Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Summer stripes...

My name's Maria and I have a confession to make: I'm obsessed with River Island... I have to say that I never saw this coming. I have always been a bit wary of the brand but they have come a long way from the diamanté-encrusted shop of my youth. Now, I am a regular visitor and a fair few pieces have made their way into my wardrobe, starting with this gorgeous striped top which I absolutely love. The stripes make it feel really crisp and summery and the shape makes it much more interesting. I went fairly neutral with the rest of my outfit here but wouldn't this be ace with bright red or coral accessories?!

Top: River Island, jeans: Gap, shoes: Marks and Spencer
I love getting my hair cut (unlike some people, I find the whole process mega-relaxing!) but the best part is the swooshy blow dry at the end. My hairdresser can work magic even on my unruly locks and the best part is that it can last for a couple of days if I use my super sexy shower cap!

I have raved about these jeans a million times before and they just seem to get better with age. I wanted to wear these blue flats but I couldn't find them (the perils of having a whole unit full of shoes!) so I opted for these nude shoes instead. Not quite as fun but they did give me that much needed height!

Are you a fan of River Island? Which shops have surprised you recently?

Friday, 15 July 2016

Parrot print...

This post contains a dress that was sent for review

Maxi dresses are one of the easiest things to wear in the summer and when House of Fraser offered to send me one to review, this parrot print beauty was top of my list. I love how swooshy it is and the brightly coloured print is right up my street! Even though it is polyester, it feels very light and airy and I like the fact that the dress is lined all the way down to the hem. It makes it feel much more expensive and there's no risk of flashing here, win win! This dress is very long (even with heels) but I'm hoping that I can persuade Mark's mum to shorten it for me! ;)

Dress: Yumi c/o House of Fraser, shoes: New Look
With a print this bold, I didn't want my make-up vying for attention so I went for a more subtle glowy look. I paired Sleek's Rose Gold blusher (the best dupe for Nars Orgasm that I have found) with the 'Seductive Pink' Max Factor Creme Puff blush to give me a summery glow. This Bourjois lipstick in Fuschia Libre is my favourite pink at the moment and layered with the C-3PO Max Factor lipstick, it was the perfect level of shimmer. I love Nars products but even though their Hungry Heart duo is supposed to be a blush/highlighter product, I tend to use it as eyeshadow because it is very light, even on my pasty pale skin!

I love the detail on the back too, even if it could lead to some awkward tan lines!

I never thought I would buy a pair of platform shoes but these sandals were such a bargain that I couldn't resist. For a mere £8, I can feel both ridiculously cool and tall too!

Are you a maxi dress fan?

P.S. I was sent this dress to review but if I didn't love it, I wouldn't feature it!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Crown at Amersham (a review)...

After our trip to the Harry Potter studio tour, we decided to make the most of it and stay down in Amersham rather than driving back. We picked The Crown as it was both reasonably priced and convenient and I was really happy with our stay and can't recommend it enough!


Friday, 8 July 2016

Our trip to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers studio tour... (PICTURE HEAVY)

The Harry Potter tour at the Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden doesn't need much introduction but I can safely say that it was one of the best days out that we have ever had. Even if you aren't fanatical Potterheads, it is super fun and so so interesting, especially if you are a film fan. We arrived for 9.30am and got the digital guides which is definitely worth doing as there is so much to take in! All in all, we were in there for about 5 and a half hours (including a pitstop for lunch) and we could have definitely spent more time there. I would recommend having the films ready to watch after you go as you appreciate them so much more once you see how much work went into them. Plus you can annoy everyone by spouting off useless interesting factoids that you learnt on your tour... ;) We took about a million photos, but these are my favourites, enjoy!


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Chambray and confidence...

As I have got older, I have been less inclined to spend time fussing over my outfits at the weekend, Basing an outfit around my comfiest jeans mean I have more time for fun things like lie-ins or brunch instead! ;) I had never really been one for double denim but this chambray top is so comfortable, that paired with black jeans it managed to convince me. I picked it up in the sale at M&S a while back and although it's not flattering, that's OK. I felt really comfortable here, even if I'm not going to win any fashion awards!

Top: Marks and Spencer, necklace: Warehouse jeans: ASOS, shoes: George at ASDA
The sleeves in this top are my favourite thing about it. I love a fluted sleeve and these certainly add a bit of interest to a plain top. This necklace is one of my recent favourites, I love the simple deco shape of it, even if it is wonky in all of these photos... I have been going make-up free as often as possible recently and not wearing anything other than mascara and lipstick has been doing my skin the world of good. I am more self-conscious about my rosy cheeks (and my embarrassing tendency to blush) but so far no one has run away screaming so I'm counting it as a success! ;)

These dalmatian print shoes have been in my wardrobe for over 4 years and they were the perfect finishing touch for this muted outfit. I will be so sad when they finally give up the ghost, they may have only cost me £12 but they are so comfortable!

Are you a fan of double denim?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Moody florals...

