Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

What the hell is going on in my head?

Over the years I have battled with my own Mental Health problems and have come out shining at the other end regardless of the hard work it took to get there. I may have been exhausted but there was a massive smile on my face.

Over the past year or so I have been experiencing something different and I have mostly kept it to myself. After beating one thing, I didn't want to admit that something else was wrong. I'm not really sure what it is, I have a rough idea but I could be entirely wrong.

I have tried really hard to not let it show. I smile as much as I can and have been known to be 'annoyingly positive' (direct quote from a former employee). Like wearing a mask.

There are a couple of things that could have triggered this, the past few years really have had their ups and downs. I've been made redundant twice, been diagnosed with epilepsy and I lost one of the most inspirational women in my life, my Nanna. In short, it's been pretty shit (except for some things) and over the past 12 months it has been especially hard to cope.

What exactly is happening, though?

Sometimes I can't sleep and sometimes I struggle to breathe. I shove headphones on so I don't have to talk to people and sometimes my whole body feels heavy.

The other week, I wrote about a drop in my body confidence recently, and that's certainly had an effect on how I feel as I go about my day to day. I've found myself wearing more baggy clothes and where I can't, cardigans are my saviour. I'm always worried that there will be a nasty glance or nasty comment and it's been a while since I have felt confident in my own skin.

I have proper 'imposter syndrome', I've not long started a new job and have convinced myself (pretty much every morning) that they're not going to want to keep me. I know it's stupid but my brain tells me 'you're not good enough', 'you're terrible at this job', 'you're way out of your depth'. I absolutely adore my job so it does put a dampener on things every morning and I find myself on the edge of my seat frequently.

I'm reaching a milestone in my relationship that I have never reached before. It's always been at this point when they leave... As I approach that milestone I am constantly questioning every move I make, unintentionally causing arguments because , in my head, he's going to leave anyway.

The rational part of my brain knows this is stupid. It knows the whole thing is stupid but there is still that little whisper and I end up doubting myself on all levels and wish people just couldn't see me.

Maybe it's not anxiety, i don't really know. Maybe there's something else happening up there that I don't really understand but I'm sure I'll work it out.

Spending a long weekend in Dublin

Dublin at night

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably would have noticed that I went to Dublin. I'm still working may way through all of the pictures in an attempt to make my Instagram account look gorgeous.

I have made it a bit of a plan to travel more, even little weekends away (taking inspiration from Erica, Charlie and Katy) and when I was stuck for ideas for my boyfriend's birthday present when my original idea fell through, I came across the best deal on Skyscanner and booked immediately.

Dublin has been on my 'I must bloody go there' list for ages, especially since a colleague lived there and raves about it. My greatest literary love is from there and I bloody love a Guinness. Why would I not want to go?

For a city that is quite small (a population of only a million people according to my Irish friend), there really is so much to see and do that we didn't have time to do as much as we wanted. Still really sad that I missed out on the Leprechaun Museum...

Here are a couple of things I did and loved that I thought you would enjoy too.

Trinity Library - The Book of Kells and the Long Room

Trinity College Dublin

This is pretty much the ONE thing on my list that I desperately wanted to do whether Gary liked it or not. I'm a proper book weirdo, I love the smell. I sometimes walk into Waterstones JUST to get a hit. Yup, I am strange.

The Book of Kells is a display of the four Gospels in Latin and is shockingly beautiful but for me, I mostly wanted to go into the Long Room. It's a library of over 200,000 dusty old tomes and is considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The pictures speak for themselves really.


I will never forget that smell. I also wish I had taken my proper camera. iPhone pictures really don't do most things justice.

 You do have to pay to visit the exhibition and go into the Long Room and there can be a pretty hefty queue so I suggest you book in advance online so get to skip right on in.

The Guinness Store House

This one is pretty obvious really and doesn't really require much explanation. As a Guinness fan, it would have been stupid not to go.

Visit the Temple Bar

A friend told me not to go to Temple Bar but I totally did anyway because I am SUCH a massive tourist sometimes and I have no shame. The whole area of Temple Bar is obviously a tourist trap. The prices sky rocket just when you walk into the area and I believe it's the busiest part of Dublin. But it was wonderful.

