Malmo, Sweden: Add it to your city break list

IMG_5031-0

Instagram: @dannyboyjnr

As far as day dates go, popping to Sweden is an alright way to spend one. I did this recently with my boyfriend when we were in Copenhagen. So technically it wasn’t a day date because we were on holiday, but whatever. You can hop on a train and be in Sweden within half hour from CPH, by crossing a massive, really impressive looking bridge. The bridge in question- The Oresund Bridge, is also the feature of TV show- The Bridge. I won’t use the word bridge again.

IMG_5030

Anyway, we weren’t that convinced about going on this trip as we had limited time in Copenhagen and we knew nothing about Malmo. Turns out though, it’s the third biggest city in Sweden, (with only 300,000 people, think about that compared to LDN!?) and it’s a cool little place. I say little, I’m not that sure how big it is exactly but we covered most of it on foot and by canal boat in a few hours. When you first get there it looks a bit industrial and like there might not be much going on, but actually it’s rather lovely once you get stuck in.

We wondered from the station straight onto the canal and decided to hop on a tour. Luckily we had a hilarious guide called Ludwig, who looked like a man born to be on a boat and made some jokes about cat statues and snot, so that was nice. The tour takes you through the port and industrial area, which is a bit bland, but then you start to go through the park and past the main town and everything gets really pretty and totally postcard looking. There are a lot of bridges, a lot of flowers, a lot of buildings more attractive than some humans and a few fountains.

There are restaurants and cafes a-plenty and loads of quirky clothes shops, including a massive H&M because obvs, it’s Scandinavia. They love H&M. The town square is full of statues and gigantic pots of flowers everywhere. Even though it was July and school holidays and lush weather, it was really quiet and chilled. I could easily have spent an entire weekend there, wondering around the park and lounging in cafes and going on boats.

I’d never heard of Malmo before the merry little jaunt, but if you’re looking for somewhere a bit off the radar to have a city break, or just don’t want to go to a crowded, busy, hectic place, I would highly recommend it. You can also get trains to other Swedish cities including Stockholm. Go wild. Go on a Swedish tour. Also, just a side note, the Mcdonalds in Sweden (because who doesn’t love foreign McDs) does a thing called Mcwrap and Co. Get involved.

IMG_5029

July recommendations

IMG_5014
July has been a really busy month in my life and it’s felt like it’s lasted approximately 3 hours, so that’s nice. I’ve started a new job, flitted to Scandinavia and got a new bed and wardrobe. Getting a new furniture is more stressful than it sounds, I can tell you that right now. I have still found ten minutes to throw this together (on my phone, on the tube, which since I started my at my new place of work has become my blogging office, it’s super glam) so yeah. Knock yourselves out.

1) Monty Bojangles chocolates

I got these as part of my bundle of leaving presents from my old job and I quite literally cannot believe how good they are. I’ve never been a massive chocolate addict (yet here I am, mentioning chocolate again) but these things are clearly crafted by the hands of some chocolate God. If you want to make someone bloody happy, send them a box of these. Along with details of where they can obtain them, because they’ll need a lifetime stock after they sample them.

2) Copenhagen

I wrote a post about this lovely little city last week. I went there for a few days as a quick break and it’s so worth checking out if you want to book yourself a city break. It’s small, colourful, ridiculously chilled and full of nice sandwiches. What more could you really ask for? There’s also loads of pretty canals and boat tours to go on while you enjoy an extortionately priced beverage (Scandinavia innit).

IMG_4888

3) Apple Music.

Er, Apple Music is AMAZING. I love it. It’s life changing. I’ve listened to the Years and Years album about 15 times in the last week. If you haven’t got it, get it.

4) Seeing a kids film at the cinema

It’s been so long since I saw anything a bit childish at the cinema but I saw Inside Out this week, the new Pixar film, and loved every second of it. I forget sometimes how nice it can be to just sit and watch something so uncomplicated and easy. The film is brilliant, as basically all Pixar films are, and my woman crush Amy Poehler voices the main character. Well worth a dash to the cinema to see it and feel 12 years old for an hour and a half.

5) Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo

I’ve had a dry scalp for about a year now (joy) and i’ve tried loads of different products. This stuff is one of the only things that’s really helped. It also smells less offensive than most shampoos aimed at sorting out this sort of problem, and it isn’t black or dark green, which is nice. The only thing is, your hair doesn’t look clean for very long, but you can just use it every other wash to keep on top on things, and it certainly does the trick.

6) Fortitude

I’ve just started this and it’s pretty bloody good. If you’re after a new TV show to binge watch then definitely consider this. It’s set in Scandinavia on a remote island, deemed the safest town in the world, but obvs things get very unsafe and all manner of shit goes down among the polar bears and the snow. Oh and it stars Stanley Tucci and flipping Dumbledore (well, Michael Gambon) so it was always going to be  amazing. It’s also got a seriously eerie, chilling theme tune. So yeah. GO WATCH.

13 things anyone who suffers with cystitis will know about far too well

1) Feeling a burning pit of hell take hold in your lower abdomen and rage on for several hours before mysteriously retreating and leaving you scared, confused and quietly awaiting it’s return.

2) Talking to your bladder. “I’ll never take not being aware of you for granted again I swear. I love you. You’re really important, just please stop making me weep on the floor in a pile.”

3) Relying on a hot water bottle for ultimate survival. Not much else can soothe that horrifying, painful discomfort like a hot water bottle and a duvet. At 3am. Because cystitis doesn’t need sleep.

4) Standing up. Sitting down. Standing up. Laying down. Waking to the bathroom. Laying down. Crying. Going back to bed. Sitting up. Walking to the bathroom. Repeat 576455 times.

5) Wondering what you did to deserve this and how on earth it’s happened again when you take every precaution known to exist and are now obsessed with your urethra.

6) Throwing out any underwear that’s tight, has lace sewn on or looks vaguely interesting and grown up.

7) Adopting a big fat litre-water bottle as your new boyfriend and holding it to your chest in bed.

8) Having to take a moment to crouch on the floor in public because you need a wee so bad and have a fever and feel faint and wonder if life should just end now. Down here. On the pavement. Against this wall.

9) Thinking about how incredible it will be when you can drink a coffee again. Or a fizzy drink. Or just absolutely anything that isn’t water from your boyfriend water bottle.

10) Running a bath and sitting in it. Holding your lower stomach and staring silently into space while you pray for relief or the end. (The end of the cystitis, not life. Let’s not get OTT)

11) Swearing in your mind you will never ever have sex again. Or even think about it.

12) Googling ‘kidney infection’ because HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN SHIT IS GETTING REAL? Should you be dizzy? Is that back pain high enough? Is there blood? Is it ever gonna end?

13) Becoming wide eyed and staying very still when you feel the first pangs. Here we go again. It’s time for war.

Things to remember when you start a new job

  

So starting a job isn’t the most fun thing in the world, we can probably all agree. I’ve inflicted it on myself 4 times since leaving uni and every time the first day looms I end up asking myself why I’ve done this again. Why have I left an office and a group of colleagues I’m comfortable and settled with? Like, FFS Lauren, stop pushing yourself to do better. God.

In fairness, I’ve always ended up loving what I’ve done work wise, which is nice, and moving on has been a mixture of natural career progression and working on project contracts, so I’ve sort of had to do it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re super confident or taking on a job you’ve been headhunted for because you’re a sensational genius, I think everyone can relate to first day apprehension. The whole thing of getting used to how things work, even down to tea and coffee. Do you do rounds? Is it all communal? Can I just delve into those mint teabags? Is that cake for everyone? You know how it is. I started a new job last week so it felt like a good time to get this down.

And then there’s all the other crap you have to deal with, like setting up staff with IT, getting  a log in, getting security passes and codes. A long list of new job admin. Oh the joy. At the end of the day though, it really isn’t that bad, and there’s a few things to remember that can ease the process:

THEY hired YOU 

You applied, got shortlisted, got interviewed, maybe got interviewed again and then they picked you. You were the one they wanted, so turning up on your first day should be all about, HIYA I’M HERE AND I’M READY TO PROVE YOU RIGHT. These people wanted you on their workforce, you’re not just rocking up somewhere at random to be annoying and get in the way.

