29 May 2017

that was the week that was: drie

This week I'm recovering from...driving lessons. I've found the whole process extremely stressful so far even though I already had a vague idea on how to drive from when I learnt when I was seventeen. Right at this moment I don't know how I'll ever be able to get myself to test standard but I'm just thanking God that I'm learning to drive somewhere quiet and not in London. I've been trying to take some of Rebecca's advice and ignore whether other drivers are getting pissed off with me. 

This week I'm looking forward to...getting out and about and exploring a little. I'm determined to make the most of the next two weeks that I have off work and actually go and see some things that have been on my list for a while. I doubt I'll get the chance to have this much time off work ever again (unless there's another general election this year - hope not) so I really need to do something vague productive with it. 

This week I'm feeling apprehensive about...going to a hen do. It's a good friend of mine from Uni getting married, and we lived together for a year and so I know mostly everything there is to know about her, but I barely know anyone else going and I'm always a bit apprehensive about things that might be considered "enforced fun". I'm sure it will be fun, but I'm just a bit nervous about the whole thing, especially as I haven't been to a hen do before (unless you count my Mums, which I don't think I do).

This week I'm loving...Bodyshop's Drops of Light Brightening Essence Lotion, which was a completely random purchase for me but seems to be working out quite well. I've only just started using it but I'm pretty sure I can already see a little bit of a difference in my complexion. I've been really enjoying re-discovering the Bodyshop lately.

This week I've been grateful for...not having to endure a heat wave in London. One of the great things about being back at home in the 'burbs is that when it's night you can actually open your windows and not have to listen to busy noises and whatever else. My flat in London is on a main road, next to what seems to be the most popular bar in Clapham (if you possibly exclude Infernos...) and a tube station and in the hot weather I just don't stand a chance. I'm absolutely crap with the heat anyway. 

This week I'm listening to...The Great British Breakfast playlist on Spotify. The whole thing reminds me of being at Uni, and is also the kind of music my Dad listens to when he's washing up which is a great nostalgic memory for me. 

What are you up to this week?


26 May 2017

a little anti-haul.


I am loving everyone's anti-haul posts and I've been reading them avidly, so I knew I was gonna have to do one of my own. If you've not seen one - it's basically describing the things you wouldn't buy. In a blogging world where we always talk about the things you would buy, sometimes it's nice to hear the exact opposite. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing everyone else's recommendations, but occasionally it's nice to get a bit of relief. It all started with Kimberly Clarke on YouTube so full credit to her, but I first saw it on Rebecca's blog.

So without further ado, here are a few of the things I wouldn't be buying. 

Pixi Double Cleanse

This is a bit of a cheat as I've just finished a pot of it, so I have bought it, but I have to say I doubt I'd ever buy it again. I loved the idea of having a two in one - a cleansing balm and a cream cleanser - but in reality, it just wasn't that great. The balm was nowhere near as great as my favourite from Clinique, and the cream was no better than a vaguely cheap one I use. You get the same amounts of both, but you're expected to use only the balm at night but the cream in the morning and night, meaning you run out of one quicker than the other. The only time I've really liked this product was when I've travelled anywhere because it cut down on packaging and carrying two items rather than one. For me, it was just massively over hyped. 

Cold Shoulders

I don't know whether it's just because I'm getting on a bit or what, but I just don't get it. I spend half my life feeling cold and desperately trying to warm up, so why would I want to buy something that is literally described as cold? Also, I have broad shoulders - "swimmer's shoulders" - and I just can't see them working for me. Plus I swear I spend too much time internet window shopping and seeing cold shoulder tees and thinking: "oh if only I could sew up those shoulders..."


Does anyone have those weird things that rationally they know make no sense? Like, I can't have a shower unless I've brushed my teeth, no exception. I'm the same with anything going near my neck, I feel like I'm choking even though of course, I'm not. I even feel suffocated if I see someone else with a neck tattoo, I think I'd probably conk out if I had to wear a choker. 


I mean holes in t-shirts especially. Jeans I can just about handle, but I don't understand why I would want to buy a t-shirt that looks like it's been attacked by moths in a wardrobe. Old? Me? Yep, probably. 

