Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Full Size Hula Hoop bag by Chanel

Does anyone else think Chanel have taken the oversized bag trend to the extreme? Now you know I love me some Chanel but seriously, I don't even know how this would be comfortable to carry and it's the priciest version of a beach bag I've ever seen!

What do you think? Innovative fashion gone too far or do you love the ingenuity of it?

Blog Every Day in May with Rosalilium

image source Rosalilium
I am taking up the challenge on Rosalilium to Blog Every Day in May helped along by 31 topics kindly provided for us by Elizabeth which we can interpret as we wish.

You will still find my usual ramblings amongst these BEDM posts on some days and others I will be thankful to have this challenge to ensure there is something for you to read. 

I can't wait to see what I come up with spurred on by these topics, I already have ideas for some and others I am pondering what post to provide so it'll definitely be fun.

Many other bloggers are joining in this challenge so I'm also looking forward to finding some new blogs to read and how they interpret the questions. You can find a list here and we will be using #BEDM on Twitter so you can easily be directed to posts.

I hope you enjoy my 31 days of blogging and pop back tomorrow for Day 1.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect

I recently picked up Pitch Perfect from the library (where I rent all my movies from - post coming soon!) and it was the perfect Saturday night film. Most often when watching tv I'll still be browsing on the ipad or flicking through a magazine, but every so often there's a film that manages to keep my attention from beginning to end and Pitch Perfect was it.

If you're a fan of Glee I'd suggest this is a must but if you're not (and neither am I) do give it a try. Anna Kendrick of Twilight fame arrives at college and despite her reservations joins underdog a cappella singing group featuring the very funny Rebel Wilson who you must remember from Bridesmaids.

Yes it's fluff, yes its predictable and Bring it On with microphones familiar but it's good fun and well worth gathering your friends and/or family together to watch. 

The only criticism my friend had whilst watching was "there's no good looking men" but I'll leave you to judge the "Treble Makers" looks for yourself.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Le Larry at Belgique, Epping, Essex

Saturday Kelly & I met for a catch up over a pedicure and sitting relaxing in massage chairs having your feet tended to can be hungry work so we nipped into our local Belgium eatery, Belgique after for some refuelling.

Their slogan is "if you're Belgian, it tastes like home. If you're not, it tastes like heaven" so you can expect we had high expectations and we were not disappointed.

I chose the Le Larry; mini goats cheese parcels wrapped in bacon and served with wild rocket and balsamic glaze and it was delicious and light. There were also some unexpected raspberries on the plate which I left for the end for dessert! I think I'll be trying to recreate this for myself one evening too.

Kelly's baguette looked delicious filled with mozzarella, avocado and drizzled with pesto... I was slightly jealous of her side of crisps!

Unfortunately Belgique is a recommendation for my Essex readers where you'll find one of their branches but they do offer deliveries for collection in London

Blogging stops for real life

Despite diligently blogging daily for the past 3 weeks an impromptu drink with work on Thursday evening led to a hangover that only coke zero and carbs could cure. Now banished I can confirm normal service will resume... until the next time!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

OOTD: Converse Casual

Jacket: River Island, T-shirt: Dorothy Perkins (sold out; similar here), Jeans: Warehouse, Converse: Office

When a friend invited me round for dinner one night last week I decided it was the perfect opportunity to test run my new Converse boots brought last weekend. I was pleasantly surprised with how I looked and more importantly felt in the ensemble. Jackets make casual outfits more "me" as I like something with structure but I quite enjoyed bouncing around in my flat footwear and feeling more relaxed. This is certainly a look that will make life easier for popping round to my parents on a weekend or visiting my brother and running around with my niece and nephew.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Byron Roquefort Burger


Last night I needed to do some shopping and decided on One New Change not least because they have a branch of Byron Burger and I would be able to sample the Roquefort burger. This burger is filled with roquefort cheese, crispy red onion, shredded lettuce and mayonnaise and was every bit as delicious as it looks and sounds. Maybe not a match for Smokey Robinson but a worthy contender.

