, why doesn't my fiance realise he needs to get his suit sorted NOW? We only have SIX MONTHS TO GO which in wedding terms means we are getting married TOMORROW and he keeps vaguely saying 'hmm, maybe I'll wear blue,' which wouldn't match anything at ALL and I think he may actually be doing this on purpose to upset me.

  20. WHAT. COLOUR. ARE. THE. DOILIES?
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Friday, 13 March 2015

16 things all bloggers know (or should know!)



Since I started blogging around two years ago (two years! Crazy! This month has gone SO FAST, etc) I’ve become weirdly accustomed to some very odd things which I think might seem odd to people in the real, non-blogging world.




Things like…




1.        Bananas are super popular and you can make anything out of them
Ice cream? Check. Pancakes? Obvs. Banana bread? Duh. Basically, if you can eat it, you can probably make it out of a banana, and then it will only contain 8 calories and your blogpost will get 18000 hits. Truth.  


2.       In an ideal world all interior décor would be white
Like, maybe with a bit of baby pink or dove grey as a contrast, but what you really want from a room is white wash floorboards and white walls and white curtains and white furniture. It’s all white, alright, and nobody ever trails mud through it or spills Ribena/red wine all over it, and you own no belongings because they would just completely ruin the mood. 
 
3.       Cath Kidston is an interior genius

Okay but if it isn’t white, it should have a pastel floral pattern, or pink and white spots. Yep, exactly like your Grandma used to have. Yep, the kind of stuff you’d have been teased for owning when you were 10. Nope, seriously, it’s cool now.

(Nan heaven right here)


4.       You can only serve food in heart shaped bowls or on wooden chopping boards etc

That crappy IKEA dinner set is NOT going to cut it, OK? If it isn’t served in some kind of fancy dish, is it even food? If we’re being fussy, you really need to put your Lucky Charms in their heart shaped bowl onto a wooden table. If it’s a white washed wooden table, EVEN BETTER. Never mind that you live in a tiny London flat, you must appear to live in a huge country farmhouse at all times, preferably complete with chickens laying fresh eggs (which you will eat poached on avacodo toast OBVIOUSLY).

5.       London nightlife is the only nightlife

OK, so you live in a huge country farmhouse with chickens, but you also live IN LONDON because London is the only place to go out worth blogging about. Restaurants in all other parts of the country are totally pointless and nobody cares, so don’t you forget it. Unless you’re in the Cotswolds, in which case a picture of your pub Sunday roast (prefs with roaring fire in shot) is borderline acceptable, because you’re escaping London, right?


6.       Your lips need to be better

About 95% of lipsticks reviewed on blogs will make your lips look like ‘your lips, but better.’ Because your lips are disgusting, okay? They need to be BETTER. Eurgh, get to MAC already.


7.       Food is either ‘clean’ or ‘filthy’

Basically, you can either eat quinoa with six types of kale and a weird vegan brownie made out of dates, or you can eat double cheeseburgers with cheesy chips and a strawberry milkshake. There is no in between. Your tuna and sweetcorn pasta is not welcome here. Oh, well, okay, as it’s in a heart shaped bowl, you can Instagram it – but seriously, at least make the pasta out of courgette next time, I mean, come on.


8.       Straws and jam jars will never go out of style

Pink drink in jam jar with pink and white straw = instant hits. You don’t know why you’re clicking on it – are you really going to make a raspberry and watermelon smoothie? – but you can’t stop yourself.


9.       Fashion is mostly kind of awful

OK, so most fashion bloggers look like a mixture of Twiggy and Mila Kunis and so anything would look good on them, even a bin bag…which is good, because is that actually what they’re wearing? Are fashionable clothes just a way for models to say ‘look, I’ve tried to look terrible, but I just can’t, because I’m so stunning,’ or are all fashion designers borderline mentalists? Because to me, flared sports trousers with weird lace up heels and a shearling jacket does not an outfit make. Plus everything they wear is either insanely unaffordable or only available if you live in California, so that’s useful. 


10.   ‘Sports-luxe’ is a thing

A thing that is said constantly whenever anyone is wearing anything that makes you think ‘did they come straight from the gym?’ And you will read it far more often than you might reasonably expect.


11.   Pancakes are important

Pancakes are like bananas. Big hits. You thought they were just for pancake day? Are you some kind of cretin? You can put anything on a pancake and it makes it cool. Sausages on a pancake? Cool. Ice cream? AWESOME. Banana ice cream on banana pancakes? YOU’RE BLOWING MY MIND HERE. BTW, banana pancakes taste EXACTLY like real pancakes – that is, provided you’ve never eaten a real pancake in your life, and you think they taste like eggy bananas.



12.   Packaging matters more than products

Everybody knows Alexa Chung’s book was probably a bit rubbish, but LOOK it’s pink and you can put a nail polish on it for a photo! Ditto, everything from Soap & Glory and Benefit. Some of these things are good, some of them are not, but who cares when they look so nice lined up on your shelves?!


