Things that have been irrationally annoying me this week.

Hello gang. It’s me again. I’m not really sure what’s going on with me but it’s like I’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for posting as many times as possible on here. I mean there’s worse things I could have become obsessed with; I just hope my incessant typing/need for all your approval and attention isn’t getting on your nerves haha.

January is legit the longest month of the year. Financially and emotionally speaking of course, it genuinely feels like New Year’s Day was about 3 months ago. Don’t get me wrong it’s been quite a good month for me, I’ve been trying much harder with my blog and smashed my goal for this month as well as beating the amount of pageviews I had for the previous two Januarys. So I’m buzzing with that! With that said, I think as much as I like to keep my blog and my social media’s a relatively upbeat, positive place. That being said I want to take this opportunity, on the eve of brexit, to have a real ranty post. I’ve done a few posts now on listing various weird and wonderful things that make me quite happy so I thought I’d do a similar little same, same but different vibe and have a written moany rant instead.

Should I officially change my name to Simone seeing how much I enjoy a good moan and a whinge?

  • People who ask for your advice then proceed to keep asking you for your advice until you tell them what they want to hear.

This really rattles me cage. I don’t mind this a couple times y’know we all kinda just want to hear what we actually want to hear. It’s nice to feel justified in our feelings and that someone agrees with you. But let’s be real sometimes you need someone to be honest and upfront with you; whether you want to hear that or not.

  • The price of a cocktail.

Look, I like a cocktail as much as the next basic hun but why are they all so expensive? All I want is a pretty drink but why do I have to spend £15 on two sips?

  • People who don’t wave up at crossings or in their car when I let them pass. 

This is not Abbey Road and you are not The Beatles. A simple wave, a hand up, a flick of the wrist.

  • The Weather.

spoken like a true brit.

  • Dumb life quotes you see adorned on mugs or as a wall art decal on the living room wall of the girl that used to bully you at school. 

I’m talking about the ‘live,laugh,love’ people or my LEAST favourite proclaiming I’ve got the same amount of hours in a day as beyonce <<<<3333. Yes we may have the same amount of time in a day, Sharon, If anything, thanks to daylight savings time I might have a fraction more BUT I DO NOT HAVE BEYONCE’S RESOURCES. What type of dumbass thing to live by. Y’know who’s also got the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce? Charles Manson and so does Donald Trump and so do I. So what point are we trying to prove here?

  • ASMR vids

They’re just not for me. Noisy eating makes me want to vom I don’t wanna hear that even more intensely in my earphones.

  • Business jargon

This. Frys. My. BRAIN. I cannot deal with these silly little phrases that bosses and any form of management use to feel a bit more important excuse me whilst I go ‘cascade my thoughts back down to the lower management team’ someone pls hold my hair back whilst I vom.

  • Cardamom pods

I’m sorry I just don’t like them. It brings me immense sadness when I chomp into one mid indian takeaway.

  • Brexit

As of writing this the United Kingdom has left the United Kingdom and tbh everything to do with BrExIt MeAnS bReXiT has done my head in for the last four years. I’m really hoping and praying that this monumental decision will work out okay for those it’ll affect the most and those generations to come.

  • Coronavirus

I’m trying my best not to freak out about this. I’m anxious at the best of times and I’m trying to figure out whether I actually need a reason to panic about something else. I’m not sure how much of this information I’m reading about is genuine and how much is scaremongering. I’m like is this cold I’ve got the same cold I haven’t been able to shift since Christmas or is it gen Coronavirus?????

  • When you’re telling a story and then realise no one is ACTUALLY listening…

STORY OF MY LIFE. Is there anything more eye-roll worthy than when you realise that you’re speaking about something and no one is actually listening. You try to be that despo person and make eye contact with someone to garner some attention but alas to no avail. Urgh.

  • Other drivers

I like driving but I don’t like many other drivers. Slow drivers always seem to be out in full force especially when you’re already running late (do they know srsly??) fast drivers that are literally right up your butt as you’re driving the speed limit. Drivers that don’t indicate. Drivers that indicate for ages so you have no clue where they’re off too. Want me to go on?

  • Accidental social media liking

Y’know when you’re mid stalk on someone’s Insta profile and aaaaaaaaaaaaccidentally double tap on something and whoops that big red heart appears on the picture and you can feel your belly DROP. Yeah that feeling. There’s only pictures so far back on someone’s grid you can try to blame that on Instagram’s shoddy algorithm.

  • People FaceTiming in public

Live your life, do what you wanna do, it’s a free country but it freaks me out when I’m sat in Bath City Centre happily munching on my 3rd sausage roll on a lunch break when someone sat on the bench next to me gets me in shot as they’re having a video call with their grandma.

  • Smelly food on public transport

Smelly food in office spaces also applies too. Sorry but it’s dead rude to pull out your durian smoothie and your sushi on an already hot, cramped train carriage.

  • Clothes shopping

At the moment this is something that is proper irking me. Lately everything I’ve liked hasn’t looked at all like the image I saw on screen. Shopping in a clothes store gives me the fear as it’s usually so hot and stuffy, busy and every collar has a smudged foundation stain.

  • Katie Hopkins

No explanation needed but she can get in the bin can’t she?

  • People who complain about l i t e r a l l y anything. 

You’ll find these people front and centre of any customers service desk in any shop around the world. They’ll be loud and proud on your local town’s Facebook page annoyed that the local Kebab shop has changed the brand of ketchup and it’s an absolute outrage. Get a life Janice.

  • Hangovers

JEEEESUS. I know when people said that hangovers get worse as you get older but I’ve just turned 25 and felt like death for a few days. Honestly I would welcome intense dental surgery over the after effects of a few tipples now.

  • When you see your online order is coming with a super unreliable company

Is there anything more annoying than seeing your exciting internet present is being delivered by African land snails in 3-5000 business days.

  • Jim Davidson

 

  • When you’re tired but you can’t sleep

Is there anything more annoying than when you’re laying there literally counting down the hours of the amount of sleep you’ll get and the amount is getting less and less. 

  • Applying for jobs and never hearing anything back

The job hunt is a job in itself. From polishing up your CV to scouring your local area and the web for any form of employment. So please don’t be rude and ignore someone’s efforts. A simple round robin email is suffice enough to let someone know you won’t be taking their application any further.

