A travel and style blog

Home Details: A Girl Living Alone

I am currently lady of the manor, well lady of the one bedroom flat, and am therefore free to fill my cupboards and shelves with as many flowery trinkets as I desire with not so much as a whiff of testosterone fuelled questioning. I also just so happen to be trying to get to grips with a new camera, so thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl and share some of my home accessories with you.

I decorated my home in shades of white (yes there are shades of white apparently - vintage white, champagne white or cotton white? hmmm decisions, decisions) and added hints of colour with easily changeable accessories. When I first viewed my flat I was 29 and single. Stand back aghast.  In a society that piles on the pressure for single girls to meet that 'someone special,' having a man in your life doesn't have to be the be all and end all, well not when it comes to choosing your home accessories.

Here's a peak at some of mine.

The armchair and side table are from MADE. A fairly recent discovery but I'm already in love with their original designs. MADE is based on-line so you pay less than you would in high street stores. The dining table and tableware are from the tried and tested IKEA.  A Swedish furniture heaven. Feel free to comment if you want to know where the smaller bits and pieces are from.

I should point out that while I was waiting for my moving in date I did happen to meet my boyfriend and I wasn't exactly burning bras when I asked him to fit my new light fittings, connect my electric oven and drive my new dining table home from IKEA. 

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post while sat back against your perfectly plumped cushions, with your cup of coffee placed ON and not next to that heart shaped coaster.  Be happy ladies just as you are - hell why not treat yourself to some more ornamental hearts to hang around your home, you probably deserve them. xx

What You Can't Hide When You Travel With Your Partner

What I posted: 
Feeling spoiled after a weekend away with the boy in sunny Dublin.  Back home recovering after a few cheeky pints of Guinness.

What really happened: 
You always get to know your partner that little bit better after a trip away together. I'm in no doubt that most men and women have a different approach to travelling. Here's a few observations from my City break to Dublin last weekend and what can be expected when venturing to distant lands with me as your trusty travel companion (yes yes for the purposes of a blog post, a 35 minute flight to Dublin counts as a distant land).

1. As soon as tickets are booked I will start to plan my outfits which will inevitably consist of several new items.  I will start to pack a week before I go - He will pack the night before.

2. My new items are often a mistake. New shoes for a city break are a bad idea, which is precisely what I was thinking when I trotted about Dublin with my feet torn to shreds. I also had the misfortune of discovering two holes in the leg of my new dungarees. Not the kind of discovery you want to make when sat on an open top tour bus cruising past the childhood home of Oscar Wilde.  Oscar may very well have said "there's only one thing worse than being talked about, not being talked about" but nobody wants to be talked about because she has holes in her dungarees!

3. I get anxious when I arrive at airports.  I wouldn't say that I'm afraid of flying but I've started recently getting anxiety attacks when checking in. I'm not entirely sure if it's triggered by the amount of faffing and preparing that has taken place on my part since booking tickets, finding and packing the perfect outfits and remembering passports - He'll buy me a large wine while I repeat positive mantras and try to stop picturing the opening scenes of Final Destination.

4. I'm not a natural beauty.  A whole load more faffing will ensue when checking my hand luggage in through Customs, juggling my several clear resealable toiletry bags stuffed with my must have beauty essentials - He'll pop his one clear bag containing deodorant, after shave and hair wax through.

5. Drinking lager in an afternoon doesn't agree with me.  I don't usually drink lager at all but thought it a suitable choice when sampling the pubs in Dublins Temple Bar area.  A few halves later I was in a bad mood (halves because I was still trying to cling on to what femininity I had left, stood wearing dungarees and quaffing lager in an Irish pub with a rugby match blaring out) - He drank pints and was not in a mood.

6. A souvenir shop can pull me out of any mood and rescue an evening. I love novelty gifts from holidays, the tackier the better.  My parents will be absolutely thrilled with their Shamrock Shortbread - He quite likes a nosey round gift shops too (I think! I black out and only have eyes for magnets and tea towels).

7. What happens in the hotel bathroom stays in the hotel bathroom.  It's inevitable that a change to diet and excess Guinness may lead to unusual 'bathroom activity' - you both know it's going on but with a bid to keep an air of romance and as a mark of respect plead ignorance and when he emerges from the bathroom claim that you always sit wide eyed with the telly blaring out.

