Summer stripes...

Recently I have been buying less and less clothes from places like Primark and H&M, it wasn't a conscious decision but I felt like I had outgrown the majority of fast fashion, at least I thought so until I saw this stripy dress in H&M! ;) I can't resist cute summery frocks and you all know how much I love red so I was sold as soon as I saw this instore. The weather has been very warm recently and finding weather and work appropriate clothing is next to impossible especially when you add bare legs into the mix! I don't know why I look so unimpressed in these photos, I really loved this outfit and felt super pretty in it, I just wish my face would catch up with my brain!

Dress: H&M, cycling shorts: H&M, cardigan: Tesco, necklace: Accessorize, Bag: Brit Stitch, shoes: Office
Warm weather calls for lighter make-up and my Dr Jart+ Platinum BB Beauty Balm has really come into its own recently, I have never been more in love with a beauty product. I have definitely found my 'holy grail' base, you seriously have to go and buy it! When I was packing, I found this gorgeous red lipstick crayon from Poppy King and I have been wearing it ever since. I only wish I could find it online to repurchase!

I'm a fan of anything that makes my waist look smaller, especially as I have eaten far too much pizza recently and this dress has some natty detailing to nip you in. Paired with a cute cropped cardigan, I was well on my way to a 1950s silhouette- my favourite!

This may be an unpopular opinion and I hate to be that person who complains about the weather but I am not a fan of summer. I am always warm, I can't deal with the humidity and the heat inevitably leads to (whisper it) the dreaded chub rub. I have worn the H&M lace trimmed cycling shorts for the past few years and they are truly ace. I picked these ones up when I was in Edinburgh and have been searching for more colours but to no avail. If anyone sees them in their local stores, please let me know!

Do you have any tips for coping with the heat?

Ruby (Woo) red...

Red is definitely my favourite colour, it looks really dramatic against my pale skin and dark hair and the majority of my favourite dresses have a scarlet hue! I wore this outfit a few weekends ago when Mark and I went to his parents' house for dinner and I got so many compliments on it. Believe it or not, this dress was from Tesco although it looks much more expensive in my opinion. I usually wear it layered over a top but I actually prefer this dressier look. I kept the styling simple with my beloved leopard print belt and pointed heels. For me, the focus was all on the gorgeous colour and that (universally flattering) square neckline... 

Dress: Tesco, belt: New Look, shoes: Marks & Spencer

I bought Mac's Ruby Woo lipstick when I came back off holiday (I can't believe it has taken me so long to invest!) and this was it's first outing. I was slightly concerned about the matte formula but Lush's Mint Julips and some lip balm ensured that it applied flawlessly. I kept the rest of my make up simple, focusing on flawless skin and strong eyebrows (I promise I will be sharing my love of my Sleek brow kit very soon!) I rarely brush my hair but I was craving soft waves so dug out my hairbrush and brushed out my curls, resulting in a 1920s style bob.

I prefer my skirts swooshy so this one ticked all the boxes. I am a massive fan of anything that can skim over my ever-growing stomach and make my waist look smaller and the pleats make this look so elegant. I definitely need more 1950s style dresses and skirts in my wardrobe, I'm kicking myself for not picking up the black and grey versions of this dress!

What colours do you find flattering?

What's black and white and red all over?

No, not a newspaper but this rather ace outfit! I have always been a fan of buying things in different colours if I like them and I loved this lilac Monki maxi so much that I bought the monochrome version too! FYI they are both on sale at the moment too. Go and buy them, you will not regret it. These are the perfect summer dress! I love a skirt that I can waft around in and this does not disappoint, mainly thanks to the slits in the side of the skirt. The skirt trails behind you wonderfully for maximum swooshing potential!

Dress: Monki, shoes: Dorothy Perkins c/o Matilda, bag: Brit Stitch
That week after I get my hair cut is my favourite time of the month. It manages to hold a style but still looks a little bit lived in - the holy grail of hair! I know I have said this a million and one times but cutting my hair off was the best thing I ever did and I couldn't be happier with my bob. It is the perfect cut for the summer, too; no more getting a hot neck! Ever since I bought Ruby Woo on holiday, I have rediscovered my love for red lipstick and this Max Factor Colour Elixir lippie is one of my favourites and works equally well for day or night...

