Month: October 2015

Arrivaderci rossa

What’s the first thing you do when you get back from holiday?

After the mountains of washing, obvs.

Visit family?

Restock the fridge?

Book your next holiday?

Not in my case. You strip your hair!

I decided, on landing at Birmingham airport, that I was done on red hair. Despite the hideously tortuous journey I went through just a few short months ago to get to any semblance of scarlet.

So – goodbye red! Arrivaderci rossa.

And, in usual me style, I couldn’t wait. It had to be done immediately.

So I found myself back in stinky boring tiresome dull hair stripping territory.

With the intention of then dyeing it brown.

But I kinda liked the stripped result. Ginger according to husband (pah). Golden according to me. With darker ends (will I never be rid of them?)

This will be unsustainable as my dark roots will start showing within a couple of weeks, but I quite like the change of tone for a short while. So I’m going to ride it out while I decide my next move.

(and also because the husband is so against it, I find it kind of funny to torment him. I didn’t just say that. OK I did).

Stripped hair

Christ, my mirror is dirty!

 

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Living in the moment and fear of missing out – the Italian edition

I’m back from Italy – boo!

But I had a great time – woo!

Want to hear something stupid though?

I spent a good chunk of the time wondering if I was enjoying it as much as I should.

Crazy, right?

Seriously. It was a stressful time for some of the time. Because I seem incapable of just loving what I’m doing instead of thinking about what I could/should be doing.

Like, on the third day, when the weather finally improved after two days of being stuck indoors, and the husband suggested it would be nice to chill out and soak up some sun. “What about Sorrento?” I wanted to scream! Instead I grimaced and threatened to stomp off to the room in a huff. Then I grudgingly agreed suggested a compromise of sunbathing in the morning and Sorrento after lunch. It worked out perfectly.

Like, when we were planning our Amalfi coast trip and the weather looked favourable on the Thursday instead of the Wednesday, but turned out crap and I wanted to eat my own head for not going the day before.

Like, when we got to Amalfi and, in spite of the fact we only intended a brief visit – instead arranging to head back to Positano – I sulked when we left because Amalfi looked prettier than I expected (even though it was raining torrentially). It turned out to be a very good decision as Positano was much prettier and more enjoyable, so the husband was right to stick to our guns (mutter, grumble, grudgingly agree to him being right).

Like, when we were in Sorrento, and I said it wasn’t as nice as Nice. Why do I even have to compare it? Why does it have to be better or worse? Why can’t it just be Sorrento?

Like when I was internally freaking out for not seeing every single inch and church and backstreet and statue and drop of sea at Sorrento, but it’s actually all ok because we enjoyed what we did.

Seriously!

It’s bloody exhausting.

On the way back from Amalfi (last but one day), after my unadmitted but totally busted by the husband strop, I had an epiphany. Well, perhaps not that dramatic. But I realised a few things. In no particular order.

a) I’m a knob

b) I expect too much

c) I’m hard work

Even husband said that I put unrealistic expectations on myself.

I don’t know if it’s because it was a mix of chilling and sightseeing, and I was worried we wouldn’t get the balance right. Generally, on short stay city breaks, I don’t have this problem.

Or maybe it was the fact that we took so long and deliberated so much before booking this break that I wanted it to be perfect, and it could never live up to my impossibly high standards.

Or maybe I just need a lobotomy, and to be god damn grateful that I’m lucky enough to travel.

You’d think, from all that, it wasn’t a great trip.

It was. It’s just a shame I didn’t truly appreciate it until towards the end.

I really need to chill the fuck out.

Or start holidaying on my own!

On the plus side, I’m only admitting this terrible terrible flaw about myself to a handful of people. It’s not like it’s out in public, right?

I’ll be posting more about the trip in the following week; if you can manage to stick around now I’ve revealed myself to be a temperamental headcase!

In the meantime, have some pics so you can see what a twonk I am!