Liz Earle Products

I once had some samples of Liz Earle stuff and nothing has ever broken me out quite like them. If I bought them I'd go back to looking like the massively spotty teen I was ten years ago. I can think of much more enjoyable ways to get spots (a ridiculous amount of chocolate, pizza and alcohol for example) rather than spending God knows how much on a cleanser. 


For some reason, my ASOS recommendations are full of sliders and I feel like they're desperately trying to push them on to me. They just look like the middle aged man version of flip flops to me, I just don't geddit.

Anything you agree with? What wouldn't you buy?


24 May 2017

drinking at the rumpus room | the southbank.

 rumpus room southbank london view

I'm not the biggest fan of living in London - something I've mentioned on this blog many times before. However, there is always an exception to the rule, and my exception is that the one absolutely brilliant thing about London is that there is always somewhere new to find somewhere amazing to have a cocktail in. I'm a big fan of cocktails - I think it's the variety of choice, I'm like a kid in a sweet shop.

Also, if I'm being kind to London, it would be hard to ignore how brilliant the city can be when the sun is shining and you find yourself on a roof terrace overlooking the brilliant buildings the city has to offer. 

22 May 2017

that was the week that was: zwei

This week I'm reading...well, this week I've just finished two books which is pretty unusual for me as I never find the time to read, but having just got back from a trip to Ibiza where all I did was flop down on a beach all day I can cross two off my list. I finished off Jess Philips' book Everywoman, which I'm 100% 50/50 about. I really can't decide whether I hated it or loved it. I also read Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans which I know I hated. It's just been turned into a film - "Their Finest" - which I think I might like, but the book was incredibly dull and I couldn't wait for it to be over. 

This week I'm researching...things to do in London for when I finally move back there. If anyone has any ideas then please throw them my way, I'm all ears. 

This week I'm nursing....a bad case of sunburn. I've been so careful in the sun for the past ten years I've barely suffered with sun burn at all but I massively fucked up on holiday and only took factor 20 with me. It's safe to say I could have done with factor 50 at least. Now I have to spend most of my time with a peeling nose and an itchy back, all of which is completely my own fault.

This week I'm drinking...quite a few cocktails to be honest. Look out for a few more bar reviews from recent places I've visited in London, even if the pictures will be a little dodgy. Here's to bringing back iPhone photography on blogs, that's my only excuse. 

This week I'm looking forward to...spending some time with my Granny before she goes on holiday to see her brother in Devon. She's honestly one of the best people in the world, and since my Grandad died last year nothing has been the same. I want to spend as much time as possible with her because she means the absolute world to me. 

This week I'm worrying about...starting driving lessons. I mentioned last week that I'd be starting, and I've managed to find an instructor that will give me some pretty intensive courses over a week's period. It's been nearly nine years since I was last attempting to be behind the wheel of a car and when I told my Dad that I'd be doing some lessons, he spent a lot of time laughing. My Mum, bless her, has also insured me on her brand new car that she possibly loves more than she loves me, so that could quite easily end in tears. 

This week I'm loving...a few new Body Shop products which I've got hold of. I've really started to like their skincare range and I'm a big fan of their cream cleansers, so I've decided I'm going to branch out and give a couple of their serums a try too. 

This week I'm watching...all of the soaps I missed last week when I was on holiday. I'm one episode down on A Murder in the Family on Channel 4 and I'm already hooked, and my Mum keeps nagging me to watch Three Girls too, so there's a lot to get round to!

What are you up to this week?


19 May 2017

a coffee at scooter caffe | london.

scooter cafe lower marsh

scooter cafe lower marsh

Weirdly, one of the things I miss about living in Holland is that there always seemed to be cats in bars. Two of my regular haunts in Leiden both had resident cats that would ignore you no matter how much you tried to give them some love. This doesn't seem to happen as much in London, which is a real shame when you live on a busy road that can't justify having a cat and have a landlord that won't allow cats but you still realllllly want one. So when you do find a place in London that has not one, but three resident cats you know it's probably going to be a pretty special place. 