8. Imodium becomes my best friend.  In a bid to avoid the above I never travel without it.

9. I become mute when asking for directions, checking into hotels, ordering coffee or in fact saying anything if there's a language barrier.  I stand well back and let him muscle his way through. Although I should admit that once in Italy I was 'encouraged' to try and speak the language and did successfully order 'pollo.'  I'm practically fluent, when forced.

10. I don't like to miss an opportunity for a photograph...of anything.  'DON'T take a sip of your coffee until I've taken a quick photo'.  I'm new to blogging and you just never know when that photo might come in.

11. The post holiday blues can be a humdinger.  I like to save a novelty gift for arrival home. Kicking back on your sofa with a lucky leprechaun bar of chocolate can really ease the pain of unpacking and returning to normality.

You'd think we'd had a terrible weekend but we didn't, I promise.  I'd recommend Dublin for a short break, so much history to take in, and it'll help if your a fan of a tipple or two.

Thanks for reading xx 

What Nobody Tells You About Being In Your Thirties

What I posted:
My Birthday week has finally arrived! Let the celebrations commence!

What really happened:
Did I mention it's my Birthday this week?? I'll be spending the big day itself at work, but I fully intend to make up for it and celebrate at the weekend.  I'm turning 31 this time which brings a promise of self assurance and great wisdom, although this comes at a price.

In honour of well and truly leaving my twenties behind, here's a list of things I've noticed since turning 30.

1. I worry more.  Sometimes I feel worried but can't put my finger on what it is that I'm worrying about. Then I start to mull over all the things that it might possibly be, and the cycle goes on.

2. Hangovers are hell.  Two days of suffering minimum.

3. TV programmes can bring me to tears (an episode of Neighbours was my most embarrassing outburst.  Karl and Susan were so good together).

4. A good TV programme can be a highlight of my evening.  I look forward to an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills far too much, even the repeats.

5. I still get spots from time to time.  I assumed that spot breakouts would be a distant memory by now.

6.. Evening Primrose Oil is something I now take.  I can't say I'm too sure if I feel any benefit but it's better to be safe than sorry right?

7. When I book tickets for music festivals I worry if I'll survive three nights of drinking and sleeping in a tent.  I try not to let this put me off as I need to cram as many festivals in as possible before my hips and/or knees start to fail me.

8. I enjoy an early night.  Not in a Fifty Shades Of Grey kind of way, but in a 'I could really do with a solid 8 hours of sleep' kind of way.

9. My Facebook news feed has changed dramatically.  Photos of wild weekends have been ditched for wedding snaps and child maintenance squabbles (I kidd you not, I read one today over lunch). I'm not casting judgement here, I'm just as guilty as the next 30 year old for posting lovely day out photos.

10. I feel bothered if I have ironing that needs doing, I can't ignore it or relax until it's done.

11. If I sit on the floor with my niece and nephew for too long I loose the feeling in my legs.

12. I like to write myself lists and reminder notes otherwise I can't cope with all my 'To Do's' swirling about my head.

13. I feel over the moon if I get asked for ID when I'm buying alcohol and share the news with whoever I come into contact with first.  I trot off home beaming and raise a toast to Eternal Youth, 60% sure dressing like a student when I shop at Morrisons has nothing to do with it.

14. The M word has started to fill me with dread (not Morrisons - Menopause). Ok, a bit dramatic, I'm not quite at this stage of life yet but I have started to become aware that IT IS coming. Do other 30 year old females share this dread? Christ, where did I put my Evening Primrose Oil?

Despite all of the above I've quite enjoyed being 30. Bring on the next year which I intend to embrace, may the popping of Prosecco corks drown out the ticking of my body clock.  Best get a good 8 hours in first.

Sending apologies to any horrified 29 year old readers.

Thanks for reading xx

To Pack Or Not To Pack - Hand Luggage Shortlist

What I posted:
Routing out my travel essentials with just one week to go until I'm being whisked off to a mystery location for birthday celebrations.

