Monday, 28 November 2011

Sequin Mondays...

12 comments:
I first heard about #sequinmonday from the lovely Susie and it was definitely the inspiration behind this outfit. For many people, Monday is the signifier of a new week, about about as far from sparkly as you could get but for me, Monday was my day off before I started my latest project... I am now working as a marketing intern for The Roses Theatre and I couldn't be more excited! These photos celebrate the last of my Mondays off and (hopefully) the start of a shiny future... 

Top: Principles from Debenhams, jeans: Topshop, cardigan: stolen from my mum,  necklace: Primark , sparkly brogues: Limited Collection at Marks & Spencer. 
When it comes to styling up jeans, there is one name that always pops into my head. Jen writes over at 'A Little Bird Told Me' and always looks absolutely impeccable in her denim based outfits. In fact, I always think of these as my Jen jeans [I'm not creepy I promise] and look to her blog for some sartorial inspiration when I wear them...


I am a little disappointed with how these photos came out if I'm honest, I really loved this outfit with it's pop of colour but it looks rather lacklustre in these photos :( 


I bought this necklace after spying MJ in a similar one.. I think it is clear to see that I was heavily inspired by other bloggers with this outfit...


 A subtle sparkle to lift a neutral cardigan...


... and some sparkly brogues made for an outfit which I felt was worthy of #sequinmonday! 

How do you lift your spirits? Which bloggers inspire you?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Keep or return: ASDA polo neck jumper...

14 comments:
Usually when I write these kind of posts I know what I want the answer to be, but on this jumper I am really torn! I picked it up at work on double disciount day so it was a very reasonable price but I'm just not sure if it suits me....


Jumper: George at ASDA, shorts: New Look, shoes: New Look, necklace: Topshop. 
It would probably be one of the more practical pieces in my wardrobe, especially in the cold weather but then I'm not sure if the high neck just makes me look shapeless? 


In my head I look very chic and very much like Audrey Hepburn but I fear that my chest needs more freedom that the polo neck allows... 



Plus, there is the difficult issue of how to style it without looking like someone's mum (as evidenced by these photos!) 


Keep or return? How would you style it? 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Jazz hands...

18 comments:
Before this year I was never a big fan of jumpers. I was always warm and jumpers were just not convenient when I was frantically shedding layers when I came in from the cold. This year though, I have been drawn to them and I have steadily amassed a rather cosy collection. Paired with these oh so versatile shorts from good old H&M, I had a slightly warmer version of this outfit... 

Jumper: Primark, shorts: H&M, lace socks: Topshop, brogues: Marks & Spencer, necklace: Accessorize,  bag: vintage.
Paired with my oh so snuggly coat from Miss Selfridge, I was on to a winner! I saw this coat online when I was looking for a thin, warm, rainproof coat and the gold zip and faux fur convinced me that this was a worthy addition to my coat collection... 


For someone who was once completely scared by brogues, I have added another pair to my wardrobe very quickly! The glittery accent and muted metallic colour makes these the perfect party shoes, especially as I can dance in them all night! Originally I was going to wear the brogues without the socks but I thought they brought in the colour of the jumper and made the outfit look more 'fashiony'. It also had the added benefit of pushing me out of my comfort zone, which is no bad thing!


My favourite chunky necklace and my favourite rings , I simply can't get enough of gold jewellery at the moment, it looks so nice with all the rich warm colours around at this time of year!


You can't have sparkly 'jazz shoes' without some sparkly jazz hands to match! 


Would you wear sparkly brogues? Do you try to make your outfits more 'fashionable'? 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Homemade fig roll recipe...

7 comments:
You all know how much I love The Cookiepedia and I was determined to try out as many recipes as possible after I got it. I have always loved fig rolls and so this recipe was top of my list... Although the recipe said that they tasted of shop bought fig rolls, I thought this recipe wasn't anywhere near as sweet and much more like jam roly poly! 



Chop up 1 1/4 cups of dried figs...



Heat the figs, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water until the mixture reaches a boil.



Lower the heat and cook until it starts to look like a thick, jammy paste. Set it aside to cool...



