8 Reasons to choose Hull*

This post is a paid collaboration with the University of Hull however all words, opinions and declarations of awesomeness are completely my own

Choose Hull for what? I hear you cry. Well, everything – to visit, live, study and work!

I’m Hull born and bred; however there was a time when as a teenager that I thought it wasn’t the place for me and high-tailed it abroad for a few years. I returned by choice for good in 2005 and have since seen the city go through a major glow up and thrive as it deserves to. And so, I am proudly telling you today that I fully appreciate what a cracking place Hull is!

I’m going to share some of things I like most about living in Hull – some you may know, others you won’t, all of them more reasons to check it out for yourself…

1. There’s lots to keep you entertained, day and night, throughout the year

There’s ALWAYS something happening in Hull. What can I say, we’re a sociable bunch! There’s a hive of comedy clubs for a low cost giggle and drink with friends, as well as aborting calendar of annual festivals and civic celebrations – Pride in Hull, Freedom Festival, Hull Fair and Humber Street Sesh to name a few. There are theatres (yes, more than one), and event venues (the latest being Bonus Arena) that attract some amazing acts and shows, not to mention the University’s jam-packed Welcome Fest calendar. If you’re looking something to Hull to do, anything, you are likely to find it!

2. You can embrace culture, in all its glorious forms

Thanks to our 2017 City of Culture status and the legacy that is Absolutely Cultured there are a variety of cultural-focussed activities happening all year round. Not only that, but when you take the time to actually look at the buildings in Hull, you realise some of them actually pretty spectacular.

A lot of the older architecture is inspired by the Dutch (we had that link long before P&O got in on the action) and is really lovely to admire.

(this is one of Hull’s most photographed streets, a true example of some its hidden gems)

Buildings not your thing, how about street art? Head to Bank Side Gallery – a once thriving industrial estate that has dwindled over the years but has been revitalised into a graffiti artists paradise and a huge outside art space that’s constantly evolving.

You’ll get some great pictures for the ‘gram here too.

3. It’s pretty darn cheap

Hull was once voted the cheapest place in the UK to live. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but compared to the rest of the UK you get more of a bang for your buck here on the Humber. House prices/ rent are very reasonable (I would NEVER be able to afford the suburban 3 bed semi I call home in any other City), there’s plenty of places to get a great bargains on shopping (clothes and food) and eating out. Lots of people choose to live in the Hull area and commute to work in other nearby cities such as Leeds purely because it’s cheaper and they can have a better quality of life.

4. It’s easy to get to, and get to other places from

It’s never been easier to get to Hull – trains, buses and roads all have easy and direct routes in to the City Centre from all around the UK, so people can come and visit really easily. That also means that those cheeky weekends away (or days out for cocktails, wink) can happen with ease – you can get directly to London in under 3 hours and Leeds in an hour by train, the nearest airport (Humberside) is half an hour drive away and connects to international destinations via KLM. And, one of the funnest trips you can make is on a P&O mini cruise to Amsterdam, fondly referred to as a “Dutch Dash”. We’re pretty close to the coast here too. Beach, please.

5. There’s a frickin’ marina in the middle of the city centre!

Well, not quite the middle, but about five minutes away from the middle, and it’s really pretty to wander around. This area of the city has been really nicely developed over the past couple of years so is buzzing with cute independent shops, places to grab a casual coffee and have a slap up meal (and perhaps a cheeky cocktail or 3) with some lovely surroundings.

6. You can eat amongst the fishes and find Nemo

Hull is home to The Deep; a unique looking aquarium and conservation charity sitting proudly on the banks of the Humber. They’re home to over 5,000 animals including the UK’s only pair of Green Sawfish, a pair of Loggerhead sea turtles, adorable penguins and of course our favourite Clownfish (Nemo) and Blue Tang (Dory) from the movies.

(image credit: @thedeephull Instagram)

Three nights a week it turns in to the Two Rivers Restaurant which serves a seasonal menu whilst you dine with a difference in amongst the larger viewing windows inside the aquarium.

7. You can indulge your inner foodie/drinky with ease

Take it from someone who has tested this to an alarming extent! I can’t think of many kinds of cuisine not available in the City, and it’s all equally tasty. Dietary requirements are catered for really well, and meals are pretty good value (refer back to point no. 3).

Hull also has its very own ale trail around the Old Town, if you’re not an ale drinker there are also great cocktail bars (and even a couple of roof bars to enjoy views of the City while sipping them).

8. University of Hull

One of the first reasons people visit Hull is to consider going to uni here, and the campus really is a massive selling point. It’s a fantastic mix of original, more traditional buildings and newer modern structures, so you really get a sense of where it’s been but also where it’s going.

As both a graduate and former employee I have such fond memories of place – to this day the smell of toast and coffee reminds me of academia, and I often head back for a wander around to appreciate the beauty (autumn for the colourful leaves is a personal fave). There are amazing views from the top floor of the swanky new library, lots of places to eat/drink, the courses available are varied and have a great set of lecturers from such a wide variety of backgrounds.

So there’s my highlights, and I reckon I make a pretty good even if I do say so myself. If you want to find out more, well…you’ll just have to come to Hull and see for yourself!