Sorrento clock tower

St Francis of Assissi   Sorrento 6

Sorrento 5

Sorrento 2

Gelato and wine

Sorrento 3

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Packing for Italy

In case I haven’t mentioned it enough this week, I’m going on holiday to Italy. Woo-hoo!

The weather forecast for next week isn’t great. Not woo-hoo.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may recall that even booking a week away this year was not without it’s stresses, purely because of timing and where to go. When the deal for Italy popped up it seemed perfect. We’d be able to combine sightseeing and relaxing. Cooler temperatures would lead to smaller crowds and more pleasant experiences at places like Pompeii, while it would still be warm enough to sit outside in the sun at the hotel and read a book.

Now it’s looking like it’s going to rain. Quite a lot. To the point where we’ve even bought kagools (this could be my lowest fashion moment, but needs must). We might be lucky to hit temperatures of 20 degrees. I probably won’t be needing a bikini.

The eternal optimist in me says that the forecast could be wrong and we could get an unexpected heatwave.

The panicker in me is freaking out at having the wrong clothes (appearance is directly related to enjoyment, I don’t care what anyone says!)

The realist in me, while wanting to listen to the optimist, has had to come up with a slightly revised packing list. This is no longer the “summer holiday” I had planned for.

On the plus side, I pride myself on having clothes in my wardrobe for every occasion (aka – according to the husband – too much stuff). So I haven’t needed to do any last minute shopping. Just last minute planning.

Things to take into consideration are:
– We’re staying in an all inclusive hotel, so if the weather is abysmal I will sit indoors eating and drinking. All of the food and drink. All day long.
– We won’t need to go outside at night time, unless we spend an evening in Sorrento, so I don’t need to wrap up warm at night
– It might be cool in the mornings for breakfast, so my usual strappy playsuits will not be suitable
– I have a 20kg packing allowance

So here’s what I’m going with.

Denim shorts for daytime – cos my legs are hardy and can stand a bit of a breeze!
An assortment of t-shirts
An assortment of 3/4 sleeve tops
2 sundresses to be worn in the daytime with a denim jacket
Palazzo pants
2 jumpsuits – one patterned, one plain (the patterned one has a Moroccan multi print)

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Printed maxi skirt
1 maxi dress – grey marl and black striped, from Matalan

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3/4 length heavy jersey trousers
Half sleeve leopard playsuit
3/4 sleeve belted jersey dresses – one plain black, one spotted

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Fringed maxi skirt (because I love it and I’ve only worn it once this year)
Cream long sleeve lace top to wear over a bandeau/with fringed maxi skirt
A couple of camis
Daytime pegleg trousers – a bit of red leopard print!

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Teadress
2 vintage style angel sleeve dresses
2 bikinis (I’m going in the pool, even if it’s raining!)

I may very well be able to mix daywear and nightwear, perhaps even wearing some stuff twice if needed (I’m aghast at this thought, but the trousers/jumpsuit can be worn in the daytime if it gets particularly cold)

Footwear is more of a problem. I only ever take sandals on holiday!

2 x hi tops (one to wear, one to dry out in case of rain)
Black glads
Roman sandals (evening)
Nude wooden wedges (evening)
White jewelled ankle strap sandals (evening)
White thick strap sandals and cream thick strap sandals for daytime, on the off chance the weather forecasters are all on drugs and it turns out grand

It’s been less stressful than I first anticipated and I haven’t struggled with my luggage allowance for a change. The main issue has been the husband. He’s Mr Stress when it comes to packing, and we invariably end up arguing! I’m much more laid back. After all, things have a way of coming together, and I’ve never gone on a holiday yet where I’ve screwed up badly and forgotten anything major.

So that’s that!

See you in a week!

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Gig review – Biters in Wolverhampton

Sometimes a band comes along that you’re genuinely excited about – that you’re grabbed by right from the off. For me, this year, that band is the Biters.

Biters

I’ve only been aware of them for a couple of months (although they’ve been around for a while), but their current album – Electric Blood – is everything a rock ‘n’ roll album should be, and more.

