Sunday, 17 December 2017

The best gigs I’ve ever been to

The best gigs I’ve ever been to
Kooks Ticket flatlay

I fell in love with live music when I was in my third year of university. Pretty late to the party, right? Gigs were a little out of my comfort zone and I didn’t hit that ‘push yourself’ mentality until I was about 20 but whilst I definitely missed out as a teenager, I’ve more than made up for it since. I’m pretty happy bobbing along in the mainstream when it comes to my music tastes. A lot of the artists I’ve seen have been chart toppers rather than struggling indie kids but y’know, there’s still something pretty exciting about hearing songs you’ve heard on repeat live, whether they’re throwbacks or over-played on radio one. Here are the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

Stone Sour – House of Gold and Bones pt1
I appreciate Stone Sour aren’t exactly ‘mainstream’ but we’ll get the sentimental one out the way first. I saw Stone Sour at the O2 Apollo in Manchester back in 2012. I’d loved them ever since I played Through Glass on repeat when I was doing the super emosh 15 year old thing but this gig turned into a bit of the light of the end of a tunnel for me. After my dad passed away two weeks into my final year of university, the gig was in the last week of the first term and at that time, it became my goal just to get there and be OK. And I was OK, and it was the best night with one of my closest friends, Rachel. The audience singing back the chorus of Bother and seeing Corey Taylor nearly break down on stage made it a really emotional but incredible gig.

Jason Derulo – Tattoos World Tour
Oh there we are, back to the mainstream. This night was one of the most fun evenings I’ve ever had as again, it was at the O2 Apollo in Manchester so it was a smaller gig, and because the setlist was pretty damn solid. This was around the time of Talk Dirty, Wiggle and Trumpets coming out so it’s the type of music that everyone got up and danced too for the entire night. Also, he was supported by Conor Maynard who at the time was peaking as about a three hit wonder so the crowd was already fairly hyped before Jason Derulo came on – which was great as most of the time nobody gives a shit about support acts.

The Kooks – The Best Of
This one is about the experience as much as it was the band as I was actually invited to this gig by Pink Gorilla and we had a box for the night at the First Direct Arena. First Direct is easily my favourite arena, mainly as it’s newer and therefore a lot nicer in general, but also because it’s a lot smaller than Manchester. I’ve also been there enough times to know where the hidden toilets are which is a plus. Watching a gig from a suite was a whole new experience for me as it’s a totally private space, with a staff member ready and waiting to serve you drinks (out of glasses and bottles, not plastic cups!) and you can make yourself at home for the night. The gig itself was brilliant and hearing classic songs like Naive played live was an incredible experience.

Lady Gaga – ArtRave
This was one of the biggest gigs I’ve ever been to as it was a sell out at Manchester Arena. What I loved about this night was the sheer amount of production that went into it – it was about the show as much as it was the music. There was so much love in that room that night and a couple got engaged live on stage which was a pretty magical moment to witness. I loved that she took the time to read fan letters which had been thrown on stage and even though in doing so she over ran, she was adamant about completing the set regardless of being fined for going over the venue’s curfew.

The Pigeon Detectives
Another recent gig for me and I was lucky enough to be on the guestlist for it as my friend from work, Hannah, is married to the bassist, David. We saw them at the O2 Academy in Leeds and the guestlist had access to the balcony seats which was great for us as we had the best view. I’ve been to a lot of gigs over the last few years and this is the first I’ve been to where the crowd was really living in the moment and not watching the entire thing through their phone screen. Also, who doesn’t want to hear classic tunes like I Found Out which is in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.

So, that’s my round up of the best gigs I’ve ever been to – what’s your favourite to date?

