It’s no secret that I absolutely adore animals.

Ever since I was a kid, I always took such an interest in them. I had encyclopaedias lining my bookshelves full of interesting facts on all the different varieties from around the world, and I always pestered my parents for puppies, kittens, hamsters, guinea pigs or budgies. I didn’t win the case for an aviary in the front room, unfortunately.

I also love anything that’s narrated by David Attenborough (who doesn’t though, let’s be honest), I want to get married in our local conservation trust (one day it’ll happen, I swear), and when I was younger, I donated my pocket money to animal welfare charities (shout out to the pandas I used to adopt yearly, hope you’re all doing well).

So, in line with all that, it only makes sense that recently I’ve become more and more aware of our planet and the damage that’s currently being caused to our amazing and incredible home.

I’m starting to do some research and some reading into climate change. I’m watching more documentaries about the consequences of plastic in our seas. I even tried my hand at being vegetarian, which, quite honestly, was the hardest 6 months of my life (but that’s for another time).

I also watched the documentary ‘Chasing Coral’ on Netflix a few months ago, and if you haven’t done so yet, please stop reading and go and take some time out to watch it. It is beyond incredible, and I cried throughout the whole thing.

I don’t know whether I was shedding tears of guilt, knowing full well that I am useless when it comes to remembering a re-usable bag when I’m doing the food shop or using numerous disposable plastic straws in my gin and lemonade on a night out, or whether it was because I no longer had my rose tinted glasses on and my eyes were being opened up to exactly just what is going on in the world.

Having also watched Blue Planet II on Sunday and, like others, having my heart broken over the mamma whale carrying around her dead baby, I just can’t help but feel devastated that we are doing this and we are allowing this to happen all around us.

These glorious animals have been here longer than we have, yet we’ll probably outlive them because of the damage that we as a society are doing to their environment.

If I’m being frank – I’m finding it all completely overwhelming.

I feel completely and utterly helpless. Is there a pause button for all of this? Can we just stop everything for a while, let it get back to normal and carry on again like none of this shit stuff ever happened?

Take, for example, when I read the news that Donald Trump had employed someone who describes climate change as ‘junk science’ to the top scientific post of the Agriculture Department. Or when I read that he had pulled the USA out of the Paris climate change agreement – which is now the only country out of the entire world to not be part of it. My heart broke on both occasions.

How do we change this? How can I, personally, help prevent this from happening when there are behemoths like the tangerine man outwardly refusing to believe what is going on to our beautiful oceans and forests? Are my attempts futile? Will I actually be able to make a difference? Will my children or my children’s children be able to enjoy the sea like I do now? Or will documentaries like Blue Planet II become something that people watch in wonder in 100 years time, as we would do now on anything to do with the dodo?

I know I’m part of the problem. I know I am. And I want to try living consciously, I really, really do. I try and make small changes like buying loose produce and using re-usable water bottles, but I still don’t recycle any of my household waste (mainly through sheer ignorance) and I know that I’m sometimes on the bad end of the scale in terms of my food waste. I’ve got plastic carrier bags shoved into other plastic carrier bags in the cupboard under my sink, and I am fully aware that I’ve used products in the past that contain microbeads.

However, saying all this, the other side of me is telling me that to not put so much pressure on myself and it’s all justifiable because I want to help – I might be uneducated, but surely there’s something in the fact that I’m willing to learn, right? I’m not just burying my head in the sand like Trumpelstiltskin is.

I’ve recently joined the Living Consciously group on Facebook which is run by my absolute girl crush Zanna Van Dijk, and I have to admit that it’s already teaching me a massive amount on what I could be doing, in a safe and non-judgemental space where people can hold their hands up and say ‘look, I don’t know what I’m doing but I want to know and please can you teach me without telling me off for buying two sweet potatoes wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging’.

Everyone on there is so passionate about trying to make a small change – Zanna herself being the main advocator for doing so without being preachy – that it makes you realise that it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t make an impactful dent into the colossal beast that is climate change over your lifetime, but at least you can live day to day knowing that you’ve done your little bit to help save your little part of the world.

