Saturday, 31 July 2010

oh we're so miserable and stunning.

it's been a long week.

Sorry for the lack of updates. I don't know where the week has gone. These photos are from last Friday, I just haven't had a chance for outfit photos this week. I've not really had time for anything.

Well I've finished my work experience now. It was interesting and fun to be in a proper office environment which I've never really experienced before. I now know a LOT about silk!! I'm looking forward to earning some money though- it's been a long few weeks not working and having a job at home and a job at uni it's something I never really have to deal with!! I splashed out on this little beauty a few days ago though!! I just need somewhere to wear it...

I wish I'd had some time to take outfit photos this week cause I could show you my other purchases this week- most of which are leopard print!! I don't know what it is but I'm obsessed with leopard print at the moment- I just think it's so cute and sexy if done well. I'm looking forward to getting my leopard print coat out come winter!! I've rediscovered my leopard print tights (which I love with a little black or grey dress) and now have both leopard flats and heels and I borrowed a leopard scarf off my mum which was great with jeans and a black top :]]]

Outfit posts may be few and far between the next couple of weeks though because I am back to work tomorrow!! An 8am til 5 shift on a Sunday is not ideal (especially as I'll have to be up at 6 because my work is a good 45 minute drive away!!) but earning again is going to be fantastic, and I'm looking forward to having my time filled. I've loved being out of the house and doing something the past few weeks!! But the other thing is it also means I'm back in my lovely Asda deli counter uniform- white shirt, black trousers, lime green tabbard and a mesh trilby hat and hair net!! Definitely not an outfit I'd like to appear on this blog!!

This week has been good though. I have another post up at Student Fashion Blog here and don't forget to check The Fashion Buzz tomorrow for my weekly post!! I also went to see one of my editors yesterday about another couple of articles I have to write and I'm now published in a real-life magazine!! On real glossy paper!! It's only a free local one but it's pretty exciting!! The only bad thing this week is that I had a bad day on Tuesday; I was feeling really rubbishy and run down so I had a day of work sleeping and recovering and felt much better the next day. I read a whole book that day though!! I've finished 4 books this week- I hope I can keep it up!! I finished both Bret Easton Ellis' Glamorama and Lunar Park, Douglas Coupland's Generation X and Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby ( which I've had forever but never got round to reading). I'm now about to start Lolita and then I have Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City to read and then Chuck Palahniuk's most recent two novels; Pygmy and Tell All. Reading for pleasure is such a novelty when you're a literature student!!

Sad as it is, I plan on having an early night tonight with my book!! I know it's saturday night but everyone I know was busy tonight and now I'm working tonight I'm glad of the time to rest. My best friend came over for a catch up earlier though which was nice. Today I've just been clearing out old clothes, unfortunately my mum lured me into keeping a lot of what I'd planned to throw away!! I'm just awful!! I do throw things away I never wear but I'm always so scared of throwing something away and regretting it!! I have a lot of bags and belts to go to the charity shop though which I'm glad about.

trench coat- top shop tights- primark shoes- next denim hair clip- top shop

I realise you can't actually see my outfit at all on these photos, but do not fear, it was intentional!! What is underneath is pretty much exactly what I wore here just with the addition of these gorgeous nude lace tights which I just fell in love with. And only £1!! I also got a fab giant nude bag from Primark too for only £9!! This coat is my spring/summer baby though. It was a massive splurge but it's just beautiful.

Right I'm going to go be sad and go to bed now!! I probably won't have chance for a post tomorrow- not an outfit post anyway!! but you never know :]] Hope you're having a fantastic weekend and not going to bed at 9.15pm after a gossip girl catch up!!

I would love to hear what you think :]]]

Charlotte xxx

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The art of getting dressed.

I am a worrier, an over-thinker, an analyser. Even the simplest of tasks are dissected and deelpy considered. To put it simply, I think too much.And I often wonder if other people think as much as I do. Here goes.

What goes into your decision over what you wear each day? Do you just throw on the nearest thing to you (a decision in itself), or does it depend on your mood? Is it an impulsive choice made as you hop about trying to put on your tights while brushing your teeth and keeping your eye on the breakfast news, or is it all carefully laid out on your bed the night before and hung up ready for morning? Does it depend on your mood, or something more than that? Does it not feel like a decision at all? Do you convince yourself that you don't care and that you're far superior to the shallowness of people who think their clothes matter, and does your choice of clothes, as hard as you try, reflect that? Do you think your clothes show your non-conformism, while conforming in the same way that everyone else does?