Saturday, 16 December 2017

A cosy winter wishlist

Winter wishlist
December is a pretty damn crazy month for everyone. For me, my calendar is pretty back to back with Christmas meals, parties, going to the German markets and somewhere in the middle of that, I’m trying to schedule in some downtime so I don’t go completely crazy. I absolutely adore spending time with my friends and family, especially when it’s one of those spontaneous things that escalates, but I end up in desperate need of a cosy night in just to recover from all that socialising. Or y’know, from going for one drink after work and stumbling home at 2am. Either/or.

I like to think that I’m really good at being consciously cosy as it’s something I embrace in the colder months quite a lot. It’s not just about lounging around in oversized men’s hoodies (why are they always so much better than women’s?!) and eating Celebrations, but the books I read, the mugs I drink my tea from, the scents from my candles and the oversized veggie pasta bake that graces my oven on the regular. (For the purpose of this post there won’t be a photo of the pasta bake as whilst I’m writing this, it’s now sat in my tummy looking like a little food baby).

Here’s my wishlist for the ultimate snug as a bug night in. What’s on yours? Let me know in the comments.

winter wishlist


Friday, 15 December 2017

The best day out in Scarborough

Things to do in Scarborough
Scarborough Olivers Mount

When you think of Scarborough/Scarbvegas/Scarbados, you probably think of a fairly chilly beach, the Harbour Bar and not a lot else, right? I’ve been going to Scarborough since I was little so it’s always had a special, sandy little place in my heart, but my most recent visit made me see it in a whole new life. One of my fave blogger gals, Caroline, lives in Scarborough and invited me over for a magical mystery tour, followed by festive afternoon tea.

Who knew Scarborough could be so beautiful? Caroline had planned out an itinerary for us, so we spent the morning going for a walk on the beach, to the Italian gardens, to see the fairy gardens at Shuttleworths before heading up to Oliver’s Mount for a hot a chocolate. From here we had the best view over Scarborough and it was absolutely stunning. There’s nothing more calming than being able to see over a town and out to sea. Also, being the top blogger that she is, Caroline planned everything knowing that I’d be wanting all the Instagram photos so I came away with so much content. Winner!

Italian Garden Scarborough

Fairy Garden Scarborough

Olivers on the Mount Scarborough

Olivers on the Mount Scarborough

Caroline had also booked us festive afternoon tea at the Crown Spa Hotel which was such a treat. It felt so special as we arrived and had a fully festive table waiting for us, complete with crackers, and we were in a room with a Christmas tree and a fireplace hung with stockings. The staff were the perfect balance of attentive, checking in that we had everything we needed but still left us to it so we could continue our mammoth catch up over our tea.

Crown Spa Hotel Scarborough Afternoon Tea

Crown Spa Hotel Scarborough Afternoon Tea

The food itself was delicious but not for the first time, we ended up being defeated – the last time we had afternoon tea we also ended up not having room for cake! The stand came with turkey sandwiches, a giant scone with jam and brandy cream, plus a gingerbread man, miniature Yule log, mince pie and slice of Christmas cake each. 

Crown Spa Hotel Scarborough Afternoon Tea

For £15pp that’s definitely the best value afternoon tea I’ve had in a long time and for such a beautiful setting, I would expect to have paid a lot more. The sandwiches and scone were so filling that we ended up taking the cakes home with us in a plastic takeaway box. I mean, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t end up having cake for tea that night.

This day out was the most fun I’ve had in ages and I’d absolutely recommend exploring the hidden gems of Scarborough if you can tear yourself away from the 2p machines. Thank you to Caroline for planning such a lovely day for us both too, you’re the best.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Wanderlust dreaming - Colorado*

Photo credit: Pixabay

It’s a tough time when real life gets in the way of just jumping on a plane. I’m definitely getting itchy feet and wanting to explore more and whilst funds are limiting me to UK excursions, a girl can dream, right? America is pretty high up on my bucketlist and whilst scenes of New York seem to be filling my Instagram feed right now, it’s the state of Colorado which I’m feeling particularly drawn to. I think it’s something about the time of year that’s making me crave open spaces over city life as whilst I love living so close to a big city, that need to escape is hitting me hard over the winter months.