13.   Rose gold jewellery is the only jewellery

When you were younger, you probably called this ‘bronze’, but somebody clever in marketing realised that sounded a bit rubbish so now it’s ‘rose gold’ and it’s like, literally the best thing ever, because it’s jewellery, and it’s a bit pink. 


14.   Alcohol is the devil

Weird thing about people’s blog lives: nobody seems to get drunk. It’s the Zoella effect – everybody is wholesome and healthy and seemingly spends their weekends cooking  brownies and cuddling up under blankets with puppies. Even though in reality, you’re spending Saturday night in Wetherspoons drinking wine on tap, the most alcoholic thing that can venture near your blog is maybe a glass of champagne on the table at a posh restaurant. Or a jazzy cocktail because OBVIOUSLY. But god forbid you put up photographs of you getting a bit messy, like, err, EVERYONE ELSE, because what is actually much better is pretending you’re a cross between a naïve ten year old and your Nan.


15.   Copper is the new in thing

Like, a bowl, made out of copper. Or a hanging…thing, made out of copper. You need it. No, I don’t know why. I don’t make the rules. In your post about copper, you have to put a little bit about how you’re ‘suddenly all about copper,’ tactfully neglecting to mention that so is absolutely everybody else. 



16.   Macarons

Or macaroons. Nobody seems clear. Whatever they’re called, you can’t escape them. They are beautiful. They also taste like wallpaper paste encased in paper; like, exactly how you would imagine papier mache might taste if you flavoured it with potpourri. So, enjoy that. 


17.   Blogging is mostly about blogging

’14 blog post ideas’; ‘How to attract readers to your blog’; ‘What I didn’t know about blogging but wish I had.’ The whole thing feeds itself, just bloggers writing about how to blog to bloggers who then write more posts on how to blog and eventually the world will eat itself and we’ll all be doomed, drowning in a sea of Cath Kidston quilts and rings in the shape of bows and Olivia Burton watches and soothing bath products and fucking pug puppies.



Okay, well…this list MIGHT not be entirely serious but give it a try – when Benefit are sending you to the Maldives you'll thank me!
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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Why you should step out of your comfort zone today

Today, I am going to do something exciting. It's the sort of opportunity that doesn't come along very often; the kind of thing you shouldn't pass up, that could make a big difference to your life, that you'll remember. 

And I don't want to go. I can't even describe to you how badly I don't want to go.


It's scary, it's intimidating and I don't want to do it. I want to send a short, polite email saying I'm very sorry for the short notice but actually I don't think I can make it today after all and no, I won't rearrange, thank you for the opportunity but you can give it somebody else. Then I want to go home and watch 'Ex On The Beach' in my pyjamas with a plate of cheese on toast. I want to call in sick, I want to hide under the proverbial duvet of life, I want to call my Mum and have her make an excuse for me - I don't care, I just don't want to go. 

But I am going. I am going because I know that life is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and because I need to push myself and that even if it goes badly, I'll still be pleased I did it. I will drag myself there feeling sick and pretending to be someone more confident than myself, with shaky fingers and butterflies in my stomach, silently promising myself an entire bottle of wine and a family sized bar of Dairy Milk on the other side to get myself to the door. And if I do it and I hate it and I think 'oh my god, that was awful,' at least I'll know and I won't make myself do it again. I'll hate the experience. Whereas if I go home and sit on my sofa, I'll hate myself.


I know so many people - funny, clever, beautiful, witty people - who are living lives that are less exciting or less fullfilling than they could be because they are scared. They don't want to move out of their parents houses, or go on dates with different people, or make new friends, join clubs, or go to job interviews, because they're shy or they're intimidated and they'd just rather stay at home, but this is my point - you don't want to stay at home in your pyjamas forever. You might think you do but you don't. It's like how at 8am you genuinely think you'd like to stay in bed all day, but by 2pm you feel a bit sick and headachey and claustrophobic. We are not meant to spend our lives hiding from experiences that could enrich us, that could change us. We are meant to embrace them. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying 'do one thing every day that scares you' like it's that easy. There's nothing wrong with being happy and comfortable and you don't need to go signing up to sky diving lessons or confronting spiders in the bath. But if you apply on a whim for a job that you think you'll never get, and you get an interview, go to the interview. If a guy on Tinder asks you out, go on the date. If you want to start writing a blog, or a book, write one; if you want to take a photography course then sign up and go, if you want to go to the gym or cook a steak or go to a festival or teach abroad or go to a fancy bar or cut all your hair off and dye it pink then just do it

It sounds simple but I know, I really do know, that it is the least simple thing in the world sometimes, just to take the opportunities that are offered to us, but try. What's the worst that can happen - you'll be embarrassed? You'll make a fool of yourself? Is that really worse than living in the shadows, hiding under your duvet? Letting your dream job or your dream man or your fun experience go to somebody else, because you were scared? 