If you think studying in Hull could be for you, visit the campus and take a look around, there’s also still plenty of time to apply for the 19/20 academic year or discuss clearing options (I actually didn’t apply until July before starting September the same year via the standard application process)

Thanks for reading,

J xx


5 Things for 2019 – update #2

What a busy and turbulent quarter 2 2019 has been! Here what’s been happening with my original goals, plus a few extra bits of gossip…

  • This one has still been going OK, but mostly by default – can’t see much in the shops that I like, and when I have tried to do any shopping most of the stuff has gone back as it just isn’t right. I’m planning to spend a bit more this month to update my summer/holiday wardrobe as the weather has kicked it up a few notches and I’m making summer vacay plans (more about that in a bit)
    • Get a home bar Progress of this one is pretty straightforward – we actually have a bar in an area of our home, we just haven’t made it functional yet! As you can see by this pic, it has quite a specific look, so it’s going to take a bit of time to work out how to decorate around it. We’ve managed to set up and style a full bar cart (which has been done since the New Year, I just haven’t written a post about it yet) so we’re part way there.
    • Un-join the gym and get outside This one is going ok, particularly now the UK weather is getting a bit warmer and the nights have been lighter. Still a bit hit and miss on occasions; sometimes I can be out and about and pretty active, other days it’s a bit more of a challenge, so I’m just trying to do as much as I can when I can. I still have a regular little walking group with my pals to keep things on a social and motivational track, myself and the Mr also pop out sometimes after work as a good way of unwinding from the day and setting aside some properly quality time.
    • Get out of the house more
    • Dranks out, drinks in I’m going to be honest and say that I think I need to take this one off the table. After reviewing the goal and becoming more sociable in the evenings (as per goal #4) I’ve decided it’s not achievable because I don’t want it to be at the moment. Part of setting foals is to review and track their progress , then make changes if the original plan isn’t working out, so that’s what I’m doing. I’d still say that about 50% of the time in social situations I’m driving and having soft drinks, but still

    So, what else has been happened since we last caught up?

    • I booked a summer holiday

    Ya gal is heading back to Greece! After a fabulous trip to Santorini in 2018 (I did a series of blog posts on Island hotspots, best things to do and a guide to Greek food) the Mr and I are heading to Mykonos. If you have any top tips for things to do (other than take loads of money) or places to go, please let me know. We considered going to Ibiza but, as my other half so eloquently put it when he saw the cost, “it’s getting ideas above its station with those prices! ” and I got my first choice of vacay. Yay.

    • I went back to the dark side
  • To keep my hair looking healthy and easy to manage, Chelsea and I decided to give me hair a bit of dark chocolate makeover for summer. I know right; I’m the only person who goes dark for the summer months!
    • I turned 36

    Ugh. Not one I like to admit, but it’s happened and I’m dealing with it! To mark this ‘milestone’ I did a bit of a different blog post to any I’ve done before, but I really enjoyed putting it together!

    For the past few years I’ve done a dedicated ‘what I got/did for my birthday’ but this year was a bit more low key due to some persona and family illness. Instead I thought I’d just do a little roundup here (like I did with my Lanzarote holiday in my last update post) of some key parts. Had some lively food, went to a Shappi Khorsandi gig and had a quick but lovely visit to Liverpool

    And that brings us nicely to the present day and in to quarter 3 of 2019, I wonder where it’ll take me…

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    36 Words of wisdom, wonderings and randomness.

    Happy birthday to someone I have known my whole life – frenemy, fashion eclectic (and by eclectic I mean ‘swings between too glam to give a damn’ or ‘how many days have you not washed your hair and worn those leggings for gurl?) and THE best card DJ you would ever have the pleasure of riding with.

    Me!

    I’ve written down 36 thoughts below, one for each year. There’s nothing more profound than that I’m afraid, but I hope you are enjoyed and amused by at least a few of them!

    1. Bridget Jones had it right on the money – whether my dress size says I’m a 10 or a 14, I will always be just a little bit fat.

    2. A walk goes a long way to clear your head.

    3. Diets do not work. At my lower moments I have hoped and prayed they would, but they don’t. If you go on a diet you have to come off one sometime. To prove it, last year I tried one of the latest weight loss fads, Boom Bod, click the hyperlink to see what happened.

    4. Get me on karaoke to Iggy Azalea’s Fancy and I will crush it.

    5. Victoria Beckham didn’t start her uber popular fashion brand until she was 34 after a whole other career, so there’s still a chance I could become some kind of mogul yet.

    6. I happily fall asleep listening to something ‘murder-ey’ – Snapped: Killer Couples or Deadly Women are my faves.

    7. 9 months is pretty much the maximum I can have a hair style/colour before I must change it immediately…then pining for my old look immediately.

    8. In this life you’re one of two things: good at selfies, or not good at selfies.

    9. I have the same eyebrow lady as Scary Spice (I wonder if she has a pre-appointment pink lemonade like I do?).

    10. Some flaws are easier to embrace than others – it turns out what I thought were freckle clusters that came out in the sun are actually a skin condition called Melasma, but I think it’s cute so I don’t actively seek to cover it up.

    11. Travel the world, but don’t forget what’s right on your doorstep – get to know the culture and beauty of your own country.

    12. Only follow people on Instagram that make you happy or positively inspire you.

    13. You can go to Benidorm an experience cool rooftop bars, instagrammable spots and fabulous steak. Trust me I’ve been there and done it!

    14. Kusadasi is beautiful and very affordable part of Turkey to visit, but boy do most of the locals seem to despise British holidaymakers…

    15. An Aperol Spritz becomes an extra lil’ something when you sub the soda water for fresh orange juice. Aperol Mimosa – you’re welcome.

