snapshots | lancaster, the lake district

on our last day in the lake district, we woke to below-freezing temperatures. it was the coldest day we'd had that whole week, and as we went to drive off back to lancaster to drop off the car, we struggled. the car was completely frozen, and we had no idea what to do. i for one have never driven a car in those sorts of conditions, and although seeing all the frozen things glistening in the sunlight was pretty and awesome and fun, sitting in a freezing cold car, begging for the heater to melt so i could actually - you know, see out of the windows, was not.

thankfully we had some help from the old man who'd come to collect our keys on check out, and with a few sprays from his can of ice-be-gone and a bit of elbow grease and a window squeegee, we were set free from our icy despair! we turned the heat up high, and were on our way - bound for lancaster for our last few hours in the lakes.

we started at williamson park where we wandered around the ashton memorial and watched the puppies play in the park, before dropping the car back into the city. we warmed our fingers in a local costa, wondering what on earth we were going to do with ourselves for the remaining three hours in the freezing, freezing cold. even the shopping mall was outdoors, and.. cold.

so we headed outside. sensible, huh? we walked up to lancaster castle and tried to join the tour - until we realised we didn't have tickets and yet we totally needed tickets to be on the tour. we soon thereafter left the castle and had a wee wander around some of the indoor shops, grabbed some snacks for the train, and made our way to the station - albeit an hour or so early, just because... what else was there to do. jokes, it was just bloody cold and we had seen just about all of the castles and tudor pubs and adorable villages we could ever need to see again, and were looking forward to the smog and rudeness of london. were we though? 

it was the most incredible trip i've ever had. if you get a chance, go.
you won't regret it, i swear.

valentine's day, schmalentine's day

pink champagne truffles c/o charbonnel et walker

you would think that a holiday that specialises in pink and love hearts and chocolates would be the one for me, right? sadly not. and not even because i am i am without a valentine date (so far..) of my own, no, because if you cast your minds back to this time last year, i was with valentine, and still without interest in celebrating with him.

it's kind of hard to ignore the holiday though, that's for sure. this year, rather than get sucked into the hype of the love and the kisses and the just no stop, i put my brain to work and came up with a couple of exxxcellent and alternate ideas of how to spend the holiday, without being forced to revel in other people's love and happiness. this list starts with taking advantage of all of the well-timed chocolate adverts adorning the internet, and treat yourself to something kind of fancy. because, if there's any time you deserve champagne truffles, it's valentine's day. 

you could even take said truffles on a day out, and try to recreate the awesomeness that is the girls only picnic with a couple of your best friends. i'm not sure what the rules about valentine's day are, but i'm pretty sure it's about spending time with the ones you love. i can't think of anyone i love more than my best friends, so spoiling them with luxury chocolate, or a jaunt down columbia road is like a game that no-one loses.
other fun things to do with your single lady (or single fella) friends in the lead up to valentine's day, are: speed hating in the capital. i have it on good authority (not mine, but i trust my source) that speed dating is in fact a lot of fun. speed hating is a bit of a ironic take on the concept, with guests encouraged to talk less about what makes them awesome, and more about what stuff they hate, with the hope of finding true love... if only for one night only.

there's also a couple of fun cinema experiences out there for that taking: you could always hit up the pillow cinema in shoreditch with your valentine, or... the premier of 50 shades with bae, if that's more your speed? better still, the prince charles cinema is showing breakfast at tiffany's, and every ticket sold gets free glass of bubbly! boom!

the candlelight club's valentine's day ball is sure to get you and your valentine in a 'flap' (funny, because it's 1920's themed), with a candle-lit night at the speakeasy complete with a totally bespoke cocktail menu, and live jazz band. and if you're lucky enough to have a date this valentine's day, to help get him in the spirit for your big night out, you could get him groomed by a specialist lad stylist; ky'cut wilson and frank glorified are a couple of london's finest, and sure to satisfy even the hairiest of lumbersexuals (or... so i'm told).

but here's what i'll be doing with my valentine's day this year; trawling through the archives at the vintage record fair in the old spitalfields market. on the second saturday of every month, the market comes alive with the music of hundreds of music traders. saturday's fairs bring a collection of specialist record traders together with vinyls to trade and sell from rock to pop, hip hop to country, and everything in between. it's my favourite day to head in to the market, so that's where you'll find me,

what are your plans this valentine's day; leave your alternative ideas below!

a pretty grimm experience

philip pullman's compelling take on the infamous grimm tales is certainly something else. i had no idea what to expect before our arrival last wednesday night, but as we entered through the bargehouse doors to the grand piano playing eerily on its own and the exposed and flickering antique lights, i knew it was going to be a little bit mad. what i didn't expect was what unfolded over the next few hours; a completely stripped back evening of high-production but no frills storytelling.

