Monday, 17 December 2018

Elan cafe: a Christmas review

Elan Cafe was my next Instagrammable hot-spot to hit, so back in late November mum and I took a trip there. There are four Elan Cafes to choose from (with a fifth just this minute opened) we opted for the Knightsbridge branch as it looked like the prettiest and was also the easiest one for us to travel to. From gorgeous flower walls to pink lattes, to divine sugary treats, I hoped it would be magical and magical it was! A total blogger babes dream. Turns out going to Elan cafe during the Christmas period was the right move to make; as we entered the cafe I was enchanted by their pretty pink Christmas tree, a sparkly tower of unicorn heaven! To say I wanted to steal it and take it home with me is an understatement. 
We took our seats by the flower wall located right next to the pink Christmas tree (lots of pictures were taken). Their sparkly Christmas menu was filled with delicious festive fun and I decided to opt for a woodfire hot chocolate which came topped with marshmallows, and a slab of their chocolate and cherry cake. Mum had the strawberry cake but couldn't be talked into getting a beetroot latte which was the pinkest drink on the menu. Despite persuasive attempts from both me and the guy working there, she went for a normal latte instead (boo!) 

Wrapped up in my pink fluffy faux fur coat, there was a fantastic friendly atmosphere that punctuated the cafe; from the Britney Spears and N*sync Christmas classics blasting out of the speakers to the welcoming and upbeat staff who were lovely and made us long to go back as soon as we stepped out into the cold. Mum and I were heart-eyed over our massive cakes, so huge in their heaven that we had to take them home. I admired all the dreamy baubles on the tree; spellbinding shocking pink, glittering angel wings, flower power and unicorns adorning the tree. 
Elan Cafe was a winter wonderland welcome that I'm sure is just as sparkly during any given season. I've seen via Instagram that yet another branch has opened which I hope to visit in the New Year, it looks like Valentine paradise! As you probably know by now Peggy Porschen is my number one cafe and pink haven in London, but Elan Cafe definitely came in at a close second for sure. 
I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Saint Aymes cafe last week too which I also loved. Eyes peeled for a review coming sometime next year! Making it my mission to discover all the pink gems London has to offer, I hope to unearth lots more fabulous cafes in 2019. I've converted a good few people into Peggy Porschen addicts this year and I can't wait to find lots of other insta-worthy haunts soon! ♥︎

Related posts:

Have you been to Elan Cafe before?
Let me know if you've got any favourite pink cafes! 


Thursday, 6 December 2018

Moving out for the first time


Last week I officially moved out for the first time. 

After 9 long years, my boyfriend and I finally have our first home together. Nope, it's not this pink Barbie dream house (but a girl can fantasise, right?) For so long I'd started to give up hope of ever moving away from the hometown I hated so much; the ties I wanted to cut and the memories I wanted to bury. Living at home was a rollercoaster of emotions; just as things seemed okay there'd be another blazing row waiting to rise or more upset I was unable to escape. I've made no secret of the fact that I pretty much despise my hometown, it represents everything I want to forget. From the school and college that bring back bad memories of bullying and fractured friendships, to the hospital across the street from my house where both my Grandparents died, to the surrounding areas that remind me of unhappy jobs and the breakdowns that followed. Not to mention the fear of not knowing who you might bump into. I no longer need to worry about leaving the house for hours on end to avoid all the family gatherings that I find unbearable given my anxiety. This was always a major issue during Christmas and New Year; I dreaded Christmas for months before it happened in that house, only now am I seeing it in a new light. 

I hadn't wanted to be 28 when I first moved out, let's face it, who wants that? Privacy is a virtue I've never really had, and you hit that point when you can't cope anymore and need your own space. Despite sharing parts of my heart online that I chose and control, I'm a very private person and can't stand people probing or being intrusive when it comes to my private business. I often found this difficult as people always seemed to ask my mum things about me, instead of coming to me directly, which didn't sit right with me at all. Just because someone is a relative or an acquaintance, it doesn't mean they have direct access to all my personal business but it seemed so often they thought they did. Hopefully this can now change, and moving out has made me realise just how important privacy and isolation from those kinds of people really is. My mum wanted to go round telling all her friends about my move but I just felt too overwhelmed and didn't want anyone to know. It was a big life change for me, and one that took time to get used to. 

For a number of reasons we were unable to move out earlier, and countless times I had to ring my boyfriend up in tears because things got too unbearable at home. Last December I had to walk out of the house and into the cold because things got so toxic, and I literally had nowhere to go. It felt like a total ghost-town; stripped of all the souls I used to know, just a forest of trees and silence. Then earlier this year things got so bad that I had to get out; it was late at night and I ended up in a 24-hour supermarket walking round in a daze and not knowing what to do. My boyfriend could only do so much over the phone and once again it was a painful reminder that, even though we weren't miles away from each other, not living together was devastating. People love to gossip, and I was unsurprised to hear a friend of my mum's had made it her business to tell one of my closest friends that "Sophie still hasn't moved out yet". What business is it of yours, you nosy cow, I thought. One of the best and most freeing things now is that I can live my life away from all those petty people, I'm free and released from their judgement. There will always be people that check up on my blog and try and gain what they can for their own spite, but now I don't have to see them or hear about them and that's a major pro. 

Since moving out three things have struck me. One: I'm finally being treated with more respect than I was before, which I find quite strange. I haven't changed since moving out and I'm still the same person I was two weeks ago when living at home. There's a stigma surrounding living at home which I really think people need to change their attitude towards. Two: I can't believe what a turnaround in my mental health and wellbeing there's been. I feel like a different person. So much of my anxiety has lessened, it's amazing. Living with my boyfriend is a dream come true. All I ever wanted was to live with my lovely partner and our cats, now it's finally happened we've both talked about how surreal it feels. It feels like a holiday cottage at the moment, like I've scored a winning lottery ticket. We're both on cloud nine, and I'm over the moon with how the house looks. Choosing trinkets and decorations for the home is never something I've had the chance to enjoy, now I can. I used to see all the gorgeous things in the shops and feel sad I couldn't buy any because I never had my own place. I'm really pleased and proud of the house, we've already got everything pretty much sorted which isn't bad considering we've barely been here two weeks. All we need to do now is get a few homeware items to put more of our stamp on the place and we're awaiting the rainbow Christmas tree that Graham ordered which I'm SO DAMN EXCITED for! As always everyone online has been so kind, lovely and supportive to me during and after the move which has helped immeasurably. 

The third thing that struck me is that being so unhappy in my hometown and doing miserable jobs I hated for so long gave me the need to write a book as a form of escape. I also longed for an outlet to express myself which became this blog. It struck me the other day how much negative energy I got from living at home, how much I needed to channel it into writing my book and running my blog. If I'd never been so low for so many years in an unhappy environment then I'd never have discovered my dreams in the way I have now. Last week in my new home I actually felt happy that it had taken so long to get to this point. I can now see how it's the right time to move out and it feels even more worthwhile and I appreciate it a million times more because of all the waiting and hoping. All the upset, the pain, anger, the sadness and the tears brought a new-found fight in me. It made me stronger. It made me dream harder. It made me determined and gave me an inner-strength I never knew I had. It makes sense now, all these years later. Why I had to wait so long for a happy ending. Why I had to hold on for that bit longer ♥︎