31.3.17

4 hours on a megabus

After a blaring row with my boyfriend which ended an already devastating week, I tried to make a quick escape back home to London. I wanted a dramatic exit. However, I was quickly brought back to reality when I was reminded of the cost of travel. Even if I could afford to, I wouldn't pay £50 for a single train fare. Also, the new 25% UNiDAYS student discount on National Express does fuck all in an emergency as you can only book trains for three days time at the earliest. I resorted to Megabus and found a £3 coach ticket departing mid-afternoon on Monday. I have a love-hate relationship with Megabus. It's cheap, which I love. But, it's cheap for a reason: it's always late (which I hate, obviously).

15:17pm
A good half an hour after the expected departure time, I'm finally on the damn coach. I pushed my way to the front if the queue with no shame as I have very specific seating requirements. I seated myself near to the toilets but not so close that I could smell anything vile. Some of you may be horrified at the fact that I'd even use these toilets but any drop of liquid runs straight through me totalling approximately one wee per hour so I don't really have a choice not to.

Travelling at 3 in the afternoon on a Monday made for a half empty coach with 2 seats per customer. This meant my bag could be as (un)comfortable as me sat on the seat next to me.

15:44pm
Within the first half an hour, I'd already finished my entire meal deal which I still regret three days later. My meal deal was from Boots, one of the best of the UK high street providers of meal deals. The only place that even comes close is The Co-op, an unlikely contender, I know. I got a Tennessee BBQ Chicken sandwich which although had some really nice coleslaw in it, there was a disappointing amount of chicken given my hunger levels. I got a Naked smoothie, one with all the berries. To finish off, I had a cookie dough brownie which was just as good as it sounds.

Whilst I ate, I watched an episode of Love, a Netflix Original, which I really can't tell if I like or not but I continue to watch nonetheless.

16:16pm
I was mesmerised by this guy drinking Innocent smoothie who was sat just a couple of seats away from me. He had a litre bottle from which he poured the drink into a disposable plastic cup. I watched him top up effortlessly several times. This was a brave move on a moving vehicle alone let alone this paticular coach which was now definitely speeding due to its lateness. Anyway, he managed it so well with no spillages whatsoever.
16:58pm
A 30 minute stop at a service station waiting for a relief driver would have been hell unless I hadn't caught a Pidgeot (FYI, that's a Pok√©mon). Also, it was pretty amusing watching people pile out of the bus to fill their lungs with either fresh air or nicotine. It wasn't long before someone spoke by complaining about the outrageous waiting situation. This instantly formed a bond between passengers and I suddenly felt left out. How weird.

We were under strict instructions not to wander off inside the service station as the driver would be forced to leave without you if he arrived before you got back. I was slightly gutted because the sight of the KFC had perked up my otherwise shitty mood. I'm desperate try a Dirty Louisiana and I'm worried I'll miss out because it's limited edition. That's the kind of life I lead - a very sad one.

17:09pm
I'd been putting off using my laptop because I wasn't sure I was ready for the task of balancing my very expensive Macbook on my lap on a moving coach. By this time though, my phone was at less than 10% and I needed a power outlet.

I'm currently dealing with a dress in place of my laptop case because mine has mysteriously disappeared. The dress, however, was slightly damp which caused the stickers on the back to peel off slightly. I'm honestly heartbroken.

17:45pm
I'm pissed off because:

1. I've become to the realisation that I'm meant to be pulling into London Victoria in 45 mins but we're still well over 90 fucking minutes away
2. After spending about half an hour attempting to watch YouTube on the shocking megabus wifi whilst charging my phone via my laptop, I've just noticed not one, but two, plug sockets
3. I'm hungry

18:13pm
I tried and failed to get some sleep to get some sleep because until you get off the motorway the view is pretty bleak once it gets dark as you can't see the pretty fields that pretty much all look the same anyway.

Finally off of the motorway and on to some A-road, we passed Spring Grove, a retirement home. The place looked like something out of a comedy cult classic or something you might expect to find featured on Vice as part of a photo series on old people doing something really normal like eating breakfast.

18:31pm
We passed St. John's Wood tube station which has what I can only describe as a tropical garden display on it's doorstop. One day I'd love to do one of those alternative tours where you visit cool ass tube stations, especially the creepy abandoned ones.

I never come to this end of town anymore mostly because I have one specific memory that will haunt me forever. Back when I was a waitress, I was hired to work a party at a private client's home and their house was located just a minute's walk from the station. As my first shift ever, little 17-year old me was on the brink of a nervy b. Despite my shaky demeanour, I got put on tray service. The guests were greeted on arrival by me and a couple of others holding trays full of drinks free from them to help themselves too. My tray consisted of about 10 cocktails, Raspberry Bellinis to be specific, which were bright pink in colour.