In the words of Straylight Run, 'Wondering what if is the worst thing there is.' Just take a deep breath and whatever it is - do it. For better or worse. Just keep thinking 'whatever happens today, when it is over I will be at home and I will have some dinner or a cup of tea and a biscuit and a nice hot bath, and it will be alright.'

So today I am going to try and take my own advice and maybe tomorrow, if it goes well, I'll be full of bubbles and excitement over how well it went; if not, I'll write a piece on my chocolate-wine hangover and getting over embarrassment. But I promise this - I won't write a piece about how I didn't go.


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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Things Reality TV Producers Think Happen But Normal People Don’t



I have been watching a lot of telly lately (who hasn’t?) and while I deeply love reality TV (Made In Chelsea is my favourite, TOWIE is still great), it has occurred to me that TV producers seem to live in a bizarre parallel universe that I don’t live in.

Ergo, here is my conclusive list of things that reality TV producers think exist but nobody else does.




1 Cute Nerds

These slightly awkward, shy boys (think Francis in Made In Chelsea) with two day stubble and glasses and maybe a Star Wars t shirt, being overly polite and talking about how much they care about their mums, then suddenly making some kind of Never Been Kissed type transformation into a beautiful man in a tuxedo at night. This doesn’t happen. Real life nerds either stay in their small select friendship groups and marry their version of Hermione Granger or they spend their entire lives in their bedrooms playing weird online space games and sending creepy messages to girls on Tinder.



2 Chance Encounters

I.e. bumping into your ex walking along the river, possibly on a date with your best friend: unless you live in a tiny village in the outer Hebrides, this never happens. I live in London. I don’t see anyone unless I’ve prearranged it. If I do bump into someone, it’s probably someone I went to primary school with and hardly know, and we will politely ignore each other to avoid the obligatory awkward conversation that neither of us want to have, followed by the promise of a catch up that will thankfully never occur. If I did see my ex boyfriend walking towards me down my road, I’d just turn around and walk swiftly in the opposite direction to avoid him. Which leads onto…



3  Troublesome ex boyfriends

The kind that keep popping up (sometimes literally, in the street in front of you), going to the same parties as you, sleeping with your mates and causing drama. No. Either you break up and never speak again or you keep sleeping with each other for so long that it’s not really even awkward anymore. And all your friends hate him anyway because he never texts back and he used your flatmate’s Crème de la Mer face cream as soap.



4 Dates

With people you hardly know. To things like crazy golf or to an ice skating rink. Why have reality TV producers based life on a 50s film? All dates I have ever been on involve going to the pub and drinking five glasses of wine, listing all the pets I’ve ever had, snogging them right after saying ‘I don’t normally kiss on a first date,’ then realising I’ve missed the last tube home, falling asleep on a night bus and ending up in Shepherd’s Bush.



5 Bad Weather

Everybody pops into cafés and bars looking like they’ve just stepped out of the hairdresser’s, not like they’ve just fallen out of a hedge or with their hair plastered to their head in the manner of a 90’s boyband member. Girls wear vest tops and cashmere cardigans and delicate ballet slippers with reckless abandon, when in reality we are all bundled up in out of fashion Ugg boots and coats that resemble sleeping bags, mascara halfway down our faces and only one glove on because the other has mysteriously vanished. And why don’t they ever wear tights? Everybody in England always wears tights all the time.



6 Dating in your friendship group

‘I was dating Steve, but now I’m dating Freddie, you know, who used to date Anna? I know I’ve known him since school but like, who else would I date?’ Err, how about literally anyone else?

If you get to 25 and there’s a boy in your friendship group you haven’t slept with, it’s either because the idea repulses you, or because he was dating your best friend for two years and THERE ARE RULES. You certainly don’t all merrily swap partners every ten minutes like a boring dating version of a swinger’s party, excluding anybody you didn’t go to school with as if in a weird cult. If anything, the second everyone went to uni they realised ‘oh, thank god, there are OTHER MEN in the world,’ and never spoke to a boy from school ever again.




7 ‘Leaving town’

If I broke up with my boyfriend and then told my friends that I needed to ‘get away for a while’ and headed off to the airport in a cab, staring wistfully out of the window as I went, they’d think I had gone completely insane. Let alone if I then came home two weeks later and it turned out I had actually just gone on holiday with my Mum.



8 Parties

‘What are we doing this weekend?’

Which answer sounds most like your life?

‘Oh, Jenny is having a dinner party in an old country mansion, in aid of parrots, it’s like, such a good cause? And we all have to dress up like it’s the 1920s. All your ex boyfriends will be there, and that girl nobody likes will be there too with a friend that no one has ever mentioned before. Nobody will seem to be drinking or dancing or actually having a good time. It’s going to be amazing!’

Or:

‘Well, I’m probably just going to be in the pub, with our friends – the ones we mostly actually like – and getting drunk.’

Exactly.




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