37 Things I hated about working in retail.

If I was Prime Minister or Queen or Emperor of the World or whatever I shall be called, one of the first things I’d do is banish those ridiculous false eyelashes people stick on their headlights on cars. In what world is that a good look? I’d also add in way, waaaaay more bank holidays and maybe have one bank holiday Friday cos that sounds like a treat and a half. But more importantly, I would make sure everyone would work in retail or the service industry or just maybe deal with the general public for a couple weeks at least. It would be like jury service except that I’d just stick you on a till in Boots for a fortnight. I’ve worked in retail since the age of 16 and good God does it make you lose complete faith in humanity. You can always tell who’s worked in an industry like that and who hasn’t in the way in which they treat those that do.

1.With customers you can get The Good, The bad and The rude. With less cowboys and more buttheads than you can shake a stick at. Some people you can just tell have never been the other side of the counter before so think nothing of speaking to you like you’re an actual sewer rat. You notice that people will complain about just about anything, making you want to take a step back and actually reevaulate all the actual problems in the world because Steve wants to return his Pick N Mix because it didn’t have a very good mix of things in it. ERM. I have no words for this Steve. You picked it N you mixed it so don’t blame me for you being a dummyhead. Also totally a true story. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had customers speak down to me or snap at me or shout. For instance one man told me I had single handedly ruined his Christmas because we didn’t sell gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Good job I’m not bitter about it and moaning still 2 years on…👀.

2. We don’t often get that Friday Feeling you humble braggers post all over your Insta Story. Cos We have to work weekends. But we do often get the joy of a midweek day off which is just great. Unless you want to see your friends who are busy. Working their 9-5 jobs and are free at the weekend. When you’re back at work. K Den.

3. When people assume that you, the 10 hour weekend sales assistant frankly give a toss about the store pricings or the layout or the fact that Susan can’t find the jumpers which were right by the door last time she came in but now there are flip flops and kaftans there yet we only had a 36 hour heatwave in the UK?!?!

4. Promo Change. URGH. 2 words that will fill a retail worker with utter contempt. I used to hate doing promotion changeovers in my store. Baring in mind, I was a manager of a store that has almost as many different sales, promotions and in store events as it had staff coming and going. I would have rather covered my face in honey and stuck it in a bees nest.

5. Actually scrap that. There’s so many different jargon phrases and words that are often flung about; that outside of the retail world I don’t think actually means anything. Promo change, audits, blipbays, planograms, SKUs, ASMs, RSMs, ACT, IPB. It sounds like I’m singing the lyrics to ABC by the Jackson 5 really badly.

6. Working with people who use way too much corporate slang. I worked with a guy who basically developed his own I-only-speak-business-speak-cos-I’m-a-massive-bumhole language. Rather than telling the rest of his team something he would “cascade that information down to his field management team”. Or he’d call you boss or champ. He’d act like he was the wolf of wall street trying to pump you up by screaming down the phone buzzwords at quarter to 8 on a Tuesday morning. Basically he belongs in middle of the sea. On his own. For a very long time.

7. Working weekends or bank holidays. Like I get that this is kinda part and parcel of working within this sector but one Christmas time the only day I had off was Christmas Day and that was just because my shop was closed.

8. It felt like a slow torture method how many times over Christmas I heard Mariah Carey.

9. My store had an instore music system that would play the same songs, the same adverts at the same time everyday. I was in a real life Groundhog day but with more Sugababes.

10. Although one of my secret joys was seeing people, usually blokes, panic on Christmas Eve. I feel sorry for whoever had to open a jar of Cod Liver Oil as a christmas present from their terrible husband one year. I did try and suggest the hand and nail cream set instead, honest!

11. Wearing full uniform and customers still ask if you work here. Nah I’m just a huge fan of this place love! Just like football fans dress up as their fav players I’ve come into town dressed as my favourite shop assistant today. GO TEAM.

12. When you ask a customer if they’d like a bag and they point to their wife saying she’s over there.

13. Serving customers and they’re on the phone is a controversial one. I’ve been in a cafe where I put my phone on mute and to the side of the counter and the woman still refused to serve me until my conversation was officially over. SHOUTOUT TO PUMPKIN RAILWAY CAFE’S. I swear they’re all a load of poop. But I’m not overly bothered or I wouldn’t kick off if someone used their mobile really quick, I don’t really want to make small talk with you anyway but pls just pay with your card and go and don’t make me wait til you’ve finished chatting with your pal to acknowledge me, cos that’s just rude.

14. Customers who want to complain to the manager and PLOT TWIST it’s you. I went from sales advisor to manager in the store I’d been working in for two years previous in the space of about a month. So I could kinda understand how some shoppers got confused how the shop assistant overnight became a manager but y’know I was just as confused. Oh and at the age of 20 or 21 I was the youngest on my region just for my own humble brag there. I know I may have youth on my side Janice but I’m the captain of this ship. Sadly that ship was the titanic BUT I WAS STILL THE CAPTAIN.

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15. Y’know when it’s unbearably hot and stuffy in a shop, there’s no air conditioning and you customers sweat and moan about the rising heat so leave after about 23 seconds? Think Primark in the late 90s early noughties when it was always unbearably hot inside, clothes were strewn everywhere and it looked like you just walked onto the set of Earth Song. Yah someone has to work in that fiery heat. I was that person once upon a time. When I was a manager we had a spare temperature probe for the fridges and I left it on the shop floor just to see how hot it actually was in there. It would get up to the high 20s or 30. Which is lovely if you’re sipping pina coladas on a beach in the Bahamas in that temperature; not so much when you’re working. My area manager said it wasn’t that hot or I should buy a fan. So my training coordinator suggested I dip the end of the thermometer in some boiling hot water so it looks much hotter than it really is, so they’ll have no choice but to buy us top of the range air conditioning. Shortly after he did a surprise visit to come see me and needless to say, he was a bit shocked/surprised/concerned to see we’d been working in 68 degree heat and none of us had combusted.

16. One thing that used to really irritate me, maybe that’s just because I’m easily irritated was that a customer would come in every week and ask for the same thing but pronounce it wrong everytime. Quinoa being pronounced keen wah is a prime example.

