My Favourite Books of 2017

I don’t know whether it’s writing for a living, gaining a social life, or just not needing to escape into fantasy worlds anymore – but I’ve barely read this year. It’s now November and I’ve managed a measly eleven books so far. So instead of trying to catch up with my usual reading wrap-ups (because they went so well), I thought I’d just focus on my five favourite books from this year. If any gems pop up between now and 2018, then I guess I’ll just have to write ANOTHER post. But for now, I’m pretty happy with my picks.

1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I have a love/hate relationship with Laini Taylor. I absolutely devoured Daughter of Smoke and Bone when it came out, but felt the sequel fell flat and after multiple attempts, I finally gave up reading it. I never even got around to reading the final book. But her world building always impressed me, so I was ready to give her another shot. I’m so glad I did, because Strange the Dreamer had everything I love about Taylor’s writing. The dreamlike quality of her words, the detailed world building, and characters I’m actually rooting for – yes please. I went into this not knowing it was going to be a series, so was a little apprehensive when I figured that more was coming and the same thing might happen – but I have high hopes for the following books. It’s even made me wanna give Days of Blood and Starlight another shot…

2. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I love stories that straddle the lines between thriller and mystery and horror. Stories that aren’t overtly creepy, but you know there’s something else going on. I was initially put off from reading this because of the word Roanoke been forever tainted by American Horror Story, but there’s no cheesy otherworldly stuff in sight. All the happenings in this story are firmly rooted in reality – and that’s what makes it more terrifying. Whilst the book seemingly starts out as a pretty standard mystery, soon you get sucked into the character’s histories and really start to wonder if the book is a result of evil people, or something else.

3. This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

I never jumped on the hype train for This Savage Song when it came out last year, but with the the end of Schwab’s Series of Magic series, I needed another taste of her world building. And initially, this book just didn’t do it for me. I found it hard to picture the monsters and didn’t really grasp (read as: care how) they materialise. But I kept reading and everything changed. The characters grew on me, I was genuinely interested in August’s moping and Kate’s angsty bullshit. So I obviously upon finishing it, I immediately started on Our Dark Duet. I think I even preferred the second book to the first, and it wrapped the duology nicely for me. It’s not often you don’t see the ending coming within a YA story. This series was great, yes, but it was no Shades of Magic.

4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This is the only book on my list that wasn’t released in the past year and I’ve been meaning to read it for so long. And despite the years of preparation, I was definitely not ready. This book destroyed me. Considering A Monster Calls isn’t a fantasy series and is pretty short at only 240 pages – I was surprised I cried so much. To paint you a picture: I finished the book in the dark, in bed, at 2AM, and cried so much that my boyfriend thought I was having a panic attack. The less you know about this book, the better, so if like me you never got around to reading this one, add it to your list for 2018.

5. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Schwab? Yes, this is the conclusion of the aforementioned Shades of Magic series. I went into this book knowing it was the end of one of my favourite fantasy series (Harry Potter, Rivers of London, and The Kingkiller Chronicle, I’m looking at you), so admittedly, I was not happy. But I have to hand it to V.E. Schwab, even when she’s ripping away a piece of my heart, I still love her and her books. A Conjuring of Light was the perfect end to a perfect series and I couldn’t be happier with how it ended. I think Shades of Magic deserves a post of its own at some point, so I won’t dwell on it too much, but if you’re looking for well written fantasy with a badass female pirate, LGBT representation, and ambiguously good/bad “villains”, HERE YA GO.

I’m currently on book number 12, so I better get back to that. I blindly set my Goodreads Challenge this year to 30 books, but that’s not going to happen. So if I can hit the halfway point, I’ll be pretty pleased with myself. Better stay on the lookout for more eerily poetic fantasy novels then.

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e.l.f. Studio HD Lifting Concealer: Battle of the Cruelty Free Concealers Part II


Long, long ago in early 2016, I wrote a post comparing my two favourite concealers. Back then, I believed I had found two concealers that did different jobs and that I needed them both. Oh how wrong I was. That’s right people, I’m officially a one concealer woman now.