This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean. You're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

- The Devil Wears Prada

For me, numerous factors go into my daily decision of what to wear. What I have planned for the day is a major one; am I going to be out and about? Who am I seeing? Will I have time to take photos of my outfit for my blog? If I don't have time and I have no-one to impress, I often try to avoid what I consider "wasting" an outfit. Often, if I have something new or recently rediscovered I'm desperate to incorporate it into an outfit as soon as possible. I'm somewhere between planning the night before and haphazard. I'll often have the elements of the outfit decided but leave the rest to spontaneity.

I'm quite an organized person. I like lists, I like order, I like routine. I know my clothes. I know what goes together, thanks to costant lists of outfits for the days I feel uninspired. I go to sleep thinking about possible outfits for the morning, planning things together in my head which don't always work in reality. When I buy soemthing new I have to ensure it will slot easily into my wardrobe.

Some days I like to play dress up. School girl is a favourite. Geek is another. Army chic is also fun. Girly girl. Edgy chick. Laid back prepster. Business woman. Clothes become fun as a child, becoming different people. Clothes are like theatre. I still embrace that. It keeps life fun. It keeps clothes interesting.

Physical factors are also detrimental. Surprisingly though, I never look out of the window in a decision over what to wear. The weather is never an issue. The colour of my nails, though, my makeup, whether my hair is clean, whether I'm naturally pale or golden from a bottle, whether my glasses are giving me a welcome break from my contact lenses, is. My look, my personal style, is about looking put together. If the outfit I want to wear requires a jacket and it's too warm to cover my arms, the outfit will not be selected. If it requires shoes that are inappropriate for the day in hand, the outfit comes to a similar fate.

Inspiration plays a big part. If something I've seen has paricularly inspired me, I will probably go to sleep giddy with the excitement of trying it for myself. Sometimes I've forgotten by morning, too fatigued when the throes of inspiration arrive to write down my ideas. Other times the idea seem much less appealing at a sleepy 6am.

It also depends on how much time I have to decide. Too little time and I feel pressured. Too much time and the choice over-whelms me and I get bored and frustrated.

I feel the urge to wear things in new ways, often requiring new items to be added to my wardrobe. I constantly strive to get my money's worth, price-per-wear. I try to wear things in new ways, inspired by new things. It doesn't always work, and sometimes pipe dreams turn into 4 outfit choices before breakfast, usually ending with me settling on something that feels not-quite-perfect or settling into something I know and trust.

Perfection is key. Or close to. Bags, shoes, jewellery must all match. I've been known to get upset over the slightest difference between a peachy-nude and a pinky-nude. Or a slightly mismatched bag.

Some people say I think too much.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

you can leave your hat on.

Okay I promised an outfit post, but I didn't take into consideration the fact that I have 4 lots of outfit photos to post up so this could take some time!! These are my first, and most recent set, taken last night. I wore this outfit to a 21st party I went to last night. We didn't stay long and I knew we wouldn't be staying too late cause both me and my friend were tired (her from work, me from shopping!!), so I didn't want to wear anything too special for the fact I'd only be wearing it a couple of hours, so I went for my old classic playsuit. It also gave me a chance to wear these beautiful suede shoe boots which I got brand new from a charity shop for £5.98!! They still had that amazing new-shoe smell :]]

I have no idea why the quality of these pictures is really bad. I was really disappointed when I put them on my computer!! They were also really dark so all the adjustments of the brightness has also made them look pretty bad. But I do actually like them. I struggled for somewhere to take photos at 9pm last night!!

