A Bella Trip to Bologna

I recently went to Bologna, Italy to go and visit my friend Vittoria. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know Vittoria from my chaotic and wonderful adventures in New York. I met her while we were both living there last summer and we bonded instantly over our clumsy, unlucky everyday life – even the day we met we were waiting at different Starbucks’ the opposite sides of Harlem.

Bologna is beautiful and I had a wonderful time. It is famous for Bolognese don’t you know. I love the laid back European lifestyle that Britain seems to have missed out on. Drinking wine at lunchtime with a cigarette while watching the world go by, going for aperitif and eating a small plate of fresh Italian food (so dreamy) – despite the fact it is all you eat are just some of the things I love about the culture. And don’t even get me started on the coffee. Or the pasta. Or the Bolognese sauce.

Take me back!









A Trip to Petersham Nurseries – Nearly…





My friend Josh is brave. He drives and doesn’t get lost, ever – unlike me. We both had the same driving instructor. He shouted at me so I sacked him. He shouted at me because I nearly drove into a post. Fair play to him when you think about it now, my 18 year old self was a lot more sensitive. Even now though, I try and avoid driving when possible. It isn’t really something that comes natural to me and if anything has become a fear. People find this weird, but I think it is far more reasonable to be scared of potentially running someone over, than a small spider that can do you no harm (spiders in the UK that is).

Anyway, as the title of this post suggests, I didn’t come on here to chat about driving. Josh – brave at driving – took us out to Richmond in the car on Sunday, found a golden ‘free parking’ spot and showed me the way to Petersham Nurseries (which from now on will be abbreviated to PN)- “you will like it, I promise”, he said as I reluctantly agreed to walk across a field of cows and horses to what I could only assume was going to be a high class Nottcutts. Wrong!

From what I saw of PN, it looked lovely. Everyone was dressed so swish, everyone being over 50 or American or very, very wealthy. I asked Josh if he felt poor and he said “well no, we live nearby too” – darn right we do! Of course, being our luck and all, PN was closed for a private function, meaning we couldn’t actually go in. However, we ended up following a large group of people down a side alleyway to Petersham village, where all the gardens were open to view. It was so sweet and I have made a mental note to A, always listen to Josh when he suggests somewhere to go, B, take my Grandma there sometime soon and C, take any international visitors to Petersham – the definition of ‘great’ Britishness.

Instagram Rehab?


I have recently discovered the addictive nature of Instagram. I feel like an old fossil who has just stepped out into a new lease of livelihood (okay worst analogy ever, fossils are dead – I know that). Anyway, since realising the fun that can be had on there, and what hashtagging actually does ## I am hooked. Facebook is so boring, I still don’t really get satisfaction from tweeting my everyday movements and Snapchat always takes your best friends away if you don’t snap for a day – such a fickle app.

So back to Instagram. Am I the only one who gets a secret thrill, a *high five, go me* moment whenever I get more than 11 likes? Well, if not – I’ve admitted it now!

If you are now curious to see my Instagram, do go check it out.  I like to take photos of anything and everything and sometimes do that overly uncool thing of posting more than one photo in the same hour. awkward.

@Hannafillingham Ill go follow you back too – now that’s a promise!!

Disposable Travel Pictures That Make Me Smile

All pictures capture memories and have a story behind them. Here are a few from my collection of disposables taken last year in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Geneva, Croatia, Paris and London – phew! I don’t know what I would do if Boots stopped their one hour, CD for an extra pound service. 


A pigeon in Amsterdam. Why wouldn’t I take a snap of him? He looks so content with life. We should all look up to this creature when feeling down.


My friend Tijana, in Copenhagen. I visited her there during Halloween, hence the costumes. I had a 4am flight the next morning so I took my suitcase with me to the bar. I felt as efficient as the Danes that night.


Another Dane, Mathilde, in Barcelona. With Italian pesto. Taken by a wannabe Dane, English girl. I think this photo proves pesto can be modelled well in the right circumstances.


Sawsan, this talented Moroccan actress who currently also lives in, you guessed – Denmark. However, this photo was taken in Geneva where we lived last summer. This was captured during Fete de la Musique.


When my sister visited me in Geneva, we went to one of my favourite bars – it is troubling me I can’t even remember the name of it now, but it was behind Gare de Cornivan (the station). Ahh – La Petit Rein. It means small bike and you get a free cup when you buy a drink. I have far too many with me that I took back home to England with me. Sister is to my right, Kyra (au pair friend from Germany) is to my left.


