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.

Sunshine Blogger Award!!!!

I’m not a very good blogger, I either write on here consistently, 3 times a day or nothing for weeks and months at a time. I only own one thing marble and that’s a coaster for my gin and I’ve only ever been able to take one decent flatlay. I’m not really down with all the blogging lingo if you asked me about my DA or my media kit or about the latest blogging drama the best I could give you would be a slightly derpy confused face because I honestly have no clue. But what I do know is that the blogging community can come together at times and be so lovely and supportive. Floating about amongst this community are a number of different awards that fellow bloggers can nominate other bloggers for. I remember on my old blog, my first blog, all those lightyears ago I got nominated for the liebster award (I’m not sure if that’s still a thing??) But oh my goodness I was running around as if I just got nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar all at the same time. I told everyone I came across that little old ME, was a worthy award winner. Get your ballgowns at the ready, lads!!

You can tell amateur dramatics is something I should have pursued. Nevertheless I was and am still so so chuffed to this day if I am lucky enough to get these. Just last week the very lovely, Rosie nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger award. Following her both through her blog and her twitter page I really like how naturally she writes. She posts such lovely, honest things that are so gorgeously engaging to read. She’s such a natural at this whole blogging BIZ!! If you don’t follow her yet, I would strongly recommend you do, but definitely check out her blog and have a read of one of my favourite posts of hers which is this one. Honest, raw and it totally puts feelings I’ve also had into words. Thank you so much Rosie for this kind nomination it means so much from such a great blogger!!

So before I get down with answering all of Rosie’s questions I’ll explain a little bit about the Sunshine Blogger Award. It is an award, or tag should I say, given from bloggers to other fellow bloggers that are seen as positive, warm and inspiring. Like little rays sunshine. Hence the name eh?! The tag consists of writing a post, tagging and thanking the person who nominated you. Answering the 11 questions they set for you to do. Nominating 11 other bloggers and write for them 11 fun and interesting questions to answer too! So here goes!

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Favourite quote? ‘Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game’ I remembered this quote ever since the first time I watched A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff allllllllll those years ago and it stuck with me ever since. It’s a great film. I’m definitely watching that this evening.

What’s your favourite drink? Oooooh depends on the occasion. If I’m having a soft drink it’d be lemonade or the watermelon, peach and raspberry juice from Bills (it is INCRED and will quite possibly change your life). If I’m feeling boujee or going out for drinks something like a nice gin and tonic, or a amaretto sour or a pornstar martini will always get me in the partaaaaay mood. But you also can’t beat a good cup of tea can you?

Dream holiday destination? Morocco.

What’s your favourite ice cream flavour? Ice cream is legit one of my favourite sweet treats I’ve loved it since I was a child and I can’t see it ever changing! I love anything from pistachio, to blackcurrent, to a rich dark chocolate. I think i’ll say chocolate for now.

If you could have an office anywhere in the world where would it be and why? Either in Paris or in Times Square in New York. I’d do absolutely no work as I’d be staring out the window people watching all day but think of all the cool things and interesting people you’d see.

If you could change one decision in your life what would it be? That’s an interesting one. I’m quite content in a lot of the decisions I’ve made really. Maybe it would have been to knuckle down harder during school so I could have achieved a lot better grades. I wasn’t the best at revising and I wish I tried a lot harder. Or maybe I’d change so I’d have a bit of a filter in my head, during arguments I tend to say the first thing that pops into my head. Not thinking about if it’ll be a bit harsh or a bit over the line.

Summer or Winter? Summer.

Why did you start your blog? I wanted to get back into blogging again and found it a really therapeutic way of getting my thoughts and feelings out of my head and projected somewhere. I loved the sense of community and friendship that comes with it. Plus i wanted to get much better at cooking and baking and what better way to document it than on here???

Give a small piece of advice to a new blogger? I’d probably say to stay true to yourself and try not to get caught up with blogging drama often found on Twitter or Instagram. 99.9% of the people in the blogging community are lovely, wonderful, super cool, likeminded people but like anything there can be those few people that try and incite negativity. Pfft I don’t have time for that. You do you hunnaaay.

What word best describes your blog? I’d probably say eclectic.

If you could switch blogs with someone for a day who would it be and why? It’s a close one between Kamilah and Jess. I wish I could write as well as both of them respectively and also kinda wish Jess could come round and cook for me everyday. They are so kind and did I mention they are both really cool. I might be fangirling a little bit over here.

Thank you SO much for the tag Rosie, I really enjoyed answering these questions. To check out her answers read her post just here.

