Tuesday, 29 March 2016

LET'S TALK: Life's Changes

I'm not even really sure where to start this post in all honesty...

2015 was the best year of my life. I got a promotion, travelled the world, went on holidays, spent lots of time with my friends, met a lovely guy...it really was a great year.

At the end of last year 2 massively life changing things happened that affect me. My best friend was involved in an incredibly serious accident and is still working hard every single day, now at Leamington Spa Hospital Rehab Centre, to make a recovery. We still don't know what that will be or how long it will take. It's been hard and continues to be for not only myself, somebody that has known her for almost all of my life, but I can't even comprehend how hard it must be for her family.

That was bad thing number one.

Bad thing number two is something that's happened over three weeks ago but began a week before Caitlin had her accident. Bad thing number two is something I'm not really ready to talk about...well maybe I am ready, I just don't know where to begin. I'm filled with a lot of upset and a lot of anger.

...and also confusion.

Being strong for one person in particular is keeping me going. It's a real challenge but it's keeping me going. Feeling so terribly sad not only at the situation but for this other person I love unconditionally is becoming consuming at times but it's made me realise that if life throws a curveball at me, I can handle it better than I think.

It's funny really, when we are younger, certain situations feel like the end of the world - not getting the bike you want for Christmas, having a bedtime, not being allowed to play out with your friends if you've been naughty...all of these things, at that age, can lead to a temper tantrum, 'you're ruining my life' comments and basically just acting like a bit of a brat.

As you get older, situations are more serious (although sometimes not) but often, we are able to handle things a little better. A bad situation at work, a really annoying friend that won't stop banging on about themselves when you kinda just need a bit of a chat, your car not starting...you learn how to handle things. You've grown as a person and realised that a temper tantrum or bratty behaviour isn't going to solve all of your problems.

I've also come to realise that people aren't always who you think they are. That has been one of the bigger shocks to me. And probably one of the things that has hurt the most. How one person can have such a personality transformation, be so cold, so heartless and basically act like a stranger. There is no guilt there, no apologetic nature...nothing. Just a cold, heartless stranger. One that things will never be right with again, quite frankly.

I've cried a lot these last few months. A LOT.

I've cried for Caitlin, I've cried for her family, I've cried for bad situation number 2 and everybody involved...and I've cried a lot for myself because I'm an emotional person and I'm a person that cannot keep things bottled up. If something makes me happy, sad, angry, excited - whatever - I have to talk about it. I'm as open as a book when it comes to my emotions usually.

But now I've hit that point of feeling numb. I feel sad but numb. Emotionless in a sense.

But here's the weird bit. I'm also incredibly happy. Which makes me sound slightly mental, I know.

Work is going really well, my relationship is making me extra smiley, I've just had an amazing long weekend in Barcelona, I still love living in my house with my housemate, I've got a great year ahead of me again with work trips...things are great.

But these two feelings, these polar opposites...they just highlight how life can change. How we can change.

People always say 'these things are sent to try us', and maybe they are. These two bad things, well...a lot of heartache would have been saved if these were not sent to try us. And, in all honesty, if there is a God out there or almighty power we may never see (I'm not really religious so find it hard to believe when bad things like this happen), then I don't understand why these bad things have happened.

We learn to deal with situations differently as we grow. I'm very sad about Caitlin, but we all need stay positive and strong for her, her family and for each other. I'm absolutely devastated about bad situation number two, it's broken my heart and it's ruined so much, but I have to stay strong. I have to believe that it will be okay in the end.

I've come to realise everything is about balance. Every situation.

Life isn't easy. Life can be fun. Life can be stressful. But it's about finding the balance with all of these things are changes happen - whether expected or unexpected.

As human's, we can handle SO much more than we realise. We might even surprise ourselves with how we handle the bad with the good.

One thing I do know for sure in light of all of this - change happens. It's not always good, it's not always bad. It's not always expected...but things constantly change, the little and the big. We just have to act like a normal human being - cry when we want to cry, talk about it when we need to, smile when things genuinely make us feel happy in spite of the sadness we feel.

We're human. We have emotions. We have every right to feel happiness and sadness, even if they are being felt at the same time. Believe me, I didn't think they could be felt at the same time.


Friday, 18 March 2016


I don't know where the time goes. It's almost a month since I last typed out a Five For Friday and it really doesn't seem that long at all.

Last week I went to Barcelona and genuinely had the best time. It was so much fun, the weather was good, we saw allsorts, ate loads of nice food and managed to do all of that without running around like crazy people.

This week has flown. I've mostly being tidying the house, delving through life admin and trying to get back on track with work.

What's in store next week? Two days in London with an overnight stay - very busy days might I add. AND EASTER WOOOOO. I love that we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off. I'm heading up to Sheffield to see Emily with the baes (private joke...) and I cannot wait!


HAVING A GOOD TIDY - This is totally boring and so 'I'm a grown up' but my housemate and I had a proper good clean of the house this week before our landlord came to do an inspection. Am I weird in thinking there's something therapeutic about cleaning? Probably...but a tidy home is so nice.

SKINCARE - I've started using my new Kiehl's Super Multi Corrective face cream and it's leaving my face feeling amazing. I'm all about anti-ageing products at the moment as I'm starting to panic that I turn 25 next month and that sounds OLD! I always cleanse and tone using Liz Earle and have been using Kiehl's eye creams for years, but this face cream is amazing. I still love my old favourite but this one is a real game changer. I've been doing a lot of reading up on facial oils too (yes, something I don't use - naughty, naughty!) and am 100% buying Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate this month. I love with Midnight Recovery eye cream so I'm thinking the oil will be super duper too.