I said on Twitter that the air itself seems to sing as there really is music everywhere, this is even more true in Temple Bar. Bands and musicians seem to play all day every day. How can you not feel happy there?

Temple Bar Music Dublin

Walking everywhere

As the city is so small you can walk everywhere. The architecture is wonderful and you're bound to stumble across something amazing down one of the tiny streets.

Dublin Ireland
look how adorable and wonky it is

Try the food

This is a bit of a weird one. You might be thinking 'the food in Ireland can't be that different', well it's not really. There are different combinations of things and different ways of cooking things that just make them burst with flavour. All the food I ate, definitely fit into the 'hearty' category and I didn't eat the same thing every day.

explore Dublin

Visit Oscar Wilde

This is something I didn't know about. I knew my hero grew up in Dublin and that he attended Trinity College (one of the reasons I wanted to go), but Gary, bless him, discovered where he was born and the monument to him. I was so happy that he let me go on my own little pilgrimage You can see it all over my face!

Doesn't it all just look wonderful? Bet you want to go yourself, right? Why wouldn't you?

Well, before you book yourself a flight, here are an other extra couple of things you need to know before you go:

It may be cheap to get there, but it's not cheap to stay

It's VERY expensive. Probably on par with London, if not a bit more. Save those pennies first.

Check Tripadvisor before you book your hotel

I did not do this and it ended up panicking on our first day there. Turns out where we were staying wasn't as bad as the Tripadvisor reviews made out to be but we were essentially using it as a bed and nothing more. We spent so much time exploring that we literally needed something to drop into at night.

You can't Instagram everything as much as you may want to

There are building works pretty much everywhere at the moment so half of the stunning architecture or street art will be obscured by scaffolding and fences. Not ideal when you've recently become a bit of an Instagram fiend.

Be prepared to go back

I'm going to. Most definitely. I loved it all so much,

A little change

So, I changed my name. It's not really a big deal but to me it is. The blog pretty much looks the same, but that's because I haven't found the time to make the BIG changes but I'm pretty happy and excited about the name even though I haven't really been around recently.

When I started this blog. The name made sense. I had just graduated from university with a degree in film making and cinematics under my belt. The whole concept of the blog was to document my search for a job in film, what I had worked so hard for for years. Some of my earlier blog posts are still up. About all the jobs I applied for and the odd bit of camera work I managed to get. Eventually I had to deal with the fact that I would never get my absolute dream job and I would have to find something else.

For my Film Marketing Module, we played around with online marketing and using social media platforms as an emerging mechanic (points for marketing douche term). It was just as interesting even though it's not what I wanted at the time.

Turns out I loved it ever since my first internship and I started blogging for enjoyment rather than what felt like failure and desperation. Things I got up to, things that I liked.

Over the years I have been doing this the blog has evolved so many times and I have written about so many things. I finally feel like I have found my 'niche', generally lifestyle, adventure and geekdom. I have what feels like a brand now and am being invited to so many things where I feel like I belong that I wanted to reflect that in my blog and sync everything up.

Plus, Writer's Block and Broken Lenses was a bit of a mouthful especially when it didn't make sense anymore.

I have a lot of work ahead of me for the redesign and to build my stats back up but I think I made the right decision. Welcome to SmashleighJayne and let's see where we go from here.

Making plans and travelling more

purple suitcase

I appear to have been bitten by a bug. A nice bug. I have an itch to get on the move again and see more things.

I haven't exactly turned into a globe trotter like Charlie, Distracted but I find myself constantly on travel blogs, refreshing Skyscanner's 'Everywhere' search and making lists of all the things I want to do. From hiring a villa on the Silver Coast in Portugal with the girls, to saving every penny I can to go to Las Vegas with the boy.

In the past 12 months I have done more little excursions than I have over the past six years. I have been camping with my friends, spent a weekend in the New Forest, taken the boy on a trip to Dublin and am still recovering from my post holiday blues after a a trip to Bucharest.

As we speak, I'm currently flipping through my photos from Dublin and Bucharest working out which ones to use on which blog post... and working out how I could fund this new obsession of mine. Villas with a big group can be really affordable and can also provide the freedom beyond a hotel room so that's definitely a must do at the moment. Especially if you can get one with a pool that's also really close to the beach... (do you see where my thinking is going from here?)... Plus it'll all be SO INSTAGRAM FRIENDLY.

