What to see and do in Bath.

Bath, Somerset architecture.

I’m desperate to visit more places around the United Kingdom when I think about it I’ts mad that I’ve never set foot in some places not *reaaaaally* that far away, yet people travel from all over the world to visit. My sister’s friend is from Canada and he would think nothing of driving several hours to the closest city to his hometown, yet there’s so many places in this country that I’ve still never been to. Seeing as I’m lucky enough to live in a comfortable driving distance to Bath, with it being about 30 miles from my front door, I can share with you all of the best places to visit, the must see areas and the places you will definitely want to grab a few drinks in.

Bath is often featured on a lot of people’s bucket list places to visit in the UK. The historic city in Somerset is steeped in history and culture dating back to the Roman times, with plenty of modern shopping districts, spa hotels and an eclectic food and drink scene is it any wonder that people are flocking far and wide to get to know the in’s and out’s of this fabulous place.

The network links into Bath are great. Whether you’re coming from outside of England the nearest airport would be in Bristol which is about 45 minutes away. With a bustling train and bus station in the centre of the city with frequent trains from London Paddington, Cardiff and Penzance, getting to Bath Spa station shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re driving to Bath there are plenty of car parks dotted around the city, but like any busy city it can be a nightmare scrambling for a space all day long and then remortgaging your home just to pay for parking. There are a few different Park and Ride systems throughout Bath as well if you wanted to save a few pennies.

What to see.

Image result for pulteney bridge
Image obtained from Visit Bath.

You can’t visit Bath and not find yourself gazing over the Pulteney Bridge and the sweeping horseshoe weir. Completed in 1774 it is one of the few bridges that have shops on both sides of it. Definitely a great photo op stop first thing in the morning with a view of the sunrise. Any Musical theatre buffs might also recognise this from Les Miserables.

Image result for prior park
Image obtained from Visit Bath.

Prior Park a Landscape Garden surrounding the Prior Park estate, located to the south of Bath itself. It’s now owned by the National Trust and is a perfect place for a peaceful walk or take the perfect candid on the Palladian Bridge like you’re supposed to be in Pride and Prejudice.

Image result for the circus bath
Image obtained from Discovering Britain

I just can’t help but find all of Bath’s buildings and architecture just so beautiful. This is The Circus a few moment’s walk away from the Royal Crescent. The houses are picture perfect, I feel like literally nothing can go wrong in your life when you own a home this pretty. I mean I might be wrong but I’d be bursting out of my curtains singing to my neighbours every morning ’til they put an asbo on me if I lived here.

128D2009-E504-4A94-A4AD-7543600924E2

The Crescent is a short walk away from The Circus and I would definitely recommend seeing it in all its grandeur. If you’ve got the time and want to learn more about the history of this lovely place then pay a visit to the museum at No.1 Royal Crescent. The rooms are decorated just like they would have been in the late 1700s and it’s so fascinating to see and learn what life was like in the Georgian City.

paddleboarding in bath
Image obtained from originalwild.com

If you’re a keen runner or cyclist you can follow the Bristol to Bath cyclepath or even along the Kennet and Avon canal path for some stunning views. Equally paddleboarding or punting on the River Avon are also becoming more and more popular and a more interesting way to see aspects of the City.

Depending when you’re visiting and whether Bath Rugby are playing at home you can either soak up the atmosphere in one of the many fab pubs and watch the game with a pint of wine. Or similarly try and nab yourselves some tickets. Surely you don’t need me to tell you that bit though?

Bath, Somerset. UK

Other great ways to take in the local sights is by climbing onboard one of the many Sightseeing Tour Buses you’ll see all around Bath. You can hop on and off at as many of the stop as you please as well as taking full advantage of the in depth audio commentary included.

Bath Abbey
I took this photo after a dinner out with friends and looking back at it now the man in front actually looks quite creepy BUT it was a cold and wet evening hence why he looks like he’s dressed like the Grim Reaper.

Bath Abbey’s gothic architecture is just as stunning at nighttime as it it during the daytime and I’d definitely say it’s one of the things you must see whilst you’re here just because it’s so iconic to Bath. During the day, you can pay to enter inside the Abbey and the tour lasts roughly about 45 minutes. Or just take in the craftsmanship from the outside; and enjoy all the street performers that gather between the Abbey and The Roman Baths here too.

Image result for the roman baths bath uk

The Roman Baths are probably the most famous part of this beautiful city. It costs £20 for an adult ticket but it’s definitely well worth it to learn about the rich history, culture and the incredible Roman Empire. It can get incredibly busy and the queues can get quite heavy so book early on would be my advice plus you might be able to make a saving on a special offer. Pay a special visit to The Pump Room restaurant for one of their lavish afternoon teas for an extra memorable treat.

If you’re visiting Bath during the Summer months or up until October the Roman Baths stay open until 10pm at night; so if you’re into photography you could get some fantastic shots. I’m in it for the ‘gram.

Image result for Thermae Spa
Photo from SkyScanner.net

Take a dip and bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters just like the Celts and Romans did over 2,000 years ago in the award winning Thermae Spa right in the centre of Bath. One of my favourite sights is the real juxtaposition of the modern spa against the old golden bath stone buildings in the background. You get a two hour time slot to use the rooftop pool, the indoor Minerva bath or to spoil yourself with some of the 40+ spa treatments they have on offer.

Image result for no 15 great pulteney bath spa
Image obtained from Great Spa Guide of the spa at NO 15 Great Pulteney.

Similarly, if you’re looking for the ultimate pamper weekend and want to look into the other spas you could try out a treatment in the Lush Spa, The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa also have a wonderful spa with timeless treatments. The Gainsborough Hotel have a Spa Village which looks so tranquil and perfect for soaking away all your worries and troubles. Last but not least is Spa 15 at No 15 Great Pulteney. It’s wonderfully different and chic interior gives it a unique edge over everything else seen on this list. Beneath the well trodden street harbours this spa as Bath’s best kept secret.

2CE9541F-C44E-4623-BC03-A3AD33181A47

Bath city centre is full to the brim of fabulous shops, whether you’re looking to shop ’til you drop in the usual high street stores or potter around the unique, independent ones. The Southgate shopping district is directly opposite the train station and is relatively new to Bath and has lots of the high street faves and plenty of restaurants to choose from as well. Amble through the side streets and you’ll stumble on gold wherever you tread. Some of my favourite independent stores are Pug and Puffin, a wonderful homewares store that have lots of gorgeous pieces for your pooch too. Vinegar Hill has some gorgeous pieces; I could spend a fortune in there. And then there’s Heavens Bazaar a wonderful emporium of high end, vintage fashions.

Image result for bath guildhall market
Image obtained from Beardy Vulcan on Flickr

Take a peek around the Guildhall Market a couple minutes walk from the Abbey. My favourite stall is the Costume jewellery one. I think my spirit animal might actually be Pat Butcher.

Image result for komedia bath
Picture from Ticketweb.uk

For all you culture vultures out there, if you fancy immersing yourself in some of the Arts scene head towards Kingsmead Square where you’ll be opposite to Komedia if you want to catch some live music or comedy gigs. Or go to The Theatre Royal, a grade II listed building which is just as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. It’s home to amazing theatre, comedy, opera, dance and pantomime productions.

68052BF5-F68E-4173-AEE3-AD3D6523A7C4

 

Where to eat.

There are a plenty of generic, high street chains I could tell you that are in Bath or the surrounding area but we all know that’s not where I’d want to go myself if I was visiting somewhere new for the first time. As we (we being me, myself and my jeans inner thigh material) are very aware I’m a massive foodie. So I’m going to break down the best bit for you into sections, where’s best to go for a pitstop coffee, for breakfast or brunch, dinner and even throw in some fab vegetarian and vegan options too.