Scooter Cafe on Waterloo's Lower Marsh is that place. It's one of those places that doesn't have a website, that you only find by randomly walking past one day when you're already in search of a coffee. A happy coincidence. 

scooter cafe lower marsh

scooter cafe lower marsh

The decor of this place means it almost feels a little odd hidden away on a street in Waterloo. It seems like it would make more sense to be somewhere which is too cool for me, like Shoreditch. But Scooter has a history which means it makes sense - it used to be a scooter workshop where Vespa owners over time have grabbed a coffee whilst they waited for their scooter to be fixed. Now the workshop has moved to Bermondsey and just the coffee remains. 

It should be mentioned that they do have an antique coffee machine, which means that sometimes you might have to wait for the hot water to heat up (not a place if you're in a hurry) and that there aren't all that many seats. 

scooter cafe lower marsh

scooter cafe lower marsh

I ordered a mocha and was warned that it was served Italian style and that it would be thick. They weren't joking - this has to have been the thickest and the sweetest mocha I have ever had in my life. Definitely not an every day drink unless I want to end up the size of a house. A massive treat for a slow Saturday afternoon! They also have a small selection of cakes on offer, when I was there it was ginger cake for the day, but my mocha was already sweet enough. 

Scooter Caffe also doubles up as a bar, you can grab a wide selection of beers and a small selection of cocktails too. 

scooter cafe lower marsh

The only downside of Scooter is that it's probably not the cleanest place in the world. I'm sure it passes its hygiene tests otherwise it wouldn't be open, but it takes shabby chic to another level. Stick to the terrace outside if you're super bothered! 

Any recommendations for odd places to grab a coffee in London will always be welcome!


15 May 2017

that was the week that was: een.

This week I'm reading...literally anything about the general election. This time two years ago I was working six days a week, twelve hour days for a political party and I was exhausted. This general election, I'm working for an MP and I'm not allowed to do any work. My work pass has been cut, my e-mail access suspended and I have five weeks off. I'm trying to get my politics fills in other ways - sticking close to any news that comes out and the following everything closely. I love little gossipy bits - for example, I loved this little tidbit about a press officer screaming in 2015. I'm waiting for the 2017 version!

This week I'm wasting my time by...playing a ridiculous amount of Roller Coaster Tycoon. With five weeks off work unplanned, I'm finding it hard to fill my time doing anything at the moment. I did search through my drawers and unbelievably found my old Roller Coaster Tycoon CD, which must be from when it came out in 1999! It's impossible not to waste a huge amount of time playing it. I'm 100% addicted. 

This week I'm loving...Clinique's Take The Day Off cleansing balm. It's sad but it's one of the only skincare products I have that I actually look forward to putting on and taking off. Nothing has ever taken my make up off with such ease before and I've only just finished my first pot that I got for Christmas. 

This week I'm eating...probably nothing as good as my friend Gemma who has just started her own blog about all the wonderful food she eats. You should probably check it out. 

This week I'm drinking...ludicrously thick mochas from a cafe near my boyfriend's house.  It was so sweet I had to go to the nearest pub afterwards for a g&t to wash it all down. Winning all round, to be honest.

This week I'm researching...the numbers of driving instructors back in my home time. As I have such a long time off work then I reckon I might have to try and so something vaguely productive with it! Learning to drive is on my list of things to do this year and I passed my theory test not too long ago, so now I just have to take the plunge and do the actual driving bit.

This week I'm listening to...Adventure Bar's Spotify playlist. I love that bar and now I can save money at home with a Malibu and Coke and pretend.

What are you up to this week?


13 May 2017

i want my little blog back.

I keep losing my way when it comes to this blog - and I think I've worked out why. It's just not personal to me anymore, and I desperately want to reclaim it. 

I can't remember when I started this little part of the internet, but I do remember sitting in my halls of residence back in 2009 updating it every day. Of course, blogging was a little different then - there were no flatlays, photo editing, keywords and SEO. I just whacked whatever I felt like up, whenever I felt like. 