Beach Holidays Europe

I have reached the point now that I understand that travel is good for the soul and there's no point in staying still anymore. Money be damned in a way because new experiences really are priceless. I have spent nearly a year in a vicious of circle of being happy and then not happy.

Back and forth like a really sad boomerang.

I have found something that makes me happy now outside of my normal routine. I need to be happy and relaxed again and it seems that spending time with my favourite people in far away places, even just for a weekend, is the best way to do it.

Time to up my Pinterest game again and send all my new travel ideas to the boyfriend!

My first flight with Ryanair

Yes, I am aware that this isn't a Ryanair plane... I didn't get a window seat... :(

I have heard NOTHING bur horror stories about Ryanair.

Actually, that's a fib.

I have heard nothing but horror stories about Ryanair from very select people on the internet and also from my boyfriend who had flown with them once and swore 'never again'.

Back in October, I booked a surprise visit to Dublin for my boyfriend's birthday. Obviously, being a woman on a budget but with a need for adventure, I used the delightful Skycanner (which is an absolute, god damn revelation) and found the most amazing deal on Ryanair. It really would have been stupid to avoid and I also thought to myself that I wouldn't know unless I tried it. Generally a standard mentality.

Having flown with Easy Jet back in the days before allocated seating, I couldn't imagine anything could be much worse than having to elbow people out of the way to get a seat next to my mum or a friend. Or worse, having that seat next to the toilet...

But, do you know what? There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Gary had lead me to believe that flying with Ryanair was the equivalent of riding pillion with one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Such an anticlimax really.

The only issue I had was on the way back when due to the idiocy of the public, the queue for Stanstead and Gatwick merged together so no one knew where they were going and it was a bit of a shock to the system not having the opportunity to indulge in free booze like we normally would be British Airway (BA for LIFE, yo) but I really don't get why Gary is so Anti-Ryanair. I'm actually looking forward to flying with them again when we go to Bucharest at the end of the month! I mean, how can you say no to £40 return flights?

I'm definitely a Ryanair convert and am already planning my next trip,.

Pocket friends

Like possibly everyone on the planet, I'm part of a Whatsapp group that doesn't shut up. I woke up this morning to 60 messages and that was only in the space of an hour or so, Srsly. 

To my boyfriend (who ignores his Whatsapp), it's a strange thing having multiple conversations all happening all at once in the same thread. To me it has become the new normal. One of the girls shared this the other day and now it all makes sense.

I am a pocket friend and I have several of them.

About a year or so a go, maybe longer... I don't even know anymore, I made a bunch of fellow blogger friends. We found a mutual love for the film 'Hook' and thus Bangarang was born. At the time there was a handful of us but we have now become an unrelenting force. 11 girls who are happy to be weird together. A group of friends who have accepted me and made me feel like I belong.

We chat everyday but are still yet to all be in the same room together at the same time. We came close once.

Charlie Distracted is on the phone screen...)
Having these girls around is kind of like a security blanket. I had the worse year of my life last year but they were always there. Individually and as a group.

We're each other's cheerleaders, someone to turn to when things just don't feel right when you can't explain to yourself what it is, people to cry to, people to laugh with. More often than not, they're always on another side of a screen but they are always there. Doesn't matter what time it is, someone will more than likely be awake for you.

When you're an adult with a career (how this happened, I will never know) sometimes you genuinely don't have time to SEE people but this way you are never alone. It feels like you see each other every day, because you talk everyday. Pocket friends can provide moments of sanity in a chaotic day and insanity when you're bored as fuck.

Making friends on the internet seems like a very weird concept when you think of it but it's the best decision I have ever made. I have made some of my best memories with these girls and I am most certainly living my best life with them. It makes me happy to think that I'm constantly carrying them around in my pocket and they make me smile every day.

Thank you Bangarang, the best of pocket friends.

Creating Christmas Traditions

Christmas Decorations

When I was a kid, there were a load of little things that just made Christmas. From watching Miracle on 34th Street with my mum to Christmas morning when my parents would go down stairs and whisper to us 'has he been??' before we opened the living room door.