Breakfast and Brunch:

Wild Cafe

Wild Cafe uses only fresh, locally sourced ingredients and everything is cooked to order and cooked to absolute perfection as well. They’re nestled away in one of Bath’s many hidden streets but once you find it you’ll be glad to settle in with one of their famous pancake stacks or treat yourself to gorgeous plate of Eggs Benedict.

Image result for the good day cafe bath
Photo of the Good Day Cafe from Interiors.Family

Good Day Cafe

Steph and the team have certainly struck gold with this place. The Good Day Cafe is like an actual Instagram haven with millennial pink, marble and succulents throughout and let’s not forget about the food and drink they serve. I’d recommend the toasted banana bread. Delish!

Cafe Au Lait

This lovely little cafe is situated right opposite the train station so is the perfect first pitstop.  So whether you’re looking for a quick coffee before a day of shopping, a leisurely brunch whilst you decide where you’re going to head first (I’d recommend any of their pancake stacks) Or even if you just need to drop off your luggage (£3 per item) they cater for every need.

Rooted Cafe

Try The Full Indian Breakfast for a cool take on a classic brekkie choice.

Image result for cascara bath

Cascara

If my Instagram and Pinterest feed came to life this is what it would look like. It’s ultra modern and ultra cool, totes vegz and does the best beetroot lattes and chocolate cake I’ve ever had.

Lunch stops:

Same-Same But Different

I first went here a few years ago and had their small plates whilst lunching with a friend and completely fell in love with their food. Nowadays I think they only do the small plates and tapas with their evening service but still it’s a great lunch shout for one of their sandwiches and opt for a bowl of chunky chips on the side too.

Image result for the whole bagel bath

The Whole Bagel

The only bagel shop in the whole city, great if you want to grab something quick whilst on the go and they can make up your bagel right in front of you whilst you wait.

Schwartz Bros.

A brilliant take out place to head to if you’re a burger lover. With a great big menu covering everything from beefburgers, to chicken burgers, veggie burgers or chickless ones. Get yourself one of their lush thick milkshakes whilst you’re there; thank me later.

Image result for juno bath
Image from Tripadvisor.

Juno Bar and Kitchen

Juno is VERY cool and as it’s just on the cusp of the Southgate Shopping complex it’s a great place to get some munch before you hit the shops again. They do great pizzas, play awesome music and also make great cocktails…need I go on?

Image result for the scallop shell bath

The Scallop Shell

I had to put this somewhere on the list I just really didn’t know where! There’s a reason why The Scallop Shell have finished in the Top 6 of the National Fish and Chip Awards 2019, they serve up fresh (sustainably caught, may I add) fish and chips everyday and it’s not just your usual cod and chip establishment. Whether you want shellfish, straight outta the sea fish, chicken or the spicy chickpea fritters they’ve got something for all. I will admit I’m not sure if the chickpea fritters are vegan but they’re a dead friendly bunch; there’s no harm in asking.

Phat Yaks

Phat Yaks

A cafe and takeaway in Kingsmead Square serving the most tantalising Nepalese street foods. One of their filled baguettes like the one above costs as little as a fiver.

ChaiWalla

The fragrant spices fill the air so you’ll know you’re getting closer to it. Either that or you’ll walk into the queue of customers waiting to order. The onion bhaji roti wrap is dreamy.

Afternoon Teas & Sweet Treats

Image result for sweet little things bath

Sweet Little Thing

Bath’s answer to Peggy Porschen’s/Elan Cafe. They do breakfast and lunches as well but I think it’s a lovely place to have a slice of cake, a cup of tea and a few happy snaps against this GORG flower wall. Plus there’s a swing?!

5C91F3AC-C488-4223-B52F-C1835AC85517

Royal Crescent

Dine like Kings and Queens and enjoy a lavish afternoon tea in the grounds of The Royal Crescent Hotel. I reviewed my experience of the vegetarian Afternoon Tea (read here) and it was utterly sublime.

Sally Lunn’s

Try a Bath delicacy, a famous Sally Lunn Bunn. It’s a delightful cross between something cakey and something bready. Also something you’ll struggle to find outside of Bath as well!

Bath Bun Shop

Enjoy a traditional cream tea, afternoon tea or one of the famous Bath Buns. I spoke about them in a lot more detail in this post here. Really interesting and definitely worth trying.

Fudge Kitchen

This fudge shop is a few steps away from the Abbey and the Roman Baths and if you’re not drawn in by the rich, sweet aroma, then watching the theatrics of them making the fudge in front of you definitely will. I’m a sucker for my favourite flavours like the OG sea salted caramel and cherry bakewell. They’ve also got a few vegan options too!

Image result for swoon bath

Swoon

They say Gelato to fall in love with and they’re not wrong. The chocolate sorbetto is something dreams are made of.

Ben’s Cookies

There’s always a queue and that to me is always a good sign. There’s a Ben’s Cookies in a quite a few places around the world but it’s a great place to stop by and grab a snack. The ginger and dark chocolate is my absolute ride or die.

Maison Georges Lanicol

This shop is absolutely gorgeous and the pretty window display of pastries and macarons makes me feel like I’m walking the streets of Paris.

Bertinet Bakery

Great coffees, great brownies and pastries and incredible sourdough loaves.

Places for dinner:

The Oven

The Oven pizza’s are some of the best I’ve had. I love the flavours they use in their toppings as well as the taste that using the wood fired oven gives each pizza crust. Plus this was the first place I ever tried a dessert pizza topped with nutella, hazelnuts and mascarpone nibs and it was SO good.

Opa

A traditional Greek restaurant, serving delicious, authentic dishes. Home to such helpful staff and a lovely outdoor seating area; perfect for the summer too.

Image result for koffman and white
Koffman and Mr White’s. Photo obtained from Wowcher.

Koffman and Mr White’s

This restaurant is in The Abbey Hotel and is a joint venture between Pierre Koffman and Marco Pierre White bringing all the best culinary delights between these French and English chefs.

Image result for the mint rooms bath
The Mint Room

The Mint Room

A fine dining Indian Restaurant a short distance from Bath City Centre. Everyone that I’ve spoken to that’s visited here speaks so highly of the food and the service. It’s definitely got the wow factor and is totally different to the norm when it comes to eating out at Indian restaurants.

Image result for sotto sotto bath

Sotto Sotto

Real, authentic Italian dining in the gorgeous aesthetics of the stone arched basement. It’s charming and relaxing and the service can’t be faulted either.

Image result for the chequers bath

The Chequers

If you’re a real foodie and enjoy good food then I’d wholly recommend The Chequers. This charming gastro pub is home to a locally sourced menu and a wonderful team of staff who you can tell who are enthusiastic and actually like their job. I’d urge you to go on a Sunday for their roast.

Image result for claytons kitchen bath

Clayton’s Kitchen

High quality food and is a great choice to go for a special occasion.

Image result for Dough bath

Dough

My sister raves about Dough and it’s probably her and her boyfriend’s go-to restaurant in Bath. I love that you can see the chefs tossing the pizza dough and making your dinner right in front of you. The menu has lots of choices and I really like that you can choose from a variety of different bases as well. Whether you want to stick to regular sourdough or try something a bit different like turmeric, hemp, seaweed and a few more speciality ones too. They also offer a gluten free dough too.

Koh Thai

A chain of cool Thai tapas restaurants dotted around the South West of England. They always have loads of great offers on and a cracking cocktail menu to boot. I can’t get enough of their cashew stir fry and the Blushing Lotus cocktail is to die for.

Fab Veggie/Vegan spots:

Most places these days offer something for vegetarian/vegan diets but sometimes it’s quite nice to be able to go somewhere wholly suitable for the vegheads out there.

