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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

paris, london, new back garden

If you've been heading over here for a while now, I'm sure you'll be quite accustomed to me announcing that my recent purchase is 'my new favourite X', well here I am with the latest.

This Sugarhill Boutique Around the World dress, courtesy of Beau Boutique is just an absolute winner in my books, from it's pretty iconic buildings print, to it's chiffon flare skirt and cute black collar...teamed with tights and ankle boots, and it's easily become my dress to wear to every occasion! And I mean literally, the boy is sick of the sight of it.

I'd never heard of Beau Boutique until Hania got in touch, and it's certainly somewhere I'll be frequenting more often.  Once again, my Northern bias comes in, but it turns out the beautiful boutique is based just up the road from of course I suggest you all go on and check out her site.  She specialises in Celebrity Inspired Fashion, but with the likes of my favourite Sugarhill Boutique, and others such as Motel and In Love with Fashion available, then I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Dress* - Sugarhill Boutique
Boots - New Look
I know I'll be back, as I've already got my eye on the tartan skirt, and the red skater dress...may just have to add those to my Christmas List, Santa, are you reading this?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

a winter wonderland...m&s style

I've always been one of those massively annoying people that loves Christmas, from crazy Christmas Shoppers, the smell of Christmas coffees, and the all important Coca-Cola advert!  I even count down the days until the red cups arrive in Starbucks, but that's more because I can't resist a Gingerbread Latte.

But one rule I stand firmly by, is that your house should not be filled with Christmas decorations until (at the very least) the 1st December.

Decorating the house this year was going to be even more exciting, it's the first year for me and the boy in our own home.  And meticulous planning was going into this day, from our breakfast, to picking a tree, to making chocolate crispie cakes (a weird festive ritual for me and him).  So when Marks and Spencer contacted me asking if I would like to take part in their Christmas Challenge to decorate a room in my house from their Christmas Shop I absolutely jumped at the chance...If we'd already our tree, I'd have rocked around it!

With it being our first Christmas living in our own place together, we didn't already own any decorations, other than a few piece cobbled together (e.g. stolen from the 'rents) we needed to buy everything.  I was literally like a kid in a candy shop in M&S, and pretty much squealed at every Christmas item.

I wanted to turn our living room into a Winter Wonderland, and so we decided to decorate with white and silver to match the blue colours that are already in the room.

So just to give you the full's a couple of before pictures:
Our very own Winter Wonderland
1234. 5. 6. 

A cute snow globe, some white lights in vases, a silver decorative Christmas tree, a pine cone garland and some LED Silver Twigs adds a bit of sparkle to our fireplace. 
1. 2. 3. 4

Beautiful delicate baubles make our Christmas tree look  beautiful, but a fir tree scented candle makes our room smell like Christmas too!
And with a roaring fire...I never want to leave our Winter Wonderland full of 'Magic and Sparkle' again! 

Monday, 2 December 2013

a little bit of lace

I've never really been a big one of shopping in M&S! 
Lingerie? Tick  
Food? Tick 
Presents for the 'rents? Tick 

Party dress for me? Erm...maybe not.

I knew M&S had really pulled their fingers out in the last few years, upping the ante, and trying to target a younger generation, and I must admit I think they've been doing well.  But it's only really been this year that I've actually sat up and taken note.  It helps that this years Christmas advert has to the best advert...ever (eat your heart out John Lewis!), but M&S really have hit the nail on the end, who doesn't want that cream dress after seeing Rosie HW prancing about in the snow in it?

Their new AW13 range has embraced this Season's trends, and all my favourites...lace, tartan, leather to name a few.  So when I was asked if I wanted to review one of their new pieces and showcase how I will be wearing it, I was very willing to accept the challenge.

After much deliberation, and I mean much, I settled on a simple black lace dress, knowing that I'd be able to wear it over and over again, it's already front runner for Christmas Day!

I always think lace generally speaks for itself, it's best not to over-style it but I knew I wanted to add a slightly rockier edge.  So by adding the chunky buckle boots (my new, most favourite things ever!) and a plum lip, keeps the look in line with my own style, but still fully embracing the lace trend.

Dress* - M&S
Boots - New Look

I really think this dress is a dream, it fits perfectly, it's really good quality (I'd expect nothing less M&S) and I think it'll be hanging around for much longer than just this Winter!

And given that I've got numerous Christmas parties this year, it makes sense to go and check out this little cream number? I'll look just like RHW, right?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

the riding house cafe - a brunch of kings!

Last weekend the boy and I treated ourselves to a few days in London Town, my best friend had just moved back to England, and with the boy still working down there, it seemed like a good time to tag a few days on the end and enjoy catching up with old friends, treat myself to a bit of retail therapy and eat some good food!

A couple of weeks before the trip I was scrolling through Instagram and stumbled across Lily's picture of a pretty tasty looking breakfast.  Within seconds I was drooling over various different plateful's of food that looked too good to be true.  After a good five minutes of 'mmms' and 'ahhhs' the boy caved and asked what I was looking at, I showed him a sizeable portion of Full English at 'some' cafe called The Riding House! So it only turns out that he walks past The Riding House Cafe every morning on his way to work, and had always fancied going due to it's buzzing atmosphere, and stream of 'important looking business breakfasts', and we were sold.  Table for two booked.

