Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

Off we pop to Bedfordshire: Getting a good night's sleep

sleeping tips


I am notorious for being crap in the morning. I'm difficult to wake up for a start (Charlie has been known to clap in my face), if you want to have a coherent conversation with me in the mornings then you'll need to wait until I'm at least two coffees in, I have also been known to sleep until 2pm on a weekend.

I have no shame in this.

I am also a nightmare to sleep with. I fidget, a hog the covers and I talk in my sleep. Seriously, I feel so bad for Gary. Poor sod.

Considering all of the above, it's very rare that I will have a bad night sleep these days. And I mean very rare. Sure, I'll struggle to wake up in the morning regardless of what I do because I just love sleep so much. This is mostly because that over the years I have finally nailed down my way of settling in perfectly. Everyone has their own methods and there are several tips out there for getting the best night sleep ever, here are just a few that work for me.

Hold back on the caffeine

Now, if you know me personally, you'll know that I am pretty much Lorelei Gilmore. Milly has even said before that every time she sees me, I have a coffee in my hand. It's true.

via GIPHY

I can't get through my day without coffee but I make a point of not having any after 6pm. Tea, I can get away with but really you shouldn't be doing that either... you know it, I know it. Put the cuppa down.

Magnesium is your friend

I have been taking Magnesium for years to help with period pains (yup, it works. Trust) and after all the research in the world, it turns out it's also great to help you sleep! Who'da thunk it.

Devices down, yo

These days, people spend more time on their phones than they do asleep (averages, obvs) and I am definitely one of those people. I guess you could just blame this on my job but in reality, I'm just addicted to Social Media. Instagram = Life.

Before Gary moved in, I used to perch my laptop on the edge of my bed and watch Netflix. I'm scared of the dark (yup, judge me if you like) and it helped me feel safe and monster free at night. After a couple of scenarios when Gary noticed I actually spoke to the TV in my sleep, we realised that this was part of the reason why I slept poorly. Since then, no more David Attenborough to fall asleep to, maybe one YouTube video for the giggles but that's it. Phones down and lights off.

Breathing patterns work a dream

I don't always need to do this one as I can fall asleep quite quickly but if there's a little niggle at the back of my head (we've all been there) or I have broken my no caffeine rule, breathing certainly helps. I do gown the route of in for seven and out for seven. It helps relax my body and gives me something to think about that isn't 'Oh god, did I send that email'.

An Electric Blanket is the best purchase you will ever make

Yeah, I know that sounds proper old lady but seriously. You will thank me.

Gary isn't the biggest fan of the electric blanket because he's always too hot (hence why it's OK for me to be a duvet hog), but if I'm on my own, I love popping the blanket on for 15 minutes before I get into bed. It makes the bed a nice roasty toasty cocoon and I feel proper cosy when I'm all snuggled up in the streets.

If all else, fails... Harry Potter it is. The ultimate comfort for any problem I'm having.

Right now, I can't stop thinking about my bed and am really looking forward to going home tonight.

What are your best tips for getting a good night's sleep?

Wizarding Wardrobes at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Smashleighjayne


Yup. That's right. I went back to the Studio tour. Jealous much? JUST LOOK AT HOW HAPPY WE ALL ARE.

Smashleighjayne


If you follow the Warner Brothers Studio Tour on Instagram, you'll have already had a glimpse at what Wizarding Wardrobes is. It's a chance to go behind the scenes of the wardrobe department. Initial sketches and final designs of some of the best costumes are on display and you are able to learn more about each piece and the inspiration behind them.


Smashleighjayne

back in July (yup, I'm rubbish again), I went to the event launch because clearly I am now best buds with the Studio Tour. Some of the designers themselves were there, including the legend that is Philip Treacy (*fangirls*) who completely sassed Erica (you really need to check out her A Muggle Reacts post, it's amazing) and rather begrudgingly but did it anyway, let me put on a Beauxbatons hat!

Smashleighjayne


Yup. Admit it. You hate me a little bit right now.

Rita Skeeter is one of my favourite characters, I love to hate her SO MUCH. Plus, her outfits through out the movies are just spectacular. From the Acid Green power suit that matches her acid tongue and the Quick Quotes Quill to the dragon inspired costume from teh first task in the Triwizard Tornament. For Rita, a lot of the inspiration came from the style of Vivienne Westwood and you can really see it.