    16. Sunsets are one nature’s most beautiful occurrences, but so are sunrises. Plus, you don’t have to share them with as many people.

    17. Why is it called hot chocolate if it’s frozen…is THAT the Serendipity??

    18. If you’re in New York City and want to visit Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, the address is 66 Perry Street in Greenwich Village. It’s a small road just off Bleacker Street, and NYC cabbies have nooooo idea where it is when you ask them to take you there.

    19. Strategically placed glitter can cover up sunburn a treat…but can literally take days to remove from your body. Even even when you think it’s all gone…bam, there’s a fleck on your right boob.

    20. Not everybody will have the same beliefs or make the life choices as you; one size doesn’t fit all in this life and nor should it have to. You don’t have to understand why others do what they do, but you do have to accept it.

    21. I am not Boiler Man.

    22. For anyone who questions my driving ability – earlier this year I transported 16 cups of hot coffee from Costa along a very busy road and did not spill a drop (here’s a photo of my friend Rachel who was here to witness this crowning moment).

    23. The first time I slept in a tent (well, yurt) as an adult, I woke up surrounded by heavy snow.

    24. Meeting Santa is blooming brilliant, even if you don’t have kids.

    25. I make a really nice paella.

    26. I recently found out that I use the same Smashbox colour correcting primer as a well-known former football manager.

    27. There’s a cult phenomenon in Hull called a ‘Shit on the grass’. It’s a shot available in the Old Town called the Manchester Arms, and if you’re ever in the city (or a local that has never partaken) you should stop by and check it out!

    28. I once met Chubby Brown (unfortunately on purpose, but not by choice) and he said “testicles” to me.

    29. I have also read Chubby Brown’s first autobiography (on purpose) which I quite enjoyed.

    30. There’s ALWAYS something good about the place you live (well, I’d say a solid 95% of the time in exceptional circumstances. Find it and be proud! I love that the city I’m from is quirky and filled with street art galleries, comedy and music. Also, don’t let anybody talk smack about your home town unless they have the genuine insight to back it up.

    31. Sometimes you’re weird because your are family are weird and they made you. You didn’t stand a chance.

    32. Look up. Look around. Do it often.

    33. The Dunelm Teddy Bear range is cosy AF, I’d recommend investing in some immediately if not sooner.

    34. If we could all truly see the things that others thought were awesome about us for ourselves, the world could be…I don’t know how to finish this because we probably never will, but just imagine.

    35. I’m the exact age I’m meant to be . It’s only myself that gives a shit what that number is, and only me that can stop myself feeling oldAF (if anyone has any tips to achieve this, please do comment below!).

    36. I am so proud, thrilled and excited to be a co-founder and member of the HEY Bloggers community. I’m glad to say I count many of the people I have met on this journey so far as friends and all round lovely people. Thank you xx

    let me know which number was your fave! Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    Five things that bloggers no longer do

    Today marks five years since I decided to start (and stick to writing) my blog. Five years of making friends, challenging myself to be creative with style and discovering lots of different things. Five whole years!!

    To make this milestone there’s no giveaway (sorry) no cute photo shoot with a cake or balloons (not that I didn’t want to, I just wasn’t organised enough) and no imparting of wisdom of how to do anything amazing in the blogging world (how I wish I had this wisdom to use). Nope. Instead, I’ve written five differences I’ve noticed since I first streaked claim on a little patch of the internet. I wonder who else remembers and has noticed some of these… (I’ve also peppered a few more throwback blog post pics throughout, enjoy)

    1. Bloggers no longer….simply write about an outfit – why they like it, how they styled it , what it’s like to wear etc

    My first ever blog post was literally me sharing 2 very ad-hoc photos of what I’d worn the weekend before. It certainly wouldn’t cut the mustard now!

    Even with a lot of fashion bloggers and featuring styled outfits, the content of the post is usually something that feels a bit profound, imparting wisdom or an opinion on a key topic. The fashion is just kind of there to break up that chat a bit. That’s probably ended up being so due to the rise of the micro influencers in Instagram (not to mention Instagram Stories and IGTV) and YouTubers, which are much easier outlets to share this kinda stuff on, but I sometimes worry that I don’t have the opinions or the wisdom to keep up with this developing trend.

    2. Bloggers no longer…title their posts with something profound or cute

    I’ll give you examples using some of my previous post titles – Mono-magic, Peachy, Hot weather cold shoulder, summertime sadness, snug as a fashionista in a blanket cape.

    As a marketeer, I’m a huge advocate of something quirky and maybe verging on a bit click-baity, so I still think there’s a place to do something along these lines. However, if you’re calling a spade a spade then people will come and read because they have a more explicit idea of what to expect.

    3. Bloggers no longer…have whimsical blog names

    I include myself in this one! My blog was called ‘Curious Alice Loves…’ for the first three years, I changed its for a few reasons but the main was because PR messages kept coming to me starting “Hey Alice, how are you?” (That’s very sloppy on the PR’s part for not ready the bio, or e-mail address correctly). I know quite a few people who gave their blog a more quirky name when they first started but then evolved/re-branded down the line to being ‘just them’ (does anyone remember Sarah Ashcroft’s That Pommie Girl?. I admire those who have kept hold of their original name and have a kind of ‘gal behind the blog’ approach as that’s the identity they’ve built, like the fabulous Dorkface.