The Studio HD Lifting Concealer from e.l.f. is total game changer for me. No longer do I have concealers separated into under-eye, foundation days, and non-foundation days. I can wake up in the morning and slap some of this on before work, or can pair it with my foundation for those rare occasions I actually feel like making an effort.

The consistency is creamy without being too thick – but it easily covers any blemishes I have. I can use it to brighten under my eyes and it doesn’t cake into the creases. But most importantly, it doesn’t cling to my scaly, dry lizard skin and defeat the point of wearing makeup.

Another thing I love about this product is the packaging. I’m totally over gimmicky and kitsch packing à la Benefit, Too Faced, and Soap & Glory – something budget brands love to emulate. This concealer definitely takes inspiration from NARS – although it has the added benefit of not beckoning every bit of dust in a room towards it.

I figured today was a good day to review this because I’m three months into a skin experiment. Not only do I have grouchy period skin, but I came off the pill three months ago and my face does not know what it’s doing (post coming soon, if you’re interested in that kinda thing). So if this concealer can handle me right now, it can handle anything.

Queue terribly lit blog photography!


For £4.50, this is definitely one of the best beauty buys I’ve made in years and I’m so happy that e.l.f is readily available in the UK again.

Somehow I think the tiny Superdrug that just opened near my office is gonna cause issues for me and my bank balance.

Reasons to buy it:

  • Super versatile
  • Easily affordable
  • Cruelty free
  • Chic packaging

Cruelty Free Staples


I’ve been back in the UK for over six months now, so I’ve had plenty of time to “just pop into Superdrug” and leave with half the store. So now that I don’t have to meticulously plan what I want to buy six months in advance, I have more freedom to try new things. After many trails and tribulations, these are the cruelty free products I think everyone needs in their collection.

Superdrug Coconut Water Hydrate & Shine shampoo and conditioner

I’m not huge on coconuts. I don’t use coconut oil, I don’t drink coconut water – but damn, do I love this stuff. After using these, my hair feels soft and doesn’t break at the slightest touch. I use them as my usual shampoo and conditioner in between my weekly foray into purple shampoo and it definitely helps to hydrate my damaged hair. I also find that because it doesn’t build up any residue, my hair stays feeling and looking cleaner for longer. It doesn’t hurt that they also smell AMAZING too.

It’s also vegan friendly!

Colab dry shampoo in London

I know I just said that my hair stays cleaner for longer, but I don’t turn to this dry shampoo for reasons of cleanliness. One of the biggest battles of my life to date (y’know… other than the ones with my crippling anxiety and depression) is with my limp, flat hair. I could just never do anything with it. But a blast of this stuff through the roots and body really gives it life. What makes this my favourite dry shampoo though, other than the whole cruelty free thing, is how you don’t get that 18th-century-France-white-wig-effect all over your hair. Sold!

And hey, this one’s also vegan friendly.

Superdrug Soft Pink anti-perspirant deodorant

Finding a good cruelty free deodorant has always been a challenge for me. A very sweaty challenge. But recently, Superdrug came to the rescue with this. There’s not much to really say about a deodorant… other than I feel protected all day and that it smells very nicely of rose. Awesome.

Lush Ultrabland cleanser

I never knew what a truly cleansed face felt like until I tried this baby. After giving up makeup wipes a few years ago, it was a lot of trial and error before I found the right cleanser for me. Not only does Ultrabland remove all my makeup without irritating my skin, I genuinely believe it’s improved my skin condition in general. It helps to hydrate it without being overwhelming, all the while cleansing my face of any nasties.

B. Pure Micellar Water

Despite just gushing over a cleanser, sometimes I’m super lazy and just don’t want to go to the bathroom for my usual evening skincare routine. Or my flatmate is taking a forty minute shower and I just want to go to bed. Enter this micellar water. I’ve tried a cruelty free micellar water before in the form of Soap & Glory, but found its scent quite overwhelming. This one, however, is much calmer and is great for taking my makeup off in a pinch. I often use it in addition to Ultrabland, just to make sure I’m really getting all my stubborn mascara off.

