Curse you British rail! 

Sometimes I marvel at how I manage to get anywhere at all. My friend told me the other day if I didn’t have bad luck with trains I’d have no luck a all… this is why I found myself spending yesterday afternoon huddling under a bridge on a tiny remote platform in Yorkshire. 

After a wonderful jaunt up to the beautiful town of Brighouse to celebrate some smashing people and their future plans together what better way to end than to treat yourself to a cheeky first class ticket on a swanky old train (especially when said ticket is £19). I could picture it now my effortless drifting in the the carriage to sip the finest tea in a porcelain cup and wrap my skandi sweater casually round my shoulders to ward off any chilly breeze (as if they would have chilly breeze in fist class!! Pfft).

Anywhere that had borders biscuits must be fancy!

Instead I find myself stumbling down the icy stairs bags flying as the doers on the train slide shut. I leap towards the door but as my finger reaches for the button the train begins to roll away….

This is the first time I have ever missed a train…. there have been some near ones but never before have I had to stand on the platfom – trying not to weep – while the train (and my porcelain cups of tea) chuggs slowly into the distance.

As I stood on the freezing platform, wondering what to do (and fighting the urge to call my mummy) it started to snow. 

After half an hour of frantic googling and a quick call to a friend in search of sympathy (he was rubbish!) I jumped on the train to leeds. 

£107 later I arrived in Leeds 10 minutes late and with 5 minutes till my next train. This would have been fine if Leeds wasn’t huge, packed and slippery. Soggy floor aside I still managed to hurl myself onto the correct train. 

Three hours later, cold, hungry and tired I arrived back in London with half an hour to spare before heading out to a gig.


In short, congratulations Kim & Phil! In future I drive to Yorkshire.


If you or someone you love is also hated by the British trains I would love to hear from you. Perhaps together we can defeat this evil! 

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Ode (or not) to London 

The wonderful thing about living in London is that within half an hour you can be in a completely different area with new sights, new smells and new (still rude & grumpy – probably just misunderstood) people. This makes the city a wonderful prison for all impoverished travellers who can’t afford to venture too far but still wish to shake the dust from their travel wings and embark on an adventure. 
When the travel bug starts to itch in your toes all you need to do is jump on the tube or on a number 24 and you can be whizzed to a new area to explore. Here you can pretend you are Roaming around Rome or flouncing around Florence on a fancy weekend break with friends (of course I would never admit this to any of them…. I know they do it too!). 
Of course, there is a lack of beach and sea in London but in the summer they do give it a go with their pop up beaches appearing on rooftops across the city and their Snog icecream van parked on the banks of the Thames (what would Shakespeare say?!?). You can wander sedately down the banks of the river brandishing your favourite hipster coffee whilst gazing longingly at the houseboats. 

Hipster coffee from a hipster market stall


As a country mouse in the big city, I do get the irrepressible urge to see greenness of any kind, whether this is a jaunt to Crystal Palace or hill rolling at good old Ally Pally or even just standing underneath a tree on the street looking like a weirdo. In truth though, London is great for greenness – you just have to know where to look & this makes it even more exciting when you see the glimmer of grass and pretend to hear the rustle of leaves over the pouring river of traffic next to you. 
If any of you have a favourite London spot I would love to hear about it. Be it a buzzing Market in Hackney or a leisurely corner of Kew Gardens I love to know.

A Scottish girls guide to a European Extravaganza 

If you are one of those -obviously super cool – people who never plan their journey then this is for you. Some people call us lazy but I prefer to think of it as pure awesomeness. Recently this pure awesome lead to another incredible (and totally accidental) adventure. At the start of the journey, all I had was a bus ticket and the vague idea of travelling to Amsterdam. Luckily my friends are far better at planning than me and so by the time I arrived they had already decided my itinerary (told you being lazy pays off). This is a super quick guide for those seeking patchy EU inspiration.
Five countries, one car and a tent… What better way to start your travels? 


1 – Start as you mean to go on

Return home from your pre-holiday holiday – prep is everything – seven hours before you are set to leave for your adventure. Accidentally arrive during a surprise birthday party and end up frantically packing everything you own at 3 am. 
Top tip: Order a massive delivery of clothes to arrive the day before you leave. These babies arrive already clean and folded so all you need to do isshove them in your bag. Plus who doesn’t love dungarees?!?


