BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 22 – the official 2018 highlight reel

As you’re reading this I’m getting ready to travel to Leeds where I will hopefully spend a lovely festive time doing some casual last minute shopping, daytime drinking and winding down in to the Christmas holidays. We did the same last year and it was exactly like this, so hopefully history will repeat! You’ll be able to nosey in on my Instagram stories at what I get up to.

I really like reading posts like this, and writing them each year is a great reminder of the good things that have happened over the past 12 months, so here’s a (probably slightly longer than it should be, but hey it’s me) summary of how 2018 has gone down.

January

I kicked off the year with my 5 Things for 2018 pledge, which was a set of goals I hoped to achieve throughout the next 12 months. I also put myself on a spending detox as an alternative to dry January (which I managed to keep for about 3 weeks if memory serves). This month also saw my first ever comedy review post – Jason Manford’s Muddle Class tour.

February

The Mr and I headed across the Pennines to Manchester for a weekend break, where I finally got to meet the wonderful Dom face to face! I was super thrilled with the custom illustration he did for me. This month also saw the start of things to come in 2 areas of my life – we had a second viewing on a house we really liked, and I met a couple of new blogger friends…more on both of these later.

March

Myself and mama headed to Liverpool on a girl’s trip with our friends – we had drinks, food and did some shopping. We also had a night out to see Sarah Millican’s Control Enthusiast which formed my second comedy review of the year. I headed out to an influencer dinner at Tapasya Hull with blogger friends old and new and had some of THE most delicious Asian food I’ve ever had.

April

April was pretty quiet and not much to mention as we were getting ready to move house, other than a quick update on my 5 Things for 2018.

May

This month was all about 1 key event – WE FINALLY BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE AND MOVED IN.

June

Hello June, hello mid-life crisis mode! I turned 35, became unemployed and finished my microblading treatment. As part of my celebrations I also went to see Tom Allen at Hull Truck Theatre (a mini review was included in my birthday post if you click the link above).

In a bid to get results from the latest weight loss fad, I tried Boom Bod to see if it would help me shift some blubber around my middle (as I’m sure you’ll already have guessed, it didn’t). I a slightly downward twist of fate, I ended up resigning from my job because I had been lied to about what it entailed and it just wasn’t for me (word to the wise kids: be VERY choosy when dealing with recruitment consultants)

By far, the highlight of the month was watching one of my oldest friends get married, which was a truly beautiful day.

July

There’s only one word to describe this month – HOT! As the heat wave hit I busied myself searching for a new job, and by the end of July I’d found it. This picture was taken as I got the call.

I also helped my mum to plan and deliver my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary – we went for vintage themed decor and old photographs alongside a traditional British- themed buffet which all went down a treat.

BUT, there was still more to come from this month…

I said hello to HEY Bloggers! Together with a group of 5 other blogging girls (2 of whom I met back in February) got together and formed an online community for targeted at united bloggers and creatives in Hull and East Yorkshire (hence HEY). We’d be talking about it for a little while but this month provided me with a bit of unexpected free time to work together and get it off the ground.

August

This was a pretty exciting month – as well as getting stuck into my new job, I went to Santorini and had a fabulous time! I shared my thoughts on things you should definitely do, a guide to the island and a guide to Greek food.

Then came #HEYlaunch the first official event for the HEY Bloggers community. It was held at the beautiful Hull Minster and got some great feedback.

As if August wasn’t quite jam-packed enough, I managed to squeeze in a quick 48 hours in London too! We went out of our way to do some different things which turned out really well.

September

This month was all about work and not to much else, however I did get to see Joe Lycett who is one of my very favourite comedians (I didn’t ever get round to writing a review, but it was bloody funny) and Gary Delaney (again, didn’t quite get around to writing a review, but this was I think my third time seeing him so that should give you a feel for my thoughts).

October

In an effort to get back in to my fashion stride on the blog, I re-launched my celeb style round up as weekly fashion faves

and for the very first time I experimented with full face makeup to go out for Halloween (which also saw me visit Spiders nightclub for the first time, a proper Hull institution).

November

I kicked my month with going to the Gok Wan ‘One Size fits All’ tour, bought a load of tea aaaaannnnnnddddddd………

I met freekin’ Santa!! Princes Quay kindly invited me to preview this year’s grotto, and it was everything you’d want a child to experience.

