The Best Of 2016


Since David Bowie left the mortal realm, the world has become a terrible place. But despite this, I thought it was important to look back at my personal positives of 2016… no matter how sad I am that Carrie Fisher is dead. 2016 was a year of big changes for me. After months of agonising over the decision, I decided it was time to repatriate myself back into British life. I’d gotten a tad complacent with everything… so obviously my brain decided to change it all at once. 2nd times a charm, right?

So, in order, I bring you my highlights of 2016.

Visiting Florence

I’ve wanted to visit Italy for as long as I can remember – and after almost two years of living on the continent, I finally got my chance. I traveled round the country by train – and although the trip was slightly derailed by the destruction of my passport – Florence was by far my favourite desintation. I saw amazing architecture, did fantastic shopping, marvelled at incredible art… and saw creepy fetus mannequins from the 19th century. I will definitely be back.

Reading Stephen King’s It

Much like visiting Italy, I had always wanted to read It. And although it really didn’t live up to the ‘omg so scary’ reviews I’ve been hearing my entire life, it was huge. Like, physically. And I’m glad I read it. And it makes me feel less terrible about failing my Goodreads Reading Challenge this year. Seriously, it was huge!

Giving up teaching

Although I have never wanted to end up as a teacher, it somehow became my job.  Yet it was always my means of staying in Madrid and getting a pretty decent income. So I stayed. But at the same time I was interviewing for summer camp positions to keep myself fed for the 3 months of Hell I was about to experience, I took a chance and interviewed for an unpaid editorial internship. And got it. Although I then had to decide between teaching and eating and gaining experience in the field I loved and starving – I’m glad I took the risk as it proved I was capable and qualified to do what I loved and gave me the push I needed to leave the safety net of Spain. Even if I did have to eat a lot of pasta to do so.

Seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Seeing this play was a long time coming. I first bought the tickets in October 2015 and spent an agonising year waiting for my time to come. I’ve written about the show in great detail already, so I won’t dwell on it too much, but it was definitely my favourite part of the year. Not only did it fill the empty place in my soul of the waiting for a new Potter release, but my quick trip to London was the catalyst for my eventual return to the UK. Thanks, Harry.

Doing a Brexit of my own

And finally, the most important change for me in 2016, moving back to the UK. Despite being on the top of my game in the ESL world, I knew it was time to move on. So after packing my entire life into two suitcases and a cardboard box, I took the leap and moved back “home”. I write this blogpost to you from my new place in Brighton. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I imagine it will begin with job interviews, vegan food, and maybe a new haircut.

Cheers to you, 2017.

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My Reading Rut: Part 3

I may not actually like reading at the moment, but I do still like talking about reading. So I figured it was time for the third post of my reading rut adventure: covering months April to June and books 10-14 of my thirty book challenge. This definitely got me back to my reading roots – meaning there were a lot of books I was anticipating the release of and fantasy novels. And I actually enjoyed this block of books a lot! Too bad I immediately stopped reading again afterwards… ugh.

The Missing by C.L. Taylor

Another thriller, yes, but one I was waiting for. I loved C.L. Taylor’s previous two thrillers, but something about The Missing just fell flat. I wasn’t as invested in the story as I was with  her previous work. The Lie was one of the most innovative thriller novels I’ve read in years, with The Accident keeping me just as hooked. But with Taylor’s third novel, I just didn’t give a shit. And then the resolution came and I was just like “oh, I still don’t care”. A good book, but not up to her usual standard. If you’ve never read her work before, start with this one and work backwards – that way they’re getting better instead of worse.

I give this book: 3/5 schizophrenic visions

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

I have an apology to make to Mr Aaronovitch, because it took me two attempts to read this book. The first was last July and I got about 100 pages into it before giving up. This really bugged me because I absolutely love this series. But I decided to give it another chance and this time it finally clicked. This series definitely does have a pattern of one great book followed by a weaker one, and sadly this book was one of the latter, but that ending definitely made it worthwhile. I won’t dwell too much on this book because I think this series definitely deserves a post on its own, so just know that I’m sorry I doubted you, Peter Grant, and I’m glad I didn’t abandon you.