So I was very excited to hear they were touring.

Biters tour

Less excited when I found out it was on a Wednesday, in Wolverhampton.

a) Wednesday – well, say no more. School night. No drinking or partying or really throwing yourself into the occasion because you have work the next day (not that I need a drink to have a good time, but y’know).

b) Wolverhampton. Despite it’s pretty close vicinity to Birmingham, it’s a bit of a ballache to get to.

There’s also the small matter that it was less than two days til our holiday, nothing was packed and some of it wasn’t even washed yet.

But still.

Husband has this band ticked for good things, and I had a heavy sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so we said “fuck it” to the practicalities, and off we trundled.

The Slade Rooms is a great venue – a big wide stage so you can see plenty of what’s going on, a good size gig room, ace sound and a big bar too. My favourite of the Wolverhampton venues I think – much more geared up towards a rock gig than, say, the Wulfrun or Civic Hall.

We weren’t bothered about seeing the support band, as is often the case, but arrived in time to catch them. And am I glad we did! Shock Hazard are a 3 piece from Norwich and they were great! The singer played lead guitar like he was in a full house at Wembley – a great frontman throwing himself around the stage, getting into the audience and, at one point, climbing up to the top of two big stacked amps (I actually said out loud “this isn’t going to end well” which probably wasn’t the reaction he wanted!) The band themselves look pretty mis-matched; a curly haired crazy rock god in the making, the bassist who looked like he’d be better suited in This is England 90, and the drummer who was so skinny he barely looked capable of lifting the sticks. But together they were amazing – tight, loud, fun to watch. It was a great opener.

And then came The Biters. They didn’t disappoint. Right from the off they kicked ass. Musically brilliant, vocally brilliant – loved them. 4 guys from Atlanta Georgia, this was their debut UK tour and I really felt for them – they deserved better. Wolvo on a Wednesday night is not going to go crazy, regardless of how fantastic you are (they were) and they deserved a bigger, better crowd. The front man actually said at one point “what do I need to do to get you guys going?” But what they were doing was just fine by me. Guitar riffs with a 70s flavour, singalong chorus’ and the kind of drums and bass that you can’t help but stomp along to. Singer and guitar player Tuk has the coolest style – all punky hair and skinny jeans and he’s a funny guy too; interspersing their songs with tales from the tour and home, and having some fun with members of the audience. But the music was the absolute star of the show, as it should be.

Highlights of the night for me were 1975 and Low Lives in Hi Definition, but really it would be wrong to put them out their as favourites because everything was so freakin’ good!

At times sounding like Thin Lizzy (never a bad thing!) with a distinctive vocal that makes them instantly recognisable, their songs are varied in tempo and style, but all with that inimitable 70s rock ‘n’ roll attitude that to me embodies all that I like about rock music.

If they do get as big as husband predicts, I’ll be honoured to say I saw them in a small venue in Wolvo on a Wednesday night.

But next time, if they could play a weekend date, the crowd might actually engage and show them just how great they really are!

Stupidly, I deleted all my pics (noooooo!) so here’s one courtesy of the husband.

Biters singer

And here is “Low Lives in Hi Definition”

Check ’em out!

 

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Big black boots

With October has come a definite autumn feel – rain, wind, leaves falling off the trees and general non-summerness.

I don’t approve.

It does, however, galvanise the need for new boots, which can only be a good thing. Footwear purchases are always a good thing!

I’ve decided that my go to ankle boots for autumn winter are to be chunky black stompy ones; with a thick rubber sole and block heel.

Boots

They’ll look great with black skinnies (an A/W stalwart), give height under my patterned flares, and also work with girly dresses and thick tights for a touch of 90s grunge.

I ordered these London Rebel ones from the ASOS sale – £22.50ASOS black boots

But I wasn’t entirely sure if they’re quite high enough.

So I had a scoot around.