How unbelievably cute is this little hat hair-piece? My mum and I saw it in Primark and had no idea why we just couldn't resist it!! I loved it with a really simple outfit- and it was only £2.50!! My mum and I had a great day shopping in Manchester yesterday. We always have a great time when we go into Manchester. We literally shopped til we dropped- for 7 hours!! We did spend an hour in both Primark and Debenhams though... But, there was success!! I now have an outfit my cousin's wedding at the end of gorgeous- a lovely little Lipsy corset top and a cream tutu skirt, and because it was so gorgeous, a lovely LBD for my leaving party!! We looked everywhere for leopard shoes for with the LBD but I now have a pair coming from ebay :]]]

playsuit- miss selfridge boots- vintage hair piece- primark

Today I'm having a chilled-out day. I was woken up at 8 and got up, but felt tired and yucky and couldn't stop thinking about my 6am starts again next week so I went back to bed at half 10 for a nap!! I'm feeling a lot more awake now!! I'm going to have an afternoon reading and then my housemate and I are going to see Toy Story 3 and having dinner- yay :]] plus an early night before work tomorrow of course!! I'm really enjoying my work experience now, but as it's unpaid I've admitted defeat and decided to go back to my supermarket job. I'm going to ring them next week. As much as I say I hate it, it's just long and tiring. The people are nice and the money is also nice and money is something I need right now!!

Right well I'd better get myself ready for the day!! I did my hair this morning pre-nap but now it's all sticking up!! Oh I just realised these are the first posts with my hair cut short again and back to being pink- yay!!

Oh and finally, what do you think of the new layout? I don't like it yet but it's just temporary, it needs a lot of work but I like that it's my layout now, it feels like home.

If you get a chance to check out my latest article at The Fashion Buzz :]]]

Have a lovely Sunday.

Charlotte xxx

Friday, 23 July 2010

on a lighter note

I just really wanted to write the post above. Things that have been running through my mind all week.

Sorry for the lac of outfit posts. I have actually taken a few this week but I think I'll just do a big post later in the week.

I'm actually really enjoying my work experience, despite not really liking it on my first day. It's basically a day of girly gossip and learning a LOT about fabric. There are so many colours and styles and types of silk. It's really drawn my attention to the whole process of fashion. The company I'm working for supply silk to Top Shop and Agent Provacateur to name a few. This week we had an order for Matthew Williamson which sent my head spinning.

Despite what I said, I'm quite enjoying my commute. The early mornings are a killer but I get to work and am greeted with a cup of tea and the days are actually okay and I like having a sense of purpose. I think I'm going to go back to my old job at Asda for a few weeks when I finish. I forgot how much more productive I am when I'm busy.

I have lots of writing to do. I've now had two articles over at the Fashion Buzz and have a third to be published this weekend. I've also just had my first article published at College Fashion!! I have to be honest, I'm almost in tears at the lovely comments so far!! I can't believe people are saying these things about my article!!

"This post is amazing!"

"Great post!"

"So I’m not one to usually comment on a post unless I feel very strongly so consider this one of those times! I love this post with a capital L!"

"Can’t wait for the next installment."

"Can’t wait for part two!"

Just, wow. I am so honoured and flattered. I've been doubting myself, my ability and my future a lot lately and this has been such a boost. I know a lot of my articles won't be received in such a way, but starting on a high is amazing.

I've also got lots of writing to do for student fashion blog!! I've been lucky enough to be sent personally tailored (and personally chosen!!) dresses from Siobhan McKenzie, an up-and-coming London-based designer. Look out on here for a post on her, and an interview with her which I'll be doing next week for Student Fashion Blog.

So right now things are going pretty well. I have my article ready for Sunday at the fashion buzz, tomorrow I'm going shopping with my mum for a few things and for lunch and hopefully for a dress for my cousin's wedding (I'll definitely have to put up some photos from my Auntie's wedding last weekend!! This will go on my mammoth photo post!!) and then to a 21st in the evening. And Sunday I plan to make cookies to take to work on Monday (I'm nice like that!!) and going to the cinema to see Toy Story 3 and for dinner with my fabulous housemate Steph :]]]

Oh and tonight I went to go see Inception. If you haven't seen it, go see it. Seriously. Best film I've seen in a long time. It's worth the hype.

Have a fabulous weekend, I'll be about in a few days with outfit posts in tow. Promise!!

Charlotte xxx

The Morning Commute.

My alarm goes off at 6am. I hate my alarm tone. I turn it off and take a deep breath, anticipating the sheer fatigue to hit me when I wake up. It's almost painful when I get to my feet.

Bathroom. Toothpaste. Shower.

