72 Hours in Rome

World

The best kind of friends are ones you can make spontaneous plans with. Tommy and I did exactly that when we nonchalantly suggested a trip to Rome together this weekend. We spent 72 hours in the beautiful capital, meandering round the streets of Italy and soaking up its ceaseless culture.

 

Day 1

 

After arriving in Italia, we went straight to our hotel, St Peter’s Bed, a quaint little B&B located just outside of the Vatican City. The hotel was all we could have asked for and more. On a city break, I tend to think the accommodation doesn’t really matter as you spend most of the time exploring however, if it wasn’t for the characterful surroundings and our welcoming host it wouldn’t have been as charming.

As we only had 3 days in the city, we didn’t want to waste any time. The Colosseum was our first stop. I spent most of the time in sheer disbelief that we had actually made it to this iconic attraction in Rome together considering my lack of ability to even make plans for dinner. We went into the Colosseum to have a good look around which was definitely worthwhile. Tommy acted as my tour guide which may or may not have been educational – quite honestly I wouldn’t know the difference.

It’s fair to say Tommy and I aren’t the most cultured people in the world, so some of the beautiful monuments were slightly wasted on us; we had no idea what they were. Nonetheless, they were lovely to look at.

By the time we got round to eating, we were absolutely starvo so we attempted to go to the nearest place we could find. Typically, the nearest place was Subway. Determined to find some Italian cuisine, we walked and walked to find a cute little restaurant. We were hoping for heaps of pasta but much to our dismay, we were given about 6 pieces of ravioli… Anyway, we couldn’t really complain considering we were sat in Rome drinking prosecco at 1 in the afternoon.

Afterwards, we went to the Trevi Fountain. This was probably one of my favourite places, it was absolutely beautiful. Unsurprisingly it was rammed with tourists meaning you could barely move but when we did get a good view, it was breathtaking. Just a quick tip to take your own Polaroid camera when you’re there – we got charged 10 euros for 2 pictures. I personally was thrilled with them but Tommy wasn’t so impressed.

In the evening, we were ridiculously lazy and just went to McDonald’s for dinner. I did get to experience Maccas pesto pasta though which was an experience in itself.

 

Day 2

 

When in Italy it would be rude not to start your day with gelato, so that is exactly what we did – despite the fact that it was pouring with rain.

Afterwards, we headed straight to the Vatican City which was about 10 minutes away from our hotel. The queue to go inside circled the whole way around St Peter’s Square and it took us about an hour until we finally made it to the front. But it was so worth it. There aren’t many ways to make me speechless, in fact it’s actually unheard of. But the Vatican managed it. Although I couldn’t particularly relate to a lot of the religious beliefs inside, I was mesmerised by every inch of the artwork.

Another quick tip though, please don’t do an Abbie Gaunt and wear a super short (but super cute) skirt when visiting one of the most holy places in the world, it won’t be appreciated and you will have to walk around with a jacket round your legs…

For the rest of the day, we wondered the pretty streets in the rain and stumbled across even more incredible architecture. That city is literally never-ending.

 

Day 3 

 

The majority of day 3 was spent recovering from the night before. It wouldn’t have been a Tommy and Abbie trip without us getting very drunk which we accidentally did whilst attempting a civilised evening. We found some cute bars and sat drinking our fair share of cocktails and Peroni. In an attempt to spend less money and get more drunk (classy, yes) we skipped dinner. That didn’t last long when we found an amazing restaurant with possibly the best pizza I have ever eaten in my entire life; Ristorante Pizzería Imperiale, you were a dream.

Afterwards, we tried to find the Ice Bar, because is it really a city break without visiting the Ice Bar? However, instead of that we found the Pantheon (which we had accidentally missed on our tour of famous landmarks…) and a fancy club called Shari Vari. The rest of the night was a kind of blur, all I know was that it was a good one.

In the morning, we begrudgingly got up and packed to check out. We ate more ice cream for breakfast in hopes of curing our hangovers and walked the streets a little more.

With the little money we had left, we browsed the shops and I refrained from buying anything from Sephora – I amaze myself.

All in all I had the most wonderful trip with a truly good friend. I am so glad I have finally seen a small part of Italy and I can’t wait to explore more.

Next stop, Belgium!

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

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Happy Me Day

Lifestyle

This year, I have decided I am rebranding the dreaded V day, from now onward, it will be called me day. So Happy Me Day!

Yes, there’s bound to be plenty of posts today preaching self-love, that you don’t need another half to be complete and I would be lying if I said this wasn’t one of them.

You can totally justify disliking Valentines because it’s commercialised, all for making money and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But we wouldn’t want to ruin this momentous holiday for all the loved up couples out there that aren’t bitter about spending it alone.