As an adult, you reach the point where you have to start making your own traditions. There will be times when you don't see your whole family every year. Making your own traditions ensures that Christmas stays special and magical, rather than just another day of the year (but with presents...).

We have only just started creating our own but I'm already loving every second. This Christmas is going to be the hardest ever since I lost my Nanna so having our own little things has helped to keep me grounded. The little things really do make a difference.

A new decoration every year

This is most definitely a new one. It started a couple of years ago and I have tried to get a new one from each place. Last year my gorgeous Ted Baker one fell off the second I popped it on the tree which was traumatic. It had a French Bulldog on it. This year I went for something a little less fragile from Liberty and think I'll be getting my new decorations from there from now on. Their Christmas shop is magical.

Liberty Christmas shop decorations

It made me think of Harry Potter so I obviously had to have it.

Putting the tree up on the 1st December

Generally, this is a little too early for me but Gary (bless him) gets so excited. He also makes a very valid point where, at the moment, we always go to see our family in Scotland for Christmas so by putting our tree up earlier, we get to enjoy it for longer. When we put up our Christmas tree, I put on Christmas pyjamas and our Christmas music playlist. We will inevitably bicker over the ratio of glittery to shiny baubles and whether or not we'll have tinsel this year then we'll settle down with dinner, a Christmas movie and a cuddle. It's definitely one of my favourite days of the year.

Ted Baker Christmas Decoration
I still miss this beautiful thing...

Baking Queen

I say this is a tradition, annoyingly with my job, I haven't had the chance to do any this year so will be making up for it for Secret Janta with the Bangarang Girls in January. I normally make gingerbread men that we can all decorate as well as ALL the mince pies (and Jam Tarts for me).

Tacky Christmas Jumpers

As of the 1st of December, I can officially start wearing hideous jumpers. I know that pretty much everyone does this but I try to get a new one every year. Right now I'm wearing a Frozen one I got off eBay for a grand total of £12 and yesterday I wore the best jumper ever... it says 'Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Muggle' on it. I win the best Christmas jumper award for this one alone.

My Advent Calendar

My advent calendar is a giant stocking with pockets that Gary fills every year. A little hand made delight that this year is mostly filled with Lindor truffles and Kinder snowmen. I'm a terrible girlfriend this year and didn't get him one. I've bee trying to get him a Lego one (last year it was Lego Star Wars) but my God are they hard to get hold of. That and I'm RUBBISH. Sorry, Gary xx

These are just a couple of the things I have noticed we do every Christmas and I'm sure we'll make a load more of our own traditions over the years. I will look forward to it properly next year, I just need to make it through this one first.

Do you have any Christmas traditions? 

Reasons 2016 DIDN'T suck

2016 really did suck as a whole. Everyone knows it. I only know of one person who had a corker of a 2016 (looking at you Katie Brennan) but I'm sick and tired of being miserable about this year. Just absolutely done with it. 

Instead, here's a bunch of things that have made me happy and have made this year seem less like torture.

I started a new job

A new job I love, in fact. Sure, it's really busy and is slowly killing me but I work with a great bunch of people, work on interesting stuff and for one of the biggest companies in the world. I think they might be stuck with me for a while, 

I also got to meet Little Mix (sassy hand lady emoji) 

Everything Harry Potter

I don't really need to mention it, I've been nattering on about it for so long! But it was awesome. I went to the midnight release of the script for the Cursed Child, saw the play twice, went to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, became a Lumos ambassador and went to Hogwarts in the snow. All the winning.

Christmas Queens, I saw Michelle Visage at last

Seriously though, this woman is amazing and an idol of mine. I finally ha the chance to see her perform with the Christmas Queens (Oh Alaska, how I love you so) and had the best night I have had in a long time. I went with Erica and Charlie and I haven't giggled and cackled that much in such a long time.

My friends

Speaking of Charlie and Erica, after the bad time I have had it has just made me realise even more just how lucky I am to have the friends I have. no matter what is going on they are there for a bitch, a cuddle, a good rant.... whatever. They are the world's best cheerleaders and the ultimate tribe anyone can have, Thank you Bangarang.

Royal Ascot

YES! Pretty horses and pretty dresses. Yes to wine and going 'out out' afterwards. Ascot is definitely going to become a new yearly occurrence. Thank you very much to Appletiser for sending me.