Finally awake.

Contacts. Makeup. Blow dry.

Cup of tea.

Agonising decision over what to wear for a day of discussion on fashion, let by impossibly skinny and stylish women. Constant intimidation of a woman around those who are thinner than her. Knowing how stupid this is.

Breakfast. Preparation of lunch.

Leave the house when the oven clock says 7.25.

iPod battery always flat.

Silent walk to the station. Only wanting music on the days when it is unavailable.

"One return to Deansgate with a rail card please."

Always surprised by the ticket man stumbling over the order, despite the fact I place it every day.


Grab a metro. Walk down the steps to see the dozens of faces hidden behind the same paper.

Begin to spot the same people at the train station.

7.53am train.

Finish the paper during the journey, tuck it into the lap tray. Read my book. Glamorama. Bret Easton Ellis.

Off the train, on to the escalator. Manchester Picadilly. Up to Platform 14.

Check train. Read the magazines in WH Smiths.

Show ticket. Go to the platform.


8.22am train.

Deansgate at 8.28.

Walk to work.

Same faces every day. Look forward to the outfits of my regulars. Want to smile. Feel like I know them. Wonder if they feel the same.

Cross the roundabout on the wrong side. Panic when met the other way. Dither over who edges onto the road and who walks on, unscathed.

Reach the building. 109. "Hi it's Charlotte."

"come on up."

Groundhog day.

Monday, 19 July 2010


girl next door fashion now has a facebook page!! please join to help me promote the site!!


I'm sorry I haven't updated for a while, and probably won't be able to for a few days. I'm currently doing work experience in Manchester which means 6am starts and getting home at 5pm, by which time I'm exhausted!! But I won't use this as an excuse for very long- as soon as I get into a routine I'll be taking outfit photos in the afternoon after work and posting in the evenings, but for now I'm just getting used to it. I'm researching lots of new ideas for promoting this blog, I'm even considering using Twitter as it's meant to be great for bloggers, so watch this space. I'm determined to not let being busy get in the way of blogging because everyone else seems to manage it, and I won't let my blog die when I'm busy. So I promise I'll be back later this week with lots of news and lots to tell you!!

Sorry to keep you waiting, I hope I'm worth the wait!!

Charlotte xxx

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

converse circa 2007

I took these photos on Saturday, inspired by this post over at College Fashion and my experiences in Europe. EVERYONE wears converse. I mean everywhere. Personally, I haven't really worn converse since I was about 16 when I went through my ill-advised emo phase, where I wore them with everything, but I hadn't dug these out for a good few years until I saw this post. I've just ordered a new pair of pink low-tops (like the ones in the first outfit) as my pink hi-tops are over five years old now, and after a spin in the washing machine still came out a sort of murky, dirty pink. I'm quite about the prospect of rediscovering something I haven't worn for years; it's like getting something brand new. I'll definitely be getting out my black and pink low tops for Summer.

I was really glad to find my green converse went so well with this dress; I also wore them the next day with the same jacket with my floral playsuit which I wore here, which I really liked. I didn't realise I had so many things with green in!!

I really like these photos, and as you can probably tell, I have finally been reunited with photoshop- yay!! I'm going to go on my old PC this week and import all my old backgrounds, textures and brushes and yet started on the new layout for this site- I definitely need a change!!

Yesterday didn't quite go as planned- my lovely walk in the park and charity shopping was ruined by the rain, but alas, I went anyway!! I put my wellies on and my little black hat (photos soon!!) and my gorgeous navy trench coat and trudged about in the rain. There were LOADS of charity shops in the little village where I went, and some of them were beautifully organized!! I came home with a pair of little black heeled booties which are brand new and donated by a manufacturer, for £5.99, a lovely white pussy bow shirt for £3, a Martin Amis book for 99p and a complete works of Shakespeare for £4.99!!

dress- top shop denim jacket- new look necklace- converse- unknown flower- new look

Today I went to get the rest of the jewellery for my Auntie's wedding and managed to get a couple of books from a charity shop too- Bird Song, Starter for Ten and Jane Eyre. I have so much to read; I wish I had more time. I'd love to do 52 books in 52 weeks when I finish uni. I finished Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, which I really enjoyed, although I don't think it's as good as some of her other work (I studied the Handmaid's Tale for A Level and I loved both Oryx and Crake and The Blind Assassin), and have just started Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis. I love Bret Easton Ellis; I've read almost all of his books now. I read The Informers on holiday (which is probably one of my absolute favourites of his) and I ordered Lunar Park to read when I finish. I also have the new Chuck Palahniuk to read, Tell All AND Pgymy, which I never really started. I've just found out Chuck Palahniuk has a new book coming out next year and am already excited!!