Brit Stitch is a bit of a blogger favourite and for good reason, their bags are gorgeous! I had been looking at buying a satchel for ages but had never taken the plunge as I didn't like the boxy shape of them. Luckily Brit Stitch's Full Pint satchel is curvier and way more 'me'. I love the fact that they are handmade in the UK too, you can see the level of craftsmanship that has gone into each of these! I ummed and ahhed between the poppy and vintage red but I am glad that I went for the latter, it is much more versatile! Although I am totally in love with the bag (I have been known to stroke it lovingly) I wasn't very impressed by the service. My bag was delivered to the wrong address (billing rather than shipping) and I had such a faff getting hold of it which was super frustrating, especially as I love the bag so much! 

Semi-sheer dresses are my favourite when it is warm. You get the coverage of a maxi dress (no need to shave your legs, hoorah!) but you can still see that you have a figure underneath all that fabric ;) I'm wearing my red shoes here but I have worn this dress with everything from my sandals to my trainers, it's nothing if not versatile!

Have you succumbed to the lure of Brit Stitch yet?

Quick and easy lemon, mushroom and rocket risotto recipe...

Risotto is one of those meals that always looks ridiculously complicated to make but is actually super easy. I love it at any time of the year but it works especially well in the summer when you are looking for a quick and easy meal for dinner. 

All orange everything...

This maxi dress is one of my absolute favourites and gets pulled out whenever the weather warms up, it is just so darned floaty and is ridiculously comfy too! I have a serious addiction to Monki and their dresses are some of the most worn items in my wardrobe. I wore this exact outfit to the theatre at the weekend and I had a woman come up to me and ask me where this dress was from as she loved it so much. This never happens to me but I was more than happy to share the Monki love!

Luckily the print is so jazzy that it doesn't really require much accessorising beyond bright nail varnish and this gorgeous Nars shade is the perfect complement. I bought it last year as part of the Nars x Pierre Hardy  Ethno Run set and it is a gorgeous true orange shade. I have a lot of coral shades but this is the one I turn to when I want an orange fix.

These orange sandals were a recent ASOS purchase and they are so pretty and are perfect for adding some colour to my summer outfits. I really love leather sandals but  there is nothing worse than trying to break them in. The leather hasn't softened yet so my feet are still a little bit sore. Despite this, I am seriously tempted by the turquoise pair too, they are another great colour that would fit happily into my wardrobe... 

Which colours can't you get enough of?

Printed pyjama pants...

I know pants is an American term but it fits so much better than trousers in this situation! Jazzy trousers are one of those things that I love on other people but was never convinced by them on myself, until recently. I picked up a couple of pairs of printed trousers from Matalan and they are so comfy! I have been wearing them for work and at the weekend and their lightness makes them perfect for the warm weather we have been having. I love their slimline shape and the elasticated waist is just a bonus in my eyes ;) I have been loving longline tops and cardigans recently and Matalan came up trumps with this gorgeous white blouse. I had been looking for one for a while and I really like how simple this one is. It does have fluted sleeves but it was still pretty chilly first thing so my cardigan was definitely staying on! 

Cardigan: gift c/o Matilda, top: Matalan, camisole: Tesco, trousers: Matalan, shoes: George at ASDA, sleepy face: model's own

This cardi was a gift from my friend Matilda and it is such a gorgeous colour. I have worn it so much that it has developed a hole though so I am trying not to wear it as often. The morning light has been so pretty recently and it is massively flattering too! None of my lipsticks seem to be quite the right colour recently so I have been layering up colours to get the perfect shade. This was a mix of Max Factor Ballistic and my bargain red lipstick from Tesco to get that slightly deeper red. The one problem with moving is that I won't have such pretty backdrops for my photos, I will miss all of this green space!

You know how much I love red, white and navy together and the print on these trousers is ace. You know I have a pretty relaxed dress code at work but the navy definitely helps to smarten these up although I'm sure they'd be equally at home on the beach! I wasn't sure which shoes to pair with these as I don't have many pointed pairs but these nude shoes were a safe compromise, at least until I can get some red pointed heels...

Any tips for where to look for some red pointed heels? 

A low-key weekend look...

