30 January 2017

why i've started a low GI diet*

low carb diet pcos

*even though I don't believe in restrictive diets. 

One of the things I've rarely ever spoken about on this blog is that I have PCOS. I imagine most people have heard about PCOS and have a slight understanding of what it is because it's actually pretty common in the UK, with around one in five women having it. But, in case you don't know, polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition that affects how your ovaries work. Some women don't even have symptoms, but if you do, they can include: 

  • irregular periods, or no periods
  • difficulty getting pregnant
  • excessive hair growth
  • weight gain
  • thinning hair and hair loss
  • oily skin or acne
  • an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes 

I'm pretty lucky because if PCOS had a scale, I'd be on the lower end of it and I don't have many of the symptoms. One of the ones I was blessed with, however, was the complete inability to lose weight. I remember going on a ridiculously stupid fad diet with a friend once, which I stuck with to the letter. Although no fad diet is guaranteed to make you lose weight, the difference between me and my friend was ridiculous. He could barely keep his trousers up. I'd lost nothing. I'm not stupid and I know that one diet won't work for everyone, but I also felt like I was missing something. 


27 January 2017

double chocolate meringue brownies | a recipe.

meringue chocolate brownies recipe

meringue chocolate brownies recipe

I've started to bake every weekend. I don't know how this happened or why this happened (it is not good for the waistline) but it's happened and I'm not going to complain about it. As I still work in a small office (there's only three of us shoved into a tiny room), I have to give my friends my creations to take into their offices because otherwise the three of us sat in our tiny room would become absolutely massive and our room even tinier. I wish I'd done this when I worked in a bigger office which had a designated cake club, but that's by the by. 

I have to say that using Pinterest is not helping. Every time I open the app there's a recipe staring back at me that I know I'm going to have to save and I know that I'll be searching for the ingredients to add to my weekly Tesco shop before I even know what's hit me. I mean, I already have Easter recipes planned for god's sake. Ask me about Christmas recipes in July and I'll probably have eight ready and waiting to go. 


25 January 2017

a winter morning at columbia road flower market.

columbia road flower market winter visit

columbia road flower market winter visit

columbia road flower market winter visit

I'm no stranger to a visit to Columbia Road Flower Market. In fact, it's one of my favourite things to do on a Sunday morning afternoon. Having said that, I've never been during winter. For most places, this wouldn't really be a problem, but one of the joys of flowers is that they're seasonal, so I figured that it would be an entirely different experience to the times I've been before.

Usually, when I've been, it's been absolutely packed and you have to queue down the road to see the flowers on one side, only to queue down the other end to get back up the other side. However, clearly the miserable weather had put everyone else off and it was slightly easier to get up and down the road and to cross between the different stalls. It was still a little bit of a sardine experience, but a lot more pleasant than usual.


23 January 2017

8 things i want to do in berlin

8 things to do in berlin

I'm heading to Berlin in a few weeks time and I couldn't be more excited. I've been to Germany before - once I headed to Rostock for the day and spent some time on one of the few beaches that Germany has to offer, and the second time I headed to a very small town in the Black Forest on what was probably one of the worst school trips ever. I mean, we went there on a coach, stayed in a shabby hostel and I got done for buying cigarettes out of a vending machine. I didn't even smoke them...So you could say that my grade C German GCSE has gone to waste slightly...

I've found almost impossible to get cheap flights to Berlin, so I was ready and waiting when all the airlines announced their sales just after Christmas. In fact, I spent most of my Boxing Day huddled around my laptop and my work laptop (always avoid cookies when booking flights, right?) ready to pounce. And although the flights weren't amazingly cheap, they were better than usual. I cannot wait. Time to put that German GCSE to use! Here's 8 things I want to do when I finally get to Berlin: 

Walk along the Unter den Linden, which connects the Brandenburg Gate with the Alexander Platz. The Brandenburg Gate is on my list to see anyway, and this looks like such a gorgeous street. I'm happy to devote a blog post to just one street (like Roupell Street in London) so maybe I'll end up doing the same again? Also it's ridiculously pretty.

Check out the Hackescher Höfe which is supposed to be near Alexander Platz. I want to see little alleyways, bars and independent shops. 

Eat some traditional German food. Now I know that Germany isn't well known for its food in maybe the same vein as Italy or France but we all flock to those German markets every Christmas and whack down some form of German food - now I want the real deal. So far I can't decide between Schwarzwaldstuben, Clärchens Ballhaus or Kalle Klein.

See the Berlin Wall. An obvious choice of course, but one that has to be done. I'm hoping to see it from the East Side Gallery.

Drink an absolutely massive beer. I know we're talking about Berlin and not Bavaria here, but my head just connects any part of Germany with a sizeable beer. I'm supposed to be on a low carb diet but I'm going to give myself the day off just this once...

The  Reichstag Building. Because let's face it, you probably wouldn't come to London for the first time and not see the Houses of Parliament. Plus I'm a politics geek and love seeing different parliament buildings across Europe. 