I FINALLY got my hair cut today-yay the bob is back!! My colour is back too- and back to it's usual bright pink!! I need to do it myself though before I like it- I'm always a nightmare when I get my hair cut. I'd glad to have short hair again though, but there probably won't be any photos of my new hair on here for a few days- I have a back log of outfit photos!!

Oh and in other news, I am finally a real intern at College Fashion, check this out!! How exciting is that?! I also published my first article at The Fashion Buzz on Sunday, and will be posting an article there every Sunday. I also have a few article to have written up for the magazine I have been writing for here at home and I start my work experience next week!! So it's all very exciting!!

Right, the Bourne Identity is on now and my dad and I love it (if you've met my dad, you totally get this!!) so I'll see you tomorrow!!

Charlotte xxx

Sunday, 11 July 2010

could do better.

Do you ever feel like your life-report would be reviewed as "could do better" ?

I know I put too much pressure on myself, maybe "must try harder" isn't the case, but I always feel like I should do better than I do.

I should get better marks in my exams, I should get more comments on my blog, I should get more views, I should get better work experience, I should take better photographs, I should get more hypes on Lookbook.

Is this just a reaction to the fact that I'm spending my days doing very little, and that I feel guilty for not being constantly stressed beyond what I can handle? Do I feel that I don't deserve to do doing nothing, that I should be constantly trying to better myself?

Where does this come from? Constantly comparing myself with other people; measuring my achievements up against theirs. I want to get the best grades whilst also managing to be the best at the job, do the most dance classes, have the best social life and also have the most free time, get the most sleep, feel the most relaxed.

At what point do you realise you can't have it all?

Why do I pressure myself so much? Why can I never be proud of myself, but I always want more? Will I ever be good enough for me?


benjamin button.

I think I'm dressed a bit like an eight year old in these photos.

I took these photos on Thursday. I have a new-found obsession with these white tights. I'd originally envisioned them with a vintage, red spotted white dress and little red mary jane shoes, but my budget at the moment isn't stretching to buying loads of new clothes so I thought I'd see what I could do with what I had!! I love this dress- it's probably one of my favourite things I own. It's perfectly flouncy and girly but still very plain so it can be worn in lots of ways. I loved the way this looked with the white tights and mary jane shoes.

Jackets proved to be a bit of an issue. I'd previously envisioned my mum's gorgeous little cropped houndstooth jacket but it just... didn't work. I wasn't sure about this jacket either; it was a bit too long and I wasn't sure about the style, but it kinda seemed to work out in the end.

I kinda liked the greyscale, over-exposed thing I had going on with these pictures. While I'm home though I'm really going to try to experiment with different locations and more variety in the photos. These were a bit rushed; I just wanted to capture the outfit. I thought black and white looked great in greyscale; but I look a little bit like I'm in a housing catalogue!

dress- new look tights- dorothy perkins shoes- new look pearls- unknown jacket- stolen from mum

My fringe is getting SO long, as you can see from these photos!! It keeps getting in my eyes and driving me crazy!! I'm getting it cut back into a bob and coloured as normal on Tuesday- I can't wait!! I'm looking forward to having my hair all nice again for my auntie's wedding next Saturday. I'm starting to really want a proper shaggy lego hair cut though- I reckon when I graduate I'll bleach my hair blonde all over and have a full fringe. But for now I'm just looking forward to getting my crop back!! I ordered some new TIGI shampoo a few days ago- I love ordering new shampoo!!

I've had a really chilled out day today. I stayed at one of my best friends' (gorgeous!!) flat last night and we had a girly sleepover with cocktails and films and way too much sugar!! We watched 17 Again and one of my all time favourite films; (500) days of summer. If you haven't seen it- watch it!! It's beautiful, especially if you've ever had your heart broken.

