There’s something about the term staycation that makes me cringe, but it’s a phrase increasingly being used to describe holidays or breaks on home soil and is something we’re likely to continue hearing even more often during these still uncertain times.
As travelling abroad isn’t always advisable or even possible to certain places at the moment, earlier this month I went for a mini break in the UK for the first time in years. I have a slight obsession with outdoor swimming pools (only when the weather permits so usually abroad) so I chose Hurst Farm in Kent, close to the Surrey border, which boasts a sizeable outdoor pool for our staycation destination. As someone who grew up in London and now lives by the coast its not often that I’m surrounded by fields and country lanes but theres something quite grounding and relaxing about that kind of scenery.
The grounds are so pretty and feature a pond, garden full of flowers and fields galore, some of which are home to animals such as cows and sheep as it is a working farm. Victoria who runs the bed and breakfast was such a friendly, helpful and accommodating host and the breakfast was very tasty. The room was generous in size, cosy and comfortable and we had use of a kitchen area for making tea/coffee, snacks and a fridge which housed bottles of tap water.
For dinner both nights we chose restaurants in Oxted, which was around a 10-15 minute drive away. The first night we chose Cucina Italian Restaurant and the second we went for Thai Pad, both of which I’d recommend but I think Thai Pad was my favourite for the food, cocktails and atmosphere. On our full day there we relaxed by the pool and when the sun made a brief appearance it almost felt like being abroad. I even managed to get sunburnt! The pool was cold but very refreshing and it felt good to have a swim, even if it was a very quick one. I’d love to go back there on a scorching day to make full use of the pool.
If you’re looking for a country escape for a couple of days or if you love outdoor pools as much as I do I’d definitely recommend Hurst Farm
Up until early February this year I was getting through lockdown by concentrating on eating healthily during the week and exercising. Apart from some tiredness and feeling slightly under the weather, I was feeling fairly well and positive then my doctor decided to refer me to haematology after some blood tests results showed high platelet levels. Despite having a blood clot on the brain back in 2014 I assumed it was a one off caused by the contraceptive pill as no disorders were found at the time, so the call from a haematology doctor one morning whilst I was working from home took me by surprise. The specialists suspected I had Essential Thrombocythaemia (or ET, which is much easier to spell and pronounce, especially after a few cocktails) but needed to run a series of tests to confirm it. ET is a disorder where your body makes too many platelets which puts you at high risk of blood clots. My health anxiety shot through the roof and I struggled to eat and sleep for over a week but thankfully, I’ve come to terms with things a bit more now.
Being diagnosed with (an albeit slow growing) chronic blood cancer in your 30s is pretty scary and is far from ideal but it’s only now classed as a cancer due to the cells in my bone marrow mutating to create too many platelets and hopefully with treatment and monitoring, I can live a fairly normal life. I guess we all have fairly uncertain futures anyway, especially at the moment but hopefully the treatment will continue to get my platelets down, won’t cause too many side effects and with a bit of luck the illness won’t progress into anything more life threatening.
The treatment is called Peg Interferon Alfa which I have to inject once a week. The injection itself isn’t painful but my skin seems to react a few days later with itchiness, redness and feeling hot, eventually turning into an attractive bruise. I’m building up a collection of them at the moment so my days of looking semi decent in a bikini are probably over. I’ll have regular blood tests to make sure my platelets are reducing then less often once they’re at a normal level. As someone with health anxiety and aversion to needles this isn’t the best news but it can’t be helped and being monitored health wise is a good thing as any changes should get picked up and dealt with fairly quickly.
There’s still a lot I don’t know about the illness and everyone reacts to things such as medication differently. At the moment I have times where my energy levels are quite low and I often feel like I have a cold but other than that and putting up with the annoying skin reactions, I mostly feel OK. I don’t know whether I’ll always be so lucky but only time will tell. As things change and I learn more I’ll keep you all updated but at the moment I’m just trying to cope with it the best I can. Things aren’t as certain as I’d like but I suppose it could be a lot worse.
update 10th April
I don’t feel like myself this week and I’m guessing that perhaps the side effects are kicking in. Some days are better than others but my energy levels have been low, I have more aches and pains than usual and just feel under the weather. I’m starting to feel like someone who has an illness now. I just hope my body gets used to the medication and things improve in time.