I rounded off the month by hopping on the radio on behalf of HEY Bloggers to talk about all things social media.

December

Which brings neatly to December – as it is for most people, there was quite a lot going on! On 1 December I kicked off #blogmas2018 and and visited the Urban Legends: Northern Lights projections in Hull.

I caught up with old friends for our annual festive night in (this ended up involving way more prosecco than it should have) and helped to host the HEY Bloggers Christmas party (I’ll talk more about that in the new year)

So that’s my year! There’s only really the actual Christmas holidays to go, which I’ll do in a separate post before New Year.

See you tomorrow,

J xx


BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 19 – A thank you to the brands

On #blogmas day 15 I posted the quickest of snapshots into the HEY Bloggers Christmas Party that I co-hosted the same day, what I’d like to dedicate today’s post to is thanking the wonderful and generous brands that collaborated with us on the event. We worked to get some great products for our guests to try, hopefully this shout out will inspire to try something new or re-discover and old fave!

The talented Melissa of Like Sugar Bakery created some amazing looking sweet treats for us, with flavours inspired by her USA heritage. She even branded her salted caramel brownies with our logo!

The stylish Lexington Bar was our venue, as an extra festive treat the bar tenders even created little edible Christmas trees to decorate our cocktails! To create a cute Instagrammable touch Hobbycraft gave us these cool HEY letter balloons. They were very well used indeed.

(Image: @lizzie_florence )

Our ice breaker game was hosted by Jo, the creator of Socialise and Mingle which was the perfect way to get guests mingling in a quirky way

(image: @riareeblog)

Inside the goody bags given to each bags given to each guest, they found the following:

Dom & Ink print by Rock on Ruby / A bag of Metcalfe’s asking Popcorn / VIP invite and branded merchandise from Napoleon’s Casino Hull / Sienna X tanning product / A can of Fentimans Rose Lemonade / Discount voucher for High Maintenance Jewellery / Book marks and pen from Wordery / A Hugh Rice silver heart necklace, silver cleaning cloth and Luxe by Hugh Rice tote bag / A Hull Truck Theatre new season brochure

Our charity raffle, in aid of charity Oscar’s Choice, had prizes up for grabs from the following companies, there were also a few spot prizes up for grabs throughout the event

Rock on Ruby festive jumpers / Bespoke High Maintenance Jewellery bracelet / Tickets to The Deep / Tessies voucher / Afternoon Tea at The Artisan / A selection of Hugh Rice vouchers / A keg of Koppaberg cider / Tickets to see a show at Bonus Arena / House of Beauty voucher / Blow dry vouchers for Hair Art Studio / Bag from Jack Wills / A selection of gifts from Wordery / Shadow Switch brush cleaner / Socialise and Mingle game/ Products from Everything 5 Pounds / Vouchers from Beauty Outlet and gift card from Princes Quay Shopping Centre

Huge huge HUGE thank you to each and every one of you on behalf of the HEY Bloggers team! Oh can catch a full unboxing of the goody bags and the event over on my Instagram story highlights.

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow,

J xx


BLOGMAS 2018 /Day 18 – 5 Things for 2018: how’d it work out?

I started this pledge as a bit of a public way to motivate me to get stuff done – well it may not have worked 100% but it’s definitely something you’ve been interested in reading! As I share one final update for the year thank you for sticking with me – it’s been a bumpy old ride.

Find a new new home 🏡

Y’all know this one has a bit fat tick against it! We’ve been in a little over 7 months and haven’t really done that much to it as we’ve kind of just been basking in the glow of having a nice house, but we will kick things up a notch come new year. I’m excited about what we can do to make the space feel lovely, which is how I know it’s the right place for us.

Smash my new job 🖥

As you may remember reading in the summer, things didn’t quite work out in the original job I’d hoped to succeed in, but they’re definitely moving along nicely in the current one! I’m working in an industry I never thought I would, but one that has proved very interesting and unusual which has kept me on toes. It’s definitely what I need, and I feel happy in the knowledge that my colleagues and manager will help push me to be the best I can be.

Get back to my happy weight ⚖️

Well…it’d be wrong to get absolutely everything right I guess! I’m nowhere bloody near, but I’ve started taking steps to make sure I am, and I’m trying really hard to not beat myself up about how I look. It’s hard, but I’m doing the best I can.