Image result for rooted cafe bath
Image obtained from Happycow.net

Roots and Shoots

Is a lush vegan eatery right by the station and I love that they even stock loads of vegan ice creams too.

Image result for acorn bath

Acorn

What I love about the menu at Acorn is that it just goes to show that plant based food is anything but boring. For vegans, vegetarians and those who want to try some remarkable dishes I would 100% recommend going here.

Beyond the Kale

Inside Green Park Station is Beyond the Kale cafe. It’s a wonderful little breakfast or lunch spot and they do some of the best veggie wraps.

The Green Rocket

A nice, chilled and relaxed cafe with lovely coffee and cakes.

Nourish

The best plant based lasagne (walnut, red pepper and cashew lasagne with garlic bread and salad on the side and an extra helping of YUM on the side of that.)

Nightlife.

There’s loads of great places to visit if you want a tipple (or five) in the city centre. Whether you’re a fan of clubs, bars, or an old man pub you’ll find something to suit you. Obvs you’ve got the usual ones you’d get in most towns or cities, like ‘Spoons, All Bar One, Be At One, Revolutions and Slug and Lettuce but if you’re after a bar crawl with a difference; try some of these out for size.

The Boater

My favourite pub to visit in the whole city. You’re spoilt for choice with four different bars, three different dining areas and a huge list of different craft beers and cask ales enough to sink a ship. It’s got a great big list of bar snack style tapas plus it’s got the biggest beer garden overlooking the river and the Pulteney Bridge I guarantee a good night out here.

 

Image result for hall and woodhouse bath rooftop

Hall and Woodhouse

Not only do they stock great food and good drinks but I’d recommend visiting here just for the views from their gorgeous roof terrace. Plus the sweeping, spiral staircases throughout make for the perfect backdrop for a pose, especially when they light up at night time. Like I say…I’m in it for the ‘gram.

 

Image result for the botanist bath

The Botanist

The Botanist is still fairly new to the city and the stunning interiors are enough to entice me in. They do food as well but if you’re just after a few drinks they’ve got a great cocktail list.

Image result for the canary gin bar bath

The Canary Gin Bar

As an absolute gin lover this place is always top of my list of recommendations. Yep, you guessed it, gin is the speciality here and they have over 200 gins on offer and have an extensive ‘Gin’ Austen cocktail menu as well.

Related image

Fidel Rum Bar

I love the atmosphere and style in this cosy bar. It’s cool, edgy and has a speciality for rums but they do offer a few other spirits as well. The bar staff are excellent and make incredible cocktails.

Image result for the ivy bath

The Ivy Bath Brasserie

If you’re not already sold on the utterly gorgeous decor then let me take you by your hand and sweep you off your feet with their delicious menus. It’s great for brunch, afternoon tea or dinner but I’m sliding this one in here as a great place to go for pre drinks as well. The bar area is beautiful and the Ivy Sling is mouthwatering, you’ll look like you’ve been sent from a cool 1920s New York bar perching on one of these barstools.

Where to stay.

There’s a whole host of places to stay in and around Bath depending on your budget. With plenty of purse friendly hotels and hostels in and around the city centre, gorgeous townhouse Airbnb’s you can fall in love with and the most instagrammable serviced apartments to stay at as well.

Photo obtained from The Halcyon Apartments

Well… We are now over 3500 words and I thiiiink…I think that brings us neatly to the end of our Bath tour, don’t you? I’d like to think I touched on all possible subjects and bases. But if you have any q’s I can kindly try to give you my a’s!

Advertisements

How To Make Homemade Smartie Cookies.

These sweet snacks used to be my absolute favourite treat when I was younger. After talking to my sister about them recently we discovered you cannot find them ANYWHERE. I looked all over and searched high and low in pretty much every supermarket and online (that’s how desperate I became for my sugary fix) and started to feel like this is the hidden conspiracy item or I was a victim of the Mandela effect; did they even exist? Did I make them up and had been living in a cookie induced lucid dream for years?!

Also, side note, if someone finds these being sold somewhere real soon I’m going to sound like such a weirdo conspiracy theorist aren’t I! If I get a comment from someone saying they bought these in Tescos just a few days ago I’m going to actually go mad. But anyway!

So I made some of my own that I think taste pretty similar to the real deal and how they used to taste but given the fact that it’s been the best part of about 10 years since I remember having one they might not be bang on but they still tasted pretty good so if you fancy making some of your own give this recipe beneath a go.

image_6483441 (41)

Ingredients:

  1. 150g softened butter
  2. 150g soft light brown sugar
  3. 75g caster sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 large Egg
  6. 250g plain flour
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. (optional)
  9. smarties (other sugar shelled chocolates are also available)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and if you wanna be super organised (unlike me basically) line a baking tray as well.

  • Firstly, combine the softened butter and sugars in a large bowl. The more I’ve gotten into baking over the last few years, I think you actually really notice the difference when using cold butter, room temperature butter or softened in your bakes. By using room temp or softened butter it enables the sugar and butter to mix together a lot quicker and a lot easier. Plus it means you don’t have to have a mini bicep workout in the kitchen. In this recipe I used both white caster sugar and light brown sugar. The addition of the brown sugar gives the bake a darker golden colour and a slightly more fudgy taste.

 

  • Combine the egg and the vanilla extract together then pour into the sugar and butter mixture and stir until fully blended. Even though there’s a lot of sugar in these super sweet cookies by adding the vanilla extract gives the cookies an extra, deeper flavour throughout. Most supermarkets stock extracts or essences in the home baking aisle and if you want to make this recipe your own you could try using different flavourings like almond, coffee, caramel or even a salted caramel essence instead of vanilla.

 

  • Once all the wet ingredients are fully combined sift in the dry ingredients until it’s formed a dough like consistency. I added in the spices in at this point it’s completely optional I only used a small amount as I didn’t want it to overpower the whole thing but I felt that it just added a little something extra.

 

  • Place the dough in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to let the flavours develop and the dough to harden up.

 

  • I sliced the cookie dough into 1 inch thick circles, rolled it into a ball between my hands and placed on a tray. I then pressed in a handful of smarties into the cookie and then baked for between 10-12 minutes until golden.

Perf with a cup of tea or glass of milk or eating every single one after the other when no is looking…

 

smartie cookie

 

 

What does PR Friendly even mean?

Untitled design (4)

The blogging community is a powerful force, one that seems to be growing in vast numbers on an almost daily basis. I’ve been been in and out of the blogging biz since 2012; way back when I was only just 17 years old and used my blog as somewhere to share my rambling thoughts, post grainy shots of what I had bought in Primark or what Barry M nail polish I was using that week. Not quite thought-provoking content with me ever eh?! I started a blog simply as a bit of fun and somewhere to fine tune my writing skills, never really thinking about it in the long term, as an actual viable source of income.

Over the years I’ve been incredibly fortunate and lucky enough to receive items gifted to me by brands for the purpose of me placing on my blog, talking about them and sharing my thoughts and opinions on them with you all. Blogging, in my opinion is fast becoming a lucrative market in which a brand can essentially get a writer, editor, publicist, marketing team, photographer and social media team all rolled into one with a blogger or content writer. Without running the risk of sounding incredibly biased, but now I’m aware of bloggers, vloggers and influencers I would trust their opinions on a gifted item much more than I’d trust that of someone who was on Love Island or Geordie Shore. For the amount of money a company would have had to have forked out to advertise in a magazine or get a celebrity to promote they could tap into the Blogosphere and get a handful of bloggers to support them instead for either just the mere price of the product or a fraction of the cost of using a celebrity to endorse it; it’s a no brainer really. 