I give this book: 3.5/5 vengeful ghosts

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

You know what I was saying about the quality pattern of this series? Ignore it. Right after finishing book four, I jumped right into number five and I think that Foxglove Summer is my favourite instalment of the series so far – even more than Rivers of London. And I’m not just saying that because it saw the return of my favourite character. Getting out of the city was exactly what this series needed; as was a more standalone case that didn’t revolve around the Big Bad. Think of it as the Peter Grant equivalent of Prisoner of Azkaban. It rejuvenated the series for me after my struggles with the previous book and made me fall in love with the world all over again. And props for the great Good Omens reference, which brings us nicely to book four.

I give this book: 5/5 creepy unicorns

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

For as long as I can remember, everyone has been telling me to read this book. Although I’ve never read any Pratchett, I am a huge Gaiman fan and was assured I’d love this story. I bought the book years ago, excited to get down to reading it, and what happened? It just fell flat. I tried so hard to persevere but in the end gave up. Which makes me wonder what happened this time around because… I loved it. On my second attempt reading this book, everything fell into place and I finally got all the love for it. It’s witty, gripping, and original – basically all the things you’d want out of a fantasy novel. Crowley might just be one of my favourite literary characters ever.

I give this book: 4/5 Queen CDs

The Girls by Emma Cline

I don’t really have to go into too much detail on this book because I already wrote a whole post about it over here. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever read before – so dreamy and relaxing yet somehow totally dangerous. It nicely broke up my fantasy to thriller to oh look another fantasy pattern as well as seamlessly slipping me into summer.

I give this book: 5/5 charismatic cult leaders

I’m clearly behind in this whole book review thing – and if I want to get everything up by 2o17 then I’ll need to get a move on. Of course, that would also entail catching up on my reading itself. We are comfortably in November now and I still have six to go. Wish me luck.

The Truth About Unpaid Internships

As someone who thinks there is nothing better in life than reading an epic fantasy, I had a great time studying for an English degree. Reading books, writing about books, arguing about books. BOOKS. Unfortunately, finding myself at age 20 in a cap and gown with no job prospects was a little bit of a “well… shit” moment. Now I am 24 and have managed to find myself some of that much needed experience. And not to bite the hand that feeds me or anything… but I have a lot to say about unpaid internships.

I have had three different internship experiences – all with differing levels of payoff. So I have experienced both the pros and cons of working for free.

The work whenever you like internship

I got my first internship about three months after moving to Madrid. I was settled and happy in my new home but wanted something to do alongside teaching (which I already knew wasn’t my calling). I could already craft hilariously topical tweets and followed social media trends – I just needed a way to prove it to potential employers. This internship was great as it allowed me to do just that alongside my day job. I may not have been getting paid – but I was gaining experience and could work from my bed. The company knew I needed another means of income so let me choose my own hours. All in all it was a pretty great arrangement made for a great internship.

The liberally described internship

Two months after getting my first internship I saw an ad for another one. It was a much more established company and offered the chance to work from their office. Even though it meant I would have to cut down my teaching hours, I took the risk and went for it. I got the job and soon found out I’d be working 20 hours a week (at the time I thought this was inhumane). Of course, unpaid. But whatever, you’ve gotta suffer for your art, right?

So I turn up for my first day of work. I sit at my desk and am ready to start my role as Social Media & Communications Intern. But what exactly is that role? In this company, my job was essentially to sit on Facebook and post a million advertisements to different groups. Imagine doing that. FOR. FOUR. HOURS. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I’d call a social media position. But I hate confrontation and naively thought that maybe I’d get more exciting tasks as time went on. But I didn’t. Two months into the internship and enough was enough. Not only was I not getting paid for my time, but I wasn’t gaining any experience either. I quit and quickly went back to teaching full time. I kept my original internship for another eight months or so but in the end became jaded about the whole idea of being an intern. Where was my money? I thought I was done. But I wasn’t.