Have eyebrows on fleek 💉

Er, sort of? Six months on from completing my microblading treatment I’ll happily say that the shape and most of the colour has remained, however because my skin hasn’t taken particularly well to the process things could still look a lot better. I contacted the original lady who did my treatment to ask if I could book in for an early top up, it she’s ghosted me for some reason so I’ll be looking elsewhere in the new year. I’d still totally recommend, but I learnt how not to do things the expensive way.

See more of the UK 🇬🇧

I had the intention, I had a plan, I started to put said plan into action, but I could have done better. I wouldn’t say this is a big fat cross, but it’s definitely not a full tick.

What else has happened?

I found out I have melasma

Yeah, this is a weird one! I went on holiday about 9 years ago and had these massive freckle clusters just pop up around my face – I’ve always had freckles and they always come out instead of a suntan so thought nothing more of it, even though they reminded a bit of the infamous Mike Tyson tattoo. However this year I happened across an article discussion melasma and the symptoms/ appearance and realised “that’s what I look like”. Fortunately, the fact I thought it was freckles means I’m not self conscious at all, I’ve embraced it whole heartedly as a part of my USP. Sometimes I feel like I have to cover it up for putting on highlighter as it’s on my sheets and can look a bit like a dirty smudge, but that’s not the end of the world.

I went to Bonus Arena

This wonderful new entertainment venue opened in the late summer, and I was lucky enough to have a sneak peak beforehand! Since the. I’ve been for two different events – 1 an awards show with work and another to see Love Actually in concert* just last week – and have been able to see the various different setups they can offer which are really smart. I already have events lined up there for next year so I’m looking forward to returning.

I made some new friends

I don’t have pics of them all! HEY Bloggers has allowed me to meet some lovely people, as well as reconnect with some old friends, so I look forward to spending more time with them in 2019 whether they like it or not!

See you tomorrow,

J xx

*tickets to Love Actually in Concert were kindly gifted by Bonus Arena


BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 15 – HEY, it’s Christmas!

Today’s blog post is coming a little later than usual, because I’ve been busy co-hosting a lil’ something called the HEY Bloggers Christmas Party!

I’m planning to do a more lengthy blog post in the new year about blogger events and the resources that go into making them successful, but for now he are a few pics from our afternoon.

Make sure you head over to Twitter and Instagram to give HEY Bloggers a cheeky follow!

See you tomorrow,

J xx


FASHION, FOOD & FUN/ Gok Wan: One size fits all

I’m a long time Gok Wan fan – over the years I’ve watched How to Look Good Naked, Gok’s Fashion Fix, Fearne and Gok: off the Rails and as many This Morning fashion segments as I can catch when I’m not working.

Thanks to my awesome friend Lynsey’s (you’ll see more of her in a bit) suggestion, we recently headed to Sheffield to catch the man himsf live and in person as part of his ‘One Size Fits All’ brunch club when it made its way to Yorkshire last week.

This is the promo graphic used on the website, which I’m going to use as an honest review of the day. My overview was that it was a lovely supportive thing to attend, but a few opportunities were missed that could’ve really made it more on point.

But first, let’s talk outfits. You can’t head to a girly brunch without planning a cute look, right?

In my head I wanted to go for something that was quite easy and comfortable but that I still felt cool in. Leopard print and Faux leather seemed like it fit the bill (you’ll see the end OOTD a little further down with links).

Lynsey and I were so keen to start the day that we arrived in Sheffield City centre about an hour before we needed to, so had chance for a little wander around the sites and to snap a couple of pics.

It’s such a lovely place!

Sheffield was recently named the second best night out in the UK (the first was Manchester, us Northerners know how it’s done I guess) which from the hazy memories I have of time spent there in my twenties I can heartily attest to.

The event happened at Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Spa which is a lovely venue right next to the Peace Gardens (the hotel was to the right of the below shot, there were too many people for an external shot to look nice)

Let me introduce Lynsey!

We’ve been friends for about 6yrs after meeting through work. She’s one of the loveliest and realest people I know, a great person to have a girls day with.