With all the doom and gloom in the news currently it’s easy to get bogged down with negativity and fear but that doesn’t do us any good and if the current lockdown is going to last for some time, we need to try to get through it the best we can. I’m usually someone who worries about everything and can find the negative in every situation but I’m now making an effort to see the positives and try to find enjoyment in each day. Here are some of the advantages I can personally find in the current situation. Yours may be different but I hope this inspires you to find at least one good thing to come out of these uncertain times.
Not having to walk to and from work in the cold.
For some time I’ve referred to January and February as the wilderness months because they are usually the coldest months of the year and things are often fairly quiet socially anyway. In that sense, this lockdown is pretty well timed as the majority are working from home and don’t have to brave the elements to travel to their places of work. For me, it also means an extra hour in bed which is always a bonus.
Dressing for comfort
Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than getting glammed up but I’m a creature of comfort at heart and secretly rejoice that I can pull on joggers every weekday, rather than squeeze myself into smart work attire. It also means that the extra weight I’m carrying (mostly from Christmas indulgence) is free to roam and I can work to lose that weight in my own good time. As I only wear make up roughly once a week now, my skin also gets a break.
Time for workouts and preparing lunches
When I was working in the office, lunch would often be something fairly unhealthy from a local shop or takeaway but having lunch at home means I have much more choice and can enjoy meals such as stir fry, tuna steaks, freshly cooked halloumi and pasta dishes. I can also go for a jog/power walk during my lunch hour once a week which would not have been practical when working in the office.
Easier to cut out alcohol
With the bars, restaurants and pubs being closed I find it much easier to avoid alcohol. I’m sure that may change as the weather improves but for now I’m enjoying the benefits of reduced anxiety, slightly improved sleep, feeling less run down and using it as an excuse to eat my calories rather than drink them. (Not that I need much encouragement to each junk food)
Time to rest and for self care
My 2019 was manic and involved working hard and playing hard, rushing here there and everywhere, feeling like I barely got a moment to breathe. I miss socialising and seeing family and friends sooo much but I don’t miss the stress of rushing around and feeling like I spent my life on trains, in work etc. I suppose I should’ve been careful what I wished for but the past 10 months have definitely been a time to relax and reset. I have hermitic tendencies anyway and probably feel much less bored at home than most. Theres always something to read or watch, organisation or tidying to be done, content shooting to get on with and so on. Come Spring I’m sure I’ll be itching for a night out but for now I’m fairly content with magazines, Netflix and skincare.
I know it may seem like I’m clutching at straws here but everyone has different ways of coping with the strange world we find ourselves in. I appreciate that I’m very fortunate to be able to carrying on working and to do so from home and to live with my family who I get on well with. I really feel for those who are out of work or have to physically go to work everyday and those who live alone or have an unhappy home life. If you are struggling please don’t be afraid to ask for help or speak to someone you can trust.
2020 has been the year that we’ve had to press pause on life. It’s not been easy in such scary and uncertain times and who would’ve thought that a global pandemic would surface and bring everything to a standstill? Words such as lockdown, social distancing and unprecedented entered our vocabulary and wearing face masks (and not the skincare kind) became the norm. The worry and stress of the situation, combined with the economic impact and being unable to see friends, family and partners, socialise and experience normal life is having a massive negative effect on people’s mental health, myself included. It feels like we’re living in some kind of dystopian society that we’d previously only read about or watched on TV or film and I’m struggling to shake that surreal feeling.
Personally, I had quite a bit planned for this year including hopefully passing my driving test and working towards buying my first home but now, neither of these things are going to be possible anytime soon and the events of this year have made me re-evaluate things anyway. It honestly feels like I’ll never get my sh*t together but I’m grateful for the people in my life, my health and that of my loved ones, along with having somewhere nice to live and a job.
As we look towards 2021, gratitude and hope are all we have to hold onto. Things are still so uncertain and we don’t know whether there will be an end to the madness anytime soon but I’m trying to think positively. Lets also hope that appreciation for our NHS and key workers extends long into the next decade and that people actually start being kinder and less judgemental towards each other. Wishing you all a Happy New year and hopefully, a more positive 2021.
One thing 2020 has taught us is to support local and/or small businesses when we can. It’s been a tough year for most so this year, along with the big, established brands I’ve looked around for small, upcoming companies for purchasing Christmas presents for family and friends (and also the odd treat for myself) Here’s my little guide for stocking fillers/small gifts under £20.