I’ve made a little pledge to myself to make a conscious effort to not be so wasteful; so whether that’s just down to food waste (don’t buy a punnet of blueberries for those healthy breakfasts that you just know you’re not going to get up in time for, for example), to having a set of proper cutlery in my desk that can be used for any takeaway lunches I might have instead of the plastic stuff that comes with it and only snaps after stabbing two bits of penne pasta anyway.

So – to conclude – I’m not too sure where I’m headed with this blog post. I guess I just needed to let go of some of the pressure I’ve built up on this topic, but I also wondered if anybody else feels the same.

Do you feel the guilt too? Where did you start if you’re now on your way to becoming a fully fledged eco warrior? Are there any recommendations for podcasts / books / films etc? I’d love to know what’s out there! Let me know your thoughts.

Until next time,

Share:

I turned 26 last week and I’m not entirely sure how that happened.

One minute I’m having birthday parties in my great-aunt’s social club where so many people are singing the ‘I’m Blue’ song by Eiffel 65 over and over again on karaoke that the DJ is asking that we stop requesting it, the next I’m sat in a posh sushi restaurant discussing jobs and houses.

HOW did that happen?!

For realsies though, this birthday was a weird one for me. Normally I’m a huge fan of birthdays and I will quite happily string out the celebrations to the point where it’s almost 2 weeks later and I’m still using ‘but it’s my birthday!!!!’ as an excuse.

But this one – this one felt different.

I didn’t really want to celebrate it, I didn’t want as much fussing over as usual, and I felt a whole host of emotions throughout the day that I’ve never really felt before towards a birthday.

Is this me getting old? Is this me realising that I can’t be a birthday princess every year?! Hmm. I’m not sure I like the sound of that.

Anyway – while the overarching theme of the day was a positive one, I still had a few rumbles of the sads.

Love & gratitude

The amount of love I felt for those around me this year was overwhelming.

I think birthdays make you realise again just how awesome everyone is in your life, and this year was no different.

I got absolutely spoilt by my friends and family, but I also got so many lovely gifts and well wishes from my new colleagues – which is awesome, considering I’ve only been there a few months and I’m still a relatively new member of the team.

It made me beam with pride that everyone around me is so bloody brilliant and that they’re my friends. Ugh. YOU’RE ALL SO HECKIN WONDERFUL.

Grief & sadness

Sorry to be a bit of a party pooper – but this birthday hit me a bit hard this year.

In March, it’ll be 10 years since mum passed. I just, for the life of me, cannot fathom how that’s come around so quickly. 10 WHOLE YEARS? That’s craziness.

I remember the day like it was yesterday – and I probably always will – but for some reason with this year being a big ‘milestone’, not having her here for my birthday made me really, really sad.

It made me yearn for a card from both my parents, for a meal with both my parents, and for her to give me a big cuddle and joke with me about how I’m now nearly 30 and how I’m getting on a bit, aren’t I?

Someone at some point told me that this whole grief thing gets easier with time, but in all honesty, I’m not sure it does.

Fear & loneliness

There are times – and they’re almost daily occurrences now – that I get hit with the ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE????’ train.

My birthday was no exception to that rule.

26 is a bit of a milestone; you’re now on the downward towards your 30th, and the years between 25 and 30 are probably where some of the biggest life changes will happen to you and those around you. Engagements, weddings, pregnancies, new houses, new jobs, new careers and new directions.

Because of all that, I’m terrified that life is slipping away from me. I’m seeing some of my dearest friends get married, engaged and probably pregnant within the next couple of years, and in all honesty that scares the living daylights out of me. These kinda things always happened to friends of friends, or ‘adults’ that you knew through work or something. Not us.

I can’t help but feel like I want to put the brakes on time a little bit while I catch up to what everyone else is doing.

I also spoke to my dear nana on the phone yesterday and she said that at 26/27, she was married with two kids.

At 26, I have a cat.

Cool.

Gluttony & guilt

I ate like it was going out of damn fashion on my birthday. And you know what?

I honestly couldn’t have cared less.