Team Gok brought along a lovely floral wall to have photos against, great start to any girly modern day girl event. I’ve posted the pics so you can see our outfits and the opening of the event, but I will say that I cannot stand how I look in them. I’m feeling crap about myself right now and, even though I felt good about how I looked when I left home that morning, I was so upset when I saw the harsh realities away from my home mirror.

Dress, Joanie / Jacket, ASOS / Bag, Michael Kors / Boots, Public Desire

I suppose though, if you’re gonna stand a chance of getting confidence from anywhere, it’s like to be from aunt Gok! I did get lots of lovely comments from other guests who liked my look, which was very kind of them.

After a glass of fizz to welcome us we headed to our table. I was VERY impressed by the styling, it reminded me of my wedding breakfast back in 2010 which may seem a bit OTT but it was perfect

Our table was was just 1 row back from the front so we had a great view when the man himself popped up to say hello and introduce himself.

although I didn’t get to personally speak to him he was everything I hoped he would be ; he also has a similar sense of humour to me which totally made me think we could be friends IRL. I will patiently await his call inviting me for a day of shopping and cocktails.

After a brief overview of the afternoon’s events it was time for food. Yay.

The website promised we would be served a 2 course, 5 star brunch. It was indeed 2 course (though I couldn’t eat the first course as I forgot to tell the venue I had an allergy to shellfish) but I’d liken it more to good quality hotel mass-catering event food (the kind we’ve all had at Christmas party nights etc) than 5 star.

Also, the food served couldn’t be classified as brunch in any way really – no breakfast food items, no brunch-related drinks (mimosa, bloody Mary, juices). This was what was served.

As I said the food was perfectly nice and tasty, but to offer it up as a top class brunch was misleading.

After food came the first catwalk show. Sadly there are no photos of these sections as everything was a bit too fast and came out blurry, which I didn’t want to I use as it doesnt show off the clothes very well.

I did however include a snap of this lil’ gal (Dolly, Gok’s Frenchie) who was happily wandering between tables being nosey and enjoying lots of attention.

The Gok team worked with a bunch of local boutiques and brands to help deliver this event. I really liked this idea as it shows what can be achieved using items in the area, however I couldn’t help but feel a teeny bit let down by the delivery of the concept.

I had presumed that all of the local brands would be featured in ‘Gok’ s Dream Space’ as a kind of shopping hub. The reality was that this was a pretty small space at the back of the main room and just 4 companies had a “stall” selling items (one of them wasn’t even a fashion brand, they sold candles, which I must say did smell lovely) the other brands were featured within the catwalk shows.

The brands submitted and styled all of the outfits themselves, which was kind of disappointing. Let me explain this a little more before anyone comes for me.

Most people in the room had paid £££ to listen to styling advice and tip delivered by Gok Wan, a Stylist. If they wanted the opinion of the boutiques/brands directly they could’ve easily gone along to their stores and gotten this free of charge. If they were being put on the catwalk I would’ve liked Gok or his team to be more involved in the styling side and it kind of be positioned “there are these amazing brands in your area, this is how I would recommend you wear them” as I’ve seen him do on TV.

Also, and again I’m not slating the quality of any brands that took part, but I really wish that the organisers would have been more selective with the local brands they used. I do understand that these companies will paid money to participate which will have covered some of the costs overall, but there just didn’t seem to have been a lot of thought going into who was chosen. As well as the candle brand there was also a bridal store and head wear company; both had beautiful items but were too specific for this kind of event. There was 1 lady in attendance that made herself known as wanting help with finding a wedding dress, but if you wanted this kind of inspiration you’d usually go to an event such as a wedding fair that was more tailored to suit.

Anyway, that’s my piece said on some of the bits I liked less.

I liked the trend analysis section that pulled out some of the more classic trends and gave a brief commentary and tips on how they can work well for you. He also spoke about the plus points of investing heavily in “classic trend” pieces to not only provide longetivity over years/seasons but also as a way of ensuring that fashion is sustainable, which as we all know is a hot button issue right now.

One of my fave parts of the event was the Q&A session (though they didn’t answer mine and Lynsey’s as there were too many. Sob.) as this showed off the Gok Wan we were all there for – very specific advice, a bit of cheeky banter) and a whole lot of complements/confidence out to his audience.

Pretty much every topic was covered – dressing for age, shape, size, in spite of access requirements (such as a wheelchair) and I managed to take a few notes like a diligent student for future use.