Untitled design (3)
Attracting the attention of a brand or a PR is something I’ve always been fairly curious about if I’m honest. I know it sounds dead cliche, but it isn’t the sole purpose to a blog and if that’s the way you get into it to attract as many freebies as possible you’ll probably become bitterly disappointed. I’m sure you may even agree with me that it is is an incredibly touching thing when someone, anyone, reaches out to you and comments, or likes, or reposts what you’ve said. So when a brand says ‘Ello there! we like you a lot fancy working together?’ (I do not know why Dick Van Dyke is clearly writing them all) It is a such a genuinely nice feeling knowing that your hobby, your cheeky bit on the side, the blog you’d like to turn into a career (potentially, I don’t know maybe you do who knows??) is being noticed by actual proper non blogging folk people. 

Having said all of that I’m also fully aware some people are lucky to be able to use their blog as a source of income relying on gifting opportunities, ads and other such forms of revenue to make a living and I really can’t be any more supportive and really, genuinely happy for them! When I see people posting sponsored content or gifted reviews I’m just as thrilled to read that as I am a regular post from them. 

With being a blogger and practically living your life constantly online; your life is your brand and your brand is your life almost. Towing the line between accepting each and every gifted offer and remaining authentic to yourself can become a bit of a grey area for some. For instance, this one is a bit of an extreme example but I’m a vegetarian and for the last 6 months I have received several emails about posting about Wild Game pate’s on here and as much as I’m sure they are delicious it would be completely wrong of me to have accepted as it would be blatantly obvious I hadn’t tasted it and wouldn’t have been my honest opinions.

Similarly I mean that’s not to say if you have a niche you can only speak about one thing and one thing only. You may have started a beauty blog 6 years ago and have just moved house and want to share your renovating story with your readers. You get my drift. 

So what I’m trying to say, whilst simultaneously interrupting myself about one thousand times over, what is the secret to all of this. Perhaps you too might be one of those people that see the phrase #Prfriendly being used and it always making you wonder what that really means or even who realistically is going to be PR unfriendly? Maybe you’ve seen someone who has a smaller following than you, posts on their blog less than you but still somehow seems to be getting ALL of the PR samples under the sun and you want to be super happy for your internet friends but at the same time it kinda makes you wonder why them and not you? Do those that work in PR really sift through Bloglovin’ and Instagram searches in order to find the best people for their campaign? to what extent do brands look into the people that they ask to work with them? and do those ever popular ‘Comment your blog link, DA score and email address to be added to my PR list’ really work?

Untitled design

I’ve spent the last month or so, trying to get down to the nitty gritty of it all and have the points of view from a real life PR Guru, a full time freelance writer and also from a brand who works within the blogging community too, to see what they’ve all got to say on it. I really hope this post may interest you, help you or at least pique your interest and possibly create conversation about the ins and outs of Blogger outreach. 

Jessica

Firstly to start off with we have the incredibly helpful and totally fab Jessica Pardoe also known as a PR aficionado and an all round absolute gem. She’s been a complete angel in helping me out with this. Jessica specialises in PR and blogger outreach so was the perfect person for me to quiz about everything and anything to be quite honest! I couldn’t have done this all without her help and support and if you aren’t sold on Jess enough by now please do have a browse over on her blog here at Thoughts Of Jessica. Or send a funny gif on Twitter here

what do PRs/brands look for when reaching out to bloggers?

The top thing is a blogger that fits what I’m looking for I.E. if I’m looking for someone to review a hotel, or talk about travel then I’ll only go for a travel blogger or for a blogger who’s written these kinds of posts before. It really irks me when I put out a request for bloggers and ask for something like, someone to write a recipe, and then you can tell the blogger hasn’t even properly read the request and their blog is nothing about food and they’ve never posted a recipe before. Do you get me? It just kind wastes both of our time. In terms of what I specifically look for, I like giving opportunities to bloggers who are genuine and don’t just blog for the paid posts. Cause I can’t imagine those blogs get many reads. If I head to a blog and it’s just sponsored post after sponsored post (and if the posts don’t all fit a theme) then I’ll probably blacklist it. If a blogger is genuine, and if the opportunity fits their brand then I’ll be looking to contact them. At work, we look at something called DA which is short for domain authority and it basically ranks how well established your site is. Bloggers can work on their DA in ways, but more often than not it builds itself naturally as you blog normally. I do look at social followers too, but this isn’t always relevant. It depends on the campaign and the type of sponsored opportunity.

Do they take into account the numbers/stats/media kits or do they base it off their blog content?

It’s normally blog content for me. Sometimes clients will have specific details as to how many followers they want the bloggers to have, so then it does come down to numbers, but most of the time I like to make sure the blogger is genuine, that their content suits the opportunity and above all – that they blog for their readers, and that their site isn’t just cluttered with sponsored posts that aren’t valuable. I’ll also check a sponsored post and see what the blogger’s attitude is towards them. I’ve seen bloggers before having a 100 word or less sponsored post, which is literally just a few words on a page that has no story behind it or anything. The best kind of sponsored posts are done by bloggers who make it their own, and who you can tell genuinely have an interest in the brand they’re promoting. Those are the kind of bloggers I aim to work with.

What is the best way for a blogger to reach out them and what to say?

Personally, I get a lot of pitching emails and a lot of them are so impersonal that they go straight to the trash bin. I had one the other day that read something like ‘Hi, Any posts this month?’ I had to follow up and ask what she meant, and she proceeded to say she meant sponsored posts. But I’d never worked with this blogger before. It all felt quite impersonal… Spending a few extra seconds to make your pitch relate to the PR can go a long way, we can tell when it’s a generic email. I’d say, if you have a genuine interest to work with a brand, it’s good to send an email saying why, and maybe even exampling similar work. It might take a little longer, but those extra touches go a long way and could make the difference between securing a collab and not. I also do tend to work with bloggers that I have a relationship with. If I’ve worked with them before, and they’ve got the post back to me on time and it’s been good quality, then I’ll normally contact them with new campaigns that are relevant to their blog and see if they’d like to take part before I outreach to the wider blogging community. So it pays to build those relationships.

Is there anything that would put them off like swearing in posts etc?

Not really. I think if someones f-ing and blinding on every post then I’m like, my client wouldn’t want to work with this blogger. But most of the time, this isn’t a major red flag for me. I still wouldn’t recommend it though. The biggest thing that puts me off is what I mentioned above… When you can tell a blogger is accepting every collab for the sake of things, and their blog begins to look like an advertising ground. I come across a lot of blogs where their site is 100% sponsored content, and I can’t find a genuine post they’ve written because they wanted to, or for the interest of their readers. I stay away from those bloggers because it all feels really fake. I like to work with those who have a genuine passion for blogging, and who’ll really engage with the brand.

It’s murky waters in the blogger biz at the moment but do they check for fake engagement/bots usage before reaching out?

Yessss 10000000%. I wish every PR did. At the moment there are still tools that are being developed that’ll make our lives easier in spotting fake engagement. But for now, I do always check a bloggers followers if I’m looking to work with them on a social campaign. I check their followers and their likes on Instagram normally. I can spot bots from a mile off, and I won’t work with a blogger if I do. It’s not fair on bloggers who genuinely work to get a great following. Plus, fake engagement would be of no benefit for my client, so it’s a massive no-go for me!

Arma Chameleon

From the point of view of a freelancer / blogger we’ve got the HILARIOUS lady behind @ActualAr. She’s a hoot and a half and if you don’t already stalk her Instagram stories or Twitter feed like I do (I have literally no shame…but find her tweetin’ here) check out her blog here as well. I love her honest, relaxed and down to earth approach. I don’t actually even know her name it’s like it’s kept as a Government secret I can only assume the Ar is short for Aristotle cos I actually adore everything she writes. She could rewrite my local chinese takeaway menu and it would somehow come across as the most hilarious, witty and compelling thing. 

