Sunday, 22 April 2018

Barcelona City Break 2018

At the start of April, Calum and I flew to Barcelona for a 3 night city break. I chose this destination because neither of us had been before, it's fairly warm in April and has plenty to do being a city by the beach. Other than getting really burnt in 22 degree heat (damn pale skin), I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would definitely go again! Barcelona has the most beautiful architecture so I thought I'd show some of my favourite photos and share my recommendations.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Birmingham Independent Coffee Shop Guide

If there's one thing I've reached 'expert status' at in my 21 years, it's coffee shops. You may think this is not at all impressive (and you are correct) but I've definitely put more hours of research into scouting out a complete guide to independent coffee shops than I put into my dissertation, so I think it's worth recording my findings. A few years ago I wrote the post 'A Guide To Durham Coffee Shops' so the series continues with the top spots of my new home, Birmingham. In a place with at least 98 branches of Starbucks, I'm a strong supporter of shopping independent. I've pretty much exhausted this city's offerings so I guess it's time to relocate...

Friday, 9 February 2018

Where to Eat Vegan in Birmingham

Living in a city is amazing for foodies. Growing up in a small town, the dining options were either Wetherspoons, a seedy takeaway or the latest coffee shop trying to make a living before inevitably closing down within a month. I could just about scrape a vegetarian meal but would feel uncomfortable troubling anyone for a vegan meal.

Birmingham has every chain I can think of, usually three of every chain, as well as so many wonderful independent cafes, restaurants and markets. I may be slowly dying from all the pollution I'm inhaling but at least I'm eating well. As a vegetarian dabbling in veganism, it's really helpful that the city has so many options to choose from and it's never a problem finding something I can eat. I previously wrote the post Where to Eat in Birmingham, which mentions some of my favourite places to eat, but I've since found so many more that I'm back for round two.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Problem With Women and Festivals

Last week, the lineup release for Wireless Festival in London caused a stir online when Lily Allen took to Twitter to call out its major lack of female artists. The full lineup hasn't yet been confirmed but based on the promo posters so far, less than 10% of the artists featured are female - there are literally only three women on the bill. Seriously. Wireless is mostly a chart pop and hip hop festival, genres which so many big name female artists fit into, so it's not like organisers had no choice but to fill the bill with men. So what's going on?

Monday, 29 January 2018

The Smart Casual Dress Code | Offices and Interviews

As a new graduate, I've had plenty of interviews over the past couple of months. I've also worked in an office with a 'smart casual' dress code before, so if there's one thing I do have experience in, it's work-wear dressing. It can be hard to find the right balance between looking formal and letting your personality show through your clothes, you want to look presentable but memorable and feel comfortable at the same time. If you're stuck for ideas on how to look formal without compromising on style of comfort, here are my top choices from my own wardrobe and the high street. Everything featured in this post is currently listed on ASOS because I find it easiest and most enjoyable to shop on but I've tried to include a range of brands and price tags.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Reading More Books and Browsing Less Apps

One of my goals this year is to read more books. In my 30 Before 30 Bucket List, I said I wanted to actually read the books piling up on my shelf, rather than being seduced by the offerings in Waterstones faster than I can get through them. I've been making an effort to spend about 45 minutes each night reading and I've completely fallen back in love with books. I had the hopeful aim of reading two books a month but during January I've already managed three!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Homeware Wishlist: Rose Gold Edition

Is rose gold still cool? I think so. Lately I've been so drawn towards pink with metallic accents when shopping for homeware, specifically this 'Millenial Pink' blush tone. IT'S SO PRETTY! I went through that whole "pink is just for little girls" phase in school but now pink is back and I'm ready to smash the patriarchy AND like pink. Crazy, huh? Calum is less enthused that our flat interior is beginning to resemble a bag of marshmallows, but what can you do.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

30 Before 30 Bucket List

After seeing Hannah Witton and Samantha Maria posting this tag on YouTube, I thought I'd write up my own goals for the next decade. I have a tendency to give up on New Years Resolutions so I'm hoping this way I'll be able to tick off more! I've listed my 30 goals to achieve before I turn 30 here so I can look back on them over the years.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Skincare Favourites 2017 #Blogmas

5 Blogmas posts already? Consistency? Who is this new me? After my last post chatting about my Makeup FavouritesI thought I'd follow up with the skincare addition. I'm absolutely committed to a proper skincare routine. I strictly always remove my makeup before bed and am notorious for shouting at my friends for using face wipes. I've tried a few different products over the years but don't mix it up too much for fear of angering my skin, so my routine has been roughly the same for most of 2017.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Makeup Favourites 2017 #Blogmas

After another year of hoarding way too much makeup for someone with only one face, I've rounded up my tried and tested favourites to share with you. My friends often ask me for beauty recommendations (so really, buying so much makeup is essential for helping others...) so if you're in the market for something shiny and new, here's the best of the best. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

2017 Highlights in Pictures #Blogmas

I wrote a highlights post in 2015 (read it here) and really enjoyed looking back and reminiscing, so thought I'd post a new version for the enjoyment of future me. 2017 has been the year with the most changes in my life (nothing too dramatic, don't get overexcited) and possibly my happiest to date. Although it's been a rubbish year for the world, and Jezza still isn't the Prime Minister, it's nice to take a break and have a more cheerful piece of internet to read. (If you do like raging political angst, you can follow me on Twitter @TheAnnatations #ShamelessSelfPromo). Here's the best of 2017!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Cruelty Free & Vegan Christmas Gift Guide #Blogmas

Cruelty free Christmas shopping? Completed it mate.