Smashleighjayne

Wizarding Wardrobes is more than just the clothes themselves. We also got to meet the Makeup department, saw someone transformed into Bellatrix Lestrange and even got our own Dark Marks, we really are the coolest.

Smashleighjayne


Yeah, I'm evil now.

Words can't really describe the sheer hilarity of us becoming Horace Slughorn's armchair or running around with a tennis ball.. Dobby... or making Dobby do the time warp in the special effects department. You really couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces for the whole evening.

Smashleighjayne
LEANNE IS A CHAIR
If you also want to experience Wizarding Wardrobes at the Studio Tour, you have until 27th September, so you better get your butts in gear!

Being taken behind the scenes of the look and style of our favourite films truly was magical, but what made it even more so was, as always, being with my favourite nerds. We gave Erica a glimpse into our world and Emma got to visit the tour for the first time. Our whole evening was full of giggles, prosecco and wonder. And I couldn't be happier.


Smashleighjayne


If you'd like to see more Wizarding Wardrobes glee, make sure you check out Emma Inks and here's  Little Miss Katy's vlog for you too. Cue giggles.




*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the launch of Wizarding Wardrobes by the Studio Tour but I don't really need to tell you that the words are mine, right? I'm such a nerd, it's just a given now.

Festival Survival and lessons learned: 21 vs 28

smashleighjayne
Here's me at my first festival. so young. so very young.

When I went to my first festival, I was rubbish at it. I bought a tent the day before, only took a sleeping bag and nothing to lie on, didn't take any weather appropriate clothes and forgot all the basics like hand sanitiser and loo roll. I spent so much money on food, it's obscene and I spent even more on alcohol. Oops.

I'm now nearly thirty and you'd think by now that I'll have learnt from my previous mistakes, The answer? Have I bugger. I leave tomorrow (at time of writing), I haven't packed a thing and I don't know where to start. I know that once Friday rolls along, I'll be so much more organised and the whole thing will be amazing. I just hope Milly remembers her tent.

I have been going to festivals for a fair few years now so there are definitely at least SOME things I have go better at (clearly not packing) and it really does make me chuckle about how different my experiences have been over the years.

Reading Festival 2013

The Basics at 21

I took NOTHING. It felt like that anyway. I didn't take enough pants for a start and it's only by some divine miracle that I actually remembered a deodorant, srlsy. I had to do a hasty run to the nearest Asda to pick up things like dry shampoo and hand sanitiser. As they had CLEARLY sold out of little stuff (guessing other Festival goers were equally as crap as me) I had to leave with big bottles which then just had to be thrown away as I didn't have space to carry them back!

The basics at 28

Fortunately, Push Doctor have sorted me out with the ultimate Festival Survival kit so I don't need to worry about it. even sun lotion! However, over most recent years I've made sure I have stocked up on travel bottles of all the necessities from superdrug way before hand. Less waste and less money spent. Winning on both fronts!

Sleeping plans at 21

My friend Silvia and I convinced ourselves that a tiny two man tent was all we needed... that meant very little space and a very uncomfortable floor. Sleeping in a tent is cold enough as it is but when there's just a thin piece of plastic and a sleeping bag between you and the ground, you get so much colder. Layering up with jumpers just won't be enough.

We had all of our stuff piled up at our feet so we had to sleep all curled up and woke up every morning with aching backs and necks. Totally don't recommend that nonsense.



Sleeping plans at 28

An air mattress is going to be your best friend. As will be a onesie. I plan on taking a Big Mac onesie with me because I am oh so classy and totally living the brand (#werk) as well as two sleeping bags just in case.

Milly has a 4 man tent so we'll have plenty of space for all our crap too. YAY! SPACE!

Food at 21

The only things I took with me at my first festival was a cereal selection box and super noodles. i had a camp stove for coffee in the mornings because I genuinely couldn't survive without it. This is probably the only sensible thing I did but it was literally just used for coffee. Cue me spending a hideous amount of money on burgers and cheesy chips when I could have actually used the stove to cook those bloody super noodles...