My other favourite part of the day were the makeovers.

At the start of the day people could nominate those they were with to receive a full transformation by the team, and the lovely Anne-Marie who was sat next to me was picked! She’s about the turn 50, her body is going through lots of changes (though she still looked bloody amazing) and she was just feeling a bit lost.

It was so lovely to see her transformed and he so happy with her new hair, makeup and outfit.

There were also some mini hair makeovers, which was to demonstrate Gok’s statement “you don’t have just one pair of shoes for everything, so why the hell would you only have one hairstyle?”. We must have been really good luck for our table, as this time the lady sat next to Lynsey was picked for one of these!

Dianne was ‘closer to 70 than 60’ in her words and has long hair she often wears in a chignon as her cousin has to her older ladies shouldn’t really have long hair.

The hair team took it all down and put a lovely wave through it and it looked lovely, older or not. (side note: one of Diane’s friends made her rum truffles as an early Christmas gift and she gave us one to try, they were amazing.)

I appreciate I’ve sounded a bit moany about a few parts of the day, but overall it was a nice way to spend an afternoon, be reminded of some things about style/confidence and generally have a good ol’ people watch to get inspiration from what other attendees were wearing.

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/ 20 years since Sex and the City: how relevant is it today?

I first saw Sex and the City when I was about 18, and last year I made a pilgrimage to Carrie Bradshaw’s famous stoop whilst on holiday in New York City. Even at the age of 34, 16 years late, I was still beyond excited to pay it a visit.

Although I’m asking this question as a die-hard SATC fan, I can’t help but wonder (see what I did there? Hehe.) if asking it out loud makes me sound a bit judgey/traitor-ish, or merely philosophical. I suppose what I’m really trying to ask is this: if the women of this generation watched the show, how much of it would resonate in the context of society today?

Blooming heck; I feeling the English graduate in me coming out a bit here…but this isn’t going to be an academic essay applying any kind of critical theory, promise! I’m merely going to chat about some of my fave quotes from the show and see if they’re still a thing. K? Let’s do this….

This is DEFINITELY still a thing, it’s sooooo a thing! We see this assertion from men on reality shows all the time – If a woman has a alternative opinion, she’s a bitch. Not simpering over a man? Bitch. If women don’t act in accordance with male expectation, they’re referred to as either a bitch or “on the blob”. Because it couldn’t possibly be their problem could it? Don’t be silly.

This is one that should still be relevant, but that women of today can struggle to accept because of our friend social media. We all see the perfect girls on Insta, our own Natasha’s if you will, and feel just a little inadequate that we can’t quite nail it like they can. But sometimes they can’t, we just don’t see that, but there’s a definite movement to raise up womankind and celebrate “imperfections” (or as I call them “what you look like irl”) which will hopefully get society back to a more Carrie frame of mind.

Social media is definitely responsible for making this more of a problem than ever before! How many times have you thought “I can’t wear that, I’ve been seen wearing it on Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat/Insta” because I’ve thought this A LOT over the past 10 years. That’s probably why I’ve had a borderline online shopping obsession and constantly have suitcases full of clothes to sell or donate. Thanks to celebs like Kate Middleton it’s becoming more acceptable to ‘shop in your own closet’ again and re-wear items (though if I was paying as much as her for a frock I’d be wearing it multiple times too) and I’ve noticed a few YouTuber styling videos based on pieces they already own, so I think is one is going to make a brief u-turn…before we go back to the same old dilemma. Can’t resist the lure of a New In section!

Men; mocking the things they do not understand and cannot appreciate. Luckily for us, fashion is subjective and it doesn’t usually matter. Although I do have times where I dress because I’d like the Mr to think I look nice, primarily I dress for me. Oh, and for other women. Hehe.

This quote has two current meanings attached for me. The first is the currently trendy “I don’t want to be around other humans; I’m gonna stay in and communicate using only the mediums of reality tv and food delivery apps” which is kinda cute and not entirely concerning. However, I’m present day society a statement like this could also be symptomatic isolating oneself due to their mental health, which is troubling. It’s fine to have time out for yourself, but don’t feel as if you have to be alone because you think you’re a burden or that nobody will care. They do, promise. We should all make sure we have each other’s backs as much as possible.