I’d definitely want to be staying somewhere a little fancy on a trip like this and there are plenty of Colorado luxury homes to choose from which are so unbelievable Instagammable that it’s 100% worth the investment. I mean, who wouldn’t want to stay in a rustic lodge in the mountains with an open fire? Absolute dream.

Colorado is home to the Rocky Mountains and whilst I’m not exactly the girl you’ll see hiking for fun, the thought of those scenes with a camera in hand is pretty much every blogger’s dream. The two tallest peaks are Mount Elbert and Mount Massive (aptly named!) and can be seen from the ‘Top of the Rockies’ which passes through the Rocky Mountain National Park – can you even imagine hiring a Jeep and driving through there? That would be so cool! It would be even cooler on the back of a Harley but let’s be honest, I’d need to find myself a biker to take me. (Again, a girl can dream). There are so many routes to take but it would be the ultimate road trip and let’s face it, that kind of setting would be the perfect backdrop to outfit photos – yes, I know, typical blogger priorities right there.

Another experience on my travel to do list is to go somewhere which has a hot air balloon festival and my recent research into Colorado led me to discover that Pagosa Springs hosts one annually. And you can watch it whilst sat in an outdoor natural spring pool. Can we just take a moment to picture the scene?! That’s pretty much two bucketlist items ticked off in one for me as going to an outdoor spring is on there but I assumed it would take a chilly trip to Iceland for that one. I’m actually a little fearful of natural bodies of water (can you believe I’ve got to 25 ½ and have never swum in the sea?!) so I think that pools which are heated from the natural springs would be a little step towards me overcoming that fear as well as being a totally surreal experience in that setting. In fact, it would be at any time of year as hot springs whilst the snow falls around you would be insane in winter.

Colorado in general is the perfect place to be over winter too (even if it would mean missing the hot air balloon festival which is in September time, sob) as the mountains offer up a whole load of cool activities across the state. I don’t think skiing and snowboarding would be for me (though maybe if I was there, I’d be tempted to try a beginners class?), but ice skating I’m definitely down for. I mean, I managed to stop clinging to the side when I last went as a teenager and I’m sure that skill will definitely come back to me. 100% sure. Something I’ve never seen before is ‘snowtubing’ which is a little like going down a waterslide in a rubber ring but instead you go skidding down a mountain. I mean, what could possibly go wrong for my accident prone self? LOL. It looks like the kind of adrenalin fuelled activity I could definitely get on board with though as it would be so fun and definitely something different. I think that’s why I’m so inclined to go somewhere that not everyone is hyping about as it’s a new experience and let’s be honest, some people post so much of their holiday on Instagram that I feel like I’ve already experienced it.

If I went all that way to America, I’d definitely start missing the city after a while so Denver would definitely be on the list. Let’s be honest, no girl is making a trip to the states without hitting Sephora, am I right? There are plenty of malls and shopping outlets there to make anyone concerned about hitting the baggage restrictions (sacrifices need to be made) and plenty of boutiques too so taking home something a little different shouldn’t be too hard either. There are also a fair few urban spas in downtown Denver which I’d absolutely be checking out as there’s nothing I love more than that feeling of stepping out of the hustle and bustle of the city to have a massage or facial, before going back into the city feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It’s something I love doing at home in Leeds and definitely something which I’d look into doing abroad to see how it compares.

Now that I’ve sat down and written about everything I want to do in Colorado, I think it’s time to open a new savings account and start trying to put a plan into action as the wanderlust which has hit me is getting a little unbearable. What’s your next travel plan? Let me know in the comments!