2 – Make it complicated

When booking my travel to Brussels all I had in mind was the price. This is why I ended up spending a million hours on the slowest bus in the universe. Honestly, how can a bus be an hour late when it starts fresh at Victoria coach station? Although the first journey was bad, boring & traffic heavy it had nothing on the return trip! Catching the bus at midnight (it was late again) at the end of a week on the road only to be informed that instead of the train this bus is taking the ferry. Roll on 4 am when everyone bails out of the coach while I desperately try to remember which deck we parked on and memorise the face of my coach driver. If this wasn’t bad enough we finally reach London and our driver gets lost, resulting in a merry cruise circling the bus station and passing my house three times… 
Top tip: Don’t cry with rage and exhaustion as your bus driver merrily heads in the wrong direction

3 – Have amazing friends

From Brussels to Brugge he drove. From Brugge (via the beach – obviously) to a campsite somewhere in Holland he drove. From a campsite somewhere in Holland to Copenhagen (via a £110 45 minute Ferry ride and a couple of Hitchhikers) he drove. From Copenhagen -via many bridges to avoid the ferry extortion) to Hamburg he drove. And finally, from Hamburg to Brussels he drove. This does not include a trip back to Germany on either end of this Journey. 
Over 1500 Miles he drove…. whilst I held the sandwiches. 

When the maps become a blur after 13 straight hours




Top tip: Eye-spy gets really boring after the 500th mile/ 4th hour in traffic…

4 – Have more amazing friends

Arrive in Copenhagen grumpy, fidgety and smelly only to be greeted by two wonderful people who have (possibly stupidly) agreed to let you stay in their grown-up apartment in the city. If possible make sure they are going away so you can completely steal their flat while they’re gone….. even though it was lovely to see them of course! (Thanks, guys ❤)

Wishing you had taken more interesting photos


Top tip: Balconies are awesome

5 – Eat Cake

Head out to town with the best intentions of sightseeing and exploring a new city. Get a fancy looking map from the tourist office. Three hours later you’re lost, tired and eating cake in a tiny cafe and gazing wistfully at the boats on the canal next to you. 

Jealous of a dog….This guy is living the dream



Top tip: Copenhagen is a great place to people watch. Also, check out the food markets!

6 – Do it properly

 Wake up late after a long -vodka-fueled – conversation about how you are both going to get up early and fully immerse yourself in Copenhagen to make up for your lazy failings of the day before. Bumble down to your, now usual, local sandwich and coffee shop for a quick (£12 sandwich & coffee) breakfast. Start your tourist experience by catching the boat taxi to really get into the spirit of things. Forget where to get off the boat… walk a million miles further than needed. Finally, find the little mermaid statue and try to take photos – without other tourists in. Wander through the park and the old town ogling windmills and beautiful quirky buildings. Decide to walk home…. this takes about 3 hours…Its cold and the grumbles are coming on…. then your phone breaks so the German has to preform emergency techy surgery.

Que photo montage:

Top tip: Copenhagen is bigger than you think… following the river home is not a good idea.

7. Take it easy 

Spend your day planning the awesome evening out you’re gonna have. In reality, buy a whole load of food, cook a massive dinner and spend the evening drinking vodka while weaving survival bracelets – don’t ask.

 

Top tip: When making salad be sure to make too much. 

8 – Party (finally)

Leave Copenhagen later in the day than planned. Drive to Hamburg and find the weirdest campsite you can (seriously it was just someone’s back garden filled with caravans). Head into town for the party you’ve both been dreaming of. Find yourself four hours later, sitting by the harbour – mid-DMC – gazing at the boats with the local beer in hand. Get exceptionally, disgustingly merry. Lose yourself in the horrible tube system – rage. GIve up on the tube & splash out on a taxi and KO.



Top tip: You have to find the scariest pub in Hamburg and try a Mexikaner – they are life changing amazingness (tomato juice & Vodka – like a bloody mary only stronger and more awesome!)

9 – Regret

Wake up after your big night out with a stonking hangover and a patchy memory of the night before. Heave yourself out of the tent and roll it up “like a sausage” keeping all the bedding inside. Chuck everything in the car and set off. Cram in a McDonald’s breakfast. 2 hours into your journey realise that you are both exhausted and slightly sicky. Take a detour resulting in a nap in a wood next to a field of corn somewhere in Germany. Arise refreshed. Power through to Holland for another service station dinner. 


Top tip: McDonald’s breakfast three times in a week is an awful idea. Also, they have awesome hot chocolate in Dutch service stations.

10 – Leave

Abandon the German at the bus station and bundle yourself back into the coach. Wish you had coffee – especially when you reach border control at 2 am and spend two hours shuffling through cues. 

Dreaming of liquid power



Top tip: To add that extra excitement to your trip to catch the bus realise that your chauffer’s fuel gauge is in the red… watch and panic internally as he continues to drive for another hour. His cheery “it’ll be fine, I know my car”s chirping at you periodically while you try not to gnaw your arm off with stress…

I hope you have enjoyed this whirlwind tour of my whirlwind tour. All I can say is, if you haven’t been on a Euro road trip then you really should! Also, Dungarees are the ultimate travel companion.




Feel free to get in touch if you have any Euro trips you would like to share.