If you don't have a Byron close to home pop along and visit Rosie as she has a great recipe for your own version here

And of course after my diet coke break there was that shopping I mentioned which shall be revealed tomorrow.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Follow me on Twitter

Please do follow me on Twitter here. I'm slow to catch on to the tweeting world but I'm actually enjoying it's quick interaction, found so many new bloggers and a love of the hashtag!

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Barry M Jelly Nails Review

Barry M nails in Papaya and Greenberry

At the weekend I popped into my local Superdrug and thought I'd dip my toes into the Barry M Gelly nail paint world. I hot footed it straight to my nail salon for a repaint. With the sun shining my nails needed something more fun than their usual red and I went "crazy" with a mix matched colour scheme. Even my manicurist was surprised and said "new colour" when I pulled them from my bag.

For the weekend I throughly enjoyed the bright colours of Papaya and Greenberry and my friend spent most of Sunday claiming she was jealous of them but sadly they weren't as well received in the office Monday morning with many people asking "what have you done with your nails"! And I can't deny I didn't feel my usual self without my uniform red.

These paints are very popular in the beauty blogger world and whilst they could happily have their place for my toes, weekends and Summer holidays I'm not entirely sure these colours are for professionally. The high shine is definitely there but I do feel like they're very thick and I am reminded of painting my nails with tippex at school. They take longer to dry than other colours I've used and I am left with some smudges which is unusual for me but that could be down to my impatience!

Please note that my nails are acrylic tips.

Barry M nails in Papaya, Greenberry and Prickly Pear

Superdrug had a 2 for 3 offer so I also have a lilac shade to try next and I think this one will be more subtle and I'll stick to one colour on all nails.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

OOTD Road Trip

Jacket: H&M, Vest: Next, Necklace: Topshop; similar here, Clutch Bag: ASOS, Sunglasses: Rayban 

Yesterday my friend and I had to take an impromptu road trip which was the perfect opportunity to test drive my latest purchase from Next. I went for a stroll through my local high street at the weekend and even with limited shopping opportunities managed to find something to spend my pennies on!

This vest was only £8 and perfect twinned with my trusty H&M blazer and Topshop necklace (whch cost more than twice the price of the vest!). As I would be sitting in car for most of the day I decided to dig out a clutch to use that has been hidden away in the back of my wardrobe for far too long.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Marathon Man

Good luck to everyone running the Virgin London Marathon today. I'm sure there are a lot of anxious people running and spectating after the tradegy in Boston but the British stiff upper lip will ensure that it's business as usual on the London streets and even sunshine.

My brother (above in blue) ran the London Marathon back in 2009 in 4 hours 19 minutes. I throughly enjoyed the day watching and waiting for him to run past. He's something of a marvel to me, we had told him where we'd be watching from so he could look out for us and he actually called us from his mobile to say that he would be passing us shortly - I'm lucky if I can talk on the phone during a walk home from station and he was barely out of breathe. Then he appeared, jogging along, even managing to smile for the camera that he knew was in my hands. Once he crossed the finish line he told us that his knee (a reoccuring injury) had given way after the first couple of miles but that was good as he hasn't had to push through similar aches and pains since his days in the army! Once again a slightly twinge and I would've been heading to the St Johns Ambulance tents not seeing it as a fun challenge.

If you have friends or family running in the Marathon they might like a bath of Radox Muscle Therapy* on their return home. Slipping into a bath of ginseng and black pepper would be a welcome relief I'm sure and aid the gentle warmth to muscles and ease some of the aches and pains. I have actually given my Jo Malone bath oil a rest and enjoyed a few Radox baths as I have a few aches of my own due to the weight of carrying my new bag around - who says we don't suffer for fashion. What I particularly liked about Radox Muscle Therapy* was the red colour it gave my bath and I'm a fan of strong masculine smells which this has.

