Tuesday, 28 February 2012

From catwalk to cover

With Mother staying this past weekend, I was up early on Saturday for our long awaited girls day. The Boy and Father had big plans to put up a curtain pole (don’t ask) and then watch the rugby, which left Mother and I free for a day of culture/shopping/food, pretty much my favourite kind of day. We had both been meaning to go to the Fashion and Textiles museum for a while and Saturday was our last chance to catch from Catwalk to Cover, a great exhibition discussing the process of taking the looks you see on the catwalk and translating them into print media, so we headed over to Bermondsey. The exhibition was great, combining all aspects of both magazines and catwalk shows to create an inspiring collection of exhibits and photographs. Although the exhibition has now sadly finished, the book A Front Row Seat featuring photography by Kirstin Sinclair, is available now to buy and is a must-read for my coffee table.

Find out about future exhibitions at the Fashion & Textiles Museum here.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Looks I'm loving

This weeks style crush is Maddy C, a 23year-old Student from Poland. I adore Maddy’s quirky style and both her blog and Tumblr sites are simply inspiring. Find out more about Maddy at www.maddinka.com

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Glitter and glam

This week I wanted to try something different with my nails, using a glitter polish and nude base (I had spied online that someone had created a similar effect and basically wanted to copy it – I can’t claim all the credit). I’m pretty pleased with the results tbh, especially because I managed to create it on the cheap. I used a Natural Collection polish in Peach Manicure for the base (which I already owned) and then an ultra-cheap (pretty sure it’s £1.99) glitter by Miss Sporty for the topcoat.

Fast becoming a fave

On Thursday night I had a cup of tea (fresh mint) with Zsa after work to discuss our life plans. We’re both currently in a period of change and often look to each other for guidance and support, even though we’ve known each other for less than a year I don’t know where I’d be without Zsa. Still, enough of being soppy, lets get back to the food. We were en route to Yumchaa in Soho but actually ended up going to a branch of Le Pain Quotidien due to being famished and in dire need of tea to give us an energy boost. I seem to keep ending up in various Le Pain’s around London as it’s the perfect place to either meet a group of friends or go alone to get some writing/reading done. The atmosphere in all the ones I’ve visited has been friendly and relaxed, and the food is to die for (I NEED to try the organic vegetable and chicken pie asap). Zsa and I shared an antipasti platter, which was absolutely amazing and just the right amount of food for two gals on diets who don’t want to overindulge. Next time however, we’re having the cheesecake.

Find out more about Le Pain Quotidien here

Monday, 20 February 2012

Looks I'm loving

Thank goodness today’s over, don’t you just hate Monday’s? The weekend seems so far away. Still, I’m endeavoring to continue my Dress for Success challenge this week and am gaining some fashion inspiration from this weeks style crush Morven S, a 24year-old blogger from Scotland. Morven has a great knack for mixing colours and textures (something which I have been attempting of late) and of using accessories to complete her look. She also has a great blog where she showcases her style at www.morven-catsandrockingchairs.blogspot.com

Sunday, 19 February 2012

A week in my wardrobe/the one-week challenge

I’ve written here before about my trouble in deciphering what exactly constitutes work wear and this is proving to be an on-going problem, mainly due to my tendency to be lazy with my outfit choices, especially for work. Inspired by my colleague Zsa zsa’s new mantra of “Dress for Success” I’ve decided that the time has come to take a more measured approach when it comes to what I wear for work. Although my ensembles have been more considered so far in 2012, the time has come to up the ante and start thinking promotion/pay rise/confidence when it comes to what I wear. Therefore this week saw me embark on the Dress for Success Challenge. When I challenged myself a few weeks ago to wear something new every day I ended up feeling better about what I was wearing and more confident to boot so this week I endeavoured to think “smart” when picking an outfit. Here’s the results:

When dressing for work I think it’s important to consider where you work and not only dressing to suit yourself but also dressing to promote the brand you’re representing. Luckily for me I work for Hobbs and NW3, both of which being brands that I can relate to. Tuesdays ensemble was more NW3 than Hobbs inspired, with an ode to Victoria Beckham in my new cat print dress The Boy got me for Valentines day.