What really happened:
While I'm so excited about finding out where I'm going next weekend, the mystery of it means a little extra planning when deciding what to pack.  I need to have a practical wardrobe that says to my boyfriend 'natural traveller' and 'never mind those chic European beauties, check out your Northern travel companion.' It also needs to fit into hand luggage.

Deciding what to take and what to leave behind isn't straightforward. I'm very lucky to have a boyfriend who I rarely disagree with (I'm not meaning to turn any stomachs but it's true, after an unquantified amount of 'frogs' I have found a nice guy) BUT when it comes to a certain few beloved items in my wardrobe there is a definite divide.

These are the clothes I love but my boyfriend hates.

CHUNKY SANDALS - I have to admit when I bought these from Topshop I was pretty pleased with myself, fashionable and so comfortable, but when I wore them on one of our early dates I did clock him trying not to stare at my feet a couple of times.  19 months in when I asked him, he confessed he hates them. It's the buckles, all 12 of them that he has a problem with.  They are quite a heavy shoe and the thud when I walk combined with the jangling of the buckles doesn't help my argument that they are a great find.

DOUBLE NECKLACES - I don't like to wear just one necklace.  I layer gold necklaces over a simple top, mixing delicate chains with chunky bolder ones. No awards for originality when the Mr.T impression came out, "I pity the fool who wears all that gold." 

LONG SKIRTS - I have a couple of ankle length skirts from American Apparel and I love them. Worn with a cropped top they are so comfortable and easy to wear.  They may have been likened to curtains but I resist the urge to snap back "pull yourself together" and swish out of the room.

DUNGAREES - Yet to own some but I'm off this Saturday to buy a black pair after deliberating for far too long if I should.  I can't wait!  I'm fully prepared for the backlash.  In his mind dungarees only come in white and are issued to the staff at B&Q.

I will be packing these items. Well except for the sandals. I haven't admitted it yet but he might be right about those.  I wore them to meet friends in my local pub and two strangers stared at them as I walked in.  Not in a good way.
Sandals aside, I'm standing firm over my other items. I may have just missed International Women's Day for this year but the spirit of empowerment still lives on ...I can wear long floaty skirts and every piece of jewellery I own if I damn well fancy it.

"Now take me away for the weekend... oh and do I look all-right?"

Hope you enjoyed reading xx

Last Minute City Break - My Wish List

My birthday is looming next week and the quiet dread of turning 31 has been overshadowed with the announcement that I'm being whisked away for the weekend.  Destination - Surprise. All I know is I need to pack a bag and we WILL be boarding a plane!!  Trusting that my boyfriend isn't taking me to a museum of aviation I'm assuming it's city break ahoy!

Here's want I plan to pack...Sunglasses are included (optimistically) and a pair of dungarees.  I've had a should I/shouldn't I debate over dungarees ever since their revival and have finally decided Yes. Perfect for travelling and taking in a city, and possibly my last chance to try them before it's considered a sign of a mid life crisis. Providing I don't accesorize with a Skip-It I vote Yes to dungarees at 30 (well 30 for another week anyway).




Thanks for reading xx

How To Survive A Quiet Weekend

What I posted:
TGI Friday...tomorrow!  The countdown is nearly over, looking forward to a relaxing weekend in with the boyfriend x

What really happened:
I AM looking forward to the weekend, and it IS going to be a quiet one, but more through necessity than choice. I've got great weekends on the horizon, a close friend's hen do, Ladies Day at Aintree, a wedding, a holiday, and a music festival, but this does mean that for now I'm temporarily on the bread line.
Also, a badly timed leak in my flat, which went undetected for a while, triggered the arrival of an unusually large water bill which has thrown a spanner in the works (feel free to add your own plumber joke).  Money down the drain, literally.
My boyfriend would usually treat me to a meal or night out but he's in a similar financial boat, currently renovating his house.  Any trips out or treats that would've come my way have understandably been traded for kitchen units and carpets.

It would appear that a 'grown ups social life' has been thrust upon me so here are my survival tactics for a weekend in, when you'd really rather be going out.

I rename the weekend and declare it 'A Well-being Weekend' and start it with a swift trip to the gym. I feel more pleased with myself than usual if I manage a trip to the gym at the weekend.  I throw in a post workout green tea with lemon and hey presto - ten years younger by Monday.  Surely?

