Thursday, 24 July 2014


So, I've hopped, skipped and jumped ship to a shiny new blog!! Dedicated entirely to the trials and tribulations of doing up our first property! Head on over to the link below to catch up on the latest milesstones, and mishaps!!

Lots of love, it's been a blast
Samantha x

Friday, 11 July 2014


So, six months later here we are, still married, nothing has been broken, apart from a very nice vase, which happened in the move, because Simply Removals were, quite frankly, shit.

The stress of living in a building site comes in waves. It comes in very strong tsunami style waves. The first three months, we had no kitchen. So were trying to be as inventive as possible with avocadoes, hummnus and pitta bread, as you can imagine, that got boring after about a week...

When I first saw running water in the kitchen I cried, when the base cabinets went in I was giddy and when the slate was tiled, I needed a lie down. It it quite incredible how a ROOM could reduce me to tears. I have always taken "the kitchen" for granted. I love to cook, love love love it. I love being in kitchens, it is the heart of a home, so to be without that anchoring for that long affected me more than I thought it would!

We currently have builders in five days a week, and the flat is eventually starting to take shape. We are on the home stretch now...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


After a very long time dreaming, and being FED UP of paying other people's mortgages, we have eventually secured our very first property! We are official owners of a (rather run down) beautiful two bed warner property in the ever growing E17.

I abslolutely cannot WAIT to get stuck in! There is alot to do, when I say alot, I mean everything really... From the windows, to the floorboards, to the kitchen (horror scene,) to the bathroom (there is no floor currently and you can see into the neighbours downstairs!) But this does not phase us one bit (maybe it should?) We are too excited to watch our first little home grow. We were extremely lucky to find the property, so roll on 2014, the year of DIY! I sense some champagne, some tantrums and some splinters to come!

Monday, 23 December 2013

So this is Christmas


I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop. I wasn't expecting it, and it did indeed, take me by surprise! Ladies and Gentlemen, the secret? The Royal Exchange! It has EVERYTHING for your present buying needs.

1) It is not Oxford Circus- good enough.

2) It is not Oxford Circus- such a good point, is deserves two spaces.

3) It's main shoppers are city folk, who know what they want, when they want and DO NOT DAWDLE. Also meaning, that if you shop betwen 10-12 and then 2-4 there will be NO ONE around as they will be working away in their offices.

4) Agent Provocateur, Jo Malone, Smythson, Penhaligons, Laduree, and Paul A. Young: all staples in my shopping buying list.

5) It is a stones throw away from Cheapside- for Space NK, Paperchase, Daunt Books, Topshop, M&S, and Oliver Bonas! All great for stocking fillers! The only thing missing is a Wolford really.... And of course COS, but I am just being selfish now.

So now you know for next year! All hail The Royal Exchange!

Seasons greetings, have a wonderful Christmas!


Venice Beach
Well better late than never.......

We drove from Twentynine Palms to the Cabazon Dinosaurs, a childhood dream of Rachel's. For those who have no idea what the Cabazon Dino's are, they are huge metal(?) sculptures of dinosaurs on the road side. Mind blowing, you can actually go inside the t'rex's mouth, but I couldn't be arsed. I hear it was shaky.

We also paid to go into the outdoor dino museum, with mechanical dinosaurs. This was hysterical (shit.) We then went to the WORST gas station diner EVER. We agreed never to talk about the grey chicken again (so apologies for bringing it back up.) The maltshakes were good though.

We drove into LA and straight to our final airbnb home in Abbot Kinney. Abbott Kinney is full of beautiful people. Even the ugly people are beautiful because they are so so happy. We were a 5 minute walk to Venice Beach, and the sun just shone shone shone!

The first afternoon we walked the length of Venice to Santa Monica and had some pretty bad mexican from what I remember, we then found an amazing bar called The Galley and got ratarsed here. It was all decked out in old school nautical objects with coloured fairylights, quite trippy.

Over the next few days we rode horses in the Topanga Canyon, rode the roller coaster in Santa Monica, saw Hollywood, put my fingers in the imprints at Mann's Chinese Theatre Show, watched wild dolphins jumping in the sea about 50 metres away from us in Malibu, got tattoos (Paul and Dan,) walked around and around and just became general beach babes. We ate in some mind blowing places- Gelina on Abbot Kinney and Swingers diner being my perdsonal faves. We ate in some not so nice places, cue 3 of the party throwing up in the 35 degree heat in the back streets on someone's left over pizza from the night before. LUSH.