17. I don’t know if anyone else suffered this but I used to get people mistaking me and my shop as the tourist information desk ALL. THE. TIME. Baring in mind I still have to double check my left and right with my hands I don’t think I’m the best person to ask for directions to Stonehenge by electric bike, Sir. When I worked in Bath a lady grabbed me by my elbow (I thought it was an odd way to get someone’s attention too but it actually worked) and simply asked me to tell her if she was going the wrong way. She gave no more information. She just said that…Depends, if you’re trying to get to the Roman Baths, no you’re not. Take a left by the man painted silver covered in pigeons if you’re trying to get to Mozambique…then yes ma’am you’re going the wrong way.

18. Customers who try and tell you how to do your job. Urgh get on tills if you really want to help me out Karen.

19. People who make that joke like you’ve never heard it before “hehehehe if it’s not scanning it must be free right???? Hehhehe”. Get in the bin.

20. PEOPLE WHO COME IN TO BROWSE JUST AS THE PLACE IS ABOUT TO CLOSE. I understand you may have been working all day too but we don’t often get paid if we have to stay later. I like you but I like earning money for being in work more.

21. People who complain once they’ve consumed nearly all of their food/drink/whatever. The fact you ate all your food apart from one spoonful even though it was too garlicky??? Your case is now invalid. Go home. Have a lovely life. Goodbye.

22. Whoever made the phrase the customer is always right was wrong.

23. People who complain about pretty much anything they can in general can be so taxing and sometimes they take it way too far. I was in the Lush store near Christmas time in Bath and a couple went IN on the girl serving them both. They were screaming, shouting and the poor girl cried. Looking back I actually kinda regret standing by and doing nothing as I have also been on the receiving end of sociopaths like that. But me and my friend did stick around to see if she was ok and luckily all of her team and her manager basically told the customers to do one. In much more eloquent terms obvs.

24. Having to face up shelves, so they look dead neat and tidy and then someone has the nerve and audacity to BUY something from said bay. You wouldn’t cut a slice out of Mary Berry’s cake before she finished icing it would you?! Also I used to call facing up pulling forward but apparently that sounded dead raunchy for the shopfloor.

25. Loyalty cards. Ok I could literally write a whole dissertation on the drama these things cause. Same with the products we try and sell you on the till or even the 30 billion receipts that seem to come flying out the till at the end with your shopping. I just wanna say as a retail worker and also a customer in shops I totally get how annoying it is to be practically interrogated when you just want to buy some pants. But we HAVE to ask you that or we get shouted it at. It becomes a part of a salespersons routine and script. Where I used to work they wanted at least 75% of all customers to be signed up onto their loyalty scheme and you’d be heavily pressured to ask every single person who walked through their door. If you didn’t or you didn’t get the amount of sign ups your boss would want you’d face a grilling. We are human and know that you get asked that in every shop so please just be polite and say no thanks. Same with getting an email or receipt asking about your service instore that day.Like we get it, it’s annoying we care about whether you have a loyalty card just as much as you do. Believe me, probably even less. A lot of shops and restaurants have taken away the monthly mystery shopper element so the general public can scrutinise your performance instead and mark you down if you didn’t ask them open questions or greet them within the first 15 seconds of them coming into a store. :))))))))))))). That often gives us a commission based bonus which makes up our full salary. Is it any different to tipping a waitress for good service in a cafe?

26. Same thing with coupons that have expired. Most of them have a barcode which literally will not work once scanned past the expiration date so pls don’t shout at me because it’s been a matter of hours since it ran out.

27. I don’t really understand why name badges are a necessity to be honest. Some may say it gives a more personal shopping experience but this isn’t Harrods and you’re not my Mum so you don’t need to beckon me over by my full name like I’m a naughty child.

28. Unruly kids that run around like the place is a playground. Sometimes breaking stuff and the parents just sort of give you that awkward laugh/don’t blame me look.

29. People who think you have any control in this company. I used to get customers asking me to send letters of complaint to head office like I was going to boardroom meetings every Friday. You wouldn’t pop into Currys with a problem with your laptop and ask them to dial through to Bill Gates to see if he knew a solution.

30. Partners that bicker at the till. Pls no. I served a couple that had a full on domestic at the till over whether they wanted a second one for half price. She walked out of the shop in the end. Would loved to have been a fly on the wall in their house later. If she ever returned home that is.

31. When customers cards get declined it actually gives me mad anxiety. I always used to make a joke and blame it on the card machine saying it’s playing up a bit but some people would straight up, look them in the eye and scream their card got declined. AGAIN.

32. Customers to demand you check in the stockroom for a product you don’t even sell. I spend more time in this place than I do at home nothing comes through these doors without me knowing sis. Guilty of walking in there, staring at the empty room, waiting a good amount of time and then coming back out and telling you there’s none in stock.

33. Customers who don’t take off their sunglasses inside. It wasn’t cool when Kanye did it, it’s not cool when you do it in a service station Starbucks.

34. Work colleagues are your fam. Like love ’em or hate ’em they’re there for you. Unless you need them to cover your shifts over a Bank Holiday Weekend.

35. You kinda realise how dumb some people are. Not just some people you work with but the general public. There was one guy I worked with who may possibly be the dumbest/most fascinating person I’ve ever met. He could have a feature length series on either the Discovery Channel or You’ve Been Framed. He never had a dull weekend and would always come in on Monday with a great albeit odd story to tell. Whether that was how he fell OFF a bus and bruised his entire face (it was awful but he looked just like Freddy Kreuger) Or how he was texting a girl he was seeing, tried to type ‘Hello’ but his phone autocorrected it to HELP all in caps lock and then his phone died. He got home and charged his phone to see about 17 missed calls, 20 messages and several v angry voicemails.

36. When a customer tries to give you change after you’ve put through the amount on the till. Like I’m sorry hun I’m not rainman how am I supposed to work out your change now you’ve given me MORE money?! I know you think you’re trying to help but maybe I’m just a bit thick.

