All posts tagged “lifestyle

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My Experience of Living in a Tiny Home, Part 1

I’ve lived in Bristol for 8 years. In this time I’ve moved from BS1 to BS7, then BS2 to BS3 to BS6, back to BS3 and finally to BS4. I’ve lived in my fair share of houseshares, basement flats, and terraced houses. Throughout my rental history in this city I’ve carted box after box from one house to another, moving twice in one year in 2014 (never again!). But the real change came when we moved into our latest abode – a converted coach house with just 420 square feet of liveable space.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and watching a lot of videos lately about minimalism and small space living, most typically about American individuals who have decided to downsize. But what makes me laugh the most is the fact that they are calling their 680sq. ft. of space a ‘tiny apartment’, which got me thinking – is my current living situation really that out of the ordinary?

I asked some folks on Twitter whether or not they would like to see some posts on my experiences of small space living, and the answer was a resounding yes. So, here we are. For this first post I thought I’d give you a bit of a potted history about my experiences with moving, my current obsession with throwing as much of my stuff away as possible, and my previous life as a prospective hoarder.
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Easier Dry Cleaning with Laundrapp!

This post is in collaboration with Laundrapp. It has also been edited on 22/11/16 after a less-than-satisfactory run-in with their customer service.

laundrapp online dry cleaning

I have to admit, up until a few years ago, I had absolutely no idea that certain items needed dry cleaning. I just used to shove everything in the washing machine and deal with the inevitably terrible consequences. Since I’ve been buying more in the way of quality items these days (what with my slight obsession with the Whitepepper), plus owning a lot of vintage items, I’ve begun to appreciate letting the professionals handle the often delicate task of cleaning clothing properly once in a while. Read More

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Reflections on Vegetarianism & The Great Vegan Challenge

Happy World Vegan Day!

world vegan day

I know what you’re thinking.

Regular readers of this blog will recognise that it has become somewhat of a shrine to the consumption of flesh, and will be looking at the title of this post with suspicious eyes. I don’t blame you. It’s true that I regularly document my meat-crazed benders with posts such as this one, or this one but, I dunno… you could say I’ve had a pretty big change of heart of late.

I stopped eating meat on the 1st October, and to be perfectly honest, in the short period of time I’ve been a veggie I haven’t really missed eating meat at all. I was a vegetarian for the most part of my teenage life, and always assumed that I would probably one day go back to not eating meat again. I’ve tried and failed over the last few years to cut it out of my diet completely, despite having cut down a lot over the last few years.

I think that’s the main problem I have with our Western attitude towards eating meat. Most people don’t consider a meal to be a ‘proper’ meal unless it has a big slab of meat in the middle of it, or bacon in it, or chicken wings on the side. I shudder to think at how much food is wasted every single year, and how much unnecessary slaughter we commit just to fuel our fashionable dependence on dude food.  Cheeky Nando’s, anyone?

It’s not just bad for our health, it’s pretty terrible for the planet, too. I came across a video doing the rounds on Facebook recently which came from Unilad, of all places, highlighting the environmental impact that our love affair with meat is having on the planet. This sweet little animation from the Guardian highlights the same problem:

I’m not trying to be all preachy here – if you have a love affair with burgers, then by all means carry on – but I do agree that as a culture we desperately need to cut down on our meat consumption. If only carrots were as cool as pulled pork. Le sigh.

One of the reasons I love Bristol so much is its defiance at wanting to do things a bit differently. Take places like the Skipchen, reusing food which would have otherwise gone to landfill, or a project I was introduced to recently called Food Not Bombs, who do a similar thing most weekends in the Bearpit – they’re taking steps to ensure that at least a small percentage of food waste isn’t destined to be waste at all.

I was recently contacted by Bristolian veggie-chef-recently-turned-author Shane Jordan, who has penned a brilliant book called Food Waste Philosophy, dealing with this very subject. Food plays a huge part in our everyday lives, and in the book Shane documents our relationship with food from a personal perspective, using his knowledge as a chef in the city and challenging our perceptions of food waste and its environmental impact. I was sent a preview of the book and found it to be a really, genuinely interesting read. Check it out, people!

