Monday, 3 December 2012

She Wore Blue Velvet ♥

Here are one of my latest purchases - midnight blue velvet heels! I love them so much. I got these from M&S for £25, and they are my Xmas party shoes. They're really comfy and really good quality as they're M&S. I saw some in black which were really nice too and would probably have gone with more outfits but I fell in love with the dark blue!






They are blue velvet all over with a dark blue patent heel and a geometric metallic buckle on the toe. I don't yet have a dress to go with these, but I have some hematite-esque onyx black shiny jewellery to match the buckles! I was thinking a plain little black dress would look nice with these, and a statement necklace. Or a velvet dress. Or perhaps that's too much velvet! What do you think?

x

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Barratt's Christmas Giveaway!

I've decided to take part in the Barratt's Christmas giveaway hosted by Kel Loves. All you need to do its create an outfit for a festive Christmassy occasion and include footwear by Barratts. Barratts also have lots of accessories and bags, and you can include these too if you wish!

I decided to do a 'Christmas Day Walk' outfit, as my family and I often go for a stroll after scoffing mince pies and chocolate! Obviously December is a bit chilly but on Christmas day you still want to incorporate some glittery fun into your casual outfit.

I chose the very cute I Love Santa Christmas T-shirt, paired with these amazing Bordeaux Pin Stud skinny jeans that are a lovely mulled wine colour with lots of spiky stud detail. I chose a Black Sequin Waterfall Cardigan to go over the top to add a pop of shimmer and glitter in case you stop off at the pub! To keep you warm I chose this cosy and cute Khaki Bow Print Quilt Jacket.

The boots I chose from the Barratts range are these gorgeous Black Suede Ankle Boots. These remind me of Chelsea Boots and are very versatile. I also accessorised with a number of Barratts items, including this cute Fold Over Satchel Bag in Santa Red, perfect for stowing your newly opened pressies, and the Rocket Dog Heart Purse to put your gold coins in!

This whole look is finished off with Model's Own Blizzard Nail Polish, and the most amazing Christmas Pudding Beanie Hat!



x

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday Baking

I was having a wander around the shops today and went to my local cookware shop and they had all these lovely cake stands out on display. I love cake stands and have 2 porcelain ones (one gold and white, one red polka dot) and a wire stand like the one in the middle of this pic. The lovely baking goodies on sale got me in the mood to bake myself!




So I made this....MONSTER Victoria Sponge! It's so huge! Bigger than I was expecting. Not sure I've got the cream/jam/cake ratio correct as there's still a lot of sponge going on, but I didn't want to make it too sickly! I'm going to treat myself to a slice of this bad boy after dinner :)



Have you been baking this weekend?
x

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Blogger Party Outfit Challenge - Phase Eight

Phase Eight are hosting a competition to give bloggers a chance to win £250 worth of Phase Eight vouchers to spend in store or online. They want to see the ultimate party outfit created from their range. I love Phase Eight clothing, it is stylish and excellent quality, so I jumped at the chance to win some vouchers!



I went for a sleek black and silver outfit with lots of sparkle! My favourite item is the Cobweb Sequin Dress - I love how shimmery the fabric is and the fit of the dress which looks figure-hugging and would give a great silhouette. I also love the soft cowl neckline which adds another element of detail.

I paired the dress with the show-stopping Glitter Platform Shoes, which are amazingly sparkly. I would love to dance the night away in these! The silver Beaded Clutch Bag and the Tassle Earrings  to match the metallic silver colour of the shoes. The cherry on the cake is the gorgeous Fur Collar, it is so sumptuous and luxurious, the perfect addition to your outfit to keep you warm and snug yet still look stylish! I'd love to wear this outfit to a Christmas work party, or for a NYE bash!