Cream 1/2 cup of unsalted butter and 1 cup of light brown sugar until light and fluffy...


Prepare the zest of a whole orange. [The recipe said to use a tablespoon of zest but I like things to be a bit less sweet]  Add this, with 1 egg and 3/4 of a teaspoon of vanilla extract, to the mix until combined. Sift 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of plain flour, 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a bowl. Add it gradually to the butter mixture...



Beat the mixture until combined and turn the dough out onto a piece of cling-film. Flatten it into a disk shape, wrap it tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour... If you were sensible you would do this stage before making the figgy jam but I am a fool and so had to wait for the hour... doh! 




Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface a 20cm by 33cm rectangle. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper and trim 2 1/2 cm off each of the edges to form straight lines.



Spread half the fig filling lengthwise down the middle third of the dough...



Fold one third of the dough over the filling (using the parchment to guide your fold). Repeat with the remaining third, letting it overlap the first third a little...



Press the layers together gently to keep it together and turn out onto a lined baking tray. Place both halves onto it, seam-side up and about 10cm apart. 



Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes then bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and firm. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into generous 4cm-wide slices with a serrated knife. Serve with a hot cup of tea for a yummy afternoon treat!

Do you like fig rolls? 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Poppy red...

11 comments:
When I first put this outfit together I wasn't even consciously thinking about Remembrance day but as I added red accessories and pinned on my poppy , it was obviously at the forefront of my mind. I think it is so important to remember those who have participated in whatever way in any conflicts and to honour their memory. 

Dress: NW3 by Hobbs, shoes: ASOS, bag: NW3 by Hobbs
Once again, Hobbs came up trumps when I was searching for a cosy jumper dress, this one was reduced to a very reasonable £29 in the sale and I fell in love with it as soon as it arrived. It is definitely one of those outfits that looks better in real life as all the photos made me look much heavier, but the chunky knit was so cosy I didn't even mind! 


The gold buttons added to the nautical styling which I ended up picking up with the vibrant red accessories...


I honestly don't think I could love this bag any more. It is just so RED AND SHINY! 


I call these my dancing shoes. They are super thin satin so aren't the most comfortable or practical but red shoes traditionally marry pleasure with pain


I am slowly weaning myself back on to lipstick (after going through a phase where I wore it all the time) and this red lipstick is perfect for the colder weather. Rimmel have come up trumps again

We will remember them. 
What do you wear in the colder weather? Do you have a pair of 'dancing shoes'? 

Monday, 14 November 2011

World diabetes day...

7 comments:

I know this is a bit of a heavy topic but diabetes is something I am really passionate about. I have written about diabetes on the blog before but I thought that 'World Diabetes Day' was as good a time as any to share this. I originally wrote this article for the Elle writing competition back in August but as I never heard back from them I thought it may be interesting to share it here. 


I was seven when it happened. I left the doctors surgery with a feeling of dread but without truly knowing what it would mean. On 5th August 1997 I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and nothing was ever the same again. Now I realise this all sounds completely over-dramatic, I mean there are people in much worse states all over the world, but adjusting to being diabetic has been an ongoing process and has led to more than a few ups and downs over the years. To be honest, I don’t know how my parents coped. I am the oldest of five children and my youngest brother had been born only a couple of weeks before, yet my parents (and my mother especially) just took it in their stride. For the first few years after diagnosis I refused to tell anyone, including my friends at school, because I felt that if I ignored it then it would disappear. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case at all and I was in hospital more often than I was in school. A yoyo is a fitting metaphor for me and my diabetes; I have swung from high to low (quite literally with my blood sugars!) over the years and at one point I was given only a few months to live if I continued at the same rate. After some horrific teenage years where I refused to take my injections, again thinking that denial would be the best policy, I realised the horrific impact I was having on both my body and my family. I also suffered from low self esteem and depression for a long time and I think this is a direct result of these actions. It wasn’t fair to keep putting my family through this, so I really tried to get it all under control but once again my body wasn’t co-operating. When I was 15 I had 50% attendance at school due to my hospital stays and my diabetes was spiralling out of control, despite the 4 injections I was taking every day. It is no joke to say that I felt like a pincushion for most of my teens... luckily this ensured that I would never ever try drugs as I failed to comprehend why people would choose to stick needles into their body. I’m sure this is one thing that my parents are grateful for!