Aight, so that’s that for now. Before I think myself, and you lovely lot, into a proper bad mood. But before that please do indulge me in what annoys you more than anythingggggg.

Places I’d Love To Visit Across The British Isles

I really enjoy travelling to new places and exploring somewhere I’ve never been before; whether abroad or in my home country.  I’ve lived in the UK my whole life and I haven’t actually seen a lot of it, I always feel a bit silly when I think of all the tourists that come from all over the world that come to stay on these British Islands and I’ve barely seen the places other than a double tap on Insta! If you follow me on instagram you might have seen I’ve been a lot more active over on my page in the last month or two sharing my photography, what I’ve did, done and seen. Most of which is from these wonderful British Isles.

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So as you can see i’m a big advocate of exploring what’s on my own doorstep, although as much as I’d love to travel the world, I’ve developed a bit more of earth conscious over recent months and my purse is a bit conscious of excessive travelling too! Having said that I still don’t think I could afford to travel all over the UK; I’ve devised this list to share some of the fabulous places I want to add to my UK bucket list.

Winchester

Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire. It actually isn’t too far from where I live and for some reason I’ve still not got around to getting there myself! They’ve got a wonderful Christmas market each year, plenty of historic sites including the Cathedral and so many interesting independent shops and foodie spots I’m dying to try. 

London

I’ve been to London plenty of times before but there’s still so much of it I’m yet to see and do. One of my aims for 2020 is to FINALLY get round to meeting my fave ginger person and dear blogging friend, Tanya, from Glamglitzgloss fame! as she’s a fully fledged Londoner I’m hoping when we get round to meeting up when we can venture round some of the best kept secrets! 

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Margate

Margate is one of Kent’s most famous seaside towns and has been voted the third trendiest place in the UK. I really like the architecture I’ve seen and the amusement park Dreamland looks dead cool. I’m not sure who decided it was the trendiest place though mind, is it a bit like when your mum says you look reeeeeeeeeaaaaallyyyyy trendy…as you quickly go and change your clothes again because you probably don’t look all that trendy?

Channel Islands

I’ve been to Guernsey once when I was little and Jersey a couple years ago for a week for a work thing but I’d love to go back. If you visited these little islands in the English Channel you’d mistaken for thinking you were somewhere in the Med. They’re steeped in history, quaint and have so much character. I’d really like to go back and visit Jersey again as the main town was so lovely as were all the people. 

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Cotswolds

I’d really like to take a trip or two to all the sweet little villages dotted in an around the Cotswolds area. It’s very picture perfect and the type of towns you’d imagine on the front of a pretty postcard. 

Yorkshire

I’d like to explore the towns and villages of the Yorkshire dales. Preferably in an old land rover, wearing welly boots and a barbour jacket like I’m actually in Emmerdale. 

Liverpool

Can you tell I’m an absolute sucker for influencer marketing. I’ve been thoroughly influenced to travel up to L’Pool ASAP based solely on the things i’ve seen people getting up to, photographing and eating in and around the Scouse city. I’m a big fan of The Beatles so I’d like to see all of the touristy bits to do with that as well as exploring all the fab foodie finds.

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Newcastle

Howaaaay man how could the wonderful Newcastle not make it onto the list. I’ve been lusting after this place ever since I can remember as I’m a liiiiiittle bit obsessed with how you all speak; there must be a reason you’ve all been voted as having the friendliest accent. I want to walk alongside the Tyne river, take a trip through the underground city tunnels and go on a proper exciting bar crawl through the city like I’m actually on Geordie Shore but hopefully I won’t embarrass myself half as much. 

Edinburgh

I’ve never been to Scotland but would love to go. As a Harry Potter fan there are so many places throughout Edinburgh that I’d like to pay a visit too. I’d like to amble up to Arthur’s Seat and take in the views before venturing back into the main city and eating myself silly on all of the shortbread and tablet. Well anything else carby that I can lay my eyes on to be honest. 

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Scottish Highlands

Sticking to the Scottish style here i’d love to take a roadtrip to the Scottish Highlands. My friend and I have discussed doing it before and the logistics of getting there, where we’d want to visit and how much it’d all cost etc. I think it’s just such a beautiful part of the world with such strong, stunning scenery from the rolling hills, steep mountains and fluffy cows, it’s definitely somewhere I’d love to explore with a camera in hand. 

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Dublin

Dublin is somewhere I’d love to take a trip to. Dublin on St Patricks Day is somewhere I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to take a trip to. I’d want to have a guinness at a traditional Irish pub, visit the brewery, trek around the pretty cobbled streets and eat enough soda bread and mashed potato to sink a ship.

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Portmeirion

Last but no means least is the pretty town of Portmeirion in Wales. I’m not really sure of the history of this place and why it’s so colourful and beautiful but looking at this picture you wouldn’t be shocked to find out this is actually a quaint little village off of the Amalfi Coast would you?

Is there anywhere you’d particularly like to visit in the UK? 

Little things that make me happy part #2

Long time readers of this site may recall the first post I did of this nature. It was in November on a Saturday and I was in the mood to write but I wasn’t sure what, so I thought, how about I just start by writing a list of things that make me happy and I’ll see where I go from there. See what inspiration I get. Turns out it just made me happy to write and write and write even if it was totally pointless, nonsensical things it made me quite happy to read it back to myself again. A lot of the things I’ve scribbled on here lately have been quite lengthy and quite wordy and that was the first thing I’ve written in a long time that I posted immediately without thinking about it, without second guessing myself or without thinking whether anyone will actually care. So here comes round two! I don’t know if this’ll be a regular feature but we’ll see.

  • Paris.

 

  • Cobbled streets.

 

  • The first bite of something delicious.

 

  • Thank you letters.

 

  • Toasting marshmallows.

 

  • Giving gifts.

 

  • Crumpets that are so thickly laden with butter it oozes out the bottom.

 

  • Long train journeys with pretty views.

 

  • Hot chocolates that are capped with a snowy mountain of whipped cream, marshmallows and other toppings.

 

  • Hotel breakfasts.

 

  • Warm mittens.