Is there anything you’d suggest before contacting a brand or PR?

If you haven’t already done so, it’s worth putting a media kit together. You can create your own using a design app like Canva, but it’s a lot easier to use something called Webfluential (You can find the link for that here) which basically helps you put one together and collates a lot of your stats for you based on your social media profiles. It’s free too, which helps! Other things that you should try and get to grips with are your details from analytics. Brands often like to know your demographics, so who is actually reading your blog? How old are they? What are they interested in? Remember it’s important to cater to your readers when you’re looking to work with brands and PRs – it’s not going to sit well if you suddenly start reviewing washing machines if you’re a sports blogger, for example!

If someone wanted to start earning from their blog but didn’t have the foggiest clue on how much to charge how would you suggest they go about figuring that out? 

Work out what you will charge, and stick to it. It’s so easy to undervalue your work when you’re hoping to get a collaboration with a brand, but remember the time and effort that you’ll put into the post, so pitch your fee structure accordingly. Don’t let them take the piss, because if you do it once, you’ll do it again, and then you’ll never really gain traction with paid jobs.Make sure you have a terms and conditions/disclosure for work with brands and check the internet advertising guidelines carefully so you don’t end up with a nasty fine either!(Side note- I really had NO clue about this at all but here is the disclosure form from Actual Ar’s site which is so clear and concise)However tempting as it may be, don’t lift someone else’s work and use it for your own. Your blog is unique to you, and you need to make sure you set your terms and disclosures accordingly, or you will end up in murky waters. Be clear on what you will and won’t write about – it’s tempting to write any old shite for the sake of the money, but really it’s not a good strategy in the long term!

Indigo Herbs

Lastly, and no means not least I have quizzed the lovely Claire from Indigo Herbs, a Health and Wellbeing company from Somerset, England who often work with bloggers and post campaigns through Bloggers Required.

What do you look for when reaching out to work alongside a blogger?

From my perspective I’m looking for high value relevant links from the bloggers website to our product pages. For the purposes of referral and SEO. So I’m looking for a good Domain Authority; as defined by moz https://moz.com/home. (Moz measures the SEO power of website as defined by google ) so a good domain authority means the site is well indexed and visible. Social media mentions are also great as this is like personal recommendation. Anything like a giveaway of products on social media can help raise engagement of a social media post.If a blogger was to reach out to you and pitch an idea of a post what type of things would you like to see?When you are pitching you do want to share your statistics of your blog, Domain authority, monthly page visits and preferably a bit about the demographic of your audience so the brand can work out if its a good fit.

Thank you so, so much for making it to the final few words of this post. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Jessica, Actual Ar and Claire for being so lovely and so helpful in terms of putting this all together. I’d really love to know what your thoughts are on this topic too! Have you ever reached out to a PR or a brand before? Has this post been at all helpful to you? Is there anything you agree with or possibly even disagree with?!

Once again, Thank you for reading!! A.x 

The Handmade Fair @ Bowood House.

bowood x

The weather has been absolutely glorious in England this weekend and it looks like the sunshine will be staying put for a little while yet which makes me and I’m sure the rest of the UK want to stand up and rejoice!! I was lucky enough to have been invited by Rewired PR to an event at Bowood House in Wiltshire at the weekend called The Handmade Fair. The event was over three days from the Friday to the Sunday and was blessed with the most fantastic, sunny weather. As soon as I heard about this I really liked the idea of this fair. Created by Kirstie Allsopp as a great way to get more people into arts and crafts as well as uniting art, craft and handmade lovers far and wide which I really like. This is the ultimate creative day out whether you want to brush up on your skills from experts or if you want to dabble at something new and uncover a hidden crocheting talent there really is something for everyone. There’s plenty of things going on at The Handmade Fair whether, like me, you’re happy ambling round The Shopping Villages. They’re all bursting at the seams with handmade products and full of people  are full to the brim with handmade products of the highest quality by the talented makers and creators. If that doesn’t tickle your pickle you can always head over to The Super Theatre, Skills Workshops and Grand Makes marquee’s where you can learn a new skill or two hosted by the UK’s most renowned experts. Oh and did I mention they had some magnificent street food vans dotted around too? I could have gone around twice collecting my £200 for passing GO everytime. I really loved how inclusive this event was. Since going vegetarian back in November it has been somewhat tricky for me to find foods when out and about that I really like and get excited by. But there was so much choice here from homemade ravioli, to a specific vegetarian/vegan food truck called Eats Shoots and Leaves (I LOVE a good pun, especially a panda related one).

DSCF2923

Nestled in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, not too far from Chippenham, sits a Grade I listed Georgian country house also known as Bowood House and Gardens. The Fair was held in the Gardens and you have to give The Handmade Fair team their credit for picking some of the most stunning locations. From Ragley Hall in Warwickshire in May to their later dates of being in Hampton Court Palace in September. Such an ideal way to make a weekend of it by visiting the Fair and spending another day having a nose around the house and gardens!

DSCF2921

My sister and I set off on the Saturday morning just before 10. It was a gorgeously sunny and only took about an hour from my house despite getting a tiny bit lost as I thought I knew better than the directions on my phone. Apple 1 – Abbie 0.  As soon as we parked up and got our wristbands from the desk we practically bounced on inside. The staff on the gates and checking tickets were all so friendly, happy and welcoming, asking us if we needed any help or wanted to know where to start and gladly pointed me in the direction of the RewiredPR tent so I could say a quick hello to the lovely team that made this possible. This was my first ever blog related event and I was feeling a bit anxious/nervous about it all. My sister helped me put my mind at ease and so did the PR team. They were so lovely and I found it really nice to meet the people or the person behind the emails and put a face to a name. So with that I went to go for a wander around the site armed with my phone and my camera as I was worried all my storage would be gone in a matter of five photos and a boomerang.

DSCF2943

My sister and I are both big foodies so were naturally drawn to the Artisan Marketplace marquee. It was like someone knew I was coming as it was filled with delectable sweet treats, cakes and several different gins. Naturally I had to sample them all and I was actually surprisingly taken with a coffee infused dark rum from Cornwall.

DSCF2940

As a lover of gin I can safely say how happy I am that it appears to be really having a ‘moment’ and is the ‘in’ spirit of choice. I know a few people who don’t really like it or find the scent of it quite woody or ‘piney’ in their words. But I think with so many different tonics available, flavoured gins and even flavour pairings you could add different herbs and spices, fruits or even a slither or cucumber to give it a rounded, cleaner taste if the taste of juniper isn’t for you!

From the same stand my sister and I purchased some savoury biscuits which were so incredible. We bought three boxes and they didn’t even last as long as 24 hours from unboxing as soon as we got them home. They were from the same company as seen above called Popti and they may be the most delicious biscuits I’ve tried. I love the packaging it’s so simple yet the choice of bold colours makes them really stand out on a shelf. They have a good variety of different flavours which you could snack on, on their own or even as an accompaniment to cheeses. If you ever come across this brand I urge you to try them they were so moreish and buttery. They honestly tasted like a savoury shortbread or something. INCRED. Also the lady we spoke to was so kind and lovely!!

bowoodd

DSCF2953

I even tried a small sample of moonshine. I did read the leaflet and the gentleman selling these did explain what moonshine *actually* is but other than a delicious and smooth alcohol they made in the prohibition era I still can’t quite remember. I tried one that tasted just like ameretto and could have easily drunk that neat all day long.

DSCF2950

A variety of different cheeses were also on offer and I tried a charcoal cheese which was mild, creamy albeit being rich and black in colour. If you had your eyes closes and weren’t any the wiser you wouldn’t have had any idea I don’t think as it didn’t have that overpowering smokiness sometimes charcoal can give. This type of thing would look great on a cheeseboard. BTW this chap is totally caught off guard but I’m living for the pose I might make that my go to pose in photos…White gloves optional.