Another vegan find!

Lush Enzymion moisturiser

How many times can I praise this moisturiser? My skin is the most awkward thing about me. It gets dry super easily, but breaks out if I even so much as glance at a moisturiser. Enzymion has been the only one to hydrate my skin without opening the door to an influx of blemishes. It’s super gentle on the face whilst managing to keep me from resembling a scaly lizard queen. Yes, that was a Simpsons reference.

Guess what? Also suitable for vegans.

Lush Buttered Brazils lip balm

With dry skin, comes dry lips. Especially if you wear as many matte lipsticks as I do. I bought Buttered Brazils on a whim on a trip to Florence and since then it’s become a staple of my skincare routine. A quick layer of this before bed and in the morning ensures I have super smooth lips ready to torture with a liquid lipstick.

And this one’s vegan friendly too.

So there you have it, a selection of amazing products that everyone should introduce into their stash. And they all happen to be cruelty free. Who says you can’t have beauty without bunnies?

Lies I Tell Myself & Body Positivity

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Every week I fluctuate between being happy with how I look and absolutely hating it.

When I first started thinking I was fat, I was 21. Looking back at photos of myself at that age – it’s painfully obvious how wrong I was. But at the time, I was completely distraught over how I could no longer fit into my favourite size zero dress or how I didn’t resemble a literal pencil anymore. Then I moved to Spain. As a vegetarian, not only did my social life rely heavily on carbs and cheese – but my mental health did too. My depression in Madrid was at an all time low and sometimes the only thing that fixed that was a baguette smothered in alioli.

And so the obvious happened, I gained weight.

Now I’m approaching 25 and long gone are the years I could eat anything and not worry about it. This is where the Internet cries “body positivity! You’re beautiful! Love yourself!” (not my Internet, I still get the occasional hate comment calling me fat despite not being relevant online since 2012). And I get it, because I do it too. I hear people complaining about their weight and I’m all up in their face telling them how wrong they are – and I’m being honest! But it’s hard to apply those ideologies to yourself.

Logistically speaking, I know I’m not the monster I make myself out to be. I buy size 8s and 10s depending on the day and know deep down that I’m not in any danger of ill health. But when I think of myself, I picture how I was at 18 or even 21. So sometimes when I see myself, it catches me off guard. I find it hard to accept that this is what I look like now.

Somedays I look in the mirror and think I might even look good and that I don’t need to go back to how I was before. I’ll buy a size 8 shirt that properly buttons over my boobs and think I’ve cracked it. But then I’ll take a bad picture or look frumpy in my favourite shirt and the cycle starts all over again. Like last week, when I downloaded a calorie counter app.

I know I’ll never be as tiny as I was at 18 and sometimes I feel okay with this. Other times I feel that life won’t be complete until I have a flat stomach again.

But I don’t want to feel this way. I want to be healthy and look my best, sure – but not at the extent of my happiness. I’ve spent way too many lunch hours forcing kale into my mouth for one lifetime. So here’s what I need to remember:

  1. Stop paying attention to labels because they clearly make no sense anyway
  2. There are ways to fix a bad day other than a giant cheesy pizza
  3. Not everyone I meet is silently judging me on my weight

And so, in an attempt to truly get rid of these toxic beauty standards I hold myself too – here’s some super flattering upward angle photos. Behold, my many chins in all their glory.

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Maybe one day I can stop letting this consume my life.

On Instagram and Introspection

One of my biggest guilty pleasures is stalking myself on the Internet. From being a Myspace kid, to my short lived YouTube career, to curating my life on Instagram – I am so guilty of checking what I was doing one, three, or even seven years ago.

