Thursday, 29 November 2012

Santa Baby

I am struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, maybe it is too early (although I first saw mince pies in M&S in September) or maybe I just haven't been very organised so far but a Christmas gift guide seems like a good place to start. I've kept everything affordable (although Santa, if you want to buy me a Mulberry bag then that's ok) - these would be great gifts for friends or to put on your own Christmas list.

Lovely things to give or receive:

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1. I love Hannah's Cambridge Satchel - this Joy version is a similar style but more purse-friendly if you don't have the cash to splash out on the real deal.

2. Christmas jumpers are a winter essential! I love this H&M one - it'll be great for brightening up the dismal months of January and February, too.

3. Statement jewellery is always a great gift. I love this ring from Oliver Bonas - it's unique but still subtle enough to wear everyday. Oliver Bonas stores do a free gift wrapping service which is great if you're lazy busy like me.

4. Beauty products are always a Christmas stocking favourite. This Nuxe lipbalam is a cult favourite and perfect for the cold winter months..

5. This bunny necklace is adorable and really good value - perfect for a Secret Santa gift?

6. The Benefit set has some of their most popular products so its a great way to try them out or to buy as a gift without worrying about getting the exact shades right.

7. Proper tea is an everyday indulgence. I love Teapigs and this Christmas tea selection looks lovely. One for your mum or grandma if you're not a tea drinker?

8. This personalised bracelet would make a lovely gift for a friend or sister - there are so many options to make it unique to you.

What's on your Christmas list?
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Winter Insta-Update

Another week, another Instagram post. The weather has been awful lately - hope everyone is keeping safe and warm. 

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1. Sushi at Itsu. It may be cold outside but I'm still craving sushi.

2. Salmon at Strada - I'd usually have a salad (or a pizza if I'm feeling naughty) but this was really good.

3. Breaking out the Christmas cardigan with my V&A gold collar and Primark dress.

4. The weather was nice enough for an outdoor run - I'd really missed running outdoors and couldn't stopping to take a picture of the sunlight on the Thames. Love my city.

5. Motel Rocks blogger event at Floripa. Definitely better than my usual Monday nights, cocktails false eyelashes and a photobooth all made for a fun evening.

6. My Christmas presents from Motel. A baby bunny night light and heart-shaped cookie cutters - cute!

7. The postman left my Graze box on the radiator and it ended up looking like this. Boo.

8. Cafe Caramella in Costa. Much nicer than the Christmas coffees.

9. Paloma cocktail in Benito's Hat. This was strong.

10. Dim Sum in Dim T. I hadn't had dim sum in ages and this was so good.

Other things I've been enjoying this week:

Laura's post on getting orgnanised for Christmas. I really need to start my Christmas shopping and plan my party outfits.

The Halio app. I can genuinely say that this app has changed my life.

My friend has started a blog and posted this profile of a fashion/beauty blogger. It made me laugh and is obviously all for a bit of fun and not meant to be taken too seriously.

Compiling a list of restaurants I need to go to: Chico Bandito, Giant Robot, Bubbledogs, East Street...which one to start with?

What have you been enjoying this week? 

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Friday, 23 November 2012

On The Lash: Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume

Regular readers will know that I am a bit very obsessed with mascara. I rarely buy the same one twice and always have a backlog of mascaras to use as I can't resit purchasing the latest offerings. On my trip to NYC during the summer, my first purchase (after a much-needed and barganitious Starbucks iced soy latte) was a Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara. After reading lots of praise about Lash Blast on US blogs I knew I had to try one. I settled for the volume type as I like a dramatic look and the white packaging took my fancy, especially with the Olympic rings! (Although now I feel a bit sad and nostalgic for the summer whenever I see them).

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The brush is of the rubber spoke sort which I personally prefer to bristle brushes. I thought that the brush looked quite a reasonable size in the packaging but next to my eye its actually pretty huge! The short bristles thankfully avoid it making a big mess around my eyes but the giant brush is quite hard to target the corner lashes with.

I love the effect this gives, volumised lashes as promised and it really helps hold the curl (I use eyelash curlers beforehand). Lash Blast is easy to build up the coats with and doesn't get clumpy easily. My only complain is that the brush bluntly ends - some little bristles on the end (a la Benefit's They're Real) would have been a nice touch and useful for tackling those little corner lashes.

Have you tried Lash Blast?