The 11 fab people I’m nominating are:

Jess from Jess Eats and Travels. Everything she posts whether it’s on her blog, her Instagram or her Twitter account makes me feel so hungry. She’s an incredibly talent cook and takes the best photography as well that literally leaves me drooling. She’s such a kind soul and one of my favourite blogging people.

K from kkamilah. I don’t think I can actually put into words just how much I obsess over this gal. She’s such a sweet and is actually hilarious on her Twitter too. I could spend ages just liking or RT’ing her content if it didn’t make me look like a crazy fan. Britney eat your heart out…

Ross from Man VS Adulthood. Ross is an absolute babe. If you’re not aware of him (umm where have you been??) he’s one of the kindest people I’ve come across online. He’s so supportive of so many people and that really is something to be praised. He’s an absolute cheerleader for so many different bloggers and is always RT’ing their work, giving them shoutouts or simply just spending the time chatting away to new people, making them feel welcomed and friendly. You are such a positive influence on my blogging journey Ross; so thank you for being you!

Jimmy from Jimmy Et Al. This is my real life buddy. Support him, love him, send him fanmail. He writes from the heart and I appreciate his warmth, his wit and his honesty in his writing. Also he’s my real life pal. So be extra lush for that reason.

Molly from Mollyyrees. She is also someone I know in real life. She is also lovely and her blog makes me want to drive to the airport ASAP and get on the next flight to Barcelona. She’s such a babe and if you don’t find her on her blog you can always find her on twitter catching up with a netflix boxset. Gossip Girl lovers for LIFE.

Tanya from Glam Glitz Gloss.  I wish there were enough words in the English language for me to explain just how FABULOUS this chick is. She’s so kind and thoughtful and also her blog is absolute goals. She’s always up to something exciting and I love her no holds barred attitude towards so many things in life. She’s honestly such an inspiration to me.

Michaela from Mleeek. Michaela is effortlessly cool in that I wish I could steal her wardobe and we could be best friends and go to concerts together and I could quote everything she says on Tumblr type of way. She’s one of the best and her photography is an actual dream.

Danielle from The Preemie Mummy. Danielle is so kind and considerate and her blog posts are such a joy to read. She has such a kind soul and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her say a bad word about anyone. Everyone needs a sprinkling of Danielle in their life!

Kaylea from Will Flirt for Food. Kaylea’s blog is actual real life food porn. From decadent recipes to the most amazing looking food she’s eaten out and about. I love seeing and reading about what she’s got up to on her travels, what she’s seen and more importantly what she ate!

Esther from Esther Wyse Blog.  Esther is the epitome of a sunshine blogger to me. She’s always so positive! She’s so lovely and you can tell she is inside and out through what she puts online. Her post on 24 life lessons she learnt in 24 years gives me LIFE (seen here). Especially the bit about cheese. Nothing goes wrong with extra cheese.

Alicia from Popular is Wrong. Alicia is such a brilliant writer. Everything she pens is heartfelt and thought provoking and I adore the way she writes. I really loved her post about Instagram Envy found just here. It really struck a chord with me and I really would urge anyone who’s a prolific Instagrammer like me to read it and let it sink in.

Aaaaand your 11 questions are:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. Pineapple on a pizza? Yay or nay?
  3. If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
  4. What would you have for your dream three course dinner?
  5. If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
  6. Are you usually early or late?
  7. What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
  8. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
  9. How different was your life one year ago?
  10. What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?
  11. If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

I AM SO EXCITED TO READ ALL YOUR ANSWERS!!!

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.”

100 Truths About What Abbie Says.

Hello my dearest internet pals/readers. It’s been a little while since I wrote something and actually pushed that shiny ‘Publish’ button on here but when the lovely Gareth from 16-Bit Dad tagged me ACTUALLY AGES AGO  in the 100 Truths tag I thought well what better time to get back into the swing of things. I apologise about my inactivity on here, and also for not posting this for roughly 3000 years, life has been a little bit topsy turvy for me of late with job interviews, job offers, bad job interviews and no job offers and life getting a bit crazy as it seems to usually do. I’ve got about 9 or so blog posts in my drafts some half written, some ready to publish and some of them you can tell I wrote them on a whim at about quarter to midnight on a mad stream of ideas. For some reason I haven’t had it in me to post them and let the world see, some of them are quite personal and cover topics I’m not sure I’m ready to put out there, I’m not sure whether I’ve conveyed the feelings and emotions I want to correctly put across and not going to lie, some of them reading them back, are just plain garbage. I rambled on about comfy shoes for a paragraph or two then read it back and cringed  a hell of a lot. Little Carrie Bradshaw over here; I think not.

