The Middle Sister

The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Drivers, Cyclists. A word if you will


Being both a cyclist and a driver I am uniquely qualified to write this rant.  Here in Cambridge there was a population of *stops to google it* 123,900 in the 2011 consensus.  I can only imagine how much that number has grown in 6 years but safe to say a fair few of them are on the road between 7.30am – 8.45am of a weekday morning and I’ve noticed quite a bit of tension between two types of travellers. So I’m here to lay down the law.

Cyclists have AS MUCH right to use the road as you do, especially as they aren’t causing any damage to it and don’t hurt the environment with their mode of transport.  
  • If there is an off road cycle path they can use it…. But they don’t have to! Usually I will but if, for example, the path is on the other side of the road and I can hear a driver coming at me pretty fast I’m not going to risk life and limb to get to said path.  This does not mean it's OK to burn past shouting obscenities. It just makes you look like King Douche and there are quite a few contenders around so that’s saying something! 
  • If a cyclist is out into the road it’s usually because they know there is a pot hole coming up or they are cycling a little defensively because someone has just cut them up.  The amount of space to leave going round a cyclist should be enough for them to fall sideways and not even hit your car.  Leaving just enough for them to feel squeezed off the road will result in more defensive cycling and the circle continues.
  • Bear in mind you have a ton of metal at your disposal, so the odds of you being OK in an accident are pretty high.  Which just means you’ll be fit and healthy enough to go to prison should you get convicted of a felony in an altercation.
Yes you can be douche bags as well
  • For the love of all that is good in this world GET SOME LIGHTS! It is pitch black in certain areas of this city and your refusal to be seen or see where you are going is Darwinian in its stupidity. 
  • While we are at it, the white one goes on the front and the red one on the back.  Basic common sense should tell you this but I have seen the opposite layout too many times to count and bothers me no end.
  • Also HELMET! Yes I know we all look like a complete mushroom headed pillocks but they protect the squishy goodness that is our brain matter should a driver aim for you.  You may be a wonderfully clever Cambridge student but you are going to need your brains very much inside your skull if you plan to make any sort of success of your life.
No matter if you choose 2 or 4 tyres to get to work/school or wherever it is you are going, its important we all find our chill and show a little compassion for our fellow travellers.  In a year of heinous news and a distinct lack of respect for anyone even remotely different to ourselves let’s try ending it with a bit of decorum.

Have you got any advice for either cyclists or drivers? Add it below.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Camb Meet Up: #ChristmasBloggersBash

Alright then! Like just about everyone else that was there last Sunday, Pippa and Sophie truly inspired me at the Camb Meet Up Christmas Bloggers Bash.  The girls did such an amazing job starting with the venue choice of Novi. This place is instagram heaven with a little blogger paradise thrown in*. 

First off we got to speak with Barry from Jimmy's, a charity that is changing the lives of those they meet and helping people get back on their feet after becoming homeless. He reminded us people in this situation aren't all that different from you and I. Jimmy's is the CambMeetUp charity for next year and we raised over £200 for them at this event alone**.  

As well as brands like Jessops, Blogosphere and Origins we had a little enforced mingling time to chat to some of the other bloggers there. Normally I run a mile from this sort of thing but will admit it was nice to see IRL*** some that I have only spoken with online.  

Unfortunately they are all as perfect looking as I imagined, but they were also as lovely too so that's something!  I spoke with Sophie from Indie and Pop, a blogger after my own heart with a passion for independent and popular stores and Jennifer from Feioi Interiors. Incidentally Jennifer is giving a talk on 'How to bring Hygge into your home' at the first ever Hygge Cambridge event on Monday. 

Of course I also got to catch up with friends:

Pip's is the reason we even have Camb Meet Up and is one of those bizarre people that when they say 'lets meet up' actually means it and is one of the most encouraging people I know.  Plus she has the shiniest of shiny hair! 

Lauren from GirlRunningLate
Love this girl and am lucky enough to say we were friends before we both found blogging. Source of all that is light and fun with an infectious enthusiasm for running and cake... possibly more into the cake at times!

Gemma from LifesaCatwalk
I have some serious wardrobe envy with this one and live vicariously through her frequent posts on fashion and lifestyle.

The mini talks were perfectly planed.  Danielle from Fashionista Barbie spoke of the need for a media pack.  If you don't have one (and I don't) they're apparently quite easy to get from Etsy.  She also had words of encouragement for those of us with smaller readership, advising brands do now recognise the effects of the Micro influencer.  Sophia Meola a beauty blogger gave some great advice including the quote "Comparison is the thief of joy" which I love and will try to remember from now on.

My own advice for new bloggers? So glad you asked! its be brave.  The posts I've that I drafted, deleted, drafted again and then hovered over the post button for fear of judgement or ridicule have been among my most popular. 

If you were there let me know what you thought and if you have any blogging advice.

Can't wait for the next one!

*Please note Link heavy post coming up!
**Yay Us!
*** In Real Life


Monday, 5 December 2016

Photography: Mill Road Winter Fair 2016

Just a few images from our wonderful, annual Mill Road Winter Fair here in Cambridge.  If you're ever here I highly suggest you coming along.