My love for Warehouse is well-documented on this blog and I'll keep shopping there as long as they keep making cute dresses like this! It took me a while to track this dress down instore but I finally managed it and I couldn't have been happier. I love how dramatic this whole outfit is too. Long sleeves are not usually my first choice but I've needed them with the weather being so rubbish and when they are as fun as these, it's hard to be mad! ;)

Dress: Warehouse, tights: John Lewis, shoes: c/o George at ASDA
I got this amazing Nars gift set for Christmas and I absolutely love the different red shades in it. It includes the (limited edition) velvet lipliner in Misdemeanor, a lipstick in Flamenco and the velvet matte lip pencil in Mysterious Red and I couldn't be happier with the selection. I am a big fan of red lipstick and these Nars shades apply like a dream. I was looking particularly pasty pale here so the lipstick looks particularly bold. My hair has grown a lot since we took these pictures but I can't decide how long to let it go as I like how it looks here!

A better look at that awesome floral print... I know florals are hardly groundbreaking but these botanical ones are at least more interesting than your usual.

I think the length of this would be slightly indecent with nude tights so I pulled out my trusty velvet tights to make it a bit more appropriate. Paired with my beloved  heeled shoes they also help to make my less-than-willowy legs look slightly longer too which is never a bad thing!

Help a gal out, how long should I keep my hair?!

Monday, 13 June 2016

China girl...

I am one of those people that has a lot of clothes but I have been pretty brutal recently when it comes to sorting and clearing stuff out. Fun prints will always have a place in my wardrobe and this H&M top was destined to come home with me when I spotted it in the window of my local store. I absolutely fell in love with the sleeves, they are so swooshy and dramatic. This is definitely not a top for the shy and retiring! ;)

Top: H&M, jeans: Gap, shoes: Clarks
The pattern is so detailed and reminds me of china print. There are so many colours that you could match it with but coral is so nice with navy and super summery too... I am obsessed with Bumble and Bumble Styling Creme recently. I don't tend to wear a lot of product in my hair but this has been perfect for adding definition without weighing it down. I bought the travel size from Boots to try it out but I will definitely be buying the full size bottle when this runs out!

These coral shoes always put a smile on my face and they make even gloomy days feel more cheerful. I just wish Clarks would release them in more colours, just imagine how cute they would be in a lemon yellow?!

How do you keep your wardrobe under control?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Peanut butter and banana cookies recipe...

I was recently offered a copy of Eric Lanlard's Afternoon Tea to review and I jumped at the chance. I own a lot of recipe books but very few that are baking focused. This one is beautiful and full of delicious recipes. It's not necessarily a book for complete beginners (I wouldn't know where to start with making tuna and pumpernickel mille feuille for instance!) but there are some interesting twists on classic recipes- I can't wait to try the savoury macarons! I did find it difficult to choose which recipe to try first but I decided to be nice and bake something for Mark for a change! I'm not normally a fan of banana in bakes but these cookies were absolutely divine. I ate 2 when they were fresh out of the oven and spent the next few days working my way through the rest. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Teal and gold polkadot print dress...

You can't really go wrong with a natty printed dress and this cute teal number is a firm favourite in my wardrobe. I bought it from Yumi when I was in St Ives for new year and it was a complete bargain. I don't often go for dresses with sleeves (the perils of always being warm!) or many shirt dresses but I think the shape is pretty flattering on me and the sleeves make ideal for work too! I love jewel colours and teal is definitely one of those colours that works on everyone, especially if it is covered in teeny gold polkadots!

Dress: Yumi, shoes: Marks & Spencer, tights:Tesco
  I have been trying to do more with my make-up recently and although it was impossible to see here, Revlon's ColorStay ShadowLinks eyeshadow in 'Peacock' was the perfect colour for a fun smokey eye. I can't really get into YouTube videos but if there are any make-up tutorials that I really can't miss then let me know, I guess I will have to come out of my comfort zone eventually! ;)

I had been searching for a replacement pair of nude shoes with a block heel for what seemed like years and had almost given up hope when I spotted this pair in good old M&S. They aren't anywhere near as comfy as my other pair but I'm hoping that they will wear in soon as they are a perfect heel height!

Are you a fan of Yumi?

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Dressing like Joan Holloway...

I have been sharing a lot of dressy outfits recently but I promise that I do go to work sometimes! ;) Getting dressed for work in the morning can sometimes be a bit of a challenge (I will always choose an extra 5 minutes of sleep!) but a brightly coloured dress is always an easy option. Sadly since I wore this gorgeous red dress our washing machine took offence and it has shrunk :( I did try and hunt down another one as I loved it so much but as it was a sale piece I wasn't able to replace it so this post will have to serve as a kind of eulogy! This dress reminds me of something Joan Holloway would wear, doesn't this outfit look like this Mad Men cartoon version of me I made way back when?!

Dress: Mango, tights: John Lewis, shoes: c/o George at ASDA
 Red is definitely my favourite colour, I love how unashamedly bold it is and how dramatic it looks against my hair. You know I can't resist a red lipstick and Max Factor's Colour Elixir Lipstick in Ruby Tuesday was the perfect match for both this dress and nail varnish (Essie Russian Roulette FYI)

I don't wear this ring all that often but this dress needed something to jazz it up and as this ring is less than subtle (understatement of the century) it was ideal!

Which TV characters inspire your wardrobe?


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