Food at 28

I've become a bit of a foodie over the years but I know I can't expect anything fancy from the middle of a field. As gas stoves are now banned (thanks youths), Milly and I will be collecting a solid fuel stove, a kettle, tins of sketti, bread and basic breakfast stuff that will be easier to cook. And obviously coffee. At least this way we'll be saving a few pennies by having a half decent breakfast. It'll also give us more energy than my standard 21 year old breakfast of pro plus, dry cereal (where do you keep milk!) and coffee. That's the plan anyway.

Basic hygiene at 21

baby wipes. I don't even want to think about it. I am ashamed.

Basic hygiene at 28.

Use the showers. Not only will you feel more comfortable, the other people on the train home will thank you. They do get busy though so I tend to go either at ridiculous O'clock or if one of the opening acts aren't really doing it for me.

Alcohol at 21

Drinking and eating at festivals is where you're going to spend most of your money. Plus there are all the queues and I had to carry my passport with me at all times because I looked (and sometimes still do) like I was 12. Not exactly ideal. Luckily our Festival Friends were better prepared than us and kindly shared their booze with us.

Such a classy chick. Some things never change.
Alcohol at 28

You don't necessarily need it as much as you think you do. Yeah it's nice but that doesn't mean you need to go to the bar every 10 minutes. To make life easier for the young of face, you can get an over 18 wristband and leave your I.D. and valuables in a locker (rather than under your mattress or hidden in the lining of your sleeping bag) and one of the best choices is remembering to take booze with you into the campsite. You can't take it into the arena but you'll definitely thank yourself later.

Money at 21

I had no budget. I used the cash machines that charge you an absolute fortune. I spent so much money on my card without a single thought that I lost count of my spending. Such regret in my life choices. I was broke for the whole of September...

Money at 28

I'll be taking a set amount of cash but I don't want to be oh so very poor in September again. For emergencies, I also have my Monzo Card (if you don't have one, get one) for emergencies which is very handy and can track all my spending. I'm desperately hoping to keep everything to less than £200 but I guess we'll just have to see what happens!

That time Charlie, Distracted and I were more excited about Nine Inch Nails than anything else

Now, obviously everyone's Festival Experience is going to be different, these tips are just based on my own. Push Doctor actually have their own rather nifty Festival Survival Guide that's definitely worth a gander. You may find your own way surviving 4 days in a field and if you do please teach me your ways.

Really, the only thing that matters is that you have a whale of a time. Dance, be silly, sing and giggle until your ribs hurt. You're going to love it.

Reading 2013... I'm not really sure what's happening either



*Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Push Doctor but all lessons and tales of tragedy are my own. #SorryNotSorry

Adopting with the RSPCA: Giving Dobby the House Cat a home

Adopt a cat RSPCA
Introducing, Dobby the House Cat
A couple of months ago, I got a text from the other half saying he wanted to talk about getting a cat.

It seems that my years of badgering him had finally bloody paid off!

We already knew that we wanted to adopt rather than buy. I've spent too much time watching Dog Rescuers and Kitten Rescuers (where I cry... a lot... and say I'm going to rescue all the animals), so I know that there are so many animals that need a loving home after past experiences. I mean, there's nothing worse than not being wanted and sitting there waiting for someone to take you home one day... So we started browsing the RSPCA website everyday and even set up email alerts.

As we live in a flat, we knew we needed a house cat. We didn't want to just get any cat and keep it in the house because we knew that wouldn't be fair. We did a hideous amount of research and discovered FIV positive cats and learnt that they are generally left behind the longest. This could either be down to how a lot of FIV+ cats are Toms who have their fair share of battle wounds, or a lack of understanding in the difference between FIV and HIV. Either way, our poor little Dobby (previously known as Victor) had been waiting at an animal hospital for nearly two months because no one wanted him. It broke my little heart and from the moment we met him, we knew he needed to come home with us.

Adopt a Cat RSPCA
Just look at those eyes!

We spent what felt like and age looking for Dobby before we knew it was him. Every time I came across a new 'profile' (LIKE CAT TINDER.), I bubbled with excitement. I was picking new names for them and pretty much getting WAY ahead of myself. We were doing this properly though.