London. A night out in our Surrey suburb, that made us feel like the Made in Chelsea gang on a TOWIE night out.


Amsterdam. With my friend Maya, who currently lives in Rome and whom I will be visiting this time next week. Yay. We went on a night out in Amsterdam, unaware it was a holy day and most places were shut. This resulted in us finding our own entertainment in the hands of a sticker I found on a wall in the bar (one of the few that was open). Unfortunately, however many times we posed with it, we left never having seen Sporty Spice.


My friend Emma, a graphic designer taking full advantage of this random water feature at a rooftop bar in Peckham. After this photo was taken, we met a guy who asked me for my email address (?) only to email me to apologise for not talking to us that much, as it was cold. Always me.


Recognise that background? Yes, we are now back in Geneva at La Petit Rein. This time, I am with my friend Josh, a fashion illustrator, who came visiting Geneva ‘on business’ – and to see me, of course! A clearer photo of the cups too. P.s I don’t know why I thought it was cool to have a straw with beer, it wasn’t even a Swiss thing.


Josh will kill me if he knew I had put this photo up, but I think its cool. Still in Geneva.


Now back in Copenhagen, at an Irish bar with Tijana, who has since lived in Ireland – YES TIJANA! This was two years ago, when scrunchies weren’t as common – just to put it out there, I can be quite on trend before my time..!


Heather, one of my kindest and most successful friends, in Amsterdam (same trip as other photos). Not only is she an editor at the age of 23, but she can dooplegang any poster to a T.


In Croatia, in a hostel run by a man known as Big Daddy. I made sure to keep a diary while there, and make my friend take a photo of proof.


Christine and Emma, Canadian and English. Two of my favourite people whom I met while living in France as an au pair. Here they are (with me behind the camera) at Fete de la Musique in Geneva. Free music all day and cheep and cheerful beer all night. It was a blast.


To bring in 2014, I went to Paris with my sister and friend Heidi. Both are currently studying, one in Newcastle, the other in Helsinki. I took a photo of this pretty cool cinema to remind myself to find it and go and see a movie in it next time I go there.


Montreux Jazz Festival, one of the funnest and magical events ever to be witnessed, good enough for Deep Purple to sing about. I love this photo so much, even though you can’t really tell where it was taken!


I lived on the French border of Switzerland, meaning it was no big deal to get a boat from one country to the other. This photo shows the Chateaux in Nyon, Switzerland in the distance as I am coming back from Yvoire, France on the ferry. I put this photo out a lot on this blog, but I love it for the still blue water and bright sky.


Finally, another Halloween themed photo in February. I just love it, because. I do.

As I have mentioned previously on my blog – on several posts in fact, I am a little obsessed with disposable cameras. There is just something about them that capture the  moment as it happens, without having to delete 100 attempts of the same pose so that everyone looks like a model. I even had a debate with a guy about them last week. He said ‘they aren’t original, they are from the past’. When I pointed out nothing was original,  including his leather jacket that was worn by John Travolta in Greece, he agreed with my point. Disposable cameras are just great, end of! 

Beauty Tips I Would Give My Teenage Self


Above is me as a teenager, thinking I was rocking those Claire’s accessories beads and side fringe like the next big thing. 

Last Saturday I was celebrating the 23rd birthday of an old friend. We sat, feeling positively ancient, complaining about our increasingly worse hangovers, early signs of wrinkles and the general ailments that come with that transition from teen to twenty something. As we got ready, said friend and I were talking about things we would have done differently to prevent further troubles in our present years and thus, here is a list I give to you, compiled of tips and tricks for our teenage selves. If you are lucky enough to still be in your teens, I hope you get some use from our wisdom (although I still don’t have my wisdom teeth – something else to look forward too).

Please note, all these tips are just things that we have taught ourselves through our own mistakes, we are in no means trying to be experts in the beauty field. However Mac and Benefit, if you are reading this, we take both cash and cheques.

1. Leave your eyebrows alone. Just seriously, stop right now with the tweezers. Nobody wants a mono brow, but stop at that. Luckily in 2015 Cara Delevingne has made it cool to have big eyebrows. When this trend stops, keep following it anyway. As a result of the invisible eyebrow trend of 2009, both me and friend have problems with over enthusiastic, misshapen brows to reckon with.

