Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Autumn reading list

photo via unsplash

Picturing Autumn without a book and a blanket is like imagining the Great British Bake Off without Mel & Sue - it just doesn't work.

Despite being deprived of vitamin D this summer (I'm looking at you, Manchester...) I'm ready for those Autumn leaves to start falling whilst I'm slothin' it out on the sofa, book and brew in hand. Living that bookworm life means I have some recent reads that I'd love to share with you, perfect for blustery days and frosty nights next to the fire.

I Am Pilgrim - Terry Hayes

This has to take the top spot without a doubt. SO BLOODY GOOD. An incredible thriller with more twists than Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Pilgrim is a secret agent on a race against time to save America from an unthinkable crime against humanity. This book offers so much more than my measly summary can envisage, an astounding crime mystery that delivers in every way.

A Piece of Cake - Cupcake Brown

This is my current book of choice and be warned - it's deep. A harrowing memoir from Cupcake Brown and her experiences of addiction, abuse, drugs and prostitution. Yep, let's be real this isn't gonna be your first choice for a relaxing holiday read. I had to put this one down, have a break and come back to it. A brutal story of survival, told with admirable honesty and a courageous sense of humour.

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

I finished this book within a week and it's no wonder, really. Such a riveting 'who-dunnit?' crime novel following detective Cormoran Strike and his enquiry into a troubled supermodel's suicide.  It's a mystery right until the last hurdle and to put the icing on the cake - it's written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym of a male author! I cannot wait to get stuck into the sequel The Silkworm. Shout out to my home girl Laura for introducing me to this collection.

Yes Please - Amy Poehler

If you don't have a blanket to hand to keep you warm this Autumn, fear not as Amy Poehler's memoir will give you all the fuzzy feels. As a big fan of Parks and Recreation I had to get my mitts on this autobiography. It charms you, tickles your funny bone and offers some nuggets of life advice dusted in a comedy coating. An easy read for the Leslie Knope fan girls and for those who aren't familiar - what better excuse to start watching Parks and Rec?!

All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

A beautiful piece of fiction telling the stories of a blind French girl and a young German boy whose paths collide as they grow up during World War II. Doerr's style is heavily descriptive which makes for a hefty read but the images he creates with his words are nothing short of incredible. An epic coming-of-age tale that casts a spell over all of your senses, the perfect companion for a Sunday afternoon.

What are your reading recommendations this October? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

5 homeware picks under £20: Rose & Grey

(All images via Rose & Grey)

I have to admit, shopping for home decor gets me going on the same level as the Boots '3-for-2' label when I'm going in on a mammoth makeup buying spree.

So let me introduce you to one of my favourites homeware boutiques, Rose & Grey. They've nailed their range of unique home furnishings and basically speak to me on a spiritual level. I'm forever on the hunt for stylish interior bits that don't break the bank so here is a round up of five of my current favourites from Rose & Grey - all for under £20!

You would never suspect this faux Yakima succulent (£12.95) wasn't real, would ya? Abigail Ahern's faux botanical range is awesome. The perfect shelf accessory and you'll never have to worry about killing this muted cutie either. Next up is the No.4 Teakwood & Tobacco soy candle (£18) by the P.F Candle Co. Is there a better time than now to crack out the candles for Autumn? Hell nah. With packaging this beautiful you'll definitely get your money's worth by reusing the jar. I'm dying to see what this best selling scent smells like!

Opt for this pint-sized terracotta macrame wall hanging, £12.50 to add some texture to the mix. It's so affordable and you can hang it pretty much anywhere for a touch of warmth. Plus if you're feeling extra spendy you can buy its sassy, older sister here too. I'm lucky enough to already own a smaller version of the large antique brass frame, £17.95 which make a lovely addition to photos and prints. Available in portrait or landscape and in various sizes, these are definitely worth a purchase for your very own Pinterest-worthy gallery wall.

My final favourite is the matt basket, £19.50 for adding that 'organised chaos' feel to your home style, a philosophy I definitely practice. You can whack anything in these - bathroom toiletries, office stationery, beauty bits - it will still look classy as f whatever the weather. Naturally I was drawn to the black version of these stackable señoritas but why not go for gold? This basket is a nod to the minimalism gods whilst keeping it bright and playful.