A single moment hadn't even passed before I'd dropped a full tray on their beautifully tiled, light grey concrete patio. The glass shattered into a million and one pieces, many of which flung themselves onto the grass making it potentially dangerous for guests. The cocktail stained instantly and the look on the owners faces let me know that this would be my first and last shift here. Believe it or not, this was not the only time it happened. The second time was even more horrific as the party had got busier and I received a cheer from a balding man in a shirt that matched the colour of his sunburn and possibly the new colour of the patio too. I was quickly removed from tray service duties and sent to collect glasses instead.

18:57pm
I love London and every time I leave I almost forget just how much. Driving through London at night, even if it is on a coach filled with strangers, is quite magical. London is a land of possibilities and my arrival in the city always bring on an overwhelming feeling like anything could happen although anything rarely does.

19:19pm
Thank fuck, I've made it. I experience separation anxiety from my luggage (yes, really) so I'm so glad to finally be reunited with my suitcase. Well, I was happy until I remembered that I've got half a mile to walk until my bus stop. A walk which will seem miles longer due to the fact that I really needed a wee but the toilets at Victoria Coach Station were 30p to use.

12.3.17

the cabin, sheffield

I couldn't possibly simply just give a casual mention to this place: a dedicated post was entirely necessary. I got so caught up with excitement that I completely missed the opportunity to take any pictures. Instead, I've had to steal some from their website and a few from their Instagram too. I'm sure they won't mind though. Also, if they don't totally match what I'm saying now you know why.

The Cabin is a place I discovered through a hungover Google search which read 'waffles near me'. I went straight to their Instagram and decided to go without even looking at their menu which is available to look at here on their website should you so please.





The Cabin is a pancake, waffle and coffee house located on Fitzwilliam Gate, minutes from The Moor.  A couple of the owners, George and Linz, were horrified one family brunch by the fact that a restaurant had run out of pancakes. The Cabin would let no such thing occur because both the pancakes and the waffles are made to order. But wait, it gets better. They've always got the welfare of people and the planet in mind; they use local ingredients where they can; and they even use ethically-sourced coffee and eco-friendly packaging.

The Cabin is the kind of place that unites anyone and everyone through their shared love of pancakes, waffles and coffee. The hungover students like me who need a lot of food and free wifi to check Facebook for any incriminating behaviour of the night before. The professional who hates all his colleagues at work and needs a place to escape for an hour at lunch for his daily bagel. The couple who always argue about where to eat who have now found common ground in this place where the food and drink is that good it shuts them both up. The Mum and her best friend who do cake and coffee every week, once a week and need a place to gossip until their hearts consent.

The interior is inspired by a log cabin you might expect to find in the Rocky Mountains which you can actually see in the pictures which are hung up everywhere. The best way to describe The Cabin is: a home from home. I could never relax in a Starbucks, for example. Here, I didn't just feel comfortable but cozy. I could lose hours in there, sat on the sofa with my laptop and the dessert of the day.



The menu is fairly simple. There is a variety of sweet and savoury toppings to be had on either your waffles or pancakes. I had waffles with The Works: eggs, bacon and sausage. I have never had savoury topped waffle before but I don't need anything to compare it to to know that these are the best in Sheffield and possibly beyond. Scrambled eggs are so easy to cook but I've still been left disappointed and a little disgusted eating out before but not here at The Cabin. They were moist and creamy and perfect. As was the bacon, smoked and from local Cannon Hall Farm and equally, I have no complaints about the sausage pattie. My friend had Nutella waffles. She was speechless. In fact, we pretty much both were. We just sat in silence and ate.

As one of those rare breeds that doesn't drink coffee, I can't say anything about it except that it looked pretty. If you're like me, luckily they have wide range of other soft drinks including smoothies and shakes, made with none less than Sheffield's very own Our Cow Molly ice cream. Oh, and the cakes! They looked amazing and I regretted not getting one every step of the way home. Next time, for sure.


There are a few other things I need mention. They call their staff the Cabin Crew which is the cutest thing ever. There are bears everywhere, not real life ones although there is one which is scarily close. They have sofas with cushions AND blankets. The toilets are instagrammable. There's a cute little gift shop located inside which is the kind of place you could by your Mum a present which is handy because it's Mother's Day on the 26th. I am in love with this place. I don't even need to wait to get paid to back either because this place is so affordable.