I've already registered to see the views of Berlin from the dome of the Reichstag Building, but if I'm feeling adventurous and in need of some serious exercise after that big beer and all the German food I've eaten, I might give seeing the view from the Siegessäule (Victory Column) a chance. But at 270 steps I'm not putting money on me completing this!

Visit Markthalle IX. I'll be in Berlin on a Thursday, so I'm probably going to have to head here for some street food for tea. I'm trying to make my way around lots of different London markets (check out Maltby Street here).

If anyone has any tips for things to see when I'm in Berlin or to share any posts they have of their trip to Berin, please share them with me. This year I'm determined to make sure I'm more prepared when I'm away somewhere and will gladly take some advice!

Annie x

20 January 2017

new year, new workwear | a wishlist.

workwear for women

I don't know about you, but I find dressing for work quite difficult. I've never been good at being adventurous with clothing choices and if I don't watch out, I can find myself stuck in a bit of a rut quite easily. I'm the girl who, when it came to deciding which Sixth Form to go to, put the fact that one of the choices had a uniform on my pros list. I reckon most people would have put it in the cons!


16 January 2017

i hate my blog. and that's okay.

I feel like I've been blogging forever. In fact, I have been blogging forever. I was one of those annoying people on Myspace who wrote bulletins and blogs. I had a Tumblr where I amassed a stupid amount of followers. A LiveJournal. Countless recreations of this blog right now, where I've been posting and "relaunching" since 2008. None of the blogs has ever "taken off" (I hate saying that, keep with me). That's been totally okay, I've blogged for me. At the very least, the blog posts were always a good way of storing photos and memories - especially as I always had an incredible talent for breaking whichever laptop I used, which was great as I also had a habit of never backing anything up. 

I stopped blogging for a long time from around 2013 onwards. I'd just moved home from living in the Netherlands and I was unemployed. I wasn't doing anything, apart from schlepping from one job interview to the next, with the added joy of heading off to the job centre. When I first moved to London, I just couldn't find the time to blog. Then I worked on the general election, which involved twelve-hour shifts, six days a week for around three months. I couldn't find time to sleep or eat let alone time to update a blog. And anyway, I wasn't doing a single thing worthy of blogging.


6 January 2017

a little visit to copenhagen | denmark

Apologies for my fourth post on my trip to Copenhagen - possibly a little overkill but it is such a wonderful city it wouldn't have given everything justice. If you're interested, you can see my post on Torvehallerne Food Market here, Freetown Christiania here and Nyhavn Christmas Market here. Another apology has to be the sheer amount of doors I took photos of when I was in Denmark, but to be fair I don't ever pass on the opportunity to take a photo of a pretty door when I'm in London so Copenhagen wouldn't be any different! 

We picked an AirBnb for our trip, and we stayed in Islands Brygge. If we're completely honest it isn't the most interesting area of Copenhagen, but it was pretty convenient and a perfectly lovely place to stay and really easy to walk into town. During the summer, Islands Brygge gets flooded by Danes off to do some bathing in the harbour, which I would have loved to have tried had it not been winter and absolutely freezing. We had dinner at Cafe Alma, which has mixed reviews, but I loved it and would 100% recommend.


4 January 2017

a 2016 travel recap | lifestyle

As one of my "resolutions" (I hate that word, don't you?) for 2017 is to see more of the world, I thought it would be a good idea to have a little look back on some of the places I managed to get to in 2016. Not as many as I would have liked, but I'm definitely not complaining because there were quite a few little trips - all of which I really enjoyed and were all completely different. I managed to see quite a few places in the UK too, but I'm mainly focusing on the places I went to which were across the sea in this post. 

london lifestyle blog travel paris


I started off the year by heading off to Paris. I hadn't been to Paris as an adult before - the last time I went flared jeans were still in fashion and my biggest memory of the trip was the fly breaking on those jeans (the only pair I had with me) and being pretty embarrassed about the whole thing for the entire trip. This time around I had some amazing food - there was cafe gourmand, bread, macarons, custard tarts, saucisson, country pate, beef that was practically blue, frites...I could go on. We stayed in a very French hotel and I was fully converted to the beauty that is the Eurostar. You can see my posts here, here and here.


2 January 2017

a little visit to freetown christiania | copenhagen

london lifestyle blog Christiania
 london lifestyle blog Christiania

Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania, is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood in Denmark. It began life in 1971, when a group of hippies started squatting in an old military base in Copenhagen and declared it as a state. It has it's own currency, it's own flag and it's own rules - for example, you can't buy property in Christiania, you have to apply for it, and if you're successful you're given the property. You're not allowed to take photos in various places and you do get told off (hence why I had to use my phone there, instead of my camera - that's my excuse for dubious photo quality anyway!) There are about 850 people living there, with it's own bars, shops and cafes. Old barracks have been turned into houses, nurseries and businesses. There are no cars in Christiania, just bikes. When you enter the neighbourhood, there are signs telling you you're leaving the EU. There's a completely different atmosphere to the rest of Copenhagen - there are self built homes and it's covered in graffiti. I'd never heard of it before, despite having been to Copenhagen before, until a colleague told me to go there and I knew it would have to be one of the places on my list while I was in Copenhagen.

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