I make the most of a hangover free head and find a complicated recipe on-line that I would never usually have the time to make.  Then I pass part of the morning shopping for the long list of ingredients and feel a surge of culinary confidence while buying saffron strands, fresh herbs and mustard powder.  The remainder of which will wither unused in the darkness of my kitchen cupboards, but they look pretty impressive on my shelves in the meantime.

I take a drive to my nearest Ikea, stroll round following the arrows and look at EVERYTHING, then leave with a pack of SINNLIG scented tealights, £1.35 for 30 (currently on sale).  I don't let the man in my life sat on various settee's staring at his phone put me off browsing. I explain to him that I'm not buying a 4 pack of the RAJTAN tiny jars just because they're cute and only £1.50.  I NEED these...for the spices I'm not likely to use again.

I scour Trip Advisor for photographs of the hotel I'll be staying in this summer and only read the good reviews, as a reminder of why I'm staying in this weekend.  Then plan my entire holiday wardrobe on the Topshop app.

I spend the evening playing a board game livened up with a bottle and a half of prosecco.  I successfully trialled this recently with a game of Monopoly, although I did later regret singing the whole of Happy Birthday to my boyfriend's brother when he turned over the 'It's your birthday receive £10 from each player card.' It seemed appropriate at the time.

I do not listen to any 'makes me want to go out music' after the bottle and a half of prosecco, such as Fallout - Catfish and The Bottlemen.  This will only lead me into a mild sulk and take the edge off my 'well being' frame of mind.

I do not refresh my Facebook news feed continuously, nothing exciting is likely to be on there.  I just refresh it as soon as I wake up, and then a bit later, and then a bit later after that.

Before I know it my Monday morning alarm will be going off after a not so exciting weekend, yet I'll find myself thinking back fondly wishing it was here again.

Hope you enjoyed reading and have lots planned for your weekend x

A Wardrobe Clear Out With Spring In Mind

What I posted:
Busy clearing out my wardrobe and planning my spring ready outfits. So hard deciding what to part with.

What really happened:
After the slight change of plans last weekend I ended up embarking on a wardrobe clear out.  The kind of task that you only undertake when you have exhausted all other options.  I have far too many clothes that I don't wear any more, mainly from my pre-mortgage days when I would buy a new outfit every weekend.

If you're like me when your having a clear out, you'll separate your clothes into piles of keep, throw, or maybe. To help with this It's said you should ask yourself "Would I buy this now?" and "Have I worn this in the past year?" During yesterdays clear out however I stumbled upon an outfit that raised the question "Why did I ever buy this in the first place?"

I bought a 1960s Dereta suit from Dirty Blonde, a now closed down vintage shop in Stoke Newington about four years ago for £30/£40.  It reminded me of a classic Chanel suit so I felt compelled to buy it.  Encouraged by the FOUR friends I was with who all voted 'buy it,' and the Harrods label sewn inside, I snapped it up.  I refused to let the shoulder pads, or the fact it didn't fit too well, or the fact that it's pink (I usually always wear black), or the fact that it adds about thirty years to me, put me off.  I trotted out of the shop thrilled with my purchase which I later learned was originally advertised in 1949 as a suit 'for the woman who is sure of herself.'

Four years on I have still never worn it except for in the privacy of my flat, once when the very friends who urged me to buy it came over for drinks and laughed at me in it, and a second time when my boyfriend took photos of me in it for this post, in between laughing.

I know that the suit does nothing for me but I just can't bring myself to part with it, not even during the current 70's revival.  According to vintagefashionguild.org in "the 1950s Vogue magazine put it's stamp of approval on Dereta."  How can I toss it to the fashion scrapheap knowing this?
I find myself getting defensive when people laugh at it... "It's got a Harrods label in, show some respect."

I decided in the end to keep it for now.  You never know when that special invite might turn up: Dress Code- ill fitted, looks like Chanel but isn't Chanel, two piece suit with shoulder pads.

Perfect, I've got just the thing!

What do you think?  Love it or hate it?  Hope you enjoyed reading x
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