7 Friday Favourites: 3rd April 2015

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Let’s get one thing straight: it can’t be April. It can’t possibly. Like, what?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon that warmer weather and tanned bare legs and Pimms and picnics and barbecues and lazy evenings outside with strawberry cider are on the horizon, and I’m beyond happy about the lighter mornings and evenings flooding my body with happy vitamins and hormones, but srsly, can life stop moving so ridiculously fast?

I think this is the part of your life where you really notice the speed and kind of want it to slow down a bit. The time in your life when you realise that life doesn’t go on forever, the time in your life when the things you put off for ‘when you’re old’ suddenly become things that you need to start thinking about. Things like babies and weddings and homes and pensions and savings and looking after your health. Mega creepy. Megz.

AND IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET FASTER FROM HERE ON OUT, OR SO OLD PEOPLE TELL ME. FUCK.

Anyway, let’s stop for a moment to enjoy the all-time favourites this week.

 

1. This American Life

Loved Serial so much it made you think about actually listening to podcasts instead of Taylor Swift’s album? Then try this. It’s from the same American’s behind Serial, except they focus on one topic an episode, which means every week there’s something new. There’s over 500 episodes in total because This American Life has been going on since FOREVER, and you can subscribe on your iPhone for each new episode to drop into your Podcast folder. You can also buy old episodes for 79p from the iTunes store, which is what I did whilst I was away. I just Googled for the best rated ones and listened to them on the plane/by the pool and it was seriously good. I definitely recommend them for travelling – even if it’s commuting on the train or going on a long drive.

I’ve listened to about 6 now and I’d say my two favourites were #296 After The Flood (about New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina) and #551 Good Guys 2015.

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2. Flower arranging with Etsy

I did something I never thought I’d ever do this week. I woke up at 5.30am just to go to a blogger breakfast event. Eww. It was suprisingly OK because the sun was shining, I had coffee and it was the morning before the four-day Bank Holiday weekend so there was this jolly level of FUCK EVERYTHING IT’S PARTY TIME in the air. So that was nice.

I headed to the Etsy HQ near Farringdon station and got down to some serious flower arranging with florist superpower Grace & Thorn. I’m a natural, apparently. So yeah, there’s a great fallback career for me. We worked with wild flowers, and the trick is apparently to create a layer of folliage and greenery first before layering in flowers – ideally cut to slightly different lengths to add some movement to the bouquet. Then it’s finished off with a few more looser bits of greenery to fill in any obvious gaps. I feel like I will carry that knowledge with me for life now, carry into into my retirement when I sit and arrange wild flowers in my conservatory whilst listening to Radio 2 and eating crumpets.

I then transported said flowers in a water-filled jar to Warehouse HQ, where they sat on my desk for the day and gathered compliments, before walking the 15-minute strut to Liverpool Street with said jar in my hand, then settling down on the train back to Ipswich with the jar on my train table for decoration. It was nice.

The flowers are still going strong – currently in the lounge. Oh, and just FYI, Etsy headquarters is exactly like you’d imagine, it’s made up of about 97% Etsy products. Amazing.

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3. Fonteverde spa hotel

It wouldn’t be quite right to not mention the incredible long weekend I had in Tuscany in this post because it absolutely made my week. Obviously I’ll do a full write up on Fonteverde within the next week or so, but I’ll give you a little glimpse into how insanely majestic it was now. Like OMG.

The hotel itself boasts the best lunch buffet I’ve ever encountered in my life. I survived on a diet of olive oil, rocket, mozarella, proscuitto and bread the entire time. All topped off with two post-lunch helpings of tiramisu and strawberries. I *may* have come back with an extra belly roll, but y’know, some things are worth it and I’d count Tuscan food as one of those things. Come to mumma.

Aside from food (and a lot of dreamy, rich, sexy red wine) we spent most of the time relaxing in the hotel’s natural thermal baths. There are very few things in life that’ll ever make your soul quite as happy as staring at rolling deep Italian hills whilst lazing in an infinity pool as hot as a bath whilst the sun lightly beams down on you. It was all my outdoor dreams come true.

I was sad to not have Chris along for the four-day ride, but I made some fun new friends to make inappropriate jokes with and have sharesies and discuss how harrowing the plane turbulence was with, so there’s that.

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4. Pale blue/green nail varnishes

You may have noticed that I go through massive stages with my nail colour. I like to have them painted at all time, and although I do like gel, I find that I get bored quite quickly with the colour, and if one chips or peels then I find it hard to stop myself peeling the rest of them off, leaving my nails looking like dehydrated albino raisins. Eww. I’m currently alternating between two pale ocean shades, and have found that if I layer up with two clear top coats (painted a good few hours apart) they last about 5-7 days which is just pretty damn perfect for me.