Just before I took my GCSEs I started insulin pump therapy and started dating my current boyfriend Mark, two other huge milestones in my life. The insulin pump meant that I was able to fulfil my potential at school and eventually college and the support of my boyfriend has ensured that I never gave up on my dream to go to university. My parents weren’t keen, after all everyone has heard the horror stories about the binge drinking and wild parties that go on at uni and diabetes has never coped well with either . Determination, and more than a hint of stubbornness, meant that I started at the University of Warwick in 2008 and I can honestly say that they were the best three years of my life. Of course it was difficult, I didn’t have the safety net of my family and I actually missed my first week because my diabetes decided to play up the night before I was due to move into halls. Luckily though, Mark ended up at the same uni and this reassured my parents that I wasn’t going to be completely thrown in at the deep end. University taught me a lot of things but most importantly it taught me that I can do anything I want to. 

For years, my diabetes seemed like a punishment; who was going to want to employ someone who wasn’t always capable of looking after themselves? Who would want to date someone who has ‘hypolipotrophy’ or as I fondly named it, a ‘salami sausage’ ring around their stomach as a result of insulin injections? Who would want to be friends with someone who has to be more careful when going out, who may have to leave the party early to go home? The answer is lots of people. I have been lucky enough to have amazing family, friends and workmates. My diabetes is not the thing people remember me for but rather my love of floral dresses and bright colours, cheesy pop music and yummy food. Being a diabetic has made me stronger, more determined to succeed and made me appreciate the ‘smaller things’ in life. It also means that I am completely unfazed by hospitals or anything involving needles. Once you have spent hours waiting around for hospital appointments, any fear you may have is quickly replaced with boredom. I still don’t have my diabetes completely under control but I am trying and surely that’s the most important thing. My diabetes has shaped me but it doesn't define me and I wear my ‘salami sausage’ as a trophy, proof that things can get better and that it doesn't have to be the end of your plans. I graduated from university, I have a wonderful boyfriend, lovely family and amazing friends. I am also diabetic and living proof that there is no such thing as a lost cause. A lot of things have changed since 1997, and I for one, am glad. 

What has made you the person you are today? 

P.S. If you have any questions then I will be more than happy to answer them !  

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Check it out...

10 comments:
Apologies for the truly terrible pun but I just couldn't resist it! I had been searching for a checked skirt for ages but all of the styles I saw were either ridiculously short (and I mean bum-skimming!) or really expensive. This ASOS one was still fairly expensive but when it arrived, it looked even nicer in real life and most importantly, I could sit down on it! 
  
Jumper: River Island, skirt: ASOS, tights: Primark, shoes: Urban Outfitters from Ebay, top (not seen): Mango.
I wanted a cute and cosy outfit and so this adorable bow jumper from River Island was perfect!  I think adding a jumper to cute skirts is one of the quickest and easiest ways to transition more summery outfits into the colder weather. I was sure I had posted about this jumper before but after a trawl through the archives I am ashamed to say that this gorgeous woolly knit has not yet been shown off! It was really bought as a replacement for this jumper after Mark shrunk it and has proven to be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. I have to be honest, it was the gorgeous bows that first drew me to this but the gorgeous powder blue colour definitely helped!



As inspired by Vicky, who always layers the most gorgeous necklaces with her winter woollies, this girl is definitely my winter style inspiration!

Necklace: charity shop

A bit of an impulse buy from the Topshop sale. I always love Topshop jewellery but the necklaces always seem to fall apart after one wear so I now hunt out the chunkier rings that (hopefully) will last a little bit longer...



Gorgeous nails courtesy of my lovely friend Lisa who gave me the mini 'Angel nails' Max Factor nail varnish for my birthday. It is the most gorgeous champagne gold which looks completely different with each outfit, it really is love!


How do you make your outfits more wintry? Who is your winter style inspiration? 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Evergreen...