Maybe some day soon, I’ll pluck up the courage or not give a damn about what others may think of it but for now I give to you, The 100 Truths Tag. I started writing on here some time ago now, and I realised you don’t really know that much about me yet. Some of you may follow me on various different social media platforms and usually what you see is what you get with me. I don’t take anything too seriously which can be a good and a bad thing…and that I want to eat practically everything in my path. Everyone piles on the pounds for winter though, it’s bulking season still right?!?  This tag will give you a little insight into what it’s like to spend 10 minutes in the wonderful or not so wonderful brain of Miss What Abbie Says. Continue reading “100 Truths About What Abbie Says.”

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?

Lunch at The Ritz, London.

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Your birthday is the one day of the year for the good majority of people when you will be completely and utterly doted on and treated like an absolute QUEEN. So imagine my joy when I was lucky enough to be able to spend my birthday this year in London having a lavish three course lunch date with my family in the very beautiful and the very palatial The Ritz, London. I can only imagine I’d never been before and was so excited at just the sheer thought. The grandeur building standing as elegant and tall as ever, peering over the rest of Mayfair is an iconic London landmark. It opened in 1906 and was known as the ultimate stay for opulence and luxury. The whole experience was utterly divine and completely faultless. From the outside every doorway is adorned with one of their impeccably dressed doormen greeting you on arrival, holding the door or hailing a taxi to help you on your journey. I wish I took more pictures of decor inside but believe me when I say it is all absolutely stunning. With the smell of gorgeous fresh flowers, the sound of beautiful harp music and chatter filling the air, The Ritz has such a decadent feel and ambience to the whole place.

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Having placed our coats in their cloakroom we made our way to their dining room to be seated.  The waiters, just like every other employee couldn’t be faulted and waited on you hand and foot. The attention to detail was incredulous. My sister and Mum were given their usual menu whereas I had a seperate, vegetarian one. The menu wasn’t extensive offering three choices for all three courses with every single option sounding as luxurious and decadent as the next. The ever attentive waiting team came to our table and treated us like royalty, pouring glasses of water, wine, homemade breads, melba toast and a selection of canapes.  Savoury macarons filled with cream cheese and smoked salmon, chicken cigarellos and a gorgeous creamed goats cheese biscuit sandwich.

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As I said the attention to detail was absolutely stunning, the food was just as beautiful to look at as it was to taste. For my starter as seen above I opted for the artichoke royale. It was crowned with coils of carrots, truffle and pear nibs and then adorned with edible flower petals. The artichoke royale was so smooth and creamy accompanied with the tang of the pear it really went down a treat.

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For my main course I chose the cauliflower dish. With the menu they didn’t really give a lot away about what was what. The other options were a pasta dish and another one with wild mushrooms and as a self confessed mushroom hater that one didn’t appeal to me at all. Plus as I was dining in one of the finest restaurants in the country with a Michelin star I wanted to try something a little bit different. My main dish was a slice of cauliflower steak, with seperate cauliflower florets. Romanesco florets dotted around the plate like little trees, toasted hazelnuts and toasted yeast with a mini potato croquette and then finished off in a rich white sauce. Divine.

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For dessert, already feeling pleasantly sated I chose the blueberry souffle with a tart buttermilk sorbet. The souffle was light, fluffy and flavourful. It was so beautifully rich in colour; perfectly purple inside. The sharp, piquant flavours of the sorbet cut through the sweetness of the sorbet. It was blimmin’ well glorious. Can I eat you again please Mr Souffle?

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Finishing off the meal was some petit fours from top to bottom they consisted of, some creme anglaise filled macaroons with a slight coconut flavour. Orange and passionfruit jellies, a brown sugar biscuit topped with a citrus and mango cream finished with some gold leaf and finally a handmade chocolate filled with salted caramel. Careful I might get used to this extravagant lifestyle!

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As this very luxurious and special occasion was to celebrate mine and my Mum’s birthday we had a fancy Ritz birthday cake of a genoise sponge, filled with fresh cream and raspberries.

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Considering I can barely write in a straight line with a pen I was completely blown away how anyone can do this in chocolate. Perfect!

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I had such a tremendous time and feel well and truly spoilt rotten by it all. The whole experience simply cannot be faulted and was absolutely perfect from start to finish.

