The not so happy camper...


This weekend festival season really kicked off with the biggest and most famous of them all - Glastonbury. 

I tried to get tickets because, well, it's Glastonbury, but I am pleased to report I wasn't successful. And I really mean it when I say that. 

Now don't get me wrong. I love FESTIVALS. 

This is me and my friends Rachael, Lauren and Claire at Radio One's Big weekend in Hackney last year. See how happy I look? 

There is a reason for that. At the end of the night I knew I could walk the couple of miles back to my flat, leave my muddy boots at the door, have a nice shower and sleep in a comfy bed. NO TENTS IN SIGHT. 

I HATE camping. Me and sleeping under canvas seriously don't mix. 

My first camping experience was age 12 at Guide camp. The tent fell in during the night so I slept on a pole. Not very comfortable.  

Then there was the year I went to V and I didn't realise there was a hole in the tent - which then flooded when it predictably rained. 

Then of course there was the time I nearly died. Seriously. 

My friend Nic (an experienced camper) suggested a camping trip to Newquay for her birthday a few years ago. 

Forgetting my hatred of camping I enthusiastically agreed and rushed out to buy a two-man pop up tent. 

Pop-up tents! What a great invention. You can't go wrong, right? WRONG. 

Nic headed down to Newquay ahead of us and took my tent with her and kindly 'popped' it up for me.  

After work, my friends Elle, Brooke and I set off. We got there later than planned and in the dark (this was mainly because we took several de-tours to find a Little Chef…)

Everyone was in bed so I suggested the three of us sleep in my tent until the next day when we could put up Brooke's. Yes, it was only a two-man but Elle and Brooke are tiny so we fit easily in and fell asleep. 

A few hours later though I woke up and realised I was heavy breathing. I was confused. My head was a bit foggy. I wanted to sit up but I couldn't. 

Suddenly Elle sat up. 

'is anyone else struggling to breathe?' she gasped. 

'Er, yes me,' I said. 

'We need to get out the tent,' she said. 


We leaned over a very dazed Brooke to unzip the pop up tent and fell out on the grass, gasping for air. 

When we came round we realised there must be something wrong with the tent. A quick inspection showed there was no ventilation in the tent which was wet with condensation, and by putting three people in a two-man tent, we essentially were suffocating and could have died…. 

We slept in the car that night, fearful of the gas chamber that I'd bought for £34.99. 

I vowed never to sleep in a tent again. 

But fast forward two years, and when my good friend Emily suggested working on behalf of the charity Wateraid at Reading festival, I quickly agreed. The deal was we'd work a few hours a day on a bar by the main stage and in return we'd receive a free ticket to the festival and camping in a workers field. 

Stupidly I presumed this would mean nicer toilets (remember my wet tissue phobia post?. Obvs festivals aren't the greatest for a papyrophobiac like me.)

We got there. We popped up the pop-up tent (checking for ventilation this time) and opened a bottle of Prosecco (classy festival goers.)

Emily, pre-rain
That night we climbed into our sleeping bags and the moment our heads hit our make-shift pillows, there was a rumble in the sky, and the heavens opened. The pitter patter of the rain got louder and LOUDER on the canvas. 

I couldn't sleep. Instead I grabbed my phone, and Googled the nearest Premier Inn, desperate to get out of tent hell. 

But they were full. I could have cried. 

For the next few nights I dreamt of clean white sheets, soft pillows and bubble baths. 

Now don't get me wrong, the festival was fun and I had a great time, but my experience would have been enhanced if I'd had a warm bed and bath to go back to in the evening… 

Some may say I'm not entering into the festival spirit by 'roughing it'. But you can keep your festival spirit. Give me a nice toilet and a place to plug in my GHDs any day. 

So while I am glad the sun is shining for those at Glasto, I truly am happier to watch it from the comfort of my own sofa. You can keep your tents, thank you very much. 

June Reading


If you like roller coaster books that are quite dark, then you have to read Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes.

From the first page I was gripped as we meet Claudia. She seems to have the perfect life - heavily pregnant with a much wanted baby, a loving husband and a beautiful home.

But with a busy job and two boys also to look after, Claudia hires a nanny, Zoe, to help out. But Claudia doesn't trust Zoe, especially when she catches her going through her most personal things. Is Zoe who she says she is? And what does she want...?

Claudia also has to deal with the fact that their is a 'womb raider' on the lose, cutting pregnant women open to take their babies. Is she safe?

I can't recommend this book enough, especially if you're a fan of psychological thrillers. You won't be able to turn the pages quick enough - and the ending is a shocker...

Let me know if you read it and what you think!

Cointreau Fizz Garden Party - rooftop lovin'


What could be better on a sunny Tuesday night, than getting together with your friends and drinking FREE cocktails on a pretty rooftop garden underneath the Shard? Er, not a lot…

On Tuesday my friends Rachael, Harriet, Laura, Kate, Nicola, Ashley and I, all headed to The Skyroom in London Bridge for the Cointreau Fizz Garden Party.

The sun was shining on the secluded rooftop which had been transformed into a lush flower garden and the Cointreau cocktails were flowing. Opinons were mixed as to which was the fave cocktail - the original Cointreau fizz which was made with Cointreau, lime juice and soda water and the Cointreau Fizz with strawberry and mint which included Cointreau, lime juice, strawberries, mint and soda water came out on top though. Perfect summer drinks which went fabulously with the gorgeous canapés - the asparagus with crab was possibly the most amazing thing I have ever eaten. 

The evening was so mild it was easy to forget we were even in London but looking up we were quickly reminded as we were right under the Shard.

As the sunset we headed home merry and very happy. It was a fabulous night and I have found my new favourite drink!

The Cointreau Fizz Garden Parties at The Skyroom, London Bridge are running every Tuesday until 2nd July 2013. Register for free here. Enjoy! 

Playing the Flute (AKA learning how to give the perfect blow job....)


When my friend Rebecca told me to save the date as she was taking me somewhere special, I imagined dinner in a fancy pants hotel, maybe a show or a gig. 

What I didn't expect was to be going to a night called Playing the Flute - essentially a masterclass in how to give the perfect blow job. For real. 

At first I found the idea hilarious. A blow job masterclass! But as the day arrived I actually started to panic, imagining a dark, seedy dungeon with shackles and chains. And how would we 'learn' exactly? Would this be a practical class?! I'm far from prudish but I'd have to draw the line somewhere… 

But I couldn't have got it more wrong though. The seedy dungeon in my imagination was actually the rather plush Coco de Mer in Covent Garden. And rather than shackles and chains hanging from the ceiling in its place was handcuffs and pretty underwear. 

After downing a couple of glasses of champers  we were introduced to our host for the evening, oral sex expert Master Dominic, who runs a Dominant business in East London. I thought he would be scary but actually he was a lot of fun talking through the factors that made up the perfect blow job with the help of a plastic penis called Ernest… 

Then it was down to the practical. Luckily no cocks were shoved in our face and instead we were handed fruit pastille lollies. We had three minutes to suck them - keeping the purple tip intact. This was to teach us not just to dive in head first. Or mouth first in this case. 

Rebecca and I really went for it. We wanted to be top of the class at blow job school, obvs! 

Rebecca was the first to finish her lolly in a super speedy time. Master Dominic was most impressed with her skill and technique. I came a close second with Master Dominic saying I was more of a 'licker' than a 'sucker'…. We won! 

Before I knew it the night was over. We'd graduated. With honours. 

The night was a lot of fun and I'd encourage everyone to book on the next night. 

The top tips I took away were: 

Sloppy drool results in a good blow job, cover your teeth with your lips, treat it as an 'event' rather than just foreplay. And my absolute fave fact - men can ejaculate at 40mph. Mind blowing.

So am I now a blow job expert? I'd say so. I'll certainly be adding it to my CV…. 

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver


My friend Lizzie bought me Lionel Shriver's We need to talk about Kevin years ago. It took me ages to get round to reading it and about 100 pages to get into it. There were times when I wanted to give up but I am so glad I didn't as it was brilliant and I'd say in my top 10 favourite books of all time. I was so annoyed that it took me so long to get round to reading it. (If you haven't read it already - do so! But don't bother with the film…)

Her latest novel, Big Brother, covers obesity and before I even started the book I'd already read this interview and column so knew that she had an obese brother who died so was obviously looking at the subject from her own tragic family experience. 

Unlike We need to talk about Kevin, I was hooked from the first page, desperate to know what happened next.  

Big Brother follows main character Pandora, whose brother, Edison, is coming to stay with her and her family. 

Picking him up from the airport she doesn't recognise the brother she hasn't seen in years as he has put on hundreds of pounds.

Shocked and horrified, Pandora realises her brother has a huge problem and she is desperate to save him. But can she? And does he evens want to be saved?  

The words to sum up how I felt whilst reading are - uncomfortable, embarrassed, pity. 

There is a scene where Edison actually soils himself, leaving Pandora to clean up his mess. In this moment you feel disgusted but also so desperately sorry for the pair of them. 

Also, I couldn't help but think that this book was slightly autobiographical. Thinking it was real made it even harder to read. 

Saying that though, any book that provokes that much of an emotion has to be brilliant and Big Brother has also easily gone into my top 10 as I'm still thinking about it weeks after I finished it. 

This really is a must read and if you decided to give it a go, please let me know what you think! 

Well & Bucket, Bethnal Green


One of my new favourite pubs, the Well & Bucket, is just up the road from me in Bethnal Green. 

It used to be a (dodgy) Chinese restaurant, one that I frequented once after one to many on Brick Lane. But the next morning I declared I'd never go there again (though to be fair, the fact I was throwing up was more than likely down to one to many fish bowls in Casa Blue than anything I'd eaten.)

Anyway, I digress. 

Gone is the Chinese restaurant and its place is a upper cool pub with 18 craft beers on tap (our choice was Camden pale ale) an a great wine and spirit selection. 

But of course, what I was most impressed with was the food menu. Oysters are what Well & Bucket go big order but me being me there was only one thing I was drawn too - the burger sliders. 

At £3 a slider or 3 for £7.50 it is a real bargain as they're not really small. 

Soldier and I went for two cheeseburgers, a ginger beer chicken burger with sesame 'slaw, a bucket if prawns with smoked aioli (£10) and (like we hadn't ordered enough already) the oxtail chilli cheese fries (£5.50). 

When it all arrived to the table I didn't know which to try first! The burgers were juicy and flavoursome and the prawns were really fresh - and huge! The oxtail chilli cheese fries were by far the best I've ever tasted. 

For the price it was a real bargain. You got loads for your money and it was all fresh with quality ingredients. 

With it's cool ambience you can easily spend a whole afternoon in the Well & Bucket, and now it's warmer you can sit in there small garden out the back. 

And with it being just up the road I can happily say it's my new local… 

Well & Bucket, 143 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG. Follow on twitter.