The Body Shop has been around since the 70s and I have fond memories of the 90s when bath pearls were a thing and the smell of White Musk filled the air. I used to love the lipbalms when they came in the glass pots, especially the black cherry one, yum. The products are also cruelty free which I can always get onboard with. The’ve recently released a lemon scented range which smells so fresh and reminds me of the hot towels you get after a meal in some restaurants. Hand wash and santizer have been the must-have beauty items of 2020 so this squeaky clean pairing would make a great, well used gift.
Fudging hell, look at all that sweet, creamy goodness! The Fudge People, (instagram: @thefudgepeopleuk) based in Essex offer a range of yummy fudge flavours, including festive delights such as mulled wine and Gingerbread. As I wanted to try a variety of flavours I opted for the advent bundle which should see me through most of December. The only problem is, one square isn’t enough. They have an assortment of treats on their website and are definitely worth checking out.
Santa Baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring… (excuse the state of my hands) Chain jewellery has been a top trend this season and this gorgeous ring is both fashionable and stylish. Simply Valerie (@simply_valerie__) have some lovely contemporary pieces that would make the perfect gift. You can also use the code CHELSEY15 for 15% off
Who doesn’t love sweets? Sweet Envy (@sweetenvy_) are also based in Essex and they offer well presented boxes and cones full of scrummy sweets. They are ideal to give as gifts or to treat yourself with. It’s been a while since I’ve had penny type sweets so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed stuffing my face (and sharing them with my family of course)
Everyone needs underwear so why not make it comfortable, a bit sexy and stylish all in one? Lounge underwear encompasses all three and is reasonably priced but feels luxe. They have bralettes, briefs or thongs and loungewear so there’s something for everyone.
I hope this little gift guide has given you some ideas. I definitely enjoyed putting it together, especially sampling the sweets and fudge. ‘Tis the season to be jolly (or bit greedy) after all
Hello dear followers, (all 4 of you) it’s been a while. I hope you’re all holding up OK and coping with the new restrictions if they affect your area. I’m just holding on to the hope that we’ll return to a world without social distancing sooner rather than later but I can’t say I’m not unsettled by the uncertainty of it all.
Anyway, there are certain items, activities and people that seem to be celebrated in popular culture that I just can’t get onboard with. I hope I don’t offend anyone so please take this all with a pinch of salt as it’s just a bit of lighthearted fun to temporarily take our minds of the madness that has become life.
Lets kick this off with Thongs, a type of underwear so celebrated that Sisqo sang a song about it. During the time the song was released I was a teenager and my friends were obsessed with thongs (I think we all thought wearing one would make boys like us more, even if they never got to actually see it) and the trend for a thong poking out of your low rise jeans was prevalent. I couldn’t get on with them back then and I still can’t now. I’m a practical (read, boring) granny when it comes to day to day underwear – In fact, my nan’s underwear drawer is probably more exciting than mine but I’m all about the comfort. That’s why thongs are a no go for walking around in public as I’ll be constantly pulling at it, as if I’ve got a permanent wedgie. Not a good look
Now you’re familiar with the contents of my underwear drawer lets talk about wine. It’s such a cliche that women in their 30s love a glass (or bottle) or wine regularly, either to relax at home, with a meal or to get tipsy with friends. It also seems to be some kind of bonding nectar that brings people closer together. I used to drink rose and occasionally white wine around 10 years ago but it led to many a bad decision and epic hangover. Nowadays I find that wine is a headache & acid reflux attack in a bottle and it doesn’t even taste that great. I’m partial to a prosecco or champagne but too much of that aggravates the reflux and gives me a dry mouth. The joys of ailments increasing with age. Weirdly though I enjoy a glass of mulled wine at Christmas. It seems I’m a woman of contradiction
Weddings are everywhere – there are even various programmes dedicated to brides picking their dream wedding dress and it seems to be an obsession amongst society but the thought of getting married leaves me cold. All that attention on me and all that stress and money to plan it, I’d rather not bother. I’ve never been one of those women who has dreamt about her big day since childhood and the only thing that appeals really is the big party with everyone you’re close to (although those kind of gatherings are a thing of the past at the moment) Maybe one day I’ll change my mind but for now its a no from me.
Another unrelated picture
I can’t lie, I’m fascinated by the fact that most of them look like Bratz dolls but I just don’t get the obsession with the Kardashians/Jenners. They’re always in the magazines, with a slightly different nose to the one they had last month (miaow) or on TV grating on me with their nasal voices. I applaud the fact that Kim does charity work and I don’t think they’re bad people but there’s something so superficial about them and I’m just not interested in keeping up with them.
