The gal has returned!

I’ve managed to bring my laptop back from the dead tonight. It’s been in and out of consciousness for a few weeks now, well and truly circling the drain, to the point where I spent my lunch break today frantically Internet browsing for a new laptop.

But I’ve saved it. Me. Doing something techie. Dad would be so proud (and so very confused).

It’s annoying though, because in my blogging absence I’ve made so many big life decisions and completely shaken up my whole routine. I wanted to document it all! I wanted to write about everything as I did it.

Never mind. I’m here now and this is what I’ve been up to!

New job

In April, I went for a sneaky interview without telling anyone, and was initially rejected for the position. Two days after that rejection, and not before I’d blabbed to everyone that I’d been for this interview and no they hadn’t offered me the job and yes I was going to be at Nero for the foreseeable future, I got an unexpected email from the organisation offering me the job.

A lot of sheepish apologising and notice-handing-in later, I served my last ever coffee (probably) (it was a regular americano, drink in with hot milk. How boring) and transitioned into my shiny new graduate role as an Editorial Assistant.

Philosophy students everywhere: it’s happened. A Philosophy degree has come in useful. Brace yourselves; if I can do it, you can too.

New location

What made me taking this job a bit more of a song and dance than it probably should’ve been was the fact that I had to relocate to take it up.

If you’ve been to Malvern, you’ll know it’s not exactly a hub of graduate opportunities. If you haven’t been, you’re probably wondering ‘where the hell is that?’, which is sort of the same thing.

The new job is in Manchester. I’ve got a couple of friends who live here, and my dad’s close family live nearby too. I’m staying with his cousin and feeling very at home! In June I’ll be starting to look for somewhere to live in Manchester, which is exciting and terrifying in equal amounts.

New hair

A list isn’t a list until it’s got three points, right?

I spontaneously booked myself in for an overhaul appointment the day before I left home. Cut, colour, restyle – the lot.

I’ve now got something that isn’t really a thing, not quite, but my hairdresser and I have called it a ‘colour melt’ and it doesn’t look entirely horrible so I’m happy. It’s really nice actually. I couldn’t handle my roots coming through so quickly as they did with my all-over orange/’auburn’ colour, so I’ve got natural brown roots into red at the ends.

I’ve got the jazziest hair in my team now. Which is really worth the £82 spent, arguably on a whim, getting to that point.

Until next time – I’m so happy to be back!

Emma x

 

1 | One Week Down

2017 is still very much a newborn but, like a shamelessly pushy parent (Dina Lohan, perhaps – and if that isn’t the most dated reference you’ve heard in a long time I don’t know what to tell you), I’ve already pinned pretty high expectations on it and lined it up a gruelling schedule of self-improvement.

First of all, the boring admin-y bits. I’ve started a 2017 journal to record my passing thoughts and general mood swings. I’m also committing myself to a blog post per week – in theory, I’ll have documented 2017 in 52 posts by the end of it, although if the year takes a drastic turn and we enter 2018 feeling world-hungover there might be one or two posts missing, like a sodden, abused deck of cards from a pre-drinks the night before.

So, exciting thing number 1: I bought myself a new car! I sold my old, dangerously faulty runaround to a builder working on a house across from ours for £50 – he’s taking it for parts, apparently, although which parts I’m not sure. Hopefully the parts that weren’t mocked by the mechanics who did my MOT – which doesn’t really amount to many. More power to him. I’m eager to make more long-distance car journeys this year and maybe even conquer my fear of the motorway. Baby steps!

Exciting thing number 2: I booked a holiday! My friend Emily and I are going on a trip to explore Prague, Vienna and Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We fly out on Tuesday 7th Feb and back home again on Valentine’s Day (aw). As someone who hasn’t been the most adventurous with her travels for this, that and the other, I’m really pumped to go and explore some new places. Hopefully it kick starts a lot of trips and breaks in 2017!

Reading this back I realise I’m at danger of having peaked far, far too soon, but I’m happy to confront that down the line when it’s the end of summer and I’m inevitably on the verge of an existential crisis.

How has your new year been?

Emma x

Let’s Catch Up: Tenerife

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So yeah, *that* happened! My friend Abbie and I booked a holiday to Tenerife 5 days before we went. I’ve never done anything so spontaneous – and I’m so glad we did!

