Binned Alaska (see what I did there…)

I feel like Ian from Bake Off. 

In case you don’t follow The Great British Bake Off as closely as I do (i.e. if you have a life), Diana took Ian’s Baked Alaska out of the freezer before it was set, it collapsed, and he binned it in a fit of rage. 

Then, when Paul and Mary asked to see his creation, he had to awkwardly present the bin and explain Diana’s unforgivable behaviour.

So this is me, awkwardly presenting the bin full of the things which I tried to achieve this week. (I am unable to blame this on Diana, although I would like to because her actions were unacceptable)

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I have actually been pretty productive; I reorganised my bookcase and my filing cabinet, purchased my notebooks for the new academic year, and my storage solutions have never been more efficient. This, however, makes for a very boring post (I actually tried to make one and even I had to admit it just wasn’t gripping reading), and unless pictures of the insides of drawers float your boat (okay, I actually love pictures of the insides of drawers, but…)* I just don’t really have anything to show for my efforts.

I even carried out a project I’ve been wanting to do for ages and used a chalk pen to write a quote over the top of my mirror. I was going to write a post about this but all I really did was nick a chalk pen from Starbucks. I could write a very informative blog post about how to steal from your place of work without getting caught, but… (just kidding! and I also returned the pen so please don’t fire me!)

I have nothing to show for my efforts. Not even a soggy baked alaska in a bin #sadface. I even considered posting about the chicken caesar salad which I lovingly crafted, but I’m so afraid of food poisoning that I like to give my chicken a good burning before I eat it, and a) obviously, that would be a rubbish blog post, and b) why would I even be making a blog post about salad, and if we’re all going to die eventually, what is the point?

You can see that the existential crisis is still going strong. 

Anyway, because I sound a bit crazed (I promise it’s just the tiredness!) I’m going to go to sleep and carry on planning some projects which will hopefully be worth blogging about! 

I’m going to be making my own bedding (sort of) and unless I have some kind of terrible accident during the process, I’ll be giving you every last detail! 

Hope you’ve got more to show for your week than I have ;)

Big Love, PV x 

*some amazing pictures of the insides of drawers here. (Yes, really)

Mary Berry is my homeboy

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I hate coming back from holiday. 

We had an overnight flight (the worst, ugh) and I had to sulk wait at the airport for like, nearly, two whole hours. It was a DISASTER. Or I was just grumpy about being pryed away from the sun loungers and having to leave gorgeous sunny Turkey. Boo :( Anyway, I ended up doing what any sensible person in such dire straits would have done. I sat on the floor of that departure lounge and watched the Great British Bake Off on Rob’s iPad. Oh Mary Berry, that death stare of yours gets me every time. 

- Did you make your own fondant?

-No, I didn’t…

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On the plane I was thrown into another nightmare situation when I wanted to recline my chair (it was literally three in the morning. If there is a time when it’s acceptable to recline your chair, this is it). However, being British, and therefore socially inhibited in ways you would never believe, I was instead torn between sitting up straight and being so uncomfortable I wanted to die, or reclining my chair and being racked with guilt. Talk about first world problems. 

Anyway! I thought I’d share some photos while I go and cry into my still-not-unpacked suitcase ;)

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Above: Emily cut my hair and didn’t make me look like Skrillex (always a victory), Rob shows off his ‘model face’ ;), I get waaay relaxed, and boat selfies with the tiniest cutest little buddy (who was way better than me at swimming and diving and gleefully mocked me in Turkish as I flailed)

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Above: Ortica Market, Chilling in Pomegranates, Emily’s many terrifying faces ;), getting through my second year reading list in style ;)

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And now I have to go try not to do violence on any Starbucks customers. *crys softly*

I hope you have had a gorgeous weekend, Big Love, 

PV x 

Turkey update

Oh Hey!

And may I say what an exceptionally fine morning it is this morning. I hope you enjoyed the Pirate’s second birthday celebration! Two years! It’s madness. I had a whale of a time (as I’m sure you’ve realised, I am a wee bit obsessed with my blog), and I’m so excited to continue to develop my content over the next two years.

That being said, I’ve enjoyed the first week of my holiday in Turkey completely blog free, and it’s been so blissful and relaxing! I don’t think I realised just how much time and thought goes into each blog post until I switched off for a while.

I’ve still been sharing a lot on my Instagram, it’s so beautiful here I can’t resist pulling my camera out at every opportunity.

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We’ve taken boat trips and a dip in the mud baths, popped to a couple of markets and cycled to a gorgeous restaurant on the edge of town to enjoy good food and good company :)

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All this relaxation has left me time to get inspired all over again about my new bedroom, upcoming blog posts, and even scary bigger picture stuff like summer internships and second year modules!

I was so inspired by Emma and Elsie (of ABeautifulMess) sharing their app development success story (check it out here), and I’ve been pinning like crazy to get my Room Decor inspiration board on Pinterest up to scratch before I dive into more projects. (Check it out here)

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I’m feeling totally relaxed, and almost ready to face the chaos of London life again (but not yet!)

Watch this space for more holiday snaps, relax, and enjoy your weekend!

Big love,

PV x

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The Pirate is Two!

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Happy Birthday to my lovely little blog, long may it prosper ;)

I started prettyvacantpirate to document my Gap Year, and since then I’ve written about all sorts of things, some more interesting than others!

My Granpa, obviously bored with my initial posts about sushi and eyebrows, suggested that I start writing about my job in a supermarket café. I started documenting my hilarious and ridiculous customers, and I love looking back on those funny little stories and remembering what a long suffering waitress I used to be!

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Then I set off travelling, and became obsessed with documenting every amazing moment of my trips. I visited every internet café in Peru and Italy and poor long suffering Robbie endured me a) weeping inconsolably in Japan when I accidentally deleted half a draft blog post (I know – lame), and b) taking over his phone for an improbably long time trying to coax the dodgy wifi in a remote Thai hotel to let me upload photos. It was so fun. I sometimes read back and get to remember little gems like the time me and Em stayed in a hotel which was almost definitely haunted because we missed our train in Italy (as if I could forget that…) 

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Even when I got back to England, I decided that I enjoyed blogging so much that I carried on updating pretty regularly (three times a week, sometimes a bit more, sometimes much less!), chatting about my monthly favourites, sharing crafty tutorials, interviewing my flatmates, exploring London, and answering life’s important questions.

Use the links above to check out some archives you may not have read, or read below for a couple of my personal highlights ;)    

[my whole travel archives are here, or browse them by country using the options on the right of this page.]

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Trekking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu in Peru

The best birthday ever in Venice, Italy

Exploring the neon jungle in Nagoya, Japan – this is the post that I half deleted! I hope it was worth my tears ;)

 Arriving in beautiful Thailand, and further adventures with our dear friends Grace and Conor in Cha Am

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More recently: 

Flatmate Friday with my beloved ex-flatmate (boo!) Kate

I made my own pineapple curtains! They’re pretty much the bomb

I shard The monochrome wall I curated for my old University dorm room

I went to see The Fault in our Stars and Begin Again and shared my views- both awesome films!

Some fun summer favourites to get you in the mood for ice-cream and flip flops!

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And finally, some of my new favourite places in London…

Spitalfields Antiques Market, The British Library, The V&A Museum, Columbia Road Flower Market and Primrose Hill

It’s been a blast, thank you so, so much for reading <3

xoxo

PV x

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22/52 – The Breakfast Club

I had the best Wednesday/Thursday weekend with my housemates and Robbie. We went to Drink, Shop & Do for cocktails and fun, and then the next day we headed into Shoreditch (my favourite place ever?) for Brunch at the Breakfast Club.

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The Breakfast Club is so fun, and the perfect chilled-out place for a lazy brunch. I loved the huge open windows and the casual atmosphere. The huge wooden tables are perfect for big groups, and the menu is just crazy. I just couldn’t choose what I wanted to eat because there was so much good stuff, but I settled for avocado and poached egg with crispy bacon, and it was amazing. Rob had a burger, Scott opted for the huge ‘full monty’ breakfast, and Pancakes with maple syrup were a big favourite.

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It’s not pricey for the quality of the food, and for around £10 you get a massive portion of breakfast goodness. 

The Breakfast Club have restaurants all over the city and I think I might just have to try them all out. For scientific purposes, of course ;)

Big Love,

PV x

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Framed Quotes – DIY

Do you remember these super simple framed quotes which I was admiring a couple of months ago?

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Well, I decided to go ahead and make myself a DIY version for my bedroom. It really is the best way to do this kind of thing – cheaper and totally customisable!

I got dear Robbie to pick up some frames from IKEA (the silver ‘Ribba’ frames – they are slightly smaller, height-wise, than A3 so my finished quotes needed to be trimmed a little at the bottom, but the width is the same and they fit perfectly with a slight adjustment!) I then typed up some favourite quotes using a mix of two very simple fonts, and took the files along to a local print shop to have them all printed off on matte A3 paper.

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After framing my quotes, I used 3M command strips (and Robbie’s help) to fix them up on the wall above my bed. It’s pretty difficult to get these guys straight, but I ran a straight line of Washi tape on the wall above where I wanted all the quotes to go, and then made sure the top of all my frames touched this line. To get the three frames spaced out properly, I held something between the middle frame and the frames on the left and right (a bottle of suncream, as it happens) as I hung them, to ensure that they were the same distance apart and I wouldn’t be tearing my hair out for ever after because they were uneven!

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I’m pretty sure we got them all straight, and I’m so so happy with how they look. I love the quotes, and because I used command strips (which are made of two parts, one on the frame and one on the wall – connected together with a strong velcro) I can take them down and switch the quotes in and out whenever I want.

I love it! They look so classy – really simple and modern.

DIY success <3

Big Love, PV x

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‘I was born to be, be your Dead Sea’ – Dead Sea by The Lumineers

‘Burn your Fire for no Witness’

‘And if the music is good, we dance’ (one day, baby, we’ll be old)

21/52 – Drink, Shop & Do

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Drink, Shop & Do, a trendy little café-slash-cocktail-bar, is conveniently located just two minutes walk from London St Pancras. It would be a great place to grab lunch and browse the small shop after a trip to the British Library, and in the evenings it becomes a fashionable destination for arty drinks and the most amazing selection of crafty and silly ‘evening classes’. These activities, many of them free, range from embroidery to Lego Robots and dance classes, and are all designed to be enjoyed with a group of friends and one of the exotic sounding drinks on Drink, Shop & Do’s very classy menu. 

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(above: they don’t actually have an erotica section, it’s just their witty sign for their downstairs cocktail bar…)

Just twenty minutes from Liverpool Street Station (where I work) I popped along after work on a ridiculously sunny day, and fell in love with the friendly café atmosphere, the high ceiling and the cute but not overdone retro decor. 

Also, the gluten free cake. They have three (!) gluten and dairy free concoctions to choose from, and the rose and pistachio cake I chose (with the help of the lovely barista) was actually delicious. Om nom nom. They serve an impressive selection of teas (I chose ‘Windsor Castle’ tea), about twelve different mouthwatering cakes, and all the usual teas, coffees, sandwiches and salads – which all looked, and sounded, amazing!

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My tea and cake came to £6, which I thought was a little pricey, but it would be lovely for a treat, and a great place to bring visitors for a cosy chat. 

A couple of nights later, I returned to Drink, Shop & Do with my flatmates (and Robbie) to take part in one of the whacky ‘evening classes’, this time a ‘play with clay’ Arnold Schwarzenegger theme! After ordering a couple of cocktails (I shared a ‘sharing jug’ of a mojito-style concoction with Chelsey, which was delicious, and they had a great menu, but Tom and Rob weren’t so impressed with their drinks), we were each given a fistful of clay, a paper plate and some ‘inspiration images’ of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and told to go crazy. Silence fell around our little table as all of us set to work intricately moulding and shaping our tiny Arnies. Even Tom, who had previously declared himself pretty unambiguously to not be in the least interested in clay making, saying “I would literally rather be doing anything else” was soon moulding a bust of Arnold’s face, and repurposing the ice at the bottom of his cocktail as water to facilitate the moulding of the finer features. 

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It was actually really fun. Not exactly a wild night, but a nice place to relax and chat and unwind with some silly crafts and drinks. I was so proud of my clay creation, and we were all gutted we didn’t win when all the entries got judged at the end of the night! 

There are plenty of pubs nearby to grab a drink afterwards (as the bar closes relatively early), and you can easily hop on the underground from St Pancras up until around half past twelve, depending on where you’re going. 

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I would definitely, definitely recommend Drink, Shop & Do for casual day and night time activities, we had an awesome time and will hopefully be headed back to try out some other activities (I’m so keen to try out a dance class, but I think Tom might draw the line!)

Big Love, PV x

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