Which brings us on nicely to plastic surgery and tweakments. Each to their own and I understand that many people turn to it to feel confident and better about themselves but I believe that rather than normalising having work done, we should celebrate natural beauty, individuality and diversity. It actually makes me so sad to see young girls feel like they need surgery, botox or fillers to look like their idols and that so many people don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. I don’t judge those who dabble and you can never say never but I’m lucky enough not to be so unhappy with my appearance that it warrants having needles stuck in my face or a scalpel slicing through my skin. I’m hoping that less invasive and virtually pain free treatments become available by the time the signs of ageing fully catch up with me but more importantly acceptance prevailing over alteration.
I’m aware that this post makes me sound a bit like a miserable, slightly preachy cow but there are plenty of things in life that I’m all for, including snacks, going out for meals, brunches and drinks, being cosy at home in the cooler months, putting outfits together, trash TV (but not the Kardashians) and some comedy, reading and going on holiday to mention a few.
Sorry, I know it’s been a while. I’ve been caught up in an Instagram frenzy and blogging seems to have taken a back seat but the urge to write has crept up again so here I am.
Until recently, most of us had been locked away for the best part of 4 months and unable to experience the things we took for granted such as going to a restaurant or sitting in a beer garden with friends. Now that many places have re-opened you may want to feel some semblance of normality and get back out there again. (If you don’t feel comfortable doing so yet that’s also completely understandable)
In mid July I set foot in a local restaurant for the first time since March. Funnily enough it was the last restaurant I went to before lockdown. I went to Roslin Beach Hotel with my friend and we sat outside on the terrace, enjoying the lovely weather, sea views and atmosphere. The restaurant is one of my local favourites anyway as the food is good quality and there’s decent ambience (as Micky Flanagan would say)
Overall, I was impressed with how the staff stuck to social distancing rules and how each table and chair was thoroughly cleaned after each customer. There was hand sanitiser (this year’s must have accessory, along with a mask) everywhere along with signs on the floor reminding people to social distance. It felt good to be outside, enjoying tasty food and cocktails and catching up with a friend. There were times when things felt almost normal but you could tell fellow diners were happy to be out and we spoke to a couple of people. I think being deprived of social interaction for so long can make people more talkative, even with people they don’t know.
I’ve since been out a couple more times to local restaurants, both outside and in a covered area and I felt comfortable both times. The way we socialise and enjoy restaurants and bars has changed so we need to adapt. It seems to be the summer of Al Fresco dining which, when the weather is good is something I can get on board with
Watching old episodes of Big Brother has made me feel all nostalgic and reading tweets slating Millennials on TikTok has inspired me to write about the joys of coming from this generation. After all, we’re not all avocado on toast eating, coffee sipping, Harry Potter obsessives.
Millennials are apparently defined as being born between 1981 and 1996 (although I did read some articles that went as far as 2000 but I’d say thats too broad to define a generation) Anyway, I was born in the mid-late 80s, believe it or not so I fit into this category. Obviously, you can’t always generalise across an entire generation but growing up during 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the 2008 recession has made many of us pretty adaptable and resilliant, despite being referred to as ‘snowflakes’ by some.
My childhood featured Polly Pockets, Mr Frosty and paper arts and crafts whilst George Michael or 90s house music played on MTV in the background. I used to watch Bodger and Badger, Sesame street, Funhouse and Round The Twist. As I got older Pogs invaded the school playground and me and my friends would be trying to keep our tamagotchis alive. I also remember when pots of gunge were everywhere and people were wearing those rubber bracelets that we used to call ‘shag bands.’ So cringe when you think about it now! There was a period where I was obsessed with those Spice Girls photos and my poor grandad would buy me a pack pretty much everyday after school only for most of them to be doubles. Saturday nights we’d watch Gladiators followed by Blind Date
My teenage years were played out to a soundtrack of Garage music (I love that a revival seems to have been bubbling away for some time and that younger generations can experience the joy of Craig David) and the sound of dial up internet. The sheer impatience of waiting for the internet to connect so you could chat to your mates and crush on msn messenger was real. So was the disappointment when someone wanted to use the phone and you had to get off the internet. I’d record my favourite songs off the radio on a cassette before graduating to CDs and a walkman. the foamy bit over my headphones would always end up full of holes where I’d gradually pick away at it. After school I’d watch The Queen’s Nose, Byker Grove and Blue peter or bury my head in a magazine such as Mizz, Shout, Smash Hits, Sugar or Bliss (the free gifts were something special back then, providing you could get one before someone had nicked them all)
My uniform as a child and teenager was mostly tracksuits and trainers (I’m all about the comfort) Favoured brands included Bon-Bleu, Reebok and adidas and in my teens I was obsessed with Nike Tns. I’d accessories such outfits with tonnes of gold jewellery a la Lady Sovereign. So chic. After a bath with white musk bath pearls from The Body Shop, I’d douse myself with Impulse Vanillas, Charlie body spray or Tommy Girl and would be ready to hang about with my mates, spending time quoting Ali G amongst other things.