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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Damsel In A Dress

I am a big fan of dresses. Most of my work and casual clothing is in dress form so when I was asked to feature a dress from Damsel in a Dress I couldn't wait to add to my dress collection. I chose the Philippa dress:

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The dress came beautifully packaged; wrapped in pink tissue paper inside a box. It was so nice to get something that had been packaged with care, I hate how some online purchases come stuffed into a bag and arrive all scrunched up!

I chose a dress that would be suitable for work - this one is demure enough for the office but not stiff and corporate. I love the detailing - the stitching around the neckline and v-back are really nice touches. Wearing this made me feel very smart and grown-up - it'd be perfect for an interview or important meeting.

The dress is fantastic quality, its fully lined and the fabric hangs really nicely. The tweed fabric is really soft and it'll be great for winter.

There are some lovely evening dresses at Damsel which would be perfect for up-coming Christmas parties.

Are you a dress fan?
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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Marina and the Diamonds

On Thursday night I headed to Baroque for a performance by Marina and the Diamonds. Baroque is a new venue in Mayfair - very swish and definitely not my usual Thursday night hang-out!

After sipping on Hoxton Gin cocktails and nearly not finding my way out of the bathrooms as they were so dark, Marina performed six of her tracks. It was amazing being in such a small venue - Marina is even more stunning (and tiny!) in real life and her voice was so powerful live.

Marina wore a stunning purple dress by Hasan Hejazi, created especially for the evening. I want one, I'd also quite like her hair and her figure. I might just console myself by drawing a heart on my face with eyeliner.

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My Instagram pictures - Marina performing in the "Baroque Frock"



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Bunny Girls

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Love this shorter blue dress (and the nude shoes)










































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Friday, 16 November 2012

Insta-update: Lazy Days

The last week or so has seen life take a bit of a slower pace and I am definitely not complaining. While I love being on the go and constantly seeing/doing/trying new things, sometimes its nice not to do anything. I have a new found appreciation for doing nothing. And for Man v. Food, trashy magazines and sleep. Busy hectic life to resume shortly!

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1. Waitrose had reduced this Halloween cake to £4. My parents love a bargain as much as I do!

2. Quick and colourful OOTD. M&S skirt, Oasis top, Whistles cardigan.

3. Starbucks Praline Mocha. My first (and probably only) red cup of the season. It was very sweet but did make me feel slightly Christmassy! I'm off on a beach holiday in a few weeks so treats are being phased out for a while sadly!

4. Lunch at Vapiano. Margarita with lots of chili flakes. Simple and yummy. I love their payment system - everyone is given their own Oyster-style card which saves stress over splitting the bill.

5. First magazine purchase since July. I used to spend around £10 per week on magazines. I don't really feel that I miss them but couldn't resist the free nail polish, some habits are hard to break after all!

6. Getting acquainted with my Hello Kitty blanket and Food Network UK.

7. A new Itsu opened near me.

8. Itsu salad/sandwich. This was nice but I'm not 100% sure what the point of it is. Surely if you want a wrap you buy a wrap and if you want a salad you buy a salad? I'll be getting the sushi next time.

9. Hair before and after. I hadn't had my haircut since July so felt like a bit of a change. I tried a new salon, Concrete in Covent Garden on the recommendation of a friend. I'll definitely be going back, the prices are really reasonable for central London and my stylist really listened to what I wanted.

10. Coffee with my mum in Costa. Soya salted caramel latte - tried in the interests of fairness as I'd already had a Starbucks Christmas offering!

11. Sneaky McDonalds. I hate most fast food but have a secret love of McDonalds. When I was a child McDonalds was the ultimate treat so maybe it takes me back to more carefree times when I didn't know what a carb or calorie was!

How do you spend lazy days?
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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Mish-Mash

Since starting work just over a year ago I've bought very few casual items. I think I now need to start working on my casual wardrobe as I'm seriouslly running out of things to wear on lazy days.

I picked up this jumper for only £7.99 in H&M. I'm not usually a fan of knitwear but this is really soft and not too bulky. I assume its meant to be a cropped jumper but on me its the perfect length!

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Jumper: H&M; Dress: Miss Selfridge

The Miss Selfridge dress is meant to be a party dress but did the trick under the jumper when I couldn't find anything else to wear. My wardrobe won't actually close so I don't think I really need to buy anything else...I must have some casual skirts somewhere!

The lipstick in these photos is a new favourite, it's surprisingly a Florence + Fred lipstick that was in the Tesco event goodie bag - I tried it on a whim and was so impressed. It lasts for ages and doesn't dry out my lips. Nice to find a budget buy that performs just as well as a high end lipstick.