*PR Sample

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Patty & Bun Pilgrimage

I had planned for a day out with a friend yesterday which unfortunately she had to cancel. I considered (very briefly!) cancelling my annual leave from work but decided that would be madness and settled for a lazy breakfast in bed with a maple pecan plait and Channing Tatum. Lunch time arrived and I have wanted to visit the popular burger experts Patty & Bun for some time so I decided to jump on the train, indulge and well, everyone knows, burgers make you sexy! 

The Ari Gold seems to be the 'bloggers' choice but I went rogue and choice the Smokey Robinson, beef patty, cheese, caramelised onions and so much more.

Ole smokey was definitely worth the trip although I didn't quite think through my takeaway choice. Standing outside trying to eat this burger wasn't easy, extremely messy and naughty P&B didn't include any napkins in my takeaway bag. Thankfully I had some tissues on hand for the clean up operation required.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Bloglovin from my BFF

My BFF and fellow blogger Rose did a lovely post today on our blogging history and more scarily sharing our friendship history in photos! If you want to see some fun snaps from our often boozy, slightly hazy younger days have a look here.
Despite raising two cheeky monsters little angels Rose also manages to crochet up a storm and sell her wares at local craft fairs and online. More importantly she also gave me photoshop and whilst I have little clue what I'm doing with it I'm having fun experimenting with it! 
Disclaimer: photoshop has not been used in the photo above, our champagne induced smiles are our own!

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Jo Malone Ginger Biscuit Cologne

Last month mum and I went on a shopping trip to Westfield Stratford City and a trip into Jo Malone was in order. I must admit there was some grumbling on my part as I had no need to visit... that was until I smelt the gorgeous Ginger Biscuit Cologne, part of the limited edition Sugar & Spice range. Apparently mother does know best.

Inspired by "delectable ingredients" and created for moments of "delicious pleasure" it's no wonder they have sadly sold out. Even the description has my mouth watering; Ginger Biscuit captures the scent of just-baked cookies spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and dipped in caramel. There are also some buttery toasted hazelnuts, tonka bean and vanilla.

Mum picked Bitter Orange & Chocolate for herself which was duly requested from my sister in law on smelling for her Mother's Day present. Sold out online this led to a desperate dash to my local branch where I was told that somewhere had been in earlier purchasing 20 bottles!

I'm rather picky about perfume and when I find something I like it's thrown into the shopping basket immediately although I'm sure I'll regret not buying extras when this one runs out. My sense of smell isn't particular sharp but even I've noticed that smell lasts for hours something which gets the thumbs up from me and if in doubt the handy 30ml size is perfect for popping in the handbag.

I have to say that of the many products I use and go through my bathroom and beauty draws it is always the Jo Malone scents that I pick up on.

Were you lucky enough to get your hands on one of the bottles or do they sound too sickly sweet for you?

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

OOTD: Office Chic

(Dress: Next, : Jacket: Miss Selfridge)

I have worn this outfit to work on two occasions so far and both times received numerous compliments, particularly on the jacket which dresses up a classic black dress from Next nicely. With our less than pleasant weather lately the jacket provided some warmth against air conditioning and as we move into the warmer weather of Spring I can forgo a coat. Of course add a splash of red from my nails and bag and I have an ensemble that works fashionably and professional for a day in the office.  
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kiehls Skincare Regime

One thing you should know about me is that for as motivated as I am on one hand the other is extremely lazy. If I can cut a corner I will and my skincare regime is a perfect example of that. A cursory sweep across the skin with a facial wipe is usually the most I can muster and I even wear Bare Minerals foundation as it allows your skin to breathe therefore justifying my lack of cleansing, toning and moisturising. 

Naturally the older one gets you think maybe I should be paying more attention to looking after my skin and reading so many beauty blogs as I do now I was starting to feel a little guilty. An epiphany occurred when I was watching one of Lily's videos on her YouTube channel last week. In it she said that at 25 she needed to use a stronger cleanser than Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish and it was probably better suited to younger skins... eeek.... if ever I dabbled in a shortlived skincare regime it was with Liz Earle and the faithful Cleanse & Polish. Lily wasn't saying anything I didn't really know myself and whilst it's true that any skincare regime is better than none at the grand old age of 34 it was time to get serious!

