Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Fantasy Mini-Break: Milan

Another wish-I-was-there post. This is what I'd take for a Milan city break with easyJet Holidays. I visited Milan a couple of years ago and it was so, so hot! An autumn mini-break definitely makes looking chic in Italy's fashion capital much easier:

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These smart flats are perfect for walking around. The cobbles of Milan are definitely not heel friendly.

Pencil skirts are still big for autumn and this autumnal floral one is perfect for a city break - smart but not too "office-y". The Duomo is a must visit but has a strict dress code, shorts and short skirts are not allowed so another reason to buy this!

Dresses are a city break essential as they work for day and night. I love this abstract polka dot dress, it's high street but definitely chic enough for people watching in a pavement cafe during the day and cocktails at night.

This leather jacket is a bit pricey but it'll last far beyond the holiday. Perfect for chilly nights and it'll look great with both the dress and the floral skirt.

When bag space is limited (you want to leave room for new purchases!) easy to pack basics that can be rolled up without creasing are ideal. This lace top will look great with the pencil skirt and with jeans for travelling.

This nail colour is perfect for autumn and makes a nice change from summery brights. Italian women are really groomed so no chipped nails allowed on this holiday!

What would you pack for a Milan city break?

PS. This post is a competition entry. Click here for more details. If you have entered, link me to your entry posts!






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Sunday, 26 August 2012

All I Want Is Everything: Birthday Wishlist

Two weeks until I hit the big 2-5. I certainly don't feel like I'm about to hit my mid-twenties. My levels of self-responsibility are pretty low, I cannot cook, clean or sew (so clearly I'm destined to become a hovel-dwelling hermit or need my prince to save me asap) and if so much as a lightbulb blows in my flat I'm straight on the phone to daddy to rush to my aid and fix it. I don't think I look like I'm 25 either, in my head when I was a "grown up" I'd be tall and suit-wearing rather than 5'1 and still being asked what A-levels I'm doing. Getting older is a strange thing. When I was 16 I thought that 20 year olds were super grown up. Now that I'm approaching 25 I can barely remember being 16 and, actually, I still feel pretty young. Scary to think that a few decades ago I'd probably be married with three kids by now!

Anyway, age introspection aside, here's what I want for my birthday. Totally shallow, frivolous, unnecessary things. Because I have plenty of time to grow up.

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1. Oliver Peoples Alivia Sunglasses
I oh-so-nearly bought these in NYC but as the sun is hardly ever out in the UK sunglasses are not something I wear that often. Still, I want them.

2. Kurt Geiger Lily Loafers
I'm torn between these and new brogues. But these have my name on them so it'd be rude not to.

3. Marc Jacobs Dot Perfume.
I fell in love with this as soon as I saw the ad campaign. Red and polka dots are my favourite thing (seriously, I have a red polka dot sofa). I've had all the other Marc Jacobs fragrances in the past so its only right that I get this one too, isn't it?

4. Mulberry Lily Handbag
Pushing the name theme here but if I had to pick just one Mulberry bag, it'd have to be this one. Love the soft baby pink. I'd be happy to start along the path to "real" adulthood with this on my arm.

What would be on your fantasy birthday wishlist? And what are your thoughts on getting older?
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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Fantasy Mini-Break: Barcelona

One of my favourite things about going away on holiday is deciding what to pack. This is what I'd take for a Barcelona city break with easyJet holidays.

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I hate carrying around a massive bag for a short break. This holdall is just big enough to fit everything I need (with a bit room for holiday purchases, of course!) and is a smart, classic style that'll last for many mini-breaks to come. I'm pretty strict with myself on what I pack for a mini-break. The thought of having to carry the bag around myself always makes me think twice about packing the third pair of shoes.

I'm always freezing on planes so this jumper will be great for travelling in and as an extra layer for chilly evenings over dresses and skirts.

Exploring a new city on foot is a must for me and this needs comfortable shoes. No one wants to be hobbling around in heels on holiday. These low wedge sandals will serve me well for walking down La Rambla, shopping and museum visits (the Joan Miro museum is a must for art lovers) during the day during the day and are smart enough for evenings too.

