A foolproof lemon drizzle cake recipe...

Lemon drizzle cake is one of those cakes where everyone seems to have a preferred way of making it but this recipe is my favourite and is super easy to follow too! Luckily it doesn't require much in the way of prep and you can have a delicious cake within an hour. The secret to a good lemon drizzle cake is the syrup on top and this one is just perfect, it is sweet but has a slight sharpness to cut through the sponge. I made this along with my tea loaf when Mark's grandparents came to see our flat and it went down a treat  with them and when I took it into work- always the sign of a good bake I think! This cake also freezes very well so you can make it in batches and have a constant supply on hand which I will never turn my nose up at! ;)

Navy blue and ruby red...

There's nothing particularly ground breaking about a navy dress but when you find one that fits you like a glove, then you snap that baby up, however 'basic' it is and especially when it's on sale! I go through phases with Gap, they have some really gorgeous stuff but sometimes it feels a bit too grown up for me. It does make me wonder, will there ever come a point where I feel grown up enough to class myself as an adult or does imposter syndrome apply to age too?! Despite my worries, I felt so pulled together in this dress and although simple, it was a really fun outfit to wear. It was so windy when we were taking these photos, hence why I look so bedraggled but I promise you that I looked more pulled together when safely ensconced inside!

Dress: Gap, necklace: Accessorize via my friend Jules, shoes: Topshop
I have committed the ultimate fashion faux pas here, matching my lipstick to my nails! Essie 'Aperitif' and Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Ruby Tuesday are the perfect match and the ruby red jazzes up the navy blue perfectly. I look particularly pasty pale in these photos  but I actually like the contrast with my hair as it is just so dramatic! I seem to have been wearing jewellery less recently but I found this when looking for a different one and remembered how much I love it. It was a gift from my friend Jules and every time I wear it, I am reminded of just how nice she is :)

These sparkly gold shoes were another recent rediscovery (I may have too many pairs of shoes) and they have barely come off my feet as they are just so darned comfy. Now I just need shoe makers to make them in every colour under the rainbow so that I have a block heel to match every outfit! The waist on this dress is much lower than my natural waist so I was a bit apprehensive about wearing it but the pleats mean that it still nips me in at the waist without drowning me in material which is always a good thing!

Which clothes make you feel like a 'grown up'?

Cadbury purple...

As you may have seen, I had my hair cut recently and decided to get a fringe cut in. I had been umming and aahing about it for ages and I finally decided to trust my hairdresser and just go with whatever she came up with. I figured it's only hair and if I hated it, it would grow back right? Recently all I want to wear are jumper dresses and this Cadbury purple one is one of my current favourites!  I wouldn't really classify this as a particularly exciting outfit but this blog is all about the highs and lows of my life and wardrobe so I wanted to share it anyway. This dress was originally from Sainsbury's (supermarkets have some seriously nice clothes in at the moment) but I got it from Matilda- I love having a friend who is the same size as me! It is probably long enough to wear with tights but it was a fairly chilly day so I thought leggings were the better option... 

Dress: Sainsbury's via Matilda, leggings: Tesco, boots: c/o Spartoo, necklace: Accessorize
A better look at my fringe! I have almost adjusted to it now but I still keep catching glimpses of myself in windows and mirrors and not recognising myself! I have managed to get my styling routine down now too although my current straighteners are feeling a bit ropy. I am seriously tempted by the GHD mini stylers but they are pretty pricy so I am going to have to save up! I have had this necklace for years (I think I originally bought it back in 2010!) and it makes any outfit look dressed up, perfect for when you want minimum effort for maximum return!

I was so thrilled when I rediscovered my favourite boots at the back of my wardrobe. I hadn't unpacked the box when we moved so there were a few things that I had forgotten I owned. They are looking a bit worse for wear but I guess that is the problem with wearing a pair of suede boots into the ground!

Which straighteners would you recommend?

Fruity tea loaf recipe...

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about making this cake, Tea loaf is one of my absolute all time favourites and my mum does it so well that I didn't think I would be able to compare. Luckily I managed to make sense of the recipe that my mum sent over to me and the cake was just delicious. I made this as Mark's grandparents came over to see our new (ish) flat and it was lovely. It also went down a treat when I took it into work and as none of my colleagues have (yet) died of food poisoning, I'm going to count this as a success!

Sheer and squares...

Here I present you with the final outfit post with my old hair! This outfit is usually something that I would wear to work but I was so excited to wear it that I busted it out on the weekend instead. I rarely buy things at full price but when I saw this top in Warehouse, I couldn't resist, I told you that shop was lethal! I really like the length of this top and hides a food baby nicely ;) I'm lucky that I don't have a proper dress code at work  but if you do then I imagine you could swap these jeans for some slim black or grey trousers and add a smart blazer for a smart (and fun!) work outfit... 