The flight home was depressing to say the least, but I watched a fair few Leo movies to get my through it.

Thanks for the memories West Coast, you were amazing.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

West Coast Part III

Palm Springs and Twentynine Palms

Before I had even crossed seas, I knew Palm Springs would be my favourite part of this trip. And it didn't fail to meet expectations. After driving through the Mojave Desert, and narrowly avoiding one of the infamous flash storms, we arrived at our mid century h(e)aven at around 4ish. This was our second airbnb venture of the trip. A whole 1960's villa with private pool for a (very) reasonable sum. Mid century, with mod cons. My idea of PERFECT. By this point we had mastered the lockbox, and were in with no troubles. Dan had needed a wee for about 30 miles so we were all happy to get inside.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in this place was amazing. From the toiletries (method) to the towels (Lacoste.) The chairs, to the tables (Eames, Saarinen, and Bertoia) Even the drawers in the kitchen were labelled. LOVE. I'm really annoyed at myself for not taking more pictures of the actual house, so here is the airbnb link. We googled local restaurants, and drove to The Cowboy Way BBQ grill. Now, everyone who knows me, knows I LOVE Bodean's. This place kicked Bodean's out of the park. It wasn't award winning for nothing, afterall. I had the sliders, of brisket, pulled pork and tri tip. It was amaazing. Try their corn bread too if you are ever wandering Palm Springs.
After we finished dinner we drove to a supermarket and stocked up for our three day trip. We then jumped in the pool and had ourselves a little pool party! I think we were probably asleep by 10...

The next day, the 42 degree heat had us up and about very early. Rachel found the pool toys, including a whale intended for a seven year old. He became the mascot. That night ordred Indian... Steve came into the house to practically serve it for us. Nice guy. Think we fell asleep at 9 watching back to back family guy. Ravers.

Our last day we had two dramas. We ventured back to the BBQ place, and Rachel had a little sunstroke turn, and on the way to the pharmacy I skimmed Dan's foot with the monster truck. A very. Narrow. Miss. To say the least.

The last morning we ventured into Twin Peaks for breakfast, and they were displaying HUGE desserts around the tables at 10am... It was very confusing, but the decor was all walnut wood and red velvet. Lovely.

We drove into Twentynine Palms, the land of army training I believe. We stopped via Pioneer Town for smoe antique rummaging and just to see Pappy and Harriet's as it didn't open till 5pm, which was a great shame. We bought some amazing jewelery from The Hoof and The Horn. Everyone should check them out!

Twentynine Palms runs right alongside the Joshua Tree. I hear many a desert army training is done here. We rolled up to The Twentyninepalms Inn, and checked in. We had been recommended this little retreat by a few people. I kind of thought it resembled a hostel. But hey ho... Anything would have looked like a hostel after our Palm Springs abode. I was a little annoyed as we had requested a hammock room, but they "upgraded" us to a room which was way too big for the party and we didn't really need the extra space, I wanted the bloody hammock! Alas it was already allocated to someone else. There were also two dogs in reception, and we all know how I feel about dogs. One of them was famous for some reason. Hollywood dog. Well he didn't look like Lassie, or Beethoven, or Cujo (thank GOD) to me. After my growling about the 1990's spanish decor, we took a lovely walk in the grounds and found a public hammock. I was happy again. We had dinner in the inn's restaurant, and there was a live folk singer... With no mic. Barely audible. However the food was lush. Slept like a baby to the sounds of the desert.

Next stop Venice beach. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Friday, 20 September 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

West Coast Part II

Death Valley, Shoshone and Vegas

The night before we flew to LAX, I had a mild nervous breakdown. Everything was ready, everything was packed, preeened, dyed, cut.. etc. I sat down with a glass of wine and called my Mum to say goodbye for three weeks. After the usual "have a great trip etc, take lots of pictures, came the statuatory parental "DONT FORGET YOUR PASSPORT" CHECK, "DONT FORGET YOUR DRIVING LICENCE" CHECK "DONT FORGET THE PAPER PART OF YOUR DRIVING LICENCE"


"Samantha, your driving licence has two parts. The plastic card and the counterpart..."


"Oh Samantha! You'll not be able to drive without it!"

