thirty before 30 | update



weeks after my 29th birthday, i devised a wee bucket list of things i wanted to see or do before i turned 30. being that the thing is happening in 26 days (oh god, oh god), i thought it was about time to update the list, and see just how i fared with my good intentions...

purple is what was on the last update, pink is the new update, green is... well, disaster.

1 // flail on a mountain top in salzburg, singing "the hills are aliiiiive!" // OMG finally yes!
2 // try two new restaurants per month // already ticked two newbies off this month alone! go me!
3 // try and see one west end show a month //so it's been more like one a quarter, but wevs.
4 // see more of the united kingdom // bristol, bognor regis, windsor, stratford upon avon...
5 // finally visit berlin! // close, but no. trip booked to nuremburg for december. one day!
6 // go to a proper blogger event // tons. tons and tons. and tons.
7 // develop seo + social media knowledge // omg proper lolz i like totally work in social media now
8 // alter vintage dresses sat in my wardrobe foreverrrr // um... no, i sold them on ebay.
9 // make new sofa cushions from my vintage fabrics // yes, kinda, but then moved out so wah.
10 // meet more blogger babes! yes, tons! lots and lots and lots. 
11 // holiday somewhere sunny... and not in the uk // austria was totally sunny!
12 // ride bikes in regents park // still no.
13 // find my dream marketing job // bloody yes!
14 // spend less time on the sofa... // i don't have a sofa any more... so, yes?
15 // see n.y.c in the fall <3  // don't want this on the list anymore.
16 // master one new recipe a month // lolz. god i was full of good intentions, huh.
17 // bake a decent cake from scratch // as above.
18 // read at least one book every month // as above, although, i was on track. sigh.
19 // take a road trip with the girls // in the planning stages for best part of a year.
20 // cook (or help cook) a full christmas dinner for my friends // pass.
21 // visit a new part of london every weekend // shoreditch and dalston were new to me once.
22 // go to more gigs! // this is ongoing i dare say... lots coming up!
23 // do an e-course in... something // blah. no. 
24 // find a new hobby (outside of blogging) // blah, definitely no.
25 // eat more fruit + veg // oh, hale yes. absolutely. i stone weight loss as evidence.
26 // do more for charity // currently helping with handpicked london's winter coat drive by holding an office drive, and signed onto office csr committee to help run charity events at work!
27 // listen to more new music // does the new mcfly and one direction albums count? good. then, tick!
28 // visit copenhagen // trip planned for early december!
29 // invest in a new digital camera and laptop for serious blogging! // nope.
30 // master the art of rhubarb crumble from scratch // lolz nope.

so, i mastered two thirds. i mean... that's good, but not great, but i'm ok with it because the things i failed on just mean i fail as a human, not as an adult. who's got the time for all the baking and cooking and book reading when they're out there seeing new things and having austrian adventures? not me, that not who!

i'm confident that my thirties will be full of baking and housewifery though, so... 
probably not. but, a girl can dream.

#powerofsummer | battersea power station

"i know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?"
"i think you can in europe?"

well, a jolly good think we're in europe then, because "whelmed" is one hundred percent how i would describe my first impressions of battersea power station's power of summer event. the girls and i have been meaning to head along since it first opened in june - initial reports were that it was quiet and that maybe not enough people knew about it. there were blogger events held there to spread the word (i got the invite but wasn't able to make the dates sadly), which maybe helped, but even then, the "getting there" was always a factor in anyone's review of the day.




well, we sucked it up and finally made our way south west this sunday just gone. we arrived at battersea park rail - the closest rail station, just before two, and began our hunt for signage to the event. we made our way to the bus stop and checked the map there for some guidance, as it appeared that event signs were not in the budget... there's nothing more annoying than being able to see where you need to be going, but not know how to get there.

well, with a sort of idea where we were going, we set off in a general direction... that turned out to be the exact wrong direction, and led us nowhere but to the construction site where the demolition is currently underway. we were forced to admit defeat and retreat back the way we'd come - half an hour of perfectly good eating time completely wasted walking around a battersea construction site.

well, when we finally managed to get around to the right side of the power station and in the place we needed to be, we found the sign. just the one sign, facing the oncoming traffic coming up from over the bridge (so the rich folk coming up from chelsea could see where they were going). nothing for the plebs walking down from the train station, but one measley sign on the opposite side of the bridge. excellent.



we paid our entry fee (a fiver on a weekend just to get in, and outdoor cinema tickets are £15), and headed in. this is where the real disappointment set in. we have been to a number of street feast events around london this summer, namely dalston yard, feast and southbank kerb, and... this was pathetic in comparison. at a glance there were a handful of street food stalls, one open bar, and not a lot of visitors. behind us there seemed to be an undercover champagne bar that wasn't open (it was almost 3pm at this stage), and another branded bar at the back that was also closed. it was just as well the only bar that was open was selling cocktails, because that's all we were after after that journey in.

there's always an expectation that you'll over pay for your drinks at events like this, but for £10 per drink, i do kind of expect a really well-made cocktail. these ones were pre-mixed and added to as needed. my spring punch was bloody delicious though, i can't deny that. the service was all over the place. we were short changed, they made the wrong drinks (for us and others, as i stood and waited for my change), and there were no more than a hundred people at the whole event, so there was no expectation for them to rush their orders out.