As you may have seen from my recent Instagram posts, Mark and I are moving house! We have found a lovely flat and are moving at the beginning of July. As you can imagine, we have a lot of stuff to sort so our weekends and evenings have been pretty hectic recently, hence the lack of blogging. Hopefully things will calm down soon as I miss reading (and commenting on) everyone's posts. This Monki dress was a sales bargain from a while ago and I hadn't worn it until last weekend as I was a little worried about how sheer it is. Luckily when I was in Edinburgh I managed to find some of H&M's infamous lace trimmed cycling shorts that meant this dress was good to go. The slits in this mean that this will definitely be a weekend dress, it is a little too risqué even for my office's dress code!

Dress: Monki, shorts: H&M, shoes: H&M, belt: New Look

I have been trying to wear less make up day to day and although I have successfully weaned myself off my foundation and onto my beloved BB cream (ILU Dr Jart!) I rarely go bare-faced. My skin has been slightly better though so I just brushed my eyebrows and added some moisturiser hence the slightly more washed out look than normal. I don't think this will be a regular thing but it's good to know that the world won't stop if I forgo mascara ;)

I'm not convinced that this midi length is massively flattering on me but it's perfectly floaty for the warm weather! The best part about sorting through all your stuff is rediscovering old favourites and I was so chuffed to uncover these H&M peep toe flats, I wore them to death when I was at uni!
I love the tie dye effect of this print and it is surprisingly wearable thanks to the black elements of it. My trusty black belt was pulled out of the box we had packed it into as this dress is pretty shapeless without it and I can't resist adding one, I blame Gok Wan and one too many episodes of 'How to Look Good Naked' for my belt obsession!

The most unflattering dress I own...

I wasn't going to post about this dress because it's not the most flattering cut on me but then I thought screw it, I love it and it is one of the most fun pieces I own. It doesn't matter if my belly looks round here because when my legs look this good, who is gonna notice?! This was quite a revelation for me, I am one of the most self-conscious people I know so having the courage (such a silly word to use when all you are doing is going out into public!) to wear it despite my body hang ups was weirdly liberating. I was pretty proud of myself afterwards too, pushing out of your comfort zone is a necessity for me, I am far too happy in my own little bubble!

Dress: ASDA, shoes: Marks & Spencer, necklace:gift but I think it is from M&S

I had forgotten about this necklace until I unearthed it whilst looking for another necklace I had lost. I got it as a birthday present years ago and hadn't really worn it in the meantime but when I saw how perfectly the colours matched, I was chuffed. There's nothing quite like finding old favourites to cheer you up! Now that the weather is nicer I probably should have gone for a brighter pink lipstick rather than this berry shade but I'm having difficulty giving up my dark berry lipsticks just yet!

A trumpet style has to be the most fun you can have with a hemline, they are just so darned sassy! I really love the print of this dress, it looks like a thick woolly bouclé/tweed but is actually a kind of stretchy polyester which is much easier to wear, even in summer!

What is the most unflattering thing in your wardrobe?

Styling a jumpsuit...

It's been a while since I last wore a jumpsuit (nearly 3 years in fact!) but I have no idea know why as I really love them! I had a bit of a faff with this jumpsuit when I first bought it as the large (my usual size) just looked too oversized so I sized down and the medium is perfect. I know jumpsuits aren't for everyone but this one is just slouchy enough to be comfortable and I feel really darned cool in it. It's from my beloved Monki but you can get it even cheaper over at ASOS and I really recommend you do, this is one of the best outfits that I have worn recently! The Edinburgh cobbles certainly help with the cool factor too...

Jumpsuit: Monki, bag: Monki, shoes: Marks & Spencer
I ended up looking a bit 80s business woman in this outfit thanks to this blazer but that's never a bad thing in my book and I definitely felt super sassy strutting along the Royal Mile! I can't be the only one who's obsessed with Absolute 80s can I?  I swear it's the only thing that is keeping me upbeat at the moment with all the stress of packing!

I kept my make-up fairly simple as the jumpsuit was statement enough- just some liquid eyeliner (I am definitely improving!) and Allure, my favourite peachy lipstick from the Poppy King x No.7 range. This dainty deco-inspired necklace was the perfect finishing touch and subtle enough not to compete with that awesome graphic squiggly print! I was stupid enough to forget to pack my hot brush when I went away so my hair went au naturel. Luckily I was still able to wrangle it into something resembling a style so I am planning to cut back on using heat on my hair, I didn't for years but this shorter cut does require a bit more maintenance!