We arrived in Tenerife on a Monday night (after a cheeky bit of prosecco on the plane) and left Friday afternoon in the last week of April. So three whole days. On the Wednesday we went to Siam Park, allegedly the world’s number 1 waterpark (according to TripAdvisor), but the Tuesday and Thursday were spent topping up tans/burns and drinking Tequila Sunrises by the pool.

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The lady next to me on the flight out had the *cutest* baby in the world who didn’t cry for the whole flight. She also insisted we have this photo taken. When drinking at 34,000ft…

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This is the resort we stayed in. It’s the Santa Barbara Golf & Ocean Club, in San Miguel. The lobby was a bit like a palace with a big, sweeping staircase and chandeliers, and our room was like a proper apartment – it had a hallway! For a last minute deal working out at £40 each for the studio, we were seriously impressed. Plus the TV picked up BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, which meant we could be proper #BritsAbroad for the week. The resort itself is a bit remote, and getting to the Americas would’ve taken us a lengthy taxi ride which is something we didn’t really factor into our budgeting. We didn’t get to do much exploring of Tenerife because of that, which is a bit of a shame, but we were only after a bit of a breather away somewhere hot anyway so it suited us fine.

Siam Park was such a fun day out. I can see why it’s been ranked #1 in the world on TripAdvisor. Walking up to the top of each ride we were treated to beautiful views of Tenerife, as well as walking amongst so many pretty flowers and plants to get there. The rides themselves were great too. My favourite was called the Vulcano – a ride with a huge drop into a dark, inclosed ‘toilet’ (you know the types of water ride I mean when I say that?) fitted with blue and white LED lights. So cool!

(As well as the rides, we spent ages in the mahoosive wave machine doing handstands and riding the waves because we’re children.)

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About two hours into our first day I became the sunburn queen. This was a tiny part of the damage post-Siam Park. It hurt a loooot more than I’m letting on. Aftersun everywha.

I’m gonna pitch you a scenario now. You’ve just spent the whole day having loads of fun at this crazy waterpark. What do you do with your evening? A few glasses of wine over dinner and a walk along the beach? Venture into the Americas and dance the night away?

…do any of your scenarios end with an MJ tribute act, three big glasses of Sangria and a bit of a secret sick at 3am? No?

…mine neither…ha ha ha…

To round off the lovely holiday we did the typical ‘white girl on Instagram’ thing of taking incredibly candid, impromptu photos that we definitely didn’t spend all week arranging in our heads. Where did you get THAT idea from?

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Until next time,

Emma x

Let’s Catch Up: Dorset

Seeing as I’ve been terrible at filling you in on the adventures I’ve been going on (and giving as excuses for my lack of online presence), I’m beginning a new mini-series called Let’s Catch Up. Any post you see with ‘Let’s Catch Up’ in the title – well, from now on assume that any ‘Let’s Catch Up’ post will be about something I did weeks beforehand.

I’m shit, I know. But anyway, I digress.

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Following the passing of my lovely Dad at the end of last year, my Mum decided it would be a nice idea to go on a family holiday to ‘get away’ from the confines of our house and hometown. It made sense – Dad is everywhere in the furniture and his belongings, and we’re surrounded by supportive friends and family who are always happy to help. It’s lovely, but I wouldn’t say the idea of a holiday wasn’t a good one.

So. Now we could travel – Eurostar? Ferry? A plane? For the first time (in my lifetime, at least) we could enjoy a family holiday somewhere hot, if we wanted to. The world was our oyster.

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…we ended up in Dorset, specifically in pursuit of the famous monkey sanctuary Monkey World. Mum and Dad had spent a lot of nights on the sofa watching telly together in his last few years, as it’s something they could enjoy together, and Monkey Life (a docu-series following the lives of the apes and their carers at Monkey World) was one of their favourites.

A lovely sentiment, actually. We had a really nice relaxing weekend.

First things first, our accomodation for the weekend. We stayed in a great B&B called Fingle Bridge, in the village of Wool – its owners Liz and Colin were so thoughtful and chatty, cooked an amazing Full English every morning and their house is beautiful! Our room was stocked with everything we could’ve possibly needed and the beds were so comfy. So that was nice.