The only con I can think of is the view: a Wickes. Although after about 10 mins I forgot I would have forgotten that I was even in Sheffield if it wasn't for the Yorkshire accent. If this is the closest I get to a log cabin in the Rocky Mountains, I'll still die happy.

10.3.17

social media anxiety

This is not going to be a beautifully eloquent post about my struggles and how I'm overcoming them. This is a rant which may contain unnecessary swearing. I'm no stranger to anxiety. We know each other well - too well, in fact. There is rarely a day where we don't share at least a brief encounter. Once upon a time, it was only an IRL problem. Nowadays, however, it has extended to online, too. I just want a fucking break. I'm desperately fed up.

illustrated by the talented Rebecca Cottrell

I have not tweeted in years. Yes, more than one. I think it's been three now. Why? I'm scared. Can you imagine that? Actually, maybe you can. Lauren from What Lauren Did Today, who deserves all the credit for this post, can also relate it seems. Her post inspired me to confront my issues. I used to spend up to an hour, maybe more, constructing what I perceived to be the perfect tweet. After all that, I'd have to delete it once posted anyway because I'd spot a spelling mistake.

I'd never reply to tweets that (I thought) weren't meant for me. Let's say someone, maybe a beauty vlogger, is asking for an opinion. She wants to know what micellar waters others would recommend. I have a few to suggest because I have tried and tested them all and I'm now somewhat of an expert. I don't reply though. God, no. I decide that, despite them asking, they don't want my opinion. They don't care what little old me has to say is what I tell myself.

Instagram is a similar story. I have not posted on Instagram in months. I'm not a photographer, I never will be and I don't want to be. More importantly, I don't need to be. However, if it's not picture perfect, I won't post it. If I do miraculously manage to post but I don't get over 10 likes, all the negative thoughts I had before posting are validated so, you guessed it, I delete it.

I've been blogging on and off for years now. The on and off nature of which was also anxiety related. After being off for a year or so,  I've been blogging semi-consistently for a few months now. Since posting, as you can imagine, nothing bad has happened. In all honesty, I have no idea where I found the strength to start posting again. There was no profound realisation or a defining moment, it just sort of happened.

25 blog posts later and I'm ready to do more. Overthinking is an evil that I will defeat. I have to. The fear and the frustration from the fear is pissing me off. I'm so done. My first step will be to tweet Lauren, who, might I add, is a complete stranger to me, and thank her for helping a girl out!

7.3.17

march intentions

I'm currently laying in bed sandwiched between two (yes, two) duvets. A scene that is very much reminiscent of that movie moment where the girl begins writing in her diary. I don't have a diary but I do have a blog, so here goes nothing.

My day, like most days, started off like this:

a shot from This Is Not For You, a photo-series by Sarah Babah 
Pretty standard.

Someone needs to stop me from shopping. Shopping and eating, too, actually. I frequent ASOS daily, usually with a snack in hand, and it's becoming a serious problem. There's a fine line between habit and addiction and I'm worrying close to crossing over. I need to remind myself that window shopping and mindless eating are not hobbies. Other things I have been wasting my time on include pointless arguments with my boyfriend because I'm a walking talking Evil Kermit meme at times - petty AF.

Today, my mum sent me this week's instalment of a Day in the Life of Billy, my dog: a Westie x Jack Russell cross. As usual, it consisted entirely of an image him sprawled out across the sofa looking rather pleased with himself. For the first time in a long time, I feel horribly homesick. My mum is actually at home off sick and curled up on the sofa with Billy and I desperately wish I was there too.

I quite like March. Obviously January is always written off and February is pretty pointless but March is okay. This month, I want to keep it simple. All I want to do is have more good days than bad. I've set myself three goals:

I want to make Cadbury's Creme Egg brownies. I've only ever baked once before and it didn't go horribly therefore I'm optimistic. As Mother's Day approaches, I'm increasingly aware that I'm too broke to buy my mum a present. These will cost no more than a few pounds but the effort makes them a priceless gift. Hopefully. I also just really need an excuse to bake these. If I do a batch for just myself, not only is that quite sad but also potentially dangerous as I will inevitably end up eating every single one.

I need to finish Parks and Recreation. I got midway through season 6 (out of 7) when my Amazon Prime Video membership free trial expired. It took my dumbass a whole week of being sad to realise that I can use a different email address to sign up and get another free 30 days or whatever it is. I'm heavily invested in the relationship between Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. When they broke up briefly in the fourth season, that was the closest I'd ever come to a heartbreak of my own.