2. Always get ready by a window. The natural light will not lie to you, the kind dim lighting in the bathroom will. I cringe to think of what I must have looked like with non blended concealer lines, poorly drawn eyebrows and smudged lipstick – things you notice only after you step outside the house to face the world.

3. When you find a decent foundation, stay with it like a loyal friend. It will not let you down. I made the mistake of experimenting with new brands, colours (including a bright white powder, that didn’t match my tanned summer skin) and formulas. If you have sensitive skin like moi, so many cause break outs, rashes and many just look like you have thrown your face in a cake. When you find one that doesn’t do any of the above, it is gold dust.

4. Less is more. I am in love with the expression ‘I’m just painting on my face’, yet in reality, too much make up really does make you look like you’ve just stepped out of a circus. If you have a spot, just dab a spot of concealer over it and a bit of powder to your face. A full face of foundation makes it far more obvious your hiding it.  If you want big eye brows, don’t then wear heavy eyeliner and lipstick.

5. Think carefully before getting a fringe (bangs). They come and go in and out of fashion as frequent as the latest iPhone, yet for me personally, they just never work well enough to last. While they are fun and can give you an instant new look, fringes either make your face look rounder, cause spots on your forehead, cover your eyes and take forever to grow out. If you do get a fringe, please make sure it is done in a country where you can speak the language fluently. I made the mistake of going to France asking for a fringe, and ended up with a spaghetti strand of hair left on my face. I have only just recovered now.

6. Stay away from home hair dye. Ok, so if you have brown hair and you want a darker shade, go for it! But if you are blonde, thinking black will look good, or have dark brown hair you hope will turn blonde – a £12 bottle from boots won’t do that for you! Save up and go to the hairdressers, and you will then look at your teenage pictures in years to come without cringing.

7. Make the most of your fast metabolism. Those 10 pizza slices you just ate, followed by two Mars bars – well enjoy the fact you can’t tell you ate them. And whatever you do, don’t diet. It’s boring (unless you have been told to by a Doctor of course, then do as they say). In years to come, the proof stays after the pudding (unless you are super lucky – in which I am slightly jelous of you).


Me and my wise friend Saskia, on her 17th birthday, and below on my 23rd.


Disposable Cameras Capture The Best Of Life

I have been guilty of ill treating this blog of late. I feel like a bad mother neglecting their child, feeding it frozen vegetarian pizza instead of the home made gluten, vegan, zero fat cauliflower crust sort.


I am hoping that my busy work load will slowly bring it back to life. I have plenty of ideas and a whole documentation of my life in January waiting to be developed at the  Boots photo counter. I don’t feel words are appreciated so much without the photos, so until then I am sharing some of my all time favourite pictures from my life abroad last year in France and Switzerland, complete with guest appearances with friends from Denmark, Morocco, Canada and England. I hope they bring a little persuasion to you to go and book a ticket away somewhere this cold February – I am very sure you deserve it.




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Welcome To A New Year – Hello 2015


Last night/ year (NYE) 

Twenty fifteen – it sounds so grand and established. It seems like just five minutes ago it was the millennium and Robbie Williams was making profits on the year 2000, along with Busted. How time has flown.

I previously blogged about my uncertainty of whether or not I should go out and celebrate in what my mind, was simply another year. After a lot of thought and having watched Emmerdale (my true guilty TV pleasure), where Bernice was upset at being alone on NYE, I decided that I didn’t want that to be me. I was also almost pushed out the door by my parents who couldn’t believe their 23 year old daughter was wanting to stay in. I do admit, I still think staying in is just as nice, fun and relaxing but in the end I realised I should just go out and stop being a scrooge! This decision was largely persuaded by the fact my parents had offered time and time again to pick me up at the end of the night – an offer far too generous to turn down!


With the sister.


I went out with my sister and her friends and I was so happy that I made the effort. Sure, I was wearing the first black dress I could find from my wardrobe and sporting unwashed, unbrushed bed hair, but it was a really fun night and so nice to spend it with my sister and meet her friends. We went out in Richmond, which seemed really fitting as I seem to have spent most of my time there recently. We went to Vodka Revs, somewhere I had been for New Years quite a few times in my teenage years!

Today I have been trying to get this blog up to scratch, playing around with the themes all morning. I even bought a new theme (my new years present to myself) but hated it so much (you couldn’t see past posts unless you scrolled to the very bottom – annoying) and so got a refund fast! I am a little in love with this new theme, but wish I could add something else at the top as the title looks so bare. Maybe if I get rich fast, I will treat myself to premium to have the power of the website God.