And there we have my 5 favourites for under £20 - for effortless style without the hefty price tag it's no wonder I always go back to Rose & Grey. Do you guys have any homeware hidden gems you'd like to share? Please leave a comment if so, I'd love to check them out.

Happy browsing! Now what's my Paypal password again..?

Friday, 16 September 2016

Travel guide: A long weekend in Copenhagen

No trip for me is complete without a little pre-holiday research, yes I know I'm so spontaneous it hurts. For my birthday last year, Nick and I took a summer trip to the Danish capital and I can't wait to go back again. I'm a magpie when it comes to the Scandinavian aesthetic so I couldn't wait to do it like a Dane for a few days. If like me you prefer to suss out the vibes before you book a trip then you may find this mini guide useful. Takk for reading!

Best time to visit: Summer months - June, July, August.
£££: Won't break the bank for a short weekend unless you're a fiend for fine dining.
Don't miss: The street food market on Paper Island and Tivoli Gardens at night.

Where to stay

This Airbnb was the bomb and has to be my favourite find so far. We stayed in the stylish neighbourhood of Vesterbro in Line's apartment which you can find here. Plonked right in the heart of the area on Krusågade, we had an abundance of cute cafés and bars right around the corner. Our host couldn't have been more helpful making us a list crammed full of local gems, I would highly recommend staying in this laid-back neighbourhood located next to Central Station.

The apartment itself was a dream and it really put the cherry on top of the trip being able to sit out on the balcony with beers and blankets after a day of exploring. You should definitely check out Airbnb the next time you're hotel hunting, it truly is babein' to live like a queen for a bit and still have some pennies left over. If it's good enough for Kim K, it's good enough for me.


Food & Drink

Mad & Kaffe, Vesterbro - Our first food voyage was a short walk from the apartment, a brunch spot sitting on the corner of Sønder Boulevard. Their concept is to create your own breakfast combo by ticking off your choices on the list. This place was voted Copenhagen's best cafe in 2015 so it will be busy but it's worth it for the bangin' scrambled eggs.

Cafe Taxa, Nørrebro - After cycling our butts off one day we discovered this gem on the corner of Jægersborggade and made a pit stop. We sat outside and basked in the sun whilst enjoying a delicious cup of coffee and Taxa's take on huevos rancheros. A great all rounder!

Copenhagen Street Food, Papirøen - Roughly 10 minutes from Nyhavn, this indoor street food market is heaven on a plate. As 80% of our relationship is based around eating, it was essential that we located this bad boy. Offering international cuisine from Korean to Moroccan, the Paper Island trucks boast delicious, sustainable food made with locally sourced ingredients. We sampled the pulled confit duck burger with Sriracha and the Brazilian grill plate below - oh hot daaaang it was tasty.

Meatpacking District, Vesterbro - Such a good place to visit day or night with the markets, plenty of restaurants and colourful nightlife. You could easily stay fed, watered and entertained the whole evening yet walk less than a mile. We went to Tommi's Burger Joint twice because the burgers were so j-j-j-juicy but we probably should have saved some belly room to give the pizza at Mother a whirl. We did try out Paté Paté but to be honest it was a bit out of our price range by the end of the trip so we sacked it off after the starter. Oops! I'm sure it was lovely though...

Fermentoren, Vesterbro - A cozy, craft ale bar with oodles of choice for beer enthusiasts. I must admit a visit here was mainly to satisfy Nick's penchant for pale ale but what I did try was pretty tasty, plus you can buy a standard drink if beer gives you nothing but a bubble belly. Brilliant staff, wonderful atmosphere and a beer named after Ryan Gosling - what more could you need?

Things to do

RENT A BIKE. Your vagina may resemble a mashed avocado afterwards but this is the best way to discover Copenhagen. The city is made for cycling so don't worry about standing out like a sore thumb - literally everyone rides. We had so much fun exploring and it cost roughly £30 each to rent for 3 days. I couldn't think of a better way to get around. Unless of course the bike seat came equipped with ice-cube filled cushions to soothe my battered flaps. Ouch.

The first must see place is obvs picture-postcard Nyhavn, we stopped off here after spending the day at the street food market. You might get ripped off as this is a tourist hot spot, so if you're looking to save some cash just get some road beers from the shop, whack on Spotify offline and perch on the quay side to admire the scenery.