I’m trying desperately hard at the moment to lose weight (summer bodies are made in winter!!1111!!!1!11 *eyeroll*) so my daily meals are consisting of porridge, soup, fish, chicken and veg.

It’s all a bit boring, so the moment my birthday rolled around – hooooo BOY. I let loose.

Here’s a quick rundown of what I had throughout the day (please no judgements and sorry to my old personal trainer if you’re reading this):

  • porridge (it started off so well)
  • a Ripple
  • a slice of birthday cake
  • a sausage roll
  • beef pho noodles
  • a Cornish pasty
  • mini eggs
  • a cookie (I might have even have had two, who knows – I was in some sort of sugary haze by this point which is what I imagine living in Katy Perry’s brain is like)
  • mini Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments
  • giant chocolate buttons
  • a banana (look at me trying to justify everything I’ve eaten so far by having that. Cute.)
  • some mango
  • a smoked salmon risotto
  • a burger with chunky chips and onion rings
  • two scoops of vanilla ice cream

I’m not even sure that’s a complete list but what I DO know is that I’m not one bit sorry.

While almost every single thing I ate that day is precisely what you shouldn’t be eating and I now have a tribe of spots on my chin to thank for it, I enjoyed every damn second of it. If there’s a day you’re gonna treat yourself, it may as well be your birthday.

And the next day I was straight back on the soups and fresh fruit and veg, so it’s all about balance, right?!?!?!

RIGHT!?!?!?!


Anyway – that’s a little round up of how I felt on my birthday.

I actually had a really lovely day, but it’s safe to say that it was a bit of a rollercoaster. I’ve since picked myself up from being so overwhelmed with everything, I’ve decided to draw a line underneath it all and I’ve started off my 26th year (trying to be) happy and healthy.

So – how do you celebrate your birthdays? Do you feel like this throughout the day or am I a complete alien? ?

 

Share:

Going out for dinner is possibly one of my favourite things to do on this island, as evidenced by my ever expanding waistline and my love of carbs.

Something else that I love just as much is carbs, is the fact that Jersey has some of the best restaurants, chefs, food (shoutout to the fact that we’re surrounded by sea so our fish is suuuuper fresh), and views from restaurant windows that I’ve ever known.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

We’re a bit spoilt for choice here, so when Tennerfest rolls around, it’s the perfect excuse to try out a couple of restaurants that have been on the ‘must-do’ list for a while.

If you’re not from around these parts, you probably have no idea what I mean by Tennerfest. It’s basically where restaurants do a set menu of 2 or 3 courses for either £10, £12.50 or £17.50.

It’s designed so that the pricier restaurants can do a cheaper menu, thus enticing a new audience, but also so that chefs can try out something new on their menu to see how it’d go down.

One of my favourite restaurants to visit during Tennerfest season is Big Verns, in St Ouen’s. It’s a cute lil place on the beach front that’s open for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. At the moment they’re doing three courses for £10, which is outstaaaaanding value.

£10 for three courses of warm, hearty goodness?! Vern, you cray cray.

The starter: garlic bread

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

You can’t really go wrong with this classic, can you?

While it was a simple dish, it was done so, so well. The bread was just crisp enough without you having to go to the dentist the next day to fix a crack in yer tooth, and yet the garlic and butter combo had just enough flavour that you weren’t overpowered and stinking of garlic for the next couple of days.

A big thumbs up from me.

The main course: penne pasta with woodland mushrooms, spinach and Parmesan

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Boy, oh boy. This is gonna be in my thoughts for a good, good while.

Now – I must confess – I actually really, really hate mushrooms. “Why on earth would you order a mushroom pasta then?!” I hear you cry.

That’s because that was the only veggie option for main, which I guess would be my only gripe with the menu. There was only one veggie option per dish, and us veggies eat more than mushrooms and beetroot.

This was, however, rich, creamy and even though it probably isn’t any good for my calorie intake for the day, it tasted pretty damn good. I would expect to be paying around the £10 mark for this meal alone, let alone the whole 3 courses.