After a hectic drive down on Friday night – my personal highlight of which include the sat nav taking us through the stupidly windy streets in the centre of Bath, which we later discovered were completely unnecessary as we came home via the motorway – we decided to visit Monkey World on the Saturday, and venture into Lulworth on the Sunday before driving home.

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This cheeky chimp is Rodders – the star of the show! He loved showing us his blanket and red bucket.

So, Saturday. Monkey World is such a delight. There are so many different species of ape – most of which I had never heard of before – all with their own unique names and personalities. We only attended the Chimpanzee talk of all the talks on, but you could tell that the staff really do love their jobs and care about the monkeys. There’s also a lemur enclosure on sight which pleased me GREATLY (love a lemur, I do) and we got to hear them laughing at each other! They laughed. Every time I mimic this laugh to my Mum she cracks up.

I learned a lot too. Did you know the ape most likely to rule the world is the Orangutan, according to a keeper we got chatting to, because they’ve got Sherlock-like observation skills? One managed to pick a lock with a piece of metal which he kept hidden in his cheek away from his keepers! Houdini, move over.*

Saturday night was a bog standard affair of eating Indian takeaway and watching Britain’s Got Talent in the B&B. Standard, really.

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The castle was full of memorabilia, despite having been engulfed in a fire early last century. This was the servent’s kitchen, down in the basement – I love noseying around this sort of thing.

On Sunday morning we headed first to Lulworth Castle, where we explored the grounds and got up to the roof to see the beautiful Dorset countryside. So many rolling fields and blue skies for miles! A short walk from the castle we found a church in which we lit a candle for Dad, which was nice too.

Just before leaving Dorset we managed to squeeze in lunch and a wander round Lulworth Cove, where we walked up the cliffs and could see the island of Portland from the top. My enthusiastic ‘like Portland Bill!’s were not met with nearly enough excitement. We bought some clotted cream fudge and salted caramel, as is customary from any British seaside holiday, and were on our way.

All in all, a ‘first’ ticked off our list that wasn’t so traumatic. I’ve got more little trips and events to update you on – I’ve been a bit of a busy bee – so I hope you’ve enjoyed the first of many!

Until next time,

Emma x

A Quick Life Update

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the absolute lack of posts. I’ve picked up a few more shifts than usual at work this week – so whenever I get home later than 7pm, all I wanna do is curl up and sleep so I do exactly that – and I’ve been kept busy with internship applications.

Anyway, I’ve got some great news for you. There won’t be any posts for the next week either! I know, I know, I’m an excellent blogger. I’ve got a legitimate reason, though. I’m going to Tenerife! An incredibly last-minute decision by me and my friend Abbie, who decided literally last week that we fancied a break away somewhere hot.

So we booked it! We’re off tomorrow afternoon. Can’t wait.

I’ll be back this time next week with updates, photos and ramblings galore, so please don’t miss me too much.

Until next week,

Emma x

Newcastle trippin’ | 6th-8th March 2016

September 2016 will mark the four-year anniversary of the beginning of my promise-making to my friend Kate, along the lines of ‘I will *definitely* come and visit you in Newcastle as soon as I can!’ when we moved away to uni. With this in mind, I finally got myself up to the blustery North to see the city for myself, one £83 return train ticket later.

On the better side of a five-hour train journey (and one confused, clompy walk from Birmingham Snow Hill to Grand Central to catch my connection because, not only had I never done the walk before, but I was also hauling a suitcase along cobbled pavements and had my nicest heeled brogues on to boot. So, clomp clomp), another of my nearest and dearest Anna met me from the station and took us to an independant bakery, The Great British Cupcakery, giving me a flying tour of the city centre on the way – visit to the viewing point in the Baltic art gallery included. We had the most *incredible* milkshakes and a lovely big catch up.

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These were only £5 – I feel like *I* robbed *them*, but whatever.

We made our way onto the Metro and into Jesmond later on, where Anna dropped me at Kate’s to head off and live the busy life of a medic (and cook some lemon salmon. A surprisingly good combo, if the rumours are to be believed).

I’m going to spare you the minute-by-minute details of the whole two days, but instead here are the things I learned during my visit.