Deichmann have some of contenders – I’ve had a few pairs of boots from there in the past and it’s definitely a site worth checking out.

Deichmann chunky boots

Deichmann chunky buckle boots

These from New Look fit the bill.

New Look black boots

New Look leather

New Look suede

Boohoo have these

Boohoo ankle boots

Boohoo suede boots

Boohoo thick sole boots

So, just to be on the safe side, I ordered some more, to compare to the ASOS ones. All in the interest of doing the right thing. Because it would be awful for all involved (mainly the husband) if I didn’t get it absolutely right. After all, it’s a long time ’til spring and sandals time…

Turns out that, 4 parcels later, the ASOS ones were my preferred choice after all!

Here’s some inspo.

Black chunky boots

Chunky boots inspiration

90s grunge

Chunky black boots

What will be your footwear of choice this A/W?

 

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Roomzzz Leeds – a review

When we booked tickets for Danko Jones in Leeds (you can read my review here) we were looking for somewhere central and well priced to stay, and Roomzzz fit the bill. Just a couple of miles from the gig venue, they offered more than the standard hotel room, with more space and home comforts.

Roomzzz`

I first came across Roomzz because a hotel we used to use regularly in Nottingham was taken over and converted. They have 7 locations around the country, mainly in the North (Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and Chester). Technically they’re serviced apartments rather than hotels – a concept which was new to me.

It’s a great idea – giving you freedom and saving you money, if you want it to. With a fully fitted kitchen including fridge freezer, hob and microwave you could eat in the apartment rather than going out. There’s even a washer dryer and a dishwasher. The lounge area is good if you fancy a night in just relaxing – you can chill out in comfort rather than sitting on a hotel bed.

Roomzzz Leeds reception 2

Roomzzz Leeds reception

We booked a Liberty Suite for the bargain price of £66.10 through their loyalty pricing (anyone can register for it) – which was just like a city centre apartment – entrance hall, bathroom, separate bedroom and through lounge/kitchen/dining room.

Roomzzz Leeds bedroom  Roomzzz Leeds bedroom 3

Roomzzz Leeds bath

Roomzzz Leeds bathroom

Roomzzz Leeds dining area

Roomzzz Leeds kitchen

Check in is at 3pm and check out at 11am, but you can book either a 2 hour earlier check in (1pm) or 2 hour later check out (1pm) for just £10, which I think is excellent value (and was much needed after a night out!)

The apartments are finished to a high standard with good spec kitchen and appliances, wooden floors, leather furniture and a huge bed. There’s everything you could need including a plasma TV in the bedroom and a fully stocked cutlery drawer!

Roomzzz Leeds kitchen 2

Roomzzz Leeds fridge freezer

Roomzzz Leeds cutlery draw

Roomzzz Leeds dishwasher

Roomzzz Leeds microwave

There’s even teatowels and a dishwasher tablet!

Roomzzz Leeds provisions

The bathroom has some funky coloured toiletries and a rather futuristic looking built in hairdryer.

Roomzzz Leeds toiletries

Roomzzz Leeds hairdryer

My only criticisms?

  • The apartment lacked warmth and personality – furniture and flooring was very dark and the lighting was poor; a table lamp would work wonders for atmosphere
  • The shower wasn’t very strong; I struggled with washing the shampoo out of my hair
  • There was no full length mirror (hello male architect!)
  • The grab and go breakfast – which is included in the room price and is served until 10.30am in reception, consisting of pastries, muffins and juice in – was all gone by 10am.

But those are small niggles for a good stay! It was nice to have space and comfort in comparison with a standard hotel room and I would definitely stay at a Roomzzz aparthotel in the future.

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Stretching out summer sales shopping

The good thing bad thing thing about having a holiday later in the year than usual is that you convince yourself it’s still ok to be spending money on summer clothes way after it really makes sense in terms of cost per wear.

Which is how I’ve ended up with these sale purchases.