 

  • That feeling you get when you’ve been out in the cold and then come back inside and run your hands under cold water and everything feels hot.

 

  • The smell of blown out candles.

 

  • Rock pools.

 

  • Tangerines.

 

  • The smell of hot weather.

 

  • Lava lamps.

 

  • Big, exuberant pieces of costume jewellery.

 

  • Licking the cake mix bowl.

 

  • Going out for coffee or brunch.

 

  • Dipping buttery bread into hot soup.

 

  • Mr Whippy ice creams.

 

  • Those two pence arcade machines at the seaside.

 

  • Photo booth pictures with friends.

 

  • Sugar lumps.

 

  • Coffee shops with steamy windows.

 

  • The smell after the rain.

 

  • Little villages where everyone says hello to one another.

 

  • Big cities where no one knows your name.

 

  • The colour magenta.

 

  • The word magenta.

 

  • Mashed potato.

 

  • Chasing the sun.

 

  • Dogs in little coats.

 

  • Fresh herbs and spices.

 

  • Twinkly lights.

 

  • Twinkly eyes.

 

  • Turning the radio on and your favourite song comes on.

 

  • Long hugs between old friends.

 

  • Dessert.

 

  • Vanilla pods.

 

  • Love.

 

  • When someone remembers a small detail about you.

 

  • Window seats.

 

  • Kind, chatty taxi drivers.

 

  • Exploring somewhere new.

 

  • Hidden treasures.

 

  • Fictional pirates.

 

  • Childhood teddy bears.

 

  • Roaring fires.

 

  • Old pubs.

 

  • Old pubs with roaring fires.

 

  • Old pubs with roaring fires and a pub dog too.

 

  • Long, hot baths.

 

  • Quick, cold showers.

 

  • Getting something for a cheaper price than you anticipated.

 

  • Brighton.

 

  • Honeycomb.

 

  • Food markets.

 

  • The smell of fresh fruit.

 

  • Belly laughs.

 

  • Family.

 

  • Pizza.

 

  • Fierce loyalty.

 

  • Cheesy chips.

 

  • Rocking chairs. Unless they rock on their own then they can get far, far away from me.

 

  • New beginnings.

 

  • Genuine smiles.

 

  • When the fresh heat hits you in the face when you get off of an airplane.

 

  • Afternoon teas.

 

  • Midnight feasts.

 

  • Tales from someone’s youth.

 

  • Tattoos.

 

  • Freckles.

 

  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

 

  • Snow days off of school.

 

  • Singing loudly in the car.

 

  • Stars.

 

  • Free food.

 

  • Writing on the first page of new stationary.

 

  • Glam makeup.

 

  • Poloroids.

 

  • Quick downloads.

 

  • Kindness between two strangers.

 

  • The Beatles.

 

  • VW Beetles.

 

  • Actual beetles.

 

  • Seeing people who actually enjoy their jobs.

 

  • Babies laughter.

 

  • Mojitos.

 

  • Actually any cocktails really.

 

  • People with natural style.

 

  • Having that Friday feelin’.

 

  • Long weekends.

 

  • Jennifer Aniston’s agelessness.

 

  • Red lipstick.

 

  • The weird yet wonderful names of different paint shades.

 

  • Terracotta.

 

  • Writing poetry.

 

  • Receiving poetry.

 

  • Wandering around supermarkets late at night.

 

  • Creative souls.

 

  • Black cats.

 

  • The stillness after a storm.

 

  • British seaside towns.

 

  • Piers. (As in the long promenade stretching out to sea…not the egotistical Morgan kind that presents breakfast telly).

 

  • Boozy brunches.

 

  • Board games.

 

  • Nicely filed and polished nails.

 

  • People with gumption.

 

  • The word gumption.

 

  • Castles.

 

  • Cosy jumpers.

 

  • Scratching an itch that’s been bothering you all day.

 

  • Spa treatments.

 

  • Reaching the top of a steep climb. Both metaphorically and literally. Well done you.

 

  • Proving people wrong.

 

  • Family traditions.

 

  • Odd sayings only mums/middle aged people use.

 

  • Luck.

 

  • Power of magpies.

 

  • Cream cakes.

 

  • The feeling after a run.

What to see and do in Salisbury, UK.

When you think of Salisbury the first thing that probably comes to mind is a certain news story that hit the headlines last year. Before that you might have belonged to either the camp that had never heard of Salisbury or the one that knew it was near Stonehenge. I know I’m totally biased but I think it’s high time I show that there’s so much more to this beautiful, medieval city than that. Salisbury is my hometown after all so if you aren’t visiting JUST to see the city I was birthed then I want to introduce to you all these wonderful, culture delights.

TOURISTY HOTSPOTS

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Stonehenge

High up on this list of things to see and do has to be Stonehenge. This prehistoric stone circle is found just two miles outside of Amesbury and is probably one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. It attracts visitors from all over the world so whilst you’re so close; why not tick this one off of your bucket list too.

Woodhenge

Not many people have actually heard of Woodhenge as it turns out. I’ll be honest I didn’t even know it was a thing up until last year when I went there in the summer on a day out with a friend. The neolithic timber* circle is just two miles from Stonehenge and you can enjoy some glorious views of the area from here. *I say timber but I think the original timber circles were burnt down and have been replaced with concrete pillars made to look like timber. Sooooo maybe not quite as impressive as the henge made of stone but still pretty cool.

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Cathedral

The infamous Anglican Cathedral. Whether you’re really into early English Gothic architecture (this building is one of the greatest examples of that. The main body took 38 years to build from 1220), a bit of a fan of tall cathedral spires, standing at 404 ft it’s the tallest in England and attracts tourists from Russia all year round! But seriously it’s a totally gorgeous cathedral, go for a meander round the cloisters and you can even take a look at the Magna Carta inside the cathedral too.

Old Sarum

Old Sarum is an english heritage property just a few miles outside of Salisbury city centre. It is the location of the first settlement of Salisbury with evidence of it dating back to 3000 BC. It’s super interesting if you’re interested to hear about the vast history of this place and in the evenings you can catch a stunning sunset there too.