    4. Bloggers no longer…write “PR friendly” in their bio

    Never understood this one, never did it myself. I mean, what blogger isn’t?!?

    5. Bloggers no longer…engage with each other’s posts in the comments section

    This one is the key – everyone used to leave comments directly on a blog post, but I honestly can’t recall the last time I had any of mine. I don’t know whether this just means that people are reading things quickly and can’t be bothered to log in to leave one, whether they’re just looking at pictures or whether they don’t feel they have anything of value to say, but I do find this a real shame. Let’s all make sure we encourage and engage with each other, the hustle is hard!

    So, for this post and any others you’ve read over the years, thanks for joining me. I really appreciate it.

    J xx


    “I liked it before it was cool” – 3 things from my repping past that are now ridiculously on trend

    Over the almost 5 years I’ve been rambling away on the internet, I’ve dropped in to the conversation once or twice that I used to be a holiday rep. For 3 years of late teens/early twenties I called the Balearic Islands home and made some insane memories – most of them good, a few of them sober, all of them I was reminded of this week when I was added in to a closed Facebook group ‘Stories of a Holiday Rep’. Insert horrifically cringe pics of me back in the day, taken on a disposable camera

    It was this part of my past that inspired this post – things I took for granted and felt a bit naff back then appear to be all the rage right now. On one hand I’m like “WTF?” On the other, I feel like I can totally own the fact that I discovered all of these things in their more underground cult status before they blew up. I hope you enjoy this throwback journey with me!

    1. Gin

    As the UK’s love for gin has increased I have been adamant that I’m not a fan, but then I remembered the Xoriguer (pronounced zor-rig-er) gin distillery.

    You see; for the first year of my repping career it was my job to take holidaymakers here every week and help them to sample about 32 different flavours of the stuff as well as a local gin cocktail (the recipe for which I will be sharing in a future blog post). Yup, that’s right; back in the summer of 2003 I was well up in this trend before it was a twinkle in the hipster’s eyes!

    Annoyingly, this brand is nigh on impossible to get hold of in the UK and outside of the Balearic Islands, to be honest there are barely any Spanish guns that are widely available, however if you do happen to hit this part of the world for a holiday I would encourage you to pay the distillery a visit…and maybe bring me back a sample or two.

    2. Avarcas (Menorcan sandals)

    Of all the items I may have predicted would become a high street trend for summer footwear, this would soooo not have been it! Back in the day myself and ,t repping buddies used to mercilessly mock these babies, and all of the locals (men, women and children) wore them so they were around all the time.

    By the end of our first season, a couple of us had bought a pair (usually under the influence) to wear ironically, and over the years we grew quite fond of these funny lil’ sandals.

    If you’re going to invest in a pair of these, my tip would be to spend a teeny bit ore and get a real deal version made in Menorca as they’re going to last you for years and years – they upper section is made of leather which is super comfy and the soles are fashioned out of car tires which give amazing grip and mean you can walk for miles without them wearing out.

    If you’re holidaying in mainland Spain or the Balearic Islands you can pick these up in a local shoe shop and get the real experience, if not you can buy them online easily from the official Avarca stores here or here.

    3. Aioli (garlic mayonnaise)

    Often listed as a side sauce in gastropubs and Uber cool restaurants these days, I remember this delicious condiment as part of a grab and go lunch from the local supermercado.

    You may be like “garlic mayo, and…?” BUT – Menorca was its birthplace. Mayonnaise is pronounced mar-hon-ays-ah in Spanish, because in originated from the capital Mahon. In Menoquian (a version of Catalan, the proper traditional Spanish language) they even call Mahon Maò, pronounced Mayo, so it’s pretty entrenched in the local culture!

    The Aioli pictured is the traditional version sold in Menorca – its best served alongside a lovely crusty baguette; rip of a junk of bread and dunk gratuitously in to the tub! It’s extremely strong tasting but soooooo damn good.

    One more thing that almost made the list…canary yellow leather jackets. This one is more of an I joke with my fellow rep friends but, if anyone reading this does happen to have visited a a leather company called Modas in Menorca, then you may get why this one will forever remain funny to me.

    That’s pretty much it – having a little trip down memory lane whilst proving that I was some kind of cool visionary (or at least let me feel like I was for five minutes)

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    LIFESTYLE / 5 Things for 2019, update #1

    As this update is coming about 6 weeks later than I had planned, I should probably address the fact that it’s also my first blog post in about 2 months. The reason? Simply, I had a major content block – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to create/write about, I didn’t want to half arse by putting posts out I wasn’t into (as I’ve done in the last during these lulls) so thought it was better to just not bother. I’m now feeling more ready, prepared and excited to get back on it, so I’m starting by sharing my first update on my goals for 2019

    1. Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

    So far, so good. I’ve found this one a bit easier than I thought I would. Whenever I’ve been getting dressed in the morning or planning to go somewhere I’ve made sure I have a good hard look through my wardrobe…and my ironing basket (because we all know that’s where most of the clothes live) aaaaaaaannnnnd what I’ve come to fondly refer to as my ‘bed-drobe’ (double bed in the spare room, surely the perks of being a home owner) to see what I realistically had to wear. Once I got over the whole “it’s ok to be seen re-wearing outfits in current society” and “I don’t go out lots and lots, so I really don’t need to buy something new every time” I realised I have perfectly nice clothes and I just need to put them on.

    I will say that over the last few weeks whilst being in my funk I have ‘tried’ to do some clothes and beauty shopping but it’s been a bit of a fail and most of the stuff has ended up going back.