H&M

Green frill bikini – £10 (bought as separates)

H&M green bikini top H&M green bikini bottoms

Jersey dresses – £4 each! Not worth NOT buying

H&M blue sundress H&M striped dress

Black bandeau maxi dress – a staple (£9). I like the way this bags over at the waist, it’s more flattering for eating!

H&M black beandeau dress

Patterned dress – £9

H&M patterned dress

Wide leg heavy jersey 3/4 trousers – £5

H&M black wide trousers

New Look

Bell sleeve chiffon layered boho dress – £9

New look dress

Ironically, the weather forecast for Italy next week really isn’t that good! So I may not even get to wear some of this stuff after all (and I’m currently in the process of buying kagouls so we can still go out sightseeing if it rains).

The injustice!

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An afternoon in Polperro

Two weeks ago, on our way to Looe Music Festival, we visited Polperro. It’s a little fishing village just about 5 miles away from Looe, with restricted vehicle access. You have to park your car at the entrance to the village and walk down to the harbour. It’s a twisty turny maze of little streets, cute buildings and eating places, and very very pretty.

Here are some pics

Polperro fishing boat

View of Polperro

Pretty Polperro house

The Buccaneer Polperro

The Pottery Shop Polperro

Bunting and flowers Polperro

The stream runs down to the sea, between the street and houses, so people have to cross individual bridges to their homes!

Polperro stream

Polperro bridge

Polpero houses

Polperro is still a working harbour. Back in the 1300s it used to be rife with smugglers.

Polperro fishing boats

Polperro boat

I bet there was some loot in this cave!

Polperro cave

Cave in Polperro

Smugglers House sign

The village is dotted with rowing boats filled with flowers, and pretty colourful hanging baskets

Fishing boat planter

In between Polperro houses

Nelsons Restaurant Polperro

Polperro pub

We had lunch – look at that for a fish pie!

Fish pie Polperro

My sentiments exactly, ha ha!

Children sign Polperro

I’d definitely recommend a visit and a wander around Polperro if you’re ever in the area.

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Chillidogdogs – oh yeah!

If you read yesterday’s post about one of my local pubs, you’ll have seen me mention Chillidogdogs.

In keeping with the nation’s current obsession with streetfood, Chillidogdogs deliver a pared down menu done really really well. They serve from their little premises in the beer garden at the Prince from Thursday through to Sunday and boy is their food good!

These pictures come from 2 different visits (not that I care whether you think I’m greedy, just saying that I have tested for consistency and been delighted both times).

Chillidogdogs food selection

Nachos to start – I’m going to put this out there and say these are some of the nicest nachos I’ve ever had. The balance is right – enough topping to last right until the last delicious crunchy triangle. The chilli is sweet and meaty, not hot or spicy, just really really tasty.Chillidogdogs nachos 2

Chillidogdogs nachos

The hotdogs are hot-damn! Sausage spilling over the end of the roll, there’s just enough bite to the skin followed by the juicy meaty filling – these are quality ingredients! Lashings of afore-mentioned chilli and mustard with just enough kick. My mouth is actually watering as I type.

Chillidogdogs hotdog

The husband is something of a burger aficionado and has a lot of experience in eating them. He has declared this to be right up there with the best burgers he’s ever tasted. Smothered in juicy pulled pork, oozing with cheese, there were yummy noises aplenty (he was so impressed he had the same both times).

Chillidogdogs burger

Chilli fries kind of speak for themselves really. If they could speak they’d say “eat me”. They’re so good. The kind of thing you wish you weren’t sharing. I’d happily lie down in them like a big cheesy chilli potato pillow and eat my way out. Too good.

Chillidogdogs fries

So, there you have it. As you can tell I’m rather indifferent to the whole shebang and could take it or leave it. By which I mean order and eat all of it. All of the food. All of the chilli topped products, until I slumped into a meaty chilli cheesy carb coma. That sounds good.

If you’re in or around Birmingham and haven’t visited the Prince of Wales and Chillidogdogs, have a word with yourself!

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