37. Customers that don’t clean up after themselves and expect you to *just* do it because you’re paid to. Please ctrl alt delete yourself. Like I know I work here but you don’t need to make my job even more difficult or annoying.

All I ask is that if you read this and you aren’t already, please be more kind, forgiving and mindful of retail staff or service staff. OR just people in general y’know. It’s nice being nice 🙂

BE KIND ALWAYS. X

The Handmade Fair @ Bowood House.

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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).

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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*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. 🙂

No, I ain’t no follow back gurl.

It’s been a while since I wrote something thoughts and feelsy on here that wasn’t to do with stuffing my cakehole full of, well, cake. I’ve wanted to write something like this for ages now actually and I was filled with inspiration after spending the night before on social media hating myself and my life a liiiiiittle bit. I really want to talk about all the things that kinda irk me about blogging. I love it don’t get me wrong but sometimes I feel like I want to throw my laptop into a fast flowing river and wonder what I did with my time before all of this. I’ve written and rambled on for an absolute age beneath so if you’d rather not read all this gushy jargon keep scrolling down to the bits I’ll have titled in bold. YOU’RE WELCOME XOX. But if you do wanna read my innermost thoughts and feelings and potentially the lottery numbers (not really soz I just want to entice you in a bit) well settle into your seats and enjoy!

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I’ve been blogging for quite some time now, on and off for nearly 6 years and honestly it’s such a joy to see this community of people all over the planet grow. It actually makes me so happy to see people I interacted with, all those years ago when I was just starting out at 17, back when I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing, not that I do now  to be honest, seeing them progress with their blog and their lives in general really! I mean some have got married, had babies, had a full on bloody glow up whilst I’ve twiddled about on the internet for a couple years, dying my hair and getting a little bit Naomi Campbell’ed at the weekends.

I don’t know whether I have ever touched upon my blogging journey with you all because it’s a bit of a random starter to this. I’ve read some people’s accounts as to why or how they started and they are really touching stories and mine is a bit of an arsy one to say the very least. And it’s kinda full of name drops. It all started in June or July 2012. (If this was the film of my life I would have been narrating this scene and that bit as we travel back in time to this monumental occasion. Ideally Kate Upton would be playing me but i’m going to stop dreaming for a little bit ok. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had as many thoughts on career changes as Mr Benn and at this moment in time I really wanted to go into journalism or something involved in the media circus. My cousin is celeb and entertainment journo and often is meeting and interviewing all the top names so as a favour to me he said I could be his plus one to go backstage with him at T4 On The Beach. If you don’t remember this (ur too young for me bro) it was a one day music festival held on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare. Super it is not may I add. I had a wristband that said PRESS PERSON on it I felt like I was a teen Fearne Cotton hotfooting my way over to interview Tulisa and Rizzle Kicks. I mean it wasn’t exactly Glasto.

I got to see the perks of all the behind the scenes fun, mingle with famous people and even basically loot the gifting lounge. Having never been inside somewhere like that before I honestly had no idea what I was doing and whether I was supposed to be taking things for free?! FYI Hugo from Made in Chelsea took two soda streams. Who needs one let alone two was my thought as well. It was in there at a table laden with gifts from a cosmetics company, when I was literally breathing in the same air as Alexandra Burke and Rita Ora, (oops soz I’ll just pick up those name I just dropped. *Insert shameless eyeroll emoji*) that the girls from the brand looked at my press band, looked at me (aged 17) and head to toe in Primark and H&M and they asked politely who I was or who I was with.  I quickly swapped my entire life story and gushed on and on to them how I was still in sixth form and was kind of hating it and didn’t know what to do, that my cousin invited me and I wanted to do something similar and love writing. I’m fairly certain I said this all within about 9 seconds in one breath as well. One of the girls just said with total ease in her voice that I should give blogging a go. They handed me loads of their goodies and instructed me to write all about them online. We swapped email addresses and I promised I’d send them my blog info. THUS my blog was born about 7 hours later when I eventually got home. Needless to say my blog journey was a bit of a strange one. I don’t know how I effectively nabbed the PR samples before the blog was even around. I have a lot to thank those girls for. Or you might just think I’m easily swayed and take life advice off of a complete stranger I met in a glorified tent.

Sometimes I absolutely adore this community and other times, like a 0.0001% of the time, I simply loathe it. It’s gone forward in a lot of aspects since I started. In the sense that’s it’s grown huuuuuugely with more and more people, blogging or vlogging or simply being more present online. It’s getting lot more good press, great attention and the respect it deserves. Not a day goes past where I don’t see people reaching out to others asking for their blogging deets to pass on to a PR rep or fellow bloggers posting affiliate links or their latest posts with items in which they’ve been gifted by a brand. I’ve seen some people get hate saying that X blogger only wrote such a rave review about their specific products because they got it for free or whatnot and it just makes me giggle what they must think about the celebrities who are paid to endorse certain products. I know who’s opinion I’d rather trust, someone who’s used it and put it on their blog or Cheryl Cole (or whatever her surname is) on an advert. I’m so hugely impressed and proud of people I’ve never even met, seeing them glow up and basically do so well. It makes me remember why I enjoy and love being part of such a thriving, ambitious group of fab people.

On my old blog, one which I have now hidden from prying eyes, I used to literally post on there about everything or anything. From daily updates on what colour my nail varnish was, what I bought from Oxfam on my lunch break from work or what I was thinking about having for my eleven o’clock snack. NO JOKE. One time I posted four times on my blog in one evening four different nail varnish shades asking you all for your opinions on which one I should go with for sixth form the following day. God knows how I wasn’t ever reported as a bot. Or why Blogger/blogspot didn’t intervene like U ok hun??? We want to report your unusual activity and posting all this verbal poop on our sites.

  • BLOGGING ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. 