New job, new mindset

This is something I actually really like about starting somewhere new. It’s a good excuse to rid yourself of any work negativity you’ve collected from your old place (I mean, let’s face it, it happens) and spring clean your mind to feel happy and motivated. This is something completely new, with new people and new aims and you can tackle it in whatever you feel best, without any opposition from your negative thoughts.

You’re about to better yourself

Any new job means new experiences, probably some you never even imagined you would have. Any kind of situation you handle or skill you develop can go on the old CV and be used to your advantage. There’s no better time than when you start something new to set yourself some self-development goals and get going with them.

New friend potentials, new drinking partner potentials, new lunch pal potentials etc etc

I think people really make a job what it is, so getting to know new ones is never a bad thing. If you’re fortunate enough to start somewhere and get good people vibes, then you’ll be fine. It takes a while to get to know people and feel comfortable, but having it done it before you know it’s worth it when you do. You can never have enough Friday night wine friends. Never.

So basically, if you’re about to have your first day somewhere or you’re looking for a new job but finding it all a bit overwhelming, just remember that there’s way more good than bad. It’s also totally okay to have a breather in the loo on your first day, just don’t stay in there so long that people notice.

Happy place memories. (Mine is a house, FYI)

hawks2

I credit this to the new Facebook memory thing, that chucks a photo at you of times gone by and lets you share it with everyone and have a good old reminisce. It’s all very nice and nostalgic (until you see a photo of you passed out in Magaluf) and it’s made me realise I 100% have a happy place memory. It’s pretty nice to just be able to cheer yourself up while laying in bed just by thinking about something. I’m not talking about just remembering a good occasion, I’m talking a full on happy place in my brain. I reckon most people have one.

Mine’s a house.

To be more specific, it’s a house Kingston-Upon-Thames and it’s on Hawks Road. You should all go there because it’s amazing and you can get out of date Cornettos in the best corner shop ever. Obviously, Hawks Road, as it’s affectionately known, was a student house. The house that homed a couple of my best uni friends and boyfriend. A house where people generally came to for the purpose of getting drunk by drinking concoctions out of saucepans with about 10 straws chucked in. We also liked to fill measuring jugs with Port and WKD. It was a great time to be alive.

There’s basically not much else that lives in my brain, apart from childhood and family times, that can cheer me up as much as just thinking about that house. Marmite stained sofas, miscellaneous feline guests, a toilet that growled, a secret shower, house parties that resulted in indoor rivers, dancing on chairs, inspections from housing officer Sharon. OH THE MEMORIES ❤ ❤ ❤

That cute little house holds some of my happiest times. There’s not one particular event that stands out, it’s much like the list above, just endless good times. Ridiculous, drunken nights, watching entire TV series in one sitting, cooking disasters, really good dancing, dinners made solely of Yorkshire puddings. I think I could sit and write a dissertation length post about how much I loved and still love that house. It’s not just me either, it’s a place that loads of people associate with happiness. It’s obviously the people that made those couple of years as amazing as they were, and I’m so grateful that I met such amazing friends circa 2009/10, but I’ll always capture it all in my mind by thinking about the house it all happened in.

It’s become a pick-me-up and just thinking about it reminds me that life ain’t so bad, particularly when I’m feeling down on my luck. I will no doubt bore my future teenage children with stories that start “back when I was a student we had this house….”

So yeah, happy place memories are important and I’m glad to have such a bloody wonderful one.

Cheers Hawks Road, I love you babes.

hawk3 hawks1

Thoughts I’ve had while using the tube lately 

tube_map

There are literally days when I see things on the tube and think, seriously, am I being Punked? Is Ashton Kutcher going to bound onto the tube and start hysterically laughing at me? Am I actually at home in bed sleeping through my alarm and dreaming this?

I have, over my three and a half years of tube commuting, had an abundance of weird experiences and often find myself wondering if I have actually left the universe and crossed over to another dimension where stuffed crow top hats and bags bigger than some European countries are the norm. My thoughts lately have included:

Have I missed an entire day or are you really having a Red Bull and a samosa for breakfast 2 inches from my face?