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I am currently sitting in the exact same position as I was when I wrote my blog post yesterday, except now it is another year and  I can hear my sister shouting about driving, outside I can hear the wind blowing the trees down and the only thing that is the same is my ITunes window displaying -buy now’ for Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I also have some detox tea, almonds, chocolate and my Absolutely Fabulous book by my side. This cocoon like existence is something i would normally feel guilty about, but hey it is New Years Day!

Happy New Year to you lovely reader who has read to the bottom of this post. I hope you are having a lovely, lazy day too! 

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How I currently feel. No caption needed. 

In 2014 I…


2014 has been such a great year for me, and as I have previously stated, I don’t want it to end! I can only hope that in January, the loveliness and excitement of my life continues and nothing changes because quite frankly I want it to stay put! Here I am pictured above reflecting on my year!



I started 2014 in Paris, where I went with my sister Alice and friend Heidi, from Finland (we met while au pairing in France and both decided to meet up for New Years. Paris hello). We had a great time and me and Alice took advantage of the free 24 hour metro service on New Years Eve and ended up at the Eiffel Tower at 12.50 exactly. It was wonderful. 2014 also saw me visit Barcelona, Copenhagen and many French villages, Swiss cities and Croatian islands with friends from Canada, Morocco, Denmark and Australia. It was a blast. Highlights from my trips and life in France include drinking Absinthe at 22nd birthday parties, getting lost and finding a vintage market in Barcelona, eating tapas and drinking wine in Annecy, going on a rather adventurous weekend trip to Chamonix, riding on a boat in Croatia, reuniting with friends from all over the world in Copenhagen, swimming in the lake Geneva and venturing out to Montreux Jazz Festival night after night because we simply couldn’t get enough of it.


Boats to Yvoire, France from Nyon, Switzerland.


Some of the au pairs, Geneva.


Montreux Jazz Festival, with Birdie (Denmark) and Christine (Canada).


By the old fountain, Geneva.


Boat rides in Annecy.





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Snow in Chamonix.




Bain De Paquis, Geneva.

When I came back to England, I started an internship at Prima magazine that was extended from one month to three. I liked it a lot and got to go to lots of fun press events including a preview at Harry Potter World (where Kirsty Allsop, Mary Berry and Amanda Holden brushed past me). I also went to a Starbucks Christmas coffee tasting day, tried many a cocktails that both lit up and smoked, went ice skating at The National History Museum and drank champagne with Amy Childs. Thanks Prima! I also took the risk and cut my long hair into a bob, something I have been wanting to do for years! I attempted to cut it while in France but with terrible results and just as it was starting to grow again I listened to all my instincts and booked an appointment with a decent hairdressers and have been happy with the results ever since! I am a new woman! My year ended as nicely as it started, with December being packed with festive fun. My birthday and Christmas were a great success and I am just hoping that next year will be just as fun, happy and adventurous!


More boat riding in Annecy.

10154225_10203384043629458_861339822597297440_nInterlaken, Switzerland. 
10291215_10152069762971569_5745715235734403325_nLadies night in Laussane, Switzerland. 

10456110_10152558901432268_8209488809966479181_nBain de paquis, Geneva. 


Sister visiting me in Geneva.


Finding a free bar in Bern, Switzerland (miracle)


Couch surfing in Basel, Switzerland wearing white before a colour festival.


23 Birthday on a still boat, Richmond.

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Christmas, Home.

I can only hope that another year older means another year better. I don’t want to age just yet thanks mother nature. So in 2015, I have many hopes some more ambitious than others. I would like to get an actual job (after my intern I have been temping in offices whilst freelancing here and there) and I would also like to live in New York for a few months. I would like to carry on learning Danish, polish up on my French and save enough money to move out at the end of the year. Failing the job and moving out aspects of my year, I would like to move to Denmark as I know I will be very happy there! Finally, I would like to build up my little tiny speck of cyber space dust – this lovely relaxing space online. I find it so nice posting about my day on here and even nicer than some of you even go and like my page. I hope to develop the content and make it as interesting and enjoyable as you readers will let me!

Post Christmas Blues

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Christmas seems so long ago now, even though it was only really 4 days since the big day. The build up to Christmas has been getting bigger and lasting for longer every single year. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start counting down the days in August come 2015. This count down certainly makes me take Christmas for granted and I became quite cynical when I saw the lights in Oxford Street and decorations in Selfridges when it was only October. However, it also means that you get used to it. I will be missing seeing those lights when I go back to London.