The portion size was also super impressive; normally with Tennerfest menus, they scrimp on the portion size so that it doesn’t cost the kitchen a lot per plate, but this was a full sized bowl of carbs.

Another massive thumbs up from me.

The dessert: profiteroles with chocolate sauce

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Uggggghhh. Good lord.

These tasted just as incredible as they looked. They were light, fluffy, just on the right side of being cold (there is nothing worse than a frozen profiterole, I tell ya), and hugely satisfying.

I did come away feeling slightly sick after eating them, but that miiiiiight have been down to the fact that I just ate a whole load of stodge.

Yet another thumbs up!

The other stuff: service / ambience / price

This is where Big Vern’s shines; I always find that the service is really friendly, and also super quick as well. We ordered at 6.30pm, and within an hour, we were ready to leave.

Even though that sounds rushed, we never felt like we were being watched or being brought out the courses too quickly. It all came at the right time, when necessary.

The ambience of the place is great, too. It’s informal, especially as it’s best known for grabbing a quick hot chocolate before the drive home after a long day at the beach, but there were a few people on other tables that were on dates, or had made a bit of an effort with what they were wearing for the occasion.

Overall verdict

Overall – this place gets a solid 8/10 for me. The only things that brought down the score was the fact that the veggie options were quite limited (although this was only on the Tennerfest menu; I could have gone rogue and gone for something on their full menu, but who would do that when you have 3 courses for £10?!), and the fact that you had to go up to the till to pay at the end. That is suuuch a personal preference though, and obviously didn’t affect the quality of my meal.


So, there you have it. My review of Big Verns’ Tennerfest menu.

What do you think?! Do you think it looks good for what you get?!

Share:

This week has been a bit mental. It’s seen the arrival of a new housemate (hi, Bekki!), my first shift at a nightclub (hi, Watersplash!) and the news that I’m starting a 10-week digital marketing course, starting Monday (hi, Digital Jersey!). All that, teamed with a couple of surf lessons and planning out my vegetable patch for next spring – it’s been a busy ol’ week.

Home: Christmas candle

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Don’t you dare tell me it’s too early to get involved in Christmas. I walked into my favourite garden centre last week (where else would you find me), and I was greeted to loads of staff getting all the shelves ready and in place for all the Christmas decs. Even though I was on my own, I still did a little gasp and you can bet your bottom dollar a *IT’S HERE!!!!* squeal came out.

You’re welcome, everyone.

Now it would have been just plain rude to the Christmas gods if I’d have come out of there empty handed, so I put this little bad boy in my basket and off I trotted home, safe in the knowledge that my lounge was soon going to be filled with the sweet, musky scents of Christmas – and this doesn’t disappoint.

This particular one is from Colony, and is in the ‘Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh’ scent. When I told someone at work about my beloved purchase, all I got was a confused look and a ‘but what on earth does gold smell like?!’ I couldn’t quite answer that, and even now I’m still not entirely sure, but if it’s good enough for Baby Jesus to have been given, then it’s damn well good enough to make my lounge smell of it.

It’s sweet, but not sickly, and it’s woody without it smelling like a man’s aftershave. I bought the mahoosive jar, the 545g one to be exact, and apparently it’s got around 150 hours of burn time which means I can light it whenever I want to without feeling guilty that I am literally burning money away.

You can grab a gift set with some other festive smelling flavours, here.

Travel: Liverpool next weekend

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Ah, Liverpool. You old beaut, you.

I’m half scouse, which means that I get all the best parts; I have a penchant for a dead good eyebrow, but I don’t feel the need to wander around Tesco at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon with curlers in my hair and my jammies on (if you know, you know).

So, I’ve booked some flights to go see my paternal motherland to go see my nana, have a good ol’ shopping session around Primark (‘perks’ of living on a tiny lil island in the middle of nowhere is that shopping in mainland high street stores feels special), and stuff myself silly with some hearty home cooked food.

I’m only there for a couple of days, but if you have any recommendations for somewhere we need to go, let ya gal know!

Beauty: OUAI Wave Spray

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I bought into yet another blogger hype – I bought the OUAI Haircare Wave Spray – and after I say what I’m about to say, please don’t go unfollowing me on all forms of social media.