Do you think breathing like a dragon is acceptable? Are you Daenerys Targaryan?

where, in 2015, does one buy jeans with ‘sexy’ emblazoned on the back in diamontes?

Has something awful happened in your life that makes you feel it’s okay to lean on a pole that 5 people are trying to hold onto for dear life and to stay upright?

Is this the London Underground or the Magaluf strip? Where are the rest of your clothes at 8am?

If you get all of those suitcases on any tube before 9:30am I will eat all of my own limbs.

Get in the sea.

What is Upminster and has anyone really been there?

There is a man’s crotch resting on my back and nothing I can do about it. This is my life.

Maybe, instead of handing over £32 a week to be delayed, squashed, injured, pushed and transported at 2mph, I should just take a vow of silence and move to a remote jungle that still has moderate wifi.

So yeah. I really like mornings and people and tubes. *straight line mouth emoji*

Copenhagen travel diary: What to do and where to go 

Travel blogs are my favourites so every time I go anywhere I get excited and take about 474747 photos so I can shove my love of a new place down the throat of anyone who should happen to be thinking of going there.

Anyway, I went to Copenhagen on a whim with my boyfriend after finding super cheap flights and generally wanting to visit Scandinavia. We got flights for £50 return on good old EasyJet and snapped up the most gorgeously quaint little apartment on Air B&B. Budget trip success.

We had three days to fill so here’s a little rundown of what’s good and where to go so you can just book your own flights and leave immediately. I’ll sort your annual leave out, dw.

Nyhavn: This is postcard Copenhagen and a serious tourist hotspot. I found it a bit busy and over-saturated with people and expensive food, but it sure is pretty. It’s more expensive to eat here, just from glancing at menus, but if you want lunch with a view this is the ideal. Well worth going for a stroll down and hopping on a canal tour too. The tourist trips and attractions were really well priced, a boat tour for one hour from Nyhavn was a mere £9, and you see a lot. This is definitely an Instagram-worthy place if you’re that way inclined. It’s also a good place to start your day and get to other attractions from by bike or on foot.

Instagram: @dannyboyjnr

Things to look at: There’s loads of stuff to just walk and see if you like impressive architecture. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many statues as I did in CPH, even in Rome. The Marble Church is really cool, obviously the Little Mermaid (5 seconds to look at it is sufficient), the free town, the very tall Church of Our Saviour, The Black Diamond and the cool looking science museum are all worth a gander. If you make it to Frederiksborg, the gardens are pretty and you can spend some downtime looking at ducks and geese and the famous Dummy Tree where kids literally hang their dummies when they give them up. Yep, that’s seriously a thing (no idea). There’s also courtyard and door porn everywhere so keep your eyes peeled for cute photo opportunities and doorstep goals.

Instagram: @dannyboyjnr

Instagram: @dannyboyjnr

Frederiksborg Gardens

Tivoli Gardens: Seriously pretty and quirky theme park with rides, peacocks and giant snacks. They also have music and shows on the giant outdoor stage and the whole place gets illuminated at night. I recommend The Demon ride and just generally walking around with your camera out. It’s also best to buy ride tokens as you enter because the machines are card only. The illuminations don’t happen until really late in summer as it doesn’t get dark until about 10:30, so unless you fancy a late night park trip, just go in the day, it still looks impressive.

CPH Zoo: The zoo is in upmarket and leafy Frederiksborg, which is a lot like the posh part of Camden but with more bikes and less live music venues. You can get to the zoo from the gardens but it’s all a bit confusing, so better to just go directly there and do the gardens separately or you’ll end up getting lost and feeling resentment towards herons and ponds. It’s a cool little zoo, loads of animals including a polar bear, hippos, wolves, apes, lions and the ever hilarious prairie dogs that bring joy to life. Oh and they sell churros and have a giant BBQ that smells like dreams, so yeah, mega food points.

Being a general jolly tourist: You can do walking tours, go to galleries, loads of museums, hire segways, go on boats, the usual city break stuff, but it seems different here. Copenhagen isn’t like other cities I’ve been to for shore breaks like Paris or Rome, it’s got a seriously quirky edge to it and the people are so relaxed and calm it seems like some sort of off-peak experience at all times, even when it isn’t. Getting around in theory is really easy, although get a good map, as there a lot of tiny streets and alleys. It’s also insanely colourful and looks a bit like a painting. Kinda like walking around in a colourful fairytale, which is ideal because of the whole Hans Christian Anderson thing they have going on.

