Thursday, 19 December 2019

Small Fish. Big Pond.

It’s so funny that, in a city with a population of almost 9 million people, it’s so easy to feel lonely. I’ve lived here for just over 2 years now, and as much as it has absolutely flown because I always feel like I’m so busy, I’ve spent so many nights (usually Sundays when I’ve got ‘the fear’ after a big weekend) lying in bed, running away with my thoughts and not being able to shift the horrible feeling of loneliness in my stomach.

I work full time, Monday-Friday. Alongside this, I try and go to F45 every morning before work, I try and get 8 hours sleep a night, I try and meal prep my lunches so I’m not buying crap every day, I try and keep up with social media and write my blog, I try and plan date nights with my boyfriend, and on top of that I try and have a social life! It’s d-r-a-i-n-i-n-g. Especially in winter. I’m getting up at 6am when it’s pitch black and I’m leaving work at 6pm when it’s pitch black. The urge to go home and eat a bowl of cereal in bed every night is so strong after a long day. But then it gets to 8pm and I feel like my friends are gonna start labelling me as the bailer or stop inviting me out presuming that I won’t come anyway. I mean, they don’t, but as a massive over-thinker with horrendous anxiety I’ve just started expecting the worst. So I feel like I always need to have plans.

I’ve always had a really active social life, mostly down to the fact that I live for attention and I always need a substantial crowd around me to perform to like the show pony I am (lol). I’ve had the same amazing group of friends since I was 17, but unfortunately for me, they all still in back home in Preston. (Apart from 2, who still live at least 1hour+ from London.) As much as the whatsapp group makes me howl every day and I don’t feel like I’m losing touch with any of them, the FOMO is R-E-A-L. Especially when I can see everyone discussing what sounds like it’s going to be a really fun night, or someone’s birthday, or housewarming or celebratory drinks for a new job (which is happening a LOT lately so yassss). Saying ‘congrats’ on text or over the phone is never the same as being able to give them a massive hug in person and say how proud you are of them.

My family all still live back up North too. Well, both my brothers are in the Royal Forces, so they are usually here there and everywhere, but nothing is worse than when they manage to both get back to my parents for a weekend and I’m not there. Also, you know those times where you just need a hug from you Mum? Or to let off some steam and vent to your Dad? It’s hard when they’re 2 hours and an £80 train away.

I know I would be more depressed living in my hometown, where I would never be able to work in the job I do, for the company I do, and have opportunities like I do. I’m fortunate enough to be making my way up the career ladder, living in a house that I love, with some amazing friends- some from back home, some from uni and some that I’ve been lucky to meet down here- including my boyfriend. It feels quite strange to be writing about loneliness because I don’t think it’s a feeling people would associate with me and my character.

A lot has changed in my life this year. My housemates, my job and my relationship status - so pretty major!
Now that I’m starting to settle into the changes, I’m looking forward to learning how to be comfortable in my own company, and not feel inadequate if I decide to swerve a night out in favour of a night in with myself.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

London Date Night Ideas: Bedales Wine Tasting Workshop

I’ve been wine tasting once before- it was a full day trip in the Hunter Valley in Sydney, Australia. With over 200 years of winemaking and 150 wineries, it’s safe to say there is a lot of grapes to go around. The guide drives you to a select few vineyards along the route, and you go in and try a selection of their finest offerings and eat a few pieces of cheese and a cracker or two. In the whole day. So, you could say it’s a preeeetty boozy day out. BUT it was a brilliant day and it made my thirst (‘scuse the pun) for finding out, and remembering, more about one of my favourite tipples.

I’m always on the lookout for new date night ideas to try in London (hence this blog series!) so when I got the opportunity to attend the California Dreamin’ Premium Wine Tasting Workshop at Bedales Wines, I was really excited to try something new and actually take some wine knowledge away with me. If you haven’t heard of them before, Bedales are an independent, family-owned wine bar, renowned for their fabulous selection of fine and interesting, unusual wines.