If you'd also like to take part all the instructions are here. Good luck and happy outfit creating!

x

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cinderela B Jewellery - Christmas Blogger Competition

Below is my entry for the Cinderela B Christmas Blogger competition.  Cinderela B design beautiful jewellery, and have gone from a stall at Spitalfields to being in over 100+ stores in the UK and overseas, and I can see why! Their jewellery is gorgeous and unique, and there really is something for everyone. Their blogger competition is to create a wishlist of your dream Christmas party outfit, featuring your favourite jewellery item(s) from Cinderela B. 





My wishlist is inspired by Cinderela B's gorgeous Bea Bee Collection. I chose the stunning gold Bea Bee fringe dangle earrings and fringe necklace. The items in this collection are very opulent and luxurious looking, and so I wanted to base my outfit on this, after all it is my 'dream' outfit and so money was no object!

I went for a palette of champagne, gold and red - sumptuous, rich colours which complement the jewellery perfectly and are Christmassy too. A pair of Louboutins, Coco Mademoiselle perfume and a vintage fur jacket make this outfit that extra bit special. I so wish this outfit could be mine! :)

The winner of the competition will receive £100 to spend on Cinderela B's site. This is open to all bloggers, so get creating to win! Just email Natasha at Cinderela B with your wishlist by 2nd December :)

x








Monday, 19 November 2012

Sparkly Nude Nails ♥

I painted my nails this weekend with nude Missguided Miscellaneous and sparkly Rose Quartz Barry M glitter. I think the two go together really well. Very pretty and feminine :)




I only put the glitter on my thumbs and ring finger as I didn't want to go OTT on glitter and plus it's a nightmare to take off!

I hope you like.

x

Sunday, 18 November 2012

My new obsession - vintage flowers! ♥

I have a bit of an obsession with vintage flower illustrations at the moment....once I get into something I obsess for a while about it and this month it's flowers! I have rescued many beautiful book plates from vintage books on flowers, and have transformed them into gorgeous wall decor.

I have become a bit obsessed with finding more and more pretty flower illustrations. I have a collection of British Flora, Redoute Roses and today I picked up some colourful shrub drawings. My boyfriend is none too pleased about the amount of floral I plan to frame and decorate our flat with! Some will have to be Xmas pressies I think!

Here is a quick one I framed today. I need to make a trip to Ikea to get some nice big frames as this one was a little small, but I just cut the illustrated plate to size. I hope you like it! I am trying to introduce soft greens and neutral colours to my living room after having grey, navy blue and bright red for the past 2 years!


Because I have way too many flowers for my little flat, I've decided to sell some of them on my etsy store as they make such beautiful pictures, it would be a shame to keep them hidden away. I think they'd make great pressies in a pretty frame. 





I plan to put a set of 3 down my hallway staircase. I can't wait to show you more of the wonderful illustrations I've found. I have some simply amazing Redoute roses that are huge and so beautifully drawn and colourful. Flower love!

x

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Glittery Xmas Party Wear!

I love all things glittery and how at this time of year the shops are full of sparkly, sequinned, twinkling, glittery clothes and accessories. I've put together a wishlist of gorgeous glittery things I'd love to have for Xmas. They'd be perfect for Xmas parties, drinks, and New Year's Eve celebrations. I love silvers, golds and navy blue glitter, as they are jewel like and shiny :)


1. Silver Chelsea Girl Satchel  2. Jingle Glitter Bow Peep-Toes  3. Velvet Glitter Star Dress  4. All That Jazz Glitter Ankle Boots  5. Aldo Mcintyde Glitter Bow Heels  6. Grey Sequin T-Shirt  7. Spike Rings  8. Barry M Denim Sparkles Nail Polish  9. Kardashian Gold Glitter Clutch  10. Navy Sequin Skater Dress

My favourite has to be the glitter ankle boots - they are amazing!

x

Thursday, 15 November 2012

DIY Lip Scrub

I am a huge fan of Lush's 'Sweet Lips' sugar lip scrub. I love to wear bright red lippy so am obsessed with keeping my lips free of dry skin and looking smooth! The little pots from Lush taste really sweet of vanilla and chocolate, and really help keep your lips in tip top shape. I get through them so quickly and at £5.25 per pot, it becomes a pricey habit!