Since I've stopped supporting brands who test on animals and am trying to cut out animal products in general, my family hate buying presents for me. If you're not ordinarily an animal friendly shopper, it can be tricky to know what's safe to buy without putting in the research. If this is you, fear not, I've done the window shopping work for you and put together a gorgeous gift guide suitable for anyone you might be buying for, vegan or not. P.S - If you are my boyfriend/family member/sister, I will  graciously accept any of these lovelies...

Friday, 1 December 2017

The Big Give Christmas Challenge #Blogmas

Today is December 1st, marking the official start of the festive season. Admittedly my tree has already been up for a week and I've been making my way through the Costa Christmas drinks, but now I can finally indulge in the festivities guilt free! While we all know I won't commit to Blogmas, I have a few ideas for Christmas content throughout the month. Today, I want to share with you a festive campaign (not sponsored, just a good cause) in support of the wonderful charity, my friends School-Home Support. 

Monday, 30 October 2017

3 Ways to Cook Halloween Pumpkin Leftovers

After 3 of us carved Halloween pumpkin lanterns at my flat last weekend, I was left with A LOT of orange guts to use up. Rather than wasting what was actually a decent amount of food, I set to work in the kitchen. I've put together three super easy yet tasty pumpkin creations with hopes of encouraging more people to cook up their leftovers instead of throwing all that autumn potential in the bin. (I actually attempted a fourth recipe but it was somewhat of a disaster so we won't talk about that...) They're also all vegan friendly which is always a bonus!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Drugstore vs High End: Where to Save Money on Makeup

If you know me, you'll know I'm somewhat of a crazy makeup lady. I've tried A LOT of different products and as a result, I have a good idea of which items are worth your money and which are a waste. Obviously, if you don't want to spend much money on makeup at all then that's your call, but if you enjoy a more luxury purchase here and there (and everywhere, oops) then this is where to hold on to your pennies rather than splash the cash.

Monday, 21 August 2017

New Flat Tour

I've been living in Birmingham for almost two months now and our little flat is finally starting to come together. It's rented and part furnished but our landlord has quite a different taste in interiors to us, so we've hidden as much as we could fit into the cupboard and bought our own furniture. The black shelf unit and side table were too big to hide so do excuse those ruining my theme here! In typical blogger style, my current taste is fresh white backgrounds with pops of pastels (hello millennial pink), copper, marble and lots of green plants - original, I know. I'm already looking forward to buying a proper house but until then, this feels like home.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

YouTuber Books That ARE Worth The Hype

As a slightly older YouTube viewer (aka not one of the obsessive tweens behind Zalfie fan accounts), I have mixed feelings towards "YouTuber books" and approached them somewhat critically. Since most of the creators I watch are also in their twenties but most of their audience are young teens, the target market for these books is somewhat ambiguous. I completely bypassed a lot of the offerings but, thanks to the marketing frenzy whipped up by Gleam, found myself drawn towards a few. I don't really want to name and shame the disappointing titles I've read, but let's just say I've left a few 1* reviews on Amazon... However, I found a few books which made for an interesting read that I'd actually recommend for older viewers. (spoiler free reviews)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Where To Eat In Birmingham

The Custard Factory & Digbeth Dining Club
The Custard Factory is in Digbeth, about ten minutes walk from the city centre. It houses a variety of pop up shops from art exhibitions to vintage stores, so there's always somewhere new to try. The Custard Factory also hosts regular foodie events such as the Birmingham Coffee Festival, which cost £6 entry to try unlimited free coffees from loads of coffee brands around the city, accompanied by fabulous sweet treats from independent bakeries. Just around the corner at Spotlight is the Digbeth Dining Club, where different street food vendors gather every Friday and Saturday - my faves so far have been mac 'n' cheese topped nachos and battered halloumi with chips.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Best Cruelty Free Hair Range

Since switching to only cruelty free products, I've searched high and low to find a new shampoo and conditioner brand. While there are plenty of cruelty free makeup brands to choose from, there are annoyingly few affordable but lovely hair options. I usually find own brand shampoo to be a bit crap so didn't have high hopes for these unlikely contenders. Roll in Superdrug's Coconut Water range.