Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Welcome Back!

Well now. The last time I saw down on this platform was TWO AND A HALF YEARS ago. I need to let that sink in for a moment.

Naturally, a few things have changed in my world since September 2014 and January 2017. I will briefly summarise:

  • I became a mother of two (admittedly the two I'm referring to are guinea pigs, and I don't exactly have a riveting labour story, but they are still my angels).
  • I bought my first house, and realized that getting excited about new toilet seats was possible.
  • I went to Radio 1's Big Weekend in my hometown of Norwich... two days before my final University exam.
  • Despite this, I graduated from University and got a truly vile graduation photo taken (standing in pride of place in my Nan's bedroom, I blame her love of it solely on needing a new glasses prescription...).
  • I somehow learned how to dutch braid my own hair.
  • I lost weight after discovering vegetable smoothies aren't as heinous as they appear.
  • I gained back the weight after realized lemon meringue pie is more delicious that it appears.
  • I got my first full time job which means I get to have money for a few days before something in my house breaks (last week it was the kitchen tap, and I had to get a plumber to come and fix it and realized too late that we were out of tea and was mildy mortified that I was unable to offer him refreshment). 
  • My boyfriend moved down from Leeds to Norwich to live with me, so now I have someone to play trivial pursuit with whenever the fancy takes me.
  • I discovered Camembert. So I discovered love.

With all this in mind, it really does feel like time has whizzed by. Life is finally starting to settle down a bit, and I finally feel like I have time to give my blog the time and love it deserves. 

So in short, watch this space! If you love homes, thrifty bargains, days out, fashion and beauty, then please join me and let's get cracking :)

Zoe xx

Friday, 26 September 2014

Bonding with Berlin

After a tearful goodbye to Amsterdam, we boarded the train that would take us to Berlin. It was supposed to be 6 hours, HOWEVER a pesky delay meant that it was more like 8 hours. Praise be for having bought the book 'Gone Girl' at the airport and hefty supplies of Milka chocolate! ;)

When we eventually made it to Berlin things continued to go a bit downhill.
My boyfriend speaks zero German, and my own knowledge is fairly limited so we found the language barrier quite debilitating, much more so than in Holland for some reason (quite frankly, anyone in Europe puts us firmly monolingual Brits to shame, so this one was probably our fault haha)

Whilst in the station, the information desk was helpful and gave us good directions to our hostel, with clear instructions on how to use the public transport system... or so we thought! When we got out of the Hauptbahnhof (Berlin's central station) we realised that Berlin's transport system was quite a lot more complicated than we'd expected - I'd heard of the U-Bahn, but there was also an S-Bahn, and a tram, and buses... SAY WHAT.

When we FINALLY got our bearings and located the tram that we felt (99%) confident would take us to our hostel, we collapsed in a heap in the corner with our backpacks. However, we'd barely been sat down 5 minutes when we looked up from our tired daze to see an old man in a uniform yelling at us and gesturing to take earphones out (which we weren't wearing - he was just being a rude !*%?). We had absolutely no idea what he was saying, so we apologised and said we were English - but he just yelled at us some more. Suddenly we looked around and realised we were the only ones still on the tram, and that everyone else was walking across the street. Turns out there had been some problem with the tram line which meant we had to get a replacement bus, which would have been fine but since the bus had no stop announcements, we had no idea where our hostel was.

SOMEHOW, we found the hostel. Hallelujah, hooray, joy of joys... at least until the check in guy said "you know you guys are staying in a caravan, right?"

I wish I could say the trip got way better from there, but sadly somehow Berlin didn't quite do it for me.
I think because I was so taken with Amsterdam's architecture, Berlin disappointed me a bit. The areas we were in were quite a lot more modern, and it was also just a bit big and overwhelming for me.
Having said that, we did have some highlights there:
The Berlin Wall was really moving, and I loved the graffiti on it.
Kaffee und kuchen. NEED I SAY MORE.
Drinking beer in Alexanderplatz and doing some serious people watching.
We even had a nap in front of the Reichstag, cheeky ;)

The dreaded caravan...

