31 December 2017


Today is the last day of 2017. How am I spending it?

  • I’m wearing deliciously comfortable loungewear (thank you Fern for inspiring me to buy these brushed cotton beauties). 
  • I’ve helped cook a mini feast for this evening. 
  • I’ve ditched the parties for a relaxing night in.

And I’m not sorry.

A quick review of 2017

I’ll be honest, 2017 hasn’t been the best. Globally and, to an extent, personally. The year has been dominated by Trump, Brexit negotiations and the #MeToo movement. The year of my anxiety coming back, heart ache and uncertainty. But I’m hoping the dissatisfaction, upheaval and difficulties of 2017 will pave the way for something better in 2018. Things can get better. I hope they will.

Don't worry, I’m not gonna be a Debbie Downer. I figured today might be a good time to take stock of what I’m thankful for:

Supportive friends

I love these guys, from the ray of sunshine I’ve known since I was 4 years old to the beautiful souls I’ve only recently met. The people who make me laugh, who share adventures with me, and who listen to my increasingly ridiculous-sounding problems. Dear God, I spent a good four hours making my friend Rob help me choose a dress to wear to a party. AND HE DIDN'T EVEN BLOCK MY NUMBER.

So - you guys know who you are - thank you so much for being there.

Here's some, but not all, of your faces:

People who believe in me and push me to do new things 

Sometimes in life we need people to see what we’re doing, acknowledge we’re doing a good job, and encourage us to keep pushing ourselves. To try things we don’t usually do, or things that scare us. I’m fortunate enough to work in a whole office of these people, and every year I look back and can’t believe what I’ve achieved.

I don't want to get all cheesy but if you're lactose intolerant, I'd look away now...

When I left university, I desperately wanted to be a writer. But I had no real experience aside from blogging, which I loved. So, I worked hard, spent months working for no money at all, and started trying to climb the ladder. Lots of people told me to quit and just keep writing as a hobby. Fast forward a few years, and I'm writing magazine features, websites, entire campaigns. People believe in me. They like what I do. And I hope I never stop being proud of this.

New adventures

Although I didn’t visit any new cities this year, I did discover a few new gems in old haunts.

In April, Becky and I went to Paris – one of my favourite cities. We climbed (well, she climbed – I cheated) to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and watched the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower. I can't believe I've never done it before, it was the most beautiful view (see below). Here's to more Becky-Nikki adventures in 2018!

A few months later, Kate and I went to Brighton, where we played on the pier, visited museums and ate all the food. It was our first sister holiday, and I'm hoping she agrees to more in the future.

Good food

I'm beginning to realise that food is an important tool – and not just for fuelling your body. There's cooking dinners and baking treats for people to show you care (FYI, this is also super therapeutic), bonding over a delicious pizza or a brunch, and blowing off steam over a hot chocolate.

I'm grateful for every Coffee Saloon trip, every dinner date, and every ice cream cone on the quay.

I genuinely started this blog post feeling a dash 'woe is me, I have suffered', but now I'm bursting with pride, gratitude and love for every brilliant person in my life and every fantastic experience I've had. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Lots of love (and see you on the other side),

Nikki xxx

23 September 2017

25 things you can do this autumn


I'm going to be honest with you, I'm pretty bloody excited right now. Why? Because it's officially autumn!

I've been waiting patiently for that familiar chill in the air, for the leaves to start turning beautiful colours, and for the darker evenings to start creeping in.

I know there are a few of you who are with me on this, and a few of you will be mourning the loss of summer. Whatever side you're on, here are 25 ways to make the most of autumn:

1. Go stationery shopping

To quote Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail: 'Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address'. I love this so much it's almost sickening. And he had a brilliant point: New York or not, there's something rather delicious about treating yourself to a nice, new notebook in September, right? And who knows, it might be the notebook that captures a life-changing idea.