My cousin moved to London

Yup, another of the clan has joined me in the big smoke. She's yet to experience much of it because she's always bloody working but I know she's always there for a cup of tea and a natter. Such happy.


Soppy shout out to Gary. Without him being the cynical rock he is (that's nice, I promise), I would not have survived this year. Thanks boy. x 

What's made your 2016?

What it's really like to work the red carpet

Red carpet experience

Ah, the red carpet. Whether it's for movie premiers, concerts or something else the Daily Mail tends to cover... they always seem like the height of glamour.

At least that's what we see.

I recently had the privileged to work a red carpet for my job. I have done one before but it was such a long time ago, I forgot what it was like.

If ever you're going to do a red carpet, whether you're just standing at the edge of a movie premier or are actually one of the lucky sods who gets to stand in the press pit, here are a couple of things I have learned from my weekend on a media run.

It's cold

We were inside but as we were at the O2, which is essentially a tent, it was bloody freezing! There were little heaters scattered around but they didn't really do much except for burn your ankles.

So much standing

This one's pretty obvious really, but I have never been more grateful for my Clark's brogues before in my life. They really made the whole thing more comfortable than it would have been. How people can do this in heels, I have no idea.

You won't get to see everyone you want

Not everyone is going to want to answer questions, some might not even want to have their pictures taken but don't be disheartened. They're people too, remember!

It's slow

There's a lot of waiting around really. Sometimes timings get pushed back so you're just hanging around for a bit and sometimes there's just a big gap between the stars. That doesn't mean it's not fun, it's just a bit slower than before.

Other people can be annoying / rude

If you don't get there fast enough, other people will take up as much space as possible leaving you crammed into a tiny little corner. They can also be rude to you or about you but I just chose to ignore the girl who was commenting on my blanket scarf... (yeah, I heard you but at least I was slightly warmer than you were).

Other people can also be lovely

We were huddled up next to a pair of rather lovely chaps who kept offering us sweets and even offered us beer during one of the breaks.

You won't be able to resist the urge to have an 'I'm famous' shot

I mean, come on. You're on the red carpet and that well lit wall is just there ready for some snaps. Take your moment and strike a pose. Maybe look less awkward than I did but whatever.

red carpet experience

I pull SUCH awkward faces. I really need to work on that.

You will love it

Despite all of the gripes and having to stamp your feet to stop your toes falling off from the cold, you will love every second. It's a new experience, you get to chat to some wonderful people and, let's face it, it's not exactly something that people to EVERY day.

Have you ever been on the red carpet?

A weekend in the New Forest

Burley New Forest
This was our 'garden'

When I started writing this, I was sitting on a train. Its was 6:30 am on a Monday and the sun hadn't come up yet. My feet were soaking wet from the rain, I was absolutely shattered and the idea of going back to London was slightly nightmareish. Mostly because of the adulting it requires.

I had just spent the weekend in the New Forest with my boyfriend and our friend and the post 'holiday' blues have properly kicked in the very second I stepped onto the train. I ended up braving the stupid O'Clock train just so I could stay an extra night. I really didn't want to leave.

When you live in London, sometimes you really do just need to get away for a bit. It's probably the same anywhere but London is so loud, crowded and always busy! It's a fast moving lifestyle so sometimes you just need a quiet place to sit and breathe. 2016 has been so horrid that a trip to the New Forest is definitely what I needed.

We arrived in darkness under a sky of the brightest stars I had seen in a long time. You really don't realise how much of a difference the light pollution has until you go to the middle of nowhere. The 'cottage' (actually a God damn mansion) was down a lane with no street lamps and surrounded by trees on either side. Thankfully we went there in a taxi otherwise we may not have found the bloody place!

Burley New Forest
Said lane during the day
I have seen FAR too many horror films so the idea of staying in a cottage, in the middle of nowhere with no street lights was terrifying to say the least. Thankfully I was with too big strong boys. No way I would have been able to stay there by myself.

Burley New Forest

The 'cottage' came with a pool table for the boys (apparently the selling point), a kitchen that was my idea of heaven (so much Le Creuset) and I discovered that I could keep myself entertained with a piano too! I was beyond happy. I didn't have any sheet music but thank god for technology.