I recently saw a post on Terri Lowe's blog about making your own lip scrub, and it inspired me to give it a go! I was just coming to the end of my Sweet Lips Lush scrub so I washed out the pot ready and went in search of some ingredients to use.

I recently won loads of bottles of different oils in a competition and one of these was hazelnut oil so I decided to use this as the moisturising base. I also added vanilla extract, and the main ingredient - sugar. I only had caster sugar which is fairly fine so if you want industrial strength exfoliation I'd go for granulated!



I felt rather like a mad scientist concocting this scrub as I didn't follow a 'recipe' and was testing the flavour and texture as I went, adding a bit more sugar here and there so it wasn't so liquid! Eventually I ended up with a combination I was happy with.



I've been using it for the past few days and I can honestly say it does the job just as well as the Lush scrub. The only thing I'll amend on the next batch is perhaps a little more vanilla extract, or a sweeter oil, as it isn't as yummy and lickable as the Lush one, but it does the job and saves me £5 a pot!



Other ingredients I'd like to try are almond oil, olive oil, honey, peppermint flavouring, lemon extract, orange flavouring - the possibilities are endless! This was a reeeally easy beauty diy, and I'd encourage you to give it a shot if you have the ingredients knocking about in your cupboards! Simple, effective and technically, free!

x

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Festive Red Nails

I'm going to a book launch tonight and am getting a little bit dressed up which is exciting! I only found out on Friday I was going to the party so was frantically looking for something to wear. I ended up finding a lovely long sleeve black dress with mini ruffle neckline from a charity shop (originally from Zara), and I bought some sheer black polka dot tights, and I'm going to wear some black heels with bows on the toe that I got from a charity shop a year or so ago.

I couldn't decide what colour to paint my nails ( I have so many colours, will have to post a pic of them all soon!) and then decided to go for bright red, as I plan to wear my Chanel Rouge Allure lippie, and I wanted my nails to match.

I used Rimmel London Pro 'Hot Gossip' for the base, and then on my ring finger I added some sparkles with Barry M 'Red Glitter' to give them a more christmassy look! I really like the effect but the temptation to go all glitter was great, I just love Barry M's glittery polishes!




Excuse dark pics - am taking them at 7am and light is awful. Unfortunately the pics don't show the sparkles very well. In real life it's very glittery and catches the light.

I love using two different nail varnishes like this, it just makes them that extra bit special and finished!

What are your favourite nail polish combinations?

x

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Chocolate Philly cupcakes

I love a bit of baking on a Sunday, and today I made these scrummy chocolate muffins with chocolate philadelphia topping. The chocolate philadelphia was on offer in Sainsburys for only 87p so I bought a tub, and decided to use it as icing. I made chocolate cupcakes using the below recipe, and then smeared the philly on and sprinkled with white choc chips. I normally go to town with neat and detailed icing but I wanted these to look a bit rustic, and I knew they were going to be hoovered up in seconds anyway!




Ingredients:
100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g softened unsalted butter
2 medium eggs
Couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder

Method:
1.) Cream the softened butter and caster together until light and fluffy
2.) Beat in egg one at a time with electric whisk
3.) Sieve and fold in flour and cocoa powder
4.) Dollop into cupcake cases and bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for 12-15mins
5.) Let cool before icing/decorating!




I'd definitely buy the chocolate philadelphia again - it is so scrummy! 

Have you been baking anything this weekend?

x


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Movember Mug

It's that time again when all the fellas discard their Gillette Mach 3's and embrace a hairy way of life in order to raise money for charity! It's Movember, and I love to see the weird and wonderful moustaches that appear by the end of the month, whether they are big and bushy, or a bit sparse and pathetic!