Top: Warehouse, jeans: ASOS, shoes: Clarks
The print on this top is really unusual and I really like the sheer panels too, they make a simple shape way more interesting! I paired this outfit with Revlon's Just Bitten Cherish stick here but I imagine it would look equally nice with a bright pink lipstick or a blue smoky eye, wouldn't that be ace?!

I have raved about this bag a lot and you can see why- it is a gorgeous brown-y burgundy leather, it is the perfect size for all of my usual junk that I carry round and it even has enough room for a book, bravo Clarks, you have done it again!

Bag: Clarks
These gorgeous suede shoes were another Clarks sales bargain and I really love them. They don't seem to be available on the site any more but you can get a better look at that gorgeous gold block here. I find suede shoes so easy to wear and these required minimal breaking in, whereas this pair are still causing me some trouble- do you have any tips for breaking in shoes?

What make-up looks would you wear with this shirt? How would you style this top for work?

Boozy garlic and sage chicken...

As you may have seen, I have had to switch to a low carb diet so protein, especially chicken, is a huge part of my meals at the moment. I had a real craving for roast chicken the other day so I decided to adapt Leon's 'chicken with 100 cloves of garlic' for our Sunday lunch. Apologies for any vegetarians out there, there are a lot of pictures of meat in this post! ;) The meat from this chicken went a long way and the flavour just got better after it went cold- I will definitely be making this again!

From Max Factor to MAC: my favourite lipsticks...

I am a long-time fan of lipstick and this is a long-overdue post about the shades I can't live without. I have definitely upgraded my brands since I last did a round-up in 2010 (!) but my fondness for bright shades hasn't faded! My dark hair and pale skin can make certain shades look quite dramatic but for me, lipstick is the easiest and most fun way to make you look and feel more polished without too much effort. I have tried to share pictures where you can actually see the lipstick as it appears on my face and have linked to the outfit posts they came from too. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to see how a lipstick looks when it's worn, whether that is with a few layers or blotted down... I know that some people are nervous about wearing bright colours but start with lipstains and build up the layers or put it on half an hour before you leave the house and I can guarantee that you will have forgotten to be self-conscious by the time you leave!

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Although I may flirt with other red lipsticks, Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Ruby Tuesday is my favourite red lipstick and it looks equally good dressed up or down. I wear it so often that it was really tough to choose some pictures to show it off but hopefully these ones give an idea of just how bright a red it is.

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Confusingly, Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick Pink Brandy is a peachy coral shade rather than a pink and is one of my favourite neutral shades. You can build up the colour but I prefer it with just one layer. It's enough of a colour to make you look pulled together but without distracting from your outfit. One of my favourites and one I have repurchased many times, I think you can see how well-used it is from the pictures!

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This Bd Lip Melt Cherry Bomb was a £2 bargain from Tesco and whilst it is glossier than my Max Factor lipsticks, I think that is what makes it so easy to wear. Another shade that works best with a couple of layers to give you a proper pout! It just goes to show that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a great colour and pay off though, for example, I prefer this one to the much more expensive Lady Bug from MAC!

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This Max Factor lipstick (Bewitching Coral) is a bright pink (see the gorgeous Amy raving about it here) but is also one of those colours that seems to pick up the tones around it, as you can see from these photos! It's not one that I reach for every day but it is one that works really well when the sun is shining...

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MAC Lady Bug was one of the first MAC lipsticks I bought and although some people rave about the lustre finish, I'm not a massive fan. It makes my lips feel really slippery and the lasting power is absolutely awful. This is the one I always reach for when I want a neutral red (does that even make sense?!) that doesn't compete too much with stronger eye make-up.

MAC Lady Danger is the newest addition to my lipstick stash and is a really fab orange-y red. It is the perfect match for both my biker coat and this gorgeous silk dress and I love how bright it is. I am a firm believer in the transformative power of a bright lippie and this one makes me feel like I can take on the world without breaking my stride- what more can you ask for in a lipstick?!

MAC Impassioned is a perfect neon pink that is guaranteed to cheer up even the gloomiest day and is a shade that I imagine would suit anyone, whatever your skin tone, I mean just look how fun it is!

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Another gorgeous pink shade that I can;t live without! I picked up this Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick in Pink Pong 06 for a couple of pounds but I don't know why it was reduced as it was still sealed but thanks Boots! You also get a sneak peek at my new fringe too, I haven't managed to get a proper outfit post so far but I really really love it :D

Are you a lipstick fan? Which ones should I add to my collection?