Birthday in Berlin - part I

Coming home from holiday always sucks. And for some reason coming home from Berlin this morning sucked so much more than normal. It might be something to do with the fact I've been up since 4am this morning for our killer early flight and am feeling tired, emotional and probably still hungover...but then again it might just be because I didn't want my bratwurst-filled bubble to pop and have to admit that I'm approx. 3 stone heavier with significant gluhwein-induced liver damage. 

Budapest, you absolute hun.

There are some things in life that I can never quite be sure about. Like why does cereal tastes so much better when it's eaten for dinner? Or why is it that I can never spell buisness/business/buisiness right the first time? Or why did anyone ever ever ever give the go ahead for Mean Girls 2?! But there are also things in life of which I am absolutely certain. And one of those things is that I will def def deffo be returning to Budapest. Multiples times. To drink multiple cocktails. Enjoy myself multiple times over. And generally just baske in the beauty of Budapsetian frivolity. Yeah I really dug Budapest, guys.

The Big Autumn Colour Swoon-fest

Is there anything in life I love more than autumnal colours?! Well, um, yes actually - Leonardo di Caprio in the Titanic era, kindereggs, fresh sheets, and waking up on a Sunday without a hangover to name a few BUT autumn colours come a very, very close fifth.

The most beautiful view of Budapest

If you haven't yet reached that stage in your life where you find euphoric triumph and jubilant glee in stumbling across a really good view, then you might as well remove yourself from this blog. I just do not need that kind of negativity in my life.

Gals on tour: Shropshire Edition

Ain’t nothing in the world better than a girlie weekend away. Especially when that girlie weekend teaches you so many rich and fruitful life lessons. So without further ado, this weekend I learnt…

Cocktailin' in Budapest

One thing I know for certain is that on our flight home from Budapest, I was approximately 99% cocktails. That other 1% was reserved for Hungarian desserts and Hungarian desserts only, which should give you a pretty decent indication as to the stupendous success of this trip.  

Wedding: T + J

We all know that Pinterest is the place where good intentions go to die and the sad realisation that you don't have a single crafty bone in your body becomes frighteningly apparent (seriously, some of these are so good). But let me tell you - PINTEREST IS REAL, GUYS. From the flowers in Tash's hair to the bunting on the fence to the pizza van that turned up after dinner; Tash and Jack's wedding was what dreams are made of (be still my Hilary Duff loving beating heart, ahem).  

France, you babe.

Hands up if you were happily going about your business and enjoying your merry little summer and then - WHAM - autumn slapped you in the face like a cold, damp fish?! *Insert hand up emoji closely followed by tears streaming down face emoji*. Where did this summer go?! And how has it been almost two months since I returned from mon vacation au Riviera?! Time will you stop moving please and allow me to finish my summer in peace, you speedy little hoe. 

More happy-crying in Paris

A wise woman once said; "Fuck it, let’s just go to Paris".

Okay maybe it wasn't so wise. And maybe that woman was me. But hey – it’s my life philosophy and I plan to dine out on that little nugget of wisdom for a very, very long time. Because Paris will be beautiful for as long as my passion for Justin Bieber remains lit (which, judging by the tears I cried this weekend at V Festival, is a worryingly long time).

#Caturday 2.0

So. A little while ago I bit the bullet of social acceptance and decided to dedicate an entire post to my cat. I thought this post would go by largely unnoticed and wholly uneventful but the response was - and I don't mean to toot my own trumpet too much here - absolutely off the mother******* chain. Toot a-tootie toot toot *insert trumpet emoji*. Apparently y'all love feline Fuhrer's just as much as I do. SO, back by popular demand (read: no demand whatsoever but, meh, cats) I present you with #Caturday 2.0. 

Brunching with gal pals (+MeeBox)

Having a two week break between leaving my old job and starting my new one has been an absolute godsend. When I say that I have taken the mini-break bull by the horns and absolutely carpe-d the shit out of this diem, I really am not joking. I've done a little bit of this and a little bit of that; some of this was getting jiggy in Paris and Alicante and some of that was brunching with my beautiful gal pals. It's been pretty freakin' sweet, guys.

Happy-crying in Paris

I do not usually happy-cry. You know, like when you're so overcome with love for the world and everything in it that you just well up and sob like Rylan Clark on X Factor in 2012? It's possible that the last time this happened to me prior to this weekend was when I woke up after a very boozy night out to find that Mikey had already ordered £42 worth of pizza. I'm pretty sure I happy-cried then. So please understand the gravity of the situation when I say that I happy-cried this weekend. I don't think I need to say it again but I will anyway for good measure; I really, really, really, really love Paris. 