Next stop, PRAGUE!


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Three Days in Amsterdam

For those of you who haven't read my last few blog posts, I have just got back from me 'olidays!
(RECAP: I spent 2 weeks having a ganders around Europe)

 I had an absolutely AMAZING time, which I can't wait to share on here through many, MANY photos ;)
I thought about doing one big post, but I decided it would be more fun to chunk it up into the different cities I visited. (Isn't "chunk" a lovely word? But I digress.)

So that brings me nicely to my first leg of the tour, which was AMSTERDAM!

We stayed in the Student Hotel which was essentially a very posh hostel. The city has a cracking transport system with loads of trams all over the place - our hotel was a bit further out but was about a 30 second walk from a tram stop. It was waaay cheaper than staying in the centre so if you're on a budget like we were then I'd definitely check this place or somewhere similar out. :)

Basically, Amsterdam is the BOOBIES. 

The main thing I'd wanted to do was go to the Anne Frank house (although if you do go I thoroughly recommend getting there EARLY as the sight of the queue nearly made me call for the smelling salts). It is definitely worth the wait though, as it's an amazing experience and beats any other museum I've been to hands-down.

The market scene in Am-dam is also amazing, especially the Bloemenmarkt (gigantic flower market which you can see in le photos). I don't think I've ever seen so many tulips in one place in my LIFE. 

Vondelpark is also the dogs dinner. It's a ginormous park in the centre of the city (think Central Park in New York, on a less grand scale). We took a picnic there and it was so lovely - at least until the sun disappeared to be replaced by rain 30 seconds later. But I'd say that's more the fault of the stratosphere than Amsterdam's itself, so we'll let that one slide.

But maybe my favourite thing we did was get an evening river cruise around the canals of Amsterdam. Everyone's always told me that it's a city that needs to be seen from the river, and I will definitely be passing on that wisdom to anyone and everyone. It was so beautiful, in fact, that I turned around halfway to inform my boyfriend to send me a card, for I would be moving to Amsterdam. That's a LOT coming from a confirmed proud Brit. ;)


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Pack up your troubles (& suitcases)

So as I said in my last blog post, I am going TRAVELLSKING!
Whilst this is super douper trouper exciting, it also means the joys of packing await. So, I thought I would share some (amateur) pearls of wisdom that I have picked up on this subject matter. You're welcome ;)

1. Make yourself a list!
Anyone who says they don't love lists is lying.
The neat freak in me came out and I decided to sit down and make a checklist of everything I needed, before attempting my scavenger hunt to find all these items.
Plus, this means I get all Monica from Friends and award myself a "check!" for every item I successfully put in.

2. Don't leave it until the last minute!
When I packed, I did it about a week in advance.
Since I'm massively lazy about washing clothes and usually just leave the pile in my laundry basket to grow until I realise I have no knickers left (and have to wear a bikini bottom for that day) I figured I'd probably find most of my favourite clothes that I'd want to take were dirty. Therefore, this gave me plenty of time to kick myself up the butt and get things clean :)
It also means that all the things you realise you need the night before leaving (facewipes are my usual ones) you actually have time to go and buy!
You can thank me later when your face is refreshed.

3. Be organised about it.
Just knowing where everything is can be very helpful.
Also, I would always recommend taking a plastic bag so you can separate used clothes from clean ones. Makes life a whole lot easier when you get to the end of your trip and you're frantically trying to remember which knickers you have and haven't worn.

4. Be practical
If you're going to be exploring new cities, what shoes are going to be comfy to walk around in all day?
No matter how much you want that tan, will having painful sunburn be worth sneakily leaving the suncream at home?
If it rains, do you think you'll have wished you'd just stuck an anorak in?
Consulting a mother on this step can be very useful... or if they're like mine, ignore this step as you'll get it without asking anyway.

5. Don't take what you don't need
Before I go away I make sure I have ONLY what I need and no pesky extras. For example, my purse is usually chocka block with various loyalty cards. Do I really need my Nectar card when I'm travelling around America? No. The way I see it, if my purse got stolen I'd rather only my bare necessities were lost.
Also, only take what you feel comfortable taking. If you don't want to take your big camera and all it's big boy lenses, don't take it. No matter how nice the selfies might have been!

6. Don't forget to take a spare pair of underwear.
For no other reason than it's wisdom that mothers have been passing down for centuries. In case of 'emergencies', they say.
Let's not go there. Just pack them.

I am bound to forget SOMETHING which when I'm on the trip will seem like the end of the world (like oh no my pink vest would have gone so well with this outfit, why on earth didn't I bring it?!)
But, I figure as long as I have my passport then I will manage ;) That is my non-fussing pledge, and I am going to stick to it. Or try to, anyway.

What are your must-do travel tips? :)

Thursday, 14 August 2014


A week today, I shall be donning my (very sexy) enormous backpack and heading off to mainland Europe for a couple of weeks!

My boyfriend could only wangle 2 weeks off work so we have had to plan our trip with military precision in order to fit in as many sights as possible!

Our plan is as follows:

Fly into Amsterdam
Get the train to Berlin
Get the train to Prague
Get a train overnight to Krakow
Get the train to Vienna
Get the train to Budapest
Fly home

To seasoned backpackers I am sure this whole trip seems like a breeze, but a seasoned backpacker I am sadly not. To me, this is a whole new experience, which I am 1% nervous about but 99% fizzing over with giddy excitement!

I've never been to any of the countries I'm visiting before, so I have absolutely no idea what to expect from any of them - or the whole experience really. I should imagine the amount of time spent whooshing along on a train will be pretty exhausting, but luckily if there's one thing I'm talented at it is sleeping. :)

Overall, I'm super mega ridiculously bloody EXCITED. I've been working hard all summer pulling double shifts to fund my trip, and it's absolutely amazing feeling like I've really earned it!

If anyone is from/ has visited any of these places, or has interrailed around Europe before and has some tips, I'd be very grateful! :)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Liebster Award!

I'm a little bit late on the bandwagon for this (I blame work - SO MUCH WORK) but, I decided it's time I sat myself down with a cup of tea, and answer some questions :)

I have been nominated by a few ladies, which I am absolutely tickled pink by!

A huge thank you to...
 - she is just a little bit hilarious, and her blog has an unwavering ability to make me smile :) I reckon we would be thick as thieves within seconds if we ever met!

- she was the first person to nominate me, and I always marvel about how beautiful the pictures on her blog are. You go lady!

- I could spend ages nosing on her blog, she has such a lovely style of posting and she is also freakin' gorgeous!

- Her blog is so refreshingly honest, and she has a great way of writing that hooks you in and makes you want to know errrrytang!

The rules of this little affair are as follows... but you know what, if you want to make up your own rules or adapt these in some way, then be my guest. I do love a maverick.

 1. Thank the blog that nominated you and link them
2. Post eleven facts about yourself.
3. Answer the eleven questions provided by the person who nominated you and then create an eleven-question set for the next group of nominees.
4. Choose eleven people to nominate and link them in the post.
5. Let your nominees know they've been tagged - and no tag-backs!
6. Nominate blogs under 200 followers

11 slices of information about myself.

1. I'm absolutely obsessed with clocks. I have about 5 in every room. I LOVE CLOCKS.
2. ...despite this curious fetish for clocks, I am invariably late for everything.
3. I like serious films, but funny TV shows. The other way round just does not work for me.
4. I have never had my nails done. I do far too many grubby things, like cleaning out horses, to justify blowing a tenner on my talons.
5. I am extremely empathetic, to almost unpleasant extents. Consequently I struggle to listen to the news because I will get oddly upset about any sort of horrible story I learn about.
6. I would absolutely love to be an author.
7. My alcoholic drink of choice is scotch on the rocks, which earns me strange looks in pubs. 
8. However, apart from my odd scotch, I don't actually drink much at all. In fact, the feeling of being drunk is actually one I find quite unpleasant (I know, I am a disgrace to students everywhere).
9. I like to eat a lot of food, a lot of the time. None of that healthy stuff either, I am a growing girl and I need my saturated fats.
10. On Pokemon Yellow I trained my Articuno to become level 97. She's a queen.
11. I have seen N-Dubz more times than is appropriate. Shame on 17 year old me.

So now I've bored you with some facts about myself, it's time to bore you with MORE facts about myself, cunningly disguised as answers to questions. ;)
Since I had a few lovely nominations, I selected a few questions that I had the most interesting answers to from each lovely lady. :)

1. What place would you like to visit the most?
I've always had a bit of a hankering to go to Hawaii - although, everyone I say this too says Hawaii is actually pretty rough, which scares me because I'm a massive wimp. So maybe I'd just like to go to cartoon Hawaii, like in Lilo & Stitch ;)

2. If you could live in any book (or film) which one would it be?
I'm thinking probably Alice in Wonderland. Who wouldn't want to live in a place where all the best people have gone round the bend? They had me at tea party, yum.

3. What is your favourite movie?
Tricky, tricky... I'm going to be greedy and bore you with 3. 'American Beauty', 'Moulin Rogue' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.
How's about THAT for an eclectic mix?!

4. What is your favourite quote?
"Get away from her you bitch" - Sigourney Weaver in Aliens.

5. Where do you want to be in 10 years?
I'd like to be the leading expert in the field of managing behaviours in children with Autism and Special Needs. I am nothing if not ambitious ;)

6. What is your best memory from last summer?
Last summer I have a whole mess of amazing memories as I spent it with friends in America.. but I'd probably have to say eating pizza with my friends Georgina and Karolina in a hostel in Texas, practically crying laughing (probably over nothing!)

7. How would you classify your style?
I'm a bit of anything and everything - I basically just see other people with great outfits, think OH HEAVENS THAT LOOKS SO NICE, and try and copy them.
Occasionally I'll think up my own outfits but... no, it's mostly all about the copying I'm afraid. ;)

8. What would be your superpower?
I think I'd invent some sort of time turner device, like in Harry Potter - this summer I've been working so much that I've barely had a chance to see my friendys, so ideally I'd like to have each day twice so I could do BOTH!
Either that or flying or something.

9. Lipstick or lip gloss?
Most definitely lipstick.
I feel like lipgloss is for glossy, Kim Kardashian-esque people. Which I regret that I am not.

10. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

So there you have it, you now know me just a teensy bit better. :)
Now it's my turn to be nosy and demand to know more about Y'ALL.

So here are my nosy parker questions...

1. What's your most embarrassing moment?
2. What is your favourite possession that is in the room with you right now?
3. What is the best moment of your life... so far?
4. Which member of One Direction would you marry if you could/had to?
5. If you could have a celebrity family, who would be in it? (as your Mum, Dad, siblings, mad uncle etc..)
6. Did you enjoy school?
7. Tuna: a delicious snack or devil spawn?
8. What have you done that you are most proud of?
9. What's your favourite item of clothing?
10. Cooking speciality? (note, if it features asparagus, I'll be over at 7.)
11. What Disney animal would you most like to have as a pet?

To answer my questions, I nominate...

...and absolutely anyone else who wants to answer the questions! :)

Friday, 1 August 2014

10 Inspiring Ladies

(...That is, ladies who inspire me, rather than me attempting to inspire other ladies. I'm sure that was clear anyway, but the English language is a funny thing.)

Meg from Hercules

Seriously, that level of sass is quite inhuman. Which probably makes sense because she's a cartoon character. Still.

Catherine Tate

Most British comedy sketch shows are made up of a pair, and usually a pair of gents - Matt Lucas & David Walliams, David Mitchell & Robert Webb, Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse, to name just a few.
Not only is Catherine Tate a lady, but she's a lady on her own, and what's more is she is hilarious. Particularly when dressed as 'Nan', who is scarily accurate to my own grandmother.
You go Cathy T!

JK Rowling

I don't like thinking about JK Rowling much, because when I do I get distressed that Harry Potter isn't real and have to sit down with a cup of tea.
But, the fact that the land of Hogsmeade and Hegwig was magic-ed up in her brain? UNREAL. The very fact that I desperately want her world to be real says it all really. 
She deserves every last ounce of credit for making reading cool.

Jessica Ennis

Because any girl who is that amazing at that many athletic events deserves my complete and utter awe.
Plus, you could grate cheese on those abs. She must never eat cake, which astounds me nearly as much as her skill.

Tracy (The Mother) from 'How I Met Your Mother'

I was obsessed with this show, and I was obsessed with Tracy (when we finally met her). 
How can a human being be that wonderful and perfect?! One of my worst days of 2014 was the series finale because.. well if you don't know I won't tell you. BUT IT'S SAD.
Seriously, she's gorgeous, kind, funny, an eternal do-gooder...
Can I find a way to be her, please? Or, failing that, marry her myself and make her the mother of MY children.

Marie Curie

The first woman to ever win a Nobel prize is definitely something I find very, very, VERY impressive.
This lady devoted her life to doing ground-breaking research on the curative elements of radioactivity in cancer, and I barely know what an atom is. Go figure.

Carrie Bradshaw

Anyone who can pull off some of the outfits in Sex and the City that she did is something special.
Also, I find her just charming, and I sometimes wish my life was that glamorous and magazine column-y.

Carol Vorderman

Proving that women DO get more attractive as they get older since 1960.

Rita Ora

For no other reason, really, apart from the fact I think she's astoundingly gorgeous, and should be congratulated on winning her genetic lottery.

Hazel Grace Lancaster

Hazel is a fictional character from John Green's book 'The Fault in Our Stars' which is one of the best books I've read to date.
If I could be as brave and retain that good sense of humour as she if that was my life, I would consider myself an inspiration too.

So there you have it! My list of 10 inspirational ladies, for various different reasons. :)
Who inspires YOU?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Robert's 'Revival' Radio

One of my most treasured possessions is without a doubt my Roberts 'revival' radio.

Robert's 'Revival' radio in Duck Egg Blue

I was very kindly bought said radio as a present from my Mother goose when I went to Uni. 
After dropping blatant hints about how I hated my room being so quiet when I worked (and how Radio 1 would be the perfect company) we took a little shopping trip when I returned home for Reading week.

I wasn't sure what kind of radio I wanted at first, but as soon as I walked into the shop I spied all the Robert's radios...
...Let's just say that if it was a cartoon my eyes would have been out on stalks and there would have been a cloud of dust in my wake.

So this is why I think a Robert's 'revival' radio is a household essential. ;)

They come in every shade you could possibly want.

They can be a beautiful asset to any room in the house, regardless of what style the room is - because you can just pick a design that suits your style. :)
In my very non-technological head any sort of gadget was either in grey or black, or a hybrid of the 2 if you were being particularly exotic - which would stick out like a sore thumb in my bedroom, which is full of little trinkets and is mostly vintage pastel colours. 
I'm personally quite a fan of the block colours that are pictured above as I think they are really striking, but they have loads of amazing quirky patterned ones too.