    The biggest test for me was the launch of the Urban Decay Naked Reloaded palette – with the last few drops I’ve literally grabbed them as soon as they’ve gone on sale, but I’m holding strong on this as I just don’t need it…well, at the moment.

    2. Get a home bar

    Almost done can you believe! There’s a bar option within our actual house (a full blog post coming about this as soon as I can) and we have a physical bar top in one of our outhouses but haven’t stocked or styled it yet. So it’s definitely going, but not quite there.

    3. Un-join the gym and get outside

    I can definitely put a big fat tick against this one too, ya girl is on a roll here!

    I’ve been going for long walks at least once per week and shorter walks another once or twice, and it’s been great for so many reasons. My physical and mental health have both improved from getting fresh air, and it’s been a great opportunity to catch up with friends and be a bit more sociable. I would NEVER have been that sociable in a gym scenario, even if I’ve gone to a class with someone.

    So far I’m feeling that this was the best goal I set for myself for the year.

    4. Get out of the house more

    Yes, weeeeelllllll… I can’t say for definite that I’m fully on with this, however I’ve made steps from where I was before so things are happening but perhaps slower than I would have liked then to. What can I say; the temptation of a Saturday afternoon nap sometimes has more of a pull for me! Haha. I have been doing at least a little something each weekend towards this overall goal – going out for walks with friends and adding in a coffee stop has been one, making an effort to go and see family, popping to look round the shops, go see a film or out for lunch have been others. I’ll be honest and say some of those times I’ve found it quite hard to get going as I just haven’t wanted to move from the couch, but once momentum is going I’ve felt better for it which is making things a bit easier each time.

    5. Drinks out, drinks in

    I think this one is OK? My only aim was to not drink aimlessly and think about things a bit more, which I think I’ve been achieving.

    I’ve only had 3 real points where I’ve had alcohol so far this year – 1 for Valentines day which was unexpected, another on a nice day in March when I suggested to the Mr that we head out for some laid back day drinks (bloody love chilled afternoons like that) and we shared a bottle of prosecco and mojitos. That’s the sort of thing I wanted to avoid doing on the regular however I’m not being hard on myself for it as Im not likely to be doing it all the time and it went a long way to having quality time and relaxation which is important to me.

    The final time was on holiday; again another key test as everybody else was very much in ‘I’m on holiday, let’s drink from lunchtime’ mode, but I simply just had two or 3 when I felt like it, only had something I really wanted and mixed plenty of water breaks in for good measure.

    So, what else has been happening in my life since we last spoke?

    I’ve been holiday

    Last week I got back from a family holiday to Lanzarote. It was a week long break (booked by my in-laws to end at the start of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, extra 4 days off for me) that turned out to be very relaxing and exactly what was called for. I had a great mix of sightseeing, sunbathing, swimming, eating and sleeping (the Mr would probably argue I did too much of the latter!) but I don’t think I’ll be doing any dedicated blog posts about the trip as I haven’t found a content angle that I feel would well. Instead, here are a few pics:

    Not gonna lie, I’m petty darn pleased with this update overall! I’m doing well, I’m being realistic and I still have 7 and a bit more months to make a solid difference.

    For general day to day updates and more holiday spam, make sure you check in on my social media channels in between blog posts.

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    TRAVEL & FOOD/ 48 Hours in London

    Firstly – I need to make it clear that this photo is not, I repeat NOT a picture from our Greek summer holiday. But it does totally look like it right?

    I’ve been to London hundreds of times over the years and have never felt compelled to do one of these posts before, so why now?

    Well, because myself and the Mr have been so often, we’ve settled into a routine of doing the same things and eating at the same places, which is nice but also a bit ‘same old’. So this time we decided to change it up – different activities, different places to eat, different areas of London we’ve rarely ventured to, and it went so well it felt worthy of sharing!

    After arriving early afternoon and checking into our hotel (just a Travelodge; perfectly fine but not blog-worthy) we headed over to Covent Garden to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner at The Real Greek.

    As you can probably tell, we’re not quite ready to let our summer holiday experiences in Santorini go! We arrived here at about 3.30 on a Thursday afternoon and it was really quiet, so we were served really quickly. The food was delicious, portion sizes were good and overall value for money. We’ll definitely be laying another visit.

    After dinner (and a quick Google search) we went to check out Blame Gloria a sassy AF basement bar just up the road.

    I don’t think I’ve ever visited a bar quite like this! Both the front and back sections of the bar (and the walkway separating them) were decorated in a different yet super cool way, and it was happy hour. Strawberry Fields cocktails all round!

    I even got to appear on the telly…hehe.

    Then it was time for one final drink at the rooftop bar in Leicester Square before heading out for the evening.

    For some evening fun we headed to the 99 Comedy Club which is currently inside Ruby Blue (side note: this is the place where the Mr and I celebrated our engagement 9 years ago.

    As well as a delightful host we enjoyed the Stylings of 4 comedians, including Ed Gamble who we’ve seen on Comedy Central/Channel 4 a few times. If you’re a comedy fan, or just want to do something a little different whilst in town then a comedy club is a great option – as well as discovering new comedians to follow, you may be lucky to catch someone who’s breaking into the mainstream circuit at a much cheaper rate (though it may also be worth noting that sometimes the slightly bigger acts have a tendency not to appear at last minute)

    Day 2 started bright and early with breakfast at Duck and Waffle, which claims to be the highest restaurant in London.