2. Listen to an autumn playlist

For the last three years, I've been curating this autumn playlist on Spotify. It's honestly one of my most treasured possessions, and I really only let myself listen to it from 22 September-1 December so I'll never get bored of it. There are enough songs for several indie movie soundtracks here:


My compilation of plinky piano and acoustic guitar might not be your thing, so why not make your own?

3. Make a change

There's something about autumn that feels like a chance for a fresh start. Try a new hobby, learn something new, or switch up your routine. Right now, I'm taking a couple of online FutureLearn courses (one in fiction writing and one in scriptwriting) and I'm waking up earlier to do some pre-breakfast pilates. I shall thank myself when I'm a super lean, award-winning writer. 

4. Buy a candle

Preferably in some delicious autumn fragrance, like apple pie or blackcurrant or cedar and pine. A Yankee candle store just opened in my local high street, which I'll pillage every lunchtime. I've also been eyeing up these organic Cosy Glow candles, which come in loads of different scents. Mmm, fresh linen.

5. Go pumpkin picking

I had such a fun time pumpkin picking with Jasmin last October. I am absolutely going again this year! 

6. Carve a pumpkin

I suppose you could go full-blown Pinterest and paint your pumpkin white and gold, and turn it into a beautiful decoration. But there's something oddly satisfying about crafting a slightly shit scary face for Halloween. Last year's effort was Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas.

7. Go to a fancy dress party for Halloween

This year, commit to Halloween. Dress up, eat too many spooky-themed sweets and have a lot of fun!

8. Plan some autumn dinners

Autumn/winter food is just the best. Roast dinners, casseroles, stews, soups, mac and cheese. Everything with sweet potato and butternut squash. Gravy. It's comfort food that warms your belly and soul. 

9. Get yourself an indulgent hot chocolate

Because why the hell not?

10. Make an autumn film list and watch every last one

My list includes: You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Practical Magic, Dead Poet's Society, Hocus Pocus, The Craft, Little Women, Corpse Bride, Halloween Town, and Nightmare Before Christmas. 

They're mostly old favourites that feature Meg Ryan and 'fall in New York', Halloween films, or witchy films (which, in my book, is not the same thing as a Halloween film). 

11. Go on a long walk

I hope there are crunchy leaves everywhere, I hope there's a crisp chill in the air, and I hope you're wearing a fun pair of welly boots. 

12. Read a book

You get bonus points if you're reading: a) in a den you've concocted with blankets, or b) by a fireplace, or c) in a cosy armchair.

13. Get some new pyjamas

I searched the internet for the best jammies, here they are: 

14. Hunt out some autumnal bedding

Two words, babes: brushed cotton. If you can find that, you're in for the softest, cosiest dreams. Even Primark sells it. Grab something nice in burgundy, navy or dark orange. Possibly with some sort of woodland creature motif.

15. Decorate with twinkle lights

To me, nothing says autumn like a string of fairy lights. It makes everything seem much more cosy and magical. I blame Gilmore Girls for this obsession, they do it oh-so-well.

16. Make a note of all the great TV heading your way

Whether you're all about Strictly Come Dancing and Great British Bake Off or you're counting down the days until the latest seasons of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Riverdale or Stranger Things, there's something to get excited about. Oh, and let's not forget Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams, Gunpowder, and Britannia.

Or, y'know, stick on a Sabrina the Teenage Witch boxset. No? Just me?

17. Put on your cosiest socks

You know the ones I mean. They're super warm, thick and probably fluffy. If you don't have them, get some. 

18. Bake yourself a treat

Autumn: the season of salted caramel, of gingerbread, of cinnamon! I saw a recipe for chocolate orange brownies that made me say: 'oh my!'. 

For a super easy bake, try my recipe for classic choc chip cookies (they've been getting rave reviews).

19. Play with sparklers on Bonfire Night

In fact, this November, watch a fireworks display, eat a toffee apple. Go nuts!

