Saturday, 28 February 2015

The perfect jumper dress...

Weekends for me fall into one of two types- jam-packed and full of nice food and dressy outfits  and travelling to see friends and family or slobbing around, doing as little as possible whilst binging through series on Netflix- please tell me someone else is as obsessed with Agents of Shield as I am?! This outfit was worn for a weekend like the latter a few weeks ago, quite often  I won't bother to get dressed and you will find me happily curled up in my 'slob suit' but I had to make a run to Tesco so had to wear proper clothes which was a bit of a shock to the system! I rediscovered this Monki dress at the back of my wardrobe- yes I know, I need to have a proper clearout! I bought this dress back in January 2014 (along with this dress and these tights- I was clearly having a burgundy moment!) and although I have worn it a lot, it has never made it to the blog, until now! Although this is a super cosy outfit, it is slim fitting enough to be flattering and I don't boil to death which is always a bonus, I think I have finally found the perfect jumper dress!

Dress: Monki, leggings: ASOS, shoes: Principles stolen from my Mum
This snood is so comfy and I have been grabbing it to wear nearly every day this winter. It's a purple-y grey colour but is one that seems to change with whatever outfit I wear it with. I also dug out my Poppy King x No. 7 'Sheer Wine' lipstick too as it is the perfect match for anything burgundy. I don't tend to wear make-up at the weekend but a swipe of lipstick always makes me feel pulled together!

A better look at that gorgeous rib knit and those gorgeous shoes which I finally managed to steal from my mum (always a winner!) I seem to be wearing leggings more and more recently and this pair from ASOS are super soft and comfy. I can't wait to be old, I'm already all about elasticated waists and comfy shoes ;)

Which TV series should I watch next? Send me your recommendations please!


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Feeling like a million dollars...

Anyone who has ever read this blog knows that I will take any opportunity to get all dressed up and this outfit was the perfect accompaniment to our meal at Jamie's. I don't always wear all black but when the textures and fabrics are this fun, how can you resist? I felt like a million dollars in this outfit and I really wanted to celebrate that with these pictures. I mean confidence is always worth celebrating, amirite?! For full luxury vibes I paired my outfit with this gorgeous camel coat which I got off Mark for my birthday, it may be brighter but it is still chilly out there! The length of this coat can be a pretty tricky one when you are as short as I am but paired with heels or slim trousers, it works quite nicely.

Coat: H&M (gift from Mark), top: ASOS, skirt: Monki, shoes: Whistles via eBay
I couldn't believe just how pale I ended up looking in these pictures, I suppose the contrast helps the black look more dramatic?! It took me so long to find a top that went with the skirt, I knew I wanted something simple but everything was either too fussy or just outright boring, at least it was until I found this twist neck top at ASOS. It is now on sale (typical) and I am tempted to get it in a couple of colours. It is pretty short in the body but I have a lot of high-waisted skirts that this will look ace with! I didn't realise how creased this skirt was until I saw these pictures, does anyone know the best way to iron tulle?!

Just look how jazzy that neckline is! I recently treated myself to a couple of new lipsticks and this L'Oreal Liya Pure Red is my new favourite. It is a really bright red with pinky undertones (although it's nowhere near as pink as the Julianne red!) and it was the perfect statement lip.

This Monki tulle skirt is just dreamy and although the midi length was a bit challenging to style, I really love it. Tulle anything is always a winner in my book and the length means it was perfect for swooshing round in! This skirt was also the perfect foil for my gorgeous Whistles Dana sandals, they are just a dreamy combination together! I can't wait to wear them in the summer, won't they look great with this smock dress? They are a pretty high heel but the caged element makes them slightly easier to walk in, I will just have to get in a bit of practice before I next wear them! ;)

Which outfits make you feel like a million dollars?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Jamie's Italian, Cheltenham...

I was sent a voucher to review Jamie's but all opinions are (obviously) my own

As you may have seen, Mark and I have been trying to explore more of Cheltenham and we were lucky enough to be able to visit Jamie's Italian last night after their lovely PR company got in touch and offered us a voucher. It was so nice to get all dressed up and spend some quality time with Mark. I first tried Jamie's when I went to Birmingham with some blogger pals for Valentine's day and whilst the food was nice, I wasn't overwhelmed by it. The Cheltenham branch is much smaller, the restaurant is in the former County Court buildings right in the centre of town and it is really quite special, especially when it is all lit up at night and the experience was completely different. The staff and service were brilliant, attentive but not annoyingly hover-y and the food was delicious! A special shout out has to be given to whoever was in charge of the soundtrack, cheesy 1980s pop mixed with Blondie and Destiny's Child was always going to be a winner in my book! 

We booked our table for 6.30 pm and it was still pretty quiet, even for a Saturday night so definitely book an early sitting if you want to take your time over dinner!

I can't resist some fancy columns and jazzy lights!

Mark and I were sitting in the jury bench which was so cool. The bench seats were really comfy and you got to look down on the rest of the restaurant whilst eating your dinner which was super cool even if you have to sit next to, rather than opposite your date!

I loved the lights and snazzy glass (?) ceiling too, aren't they cool?

I love it when restaurants have open kitchens like this, I love watching them prepare the dishes.

Snazzy napkins! 

I started off with a Tom Collins and Mark had a bottle of  Messina beer... 

Mark had crispy squid which came with crushed garlic mayo, chopped chilli & lemon...

...whilst I had the ricotta bruschetta with balsamic-roasted cherry tomatoes, Colwick cheese & basil. This was delicious, if very cheesy! I have to share how much I love these plates too, they are all crinkly at the edges

For our main Mark and I opted to share the Ultimate Sharing Plank which had (deep breath) artisan fennel salami, mortadella, prosciutto, spiced chicken-liver pâté, truffled salami & fennel pork scratchings with grissini & music bread, cauliflower fritti, mozzarella & aged pecorino, tomato mostarda & crispy shallot rings, olives & pickles, grilled marinated peppers & crunchy kale slaw. Phew, what a mouthful! We also got some 'funky chips' to have on the side but there was more than enough on the platter to fill us both up!

The best part of going out for dinner is always dessert, amirite? Mark opted for the chocolate and hazelnut Arctic roll....

...whilst I went for the (blooming gorgeous!) sour cherry and almond tart which was just divine!

I know it's a blogger cliché but I love me some good floor tiles! ;)

Are you a fan of Jamie's? Where should Mark and I try next?
P.S. I was sent a voucher to review the restaurant but I would be more than happy to spend my own money on another visit!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Cosy basics...

It's not often you will see me in (near) monochrome over on the blog as my default setting is bright colours but this oversized jumper was too good to resist. I spotted it in the Topshop sale when I went shopping with Hattie and it is one of my favourite things that I have bought this year. I have been trying to add some versatile basics to my wardrobe and this classic grey jumper is a great start. I love the relaxed fit of it and it is just so darned cosy! I wore this outfit on my first day back at work after Christmas and it was the perfect way to ease me out of pyjamas and back into proper clothes ;) My smug little face just shows how much I love this outfit, have you ever seen anyone look so chuffed?! 

Jumper: Topshop, camisole: Tesco, jeans:ASOS, shoes: Clarks
I especially love the contrast of the sheer sleeves with the rest of the jumper (are you spotting a pattern here yet?!) I will be sharing my favourite lipsticks with you in a post soon but I have so many of them. Would you prefer it to be split into a few separate posts or have one huge one? 

I finally managed to get some replacement shoes for my beloved Clarks loafers. Although this pair are nowhere near as comfy as my old ones, they look a lot smarter and I'm sure they will soften up soon. Is there anything worse than breaking in new shoes?!

Would you prefer my favourite lipsticks to be split into a few separate posts or have one huge one? 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Skinny jeans and a red coat...

I have raved about this red biker coat before on the blog but it is the only one I want to wear when it is so cold outside. I like the simple, slightly masculine shape, the colour is perfect for brightening even the frostiest of mornings and the wool keeps me from turning the same colour as the coat, haha! This outfit was perfect for meeting up with the lovely Hattie for a (long overdue) gossip and lunch. We have been friends since getting the train back together from the Brum blogger meet in 2011 (!) (see how many familiar faces you can spot!) and we meet up as regularly as our schedules allow for shopping, cake and chats about all things blogging. That is definitely the best part about blogging for so long, all of the awesome people I have met and can call friends as a result :)

Coat: Wallis, scarf: c/o Meadham Kirchhoff x Amazon, jeans: Warehouse, shoes: George at ASDA
This beautiful lace top was an Oasis sales bargain - apologies for the odd link, for some reason it won't let me link to the product page but it is still on their website! I could just about justify another striped top (despite Mark's misgivings) as I don't have one with such fancy detailing on - the lace is just lovely and really snazzes it up. I have been wearing this silk scarf a lot recently too. When you are going in and out of shops and cafes, a woolly scarf is too warm but the silk keeps you nice and cosy without feeling like you are going to melt with all the heat (just me?)

Warehouse have been my go to for jeans recently and their high waisted ones are super flattering on. I got the blue version of these high rise ones instore and although the denim is not as thick as I would like, they are dressy enough to be worn with everything from comfy tops to jazzy blouses. I will always prefer high-waisted jeans as they help to keep my tummy smoothed down and I need all the help I can get in that area ;)

Where do you buy your jeans?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Dressing up with George at ASDA...

This post contains items that were sent for review

As you may know, I used to work at ASDA and although it has been nearly 3 years since I left, I will always have a soft spot for the brand. When they got in touch to see if I could style an outfit for them, I jumped at the chance, I love their clothes and some of my favourite clothes have been from there. There are some gorgeous dresses on their website and I had been looking at this beautiful green lace dress just the day before but unfortunately it had sold out (sob!) so I went for this cream version instead. However, when it arrived it was a beige colour (or pale gold if you are feeling generous) rather than cream and paired with the longer length, I was a bit unsure about how to wear it. However, paired with this (faux) leather jacket and some 'edgy' lipstick, I felt cool rather than mother of the bride! Mark and I have never gone overboard on celebrating Valentine's Day but I will take any excuse to get all dressed up and go out for a meal! ;)

Dress: c/o ASDA, jacket: c/o ASDA, bag: c/o ASDA, shoes: c/o ASDA
I look particularly pleased with myself here, I blame this sassy lipstick and nail varnish combo! ;) I find dark lipstick quite tricky to wear but hopefully the light colour of the lace helps to combat my tendency of looking like a vampire playing dress up when I wear it... 

I have been looking for hair accessories for a while now and when I spotted this rather amazing hairband in Accessorize, I was thrilled (plus it is now only £3 in the sale!) It jazzed this outfit up nicely and I really like the contrast of the delicate flowers with the make-up and jacket... 

My beloved leather jacket is one of the longest serving residents in my wardrobe but it can be a bit fussy for some outfits so I was more than thrilled to welcome this faux leather jacket into my wardrobe. It is super simple but nips you in in all the right places and I have already worn it a number of times since it arrived.

I never used to like clutch bags but I couldn't resist this gorgeous patterned clutch, the cutwork pattern is just so pretty and it matched the lace perfectly! There was also a black version but I can't find it on the website any more so it must have sold out (not surprising as it is only £5 now!)

This skirt is a little bit too long on me, I am forever bewailing my lack of model like legs but paired with these lovely shoes (I love a block heel from ASDA!) I was able to swoosh around quite happily. You know I can't resist a full skirt!

Are you an ASDA fan? How would you style this dress?
P.S. I was sent these items to review but if I didn't love them, I wouldn't feature them!

Monday, 9 February 2015

A foolproof toad-in-the-hole recipe...

Toad-in-the-hole is one of my favourite meals and it is guaranteed to make you feel instantly comforted. You are in for a special treat today though as although this recipe is super simple, Mark is the expert at making this in our house, so this post comes from him rather than me! As you may have seen on Twitter, I have had to switch to a low carb diet (no more than 30g of carbs per meal, the equivalent of a large banana or 2 slices of bread!) so I have to restrict this meal to special occasions, sob! If you do have any low carb meal ideas, please do send them my way, I need exciting new ways to eat chicken! ;)


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Bouclé blazer and a Breton tee...

I was really keen to share this outfit, it is one of my favourites that I have worn recently but my exploring Cheltenham post was getting a little overcrowded so I thought I would save these outfit pictures for a separate post (lucky you!) These photos were taken with Mark's phone and they came out rather well I think! This was perhaps a bit work-y for a lazy Sunday but I loved all of the separate pieces so much that I ended up including them all in one outfit post instead... I've ended up looking like a flamingo in these pictures, I promise its my dodgy posing skills rather than a bad Photoshop job ;) As you know, I am a massive fan of bouclé and although this jacket isn't available anymore, there is a very similar one from ASDA here...

Jacket: George at ASDA c/o Matilda, top: H&M, skirt: French Connection, shoes: Office, bag: Brit Stitch
I look a bit like a bird who has just discovered a camera in a David Attenborough show here, I'm not entirely sure what I was doing, haha! I am wearing MAC Lady Bug in these pictures but I blotted it down as I wanted a more subtle look. I really like the colour but the Lustre finish always feels too slippery and I always worry it looks a bit clown-like on me too, what do you think? I finally got some better pictures of this fab H&M top too, it's definitely one of the best Breton tees in my wardrobe!

I picked up this gold cuff in the Accessorize sale a month or so ago and I love how chunky it is. The fact that it makes me feel a bit like Wonder Woman is just a bonus really! You can't get it on their website anymore but this simple gold cuff is equally lovely... 

Are you a bouclé fan? How would you style this blazer?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Exploring Cheltenham...

Mark and I have been living in Cheltenham for 7 months (!) now and although there are a few places that we know and love (I'm looking at you Grid Iron!) there is still a lot of Cheltenham that we have left to explore. I grew up fairly locally but I am ashamed to say that I don't know it at all and I am keen to have some places to recommend to people when they come to stay so if anyone has any recommendations, please do pass them on! I spoke a while ago about trying to get out and about a bit more and we have been going on little walks (just a couple of miles or so) in the evening and at the weekends to clear our heads and to get that blood pumping! There are some beautiful old houses within about 10 minutes walk from us and we couldn't resist snapping a few photos whilst we were out and about. We did take the DSLR but it ran out of battery after just one photo so we ended up using Mark's phone instead. He has a Nexus 6 and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how the photos came out!

I love me some fancy windows and red bricks!

Cheltenham is full of little green spaces like this mini park and is a haven for dog walkers- that's got to be the best part of a walk, seeing all the cute doggies! ;)

I can't even begin to guess how expensive these flats are but they sure look pretty!

It was such a beautiful wintry day too. I love it when it is cold but sunny!

Victoria Mansions (!) - if only I had the money...!

Even the sports fields look picturesque around here! ;)

Christ Church is absolutely beautiful too- we didn't get a chance to go inside but it has a pretty interesting history so I'm sure we will be back at some point...

Yes, those are our pasty faces glowing from inside the screen! Picking up the light is one thing that a phone camera will never do as well as a proper camera... We did take some outfit pictures too but I will be sharing those in a separate post as this was getting a bit picture heavy for one post!

Is there anywhere you can recommend in Cheltenham?



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