St Tropez, France

There is one reason and one reason alone why Saint Tropez holds a special place in my heart: it was the first place I ever sampled the delectable delights of the creme brulée ice cream. Now we all know that good food is the key to my heart/pants/inheritance tax so you can rest assured, that this place ranks pretty highly on my freakin'-naughty list. Beautiful as it is though, this little hubbub on the south coast of France has an incredible habit of reminding me just how poor I really am. You kinda feel like you can't afford to look at some of the shops here. Like some sort of Gucci clad man in boat shoes and a jumper flung frivolously around his shoulders is gonna demand your current salary and politely suggest you return to Bognor Regis.

Ain't no rainbow without a little rain

Bleurgh. Bleurgh. BLEURGH. Yep that pretty much sums me up right now. Partly due to the ongoing inner turmoil of DO I OR DO I NOT TAKE A COAT / UMBRELLA / SKI BOOTS to work today because the damn weather can’t decide whether it’s coming, going, maybe leaving, possibly staying a bit later or not even bloody turning up at all.  And partly because, well, life is just a little bit shit sometimes isn't it? So in my most despondent yet actually incredibly poignant and reflective post yet, I leave you with photographs from a day of torrential downpour on my most recent holiday. Because you know what? You can't have a rainbow without a little rain.

I just bloody love France

I may have been born and bred in England but that doesn’t stop me thinking that, deep down, I was always destined to be a Frenchie.  Something about my yearning desire for Parisian rooftops, my insatiable love of croissants and the way I look at a macaron as if there is nothing else in the world makes me pretty damn adamant that I was swapped at birth. 

Port Grimaud in the French Riviera

Let's all say a huge great big hello to the most inaptly named village in the French Riviera. Port Grimaud evokes images of a dark town with black buildings, lots of iron work, fire, smoke and probably loadsa horrible little goblins holding lanterns and grunting at you as you walk past (...too far?). But in actuality, despite its nasty little name, it's a really cute place. Kinda like Venice. Just with a lack of overpriced gondolas and, praise the lord, far fewer selfie sticks.

Plan de la Tour, France

Good things come to those who wait. Good things also come to those who wait four days longer than expected because their Easyjet flight got cancelled and they had to return back to work with their tail between their legs for three whole days before finally flying out to Nice on the second attempt. Yep, true story. Anyway - I am finally here in Plan de la Tour, France and I don't ever ever ever want to leave.

Pinch me moments in Paris


You know those moments in life that are so freaking babein’ that you have to pinch yourself? But not too hard because you sure as hell don’t wanna wake up from such a heavenly stupor? Well I suppose that if you're a super positive Pamela they can happen a lot but if you’re a run of the mill Ronda like me and practically every other human bean on earth, bar maybe Ghandi (who, by the way, must have been EXHAUSTED from all that loving and general goodliness because I can barely even muster a genuine smile before 9am) then they don’t come round all that often….but when a pinch me moment does rock up at your door it’s like Christmas and chocolate and Channing rolled into one.

London love bug strikes again (+MeeBox)

I feel as though if good ol' Leo da Vinci was still alive and kicking in 2k16 he'd stop painting Mona with her silly, smug face and start painting the architectural delights of London instead. Yeah baby I've been to London again and hell yes I'm tough enough I've fallen victim to the LondonLoveBug once more. That shit is more contagious than bubonic bloody plague. London is the tits. The titty tit tits. See previous over enthusiastic London post here. 

Paris, you total beauty.

Sometimes if I reminisce about living in Paris too much, I actually cry. Like a big old wimpy baby I well up; my bottom lip starts quivering and I full on ball my eyes out. I miss our apartment with its hideous green bathroom/orange kitchen combo, I miss how we had to cook nachos in a slow cooker because we had no oven (takes 1 hour 15 minute for cheese to melt sufficiently if you're wondering), I miss the freezing/scalding kitchen tap that offered no washing up level appropriate heat compromise, I miss losing my shit on Disneyland's Tower of Terror every other weekend, I miss pain aux raisins being my only source of fruit and that being totally okay... Kim K cryface in full flow over here so let's look at some pictures instead, eh?

the cutest weekend getaway 1.0

As well as the doctor's dream team of antibiotics, painkillers and flu tablets; I think that every good medicinal handbook should suggest prescribing that fab little herbal drug: a change of scenery every once in a while. Preferably at a dosage of 3 to 4 times per year or, you know, whenever you damn well feel like it (because we all diagnose ourselves via Google anyway). 

the agonizing life of a bluebell enthusiast

I always feel like bluebells don't hang around long enough, you know? In the same way that a large glass of wine seems to disappear before you've even drunk it, bluebells seem to burst forth in all this glorious great blue glory and just as you get used to frolicking in fields of blue and wondering why you ever have a reason to be sad again; they bugger off.