Today I just went food shopping with my dad, but managed to forget the list of what we needed so I'm going to have to go back again tomorrow for everything we didn't remember!! I'm also planning on going to see my grandparents tomorrow and having a walk about one of the little villages nearby and checking out their charity shops and perhaps eating my lunch in a park somewhere. It should be a nice relaxing day :]] I have also been looking at my flights to America today but it gets me all nervous!! I'm really scared to book them because then it makes it all very, very real ://

My auntie came round today- I can't believe her wedding is on Saturday!! I'm SO excited. I even made a polyvore set of what I'm wearing to give me an idea of what jewellery I need. The dress and shoes are my actual dress and shoes, but I'm going to try to get another ribbon for in the shoes, and I've found a different little floral cluth and a flower hair clip. I just need to get my bangles and earrings!! I also managed to find those exact floral flats but they haven't arrived yet- I hope they help when my feet start to ache!!

So that's me!! Actually have quite a few things to do this week, my mum should be speaking to the lady she knows at the silk place tomorrow to sort out my work experience for the week after next. Yay!! I'm sure you'll hear from me soon!!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend,

Charlotte xxx

Friday, 9 July 2010

the scene is dead and i'm still restless.

I have a very, very short attention span. Ridiculously. Sometimes I can't understand how I manage to get through the day, studying, reading, my degree. But the thing is, I can't concentrate on anything if I don't have to. I get bored very easily. Especially over summer, because I have nothing to do.

I get bored being home. I have to be constantly stimulated and I just don't get that at home. I spend my days alone and I have to find something, anything to entertain me. I have things to do, sure, but I have no deadlines, no urgency. So I don't do it.

I have a job I could go back to, but I hate it and I can't bring myself to go back. I just need something to fill my days. I'm thinking of trying to find some volunteering work to do. Go help the elderly, or work in a charity shop or just help out somewhere. I feel that that would be much more fulfilling. Or taking some classes. I might learn to sew or take some photography classes or join a book group. I think I need to get researching; go out and find out what I can do. I like walking around and I like going to see people. I like to get out of the house to do my writing. But even finding someone to go write is becoming a problem!! My local libraries don't have wireless internet and I don't fancy sitting in McDonald's trying to write about fashion!!

I need routine in my life. I need to get up with a sense of urgency, something to do. My dad says I can't relax. That's exactly what it is, I'm restless. I hate not having plans. I need ways to fill my time. I need things to look forward to. I'm sick of wandering round the shops or else sitting at home on my laptop, mindlessly checking facebook.

I do have things to do though. I have two weeks work experience coming up at silk-works which I'm really looking forward to, and I have jewellery to get for my auntie's wedding this Saturday, and plus I'm now writing for The Fashion Buzz and College Fashion as well as for my own blogs and Student Fashion Blog and View magazine up here. I just need to get into a routine of going somewhere, writing, walking around, having lunch and then having my afternoons to myself. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be able to be a freelance journalist. I just don't know if I'm self motivated enough to go freelance. I need to be busy, I need pressure, I need someone breathing down my neck. I am prone to almost breaking down when stressed, but I work at my best when I have a lot to do.

I'm not sure if I just need to learn to relax, or if I just need to fill my time. I'm hoping this post will inspire me

Any ideas of what I can do with myself?

Charlotte xxx


Hiii!! I'm really sorry I've been totally MIA since I got back from holiday!! I have lots to tell you and definitely want to tell you everything before I forget!!

First of all, I am quite clearly back from Europe!! I had an absolutely fantastic holiday; one of the best holidays. I go to see and do so much in two weeks and still managed to not spend too much money (thanks to one hell of a lot of cheese sandwiches!!), plus have a fantastic time with my best friends with fantastic memories. We had such a laugh and so much fun, even though there were some not-so-great times during the holiday- especially on our first horribly rainy day in Rome when we hadn't eaten all day and found ourselves stuck in Italy with no easy way, it seemed, to get ourselves to France for our flights home. Luckily we managed to get everything sorted in the end (we flew to Paris, we are the worst backpackers ever!!) and luckily despite a few hiccoughs, everything went pretty smoothly.