A pretty dress is a great day to night option that will work for site-seeing (Park Guell and the Sangrada Familia are top of my Barcelona to-see list) as well as for evenings out. On my last trip to Barcelona I ate paella on the promenade and enjoyed delicious (but very strong) cocktails overlooking the Placa Catalunya.

Churches and cathedrals often have stricter dress codes than in the UK so this bright blazer is a good cover-up option to avoid falling foul of any rules.

Barcelona is a beach-side city so an afternoon by the sea is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle. I love these striped shorts, perfect for getting into the holiday mood and taking a paddle in the sea before returning to city life.

What would you pack for a trip to Barcelona?

PS. This post is a competition entry. Click here for more details. If you have entered, link me to your entry posts!











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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Heatwave Happenings

What has happened to the weather? I think the weekend just gone was the hottest its ever been in London. Although maybe it just feels that way after all the rain. August has been busy busy:

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1. Vegan Cheesecake from Wholefoods - I'm not usually a cheesecake fan but was curious to try this vegan version. The new Wholefoods in Piccadilly is a disaster zone for my wallet.

2. Manicure needed. My Gelish nails lasted a month before they started to chip.

3. After the egg hunt and the phone boxes it was inevitable that I would love the Olympic mascots dotted around London.

4. Favourite week night meal out - superfood salad with chicken in Zizzi.

5. New brogues from Office. Hopefully it'll be a while before I wear them!

6. Early morning run and photo-taking.

7. Olympic marathon. They were so fast.

8. Sunny afternoon in Camden.

9. Brunch/lunch with Hannah at Workshop Coffee in Clerkenwell. This is corn fritters with poached eggs, tomato compote and halloumi. So good.

10. BT head offices.

11. Sushi addiction. The Wasabi near me is now open until 8pm. Oh dear...

12. Pho at Westfield Stratford. Definitely my new Wagamama.

13. Bloggers Eat Burgers! Sophie, Michelle, Hannah, Sarah, Sarah, Aisling, Elodie and myself went to Fattburger for some yummy burgers...

14. ...and Pinkberry for dessert!

15. Someone call the wardrobe police. Soon my flat will just be a walk-in wardrobe. I need to get ebaying.

How have you been enjoying the heatwave?

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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ceremonials

Just as I think about packing away my summer clothes it seems as if summer is finally here. The shops may be full of jumpers already but I'm hoping for a little more nice weather before I start having to wear them.

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Dress: Forever 21 (bought in NYC), Belt: Vintage, Watch: Asos

I still like animal prints but this dress isn't too much/too young for me. Forever 21 seems to be becoming one of my favourite shops - the prices are great and their clothes always fit me really well. Some of their items are a little young (maybe the "21" in the title should be a clue) but if you shop wisely there are some great pieces for work and weekend.

I wore this outfit to watch the Olympics closing ceremony with my friends. I'm still sad the the Olympics are over - it was a nice two week break from normal London life.

Have you packed your summer clothes away yet or are you still hoping for an Indian summer?
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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Autumn Lust List

Just as summer feels like it might be here, so are the A/W collections. I can't wait to put together my autumn wardrobe and, let's face it, you're much better off investing in A/W staples than snapping up half price summer dresses in the sale which might never see the light of day.

Here are my picks for autumn:

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1. Tom Ford Lipstick in Coco Ravish
These may be pricey but what better make-up bag candy is there? I've been wearing a bright red lip all summer but for autumn I love this darker, more grown up shade.

2. Mulberry Bryn Satchel
My school days might be long behind me but this time of year always give me a "back to school" feeling - a chance for a new start and, of course, a new uniform. This orange satchel would be perfect for my autumn uniform, minus the itchy kilt from my school days.

3. Salvatore Ferragamo Leopard Print Scarf
I am a big leopard print fan and this silk chiffon scarf is a grown up take on the print. Perfect for chilly late summer days and to add a touch of animal print to my work outfits.

4. Michael Kors Parker Watch
The rose gold Michael Kors watch seems very popular among bloggers. I love this version, the strap detail a little different and I love more masculine watches paired with feminine outfits. No more excuses for being late with this.

5. Joseph Ashford Skirt
Continuing the back to school theme, this box pleat skirt is a grown up take on a school skirt but far more stylish. Red is my favourite colour and this would definitely brighten up an autumn day with black opaque tights, a crisp white skirt and heels.