Which makes me wonder why I’m currently so aware of the idea of “aesthetic”. I may not be a gazillionaire fashion blogger who supports their lifestyle with Instagram, but for whatever reason, my Instagram seems to have developed a theme. What can I say? I’m a content producer both by day and by night. Keeping it on brand is practically second nature to me.

If I use Instagram as a means to keep tabs on my past self, I’m my own biggest audience. Something deep down is directing what content I choose to share online. Sure, a couple of hundred other people are watching too, but a lot of this is for thirty year old Rosy. Photo albums are obsolete. Part of the fun of nostalgia is now looking at how many likes a post got, as well as the picture itself.

Or maybe this is just me and I’m totally weird/self-absorbed/kinda pathetic. Your call.

When I lived in Madrid, for example, my feed was bright. Because isn’t that what the life of an expat in Spain is supposed to be? If Hemingway had an Instagram, it would be sun kissed and vibrant and warm. Old Ernie and I both liked to criticise Spain, but we definitely wanted to immortalise the country in its best light.

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Sure, in Madrid I did all these things. I ate pink lollies and drank iced coffee (when it became gentrified enough to get it, that is) and wore floaty dresses. My life was significantly sunnier than its English equivalent and I wanted to remember that. But my life in Madrid on social media is definitely not the life I had. I was unhealthy and unhappy. From the major lack of vegetarian options to the comfort eating to dull the pain of teaching English or unpaid internships, Madrid had its downs. But unless I screenshotted my empty bank account, you can’t portray that life on Instagram.

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Which brings us to my time in Brighton. The sky is grey, my clothes are black, and I’m still drinking my iced coffee. The colours may be more muted, but I’m so much happier here. I’m not sitting around carefully curating my life to look back on. I’m living in the now and posting it as an afterthought. Whilst I only chose to share the best of Madrid, for me, all of Brighton is the best. I may have only been here for five months but I’m already much happier than I ever was in Hull or Madrid.

I can post a picture of my work desk and planner because for once in my life, my work makes me happy. I’m sharing food pictures because, get this, vegetarian food is everywhere. Who would have thought? Not Spain! Who needs pretty dresses? I’m wearing all black and I’m digging it.

So thank you, Brighton. For making me evaluate my social media choices. And more importantly, for making me realise how happy I am here.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a picture of seagull or a bagel – and Future Rosy will know without a doubt that whatever the subject ends up being, Past Rosy was pretty freaking happy with it.

4 Reasons Changing Your Hair Can Totally Change Your Life

I’ve been going through a lot of major life changes recently. Moving countries, moving cities within that country, and changing careers. But the biggest change of all has been my hair.

Hear me out, because it’s totally not as weird as it sounds.

Whenever I am in a slump, I start to hate everything about myself. And the easiest place to start in a severe bout of self loathing, is my physical appearance. So it needs to change. From getting a pixie cut on the last day of high school, to dying my hair pink after a breakup, to going back to brown for my move to Madrid – changing my hair is always my first course of action when I feel trapped. And you know what? It works. Changing my hair gives me a fresh outlook on life. Because no longer am I that person I hated just last week. My hair is bouncy and full of life and so am I.

Soon I’ll be starting my new job, which just so happens to be my dream job, and I wanted to go into that stage of my life feeling like a totally new and improved Rosy. So after stalking possibly every hairdresser in Brighton on Instagram, I decided to take the plunge. It took four hours and was the most money I’ve ever spent on my hair, but I have no regrets. It’s short. It’s blonde. I don’t resemble the cousin of Cousin It. I am me again.

Here is why I think changing your hair also changes your life!

1) Briefly, You Are A New Person
For a short period of time after a major haircut, whenever you catch your reflection, you get confused. “Why, who is that dashing young person staring at me?” you say. Well, it’s you! Look at you go! For the first few hours after my haircut, whilst I was painstakingly choosing which selfie would debut my hair on Instagram, I got to thinking (dangerous, I know); is this the same Rosy Parrish as yesterday? This one seemed cooler and more confident somehow. And when I was walking down the street I had to wonder, where the passersby marvelling at how cool that short blonde girl looked? Obviously not. But a girl can dream. So for those brief few hours, I was convinced I was a whole new person. That confidence follows you though, and even now, days later – I still secretly think I’m slightly cooler. Fake it ’til you make it, y’know.