Food and drink: SO EXPENSIVE but like, when you’re on your ‘olidays you just go for it, so try Salt, a little restaurant and cafe on the port harbour for burgers or seafood or go for a traditional open sandwich at one of the many cafes. If you want to go out on the lash and be all lads on tour and what have you, take some extra cash, you’ll need it. Alternatively they have Netto (the most popular supermarket, go figure), and 7elevens everywhere. Everyone knows 7eleven is the greatest place on earth. Oh and OBVIOUSLY eat Danish pastries when in Denmark, duh.

Overall, this place has everything you need for a quirky little few days away. It’s not hectic, it’s not complicated, the efficient Metro gets you from A to B so easily and 90% of people use bikes. Such major city green living goals. OH and they have the flagship Lego store which my boyfriend got super-excited about.

You can also hop on a train over to Sweden to the city of Malmo, which is so worth it and I liked it so much im going to write about Sweden separately.

      

8 of my favourite Twitter accounts for you to go stalk and follow 

I spend pretty much all of my spare moments scrolling through Twitter. I’ve come to use it for everything: news, reading material, travel advice, fashion inspiration and keeping up with friends. I also use it for laughs because there are some seriously hilarious people out there tweeting away everyday alongside accounts dedicated to just providing general, sometimes weird lols to the world.

These are 8 of my favourites and you should go follow them too. That is an order.

@incrediblyrich – this guy, who I believe works in the world of journalism/PR, makes me laugh basically everyday. If you like funny stories from nights out, amazing topical gifs and random, somewhat bizarre thoughts about pretty much anything and everything, then he’s your man. He also seems to be mates with Caitlin Moran and Grace Dent so he’s clearly seriously cool.

@Popjustice – Tweets are by hysterically funny music journalist Peter Robinson and I’ve been a dedicated follower of him since my pal did work experience with them and told me how funny he is. HE IS VERY FUNNY. It helps to really enjoy pop music and dry, sarcastic humour, but tbh, he’s funny even if you hate music. (No one hates music though, surely?)

@ohanthonio – Tony is one of my uni friends and got me into Mr Popjustice. He also tweets a lot about music, a lot about Girls Aloud and does a lot of hassling pop stars who haven’t released anything in a while to get a move on. I also really enjoy his Twitter commentary of shit television shows. He tells it like it is.

@daniellelily – Danielle writes the blog While I’m Young and Skinny and she is a travel guru. If you’re into travel and fancy some good links to travel articles or just her opinion on places, you’ll definitely enjoy her account. Her blog is also really funny so you can hit that up too. Beware though, wanderlust will strongly occur.

@Caitlinmoran – because DUH. I love Caitlin. I love her books. I love her articles. I love her humour. She was born to be funny on the Internet and one day I want to meet and hug her. Immense woman crush.

@lilypebbles – I feel like I can’t make decisions about beauty and make up without consulting with Lily’s blog now, which surprises me because I’ve never been gig on beauty blogs. I also prefer her to a lot of other beauty bloggers because she just seems so nice and completely normal, like you could meet her a bus stop and have a chat about chips and moisturiser.

@hannahfgale – if you’re into blogs, then you’re most likely into Hannah. She’s one of my best friends and we met at uni by making up a song about a library. Yep. Beauty, cats, life in general and the lols associated with trying to get a mid-20s life together. Oh and a lot of emoji chat.

@getinthesea – Er, soz but not soz. This is hilarious and I love it. I recently introduced my office to it and when I left last week they had me a get in the sea mug made. Now that’s love. I just spent a few minutes scrolling through this and ended up cough-laughing. It’s weird and it’s rude but I don’t care.

If you fancy following me I’m @laurenrellis so that should complete your day. Let’s all go procrastinate on Twitter together shall we?

Do you have the UK’s messiest bedroom? DO YOU? 