20. Update your autumn wardrobe

Any excuse for shopping, right? This autumn I'm looking for cosy knits, stylish ankle boots, berry-hued pleated midi skirts, pinafores, and big scarves. Take a scroll through below:

(TOP TIP: just buy new tights. Forget about the bobbly, laddered ones lurking in your drawers)

21. Go to the theatre 

The theatre is good at any time of year, of course, but something about sitting in those red velvet seats while it's chilly and dark outside is extra exciting. I don't know why, it just is.

22. Set yourself a goal 

What can you achieve by the end of the year? Or, if it's a long term goal, by next summer. I have a few things on the go, from creative projects to my plan to get fit (I'm currently writing this in gym clothes, so I'm officially Taking It Seriously).

23. Bust out your big, cosy jumper

Whether it's a cream cable knit or a colourful fuzzy creation with a cat on the front, grab it. Treasure it.

24. Try a new make up look

That plum/berry colour you haven't been able to wear for months? It's time. Wear it, and wear it with confidence! Team with a golden smokey eye for 10/10 autumn goddess vibes.

25. Craft something

More evenings in? More time for crafts! Cross-stitching is my craft of choice and it's basically therapy. You can't worry or overthink while you stitch, you're totally at peace for an hour or so. And you get a nice little gift at the end.

So, that's my rather exhaustive list! What are you looking forward to this autumn?

17 September 2017

The awkward inbetween

Skirt - Dorothy Perkins | Top - Dorthy Perkins | Bag - Cambridge Satchel Co | Boots - Office (similar) | Watch - Olivia Burton 

It definitely feels like autumn, doesn't it? Chilly mornings, darker nights - and I'm pretty sure I've already spotted chestnuts and conkers on the ground. Yet, it's not quite the cosy jacket, thick tights and tartan scarf kind of weather I've been craving. Personally, I can't wait to start sipping hot chocolate and wearing bobble hats and coats again!

This inbetween weather is always a bit awkward to dress for too - every morning I regret my decision to leave my leather jacket at home but by mid-afternoon I'm boiling and wishing I hadn't worn a jumper. When will I learn to layer properly?

This roll neck top and leopard print skirt combo from Dorothy Perkins makes for a pretty perfect addition to my transitional wardrobe. Even if I look like a bit like a sassy Steve Jobs. The top's thin enough to stand the warmer afternoon temperatures, but looks super smart (and has a nice vintage vibe) when wore beneath a jacket or coat. And the skirt can be teamed with tights and boots, or a pair of flats. I nabbed both pieces in a sale too, which is even better!


Stay tuned, because I'll be sharing an autumn-themed post soon! Can you tell this is my favourite season? 

1 September 2017

The world's best cookies

This is not a hyperbole, I am completely serious. I can almost guarantee these will be the most delicious cookies you'll have ever tasted.



About a decade ago, I'd bake these bad boys for my school chums on the regular - but then I lost the recipe and never worked out where it was from (I spent hours mining the internet to no avail). Thankfully, during a recent deep cleanse of my bedroom, this dirty, scrunched up piece of paper fell out of a book - and there it was! My old cookie recipe!

I whipped up a batch yesterday and was very relieved to find they tasted as good as I remembered. In fact, today was spent dolling them out to my friends across Dorset and Hampshire (nothing says 'have a good day!' like a cookie, right?).

I wasn't planning to blog this (hence the lack of blog-worthy snaps) but after uploading a picture on Twitter and Instagram, I was surprised to find a few of you asking for the recipe. It's sort of a big deal that I'm sharing this - because, honestly, once my friends can make these themselves they have no incentive to hang out with me anymore.

So, selflessly, here it is: the recipe for the world's best cookies.

The ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 120g unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 215g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 120g granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 200-300g* chocolate chunks (chunks are better than chips and that is a fact)
*depending on how chocolate-y you like your cookies! I'm a 300g kind of gal. You can use whatever chocolate you like - plain, milk, dark, or a combination.