I know I sound about 357 years old by saying that and obvs things change over time but back in the day when I was starting out the blogger chats you see on twitter were buzzing with life and activity. I remember Sunday evenings used to be an actual challenge for me, as I was organising myself around the lifestyle bloggers chat at 7, another chat at 8 and getting ready for bed as I had a look at the blog posts mentioned and linked to in the chats and then watching TOWIE at 10. People used to share each others links ALL the time I remember seeing people write specific posts to share their favourite blog posts and or bloggers of that week or month. Or people would often be writing guest posts on each others blogs a lot too. I don’t know whether that’s still a thing as such anymore or whether I’ve got my head up my butt, but I just don’t see the same love in’s anymore.

  • IT CAN BE HARD NOT TO FEEL JEALOUS OR COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS.

I was actually a little unsure how to post this or word it as well. It’s something I’m sure i’m not alone in feeling. It can be difficult to not get a few jealous pangs when you see someone you’re friendly with through blogging getting offered amazing opportunities or pr samples. You want to be super happy for them but also a tiny part of you probably wonders why you didn’t get that email or DM too. You can sit there questioning it, wondering why they have it when your engagement is far better or you’ve been blogging a lot longer and think to yourself whether it was because you missed a week back in November because you went out out one weekend and simply couldn’t be arsed to write about whatever it was the following day so missed your weekly blog catch up. I’m not entirely sure how PR’s find bloggers sometimes if you’re reading this as a blogger/ a PR or even a normal person please do let me know if you have the answer. I’m happy for all my blogger pals and for all they’ve achieved because I know they’ve all worked their socks off for what they get and they deserve it too. You want a tiny slice of that pie too and that’s totally ok, you want to be recognised by someone for all your hard work too.  Just as long as you don’t take this jealousy too far and burn their house down with their new Jo Malone candle we’re all good, ok. But in all seriousness if this thought does niggle away at you just remember you have a blog, so you have internet connection so you’re already a lot better off than a lot of people around the world. Stay humble. 🙂

  • FOLLOWING EVERY BLOGGER.

I’m going to admit it I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past and I hold my hands up to that and apologise to all the people I’ve actually annoyed when I used to be that person popping up on their timeline every now and then. In a blogger world you think numbers are the key to success and as soon as you’ve hit over a certain amount you’ll be jetting off to the Bahamas on a press trip. It doesn’t work that way I’m afraid. You see the word blogger in their bio and click that big blue follow button assuming they’ll follow you right back and not mess up your ratios. if you were in a room full of 200 people chances are you wouldn’t get on with everybody in the said room. So why force it with blogging too? Just because you have a mutual hobby together doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be besties skipping off to Peggy Porschen’s together.

  • FAKING YOUR NUMBERS.

Whether this is from actually buying bots and followers or literally following everyone you can so you have about 120,000 followers but sadly also have to follow 121,000 people. How on earth do you see everything? As mentioned I used to think by following EVERYONE, my numbers would shoot up and my blog would get the following to match too. It didn’t happen. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’m a lot happy for it. If someone follows my blog, my Instagram or my Twitter I’m super chuffed as it’s an organic/authentic follower.

  • UNNECESSARY PRESSURE.

Your blog is your own if you want to write about the decline in bumble bee’s I’d be more than happy to read that or if you want to write about why you have started using lipstick as eye shadow I’d also be more than happy to read that too. Or if you’ve just treated yourself to the Urban decay heat palette and really want to write about that even though everyone else has too. Well you open up your browser and you write that review. I used to be quite put off and not want to write those sorts of posts on my old page because there will have been umpteen blog posts about the eyeshadow palette I just got. But don’t let that put you off. The world has yet to read your thoughts and feels on it. Also I’m just going to chuck in here that you can tell when someone slips away from themselves when writing content and it no longer feels or sounds like the same person behind the screen tapping away at their keyboards. There’s the pressure of putting out great content, to have a great, informative, innovative, whatever you want to call it blog. As long as you are happy with it and it makes YOU happy who cares what so and so on the internet thinks.  

  • PODS/TRAINS.

Two words that have a totally different meaning outside the blog world. I’ve been in Instagram pods but I’m not going to lie it was an effort. I was liking pictures I didn’t actually like. Just so I would also get a like on my new selfie. When I put into words it sounds dead sad doesn’t it. I’ve also been in follow trains on twitter too. Congrats if they work for you but I didn’t reap the rewards like everyone else seems to. Not many people seemed to follow back or if they did they’d be gone within a few days. If it works for you then excellent but I know it’s not the way in which I want to project myself.

  • BITCHINESS.

UGH. I’ve seen some pretty nasty things flung around and the vast majority of people I’ve come across have been even lovelier than lovely. I personally am very much looking forward to the day it is not seen as cool or funny for people to be a bitch, or to be petty or to be unnecessarily mean. You do you but don’t bring someone else down for your pleasure.

  • Some people are in it for the freebies/money. 

You can usually spot these people a mile off and do you know what who am I to judge you or them or anyone for that matter. I was friendly with another blogger who would get so ragey if they didn’t get sent something they saw someone else post online. What bugs me about it is that it can give the whole blogger breed a bad rep. Outsiders from this community thinking we are dishonest or suck the buttcheeks off the PR rep in return of a good review.

FOLLOWING TO UNFOLLOW BACK. 

This shit really is bananas. I’m sure I speak for many when I say this is SO annoying. Please stop I beg. I’m yet to understand how these types gain followings at all because it is so blatantly obvious that’s what they’re up to. I had someone on twitter follow me 3 times over one weekend. There they were lurking on my page like a weirdo in a trench coat so I followed them back then they immediately unfollowed me?!! I mean kinda the whole point of this whole post but when I say ‘Few times I’ve been round that track, So it’s not just gonna happen like that…’Cause I ain’t no followback girllllllllllllll no I ain’t no followback girl.’

  • EVERYTHING LOOKING PERFECT.

I understand this is kinda the way of the social media world. No one posts a picture of their sad bowl of Rice Krispies it’s always the decadent avo on rye that gets the likes. The trials and tribulations of being a lifestyle blogger can be that your brand is your life and effectively your life is your brand. You want to portray this picture perfect image that you’re living your best life and just so happen to have a candid shot taken over lunch at Spoons. Don’t get me wrong I kinda obsess over these accounts that everything is pastel and pretty and annoyingly perfect. But for once can you just stand in some dog poop and post that to really go with your aesthetic. K THNX.