But what’s this Vegan Challenge thing all about, Lily? Good question.

Every November, the charity Animal Aid encourages people to sign up for the Great Vegan Challenge – yep, you guessed it, 30 days on a completely vegan diet. I attempted doing the challenge last year but was massively underprepared and ended up just eating toast and resorting back to binging on cheese pretty rapidly.

This year, though, I’m determined to do things a bit differently. I’ve already stocked up on oat milk and Sheese and a defiantly stubborn attitude that I can definitely make it to the end of the month without relapsing into dairy consumption like last time. It’s only 30 days, after all!

I’ve already completed day one, in which I went for a bloody SUNDAY ROAST with some of my lovely pals, and those fantastic and wonderful people at the Star and Dove went above and beyond to make a bespoke and absolutely delicious vegan meal just for meeeee!

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Tom even had cheese afterwards and I didn’t crack. Stony faced determination.

If you’ve got any tips on veganism – where to eat, what to avoid, the best recipes – please let me know! Comment below and I will love you forever.

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Emergency Happiness

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

emergency happiness viking
viking emergency happiness

Sometimes with life being so busy and all, it’s hard to grab even 5 little minutes to find time for yourself. What with going back and forth to work every day, cramming things in on weekday evenings plus our weekends looking pretty full at the moment, it’s very easy to get bogged down in the day to day and not really have any time looking after number one.

Just when I could do with a little pick me up, in steps Viking, who sent me a box of hand picked treats(*), for a little bit of Emergency Happiness!

viking emergency happiness bundle
viking emergency happiness bundle

From a cup of tea and a biccie to a few sweet treats, the idea of the Emergency Happiness bundle is to put a smile on your face and encourage you to pass on the happiness to someone else. I think it’s a brilliant concept – even if it’s a little bundle like this, putting together a parcel and passing it on to someone is a great way to brighten someone’s day.

viking emergency happiness treats
viking emergency happiness lucky bundle

It was all rather exciting getting a mystery parcel in the post, and in my box of happiness were a few items guaranteed to put a smile anyone’s face. From a little ‘tea chest’ with my favourite type of tea to colouring pencils and stamps to get crafty, to a little lucky bundle, Viking had thought of it all. It really goes to show that even the simplest of items can bring happiness to your day.

For me, real happiness is sitting down with a nice cuppa Rosy and watching a good film, or sitting in my bedroom in the early evening as the soft evening light comes in the curtains and editing blog photos. It’s the little things, after all!

To find out more about the Viking Campaign, including how to win your own Emergency Happiness bundle, read all about it here.

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Make a House a Home

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We’ve been in our little pebbledashed house by the park for nearly 4 months now, and the time really has flown by. Considering the last two places we lived in we only managed 6 months, I’d say we’re doing pretty well!

Much like the way I dress, I don’t think our house has a ‘style’. As much as I try to emulate a Beautiful Mess, it’s not quite there yet! The problem is that I like to pick up the odd bit here and there, and don’t really think about how it will fit with everything else. To be honest, I kind of like it that way – my cat picture doesn’t quite fit right next to my new driftwood photo frame (*), but somehow the two work together. Plus the postcard I got from Glastonbury not only reminds me of the festival, but makes me cheery just looking at it.

The frame is from the Other Duckling, who sell the most beautiful vintage style gifts and homewares. I’ve got my eye on a few other bits from their website (basically just all of their vintage stuff), and the whole site is stuffed full of beautiful treasures I’d like to fill my house with. I’m beginning to recognise the importance of surrounding yourself with nice things; it makes a huge difference to my mood when I’m all cosy in my front room with the dog lamp on and the fire going, with a mug of something warm and X Factor on’t telly. Lovely.

I’m really working on trying to make this house look nice, ’cause it looks like we’re sticking round for a while. Maybe if I get it tidy enough I might do a home tour post or video, you never know!

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Realistic Goals for 2014

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Happy 2014!