I truly believe the 14th February is actually a really beautiful day. There’s something lovely about dedicating a day to one another to show how much you care. Undoubtedly, this should be every day but it is so easy to get wrapped up in life that you forget how important showing love is.

Not only is this true when you’re in a relationship, but it’s also significant when you’re alone. A lot of us get so caught up in busy day-to-day life that we forget that sometimes, we need to treat ourselves with a bit of TLC.

Granted, almost every day is a treat myself day with my insatiable shopping habit but still…

Today, I bought myself everything a typical Valentine would buy for you. This was ideal because everything I got for me was perfect – just what I wanted!

I bought a Kate Spade watch – possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever received from myself. It’s a well-known fact that you can’t go wrong with jewellery on Valentines, so I did pretty well with this one. I managed to find it in TK Maxx for £130, a dream price for a Kate Spade statement piece. Well done me.

I also got myself some Ardell faux mink eyelashes. I was pretty impressed with myself considering I haven’t been able to find these anywhere and have really wanted to try them out. I love Ardell lashes and wanted to try something a little different to my usual demi wispies.

Perfume is another must must. Usually I would opt for Narciso Rodriquez or my classic Jimmy Choo but I decided to be a little unconventional. I got this gorgeous Ellie Saab Girl of Now perfume. It comes in the prettiest bottle and literally smells like sweets, marshmallows, daisies and rainbows. New scent new me and all that.

Lastly, I had to get flowers and chocolate. I just wouldn’t have been a legitimate Valentine if I didn’t.

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

P.S. after writing this post, my lovely manager gave me a Hummingbird cupcake and a card. Boyfriends/Girlfriends, who needs them!?

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Galentines Day

Lifestyle

Valentines has well and truly crept up on me this year. It feels like only yesterday I was bringing in the new year with one too many jagerbombs. Sadly, I will yet again be spending the 14th without a significant other.

Thankfully, I had my brother’s gorgeous girlfriend Ciara come to visit me in London and we had an impromptu/unintentional Galentines day on Sunday. It consisted of chocolates, flowers and cocktails – really the only way to spend time with a loved one. Yes, I did spend Galentines with my brother’s girlfriend – sharing is caring right?

 

Columbia Road Flower Market

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First we went to Columbia Road Flower Market. This is always somewhere I have wanted to visit because of my love for all things floristry. I was hoping to write a post dedicated entirely to the wonders of a market just for flowers but unfortunately, it didn’t really live up to my expectations. It was far too busy to have a nice stroll and look at all the pretty blooms and the vendors were shouting so loud it kind of ruined the tranquil atmosphere I was going for. But all in all, Ciz bought me some beautiful flowers which is far more than I can say for anybody else this year.

 

Dark Sugars Cocoa House

We then headed towards Brick Lane because a Sunday just wouldn’t be a Sunday without a trip to Shoreditch. How on earth I could have missed Dark Sugars in all the million times I have been there I do not know. Ciara spotted this incredible chocolate shop whilst walking down Brick Lane and honestly, I think it’s what heaven looks like. There were literal slabs of chocolate in the doorway and pretty much every flavour you could possibly imagine. They even had alcoholic chocolates for the slightly more boozy (i.e. me) like gin and lime and vodka and orange. The slight downside is that 6 teeny tiny chocolates cost £12 but undoubtedly, they would be worth it.

 

Hoxton Square

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After a very taxing day leisurely wandering round London, we decided to top it off with a couple of cocktails and a ton of food. It was surprisingly difficult to find a cute place to eat and drink in central London on a Sunday – pretty much everywhere was closed or eerily quiet. After walking for what felt like an eternity, we ended up at a place called Zigfrid von Underbelly (?!) Me and Ciz being our obnoxiously confident selves obviously made friends with the bartenders. We ordered ridiculous amounts of sides to eat and had cocktails that tasted like flowers – rather fitting considering our day. After tormenting the staff, giggling like little girls and eating way too much food, we finally brought Galentines day to an end.

After a slightly rocky start to my weekend, I finished it in the most positive way possible, with my lovely friend and sister.

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

 

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Real Talk: Relapsing

Lifestyle
relapse
rɪˈlaps/
verb
gerund or present participle: relapsing
  1. (of a sick or injured person) deteriorate after a period of improvement.

I could very easily pretend like this weekend didn’t happen, and that it was all flowers, fairies and family (which 30% of it was may I add). But I also need to acknowledge the fact that the rest was not.

On Friday I had one of my most significant relapses yet. Everything felt like it was going wrong; I was tired, depressed and extremely alone. I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of helplessness wash over me. Granted, a simple wrong direction can have my world spinning upside down but this time it was far more prominent.

