What Makes Me Feel Like “Me”? | #ThisGirlEats

I don’t know what it is but, lately, I just haven’t felt like myself. I don’t know if anyone else ever feels this way – you can’t quite put your finger on it, nothing particularly noticeable, there’s no real reason for it, but you just feel… different. Something isn’t quite right, not quite “you”. While mooching around at home feeling confused and lethargic of course has been super fun, I’m trying to pull myself out of this funk.

I’ve been thinking about how to do that. I’ve spent time recalling things that really make me feel like myself, things that really draw my most familiar self to the surface. They’re usually little things, no grand gestures but just small, seemingly insignificant habits that make me feel like myself. And this little list is what I came up with!

Wearing a full face of make up 💄
Maybe it’s vein, but how you look and, more importantly, how you feel when you look in the mirror can really play with your emotions. I used to wear make up everyday but, since working in an office, I don’t paint my face at all in the week. Although I’m quite comfortable with that most of the time, when the weekend rolls around and I do my make up properly it’s like looking at someone I truly recognise, and that feels great.

Listening to my favourite music – mostly pop-punk
I know everyone says, “Ooh, I like all kinds of music!” (You like all kinds of music do you Susan? How about some early ‘00s trap music? Or have you ever heard of Babymetal..?) but I really do like a good variety, from nu-metal to showtunes. But my absolute favourite, even after all these years, is pop-punk. I’ve loved it since I was 13 and, yeah, maybe I should’ve grown out of it by now, but it reminds me of who I am, and who I’ve always been, and nothing makes me feel surer of myself.

jarred gif

Laughing REALLY loud
Laughter is the best medicine, that’s what they say. I’m not sure if laughter really can cure everything, I think it’s invaluable when it comes to boosting our mood. We never really know the benefits of a good laugh until we’re there, doubled over, guffawing big belly laughs, tears streaming down our faces. Is there anything better? 😂😂😂

Going to a gig and losing my mind
Even though I barely have the 1) time, 2) money or 3) energy to go to many gigs these days (my uni schedule was honestly such a gift…) it’s still my favourite thing in the world to do. I can’t think of anything better than going to see a band I really love, yelling out every word, throwing myself around to every beat, and just having fun. It’s probably the most “me” place I could be.

Watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Not only is this one of my favourite films, but it’s also a fabulous, high-heeled riot all about liberation, freedom and being thoroughly yourself. Whenever I watch it, I feel most in tune with who I am and what I love. It gives me a sense of inspiration unlike anything else.

rocky horror

This Is Why I Don’t Have Fancy Photos on My Blog | #ThisGirlEats

If you’ve read my blog, you’ll see that my visual content could definitely use some work – I’ll be the first to admit it! My recipes usually have photos (if I remember before I start stuffing my face!) but they’re in NO WAY pro shots. And as for my other posts, most of them are bulked out by GIFs (always credited).

Compared to most other bloggers, with their beautiful Instagram pics outside fancy London houses and plates of food served on slates to the backdrop of a tropical beach landscape, mine is shoddy work.

shakes head gif

So, why don’t I have fancy “blogger” photos on #ThisGirlEats?

Don’t get me wrong, I like them. I love looking at them. I’m downright jealous of them most of the time! If I could have them for every post I publish, I would.

But, first and foremost, I’m too damn busy! I work full-time (not blogging, unfortunately) and somehow manage to also whip up three posts a week. Between working and writing, where would I find the time to get professional shots for three posts every single week?! I can’t keep up! I simply don’t have time.

Another reason is because I feel so hideously uncomfortable in front of the camera. Silly, candid shots, fun family photos and couples selfies (as you can see!), they’re all fine. But standing propped up against a wall, choosing the perfect hair, make-up and outfit, and posing – oh god, the posing – just makes me cringe. And I just know I’d spend hours afterwards picking faults with myself, no matter how nice the photos look. I can’t imagine ever enjoying that experience. 📸


And, finally, my blog is all about REAL FOOD. When I create a recipe, it’s food I actually eat. I cook it in my tiny kitchen with wonky cupboards and peeling pots and pans. I use ingredients that are messy, I spill tinned tomatoes on the side, drop slices of onion on the floor. It’s not “pretty”, it’s not restaurant food. It’s food I make out of what’s in my cupboards, food bought on a budget, food to sustain me, food served up for me and my boyfriend to eat on the sofa watching Netflix after a long day at work. My photos look a little rough around the edges because my food is a little rough around the edges – heck, life is a little rough around the edges!

stuffed peppers

I try to make it look appealing, of course. Believe it or not, the photo above is one of my better ones! But the truth is, I just come home from work, cook something up and grab a snap on my phone before plonking myself down to eat it. The food I cook and the things I write are real, so it might not look Instagram-worthy but, hey, that’s life.