The method

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugars, vanilla extract and eggs. 
  3. Add the butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture into the large bowl you set aside earlier. Stir until it's all mixed together (and looks like cookie dough). 
  4. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Make sure they're evenly distributed! 
  5. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it to chill in your fridge for an hour (this is the hard bit).
  6. Once the hour is up, pre-heat your oven to 190c/170c (fan)/gas mark 5.
  7. Mould your cookie dough into slightly flattened balls (imagine you're doing an 'ok' sign - they should be roughly the size of the gap between your fingers) and put onto a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray. I can usually fit five on: one in each corner and one in the middle. 
  8. Bake for 10 minutes (or until the edges start to look golden). The cookie might look a little underdone but trust me - it's not. 
  9. Let the cookies cool on the tray for a minute before transferring to a wire rack (I like to transfer them with the baking paper still underneath, I'm quirky like that). 
  10. Bloody well enjoy that cookie. 
Let me know if you try this recipe, I'd love to know what you think! Warm cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a cosy, autumn day - and so fun to make!

5 August 2017


I don't know if you've noticed, but my blog's shifted away from style and fashion recently. I love writing lifestyle pieces - whether that's talking about online dating or my travels - but I do sort of miss sharing my outfits with you too. 

Thing is, I'd started feeling self-conscious that I don't measure up to the 'proper' fashion bloggers out there. They're beautiful, they know how to pose so they don't look awkward or lumpy, they're always wearing gorgeous outfits and they always seem to have a photographer boyfriend on hand to get those delightful shots we drool over on Instagram. I think I'd been plagued by a bout of self-doubt without even realising it. 

But that's not good - and it's going to change. Recently someone said to me: 'I always love your clothes!' and, honestly, it made my week. I realised that fashion isn't something I'm quite willing to give up yet. I'm going to work on blogging it, in my own way. I'll never be a Carrie or a Liv, but maybe being a Nikki is good enough?

So, today I walked outside in my favourite midi-skirt and asked my sister to take some photos with me. My outfit wasn't carefully selected, my hair was unstyled and I wasn't even wearing shoes. But I did it!

I edited these shots in black and white - partly as an homage to old 1950s photographs of Hollywood icons I've been pouring over recently, and partly as a confidence boost. 

But don't worry - think of this as a brief stint in Kansas - I'll be back to magical Oz technicolour in no time.

Shop the look


16 July 2017

48 hours in Brighton

Hello! What's new? 

I've been on holiday - I booked the week off work and spent part of it in Brighton with my little sister. We're pretty close (as siblings go) but somehow we've not been on holiday together since 2005. This was our first solo trip - what an adventure! 


We'd booked a couple of nights at Fab Guest, a small, modern-looking B&B in Kemptown. I'll be honest, we chose it solely for it's Instagrammable aesthetic - think bare light bulbs suspended from the ceiling, quirky prints, and retro furniture.

My favourite feature was the shower, surrounded by colour-changing LED lights. You could control the colours with an app on your phone and I was absolutely fascinated. Being a dork, I even tweeted about it. 

Another thing I appreciated about the B&B was the lack of lobby and desk. You get sent an entry code for the house/your room via text, which means you don't need to do the awkward check-in. You just drop 'em a text to let them know you've arrived. Kate and I decided this is the palace of dreams for the introverted millennial. Ourselves, in other words.

Piers and pig-nosed turtles

Once we'd finished playing with the shower lights, we went exploring. Within 60 seconds we were on the promenade, just a few minutes walk from the pier. That seemed a good place to go. But first, we had to navigate a rather steep set of stairs to reach the beachfront. Kate, who'd ingenuously donned a pair of heeled boots, stumbled at the top of the steps. An hour into the holiday and she'd nearly plummeted to her death - I can't take her anywhere. 

'Did you nearly fall down the stairs?' 
'And did your life flash before your eyes?'
'Yes. It was depressing'

Classic Kate. 

Kate wasn't too bothered by what I'm now going to refer to as 'Stairgate'

I was excited to see the famous pier coming into focus - and despite the greyish skies, the sea looked amazing. It was this very bright, light turquoise colour, which looked very different to the dark grey-green water I'm used to in Poole.