1. Cobbling together any mixture of vegetables, meat and cheese with risotto rice and cream makes for a great meal.
2. Some sort of record of fisheries began in 1866. (Kate took me to her lecture I’ve gone a bit sketchy on all the other details of that fact)
3. Newcastle uni students, on the whole, are both v good looking and v well dressed.
4. In Newcastle, it makes perfect logical sense to charge £4.50 for a cider black (!!!!), but £9 for six shots of tequila (?!!?!?!). I’m deadly serious.
5. Just because you *can* make a martini with the contents of a sherbert Dip Dab doesn’t mean you should.
6. A hungover Tuesday morning is best spent with coffee on the beach, watching wet dogs play fetch and poo in the sea.

and finally, arguably the most important lesson…

7. it is worth spending the money to travel to a new place, see good friends and feel a little bit lighter.

…that was so corny. I can only apologise.

I had a lot of fun! Even if I upped and left my mum on Mothering Sunday to get there. Soz, Mum.

Until tomorrow (who are we kidding??),

Emma x

Little Mood Lifters

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Thanks to my friend Bee for creating this horrific but perfectly appropriate image to sum up how I’m feeling. 

I am not afraid to admit that, at nearly 22 years old, I am slowly and painfully wading through my quarter life crisis. Fresh out of uni, I’m working a part time job (which I do enjoy, don’t get me wrong) to get some savings behind me in order to move away from home and become an Adult with a Career. It’s a period of my life that I’ll always remember bittersweetly: being home has given me the opportunity to ask myself the plainly cruel questions of: will I ever fall in love? Will I have a successful, exciting career? What about money? Will my friends still be around forever? What if I move away and make no new friends and can’t find a job and run out of money and everything is shit and what if –

Cue the low moods, biting comments and 18 cups of coffee I stress-drink a day (not really. But I feel like I could, sometimes.)

As I’m putting the majority of my earnings in savings at the moment and I work 3-4 days a week, usually including weekends, I don’t really have the scope to Get Out and Do Things, that all the priviledged western world 20-somethings are touted as being free and completely able to do. However, that doesn’t stop me having some little, closer to home solutions to curing a low mood – and no, this list will *not* include the usual tripe, such as ‘join a gym!’ ‘cut out sugar!’ ‘go to sleep before 10pm each night!’ I’m optimistic, not crazy.

So. Here are my five Little Mood Lifters, tried and tested by yours truly:

1. Revisit the things you enjoyed when you were happier. From about the ages of 12/15, I was in the depths of a vaguely emo/scene phase. My fashion sense at the time could’ve been described as ’14 year old tries and fails miserably to become Vince Noir’, and my favourite bands were My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. Despite all being things that got me and my friends teased relentlessly at school, I love the feeling of putting on one of their older albums and still being able to sing along to every word. It’s a bit like a comfort food.

2. Play Animal Crossing. Okay, bit of a dud if you don’t own Animal Crossing or just aren’t into games in general. When I’m feeling stressed, I love to check in with my townspeople and be soothed by AC’s lovely, delicate soundtrack. It’s nice to immerse myself in something that is so removed from my own situation so easily.

3. Clean! Sometimes the room I’m sat in can be enough to make me feel antsy. I’m not saying get the duster and polish out and go to town, but if there’s crap on your coffee table, throw away any rubbish and neatly pile the rest. It does help.

4. Leave the room. While I was revising for my finals at uni, the biggest piece of advice I could find on the Internet was to not revise in your bedroom. By using all your brainpower in your bedroom, you’re subconsciously creating this association that your bedroom = study study study oh GOD can you not cram any more in? Same goes for general stress. I spend a lot of time in my family home. If I spend enough time feeling stressed or sad in my lounge, I just pick up whatever I’m doing and move to the kitchen. (I’m writing this post from my kitchen table.)

5. Plan. I can’t literally pack up everything and leave, willy-nilly, for the aforementioned reasons. It would be nice to round up a group of friends and say ‘see ya later England we’re off to the Maldives!’ and then just go. But, as everyone with a head screwed on will agree with me, that’s just plain unrealistic. However, that doesn’t stop me looking into places I’d like to go in the future, jobs I may think about applying for and having a browse of the property market to see what apartments are on offer to give me some ideas for the future. Some may see it as a glaring reminder of all the things they *don’t* have, but for me it gives me something to aim towards and feel excited about when my current situation doesn’t quite offer me complete content.