She’s not wrong – we should all have the guts to channel a little of Samantha’s confidence. I’ve always been a firm believer that what you wear on the outside can have a huge impact on how you feel inside, which will the help to improve you state of mind – so pull on your favourite outfit, take a look in the mirror and think “yass queen” before strutting out of the house to show the world who’s boss!

Although everything in this post is still pretty relevant, I’m very aware that there are things I haven’t mentioned that would raise more eyebrows today than perhaps they did back then – casual racism (remember when Samantha dated the black music producer, and dated the rich man with the Asian maid) and the portrayal of ethnic minorities in lesser skilled roles (with the Lucy Liu cameo as the only notable exception) are just a couple of examples, however I believe that the overall vibe of female empowerment and independence most definitely sits well within the current issues facing women in society.

So what do you think; am I right or wrong? Which episode still resonates the most with you and why? Don’t leave a gal hanging; shout me out in comments below!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


FOOD/ My top #HullFoodie hangouts (Season 2, 2018)

I can’t believe we’re ANOTHER month down on 2018 already! As well as working hard on my 5 Things for 2018 I’ve been busy curating part 2 of my #HullFoodie hangouts (you can remind yourself of part 1 here) some of them are old faves revisited, some are places I’ve only just gotten round to trying. Prepare to be hungry…

Thieving Harrys

(Photos by Emma)

If you want a brunch that’s yummy and suitably basic bitch enough for the ‘gram, TH is the place. It’s just across the way from where I’ve been living for the past few months but I’d never managed to make it in before a girl’s trip one sunny Saturday morning. Since I’ve tried a few different things on the menu – my top pick is these delicious pancakes.

Francesca’s

I’ve previously done two reviews about this place (the most recent one is here) and tried a variety of their menu – pizza, pasta, salad, sides, its all delicious. They’re often running special offers too so you can either save money or (as I do) order more food for the same price.

Millhouse

This place is a long standing favourite – it’s usually where we spend our anniversary or treat ourselves to a ‘proper’ Sunday lunch. The food here is a la carte and priced accordingly, though it’s still fairly reasonably and very tasty indeed. The decor is lovely and the drinks selection is good too, the only slight quibble I have is that the service can occasionally be a bit haphazard.

Craft and dough

(image credit: Instagram tag)

More pizza, you say? Oh yes, and this one is quite special… They’re a whole metre long! In a great location on Newland avenue you can bag a delicious doughy treat (they do half metre sizes too, which are still pretty epic) yummy cocktails and a round of beer pong if you fancy it. These beauties even bested me, which NEVER happens when pizza is involved, but they make a great lunch with a bit of salad the following day.

Tapasya

If you want fine dining with a twist, Tapasya is where you need to be. I visited in March and sampled a variety of their Asian cuisine (You can read about my recent visit here) which was amazing quality. If you think you’re a connoisseur of Indian food, you need to give this place a visit for the whole experience. I can’t wait to go back with the Mr.

thanks for reading,

J xx


COMEDY/ Sarah Millican: Control Enthusiast (March 2018)

I headed out on a very chilly Friday night to see Sarah Millican on her Control Enthusiast tour when it landed at Hull City Hall earlier this month. In a bit of a first for me for a comedy gig, I went along with my mum for a girl’s night out – enjoying a pizza and sticky toffee pudding with ice cream en route (I feel this is how Sarah would’ve wanted us to start the night). I’ve seen Sarah live once before and own all of her DVDs which I re-watch fairly often, so I was excited to enjoy her new material. Once again, I’ll try not to do too ma any spoilers!

Hitting the stage, Sarah launched her set with anecdotes about road rage – which most definitely hit the mark with me (you may remember that I felt a similar affinity with part of Jason Manford’s show) however unlike Sarah I don’t masked any of the hand gestures she recommended!

Unlike Jason, who prefers to do the whole gig himself, we were introduced to Sally-Ann Hayward as the opening support act. I know I said in my last comedy review that the absence of support meant you get better value for money from the act you’ve paid to see, but support acts also give you the chance to discover new comedians at no extra cost, which is also good value. During her last tour Sarah brought along Tom Allen, who I thoroughly enjoyed and try to catch whenever he’s on TV. Sally-Ann’s was female oriented with some sarcastic observational jokes thrown in, which complemented the main event pretty well.

Welcoming Sarah back to the stage she cracked straight on with her trademark ‘too much information about female stuff’ humour by letting the audience know she was having issues with a misplaced sanitary towel!

Moving into the main body of material – we were treated to jokes about pornos (storyline, sex and POV) bra fittings (visiting the Queen’s bra fitters and asking for people’s worst experiences) and body confidence (eat food and don’t give a shit about society ideals) amongst other things. Mentions of Sarah’s family also made a welcome re-appearance; I enjoyed having a chuckle about her parents and husband, as well as the “rhythmic clinking” activities of her adorable dog. I only take slight issue with her comments on Guinea Pigs – as a former Mother to Pigs (yes, mother) they’re not a poor man’s rabbit, mine were super cute and hilarious AF to watch with their quirky mannerisms.

Sarah likes to offer a little extra added value and support a charity on each of her tours – on the way out there were badges bearing two of her fave slogans, ‘No’ and ‘I’m Champion’, as well as collection buckets to support the local branch of The Samaritans. The proceeds raised from previous show collections have helped to fund up to 10 days of resources to help those in need, which is truly heartwarming.

Both mum and I left feeling extremely entertained and in good spirits, as I knew I would be, and mum now understands the subtext of the aubergine emoji. Mum’s summary was “she swears a lot more than I realised she did, but I had a bloody good time” since she was cackling next to me from start to finish, I can confirm she did!

I’d definitely say that a Sarah Millican gig is best enjoyed in the company of other women – my Mr finds Sarah funny, but some of her more ‘female’ humour just can’t resonate with him so he just can’t relate.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


COMEDY/ Jason Manford: Muddle Class (January 2018)

My first ever comedy post!

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to start including comedy gig reviews as part of my regular aesthetic – comedy is a huge part of my life and I go to a lot of shows every year, so it makes sense that I would include on my blog alongside other things I’m passionate about. I had a few of these planned throughout 2018, so I hope that you enjoy reading them and that it inspires you to go along and see some of the people featured (for that reason, I will try my best to minimise ‘spoiler content.

I’ve seen Mr Manford live a couple of times previously and have enjoyed his performances – with some comedians I’ve liked on TV in the past I’ve been left disappointed when they’ve not quite lived up to my expectations in the flesh.

Jason visited Hull City Hall on the 2nd night of his 180 date Muddle Class tour, so I saw his new material hot off the press. The performance lasted around two hours and there was a short interval in the middle – a lot of big name comedians have support acts, however Jason is quite open that he doesn’t because he’s a “tight arse” and won’t pay for somebody to do something he can do himself! It makes the ticket price better value for money as you’re seeing more of who you’ve booked to enjoy for the evening.

He knows his audience well and covers a variety of subjects in his very Northern, observational style of humour – in the first half this included the education system (he has 5 children), political correctness gone mad and the point at which you realise you may be overweight (highlighted with an anecdote about getting lodged in water slide).

The second half was just as good and really appealed to my life in particular – inconsiderate/ hypocritical drivers (I do a fairly long commute to work each day and I cannot tell you how annoying – and scary – it is when drivers coming towards you or right up behind with lights so bright that you can’t see anything). The ‘Jeff from speed awareness’ section was particularly funny.

Jason also discussed the name of the tour, Muddle Class, and what it means – the daily struggle between the class you were brought up in and the classes you seem to toggle between as an adult and, more amusingly, what happens when your kids are living in a different class to the one you grew up with.

He ended the show with an insight into being a father of lots of children in a “modern situation”. It’s not one too many people can relate to but his advice was this – once you pass three, forget about having a normal or decent car!

Verdict

Did I laugh out loud? Yes – A LOT (though I should point out that I find a lot of things funny that I don’t necessarily laugh out loud to, so this wouldn’t have been a deal breaker)

Would I buy the DVD of this tour? Yes. Jason’s brand of comedy remains funny, relevant and easy listening.

Will I go and see him live again? Yes. His material is still fresh and enjoyable (which I think it probably helped by not touring every single year and pursuing other things – he’s recently made an album and has performed in the west end)

I hope you enjoyed reading about something a bit different, I have more planned throughout the year in between my usually fashion with a bit of food/beauty/lifestyle thrown in.

Thanks for reading,

J xx