The next day called for a visit to the famous amusement park, Tivoli Gardens. Nestled right in the city centre, we didn't know what to expect but absolutely loved it. Strolling down from our apartment late afternoon we arrived in time to experience Tivoli at sunset and as evening came, the place was pretty magical to be honest. Bonus points - there's a Wagamamas inside, hoorah!

Now then, Freetown Christiania the self-governed free state. Your interest in err, herbs, may sway your opinion on whether you stick with or skip this. We went out of curiosity and it was pretty intense, too many dudes in balaclavas for my liking and strictly no cameras allowed. Don't get me wrong it was really interesting to see but I'm not in a hurry to go back. Our final stop was the Botanisk Have at the University, a must for all the green-fingered Grahams out there. Expect beautiful blooms and tropical temperatures so don't skip the deodorant, s'all I'm sayin'.

A truly wonderful city with so much more to discover. Where would you visit in Scandinavia?

Monday, 8 August 2016

10 things you learn working in an office

Back in the day when I'd be having a quiet lol to myself watching The Office (and more recently the US version until Netflix decided to ruin my life by prematurely removing it) I never considered that I would one day actually be working in one.

Here are 10 things I've learnt since then...

1. This is the hardest place in the world to be on a diet. Regularly replenished biscuit tin? Check. Never miss a birthday cake? Check. Help yourself to home made goodies? Check. Surviving a diet in an office should have its own section on your CV, pat yourself on the back girl!

2. You will develop freaky super senses like a sense of smell that could rival a wild bear. What's that whiff I can sniff? Ah, they're cooking bacon in the canteen four floors down. Ooh Janet all the way over there in the corner you thought you'd be safe cracking open your boiled eggs before 9 o'clock, right? Wrong my friend!

3. As a collective you will never agree on the room temperature. For an ice queen like myself, summer is a gruelling battle between dressing appropriately for the battle of the century - my sweaty pits vs. SUB-ZERO ICE BLAST air con. My sweaty pits win every time.

4. You will become so familiar with your colleagues dietary habits that you will wonder did I actually birth these people out of my own vagina?

5. People like to sing out loud. And they really don't give a shit that you maybe you might not want to listen to their rendition of Black Eyed Peas - My Humps on repeat. You can either think 'sod it' and join in or slowly count to 10 whilst you reflect on why you didn't try harder at uni.

6. Being asked for a quick word will still send shivers of The Fear down your spine just like those mum texts saying 'we need a chat'. SEND HELP THEY'VE CHECKED MY INTERNET HISTORY oh wait no it's fine just checking what time I'm taking lunch today.

7. Say goodbye to not being a morning person because that ship sailed a long time ago. No hour is too early for an in-depth conversation about parking spaces with Sue from upstairs. Wipe those bleary eyes because hell YES you're a morning person now, come at me Sue!

8. Business jargon will never be cool. Take it offline? Take a rusty nail to the eyeball if I hear that one more time.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

9. You will be looking fly af in the beginning with your sassy independent woman vibes. Fast forward a few months and it's an accomplishment that you woke up in time to brush your hair and choose a different bra to the one you've been rockin' the past 3 weeks.

10. Perfecting the furrowed-brow-concentrating-on-work-deffo-not-on-ASOS face when your manager walks by is first and foremost an art form and let's be honest, it's a way of life.

So as much as you might want to throw your telephone cord out the window and abseil down to escape sometimes, the office is a weird and wonderful place to be. Where else can you be wished a cheery 'Good morning!' twenty times and have infinite cups of tea without lifting a finger?

It's not all that bad I suppose...

Thursday, 4 August 2016

A blog, an adventure

Well, what the bloody hell are you supposed to write about on a first blog post? I'm not entirely sure, but I'm sure swearing in the first sentence isn't the right way to go. I suppose I should introduce myself and what the heck I'm doing here trying to stay afloat in the vast, murky waters of the internet.

My name is Alice, I'm twenty four years old and I'm from Lancashire, United Kingdom. I'm hoping that my posts will be my own mini adventures into lifestyle, interiors, travel, beauty and cooking and whatever else may come my way. I've come to the realisation that I need a creative outlet, so here we are. 

I don't know where this blog is going to take me or what I'm even talking about to be completely honest. But as a twenty-something gyaldem trying to find her purpose in life on this late Wednesday night (I NEED TO GO TO BED), I think it's best to end this introduction like our modern day prophet Drake and throw a YOLO up in the place.

Good night!