York is the best city in the UK.

love York. I went to university there, where I spent three years running around finding myself, bars, boys and bookshops. It was an amazing backdrop to my little life, and is my all time favourite place in the UK, if not in the world. So much nostalgia! So many memories!

I was back up there over the bank holiday weekend to visit my wonderful best friend, who is rocking an amazing little flat behind Museum Gardens. We spent our time in and out of beer gardens, pottering around cobbled streets and lazing around in gorgeous parks. York is such an idyllic city, and I can’t think of anywhere better for wiling away my time.


I’m not saying I’m an expert in what to do in York, but an enthusiastic three years of trial and error does give me a cheeky advantage. My recommendations for spending time in York would be:


The Lime House, Goodramgate for dinner. Some seriously good food with a cheeky set menu for those on a budget.
Trembling House of Madness,  Stonegate for a boozy lunch. Incredible decor, to-die-for burgers.
The Sitting Pig, Walmgate, or “The Sticky Pig”, as I like to call it. Sweet, simple cafe with a killer breakfast menu.



The Habit, Goodramgate. Gorgeous hidden gem that fills nooks and crannys with wonky stools and a great pint. Rekorderlig on tap, for the softies too.
The Hop, Fossgate. Live music on Saturdays and a gloriously wood-and-stone cavernous pub feel to it. Plus, cheap gin- win.
Dusk, New Street, for cheap and cheerful cocktails. If you can’t afford Evil Eye’s concoctions, head here for a MilkyBar Kid and thank me later.



Charity bookshop galore. Oxfam on Petergate and Amnesty International on Goodramgate are total goldmines. Take an empty rucksack, you’ll need it.
Zesty, Market St. Cheap makeup conveniently wedged between the Superdrug and the Boots, so as to curb your spending.
Goodramgate is home to the greatest collection of charity shops ever known. Go. Explore.



Il Paridiso Del Cibo is not worth the hype. No amount of pesto can make up for rude customer service, and there are defintiely better Italians in York- go to Piccolino on the bridge instead.
The Old White Swan, Goodramgate. Cocky bouncers, slow service, no personality and a crap pint. Walk two minutes up the road and go to the Habit instead.




Just hang out in Museum Gardens. Picnic, people watch, squirrel watch, whatever. Beer garden your days away. They love a good beer garden in York. Find one, any one, and set up camp. Lamb and Lion is a goodie. Marvel. Spend your entire time, whether it’s a weekend away or a lifetime, wandering around and marvelling. Touch the ceilings of buildings on The Shambles, wander through Rowntree park, lose your balance on cobbled Mickelgate. You’re in the best city in the UK, make the most of it.



Cheap tickets for Matilda the Musical

My sister isn’t one for an early start. It runs in the family, for sure, but she’s especially hard to drag out of bed. And on a weekend? Good luck seeing her before lunch time.

So when I set my alarm for 7am on Saturday, I wasn’t expecting her to be be impressed, or even responsive. But the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the cheap theatre tickets, and I was determined.

Various theatres in London offer cheap tickets for their shows for us cash-stricken 16-25s. The catch is you have to buy them in person from the theatre’s box office, and it’s first-come-first-served. In practice, this means there’s usually a queue forming up to an hour before the doors swing open at 10am, which means no lie in for me or my sister.


Come 9am, Baby Kelly and I were running through Covent Garden, the Cambridge Theatre sparkling away in the distance. We wanted £5 tickets to see Matilda the Musical, but so did another twenty-odd twenty-somethings who had clearly got up earlier than us. Thankfully, we were in luck. The Cambridge Theatre reserves 16 tickets per show per day for young people, and we secured two matinee tickets without any problem.

I really, really recommend Matilda the Musical. It’s not as dark as the film or book- her parents are comically stupid rather than wilfully neglectful and the Trunchbull is a little bit panto villain rather than a hard nosed, disciplining demon. Understandable, really, as 80% of the audience were under ten years old. A kid’s musical is no place for in depth exploration of the effects on a neglected child’s imagination, amirite?

The show is amazing. It looks gorgeous and has brilliant wit throughout- Tim Minchin hits the sweet spot with lyrics that are the right mix of wink wink in-jokes for the adults and cute and cheeky lyrics for the kids- stand out lyrics including the gem “Ever since the day doc chopped the umbilical cord, It’s been clear there’s no peer for a miracle like me!”.

The choreography is smooth, fast, snappy and exciting. My personal highlight is the School Song, where letters of the alphabet appear shoved through school gates, with dancing pupils swinging from and jumping onto them, tap dancing and just generally having more physical coordination than I can ever dream of. Fast-paced, cheeky and sweet, if you’ve got to entertain some young’uns, it’s perfect, or if you’re just feeling pangs of nostalgia for the “ummway, umway I WOULD LIKE TO REACH OUT MY HAND” song, or for watching children shove giant chocolate cake in their face, then it’s a good day out for you too.

Anyone between 16 and 25 can get tickets- so if you have friends visiting or are going to be in the capital in the morning, it’s well worth getting out of bed for. With tickets for a measly £5 each, you really can’t argue with the early start. Details here.



Landlord revolution, or hot date?

Oh the joys of living in rented housing. The surprise scaffolding you find your house covered in one day, the hole in your ceiling that’s lived there longer than you have, the joyous feeling of flushing half your wage into some estate agents lap, never to be seen again.

I love it. I truly do. What other aspect of life is it okay to skew social norms, by, oh I don’t know, demanding that you pay £240 for new curtains that they’ve x-rayed for any minor sign of unwarranted dust, but dumbly drag their knuckles across the ground when you politely ask that maybe, if they have the time, could they please fix the boiler because we’ve not had heating for four months? When else in life are people allowed- expected and paid- to be giant bumbling hypocrites? Long live estate agent/landlord freedom, that’s what I say. What possible harm could this have on the future generation’s ability to house themselves?


Well never mind that now, there are important things to be getting on with. I have seventeen upcoming appointments with my new builder. They’ve been sent by our landlord to renovate our windows, or something. I’ve been documenting their progress.

Day One: Had to get my mum, who was visiting from Manchester, to stay at home while I went to work. The builders came, looked at all seven windows in our house, nodded sagely, and left.

Day Two: Had to arrange working from home. Builder man came back and cleaned the edges (not the middle) of two windows. He then left.

Day Three: Same builder returned to clean the other five window edges. I had to work from home again. He shouted at me for having personal possessions (in this case, some money and jewellery, kept in a box) on show. In my own house. In a bedroom.

Day Four: I took the morning off work. Same builder came round, looked at the windows again, wrote down four things and nodded sagely. Tells me there will have to be another round of window-sorting-outtery, and can I take some more time off work?

Day Five: Builder texts me to tell me he is coming round between 5-7pm tomorrow night. Am not sure if I’m expected to provide his dinner, or if this he thinks this is a date. Maybe he’s coming to look at the windows again.

I’m starting to think my landlord is simply sending the builders round once a week to make sure I don’t have the time to muster up some sort of anti-landlord revolution. Where Estate Agents spend ten minutes in the stocks for every £50 of bollocks administration fees they administer. Where you weren’t forced to keep couches that are so brow-beaten that they’re literally impossible to sit on, just because it’s on the inventory. Where broken radiators would be fixed before you were forced to decide whether it’d be warmer to make a cup of tea with that newly boiled kettle, or just to cut out the middle man and drink it straight from the spout. Where sending round builders to gawp at my window for thirty seconds a day does not mean I have to take time off work.

Maybe that’s it. Or maybe the builder actually does fancy me.


Touring Oxford Colleges

You know who make good local guides? Male friends. I mean, sure, female friends do a pretty good job too, but you ask a guy you’ve not seen in a while to “show me the touristy bits” and you have essentially handed over your weekend plans to the most efficient tour operator you can imagine.

I know this because I might have been a little breathless from all the high-speed pacing, but oh boy did I see Oxford.

My trusty guides were Sam and Sam (not a typo, they’re both called Sam!). I’ve known Sam (number one) for years, and have visited him plenty of times while he’s been studying at Oxford. Unfortunately for all involved, it was usually on a party night, and I could barely remember my name, nevermind where the lovely chapels and tearooms were. This time was going to be different, so off we popped.

Corpus Christi College


Dat lighting tho!  The weather was pretty hormonal- hence the sunny blue sky in one corner and demon stormclouds in the other. Oxford has a weird ability to look cool while it’s grey and miserable. All the buildings look foreboding and imposing and dramatic, or on sunny days it just looks mega-twee and like a scene from Harry Potter.

Magdalen College

Magdalen College Chapel Entrance

This is just outside the Magdalan College Chapel. I’m never quite sure whether it’s appropriate to take pictures inside religious buildings, so I saved myself the moral drama and this little cubbyhole will have to do instead.

Exam Hall


The street facing the exam hall is covered in confetti. My trusty guide informed me this is because after students finish their exam, there is usually a crowd right outside with streamers and party poppers (and champagne…) their to celebrate/commiserate their academic prowess. Very unlike York, where we were more likely to be attacked by a menopausal goose than be handed a bottle of champers, but there you have it.

Merton College

Merton College Quad

New College

New College Quad

New College Quad

(I was going to limit this post to one picture per college, but look at how pretty those shadows are!)

Most Colleges charge tourists to look round, and it’s not open to the public for a good portion of the year so as to let all the students get on with their essays without obnoxious camera-hoarders getting all up in their grill. For this trip it wasn’t a problem (and was totally free!) because I was with card-carrying students who smoothtalked our way in and around the grounds- so top advice for touring Oxford colleges would be to buddy up with a current student if you can!

I’m so glad I got to see Oxford without a hangover, and I can only thank my tour guides for their diligence and thoroughness in responding to my request for a bit of tourism. Ta, boys!