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2015 Food Review

I have eaten far too much this year. It got to the point where I actually had to join a gym just to balance things out a bit. Food is an integral part of my social life; one of the things that I genuinely love to experiment with and experience, and not just in London. Some of the best food I've had this year has been out of the city, and some of it not even in this country. When it comes to food, I just can't help myself. Here's the best of what I've eaten this year:

Dinner and Drag Queens at The Glam Clam Cabaret

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You know sometimes when you and your mates look back on a night out that you always have an anecdote from? One of those evenings where you have hundreds of photos, a sore throat the next morning and something weird in your bag that you forgot you'd swiped on your way home. That pretty much sums up the evening I had at The Glam Clam with the best bunch of blogger buddies a gal could wish for.

Added Extras #8

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Twas the week before Christmas and all over the house, no-one was stirring...because they weren't in. There has not been one night this week that I've actually been in, thanks to the final plunge into festive socialising. I've finally managed to post out some presents, but no cards, even though I've bought them. It's the thought that counts, right?

The Novelty Christmas Outfit

best christmas jumpers
I'm wearing:
Jumper - Missguided
Skirt - Forever 21
Tights - Pretty Polly at ASOS
Shoes - Topshop

I'm no stranger to novelty clothing. I can regularly be seen wearing a giant T-Rex necklace (his name is Bolan), I wore pom-pom shoes to a wedding, and last night I carried a clutch bag in the shape of a Feast ice cream. Christmas jumpers? Easy peasy.

My Perfect Bath Time Products


Added Extras #7

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Christmas is coming around a bit quick, isn't it? As always, I think I'm organised by December 1st and then my diary goes crazy, I'm never at home and I have no time to finish my shopping. I haven't even bought cards yet, let alone sent them (so apologies to anyone reading this that has sent one to me so far!). It's been such a fun week, seeing some of my favourite people, but also having some time to myself. Here are the Added Extras that have made my week:

Hawaiian Burgers at Kua'Aina, Goodge Street

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When Kua'Aina opened, a mere stones throw from my old office, I wasn't interested at all. Hawaiian burger joint? Sounded like a gimmick to me, and I'm precious about my burgers. It turns out that I'd made a bit of presumption. Kua'Aina started off as a burger and sandwich shack in Hawaii, attracting global attention, including that of two London based guys who loved it so much they brought it over to our fair shores.

African Prints and Brown Boots

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I've never really been one to buy sale items a whole season ahead. I cannot get my brain to think summer when it's bloody freezing outside, but as it's actually pretty mild out at the moment it's been slightly more feasible. Ages ago I was snooping around the Topshop sale to find a bargain outfit to wear to Ascot and found this African print dress.

Added Extras #6

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It's been five weeks since I last posted an Added Extras snippet. To be honest, I haven't felt like it. I won't go into details but to be frank, the last month has been utterly awful. I have struggled to see the positives in my everyday goings on when all I've really wanted to do is sit under a duvet and pretend life isn't shitting all over me. But I'm getting through it. And today is the first day in a while that I've wanted to share what I've been getting up to, because my friends and family have been so incredibly bloody amazing in reminding me that socialising and exploring and discovering is what I love best. So, here (finally) is Added Extras #6:

A Weekend in Liverpool: Part 2

liverpool albert dock

Our weekend in Liverpool had been choc-a-bloc full of food and shopping and neon Christmas trees; on our last day we felt like we should take in a bit of culture. Our Travelodge looked over the Albert Dock - home to a number of museums, gorgeous views across the Mersey and a selection of tourist-trap shops selling the best cheap tat you could ever hope for.

A Weekend in Liverpool: Part 1

museum of liverpool

I'm no stranger to the north-west of the UK, but I'll admit that that's basically been limited to the Greater Manchester area. I went to Liverpool once, four years ago, but it was summer and it was hot and I was basically just there to go drinking with my friend (I don't regret a thing). It is, of course, a world famous city, primarily down to four specific men but I genuinely had no idea what else the city had to offer.

Alcoholic Architecture

alcoholic architecture london

London is stupid. I live in a city where the simple act of going for a drink just doesn’t cut it for most of us. We’re presented with ‘immersive’ experiences, pop-ups and quirky concepts. I’ve drunk cocktails from vintage jelly molds, consumed hot buttered rum inside a giant rooftop wigwam and craft beer straight from the brewery, but Alcoholic Architecture takes the top spot for ‘most ridiculous alcohol consumption’ ever.

Peanut Butter Cookies: My Mum's Recipe

peanut butter cookies

It's not that long ago since I wrote about how much I love home. I have a wonderful relationship with my mum and my love of food very much stems from her. Ready meals were extremely rare, takeaways few and far between, and the importance of home cooking was very strong. My mum's baking remains legendary amongst my friends (AJ forever craves her apple pie, Phoebe misses her banana cake all the way from Australia!), and I like looking through the recipe book she made for me when I moved to university for inspiration on what to bake next.