DSCF2939

These marshmallows were incredible from a company called Grown Up Marshmallows.  I’ve loved marshallows since I was a child and I love seeing the different flavours or the gourmet ones you can get now. I tried the dark chocolate and raspberry one and it was amazing, it was soft and gooey but still had some chewiness to it. To me it tasted just like a normal, regular marshmallow if it wasn’t for the fact the sign and the lady talking to me said it didn’t contain any gluten, fats or egg I wouldn’t have been any the wiser.

DSCF2938

I’ve never in my life seen so many different ways with garlic as I did on this stall. Garlic butters, different types of garlic mayo, whole garlic bulbs, pureed garlic, garlic oil even to garlic beer?! All freshly grown from their Isle of Wight farms.

bow ood

I love these Mighty Fine nuggets of joy so much. My sister got me a peanut butter flavoured pouch for my birthday but my one true love is dark chocolate and it goes so nicely with their honeycomb I had to get this one especially as it was a £1 cheaper than usual shop price. Mighty fine you really are mighty fine.

Around midday we decided to take a bit of respite and get something to eat. You’re spoilt for choice for things to eat whether you want fish and chips, sheeps milk ice cream, gourmet cheese on toast to vegan nachos. You could easily spend all day trying some of each food stall until you burst. Eventually my sister and I decided on a food truck called RaviOllie. I love a good pun me. RaviOllie was born when the chef, Ollie, had spent many years working in top restaurants in London learning every inch of the kitchen including perfecting the art of making fresh and incredible pasta. Taking this love of food and pasta he decided on putting his own stamp on things, specifically ravioli. And I’m blimmin’ glad he did. We had spinach and ricotta filled ravioli topped with Parmesan, cracked black pepper and a choice of different oils.  The pasta was like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It was absolutely sensational. The pasta itself was gorgeous and nothing at all like ones I’ve had in restaurants or shop bought. You could just tell the ingredients were fresh and of good, high quality as it looked and smelt so fresh and vibrant.  The filling was so creamy but not too rich, it was cheesy and delicious and I wish I could have an endless supply for the rest of my life because it is legit the most perfect comfort food.

DSCF2948

bowood x x

Feeling a bit peckish we found somewhere selling a pot of strawberries and cream. But this pot was like a Nigella Lawson style levelled up treat. Like Wimbledon hasn’t got a patch on this. Sweet strawbs topped with a lavender cream, vanilla mini meringues, a homemade gin and tonic jelly and mint leaves. HEAVEN. It was the perfect summery snack on a hot afternoon.

After a leisurely bite to eat and soaking up some of the rays we headed into the Shopping Village tent filled to the brim of everything and anything you can think of when it comes to the world of arts and crafts.

DSCF2954DSCF2955

The first stand right by the door took my fancy. You could buy little wooden shapes and paint and decorate them onto to things to make them look so much more decorative and ornate like this little wooden wreath as seen above. This would lovely if you wanted to design a little photoframe for someone as a gift or put a nice picture or even leave it how it is as a wall hanging. These types of things are so versatile if you wanted to make a scrapbook for someone you could make their name out of letter shapes or if you wanted to make a memory box you could decorate it with their products too. The possibilities are endless.

DSCF2980

I love, love, LOVE these quills that were on offer on one stand. You could learn the basics of calligraphy too as their was a workshop on that too! These would make me feel so fancy and like I was in Harry Potter.

DSCF2959DSCF2957

If fabric working or upcycling is much more up your alley there were several different stands selling beautiful prints and fabrics. I’m a magpie for pretty things, bold colours and prints and this whole section really stood out to me. As someone who would love to be able to make their own clothing I looked on at this like a kid in a candy shop. There was another stand that was teaching people to make their own pom poms which I thought was really cute. They would make such good keyrings or decorative pieces.

DSCF2960

This gentleman was showing an older method of weaving wool and attracted quite a crowd. It was really nice to be involved in a day and an event where people with different crafts, hobbies and skill levels came together to celebrate all things homemade. There is something special in having something that you can say I made this. Or I took the time and actually completed this and look how fab it looks!

Other than blogging I’ve never really had a long term hobby that I’ve actually loved, enjoyed and stuck with (maybe playing the recorder at primary school but didn’t everyone do that?!) So I was hoping when I went along to this I would find something that would take my eye and I would develop a new hobby, skill or love away from technology for a little bit of time per day or week.

bowood xx

I stumbled across this stand selling cross stitch kits and naturally the gin related one jumped right out at me. Seeing as I got this on Saturday and today is now Wednesday and I’ve already taken it out of the box to have a go I think that’s a good start compared to other things I’ve bought with good intentions of doing and never quite getting round to doing.

If you’re a literal magpie for all things shiny and pretty just like me there were these gorgeous rings on display that look so glamorous and elegant. I love the sea themes in the first picture, in particular the rose gold seashell earrings.

DSCF2966

There was so much going on at The Handmade Fair it would be an enjoyable day out for people of all ages. You can book tickets in advance for places in their workshops and talks from the experts and having just had a look on their website for the Hampton Court Palace timetable (here) they have got some amazing workshops lined up from learning to do brushwork lettering to making your own beading hoop earrings. Whether you’ve always had a dream to make your own funky willow bird feeder, sew your own kimono or learn to make butterly origami, along with the help of The Handmade Fair’s exceptional team of experts it could make these dreams possible. If you get the opportunity I would definitely recommend going to their next Fair. I really enjoyed my time here and I’m sure you would do too!!

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at RewiredPR for asking me along to this event I’m really appreciative of it and I really enjoyed my day. Thank you so much to all the kind people working at The Handmade Fair whether that be all the staff I met, the staff behind the scenes who made this event come together so well or all the kind creators, makers and bakers I met too. I know I’m not the only one who would say I had such a lovely time! I hope this event gets better and better upon each year with even more people going along to their next one!

bowwood

*What I wrote in this post is all 100% genuine from me and my thoughts on it all. I don’t want to mislead readers into thinking I only wrote positive things as I had been invited to attend. 🙂

Friendship breakups and why they’re totally ok.

When you get dumped by a boyfriend or a girlfriend there is practically a whole shelf or two in Waterstones on what to do, how to dress and how to think so you can carry on living your best life. You can reinvent yourself giving yourself that full fringe you’ve just decided upon, grab your gals and that new LBD you’ve seen in New Look and paint the town red. Or just head into your local Vodka Revs and cry into several pornstar martinis whilst spamming pics all over your Insta feed of just how FIIIIIINE you’re looking. OK I digress but you get my point. As I sit here typing this, as someone who’s gone through the besties forevz cycle several times, I wonder why there isn’t a book, a notice, a giant banner somewhere to say, breaking up with a friend is totally OK. Better than okay in fact, sometimes it’s simply just life. As I get older (listen to me eh!?! I’m only 23 sounding as if I’m 57 years old sat on a porch decking in Alabama telling you all my wisest thoughts) I’ve come to realise that it gets so much harder to actually meet people and make proper true friendships. Especially if you’re an extroverted introvert like me. I like to go out but I also like coming back home to my comfy bed just that little bit more. Ya feel me? There’s a plethora of apps out there to meet the person of your dreams, or nightmares whatever you’re into I guess, but what are you supposed to do when you’re in your twenties, you don’t want to join the W.I and have grown apart from all your school friends because you’re not the same person you were 6 years ago?