What are you lusting after for autumn?
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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Make-Up Mis-Haps

Who hasn't had one? No, not the sort where you sneeze while putting on mascara (that's for another day, maybe) but when make-up ends up on the carpet or your clothes rather than on your face. I'm sure this only happens on one of those days where you're already running late for work, its pouring with rain outside and payday is still a week away.

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Oops.

Mascara can be a particular culprit due to its oily nature and dark colour. Mascara stains can be very visible, especially on a pale carpet.

Here are some top tips for removing mascara stains from your carpet:

1. Remove any excess mascara very carefully with a blunt knife

2. Put a small amount of water onto a cloth and gently dab the stain

3. Use a cleaning product designed to tackle carpet stains on the area and leave for a few minutes to work its magic

Panic over, carpet saved and no angry parents or landlords to deal with.

Of course, its not just mascara that poses a threat to our carpets and clothing. Coffee, red wine, chocolate and my beloved Diet Coke are also likely culprits. Click here for a guide to stain removal that should be useful next time disaster strikes! (Apparently salt, not white wine, is the solution for red wine stains).

Have you had any make-up mis-haps? What are your top tips for removing stains?
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Friday, 10 August 2012

July Empties

Slightly late with this but I seem to be on a bit of a product-finishing kick at the moment. Here are my July empties:

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Head and Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Shampoo - not the most glamorous hair product but one that I reach for every couple of weeks to make my hair feel super clean. I like to alternate my shampoos so it takes me ages to use up a bottle.

Ayuuri Body Wash - one from a GlossyBox a few months back. This smelled lovely (like rose Turkish delight) and didn't dry out my skin.

Nivea Invisible Deodorant - white deodorant marks on my clothes annoy me so much. This lives up to its promise of being invisible and has a nice subtle fragrance. I usually use roll-on deodorant as I find sprays get finished up so quickly but always have one of these on the go.

Original Source Mint Shower Gel - this is definitely one for sleepy mornings. The mint smell really wakes me up! I had loads of these little bottles from when I worked for a university but this is my last one.

Percy and Reed Moisturising Shampoo - a freebie with Glamour magazine. I picked the shampoo as I already have a a lot of unused conditioners. This smelled lovely and left my hair feeling nice and soft.

Simple Eye Make-Up Remover - I've re-purchased this so many times. It doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes, takes off my many layers of mascara and is only £3.39. I used to use a Clinique eye make-up remover but as I get through a bottle of this every couple of months I'm glad I discovered a cheaper alternative.

17 Shine Control Powder - I've lost count of how many times I've bought this. Super cheap, stops my skin getting shiny and doesn't cause breakouts. I will cry if 17 stops making this but I won't cry if I drop it on a tiled bathroom floor and it smashes everywhere.

Clinque Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder - my favourite high end powder. I bought this ago but found it half used in the bottom of my make-up box, another sign that I have far too many products. This is slightly heavier than the 17 powder and I love the satisfying click that the compact makes when I close it.

My holiday mini-empties:

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Clinique High Impact Mascara - this was a Cosmopolitan freebie. I've used this a few times in the past as its usually in the Clinque "Bonus Time" giftbags. This lasted me ages and I love how buildable it is. Top marks for not smudging or flaking in a very hot and humid NYC.

Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream - another Cosmo freebie and old Clinque favourite. I love this for giving my skin a deep down clean but without being too harsh or scratchy like some scrubs are. This doubled up as a body scrub while I was away.

Simple Moisturising Facewash - this did a good job at taking off my make-up and making my skin feel clean. I didn't like it as much as my usual Avene facewash but for a holiday it did the job. I'm far too lazy to decant my usual toiletries for a trip away so will settle for using something I can get in mini form for a few days.

Soltan Kids Factor 50 SPF - I am a little obsessed with suncream. This was quite thick so took a bit of rubbing in but it didn't irritate my sensitive skin and was great for popping in my handbag when I was in NYC and Marrakech earlier in the year.

Simple Anti-Wrinkle Moisturiser - another Simple product that I liked but didn't love. This was nice and light and great for throwing in my carry on to stop my skin getting dry in-flight without breaking the 100ml liquids rule.