How Watching ‘Friends’ Gave Me a Totally Unrealistic Idea of Adulthood – But Still Made Me Feel Like I’m Doing Okay | #ThisGirlEats

Friends is my all time favourite TV show. Have I ever mentioned that?
(Check out ‘Why Being A ‘Monica’ Isn’t That Bad (And, Yes, I Know She’s the Most Annoying One‘ and ‘Kickass Female TV Characters Who I Totally Relate AND Look Up To!‘)

Watching these six funny, beautiful New Yorkers living in their cool city apartments with their exciting careers and bustling social lives gave me hours of entertainment as a teen. You know what else it gave me? An incredibly unrealistic expectation of how my own life would turn out.

fine gif

Thanks to the optimistic glow of ’90s American television, I assumed my life would be just like that of the Central Perk bunch.

I thought, for starters, I’d live in the city. That was a given. London really was calling me, and I imagined my own funky purple flat in the heart of the capital. I thought I’d inherit a fashion sense – maybe kooky, like Phoebe, or sophisticated, like Rachel – and totally own my self-confidence, at last. Sure, I’d probably work a brief dead-end job – for like, what, six months? – before finding my destined career path. I saw myself surrounded by peers – pizza after work, cute coffee dates, weekend brunches at the kitchen table. My social life would flourish, as would every aspect of adulthood.

But things don’t always work out that way, do they? I don’t live in the city, I live in the closest commuter town I can afford, which is pretty grim and still at least an hour outside of  London. I wear the same clothes I wore as a teenager, just with a little less “scene kid” and a couple more office blouses. I have worked retail and customer service jobs since leaving uni, fresh-faced and full of sitcom-enhanced dreams, just waiting for my perfect job to come along. It’s been three years now. I’m still waiting.

My life is NOTHING like Friends. And I gotta be honest, that kinda annoyed me for a while.

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But having recently re-watched the series (yet again), I realised that although Friends blew my expectations sky-high, it also has so many moments of comfort for when you feel like you’re not quite where you hoped to be.

Like when Rachel, Phoebe and Joey don’t earn much money and find themselves ordering side salads and teeny tiny pizzas just so they can afford to go out with the rest of the gang.

What about when Chandler quits his office job and plummets for an unpaid internship in his thirties, with absolutely no idea how his career is going to pan out, simply relying on ingenious slogans like, “Cheese: it’s milk that you chew” and “Bagels and doughnuts: round food for every mood“.

chandler gif

Or when Rachel freaks out about turning 30 because she thought she’d have the whole married-with-kids thing sorted by now but instead she’s dating her immature office assistant and Prada haven’t started making maternity clothes yet.

While they look like shiny, happy people on the surface, the group really don’t have it all figured out. Sure, by season ten Joey is a huge soap opera star, Monica is head chef at the flashiest restaurant in town and Phoebe finally marries Mike and gets the “normal” life she’s always dreamt of. But most of the series is spent trying to piece together the mistakes and mishaps of their lives – they’re just lucky they’ve got a great bunch of people to do it with.

friends hug.gif

Wanna Feel Uncool? Go to Your First Indie Gig | #ThisGirlEats

I’m not cool. I’m so not cool. I was never part of the “in crowd” and I’ve always been a bit too clunky, too awkward, to wear the badge of a cool kid. Yes, I do things, occasionally, that sometimes, on paper, sound kinda cool. Kinda. But they’re not. And that’s as close as it gets.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve cared less about that. I’m contently uncool. Most people I’ve come across that I’d consider part of the cool club aren’t particularly pleasant to be around unless you’re “one of them” and, frankly, I’d rather not be in on that. But nothing has quite cemented my uncool-ness, reminded me that even as an adult you can feel like you’re not as “with it” as your peers, than going to my first indie gig.

drinks edit

Before you lose your shit, YES this truly was my first indie gig and NO, I have not lived a totally sheltered existence. I’ve been to more concerts than I can count, but I’ve never been part of that  scruffy haired, cigarette smoking, BRITs bashing indie scene that swept up the ‘00s. But, thanks to free tickets and nothing else to do, I recently headed to Alexandra Palace to watch The Vaccines, one of the few bands of this era that I took a brief, mild interest in during my teens.