Christmas was such fun this year. It always is really, but some years I can’t help but wonder what all the hype is all about. Cynical I know. However, this year I was so nonchalant about it all, that the enjoyment was larger than life and I had a really great time. The flowing glasses of champagne and unlimited supply of chocolate also helped quite a lot!

On Christmas eve, we met up with our neighbours for what was supposed to be a drink. This ended up being about 10 or more and we all had a jolly old time. It was handy that on Christmas morning, it was socially acceptable to eat a lot of fried goods – or else I don’t know if I would have survived till the Eastenders dramatics in the evening.

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Because we had gone out later than expected to the pub, I had no choice but to throw myself into bed when we got back. This resulted in me forgetting to wrap my presents and them having to be wrapped in shopping bags early that morning. I tried my best to make them as appealing as possible. Thanks to Next for your silver bags this year – I couldn’t have done it without you!

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Our grandparents came around and we played lots of games, ate far more than usual and watched ALOT of TV. We hardly went on our phones all day and found out our grandparents knew quite a lot of famous people in their youth. It was so nice to have a day to just relax and forget about everything else. I think every day should be like Christmas!

What did you get up to at Christmas?!



Back in March, I went to Barcelona with my Danish friend Mathilde. We had met as au pairs in France and bonded through my obsession with Denmark. Mathilde left France just before Christmas and so we had a good old reunion in Barcelona – pourquoi pas we thought.



It was a brilliant trip, neither of us had been to Barcelona before but were told by many people that ‘you have to go there’. I can see why. We both loved getting lost in the Gothic area, wondering around little streets and discovering new places. On the first day we came across a flea market in a side street by the beach. There, I decided it was a good idea to buy a Japanese kimono? I’m still not quite sure why – even though they were in fashion a month later, I never actually wore it. It will be good for a dressing up party I suppose.







We also enjoyed going to the main market and got that typical picture everyone seems to have of the different coloured juices. Colours, just look at those colours!








I seem to love taking photos of streets in every city I visit, they are always so much more interesting than the ones back in England. I love all the colours and little shops that you find when you come across alleyways like this one, full of places only the locals know about. We really tried to be as ‘non tourist’ as possible too – there were no maps or tour buses throughout our visit – although this of course did mean we got lost on more than one occasion!


This coffee shop, which we found on one of our many lost rambles through The Gothic Area was my favourite. It had so much going on, of course I was far more interested in taking a photo of our much needed coffees than the walls inside, but just take my word for it, Cafe del bages is worth going too – look how cute the flowers are. What I also really love about all european coffee shops and something I really miss now back in England is the free biscuit – this is something coffee shops should make a rule.



Okay, so we were a bit touristy at times, passing this very important building made us stop and take a photo – was Mathilde said, we should look to be cultural sometimes!


This is one of my favourite photos – nuns just chilling in The Gothic Area, they clearly have good taste like us, and just check out those sunglasses – she has style!!




The only downside was our hostel. Being very naive, we didn’t realise there was a huge difference when you don’t book specifically a YOUTH hostel. This meant that we had several old men in our room. 3 men from England (typical – Mathilde said she had never seen anyone like them in Denmark, ever). These men forgot that it wasn’t their private lads only room and had no shame in shouting abuse to each other throughout the night. They also drank in the tiny corridor between our bunk beds, threw up outside – way too near to my bed, and spoke out loud about  ‘those creatures of the night’. These creatures turned out to be myself and Mathilde as we had come in late the night before. Funny that they thought we couldn’t hear them. All I can say is that I feel I survived like a trooper and  I also hope they got some very bad karma.

Every night we said ‘lets get tapas’ so we could experience traditional Spanish food. Alas, we always ended up in the same Lebanese restaurant. The food was so cheap and tasted amazing, plus the waiters gave us free desert and coffee – upgrading the size each time we came in. We were treated like royalty. Tapas will have to happen on our next visit.

This was another market we took three hours to find after reading it was ‘the place to go’ in Barcelona. When we got there, we were sorely disappointed. Whether this was a result of finding such a good market on the first day I do not know, but all I can say is the cheap ‘CK’ jumpers behind Mathilde were probably the best things there… Alas the name of such market has been taken from my memory.