    At 40 floors up (with a speedy lift that made my ears pop) the views are preset darn great on a clear day. To take full advantage, make sure you book in advance and you’ll be more likely to get a seat right next to the window.

    How d’ya like them waffles? Quite a lot, actually! Although no duck was featured in mine as I was in more of a sweet mood, so I sipped my green tea whilst munching on an apple and cinnamon topped creation. The only sad part is that it wasn’t bigger.

    After breakfast came a few hours of shopping (that part was same old – Oxford Street, Topshop, Selfridges, you know the drill) we headed to the Sanderson Hotel to indulge in the infamous Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea, something I’ve been curious about for years…see what I did there?

    Since we only booked the day before we were lucky to get a seat in the courtyard near the flamingo water feature, which is the most coveted location due its quirkiness.

    Menus were hidden inside an old book left on the table atop a jewellery box (which cleverly concealed sugar cubes) and were presented with apothecary-style bottles containing different tea blends we coumd choose to enjoy.

    They have regular tea and coffee too, if these aren’t your thing.

    Then, the Foodie magic happened…

    Look how pretty! There were such a variety of flavours, textures and colours that nodded to Alice in Wonderland – marshmallow magic mushrooms, Queen’s jam tarts and crockery featuring the original imagery of the novel.

    The staff are super obliging and are happy to refill tea pots and plates (sandwiches and scones), or pop it in a box for yoh if you’re simply too full. I think we paid about £55pp which is pretty standard for central London, however they do add on a 20% service charge which is a bit steep even fkr the Capital, but you can ask for this to be taken off in favour of a more appropriate amount.

    After a slow walk from Oxford Street to Leicester Square through Soho (and possibly via the pub) we did something we have very rarely done in London – visit the theatre. There’s very rarely anything on that we both like the sound of, so we decided to take a risk and booked a show neither of us were that fussed but had heared great reviews about – Book of Mormon.

    I thought it was frickin’ awesome. Satirical, hilarious, dangerously un-PC and downright weird, I’ve had the soundtrack stuck in my head ever since. Wholeheartedly recommend if you’re not easily offended.

    We had a couple of hours free on our last morning so used them to have breakfast at one of Instagram’s favourite haunts, Clerkenwell Grind.

    The decor is really cool and chic so it’s obvious why everyone loves it. I’m so into navy blue for interiors right now.

    I had a turmeric latte and acai bowl which were both yummy, but neither more so than I’ve had elsewhere before.

    As much as I liked visiting here (even though I didn’t get any Insta pics of myself because all the staff were bored and watching us as the only people there) Clerkenwell doesn’t seem to be a natural part of town to visit unless you live round there or are coming here.

    Not many people seem to be aware that The Grind is actually a chain and has a few other branches in what I’d say are more convinient locations – Covent Garden Grind sits in a street behind the Piazza, and we actually passed Shoreditch Grind (the original location, apparently favoured by Sam Smith) on the walk to Clerkenwell from Islington. I’d definitely consider going to Grind again, but perhaps one of these.

    So that’s our summer visit to London summed up! We had a great time trying new things, some of may make it into our ‘same old’ rotation next time we return.

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared the places I always visit in London in a blog post before so if this is something you’d be down to read let me know in the comments or tweet me.

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    LIFESTYLE/ 5 Things for 2018: the home stretch

    The final quarter of the year is officially in session…well THAT came around fast!

    I haven’t posted in what feels like forever (in reality I think it’s been about 3 or 4 weeks, but in blog years that kind of is forever), there’s kind of every reason and no reason why I haven’t, but I can say it’s made me more than a little sad to have left it such a long time. But I’m posting now, so yay me, and here’s a bit f an update on how I’m getting in with my 5 things for 2018

    Find a new home 🏡

    As I said in my last update back in July, this is most definitely a goal achieved for the year. I’m in a home I really lovely, with a boy I really love, in an area I’m growing to love more all the time. Even though we’ve been in since May we’re only just getting around to starting on the decorating side of things – partly because because I was out of work for a little bit (more on that later), partly because a lot of the rooms are decorated to a very liveable standard, and partly because we’ve been a bit too lazy! I’ve made a start on a couple of the easier areas for now (like the hallway) but my first major project is going to be our bedroom, which I’m hoping to have done before Christmas.

    Smash my new job 💻

    I also shared in my last update that I’d left my job at end of June, however I’m really pleased to share that I’m now back in employment within a role that suits me far better. I’m getting to do more of the good stuff and less of the not so good stuff, I can’t really ask for any more than that. I’m looking forward to where this adventure may lead.

    Get back to my happy weight ⚖️

    Definitely can’t tick this one off my list, definitely won’t be ticking it off before the end of year. I still feel like absolute s**t over how I look at the moment, but I’m learning to feel better about stuff and trying my hardest to concentrate on being in the moment and enjoying myself as much as possible. After a hectic few weeks I’m getting back into regular activity again and eating a lot better about 80% of the time, which is having the right results (albeit slowly) so I know I’ll end up somewhere I’m HAPPIER with even if it’s not the complete end goal.

    Have eyebrows on fleek 💉

    This summer I finished my final course of microblading treatment (which you can read about here) which has left me feeling much better about my brows, mainly the thickness and their overall shape. Since then, the ‘bulb’ areas have faded which is really annoying. I’m not sure if it’s the sun or just the fact that my skin didn’t seem to like the pigment too much, but it’s making me want to get a refresher treatment a lot sooner than before the recommended 12 months which isn’t ideal when you’ve spent the best part of £400. I’ll hold off until the new year before I start looking into this as it looks ok for now.