I know I'm not the only person who feels like this. I've seen a lot of blog posts recently about it all, but one of the main ones that has stuck in my head is Elizabeth at Rosalilium who wrote her post on "7 Things I Miss About The Good Ol’ Days Of Blogging". The days of any old photo and comments and no pressure to make it big, to make contacts with PR companies and whatever else. 

Now I've been blogging for a long long time, spent a hell of a lot of my life on the internet but I think it's safe to say I'm never going to be a massive blogger. So why do I get stuck on checking the stats? Why do I keep comparing myself to others? Why don't I let myself just enjoy it more?

So...a little pledge to myself. I'm going to reclaim this little part of the internet. I'm going to bring it back to the things I like, the things I enjoy. It'll be more about travel, little bits of London and the UK, but also a little bit more about me. I want to be able to look back each post and remember what I did. If others read it and enjoy it, then that'll be pretty great too.

Annie x

24 April 2017

how to spend 48 hours in lisbon.

So we'll have to excuse the film photos once again - I love them although I appreciate they're not the best quality for use on the internet. But seriously, isn't it nice to have a photo to hold once in a while, instead of hidden away inside your phone? The only issue is that I actually went to Lisbon nearly a year ago but never quite got around to getting them developed - and that really is one of the big problems of having film photos! 

Anyway, on to the matter at hand. Last year (!) I headed off to Lisbon for a little bit of time before heading off to Baleal in Portugal for a surfing trip. I'd been to Lisbon before, with my family, for a very short amount of time, but this was a little longer and this time I was with some friends and was over the legal drinking age which always makes a bit of difference when it comes to holidays I reckon.

48 hours probably isn't enough time to get to grips with all that Lisbon has to offer, but it is a great amount of time to get a taste for what the city has to offer. 


We stayed in a little Airbnb pretty close by to the castle and so we made it one of our first stops. You can see it from pretty much anywhere in Lisbon, and it's perfect for walking along the towers and the ramparts to get a wicked view of the rest of Lisbon - and for checking out the view of the 25 de Abril Bridge across the River Tagus. It was quite busy when we arrived, but not overly so, and we paid the 8.50 euro fee to get inside so we could try and take photos of the peacocks which are everywhere inside the castle grounds.


Hidden away on Rua do Norte, this was one of our favourite places to grab some food while we were in Lisbon - to the point where I still think of it often even now. There was a wide range of petiscos - the Portuguese cousin to Spanish tapas - hot and cold, brilliantly presented and thousands of different wines to choose from too. The food was great, the service brilliant and best of all was that it wasn't too expensive either. 


Even though it nearly killed me and my fat bum, exploring some of Lisbon's back streets was one of my favourite things to do while I was there. I never once managed to get my bearings and considered myself truly lost at most points of time, but you won't get much of a better work out walking up and down the thousands of steps that connect one street to the next. You won't get much better views either, which seem to sneak up on you when you least expect it. 


Most of Lisbon's trams have been replaced by more modern and efficient trains, but one line, the 28, still retains the trams which were commissioned in the 1930s. Not only that, but the route is one of the longest in Lisbon, meaning you get to see a whole lot of the city for a whole lot less than you would were you to pop on a double-decker tour bus. The only downside of doing this is that you have to put up with an absolutely massive queue that you just don't have to with other trams - but you just won't get the same level of charm exploring the city in any other way. When we were in Lisbon and it decided to rain one afternoon, this tram was a lifesaver and kept us dry while we explored for a bit. 


I'd never even heard of ginijnha until a friend I was with in Lisbon decided we had to make our way to a little shop to pick up a shot. It's a thick sweet liqueur made from sour cherries, and it's apparently been around in Portugal for over 200 years. We picked ours up from A Ginjinha on Largo de Sao Domingos, where it cost around 1.4 euros. Personally, it's not a drink for me but I'm not one to turn down a shot if I can help it!


I think it's basically the truth that if you don't have at least a million of these little custard tarts when you're in Lisbon, then you have to question if you actually made it to Lisbon at all? You can pretty much get them everywhere, and could probably spend days looking for the best ones. Popular opinion seems to be that the best and most authentic tarts can be found at Pastéis de Belém but it's not too hard to find others to compare them to. 


