Jen Thomas

Radio Presenter, Journalist, Blogger


Anyone who knows me, knows of my love of all things flamingo. It clashes somewhat with my goth/alt tendencies, but  Tropical Goth is clearly A Thing.  Primark have gone and brought out an even brighter Jurassic tshirt, this time for Jurassic World and I am very happy, as I live in my first one. The Vans trainers were a birthday gift the other week from my parents, and Duncan bought me the Sugar & Vice flamingo necklace. The daisy print watch was also a gift from ASOS, and the tropical cool bag was a bargain £3 from Primark.




Your eyes are not deceiving you, I’ve actually bought some white shirts! I genuinely think it’s the first time in 15 years I’ve bought something that isn’t black or floral. I even invested in a white bra to match! All of the shirts are from Primark, from the men’s section, with the exception of the Disney and Jurassic shirts which were from the women’s. While I was photographing this, a confused Dad appeared. “what are you doing?” “Photographing for my blog.” “Your what? You do remember that you’re allergic to grass?!” “Yep!” “Riiiiiiight…” *wanders off*. No doubt something experience by most relatives of bloggers, perpetual bemusement.



palm tree



tropical floral



Bonus “salad next to the garden, as I’m too pale to sit outside so will sit and look at it instead, while I really want ice cream/cake/wine”.


Music Journalism

Earlier today I rediscovered a box full of printed interview questions, backstage passes, photos and more from my busiest time in journalism. Back in the dim and distant past, in the days of 10p a minute dial up internet, 13 year old me taught myself basic web design and set up the Geocities wonder that is to interview and review the bands I loved.

I forget sometimes just how much things have changed in the last 15 years – I didn’t have a mobile, there was no Facebook, no Twitter. I built up a list of contacts with PR’s, interviews were arranged via email and you just had to turn up at the right place and time and hope it went to plan (waving a print out at the beleaguered door staff, as “proof” that you were legit and weren’t there for nefarious purposes, in the hope they’d go and fetch a tour manager, or one of the band would wander past.)

Persistence and writing constantly, buying tickets for gigs and reviewing them for my own site and building up a portfolio meant I ended up writing for The Fly, the Milton Keynes Citizen, Big Cheese, Play Music, AOL,  Rock Sound and others in my teens.

If you’re considering getting into journalism or writing, don’t wait for it to fall into your lap. Write, write, and write some more. Listen to Spotify, review an album for the hell of it. Buy gig tickets (don’t try and blag constantly, the PR’s won’t appreciate it!) review shows and festivals whenever you can. Chances are you’ll look back and hate everything you’ve written, but you learn and develop. Some of my first interviews were about an hour long of utter gibberish while I figured out what on earth I was doing! Fortunately the bands in question were utterly gracious and patient with me.

My camera was a point and shoot film one (no digital ones at a reasonable price yet!), and I was always feeling awkward about asking for photos. I was concentrating hard on being taken seriously as 14/15 year old girl, and couldn’t help but feel that asking for a photo with the band would undermine it. I now really wish I had, I interviewed System Of A Down, Queens Of The Stone Age, Funeral For A Friend, Paramore and more but never asked for a photo as I was too embarassed! It makes such a difference now having a camera phone and taking 5 seconds to take a selfie. I have a few photos though, bear witness below to my terrible hair – thank god for hair dye and GHD’s!

Black to Red

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to my hair and changing colour. I went back to black in November but a need for bright colours was on me again. It came down to the trusty Colour B4. It stinks to absolute high heaven but it definitely works, and let’s face it, a rotten egg smell is still preferable to multiple strong bleaches. The first two pictures show the auburn/brown colour it revealed (along with the green stain from where I had the turquoise/blue dipdye), this was after two boxes of Colour B4. I waited 5 days (it says to rest it for a week but I had to go out!) before applying Live XXL in Red Passion. The roots went bright red, and the lengths reoxidised and went black again! Oops. To be fair though the box does recommend waiting longer if possible, and using a wash in/wash out ash based colour.

I used a further box of Colour B4 (it says you can use it up to three times in a row safely), and it removed it all entirely. Due to the lifting element in the Live XXL, the top was now a copper, with brown and green on the ends. I left it for another week – wearing a hat – before opting to use Decolour Stripper, a 10vol/3% mild version of bleach, which strips artificial and natural colour. (Most box dyes are around the equivalent of a 40vol, if memory serves correctly). Removers only take out artificial colour, uncovering any bleaching the box dye needed to do in order to deposit the colour. This is the orange/copper you frequently see in complaints where people were expecting their natural shade. This isn’t Colour B4 making it orange, it’s the previous box dyes, so make sure to have a wash in wash out dye to hand.