Now I don't generally do foodie posts (although something I'm not hesitating to do more of!) but we successfully managed to take zero pictures of ourselves, or any picturesque sights (it rained the whole time it was there) while we were in London, but this brunch deserved a endless stream of photographs, and yes, a whole blog post dedicated to it!

We were booked in for 10.30 on a Saturday morning, and the cafe was already heaving.  With a real bohemian vibe, the sweet smell of coffee, and the biggest lampshade I've ever seen (sadly no photo!) I knew I was going to make the most of this.

A good ten minutes uhming and ahhing over the menu, I knew I couldn't go for anything other than the buttermilk pancakes, the boy settled on scottish smoked salmon & scrambled eggs, and we treated ourselves to a cheeky side portion on danish pastries.  Add to that a latte and a white coffee, a couple of fresh juices, its safe to say we rolled out the door with a smile on our faces and a belly fit to burst!

5 years living in London, and I only discover this place after I've left...slightly regretting that move back up North now!

P.S. Re-reading this post sounds like a sponsored post/they gave me a free brekkie for a good review....well (unfortunately) they didn't! It really is just one of the best brunches I've ever had!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

all about the specs

I've always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my glasses.  I found out about 2 years ago that I was short sighted and while at the time I was more than happy to get glasses, I still haven't fully committed to wearing them.  I wear them when necessary... when driving (well, people's lives are at stake) and when watching TV (for obvious reasons, hello Ryan Gosling!) but other than that I avoid wearing them.  

One of the reasons is because I'm determined to not become reliant on them, I'm happy to wear them when I need to, and at the moment, I can get away with that.  So if I ever blank you walking down the street, don't be offended., I just haven't seen you.

The other reason is that I'm still not used to having something sitting on my face, I can see the frames out the corner of my eye, and I find it really awkward, but I am aware that my eyesight is getting worse and I am going to have start wearing them a lot more.

So when I was asked by SpecsPost if I wanted to review some of their glasses, I jumped at the chance, I thought if I tried out a few different styles of frames, I might find something more comfortable to wear.  I went straight for the retro style, and sampled three different pairs, and although I still don't think any of these are quite right (too big and too dark for my face) I would definitely use SpecsPost again.  Their prices are more wallet friendly than many opticians, and the best part is, they do a home trial service so you can have 3 pairs sent out to you, then you pick your favourite!  Much better than spending hours standing in bad light at the opticians trying to see in there tiny little mirrors if they look ok, only to settle on anything because they all blur into one...ok, maybe not everyone does that.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

new coat, new boots...

It's officially Autumn, it's officially cold (up North) and I have officially embraced this Season's tartan trend!
Jumper - Warehouse
Skirt - H&M

It was inevitable to be honest, I ogled this coat on Miss Selfridge for what feels like forever and I even added it to this wishlist...remember? So when Miss Selfridge announced a one-day only, 20% off online orders, well it would be rude not to, wouldn't it? And with a saving like 20% it makes sense to then have another peruse around their website and purchase a new pair of boots too, right?

What can I say? It's been a couple of years since I've had a new proper winter coat, and I needed new boots, and I don't think I need explain myself anymore, because this beauties speak for themselves!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

start spreading the news...

So you know when you buy an item of clothing, and it quickly becomes your new favourite piece of clothing? Well that's what happened with this skirt, only now I'm looking at these pictures thinking it's actually rather unflattering and maybe it should be consigned to the back of my wardrobe until it doesn't have to stretch quite so much over my, larger than usual, derriere!

I thought I'd still plough on and do this outfit post though as it's been a while, and it may just be the kick up the arse I need, to start a slightly more healthy eating regime...let's not mention the numerous maryland cookies I may have consumed this afternoon, ahem.

But as it's now officially Autumn, I can embrace jumpers once more, and start bringing out my hat collection. I'm on the hunt for the perfect Winter coat, and a new pair of ankle boots, as is probably every other female on the planet, well what better excuse than Winter is there to go shopping?

And in other news, me and the boy have just booked a trip to New York, oh em gee, I  know!  We've always talked about wanting to go together around Christmas time, and finally decided to take the plunge and we booked to go at the end of November, and I'm so bloody excited.  We've both been before, not together, and many many years ago, so any suggestions for must sees and dos would be very much appreciated.

Jumper - Dorothy Perkins
Hat - Topshop

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

tickled by tartan

I'm not generally one for dashing to the shops to stock up on head to toe pieces so that my wardrobe is up to date with the latest trend.  As much as I love to shop, and make endless wishlists, I don't have a lot of money to spend constantly on new clothes, so when I do buy something it tends to need to have a bit more of a shelf-life...! Don't get me wrong, this isn't a 'feel sorry for me post', I'm just often wearing my clothes several years (let alone months) after buying them.

However, this season's tartan trend has really caught my eye.  I've always been a tartan fan, maybe it's because I live so close to the Scottish borders, and I have a definite feeling that I may be purchasing one or two items over the next few weeks, which have come straight from the catwalk.  Ok, catwalk, to design board, to high street...same difference!