Kate wisely ignored me.

We reached the pier just as it started to rain. Teamed with the unyielding gusts of wind, we had ourselves a proper British holiday. 


Kate was pretty excited by the food stalls on the pier. She hates piers (both the structure and the TV presenter) but I think her greedy eyes allowed me to lure her across. We bought Brighton rock, looked at the fairground rides ('NOPE,' Kate declared) and played in the arcade. 

This is my favourite photograph because of the flag in the upper-left corner (which I didn't notice until editing)

Once we'd had our fill of the pier, we wandered back towards the prom. And that's when it really started to rain. In a panic, I suggested we hide in the Sea Life Centre. It was a bit pricy, but I think our joy at seeing all the nice fishies was worth the ticket price.

'So, what brought you here?' 
'Er, it was raining'
'If you want to escape the water, this wasn't the best idea.'

Touche, Sea Life man.

The inside was lit up with a rainbow of colours and it looked gorgeous. We had an excellent time running from tank to tank, like over-excited, sugar-hyped pin-balls.

I very much enjoyed the pig-nosed turtles. The koi carp that seemed to follow me around were a bit alarming (I floated the idea that I'm the female Aquaman but that notion was somewhat harshly dismissed). Kate wimped out at the sharks and the 'fish that are just too big' (ie Black Pacu and Catfish). We marvelled at the tiny poison dart frogs and cooed over the clown fish.

Burgers and burgers and burgers

And then our bellies started rumbling - time for dinner! We braved the rain and walked towards North Laine, spotting some excellent graffiti en route.

We are soaked but pretending it's a style choice. 

Just up North Road, we found Burgers & Cocktails, this hip-looking, retro and surf-themed restaurant. There were vinyl records everywhere, and board games to play. And a mouth-watering menu. We don't drink cocktails (out of choice/legal reasons) but damn we like burgers. And these babies didn't disappoint. Revelling in pigishness, we even ordered dessert.

The food was great and Kate awarded the restaurant a solid '9.5/10'. It wasn't that late, but since it was raining we skulked back to the B&B for the night.

I overreacted: the title of my autobiography

You know how I said the room was great? Well, it was just missing one thing: air con. I like my room just a notch above 'arctic tundra' and certainly no warmer than 'drizzly British spring'. There was a window, but we couldn't work out how to open it. And that's how I ended up awake at 1am, feeling mighty warm. Think 'tropical rainforest' meets 'Zumba workshop'. And worst of all, there was no water left. Being melodramatic, I couldn't help but think...

'Are you awake?'
'I'm answering, aren't I?'
'Are you too hot?'

I leapt into action. By which I mean, I freaked out and nearly gave myself a panic attack. After sweeping the B&B looking for water and attempting to fashion a cold compress with a towel, I spotted the latch on the window. I don't know how we'd failed to spot that. We opened the window and everything was fine. I may have overreacted.

Bill's for breakfast

We woke up at 7am, feeling somewhat better. I'd read somewhere that Bill's was the ultimate place for breakfast in Brighton - and it was just across the street from Burgers and Cocktails! Let's go!

Kate chose the bacon pancakes (she always does) whereas I went for a bacon roll (which was absolutely abundant with bacon). We both enjoyed our choices and Kate awarded her breakfast a 'gold star'. Revitalised, we went out to scope North Laine.

Photobooths and salted caramel 

There were vintage shops selling everything from 50s frocks and denim jackets to top hats and corsets. We spotted gift shops filled with Orla Kiely flower pots and Instagram books. Oh, and plenty of cafes.

We explored a huge shop called Snooper's Paradise, the contents of which are best described as 'anything and everything'. They also had a photobooth, which I was all over. The photo-taking started before we were ready, so we look like mid-century outlaws in that first frame.

We also scoped out Pussy Home Boutique, Dirty Harry's, Sass and BelleSugarhill Boutique and Neal's Yard Remedies. And plenty more - but I was too excited about skipping in and out of shops to take down the names.