Whilst I’m at work, I keep myself busy. I don’t have time to over think things; I have like-minded people around me to talk to and keep me company. I really love my work and who I work with! But let’s not lie, unless you’re very lucky, there will always be some sort of boundary between work friends and actual friends.

On Friday it suddenly dawned on me just how alone I am. I have one friend in London who is usually too busy living his normal young adult life to fit me in with my work hours – which I don’t blame him for! I would too if I could. The closest family and friends I have are at least 2 hours away from me. It doesn’t matter how much I can pride myself on saying I’m independent, capable, adult etc. everyone needs someone.

Anyway, I came out of work to a completely normal Friday. I’m used to seeing everyone together having drinks in bars, eating food and laughing whilst making my way home. It doesn’t usually affect me but there was something about it that made me feel sick to my stomach. For some reason, I just cried… And cried and cried.

Then I went on to do things that the old me would have done, I walked down dark alleyways in hope that I would be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I crossed every road without bothering to look, unconcerned about the cars and buses just meters away. I went through Shoreditch hoping a sleazy man would pay me some attention. I walked for an entire hour in the freezing cold, found a canal and just sat next to the water in the dark. I went into full on self-sabotage mode.  And you know the worst thing about it all? Not one person looked my way.

I find it more difficult to contend with relapse when I have been doing so well for so long. You feel like you’ve worked so hard for what? I also find it tough knowing therapy hasn’t helped me and I’m on the highest dose of medication I can get. What now? Is this really my life forever? A couple of months of feeling ‘normal’ then a weekend of self-pity and you’re back to square 1.

It’s tough as hell having to accept that you might go through this for the rest of your life. But after really thinking about it, there is nothing I can’t handle. Relapses don’t last into infinity. If they did, I wouldn’t be alive to write this post today. You can think that there’s no hope and you’ll be like this forever. But if you’ve relapsed, that means you have got better.

As much as we would like it to be, life is not linear. Our ups and downs, as painful as they are, teach us a new way of coping every time.

This time taught me – always wear a coat if there’s a possibility mental breakdown.

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

 

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Shoreditch, LDN

Lifestyle

 

I have previously said my favourite place in London is the Kings Road, Chelsea and I stand by that. However, my second favourite place to spend my free time is Shoreditch.

Yes, these two places are polar opposites so it’s kind of hard to understand why I would love both places so much. They’re just both so niche and unique, wherever you walk you’re sure to find something beautiful.

Last weekend I put on my most indie outfit and headed to E1. My new flat (post still to come) is located only 20 minutes down the road from Shoreditch which is a blessing; whenever I fancy playing chess for fun, I am only a bus ride away…

 

 

I always head for Brick Lane, but of course I end up browsing Petticoat Lane market for high street bargains and going to Spitalfields to see the pretty jewellery stalls. When I do finally end up where I intended on being, I go straight to Brick Lane’s vintage market.

As you know, I am a self-confessed shopping addict but I definitely don’t feel as guilty when I’m not on the high street. I love the vintage market because you never know what you’re going to find. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, it’s all so pretty to look at. Obviously, I couldn’t leave empty-handed and therefore ended up walking away with 3 new pairs of sunglasses and the cutest headband. If you’re looking for that Instagram chic, this is definitely the place to be. As well as proper vintage clothing (old-fashioned flowers, frills and everything) they have all the cool stuff you see on girls on pinterest at half the price of all the online boutiques.

After plenty of time pottering round looking at vintage Burberry and various types of artwork, it’s always a good idea to head to the nearest doughnut shop. My very favourite is Crosstown – nothing fancy, just really good. I always go for a simple glazed doughnut and a hot chocolate because I am basic as heck. But if you’re looking for something a little more fancy, Doughnut Time next to Old Street station sells all sorts of sugary monstrosities.

 

 

You can’t miss all the artwork in Shoreditch; there isn’t an clear wall in sight. Unlike the majority of London, it isn’t graffiti, it is actual ART. There are some crazily talented people out there.

Ordinarily, I don’t tend to stray much further from Brick Lane and the close surrounding areas. But in an attempt to find my way back home, I stumbled upon some more cute individual shops. I first came across Boxpark, a pop up mall with lots of small and random traders including The Ordinary – an affordable skincare range supposedly recommended by Kim Kardashian herself. I then found an even cuter store called AIDA. It’s actually both a coffee shop, clothes shop and gift shop which I love – it is literally a day out in itself. The clothes they sell are on the pricier side as they’re all quirky brands, from distinct vintage to contemporary and modern. Me being me, still managed to bag a Selected Femme wool jumper in the sale for £23 (money-saving expert eat your heart out).