The full time employee internship

A whole year and a half later I was facing the prospect of another summer teaching English to camp kids when I saw an ad for an Editorial Internship in my city. It was for three months so I knew it wouldn’t be some never ending pit of despair and figured it’d be a beneficial way to spend the summer. So I interviewed. I got it. I yay’d. Imagine my surprise when I find out that this internship was 40 whole hours a week. More than double what I worked on my €1000 salary as a teacher. But this was the career I wanted, so I was willing to make the sacrifice.

This time was definitely a step up from my previous position – I had my own desk and computer and spinny chair. But most importantly, I had responsibility. In the three months I was there, I actually learnt a lot. I got to develop the skills I already had as well as learning new ones – such as email marketing and exposure to new CMSs. In fact, I was doing so much stuff there that I couldn’t help but wonder – why aren’t I being paid for this? As much as I was learning about the industry, I was also learning about how unfair the whole unpaid intern thing can be. Upon leaving the role, I was asked about any suggestions I had for improving it for future interns. I said that they should pay travel expenses – which for me would have been €60 for the whole time I was there. It’s kind of hard to feel any self worth when supposedly 480 hours of your work isn’t even worth €60 to your employers.

And with that, I officially end my internship journey.

Sure, there are positives to being an intern and I don’t regret any of my jobs. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without them – but that’s the problem, why is it necessary for someone to do all this work just to get a job? I spent three years getting my degree only to discover that entry level jobs want you to have two years experience alongside it. Now I can see why Hermione needed that Time-Turner so badly.

In the future, I hope this changes. I hope that companies stop demanding a PHD and a previous CEO role for an entry level gig and that other businesses start paying their interns at least a travel card and a sandwich for all their hard work. But until then, stay strong little intern babies. Soon you will be in charge and can pay all the future interns as much as you want.

Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo Review

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Two years ago now I wrote a review of a little book series called The Grisha Trilogy and ended it with a wish to read more stories set in that universe. Well, my wish came true, because in 2015 the amazing Leigh Bardugo delivered with the wonderful Six of Crows. With the release of the second book last month, I figured once again I’d do a little review of the recent happenings in the Grishaverse.

Obviously I gave The Grisha Trilogy a glowing review, so I was a little nervous about revisiting the world again. The plot description enticed me though… the whole Oceans 11 meets Game of Thrones thing was too intriguing to pass up on. And Six of Crows blew me away.

As much as I enjoyed the first series, it was undeniably very YA. The books were shorter, there was a love triangle, and it was very much about how one person can change the world. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things – but these later instalments of the Grishaverse were just on another level. Multiple POV chapters. No romance fuelling the plot. And most importantly – no hero. Despite the young characters, this series doesn’t come off as YA. It’s the Grishaverse’s grittier, sexier, older sibling.

The Six of Crows duology is about a gang of misfit thieves who plan to pull off the ultimate heist. Through the POV chapters we learn about the backstories of each of these characters and their motivation for attempting to do the impossible. We learn about their specific skills and what they hope to get out of the cards they’ve been dealt. The first instalment, the titular Six of Crows, is an amazing adventure story. It’s gripping, well written, and has just the right amount of nods to the original trilogy to appease both new readers and old. I read this book over a year ago now and there are still scenes stuck firmly in my head.

The second book, Crooked Kingdom, was equally as amazing – though there’s something about the first book I found more endearing. Though the writing and the character building and the pacing were just as great the second time around – the overall plot felt weaker to me. There were times I completely forgot what was going on and I thought two different characters were the same person for a good two thirds of the book. The characters’ drive from the first story also seemed to have disappeared in this one and I was often left wondering why they were doing certain things.

The strongest part of this series comes from the characters and I think it’s a real testament to Bardugo’s writing that she could portray all these diverse people so wonderfully. Diverse being the key word here: with the main cast including POC, LGBT, and disabled characters. My favourite character in both instalments was Inej – with Jesper as a close second. Total badassery with a light side of comic relief – just how I like ‘em.