2) Symbolism and Shit
Imagine it. You’re sitting in that chair. The hairdresser is behind you, holding a pair of scissors. Closer and closer they go, until… SNIP. Your hair is gone. Bye bye, hair! Bye bye, problems! When I’m running my fingers through the super short bit on the top of my neck, I like to imagine that along with all the tangles and knots and badly dyed locks, went my worries and problems and a few insecurities too. Swept away by the trainee’s broom. And it feels goooood. I mean, a lot of my problems actually disappeared upon the news of my employment, but that would never happen in a transformation movie montage. It was totally the hair.

3) Feed Your Ego
Unless you’ve accidentally dyed your hair green and come out with an allergic reaction too, your friends are probably gonna gush over your hair a little. Even if you think it’s narcissistic and frivolous, you can’t deny that a quick compliment from someone whose opinion you value will make you smile. I’m not saying cut your hair just for the compliments or the Facebook likes. Cut it for you, duh. But like… it’s an added bonus.

4) It Shows You What’s Really Important
Ignoring everything I’ve said above, it really is just hair. And if your haircut hasn’t come out like you imagined, and you’re screaming “dammit Rosy Parrish, you lied to me” at your screen, take a deep breath and remember you’ll always have number four on this list. Although I am loving my haircut this time round, this is a rarity for me, because most of my trips to the hairdresser end in disaster. Whether it’s a lopsided bob or a really bad dye job, the change is not forever. Your hair can grow, or you can cut it. You can dye it. You can straighten it. You can do that super cool topknot thing that I never truly mastered. Although at its best, our hair can make us feel really great, it also doesn’t define us. It’s all what you make of it. It’s just hair.

And with this wisdom, I bid you adieu. If you’re going through a hard time or just need a change, just start with the hair and the rest will follow. I think this is slightly more manageable advice than my usual spiel of ‘moving abroad cures anxiety’. But hey, they both worked for me

Brighton in a Weekend

So as I keep yapping on about, I moved to Brighton at the beginning of the year. But due to lack of money and my general dislike of leaving the house, I haven’t explored as much as I like. I have like 3 friends here. Give me a break. But last weekend my honorary twin sister Orla came to visit from Ireland, so I had no choice but to go full tourist mode. And it was great.
So for your consideration, here is how to do Brighton in a weekend. It works better if you and/or your guest like vegan food and shopping. ‘Cause that’s kind of what Orla and I are all about.

As a side note: my blog photography is pretty dire in this post… it was more of an Instagram Story type weekend than a blog one. But then I realised it would make a great blogpost and I’m stuck with these wonky atrocities. Sorry, Blog Gods.

Friday


Oz came on Friday evening and after some screaming and carrying her suitcase up five flights of stairs, we were ready to EAT. We headed into Kemptown for drinks in what we thought was a typical old man bar, but turned out to be a drag bar. It was the perfect place to show Orla just how, well, Brighton Brighton can be. We then headed to Purezza for dinner. Purezza is a vegan pizzeria and it is AMAZING. Vegan cheese is hard to get right and it was my first time actually trying vegan pizza but I am in love. After demolishing our pizzas, we knew we couldn’t leave without trying more – so we split a vegan orange mocha cake. And guess what? Also delicious! Who said vegans only eat rabbit food?