What products have you finished this month? And what are your favourite travel minis?
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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Motel Rocks: A/W Picks

I always think it a bit strange to be thinking about A/W fashion in mid-August but with the summer we've had I'm excited about being able to buy clothes that I'll actually be able to wear. Motel Rocks have some great pieces in their A/W collection and I thought I'd share some of my favourites:




Valentine Playsuit

I love dark floral prints - perfect for late summer and into autumn. I'd wear this now with bare legs and sandals and then with black opaque tights as the weather gets colder.



Salene Dip Dye Shirt

The dip dye trend is staying for A/W which is great if you already have dip dye pieces and an excuse to buy some if you don't. I love this sleeveless shirt, especially the dip hem detail. It'd look great over shorts now and paired with leggings and boots on colder days.



Becka Skirt

I love this printed skirt from Motel's exclusive to Topshop digital print range. I love bodycon skirts as they're so versatile. This would be perfect with tights and a denim jacket for autumn or to wear now with a crisp white shirt and (fake) tanned legs.

What are you looking forward to purchasing for autumn?
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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Olympomania!

Like many Londoners, I was cynical about the arrival of the Olympics. The thought of the city teeming with tourists and the public transport system grinding to a halt all for the sake of sport made me want to barricade myself in my flat for a fortnight with a supply of tinned food. The media compounded this with doubts over whether everything would be ready in time and I started having nightmares about having to run the 1500m at school. Shudder.

The Olympic reality couldn't be more different - I have surprisingly been loving every minute of the Olympics. Evenings have been spent happily plonked on the sofa watching the games, work days are punctuated by sneaky looks at the BBC live feed and the whole of London seems to be basking in Olympic glory - people are smiling, no one in London smiles! I'm not the most sporty person but my dreading PE days are now way behind me and while I may run at half the speed of Mo Farah I now love running regardless and definitely feel inspired to push myself a little harder.

I was lucky enough to win tickets to the track cycling courtesy or Diet Coke. My prize was pretty generous - 4 tickets for row 4 of the Velodrome, travelcards and £300 of spending money on a pre-paid Visa. I will never bemoan my Diet Coke addiction again!

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After a rather early start, I met my parents at Kings Cross to board the "javelin" train to the Olympic Park. Being on a javelin train is about as close to doing the sport that I will ever get. After spending practically no time queuing for security, we were in the park! The sun was shining and the park was already full of people. There was such a party atmosphere that it was hard to believe it was 8am on a Sunday. The volunteers and members of the armed forces had so much energy and were tirelessly polite and smiley.

We saw the women's sprint qualifying where Victoria Pendleton broke an Olympic record and a stage of the men's omnium. The speeds of the cyclists were incredible and the crowd went crazy for Pendleton and Ed Clancy.

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After our event, I generously treated everyone to lunch at the world's largest McDonalds (making a rather small dent in my spending money) and we explored the park, it was great to see the other venues and the Queen's barge, Gloriana. The longest queue of the day was to get into the megastore.

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I loved the Orbital building although I wish it were actually a helter-skelter.

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And because this is a fashion blog, my Olympic outfit:

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Dress: Motel, Scarf: Galleries Lafayette, Cardigan: Jack Wills, Sandals: Birkenstock

This has to be one of the best days I've ever spent in London. It made me feel so proud to call this amazing city my home and I'm so glad that we've shown the world that we can do this! We really do need to be more positive about what we have and what we can achieve and I hope the games have made this possible. Us Brits are far too disparaging sometimes but the Olympics seem to have given everyone a much needed lift. Hopefully the games will inspire people to get off their bums and try something new. And that's got to be preferable to being cynical and eating tinned food, right?

Have you been enjoying the Olympics?
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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Recent Happenings: Rain and Shine

How is it August already? And how are we halfway through the Olympics? Here's what I've been up to lately:

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1. Tower Bridge on an early morning run. After weeks of cynicism I am actually now really excited that the Olympics are here. I know I'm meant to be supporting Team GB but Ryan Lochte is my favourite olympian!

2. New hair. I am currently going to Rush for my haircuts. I've never really been salon loyal but I think I'll end up with better hair cuts if I am. Rush are very efficient, modern but not scarily trendy and the prices are pretty reasonable for central London. That said, I do want to try out Bleach and the Aveda salon in Covent Garden.