It's a blessing that us girls can't take part in Movember - no girl wants to be sporting facial fuzz! However I am sponsoring several friends to grow their mo and so am happy I can do my bit! I also love all the moustache merchandise you can get these days - necklaces, hair clips, cushions, and loads more. The mo is definitely around to stay.

I saw a really cute moustache mug on etsy, but was reluctant to spend the £10-£15 they were charging, as I thought this was a little pricey! Recently I stumbled upon this diy tutorial by A Beautiful Mess, on how to do a diy mug using a sharpie

You simply draw on your mug with a sharpie and bake in the oven for 30mins at 350 degrees. I picked up a cheap plain mug from the 99p store which was actually 59p, and I already a sharpie pen. I drew on my moustache design and then popped it in the oven.





Here I am with the finished result. The moustache is a bit wonky but I like it's crooked charm!  After it cooled down I tested it by washing it up with a kitchen sponge and  the drawing didn't rub off! I'm excited now to try all sorts of designs, and not just on mugs. You can try this on any ceramic - plates, bowls, teapots etc! It's a great idea for personalised gifts. I might make some for Christmas.

Happy Movember

Friday, 9 November 2012

Longchamp Love

I looove Longchamp bags! I have been meaning to buy one for ages, and every time I am at an airport I am tempted but they only ever seem to sell the smaller sizes! I love how classic they are and how they make any outfit look stylish and chic, but are at the same time really practical and roomy. I'm terrible for lugging half my worldly possessions around with me so I always need a big Mary Poppins bag!

I was very excited to hear recently that you can 'design your own' Longchamp Le Pliage bag. I think this is such a fab idea, as most Le Pliages are one block colour with brown handles, whereas with design your own, you can customise all the elements of the bag and have 2 colours instead of 1, if you choose.

First up you decide on the size you want. You can choose the smallest size (a coin purse) all the way up to the largest size (a very big shopping bag size). You then pick what length handles you want, short or long, and then you get to the fun part - colours! You can pick a main colour and then a stripe colour. The colours to choose from are really lovely, there's duck blue, camel, fir - all sorts! It's also possible to pick the colour of the metallic elements (the longchamp zip pull and button) with gold, nickel and bronze as options. A nice optional extra they offer at the end is the opportunity to emboss or embroider initials on to the bag.

Here are a couple I 'designed'. The first one has graphite as main colour and a taupe stripe, with gold metallic elements.  The second one has an oxblood red main colour called grape, with a beige centre stripe and nickel metal. I love both and I tried several combinations but I think these are my favourite. It costs a bit more to customise but I think its worth it as you can choose exactly what you like. If you had the funds you could even design a whole matching set - coin purse, clutch and handbag!



The red one is slightly larger in size than the graphite one. I think I like the graphite one best, but can't decide! Which one do you prefer?

Am tempted to purchase when I get paid next week....I've already bought nearly all my Xmas presents, so it's only fair I buy myself a present, right????  :)

I hope everybody is having a nice Friday evening. I can't wait to have a lie in tomorrow!

x



Sunday, 4 November 2012

Rainy days call for WAFFLES!

Today was a bit of a grey and miserable rainy day, so whilst out on my weekend walk my boyfriend and I decided to stop off at Gelato Mio, an ice cream parlour / cafe in our home town Muswell Hill. It has been open for ages but we'd not yet visited. We'd been tempted in the summer months to try out their ice cream but the queues were out the door and down the street!




So today we ducked out of the rain and into the cosy glow of the shop, lured by the prospect of warm, comforting, chocolate drenched waffles! Gelato Mio is a London chain and they are best known for their gelato. The guy serving us today told us some v.interesting facts about gelato, in an attempt to sell us some, but in this cold weather, waffles were always going to win! Here are some gelato facts I've taken from GM's website, and a pic of the yummy gelato on sale today!