The wine tasting classes have very limited availability to make sure each one allows for questions and curiosities throughout the evening. Ours had about 10 people in and was located in a beautiful private room of Bedales Leadenhall, so it had a really nice relaxed atmosphere. It felt more like I was having drinks with friends as opposed to my presumption of a ‘workshop’ where we were going to be talked at for 2 hours. Speaking of being talked at, this was quite the opposite, and this brings me nicely on to our host! Dan Belmont is the resident wine expert at Bedales, and he was absolutely brilliant! He was so knowledgeable about the region, and he had so many facts and funny little stories which had us laughing throughout the course of the evening. Every time we moved on to the next wine, he opened the table up for discussion about what we could smell, taste and see, before he shared the finer details. He was absolutely faultless, and I would highly recommend him as a host.

As well as drinking a lot of vino (we got through a flight of 6 premium wines and a prosecco on arrival) there were delicious platters of Charcuterie and cheese down the table for us to nibble on throughout the evening, which was a lovely added touch.

I would highly recommend Bedales wine tasting evenings for date nights, something different to do with a group of friends or just those looking to try some different and delicious wines! Especially with Christmas on the horizon, if you purchase 2 tickets to their next workshop, it’s basically a present for yourself too!

Check out their next event dates here.

*this experience was gifted but all views are 100% honest.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

London Date Night Ideas: God's Own Junkyard

Every Tuesday morning I will grab a copy of Time Out magazine. Without fail And even though I circle at least 6 things I plan to do/restaurants I want to eat out/new bars I want to visit, I rarely follow through with any of them. (Most likely due to having a busy schedule or just totally forgetting.)

HOWEVER, God's Own Junkyard is a place I have wanted to visit since I moved to London. I remember seeing it on Zoe LDN's IG and thinking it looked like the coolest place on earth. Now that I've lived here for just over 18 months I've started to tick most of the most Instagrammable places off my list: Elan Cafe, Tonight Josephine, Restaurant Ours, the orange tree at Sushi Samba etc etc, but I was yet to visit God's Own Junkyard.

I had seen photos of it on Instagram, and on 'Best Free Things to do in London' articles, but WOW! It looked so much more amazing in the flesh! It isn't as big as I expected, but every single inch of the room is crammed full of the loudest, most garish, eclectic neon signage and pieces of art. There was a huge great white shark head (which I have decided is an absolutely necessity in my future home), there was a life size status of Mary covered in LV logos with Chanel Wings- basically a room full of random fluorescent shit I never knew I needed. Kind of like if the Blackpool illuminations and Tonight Josephine had a love child. 

As well as getting your perfect Instagram shot, there is a couple of cute gin bars/craft beer stalls outside with seating which definitely makes the trip to zone 3 (woah) worth your while.

God's Own Junkyard
Location: Walthamstow
Price: Free!
Timing: We stayed for about 30 minutes

Monday, 16 September 2019

Personal Shopping at TK Maxx Oxford Street

If you asked me to describe my bedroom, it would be eclectic. I don't really have a colour scheme and  as much as I love the Scandanavian minimalist trend, or Danish 'hygge', I am way too much of a maximalist to even begin to attempt either of the two. My bedroom has baby pink and lilac tie-dye bedsheets, fairy lights and polaroid pictures all over the wall, random posters with Kris Jenner quotes written in glitter (#inspirational) a huge ring light and 239843948 beauty/tanning/skincare/haircare products from my 3 years of working in the beauty industry.

Even though my boyfriend describes my bedroom as a teenage girls bedroom, I absolutely love it. The unique prints make it feel cosy and I love it when I find one-off trinkets that no one else has.

When I was offered a personal shopping tour from the lovely team at TK Maxx to celebrate their brand new Oxford Street store, I couldn't wait! I love spending an afternoon pottering around the beauty/homeware section in my local store, so the fact this one had 4(!!) floors to explore was so exciting.

I started on the third floor, homeware. The Oxford Street store had the most incredible selection of candles! Now that it's starting to get colder, there is nothing better than having a chilled night getting stuck into a new box set on Netflix and lighting a delicious, Autumnal candle. I used to swear by the Sugar Cookie candles from Yankee, but I've had to wean myself off them because they smell so good that I'm constantly hungry for doughnuts and birthday cake. I picked up a 400count Egyptian Cotton fitted sheet for my bed, which was £16.99 instead of £45, and an acrylic make-up organiser, which I had been looking for for aaaaaages! It was an absolutely bargain at £7, and there were so many to choose from (fellow lipstick addicts get yourself over there stat!)