[Life] October, 2015

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I'll be frank here: October needed to calm the hell down. It got far too over excited with itself and went all Single White Female on me. My diary was full, my work life was manic, I basically didn't sleep and almost had a meltdown. There's a lot going on right now that I don't really want to divulge into on this particular space of the internet, but I would just quite like to have a nap and skip forward a few weeks until things just chill out a bit.

Fishing With the Locals in Glengarriff, Ireland

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If there's one stereotype I'd heard about the Irish which turned out to be completely true, it's that they are unbelievably friendly. During our road trip, conversation with locals flowed as easily as the Guinness - in pubs, hotels, cafes, we received tip-offs, recommendations and warm welcomes from everyone we met.

Added Extras #5

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These weekly posts are all about the positive things that have made up my week. The happy added extras didn't come to me as easily this time as I had a truly stressful week at work and had little time for anything but going home and passing out from exhaustion. But there were some, and bloody good they were too. Positive mental attitude, people!

An Afternoon at Ascot

ascot horse racing

I don't do fascinators. My hair is basically a hat, so adding anything on top of that is a bit null and void as it just disappears underneath follicles. But at the heart of all races outfits is some headgear, so with that out of the picture I was a bit stumped with where to start with my outfit for Ascot. I can do super dressed up but this wasn't Ladies Day so I needed to be smart but not really formal.

8 Taxes Which Make as Much Sense as Tampon Tax

According to the government, sanitary products are a 'luxury' item. So lucky are half the population of the country to bleed from their genitals every month that those guys in Westminster think it's totally fair to charge 5% tax on the items that help a gal out. I mean, it's not like we don't have a choice right? I remember that day when I was 12 years old, excitedly skipping to Boots and signing up for menstruation, gleeful that decades of cramps and mood swings were ahead of me. I mean, who DOESN'T want to insert cotton wool into their private parts? Gee whizz, we're lucky.

Added Extras #4

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I shouldn't have jinxed myself last week by saying I was busy. This week has made last week look like the most jolly of sunshine-y walks in the park with a full blown picnic laden with scotch eggs and a bottle of prosecco that never goes flat. I think that when I have a shitty week, I sometimes work harder to make good things happen, or at least appreciate the little goings on that may otherwise pass me by.

Ireland Road Trip: Driving the West Coast

driving holidays ireland

The thing that really makes a driving holiday in Ireland is the stunning coast line. Around every corner you're hit with a new view, totally different from the last. Sometimes you see lush greenery, other times you get jagged, hard rock faces - all overlooking crashing waves that hide the small hope of seeing a visiting whale or seal.

Degustabox: September

 degustabox review

This month I had to have stern words with my other half to keep his mitts off bits in my Degustabox*. The things for your sweet tooth are always top notch and so great for keeping aside for a day when you just need sugar. Or booze. That helped too.

Added Extras #3

london lifestyle bloggers

I'm in desperate need of reminding myself of the added extras that have perked up my week. My word, I am busy with a capital B. Busy. No, actually, capitalise everything. BUSY. Christmas officially launches in my workplace on Thursday so I'm seeing life through a tinsel-tinged lens right now, but I won't bore you with that.

The Happiest Birthday

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It's almost been a month since my birthday and I've wanted to write about it, but I didn't just want to tell you what I got up to. I'll be honest, I was too drunk and over excitable to do a proper review of where we went for brunch, so I gave up on the idea. But then I started looking through the photos and one thing stood out to me: SMILES.

What I've Been Eating #5

food bloggers uk

I'm a firm believer that if you live in London there is hardly any excuse to eat shit food. Yes, we all fall for a Pret for lunch when we need something quick, but that's about convenience (and give me their pulled pork and quinoa hot pots any day over a sad, sad ham sandwich). When you have time to plan, there is no point going to Pizza Express when you have Franco Manca; no point going to Burger King when you have, well, ONE MILLION other burger places to try.

Ireland Road Trip: Driving to Clonakilty

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We knew that once we left Cork we just wanted to find the sea. We wanted to take coastal driving routes and see little villages and towns that we'd never heard of before, and once you're a few kilometres down the road that's exactly what you find. We knew we wanted to get to Clonakilty for our next B&B, but we had all day to get there so we headed up, up, up some steep roads to get a real sense of why Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle.

Added Extras #2

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Look! I've stuck to it! This is Added Extras #2 on time, on the day I said, all scheduled and good to go. It's kind of like I'm organised, or at least giving that illusion. Let's jump straight in to it, shall we?

How to Wear Double Denim

how to wear double denim

My friend once told me that double denim is also known as the Canadian Tuxedo. This was completely news to me but she's from Toronto so who am I to argue? I think the Canadians are on to something though. I may look back at this outfit in a few years time and wonder what the hell I was doing, but I don't think I look like I've been dunked into a Levi's factory head first...