Excuse my long trip down memory lane but these felt like simpler times, when Trolls were just harmless but naked toys with bright coloured hair and before technology fully took over our lives. My phones as a teenager were mostly Nokia and you could create your own ringtone using ‘composer’ and while away boredom playing Snake. Peak excitement was a flashing aerial (yes, phones had aerials) and there was no internet on phones until WAP came out which most of us were too scared to click on incase we ran up a massive phone bill.
Us Millennials have experienced a rich and varied time in both general life and popular culture where many changes have taken place that have shaped who we are as people. I don’t really like avocado and I rarely drink coffee and although I may be partial to bit of Harry Potter occasionally, theres no generation I’d rather be part of. I’m a Millennial and proud
Happy Saturday! It must be like the 20th weekend in lockdown now (well, it feels like it) and creating content is keeping me sane.
I can often be a style chameleon who loves flirting with trends and different looks but there are some style staples I keep going back to. I’ve been trawling through my camera roll and I’ve noticed a lot of my outfits follow one of 5 particular patterns, without me really realising at the time.
Suits are often my go-to for weddings, christenings and everything in between. What can I say, I just love a good two-piece. Different colours, cuts and fabrics make suits look feminine and on trend as well as being a classic wardrobe staple. These suits are from Misguided, Topshop and ASOS.
In Spring and summer I favour the midi skirt and top combo in a variety of colours and prints. It’s an easy formula that works for holidays, going out for a meal or visiting family and friends. The first outfit features a bodysuit from Pretty Little Thing with a H&M skirt and Zara mules, the second is a top from New Look with a Boohoo skirt and very old Primark sandals and the final look is entirely New Look (minus the Zara headband)
For nights out I often reach for the failsafe combo of a strappy top tucked into a miniskirt, worn with shoes I can dance in. This look keeps me fairly cool whilst hiding my usually less than flat stomach. The far left photo is a Topshop top with a primark skirt, I’ve mixed it up in the middle with a blazer but I believe the bodysuit is PLT and the skirt is Stradavarius and the image on the far right was taken in Ibiza and features a neon top from New Look with a skirt from Forever 21 which I’ve had for years.
Last but not least is the uniform of jeans (In various colours and washes) with a top and blazer. This is a more casual version of a suit if you will. Each pair of jeans is from Topshop and in the left photo I’ve recycled my Topshop suit blazer, adding a MCQ T-Shirt and M&S boots, The middle features a very old In the Style blazer with a snakeskin top from New Look and the final look is very classic with a Zara top and Next Blazer.
If you have a look through your pictures you’ll probably find certain formulas that you repeat regularly by second nature or perhaps you’re the type of person who experiments often and is never predictable. Either way, I’d be interested to know
Happy Bank Holiday and VE Day! I hope you’re all having a nice day despite the restrictions. It seems typical that we’re blessed with lovely weather but can’t go out and celebrate. That said, we can still remember all the sacrifices made during that time and feel thankful to those who fought and were part of the war effort.
One of the things I miss is getting dressed up to go out for a meal, drinks or even to visit family and friends so I had a mini photoshoot in the garden today to show you how to style this Primark floral midi dress in 3 different ways. I bought this dress last summer as I was drawn to the bright print and I find the leg splits flatter my shorter frame. It was around £18 from what I can remember which is great value for how versatile it is. I’m not going to lie, I’ve packed on a few pounds since lockdown began so I couldn’t do the zip up fully but you get the idea!
The next look is also a daytime outfit but for a cooler day and is more covered up so may be suitable for work or other, slightly formal occasions. The puff sleeve top was from New Look earlier this year and the shoes are boohoo sandals which I’ve had for years as they’re so comfortable.
The final outfit is an evening look that plays on the black in the dress, with red lips and earrings so it feels more glam. the sheer puff sleeve top underneath is from Boohoo earlier this year and the heels are old faithful New Look ones. I couldn’t even tell you where the belt is from as I’ve had it for so long but it just about fits nowadays!