I really don’t like it.

Let me explain why. I have the thickest hair known to man, and every *single* hairdresser I’ve ever gone to has exclaimed ‘aw jeez, you’ve got so much hair!!11!!!’ to me while they’re tugging desperately at all the knots with a tiny comb (like that’s going to do much good – camman man). I’ve even had one hairdresser sigh with exasperation as she’s 30 minutes deep into blow-drying my hair and she’s only done a third of it.

I just don’t think my hair type is suited to this at all, as it makes it even fluffier and frizzier than I want it to be. I know that’s what a wave spray is meant to do – to give volume, bounce and those oh-so-effortless waves – but if I’m honest, I get a better result if I just whack an oil and a heat protective cream in my barnet.

It made my hair incredibly sticky and crisp, to the point where it made it difficult to brush out, and it dried out and knotted my hair like nobody’s business.

It also smelt like an off Chanel perfume.

I mean, there’s every possibility that I’ve got a dud one, but it’s frustrating when I see all these influencers on Instagram using it and looking like they’re on Baywatch and they’ve just came out the sea. But somehow when I use it, I look more like Monica from Friends in the humidity (you know what I mean) than I do Pamela Anderson.

Sorry folks – this one isn’t for me.

Music: Frank Ocean – blond

frankoceanblondalbum

My main man is back! And about bloody time, too.

If you’ve been living under a rock or you’re not entirely sure who Frankie boy is, he was once upon a time part of OFWGKTA (of Tyler The Creator fame). He started bringing out his own, softer stuff, which in all honesty I preferred to all the Odd Future noise.

His voice is like melted chocolate, and it’s so, so soothing to the ears. His previous albums, Nostalgia Ultra and Channel Orange, were released to critical acclaim and were probably one of the best albums of the years they were released.

And, after all that success, we all waited patiently with baited breath for his next release.

And we waited.

And we waited.

There were promises of release dates, with nothing coming to light. We were then treated to a live stream of him doing some carpentry in a workshop, to which nobody had the foggiest as to what it all meant – was it coming?! Finally, were we going to get some new Frank tracks?!??!

And then – it arrived. blond came in like a steam roller and blew all the expectations we all had about him out the water.

I first listened to it during Annie Mac’s album listening party, and a couple of the tracks instantly blew me away (mostly Pink + White and Self Control). It also features a track that’s solely a voicemail from his mum telling him not to do weed or get in car with someone who is drunk. Brilliant.

Go check it out on Spotify or Apple Music – it’s honestly worth a listen.

Life: it’s all a bit hectic

I thought with it coming to the end of summer that everything would start settling down until the Christmas party season came into full swing.

Nope.

I have every weekend planned out until the middle of November, I’ve got blog post ideas coming out of my ears that I want to work on now, I have my whole week planned out by Monday and I’m starting to have to ‘squeeze’ people in as to when I can see them. I’ve just started a new digital marketing course, and I’ve just gained a new housemate.

How is this all happening?! And what do you mean it’s only 100 days until Christmas?!?!?

Jeez. It’s a crazy, exciting and mental time but if you’re feeling the same, I urge you to just say no to stuff sometimes and make some time for yourself every once in a while. There is almost nothing that a face mask, a cup of tea and an episode of Suits can’t fix (anyone else fancy Harvey Spector?).


So – that’s my crazy week! How has yours been? What have you been up to?

Share:

On Sunday, it’ll be a whole god damn year since I bought my house. A whole year. A full 366 days. WHAT?! That’s absolute madness. I still feel like I’m house sitting and the real owners of this place are gonna come back off holiday anytime soon.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Thinking back to September 11 2015, and I remember it all going through court so, so well. I took the afternoon off work, I got dressed up all smartly, I trotted off to court and I exchanged keys with the previous owners that afternoon.

I also remember so vividly walking through the front door – MY front door – and just wandering round the empty rooms, staring at the blank walls and wondering what on earth I had just done.

I had just bought a three bedroomed cottage, with garden and a parking space. Blimey.