Rooftop cinema lovin'

Let me tell you one thing that really appeals to my Internal Happiness Coordination System (IHCS for short):  ROOF TOPS. Rooftop pool, rooftop yoga, rooftop barbecue, even rooftop nudist beach - stick 'rooftop' in front of practically any noun (bar maybe 'murder') and I'm there, I'm interested, I've got my "I ❤ roof tops" t-shirt on (no, really) and I'm ready to roof top the shit out of my day.  Roof top roof top roof top. So when I saw the advert for an open air rooftop cinema in Croydon I booked tickets there and then. What my excited little brain forgot to comprehend was quite how nippy it is in April.

London is ridiculously beaut

There are a number of reasons why I really love my job sometimes; the fact that it's so close to a park in the summer; the coffee machine that breaks and sporadically dishes out free coffee; the abundance of cake mornings for charity; the way I can roll out of bed in the morning and be sitting at my desk within 20 minutes...the list goes on. But one of the best my-job-is-ace-realisation-athons (...) is the fact that I occasionally get to travel into London. I like this for two reasons;

Caking it in

What in the world could be better than a vanilla or a chocolate loaf cake? Answer: a vanilla loaf cake AND a chocolate loaf cake fused together in a magical, death-defyingly sumptuous duo. Can I get a hallelujah!!?

Antibes, South of France

With summer so nearly on its merry little way I am;

a) gleefully counting down the days until I can lay sprawled on a sun lounger in the south of France with nothing but a book, a cocktail, a lack of work and the calming sound of silence to accompany me
b) forcing myself to go to the gym at least three times a week so I don't give any unlucky onlookers the fright of their life and 
c) wondering why it's so easy to polish off an entire packet of mini eggs but then so difficult to sculpt an ab. Such are life's mysterious ways, eh. 


List of things that made me happy this week: 

• my cat
• my cat
• my cat
• my cat

I'm not even one little bit remotely ashamed that this list is less an attempt at humour than it is an actual concrete fact. 

Thank god for fabulous friends

Little known fact about being friends with a psycho raving photography lover (aka: me): you are never far away from having a camera thrust in your face at any given opportunity and being forced to act candid when all you wanted was a coffee and a slice of cake. Bless my lovely little array of friends that allow me to act out my wildest photographic desires on top of hills, mid bike rides, in garden centres...and in the middle of populated coffee shops. I think I would definitely have punched me in the face by now.

Keep Calm & Go Geocaching

No but seriously. I know this sport* has got a pretty nerdy reputation and the term geocache evokes visions of men in camel coloured budgie smugglers and awkwardly long socks (for reference) squawking around a map and guffawing at Brendan's inability to calibrate a compass…but, much like shepherds pie sandwiches, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Mikey and I had a solid time this weekend and I am finding it REALLY hard to be sorry about the fact that - brace yourself - I just bloody love a spot of geocaching.  
*F%ck you we’re calling this a sport, goddamnit. 

Monica series - part i

Apart from the odd bit of poking and prodding Mikey around until he gets bored and refuses to be the David Gandy to my Mario Testino (dream big, guys) - I haven't actually done any portrait shit for months. You know when sometimes you just snap and need to do something; like when you need to eat an entire family-size dairy milk bar or you need  that huge glass of wine on Monday morning...ahem - well I got this last week about going out and gettin' snap happy, it just had to be done.

God bless Queen Victoria

PAUSE AND STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING. I have reached a momentous occasion in my life that I want to share with you. I have made the most attractive cake that I have ever and will ever make in my entire life (and quite possibly in the history of the world). Yep, just gonna leave this here for ya.

Laughing all the way to the bank (holiday)

Let me tell you something that I learnt this week: the bank-holiday-weekend feeling is so much sweeter if you a) totally forgot it was coming up; b) absentmindedly arranged a work meeting for 9am on Good Friday and c) received four meeting rejections in the space of a minute because CHOCOLATE EASTER EGGS FEASTING RELAXING WINE and a spot of I HOPE YOU’RE NOT COMING IN ON BANK HOLIDAY FRIDAY!!??