Baking With Kenwood and Debenhams

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So obviously I write this blog, but I've actually worked with bloggers for years. I've scared the crap out of them at the London Dungeons and danced like a loon with them at Bestival, because planning events for bloggers is always so much fun. When my own team were planning a night of baking with homeware designer Ashley Thomas I made the decision to not only help set up the event, but also to don an apron and get my hands dirty (after washing them first, of course!).

Added Extras #1

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Sometimes things don't quite fit into a category. If I listen to a song on Spotify and like it I add it to just one playlist. I don't want to break it out into 'happy', 'sad', 'gym' (ha!), I just want to listen to all the songs I like in one place. I've been struggling with how to include some seemingly random parts of my life into this blog, as they don't always warrant an entire post but they're still worthy of a mention. So here we are. Welcome to Added Extras #1!

Ireland Road Trip: Kissing the Blarney Stone

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I wasn't that bothered about visiting Blarney Castle after reading a few reviews that said it was overcrowded, overhyped and overpriced. But it was raining and we needed somewhere to go that wasn't a million miles from Cork where we were still based, so we made our way there praying that the weather would improve.

[Life] September, 2015

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September is always super busy for me. I make the most of the end of the school holidays and go away somewhere where there's few children to get in the way (yes, eventually I'll have my own and be a bit more compassionate, but until then...). It's also my birthday month so there's always a few celebratory drinks and dinners to be getting on with. This September was characteristically crazy but it was worth it. In October I'm mainly in London but I've got lots of plans with some of my favourite people to keep me busy in the meantime!

How to Wear White Jeans

uk fashion blogs

I wear a lot of black. My ever faithful skinny jeans are that wonderful colour and I get through at least one pair a year, it's a push to even get me to wear blue jeans to be totally honest, so white is basically terrifying new territory for me. Being olive skinned I can wear white, buuuuuuut I don't. I'm super clumsy; guaranteed that at any meal I'll spill at least one thing down myself, and TWICE I have worn a white skirt on the tube and sat in something, uh, unsavoury.

Dinner Down Memory Lane with Marie Curie

marie curie dinner down memory lane

I wish I'd been alive in the 70s. Fleetwood Mac, The Two Ronnies, flares, Woodstock, The Clangers, fringing, ABBA - it's the decade that I inadvertently always end up channeling (mainly with my accidentally morning 'fros that basically turn me into a less attractive Marc Bolan).

Ireland Road Trip: Kinsale and Cobh

ireland driving holiday

One quiet weekday evening, my boyfriend and I were watching Calvary on Netflix. The film is a black comedy set in rural Ireland which got us thinking, why not drive around the Emerald Isle for our next holiday? So, a few week's later we flew into Cork, hired a car and roughly planned a route along the south-west coast to see some rugged coastlines. We stayed in Cork for three nights, using it a our base to explore some of the little towns and villages nearby.

Degustabox: August

degustabox august review

I love getting my monthly Degustabox*. It’s such a little treat to get post and not know what’s inside, as opposed to the unpleasant surprises bills can bring or another coupon for a dodgy local pizza place. August’s theme was ‘back to school’, with the box being full of products you can prep or pack for your lunch box. I try and take breakfast and lunch to work with me as many days as possible, so these were some great additions that I hadn’t previously thought of.

An Afternoon on London's Southbank

hayward gallery slides

As London tourist traps go, the Southbank is way up there as one of the places I go out of my way to avoid. It's a fantastic area of the city, crammed full of weird and wonderful sights and different things to do and explore, but this means it gets pretty busy and I just get a bit impatient with the crowds.

Why I'm Not Writing a 30 Before 30 List

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Today is my 27th birthday. When a whole day is dedicated to reminding you that you're getting older and there's absolutely no way of stopping it, you do tend to think about life so far and what's in store for you in the future. I tend to wonder how the hell it's been five years since I graduated university, if I'll ever be able to afford a house, and if all the cake I eat on my birthday is the sole reason I have cellulite on my thighs (probabaly, but never mind ey?).

Dinner at Shoryu, Kingly Court

ramen restaurants london

Cronuts, burgers, pulled pork; us Londoners love a food craze. Over the last year ramen has joined the ranks of the city's favourite dishes with restaurants dedicated to the stuff popping up everywhere. I still haven't made it to Kanada-Ya due to the stupid queues outside it around the clock, but I did manage to get into Koya before it closed down. Shoryu is bringing ramen to the masses, with four outposts now trading and introducing people to the very basics of the dish and its origins.