We finished off the night with some drinks in the South Lanes, where I took Orla to two of my favourites: The Mesmerist and The Marwood. We then parted ways ready for a full day of FUN SIBLING EXPLORING AND BONDING TIMES WOO!
Saturday


On this day we had intended to meet at 10 or something… only to finally meet at like 12. Just another part of the family resemblance. For brunch we decided to hit up VBites, another tasty vegan establishment. I was sad we had missed the breakfast menu, but not for long after I saw they had a falafel wrap on the menu. I got said wrap and an iced green tea (my fave). Orla is more adventurous with her food and tried the vegan duck pancake – but she said it was great and judging by the quality of my falafel, I’m inclined to believe her. We also split some sweet potato fries with garlic mayo because FOOD. In fact, we loved this place so much we came back. More on that later.


We took a walk down the pier for some serious Instagramming (Orla) and Pokémon hunting (me). Then we both literally hunted Pokémon in the arcade. Please note the lack of pictures with any Jigglypuffs. We did not win. After the pier we explored the South Lanes by daylight and did a little window shopping, before heading into Churchill Square for some actual shopping. By this point, we were hungry again so wandered over to Glazed for vegan donuts. VEGAN DONUTS. We were exceedingly lucky because we got the last one and it was so good. But even better than the donut, was the doggy that worked there. His name was Donald and I love him. He wore a bandana. Sadly I didn’t take a picture of the dog as I was too busy being licked so here is Orla modelling our donut.

Suddenly, because BRITAIN, it begain to rain so we ducked into Black Mocha for some caffeine and shelter. I’d been meaning to try this place for a while but wasn’t impressed with my coffee. Other people have told me that it’s actually pretty good so I’m willing to give it another shot, but honestly, meh. Once the rain stopped we darted back to Oz’s hotel (via a quick detour for wine and crackers).

And this is the point I became an idiot. I didn’t book a table. When we did finally emerge from the room, we were starving. We asked about a table at The Curry Leaf and were told it would be an hour. We agreed and off we went to the nearest bar. An hour comes, still no call. After ninety minutes we go to ask. Basically we ended up standing by the door staring at them until we got a table. By this point I was so hungry that I would have eaten anything. Hence the lack of photo. There is no time for Instagram when you reach that level of hunger. I don’t even remember what I ordered, other than I decided “fuck vegan weekend” and ordered a naan bread out of pure starvation. I think it would be unfair to review The Curry Leaf when I probably  would have literally eaten my own shoe at this point, but it was good – just not a patch on my favourite Brighton Indian, Planet India. After this we decided on an early night to prepare ourselves (and our stomachs) for the next day.

Sunday


Sunday started off at my new love, Small Batch Coffee. I picked a vegetarian sausage roll as a snack and got an oat milk latte. I sat waiting patiently for my coffee arrive so I could take a picture of both together, but it took so long I got bored and ate my sausage. Turned out they forgot about me. Luckily they gave me a voucher for a free coffee so who cares? And honestly, that latte was so good I would have come back anyway. I’m just gonna go right ahead and say it, best coffee in Brighton. No, in Britain. NO. THE WORLD.

After a little while exploring the North Lanes and avoiding the rain, we met my friends for a meatless roast at The Prince George. I was so excited for this. And I wish I could say it lived up to its expectations but… THEY FORGOT ABOUT ME. Yes, mere hours after the coffee shop forgetting about me, a restaurant forgot to bring me my food. I think I’m actually cursed, but whatever. Considering my food came when my friends were halfway through with their own, I didn’t take a picture. I just tried to catch up. I think I ordered the wellington. It was good, I guess, but my Yorkshire Pudding was hard as a rock. I’ll definitely go back, but only because I drank the best gin of my life in there and I need to taste its sweet, sweet nectars again. They didn’t offer me a free drink though. Hmmmph.


After lunch we did some more shopping down the North Lanes, but as it was Sunday, things were closing. We headed back to The Mesmerist and had a few more drinks before we got sleepy. Although we swore we wouldn’t eat anything else, we got Subway before leaving because we are ravenous monsters. #NoRegrets

Monday


For our Last Supper (ahem… breakfast), of course we headed back to VBites. This time we were in time for breakfast, so I had the most delicious hummus, spinach, and mushrooms on toast. SO. GOOD. Orla had the same, she agrees. After that it was time to take Orla back to the station. But we did have a little bit of time… so we grabbed some more oat milk lattes from Small Batch before we said our final goodbyes.