I'm going to reorganise my music collection. I love to play DJ and until I can learn to DJ for real, Spotify playlists are the next option. After a couple of months of being bored shitless of my music, I've had enough. The time has come to sort it the fuck out, basically. This is not a task to be taken lightly. The music in my life might quite possibly be more important than some of the people in my life.

Yes, these are seriously my March goals, they're just not very serious. I just want to have fun this month.

2.3.17

#GSAP





Gang Signs & Prayer dropped last Friday which means I've had all weekend and then some to listen, re-listen and listen again. I think we all thought it wasn't possible to love Stormzy anymore but we were wrong.

Stormzy is 23. I turn 23 this year. When I was younger, I'd admire the success of 20-somethings and think to myself, that's gonna be me. At only 22, I've still got time but I'm not yet where I wanna be. A friend of mine told me not to worry and that Stormzy just got lucky. Bullshit, I said. He worked damn hard and I'm gonna do the same. I'm feeling inspired, to say the least.

I digress.

I've never felt qualified to review music and so I've always left it to the professionals. A few days ago, however, an article was released blaming Zoella and other YouTubers for declining literacy amongst British teens and I was like: oh, wow (I hope you all read that in the voice of Ross from Friends). I definitely don't need a degree in journalism to share an opinion because, evidently, even the ones that do get it really wrong sometimes. Whilst I don't know any technical terms, I do have a pair of ears and if what I hear sounds good (or doesn't) I'm going to let you know.

I digress once again.



In Gang Signs & Prayer, grime meets grace. We've got the bangers and the ballads. The above meme says it better than any words really but I'm going to have to try and write something otherwise I won't have a blog post.

GSAP, the album's acronym, is a crusade in its own right. Stormzy has documented a genuine account of raw emotion where nothing feels forced; no frills or frolicks.

First Things First firstly had me going not from the lyrics but from the beat. A dark and twinkly track, reminiscent of the night's sky, produced by Mura Masa opens GSAP for Stormzy. Even though we're only on Track 1, Stormzy's drops the D word - depression. Hearing about the struggles of (man like) Stormzy could potentially be life-changing particularly for young people.

“All my young black kings rise up, man, this is your year 

All my young black queens right there

It’s been a long time coming I swear.” 

These words are taken from Cold, the second song on GSAP, and make up a few of my favourite lines from the whole album. Whilst I already know that 2017 is our year and I fully intend to serve #blackgirlmagic on the daily, having Stormzy tell you that makes it all the more special.

Religious or not, the gospel genre is good for the soul. Stormzy has me believing in a God I don't even think exists. Mad, as he would say. On Blinded By Your Grace, parts 1 and 2, we're also blessed with a singing Stormzy which I'm so here for. I love, love, love when artists sing with their British accents.

Cigarettes and Cush, featuring Kehlani and Lily Allen, is all about young love. In an interview with FADER, Stormzy put it perfectly and said this song sounded like Sunday. Love songs never usually make me feel any type of way but slow jams such as this are an exception. The grit grime adds to a love song makes it feel genuine, or legit, as they would say.

Even though Stormzy and I are worlds apart, I relate to 100 Bags in which he discusses single parenthood. My family is made up of just me and my mum with my dad nowhere to be found. I met him once and that was enough. I wouldn't have it any other way but I too owe everything to my mum. I think I might start calling her Mumzy.

Don't Cry For Me carefully explores notions of home with stunning strings by Rosie Danvers and of course, beautiful vocals by Rayleigh Ritchie. I grew up on a council estate so as you can imagine, I'm no stranger to a lot of what Stormzy discusses. A lot of my childhood friends got consumed by Hackney and its hood.

Stormzy closes the album with a rage filled rant titled Lay Me Bare. He can't believe the cheek of his dad to ask him for help after all that went down between them. Some people have no shame. Real and raw are the two words I'd chose to best describe this final track and GSAP in general. It's been emotional. I can honestly say that I've never cried at grime until this LP debut.

Now let's back track because I missed out Big For Your Boots. I wanted to end on a hype ting. Anytime I've been listening to grime, I can't help slang slipping out in sentences here and there. Anyway, as I was saying: Big For Your Boots is one of a couple of tracks we'd already heard but that doesn't matter because it never gets old. As well as the song itself, I can't get enough of the music video. My favourite scene is that which is shot in Morley's chicken shop with Maya Jama. The line up of strong women in the video in general is very impressive. To see Stormzy up on stage performing this live at summer festival is a must for me this year - I'm thinking Parklife.

Now I've got to go and prepare myself for Ed Sheeran's album which is out in less than 24 hours. The bromance between Stormzy and Ed is ship-worthy. Ed's album is out tomorrow so now I've got to go and prepare myself for that.