Friday, 30 April 2010

London Calling

Oh, London!

I'd never really been a huge fan of yours. You seemed too big, too loud, too busy. Full to the brim with people, with too little space to accommodate them all.

Last weekend you won me over.

From the moment I arrived at Euston until the moment I stumbled back onto the train, tipsy from gin and tonics drunk by the canal, I don't think I stopped smiling.

Reasons I love you:

Frozen yoghurt shops (I confess, they reminded me of time spent in New York)
EAT on every corner. Ever since I stopped working in Manchester I have so missed the Ham and Jarlsberg baguette joy. Although it's not very Slimming World friendly so maybe that's for the best.
The Wellcome Collection. I loved it. With all my (slightly weird) heart.
Macarons. PAUL, Laduree, Fortnum & Mason. I tried them all. I loved them all. I think Laduree just edged it, although that may have had something to do with the sparkling company.
Walking along the South Bank in the sun.
Greek food by the Thames, with a view of St Paul's Cathedral, with some more sparkling company.
Plus lots of gin, lots more lovely company and lots of cakes. Oops.

London, you've stolen a piece of my heart.

I'll be back soon, you can count on that.

Helen xxx

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Tea time

Is there anything more gloriously British than a nice cup of tea?

Earl Grey, Lady Grey, English breakfast, peppermint, green tea with mint. Ah, I love them all... and so many more.

Tea saves the day.

Had a shock? Have a cup of tea.
Had some bad news? Have a cup of tea.
Feeling thirsty? Have a cup of tea (it's refreshing, apparently).

The water at work has been shut off for the last two days due to some builders making lots of noise and doing some work on the pipes (I just saw them drinking a lot of tea. Ironic, given that I COULDN'T). It eventually got turned back on at about 3.30 this afternoon.

What was the first thing we did? Dash to the toilets to flush them repeatedly and cackle maniacally? Douse ourselves in gallons of water, just because we could? Indulge in a water fight?

No. We put the kettle on and made a brew.

Sometimes I really love being British.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

London, baby

London tales to follow. 

Once I've stopped weeping into my macaroon-less Northern life.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Plane plane go away

Does anyone else kind of miss the ash of doom?

I know it caused problems for thousands of people and, of course, I have huge amounts of sympathy for those who were (and those who still are) stranded by the volcanic ash cloud. Those whose holidays were ruined or cancelled or extended when they really couldn't afford for them to be.

But I miss the clear blue skies. Deep, unbroken blue.

The peace and quiet in my garden on a Saturday afternoon.

The sheer bizarreness of a volcano causing so many problems in this technologically advanced world.

When the planes began flying again (Thursday, was it?) it was a strange sight. When I saw my first I felt like one of The Others on the Lost island. It seemed odd that there was something in the sky, other than birds or clouds.

It's strange how soon you can adapt to change, how soon you can adapt to something being missing. Or, in other cases, never adapt at all. I've been feeling a little melancholy this week and I've been unable to put my finger on the reason why. Then, driving home last night, a song triggered something in my mind and I realised... sometimes, just sometimes, I can't help but wish that he was by my side.

When will I adapt to that absence?

Friday, 23 April 2010


I'm off to the big smoke on Sunday...

... and I'm tremendously excited!

I haven't paid a proper visit to the capital of this fair isle for years. I don't think last year's fleeting plinth vist counts as a 'proper visit', as fantastic (and surreal) as it was, so I'm hoping to actually see a little bit more of the city this time and actually do some things that I've never done before.

Numbers 13-17 from The Big 50 will hopefully be crossed off (is it wrong that the thing I'm most looking forward to is a Laduree macaroon?) and I'd also like to go to the V&A if I get time. In amongst all my sightseeing I shall be meeting up with various people, including a couple of my favourite blogging/tweeting lovelies. Super excited about that.

Does anyone have any other suggestions/recommendations for things to do/eat/drink whilst I'm darn sarf?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


Reason #1 that I am a benevolent boss:

I buy icepops for everyone and keep them in the kitchen freezer.

Come! Work for me! I'm fun!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Starbucks, I need a word with you.

I love you, you know I do. But lately you've been letting me down.

You get my drink order wrong every single time.

How difficult is to get a grande, skinny, iced latte with an extra shot? I know I'm awkward but I don't think I'm that bad.

No, I don't want syrup in it. No, I don't want any milk other than skinny. Yes, I want an extra shot. Yes, I want an ICED latte, even in this cold weather. It's just how I roll. Today you had to make my drink three times before you got it right.

I'll never leave you though, don't worry. I just wish you could make more of an effort in this relationship sometimes.


Helen xxx

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Invincible summer?

This weekend has, quite frankly, been bloody marvellous.

Summer was here, if only for one day (today is disappointingly cloudy) and the gin and tonics flowed plentifully. Add a barbecue with my friend E, Britain's Got Talent (Kevin Cruise, Tobias Mead and Tina & Chandi being personal highlights) more gin and tonics and dancing the night away and that's pretty much the perfect day (and night) right there.

More sun please. Soon!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Take me back...

I have got the post holiday blues. 


Today, not only have I managed to unintentionally be a giant bitch to someone I love, I've also managed to spill boiling hot fennel tea on my legs and stand on my sunglasses. I would like to rewind the day and start it again. Or, even better, skip to the end and pour myself a large gin and tonic.

I would rather be here....

With her...

Drinking this...

And eating this...


More Barcelona photos can be found here, if you so desire...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


... and not loving it.