Or house instructions also said that deer roamed the area and if we were to see any in the garden, we would have to chase the, away. I didn't see any deer but we did find this:

Burley New Forest

Yes, those are my pyjamas.

We had absolutely no plans whatsoever for our weekend away. On both days we ended up exploring the small village, drinking many a pint and stuffing our faces.

Burley New Forest

Burley is such a tranquil place with horses just casually roaming around. There were also loads (well, three) witchcraft shops! I obviously had to Google why this was a thing here and apparently it's because the roots of Modern Wicca can be traced back to here. Pretty cool really.

Burley New Forest

Burley New Forest

Burley New Forest

While we were there, I honestly felt the most relaxed I had been in a very long time, even though I had to work from home on the Saturday. It was all so peaceful and slow and SO QUIET. No constant traffic and sirens, no rushing around. I honestly did not want to leave and I really want to go back.

I guess I'll be dreaming of village/forest life for a while. There's honestly nothing better than just chilling out, pint in hand, next to an open fire and pretty much just forgetting about the rest of the world.

Burley New Forest

Have you ever visited the New Forest?

Trainspotting Live Review

Trainspotting Live The Vaults London

One of the best things to come out of the 90s was Trainspotting.Some of you may think that's a bold statement but it really is. From page to screen.

I get that something like Trainspotting isn't for everyone so it has remained a cult classic. It's raw direction and 'colourful' script has made it one of my favourite films of all time. So much so, I wrote part of my dissertation on it at Uni! So glad I did an interesting degree.

Trainspotting Live first appeared at Edinburgh Fringe and has also done performances in the likes of the King's Head Theatre in London. I missed it this time around so I had to get tickets to see it at the Vaults when Charlie sent me a text in big capital letters saying WE DO THIS, YES? The Vaults is quickly becoming one of my favourite venues in London. I've seen so many things there now, most recently Ghostbumps Alive which was also awesome.

Trainspotting Live The Vaults London
My 'ticket' was a glowstick wristband!

Trainspotting Live is an immersive experience that starts in the heart of a 90s rave. There's many a strobe light so I had to keep my face covered for a good 10 minutes (#EpilepsyProblems). Complete with glowsticks, whistles and loud music, you really felt like you were a part of a drug-fueled party is some abandoned warehouse somewhere.

The acting is amazing, Gavin Ross joked on his Twitter feed that he will always be Renton. He played Ewan McGregor's infamous drug addict on stage with the original performance at the fringe and he is just outstanding.

The whole thing is brutal from the very beginning, but in a good way. I'm glad they didn't have 'The Baby' though. I don't think I would have been able to handle that. I laughed in my seat when chracters climbed into the crowd and, at points, even sat on people. The highlight though was when I saw people leave during the situation with 'The Worst Toilet In Scotland'. To be honest, they probably hadn't seen Trainspotting before!

To be honest, the drug taking-ness freaked me out a little, but that's only because it looked so real from where I was sitting. That scene with Tommy (no spoilers here, watch it if you need to know) was so full of emotion that it gave me shivers. It was just brilliant, really.

I strongly urge you to see it as you only have another 6 weeks to do so. Although, one word of advice would be to sit on the left handside so you're away from the toilet!

Reasons I am looking forward to 2017

2016 really has been a shitter, hasn't it? That's just putting it mildly as well! It seems like whenever we thought things couldn't get worse, the universe decided to slap us in the face and scream 'don't test me, bitch' before doing something else equally as awful.

We've had Bowie, Brexit, Trump and a series of other shit storms, but I refuse to believe that this horror will continue.

I have decided that 2017 is going to be awesome. At least, I hope it will be.

There are so many things that have already been planned to make me forget about the disaster of 2016. So many new experiences to enjoy and loads of fun to be had. I'm actually looking forward to something for what feels like the first time in a long time (excluding all of the Harry Potter stuff... obviously). I honestly CANNOT WAIT.

Not sure what you have planned for next year, but here's a couple of awesome things coming my way.

Bangarang do Bucharest

The joys of our group chat on Whatsapp is that you never know what's going to happen. One of the most random of random things to come as a result of ours is that after nattering away about Black Friday Sales, a bunch of us booked flights to Bucharest. It's been YEARS, like nine years or something stupid, that I have had a girls weekend away and net year I get to have one with some of the best girls on the planet.