director philip wilson's 'grimm tales' production is unlike any theatrical adaption i have ever seen. the stories are mostly narrations, with the actors sharing the task of describing what's going on in the scene, as well as their own lines - helpful, as these tales are not the disney ones i know and love, they're the morally eccentric fables you never wanted to hear as a child.

the sorta-familiar stories unfold around you, making the production completely immersive and totally intimate, and the two separate casts are dotted about the three-leveled warehouse and lead you from room to room until your next story is ready for you. the only story that was totally familiar was hansel and gretel - the rest, each had a sense of familiarity to them, but we could never really work out what stories they were. was it cinderella? was it the princess and the frog? who could say.

what i could say is this: it was a completely refreshing take on the theatre. i don't love theatre normally - musicals, yes, cinema, occasionally, but theatre, usually not. the right novelty and marketing is all it takes to get me interested, and what i especially loved about these stories, is that they're short, sharp and not-very-sweet. yes, the key to keeping my attention, is to make it short and punchy, and that's exactly what pullman and wilson delivered with their take on an old classic.

we were lucky to be invited down to review the show before it closes in april, but you can go ahead and buy your tickets here... if you dare.

winter wedding wardrobe

so my good friend laura is getting married this february. february is in winter time, for those of you playing at home who aren't familiar with seasons, or how they work. winter, in england, is exceptionally cold. like, the coldest of colds, and she's chosen to marry the love of her life in a gorgeous stately home in a small village outside of dorking. dorking, which is not in london, and does not have the warming safety blanket of smog that i'm so accustomed to. 

what the hell am i going to wear?

a wedding in a gorgeous stately home in a small village outside of dorking calls for something pretty, and classy, and... bloody warm. i have about a zillion dresses, yeah, and i even have the perfect shoes for the occasion. but... what am i going to do about the legs? i'm like, kinda used to wearing 100 denier tights every day of my winter life, but, i just can't wear black tights to a wedding, can i? and certainly not with the pretty frocks and shoes that i have in mind. so... what? bare legs is not an option, and i'm pretty sure you can't get 100 denier nude tights... can you? honestly, tell me, can you?

i'll also need to invest in a pretty jacket to keep me warm. i have a hundred winter coats, but not one that's smart and pretty and is wedding-appropriate. i love the hue of the pink fur jacket above, and am now on the hunt for something similar as it will totally compliment the dress/es i have in mind (very similar to that one pictured). 

so, i need your help here guys; know of a jacket floating around like the one above, or know where i can get some 100 denier nude coloured tights? leave me the links below - i'm counting on you!

shake up your wake up

"new year, new me" eh. although i didn't make any real resolutions this year, and instead just set myself some 'new ways of thinking', i have been thinking more and more about better ways of living, because this getting old crap is really starting to bug me - noticeably. beyond the getting tired earlier lark, the fact i just about never have patience for this generation's abuse of the english language (what even does 'on fleek' even mean?), and double checking the last train times when i am heading out for the night, i'm starting to pay attention to other, more physical changes. no, i'm not talking about the wrinkles starting to creep up around my eyes and mouth, i'm talking about my appetite.

i used to be a coffee-only girl; something venti-sized would get me through until 11, then something grande sized would keep me going until lunch. lunch would be something full of carbs, which would satisfy until an hour later when popcorn would be employed to fill the gap until a delicious, veggie-filled stir fry would tide me over until my venti the following morning. lately though, i've noticed a shift in my morning routine, and the hanger pangs are starting to come on earlier and earlier.

at first i combated this with a tasty (sarcasm, because not) banana when the first coffee wore off, occasionally even throwing some belvita breakfast biscuits into the mix circa midday when 1pm seemed all too-far off, but in the last couple of weeks i've really noticed these quick fixes just don't really work anymore. i know everyone goes on about breakfast being the more important meal of the day, and i am starting to understand why. on the days where i have both banana and biscuit early on, i definitely am able to stay focused longer than the days i don't, and so i think a breakfast revolution is in order.

lucky for me, have created a fun little infographic that shows nine different types of breakfasts enjoyed around the capital, and also the recipe to recreate each of the dishes. i'm certainly not saying these are work-appropriate meals, but it certainly gives a bit of perspective on what other people's mornings look like, and definitely put my coffee/banana/biscuit routine to shame.

what does your morning meal routine look like? is it as underdeveloped as mine, or could you feature on this interactive map yourself? any breakky tips will be wildly appreciated!

*image received from myvouchercodes, all breakfast revelations are my own*