23 things I’ve learnt by the age of 23

Today is my 23rd birthday (happy birthday Me!!) A little random fact about me is that I actually share my birthday with my Mumma, so sorry about that Mum 23 years ago today on your birthday I’m sure the last thing you wanted to be doing was in immense pain in a hospital in not so sunny Salisbury. So also Happy Birthday Madre if you’re reading this…and well if you’re not, awks.  I started writing this particular post back in October 2017 because I have seen these types of things floating around the interweb and I wanted to put my little spin on it and also because it takes me either an hour tops to write a hearts and feelsy post or I need a solid year of my life to actually sit down and  think about it all. So this is a totally awesome scheduled post, because ya gurl abfab has got to grips with technology and figured how to actually do this, and boy is it helpful. Anyway, back to the actual post eh?

 

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The last year has been pretty big for me in so many ways and I really wanted to share my little journey with you and everything I have learned.

  • Friends don’t always last forever and that’s okay.

I always struggle keeping and hanging onto friends to the point where I used to disregard some of my feelings and do what makes them happy to just hang onto them. I had a bit of a rough time in my job which I quit in July 2017 and after that I felt like a gigantic weight had been lifted. Shortly after I did stop making the effort with people that didn’t bring me any happiness and I have felt exponentially happier.

  • Your happiness is the most important thing.

Following on from what I just said. If it doesn’t make you happy then really in the words of Elsa LET IT GO.  I have struggled massively over the years of being happy in myself, comfortable in myself and for the first time in a very long time I feel very content being Abbie.

  • A job isn’t the be all and end all.

OK so some people are naturally ambitious when it comes to their job or their careers and THAT IS FINE I am definitely not disputing that. I hope that I eventually get myself a job that drives me crazy for it in all the good ways. The type of job which I love. But there is an immense pressure in schools I’ve found to have a career that you want set in stone and decided, or your uni application and personal statement printed off and bound in Italian leather for Christ’s sake. It is fine to not know. I still don’t know. I don’t even know what I want for lunch let alone my job?!

  • Your family love you unconditionally.

I am incredibly lucky that I have a very loving (albeit sometimes slightly overbearing jus saying) family that would indefinitely do anything for me. I haven’t been the best daughter/sister but I made some promise books for their Christmas presents which I hope we can upkeep.

  • And if other people do, don’t let them go.

Literally I wanna scream this from the rooftops. Honeeeyyyyy if they give you nothing but happiness LET EM GO. I know it’s a lot easier said than done sometimes and it can take a lot of actual guts to just distance yourself from people if you don’t have anyone else; and trust me I’m speaking from experience. It will be hard but it’ll be so much more worth it when you are with the right people who treat you like the royalty you are.

  • Toxic friendships.

I am in the midst of writing something about toxic friendships. But it’s taken me a long time, nearly most of my life, to realise what a toxic friend or a toxic friendship really is. The difficulty being is that you might not even notice it at first and it’ll slowly, slowly creep in. Maybe all of a sudden you’re only ever seeing them on their terms, or they’re a bit offhand or make a few icy comments here or there. Friendships or relationships are a two way thing and if you feel you can’t bring it up to the said friend and sort it out and carry on, distancing yourself until you’ve both resolved your issues or distancing yourselves in general is no bad thing.

  • Trust your gut.

If something doesn’t sit right with you or it doesn’t feel *quite* ok with you it probably isn’t. I’ve grown up with my parents always saying to me to trust my gut which doesn’t always bode well for me as I do bloat and get IBS so I can’t trust every belly rumble.

  • Learn to love your body shape.

I saw a nice thing online recently about how would your seven year old self feel if someone said to them all the words you’d use to describe yourself? They’d probably be sobbing their little seven year old heart out amirite?? Learning to love the skin you’re in and the body shape you are can be more of a challenge in recent years with mounting pressure from the media or social pressures on how to eat, how to dress or what size to be. As long as you’re happy that’s the main thing. It’s taken me a long time to like parts about myself for instance I really like my eyes, they’re light blue and I have them from my granddad and my mum and it reminds me of them. I like that I am speckled with freckles and I am learning to love the imperfections. I’m not the size I’d like to be but I’m getting there and I’m happy.

  • Join in with something new. 

I’m really considering joining the gym which would usually fill me with a sickening dread but my local one has some great exercise classes from spinning, clubbercise to boxercise and self defence lessons which is something I think would be just good to know.

  • Try something new as often as you can.

I want to be as adventurous and as courageous (well within reason you won’t see me somersaulting into the grand canyon for the bantz) but I want to do more out of my comfort zone and actually live a little more.

  • It’s ok to not know  what you’re doing or where you’re at.