The Decolour Stripper is very effective, but ,my one quibble is that I needed to use two boxes as it is so thick and my hair is only shoulder length, there isn’t very much in it! It totally removed all of the green from the ends, and lifted the darker brown ends to a very light blonde, and a lighter copper shade at the top. It wasn’t totally even and there were some darker patchers further up, but when you compare it to the black I was very pleased! I applied coconut oil liberally all over my hair, wrapped in cling film then left it overnight. Coconut oil is pretty much the only reason that I have any hair left. I washed it out, dried it,  then applied a mix of Directions Tulip and Pillarbox Red. The top went a bright red, the ends that were blondest had gone a near flamingo pink. I’ll reapply some more of the red but overall it’s in good condition and considering how dark it was I’m very pleased with it. The ends are a little frazzled at the front, but I’ve ordered a massive bottle of K-Pak Joico reconstructor, it’s an amazing treatment that I use once every week or so. Feel free to ask any questions if needed! I’m considering going ginger or blonde next, decisions decisions.


I’m back! Apologies for the hiatus, pneumonia for two months wasn’t fun. It went away for a month and then came back, I swear I’ll start rattling soon from all of the pills! Hopefully it has gone for good now anyway, and I have plenty of ideas for posts lined up. Anyone who knows me will vouch for my love of woodland animals, with tattoos featuring a fox, rabbit, mouse and barn owl (hopefully adding a squirrel and a hedgehog at some point!) so as soon as I saw the ASOS Curve Woodland dress I had to have it. I’m a big fan of their jersey dresses, both Bardot off-the-shoulder and the tshirt/skater styles such as this. Unfortunately it’s not on the site anymore, but they have some other jersey and woodland themed items! I purchase an 18 from the Curve range to fit my bust and then belt in the waist as they are always too big (the joy of an hourglass shape!)


Always one for a theme I teamed it with a Sugar & Vice badger necklace and magpie earrings (two for joy!) – I have many of their pieces and wear one pretty much daily, I’ll do another post with my collection soon. They’ve just released a beautiful afternoon tea collection too.



My hair is back to completely black now too to give it a break, and I’ve had it cut into a longer bob by the lovely Stephen at Pimps & Pinups in London, highly recommended!

2015The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men (and bloggers)… unfortunately I’ve had pneumonia since December, I’m surprised I’m not rattling from all of the tablets! Trust me, you do not want to see my face right now for a beauty post. I have so many ideas for forthcoming posts, once I’ve recovered fully expect to see some new outfits, Weight Watchers regime, tattoos and my ever-unusual lipstick. I’ve had a hair change again too! Thanks again for everyone bearing with me for both the blog and the business, I’ll be back up and running before you know it. In the mean time you can find me as @jenthomaswrites on Twitter and Instagram. See you soon!


This post originally appeared on my previous food blog, and I still get requests to make it every year, so thought I should share it with you! There are plenty of other festive recipes there as well that I created, including Rekorderlig winter cider crumble, filled chocolates (with chambord or baileys ganache) and various cake and cupcake recipes. Let me know what you think!


First things first; I love Christmas. Not just for the presents and my obligatory black and pink Christmas tree, but mostly for the abundance of food and flavours.

I tend to start thinking about Christmas as soon as Halloween and Bonfire night are done, and with the arrival of festive items ever earlier in the shops each year, it’s easy to get a head start. First up as a mulled wine, apple, plum and blackberry crumble. This worked so well, I later attempted it with a special winter edition cider, which I will upload later this week.

Mulled Wine

Kindly checkout lady: “ooh…are you having a party?”
Me: “erm…no.”
*awkward silence*

For this recipe I use Mulled Wine from Marks & Spencer as it’s wonderful, but you can make your own with red wine and cinnamon, orange peel and other suitably wintry spices, or you can purchase the mulled wine sachets.

I’m not a purist when it comes to baking, my little pink kitchen makes me happy and so does baking, and above all it should be enjoyable so if you prefer to buy pre-made crumble mix then go for it, or you can make it all from scratch. I’m sure the recipients won’t complain either way!


2 cooking apples, peeled and cut into quarters or smaller.
3 plums, stones removed
1 punnet of blackberries (150g in my case)
350ml mulled wine
2tbsp caster sugar
1tsp butter

For the crumble

175g/6oz Flour
75g/3oz Butter (room temperature)
75g/3oz Sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1) Pre-heat the oven to 170c/350f/Gas Mark 3 (adjust for fan oven).

2) Peel, core and chop the apples, at least into quarters. Place into a mixing bowl and cover with water and a squeeze of lemon if you have it to prevent the apples from turning brown. Either cut the plums in half to remove the stone, or slice around it, whichever is easier. Rinse the blackberries, put half of them to one side.