It’s not necessary to read The Grisha Trilogy before Six of Crows, but for the second book in particular, it would definitely aid your enjoyment. Some characters from the first series make an appearance in the second book and you’ll definitely appreciate some of the interactions more if you got to know them in their own series first. One of my issues with Crooked Kingdom was that it did feel a bit fan service-y – but that fan service brought me another glimpse at my three favourite characters so I will gladly take it. But to really appreciate those moments – reading the first series definitely helps.

I could sit and gush over this series for hours but I’d rather not give anything away. If you want a fun, innovative fantasy series with great diversity and excellent world building – then Six of Crows is for you. If not, then get better taste in books. I’ll end this review of the Grishaverse as I ended my last one – WHERE IS MY NIKOLAI SPINOFF STORY?!

8 Autumn Buys Under £30

So I’m currently looking at the smallest number I have ever seen in my bank account, which is making me stressed. And when I’m stressed I like to distract myself by buying nice things. But I can’t do that because I have no money. Which makes me stressed. Do you see the cycle here?

So although I’m not usually one for wish list posts, this is the closest I can get to shopping without my debit card imploding. If I can’t buy this stuff, then maybe someone else can. You’re welcome.

1. Black Snakeskin Textured Cross Body Bag – New Look, £15.99 2. Long-sleeved blouse – H&M, £14.99 3. Long-sleeved top – H&M, £12.99 4. CARTER Velcro Fasten Trainers – Topshop, £26 5. Black Wide Stripe Long Sleeve Step Hem T-Shirt – New Look, £12.99 6. Grey Floral Print Wrap Front Dress – New Look, £14.99 7. Green Animal Print Wrap Front Skirt – New Look, £19.99 8. Black Leather-Look Chelsea Boots – New Look, £27.99

Firstly, I love this damn bag. Most of mine are huge so a structured smaller one like this would be perfect to take from day to night. I am also all over pyjama shirts at the moment. I can just picture this with skinnies and heeled boots and ughhhh yes come to me. I often find myself dressed in all black – so a versatile green shirt like this would help pull me away from that. I’ve also been dying for some sleek trainers and since Stan Smiths are leather, these ones look like a great alternative. I also wouldn’t have to tie my laces so that’s pretty awesome too.

Some may say I have too much stripy clothing but I don’t think that exists. This oversized jumper paired with a blanket scarf would definitely keep me happy and toasty. I also have a slight weakness for wrap dresses. I probably own about five but this floral one is super cute and, with the right accessories, I can see it taking me from season to season. I’m not really a skirt person but definitely want to change that – and I can’t say no to strangely coloured leopard print. And these boots, man. I must buy a pair of black boots every year but these ones are different, I swear! They’re flat, for starters. And New Look shoes never fail to impress me.

This was supposed to make me feel better but now I’m just poor and badly dressed.

Excuse me whilst I go eat some pasta for every meal of the week.

Seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Last October I arrived home from work to see that the online queue was open to buy tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I had no faith that I would actually manage to secure tickets, but I knew I’d hate myself if I didn’t try. THIS WAS HARRY POTTER WE WERE TALKING ABOUT.

So I sat and waited, periodically checking the tab, and then boom – I was in. Now at this point I didn’t know you could set a price limit for your tickets but this turned out to be a good thing, because the tickets I was offered were £60 and in the Grand Circle.

“AAAAAH WHAT DO I DO?”

“BUY THEM!”

“IT’S £240!”

“IT’S HARRY POTTER!”

My boyfriend swayed me. I clicked purchase. I was expecting buyer’s guilt to kick in at least once in the eleven months I’d have to wait until I saw the show – but it never did.

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So finally September rolled around and James and I hopped on a plane to London to have a week of Harry Potter madness. We saw the play on our second day. When picking up our tickets, the woman behind us asked the box office if she could buy some. Mate, I bought these tickets eleven months ago. Don’t even try me.