And here's my current front runners:

1.  Miss Selfridge Check Borg Collar Coat - £79
2. ASOS F Troupe Tartan Lace Up Ankle Boot - £140
3. Zara Checkered Top with Zips - £39.99
4. Zara Checkered Dress with Zips - £69.99
5. Oasis Marley Check Mini Skirt - £35
6. Warehouse Prince of Wales Coat - £95

In other news, I still haven't found my perfect pair of boots yet so if you want to give me a hand with that too, it'd be much appreciated!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

the start of a long search

It's that time of year again when I start the quest for the perfect pair of winter boots.  I started my hunt a couple of weeks ago, and as yet, I still don't think I've found 'the' pair.  The problem with boots is, they're expensive (for good quality) and therefore I want them to meet a long list of criteria.  

Living up North means it rains, a lot, well, pretty much all the time in Winter, so I want my feet to remain dry and toasty.  It's also pretty hilly up here, so although I definitely want a bit of a heel this year, they need to be comfy.  They also need to look good (of course!) but I probably need something simple at the moment, that will go with lots of outfits.  I already have a few pairs of studded boots, and some different colours, so I think, I have to face facts that it's really black that I need.

So here's my current shortlist:

1. Bertie Zip and Buckle Block Heel Ankle Boot - £115
2. Kurt Geiger Black Mid Heel Suede Ankle Boot - £75
3. Topshop Athena Lace Up Ankle Boot - £70
4. Office Beeline Chelsea Black Line - £70
5. Office Understanding Burgundy Leather - £85
6. Zara Basic High Heel Leather Ankle Boot - £60

What do you think? Do I settle for one of the above, or continue the search for a bit longer??

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

before and after: the dining room

Some of my favourite type of blog posts are the home ones, now that I have my own home, I'm obsessed...I've even become known to create a mood-board or two. It may be because I'm nosy (most likely), or it may be after ten years of living in rented accommodation  it's nice to know I can actually do things like decorating and spend money on making rooms look pretty, rather than trying to hide damp spots, and dodgy stains on the carpet.

And the best type of home posts (in my humble opinion) are 'Before and After' room shots...and after seeing all of the lovely Sarah's, I swore I'd do the same when our house was finished.  So, a mere 14 weeks after we got the keys, we have finally completed one room, GO US!

So here it is, our Dining Room.  The room I blogged about here, the room I was most about excited about decorating, and the room we spend the least amount of time in, hrmm:



We always wanted this room to have a bit of a music theme to it, somewhere the boy could come and strum his guitar...while admiring his handywork.  He painted those Beatles prints years ago, and they've moved from home to home with him!

Choosing to paint the walls grey didn't initially go down well with the 'rents, but with  having so much colour from our artwork in this room, I knew we needed something simple that wouldn't clash with any of the other colours.  But to our surprise, both sets of parents have now agreed that the grey looks really good...we knew what we were doing!

We stole the vinyl idea from a magazine, it looks good, and means we can change the sleeves whenever we fancy something different!  And, when the boys dad found these frames in Home Bargains at only £1.99 a pop, we couldn't resist!! We're still building our vinyl collection though, and I'm sure some of these will be replaced quite soon with other albums we like better...but for now, these make a good talking point.

Yes, a slightly pretentious element to the room.  Before the house agreement had fully gone through, we were desperate to buy something house-y, of course all the practical things were by-the-by and it seemed completely sensible at the time to buy a record player.  I'd seen this one on Emma and Elsie's blog, and showed it to the boy, him being an even bigger music fan than me, was 'adding to basket' almost immediately.  And it doesn't just look pretty, we can play the music on our walls now too.

The old radio was an AMAZING house warming pressie from some of our friends, they'd found it in Warwick Tower (an awesome vintage store in Carlisle) and apparently had been told it may not work.  We didn't care as it looked so good in the corner of our room, but we plugged it in and after a few crackles and wheezes we tuned into Japan!!! The quality isn't great, but the whole thing lights up and it has a real nostalgic feel to it...I don't know what living in the war was like (obvs) but tuning this in, and listening to long wave radio, I can imagine...

This 60's print collage, I like to pretend I made, but we actually bought it from a vintage fair that was on at the South Bank in London a few years ago, I have no idea what the name of the stall we bought it from was, sorry!  I mainly liked it because it has a tiny little 'Radio Caroline''s all about me.

Some more impressive artwork by the boy, the 'Love' canvas he painted for my bedroom before we lived together...ahh, what a sweetie.  And the portraits of the two of us he did when we lived with our best friends, he did one of all four of us, and now we've parted ways, we've taken our paintings with us! 

And finally, our old super uncomfortable Ikea sofa, spruced up with a new cover! And Next have done us proud since we've moved into our new home, almost to the point where I was starting to worry our house looked like a Next show room, I've put my foot down now, but we couldn't resist these cushions, particularly as the Good Day Sunshine one fits in nicely with the music theme.  
So there you have it...that's our dining room, now we just need to have lots of dinner parties!

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