Woe is me

Let me just say it (mainly because I want sympathy) never in my life have I ever been so ill! I’m a hundred percent convinced that I have caught some medieval ailment that is entirely immune to all treatments, commercial or hippy. No amount of Vicks, lemsip or bizarrely brewed tea seems to shift it. A month of coughing and spluttering has broken me! 
To make matters worse a tale of betrayal most foul from my exploding hot water bottle lead to an almost recovery becoming the closest to death I have ever felt- Freezing ice water down your back at 5am does not put one on the road to recovery.
The highlight of this has definitely been my little brother’s friend finding me curled on my bed a snotty, weepy. Whimpery mess (I wish I could be one of those ladies in paintings to swoon on antique fainting couches whilst delicately pressing a hanky to their mouth and dying of consumption – no such luck). My patheticness lead to him returning from a booze run brandishing fistfuls of tissue packets- never have I been so greatful!

To make matters worse I have abandoned adulthood to scuttle back to Scotland for the sympathy I need. I am being punished for my wussyness by being in the busiest train imaginable with my knees under my chin and my back pack wedgeing my legs against the wall and making it impossible to cough without waking/kicking/ head butting the person next to me.

Anyway ranty whinge over! Here’s to all those suffering from the autumnal germ pit that is the London Underground – perhaps if I stifle my cough long enough I’ll be cured??

Trains! Accidental style…

I write this in the middle of Paddington station clutching the obligatory and, on this occasion, unnecessarily hot cup of coffee in one hand and trying to think of something entertaining to write with the other…
It’s been a while since I filled you in on an adventure and so I would like to tell you about my last train experience…. exciting I know ( I’m trying ok?!?)

For once I had planned weeks in advance, I had it all booked and ready to go. I’d complete my final shift at the restaurant, glide my way home, pack my bags and then arise for my 6am train refreshed and ready to go after a solid 8 hours of beautiful beautiful sleep……

Instead…

And many, many more…

4.30 am finds me wandering through fiztrovia on a Friday night, cocktail in hand and colleagues by my side.
 4.40 am finds me legging it down Oxford Circus station escolars to catch the beloved night tube…

4.42 am finds me legging it back up the escalators, phone in hand and frantically trying to book an uber. Damn you night tube!!!

4.50am finds me throwing my self into aforementioned uber….

5am throws self out of uber (gracefully of course) 

5.30am finds me back in an uber. I have showered, hydrated and packed (I think).

5.55am hurtle into station. Swearing and sweating alcohol at the poor ticket collection machines.

5.59 (& a 1/2)am finds me slumped on the train dehydrated, exhausted and stinky.

6.01am I am joined at my table by a group of about 20 (maybe 6) fifteen year olds on their way to summer camp.

6.50am alcohol, exhaustion and teenager conversations reduced me to a haggard, grumpy disaster.

7am 19 year old summer camp leader mistakes me for one her charges and try’s to cross me off the register. Secretly delighted…. maybe I should drink more often? 

8.30am try to leave train at my station and my new found girl friends assume they are coming too… much confusion. Finally wave of my adoring fans to a chorus of goodbyes (I don’t think I even spoke to them until they tried to leave with me)

9am rescued from costa by my parents. What’s next for this already full day? Bed? Naps? Duvets? Pffft it’s off to the show to dance in puddles of mud and some jolly good times.

That’s all mud baby!


6pm….. Death

If any of you have had similar experiences starting with cocktails and ending with mud I would love to hear from you! Please do get in touch. 😊

P.s trying to be swish and using my app…. if I have autocorrect swears or everything looks awful….. blame the app…

Inside my Accidental makeup bag

So I am well aware that it has been over a month since my last post….. I apologise! I swear it’s only because I have been working on so many good adventures for you.

As a way of apology, I bring to you a collection of my traveller’s beauty secrets so you can look just as fresh and vibrant as me.

 

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Sunday beauty blogging vibes…

 

 

For Glossy, sleek & flowing locks:

Having luscious locks is definitely my main priority when strolling through a foreign city. Never once have I arrived in a strange land only to postpone my exploring for a quick dash into the nearest shop in search of shampoo. I am of course prepared with my mini samples which expertly fit into my makeup bag. For a truly professional look, I am currently working my way through the panic buys of past holidays –  Herbal Essence from Germany, Garnier from Belgium & conditioner from France.

 

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I call this: ‘A portrait of split ends…. in blue’

 

 

For perfect glowing skin:

I love to spoil my skin, expertly choosing only the finest creams, powders and scrubs to keep it young and fresh looking.  In other words, I have a tube of L’Oreal face wash a friend donated to me in Mauritius… the instructions are all in Danish but how hard can washing a face be….( although a bit of moral support would be nice). I alternate this with Himalayan face scrub as this uses lentils instead of micro beads so, even if it shreds my face (it doesn’t), it doesn’t have a totally negative impact on the environment (SAVE THE FISH!!! Preachy bit over.)  If my face is lucky I may even remember to put cream on it normally something I found in an old Birchbox delivery/stole from my mother.