So those are my little mood lifters, without a quinoa salad in sight!

Until tomorrow,

Emma x

(For the record I do actually enjoy quinoa and regularly go to the gym, and that’s a great feeling of its own! But it’s not an instant, everyday fix. Today I’ve eaten microwave chips and watched the second Harry Potter film in my dressing gown. It’s swings and roundabouts.)

Londoning! The Book Of Mormon! 6 HOURS OF TRAIN TRAVEL IN ONE DAY!

Oh my God, oh my God. I’ve broken Lentmas. The SHAME! The shame. In my defense, I took up an 8 hour shift at work on Sunday and had a roast dinner waiting for me at home, then I was so knackered I treated myself to an early night.

You know why I was so tired though? I went to London on a spontaneous day out!

Mum and I were sat at home on Friday night wondering what to do with our weekend. It’s so rare that I have a Saturday and a Sunday off, so we wanted to make the most of it! I was perusing WhatsOnStage just for a bit of fun, and found a pair of tickets for The Book Of Mormon for £150. Considering in New York Anna and I met a man who’d scored two tickets for The Book Of Mormon on Broadway for $500, I was so shocked to find these so cheap! So in a moment of madness we booked them.

Where we live in Worcestershire is miles away (not to mention a 3-hour train journey) from the hustle and bustle of London. We got in at about 11:50, just in time to grab some lunch before we could pick up our tickets at 2. Off the back of a recommendation from one of Mum’s friends, we headed to Covent Garden in pursuit of the Brown’s there. We had a Brown’s in Reading, but I never made it there in my three years as a student. Start as you mean to go on, apparently, because we didn’t find it on Saturday either!

Instead, we found a lovely pub below the market called Punch & Judy. I had an Aspall’s to drink and chicken & chorizo pie with chips and peas. Unusual, but 10/10 would eat again. I don’t have an Instagram-worthy photo of my food to insert here because it was actually raining all the way through our lunch and we sat in the outside seating area so everything was a little bit damp and windswept.

After wandering the markets a bit (Mum bought a lovely silver sunflower ring from a lovely lady on one of the stalls), we made our way to the Tube station and onto the theatre. This wasn’t before discovering the perils of Covent Garden tube station, where we climbed the 193 ’emergency’ stairs and realised *just* how far underground the trains run! It was more than enough exercise for at least the next 47 years.

So, the show. It was INCREDIBLE. South Park is my favourite TV show, but to have the minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone in musical form was something I didn’t know I needed until it was right in front of me. I get that their sick sense of humor is not for everyone, but if you get your laughs from things a little off the cuff (read: a musical based entirely on mocking the Mormon faith, with gags about genital mutilation, homosexuality and AIDS throughout, among others) then you’ll really enjoy it. I’ll hold my hands up and say I did!

I’ve learned to appreciate everything other than the story too, when it comes to theatre – the artistic talent that goes into building the sets and the fluidity of the crew interchanging between them was a pleasure to watch. I don’t know much about the technicalities behind the scenes, but The Book Of Mormon used these devices to its full advantage to create some sharp, laugh-out-loud moments with perfect comedic timing.

Finally, the music. Although some of the songs need to be seen and heard in the context of the plot to be appreciated fully, I do have a few favourites that are funny, catchy and have been going round my head for the past four days. Here’s my current favourites: Take It Off and All-American Prophet:

Once the show sadly came to an end, we headed straight back to Paddington to grab a Nero’s (I will forever make the most of the employee discount) and get the 6pm train home. Turns out spontanaity takes it out of you a bit, and we were both knackered. Next time, we’ll get up much earlier and actually make the most of our time in London, because I always have so much fun there!

Anyway. Until tomorrow,

Emma x

 

 

Just A Quick One

…purely so I don’t end up breaking my Lentmas promise.

There won’t be a proper post today, as I’m not long back from a spontaneous day in London with my Mum. We went to see The Book Of Mormon after booking tickets literally last night, so as people who don’t often venture to the capital we’ve both been running on nervous energy all day.

