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Hen Weekend Post!

3 Jul 2015

I have been so busy with uni deadlines recently I've barely had a life (or managed to blog!) However I am loving my current placement which is keeping me sane.

Last weekend, I headed off with my school friends to Bath for the hen do of one of my besties Hannah. It was brilliant getting to hang out with my team of fantastic girls and getting exited to be bridesmaids in August!

We stayed at Harley Street Townhouse which was a beautiful, huge building - perfect for a glamorous hen. I have a huge temptation to contact the owner and ask what paint colours they used! It was just by the Royal Crescent which we obviously had to see!


On Saturday morning, we all got up and went out Punting which was one of the most frightening moments of my life! I genuinely thought I was going to fall in every time someone moved! We also kept going round in circles and crashing into innocent boaters. Safe to say we were useless. Here's me with the maid of honour who is also called Hannah.





We managed to dress the bride Hannah up which she was not happy about! Here's her punting with some others


It was such a hot day, most of us got some sunburn, despite the bride shouting "no strap marks for the wedding" at all of us! I think it was a joke?

We then went into town and visited The Makery where we made our own knickers! We were given a pair of big white granny panties and lots of tools to customise them


We brought our own afternoon tea to the event too which was awesome!

The whole afternoon involved lots of pink wine, shouting "bum ruches" (to make the pants smaller and sexier) and negotiating for the best lace. It was great fun!


The result was lots of white panties with lots of bum ruching!




Finally we got back, and after lots of showers, cocktails and me practicing Hannah's hair styles (I'm doing hair and makeup for the bridal party... I may be mad) we had a big meal with lasagne and a gin bar (which you can see in the background of this photo of me and Hannah





I managed to get everyone to pose for a group photo finally!


After the meal, we played Mr and Mrs - the maid of honour Hannah and some others managed to contact the groom-to-be Will for answers to some funny questions. Hannah then had to guess what answer he gave - if she got it wrong she had to have a shot, if she got it right she got to nominate someone else to have it. Sadly, Will went for really soppy, loving answers which Hannah wouldn't normally guess (he knew his audience) so she had to drink a lot of shots!

We then cracked out the penis cake I made! It was the only penis reference from the whole weekend so it had to be an inappropriate one. I made the chocolate pubes by melting chocolate in a bag, snipping off the end and swirling the chocolate onto greaseproof paper!


As the night wore on, the photos get a little stranger...



Yay the bride and all the bridesmaids!


I think I quite suit a veil, I might start wearing one every day.

The next day, hungover, we all traipsed home for baths and relaxation! There are rumours that the bride was sick into a carrier bag on a train but these remain unconfirmed! It was a really enjoyable weekend and I can't wait to see the girls again at the wedding! In the mean time, Hannah and I have an appointment at MAC in Southampton on Sunday to get some bridal makeup ideas!

My holiday to Sorrento

12 Jun 2015

Long time no blog! My doctorate is manic at the moment, but I managed to find time for a holiday! Today's post is long and photo heavy!

We went to Sorrento in Italy. It's somewhere I have wanted to go since I was a little girl. My Nanny and Poppa used to go frequently and talk about it as a really glamorous, beautiful place which sparked my interest. I also really wanted to go to Pompeii and see in real life all the interesting things I saw on documentaries. This year, my boyfriend and I decided to go finally!

We stayed in Sorrento at an AirBnB apartment in the historic centre which was beautiful. It was a really great price, and perfectly located down a small lane off the historic centre. We had a small flower shop right outside our flat door


On the first day, we were tired from travelling so we stayed in Sorrento. We walked around the lanes and went to the harbour. As Sorrento is built into a cliff, there aren't any beaches sadly, but the harbour is beautiful.

All throughout the lanes are little alleyways with interesting things to see


There was an abandoned mill at the bottom of a valley, with a casual main road living next to it! 



That night we went out for dinner at Ristorante Da Gigino which was amazing! We had a carbonara and a traditional Pizza which had barely cooked mozzarella on. Delicious! 

I wore a necklace I'd bought from a market in Sorrento, my Long Tall Sally palazzo trousers and my New Look crop bardot top



The second day we explored Pompeii. We booked a tour which was fantastic, and then spent some time on our own exploring after.

In the brothel there was a menu of rude images! Can you believe these are from around 70AD!



The casts of bodies were so surreal and sad.


According to our guide, all the animals in Pompeii ran away just before the volcano erupted (something to do with them sensing it) so there aren't many animals. This dog was chained up and couldn't escape. It was incredibly sad to see him so contorted.










The streets were amazing. In many places there were deep grooves in the stones from the chariots, which were all standard sizes.

Vesuvius eerily looking over the city.


We then walked across the city to the large amphitheater where there was a special exhibition of the casts.  I hadn't realised that the bodies weren't found like this. Apparently when excavating, archaeologists found hollow sounding areas. Someone filled one with plaster and chipped away to find the hollow left from a body (which had decomposed, leaving bones). there are skeletons within the casts. 



I found it quite frustrating that some of Pompeii was closed and not kept properly. It left me wondering if Italy has so much history, maybe it's not that important to them in the scheme of things! 

That night we came home and again napped, showered and got dressed up for going out. 


I'm wearing a lace crop top from TFNC and gingham Capri pants from Peacocks! That night we went to Tavernallegra because it was high on Tripadvisor. It was nice, but I'm easily embarrassed, and the staff are not! The manager was singing almost all the time, then they brought out this "love volcano" for a couple on a date and sang them a song about being married for a long time and gave us all tambourines! The manager and guitar player were going table-to-table serenading, so we wolfed down our food and legged it before it was our turn! It all felt very surreal! 



The next day we went to Herculaneum, which is a smaller town ruins near Pompeii. Due to the way the volcano erupted, Herculaneum was coated in a thick layer of boiling mud rather than pumice, meaning the wood and food was preserved!


 This amazing mosaic was on the wall of an office. Mosaics were always on the floor, so this was impressive


When initially excavated, archaeologists thought the people of Herculaneum had been successfully evacuated because they didn't find bodies like in Pompeii. Then the most recent excavation found the old boat house which was on the shore (until the eruption caused a few more km of land to exist!). There were 300 skeletons huddled up in the arches of the boat house, waiting for rescue. It was haunting. You can see them behind the ropes. 


Herculaneum is tiny and very quiet compared to Pompeii. The main reason is because it's less well known, but also because it was harder to excavate. Furthermore, the modern city of Herculaneum has been built on top of most of the ancient city so will probably never be uncovered. 


On our second last day, we went to the island of Capri, which was super easy by boat from Sorrento. 


Leaving Sorrento



Capri is absolutely stunning. It's really mountainous and gorgeous. As it was a hot day, we dived into the nearest bar for a drink or two before adventuring from Marina Grande to the main town of Capri


We then got a bus up the winding roads to the rival town of Anacapri which is up a steep cliff. In a packed bus, going round the winding cliff roads at high speed was terrifying.


From Anacapri you can get a chair lift to the highest peak. It was fantastic! It was quite scary because I am scared of heights, but I was distracted from my fear by the amazing view and peace. Being in a noisy town, it was glorious to be swinging around in the warm air, ankles grazing plants in people's back gardens and only being able to hear birds singing. 




I don't think I really wanted to leave Capri but we came back to Sorrento that afternoon for dinner at Meating Sorrento - a fantastic steak restaurant. Sadly the red wine, hot sun and limoncello shots got to me and I was a little sick. It was very embarrassing! 

On the last day we went to Naples by Circumvesuviana train to see the Archaeological Museum which housed all the treasures raided from Pompeii and Herculaneum. It was amazing to see and really worth the trip, although again sections were closed due to staff shortages, as my Lonely Planet book suggested they would be. Naples itself I found to be quite rough and I was relieved to get back to Sorrento at the end of the day. 

Overall the holiday was FANTASTIC! I want to be back there now. It was so incredibly beautiful and there was so much to do and see. I would have liked to do an Amalfi Coast tour on top of what we did but we didn't have time. I would definitely use AirBnB again and I would highly recommend Sorrento to anyone who wants a lovely holiday with delicious Italian food. It has really sparked a passion in me to learn Italian and how to cook Italian food (even if we did have the best kebab ever there at Kebab Ciampa!) Go, have lots of gelato in interesting flavours and just sit in the open air people watching! It's brilliant! 

I knitted the Pandora Diamond Lace Sweater!

23 May 2015

As most people know, I love knitting. I find following a pattern, counting stitches and thinking about the process really relaxing and it takes my mind off a busy day. I guess it's like mindfulness in a way - when I'm knitting I'm in the moment, creating something which gives me a sense of pride!


Anyway, my recent projects have been little fiddly things like this bride and groom for my BFF Becky

So I decided to make something a bit bigger. I normally knit things and give them to other people (whether they want them or not) so it was a big deal that I made something for myself. Becky and I have a shared knitting pattern Pinterest board and she pinned the pattern for this jumper which was called "diamond lace sweater". It was posted as a free PDF from Prima magazine (the link is here), although I have since discovered the pattern was called Pandora and was from Rowan Seascapes.

The suggested wool was Rowan Savannah, although to my dismay they stopped producing this yarn a while ago. I couldn't find enough in the colour I wanted, so I had to find an alternative. I have discovered in my years of knitting that alternative yarns are fine for small items or things you don't have to wear, but when it comes to clothes, it really matters (I knitted Sam a cardigan for Christmas this year and it came out tiny as I used the wrong yarn! It doesn't matter that they were both called chunky, the one I used wasn't chunky enough. I get to wear it though!). I found Ravelry  a good source of information on the weight and texture of the yarn suggested so I could compare it to other yarns, and I also found Yarnsub - a fantastic website which scours the databases to find close matches to the yarn you are asked to use! I ended up using Sirdar Cotton Rich Aran in Double Denim which I got from Hobbycraft! I thought I'd need 6 balls, but for the small size I actually only needed 5. The yarn is 60% cotton and the way it is spun makes it light, comfortable and soft. It's also not shiny which I think makes it look a bit more expensive.


The pattern is really chunky, in garter stitch with the lace motif. It knits up really quickly and would have taken me about 2 weeks to knit if I hadn't have started a new project in between! The jumper is so light and airy which will be perfect for the evenings on holidays! I am really proud of it and it's knitted up to a good size. I can't wait to wear it! 
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