Bearing in mind that this whole trip is DRIVING across the west coast, I started to freak out. I rarely lose my shit, I think of myself as a calm collected individual, but on this occasion, I lost it. I hung up on Mother and called the car rental company who indeed confirmed I would need both parts. I didn't even know the paper part existed! It has been nearly ten years since I passed my test. The DVLA is shut, the post office is shut. So I proceeded to do the ever so productive method of TEAR THE HOUSE APART. We had done a deep clean during the week so the house was pristine... Not for longggg. I pulled out every single drawer that could possibly contain said "counterpart" Nada, nothing. Cue tears, and mascara streaming, and very probably SHRIEKING at Paul "WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE GOING TO DO!?" No one else can drive, and I'm about to RUIN everyone's holiday. Nothing I can do apart from pray it wouldn't matter when we got there.


The flight from San Fran back to LAX I was a wreck. I had visions of having to get the greyhound bus everywhere. My desert driving dreams were becoming blurred. We got our cases and headed to the shuttle bus. When we disembarked shuttle, The Velvet Underground were playing out of the speakers. I had a good feeling. And as we walked into the building, lo and behold, a SELF SERVICE kiosk. I put in my details and it printed a receipt. THAT'S IT?! That was it.... Giddy, I skipped to the SUV pick up area and selected what appeared to be a monster truck. I have never driven on the other side of the road before, but figured I had to do it at some stage so why not do it in the one of the worst cities to drive in, in a MASSIVE 4 x 4. Clever. We picked up the sat nav and off we went. Funnily enough driving in LA is very easy. The blogs I read of the awful traffic and crazy drivers I felt were over exaggerated. Authors of said blogs have clearly never driven in London.... I got used to the other side quickly and was soon my usual road ragey self. However I was told NEVER to beep in LA. It's bad etiquette. Easier said than done.

We drove out of LA through Death Valley. Death Valley was breathtaking. I thought I would get bored of driving in the desert after the inital "WOW FACTOR" wore off. I didn't. It constantly changes and you can actually see the rotation of the earth. It's just incredible. I never thought it would be as quiet as it looks in the films. I assumed they cleared the roads for filming. But it was literally dead. I don't think we saw another car for twenty minutes. We got out of the car to takes photos after about 45 minutes in, and obviously we had the air con on so the SHOCK of stepping out into the 52 degree heat blew me away. I think we managed ten minutes before we had to get back in the car. We got some amazing photos though.It's a fantastic feeling to be blow away by nature, and get some energy from a natural force as opposed to man made parks and buildings for once.

We then drove another hour and a half to Shoshone Village. I wonder if that's where Shoshone from "Girls" gets her name... Took some photos/ pictures,  Dan and I bought an AMAZING t shirt (1 each, not to share,) and then hopped back in monster truck and headed to VEGAS.

Now I'm not really sure what I was expecting from Vegas. I'd had mixed reviews from lots of people. I thought Vegas would be pretty straightforward to drive in, considering it is one straight road! WRONG. Our hotel car park had works in it, with no "diversion" signs or alternate route to get to the temporary one. We couldn't even have access to the valet. So we drove round for an HOUR. Eventually it was all too much, by this time I had been driving for eight hours, and it was pitch black. I drove over the pavement into a disabled parking spot and barked at Paul to go and find out where we needed to go. We eventually found the valet parking and checked into our rooms. We got dressed up and went to a bar IN a chandelier in the Cosmopolitan. It was shit. It was overpriced and full of 40 years olds with their white cotton thong hanging out as they fell over cackling. There is no exclusivity in Vegas, and it just reminded me of the Bigg Market in Newcastle

We went back to the hotel to play a little blackjack. Now in friends they all have a whale of a time. In swingers they all have a whale of a time. In the HANGOVER they all have a whale of a time. And I'm assuming Britney had a great time too, but I just felt like all the dealers/ anyone that worked there felt a bit dead inside/ a bit vacant. Dan said "hit me" just like Joey in friends, and the dealer corrected him and said "you don't say hit me, you tap the table..." Chill out. So we all lost money, the dealer always wins obvs. I won $3.75 on the slots and decided to cash in early....

The next day I felt a bit better about Vegas. The sun was shining (42 degrees) and we did a little walk around of the famous spots. Caesars palace was amazing! We looked at treasure island and the Venetian etc. Much prefer this place in the day and also not after 8 hours of driving. That evening we went to see the Love show by cirque do soliel. All your fave Beatles songs under one roof. It was amazing. That night after the show Dan invented a dance in a bar where someone was motorboating and we took it back to the hotel room to play some decent, non shite music.