  • SOMETIMES IT TAKES AGES TO WRITE A BLOG POST AND THEN YOU REALISE YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH PICTURES FOR IT. OR ANY PICTURES AT ALL FOR THAT MATTER. 

This was me as I was writing this post. Like I was close to just scrolling through my phone pics and clicking one at random until I realised the one I picked was close ups of me drunk my friend took. No one needs to see those.

  • SELF DOUBT.

SOMETIMES i have the fear when I go to click that cute little publish button. These crippling moments of self doubt. Like this stuff I put out online that I pour my heart, soul and fingertips into no one *really* gives a crap about. But it’s like the grown up, modern day self soothing and I feel a lot better putting this stuff out there. Even if it’s for my own benefit.

  • LOVELY.

Why do we call everyone lovely??????

  • DRAFTS. 

I have countless drafted posts that are either blank with random jumbled writing, a half written post, something I wrote when I was drunk that I thought was heartfelt but when I read it back it’s actually quite terrifying. Who knew I could squeeze Monica Gellar and Tennis Shoe into the same paragraph and what on earth was the point I thought I was making?!!?

  • When did blogging become so intense?

I log into twitter and sometimes I feel like I’ve got lost in a foreign country without a map and everyone is speaking in code. What’s a DA? Who on earth is Moz when they’re at home? I haven’t a clue about affiliate links or how to fix broken links to come to that either. I’ve only just learnt how to schedule posts and I don’t have strict timings or a plan each week for posting either. Does that make me a bad blogger? You may be tutting and shaking your head in disdain but I don’t think so. Personally I don’t think anyone will be on the edge of their seats on a Sunday evening refreshing their inbox awaiting my new post to bounce on in. I don’t think anyone would be that bothered and also I don’t need that added pressure and you sure as hell don’t either.

Your blog can evolve.

Just as you mature, and your crowd/friends/audience/rabble mature at the same time too. So if you used to post about what you carry with you in your school bag don’t worry about disrupting your niche to suddenly posting about holiday hot spots or how to spot a terrible tinder guy. ALSO whilst I’m on the subject, how do I put this, IT IS YOUR BLOG. In the words of Sheryl Crow ‘ If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad’. Unless it’s olives, they’re gross Sheryl.

After all that ramble about the things I dislike about the world of blogging I want to reiterate how much I also do love it. I’ve made so many fantastic friends who are going to be my friends for life whether they like it or not sorry guys. It’s given me more confidence in myself and being able to speak my mind and say what’s bothering me and also it gives me a sense of belonging and community. Something I can say I’ve never really had before.

 

It’s gone midnight and I’ve just finished writing all this. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Gemma who I simply adore so if you haven’t given her some love then I reckon you should do it now. Find her blog here. or find her chatting away to the small hours on Twitter here.  BIG LOVE X

I’m buzzing with the fact I got the phrase lurking on my page like a weirdo in a trench coat into this post btw. Oh and also Gwen Stefani lyrics. x

 

 

Redroaster – Brighton.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere like this place in real life before. It felt like I had crossed into a parallel universe where I was actually *IN* Instagram. And heck no I wasn’t complaining, I’ve never felt so cool and on point in my life. The decor inside Redroaster was a cool mix of clean white tiles, golds, coppers and marble textures and delicate hanging plants. It felt edgy, botanical and just really cool. We were lucky enough to be able to sit outside as the weather was glorious even at about 8 or 9 in the morning when we got there.

I ordered a vegetarian shakshuka and an iced coffee and it was delightful. I felt quite smug as I sipped my coffee watching the hustle and bustle of the commuters passing by to their jobs as I had an enjoyable morning breakfast. It was the first time I had a shakshuka and I really liked it. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Middle Eastern / North African dish made of a thick, spiced tomato sauce, spiked with onions, peppers and poached eggs. Sounds delicious and savoury right? Beforehand I’d have much preferred to have had a sweet breakfast plate but I must say I think my taste palette is finally growing up a bit.

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The one I ordered usually comes with chorizo but I asked for that to be removed or whether the dish was possible to be made more veggie friendly and the waitress and kitchen seemed more than accommodating for that. Jewelled with black olives and edamame beans it gave the skillet a lovely richness and umami flavour. I don’t usually like olives, mainly because the ones I’ve tried have always tasted like they’ve been steeped in salt and I just found the texture quite unpleasant but I think they added a lot of flavour to this dish. On top of that it had very generous handful of crumbly feta decorated over the top. Feta might be my favourite cheese. Contrary to olives, I really love the fresh, saltiness feta holds. It reminds me of summer holidays gorging on Greek salads.

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Speckled and freckled with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with two slices of warm, buttery toast for dipping in and serving it up with. This dish is the perfect comfort food. It was full of flavour, but wasn’t too overpowering. Plus I felt so full for the rest of the day too so what more could you want with a brek out?? ALSO did I mention they have their own blend of coffee? The iced coffee I had was LUSH. It was smooth and had citrusy notes so I felt like I didn’t actually need to add any sugar which I would normally do.

Would I go back to Redroaster? Yes. I loved the laidback ambience, the menu contained things that I’d never seen before and that sounded really interesting. Would I order the shakshuka again? Possibly. Nothing against the dish itself I thought it was really nice but there were other things on their menu I’d also like to try. From raspberry croissants to the veggie english breakfast with an avo mousse. They both sound like things I DEFO want to eat/inhale.

Burgers & Cocktails – Brighton.

Funnily enough that is what I had. I had amaretto sours and a cauli burger. Lives up to it’s name very well indeed. Welcome to the final stop of the Brighton food tour huns we made it!!! We originally just popped in here for a drink or two as it looked nice, quiet and more importantly air conditioned. I had a fresh and lemony amaretto sour as we played board games in a near on empty Burgers & Cocktails restaurant.