So for tose of you who’ve been asking on Instagram, my right-now nail varnishes that have been making all sorts of picture debuts are Essie’s Mint Candy Apple and Topshop’s Air Kisses.

I might go shopping this afternoon and treat myself to a few more shades, I’m desperate to find the perfect violet shade. Insert that naughty monkey emoji because that’s how cheeky I feel right now.

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5. Free People dresses

Free People isn’t a huge brand in the UK right now, so you might not know about it, but it’s definitely going to be on your radar this summer. Mostly because the American brand focuses on beautiful folk dresses – as in the beautiful sort of folk dresses that I’m OBSESSED with right now. Obsessed because they’re so light and easy to wear, the sort or dresses that even if you’re having a bad self-esteem day, make you feel comfortable and OK with your appearance. They’re the perfect throw-on over a bikini dress for hot summer holidays, but they’ll also work under a biker jacket and ankle boots for unpredictable UK weather.

I was pretty bloody lucky this week to get sent two frocks to review for my blog, which makes  me so happy haps because I have a few holidays lined up that NEED new dresses. That’s like the most important thing for hot holidays ins’t it? New dresses, new sandals and a bikini which doesn’t cut into your sides and make you feel like a hippo.

The dresses aren’t cheap, but they feel good quality and like the sort of thing you’ll still be wearing on posh grown up family holidays to Greek islands when you’re 40.

Oh and it’s part of the same people that look after Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, so there’s that.

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6. Max Factor Whipped Creme Mousse Foundation

My MAC foundation finally ran out and died last week, which, on the day of packing for a trip away, was a bit terrifying. The only foundation I could find in my reserves in the right shade for my current quite-pale skin tone was this high street one, so reluctantly I packed it, and hoped and prayed that the magical healing waters of Fonteverde would banish my spots and make my skin so perfect I didn’t need it.

But guys, guys, this is seriously good. It’s £9.99 which is high end for a drugstore foundation, but in the scheme of things, it’s pretty bloody cheap. It’s so soft and smooth on my skin and goes on so easily – it doesn’t even catch on any of the dry, crusty bits of spot scabs that linger on my skin. And the coverage we perfect for daytime, it evened out my skin tone without looking heavy or cakey. I’m obsessed with it, so just thought I’d let you know and what not.

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7. New York trip

I WON.

I WON.

I WON.

So THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU LOVELY PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN. I haven’t got many more details from Aer Lingus at the moment about when we’ll be going or for how long we’ll be going, but WE’RE GOING. I’m so excited to get back to my favourite place in the world and explore with Chris and eat my weight in grubby, delicious American food. So damn excited. I’d love some tips and recommendations from you all – ideally for well-priced restaurants that don’t require reservations because I’m horrendous at booking abroad. Oh and maybe bars. And un-obvious things to do. I’m thinking of going to Coney Island if we go whilst it’s warm, and to actually see Ellis Island (if it’s open). But i’m seriously open to any ideas. Hit me up gal pals.

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  • So happy you won! xx

  • The Spotted Pig in Greenwich is a MUST. They have the best burger and fries I have ever had IN. MY. LIFE. Just google the name and pictures of the shoestring fries come up….it is heaven.

    I would head there for opening time – which is around 12 and you should get a seat no bother. Otherwise you will have a wee wait but you can sip on cocktails by the bar in this time.

    This place is an NYC institution!

    • hannahgale9

      OMG get me there now. This sounds seriously sexy.

  • YAY YOU WON! That’s amazing! Not that I’m just commenting to guide you t’wards my blog but I just got back from NYC and there’s a few posts on my homepage about the restaurants/bars we went to and what I got up to. Massively recommend The Spotted Pig (they don’t take reservations) in the Meatpacking District, and bottomless boozy brunch at Sotto 13 in Greenwich! Have fun planning!

    Katie x

    http://www.bloodyhellbrennan.com

  • Congrats! you deserve it x
    http://wearsheiz.blogspot.co.uk

  • 1. congrats on the win!
    2. that foundation looks intriguing. i feel like i need a drugstore one for everyday instead of using up my nars one!
    3. free people is such a gorgeous brand! just not a gorgeous price for a student, ha!

    http://helloitscherry.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Labhaoise

    What top coat do you use to get polish to last so long?! And congrats on NY!

    • hannahgale9

      I use Seche Vite which is used quite commonly in salons in the UK. However a reader did get in contact recently to say it contains an ingredient linked to feotal deformations. So, erm, yeah. Use at your own risk.

  • amy

    You won, great! The photo of you in the pool is lovely,

    Life is going too fast, 3 months down this year and I’ve hardly achieved anything (I’m sure that’s not true but nothing stands out its just become same old routine). I feel like I am watching every day tick on by, I tick things off that I need to do every day and worry about all the things I still need to get done, When really I should be more spontaneous and relaxed, its hard to enjoy life when you want so much. life is a pain in the bottom but where all in it together.