We spent the first three days in Athens; stealing bread from the free breakfast (hey, all they gave us was bread and a toaster and some butter and jam. we just did a Ross and took what the hostel owed us- 3 slices of toast for breakfast and then two more for lunch...), visiting the Acropolis, the Olympic Stadium and a LOT of columns, oh and running into Steve Tyler from Aerosmith casually on holiday!!

There are a lot of very pretty ruins in Athens!! And it's very hard to take any bad photographs of such beautiful sights!!

Here we all are at the Acropolis :]]]

And with some more columns!!

We also were lucky enough to see some of the Greek Guards outside the Palace, who had the most amazing shoes and did the funniest march I have ever seen!! If you've ever seen Monty Python, it was just like the Ministry of Silly Walks!!

After a few days in Greece we had a ferry booked to take us over to Italy, so on Thursday we caught a bus and a coach down to the port and then in the evening we took a slightly rocky ferry over to Italy. None of us had a particularly great night's sleep but we had a good time playing cards and watching football and made friends with a couple of American girls who were travelling too- who we later ran into, completely coincidentally in Florence train station a few days later!!

So we woke up the next morning in beautiful Italy. I absolutely love Italy. I'd been to Rome and Pisa before but it's just such a lovely country. We spent our first day in Bari, where the ferry left us, and had a lovely chilled out day just exploring the town. Our hostel was gorgeous and we nabbed a pizza for 2 Euros across the road before going to get our train tickets for our trip to Rome the next day. But upon arrival at the train station we were told that the train tickets would cost 50 Euros; far more than we were expecting. After a few hours panic we finally managed to get coach tickets booked for the next morning. So bright and early the next morning we got ready for a long coach trip up to Rome.

Our first day in Rome was a mess. We hadn't eaten since the morning, we were exhausted and we'd decided to book travel and transport for the next few days of our trip. And that was then we got stuck. There were no trains to Switzerland, or anywhere else for that matter, within our budget. Tired, hungry and starting to get desperate, it started to rain. We all started to lose hope and even began planning a way to get earlier flights back home. We finally resigned to get something to eat and try to formulate a plan.

Pizza Kebab saved our lives. That pizza was the best meal I have ever eaten.

After getting something to eat we finally made a new plan; Rome until Tuesday, then a train to Florence until Thursday, then a flight from Florence to Paris and four days in Paris. In retrospect, we could never have done all the places we wanted to do with the time we had and with our budget, but we did manage to see a lot of four fantastic places on our trip.

The next day we went to the Vatican, which was rammed. The Vatican Museum is free on the last Sunday of every month (which it was) and the world and his wife was there. We managed to see the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum in one day, but didn't manage to see the Sistine Chapel, which I would've loved to have seen as I hadn't seen it before, but I guess I will just have to visit Rome again!! It was such a hot day that day we couldn't stand the thought of queuing all day. We had a lovely meal just near the Trevi fountain though and went home thoroughly exhausted.

The Vatican, and me at the Vatican.

The amazing Trevi fountain.

The Colosseum.

We had a great day the next day; we visited the Spanish Steps and stumbled on an amazing Keats and Shelley museum. Being the literature nerds that we are we decided to take a look and it was amazing. The museum was in the house where Keats lived when he was in Rome, and later died there. There were loads of fascinating things to read about Keats, and Shelley and Byron too, who I have been interested in since studying Frankenstein back in high school.

Next stop, Florence!! We got a train to Florence on Tuesday morning and found ourselves bumped up from our expected accommodation, a dorm room for six, shared with 2 other people, to a gorgeous little house down the road from the hostel reception. A 600-year-old building with old walls and gorgeously rustic en-suite double bedrooms. Giuseppe declared to us that he "liked the English" as his reasoning for our upgrade!!

Our second day in Florence was spent exploring!! We saw the (fake) statue of David, the gorgeous churches, the famous bridge, and after a two hour queue, visited the old art gallery in the world, and saw the Birth of Venus by Botticelli, which was really cool.

Thursday was our flight to Paris!! Our train was at 8am from Florence to get to Pisa for our flight. We were very, very early for our flight!! But we arrived in Paris only a few hours after leaving Florence, and then hopped on a shuttle bus into the centre of Paris before getting a metro to our hostel. Like all the travelling days, we were shattered by the time we arrived in Paris and had yet another chilled out evening.