3)Melt the teaspoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

4)Drain the lemon/water, add the prepared fruit (sparing half of the blackberries for later), stirring with a wooden spoon to coat with the melted butter. Cook for a minute or two.

5)Pour in 300ml of the mulled wine, reserving 50ml for later and add one tablespoon of caster sugar.

Mulled Wine Crumble

Simmering the fruit in the wine

6)Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the apples have softened (but not mushy), the fruit should have taken on the colour of the wine by now.

7) Strain the fruit, saving the red wine mixture in a jug/bowl. Pour the fruit into your crumble dish/bakeware. (I use a Le Crueset rectangular 26cm dish, in pink of course!).Add the remaining blackberries, adding these now will retain their shape. Use a plate to cover.

Fruit after draining the red wine liquid.

8) Return the mulled wine to the pan on a medium heat, add the remaining 50ml and table spoon of caster sugar. Bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has thickened and reduced. While this is cooking make the crumble.

9)Sift the flour, sugar, and cinnamon into the softened butter in a mixing bowl, and rub together using (clean!) fingers until combined in small lumps. Alternatively, combine in a food processor if you have one.

With the red wine reduction/syrup added

10)Pour the red wine reduction (which should now be more syrup like in consistency) over the fruit in the dish, stir in gently. Spread the crumble mixture over the top.

11) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden on top. Serve with custard or cream if you so wish!


George's Fish & Chip kitchen

George’s Fish & Chip kitchen

I was lucky enough to be invited to try out George’s Fish & Chip Kitchen this weekend, a new establishment on Queen Street in Nottingham (that should be open very soon, keep an eye on their Facebook to check!) celebrating all things Terribly British. Waiting staff resplendent in bow ties and bowler hats set the scene, however they have managed to avoid veering off down the tacky or chintzy path, in favour of contemporary muted colour schemes and chandeliers alongside reclaimed wooden boxes for the condiments (the lemon and dill salt and cider vinegar were both amazing, FYI). You can even sit in a striped wooden beach hut, which is a lot more tasteful that it sounds, honest. Framed Penguin novels adorn the walls, along with murals of various behatted fish (and “sand in a jar!”).


We were given a sample menu to choose from, and we went for the chicken liver pate with herbed yorkshire puddings and the vegetable fritters with goats cheese and pea pesto puree for starters, followed by sea bass and the mysteriously named “banger dog” for mains. The hot dog was easily one of the best I’ve ever had, in a brioche bun with cider onions, bloody mary ketchup and twice cooked chips. Desserts were blue banana ice cream and doughnuts with a hot chocolate dipping sauce, with bonus candy floss (which I was far more excited about than any 28 year old woman reasonably should be). All of the food had an unusual twist and the presentation was pleasingly quirky.




Trying the ‘circle of life’ wine.

As I went for an obligatory wander to take photos, Andrew kindly offered us a new Burleigh’s gin that was launched 8 weeks ago, with a floral taste. There’s a selection of pale ale and an english brewed, the Curious IPA, and there are plans for gin cocktails in tea pots too, as well as the very British cup of tea.

We only saw a sample menu, but some of the other items we heard about also sound fantastic so we’ll definitely be back for more. Other options we could have gone for were the classic cod and chips, “proper scampi”, a steak burger, chickpea burger or a proper chip butty. Check out the gallery below for more pictures.

Many thanks to George’s Fish & Chip Kitchen for having us.

Das Kino

Das Kino

Never mind the proverbial buses arriving at once, restaurants and bars are opening left right and centre in Nottingham, and I for one am very excited! One of my favourite places in the world is Berlin, I love the culture, the food, the general style; so you can imagine my joy when I heard about Das Kino, a new bar that has opened on Fletcher Gate.  Ping pong tables, grafitti, avant garde german cinema posters for the decor (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, anyone?), unusual beers and cocktails all feature here, what more could you possibly want?

A PHOTOBOOTH, that’s what. My name is Jen, and I love photobooths. For £3, you get two strips of your photos, one in colour and one in b&w. My friends are all going to be dragged in here, whether they like it or not, to have our duckfaces immortalised forever more. Das Kino did a Facebook post where ‘likers’ could have their profile photos printed and dotted around the photobooth and it looks pretty damn cool, and I’ve recognised more than a few faces adorning the walls.

What’s that? You want more? There’s only one thing that could make this better. That thing is PIZZA. Amazing pizza at that, courtesy of Oscar & Rosies I caused a flurry of tweets about them a few weeks back, after the revelation that they sell pizza by the metre. (I’m totally cool with you sending me pictures of pizza print accessories on twitter. In fact, it’s actively encouraged, @jenthomaswrites). As yet I haven’t been brave enough to attempt a metre of pizza, but there is still time.