There is no secret in the fact that I spend the majority of my life and my time online. Just take a look at my Instagram or Twitter feed which shows some sign of life on the daily. You see what I have for breakfast, me live tweeting my commute to work and a sneaky snapchat update of me filtered to the max complaining about another humpday slump. For me it was only natural I fell into a blogging community as I love, love, lurrve writing and reading interesting blog posts. But similarly because I have a about 3 real life friends and count you folk online as some of my closest pals. It was an easy gateway into chatting to and making internet pals with some of the loveliest, funniest likeminded people dotted all over the planet. Even though I’ve never met some and they could be the world’s most extravagant catfish stunt posing as a lifestyle blogger from Dorset. Imagine that eh!? I hasten to add I am not. I am me, I am the girl in the pics, writing these nonsensey essays in the hopes that y’all are reading/liking/wishing we were IRL besties too. If only there was a tinder or plenty of fish app so you could swipe right on potential pals. If you’re into trash tv, copious amounts of alcohol, being a bit of a dork and eating lots of food then please enquire within.

IMG_5394

I’ve always known I wasn’t a normal child and not quite the same as the others, maybe it was the day I shoved a jewellery bead up by nose aged four just to see if I could and actually got it stuck and could have potentially died. It is funny, you can laugh, I am, we can all gather round and have a good old giggle about it now, laugh at baby Abbie doing something silly for a lol and almost dying in the process. I should have known from a young age my inability to fit in and also my complete lack of common sense when it comes to doing anything to make myself and others chuckle, whether with me or at me, would run throughout my life. I’ve always been fairly outgoing and sociable for as long as I can remember really. My mum is probably one of the chattiest people in this entire universe so either my sister or I were bound to inherit that trait. She’s the type of person who could go to the supermarket to grab a few bits on a whim and come out with a new best friend, the phone number of a long lost relative she happened to have bumped into in the frozen aisle (arguably the worst out of all the supermarket aisles in my opinion) and a pen pal from Outer Mongolia who’s just visiting for the weekend. It became a bit of a running joke in my household the way in which my madre can just speak to people and develop almost genuine bonding moments and friendships. Something I’ve always been a wee bit jealous about.

I’ve always found it quite difficult actually keeping and maintaining friends. I am a bit of a chatterbox once you get me going and could quite easily sit for hours discussing anything from conspiracy theories to Eastenders to any random thought bubble that pops into my brain like why the chocolate chips don’t melt when you bake yo cookies?!?That’s probably one of the only reasons I liked working in retail is that I could talk to people and pretend I was actually doing my job but in fact I was having a chinwag with Judy in payroll about Eastenders that week. Is it any wonder my former employer then started logging phone calls that were longer than five minutes??? Sorry about that one Judes. I have had as many ‘best friends forevers’ as I have had lip balms both holding stark similarities to how I quickly lose them before long. Oh the LOLs. But to tell the truth, when I see those interactions between lifelong friends, sharing in jokes from actual DECADES ago, their families being close, sharing pivotal life moments from first crushes, to first relationships, from first hangovers, to work dramas, to real life dramas and all the boring little bits in between that actually mean a lot. Like what their Starbucks order is (mine is either a skinny vanilla latte, iced peach green tea lemonade or the gingerbread latte. Depending on the season obvs. Or what snacks to bring when your bestie is going through a really sucky life crisis and you know only a big tub of Ben and Jerry’s finest Phish Food will get them through. I get so jealous knowing that I’ll never properly have that. *CUE MAJOR DAILY MAIL ESQUE SAD FACE*.

At the humble age of 23 it’s starting to make me wonder. Is it me? I seem to be the common denominator here. When I was at primary school I was best friends with a girl called Hattie, we went round for tea at each other’s houses all the time and I remember sleepover’s at hers playing with her huuuuuuge Betty Spaghetty dolls collection (who needed an iPad back in those days?!) However she moved to Texas when we were about 10 or 11 and we kept in touch for a bit sending each other letters and parcels but after a couple years the effort on each end lessened and well we kinda got on with our lives, I was starting secondary school and well she was in America after all. I couldn’t be *that* weird kid at in a big new school of over 2000 kids who’s only friend lived about 5000 miles away. I went through secondary school with a fair few different friendship groups not really fitting in or sticking with a particular set. Looking back now, really I’ve got to give credit to my family for actually remembering their names after a while because it was almost a new person every week. This theme pretty much carried on throughout sixth form having a group of pals but not being particularly close to that one person in particular. I had friends but like I didn’t have that close bond I really wanted. Part of me thinks that’s just life and discovering who you are and your actual self. I don’t think I should feel shamed or that I’m fickle for flitting from one to the other. It’s not like I abandoned a friend in a foreign country cos I couldn’t be bothered and someone much better or shinier came along. Like I’m not that bad.

I’m a big believer in that everything happens for a reason whether that be you walking into a glass door twice within the space of about 11 seconds (true story it was embarassing it was in Accessorize in Salisbury, Wiltshire and it hurt my pride a heck of a lot more than it hurt my face tho) or whether that be the people or your experiences of things all play an important and equally vital part of who you are and what you’re like. Friends, family, colleagues, bosses (both the grumpybum ones and the kind ones) mistresses or lovers whether they are part time people in your life or full time can all hold an equally positive or an equally negative effect on you. Experiences shape you like work and university or whatever you go through so the things you have in common with someone are no longer the same anymore.

I’ve got to the point in myself where I can kinda say I’m quite happy on my own. I mean at the back of my mind I sometimes think or wonder whether in the future I’ll ever be someone’s bridesmaid or who would be mine? Jumping the gun a little bit there as a single woman but I hope you get what I mean. When I was in my teens this type of thing would have probably really affected my mental health and would have left me feeling really rubbish and like it was all me and not like a normal thing the majority of people go through.

I haven’t always been the perfect friend or pal either and I can admit that. I’ve been selfless and I’ve been selfish. I’ve cut people off of literally ghosted the pants off a friendship as it was easier than having it out with them. I’ve ignored messages hoping that the other person would just realise that my week long replies aren’t because I’m really *really* busy (no one is that busy I mean especially not me) and eventually give up. And the same has happened back to me so you could quite easily sit back and read this all and say well this is all karma. I’m only 23 years old. That’s practically foetal still in the grand scheme of life living. Yes I’ve probably hurt people, upset many and annoyed plenty too so I want to take this space to apologize for that. Truly.

With some people; I just simply grew tired of putting up with bad behaviour. Nothing illegal like but just toxic friendships like someone not treating me the way a friend should. Not making the effort or blowing me off at the last minute to do something else with someone else. I put up with that type of thing for ages because I didn’t have any other friends or any other choices. I grew fed up of always being the one putting the olive branch out to negative people and then getting slapped in the face with it. Some say I’m fickle for how I can give up on a friendship but I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to fit in for other people. pleasing other people and not myself.

Sometimes it’s all just about cutting the wheat from the chaff and seeing people for what they are or for what their purpose in your life is. Some people are your friends because you went to the same school together and played in the same hockey club and both watched tracy beaker, some people you just bonded with whilst you were at uni and it would be you and them against the world out every night at your local Oceana cheese rooms and some people are your friends because you worked in the same place and both didn’t like the boss and could take longer lunches together. Buuuuuut once you leave those places and surroundings it can grow harder to keep those common things between you both, well….in common. This shouldn’t be seen as a fault on you or them, but just a factor of life and simply how the oat and raisin cookie crumbles. Like rather than seeing it as a bad thing, see it as a I had such a lovely time at X place because Y would make me laugh so hard I sounded like an overjoyed seal every single damn day.

This is all probably going to sound like the ramblings of a mad woman but I don’t really care because it’s heartfelt. Everybody deserves the good things, the nice things, the shiny, pretty things. So if you a gorgeous abundance of friends that has such an unbreakable bond I hope you know that I’m a wee bit (ok totally) jealous. And if you notice me liking the ultra cute pics of you all together all dressed up before a night out, know that I probably smashed that like button a little bit too passively aggressively wishing it was me photoshopped in the background looking amazing and a little drunkeyed.