My favourite floor- BEAUTY! I love that TK Max stock so many brands- high end as well as drug store and they both have huge savings. I picked up this Mario Badescu Aloe Lotion (I've been dying to try this brand for aaaages!) stocked up on my Nip + Fab Glycolic pads (which were £4 instead of £12.95) and I also got a Philips Epilator for £39.99. I used to have one ages ago but when I moved to London I lost it and didn't really want to fork out £100 for a new one, so this definitely was the purchase of the day!

What bargains have you picked up in your local TK Maxx? Have you visited the huge Oxford Street store yet?

*I was kindly gifted a gift card for my visit but all views are my own.

Friday, 30 August 2019

London Date Night Ideas: The Big London Bake | Rooftop Film Club

One of the reasons I love living in London so much is because there is always something to do. A new bar or restaurant that has just opened. A secret gig in someones basement. A naked bike ride through central. A dessert festival. I look forward to grabbing my copy of Time Out magazine on the way to work on Tuesday morning to see all the unusual things going on in the capital that week, circling the ones I want to actually book (although I rarely get round to it)

But sometimes there can be too much choice. I've been here 18 months now, and I still panic when someone asks me where to go for dinner that night, or what we should plan for the following weekend. That's why I am going to start road testing some fun, unique things to do in London and share my favourites. So when it comes round to date night, or you have friends visiting from outside the city who you want to impress, you'll find everything in this series!

The Big London Bake
Location: Tooting, South West
Price: £35-45
Timing: 90 minutes

Who isn't obsessed with the Bake Off?! If you're a wannabe Star Baker, like me (bearing in mind the last thing I baked was a banoffee pie for my Dad's birthday about 6 years ago, and when I come to think of it, nothing involved actually baking), then you will feel right at home in the tent. A exact replica of *the* Bake Off tent has been erected right here in South West London! (No Paul Hollywood though I'm afraid.) Each month features a different bake- ours was a Cloud Cake, which is a sponge cake filled with jam, topped with a big 'cloud' of marshmallow and covered in fondant icing.

Proud parents

All ingredients are provided, and there is a cabinet at the front of the tent with flavourings, dried fruit, chocolate curls, marshmallows, nuts, and loads more treats to flavour and decorate your bake with. The method is also provided, but looking at our finished cake, you would think we did it blindfolded, with our hands tied behind our backs in the midst of a hurricane. BUT, God loves a trier (and we genuinely really tried- fondant is HARD to handle!) We named ours 'diabetes' and we can last. But I left the tent full of marshmallow and fond-ant memories of the evening (sorry not sorry.)

Can you spot which one is ours?
And a close up, because this is the content you've been waiting for!
Rooftop Film Club
Location: Bussey Building, Roof East and Queen of Hoxton
Price: Tickets start at £14.95
Timing: However long the film is, but get there early for street food and drinks!

I went to the Rooftop Film Club at the Bussey Building in Peckham last summer to see True Romance, so I was so excited to go back and try and different location! I was kindly gifted x2 VIP lounge tickets to watch one of my favourite films, 10 Things I Hate About You, at Roof East in Stratford. The location itself is gorrrrrge, full of street food shacks and bars, and loads of fun activities like mini golf, shuffleboard, table tennis etc etc etc, so would be such a cool place to go with a big group of friends to hang out on a sunny day.

Round the other side is the cinema! It looks so gorgeous in front of the London skyline, especially as the sun goes down. A huge screen is set up in front of loads of deck chairs. You can pay to upgrade to a VIP ticket, which includes a cosy double lounger (date night ESSENTIAL!) bottomless popcorn and blankets! The blankets definitely came in handy last night at our screening- it gets chilly at 10pm! You listen to the film through individual headphones too, so super clear sound and no noise disruption from rowdy drinkers in the bar next door.

The Rooftop Film Club host screenings at all 3 venues all summer- a mix of classics and brand new movies. Head to the website above to catch the last of the summer screenings!

What are your favourite things to do in London?

*I was kindly gifted both experiences, but all views are my own.