The legs on this jumpsuit are slightly cropped so are perfect for showing off your shoes. Thanks to packing restrictions I didn't have many shoes with me but I am planning to try it out with my teal and orange shoes soon which should be awesome!

Would you ever wear a jumpsuit?

Plum, amaretto and almond cake recipe...

I have been trying to bake more this year and I came up with this recipe after trying to think of a way to use up some plums from the freezer. I was going to make stewed plums but a craving for cake led to this delicious plum, amaretto and almond cake. The plums were quite sharp which contrasted nicely with the super sweet cake, I will definitely be making this one again (you know how much I love cake with amaretto in!) I was also super excited to use my Kenwood mixer (!!!) , it makes baking so much easier!

Edinburgh: the food and drink...

One of the (many) reasons why I love Twitter and the blogging community is how helpful everyone is! After I put a shout out on Twitter asking for recommendations for places to eat in Edinburgh, I had lot of really fab ideas and a list as long as my arm, of places we wanted to visit. We were lucky enough to get some restaurant vouchers for Christmas (best presents EVER!) and saved them up for our hols. Apologies for the Instagram shots, I was having too much fun stuffing my face to take proper pictures ;) 

I know that St Andrews is not technically in Edinburgh, but this Sunday night pud set the tone for the rest of the week: award-winning mint choc chip from Janettas Ice Cream Parlour

After dumping all of our stuff in our hotel, we headed straight to the National Gallery and enjoyed some cake in the sunshine. Very expensive but a lovely way to ease ourselves into a week of eating and drinking huge amounts! ;)

We decided to go for breakfast at Beanscene on our first day as it came highly recommended by lots of people and we both loved it. Fab atmosphere, brilliant food and really reasonable prices too. Well worth a visit if you can get to one!

You can't go to Scotland without having an IrnBru (or two!) One of my favourite drinks, I blame my Dad's Scottish roots...

Wagamamas is one of our favourite restaurants and although we loved the food (as always) the service in the Edinburgh branch was pretty awful :( This was massively disappointing as I have never had a bad experience with them up till now.

On our way back from a fab evening meal at Bella Italia, we decided to head to the Itchycoo Bar at the Radisson Blu and I tried their signature cocktail: it had Islay Botanist gin, Absolut citron, apple juice and lemonade and it was delicious

I really don't think there is a better named cafe anywhere in the world! Has Beans was ace and really pretty inside, they had a gorgeous map on the wall that I wanted to run off with! 

You don't get better comfort food than scrambled egg and beans on toast! 

The Pioneer burger at Holyrood 9a was absolutely fantastic, the best thing I have eaten in weeks. It was a burger with sauteed rosemary, wild mushrooms, crispy bacon, Swiss cheese and garlic mayo, I am drooling at the mere thought of it! Another fab place with an amazing selection of beer (not really my thing) and burgers (oh yes) - I wish this was my local pub! 

French martinis always remind me of the lovely Lil, my Aussie blogger pals and a certain Aussome night on the London Eye ahem. These were delicious, I could definitely get used to drinking them! I now also have a special fondness for Holyrood 9a, as the lovely Daisy recognised me and came and said hello which totally made my evening! 

Edinburgh: the sights... (VERY PICTURE HEAVY)...

Edinburgh is one of my favourite places in the world and I was super psyched to show Mark around. In total we spent 2 whole days (plus an afternoon and a morning) and 3 evenings in the Scottish capital and enjoyed every minute. We took far too many photos and found it really difficult to narrow it down so I have just shared my favourites here. Apologies for the Insta-spam over the last week too, I got more than a little snap happy! ;)  I was pretty impressed with how much we managed to fit into our few short days here but there was plenty more we would have liked to have seen, I guess we will just have to book another trip! Many thanks to everyone who shared their recommendations for things to do and eat/drink, I will be sharing some of my favourite foodie places we tried over the next few days too if you are interested?

The castle may be a bit of a tourist cliche but it is pretty darn spectacular, especially in the sunshine!