Over these past few days I’ve been reading some pretty awe-inspiring 2013 round-ups, and some truly inspirational posts on hopes and goals other bloggers have for 2014. I’m not great at sticking to resolutions, so I only made one last year which I did manage to stick to, which was to cleanse, tone and moisturise my face every morning and evening (I was a face wipe kinda gal before, ew).

Resolutions are fundamentally a bad thing, in my mind, which only set you up for disappointment. With this in mind, inbetween all of the standard things-I-should-probably-be-doing such as going to the gym more often, eating less cheese, drinking more water and generally being a bit healthier, I’ve come up with a short list of goals for 2014 which I think I will almost certainly be able to achieve.

1. Get blonde hair again

About 4 years ago, I had super-duper blonde hair, and I absolutely loved it. Since then, it has gone from white-blonde to brown to dark blonde to red (for quite a while), to an accidental highlighter orange, and back to brown again. I loved having blonde hair, but in a desperate attempt over the summer to get rid of my ginger hair, too many boxes of bleach has left it with the consistency of tiny strands of frazzled polystyrene. It is my first goal, with some more gentle persuasion, to be blonde again before the end of 2014.

2. Go cycling more often

I have to admit, I’m a bit scared of cycling in Bristol. Despite being a pretty damn good city to cycle in, too many years driving a car in this city has taught me that it is a dangerous one too, if anyone else drives like I do. The other day I saw a flyer in No 1 Harbourside for cycling trips around Bristol and it got me thinking – I would absolutely love to take a cycle ride on my beautiful little Raleigh out in the sticks somewhere with a picnic basket and a few bottles of beer. I also think it’s something which I should reserve for a warmer day!

3. Take a trip to Beeses

There seems to be a bit of a recurring adventure theme here. I have been meaning to visit Beeses for what seems like an eternity, but will have to be patient until the spring when they open up for the year again. I had a brief glimpse when me and Tom were driving back from Bath one summery day and decided to take a look, but the gardens were heaving due to the sunshine, and it looked like we couldn’t get a table anywhere. Good things come to those who wait, however. Besides, everyone knows the best way to get there is by boat, and seeing as Bristol Ferry runs Sunday Roast trips there, that might be the answer!

4. Run more rolls of film through my many disused cameras

I feel so sorry for some of my cameras. I have a modest collection of Lomo cameras, vintage cameras, and a little Fuji Instax Mini which are begging to be used more often. When I was at college and throughout uni I adored shooting film, and couldn’t think of anything worse than working solely digitally. Now I work full time as a photographer and my day is spent glued to my DSLR I think now is the time for some creative output in the form of messing around with film again.

5. Do more craft

The main purpose of this blog was to motivate me to be more creative. Whilst I have certainly undertaken far more projects than I normally would have, I know that I am not pushing my creative ability. I want to be able to do the projects which have been hanging around for far too long because I am too lazy to learn new things in order to complete them. I want to see something on Pinterest and actually get round to making it, not just wishing that I had the time or skills to finish it.

Finally, another resolution is to blog more. More often, more topics, and more time spent writing. I’ve come to realise over the last six months that I really enjoy putting posts together; it motivates me to take more pictures on a day to day basis, plus I reckon my writing is I improving too. And that’s never a bad thing!

What are your resolutions?

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November Favourites

I can’t believe it’s December already! I’m certainly not complaining; I’ve already been doing my Christmas shopping from the comfort of my sofa (won’t catch me in a crowded shopping centre!) and feeling very festive.

Here are some of my favourites from the month on November (which seemed to fly by) through the medium of Instagram:

hire car

I hired an awesome brand new shiny car to go to my friend’s wedding. I was terrified all the way there that I would crash it!

business cards

I ordered some fancy little business cards.

frightened rabbit

I saw the ever-brilliant Frightened Rabbit at the Anson Rooms in Bristol.

teacup

I fell in love with this little WI teacup.

babushka-dog

I dressed the family dog as a babushka.

poop

I did some childish embroidery for the Creative Initiative.

lush lip goodies

I went to the #southwestbloggersmeet!

christmas craft

I did a Christmas craft at our very first Lovehoney Stitch and Bitch.

bagel

I ate many giant bagels at Bagel Boy in Bristol.

December is shaping up to be busier than November – bring it on, and roll on Christmas!

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Pretty Nostalgic Gathering

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Pretty Nostalgic gathering at the very beautiful Kings Weston house in Bristol.

Pretty Nostalgic is an independent magazine which started in the summer of 2012, which celebrates a love of the beautiful, the thrifty, and the historical. Their motto is ‘Spend Wisely, Waste Less, Appreciate More’ and captures the make-do-and-mend ethic of post-war Britain.

The gathering was the first of its kind, and was a glorious celebration of this; a real family friendly day out full of music and dancing, rooms and rooms of beautiful things and a whole host of stalls offering handcrafted items from artisan makers. It really was all my favourite things in one place!

pretty nostalgic gathering

I started the day with fellow West Country blogger Duck in a Dress, who was the first friendly face I met when I walked through the door. We received our press packs (I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was about this, I’d never got one before) and headed on through to the first of the talks, held by magazine founder Nicole Burnett.

She talked us all through the beginnings of the magazine, and her background as museum curator. The magazine itself is much like a museum exhibition, full of timeless images and inspiration which you can pick up and flick through time and time again. She emphasised the fact that the writers are always passionate and knowledgable about their subjects, which really is apparent when you read it.

Pretty Nostalgic Pledge

The ethos of the magazine is to take inspiration from the past to live a simpler and happier life by buying less, creating, thrifting and recycling more, and buying things directly from the makers. One thing which really resonated me during the talk was when Nicole mentioned looking back when you’re sat in a nursing home at the age of 90 – the things you will remember will be the things which you have created, collected and surrounded yourself with, and not the items on your credit card bill.

The magazine is also working extensively with charities, and for every yearly subscription not only does the reader save £12 off the RRP price but Pretty Nostalgic will donate a further £12 to a selected charity. This month they are supporting Children in Need, with the idea that they will build up and eventually have an extensive list of charities which the reader will be able to choose from when they subscribe. If that’s not another reason to sign up I don’t know what is!

The next talk was by the lovely Annabelle Beeforth of Love my Dress blog, who was holding a Q&A session. She gave some really invaluable advice about blogging, especially the need to organise yourself, something which I think I’m lacking a bit at the moment! She has also just written a book in the Style Me Vintage series about weddings, which looks absolutely gorgeous. Even if you’re not planning a wedding it is lovely to flick through and find some inspiration.

kings weston house, beautiful chandelier vintage wedding cake vintage wedding dresses

I had a little wonder around and was able to take in the scale of the beautiful building, and also some of the makers who had set up stalls in the surrounding rooms. One was dedicated to vintage-styled weddings and was simply breathtaking – I’m probably not getting married any time soon, but all this talk of weddings isn’t half giving me ideas!

pizza

I was also quite excited to see that Pizza Monkey had set up outside! They did the catering at my work’s summer party and they make the most amazing handmade pizzas in their wood-fired oven. This was the ‘posh monkey’ – brie, mushrooms and truffle oil (plus loads of chilli flakes, because I cannot eat anything which isn’t smothered in something spicy), and needless to say it tasted as lush as it looks! I can’t quite believe I ate the whole thing.

vintage people

Whilst munching on said pizza, a rather dapper-looking group of people arrived, promoting an event happening next summer – the Dig for Victory Show in Somerset, which having a peek at their website, looks absolutely awesome! I’m always quite jealous of people in WWII-era attire, and these folks were no exception, they really looked the part. I’ll most definitely be attending their event, I’d better get cracking on my outfit!

business cards

Perhaps the most exciting part of the whole day for me was the bloggers networking hour, which took part in the cutest yurt I have ever seen, set up by the Wedding Yurts company. We all crammed in and began furiously exchanging business cards – it was such a nice experience, and so lovely to put faces to names of blogs I have been reading for a while. Everyone was so friendly and full of amazing advice, and I have plenty of new blogs to read!

All this has made me wonder if I should have a blogroll section. All the best blogs seem to do it, and I think it would be pretty awesome to share with you all the blogs which I have been reading over the last few months which have really inspired me and made me smile. Watch this space!

All that remains is to thank everyone at Pretty Nostalgic for such a wonderful event, and for allowing me to be a part of the blogger’s hour. I can’t wait for the next one!

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Cinnamon Rolls!

Autumn = cinnamon.

I mean, let’s face it, the smell of cinnamon is just reminiscent of crisp cold mornings waking up with mugs of cinnamon coffee, or grey miserable English days sitting in a coffee shop with a vat of hot chocolate topped with a mountain of cream and dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg. Or is that just me?

I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year over the weekend and it has just put me in autumn-hyperdrive; I am furiously craving anything warm and spicy which puts me in the mood for winter. I have been meaning to make cinnamon rolls for probably about two years now, and seeing as I had nothing better to do last night I gave it a go!

homemade cinnamon rolls

cinnamon roll with maple glaze

homemade cinnamon roll

Now there are many, many recipes on the internet for cinnamon rolls. Some use yeast, some don’t use yeast, some use buttermilk, others use eggs to enrich the dough. I found this very basic recipe from Food Network UK, which appealed to me because it didn’t have a list of ingredients as long as your arm.

There were a few amendments which I made – firstly, I didn’t use all the butter it stated for the filling, and it was practically swimming in pools of butter when I pulled it out of the oven. It would have definitely overflowed if I had used it all. Same thing goes for the cinnamon and sugar filling, but now I have leftovers for my cinnamon coffee!

Also, before rolling and baking, I did a little ‘massage’ on the butter and sugar to meld it all together, a little trick I learned from Man v Food, where he visited a diner which made the largest cinnamon rolls known to man. This makes it a lot easier to roll up ready to cut.

Lastly, this recipe doesn’t mention any salt whatsoever. I used unsalted butter for the filling and there was something not quite ‘right’ about them – they were almost too sweet! If you don’t use salted butter for the inside (which you probably should) then add some salt to the dough.

All in all, I will most definitely be making these again. Now that I have begun hibernating for winter I think this will be my staple diet food.

Have you done any baking recently?

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London Zoo

It’s been a pretty hectic week. I went home from work today sick, due to something I ate last night. I’m not sure whether I should let the restaurant know or not. Either way I won’t be going back; I was going to do a post on it and everything! Not sure they deserve it now. I also got some long lady nails stuck on last night, meaning I can so some more awesome things with kitten nail transfers.

The most strenuous activity, however, took place on Tuesday, when I went down to London to spend the day working with the lovely team at Coco de Mer. Whilst on the train I remembered the last time I was in London was absolutely aaaaages ago, when me and Tom packed a massive lunch, took a train and spent one sunny Saturday exploring the zoo.

(I know this isn’t exactly good blogging, sharing ancient photos with you all, but I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself and remembering 1. sunshine 2. not feeling ill and 3. all the animals!)

London Zoo is pretty spectacular, if you haven’t been before. The most impressive thing, I thought, was the architecture – the buildings are absolutely stunning, ranging from the beautiful 1920’s red brick reptile house to concrete block 1970s monstrosities, to the Grade I listed old elephant house, with it’s green copper roof. I took the time to read the descriptions next to each one – apparently the shape of the roof is designed to mimic the shape of elephants around a watering hole.

Most of these buildings have been deemed not suitable to house the animals any longer (mainly due to the fact that animals need a living environment, not a concrete enclosure), so they sit empty. The funniest example of this is the penguin pool, which is situated right next to the fish and chip stand. The amount of people who didn’t bother to read the sign saying something along the lines of ‘this exhibit is now empty you can find the penguins over there’ was hilarious – they persisted in staring at the empty pool shouting “PENGUIIINS WHERE ARE YOOOOU?”

Another highlight was the monkey enclosure, which houses these cute little hipster monkeys, and is pretty much open so you can watch them roaming around being mischievous. There was a sloth in there too.

I have no holidays left which I’m a bit sad about, but I’m determined before the end of the year to spend another Saturday exploring somewhere, especially if it involves animals.

 
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Winter is Coming…

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Hasn’t the weather changed?! I can’t believe that 2 weeks ago it was blazing sunshine, and when I woke up this morning the first thing I did was put the heating on. This post was originally going to be titled ‘Autumn is Coming’ but by the looks of the pouring rain outside it has most definitely already upon us.

Autumn is my favourite season, no doubt about it. Despite having a summer birthday, I’m not one for warm weather, much preferring the cold (but maybe not so much the rain!). I’ve been planning for winter for months, and now that the A/W wardrobes have finally arrived in the shops it’s time to do some serious spending, and some serious knitting!

First up is this ‘Nicola’ knitted cardigan by Boohoo.com. All of my current knitwear is a bit knackered, and I have been after a giant chunky cardigan for ages. This one is a bit of a bargain, too, being only £20. But when I last checked on their website it had sold out in my size, gutted!

Of course when planning for winter you have to sneak some knitting projects in there too. I’ve been aware of Tiny Owl Knits for a while, discovering it when I first joined Ravelry, and always do a little ‘squee’ when I see what delights she comes up with next. This little fox stole has been on my knit list for a while, and I must get round to making it before the weather changes!

Tom owns a spectacular Howick duffle coat which he gets out every winter, and I’m a little bit jealous. This beige beauty off ASOS doesn’t break the bank, and looks pretty damn comfortable.  I love the checked lining, and because of the colour I reckon it could go with pretty much everything.

Next up is this lovely little scalloped bag which is also off ASOS, and also a bargain at a mere £30. I love satchels, but some of the bigger brands can be quite pricey. I took the plunge and bought a Zatchels bag over the summer, and as much as I adore it I can’t seem to fit much in it. This seems a little bigger, at least. Enough for me iPad and boat key, which happens to have a massive inconvenient cork float attached to it!

Oh man, do I love my DM‘s. I already own a couple of pairs, and bought their brown Chelsea boots for last winter, just before the massive snows hit us, and was a little bit smug stomping around when other people were sliding down the street. However, I’m trying to be a bit more of a lady nowadays, and these bloody gorgeous Casey boots will go nicely with all the dresses I wear to work.

Speaking of, I spotted a beautiful twinkly nail polish on my friend at work, and when she told me it was from Butter, I took one look at their website and was hooked. I’m quite a fan of my nail art, and am recently coveting shiny and metallic shades. This one, ‘Thames’, seems to be the best of all worlds – metallic shinyness, and in my favourite shade of green. My nails will look like an Aston Martin.

Despite all my dreaming, though, this is all going to have to wait til the end of the month. Hurry up, payday!

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‘Busfest’ 2013

Wow, have I had a long day. I have just come back from a very important shoot for work and I am pooped.

Anyway, here are some images from the weekend – myself, Tom and my brother went to Busfest (formerly known as Vanfest) at the Malvern Three Counties Showground; it is a celebration of all things ‘veedub’, a collection of beautiful splitties, t2’s and wedges, plus a massive auto jumble of spare parts. My brother has a type 2 so is fairly enthusiastic about the whole VW scene – I can see the appeal but unfortunately lack the funds to own a camper myself!

We had a really nice time mooching around the various stalls and marveling at the beauty of the rusty old vans. I have to admit I like the ‘rat look’ best, somehow the rust seems a lot more natural on a VW, especially one so old. Also the sweary gnome is genius, I spent a good ten minutes chuckling to myself about that, same with the little sign the stall holder had written. I think it’s the end bit which really makes me smile – “go on, sit on one!”

All the van talk has got me thinking, and I’ve been searching on eBay over the weekend for a cheap alternative to a VW. I reckon it would be amazing to have the option to just up sticks and pop off down the road for the weekend.

I’m going to have to do a bit of saving first, though.

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