I guess I was expecting Vegas to be a bit more retro, a bit more vibrant and full of life, not people plugged into auto pilot. I'm still glad I went as I've always wanted to see it, but probably won't be returning. 

We fell asleep and woke up with Palm Springs and the Mojave desert in our sights. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

West Coast Part I

San Francisco

Well I don't even know where to start with this post. Apart from the usual "the trip that changed my life" crap.  It was nine months in the making, I felt like it was a bloody baby!
When we boarded on the 24th August California Dreaming, I couldn't quite believe how quickly it had come around. United Airlines had upgraded us to Premium Economy after a slight complaint regarding something or nothing, and a quick mention it was a joint honeymoon. Worried they thought we were a weird four way couple... We aren't.

On to important matters, the films on the plane. There was quite a decent selection. I believe I watched Friends (obvs,) Girls, 21 Jump Street (mega hilare) and probably other stuff that I cannot remember. Food was shite. Natch.

We touched down eleven hours later and connected incredibly smoothly to San Francisco, one of my most anticiapted destinations. My ongoing obsession (paranoia) of "my suitcase going missing" bored the entire party, but lo and behold suitcase materialised unharmed. We caught a taxi to our first Airbnb place. This was the first airbnb I have rented, everything appeared incredibly easy thus far. We got out the taxi and the first thing I noticed was the strong smell of piss. Nice one San Fran. Dan tried to work the infamous "lockbox" but none of us could open the damn thing, but fortunately our hosts neighbour rocked up just in time to show us how said lockbox is accessed. The apartment was a beaut. Big moose head thing x 2, 60's light fixtures, bullets, the usual. And a distinct smell of gas. Now, I had been awake for 24 hours and was still standing only thanks to adrenaline so Paul told me I was paranoid. But I would not rest. So knocked on neighbours door, who said it was indeed an ongoing issue and turned off the gas. YOU ARE WELCOME PAUL, FOR NOT BEING GASSED IN YOUR SLEEP. We headed out to Mission in search of a burger. Harder than you may think! We had a drink then started seeing triple. Jet lag was setting in, so we stumbled home and fell straight asleep.

Our first full day, we hit Divisadero for breakfast and then walked up towards Haight to do the tourist thing. We visited Amoeba, the Golden Gate Park, then trollied over to the Beat Museum. The Beat Museum was incredible. We popped into City Lights bookstore then we ventured into Vesuvio, which is said to be the bar where Beat poetry was founded. After Dan smashed a glass we headed out to meet one of Paul's friends Nathan, who originates from Brighton but has been in San Fran for a few years. Nathan took us to some good bars and a dirt cheap Mexican takeaway, which Rachel compalined contained too much calcium. 

Monday was Alcatraz. We took a cable car up to The Embarcadero to walk along Fisherman's Wharf. Rachel and I shared a HUGE Sundae, and then had a hotdog. Back to front eating right there. We then took the boat to Alcatraz. The audio cell tour was so good. You could go inside the cells, including the isolation cells which were petrifying. Totally ghosty. That night we met Nathan in a cute Italian before he went to LA for a few days. It had a Mickey Mouse in the bathroom, which was a bit weird.

The last day we headed to the Castro and then the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked to the Castro to an amazing restaurant called Little Orphan Andy's which has been there since the 60's. It was right next to the Twin Peaks bar which was the world's first glass fronted (as opposed to opaque/ hidden away) gay bar. We had ourselves a little pancake party, and Paul got his hair cut by an old school barber and then jumped on a bus to the bridge.

I recently read that on average one person per week kills themselves on this Bridge, making it the number one suicide spot I believe. Apparently people are so in awe of the beauty they choose to end their life there. It really is beautiful. But thankfully no one chose to end their life and we came back a four piece. We were lucky enough, in my opinion, to be there when the fog started to come, so we watched the bridge become engulfed by this fog. It was eerie. And all of a sudden very cold. We walked along the bridge, and all the way along there are signs such as "It's not too late." "Call this number for help..." etc. which is rather unsettling. We then headed back to our favourite cafe in Divisadero for our last lunch in San Fran. That night we ate Mexican and Dan nearly got headbutted by a homeless guy. Always making friends. Such a northern charmer.

I loved walking around San Francisco. It is such a small city, but feels so full of culture and life. It's memories and its stories are rife and you can still feel it. The history, I suppose is not that vast, but I liked feeling it's purpose in history is still very present.