starving, we moved around the grounds into the smallish dining area. there, we discovered another few stalls, and checked out the menus to see what we fancied. we decided we liked the sound of the pork belly skewers on offer at the kitchenette, so we started there. served with pickled pear (kimchi-esque) and a delicious spicy sauce, they were bloody yum!

another round of cocktails in (in a coconut though), we kicked the eating up a notch and headed to le bun for some burgery goodness. bex opted for the pulled duck while i threw caution to the wind and went for the braised beef short rib burger. both burgers came with slaw, bacon salt and truffle mayo fries, and seriously, that burger and those fries were the best things i've eaten in so long. the guys who ran the stall were so friendly and chatty, the whole experience with them (and alcohol, cos, come on) coupled with being sat in the grounds of one of london's most iconic landmarks, well... things were looking up.





all in all, we were in the grounds for less than two hours. we kept ourselves occupied with fancy cocktails and perfect photo opportunities and lp's polaroid camera. it certainly wasn't my favourite event of the summer, and to be honest, i probably wouldn't recommend going if you haven'e yet and had planned to. possibly it was a lot quieter than usual on sunday because notting hill carnival and sw4 were both on, and it was a bank holiday weekend, but... unless you live on that side of town, it's a mission to get to, and the entry fee covers... what exactly? there were no samples, nothing happening in the grounds to justify the charge.

i'm being tight, yeah. but, that's in my nature and i will always question uneccessary charges. we had a great time because we were together and we made our own fun. i'd quite like my fiver back.

have you been to the power of summer event this year?
tell me your thoughts.

secret london

i shared this post over on donna's blog while she was off gallivanting around europe with her other half recently, and i thought that seeing as i'm now doing the same thing - and because we're kinda running out of summer now, that i should probaly share it here too... just in case any of you are planning your trips to the capital any time soon....

Hi Polkadot Pink readers! when Donna asked me to share some of the things I love about my "hometown" of London (I'm actually an ex pat Australian, but am on indefinite loan here in the Big Smoke), I really, really was at a loss as to where to start and what to share. London Love is not a new thing by any means, and although I am someone with more than enough respect for my new city, and try to not take the things around me for granted, it just seemed like a bit of a.... well, a pretty daunting task! how was I supposed to narrow down all of the incredible things about this city and condense them into one measly post?

well, it got me thinking (ouch); what is it that I love about London? do I love the tourists and the busy streets and the hot garbage? no. do I love the noise, the pollution and the rude cabbies? no. so what? well, for me, it's all the little things. the unexpected things. the secret things, that people don't really know are there until they find them. that I didn't know where there until I found them. things that, now I know are there, I will continue to go back because they are a little slice of heaven in an incredibly overwhelming and all-consuming city.

let me share some of my secrets with you...
The Skip Garden in King's Cross is a little slice of paradise nestled in amongst the city's noisy industrial estate. build out of disused skips and containers from abandoned building sites, this allotment garden is thriving. there's even a café on site that sells 100% organic and home-grown foods from the many vegetable patches and herb gardens scattered around the allotment site. a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon; exploring the treasure trove of flower beds, skipping through the poly tunnel, and sipping an organic juice from the café.
The Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park are just something a little bit obscure, but an easy way to spend a few hours if the weather is nice. grab a picnic blanket and a little hamper of goodies, and head on down for a wander amongst the prehistoric predators of the South East. a short stroll from the train station too, which always makes getting there that little bit easier if - like most Londoners, you don't drive. also hidden in the bushes is a wee naturally-grown maze - if you fancy getting lost in nature, then this is right up your alley...
Street Feast in Dalston Yard is only around for the summer, but there are a number of them popping up all across the city so if you can't make the one in East London there is another Street Feast in Lewisham, and there are also Kerb Street Feast locations in King's Cross and on the Southbank (and Battersea, if you're quick!). plenty of ways to feast on the street this summer! the ones in central London are open nightly and free to enter, the regional ones have a small entry fee after 8pm, but lots of delicious tasters to make that worth your while. the traders turning up at these street locations are some of the most up-and-coming restaurateurs in the game, looking to try recipes out on the public before they launch - so there's a lot of promise at these events! om nom nom!
The Basement Tea Rooms in Camden are another little slice of tranquillity; nestled in amongst a second hand book trader and a second hand record seller and a second hand clothes shop underneath Camden's infamous Stable Markets, is the basement tea rooms. at first you'll only know you're there when you realise the shop you thought you were in is actually a perfectly curated and recreated retro lounge room - often complete with your very own pianist playing hits of a bygone era on the full-functional piano hiding behind the vintage wardrobe full of sleeping jackets and hunting hats. you can pick up a full cream tea for about £15 (for two), and a bloody mahoosive jug of Pimms for no more than eight of your Great British Pounds. that'd barely cover the amount of fruit inside, trust me. if you're ever lost for somewhere twee to eat in Camden, or just want to avoid the tourists for an hour or so, head there. once you're by the downstairs loos, you're just about there. ask around if you get lost. trust me, you will.
Musical Bingo is a night out in London that you won't ever forget. set up like regular bingo, this is an interactive club night that you won't ever come across again. instead of dodgy number and bingo wings, players are asked to listen to clips of music and identify them to win their rounds. with themes like "Disco Divas", "Pop Princesses" and "Golden Oldies", you're definitely in for a sing-along. then there's the Wheel of Death that dictates suitably embarrassing and appropriate dares and games for players who share the same answers. this thing is a monster, and will make or break your night. but, with main prizes including toasty machines, microwave cookbooks from the 70s, and a host of stale biscuits, what's not to play hard or go home for? check their website for a night near you - you won't regret it (and no, I don't work for them!).