I had such a good weekend and am so glad Orla came to visit. I probably never would have gotten around to trying half these places if she’d never come to see me. So thank you, Oz, and I’ll see you in Berlin this August for Round Two.


You can follow Orla’s Twitter and Instagram here because she is much cooler than I.

Brighton, So Far

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So I moved to Brighton. Not as dramatic as my move to Madrid three years ago but much, much harder. Although in Madrid I had to deal with language barriers, reentering education, and, well, the Spanish. In Brighton I have to live with the uncertainty that everything leading up to now has been for nothing. Sure, you might think I’m being overdramatic, but…

Hi, my name’s Rosy Parrish and I think I’m finally entering my quarter life crisis.

I thought I’d experienced my quarter life crisis already. Multiple times. When I first moved abroad, when I turned down a well paying teaching gig for an unpaid internship, when I decided to move back to the UK. Pretty much every second of the last three years. And maybe I was in a crisis and this is just the peak of it. Or maybe that was nothing compared to what’s about to come.

Brighton was a huge whim. I’d never even been to the city before I started flying over for interviews. I knew one person here. To me it was just this whimsical seaside town full of quirky street art and indie coffee houses. But it seemed like a good fit. And I don’t regret that part of the decision at all. Brighton is the perfect place for me and although I’ve only been here a month, I can’t imagine myself leaving any time soon. I never felt that way with Madrid. That was always like biding my time until something better came along and appeasing myself by going on about all the ~culture~ I was experiencing.

Currently I’m a freelance writer. I sit on my bed all day because my desk doesn’t have a chair yet and type away. Sometimes I take a break to apply for a proper job. Sometime I watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix because it soothes me into thinking it will all get better. If I were to watch Girls right now, I’d probably cry. The Avenue Q song ‘What Do You Do With A BA In English?’ makes my stomach do backflips. This is not where I thought I’d be at the age of 24. With £25,000 in student loans and working from my bedroom in a shared flat.

The older I get the more I realise that life is just a series of flukes one after the other. I used to spend so much time thinking would this have happened if I did a different degree? Went to another uni? Didn’t move to Spain? Hadn’t failed GCSE maths? But now I just feel that life is chaotic and I just need to deal with it. Sure, this isn’t the ideal situation for me right now. But if I’d picked a different degree or decided against teaching English, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve got right now. As stagnant as my time in Madrid felt, I know I experienced a life that many others can only dream of. I became friends with interesting people and captured myself a cute European boyfriend and I know the city will always welcome me back with open arms.

So I may not be writing in a swish city office wearing a cool blazer; but I’m writing on my bed wearing a dinosaur t-shirt. So I guess I’m doing okay.

I have faith that eventually I’ll get my cool job and my cool blazer because goddammit I’ve done 16 months of unpaid internships now and if that’s not seen as dedication to my art then I’ll probably just explode anyway.

Making Friends As An Adult: Bumble BFF


“Do you guys know each other?”

“We met on Bumble”

“…”

“Oh, there’s a BFF feature for friends!”

Sometimes I forget that not everyone meets their friends online. It’s still seen as strange and a little bit psycho-killery. But anyone who thinks that is wrong.

In 2017, how the hell are we supposed to meet anyone anymore? Once you’re out of education, you’re left with flatshares and work colleagues to form the ultimate #SquadGoals-level friend. You’re stuck choosing from people who have no guarantee they’ll like the same things as you. That’s why I’m fully for shopping for friends on the Internet.

When I was 14 I made a friend on MySpace and traveled to meet up with her. At 15 I became nocturnal to hang out with my American YouTube friends. And after a brief period of normality making friends at university… in my twenties I was back on the Internet. After all, I’d met my boyfriend on Tinder and everyone accepted that as the norm – why couldn’t I make platonic friends this way too?