Some of the Bangarang Girls at our Christmas party last year

Dublin with the boy

For Gary's birthday this year, I booked flights to Dublin. I'm yet to plan anything properly, including sorting out the accommodation, but we really are going to have the best time. I have always wanted to go to Dublin, mostly for the Guinness Brewery, and already I have a ridiculously long list of recommendations from friends.

I think I should get some major girlfriend points for this.

AFI and Deftones at Alexandra Palace

This is pretty much all my teenage dreams come true. I have loved AFI since I was about 14 and it was a sheer stroke of magical-ness when we found out they would be the special guests for the Deftones in May. When I found out, I had to call Charlie immediately and interrupt her watching Planet Earth have my first mini freak-out. I haven't see AFI since their last tour in 2009 so to say that I'm excited would be such an understatement it's unreal.

Oh, Davey Havoc.


This one is still a maybe but one of Gary's friends is getting married next year and the party will be in Cancun for Day of the Dead. It'll also be my 29th Birthday. Starting the last year of my twenties lying on a beach with a good book would just be the dream.

Budapest with Charlie

Spotting a bit of a theme really when it comes to this list! It's all plane hopping really! Charlie has invited me to come with her on an adventure to Budapest, it knocks another one off her '30 countries before 30' list and it means I get a whole weekend with her to myself. We shall eat, drink and be merry.

What are you looking forward to next year?

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London (Part Two) - Hogwarts in the Snow

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London

It's not everyday you get to go to Hogwarts and casually sip prosecco in the Great Hall, is it? So when I was invited to go to Hogwarts in the Snow at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, I said 'yes' without even needing to think. I mean, it's Hogwarts.

Yes, I know I have already been there this year, but that's not the point. This time there was snow and it's every Potterhead's Christmas wish to be at Hogwarts for Christmas.

Donned in our scarves and other Harry Potter attire, it turned out that we had one from every house! I was there to represent Gryffindor while Charlie and Leanne were our Ravenclaws, Katy was Hufflepuff and Charlie's sister Becky was a Slytherin in disguise.

The Great Hall was as awe-inspiring as ever, made even better by the supply of food and booze and Christmassy spirit everywhere. I have decided that I desperately need Harry Potter themed crackers this year.

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London

The famous Christmas feast was laid out for display, all handcrafted out of resin and ridiculpusly realistic looking. The best part was the Christmas puddings that were actually flaming!


When we walked through to the art, props and sets I noticed some things had moved around that was a little disorientating but I was still absolutely amazed with everything. Especially the 'ice sculpture' from the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It just looks so cool!

Warner Brother's Studio Tour London

This time, we had the joys of doing something I have never done before. GET SILLY PICTURES TAKEN!

Just look at my 'I can't act' faces! It was so ridiculous but so much fun. I got to wear ACTUAL Gryffindor robes and Katy got to be a full blown Hufflepuff. We were beside ourselves with giggles on the Hogwarts Express and seeing Leanne's reaction to seeing the Hogwarts Express for the first time was just heart warming.

Skipping the butterbeer (I actually hate it, please don't kill me), we ran outside where we squaled like excited fangirls when snow started blowing out of the top of the Knightbus. I danced in the snow in Godrics Hollow. Could I have BEEN any happier? I also got the chance to piss of the Dursleys. Who wouldn't want that?

Who even is this youth loitering and DRINKING in Privet Drive? What is the world coming to?

You're probably getting sick and tired of photos of Hogwarts, especially if you follow me on Instagram! But... COME ON. Seeing it in the snow is incredible. It kind of looks like the most amazing gingerbread house. Kinda.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Don't you just wish it was real? And yes, I cried again but no, I am STILL not ashamed.

Laden with bags, a new Ravenclaw scarf for my cousin and filled with loads of new happy memories, we made our way home and reality had to be a thing again.

Hogwarts is my home and seeing it in the snow really was one off the bucket list. I can't wait to go back to the studio and relive it all over again.

Have you ever seen Hogwarts in the snow?

*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this event for free but you all know I LOVE Harry Potter and I would have been a right idiot if I turned it down.