What are your winter casual staples?
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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Polka Dot Dress

Spots v Stripes? I am definitely on the side of spots. I do occasionaly switch sides and dabble in stripes but spots will always be closer to my fashion heart.

I already own a few polka dot dresses but this one will be a prominent feature in my party season wardrobe:

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Dress: c/o Blue Inc

I love the tierred hem of this dress. I know this shape has been around for a while now but its a new addition for my dress collection. I'll be wearing this with heels and red lipstick for Christmas parties and then in the summer with sandals.

Blue Inc have quite a few women's dresses that have taken my fancy - looks like their collection is also on the side of Team Spots!

Do you favour spots or stripes?

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Piggy Bank

My friend bought me this decorate-it-yourself piggy bank for my birthday. I decorated it (#stereotypicalblogger) and it got me thinking...

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Where does all my money go?

I thought my now I'd be wearing designer clothes and swinging a Mulberry bag from my arm rather than having £5 in my bank account the day before payday. I have a job and I'm a "proper adult" but I still haven't developed an adult's approach to spending.

Yes, there's rent, bills and the dreaded income tax but there also the not-so-necessaries. Going into Boots for some cotton wool and coming out £30 down (without even buying the cotton wool), impulse buys, sale "bargains" that I'll never actually wear, "bad day" purchases...I could go on.

So I'm not on a bit of a money-saving drive. I really want the satisfaction of treating myself to something nice and knowing that I haven't wasted money on rubbish that I don't need. One good purchase is worth way more than ten trips to H&M or Primark. I've done some little money-saving sums to inspire me.

Spending: Two Diet Cokes at work every day = £1.20 per day = £282 per year
Saving: See by Chloe Bag = £275 

Magazines: Elle and Glamour every month (plus a few others sneaked in here and there) = £10 per month = £120 per year
Saving = Alexander McQueen McQ Tartan Pouch = £120 
The good news? I have almost totally stopped buying magazines (aside from Glamour this month, shhh). The bad news? I am pretty addicted to Diet Coke so don't think I'll be giving up on that anytime soon but just thinking about how much the "little things" add up has really made me re-consider my spending. That said, I still need to live and don't really want to be sat at home in head-to-toe designer clothes eating beans on toast because that would be no fun. I guess its about finding the right balance between day-to-day spending and treat purchases. 

How do you motivate yourself to save? 


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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Insta-updates

I haven't done one of these posts for a while. Blogging has had to take a bit of a backseat lately as I've been really busy with work. Weekends really ought to be three days' long, yes? I do have a lot to post about - a couple of new dresses (what else?!) to show you, hopefully I'll have time to actually photograph them soon.

Here's what I've been doing:

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1. Vintage sunglasses from Brick Lane. Yes, it's winter and its currently pouring with rain but I couldn't resist.

2. Quick work OOTD: Primark dress - £13 bargain. I went to the new Primark near Tottenham Court Road yesterday and its amazing. I'm going through a bit of a Primark/H&M phase at the moment. I've come to realise how fickle I am with clothes and that "investment pieces" probably wouldn't be much of an investment in my case.

3. Jordan's Country Crisp cereal won in Laura's giveaway. This was good. So good that the box didn't last very long.

4. Pumpkins in Sainsburys'.

5. Lunch at My Old Dutch in Holborn. I had the Italian savory crepe, my friend had the mini dutch pancakes - yum!

6. Afternoon coffee and cake at The Tea Box in Richmond. Loved this little cafe, the tea timers were so cute and my pumpkin and chocolate scone was served warm.

7. Calzone in Ask. I had been craving pizza for weeks before this so it really hit the spot.

8. Penguin jumper at the Clothing at Tesco A/W event and my goodie bag. I love the kitten hat (although my mum thinks its a mouse, hmm.)

9. Eyelashes from the Tesco event. It felt like a bit of a shame to just go home afterwards but I was advised that it wouldn't be a good idea to sleep in these to try to save them for the next day. Oh.

10. My parents bought me a giant pumpkin to carve. I don't think he turned out looking very scary.

11. Mexican chicken burger in Weatherpoons. A girl needs carbs sometimes.

12. Party face. First time I've done my make-up properly for a while.

13. Diet Coke t-shirt - I started saving the Coke Zone points earlier this year and quite quickly made it to the necessary 300 to get this free t-shirt!

14. Street Art near Tottenham Court Road.

15. Coffee in Le Pain Quotidien.

What did you do to celebrate Halloween?

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