so, hopefully I've inspired you to see or do something a bit different next time you're in the capital. if you do check out any of these things, I'd love to hear about what you thought of it! you're all more than welcome over at www.imbeingerica.com, or give me a shout on Twitter @imbeingerica - I'd love to hear from you!

w.i.w.t | moody blues




dress : dorothy perkins | bag + belt : primark (yes, seriously) | shoes : valleygirl

arrrggghhhh this bag you guys! yes, yes. you've seen it before in tan. and a million other times in multiple colours and variations of size, yes. i get it, i have a problem. but, when i saw this pastel beauty in primark the other day, and for less than a tenner, i knew it was coming home with me. i was after a travel handbag for our austrian jaunt this week, and for one that would go with my backpack. well, this one ticks all the boxes!

anyhoo, while you read this, i will be wearing (a version of) this pretty outfit (depending on the weather) on the sound of music tour in salzburg. i grabbed this dress from the sale rack at dotty p without trying it on, thinking a dotty p size 12 would be ok for me, right? well uhm, it's actually quite roomy. which will be nice for a day of travelling about, yes, but generally pretty annoying. there's no way i've dropped to a size 10 - not with these boobs, so why oh why are dress sizes so inconsistent? wah. anyway, totally cute with this pastel pink rope belt that i bought for these types of situations. 

annoyingly, rope belts are the only ones that fit me right now also; i don't know how i didn't notice this weight loss journey as it was happening, and only after the fact, but it's incredibly difficult to wear most of my wardrobe now. 

bring on winter weight, eh! 
(partial joke)

competition | holiday hacks + travel tips


rebekah and i are off to salzburg today, to begin our austrian adventure! we're in salzburg until friday and then off to vienna until sunday. we've been keeping an eye on the weather over there as best we can, but with the change in weather here, it's making packing a damn sight harder than it should be for four days. i've had to include long sleeve tees and a fuzzy cardi for warmth, as well as dresses with different length *just in case*. (i even had to go out and buy a rain parka for pete's sake! what is this summer!) 

i'm only taking my cath kidston back pack, so have to fit all of the trans-seasonal clothing into that tiny space, as well as my toiletries and important documents. it's going to be quite the squeeze! typically, i did not take any pictures of what i was packing or how (bad blogger!), so i absolutely can't share those with you. although, i think we've all seen inside each others' luggage a lot recently, so i guess i'm off the hook there.

because of the tight room in the backpack for toiletries, i'm taking the bare minimum. we're packing with the assumption that the hotel will provide soap, because i'm not taking any. i have dwindled my make up down to the necessities; bb cream, lip gloss, blusher and mascara. that's it. then we've got the basic hygiene sorted; hand cream with anti bacterial, face wash, deoderant, body spray and toothpaste. oh, and dry shampoo. duh.
quite aptly, i received an email from holiday auto about a competition they're currently running, asking people to submit their holiday hacks and travel tips to be in the running to win a £300 prize. hands up who loves competitions? *puts hand up* me, that's who! perfect timing too, so i thought seeing as i was in a bit of a bind with the packing light, i'd share my top packing tips! 

tip 1 //  rather than fold clothes, roll them up nice and tight. you'll be able to fit more things into smaller spaces when things are in their smallest shape. rolling is key. bigger, bulkier items should be worn, rather than packed, but if unavoidable, pack them last and mould them to the shape of the luggage, pushing it into all available areas.

tip 2 // keep toiletries handy, because you know you'll be pulling them out a lot during the jaunt through the airport. if your luggage has a front zip, pop them (and nothing else - safety dance) in there for safe keeping and easy access.

tip 3 // keep passport safe. if your luggage has a secret compartment like mine, pop it (and any other travel documents -- boarding passes, etc) in there. i feel safer knowing my passport is nowhere in sight but still nearby and safe. my compartment is against my back, so for all-day comfort, i'll want to include any magazines/books in there too, to keep the bit against my back as straight as possible.

tip 4 // wear heavy/warmer items so save the weight of the backpack. for me this means wearing my fluffy cardi and my denim jacket (if i bother taking it...) to save the room. oh, and comfy shoes of course. i'm known for my shopping too, so wearing the thicker items means leaving space in the backpack for storing all of the treasures i'll no doubt buy from the markets while we're there.

what are your top tips and holiday hacks for packing light and easy jet setting?