*This post has been written in collaboration with Luxury Retreats but all thoughts, words and travel dreams are my own.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Small gift Christmas gift guide

Small gift Christmas gift guide
Small gift Christmas gift guide flatlay

Oh here we are with a Christmas gift guide. I’m quite lucky in that the people I buy for at Christmas just tell me what they want specifically, but I do like to get a few little extra presents as it’s nice to have little things to open, don’t you think? Christmas in the Legge household is a pretty small affair as there’s just the three of us on the big day itself meaning we can make our own traditions. Traditions like my sister eating a chocolate orange in 7 minutes whilst still in bed or heading over to Scarbvegas/Scarbados/Scarbs for a beach walk on Christmas morning with our own icecream. FYI, nowhere is open to buy icecream at the beach on Christmas day and every year people stop to ask us where we got ours from – it’s a BYOIC situation.

One of our newer traditions from the last few years is to bin off crackers and have table gifts instead. We each have one of those tubes that you put a bottle of wine in when you’re giving it as a gift and we fill them with small presents for each other. I’ve put together a list of ideas for this type of present but really this guide doubles up as some inspo for stocking fillers or secret santa. Enjoy!

1. Alcohol miniatures. Well, what did you honestly expect from me? I really like the miniatures which Demijohn do as they come in a cute corked bottle with the spirit hand written on it. They do have a full range of gifts including personalised bottles too (if anyone wants to buy me one, I’ll take anything gin) which are gorgeous, but the small ones are perfect for a stocking filler too.

2. Toiletries. I appreciate this could be seen as being a little generic but it’s actually seriously handy as we all end up travelling all over the place at Christmas and have probably forgotten something anyway. I’m a big fan of The Body Shop for miniatures as there’s so much choice in terms of scent (give me anything from the Frosted Berries collection and I’m yours) plus they’re a nice size for a few days away – let’s face it, nobody likes going to stay at someone’s house only to find that they use some weird smelling shower gel.

3. Anything with a star sign on it. Does everyone remember 2016 Lizi who had an absolutely manic obsession with everything with initials on it? Yeah, that’s been replaced by star signs this year. We’re talking mugs, necklaces, basically anything and it’s a little personal touch to show that not only have you had a little look on Facebook to check when their birthday is but then you’ve gone on to Google what star sign it equates too and if that’s not thoughtful, I don’t know what is.  

4. A journal. Whilst I love going wild in Paperchase, I know most people already have about a billion notebooks, and a one line a day journal is a more thoughtful gift. I got mine last year and started filling it in from January first (I’m surprised I’ve kept it up this long!) and this one has a page for every day of the year, split into five sections so you can keep the same one for five years.

5. Nail polish. I think it’s a sign that you know someone well if you can choose a nail polish that they’ll love, right? I’m personally a massive fan of blue and green, even over the festive season and my go to is always Barry M – yes, that might make me sound like I’m 15 but the Gelly Hi-Shine polishes are honestly the best I’ve used and they come in at about £3.99.

6. The best book you’ve read that year (as long as you both have similar tastes!). Reading is such therapy to me, so giving the gift of books is fairly sentimental – especially when buying gifts for children as it was such a big part of my own childhood. This year, though I haven’t read as much as I’d have liked, I really enjoyed Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland, so that would definitely be on my list of books to gift.

So, that’s a small gift, gift guide for this year, what else would you add to it? Do you have any ideas for things I should be buying? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 11 December 2017

2017: The Highlights

2017: The Highlights
Garland on wooden mantle piece

I realise that I say this every year but dear Lord how quickly has this year gone?! As I write this, it’s the start of December and my advent calendar has made it down from the top of the kitchen cupboard which is where it has lived since I bought it about a month ago. I got a Miniature Heroes one FYI. Side note, apparently you’re meant to be bought one rather than buy it yourself (as I have been reliably informed) but in the absence of a significant other and in the knowledge that my mum would buy me one that’s less exciting, I took matters into my own hands this year. Anyway, here are my favourite moments from 2017. (I appreciate I’m writing this prior to the end of the year and still have a good few weeks to go but I’m assuming nothing groundbreaking will be occurring).