We killed some time in Foyles looking at books – some Potter, some not. Grabbed a drink in the cafe and headed over the show super early to queue for our seats.

Sorry to break it to you all, but I’m 100% about to #KeepTheSecrets. I’ll only let it slip that… the show is incredible. And that reading the script is not the same. I’ve seen a lot of negative stuff about The Cursed Child now but most of those people haven’t seen the show and are basing their opinion solely on a fraction of the experience. It’s a play, people, it’s meant to be seen.

Yes, there are some plot holes which contradict earlier established canon.

Yes, it does feel a bit like fanfiction.

Yes, reading the script isn’t a particularly enthralling experience.

BUT DAMN SEEING THE SHOW WAS MAGICAL.

The visual effects, the comedic timing, the incredible acting – particularly from Scorpius Malfoy. It was one of the best theatre experiences I’ve had.

A few days after seeing the show I started reading the script and whilst I’m enjoying it because hello I’m reading a new Harry Potter book, I can see that I probably wouldn’t have ‘got it’ if I hadn’t seen the show first.

I get that theatre is expensive and tickets are hard to come by, but if you ever get the chance please see the show. I went into it without any knowledge of the plot and enjoyed every minute. In fact, I was so mesmerised that I really didn’t notice the plot holes until later googling (my bad).

Overall, I just really wish people would stop attacking the show – or Jo Rowling. She gave us the books, she gave us the movies, and now she’s given us the play. Keep thinking of it as a nice addition (like the charity books) and not as part of the ‘Harry Potter series’ and you’re fine.

Seeing The Cursed Child was one of the best experiences of my life and I’ll be in awe of it for years to come. SORRY HATERS ‘CAUSE IT’S WONDERFUL. ❤

My Reading Rut: Part 2


I am terrible. Even with a job with a load of commute time, I have managed to get NINE BOOKS behind in my forty book reading challenge. I have no idea what I’ve been doing with my life but I’m trying my hardest to catch up during these last remnants of summer, before life starts getting crazy again.

I’ve currently read 17 books, but I’m not gonna spam you with all of that. Instead, here’s my thoughts on books five through nine instead.

It by Stephen King

This was the initial book that got me far behind in my reading challenge ’cause it took so damn long to get through. However, I did manage to catch up… and then fall behind again. I told you I’m terrible. My experience reading It went a lot like my experience reading other King novels – in that it starts off slow, I regret everything by the middle, and then the last third turns out to be some of the most gripping literature I’ve ever read. I won’t bother recounting the plot to you, as I’m pretty sure everyone knows the tale of Pennywise, but I will say this: it wasn’t scary. All my life people have been telling me how scary this book is. It’s not. I mean, I’m sure if I was been stalked by a weird creepy killer clown, I’d be terrified. But told on page, it just didn’t cut it for me. It’s an excellent book, but I’m sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I didn’t have the expectation that I’d be terrified by it. But I’m glad I read it in preparation for the film adaptations coming out next year!

I give this book: 4/5 unexplained child murders

The Magpies by Mark Edwards

After reading a book the size of my head, I needed something quick to bring me back up to speed, so I asked my mum to recommend a thriller for me to get addicted to. She gushed about this book for so long that I finally relented. But to be honest, it’s been six months since I read it now and I can’t remember a single thing about (my fault for leaving this post so long, I know). I can vividly remember every other book I’ve read this year, even last year in cases, but not this one. All I remember is that it’s a creepy thriller based around new neighbours and is a typical wtf-is-going-on-here type of novel. I don’t regret reading it, and I think I remember enjoying it at the time, but it’s definitely not a memorable story.

I give this book: 2.5/5 dead birds

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Continuing on with my quick-to-read thriller tactic, I went with another recommendation from my mother – but I liked this one a lot more! This is type of thriller I live for: creepy, evil, and rooted in reality. Even though my favourite genre is fantasy, I like my thrillers to be about real life maniacs rather than the supernatural. I read a lot books that follow the ‘x has the perfect life – OR DO THEY?’ formula and although they can get a little overdone, Behind Closed Doors was refreshingly sinister.