I’ve written about my experiences with Bumble BFF before and in Madrid it worked out well for me. So with the second major move in my life (back to the UK, but further south than I’ve ever been before – whaddup Brighton), I was back on the Friend Dating scene. What can I say? I like swiping.

Moving to a new city is hard… especially when you take a risk and move there without a job lined up. I spend my days applying for jobs and sneaking in a few HIMYM episodes on Netflix. The app provides me a sense of normality that I just don’t have here yet. I have people to talk to (albeit through a screen), but they give me advice on good coffee and tell me about their job struggles when they first moved here. Without Bumble BFF I would probably be going insane right about now. And as with Tinder, sometimes these online meetings go well, and your Friend Courting continues into the real world.

So I’m going to keep singing the praises of making friends online. As a teenager, I made some of my best friends on the Internet. People who lived entire continents away and who I wouldn’t have known existed at any other time. On a smaller scale, this works in a city too. Why should I miss out on a great friendship just because we didn’t meet at a coffee shop like we might have had to ten years ago? Forget your prejudices of how weird it is to judge someone over a picture and a bio, if you can do it to find your ~true love~, you can do it to find your next gal pal too. It’s convenient, chill, and just all round cool.

BRB, gonna go swipe right some more.

2016 Favourites

I think we can all let out a collective sigh of relief that 2016 is over. It was a particularly depressing year – at least on a pop cultural level – but despite loving to revel in mutual loathing, first and foremost I am a blogger, so a 2016 favourites post was necessary. Consider it a form of purging. Out with old, in with the new. Except this stuff which I kinda sorta loved.

Favourite Book: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

I love me a good fantasy series – but sometimes it’s hard to find a good balance between the grittiness of adult fantasy and the playfulness of YA fantasy: enter V.E. Schwab. The themes of this book are most definitely adult, there are no overplayed love triangles or teenagers born to save the world. But still, the series manages to catch a sense of adventure that others don’t, all the while building a detailed and engaging world for the characters. The last book in the trilogy comes out soon and I am not sure how I’ll cope.

Favourite Beauty Product: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita

By no means new to 2016, but new to me. 2016 was the year Spanish Sephora finally got its act together and started stocking Kat Von D. I own four of these babies now (and plan on a million more), but Lolita is the ultimate one for me. It’s a dusty/purpley/nudey colour that never fails to make me feel a little more put together on days when I’m otherwise just meh. A pro tip is to pair it with Barry M’s lipliner in Blush. Kylie who?

Favourite TV Show: How To Get Away With Murder

I was sooooooo late to the bandwagon on this show, but once I started, boy was I hooked. As increasingly ridiculous as it has gotten, I can’t look away. The twists still hook me and the reveals still shock me. Also it’s like a little glimpse into Paris Gellar’s future since the Gilmore Girls revival ruined her character. If you secretly think you’d make a kickass lawyer, this one’s for you.

Favourite Movie: The Visit

Technically a 2015 release, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it until the new year so it totally still counts. I think this movie is proof that M. Night Shyamalan either makes really great movies or really terrible movies. The Visit is definitely a return to the likes of SignsThe Sixth Sense, and The Village.  I may have a soft spot for found footage horror movies, but this is probably the best since The Blair Witch Project. But if you don’t like horror, it works as a comedy too. Best of both worlds!

Favourite Album: California by Blink-182

When Fall Out Boy came out with Save Rock and Roll, I loved it because they had grown out of their pop punk phase gracefully. When Panic! At The Disco released Death of a Bachelor, it was clearly the same band with a more mature take. But when Blink-182 released California, it was as if it was still 2003. As much as I love that my favourite teenage bands are growing up with me, something about this album had just the right amount of nostalgia and growth for me. And now I don’t have to be embarrassed about not really listening to current music, because Blink have my back.

Maybe I’ll branch out more in 2017, but for now, fantasy, murder, and pop-punk are doing me just fine ❤