I wasn’t actually aware beforehand that Burgers & Cocktails are actually owned by the same chain that are Giraffe. It’s stylish, quirky and preeeeeetty peachy and their menus totally match that as well. The menu has a good variety of things for meat eaters as well as accommodating to those that may be vegetarians or those whom have intolerances too. After copious amounts of cocktails and there’s only so much scrabble with your pal you can take we got a bit hungry and both decided to try the cauli wobble burger and share some skin on fries.  I also had a lotus biscuit milkshake, cos yknow calories don’t really count when you’re on holiday do they?!

burgers and cocktails fries

These rustic skin on fries were a dream. Salty, hot and sprinkled with herbs and spices. I’m 23 and am still yet to find a carb I don’t like.

cauli burger

This was the cauli wobble burg and not going to lie I pictured it a little differently. It contains some deep fried chunks of cauliflower, halloumi, red peppers and greens all on a layer of sriracha mayonnaise. I for some reason thought it would be like two cauli steaks acting as the buns and the halloumi, peppers and greens sandwiched in between. It was quite difficult to eat as I kept losing cauli bits, I mean I’m not the most dignified at the best of times with messy foods. The sriracha mayo added that extra kick which I think the burg really needed as some find that cauli can be quite bland.

lotus milkshake

This milkshake was insanely gorgeous. Lotus biscuits are so moreish and this was just fab. Top marks Burgers & Cocktails people.

The staff were attentive and lovely to us during our visit, even though they couldn’t help with my scrabble pieces; I HAD NO VOWELS.

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.

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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.

Frome Independent Market.

bumble and wildHello again and HAPPY EASTER! I hope you all had a lovely day whatever you got up to and ate, drank and got merry with your loved ones celebrating all things Easter, Spring and chocolate. My family and I went to Frome Independent market today which is a town about 30 minutes away from where I live. Frome is a town in lovely Somerset which has a lovely mix of both highstreet retailers and a lot of cute independent shops. I’m a big fan of any town or high street that isn’t like no other and quite often in the UK you could walk down any high street or shopping town centre and be greeted with the exact same shops, the exact same closed down shops and end up in the same chain coffee shop drinking the same skinny vanilla latte. Eurgh. Not for me. Don’t get me wrong I do shop in these places and photograph the life out of my seasonal hot chocolates on the ‘Gram but I do like to support local and support smaller businesses more. See pic above of the very pretty florist’s shop Bramble and Wild. Their window display’s truly are wonderful. Continue reading “Frome Independent Market.”

The World According to She.

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Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute and just sit right there and I’ll tell you how I became the princess of a town called Bel-Air. In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground was where I spent most of my days, chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool and eatin’ some push-pops outside of the school when a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood, I got in one little fight and my mum got scared she said, “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air”.

I have a super active imagination if you couldn’t already tell…But when I was a kid and even now if I watched a tv show or film religiously my brain would get it confused with my reality and the made up show. So much so one time I had a dream I was in Egypt then a few weeks later in a geography lesson at school the teacher asked if anyone had ever been to Egypt and for some weird-out-of-body-experience and reason my arm flung up into the air as if I was the one that discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb. OBVIOUSLY no one else in my class had been to Egypt in real life or in a dream as it turns out so I had to very quickly think about what I loved about the holiday. If in doubt say it was lovely weather and the Cornetto selection was much better. BUT UNLESS YOU COULDN’T ALREADY TELL and if you didn’t know well soz beauts but you’re in for a shocker, I am not Will Smith (sorry to disappoint) nor am I cool and my aunt and uncle live in a quiet village outside of the social hub of the south west of England otherwise known as Southampton. Sadly sarcasm doesn’t convert well in written word but unless you like skinny chavlads or girls that are more lip filler than woman and would start a fight with you for a tenner, spitfires or the Titanic then maybs just maybs Southampton isn’t the place for you. Soz Southampton normal people if you’re reading this.

I digress again. See, I’ve always had this problem in life, I get distracted and go off on tangents both in conversation and in my head. I’ll be doing something or talking to someone about something fairly serious and the next thing I know a random thought bubble has crash landed through my brain and we’re discussing the rising cost prices of sausage rolls in Greggs or why just WHY no one says croopy down north of the A303. For you educated folk the term “Croopy Down” is the act of squatting down but in the most ladylike fashion I believe. I remember my Nan used to say it to us when we were small little babes. Now we’re big babes we still croopy now and then. I’m hitting you up with a more thoughts and feelsy post again today, think of this like our virtual coffee date, so grab a cuppa, maybe a few biscuits, because what’s a tea without a few hobnobs and we can have a good old chinwag on here and in the comment section.

SO where do I start I hear you cry?! I think with work. Everyone always asks that question when you see a friend or neighbour it’s always “hey how are you? You look tired? how’s work?”. Since we last had a little chit chat I am now working two and a bit jobs. Which is tough. I start work at five in the morning and finish at two in the afternoon. I am suffering with all of the typical toddler symptoms of tiredness, constantly hungry just that if I throw myself on the floor in the middle of the biscuit aisle in Asda no one will pick me up and tell me it’ll be alright as they rub my back (maybs they know it won’t??? oh gosh let’s not open that can of worms.) The people I work with all tend to be really nice (there’s always one though and you get that anywhere I guess) In the daytime officey role I have, I work next to a gent from Indonesia with the thickest Indonesian accent so when he’s dictating an email or an invoice for me to send over to someone we can often get fairly lost in translation. He’s lovely but he must think I’m stupid or like a telly presenter on time delay as I have to really listen to what he’s saying. Equally doing telesales with an important client can be a bit of a challenge when he’s yelling down the phone to his wife in loud Indonesian (she’s Indonesian too I should, he’s not like a sociopath shouting at the poor love in a language she can’t even understand. Can you imagine tho?) Anyway. It’s not all bad, without sounding like a complete pretentious twonk. It’s character building and teaching me mad skillz and the more I work the less time I’m either out shopping or sat at home buying things online I don’t need (Insert frog shape jelly mould heeerrreee yeah I don’t know what I was thinking either tbh) But I am still looking and keeping my eye out for something that doesn’t have me up even before the crack of dawn and something that makes me happy. I shall keep ya updated babes.