I’ve never felt more out of place.

Don’t get me wrong, the band were bloody brilliant and, hey, a gig’s a gig, it wasn’t some new existential experience in that sense. But it was the atmosphere, the fans, the whole style of it all that felt so alien to me.

I felt like I was in a room of Alexa Chung’s. Meticulous hairstyles, monochrome tees, casj loafers, ‘gram-worthy make-up… It was everywhere. Most gigs I go to consider messy ponytails, band t-shirts, skinny jeans and Converse a strict dress code – this time, I swapped jeans for a denim skirt and kicked off the trainers in favour of pink biker boots and actually thought I’d made an effort! But I wasn’t even close – this was like London Fashion Week.

ally pally edit

And the vibe… It wasn’t bad, not by any stretch. But loads of people just seemed happy to chill with a drink, catch up with their cool mates, and nod appreciatively as the closest thing to a sign of adoration. Where were the mosh pits?! Where was the sweat?! I started throwing myself into the few songs I really knew well and suddenly felt letting loose was OTT. “Don’t show them you’re actually enjoying yourself, they might catch on!”

This is by no means a bashing – I was envious of the obvious fashion sense of everyone around me, and wished I could be as demure and sophisticated as the rest of them. But I’m not. I’m messy, I’m clumsy, I’m boyish and I’m always going to prefer a comfy hoodie and pair of well-fitting jeans. And if that’s not always cool, then that’s okay with me.

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Saying ‘Fuck You’ to The January Blues | #ThisGirlEats

This month is the worst. It’s not new information; it is widely acknowledged that January S-U-C-K-S. Even as someone whose birthday falls in January, I can easily admit that these are the worst thirty-one days in the year.

It’s not just the miserable weather, the post-Christmas blues, the stretch of making December’s payslip last for what feels like an eternity. Yes, these are the practicalities of January, the inevitable tag-alongs which make us feel beaten, but I don’t think these are the real reasons January sucks…

I mean, I live in England, the weather is always miserable (and if it wasn’t, what would we talk about?). Part of me is actually relieved when the Christmas tree comes down. And making my wages last from one month to the next is always a struggle – in that respect January is really no different! I think the real January makes us all feel so damn rubbish is because WE make it that way.

We put so much pressure on ourselves. It’s all about making resolutions and plans for the year and, at first, that feels great. For the first couple days it’s awesome, you feel all refreshed and motivated, looking ahead with the sparkling possibilities of the year to come. But then it hits you. These goals are huge. They’re mammoth. They start to feel out of reach, and when reality kicks in they feel more and more out of our grasp.

project book.jpg

Getting fit and healthy, for example, is one of my regular resolutions, something I feel determined to do every single year. And when January hits, I’m always super up for it. I’m planning healthy recipes, creating daily workout routines, making notes of little changes. But then life seems to kick me one step backwards. Then another. Then another. And before you know it, I’m back to Dominos takeaways and a large glass of the Pinot Grigio, if you please.

We put so much pressure on ourselves by filling our own heads with so many end goals all at once – “This year I’m gonna get that promotion, I’m gonna lose 10 pounds, I’m gonna learn to drive, I’m gonna take up an evening class, I’m gonna give up dairy, bla bla bla.” – that we instantly feel like we already failed. And comparing ourselves to other people who already seem to be cracking on miles ahead makes us feel even more behind, before we’ve even started!

Well, no more! I say let’s forget about all the things we’re supposed to be doing in January. Let’s be more honest with ourselves – our lives are not going to be magically transformed in one month. Our hopes and dreams aren’t suddenly about to come true just because it’s January. There’s nothing wrong with having goals and things you’d like to achieve in the year, of course. I’ve got loads! But let’s not pile all the pressure on for one month – you’ve got a whole damn year honey, you’ll figure it out.


Little Bursts of Self-Care That I Deserve in 2018 | #ThisGirlEats

Self-care is different for everyone. Some people use their ambitious nature as self-care to quench their insatiable thirst to climb the ladder while, for others, self-care is all about soaking in bubblebath and relaxing to the max. It’s a personal thing, and only you know what form of self-care works for you.

As I’ve already said, I spent last year driving towards practical, “adult-y” things – and achieved a hell of a lot! But, because of that, I’m taking more than just a personal day – I’m taking a personal year! 2018 is going to be the year when I focus on myself and, on that note, I’m starting off with my own little ‘To-Do’ list of self-care.