I know when I was at school there was a lot of pressure to sort of know what you wanted to do for a career, what uni you were going to, your future husbands blood type and what Volvo you’ll drive (I went to a stuck up countryside school) truth be told I’ve never really known what I want to do but I’ve known what I don’t want to do which is something.

  • You’re amazing and you need to give yourself more credit.

I am always quite hard on myself more often than not focusing on the negatives, the things I’d change about myself or what I haven’t done over the positives, the wonderful things i’ve achieved or the great friends and family I have. It can be quite hard to change yourself out of lifelong mindset and to become more positive and happy go lucky but this year, in 2018, that’s something I’m going to try.

  • take in the small things.

I want to be able to appreciate the little things a lot more. Mindfulness and the little things that make me tick whether that be facing the correct way on a train, getting a double yolked egg or hitting every single set of traffic lights on my journey on green lights. OR that extra vanilla-ry latte in a exuberant coffee chain.

  • Spend time with your family. they were people, they were young and had a life before they became names like mum or dad or taxi, get to know them.

I think this one is super important to be honest I feel a bit silly and naive to even have to do it. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that those closest to you in life like your parents or grandparents have a lot of love to give and probably have some pretty damn cool stories to tell and all. They are human and have lived life and experienced things. One day they may not be around to teach you how to make that family recipe victoria sponge or to take you on a trip down their memory lane. Cherish them whilst you can.

  • Doing things for me is good.

In fear of looking selfish or knowing it’s a lot easier to say yes to people I can often miss out on things I actually really want to do just because I’m feeling anxious or don’t want to go it alone. My aim for 2018 is to step outside of my comfort zone and make number one happy.

  • Doing stuff on your own is fine. Be your own best friend. 

Following on from my previous point, going solo on something can be weird and scary at first but I’m hoping slowly and surely I’ll get more comfortable in my own company. I’ve always been a little bit jealous of those types of people that don’t care what anyone else thinks when they take themselves for a nice lunch out for one or a solo cinema trip. Small examples I know.

  • Quality is better than quantity, I have one or two friends outside of my family that I can totally rely on and I am really OK with that.

Now if you said that to me a few years ago I would have totally freaked out at the thought at not having a whole handful of friends, pinging group chats and enough Snapchat besties to shake a stick at. My circle has got a lot smaller but a lot closer and tighter. I can rely on these people for anything, we get each other and more importantly one of them just came round with a big box filled with my favourite CHOCOLATE BISCUITS.

  • See the world.

I really want to travel a lot more this year. Something of a cliche as I seem to say that every year but I really mean it this time I promise. Whether that be a few weekends away here and there with my sister and my best pals or travelling to far away lands or a few weeks.

  • Have a makeover.

I’ve dyed my hair practically every colour in the last year from brown, to blonde, pink, purple, silver, peach, red, ginger and back to blonde again. I’ve fallen in love with the feeling of reinventing myself with new ‘do or trying a new lipstick colour. Go figure. I know that sounds quite vain and vapid but it’s mad how different you look and feel with platinum blonde locks and dodgy bangs.

  • Treat yourself.

If you want that fancy Nancy dress that’s a little bit pricier than you’d usually spend, treat yo self. If you really want to splurge on a boujee lunch rather than a sad soggy sandwich I say do it gurl and Instagram the heck out of it. That car you’ve been dreaming and lusting over for years, save up and see what you can do. I go through waves when I love how materialistic I am and then other times I wish I was a lot more like a spiritual goddess who lived off the earth and didn’t have any worldly possessions. HOWEVER that’s not really real for me. I like having the nice things, the pretty things, the things I really want.

  • Learn to adult a little bit.

Whether that be I’m able to cook a little better, take care of myself a little more aka booking my own doctors appointments rather than depending on my mam or figuring out what all the little signs mean on my car. Turns out it’s not a good flashing exclamation mark when it appears.

  • How to take a good pic. 

I have mastered the selfie face. After years of hating the way I look and physically cringing when a camera was brought out, I am comfortable knowing if I pout a little and tilt my head to the right all is good and I won’t need to untag myself from said picture and block the said ‘friend’ on every social platform.

  • Follow your own path. don’t feel like you need to keep up with Jones’ you do you. do what makes you happy.

When I quit my job I was actually terrified about what everyone else would say, what they would think and how they would be talking about me or treating me afterwards. It’s taken a longer time than I expected but now I really, wholeheartedly do not care what they think. I know I am exponentially happier than I would have been if I had stayed put and also if I carried on caring about what they all think too.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend whatever you’re all up to, celebrate with me from a distance if you can!