Wilton House and Gardens

Wilton is a small town just on the outskirts of Salisbury and is home to Wilton House and Gardens. It’s been open to the public since the 1950s and has been used in different tv and films, from The Crown, Pride and Prejudice to Tomb Raider. Fancy, eh!

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FOOD AND DRINK

For my favourite part to talk about we move onto the best place to eat, drink and be merry in the city. I could tell you there’s a whole host of chain restaurants you could visit whilst you’re here but regular readers and people who know me, will know that’s really not my thing. Especially when you could try something a bit different why stick to the same meal you could get in any chain restaurant up and down the country.

Tinga

Tinga is an independently owned Mexican bar and restaurant in the middle of Salisbury city centre. As soon as you enter you are completely drawn in by the colourful, eclectic interior and the gorgeous food matches that vibe completely. I’m usually hesitant about places where they say there is a little something for everyone but they cater to meat eaters and not forgetting us pesky vegetarians and vegans too. They specialise in mexican small plates giving you a fresh opportunity to try something a bit different, like cactus enchiladas for instance! Before them I had never even heard of this!

Craft Bar @ Salisbury Arms

One of my favourite pubs in Salisbury. It’s got a really lovely, relaxed feel throughout, they do great cocktails and even better burgers. I cannot rave about these burgers enough.

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Anokaa

Anokaa is a modern Indian restaurant that is always high up on my list of places I recommend around here. It’s such a wonderful dining experience, the food is exquisite and on selected nights they have live entertainment like a magician going from table to table or belly dancers entertaining the diners. They have an offer for a lunchtime buffet as well and that really is worth every penny in itself.

Market Inn

You might have guessed by the name but the Market Inn is in the centre, overlooking the marketplace. They serve great drinks, even better food and make for great company too if you just wanted to pop in, rest your feet and chat with the bar staff over a cup of tea or two.

Allium

Relatively new to Salisbury is the independent, family run, fine dining restaurant; Allium. Situated above the market square, this restaurant is perfect if you want to treat yourselves to a memorable feast.

Baroushka

Baroushka is a fabulous middle eastern restaurant that I adore. Middle eastern food is probably my favourite cuisine and a trip to Baroushka can tickle all my fav taste buds (cheeky). Whether you want to graze over a selection of mezze dishes or jump straight in with one of their mains either way you’ll be in for a treat. Just make sure you’ve left enough room for a pud.

Cafe Diwali

Cafe Diwali serve exciting Indian street food dishes teamed alongside traditional craft beers. It’s such great value for money and you get such a big portion which I LOVE. If you like your Indian food, I’d definitely recommending popping in here for a lunchtime treat. It can get busy (which is ALWAYS a good sign) so best to ring ahead first! I wrote about my first visit here.

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Old Ale and Coffee House

My gastropub of choice when visiting Salisbury I always head here. They serve lush, locally sourced may I add, homely dishes but what’ll keep you coming back again and again is the homely atmosphere, the drinks list as long as a piece of string and the cool decor. Whether you want to stay seated indoors, time it right and join in with the quiz or sit outside (weather permitting) in one of their cosy huts.

Caboose

Caboose is a fun, exciting and new 1920’s themed parlour bar a short hop, skip and jump from Salisbury train station. It’s very art deco, it’s very cool and would make the perf place for an Instagram set up. Cos life is all about the ‘gram sometimes.

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YoYo Bar

YoYo (You’re Only Young Once) is a retro chic bar home to every cocktail you could imagine. Whether you want one to yourself or fancy a kitsch teapot full for two (biscuits included FYI) you’ll have an evening to remember…or not depending on how many cocktails you can drink.

ARTS AND CULTURE

If you’re not dazzled by all the touristy bits, can’t eat anything else in case you might burst and aren’t tempting to wander round all the high street shops you could always check out some of the other things that are going on in and around the city. There’s usually something going on either in Salisbury City Hall or in the Playhouse if you are lucky and can manage to get some last minute tickets to something or if you planned it all in advance.

Just outside of Salisbury is the Sculpture Centre set in the middle of the countryside. They often run events so whether you want to get involved with that or immerse yourself in the exhibits they’re currently holding. You’re sure to have a fun and different day out.

SPAS AND SALONS

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Vita Skin Spa

Vita Skin Spa is home to a broad range of spa, skin and body treatments. Whether you’re male or female, going on your own, as a couple or part of a pamper party you’ll be treated like royalty during your stay.

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Lime Tree Spa

Lime Tree Spa is the boutique spa within Milford Hall hotel offering plenty of different treatments and packages whether you’re looking for a complete switch off from reality or a nice mani/pedi to perk you up and make you feel a bit more special.

WHERE TO STAY

There is an abundance of hotels, b&b’s, Airbnb’s and serviced apartments dotted in and around the Salisbury area so whether you wanted to stay central to the city itself or explore somewhere a bit further afield.

Depending on how you travelled here; there is a station central to the city centre and from there you could get to:

  • Bristol
  • Bath
  • Southampton
  • Winchester
  • Bournemouth
  • Exeter
  • London

Buses throughout the city are fairly regular and reliable (pls don’t hold me to this and come back and tell me off if yours was 3 minutes later than usual tho. Like i’m not magic) so you could go on a sightseeing tour and get to see the touristy bits that way or even head into the New Forest.

I thiiiiink i’ve just about covered everything?! I’m a firm believer there is going to be beauty everywhere and whenever you look for it. I hope you liked reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it up. I’m thinking of going into 2020 with some more of these posts lined up of places i’ve visited in and around my local area. As much as I’d like to travel the world, my budget might not quite cover it plus I’d really love to be able to explore much more of the UK, my own country first as well. There’s so many places I’d love to visit properly and not just double tap on my Instagram explore page.

What’s in my handbag?

Hiya huns! How’s your weekend been? Mine has been quite outdoorsy for a change. It’s been really sunny and warm which I think is a little bit weird for the UK nearing the end of October; considering it’s usually a bit colder and wetter around about this time!

I thought for today’s post I would share an absolute blogger favourite AND blogger basic. It’s almost like a rite of passage to bloggerhood to post the notorious ‘what’s in my handbag’ post.I fancied throwing it back to my old blog days with engaging in more tag posts and more personal posts so you can get a chance to get to know a little bit more about me. Or if you want to mug me in the not so distant future, think of this as a preview or what you could have won.

bag flatlay

For my everyday handbag I actually have a backpack from H&M I purchased last year. I like a handbag or a shoulder bag but sometimes I find that it makes my arms and shoulder really ache whereas I can just shove all my stuff in a backpack and carry it with ease. So many shops have such funky types these days. Especially ones that really don’t look like you’re about to hike up Everest which is always a massive plus.

bag contents flatlay

Aside from the loose change, endless wrappers, hairbands and receipts stashed in my bag I nearly always carry these items. I always like to make sure I’ve got paper, in the form of this lovely red leather bound notebook I picked up in TK Maxx last year and a pen. It’s so useful if I need to write a list or if I need to remember something. I mean a pen and paper are always going to be handy?! I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me as you never know when you might need some shades!

I’ve got a River Island tapestry style purse that I purchased YEARS ago actually. I like it because the pattern is a bit different and it’s actually reaally big with a clasped section one side and a card holdeer on the flap as well as a big coin section.

I carry some perfume at the moment I’ve got Paco Rabanne Black XS. It’s quite a sweet, fruity and floral scent you can wear either day or night so it’s perfect for any occasion.

I think it’s always super handy to keep a little pot of Nivea’s all purpose body creme. I love the smell it always reminds me of my Mum. Plus it’s great to use as a hand cream, to feel a bit fresher or even in the colder months to dab onto skin to avoid it drying out.

I’ve pretty much always got a couple of lipsticks floating around the bottom of my bag usually in nude tones and a pair of earphones.

Lastly, and probably most weirdly. I carry dog kibble. I have a dog and I think I must have left them in their from when I take him out on his walkies. I always carry them with me now, luckily they don’t make my bag smell!

What are your essentials you always carry with you?

MUCH LOVE. X

Is Arm Candy legit?

chanel bag set uoSome people love shoes, some people love jewellery, I love handbags. I have done since I was a child and I genuinely had the biggest collection of bags for any normal teenager. I must have drove my parents bonkers with it! I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with designer handbags as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have that sought after item, the best of the best?! Shortly after I created this blog I entered in a competition to win a designer handbag of my choice. If I’m being completely honest, after I entered I completely forgot about it until a week or two went by and I got a call from an unknown number up in Manchester. At the time I was getting so many scam calls that as soon as I saw this flash up I remember tutting, rolling my eyes and thinking ‘Nope I CBA with this’ so actually declined the call. Little did I know it was actually Rob from Arm Candy ringing to say I was the closest guess (I was one out I believe) and I had won a Chanel handbag. Aka the bag of my absolute dreams.

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A few minutes had gone past and I then get a notification on my mobile with a voicemail, baring in mind at this point I was still thinking it was some dodgy company trying to convince me I was owed PPI. I remember thinking the cheek of this one, not only trying to scam me, but to leave a voicemail too!?! Clicking play and putting it on loudspeaker, my mouth genuinely fell open as I heard ‘Congratulations you’re this week’s winner Abbie! You won your Chanel handbag’. So much so I had to replay it about 87 times, making sure it wasn’t someone I knew pulling the most convincing prank with the most convincing northern accent I’d ever heard!

Needless to say, I rang back within about 0.0003 seconds and still couldn’t quite believe it. I still live at home with my family and when my parents and sister came through the door they were even convinced it was too good to be true. After much emailing back and forth I arranged to meet Rob and Gary in a hotel bar in my town. We had some building work at home and also just in case this wasn’t legit I had my mum and sister with me! After a quick chat it was time for me to open the big black Chanel carrier gift bag i’d been eyeing up the whole time and when I did, It was even more perfect than I  imagined!

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There’s a handful of reasons as to why I decided to write this post today, for one, I feel like I go on about my experience with them and can’t stop going on about it. I am typically not a lucky person yet still won. I think they’re ruddy fantastic. Secondly, I get quite a lot of page views on the original post I wrote about my experience with arm candy (here) and a lot of emails and questions about them. Whether it’s about their authenticity, if they’re legit or whether there is a sure fire way to win! If you hadn’t heard of Arm Candy until today (well babe where ya been?) it’s a competition site where in which you select the dream designer handbag of your choice, guess the numbers of sweets or candy in a jar and if you guess the correct number or the closest to it you win. Easy as that! You can see why some people deem it too good to be true?! It certainly sounds it. But I can totally promise you it’s 100% legit. So much so I’ve put together, along with the help of the lovely Rachael aka the marketing marvel over at Arm Candy, a little Q&A with all the most frequently asked questions I receive and what Arm Candy is really all about.

How did the idea of Arm Candy Handbags start?

Rachael: Well we knew that girls love handbags! And lots of people aspire to own a designer brand. Most people might be unable to purchase one with the big price tags, so we wanted to help make those dreams a reality and provide people the opportunity to win one – but with a bit of fun!

How did you decide to have a competition of counting sweets in a jar?

R: The name came first, so then the game came quite easily after that! We knew that we wanted our competition to be a game of skill, and with “candy” we instantly thought of sweets! So guessing the number of sweets in a jar seemed a fun and fair game, that’s easy to understand.

Do you get these made up in shop or do you do it yourselves?

R: We started out purchasing from local sweet shops, however we thought it would be more fun to make them ourselves! By doing them ourselves, it means we can create jars around certain themes, add lots more variety of sweets and make them look more exciting!

Who counts the sweets? 

R: Every Monday morning after the competition close two members of the Arm Candy team will conduct the official count and film it for its authenticity. One person counts and the other keeps a tally, so we can double check our count.  And don’t worry we wear gloves when counting the sweets for health and safety reasons, as one thing that not many people know, is that the lucky winner gets to keep that jar of sweets to enjoy!

Would you ever post a video of the sweets being counted after every weekly competition comes to a close?

R: Yes as we film all of the sweet counts, we post them to our Arm Candy You Tube channel each week so people can watch them if they wish! We recently even did a Facebook live count which went down really well! We think everyone loved real-time nature to see how close they were to winning! As it was such a success, we’ve decided to continue using Facebook live for the first Monday of every month.

What happens if no one who enters comes close to guessing the correct number?

R: The great thing about Arm Candy, is that there will always be one winner each week! It is rare that someone doesn’t guess the exact count, but if that does happen then we go to the closest guess. Also if there is more than person who guesses correctly, then they all go into a tie break process where they have one guess with a new jar of sweets. The tie breaker that guesses correctly from the tie break jar then is the winner! The best bit, is that everyone who is in the tie break, get a £50 Selfridges voucher so they can still treat themselves to something nice!

Several people think these competitions seem too good to be true! What do you think it is about Arm Candy that makes people question its authenticity?

R: I think it’s the fact that you can win your dream designer handbag for as little as £2! And as it’s a game of skill, everyone has an equal chance! We’ve even had people win on their first ever time of playing! We’ve also had people question our winners videos, whether they are real or staged with actors. All those videos are very much real people, winning their dream designer handbags. Everyone reacts differently when they are on camera and we have some that are over the moon ecstatic and some winners who are very shy and don’t react in that same way. We respect all our winners and never force them to act in a certain way, we try to keep everything as natural as possible.  

I get a lot of pageviews on my blog post about winning my chanel bag (seen here ) from last year still from people wondering if this is legit. What can we do to prove to people this is very much real? 

R: I believe the winners are the most important thing here! Without them, we wouldn’t have Arm Candy! People believe other people! We try to post as much content about our winners, as we do about the designer bags and the competition itself. That’s also why we personally hand deliver each bag to wherever the winner is within the UK. We like to do this, not only as we love to meet our players and the lucky winner! But also to make sure we get some natural content to prove that we are a real competition, and that we are genuinely giving away an authentic designer handbag, to a real person!  

Would you ever think about branching out and stocking watches or purses?

R: We definitely have thought about the future of Arm Candy and whether that involves branching out into complementary items. In the short term, we do plan to run special one-off campaigns that will include bonus prizes such as these.

Or even a men’s selection?

R: We have considered a man’s version, and we’d need to offer the right product as designer handbags might not appeal to the masses of men like they do for females! We have lots of exciting enhancements in the future of Arm Candy… watch this space!

How do you choose which bags to offer?

R: The Arm Candy team like to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of fashion, not only from the designer brands themselves, but what styles key bloggers and influencers are wearing. We try to provide a range that is suitable for many ages, styles and taste! We always love to get feedback from our fans as well, if they would like to see a particular brand or style on the site, we’ll always try our best! We currently only offer styles from iconic designers, however we are very interested to look into offering bags from up and coming designers and more unique styles on our site, if the Arm Candy fans would be up for it!

Which is the most popular?

R: By far Chanel is the most popular brand – when its available to win. We are limited on the number of times we can offer Chanel on our site, otherwise we’d love to have it available for our fans to play to win every single week! Aside from that, the other most popular brands are Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy. There collections are always gorgeous, and we always try to have a few different styles available to win.

I think it would be really exciting if you could add a feature so when you enter, you could input a phone number or the details of a family member or friend. So when the winner guesses the correct amount and wins, you could liaise with that person and surprise the winner with the bag of their dreams at work or wherever! Is this something you’d ever consider? 

R: It’s a great idea, and one we have considered as we’d love to be able to surprise the winner! However, the majority of the time we have a tie break situation, so we have to call the winner to tell them that they are in the tie break and give them the opportunity to provide their tie break guess. In this scenario, unfortunately having a surprise wouldn’t work for us at the moment, but it is really something we would like to try and incorporate in the future.

If you feel excited about the opportunity to win your own designer handbag, then we’d love you to play along with Arm Candy and you could be our next winner! Play along by clicking this link here!

AND if this isn’t reason enough to take a chance at winning the designer bag of your dreams for less than a price of a takeaway coffee, if you enter this week and you guess correctly, your dream bag will be hand delivered to you by none other than Jack Fowler aka New Jack from this years Love Island?!

Thanks so much for reading ya little hun, I hope you enjoyed this Q&A as much as I enjoyed doing it? ALSO, I hope you’re enjoying the fact I’m on here much more often. I’m thinking of doing Blogtober but I also said that last year, so we’ll see!

MUCH LOVES. X

Why quitting my job was the best thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now and actually put the thoughts and feelings that are sitting pretty in my head and heart into words for a long time. I was umming and ahhing about whether to write this for a lot of reasons; some of which you may not quite understand some of which may seem silly.  I didn’t want to be seen as ‘dragging’ or ‘slaying’ my previous employer and workplace for everything they failed to do for me, I also didn’t want to give the people who made my life a living nightmare a platform to make them seem like they’ve won when they really, really haven’t whatsoever. Moreover I didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t over it and that I was stuck in the past. Because I’ve got to the point by myself where I can reflect on it all and see it for what it was. A learning curve. And also I might be able to share and bond with those of you who may have or had similar experiences.

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I was in my old role from the age of 17 to 22. Those five years can be quite crucial in a young person’s life. That’s the time when you may typically go to university or go travelling and find yourself on a moonlight beach party on the shores of Thailand (cliche I know but ya get my drift!) I’ve always been one of those people that have constantly gone through life flitting from one idea to the other. When I was a child; I wanted to be a banker when I grew up. When other little girls were dreaming of being a ballet dancer or a fairy I had high hopes of working in Barclays. It was like I had the Clarks shoes equivalent of job aspirations. Sturdy, reliable albeit rigid and a wee bit BORING. I’d like to inject some excitement and adventure and claim the only reason I dreamt this was it would be a surefire and easy way to steal money and screw over the general public (can you tell I’ve been petty since birth) but in reality it was probably just that I was a big fan of their endless ballpoint pen collection and fine examples of neckerchiefs.

I mean, I’m sure if you took five seconds out of your day right now as you’re reading this to think back to seventeen year old you, compared to you  right now you’d certainly be a lot different, no? It’s only a natural part of life for you to change and flow freely with the direction life takes you. I am a strong believer, over the last few years in particular,  that life is fluid and everything that happens to you, that you go through or the people you surround yourself with shape you. I’ve never been the type of person to plan anything for a number of reasons. I love spontaneity and the actual thought of setting dates and goals for things leads to my very quick attention span getting bored; very quickly. Without going too hippy and quotesy on your butts but I like to think everything happens for a reason, sometimes I’m dumb and make bad decisions but it’ll still lead to something awesome…maybe. Hopefully.

In my full time role I quit in July I was a manager of a shop which was seen as quite an accomplishment aged 21/22. A lot of my friends, family and even strangers would comment on how great it was to get to that position at my age. I never really saw it as that brilliant if I’m completely honest, as it was merely I was in the right place in the right time and my boss wanted the position filled and I was happy to say yes to whatever was needed. A lot of the people I worked with weren’t really qualified to be in their positions they were in either. Nothing against them or the jobs they do because in my role it was more if you had more than one brain cell and could pressure sell you were basically ‘in’ with the in crowd. It was a role I never really aspired and dreamed of in the first place, it felt somewhat grown up, gave me a full time job that had a salary yet still paid peanuts compared to other positions in store management in other places. I didn’t want to go to university simply for the reasons I didn’t know what I wanted to do at all and I couldn’t stand sixth form so what hope would I have at getting through uni?! I was never truly happy in this role and it was something that I never felt that I excelled at in my heart more so something to help pass the time and to help fund my ASOS addiction too.

The decision that led to me leaving without a clear plan with what to do next started off as quite a difficult. I didn’t want to end up jumping from fat to frying pan as my dear parents would say and as I mentioned previously I was never truly happy in this role. For months and months I was constantly looking for something better to turn up or hoping a winning lottery ticket would fly into my hand on a rather blustery day.  I had bosses making my working life a misery, day in and day out, denying me annual leave, time off in lieu I was owed and throwing any obstacle in the way they possibly could. One of them infamously saying I couldn’t cope because I was a woman and had too many emotions. No hun, I worked three solid weeks without a single day off. You should have tried it some time? And another one saying he would never give any praise for anything as it is simply not his style. Misogyny and pigheadedness was though huh? I had a problems with my team members and not enough support where it was needed. So one fateful  day in May  a friend and I decided to go and see a psychic and she even said I wouldn’t be in the job I’m in for much longer. Little did she know I went back to work and a few days later my boss berated me for about 2 hours so I just decided enough was enough and handed in my four week notice without a care in the world.

This decision has taught me a lot of things and I can use this all as life experience to reflect on and learn from (God how annoying does this all make me sound)

To stand up for myself:

I was the youngest on my area and I didn’t have anyone ever stood with me when the going got tough, no support and no help. The way I would get spoken to sometimes by fellow employees, bosses and even the customers would often be completely unacceptable. I could laugh at it all at the time but the way retail workers get spoken to sometimes is completely shocking.

I grew guts:

Often I felt too scared to say anything other than yes to my boss in a weird innate sense to always look like a good employee and to please him (goodness knows why really) but now if anyone from work colleagues or even friends do something that I am not ok with I will be the first one to voice my concerns. So much so I went to a handful of interviews and even started a job and felt it feeling like my old position I knew I had to get away from.

I cut off toxic friends:

Similar to the above two points, I got treated badly by a workplace I am no longer accepting it in my life. It may seem fickle and fierce but I would much rather have one or two friends I could totally rely on that treat me with kindness and respect than a larger amount that follow the same values.

How to handle criticism:

I got a lot of stick from a lot of people I didn’t even think would judge me or care about my life decisions. A lot of people I thought I was close to spread it like wildfire and that really offended me as I didn’t want something that had really affected me mentally to be treated like playground chitter chatter. A lot of people felt like I needed an intervention for quitting my day job but to be honest I didn’t care about them and still don’t anymore to this day. They weren’t aware of the ins and outs of it all and the decision I made I don’t regret and still stand by.

I’ve learnt to accept the way it all affected me:

I didn’t realise how much it all had affected me mentally and emotionally working in such a nonsensically highly strung environment. Going from working 40+ hours a week to suddenly having all the time in the world on my hands took some getting used to. I felt very mentally bruised, paranoid and bitter and still do a little bit to this day but I have a new job now and I am feeling exponentially happier than I did ever.

I’ve learnt how to handle money better: 

Going from a full time job to nothing has the obvious concern of OMG HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO SURVIVE which is often what puts a lot of people off. I think it’s the main thing that puts a lot of people off. If it wasn’t for money and paying the bills would you be in the job you are in today? Luckily for me I had a good last payslip, got an amount of the holiday pay I was owed, have savings and still live at home with my parents to rely on as much as I like to be independent. I was adamant I wasn’t going to race back into a job and wanted to have some time to breath and actually enjoy my summer for once. I wanted to get back into the proper working environment at my own pace and into something I thrive in and makes my heart and soul happy.

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I don’t think I’ve ever felt as happy in myself as I have done at this present moment (maybe because i’m chilling at home in my comfies eating the remainder of the Christmas food) but I have a really positive and cheshire cat style smile on my face at the thought of a New Year and a new and improved Abbie for 2018.

I made a sticky toffee pudding!

Tell me one thing better than slobbing out in bed on a Sunday morning eating lots of warm, buttery toast and drinking copious amounts of tea? Maybe add in some easy watching E4 american tv show is on in the background, the sun is shining through your bedroom window and Tom Hardy is on his way back up the stairs with another round of breakfasty carbs.Sadly the last part for me didn’t come true, I can’t help but feel Mr Hardy keeps going to the wrong address for some reason? The main feeling that I get from that analogy is comfort. Sometimes that is all you need and it just does the trick. After a horribly long day, getting soaked in the rain on the way home and all you really want is deep fried carbs and chocolate coated errthang.

Creeping into the Autumn and Winter months and all I want to eat is sweet, carb laden foods. To be fair I feel like eating sweet, carb laden foods all year round but more specifically in the colder months. Comfort foods like jacket potatoes, mash potato covered in a thick gravy, pies and any of the types of foods you see on pub food menus that are hearty, wholesome and leave you feeling all warm and gooey on the inside. The more I’ve been trying to get better at cooking and baking the more I’ve realised how I find it so relaxing and therapeutic. It’s a good way for me to escape for a little bit and make a delicious little something to cheer me up, feed the family and also show off on instagram and twitter with a smug little ‘oooooh look what I made, and it was so simple and I made zero mess everyone’.

I decided to bake a sticky toffee pudding one afternoon basically because I really wanted to eat some. I always think of it as a typical pub grub pud  and one that would involve so many technical bits and foods it’s easier to bang a microwave one in your basket than make it yourself. But BOY was I wrong. I went online and had a scout for some simple recipes. I’m a simple type of girl I really can’t be bothered to flambe a fruit or what have you. Trust me when I say how easy this recipe is though and if I can do it I like to think anybody can!

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So I actually used a recipe from the Sainsburys Magazine website and you can use the same recipe found here. It’s a super simple recipe to follow I found and there were a few bits I either tweaked or skipped on.

For this super yummy slice of goodness you will need:

  • 250g of dried dates that have been stoned.
  • 75g softened butter.
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar. The recipe calls for light but I accidentally picked up the dark one whilst I was in Asda. It gave it a richer, more treacle like taste which I like anyway so win, win!
  • 2 medium eggs.
  • Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.
  • Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

That’s all the ingredients for the cake for the sauce you will need:

  • 100g dark muscovado sugar.
  • 100g butter.
  • 150ml double cream.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  1. Start off by turning your oven to 180c and lightly greasing a 20cm by 20cm tin. I love a thiiiiick slice of cake so I used a slightly smaller one than the recipe required. And also because I’m not a chef that doesn’t have ENDLESS supplies of different shapes and sizes in tins. That might have accidentally come across a wee bit passive aggressive but sometimes when you’re watching a cookery show (Love you Nigella but you’re the worst for this) they act like getting things like samphire, tagine pots and himalayan rock salt whilst living in deepest, darkest Dorset to be an easy; and cheap feat. It is not.
  2. Next take your dates and chop them up to smaller pieces. It’ll make it a lot easier on yourself when you come to mashing them later on. Once they are all finely chopped put them in a saucepan and submerge them in water and then bring it to the boil. Let the water boil for a few minutes. Then drain it and mash it until its a mushier consistency. I used a potato masher because I found that a lot easier, less messier and a lot less of a workout than using a fork.
  3. Whilst the dates were boiling I put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat it until creamed together. I had left the butter out for about half an hour so it was softened a little which helps it bind together a lot quicker.
  4. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter and beat until smooth.
  5. To the dates add the bicarb, it will foam up a little bit and then add straight into the batter mix. Following this add in the flour, spice and vanilla extract and gently fold in until it’s all mixed nicely.
  6. Pour this into your tin and then bake for about 25 minutes. Or until the cake feels firm to the touch.
  7. Leaving the cake to cool, I made a start on making the sticky toffee sauce. Putting the butter, sugar, cream and vanilla extract into a pan and bringing to a boil. Making sure all the sugar crystals have melted I poured it into a jug and left it for serving later.

I was super impressed with this AND myself for managing not to set anything on fire nor kill anyone. It was so yummy, food for the heart and food for the soul. I would totally recommend you trying this, I know a lot of people don’t like the taste of dates but they give it a fudgier, treacle like taste and you wouldn’t even know it’s there.

Sticky toffee pudding is one of my fav comfort eats what’s your favourite winter warmer?

 

 

I made a raspberry and almond tray bake!

I haven’t baked in ages, I know it sounds dreadfully lazy of but the thought of going to the shops, buying ingredients, the thrill of bumping into people I don’t want to see. Baking can be quite a lengthy process as well as incredibly messy maybe I speak for myself on that bit, but those things do put me off. When it’s so much easier to watch Netflix and order something unhealthy or living at home when my mum and sister are both confident cooks and bakers they do most of it. However, my sister is on holiday with her boyfriend this week and with a week of peace and quiet also comes a free kitchen space for moi. 

I spent this morning getting very distracted on Pinterest (why is everything and everyone on there so pretty?!) before I eventually searched for easy baking recipes. I wanted to make something easy and fruity. I know I’ve said before I have a big sweet tooth but when it comes to cakes or desserts I’d much rather opt for something fruity than sickly sweet like a double chocolate molten brownie. I spotted a recipe for a Bakewell tart and that’s one of my favourite sweet treats. It goes so well with a cup of tea or coffee but that recipe also called for homemade shortcrust pastry and macerated raspberries so it was back to the drawing board (or the Pinterest boards actually) so I just typed into google for a raspberry and almond cake and one of the top recipes that appeared was from the bbc good food website here. The method sounded super duper easy which sucked me in and the ingredient list wasn’t at all ridiculous so WINNING all round. 

If you want to recreate the recipe you will need: 

  • 140g ground almonds,
  • 140g softened butter (it didn’t specify salted or unsalted so I used salted as it didn’t say to add any salt in,
  • 140g golden caster sugar,
  • 140g self raising flour, 
  • 2 medium eggs,
  • Raspberries, 
  • Half a tsp vanilla extract,
  • Flaked almonds to top.

I freestyled a little bit with this one, I doubled the quantities, cake is one of the main food groups in my household and I knew this wouldn’t last more than five minutes. I also added in some almond extract flavouring. Me and my mum really like the almond taste and flavour so if you aren’t a big fan you don’t have to add it, and it’s still just as delicious. The recipe is so SO simple as well throwing all the ingredients into a mixer apart from the raspberries and flaked almonds, mix it through thoroughly and layer half in a lined tin. Dot some raspberries in the mixture and then pour the rest of the cake batter on top. I put some flaked almonds on top so they would crisp and roast up in the oven. The oven was on 180c and it took about 30-40 minutes. Leaving it to cool I then drizzled some icing over the top to finish it off. 


Not the prettiest picture as you can see it was starting to catch on in places. But I sprinkled a few extra flaked almonds over the top. 


Tastes prettier than it looks you’ll have to trust me on that one. 


I was really pleased with how this bake cake out, I was worried that with ground almonds and flour it might make the batter with heavy and dry but with the raspberries it added some extra moisture but didn’t make it have a soggy bottom either. Totally giggling at soggy botty aren’t I? 

For a quick, simple recipe I’d definitely recommend this one. It was super easy to make and didn’t take too long at all, so if you’re using up old ingredients in the cupboard, having a friend over at last minute or even baking with the kiddies this one is perf.