Unfortunately, the first day we spent in Paris was during France's biggest heatwave for years. It was baking. And we did one hell of a lot of walking that first day!! We walked up to Notre Dame and across the Seine went to the most adorable little bookshop in the world. It was gorgeous. I now have a new plan to move to Paris and work there while being cool and chic and Parisian. It was English-run and was like a haven of new and used books. I bought Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (one of my favourite authors) for 4 Euros and I've nearly finising reading it. I'm really enjoying it!!

We then went to visit Père Lachaise Cemetery where Oscar Wilde was buried, and went to see his grave. I can understand why people wanted to adorn his grave with messages for him, but I personally found it really tacky and disrespectful. Oscar Wilde is one of my favourite writers and I found myself offended by scrawlings of "i love oscar" and "jon bon jovi" on his grave.

We also, after much searching, managed to find the graves of Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison from the Doors.

By Saturday the heatwave was officially over. We woke up to find the heavens had opened. It was the wettest day we'd seen for a long time. But we carried on with our plans for the day with our rain macs in tow. I have to admit, it made for some really funny photos of us at the Eiffel Tower!!

We also went to visit the Arc de Triomphe which was huge and gorgeous despite all the rain, and unfortunately, we carried on with our plans to visit the most sophisticated shopping district in Paris, Champe Elysees, in our rain macs. I whipped mine off as soon as the rain stopped but I still wasn't quite in the attire of the rest of the people there. Especially as we sat on a bench outside in the drizzle, drinking cans of 7UP because they were cheap in the supermarket in our rain macs!!

We spent the rest of the day mooching round book shops and trying to find somewhere warm and dry to get a coffee!! And I'm glad to say the rain didn't spoil the day at all!!

We found out from that the Louvre was free on the first Sunday of every month and so we arrived there bright and early at 8.55am sunday morning and were lucky enough to be some of the first to get in- and for free!! I have to be honest, I'm not a huge art lover and I was so tired that I spent a lot of time just wandering, but there were a few paintings that caught my eye. And to be honest, I really enjoyed seeing the Mona Lisa in real life. I think if I went again (which I would love to) I would really have loved a tour or an audio guide. I enjoy things much more when I know what they're about!! Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable day. The louvre is a fantastic gallery and a fantastic buildings. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it, despite my tiredness!!

I had some serious camera-envy in the Louvre though. Everyone seemed to have gorgeous Nikon camera and looked like they were taking such beautiful photos. My point and shoot just didn't do the Mona Lisa justice at all!!

We went inside Notre Dame on the way back, which is just stunning. It's absolutely beautiful inside and out. I really enjoyed visiting all the churches in Europe. They are such beautiful buildings.

We then meandered back to the hotel, stopping off to have a look at the Pompidou Centre, although we didn't go inside, and stopped off to have a look at the beautiful gardens of Luxembourg. Wow do the French do yummy-mummy well!!

In the evening, despite the fact that we were dead on our feet, we decided to go see the Eiffel Tower lit up. We managed to get some much nicer photos than the ones of us in rain macs!! Plus it was nice to do something special for our last night.

Monday was our last day and we just had to fill the day before getting to the airport, where we slept before our flight on Tuesday. We went to a lovely park (I have completely forgotten what it was called!!) and church, and spent the day relaxing and reading. Oh and we took a visit to the Moulin Rouge!! It was so cool- just like in the film!! I'd love to go see a show there one day!!

We spent our last night sleeping on the floor of Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport after a tiring two weeks. I'm sure I've missed lots out but I think my brain is still recovering from everything we saw and did!! I had an amazing time, and I learnt so much. I definitely love to go travelling again- we've already started planning our next trip; going to all the places we didn't manage this time!! We had a great time, and I have to be honest, there aren't a lot of people I could spend 24/7 with, but I love those girls with all my hearts. Thank you for an amazing time!!

I promise there will be lots of updates soon- I already have lots of ideas but I knew I had to write a big holiday post before the memories started to get blurry (which unfortunately, only 3 days later, they are already starting to be) and then I can go back to my usual stuff!!

Sorry this post is so photo-heavy!!

Hope you're having a lovely summer so far!!

Charlotte xxx