I could've began productive research on the best individual items available but I wanted to strike whilst I was enthusiastic and not allow any further excuses to delay things. Kiehls is a brand I've been aware since early trips to the US but not one I've delved into fully but I like their philosophy and origins and thought any brand that hails from New York and has gone from strength to strength over the past 150 years has to be a good place to start.
Luckily there is a branch across the road from my office so during some quiet time I nipped out and sought help. The first thing I noticed entering the store was a male sales consultant. Now I know we're in 2013 but my first thought was I'm slightly nervous about an older male helping me but as soon as he greeted me all reservations were abandoned and I counted myself lucky that Thursday was his day working in this particular store.

I expained my lazy lack of regime and he kindly said laziness was no excuse but took those comments onboard when explaining and showing me products. Yes he mentioned exfoliators and eye creams but he wanted to help me use the basic products to turn my skin around. I was so impressed with his knowledge, how easy he made everything sound and the fact that he was selling me products that would help me, not increase his sales commission. 

First stop was the Ultra Facial Cleanser. Cleanser is one of those products that I struggle with purely because of the fact I need to stand over the sink and wash it off. Often I'll have jumped into bed before I consider removing all traces of the day and the likelihood of my climbing out of bed to complete stage one is minimal, hence I'll reach for the facial wipes. But that needs to change and I need to suck it up and get standing over that sink!

I started my regime Saturday night figuring if I can start the habit over the weekend when I wasn't relying on alarms and early nights and so far I'm pleased with the product. I'm still using my Liz Earle cloth to wipe residue away and must say I love the clean but not dried out feeling this cleanser leaves with me. I'm also impressed at the minimal amount I need to use - these products were not cheap so I'm interested to see how long they last me.

Toner was an interesting topic of conversation as I was told I didn't need to include it in my regime if I didn't want to! I had a Liz Earle Skin Tonic at home so I decided to use that up instead of the extra expense but was given a sample size of the Kiehls Ultra Facial Toner to try. I'd love to hear if you knew that toner was a take it or leave product and what your thoughts are on that.

Next I was kindly told I needed something to tackle my lines and the product for that is the Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. This product doesn't do anything but tackle the lines. I was told a story about one of his customers who was planning botox and he told her to try this instead and she never looked back. A sales speech maybe but one I'm interested to prove or disprove myself especially due to this products price tag.

For night I was advised to use the award winning Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Another costly product which smells gorgeous. I was impressed with the products ability to soak in the skin and not leave them greasy whilst feeling like they were working. The midnight recovery feels fantastic on my skin and a few drops do go a long way. If I could only leave the store with 3 products this would be one he recommended I purchased.

A sample of the complimenting Midnight Recovery Eye to aid fresher, younger eyes was thrown into the shopping back ending my nighttime skincare regime.

So far so good. Everything sounded minimal, easy and something even I could follow, but what about those pesky mornings?

The biggest surprise was being told that I didn't need to use cleanser in the mornings as my face was already clean. Genius, this had never even occured to me (maybe because was my face was never clean?!). Already my most onorous skincare task had been removed! All the face needs is a wash with water or toner to freshen up, much easier.

I was told it's up to me whether I want to use the line reducer in the mornings but next essential stop is the Rosa Arctica Lightweight Cream - with anti-anging! Again I hate using products that I feel I have to dab off with a tissue, leave my hands feeling greasy or I'm waiting around to dry and this soaks into the skin immediately and my make up looks much better despite being able to apply immediately.

So there you have my new day and night skincare regime but the question is am I using it? The answer would be so far so good. As I said I started at the weekend to ease myself in gently but a few days at work and I've still managed to stick with things despite feeling unwell last night and my struggle of a morning to drag myself from bed.