This was seriously one of my favourite things to do in Lisbon, and I came home with more photos of tiles than I did of anything else. I didn't go quite as far as visiting Lisbon's tile museum, but to be honest, I came pretty close. They're a pretty important part of Lisbon's architecture and I was constantly surprised by the sheer range of tiles that there are - every single pattern and colour. It's a pretty big shame that at eye level a lot of the tiles are covered in graffiti - but I suppose that's a reminder to keep looking up!

Also worth a mention is to head to the Jerónimos Monastery. It's not something I personally did, but some of the friends I was with took a visit and really enjoyed it. I'm ashamed to say I passed thanks to a slightly sore head...

So that's my little guide to how to spend 48 hours in Lisbon. Had I had longer, I would have loved to have headed to Sintra, but maybe next time? I'm pretty sure I'll be back.

Have you been to Lisbon? Do you have any more tips?

Annie x

You might also like: a surfing break in baleal


21 April 2017

a spring wishlist for people who hate wearing colour.

spring wishlist

embroidered dress / sunglasses / tie waist dress / midi skirt / clutch // midi dress // swimming costume / white smock dress / gingham smock dress 

* For when you're still just a little bit goffic. 

One of the main things that makes people around me hate me is that I don't like the summer. I wish I did like the summer, I quite like the warmth and no rain and sitting in pub beer gardens and all of those other things that come with summer but I hate having to dress for summer. 

The thing is, I like everything to do with winter clothes. Jumpers, scarves, long sleeves, black and grey and anything dark. I don't like the extra maintenance that comes with summer: feeling like you have to shave you legs more (which, if you have PCOS like me, you will know becomes an almost daily task), the fake/real tanning, the make up marks that your sunglasses leave, the sweat and the humidity attacking my hair and making me look like something out of the Adams family. 

And that makes shopping for the summer and the spring and all the transitional periods in between next to bloody impossible for me. Every time I wake up and see the sun it actually put me in a bad mood because I can never work out what to wear.

And so, I turn to online shopping. And I hit it hard. 


17 April 2017

a surfing break in baleal, portugal.

surfing break in baleal portugal

surfing break in baleal portugal

surfing break in baleal portugal

How amazing are film photos though? It's so nice to get them back from the developers and see what you've taken. It takes me right back to my childhood. We'll just ignore that I've had to crop my thumb out of the majority of these...


On to the matter at hand.

The one problem with taking photos of your holiday on only your film camera is that it will, at least if you're me, take you about a year to get them developed. I went on this holiday in May last year. I went with what can only be described as a ragtag bunch of friends - so much so it would almost be impossible to describe the relationship between us all - my ex-best friends University housemate and his current housemate would be a good start. Isn't it funny who you make friends with as you get older? I'm babbling again, sorry!


14 April 2017

millions of mini eggs-cake | a recipe

As I mentioned on Wednesday, one of the brilliant things about Easter is that you can just overindulge on chocolate and use it in baking everywhere and no one will bat an eyelid. After using an absolute overload of creme eggs in my last recipe, it's only fair that I now turn my attention to their cousin the Mini Egg. Because seriously, who doesn't enjoy scoffing themselves silly with mini eggs at Easter? 

I made the inside of this cake bright orange and bright purple too, using Americolor food colourings because it doesn't bake out. You could use whatever colours you want, as long as you know that they're resistant to the high temperatures of your oven.

This cake is so easy to make, that even I managed to do it! 


12 April 2017

creme egg rocky road | a recipe.

 creme egg rocky road recipe

creme egg rocky road recipe

I know it can be quite a controversial topic, but how does everyone like to eat their creme eggs? Personally, I actually quite like them smashed up into a McFlurry, especially if I can dunk my fries into that McFlurry but we're starting to stray into a different topic of conversation, and I'm aware that that's not exactly the usual choice.

So in the interests of being vaguely normal, I thought I'd try my creme eggs a different way this year, and make a pretty wonderful creme egg rocky road instead - after all, one of my favourite things about Easter is that you can go completely over the top when it comes to using chocolate in baking and no one will even bat an eyelid. Yesssssss.  

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