THROWBACK MUSIC - I'm not talking waaaay back here. I'm talking Bon Iver's first album, a bit of old school Maccabees etc. Don't get me wrong, the odd catchy song comes out every now and then but my favourite bands and artists old stuff will always be the best. I've been listening to The Police a lot lately too, it takes me back to being a little girl and my parents playing their music in the house.

SHELLAC NAILS - I'm not normally one to take care of my nails other than a weekly file so I don't take an eye out with a broken nail BUT I've recently reverted back to Shellac. Believe me, I'm not massively into beauty stuff. I don't really use hairstraighteners anymore, I don't really keep up to date with all of the new beauty/skin products out there (unless it's Chanel or Kiehl's), I dye my hair but it's usually a slightly different boxed colour each time...I'm kinda not that fussed about it all. I like to look nice rather than like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards but it's not top of my priorities list. However, reverting back to Shellac nails has been refreshing. I get SO frustrated painting my nails. I'm so bad at it, like SO bad. They chip within an hour of me painting them so when I was over in New York I went to have my nails done...and now I've had them done twice since. I like that it lasts two weeks and I don't have to worry about it. I also like that Shellac is actually not too bad for your nails either. I had gel nails last year for a wedding and it took almost 5 months for my nails to stop snapping off at the slightest touch. So now I'm super happy. All hail Shellac!

NEW OUTFITS, OLD CLOTHES - I've been trying my absolute hardest not to overspend recently. I am a terrible, terrible person when it comes to spending money on things I don't need. So I've been trinh to change it up, creating new outfits with things I already own. I mean, I know this is no revolutionary idea BUT it's making me feel like I've got new things to wear without actually making me more financially unstable.

Whatever you guys have planned this weekend, I hope you have a lovely one!


Monday, 7 March 2016

ATE AT: Victor's Cafe, Hell's Kitchen

I've become really, really grateful for Opentable over the past 12 months. With all the back to back travel last month, it's been particularly useful for booking a table for dinner - 100% at ease. It's really been a life saver.

I was really up for some delicious food (story of my life!) and came across Victor's Café - a place serving really, REALLY good Cuban food. Their motto is 'The Evolution of Cuban Cuisine', a look at what Cuban cuisine would be if politics had not interfered with its growth.

They hold their reputation as a top, if not the top, Cuban place in NYC by dishing up delicious and authentic dishes as well as their own creations, using fresh ingredients, herbs and spices. They don't fry their food in heavy oils (brownie points!), olive oil is use instead and where they can grill, sauté or pan fry with little amounts of oil, they do. Healthy and delicious, what's not to love?

We browsed the menu. I wanted to eat everything. Again, story of my life.

After a tough decisions between enchilados and the ribs, I went for the Camarones Enchilados, which were chock-bang-full of jumbo shrimp, creole sauce, boniato puree and boniato crisps (as you can see above!) This dish is without a doubt the best Cuban food I've ever had. The flavours were incredible and I loved the boniato crisps for a bit of extra texture.

Three of us had the shrimpy goodness, one had the ribs (Costilla de Vaca al Fuego Lento con Cerveza - beer braised short ribs, saffron cauliflower puree, acelga and natural jus) which were out of this world. Possibly even better than the enchilados I went for. Another of my food companions went for the Atlantic salmon, pineapple salsa and polenta which she also said was amazing.

As it was National Margahrita Day we were 100% in the right place so each had a traditional goblet full. Very strong might I add but tasty all the same.

I was a bit lame, I didn't take more than the one photo above. Mostly because I was starving and the lighting wasn't the best. But please, please, please get yourself to Victor's if you're in the area. You are in for an absolute treat and I wish I'd taken more photos to prove it!

After that we were all swanky and went to meet some friends at the rooftop bar of the Ink48 hotel and drank gin and tonics with this view below. Amazing, right? It was beautiful.

Such a lovely evening of food, beautiful views, lovely friends and gin. What more could a girl want?

Victor's Café -236 West 52nd Street. 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

TRAVEL: The Highline and Chelsea Market, Manhattan

Every time I visit Manhattan I aim to see at least one new thing while I'm here. My last trip here was a whirlwind tour of all things touristy so I didn't really get the opportunity to see some of the lesser known spots that, as a newbie to NYC life, you may miss.

I arrived at lunchtime with an afternoon free so decided to set off and have a proper walk. I'd anticipated arctic conditions (weather reports of -18 just over a week ago) but it's been around 12-15 degrees since arriving so my melodramatic ways have been met with great wandering weather conditions. I set off in search of The Highline - an almost 2 mile long walk way and park built on a disused section of the New York Central railway, suspended above the city. I'd wanted to walk the Highline last time but ran out of time - it is well worth a visit.

It's really cool to walk through the parkway, seeing views of the Statue of Liberty in the distance, the hustle and bustle on the streets of Manhattan and to just have a little bit of time out of the city but to be above it it all.

It was so relaxing seeing everybody drinking their coffees, walking their dogs, catching up with friends and generally just having a little potter along the walkway.

From here, I made my way down to the streets of Chelsea in search of Chelsea Market. I'd heard a lot about the market but never really knew what to expect. It's wonderful and I really hope you get chance to go one day. Filled with pop-up stores containing clothing, art, jewellery and loads of other quirky, local stalls, as well as food and drink places, it's a treasure chest of things to eat, drink and buy!

I stopped off at Seed and Mill and tried their Goats Milk and Tahini Ice Cream, something that I feel like I've completely missed out on until now - so delicious! I'm going to try and get back there before I have to leave.

After a wander around Chelsea Market, I headed back towards my hotel in the Flower District, stopping off at a few shops on the way.

These are my favourite days in cities; no real plan, seeing new things that you wouldn't normally stumble across and just simply taking in the atmosphere. I love Manhattan, so much. I fall in love with it a little more each time.