I give this book: 4/5 secret pleas for help

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

The last of my thriller binge (until this point, at least – old habits) and it was another good one. It’s a movie, so I’m sure y’all know the plot – but basically the protagonist has some form of amnesia and is being cared for by her husband – or is she? Pretty standard thriller stuff but made for a gripping read. The ending was particularly satisfying, which is always a worry when I read thrillers. Sometimes it’s as if the writers are so excited to reveal the solution that they miss out a tonne of context. My only criticism would be that sometimes it was obvious that it was a male writer behind the woman’s voice – too much talk of her naked body to be believable sometimes. If I woke up with no memory of the last few decades, I’d have bigger concerns than my saggy boobs.

I give this book: 3/5 secret phone calls

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Finally back on the horror game! Bird Box was creepy af. Definitely one of those stories that works better as a book than a movie, which doesn’t often work in the horror genre. No clichés, no jump scares – in fact, jump scares couldn’t even possibly work in this story because most of it takes place with no vision. The plot of Bird Box is a mysterious disease has overtaken humanity and the only way to avoid it is to keep your eyes covered, if you see an infected, then you become one of them too. It’s a very isolated book for the most part, but that’s broken up with flashbacks to the beginnings of the virus, something which really helps to space out the plot. Again, not scary to read, but if that was happening in real life I have no idea what I’d do.

I give this book: 4/5 things in the shadows

Around this point I had finally rectified the damage from reading It for six weeks and was ready to start reading for fun again, instead of ploughing through thrillers which trick me into reading them. We are now up to April and soon will embark on some good old fashioned fantasy to suck me right back in again. I guess that post will be up whenever I somehow figure out how to read nine books (!!!!!!) in 24 hours. Seriously, how did I get this far behind? At this point, 40 books looks a long way off…

The Great Expat Dilemma: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Let’s get real for second. When I first decided to start my expat adventure I was a naive little 21 year old, fresh out of university, with no life or work experience. I was feeling defeated and like I was running out of options, regretting all of my life choices that had led me to that moment.

To avoid spending another minute wasting away in my teenage bedroom whilst all my friends went on to bigger and better things, I thought maybe I’d move abroad and teach English. I wish I could remember my thought process for deciding this, but I imagine a lot of it had to do with just wanting to prove that I could do something other than receive job rejection emails. Thus, I set myself a task to work towards (so my days could be spent doing something more worthwhile than watching Catfish marathons) and for the first time since education, my life had purpose again.

I chose my destination (Madrid), worked out my plan (to begin with a four week TEFL course and then wing it), bought my plane tickets, and off I went. Soon I was a qualified English as a second language teacher living in a capital city and hanging out with a crazy diverse group of friends. And my initial plan to teach English for a year and then head home then turned into two years with no plans to leave yet. But yet, that expat dilemma remains: when is it time to go home?

By moving to Madrid, I definitely accomplished what I wanted to do. Before I left I was crippled by intense social anxiety and could barely function in situations I hadn’t rehearsed in my head before hand. I couldn’t talk to strangers or look people in the eye or make small talk in shops. But moving to a place where you don’t understand a single thing anyone says, or have your mum to do things for you, really forces you out of your comfort zone. And whilst I still don’t revel in talking to others, I no longer feel like my throat is closing up. I can navigate through life without that omnipresent sense of dread following me around – and let me tell ya, it feels super refreshing. I recently spent a few weeks in the UK and had multiple people comment on how different I was so. So life experience? Check.

Another thing I wanted was work experience. And whilst teaching is in no way what I want to do with my life, it pays the bills whilst I embark on multiple unpaid internships – something that definitely wasn’t available for me in a place like Hull. I’ve managed social media accounts, learnt CMS, written articles about things I knew nothing about before I started – aka I’ve basically become a digital media wizard. So whilst teaching isn’t exactly where I imagined I’d be at 24, I’m getting that much needed experience all those “entry level” jobs somehow expect you to have already. It just took me a little longer to get there and I’m talking about verbs whilst doing it. Work experience? Working on it but let me give it a preemptive check.