I got a delicious salted caramel brownie from Cloud 9 (I highly recommend) and Kate bought a bag of salted fudge from Roly's Fudge Pantry (also delicious). In Cloud 9 there was a rather small child demanding to listen to The Clash.

'He doesn't speak English' explained his mother. 'But he loves The Clash'. 
'THE CLASH' the boy shouted.
'London Calling?' proffered the lovely waitress. 'I can put that on?'
'The Clash!' he shouted, again.
'Shall I put London Calling on?' she asked again.
'I FOUGHT THE LAW,' he shouted.

I hope he got his song choice.

Satisfied we'd seen enough of North Laine, we walked down towards The Lanes. I felt like I was in Diagon Alley for a while, wandering through narrow lanes crowded with ancient, dark-fronted buildings. We nosed around Choccywoccydoodah and then made a bee-line for the beach.


Once we were thoroughly uncomfortable from sitting on the stony beach, we strolled along to get a better view of the old pier. And then, y'know, we went to get ice cream! I can't recommend Boho Gelato enough to you. Scrumptious. They started playing the Hamilton soundtrack, which made Kate's day.

 'Oh darn, I spilt gelato juice on me!' - Kate, 2017

Cookies and cream gelato, 10/10

A little bit shopped out, we walked up towards the Royal Pavilion. It's bloody massive! We didn't go inside - we lurked around a nearby museum instead, looking at some nice art, dressing up and learning about the regency period, LBGT history, and mods and rockers.

'Are you a mod or a rocker?'
'Erm, no actually, I'm a mocker' 

They had some miniature replica furniture that we sat on.

Shopping and pizza perfection

We ended up back in The Lanes (I think) and found a very beautiful shop called Pretty Eccentric - if you ever fancy dressing up like a character from The Great Gatsby, this is for you. Then Kate wanted to go into Collectif, which had flouncy 50s dresses in the window. It turned out to be pretty cool inside and Kate walked away with a black and white checked number and I chose a bright yellow dress that made me feel like I an extra in La La Land.

I found this nice dog graffiti in North Laine.

Smug from buying pretty dresses, we headed off to Franco Manca's for pizza. The verdict? Kate: 'There's nothing this pizza doesn't have. Taste. Texture. Everything'. I think that's a perfect score.

Afterwards, Kate was hungry enough to buy four doughnuts from the pier. As we sat on a bench, looking out to sea in a very atmospheric moment, a familiar tune came over the speakers. What was it? Oh yes, Paul McCartney's 'Wonderful Christmastime'.

'What is it with these kids and their Beats pills blasting music over this banger of a tune?' Kate complained. 'This is exactly what I wanted to hear on 12 July.'

If you don't look this triumphant when you buy doughnuts, you're not doing it right.

And then Kate fell into a food coma for several hours.

The Breakfast Club

For our last breakfast in Brighton, we went to The Breakfast Club. Purely because it's named after one of Kate's favourite films (and the reviews were pretty good!).

Kate summed up the holiday quite accurately with: 'I've eaten bacon for almost every meal ... as have you actually.'

Knowing we still had some more foodie places to visit, we went to Dum Dum Donutterie where Kate bought a galaxy doughnut and a caramel cronut. Look how pretty they are!

Kate demonstrating how to pose with doughnuts.

And after lurking around the beachfront for a little while longer, we made our way home. I think our 48 hours in Brighton was a success! If you're planning a visit, I think there's quite a few food and shopping places to get you started. My friends have also recommended:
  • Ben's Cookies (it wasn't open when I tried to visit)
  • Brighton Open Market
  • Presuming Ed's for coffee
  • Julien Plumart for macarons
  • Moshi Moshi for sushi
  • Silver Scene for jewellery
  • Riddle and Finns for oysters.
Are you planning on visiting Brighton or do you have any recommendations? Would you brave a holiday with Kate or me after reading this? Give me a shout in the comments! 
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