I’m not saying I’ll be keeping these up religiously for the next twelve months, but I am going to try to remind myself that these things, while they may seem small and a bit random, could be exactly what I need to really make this year all about me, me, me.

1. Do a cleansing face mask once a week.

2. Spend more time on dental hygiene – interdental brushes, mouthwash, anything to fix this stereotypically dodgy British smile!

big book british smiles

3. Moisturise my face, hands and feet properly every night before bed.

4. Use nourishing product on my hair after every wash.

monica humidity.gif

5. Keep nails painted and filed as much as possible. And stop biting the damn things!

6. Get hair cut more regularly, and keep up the colour on it.

7. Use medicinal lip balm every night before bedtime to stop them cracking, especially when it’s cold.

8. Spend at least an hour a week reading.

hermione gif

9. Go on a couple of walks each week – and no, the walk to and from work doesn’t count!

10. Get into bed one hour than usual one day every week – get a real early night!

sleep gif

11. Give to a charity that I don’t already donate to once in a while. Even if it’s just remembering to put some change in the charity pot by the supermarket till, or actually stopping in the street for a charity worker and making a quick donation. I won’t miss a few pennies here and there.

12. Find more excuses to wear a dress – get out of those skinny jeans and actually wear something different from your fit-to-burst wardrobe!

13. Light a scented candle in the bedroom when unwinding before going to sleep (but for God’s sake blow it out before you nod off!).

boo gif

How Changing Jobs Finally Allowed Me to Enjoy My Christmas | #ThisGirlEats

Shout out to all the frazzled retail workers: I feel ya. This time of year is awful for you guys – until very recently, I was one of you guys! After my time as an Xmas sales assistant, three distinct experiences spring to mind…

1. The queues. Oh dear God, the queues…

2. The questions. Just so. Many. Questions.

3. The very rude, inexplicably angry customers. “Why don’t you have this in stock?” “I’m actually in a rush, I don’t have time for any of your offers.” “5p for a bag?! Outrageous!” “Why can’t I return this without a receipt? I know my rights, you know!

It’s shit. You get zero time to yourself. You’re expected to work crazy hours that give the bigwig CEOs – who sit in their comfy offices and work nice, normal hours – cartoonish dollar signs in their eyes. You’re there at the crack of dawn for the early shoppers. You’re there until late at night for the after-work buyers. You’re there on Christmas Eve for the last minute-ers. You’re there on Boxing Day for the sales fanatics. You’re literally always at work.

There’s no build-up for you. No lovely festive shopping trips, no pre-Christmas get-togethers, no cosying up on the sofa for a day of mulled wine and Christmas films. Grabbing a spare few hours between shifts to purchase, wrap and deliver presents is a military mission. You get one day, ONE DAY, to celebrate – Christmas Day. My ‘one day’ had to be split between mine and my boyfriend’s family, so I ended up with half a day to see my ‘rents, my grandparents, my extended family (who I bloody love)… everyone!

It makes getting into the festive spirit really, really hard.


This year I left retail at the very last moment – I was Indiana Jones, rolling under the store shutter and snatching up my trusty hat just in the nick of time. I switched to my first office-based role in December and, thanks to the time of year, I’ve instantly felt the benefits.

The Christmas party, for one. When you’re a retail worker in a shopping centre or central city location, it’s impossible to arrange the perfect time for a Christmas bash – someone, somewhere, is always working and, inevitably, we’re told the party will just have to wait until the New Year… Again. But the office Christmas party – much like the recent Jennifer Anniston flick – went all-out and, for the first time, work felt Christmassy to me.

The computers are decorated with tinsel. Treats sit waiting for you on the desk – a secret santa gift, a thank you from your manager. Everyone wants to go for pre-Christmas drinks after work because, why not, it’s only 5pm. Not to mention actually knowing in advance which festive days you can spend with your loved ones – including Boxing Day and the glorious feeling of not facing the crazy ‘o’ clock shoppers first thing in the morning!

I don’t at all envy those who are stuck in yet another year of Christmas retail. I sympathise – no, I empathise – with you. Who knows, I may well end up back there again one day, the office might not be the place for me after all. Only time will tell. But for now, I know for sure that I’m so, so glad I left my retail job when I did because I finally feel like I can enjoy Christmas, just like everyone else.