  • Rachel Marie

    Congrats on the win! That Essie polish is so gorgeous perfect for spring!
    Rachel Coco

  • So jealous of your flower arranging class – I would LOVE to do something like that!

  • Love those nail polish colours! And, New York – congrats! I moved to the area from the UK recently, so if you’d like any tips, feel free to get in touch. (My list of restaurants to eat in might get a bit long for a comment, but some favourites are Jack’s Wife Freda, Buvette, The Burger Joint, Ess A Bagel… I could go on and on!).

  • Caragh

    Yay!! So happy you won Hannah xx

  • Mel

    Congrats!!

  • Yeayyy! Congrats for winning the NYC trip! I highly recommend visiting Katz deli whilst there, was featured on Man Vs Food once and is well worth the subway trip to visit for lunch!

    PS Love your flower arranging skills!

    Jen xx

    • hannahgale9

      Anything featured on Man Vs Food sounds RIGHT up my street. Thanks for the heads up! xx

  • Congrats on the win!

  • Joanne

    I’m so so happy that you won the NYC trip! It’s my absolute favourite place in the world and I’m going back in October, so we’re both onto a winner.
    There’s a chain restaurant called Applebee’s which does amazing burgers, pasta, seafood, steak etc. and it’s really reasonably priced, and also bang in the middle of Times Square. Also, if you go to Olive Garden get the chicken pasta alfredo, because omg heaven.
    Another great place for burgers is Bill’s Bar and Burger, which has a few different locations in NYC but the one that I went to was at the Rockerfeller Centre.
    If you’re wanting to do some shopping while you’re there, go to Jersey Gardens Mall. Technically it’s in New Jersey, not New York but it’s so good and only about a 40 minute bus journey from Port Authority. I could spend days in there.
    Max Brenner’s Chocolate Cafe is an absolute MUST. Chocolate martini’s and fondues and chocolate pizzas and basically everything chocolatey to get you into the best ever food coma.
    Sorry for rambling on, I hope any of this helps for new stuff to do there!

    • hannahgale9

      Thanks for all of this, so HELPFUL. I love Applebee’s. They’re breakfast menu is delicious – plus there’s free WIFI haha. And the cocktails in Olive Garden are sublime.

  • Kate

    A common theme in blogs at the moment is age and time. It worries me that your so concerned about it.your only 25…thats really young. Why worry about marriage babies and everything else and what everyone else is doing? Just enjoy being young while you can. I lately have worried about age and time, I’m 24.. but i’ve realised If i sit worrying my youth is going to slide by even quicker and i will remember my twenties to be a time I worried about getting old instead of going out enjoying it. I’m not sure why there is a huge deal for everyone to have babies right now.. The thought of having a baby at 24 is still laughable to me personally I am not mature enough at all..but why would I be? IM 24 YEARS OLD not 34. In my opinion your twenties is a time to enjoy yourself and be care free to some degree, yes have a job, move out, but then have fun? a lot of people I know who don’t want to go out anymore for drinks because they feel too old to do it?! its madness to me. I think its defiantly helped me to just stop worry about becoming 25, becoming 30, becoming 40 and just enjoy each day each week and whilst i’m young ill take advantage of doing that by having a laugh, partying and been a little carefree until i’m 30.

    • Kate

      on a more positive note, you have a great job, money and a cool lifestyle and a boyfriend and you have your own place in all accounts your doing really well compared to most people our age who still cant afford to move out of their parents house and who are drowning in student debt! I wouldn’t worry about anything your doing fine, just enjoy it 🙂

  • I adore your style of writing! And congratulations on winning the trip to new york – i’m super jealous! Make sure to bring back lots of pop tarts haha x

  • Obsessed with your blog! I love your writing style and your posts always make me smile/laugh after ready them x

  • I cannot wait for the spa write up in the next week 🙂
    Also congratulations on the New York trip, all those votes paid off!
    Rosie
    x

    http://www.anenglishrosie.blogspot.co.uk

  • EleanorM

    Get thee to the Clinton Bakery on 10th Avenue (quite close to Katz’ deli) for seriously delish and wholly Instagrammable goodness. Congrats!

  • Love those nail shades!

    Congrats on winning the trip to NY! xx

  • Roisin

    Congrats on the win!

    There’s a This American Life app that you can use to listen to old episodes. You pay a one-time fee to download the app, but then you have unlimited access to stream episodes, and you can download up to 5 episodes at a time for offline listening. I don’t remember exactly how much the app was, but
    cheaper than paying for loads of archived episodes!


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