1. Gelato has less fat than ice cream, on average 50-60% less. However, less fat does not mean less taste. Gelato, although creamier and more flavourful than ice cream actually has fewer calories. 

2. Gelato has a much higher density than ice cream. Ice Cream manufacturers add air to ice cream because it nearly doubles the quantity of their product without increasing their costs. Unlike ice cream, very little air is added to gelato, resulting in a higher quality product with a rich, creamier taste.

3. Gelato is served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream. While both gelato and ice cream are served well below freezing, in order to maintain its creamy consistency, gelato is typically kept at about 10 degrees warmer than ice cream. This results in a further enhanced taste as it melts in your mouth. 



We decided to opt for waffles and earl grey tea. We've recently been on holiday to Belgium and experienced a bit of waffle mania (think 1-2 waffles per day....dangerous!), so we wanted to try a bit of waffle action on our home turf! I chose chocolate sauce and my boyfriend chose caramel sauce. 


The waffles were really yummy, although I have to say I did prefer the ones from Belgium! I did not complain though and cleaned my plate!


I think I'll definitely be visiting again to try out the gelato - 50% less fat than regular ice cream, more flavour, less calories - sounds like my kind of sweet treat!


x

Busy Bee

I've been a busy bee recently making lots of lovely button jewellery. I've now got silver plated rings for my buttons to make them that extra bit special. I've also been making a couple more brooches. I think I need to go on another button hunt, as my supplies are dwindling fast!

Here is my latest batch. I'm in love with the glass button ring (sparklier than a diamond!). I made 2 of these so I am going to keep one for myself (shh!)


Button crew

Surrogate diamond <3

Hope you're all having a lovely Sunday

x

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Every year my workplace gets involved with Operation Christmas Child. To take part you simply have to fill a shoe box full of little toys, sweets and gifts and wrap in Christmas paper. The shoe box is then sent to disadvantaged children in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. You can choose to do a box for a boy or a girl, and you have 3 age ranges to choose from: 2-4 years, 5-9 years and 10-14 years old.

I think this is such a lovely idea, and last year I took part for the first time and did a shoe box for a 5-9 year old girl. I filled it full of little girly gifts like dolls, hair clips, a teddy, colouring book and pencils etc. I also opted to have my box 'scanned'. You print off a barcode when you register online and put this in your box. It's then scanned at its destination and you get an email telling you what part of the world your box went to. Last year my box went to Ukraine.

The boxes really provide so much joy for these children. There are lots of videos of kids on the OCC website receiving and opening their boxes, and they are so happy and excited! It's so nice to take part and help make Christmas special for these children.

I decided to get involved again this year and do 2 boxes. I decided to do one for a boy and one for a girl. The boy box I chose to be 5-9 years old, and the girl box 10-14 years. I read online that a lot of the older children are often left out at these shoe box gift giving days, as the younger age groups are a lot more popular for xmas box makers. I thought this was really sad so decided to do one for an older girl. Next year I'm going to do another teen box as it was so fun to put together and it's very sad to think these kids don't get as many boxes as the little ones!



Here are the contents of both boxes. I tried to cram as much in each as I could, so there's a lot of stuff!



For the boy I got lots of little cool toys from a local children's toy shop - whoopee cushion, bouncy ball, puzzles, sticker books etc! My favourite thing from the boy box is the Super Mario pez dispenser! So cool, I think I need to get one for myself!

For the girl I got lots of stuff I would have liked as a 10-14 year old girl - so lots of hair accessories, jewellery, lip balm, stationery, nice socks, compact mirror etc

You can also include handmade gifts, so if any of you are particularly crafty, these boxes can be a fun project to fill. I decided to make both drawstring bags. I used blue floral material for the girl and a cartoony countryside train material for the boy.




They were very simple and quick to make, and are a nice addition to the box!

Here is the boy's box all wrapped up (I've already taken the girl box into work so no pics for this, but I wrapped it in a similar way!)