Solo travels to Amsterdam
I’ll keep this short as I appreciate I’ve banged on about this till the cows come home but this city break turned into a bigger challenge for me as I wasn’t in the best mental place when I went and it felt as much like an achievement as it did a holiday. I fell in love with the city, packed a whole lot into the couple of days I had there and proved myself wrong. I’m so, so glad that I went as I had the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank house which is something I’ve wanted to do since I first heard her story as a child.

Friendship goals
I’m ending this year with some pretty solid friendships, some which I started this year with, others which have developed over the last year, all of which I’m grateful for. Whilst I’ve always been lucky to have incredible friends, this year I feel like my gal squad has absolutely excelled itself. 2017 has been even more exciting in that internet friends have become real life friends this year too.

New job, new starts
After three years working for the same agency I moved to Leeds for, I moved onto another incredible agency back in July. The move definitely threw me off balance for the first few weeks as I’d never appreciated how big a change it was to move jobs but now I’m settled and know that I made the right decision for me. My new role has been a massive learning curve and filled with challenges but I absolutely love it and I’m working with the nicest people too.

Loads and loads of fun plans
I feel like I’ve done so many fun things this year and when I scroll back through my calendar, there seems to have been something every week. I’ve seen Russell Howard, Chris Ramsey twice, Little Mix, James Blunt, Busted, The Pigeon Detectives, The Kooks and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’ve been to so many blogger events that I’ve lost count. I’ve spent time in Manchester, Liverpool, London, Durham, Huddersfield, Scarborough, Northallerton, Newcastle, Edinburgh and York. Needless to say, I’ve kept myself busy!

This blog
I’m so grateful for the opportunities which I’ve had out of my blog and 2017 has been another year with even more content, collaborations and incredible experiences. I’ve definitely put more effort into my writing, my photos and my Instagram this year and even though I’m far from rivalling Zoella,  I’m pretty content with where my blog is at. I enjoy the mix of topics, it still feels like a reflection of my life and I love that I can share the perks with my friends and family too. I mean, it’s never hard to find a plus one to come for dinner with me!

So, they’re some of my highlights from 2017, tell me what your best bits have been in the comments!


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Styling up my plus one

Jacamo shirt

I’ve had a pretty crazy six months in terms of blogger opportunities and I’m absolutely loving that it’s giving me the opportunity to share the love a bit and take people along with me for the ride. Since starting my new job, I’m very lucky that my new work friends are more than willing to be my plus one for things (I’ve had blogger date nights with quite a few of them now), so when an email from Jacamo dropped in my inbox I decided that in the absence of a significant other (LOL hit me up with your single guy friends please), I’d style up Juan.

Well, I say I styled him up, he chose the checked shirt he’s wearing in the photos and Hayley (work gal and blogger gal over at Prawnstar Martini) chose the other shirt. I think we did pretty well! Though both are a step away from his usual style, as Juan has an absolutely banging jumper collection, I thought both hit the smart/casual nail on the head. Our office is pretty casual when it comes to work attire but I think for the guys, a checked or printed shirt takes you from work mode to G&Ts in the pub pretty seamlessly.

I’m a fan of Jacamo’s collection as whilst they have a rep for just catering to bigger guys, what I hadn’t realised is the number of brands which are on there. We’re talking French Connection, Ben Sherman, Original Penguin... and the list goes on. A lot of what Jacamo stock is the style I love too – I love the shirt and chinos look.  A lot of the shirts have an option for a longer length too, which is great for guys like Juan as he’s over 6ft so shirts can be a bit of a nightmare on the highstreet.

Here are the two shirts styled up and if you think he looks a little chilly in the photos then you’d be right as it was about three degrees when we had him posing for photos down a side street near the office.

Jacamo shirt

Jacamo shirt

Jacamo shirt

Jacamo shirt

Let me know what you think of the outfits in the comments and a big thank you to Juan for getting involved and working with me on this post.
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