Spring chicken

When Facebook notified me that it was the first day of spring on Saturday, I actually squealed with excitement. I then shared the post with as many flower emojis as I could find and far, far, far  too many exclamation marks. Spring is the buttercream to my Viccy sponge, the absolute definition of jammy to my dodger and the main reason I manage to resurface again after those dark winter nights.

DIY Lush shower scrub

Like the rest of the world, I am a fully fledged pioneer of the beautiful wonders of LUSH products. Unfortunately though, the same cannot be said for my wee little bank account who begins looking so sad and weepy mid-month that I just don't have the heart to hit him with an £8.95 shower scrub bill. #Empathy, guys, empathy.

Best ever triple chocco loaf cake

Oooh...well would you just feast your piggy little eyes on this baby! Hands down my absolute all-time favourite little loaf cake to date. I always find that the recipes online just don’t have enough chocolate in them for me so here is my very own super double whammy chocolatey loaf cake. I would say thank me later…but go on – you can thank me now. 

Whole Latte Lovin'

I have long been a believer in the power of the mid-week break. That random Wednesday or Thursday that you book off work with no particular purpose or reason. It's like a little hump day pick-me-up that serves you happiness in a way that a three day weekend just cannot compete with.

Cotswolds, Saturday

Thank the sweet Lord that the phrase you are what you eat is just that - a phrase. Because if it was  true then by day three of our trip to the Cotswolds I would have been a walking talking chocolate croissant with a cup of tea for hair and chocolate Easter egg feet. Yep, when I go on holiday I eat badly (or amazingly - you decide) because errrrybody knows that holiday calories do not count. And I dine out on that fact. Literally.

Waking up in the Cotswolds

Waking up in the Cotswolds to absolute silence, sun streaming through the curtains and Mikey sleeping soundly on the 1/10th of bed space that my limbs weren't sprawled over...and all this especially when you're supposed to be at work? The absolute dream.

Cotswolds, Thursday

What do you do when it's mid Feb and it's dull and there's nothing exciting going on (bar Valentine's Day) and you're feelin' melancholy and pretty bleurgh? Answer: whisk yourself away for a long weekend with your fave little people to a remote location.

Happy Valentines!

In possibly what can only be described as my finest hour ever ... I bought Mikey a soda stream for Valentine's day. Yep a cute little contraption that turns tap water into sparkling water. And why is this my finest hour to date you might ask? Because we realised that if it can tap water into sparkling water, it can definitely turn wine into prosecco. Which has definitely ended in our day taking an infinitely and unexpectedly more classy turn. #KnightMe

Pain aux raisins à la Hollywood

You know there are some things that you eat all the time but you never actually think to make yourself. Like you kind of forget that they don't come ready made. Like bread. Plain old simple bread. And ice-cream. You're so used to buying it in Tesco that you forget a cow in a field somewhere gave it's milk so that you could scoff the entire cookie dough tub on a hangover.

Ginger loaf recipe

Contrary to popular school ground opinion, a ginger loaf isn't what you call your strawberry blonde class mate, it is in fact a very tasty, very moist and very delicious little loaf. Feast your eyes on this gorgeous little ginger baby. Takes 10 minutes to throw together and 1 hour to bake to perfection. Also I think the fact that it's a loaf instead of a cake lets you pretend that it's just that tiny bit healthier. Whose with me?! #GingerLove 

Fella appreciation

Sometimes in the event that I've been a super well behaved girlfriend (aka I've let him play Rocketleague with his pals and I didn't moan about it...that much) I get myself some little girlfriend perks. These can come in the form of back scratches, or I get a hot chocolate made with actual melted chocolate instead of a tea ::swoon:: and sometimes if I'm very lucky I get to prod and poke Mikey around for as long as possible before his patience finally breaks and he gets fed up of me telling him to 'smile with his eyes' and 'look less grumpy'. This Sunday was one of these such occasions.

January vibes

My thoughts following the Christmas and New Year period range intermittently between:

1) I am so happy to commit my life to being an all-eating, all-drinking, all-napping machine of laziness.

2)  Nah I got this, watch me whip watch me nae-nae, watch me lose all this mince pie-shaped fat and transform into a Gwen Stefani-esque NewYearNewMe Being of Devout Health and Activity.