I’ve had such a lovely day but I’m absolutely pooped. Check back tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about it. Promise!

Until tomorrow,

Emma x

25 Facts About Me (The Narcissistic Blogger’s Dream)

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Happy Monday! I thought it’d be nice to make today’s Lentmas post a ’25 Get To Know Me Questions’ tag, and after reading Megan‘s set here I thought they’d be perfect. Plus, who didn’t love these sorts of things on Bebo and Myspace back in the social media dawn of time?!

 

 

 

1. What is your middle name?: If you hadn’t already guessed, it’s Robyn. I think it’s so pretty.

2. What was favorite subject at school?: I really took to Philosophy A Level, so much so that I now have a degree in the bloody subject. But during my GCSEs I’d say my favourites were Business Studies and English.

3. What is your favorite drink?: Big lover of a black coffee (on a bit of a decaf streak at the moment and it’s working for me), a peppermint hot chocolate if I’m treating myself or blackcurrant squash as a bit of an all-rounder.

4. What is your favorite song at the moment?: I’m glad this says ‘at the moment’ otherwise we’d be here for hours! I have two: Hymn For The Weekend by Coldplay and Check Yes Juliet by We The Kings, purely for nostalgic purposes.

5. What is your favorite food?: Agh. Steak (rare), chips, mushrooms, onion rings and peas with peppercorn sauce is my all-time favourite meal. As for food by itself, I am biiiig on green pitted olives.

6. What is the last thing you bought?: Last Friday I had a bit of a ‘treat yoself’ trip into town, and £70 later the last thing I bought that day was some YSL Touche Eclat foundation. Game-changing.

7. Favorite book of all time?: I always say Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. No book has ever stayed with me or changed my perceptions on reading – and the world itself, on a bigger scale – more.

8. Favorite Color?: Earthy green. Probably not it’s official name, but you know the sort of green I mean.

9. Do you have any pets?: Yes! My little pudding Corky is 10 next month and still the hostile bitch she was the day we brought her home. But she’s my baby.

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10. Favorite Perfume?: Jo Malone’s Mimosa & Cardamom.

11. Favorite Holiday?: It’s a toss up between New York last year and Guernsey in summer 2002.

12. Are you married?: As the perpetually single gal I am, I’m not going to dignify this with a response.

13. Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: I’ve been to Wales, Scotland, Guernsey, France x2, Germany x3, Crete and New York.

14. Do you speak any other language?: Nah. Wish I could. Ain’t got the brain space.

15. How many siblings do you have?: Just the one! My older brother Jack is 23.

16. What is your favorite shop?: TIGER, Wilko (yes, really) and any clothing shop that can get me into a 12 without making feel like I have to work for it. I love little nik-nakky, independant shops too, but I don’t have a particular favourite that I can put my finger on.

17. Favorite restaurant?: Boston Tea Party and Las Iguanas, but really any restaurant with a round table.

18. When was the last time you cried?: Fuck I don’t know. I nearly cried at work yesterday, but properly it was probably a couple of weeks ago now?

19. Favorite Blog?: MINE. mwahaha (nah actually go check out Polly she’s great)

20. Favorite Movie?: Growing up it’s always been Monsters, Inc., but The Theory of Everything really packed a punch for me.

21. Favorite TV shows?: I’m not a big TV watcher! South Park is one of my all-time faves, but I’m generally more into UK comedy panel shows and game shows. I’ll have to pick out A League Of Their Own and Pointless as highlights.

22. PC or Mac?: PC PC PC (although if anyone has a spare macbook going it wouldn’t go amiss)

23. What phone do you have?: iPhone 5s, and I will do until May 2017 when my contract’s up. Then, who knows what iPhone we’ll be on by then.

24. How tall are you?: 5 foot 1 and a half. The half is crucial.

25. Can you cook?: Depends what you want to eat. My speciality is beef, chorizo and rice stuffed peppers. Ask me to whip up a roast dinner and I’ll probably just panic.

So there we are! 25 facts about me. I hope you feel like you know me a little better now. If there’s anything else you want to know don’t be afraid to ask!

Until tomorrow,

Emma x