So after doing everything I set out to do (and spending double the expected time here), why am I still in Spain? The simple, gross, and horribly cliché version is that I fell in love. With the city, with a dude, with my entire existence here. And why ruin a good thing? I’ll stick with the cheap wine and sunny weather and good Mexican food, thanks.

But another major factor in my decision to stay in Madrid is that I don’t know what would happen otherwise. Here I know I can keep getting teaching gigs, keep living cheaply, keep enjoying this big city life I’ve grown accustomed to. Before I moved here my life was so uncertain – whether I’d get a job, be able to move out, the sensitive state of my mental health, etc etc. Shit was scary, but here I don’t have to worry. As I keep saying over and over again, this definitely isn’t where I expected to be, but as long as I’m paying the bills, having fun, and improving myself as a person, I don’t see what the problem is. I may not be as far along on the career ladder as my classmates but look at all that sexy life experience I’m racking up. And I’ve learnt more Spanish talking to supermarket cashiers here than I did in in four years of German in high school, so there’s that.

So although expat life has its flaws; friends leaving every year, language barriers, and cultural mishaps – and even though Spain is definitely not the utopia all those retired Brits make it out to be, it looks like for the moment I’m here to stay.

A misleading title? Mayhaps. ‘Cause I have no freaking idea what I’m doing with my life other than enjoying it. But at 24, I think maybe that’s okay.

OOTD: Take Meow(t)

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Omg an outfit post! Omg an outfit post in the form of a mirror selfie! How 2012 of me. But it’s this or nothing when it comes to fashion posts now so we’re gonna have to deal with it.

I’m currently in the UK which means I can actually wear more than a scrap of fabric without melting, so I’ve been revelling in the fact I can wear more than my two 40-degree weather suitable outfits. One of my favourite ones so far has been this baby, because I’d never be able to wear this much black in August in Madrid.

The shirt is a new buy and I didn’t waste any time in wearing it. It’s covered in pictures of cats which is a great look at the rest of my life. I got it from Next and it’s got a great boxy fit to hide all those yummy English food babies I’ve been suffering from lately. It came in useful for this outfit, as the skirt I’m wearing is my mum’s and two sizes too big for me. Awks. The oversized shirt did a good job of covering up the ugly belt I was using to keep it hoisted up.

I’ve finished it up with my trademark bowler hat- although I recently did venture into H&M territory after finally giving up my trusty Topshop hat. The shoes are also H&M, although are looking a bit worse for wear recently, but who wants to pay more than €10 for shoes? Not me!

Here’s where it gets fancy, the bag is Marc Jacobs and the sunglasses are Versace. And that is why you buy €10 shoes. Just kidding, that is why you search through the wastelands of TK Maxx. £20!!! Crazy!!!

But the real star of the show is obviously my PopSocket, which makes taking super attractive selfies so much easier. Just kidding – I still look like a potato but at least I don’t drop my phone anymore.

I head back to Madrid next week and once it finally starts getting under 30 degrees I hope that I can finally wear some interesting outfits again. And force James to take pictures of me. And force you to look at them. Hopefully they’ll be cat themed.

15 Months Of Growing Out A Pixie Cut


In 2014, I got a little antsy and switched my long blonde hair for a brown bob.

Around the same time in 2015, I took it a step further and lobbed off my hair into a pixie cut.

And in 2016… I didn’t do anything because I’m still living with the consequences of my last major haircut.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my pixie cut grow out story.


May 2015 wasn’t the first time I braved a pixie cut, so I thought I’d be able to handle the change. But this brief stint into pixiedom only lasted two whole cuts. On my second visit to my hairdresser, pleased with how she’d cut my pixie the first time, I asked for it to be slightly shorter. I believe my exact words were ‘the bottom of my ears’ but I guess she heard ‘the top of my ears’ and thus a way shorter pixie than I had anticipated was on my head. Scarred from this traumatic experience, I set out to grow my hair back. And now, in August 2016, I finally feel like I cut my hair this way on purpose rather than looking like I’m growing out a year old mistake.