Why Aren’t the Pit Falls of Junk Food Enough to Stop Me Craving It?! | #ThisGirlEats

I’ve met people who, when confronted with the notion of diving into McDonalds and grabbing a quick bite, will wrinkle their nose in disgust, briskly brush off the suggestion and instantly start Googling the location of the nearest Pret a Manger on their phone.

emma stone ew

I’ve been obsessed with food and diets since my early teenage years, so wish I could be that person. I mean, sure, when we’re all drunk, stumbling in any direction that promises chicken nuggets, and that person just wants to grab a water from the WHSmith at the train station, I hate that person. That person is a real buzzkill. But when words like heart disease and diabetes are tossed around, when I agonise over my figure and weight, when I stress about how much money each month is spent on takeaways, I really wish I was that person.

i hate you friends pitt

I know a whole lot about food. Truth is, I could tell you why you’ll regret that curry tomorrow (obvious aside, of course). I could tell you why a fast food burger is so much worse for you, nutritionally, than one you’d make at home. Hell, during my most neurotic days, I could probably tell you exactly how many calories are in your favourite pizzas, slice by slice, topping by topping. But my most logical, rational, informed self just isn’t enough to compete with those pesky cravings.

grease gif burger

When it’s curry night, I’m not thinking about how bloated that sauce will make me feel tomorrow; I’m thinking, “damn, get some of that delicious butter chicken in my belly!” I’m not thinking about healthy, homemade alternatives when I’m tucking into a Five Guys burger; I’m thinking, “wow, how are there still SO MANY FRIES in the bottom of my paper bag?!” I’m not thinking about counting the calories in my pizza when I’m scoffing down a slice; I’m thinking, “man, pizza is the freakin’ BEST!”

robin how i met your mother gif

It’s weird, isn’t it? I know it’s unhealthy. I know I can make something better at home. I don’t need it. I mean, I’m not a smoker because I know it’s super bad for my health, right? I’d never drink alcohol and then get in my car and drive, because I know it’s dangerous (and, um, totally illegal). I know my body would truly benefit if I cut out junk food, yet I don’t. So maybe I might as well smoke a pack a day and down a bottle of wine every night? Maybe this is just as bad…

Maybe, one day, I’ll learn how to be that person.

make good choices freaky friday

SERIES: My Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle #11 | #ThisGirlEats

8:30PM: Oh. My. God.

8:40PM: This dessert is amazing. I mean, I know I say lots of food is amazing, but this one really is. We’re out for dinner this evening for a birthday and are talked into having this particular dessert by someone who swears by it and, to be honest, I’m not exactly going to put up much of a fight. Chocolate? Tick. Ice cream? Tick. Gooey sauce? Tick. But then it comes out looking like this…

chocolate etna

And it tastes EVEN BETTER than it looks. Try to imagine that! You can’t. The only way you can truly understand the pure indulgence of this gorgeous dessert is to go have some for yourself. Believe me, this is not a dessert you’ll want to share…


🌺 Cup of green tea
🌺 Strawberry jam on toast

🌺 EAT. – Firecracker chicken toastie, salt and vinegar crisps, Diet Coke

🌺 Out for a birthday meal at ASK Italian – Penne al Pollo Della Casa (oven baked chicken and mushroom pasta) with shared Parmesan Garlic Chips ; Chocolate Etna for dessert (chocolate dome with melted toffee sauced over the top and vanilla ice cream inside)
🌺 White wine spritzer

SERIES: My Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle #6 | #ThisGirlEats

1:30PM: I’m not really a big fan of honey 🍯 – my body is probably so used to processed sugar it gets all confused when something naturally sweet rears its head – but I’ve started eating this combo of fat-free Greek yogurt and mixed chopped fruit with just a drizzle of honey over the top, and it’s SO GOOD. Honestly, yum.


5:30PM: I brought home my very first car today, and now I’ve got a cute little car all of my own. This has nothing to do with food or anything but it’s still a pretty big deal so I thought you all should know.

new car edit

6:45PM: Chilli is, like, the best meal. It doesn’t even need the meat, it’s just as good with Quorn mince – as long as you make it spicy, of course.


👏 2 cups of green tea
👏 850ml water

👏 2 slices wholemeal toast with Sour Cream Pringles (we had a few crumbs left in the bottom of the tube from the weekend and that’s one of my favourite weird food combos, don’t judge me)
👏 Greek yogurt, mixed fruit and a drizzle of honey

👏 Home-made, oven-cooked spiced potato wedges topped with Quorn chilli “con carne” and a sprinkling of low-fat cheese

👏 A couple of cubes of Dairy Milk chocolate and a cup of tea – well, it is Great British Bake Off night after all!

👏 15 minutes on the exercise bike