3. Lots of food at the bloggers picnic. Such a great day with old and new blogging faces. So glad that the British weather was kind to us.

4. Pink Berry at Selfridges after the picnic. Because I really needed more sugar after the above.

5. The Olympic mascots have been popping up all over London. This one in the City is my favouite.

6. Falafal burger and chips at Covent Garden Grill.

7. Apple martini. One of my 5-a-day? I think I still have child's tastebuds as this tasted SO strong!

8. Sushi at Centre Point Sushi. This restaurant does the best sushi I've had in London and its really good value. It's located above a Korean grocery shop near the Centre Point Building and if I hadn't been taken by friends I would never have realised it existed.

9. Another picnic. This time with uni friends so bloggers and mini bites were replaced by beer, frisbee and this rather fetching horse head mask. No one came near out spot so maybe this is an essential picnic accessory.

10. Oh. The rain is back. Thank goodness for Starbucks and a good book. I'm currently reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, purchased from a second hand book shop in Williamsburg (how hipster of me). I really want to see the film now.

Are you excited about the Olympics? Where's your favourite sushi destination? And have you read/watched Never Let Me Go?
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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Trolley Dash

Another summer purchase that I bought back in April but have only just got around to wearing:

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Dress: TU @ Sainsburys

I'd forgotten that I had bought this (actually I think my mother bought it as it was reduced to £10 so snuck into the shopping basket quite easily) but it came to my rescue on a sunny day last week when I looked in my wardrobe in a moment of panic having already worn three summery work outfits earlier in the week.

I love dark floral prints and the sleeve detail on this dress make it a bit different from the 8492 other floral dresses I own. I wore this to work but when autumn comes I'll be wearing it at the weekend with tights, boots and a big cardigan. I'm definitely a summer girl but I can't help but look forward to autumn a little. Outfits will be so much easier to plan.

Do you like florals?
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Thursday, 2 August 2012

Summer in the City (at last!)

(This post is scheduled so apologies if its now pouring with rain again). So summer is finally here. Hurrah. But, being a proper adult this does not mean long days in the park, spending all my money on frappucinos and reading those books that have been gathering dust on my bookshelf all year but facing up to the fact that real life doesn't come with a yearly 6 week holiday. Instead, summer presents itself with with the "what do I wear to work?" dilemma.

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Dress: Clothing at Tesco; Belt: taken off a Forever 21 dress;

This cotton dress is cool enough for hot city days but still work appropriate. And it was only £10. Depending on where you work, cleavage and acres of bare flesh probably aren't appropriate, no matter how hot it is. What is it about summer that makes Londoners lose all concept of what is appropriate to wear out the house? I can feel a Liz Jones rant coming on. Anyway, I will further channel Liz by giving out some free fashion advice which I obviously am completely unqualified to do.

Summer work wear tips:
- cardigans are still essential. It may be hot outside but the air conditioning will probably be even colder to make up for this as men still have to wear suits (poor them) and shivering in a summer dress isn't fun.
- I'm still not sure whether bare legs are acceptable for work. I hate tights so think that they are (sheer tights are far too Kate Middleton for my liking) but that you should still wear proper shoes. No one wants to see feet in the office although I do enjoy feeling like a total cliche and walking into work in my FitFlops.
- bright colours will make you feel more summery and cheer everyone up a bit. Work-appropriate styles in bright colours also make the work-play transition easier and you have all winter to wear black.
- unless you are a skilled fake tan applier, do it on the weekend as a practice run. Or you will end up with streaky legs and will have to wear black opaques until it fades.
- sun cream is still essential even if you're spending most of the day indoors. Spending lunchtime in the park and coming back with bright red arms and legs is a little embarrassing.

A note on nails:
I'm still a big fan of gel manicures. These are "Gellux" in the brighest red shade and this is how they looked two-and-a-half weeks in. For me these are definitely money well spent to have effort-free groomed nails. Red is my signature colour so it doesn't bother me not being able to change them.

Have you tried gel manicures? What do you wear to work in the summer? And, if you don't work, what have you been doing in the nice weather?
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