Dress: Red Herring at Debenhams
Blazer: H & M
Belt: Primark
Boots: Next
Bag: Hobbs

Wearing jeans to work is something I’ve always struggled with as unless it’s a black jean I don’t really feel smart enough. Luckily for me my workplace is pretty laid back and people are generally allowed to wear what they like (and it does help that we sell jeans ourselves). I always feel smarter in a coloured jean, especially with a heel, which led to my choice for Wednesdays ensemble.

Blazer: H & M
Jeans: River Island
Blouse: TKMaxx
Boots: Next
Bag: Hobbs

Thursday saw the first outing of my new charity shop blazer. Being tweed with orange, blue and green threads this jacket fits in perfectly with some of the colour palettes from the NW3 range, helping me stay on brand, and it also nicely smartens up my black jeans. You will see from these pictures that I am very much a fan of a blazer or smart jacket. Although I really dislike suits (too much of a reminder of working in the inspiring world of finance for my liking) I often find that adding a blazer really finishes my look and helps me feel smart, whatever else I’m wearing.

Blazer: Traid
Jeans: Dorothy Perkins
Blouse: Primark
Boots: Next
Bag: Hobbs

Friday saw the first outing of a Primark dress that has been lurking in the back of the wardrobe for almost a year. It has a great print but with it being a purple/blue colour I was unsure of what to put it with. Turns out, I needn’t have worried as it looks great when paired with black.

Blazer: H & M
Dress: Primark
Boots: Next

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A little Irish gem

Whilst in Dublin this past weekend, aside from eating and drinking like there was no tomorrow, I found time to drag The Boy around an amazing store called Avoca that had been recommended to me by a friend. I’m all for a spot of shopping on a weekend away, especially if it involves discovering somewhere that is a bit more off the beaten track than your average high street store. On this occasion I didn’t actually buy anything (due not entirely to the no-shopping-pledge, mostly just because of my lack of money) but the entire shop was just so “me” I found it inspiring all the same. Avoca is something of an emporium where gorgeous homewares nestle alongside the most amazing cafĂ© and food store selling homemade jams, soups and cakes. I’m the kind of girl that will always seek out quirky gifts and gadgets and this shop was literally like someone had followed me around for my whole life and picked out anything I’d ever showed an interest in and gathered them all together in one place.

If you’re in Dublin, Avoca on Suffolk Street is well worth checking out.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

2012, the year so far

January has been nothing short of magical. Sure, there were moments when the month seemed to be dragging on for all eternity and February would never come, but I wouldn't have missed a minute.

We welcomed in the new year just The Boy and I, a romantic evening of good food, fine wine, and unbelievably, dancing just us two. I'm so lucky, I swear sometimes it's like I live in a Disney movie, soppy I know.
I've spent most of the month being healthy and keeping active, basically trying to achieve my 16lbs in 16 weeks challenge (and as at least one trip this year will involve me being in a bikini, efforts must be doubled for February). So far I'm down 7lbs and am feeling pretty good about it. Plus, thanks to Weight Watchers, I'm still eating all the foods I love and treating myself at weekends to things like curry, or a Sunday roast and a glass of wine.
Exercise over the past few weeks has taken many forms. I have a new found love for power plate classes which, thanks to a groupon deal and an equally determined friend, I have five more sessions to look forward to this month. I have also started walking home from work in central London, which takes over an hour but lets me see sights I would miss if I were squashed on the tube. Like six herons resting in Hyde Park on a frosty winters evening (I know, I’m a geek). I’m looking forward to the lighter evenings when I’ll be doing my after work exercise in Hyde Park with my friends and then be able to walk home whilst the suns still out.
Last weekend was by far the best so far this year, fun but chilled with some of my favourite people. Work has been pretty stressful over the past few weeks so it was nice when both myself, Zsa and the branch merch teams hard work was recognised, and rewarded with a bottle of champagne from the head of merchandising. We of course cracked this open on our girls night in on Friday with Kirsty. Kebabs (seriously, not just any Kebab, THE kebab, if you're in west London check out Best Mangal, they rock), champers, my girls, and a spot of Friday night gossiping, believe me, it was bliss.
Saturday was pretty mellow, beginning with a girls trip to the market to stock up on fruit and veg, checking out some charity shops on the way. Then I met up with Amy and headed to a Hobbs sample sale (that’s right ANOTHER one) where I picked up a great NW3 dress which I’ve wanted for ages, getting round the no-shopping pledge by using the sample sale rule. We finished the evening off as the snow was starting to fall in a lovely Vietnamese restaurant in Chiswick and then on to an amazing pub called the Hampshire Hog, where it was Disaronno’s all round, good times. So far, I feel like I’m managing to stick to my resolutions for 2012 and am feeling pretty happy about it. I’m definitely living a more healthy life and am devoting more time to the people I care about, whilst making some additional cash on eBay along the way. I’m continuing with my scrapbooking, writing and sewing and soon I’ll be a student again (lord help me) so that’ll definitely get my creative juices flowing. If I’m honest, I can’t wait. Bring on the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The only way to travel