14 comments:
Green. The colour of nature, new beginnings, fresh starts but also the colour of jealousy, and envy. For me of course, it is the colour of my ASDA uniform and whilst that is a more virulent shade of green (think Kermit coloured!) rather than putting me off,  it seems I can't get enough of bright green, especially when it comes in the form of a rather darling maxi skirt. I have been dressing up more on my days off as I have to wear a uniform for the rest of the time and I think this has done wonders for my creativity, I feel so inspired to experiment when I look at my wardrobe that more 'interesting' outfits like this are inevitable!

Top: Oasis, skirt: Topshop, belt: vintage, boots: stolen from my sister, necklaces: 'Love' necklace from Sarah and flower necklace from Italy. 
 You all know how much I love maxi skirts and this vibrant green called out to me when I was in Selfridges the other day. I was a little wary of buying it as it was a size 12 in Topshop (a size smaller than I would normally wear) and very very green but when I tried it on I could have even gone down to a size 10 [crazy sizing in shops really bugs me but that's a whole new blog post!] There is SO much material that I was worried about drowning in all the fabric so I felt a fitted top and tightly cinched belt would help to resolve these issues but I'm not sure if it just makes me look really shapeless still? 


In the end, this outfit became all about the accessories... My trusty brown belt came out again...


I stole my sister's brown wedge boots, mainly because I was too lazy to find my own but in the end I think these worked even better and gave me that little bit of height I need until I can work out how to steal Jazmine's legs! 


Whenever I find rings that fit my fat sausage fingers I snap them up and these beauties (plus a few more) were a steal from good old H&M


This necklace I have literally had for years, since I last went to Italy in my first year of college. I picked it up in a random souvenir shop after being swayed by the gorgeous mother-of-pearl flowers... and then never wore it. It became one of those things that I was loath to throw away but had never found the right outfit for , until now! The gorgeous 'Love' necklace is from the lovely Sarah who I have been lucky enough to meet a few times and who I absolutely adore! 


Excuse the bathroom shot but it was impossible to find anywhere light in our house and I wasn't going to risk my camera outside in the rain! I have been trying to experiment more with my make-up and hair recently and tried out a smokey khaki eye to add a little bit of interest. My hair I just pinned back at the crown to give me a bit of volume and embraced my natural curl on the ends.. 

Are you inspired to experiment with your wardrobe? How would you style this skirt?

P.S. The gorgeous Amy has featured me HERE to celebrate her lovely blog's second birthday, stop by and say hello!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Little red dress...

16 comments:
I think Zara's bodycon, fit and flare dresses became ubiquitous on bloggers a while ago and I can totally see why! The material is sturdy enough to keep you sucked in in all the right places but skims neatly over all of those lumps and bumps you would rather not draw attention to. 

Dress:Zara, belt: New Look, tights: Primark, brogues: Primark, leather jacket: New Look, hat: River Island
The shape of this dress immediately made me think of Sarah [a girl after my own heart with her overflowing wardrobe of dresses!] especially with the addition of sleeves! The swooshy skirt was just an added bonus! 


In an attempt to tone down the girlishness of the dress, I paired it with my trusty opaques and brogues. I was never a fan of brogues but had to buy some for work and I like the way they add something a bit different to an outfit. With the combination of the brogues, the bright red of the dress and the leather jacket, I felt super confident and ready to take on anyone...


Red is definitely a colour that I am drawn to, I love the contrast with my dark hair and pale skin and it always makes me feel super confident. It is one of those shades that forces you to walk a little taller and meet everyone's eye, ideal for when you need a bit of a boost or pushing out of your comfort zone!


Although I have never been a fan of leopard print, this belt has helped to change my mind, I love adding it to plainer outfits for a bit of excitement.


 I guess the same could be said for this hat! I loved it when I wore it to play Poohsticks and it is guaranteed to be a conversation starter whenever I wear it... not bad for an impulse buy from River Island!

What colour always makes you feel confident? How do you jazz up plainer outfits? 

P.S. The gorgeous Amy has featured me HERE to celebrate her lovely blog's second birthday, stop by and say hello!

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