I can’t remember if I’ve wrote on here since my birthday & day of birth but I turned 23 at the end of January. Yayhoo! I went to London for a fancy pants lunch at The Ritz with my mum and sister as my stepdad was struck down with the flu. I didn’t do anything young or fun like getting more smashed than your avo on toast this Saturday at brunch which was a bit of a bummer. I really wanted to go out and let my hair down and celebrate an important year but unfortunately my pals either didn’t want to or didn’t have the funds so I had a quiet family time instead. I’m hoping I’ll be able to plan something fun for my 24th next year and well hell if everyone bails I’m just going to head to ‘Spoons and cry into my fishbowls (yes plural, I plan on a maaaaad old night on my jack. Well as mad as you can get in Salisbury Wetherspoons…on your own as well.)

In more exciting news, I BECAME AN AMBASSADOR FOR SOMETHING SUPER COOL AND IMPORTANT!!! YES you read them caps locked letters correctly. So this fabulous, wonderful, brilliant (all the good and shiny adjectives ever) charity organisation want my face, alongside many beautiful others, representing them so to speak. It is for a wonderful mental health charity called Exhale, whom I am SUPER DUPER excited to be working with. Can ya tell by all the inappropriate big letters and excessive exclamation marks?!? Find out more info about them here as I’ll be posting on there, like things about my experiences with my mental health, stress and anxiety. How I’ve coped and tips and tricks on how I’ve learnt about managing my stresses and/or triggers. Mental health in general is a topic which is really important to me because of my experiences and also me suffering with it. A lot of those close to me do as well,  and I would love to be able to help share my experiences and if that helped someone else that would mean so much to me.

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I can’t remember if I wrote much about it on here but I went vegetarian back in November. As you may have seen in my last post I have a very gorgeous and adorable little pooch who I think the absolute world of and he basically inspired my decision. To cement all your thoughts that I’m easily swayed, I did fall victim to watching certain documentaries beforehand on Netflix and looked out of the corner of my eye to see my loyal little pal beaming up at me. The thought of anyone eating him or suchlike really broke my heart and I got a bit deep thinking about what the difference between him and a cow,fish,chicken, lamb was in my mind. Literally overnight I cut meat and fish out and have been living a vegetarian diet ever since. I’ve found it a lot easier and a lot tastier than I actually thought I would. I’ve dabbled with it in the past and only lasted a week or so but this was when I was about 13/14. I am now absolutely hooooooked on Linda McCartney sausages, other than I’ve Just Seen a Face I’d say it’s the second best thing to come out of The Beatles. I am also super impressed with how lush Quorn or any meat free meat style products actually taste. They don’t taste exactly the same but they are actually so delicious I can’t really believe I didn’t try some of it sooner.

I’ve also hit a bit of a slump in terms of the way I look and feel about myself at the moment. I’m a bit bigger than the size I wish to be and want to focus my body and my mind on healthy eating and more regular exercise (there is a blog post soon to come) This pic was a totally gorgeous and a totally healthy salad I had at the cool and quirky chain Bills in Salisbury on a summery day last year. Inevitably I do want to get back to the healthier size I was a few years ago where I felt a lot more comfortable in my own skin and in my body. Cos I can’t really change into someone elses?! Way to go Abfab making it weird. But you get what I mean? I want to be able to wear nice dresses, or skinny jeans without feeling like an overly stuffed sausage. That is my go-to feeling chub analogy at the minute.

I’ve been thinking about posting more regularly on here too. So little miss Downton Abbie can get herself into a routine with you all and vice versa. I’m thinking about posting a lifestyle/misc/random wordsy (thoughts and feelsy if you want) on Wednesdays and a more foodie related topic on a Sunday. I haven’t done anything in terms of cooking or baking that has been very exciting or pretty (unless you want to see my cheesey beans on toast on a weekday?) but I’m hoping to get back into it soon. But enough about me now, what about you babes? What have you all been up to?

Why quitting my job was the best thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now and actually put the thoughts and feelings that are sitting pretty in my head and heart into words for a long time. I was umming and ahhing about whether to write this for a lot of reasons; some of which you may not quite understand some of which may seem silly.  I didn’t want to be seen as ‘dragging’ or ‘slaying’ my previous employer and workplace for everything they failed to do for me, I also didn’t want to give the people who made my life a living nightmare a platform to make them seem like they’ve won when they really, really haven’t whatsoever. Moreover I didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t over it and that I was stuck in the past. Because I’ve got to the point by myself where I can reflect on it all and see it for what it was. A learning curve. And also I might be able to share and bond with those of you who may have or had similar experiences.

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I was in my old role from the age of 17 to 22. Those five years can be quite crucial in a young person’s life. That’s the time when you may typically go to university or go travelling and find yourself on a moonlight beach party on the shores of Thailand (cliche I know but ya get my drift!) I’ve always been one of those people that have constantly gone through life flitting from one idea to the other. When I was a child; I wanted to be a banker when I grew up. When other little girls were dreaming of being a ballet dancer or a fairy I had high hopes of working in Barclays. It was like I had the Clarks shoes equivalent of job aspirations. Sturdy, reliable albeit rigid and a wee bit BORING. I’d like to inject some excitement and adventure and claim the only reason I dreamt this was it would be a surefire and easy way to steal money and screw over the general public (can you tell I’ve been petty since birth) but in reality it was probably just that I was a big fan of their endless ballpoint pen collection and fine examples of neckerchiefs.

I mean, I’m sure if you took five seconds out of your day right now as you’re reading this to think back to seventeen year old you, compared to you  right now you’d certainly be a lot different, no? It’s only a natural part of life for you to change and flow freely with the direction life takes you. I am a strong believer, over the last few years in particular,  that life is fluid and everything that happens to you, that you go through or the people you surround yourself with shape you. I’ve never been the type of person to plan anything for a number of reasons. I love spontaneity and the actual thought of setting dates and goals for things leads to my very quick attention span getting bored; very quickly. Without going too hippy and quotesy on your butts but I like to think everything happens for a reason, sometimes I’m dumb and make bad decisions but it’ll still lead to something awesome…maybe. Hopefully.