Tuesday saw me head north on a store visit to our new branch in Chester.

Store visiting is one of my favourite parts of my job as not only is it a chance to get out of the office for a day (and who wouldn't love that) but it's also a great opportunity to meet the branch staff and really get a feel for the stores. My day started off pretty standard; an early start followed by a freezing wait at Euston for them to announce the platform, so far, so normal. As I rushed with the other commuters in the scramble to get a seat I glanced at my ticket to check my seat number. J 15. Hmmm, I thought as I passed the first class carriage, carriage J, that can't be right. So I scrambled into a standard carriage and battled against the other passengers for that elusive window seat, before realising that pretty much all the seats were booked and I would indeed have to go off and search for seat J 15. It was at this point I actually looked at my ticket, First Class, it said on the top. Now, I have no idea how this happened. I can only assume that I caught the man at National Rail Business Travel on a good day because this is definitely not what I booked. I battled my way against the flow of angry passengers desperate for a seat and entered the quiet and serene world of the Virgin trains first class carriages. I even checked with the waitress (!) just in case there had been some mistake, as she came round to ask what breakfast I would like, but she assured me I was in the right seat. Well, all thoughts of eating my Weight Watchers packed lunch, that was discreetly hidden in my bag, went out the window. Don't get me wrong, I didn't gobble down a breakfast, I just didn't eat my packed lunch out of sheer embarrassment. Eating a homemade lunch in a first class carriage surrounded by businessmen in suits, I mean, who does that? To be honest the whole journey felt a bit surreal, kind of like Audrey Tautou in the Chanel advert, but a lot less chic. And if Audrey drank ribena and was switching between reading a copy of Glamour magazine and studying her store visit reports in an effort to look intellectual.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Silver & Sparkles

When I was younger I spent hours agonising over the state of my hands and particularly my nails. Virtually every evening I would come home, moisturise, file and buff my nails until they were immaculate and, heaven forbid, if I chipped the polish or broke a nail during the day it was literally the end of the world. As I’ve got older, my evenings are more often than not spent collapsed in a heap on the sofa, and the condition of my hands and nails has taken a drastic nosedive. I used to not be able to leave the house if I didn’t have any nail varnish on (mostly it was just clear, but even so), now I often have three-week-old remnants on badly filed nails accompanied by skin as dry as sandpaper, NICE. Working surrounded by girls who often sport a number of different coloured vanishes every week has encouraged me to try and get back to how I used to be, and take a bit more care in my appearance. Therefore last night I dug out all my nail varnishes – far too many for someone who pretty much always wears clear – and started to think about different colour combinations and ways to wear them. I like things to match/don’t have much spare time so usually go for colours that are neutral and will go with most things in my wardrobe (like clear, black or dark red), I like the whole French manicure look but am far too clumsy to actually do it so that it looks professional so decided to create a similar look but in a more modern way.

I used light grey as the base and for the tip I used silver glitter. This meant that if the line between the base and the tip wasn’t straight it didn’t matter so much, and voila!

I must admit I’m pretty pleased with the result and am already thinking about other colour combinations to try. I also REALLY want to try the whole DIY leopard print nail-look (you know how I feel about animal print) so watch this space.
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