Photobooth funtimes.

Photobooth funtimes.

I went here on a first date – I know, I’m a classy lady.  Beer + pizza +photobooth = my face looking like this  (sorry Duncan, but it had to be included. Somehow he decided it was worth a second date despite my drunken giggles.) We went for a 14″ Meat Sweats pizza, which is nicer than the name would suggest – pepperoni, smoked streaky bacon, fennel & black pepper infused pork, with Rosie’s original BBQ sauce and a side of twice cooked wedges and macaroni cheese. Carbicide is a fine way to go. The pizzas are all made on the premises, and gluten free and veggie/vegan options are available too. No stingy toppings here, we were hard pushed to finish one of these between us with the sides too, but still made room for a dessert (of course. Separate stomach for puddings is A Real Thing, you know.) Chocolate brownie cake was inhaled by me, and a spiced orange cake that tasted like Christmas for Duncan.

Meat Sweats

Meat Sweats

The menu is posted on the Facebook page, with many interesting possibilities (peach and parma ham is next on my to-do list.) This isn’t your average fast food stodge, and is fast cementing itself as one of my favourite places in Nottingham. They celebrated their first birthday this week too (having previously been found at The Picnic Basket near the train Station in their original incarnation). I’ll see you at the photobooth if you promise to let me win at ping pong.

ASOS Curve dress, Oasis necklace

ASOS Curve dress, Oasis necklace

This was my choice for a “first date” outfit (which I’m please to report has turned into many more dates and a boyfriend, so this dress is a winner. I’ve been slow to update of late,  my first Oscar & Rosies visit was 7 weeks ago! Oops.) featuring an ASOS Curve off-shoulder skater dress, which is my New Favourite Dress. As ever I belted it for more definition, and wore it with fishnet tights, New Look buckled ankle boots, and my trusty MAC ‘Heroine’ lipstick and false lashes by Eyelure. ASOS have been hitting the nail on the head lately with their Curve dresses, I’ve got three more to write about ASAP.

Without sounding like a pretentious twit, one of my ‘trademarks’ in terms of style is my hair. I change the colour of it an awful lot, ever since I had some brassy blonde and red high/lowlights added when I was 16, then decided to dye it full-on pillar box red. I’ve had a heady love affair with the (dye) bottle ever since.

It’s a frequent joke with friends that they’ll enter a name of a dye colour into a search engine, and up pops a picture of me due to constantly posting photos of new colours (sorry not sorry.)  I’m naturally blonde, progressing from white blonde in childhood to an ashy blonde now, with very thick hair that curls at the front and has a wave at the back – if only it were curly all over! I’ve had a blunt fringe since, well, forever really, apart from an ill-advised year of growing it out as 16 at which point I realised it looked terrible and promptly cut it straight back in again. The style has mostly stayed the same, in an angled bob until I started to grow it out two years ago,  it’s now well down past my shoulders, but I’m forever battling the itch to cut it short again. For now, I’m having fun trying up-dos, with victory rolls and beehives being a particular favourite.

I had an undercut shaved in on both sides two or three years ago due to the volume of my hair, I had a lot of fun with clip in extensions with it all swept over to one side, but I’m thinking now may be the time to grow it out in order to have even more flexibility with styles. In terms of colour, it’d probably be easier to list the colours I haven’t had! Brunette has never featured, neither has all over green or yellow. My personal favourite was always the all over turquoise or cerise pink, but I get bored after a few months and always want to change it.

I swear by Directions colours for bright articifial shades, I’ve had the best luck with Cerise, Plum, Atlantic Blue and Turquoise. Until a year or two ago I always dyed my own hair, but now I have the wonderful Lucille’s Locks who comes to dye and style it (she’s responsible for the beautiful waves, massive purple beehive and the betty bangs short fringes). If you’re in the Derby/Notts area I can’t recommend her enough!

She’s just been this evening and has coloured my hair blue and cerise again, with some Old Hollywood 40’s style waves.



One of my essentials for maintaining the health of my hair is coconut oil. You can buy it in jars from health food shops, the most recent one I used is by Lucy Bee and I bought it from Amazon, a big jar lasts forever. Melt it in your hands or in a mug, and apply liberally all over for at least an hour before applying bleach (don’t wash it off first, apply the bleach over it). It prevents itchies and really minimised the damage for me. I now use it as an overnight treatment too, often wrapping my hair in clingfilm (sexy!) and washing it out in the morning. It’s the only reason I have any hair left after changing it so often! I have no idea how long I’ll try and keep growing it for, the undercut growing out will be the next major change anyway; I think the black is here to stay for a while but I always change the colours at the ends. Do you like to dye your hair? What colours would you love to have? Let me know!


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