I made a sticky toffee pudding!

Tell me one thing better than slobbing out in bed on a Sunday morning eating lots of warm, buttery toast and drinking copious amounts of tea? Maybe add in some easy watching E4 american tv show is on in the background, the sun is shining through your bedroom window and Tom Hardy is on his way back up the stairs with another round of breakfasty carbs.Sadly the last part for me didn’t come true, I can’t help but feel Mr Hardy keeps going to the wrong address for some reason? The main feeling that I get from that analogy is comfort. Sometimes that is all you need and it just does the trick. After a horribly long day, getting soaked in the rain on the way home and all you really want is deep fried carbs and chocolate coated errthang.

Creeping into the Autumn and Winter months and all I want to eat is sweet, carb laden foods. To be fair I feel like eating sweet, carb laden foods all year round but more specifically in the colder months. Comfort foods like jacket potatoes, mash potato covered in a thick gravy, pies and any of the types of foods you see on pub food menus that are hearty, wholesome and leave you feeling all warm and gooey on the inside. The more I’ve been trying to get better at cooking and baking the more I’ve realised how I find it so relaxing and therapeutic. It’s a good way for me to escape for a little bit and make a delicious little something to cheer me up, feed the family and also show off on instagram and twitter with a smug little ‘oooooh look what I made, and it was so simple and I made zero mess everyone’.

I decided to bake a sticky toffee pudding one afternoon basically because I really wanted to eat some. I always think of it as a typical pub grub pud  and one that would involve so many technical bits and foods it’s easier to bang a microwave one in your basket than make it yourself. But BOY was I wrong. I went online and had a scout for some simple recipes. I’m a simple type of girl I really can’t be bothered to flambe a fruit or what have you. Trust me when I say how easy this recipe is though and if I can do it I like to think anybody can!

img_0051

So I actually used a recipe from the Sainsburys Magazine website and you can use the same recipe found here. It’s a super simple recipe to follow I found and there were a few bits I either tweaked or skipped on.

For this super yummy slice of goodness you will need:

  • 250g of dried dates that have been stoned.
  • 75g softened butter.
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar. The recipe calls for light but I accidentally picked up the dark one whilst I was in Asda. It gave it a richer, more treacle like taste which I like anyway so win, win!
  • 2 medium eggs.
  • Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.
  • Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

That’s all the ingredients for the cake for the sauce you will need:

  • 100g dark muscovado sugar.
  • 100g butter.
  • 150ml double cream.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  1. Start off by turning your oven to 180c and lightly greasing a 20cm by 20cm tin. I love a thiiiiick slice of cake so I used a slightly smaller one than the recipe required. And also because I’m not a chef that doesn’t have ENDLESS supplies of different shapes and sizes in tins. That might have accidentally come across a wee bit passive aggressive but sometimes when you’re watching a cookery show (Love you Nigella but you’re the worst for this) they act like getting things like samphire, tagine pots and himalayan rock salt whilst living in deepest, darkest Dorset to be an easy; and cheap feat. It is not.
  2. Next take your dates and chop them up to smaller pieces. It’ll make it a lot easier on yourself when you come to mashing them later on. Once they are all finely chopped put them in a saucepan and submerge them in water and then bring it to the boil. Let the water boil for a few minutes. Then drain it and mash it until its a mushier consistency. I used a potato masher because I found that a lot easier, less messier and a lot less of a workout than using a fork.
  3. Whilst the dates were boiling I put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat it until creamed together. I had left the butter out for about half an hour so it was softened a little which helps it bind together a lot quicker.
  4. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter and beat until smooth.
  5. To the dates add the bicarb, it will foam up a little bit and then add straight into the batter mix. Following this add in the flour, spice and vanilla extract and gently fold in until it’s all mixed nicely.
  6. Pour this into your tin and then bake for about 25 minutes. Or until the cake feels firm to the touch.
  7. Leaving the cake to cool, I made a start on making the sticky toffee sauce. Putting the butter, sugar, cream and vanilla extract into a pan and bringing to a boil. Making sure all the sugar crystals have melted I poured it into a jug and left it for serving later.

I was super impressed with this AND myself for managing not to set anything on fire nor kill anyone. It was so yummy, food for the heart and food for the soul. I would totally recommend you trying this, I know a lot of people don’t like the taste of dates but they give it a fudgier, treacle like taste and you wouldn’t even know it’s there.

Sticky toffee pudding is one of my fav comfort eats what’s your favourite winter warmer?

 

 

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Good evening my favourite little internet people, I am currently poorly. I am run down, sleepy, full of cold and generally feeling like a solid 4.5 out of 10. Not ideal. I had loads of plans to get one with lifey stuff this week, like applying for jobs, I wanted to exercise a little bit more with the gym equipment I have had at home but who wants to do that stuff anyway least of all when they feel like poop?! So i’ve been doing a lot of sleeping, feeling oh so sorry for myself and trying to catch up with my blog writing. at 6pm on friday you can see how well that went.

The very lovely Jessica at Jessicat Beauty had nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award and it very much made my day! I really love Jess’s blog I love her way of writing, I feel like she’s writing as if she’s just chatting away at me. Plus I really enjoyed reading her review on the urban decay heat palette as seen here. The Versatile Blogger award is not only a great way to spread some positivity amongst other bloggers but also a good opportunity to check out other bloggers and their fabulous blogs too.

versatile blogger

So the Versatile Blogger award is where you must thank the person who nominated you and link their blog in your post, nominate fifteen other bloggers to take part in this too and also share seven facts about yourself in your blog. So here goes!

  1. I am obsessed with food. I mean it’s not much of a secret or a fact if you scroll through my blog or instagram.
  2. I have a lot of random pipe dreams of things I’d like to do as a career. So much so I feel a little bit like Mr Benn. One day I want to have my own ice cream parlour, I want to be a hair stylist and colourist the next, to wanting to become a pilot (I watched Dunkirk in the summer and now all I want to do is fly spitfires I’m a little bit obsessed).
  3. Over the next 12 months I’m setting myself little mini goals I want to complete. Nothing huge but just personal things I’ve wanted to do for some time. Like I want to learn a skill and am considering going back to college. I want to get fitter and I want to do fun things basically! I’m sure I’ll be keeping you all up to date on here, on my twitter page and on my instagram account.
  4. My favourite animal (aside from my super cute dog) is an elephant.
  5. I want to travel a lot more but I’m a liiiiiiiiiiittle bit afraid of flying. The two don’t exactly go hand in hand but my wanderlust kinda outweighs my fear. Plus i’m looking into going to Canada in Spring 2018 with one of my buddies and unfortunately there is no boat or train there…yet.
  6. I have the biggest sweettooth in the UNIVERSE. Ever since I was a kid I was obsessed with pick n mix, puddings, cakes, ice cream. You can tell I’ve always been a little bit of a chubster!
  7. I am a sucker for superstitions as silly as that may sound. I went to see a psychic with one of my friends back in May and I honestly believed everything she said…Well apart from the part where she said I was going to be pregnant in the next 18 months, kinda scary. But I always like having a flick through my horoscopes, saluting to magpies. I’m a little obsessed with the moon and the stars too.

AAAAAAAAAAAND the bloggers I’d like to nominate are!

Molly

Paolo

Jess

Hannah

Abby

Alex

Erika

Victoria

Flo

Tanya

Katey

Amielle

Emily

Amy-Eliza

Kamilah

I hope you enjoy having a peruse over these blogs and the bloggers behind them too. These are some of my favourite bloggers and internet people so I hope you like them as much as I do. And to everyone I’ve tagged, I can’t wait to read all your posts and read some random, fun facts about you all!