I learnt SO many lessons throughout the process of getting there (during the 14 months leading up to that moment I had also inherited a house, renovated that house and sold it which involved an intense bidding war – I don’t do things by halves), so I thought I’d share with you those lessons that nobody told me when I was going through the entire process.

It’s the most expensive thing you’ll ever do

Yes, I know kids and marriage are both also pretty expensive, but this is the only one I’ve experienced so far and I can tell you that it is beyond the most expensive thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve got direct debits coming out of my ears for all sorts of things – house insurance, furniture that I bought on HP, cat stuff – and when I think about how much I used to spend on ASOS every pay day, I wince and think about how many nice trinkets that could have bought me for my shelves.

Yes, my disposable income is a lot less than when I lived at home (obviously), but I have to realise that it’ll all be worthwhile in the end when I’m 45 and mortgage free.

Furniture costs a lot more than you think it does

When I had my completion date set by the solicitors, I would spend lunch hour after lunch hour munching on a sarnie and either flicking through catalogues, Pinterest or blogs for some home inspiration.

Turns out that you need an unlimited bank account or some huge sponsorship deals to make your home look like that.

Now, I was lucky in the fact that I had some money put aside to be able to deck myself out with some of the basics – I was actually able to eat off proper plates in the first week of moving in rather than having to eat off paper ones – but even with that money saved, I still do a bit of a wide eye at the amount of money that I’ve spent so far.

I’ve not even bought anything fancy or splurged on a sofa, but because I literally had nothing, I had to start from scratch and had to buy things fairly quickly instead of taking my time and hunting around for deals.

Obviously, if you’re going from renting somewhere to buying, you’re going to have a lot more stuff which you can bring with you. But if you’re moving out from living with your parents, ask around if people can donate or lend you things that you can use until you get everything sorted out.

It’ll take you a lot longer than you think to have your place ‘just right’

I moved into the house properly towards the end of September / beginning of October, so I *VERY NAIVELY* thought that I was going to be all settled and done by Christmas. I envisioned cosy Winter nights, hot chocolates in front of the fire, and candles flickering on my nice new matching coffee table and TV unit.

Hahahaha. Hahaaha. HA. Ha.

Get your head out of them there clouds, Jess.

It’s a year later and I am still moving things around, thinking about new furniture, buying odd bits and bobs and finding new ways of doing things around the rooms.

Just this weekend I was using that Dulux visualiser app to see what colour I could paint the walls in my lounge (if you haven’t used it yet, it’s SO much fun and makes me feel like I’m on Changing Rooms).

You’ll have a bit of a breakdown around ‘becoming an adult’

Since when did I take days off work and spend them weeding the garden? Gross.

You’ll realise how much more freedom and independence you have

Now, I’m very lucky that I grew up in a household that was very trusting and I was never really limited to where I could go and when, but living on your own or living outside of your family home just grants you that absolute freedom to be able to do what you want, and when you want, without any judgements.

Wanna eat that 3 day old leftover lasagne for breakfast at 10am on a Sunday? You go ahead and have it. You do you.

You’ll get carried away with plans, hopes and dreams

I moved in with hopes and dreams of getting a dog / knocking down walls / getting a spiral staircase / renovating the rooms to my exact wishes, again, all by Christmas.

None of that has happened.

You’ll undoubtedly get caught up in the ‘omg isn’t this the best thing ever look at all this space for ACTIVITIES I have now!!!!!’, but try not to let that take you away from what you actually need to do. Yes, looking up Westie breeders in your area is all well and good, but do you actually have a mattress to sleep on?

It’s the best thing you’ll ever do

Even though I whinge about not ever having any money because I’ve got bills coming out of my account left, right and centre, I still walk through the front door every day after work and have a little punch the air moment.

This house is mine, and I can’t wait to see the people, the moments, the laughter, tears and life that it gives me over the next few years.

So – have you bought a place to live? What did you think of the whole experience? I found mine relatively stress-free, as thankfully I had a lot of supportive people around me throughout the time, but I know a lot of people have very different experiences. What are some tips you’d give other people?

Share: