I Went To Lille And It Was LOVELY

A couple of weeks back Alex and I set off on a little trip across the channel to Lille and Amsterdam. We went with coach company iDBUS, which I was reviewing for work. They offer trips all over Europe for crazy cheap prices.  Our first leg of the trip was London > Lille, which we decided to do overnight. Here was our little set up for the journey - Luther, snacks and blankets! What more could you need, I ask you?!

Surprisingly we did manage to get some sleep! The day time coach to Lille is only about 5 hours on coach, but I actually recommend doing the longer overnight trips, as you get more time at the destination and it can be a strategic way to dodge paying for more hotel nights than you have to! 

We arrived at Lille VERY early and after ditching our bags at the hotel, headed straight out to explore. And drink a shitload of coffee. Here's Lille's Place Rihour - a lovely big square featuring the amazing Sephora, Europe's biggest bookshop Furet Du Nord and a monument or something...

We wandered up to Lille old town, which was like a maze of lovely cobbled streets and pretty houses. Loads of fancy designer shops and quirky vintage places, too. I didn't realise there was so much to see in Lille - how wrong I was...

We found a place called Funny Vintage - it's a vintage shop up the back and a furniture shop/cafĂ© up the front! Super cute.

We dined at a lovely burger place in the old town called Bun's Bazaar, and of course had our signature drink of Diabolo Grenadine - a drink an old french friend from work taught me about. Bought a massive bottle of Grenadine home so I can keep the french vibe going - is it totes french-chic for your teeth to fall out from sugar overdose? Cos that's where I'm heading... 

Chilling by the fountain in the main square by night - it was freakishly mild for the time of year!

The next day we wandered round a lovely local food market. Mainly for the Instagram photo opp - #healthy #colourful #ohnature #foodiwontactuallybuy

So, Lille's zoo is FREE (take note, world!) so we had a lovely day mooching around there and getting this cringey but brill photo taken by two people we returned the favour for...

Oh hai: 

We had a DIY picnic lunch featuring all of France's major food groups - meat, cheese and bread. This was Alex's absolute meatfest - it was obscene! Although this is the guy that once got a footlong Italian BMT in Subway with double meat and double cheese. How does he fit in his skinnies?!

Then we wandered the streets and I met an uber friendly local cat. I Instagrammed a great shot of her.

(I didn't bother with outfit posts on this trip as when I take a break, I like to also take a break from giving a damn about my appearance. Hobo chic all the way! Although tbh that is pretty much my daily style vibe anyway...)

PROPER hot chocolate at a local brasserie all the cool kids seemed to flock around.

Who let these uncool kids in?

Pretty view from our table.

The fleur shop: 

We dined at La Creperie - a highly rated and (more importantly...) highly affordable little local place. They had tons of savoury crepes (or 'galettes' as they're known) which were lovely and of course loads of sweet options for pud too. Here's Alex's salted caramel crepe! It was sooooo perfect.

Had to get a photo of this for obvious reasons.

Then it was one last wander around the surprisingly buzzing streets of little ol' Lille and it was back to the hotel to pack for Amsterdam the next morning - More on that in my next post!

We had so many lolles in Lille (see what I did there?) and are looking forward to going back ASAP! 

Have you been on any cool city breaks lately? Do share! Have got the city break bug now...



New Favourite Store: TIGER

No it's not a hip new vintage shop or cool fashion boutique. It's an absolute mecca of weird and wonderful shit you never knew you needed. 

I had time to kill whilst waiting for Tottenham Court Road Specsavers to replace the lens in my glasses (my sight's getting worse - yay!) and rather than stress myself out in Primark, I wondered the other way up the road. That's when I saw it. A window full of pretty coloured miscellaneous household items. I knew it was love. 

(I didn't get an exterior shot so here's one I've borrowed)

I'd never even heard of the Copenhagen-born store Tiger but friends from Basingstoke and Watford tell me it's nothing new there - WHY have I not heard of my dream store before now?! 

Here is just some of the weird and wonderful goods this shop sells...

Adorable house storage boxes for £2: 

 Cute gingham tape - a total bargain seeing as most stationery/art shops charge through the roof for 'quirky' tape!

Coloured cotton buds anyone? Effing up your liquid eyeliner has never been so fun to correct!

Definitely didn't know I needed a tube squeezer until they made a lip shaped one...

500 million candles and pretty serviettes!

 All the spices ever, because why not?!

Babushka pepper mill!!! Devo'd I didn't buy this - went back today and it was gone.

Everything just has such a cute illustrated aesthetic to it, it's lovely!

Typography cups and pretty tea/coffee cannisters! 

Classic Tiger merchandising - no two objects are similar! Letter magnets, moustache stamps and a solar powered heart. Brilliantly random. 

Loved these so much I bought a couple when I went back today!

They even sell uber functional items like Ethernet cables and every type of glassware your kitchen could need - for ridiculously cheap prices!

Crazy scandi-candy!

Random condiments and sauces...

The illustrated greetings cards were probably the most bizarre items - nothing says happy birthday quite like a nervous looking person wearing earphones or an old man in Y-fronts! Amazing.

On top of all that there's the most insane amount of stationery and crafty items! 

I mean, isn't it the most insanely bizarre yet awesome store in the world?! 

Wish they had an online store but maybe it's for the best they don't... At least you can check for your nearest store on their site, though! Do it. Your life will be better. 

Are you a Tiger fan? Know any other stores that sell cheap and crazy stuff? Do share!! 


PS - This isn't a sponsored post, I'm just the enthusiastic type. #dealwithit


Photo Diary #6

Thought I'd do a little snapshot post of what I've doing/eating lately! 

Last week was amazing - we shot the Haim sisters for the front cover of Company's Feb issue and it was SO GOOD. They were so nice, super funny and just uber cool. It's my first 'cover profile' as they call it in Mag Land, so I got to interview them, too. I've been on the features team for 5 months and I still haven't mastered how not to be an embarrassing fangirl and say things like "I LOVE YOU" to people's faces. Haim seemed to dig it though. I mean, Este hugged me. I haven't washed since. 

(I just need hair extensions and I could be the fourth Haim sis!)

Moving on to equally exciting news, we previewed Krispy Kreme's Halloween selection at work last week. My verdict? 'Spooky, gooey mouth-magic'. Krispy Kremes are my life. Fun fact: when I didn't live in London and KK's were a rarity, I used to bulk buy a box of glazed whenever I was in London and FREEZE THEM so I could enjoy them at regular intervals. What's wrong with me? What's it like to be normal? Answers on a postcard, plz.

In more food news, Team Company tried out the newly opened Grill Shack on Beak St for @Alexxsia's birthday! I had half a chicken (£7.95) and fries (£2 ish) and it was heaven on a plate. When it comes to chicken, I only have eyes for Nando's but this was seriously good. A must-munch by all accounts.

Okay one more piece of food news now - our features intern Hannah baked us some treats on the last day of her internship, consisting of a cookie base, a brownie top and an Oreo in the middle. WTF. That's the true measure of a good intern - how good their baked treats are.

Friday night was a surreal one! The Sea Life Centre are starting their own equivalent of 'Zoo Lates', and doing late night openings of the aquarium. Alex and I went along and it was pretty awesome. Free drinks (hiya), street food and cute fishies. This thing scared the life out of me though: a glass walkway with SHARKS beneath. Eeeeeek!

Onto scarier things now: The National Wedding Show. It was on at the weekend and I decided to check it out with Alex so we could start entertaining the idea of actually planning this bloody wedding. I did get a couple of ideas from it (Oh hi, Timbergram) but on the whole it cemented the idea that I want an atypical wedding... One that doesn't involve a bling encrusted meringue dress and the need to bung a laser in my mouth like something out of a sci fi film in the pursuit of Ross-from-Friends glowing teeth. It freaked me out so much I just had to selfie it and show you! 

Fair play to traditional wedding wanters, but for some reason that dream of being 'princess for a day' seemed to skip a generation with me. Don't get me started on hen night panic, either. Arrrgghhh. Married life will be a breeze compared to actually planning the bloody thing. Hashtag enthusiasm.

Ooh I did love these gorgeous bespoke lights by Carousel Lights, though! Wonder if they'll make me a pretty sign for my wedding saying 'WEDDINGS SUCK'. That was a joke but actually I think it could look pretty cool...

Then we mooched around the V&A nearby and went to the Club To Catwalk exhibition. We have an Art Pass so it was half price - a great investment if you're a Londoner that loves going to exhibitions! This exhibition was super cool - I learnt about whole 80's fashion subcultures I hadn't even heard of - Body Map?! Eh?

Here's what I was wearing, btw.

(Jacket and Vest - Topshop, Trousers - Forever21, Shoes - Sarenza*)

Here's some bonus self-indulgent content for your eyes: me selfie-ing to model the AW13 trend for flicked eyes and bright lips (aka my daily face!) for our Company Weekly Edit - it's like Company Mag but in your pocket every week. It's cool. My face is in it in the new edition tomorrow - DON'T MISS IT! It's nothing like this pic here. Totally different pose.

Word vomit over, I'm outtie. 

Hope your week is going spiffingly!



Crazy Beauty Tip: Eat More Ice Cream

Sooo, I've struggled with gross, brittle, flaky nails for most of my adult life. Hiding the issue with nail polish is all well and good, but if anything it only dehydrates nails more. It's a vicious cycle.

The strangest thing has happened lately. Despite no changes to my lifestyle, my nails have actually been growing in the past few months. Long, strong, and finally not so brittle I'm terrified to open a canned drink without losing one. 

In unrelated news (or so I thought) I'd been beating myself up over an addiction I picked up over summer and still haven't quit... The constant offers on yummy ice creams in Sainsbury's! (Not a sponsored post...)

Yep, irresistible deals like this one on orgasmic snacks like the ridiculously named yet oh-so-tasty 'Crunchie Blast Sticks' have led to ice cream being my nightly sofa snack of choice. 

I've just had an epiphany that I think THIS is the reason my nails are so strong. My bod is getting a frequent calcium dose from the dairy in the ice cream! I hate milk and cream, so don't really get calcium elsewhere, so I'm figuring this is the answer. 

Here, check out this leopard design I painted on my non-stubby naked nails! 

'Step by step tutorial: 1. Eat shit loads of ice cream, 2. Paint nails'

Moral of the story? Eff anyone that looks down on you for pigging out on reduced ice cream every night without fail. Your nails are WAY better than theirs. #win