I think having a tidy bedroom has been a battle I’ve fought my entire my life. I remember days spent tidying up the room I shared with my sister under my mum’s supervision and getting so stressed out about where to put various Barbies and craft boxes and where the lid to Pay Day was. Oh the 90s ❤

Anyway, it’s now 2015 and not much has changed, apart from now I’m tidying up life admin and work clothes instead of Malibu Barbie and Sylvanian families. I have a massive bedroom, so it really shouldn’t be a problem, yet it still so often ends up looking like a post-apocalyptic accident. I do have to share it with my boyfriend so it’s not all my fault I guess, and we DO try. Life just happens. I can’t be the only person with ‘the chair’ in their bedroom: a place to dump discarded clothes, random things, odd socks and belts and which is absolutely never used for sitting. Life happens. Mess happens.

I do bloody hate having a messy bedroom though. It makes me feel stressed and annoyed when I want to be calm and relaxed, and now I’m at the grand old age of 25, I’ve realised the answer is storage. I love storage. That’s the lamest thing I’ve ever said but it’s true. Sometimes I search just ‘storage ideas’ on Pinterest because my life really is that hip and happening. The party never ends. Ahem.

I’ve come to the realisation that you can’t have a bedroom that looks like a Showroom. It’s just not possible. So now my room is full of storage, large and small. I’ve used the thrifty brilliance of Gumtree to get some drawers and shelves and other bits of furniture in my room. I also regularly buy trinkets and vintage tins on eBay because it’s possible I need to get some new hobbies.

I don’t think I have the messiest bedroom in the world, although there have been days I’ve woken up after chaotic nights out or long, stressful work weeks and wondered HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!? If you have or know of someone who has a bedroom that literally can take more, then Time4Sleep want you. They’re giving away a storage bed worth up to £500 and all you have to do is send a photo. You can even do it on Twitter using the #messybedroom hashtag. The extended comp has 8 days left, more details are here.*

Happy tidying. (Not really. It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m going to have a nap.)

What Saturdays are REALLY about 

  

If you read a lot of blogs or ‘weekend’ interviews with super hot famous people then you’ll probably feel like you need to include more organic juicing, hot yoga and meditation to your Saturday routine. The glossy online world and instagram society would have us believe that girls spend their weekends pampering, eating and drinking plant based meals, soul cleansing, burning calories by hanging upside down while practicing Buddhism and being sprayed with aloe Vera and other such ludicrous activities. Erm, soz, but…no? Saturday’s are first and foremost, for a lot of working people but not all of course, a day off. Followed by another day off. Hallelujah to that. 

Saturday in my house is all about not setting alarms, sleeping off the Friday night post-work wine binge, blowing money on unnecessary things, laying about, eating yummy food and asking each other if anyone fancies their 24th coffee of the day. Oh and plenty of laying, to prepare for Saturday night activities of either going out again or being a total slob and watching mass Netflix. I bloody love weekends. 

I’m definitely not one for wasting days and I tend to get stuff done at the weekend, as my boyfriend will tell you through a grimace. But I’m also a firm believer that Saturday is a day for the good things in life and the easy things in life. 

Things I really do on Saturday: 

1) lay in bed naked in the mornings, scrolling through social media and whatsapping, wondering if I should get up and go to the gym. Sometimes going to the gym, sometimes going and getting the waffle maker out. (I tend to get dressed for these bits)

2) Going directly to H&M, buying expensive smoothie/coffee and getting annoyed by all people and wishing they would all get in the sea. 

3) How many more days can I not shave my legs for?

4) Looking through the alcohol cupboard to see if there’s a good combo of cocktail ingredients that won’t taste like sugary poison. If it’s not a drinking weekend then looking through food cupboards for things that are precisely sugary poison. 

5) Potentially laying in bed with cystitis wondering what I did in another life to deserve this. 

6) Heavily debating acceptable films to watch with my boyfriend. This Saturday: Hercules.

7) Googling cheap flights. 

8) Doing about 40000 loads of washing then crying inside about putting it all away because how can any chore be this lame?

I mean, let’s be honest, Saturday should be spent however you like, but you don’t need to mimic Gwyneth Paltrow and be all about kale and karma before 9am.