Things I have learnt:
  • If you walk 10 miles in a day whilst wearing flip flops your calves will not thank you the next day. Or the day after that.
  • It is possible to eat nothing but croquettes, calamari, chorizo and patatas bravas. No fruit, no vegetables, no healthy food of any sort. Slimming World will not thank me next week. Neither will my thighs.
  • Cava, beer and sangria are all MARVELLOUS. Not that I didn't already know that. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded though.
  • It is not always sunny in Spain. And the rain does not always stay mainly on the plain.

Possibly the best holiday ever. However, I've been up since 5.45am and am now feeling the effects. More pictures and tales of mischief tomorrow, when I'm back on top form xx

Monday, 12 April 2010

Guest Post: Reasons to be Happy

 All photos by Amy

Yay, guest blogging! This is my first experience of it, so I apologise if this post is rubbish. I’m rather nervous – my own Blog is filled with my pointless posts that are written off the top of my head about whether or not I like what I had for breakfast, but Helen appears to put rather more work into her Blog than mine…

But anyway, I digress. I asked Helen what she wanted me to write about and she said “Things that make you happy”. What a wonderful topic. There is surely nothing nicer in this world than feeling pure and simple happiness, that warm tingly feeling in your tummy, and that glow of satisfaction that colours everything around you in pastel shades of perfection.

Sunshine makes me happy. Yesterday was the first day of real sunshine this year, and it was glorious. Sunshine leads on to other things that make me happy too, like my old, scuffed black dolly shoes with embroidered white flowers that I can only wear when it’s warm. In fact, the spring wardrobe in general makes me happy. Winter fashion is fine, and very nice with its dusky pink scarves and woolly bobble hats, but in spring it’s all about flowery tea dresses, pink crotched cardigans, and opaque tights in bright block colours under little black skirts. And, of course, spring leads on to summer, and summer is the season of bare legs, bright yellow skirts and flower hair slides pulling back messy curls…

Of course, summer doesn’t just lead on to pretty clothes. Summer is full of things that make me very happy indeed. Summer for me is sitting on the grass whilst freckles bloom on my face, wandering hand in hand round the fields surrounding my village whilst the dogs run around in stupid delight, finishing work whilst it’s still light and sitting in the garden to watch the sunset, the sky lit up with gold and orange and red. Simple things, but they can cheer me up for days.

I’ll stop this now before I start to ramble, but here’s Amy’s Tip For The Day. As soon as you’re finished reading the post, or doing whatever Very Important Thing you are/should be doing on the computer, find something that makes you happy and do it. Do it straight away, no matter what it is. Call up your favourite person, watch the film that makes you love life a little bit more, bake a cake and eat the mix before it even gets to the oven, ride the bus until you run out of fare, anything. Life is too sad nowadays. Make yourself happy.

Amy xx

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Guest Post: Why Helen is awesome sauce

by LizSara aged 32 and a few weeks

Well hello darlings are you missing H yet? While she's off eating her own body weight in Spaniards she threw a little request out for guest posters...and here i am.

First a blatant plug, I'm LizSara and i blog (sporadically) over at If Music Be. Come see me and follow my tweets m'kay?

Now all that 'networking' is over and done with lets get on with the real stuff. I was considering this on the walk home from work today and i thought that actually there are tons of reasons why lovely H-bird is brilliant. For a start she not only has a proper job and shit but she's also a volunteer in whatever spare time she has. That's some big-uppity coolness right there.

Then there's the fact the girl parties like a rockstar - i mean have you heard about the 3 day hangover yet, and that was only last weekend? Seriously makes me feel old (yes i am aware that i am indeed old hush up).

Plus there's the way she's kicking butt and taking names at Slimming World AND being brave enough to blog about it too.

and finally

I want this and i also NEED both of these, also these babies are too cool for school. Lets face it, we all love her - the girl is


L x

Friday, 9 April 2010


Pineapple, blue sky, green tea.

These are three of the things that make me the happiest.

Do you know what else is making me happy today?

In 24 hours I will be in glorious Barcelona! Where it will hopefully be sunny! And warm!

I intend to bathe in patatas bravas, douse myself in sangria and gaze upon pert Spanish bottoms. And so much more.

In my absence there will be a couple of guest bloggers popping by to keep an eye on the place. Do make them welcome, won't you?

Have a fabulous weekend my lovelies. I'll see you next week! xxx

Thursday, 8 April 2010


Today I love:

Eating melon at my desk (Melons was my nickname at University, much to my chagrin)
Yellow shoes (always and forever)
Three shot iced skinny lattes
The Markus Lupfer lips jumper that will be winging its way to me very soon (I finally bought it, hurrah)
Tulips and daffodils in abundance, and.....

...... the SUN!!!

What about you, my little treasures?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Bunny! Egg! Hangover!

Merry chocolate egg day! (or resurrection of Jesus day, if that's your bag)

I hope you're all having a fabulous four day weekend (if you're lucky enough to work in a job that gives you Bank Holidays off) (today I am mostly qualifying statements) and enjoying some much needed rest/raving/sleep/DIY.

I'll be in Nottingham when you read this, probably weeping in a gutter with only my hangover and the remnants of a kebab for company. I'm off to the land of Robin Hood for a friend's 40th birthday party and am ludicrously excited. I've spent most of the week admonishing my thighs and boobs in an effort to shame them into reducing their epic proportions and fit into the dress I want to wear. I don't think it's worked. The thighs have cooperated nicely, the girls not so much. Harlots.

Anyway, enough about my boobs, how've you been?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Umb-er-ella, ella ella

When I saw the umbrellas in the hall at work yesterday I wondered if they were having a little party. Bitching about their human owners, discussing the weather and whether or not the famous 'barbecue summer' would arrive this year.

Does anyone else think about things like this?

No? Oh.