My personal favourites are these ones with the little dogs on, and the Cath Kidston inspired floral prints :)

They are very easy to transport
Being as how I'm at Uni (which essentially means you live in 2 places at once... which doesn't get tricky AT ALL, oh no) one of my main requirements is that my possessions are easy to transport from one place to another. Robert's radios even have a little handle.. n'awww.
I did have an old Hi-Fi in my bedroom at home which I'd considered just taking up to Uni to save money on buying a new radio, but quite frankly it would probably have taken up one suitcase in itself. (Besides which, it's so old that it's the kind that has an aerial and a dial to tune it to various stations... you get the picture)
I'd say the Robert's radio is probably about the size of a baby's shoe box, and not much heavier.

They are extremely good quality
Robert's radios were founded in 1932 (thanks, Google) and have an unwavering reputation as being one of the best radio manufacturers around. 
I'm DEFINITELY no expert on sound quality, but my untrained ears certainly find the sound quality to be amazing, no matter what the volume is!
The Robert's company are also very environmentally conscious, using recycled materials for packaging, and seem to constantly be updating their radios to increase the battery life.
I'm also sure I heard somewhere that they were introducing a solar powered radio - which sounds pretty cool.

The one drawback is that they aren't exactly cheap.
They tend to vary in price, from about £150 to £190, depending on where you get one from & what model it is and whatnot.
I personally thought this was very steep for a radio when I first saw it, and I did spend an embarrassing amount of time in the shop umm-ing and ahh-ing, since there were quite a few cheaper options & I wasn't sure if I could justify that sort of money on a radio.

However, 2 years later it's still as good as new & has definitely been worth the money for me.
My parents have had one for about 8 years now (the maroon coloured one pictured above) and heck, even that one is still going strong!

To be honest, I think even when mine DOES eventually give up the ghost I'll still keep it, purely for aesthetic purposes...
For the last month mine has actually been on my bookcase not plugged in, just looking pretty. :)

P.S. I just realised how much of a Robert's cheerleader I sound.. I promise I'm not an advertiser, I'm just a fangirl loser. ;)

If anyone else has one or just wants to fangirl with me, I welcome you! Nay, I BEG you!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Wonderful World of Whitlingham

Over the weekend I had a few days off (salvation! joy! wonder!) and since the sun was shining, it seemed almost offensive not to jump in the car and find somewhere to enjoy a summery Saturday out.

The original plan was to hit the beach, but since I live about an hours drive away from the nearest coast we felt that it might be nicer to find somewhere a bit closer to home, and therefore reduce the amount of time spent cooped up in a car.

With that in mind, we decided to go to Whitlingham (a good move, as it happened - we ended up passing the traffic heading beach-wards. It was not pretty). 
Whitlingham is a country park in Trowse, just off Norwich. I had a hankering for a picnic, and I was assured it was the perfect spot for an al fresco blanket lunch!
We stopped off at a trusty Tesco on the way, and stocked up on goodies.

When we got there we found EXACTLY where was best to have lunch, helpfully called "Picnic Meadow" ;)

Only problem was, we had somehow managed to jump in the car and leave the picnic blanket I'd spent half an hour seeking out sitting in my kitchen -  but luckily after minimal annoyance I remembered there was an old curtain in the boot of my car (do NOT ask me why, for it is equally mysterious to me!)
But, it did make for a good makeshift picnic blanket :) if marginally less picturesque.

After lunch, we decided to walk off the excessive amount of soft cheese consumed with a brisk walk around the lake.
There were butterflies and bees everywhere, as well as various breeds of duck and several swans... I kept stopping to admire how pretty the birds were and try to take some pictures but I was successfully shooed away by some rather alarming hissing!

After a lap of the grounds (and stopping to take many, many, MANY photos) we decided to call it a day and head home to consume yet more food on a family bbq ;)

It really was a fantastic day, and I'd recommend it to anyone who fancies a cheap but lovely summer day out. Aside from a couple of pounds for parking (and the picnic of course) we really didn't spend anything but could have spent all day admiring the lake and relaxing in fields with beautiful views! 
Next time, I might even try taking a canoe out - perhaps in slightly more suitable footwear. :)