All my new products have been stored in my new Victoria Secrets make up bag that mum brought me for my birthday so I am able to carry them around from room to room and follow the regime where possible. A quick wash with my cleanser of night and then to bed or the sofa where I sit with my lotions and potions. Ensuring my make up bag is by the bed ready for me in the morning so as I struggle to wake myself up I sweep some Liz Earle Eyebright across my eyelids and a little toner to freshen up and so it begins again.

I've already had a few comments about how "fresh faced" I'm looking so somethings working, fingers crossed I keep up the good work.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Westfield Shopping Haul

Office, Converse, Topshop, Pandora

I woke up Saturday morning with every intention of a lazy day in bed but when my friend text to meet her for lunch over at Westfield I jumped on a train and needless to say more than lunch was purchased. 

First stop was Topshop as I had decided I needed necklaces in my life. As you know from yesterdays post I have a newfound love for my H&M blazer so it was only fair I buy a new t-shirt to compliment it  (in a size 12 - yay WeightWatchers!).

As part of my weight loss campaign I now try to walk wherever possible but my usual flat footwear of choice, the ballet pump, often means my poor little tootsies get cold or I resort to the less attractive option of throwing my ugg boots on. I'd been toying with the idea of a pair of Converse after admiring my friends pair and thought I'd investigate them in silver. The Converse style is quite a diversion from what I would usually feel comfortable in and I'm not a big fan of my legs so try to flatter them in heels or pumps where possible and sadly the silver didn't sit quite right on me. The gold on the other hand looked much better, it's still a somewhat strange feeling look for me but I think once I get used to wearing them I'm sure I'll feel differently - and appreciate the fact my feet are no longer cold.

For my birthday my friend gave me the Lucky Cat charm from Pandora and I decided it needed a bracelet of it's own and into Pandora I went to chose from their leather styles. Originally I was intending to buy the red but the cat has a pink heart so the grey worked much better with it. Fingers crossed kitty brings me some luck.

Below you will see the photos of the individual items and links to treat yourself if you are so inclined and I'd love to hear what you have been treating yourself to lately. 

Topshop Necklace. Same one not available online although similar here 

Arrow pendant from Topshop

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Monday, April 15, 2013

OOTD - Ode to Margaret Thatcher

H&M, Topshop, Prada, Ted Baker

(Blazer: H&M, Necklace: Topshop, Jumper: Ted Baker, Watch: Michael Kors, Bag: Prada, Jeans: Warehouse)

It wasn't a conscious decision to channel Margaret Thatcher for a shopping trip to Westfield Stratford City at the weekend but I certainly think she would approve of my blue blazer! I rarely buy clothing from H&M as I am not a fan of shopping in their stores but am often drawn online and decided to take the leap and place an order. I was dubious to the quality of a blazer for £24.99 but pleasantly surprised. A lightweight jersey it was ideal for the warmer weather at the weekend whilst there was still a breeze in the air. Always cold and not a fan of the cardigan I find a blazer suits me much better and is a great throw on with jeans and all variety of tops. I definitely think I'll be added other colours from this range to my wardrobe. 

The necklace was added to my outfit immediately as soon as I'd handed over payment in store and of course the splash of red from my newly purchased Prada bag meant that both political parties were represented!

Do pop back for a visit tomorrow and you can see what else was purchased on my shopping trip.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Miller & Carter Steak Night, Epping Essex

Last night the BFF and I decided a night of steak of red wine was needed. Not wanting to travel too far from home we went to our local Miller & Carter restaurant. I chose the 8oz fillet medium rare and it was cooked to perfection. Served with their gorgeous signature onion loaf, fries, iceberg lettuce wedge and a glass of Malbac it went down a treat. I often pick steak when dining out as it never seems to taste quite the same when cooked at home. 

It would also seem Miller & Carter has the seal of approval from David Beckham's mum and sister who were dining along side us - no sign of Posh though!

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