In my full time role I quit in July I was a manager of a shop which was seen as quite an accomplishment aged 21/22. A lot of my friends, family and even strangers would comment on how great it was to get to that position at my age. I never really saw it as that brilliant if I’m completely honest, as it was merely I was in the right place in the right time and my boss wanted the position filled and I was happy to say yes to whatever was needed. A lot of the people I worked with weren’t really qualified to be in their positions they were in either. Nothing against them or the jobs they do because in my role it was more if you had more than one brain cell and could pressure sell you were basically ‘in’ with the in crowd. It was a role I never really aspired and dreamed of in the first place, it felt somewhat grown up, gave me a full time job that had a salary yet still paid peanuts compared to other positions in store management in other places. I didn’t want to go to university simply for the reasons I didn’t know what I wanted to do at all and I couldn’t stand sixth form so what hope would I have at getting through uni?! I was never truly happy in this role and it was something that I never felt that I excelled at in my heart more so something to help pass the time and to help fund my ASOS addiction too.

The decision that led to me leaving without a clear plan with what to do next started off as quite a difficult. I didn’t want to end up jumping from fat to frying pan as my dear parents would say and as I mentioned previously I was never truly happy in this role. For months and months I was constantly looking for something better to turn up or hoping a winning lottery ticket would fly into my hand on a rather blustery day.  I had bosses making my working life a misery, day in and day out, denying me annual leave, time off in lieu I was owed and throwing any obstacle in the way they possibly could. One of them infamously saying I couldn’t cope because I was a woman and had too many emotions. No hun, I worked three solid weeks without a single day off. You should have tried it some time? And another one saying he would never give any praise for anything as it is simply not his style. Misogyny and pigheadedness was though huh? I had a problems with my team members and not enough support where it was needed. So one fateful  day in May  a friend and I decided to go and see a psychic and she even said I wouldn’t be in the job I’m in for much longer. Little did she know I went back to work and a few days later my boss berated me for about 2 hours so I just decided enough was enough and handed in my four week notice without a care in the world.

This decision has taught me a lot of things and I can use this all as life experience to reflect on and learn from (God how annoying does this all make me sound)

To stand up for myself:

I was the youngest on my area and I didn’t have anyone ever stood with me when the going got tough, no support and no help. The way I would get spoken to sometimes by fellow employees, bosses and even the customers would often be completely unacceptable. I could laugh at it all at the time but the way retail workers get spoken to sometimes is completely shocking.

I grew guts:

Often I felt too scared to say anything other than yes to my boss in a weird innate sense to always look like a good employee and to please him (goodness knows why really) but now if anyone from work colleagues or even friends do something that I am not ok with I will be the first one to voice my concerns. So much so I went to a handful of interviews and even started a job and felt it feeling like my old position I knew I had to get away from.

I cut off toxic friends:

Similar to the above two points, I got treated badly by a workplace I am no longer accepting it in my life. It may seem fickle and fierce but I would much rather have one or two friends I could totally rely on that treat me with kindness and respect than a larger amount that follow the same values.

How to handle criticism:

I got a lot of stick from a lot of people I didn’t even think would judge me or care about my life decisions. A lot of people I thought I was close to spread it like wildfire and that really offended me as I didn’t want something that had really affected me mentally to be treated like playground chitter chatter. A lot of people felt like I needed an intervention for quitting my day job but to be honest I didn’t care about them and still don’t anymore to this day. They weren’t aware of the ins and outs of it all and the decision I made I don’t regret and still stand by.

I’ve learnt to accept the way it all affected me:

I didn’t realise how much it all had affected me mentally and emotionally working in such a nonsensically highly strung environment. Going from working 40+ hours a week to suddenly having all the time in the world on my hands took some getting used to. I felt very mentally bruised, paranoid and bitter and still do a little bit to this day but I have a new job now and I am feeling exponentially happier than I did ever.

I’ve learnt how to handle money better: 

Going from a full time job to nothing has the obvious concern of OMG HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO SURVIVE which is often what puts a lot of people off. I think it’s the main thing that puts a lot of people off. If it wasn’t for money and paying the bills would you be in the job you are in today? Luckily for me I had a good last payslip, got an amount of the holiday pay I was owed, have savings and still live at home with my parents to rely on as much as I like to be independent. I was adamant I wasn’t going to race back into a job and wanted to have some time to breath and actually enjoy my summer for once. I wanted to get back into the proper working environment at my own pace and into something I thrive in and makes my heart and soul happy.

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I don’t think I’ve ever felt as happy in myself as I have done at this present moment (maybe because i’m chilling at home in my comfies eating the remainder of the Christmas food) but I have a really positive and cheshire cat style smile on my face at the thought of a New Year and a new and improved Abbie for 2018.

Blogger Recognition Award

Good morning my delightful little pain au chocolat’s I hope you’ve had the most wondrous of weekends and are settled in and enjoying this brand new week. You may have noticed I am a brilliant mood at the moment and to top off my ever glowing mood the very lovely Erika nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award and I squealed seeing I’ve been tagged. So thanks a BILLION. If you have a spare moment or two I’d really urge you to check out Erika‘s blog; I love reading her posts or catching up with what she’s up to on Twitter or Instagram.

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So the Blogger Recognition Award was made for bloggers by the bloggers. It’s basically a great way to celebrate, champion and let other bloggers know that you appreciate and are a fan of their hard work. If you are on twitter and follow the drama surrounding the blogging world and circles you may have seen a lot of drama erupting over the last couple of months or so. There has been a lot of bad business where a small few can let the side down a little and make it a more uncomfortable, catty place to be. There are some who are only blogging to get numbers, followers and freebies which is a great perk but if that’s the only reason you’re doing it then you might be in it for the wrong reasons! Before I ramble on and on for the rest of the night I’ll explain a bit more about the rules of this one.

  1. You have to write a blog post thanking the person that nominated you.
  2. Explain your story on how and why you started blogging.
  3. Share two general pieces of advice to other bloggers.
  4. Nominate fifteen other bloggers and let them know you’ve nominated them too.

Continue reading “Blogger Recognition Award”