    See more of the UK 🇬🇧

    Does traveling around the country for work count? If so then I’ve so nailed this one! I’ve done a LOT of driving this year and have seen sights from the stunning North York Moors to the glamour of Farnborough and the M1! Now that I’ve used up all of my annual leave I’m unlikely to be heading anywhere too far away, but I’ll definitely be seeing where I can manage to get away to for a weekend break.

    What else has been happening?

    I went to Santorini 🇬🇷

    If you follow me on Instagram then you can’t fail to have missed that fact that I spent a week on this stunning Greek island this summer! I did a few posts on this of you fancy going back for a read – a guide to the island, a few things you should definitely do, what I wore and a guide to Greek food.

    I helped to launch HEY Bloggers 🐝

    This is one of the biggest and most exciting things I’ve done this year, and the response it has gotten so far has been amazing. Between myself and five other fabulous babes, we have launched a community that aims to unite bloggers and creatives in the Hull and East Yorkshire. We held a launch event at Hull Monster which went really well and are currently planning a great Christmas party, so make sure you head to the HEY Bloggers social media pages to find out more about this and everything else we’re doing.

    I went to London 🍹

    I didn’t include this in the ‘see more of the UK’ section because that’s for places I haven’t visited much or at all around the country, and I’ve been to London dozens of times. However, I have written a blog post on this particular visit, which I’ll be sharing soon.

    I saw Joe Lycett live 😂

    One of my current fave comedians came to Hull as part of his ‘I’m about to lose control and I think Joe Lycett’ tour (he has great names for his live sets – the last was ‘That’s the way a-ha a-ha, Joe Lycett’). I really wanted to to write a review post on it, but I left it far too long and was worried I wouldn’t remember it well so it would be a bit boring. I promise you it was absolutely hilarious though, and you should definitely pop along and see him if he’s somewhere local you you.

    So that’s what I’ve been up to since we last spoke, pretty quiet eh! Hehe. I’m hoping to get some more lifestyle, travel and fashion posts in over the emit couple of months before I try my hand at #blogmas 2018, which I’ve already started planning.

    Also – I’m currently taking part in the Positive Insta Challenge throughout October (as are HEY Bloggers) so head over to my Instagram to check that out.

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    TRAVEL & FOOD/ Discovering Santorini- a guide to Greek food

    I couldn’t do a series of travel posts without including a food one now could I? It just wouldn’t be right! This is meant to be a bit of a guide to Greek food in general, however there are a couple of things that are Santorini-specific, which are really obvious. If you’re heading to Greece on holiday later this year of next summer, here’s some if the digits you have to look forward to…

    Starters

    Fava (fav-ah)

    This is a thick, blended dish oh yellow peas – kind of like hummus texture, but I think it’s meant to be eaten as more of a soup than a dip as its served with a spoon. Personally for me there was a little bit too much to eat it that way, so I had mi e with a little bread, but it’s a yummy and refreshing way to kick off an authentic Greek feast.

    Baked feta

    Baked cheese is my idea of heaven! It melts into a lovely consistency that isn’t gloopy but makes the salty taste a littleess harsh. Served with local herbs, onion and peppers, this is utterly amazing.

    Cheese pies and stuffed vine leaves

    Well, more like a mini pasty than a pie, but they make a great snack as part of a meze (a selection of small dishes, a bit like a sharing platter or tapas). If you’ve never had vjne leaves and aren’t heading to Greece soon, the good news is you can pick up a great ready made version in Lidl. The leaves are stuffed with rice and seasoned with oil, and are ridicously moreish.

    Souvlaki

    Souvlaki (soov-lar-kee) and Gyros (jir-oss) are pretty similar and pretty simple to recreate. It’s basically strips of cooked meat (usually chicken, pork or lamb) served with salad, tszatsiki (sat-seek-ee) and pitta. As you can see here, a side of fries is often added when it’s a sit down meal, if not everything is usually wrapped up inside the pitta to enjoy on the go.

    Main courses

    Orzo and lamb

    This dish does have a formal name, which begins with a P, but I’ll be darned if I can remember or pronounce it! It’s basically slow cooked lamb in parchment paper (which, when adding vegetables, is call kleftico) served on top of Orzo pasta, which is traditionally Greek and looks like risotto rice. The Orzo has been cooked in a sauce made of local herbs and fresh tomato and topped with a little crumbled feta. Not gonna lie, this is pretty much my perfect meal! The weekend we came, I cooked this for my mum and she also loves it.

    Stifado (stiff-ar-doh)

    This is a meat stew with a tomato base served with thin-ish sliced potatoes. It’s quite heart so feels like an odd choice for eating in summer heat, but it’s a really balanced dish that’s yummy and fills you up.

    Mousakka

    Opa! I made it my mission to get a great Mousakka (moo-sar-kah) as I’ve always liked it, and I managed to find 2 which was a bonus. This is meant to be served warm rather than piping hot, so don’t think there’s something wrong when it arrives at the table.

    Santorini salad

    I heard about this before we went and I was excited to try it! An alternative take on a Greek salad, which I also adore. However, I’d heard it was made with sun-dried tomatoes when it’s actuary cherry, which I’m not quite as keen on. Much like the Greek this is oy made up of a few ingredients: local cream cheese (a variation of goats cheese), tomato, herbs, cucumber and olives, this one also had a little spinach thrown in. I tried this out alongside our wine tasting and just couldn’t finish it, the photo doesn’t show just how massive it was!

