April Reading


I am a big fan of Caitlin Moran and her funny musings. I liked How to be a Woman but I really loved Moranthology. 

You know a good book when it makes you cry, laugh out loud and miss your tube stop. 

I did all three with Moranthology. Cried with laughter, laughed out loud on the tube before realising I'd sailed past my stop as I'd been so engrossed. I didn't mind though - it meant I had longer to read more as I turned back on myself.  

I knew I was going to love the book as soon as I hit page three and Moran wrote about her first trip to London.

The time is 11.15am. I am due at the Observer offices, in Battersea at 12.30pm.

‘Just enough time to go to the British Museum and Buckingham Palace!’ I think, having looked at the tiny map of London I have in my pocket.

Three hours later I finally turn up at the Observer offices. I am trying very, very hard not to cry. All the skin has been flayed off my heels.  I am soaked in sweat, utterly mortified, and newly enlightened as to the scale of capital cities.   

Genius. We’ve all been there.

I also enjoyed the chapters on the time she met Lady Gaga and the royal wedding.

But the best chapter of all had to be when she met her hero Paul McCartney and basically messed it up.

I laughed, I cringed, I sympathised (it reminded me of the time I met my hero, Gary Barlow, but I’ll save that story for another time…)

So if you haven’t already got this book, order it immediately. It’s out in paperback on the 2nd May and is just brilliant.

Moran is a genius writer with a funny tone and isn't afraid to say the C word (though I am. My mum reads this and I wouldn't want to incur her wrath.) 

Oh. And the fact my good friend Gareth Iwan Jones did the cover photography made the book even more amazing. Isn’t it fabulous? Check out more pics on his brilliant website

VIP dining at Vapiano


When my friend Harry tweeted me this pic a few weeks ago my reply was simple: Oh my days! Where are you?

Minutes later Harry had tweeted back: Vapiano! You just can't go wrong for £6.75… 

I could hardly believe it - £6.75! For that amazing pizza! I'd never heard of Vapiano but now it was on my must go to list so Harry and I arranged to meet at the Southwark restaurant a week later. 

As you walk into Vapiano you are handed a chip card and with this you go up to the counter to personally order your food and drinks. 

Of course I went for the pizza but the pastas and salads also looked amazing. We ordered two pepperoni pizzas and a bottle of Prosecco and were handed a buzzer. Harry explained that when it went off it meant our food was ready to pick up from the counter. 

The only way I can describe Vapiano is a bit like a fast food restaurant but for grown-ups. A VIP fast food restaurant. This is no McDonalds… 

It seemed like we'd only had a few sips of our drinks when the buzzer vibrated signalling our pizzas were ready. We were handed them by smiling chefs and they looked sensational and they tasted just as good as they looked. Harry and I ate them in record time - I only remembered to actually take a picture half way through. 

I've said it before but you know a chain restaurant is good when you have to be told it is a chain restaurant - I would never have guessed Vapiano. The service was exceptional and the food fresh  and tasty. The restaurant looks great and it's amazing value for money. I'll say it again - just £6.75 for a pizza! In central London. You can't go wrong.  

I may not have been to Vapiano before but I'll definitely be back. 

Vapiano's website and follow them on twitter @VapianoUK

Farewell to more! magazine


Yesterday it was announced that more! magazine was folding. The magazine of my youth. The magazine that pretty much gave me all of my sex education (though not all of it I understood…)

I first discovered more when I was 11. I was in my neighbour's house and she had a copy in her room. Aged 13 her reading material was a lot more advanced than my copies of Sugar or Bliss

I flicked through the magazine in absolute awe, 'Position of the Fortnight' blowing my pre-teen mind. This was another level to the magazines I was used to and I was desperate to read more.  

I knew my mum would never let me buy it in the weekly shop though. Not with cover lines such as: 'Planning a dream date? Tempt him with your sexy skin…' and 'What men do in bed'. 

So I asked my neighbour if she'd buy a copy of more! for me each week. She was more than happy to so I handed over my pennies. 

Obviously she couldn't just bring it round openly, my mum would go mad. This would have to be a covert operation. And this was before mobiles, there would be no quick text to let me know to meet her. 

Instead I would listen for her Dad's car to pull up, watch them unload the shopping before she nipped to my front door and pushed it through the letterbox. I would sit at the bottom of the stairs where I'd grab my copy of more, shove it up my jumper and run upstairs before Mum could intercept. 

I'd devour my copy whilst leaning against my bedroom door so she couldn't walk in and catch me. Once every word had been read I'd hide the copy with the rest of my stash under my bed. 

This worked well for a good few months until one evening my Mum got to the front door before I did. 

I cringed. 'Be the perfect kisser - learn to snog without a boyfriend!' screamed the cover line. 

'You're too young for this,' Mum said disapprovingly.  

I promised not to read it again. But of course I did. I needed to know that the best way to learn to snog was to practice on your hand or an orange or to make funny faces at yourself in the mirror... 

My friends had brothers and sisters that they eavesdropped on when they were talking to their friends to learn their sex education. As an only child all I had to rely on was more! magazine. It taught me pretty much everything I needed to know and then some. 

As well as learning how to snog and making my eyes water with the many positions of the fortnight, reading more made me decide on my future career. I wanted to become a writer on a magazine. 

I loved the glossiness of the pages, the sex, the celeb gossip… I was determined it was what I'd do and seven years later I was studying a degree in journalism. 

My first job as a graduate in 2007 was at a press agency and just two months in I wrote my first feature for more! on a female sex addict. Seeing my name on their pages was a dream come true. 

A few months later they commissioned me to follow Paris Hilton around Bristol. Paris was then seeing Benji Madden from Good Charlotte who were touring the UK. 

I spent four hours waiting for her outside the wrong hotel. Then a further five outside a tour bus. I was cold. It was wet. But I didn't care. I was chasing a celebrity for more! magazine! 

I just wish I could have gone back in time and told my 11-year-old self exactly what was to come. She would have been pretty impressed and it would have probably made the following school years a lot more bearable. 

(Oh and the outcome of the Paris story? She eventually got out of the bus, threw a bottle of diet coke over me before getting straight into a car and speeding away. Career highlight.) 

More! magazine was iconic to a generation of women and it saddens me that it is yet another title to bite the dust. 

The next generation will find out how to practise their snogging on the Internet but it's not quite the same as sneaking a magazine past your Mum is it? 

So RIP more! magazine and your legendary 'Positions of the Fortnight.' You will always be fondly remembered by many.  

Here comes the sun...


The sun is out. Spring looks like it finally might have sprung, the long dark winter that we suffered is finally over…

And I should be happy. However I'm not. I'm panicking. A lot. 

Yes, yes. I know I moaned about the lack of sunshine in this recent post but now it actually is warm I'm really not ready. 

Firstly, my skin is so pale I'm practically transparent. My legs especially are so white they may actually hurt your eyes if I go without the tights I've been wearing since October 1st. 

And when my housemate Rachael mentioned she was wearing her flip-flops the other day, fear ran through me. My feet are so not ready to be exposed to the outside world. It will take a chainsaw to hack at my toe-nails and a bucket full of moisturiser before I am sandal ready. Not to mention the fact that it looks like I haven't shaved my legs since last summer… 

I also tried on my favourite summer dress yesterday and it clung so tightly across my stomach that I looked at least four months pregnant. With twins. My love of pizzas and burgers is fine during the winter where  I can wear thick tights and baggy jumpers. But I'm sure now paying the price…

So while the sun is most welcome as it has been so long, it has also thrown me into a panic and made me book every pedicure/waxing/fake tan appointment going at the local beauty salon as well as jumping back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon for the millionth time. 

Anyone else with me in this summer preparation meltdown? 

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley


I finished Amity & Sorrow in just two days at the start of the month and simply couldn't wait until the April Reads post to tell you about it… 
With the commune on fire, Amaranth takes the chance to escape the religious cult she has been part of for years, and her husband. She takes with her daughters Amity and Sorrow. 
But the teenager sisters aren't really happy about being taken from all they've ever known. Sorrow is angry at her mother for taking her away from her father, the leader, and Amity struggles to fit in and understand life outside the cult…
Amity & Sorrow is a roller coaster of a novel that keeps you gripped to the very end as you are desperate to fid out what happens to the trio. 
It is dark, disturbing in places, but beautifully written and a must read.  

MIA: Sunshine


Where is the sun? Seriously. WHERE IS THE SUN? It was last seen what feels like about five years ago. 

Now I'm not one to talk about the weather often. It's such an incredibly British thing to do. We moan when it is too hot. We moan when it is too cold. We moan. It's what we do. Moan and talk about the weather. 

Normally I try not to jump on this bandwagon. I don't like to be one stating the obvious: 'Oh isn't it cold today'. The worst kind of weather talkers are the ones that exclaim on Facebook: 'It's snowing! It's snowing!' Like we don't all have windows and we can't see for ourselves. 

But I feel that this awful weather has left me with no option but to discuss it in the hope that if we all moan and talk about the lack of sun enough, it may finally make an appearance.

I write this with the heating on full, a fleece wrapped round my legs… It's April. The jokes worn thin now. My pasty skin needs to see the heat before I become completely transparent. 

Yesterday I looked back at photos from this time last year. 

Here they are:

Me wearing a jacket - and pumps! I don't look cold!

My Soldier drinking OUTSIDE a pub. With no coat on! 

Sun on Oxford Street

Oh and I'd even broke out the flip-flops. 

This weekend it snowed and I walked around in my winter coat and big boots. Meh. 

So come on. Someone, somewhere needs to pay the meter, flick the switch and lets summertime begin. We're more than ready for it, don't you agree?