The Wares

The People

Did you get there this year?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Review: Origins

An absolute eon ago the lovely ladies of Origins invited me in for a facial and private wander around their shop.  Which I went to and FULLY intended to write about the next day, but then a bunch of things happened (including President *retch* Trump) so I got a bit fed up and blogging was low on my list of things to do.  As we enter the final phase of ‘annus* horribilis’ I’m looking at things that have been good to me over 2016, being a Cambridge blogger is one of them.  I know in the infested gash of a year that has been The World Without Bowie its not much but we're starting small here people.

So back to Origins.  

Powered by plants, proven by science, the environment is a top priority for this company, with staff getting a tree planted in their honour after one year's service.  And while they admit to using preservatives, they are gentle and at present no microbeads are included in their products.  Using natural ingredients like tea and mushrooms and giving free facials, testers and on hand advice means Origins are well suited to the beauty quarter that is Cambridge’s Rose Crescent.  Origins have really thought about their price range as well, making those aimed at the younger audience more affordable. That said the cost of the tiny tubes of joy, available in a pick and mix variety, mean even I’m likely to consider trying one or two.

Origins are also great for sensitive skin advising they don't just deal with the problem (soothing and calming the inflammation) but claim to strengthen as well, so it may not be so sensitive in the future.  I've got what the pros call a combination complexion, I refer to it as ‘pain-in-the-arse-greasy-but-I-also-shouldn’t-bother-going-outside-in-winter-cos-I-look-like-a-snake-shedding** but we'll go with their phrasing because its less time consuming . Point being is their 'Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask' is currently riding high on my love it list.  It goes on clear, doesn't get all pealy, leaving you all zombie-like in the morning and smells amazing.  I can see this coming in especially handy for those celebrating hard during December, as long we remember to take off our make up and put it on before we crash out. 

But they can't do everything for us so that's our problem, not theirs.

Have you tried any Origins products recently?

*That’s Annus not Anus you bunch of children!
**bit of a mouthful that one eh?


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Review: Spirit of Christmas Fair

Anyone who knows me knows I'm basically 'Mrs Christmas'.  The second fireworks night is done, my head fills with yuletide and Christmas cheer.  That said the past couple of years have seen my spirits dampen ever so slightly, which made me wondered if I had grown out being all jolly.  So an invite to the Spirit of Christmas fair, with wreath making, cocktail tasting and a blogger breakfast was just the thing I needed to see if the next step was for me to be visited by 3 ghosts.

Official Spiel... sort of
The Spirit of Christmas fair has been going since 2001, in partnership House and Garden magazine it champions independent non high street brands - Hooray for the little man we all cry! One of the said brands sells the world's most expensive rocking horse at £98,000
... Anyway!

It's safe to say there were a few hiccups with getting into the event and with the bloggers breakfast that was promised. The invite clearly said 'champagne breakfast' so forgetting the champagne is a pretty big mistake, they didn't even roll out cava or prosecco - so not cool in a totally first world problems kinda way. The sumptuous breakfast we were promised was also nowt but a few pastries.  

Our cocktail making class didn't exactly go to plan either. While the guys were lovely they had to delay the tasting as they ran out of ice.  But taste them we did and I'd go so far as to call our tipple quite interesting.  

Ingredients included celery, Absinthe and gin, seeing as I barely touched our 'sumptuous breakfast' well, you know!

When it came to the wreath making workshop, Electric Daisy Flower Farm have a few odd ideas.  Like an all male calendar with images of wreathes worn like crowns on all the models.  However, there's no denying they know what they are doing, we all got individual wreath kits with wicker rings and all you would need to make a truly festive decoration.  

The process was simple and enjoyable, until we found out how much they want to charge for the kit.   If you're a spondoolies rich/time poor type, it may be just the ticket but for your average Joe/Joanne paying over half a ton (£55 to be exact!) for a bunch of twigs and leaves you can get for free from your own back garden is a bit of a stretch.

Here endth the moaning
For all these woes, Spirit of Christmas has some wonderful stalls, jam packed with goodies that would bring a festive smile to the most humbuggiest of bah-humbugs. The food section was my first stop and I spent a happy hour sampling approximately 19 types of cheese, sausages and tapenade. 

I even found the nicest vegan chocolate by Octo Chocolate Ltd which kept me on a sugar and fat high all day.  On a practical note the facilities were quite acceptable, you could get your water bottle filled up for free at the coffee shops, the food queues moved quickly and there were ample restrooms.  
Jessica Mary Design
Beautiful candles, unique and interesting gifts and decorations filled the lower floor.  My favourite stalls included weirdly wonderful household furnishings by Antiques by Design, gorgeous hats by Jessica Mary Design, Original 1950's Jukeboxes and popcorn machines by The Games Room and chic yet affordable jewellery by Christin Ranger.

Antiques by Design
Christin Ranger
 After a full day at the fair I still hadn't visited all the stalls but my enthusiasm for Christmas was back to full strength. I think the previous couple of years it was just lying dormant, resting and gathering strength.  And now that I've started celebrating EXTRA early the spirit is stronger than ever! I'm going to be like the Christmas fairy on crack this year, if you're not a fan of the season you'd best avoid me til 2017.

Thank you Spirit of Christmas fair.  Like Arnie says, I'll be back!
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