    Greek pasta

    I was surprised this was a thing in addition to Orzo, but it’s widely available and great if you’re a pasta fiend like me. In the fresh tomato and herb sauce there’s olives, onion, sun dried tomato and feta swirled into spaghetti. Essentially, Greek salad in a pasta dish. Nom.

    The Greek Mac

    I had to as this one in for the sheer comedy value! Until we popped into Maccy D’s to grab a bottle of water and use the loo I had no idea this even existed, however once I spotted it I couldn’t NOT order one to try, could I? It ended up being pretty similar to a gyros with beef – the patties are smothered in tszatsiki on salad and wrapped in a pitta, so it still totally counts as traditional Greek fayre.

    Dessert

    Baklava

    Whether is a full blown dessert or as a light nibble with a coffee, you have to try Baklava (back-lav-ah). It’s layers of flaky pastry laces with nuts, cinnamon and honey. Dee-lish. Usually they’re bite-sized portions but this massive specimen was served to me one evening, warm and with a nice dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side, which I wasnt mad at.

    Fro yo

    There seems to be somewhere to pick up frozen Yoghurt everywhere (don’t worry; there’s gelato and soft scoop ice cream too) and it presents the perfect opportunity to create a lovely little Insta-food masterpiece. As yummy as this was (we shared large pot of Yoghurt flavour and mango flavour topped with strawberry and coconut) it was charged by weight and ended up costing 10 frickin euros!

    So that’s my whistle stop tour of Santorinian /Greek food, I hope this helps you when you visit or are next looking for new recipe ideas, and apologies for making you hungry! This is officially my last Santorini post (sob) coming up soon will be some more UK adventures as well as bringing things around to autumn a little. See you there.

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    FASHION & TRAVEL/ What I wore in Santorini

    I wanted to squeeze this in as an extra little post before I got to the Greek food part of my Santorini series, in case it gives those of you that are heading on later sunny holidays a bit of inspo whilst there’s still a few bits in the shops!

    Maxi and classy

    Dress, AX Paris / Shoes, Nasty Gal

    This is what I wore to our wine tasting evening – I wanted something that would keep me cool and comfy but still looked dressed up and, let’s face it, florals are always a winner in the sun!

    I’m not 100% sure I felt the flatforms went the best with this dress, but there were a lot of hilly areas and these were the only non-flat shoes I had with me. They were very comfortable and easy to walk in, I just think I’m not used to them.

    Candy stripes

    Jumpsuit, Glamorous /Shoes, Nasty Gal (as before)

    I’ve worn this jumpsuit most of the summer, for a long time it virtually the only suitable outfit I had for the unseasonably warm British weather! It’s very comfortable and eye catching and can be worn for day or night, my only quibble is that the straps were pretty tight woth no give so I was always worried they would break when I put them on and off.

    Jersey stripes

    Jumpsuit, Topshop / Hat, Accessorize (similar here) / Bumbag, Primark (similar here) / Slides, Miss Pap

    Jumpsuits are definitely my jam rn, I seem to have loads of them all of a sudden. I have this one in 2 colours and it’s incredibly comfy and easy to wear in hot weather, however it’ll also be great to chuck on with a white tea and biker jacket when things start to get cooler. The shape is quite slouchy but looks really put together when belted.

    The hat was an impulse purchase at the airport – I could barely see from under the brim but it kept me shaded and feeling a teeny bit more glam whilst sweating. The bum bag I already had before they exploded this year and is glorious for walking about hands free. The slides I’ve had ages and wear on the daily just for running about.

    Sports chic?

    Tee, Adidas Originals (similar here) / Shorts, Pretty Little Thing / Slides, Miss Pap (as before) / sunnies, Peacocks

    Since I was struggling to find holiday clothes this year, I thought I’d try a couple of items that I wouldn’t normally, and cycling shorts were one of them. They are ridiculously comfy and longer in the leg which is what I usually prefer with shorts, so that was a win, so to keep with the casual vibe I just chucked on this Camo tee (I customised the choker neckline) and knotted it at the bottom. I was quite happy with this look in the end, and even wore it on the flight home.

    Rainbow and denim

    Sunnies, Primark / Cami, Topshop (similar here) / Shorts, Topshop

    This look was something of a clothing frustration win – I ALWAYS struggle to find denim shorts that aren’t halfway up my bum cheeks and fit my waist properly, however I stumbled on these that are super soft and stretch with an elasticated paper bag waist that worked really well. The other items were just a ‘I’m on holiday, let’s be colourful’ kind of a vibe.

    Red red red

    Jumpsuit, ASOS

    I adore this jumpsuit – it’s really flattering with the wide leg and ruched waist, which also made it really comfy, however the front is super plunging which causes some issues around boobage. I have a pretty large chest, so going braless isn’t an option for me, so the options are either one of those sticky bra plaster things (which I was wearing here but didn’t apply it properly and combined with the heat it didn’t stay in place at all) or a nude cami which is visible but a little more comfortable for me.

    So that’s my holiday wardrobe for 2018! I hope you’ve enjoyed having a nosey and may have taken a little inspo if you’re off on your travels soon. My final post for Santorini will be up soon, which is a guide to food. Nom.

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx