Thursday, 29 October 2015

The story of Gloucester services Christmas... (PICTURE HEAVY)

It's not often that the thought of visiting a service station will fill you with excitement but a trip to Gloucester Services is a very different story! Mark and I have been meaning to visit ever since they opened (you can find them southbound on the M5 between junctions 11A and 12) and we finally got the chance when I was invited to the story of Gloucester services Christmas, a chance to meet some of the local suppliers (some were from less than 5 miles away which was pretty impressive!) and see some of the amazing Christmas items they have available at the services.


We thought it looked like the Tellytubby house, what do you think?

I have to say, this was the most tranquil service station I have ever been to, it looked like even the car park was designed to be as stress-free as possible!


Inside there was an shop filled with stacks of gifts and books for all ages. Isn't this bookshelf amazing? I am still trying to convince Mark that we need it in our flat!


We didn't actually buy any of the food in the Kitchen but it looked and smelt amazing and there were plenty of people enjoying it when we visited. All of the food sold and prepared here is supplied locally and it was brilliant to see how many local businesses had benefited from the services opening, rather than being pushed out by big chains. 


My favourite part though was this beautiful lake out the back of the restaurant. Even though the motorway was only a few hundred metres away, it was really peaceful and you got the added benefit of gorgeous views out across the Gloucestershire countryside.


I seriously had to restrain myself in the farmshop as there was amazing food wherever you turned....


This patisserie counter was particularly tempting!



You could get amazing chorizo and dried meats which smelt divine, I will definitely be coming back for these!


There is also a full-sized butcher's counter and fishmonger which I think is pretty amazing, definitely a good place to pop into if you are planning a dinner party!


Mark was very excited about the pies!


The cheese counter was amazing, Mark had to physically drag me away before I bought the entire stock...


It was so nice to chat to the various suppliers at the event. I love hearing people talking about their passion and all of the people involved in the services are clearly very enthusiastic about what they do which is massively inspiring! There were delicious sausage rolls from Cinderhill Farm...


...delicious pies from Legges of Bromyard


...award-winning veggie food from The Parsnipship. Don't get me wrong, I love goat's cheese as much as the next gal but it was nice to see veggie food that wasn't your traditional 'one dish on a menu' fare.


Godsell's Cheese are based just around the corner from the services and I found out that you can even visit them at their farm, which I hope to do very soon!


I was so excited to see russet apples from Mudwalls Farm, they are my absolute favourite (I blame Little Women for my obsession!)  but you can rarely get them in supermarkets.


My family has been a massive fan of Contemporary Cakes ever since my Grandma discovered them at the farmer's market and they make the most amazing cakes. (Just look at how delicious my uncle's birthday cake or my grandparents 50th anniversary cake look!) They are so lovely and even raved about how lovely my grandma was which really made me smile as she is the best! :D


The Patisserie Box is the wing of their business that sells these delicious desserts. Those Christmas pudding chocolate-y cakes were divine and I may be a blogger cliché but I do love macarons!


Just some of the amazing gifts available in the gift shop...


I also got the chance to meet the lovely head baker at the services (unfortunately I have a brain like a sieve and have forgotten her name!) about testing recipes and taking them from an idea to the delicious treats you can see here which was very interesting. You never realise just how much effort goes into making all of this! 


These stollen and mince pies were lovely, you can't beat some German treats at Christmas!


Mark was very taken by these chocolate brownies and apparently they tasted as good as they looked!


I was also really intrigued by the Natural Spa Factory products, I love me some luxury bath products and the scrubs were amazing. I am hoping Mark gets me the Mulled Wine scrub as it just smells so Christmassy!


We were very kindly supplied with a jute bag filled with delicious treats which we have been working our way through this past week or so. I can't rave about these services enough and I have no doubt that Mark and I will be heading back to stock up on delicious food and Christmas gifts very soon!

Have you tried Gloucester Services yet?

P.S. I was invited to this press event but all opinions are my own!
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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

26...


Apologies for my inadvertent blogging break recently but unfortunately for this little corner of the internet, eating cake will always take precedence. Turning 25 was the start of a strange year for me but I (finally) feel like I am on track with where I want to be with my life.  Here's to 26...
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Monday, 19 October 2015

Bold workwear...

I have written a lot about workwear over in this little corner of the internet and although I am lucky enough to not have a formal dress code, I think with a few fun accessories, nearly everyone can add a bit of pizazz to their wardrobe. This outfit is very similar to this one from early 2014 and despite looking a lot younger in those pictures, I'm glad to see that my style hasn't changed too much in the past couple of years! Gap is a firm favourite of mine for work appropriate dresses and this zingy red number was a sale bargain many months back. I really really love the colour and the shape is super fun too. Although I do have summer and winter wardrobes, I wear the majority of my clothes all year round, adding or removing layers as necessary. I can't wait to try this layered up with a polo neck and some boots, I love it too much to only be able to wear it for half of the year! It may not be subtle but hey, neither am I! ;)

Gap bright red work dress, French Sole leopard print flats with red trim, Monday morning, workwear, MAC Lady Danger (1)
Dress: Gap, shoes: French Sole c/o Spartoo
I am a massive fan of bright lipstick and MAC Lady Danger is the perfect match for this dress. I really love the colour and finish and it is ideal for those days where you haven't had much sleep and need to distract from your tired eyes! ;) The detailing on this dress is great and I love the neck line, it feels work appropriate without being claustrophobic...

Gap bright red work dress, French Sole leopard print flats with red trim, Monday morning, workwear, MAC Lady Danger (1)

Since I changed jobs, I have been walking to work every day and this has made me very aware of which shoes are actually suitable for walking in and comfortable over the course of a day. French Sole shoes may be pricy but these shoes have not rubbed my feet once, which is more than I can say for many of the cheaper shoes I own. They really do have some cute styles, aren't this pair amazing?!

Gap bright red work dress, French Sole leopard print flats with red trim, Monday morning, workwear, MAC Lady Danger (1)

Has your style changed in the past few years?
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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

1 dress, 2 ways...

This post contains a dress that was sent for review
As soon as you reach your twenties, weekends start to get taken up with weddings (and later christenings!) and your fancy clothes end up working overtime to cope. When New Look offered me a dress to style two different ways, I leapt at the chance. We have a few birthdays and a wedding to attend in the next couple of months and it is great to have a dress that can work for several different occasions. This floral Closet dress is absolutely beautiful and despite the strong print, it is surprisingly versatile. I have to admit I hadn't heard of the brand before but I am really impressed with the quality of this dress and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for Closet in my local store. I picked this beautiful silk coat up years ago during one of my charity shop trips at uni and although I have only worn it a couple of times, I could never throw it away as it is just so pretty! I felt like a right princess in this outfit and although it could have looked quite dated, the messy hair and smoky eye made it feel more modern. 

Closet floral fancy occasion dress from New Look, Precis Petit silk pink princess coat, New Look nude pink pointed heels, Clarks black patent pointed shoes, cropped wool cardigan, 1 dress styled 2 ways
Coat: Precis Petite via charity shop, dress:Closet c/o New Look, shoes: New Look
I mean, just look at that gorgeous detailing! I recently bought Sarah's old Fitbit Flex off her and I am loving it so far. It is forcing me to get moving about and the targets are perfect for someone as competitive as me! ;) I was going to take it off for the photos but what could be more modern?!

Closet floral fancy occasion dress from New Look, Precis Petit silk pink princess coat, New Look nude pink pointed heels, Clarks black patent pointed shoes, cropped wool cardigan, 1 dress styled 2 ways

I wear these nude shoes to every wedding as they go with absolutely everything and I can manage a whole day and night in them. Always good when you want to be dancing along to cheesy pop in the early hours!

Closet floral fancy occasion dress from New Look, Precis Petit silk pink princess coat, New Look nude pink pointed heels, Clarks black patent pointed shoes, cropped wool cardigan, 1 dress styled 2 ways

I love that this dress has pockets too, they should be a feature on every dress! I really love the shape of the top, it is plain but still interesting...

Closet floral fancy occasion dress from New Look, Precis Petit silk pink princess coat, New Look nude pink pointed heels, Clarks black patent pointed shoes, cropped wool cardigan, 1 dress styled 2 ways

The thick black waistband makes for a really flattering silhouette too, especially against that bright skirt. You can see the colours a bit better here too, I was worried that they would be a bit insipid but they are certainly eye-catching!

Closet floral fancy occasion dress from New Look, Precis Petit silk pink princess coat, New Look nude pink pointed heels, Clarks black patent pointed shoes, cropped wool cardigan, 1 dress styled 2 ways

This look is much more suitable for a family party than a wedding but it felt a lot easier to wear. I inherited this cardigan from Mark's mum (thanks Sue!) and it is one of the hardest working pieces in my wardrobe. I managed to shrink it in the wash a while ago but the shorter length means it hits at the most flattering point on my waist rather than hanging at that weird awkward length above my hips. 

Closet floral fancy occasion dress from New Look, Precis Petit silk pink princess coat, New Look nude pink pointed heels, Clarks black patent pointed shoes, cropped wool cardigan, 1 dress styled 2 ways
Cardigan: BHS via Mark's Mum, dress:Closet c/o New Look, shoes: Clarks
Mark bought me these shoes for Christmas back in 2013 and although they aren't quite as comfy as my beloved orange suede pair, they're pretty darned close!

Closet floral fancy occasion dress from New Look, Precis Petit silk pink princess coat, New Look nude pink pointed heels, Clarks black patent pointed shoes, cropped wool cardigan, 1 dress styled 2 ways


How would you style this dress? 
P.S. I was sent this dress to review but if I didn't love it, I wouldn't feature it!
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Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Dahlia dress...

Longtime readers will know how much I love Seasalt, I discovered the brand when my friend Matilda donated a lovely stripy jumper to me and have managed to add quite a few pieces to my wardrobe since. I spotted this gorgeous coral tea dress in the sale and fell in love. I really love the colour and texture and it feels really elegant, something that can be lacking in my wardrobe of bright colours and bold prints! Paired with my brushed out bob, this felt quite 1930s, an era I seem to be drawing more and more inspiration from recently! Midis have always been a tricky length on me but I have quite a few in my wardrobe now, maybe I need to accept that I am actually a fan...

Dress: Seasalt, shoes: Marks & Spencer
I have never been very good at liquid eyeliner but I fancied a feline flick so had to rummage through my make-up bag trolley. I got this Eyeko skinny liquid eyeliner free with a magazine a while back and it is pretty good although I still haven't managed to master the nib properly yet. This lipstick is the amazing Bewitching Coral by Max Factor and it matched the dress perfectly. I really love the cute collar on this dress, it makes it feel much smarter and I'm looking forward to layering it up with some cosy jumpers come Autumn...


A better look at that nipped in waist and gorgeous textured cotton! 


You know how much I love a swooshy skirt and this one has a lot of material. The fact it has pockets just makes it even better in my opinion! I just wish I had some daintier shoes to pair with it although I suppose it does stop it feeling too costume-y. 



Are you a fan of 1930s style dresses?

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Thursday, 8 October 2015

Your clothes don't have to be flattering...

Initially I wasn't going to blog about this outfit, it wasn't worn for anything special, I haven't done anything new with my hair or make-up here and realistically, it's not really all that flattering. I think many people fall into the trap of always trying to 'dress your body shape' and whilst I love a fitted waist and full skirt as much as the next gal, sometimes I just want to wear a particular combination that isn't 'flattering'. Of course, what is flattering depends on your point of view, but for me, being happy in both my skin and clothes is way more important than whether I am 'showing off my best bits'. Even if you have a very clearly defined style, there's always going to be times when you try something new and this outfit is certainly doing that for me. I have been on the hunt for an Autumnal maxi for a while now but nothing has been quite right so far. Rather than just sulk, I thought I would try adding a cropped jumper to make this (very summery) maxi dress more weather appropriate. I have only just realised that both my jumper and dress are both from Mango, what can I say, they were clearly onto a good thing! ;)

Dress: Mango, jumper: Mango, shoes: c/o George at ASDA
 In some lights this jumper looks like white and black but it is actually cream and navy which feels very nautical. This make-up (or lack thereof) is also a bit of a departure for me, especially as I am wearing stripes. I am more likely to be found in bright lipstick than muted shades but really, who can be bothered at the weekend?! Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers are perfect for when you want to add a bit of colour without any effort and I always have at least one in my handbag! 


I was worried that I would be a bit chilly in this as it is made of quite a thin jersey material but I needn't have worried as I was just right thanks to the jumper. Despite being 5' 5", when I bought this dress, there was over a foot of unnecessary material at the bottom of the skirt. Luckily Mark's mum is an adept seamstress and she adjusted it so the length sits right on me. I now I am very lucky to have someone who can do this for me but it is amazing how much difference one simple (ish) adjustment can make!



Any tips on where to get a wintry maxi dress? Do you dress to flatter your body shape?

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Monday, 5 October 2015

Simplicity...

It seems that I can't get enough of Oasis midi dresses at the moment! This black one is slightly plainer than this jazzy printed one but has been a key part of my wardrobe recently. I was looking for a casual LBD that I could replace this ASOS number with and picked this one up when it finally went into the sale. I really like the simplicity of the black against my pasty pale skin and red lipstick, it looks striking without requiring much effort (always a win in my book!) ;) Confidence is a funny thing and although mine comes and goes in waves, I think you can see how happy I look here. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone a lot recently and it has definitely made me braver, here's hoping that continues! 

Dress: Oasis, shoes: Marks and Spencer outlet
I always feel most like myself when I am wearing red lipstick and MAC Lady Danger is my favourite at the moment. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted but it matches my shoes so well that I couldn't resist, haha! The neckline on this was pretty revealing so I dug out my bandeau top again. I would have preferred a lace trimmed cami but haven't been able to find any pretty ones, does anyone have any recommendations? 


These orange-y red suede shoes were a bargain from when we visited the M&S outlet at Gloucester Quays back in April and I really love them. Block heeled shoes are my favourite and the studded heel sets them apart from the other pairs in my wardrobe. I think this is supposed to hit just below the knee but thanks to my less than lanky legs, it is nearly a maxi on me. I suppose it just means that I will be cosier when I start layering it up for Autumn!


Any ideas on where I can find a pretty lace cami?
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Saturday, 3 October 2015

LEGO WALL-E...

Wall-E Lego toy, fun, building, Lego

Although both Mark and I are massive fans of Lego, according to the blog, I have never actually posted about it. We usually get a few bits and pieces for Christmas and birthdays but when we saw this amazing Wall-E set on the Lego Ideas site, I fell in love and bought it as soon as we saw it. The set was designed by Pixar animator Angus MacLane and it is such a detailed set. Although it's not cheap at £40, that is very reasonable for a Lego set of this size and complexity (especially when you use your Clubcard vouchers to buy it, haha! I have been a fan of Wall-E since the film was released in 2008 and it is a fitting addition to my collection of memorabilia. When we picked it up in Tesco, they aksed us if it was a present and we said yes, we just didn't mention that it was a gift for us! ;)

Wall-E Lego toy, fun, building, Lego

It all came packed in a sturdy cardboard box which we tipped all of the Lego into once we opened all of the packets...

Wall-E Lego toy, fun, building, Lego

...and there was a lot of it!

Wall-E Lego toy, fun, building, Lego

In total, there were 178 stages in the build and it took a couple of hours to assemble on Monday night. I started it with Mark but I was falling asleep by 10 o' clock so Mark finished it off for me. I am so rock 'n' roll! 

Wall-E Lego toy, fun, building, Lego

The level of detail  on this is just astounding and thanks to some clever pieces, he is fully poseable. I love the fact that his tummy opens too, you could actually fit the plant inside. Yes, I am a complete child but I love how much personality this little critter has.

Wall-E Lego toy, fun, building, Lego

I mean, who wouldn't love this cute little face?! 

Wall-E Lego toy, fun, building, Lego

Are you a Lego fan?

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