 

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Having your best friend’s boyfriend explain Sebum to you….

 

For immaculate nails:

I love nail polish… I love buying it almost as much as I love picking it off my nails in a disgusting show of twitchy awkward boredom. Unfortunately, I can only manage about 15 minutes of perfect nails before I have smeared it on either myself or something else. I call it texturing (especially if it catches bits of fluff in it).

 

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Glamour at its peak

 

For soft and supple skin:

As a girl on the go, it is important to give your skin the TLC it needs. Smothering yourself in Savlon is the best way forward, you smell like a pharmacy and everyone wants to use it. The quickest way to make friends while travelling is to be the one with the first aid kit. I honestly believe Savlon cures all life’s ills. Mosquito bites? SAVLON! Sea Urchin stings? SAVLON! Septic fractured ankle after jumping off a sea wall in Croatia…..? SAVLON and a maybe a plaster!

On special occasions, I have been known to trade in my Savlon for NUXE body oil – just to make it look like I efforted.

 

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Let’s all hear it for this Savlon!

 

Misc thing I never travel with out (and often never use):

Kirby grips – only ever two and I don’t really know what to do with them.

Eye liner – TBH I use this a lot and then proceed to smear it all over my face.

Mascara – See above.

Highlighter – I don’t even know how to use this or what it is?

Lip balm – I never travel with out this, but only because I don’t use it enough to remember it is in my bag.

A lipstick – Normally in a colour that always feels a little too daring to wear out doors…. I put it on for 15 mins then change my mind a scuttle back to the makeup wipes.

 

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Waitrose understands my needs.

 

I’m sure there are a million other useless thing I insist on carrying with me on every adventure, however, I won’t bore you with all the details. I hope this little insight into how to be as efficient and skilled in the grooming department as me helps you all to feel fresh as a daisy as you crawl your way off a train somewhere in Europe (maybe you know where you are. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you didn’t even know you were on a train, either way, this posts for you). Alternatively, Snap chat has some incredible filters right now:

 

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Savlon: coz you’re worth it!

 

As a last and more appealing resort, we could all just have a G&T?

 

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Beauty at it’s finest.

 

 

 

I would love to hear more about your secrets of how to keep it so sexy whilst globetrotting. Please do comment ideas so we can keep our beauty rolling. 

Lavender in London

Last weekend I was suddenly presented with the rare and delicious prospect of a free weekend! No work, no washing and no pesky visitors begging to be entertained….(!) What should I do with this shining haven of freedom? The whole of London awaited me! So naturally, I caught the train with a friend and headed out of the bustling city into the wilderness of Carshalton Beaches in search of the Pick your own Lavender Harvest.

It wasn’t quite the rolling lavender fields of France or the glorious weather of the Cote D’azure for that matter,  but the field was the most delightful, homely and soothing haven to ever be hidden in the middle of a small allotment surrounded by suburban houses.

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Entry to the event is completely free, you only pay for the Lavender you pick and even that is cheap. On the way to the Lavender, you pass by disgruntled old men standing in their runner bean patches, grumbling to one another about the “up from Londoners” who have – in their eyes – infested their once tranquil plots.

Once you arrive at the main site you are surrounded by a selection of dinky stalls, all selling lavender related goods -honey, cake, tea, soap, knitted elephants (granted some things were less related than others). It is amongst these stalls that you find a little tent providing buckets and scissors to all who wish to pick. After a quick visit to this tent  – and a brief warning about bees along the lines of: “If they sting you then you probably deserved it you wuss” –  you are set free, rented scissors in hand, to roam the field until you are either too hungry to carry on or your bunch of lavender is too big to drag behind you any further.

 

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The bees are your friends

 

 

The tranquillity amongst the plants is totally blissful. Listening to the bees buzzing and the brief snippets of other pickers conversations as you lazily wander along, stopping every now and then to snip idly at flowers that take your fancy, it is so easy to lose yourself.

 


Once we had gathered as much Lavender as we could we headed, bouquets in hand, directly for the now closing stalls to gorge on Lavender infused ice tea and gooey Honey flapjacks. As delicious as this was it did not satisfy our outdoor appetites and so a quick stop at the village bakery was definitely called for.

The train ride home was one of the sweetest things to witness, everyone arrived and boarded the train clutching their little bunches of lavender.

 

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Spoils of war – took ages to get this much

 

 

 

This event only happens once a year but all proceeds go directly to the charity that keeps the Lavender project going. So if you are in London next Lavender season keep an eye out for this event – or others like it. It really is a wonderful, cosy way to spend an afternoon – even if it’s raining. You can find out more about the project here.