By August 2015 I felt that only the fringe was growing and not much else. I hadn’t had to face the dreaded mullet cut yet and it could still pass as a relatively cute haircut, even if it was a little bit Early-Years-Justin-Bieber for my liking. However, this was when I realised just how long it would take me to get my old hair back.


In October 2015 I begrudgingly got my first official hair cut of the grow out stage. By this point in time I was already spending my entire life searching Pinterest for ‘how do I grow out a pixie cut please help??????’ and knew that to go longer, you have to go shorter. This annoyed me for 2 reasons: 1) at this stage  you’re clinging to every milimetre of hair you own and practically measuring it when you wake up in the morning and 2) paying normal prices for a haircut when the stylist is taking literally less than a cm off the length seems a bit stupid to me, but whatever, I digress. I was relying heavily on hats a lot at this time and doing anything to liven up the emo fringe that was taking up 2/3s of my face.


When December 2015 rolled around I had defeated my first enemy: the emo fringe. It was finally starting to look a little less like a pixie cut, but unfortunately I definitely still looked like someone who was growing out a pixie cut – because no one in their right mind would cut their hair like this. I was trying to kid myself that it looked like a short bob, but it definitely didn’t. My styling technique here was to just tease my layers into every direction imaginable to try and give the illusion of length. It didn’t work.


By March 2016, the unthinkable had happened: it kind-of-maybe-was starting to resemble a bob. A very short, very layered, very shaggy bob – but a bob nonetheless. The month prior to this I had dyed my hair a bronde-y colour to help numb the overbearing feelings of hatred and frustration I felt when I looked at my hair. And yes, that was my first trip to the stylists since my trim the pervious October. I committed the cardinal sin of growing out a pixie: I let myself get a mullet. I’m so sorry. Do as I say, not as I did: cut your hair!


Which brings us to May 2016, a year after the initial cut. I think at this point you actually could consider my hairstyle a bob without lying to yourself. I had passed the point of needing regular trims (needing and actually getting are two different things) and no longer felt the need to inform people that I was growing out a pixie and didn’t willingly choose for my hair to look that way. Some people may say that this 12 month point marks the end of my hair journey, but I disagree. At this point I was relatively happy with the overall length of my hair, but the shortest layers of my original pixie cut still hadn’t fully grown out. I felt like I had two seperate haircuts: a bob and then an even shorter bob sat on top of it.


So here we are at August 2016. It’s taken about fifteen months, but I’m finally happy with my hair and can officially end the pixie grow out saga. I’m still not perfectly satisfied with those pesky layers, but they’re getting there, and the hat can hang out with us until they’re ready to the join the rest of my hair down by my jawline.

I may not have grown out my pixie cut in the most graceful way possible, but it eventually got to where it needed to be. The first eight months or so were the hardest to navigate, but after that I think I finally found my groove. There were definitely moments were I wanted to give up and just accept I’d have to have a pixie cut for the rest of my life, but as long as you keep pushing forward and reminding yourself that it will grown back eventually, growing out a pixie cut isn’t as terrible as it first seems.

Tips For Dealing With Growing Out Your Pixie Cut:

  1. Get regular cuts, people. Even if aaaaah money. Remember: ‘bite the bullet, stop the mullet!’ Trademark Rosanna Parrish 2016.
  2. Find out what accessory works for you and run with it. I am a hat person, but you might be a scarf of a headband person. Invest in a couple and you won’t hate looking in the mirror so much.
  3. Use this time of having the same haircut for a year to experiment with colour. I’m usually a platinum blonde, so this time I worked my way up from bronde to ash to my usual light blonde. It definitely killed some time.
  4. And most importantly: Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest! You’re welcome.

The Numbers:

  • Total Time: 15 months
  • Number of Cuts: 4
  • Number of Dye Jobs: 3

Next stop, the cool girl lob!