Where is Home?

growing up in uk

Where are you going when you tell someone you're 'going home'? For me, most days, 'home' is my flat in London, but it means a dwelling, somewhere that more often that not I got back to after work, or generally just somewhere I keep the majority of my stuff. Yet I still refer to any visit back to see my parents in Milton Keynes as 'going home'.

Exploring London by Bike

things to do in london

I haven't ridden a bike in at least five years. When I lived in York I cycled everywhere (and that place is full of hills so my arse was AMAZING), but the thought of riding a bike in London has always terrified me, with horror stories in the news of collisions and accidents. Cyclists don't even seem to be nice to each other a lot of the time, I've seen some people have screaming matches at traffic lights to the amusement of passing pedestrians. But I hate the tube and I want to be more active so Charley and I took the plunge and decided to just give it a go.

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

what to wear to a summer wedding

I'm not really a dress wearer, but this summer has been full of 'occasions'. When shopping my friend's upcoming nuptials I contemplated a co-ord, or maybe a jumpsuit, but nothing felt quite formal enough. This was wedding, yes, but the bride is one of the most creative people I know; every year I get a homemade birthday and Christmas card from her which are always beautiful and I wanted to make sure that my outfit wasn't too traditional as it just wouldn't reflect the wonderful person getting married.

Dinner at Smoking Goat, Soho

smoking goat restaurant review

The thing with trying to find somewhere to eat in London is that everywhere looks so unassuming. Some of the best places I've eaten at have little-to-no branding and only seat 20 people max. Smoking Goat looks like a standard side street dingy bar from the outside and is on Denmark Street, in the grey area between Soho and Covent Garden.

Barbecuing with Quorn

easy vegetarian bbq recipes

The wonderful pleasure of a summer barbecue has been ruined for me living in London. We aren't allowed to have one on our balcony, and those piddly disposable ones you have in local parks just burn everything. That and it hasn't stopped raining since 1994 (or at least that's what it feels like). For me, a barbecue is normally a meat feast and I am totally fine with that. There may be some sort of salad that's predominantly there for decoration, but for me a barbecue is just not a vegetarian meal.

How to Wear a Denim A-Line Skirt

denim a line button skirt

I love jeans for their versatility. No matter what situation I have to dress for you can guarantee that I'll have considered a pair of jeans at some point, but with other denim items I can struggle. Denim's stiff nature can mean shirts gape at the chest and skirts don't have the give to allow me to sit down without flashing some lucky strangers. The thing is, I reeeeeeeeally like this skirt so I just figured I'd get it and then make it work.

36 Hours in Bergen

what to do in bergen

Arriving into Bergen after a 6.5hr train journey from Oslo was quite the relief. Although our trip had been amazing, it was nice to be back out in the crisp summer Norwegian air, and Bergen instantly wooed us with its charm. Cobbled streets, wooden houses and a feel of true rustic Scandinavia separates it from the modern and sleek aesthetic of Oslo.

Degustabox: July

degustabox review

One word can sum up this month's Degustabox*: sweet. There was just a lot of sugar, so it's taken me a little while to write this review as I've had to stagger tasting them all so I don't crash and burn in a dribbly mess. There were some genuinely great finds though and I particularly loved the hemp oil and Weetabix drinks - they'll be new additions to my regular shop.

How to Wear Culottes

how to wear culottes

The last time I wore culottes was part of my Brownie uniform a good 18 years ago. I never went out with the intention of buying a pair, it just kind of happened when I fell into Pop Boutique on Seven Dials one evening after work. The thing is with culottes is you have to be tall to wear them, and as it happens, I'm 5ft 10" so I pretty much fit that bill. So I bought them, amused by the fact that they look like a skirt but totally aren't, and then promptly realised I had absolutely no idea what to wear with them.

Travelling from Oslo to Bergen by Train

oslo bergen train norway

After a few days in Oslo, we boarded a train to Bergen to see Norway's countryside by rail. The journey was 6.5 hours but it's been voted one of the most scenic rail routes in the world. A bit of research informed us to pay about £15 extra to sit in Komfort class which was well worth the money. We had a ton of leg room, less people in our carriage and free tea and coffee for the duration. I booked our tickets online as paying in advance was cheaper, and chose our seats based on the wise words of TripAdvisor: forward facing and on the left hand side.

Four Fun Ways to Dye Your Clothes

easy clothes dyeing ideas

I like to think that I’m a creative person. My career path has meant that I’ve needed to think of inventive ways of marketing some of the most dull products on sale in the country, but creativity doesn’t mean artistic, and that is something I am definitely not. Last weekend, me, my mum and sister (both infinitely more artistic than me) tried our hand at fabric dyeing.

What I Ate in Norway

bergen fish market

After my recent visit to Norway I know two things for sure:
1) It is the one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to
2) It is the most expensive place I've ever been to

We were hitting up places that were one or two £ signs in the guide book but would still be paying around £35 each for dinner, and that's exclusing alcohol.
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review