Adopting a cat isn't as easy as rocking up to an animal shelter and saying 'I want a cat, please'. The people at the shelter want to ensure that you're going to give any animal you take with you, a loving and safe home. The first thing Gary and I did was pop by the visitor centre in Finchley to arrange our home visit. There were kittens and old boys and all sorts of fluff balls. I could have stared at them all day and desperately wanted to take them all home with me.

A week later, Inspector Nicole from the RSPCA popped by to visit. I had been nervous all week because what if she decided we couldn't have a cat? I wasn't ready for that kind of rejection at all! Luckily, it wasn't as big and scary as I thought it would be. She also didn't just turn up with a cat like in the dream I'd had the night before... All that happened was she had a little chat with us, took a look around the house and then (happy!) started showing us pictures of cats in the area who needed a home. She mentioned Victor, a little Tabby stray who was currently sitting in the Hospital in Holloway after having an abscess removed and some of his teeth out. There was only one picture available on the website so she went to the hospital after seeing us, took a bunch more pictures and emailed them over. We booked in to visit him the next week.

The first meeting

When we finally got to meet him, he hid under the sink, would only emerge for food (despite me literally lying on the floor so I was his level and not big and scary) and basically didn't want to be anywhere near me and Gary. He was battered from his tough life on the mean streets of Hounslow and he needed a home. Despite Gary saying to me that morning that we might not bring him home, we fell in love with his little wonky face and he became ours and he became Dobby the House Cat forever.

For the first two days, Dobby stayed away. He was still unsure of where the hell he was after spending so long at the hospital. He didn't realise that the fancy bed was for him and (even now) he hasn't quite worked out how to use his scratching post. He hid under the bed in the spare room for two days but then he started to creep out a bit more and eventually get comfortable.

Now, he doesn't shut up and clearly couldn't be happier. He miaows all the time, stands up like a meerkat to lick your fingers, nuzzles up against you and has claimed one of our sofas as his own. In short, his a bit of a legend and the actual best boy.

Adopt a cat RSPCA

Adopting Dobby is the best decision ever, even if it has led to my mum asking whether it's 'first cat, then kids' (cue le me cackling away). If you're thinking of getting a little fur baby of your own, I strongly recommend you adopt. There are so many boys and girls who are desperately in need of a forever home.

Live in a flat? That's fine! These little tykes can't go outside. Want a kitten? They're all right here. We chose to adopt through the RSPCA and shall be supporting them even more moving forward. There are lots of other cats charities out there but through the RSPCA, this is some of the support you'll get.

  1. As many meeting with the cat you like, if you're not sure he likes you
  2. Free More Than pet insurance for the first 6 weeks (if you renew with them, they also make a donation to the RSPCA)
  3. Discounted Pet care plan for only £10 per month to cover all the necessities like additional vaccines 
  4. Check up with the RSPCA after the first 6 weeks to see how you're both getting along
  5. Support at the other end of the phone whenever you need it
  6. All cats you adopt are micro chipped, vaccinated and neutered/spayed
  7. A warm bubble in your heart knowing you've helped someone else find happiness

Now, just for the Lols, here's a bunch of things we have learnt about Dobby the House Cat since bringing him home:

  1. He like standing up like a meerkat. It's not very helpful when you're trying to put his food down
  2. He likes belly rubs, apparently this is weird for a cat
  3. He's missing lots of teeth so he has a wonky mouth and dribbles a little bit during chin scratches
  4. He doesn't know how to use a scratching post
  5. He's not fussed about boxes (weirdo)
  6. He has the loudest purr known to man...
  7. ... and the loudest miaow
  8. Who gives a crap about beds when you have a perfectly good sofa to malt on
  9. He desperately wants to try pizza (but is SO not allowed)
  10. He's the best and most handsome boy in the world
Don't you just desperately want a happy face like this in your life?


See more happy and fluffy cats using #MoreThanCat on Twitter or you could click right here

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with the RSPCA and More Than but I was going to tell you all about Dobby anyway. All experiences in the post are my own and I genuinely like both companies. So there.

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.



JUST LOOK AT IT

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.

Gary

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?