If any of you fancy doing this, head over to the OCC website to take part!

x


Friday, 2 November 2012

New shoes

This month I decided to treat myself to some smart winter shoes. I have a pair of tan brogue shoes from New Look that I bought about 2 years ago and I've worn them to death! They looked better worn than new, but recently they've gone past the stage of battered chic to...well, falling apart! For New Look shoes they lasted surprisingly long though.

So I was on the hunt for some similar shoes, but better quality. I went to Clarks and found my shoes straight away! They are dark tan and are perfect for work, I've worn them with grey tights and smart shift dresses recently, and they also look good with more casual outfits like skinny jeans and sparkly socks :)





They cost £55 which is quite pricey, but I think it's worth it seeing as they are leather and will last me a long time. I can't wait to wear them in a bit more and for them to get a more 'worn' look.

Whilst I was shopping for these tan brogues, I also saw these gorgeous nubuck black brogues....they're so soft and were SO comfy! I am so tempted to get these too...they are a similar price to the tan ones, but I don't know if I can justify spending another £55! They would look lovely with black tights and smart work dresses. What do you think? Should I get them?




I love them so...

x

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Cute Christmas Present Idea!

One of my friends recently told me about a gift they bought their Mum for their birthday, and I thought it was so nifty I'd share it here! If I hadn't bought all my xmas gifts already (yes I know, super scary organised...) I would definitely be getting my mum and sis one of these!

It's called 'Couture' for Nails Inc. You basically 'create' your very own nail polish, and you get to choose all the details and components that make up the product, right down to the cap, label and box! It's such a cool idea, and my favourite part of it is that you get to name the nail polish whatever you like, which makes it a lovely personalised gift.

Here's one I made, called Hips Like Cinderella (naturally!)








I chose the champagne gold gem lid as I thought it complimented my Jermyn Street nail polish colour, which is a lovely taupe shade. I chose to label the box with grey hearts (the other options say things like 'Happy Birthday', 'BFF', 'With Love' etc

I think this makes a great gift, not just for xmas and birthdays but for bridesmaid gifts (or hen gifts), mother's day gift, get well soon gift etc! It costs £20 so it's a little bit more than a standard Nails Inc polish, but I think it's worth it as you can personalise it and you get a snazzy crystal cap and a cute gift box.

What 'couture' nail polish would you create?

x


Monday, 29 October 2012

Pencils!

I've recently listed a very cute vintage brooch on my etsy store, it is a brooch made from mini wooden pencils! They are rainbow colours and the brooch looks great pinned to a jacket lapel, or even a sweater. It is a great gift for people who love art and drawing!


Whilst we're on the subject of illustration and art, here are a few pics from my favourite painter/illustrator, Gil Elvgren. He was a famous pin-up artist, and a very talented illustrator.  All the girls look so glam and have the best clothes and hair! Below are some of my favourite artworks.


 Fierce pin-up lady fixin' her car. Sho.


 
Sliding down the banister - always wanted to do this!



 Cupid!



I love Gil Elvgren! Who's your favourite artist/illustrator?

x

Nicky Grace's Open House

I'm very lucky to live just down the road from Nicky Grace, who opens her house up to the public every month to sell her fabulous handmade wares. Nicky's house is no ordinary house - it is my DREAM house! Nicky is a client of Cath Kidston...need I say more!

Every room is pastel and pretty, with gorgeous furniture and decorations. During her open house days, her rooms are decked with handmade gifts and goodies up for sale, some by Nicky, and some by other local makers. I can spend hours sifting through all the handmade cards (a bargain at 10 for £1!), the knitted and crocheted items, reems of vintage fabric, cute vintage handkerchiefs, and piles of retro artwork. When I visited yesterday it seems Nicky has been busy creating mini bunting which was up for sale, and decorating all the shelf edges!







 Here is the front of the house, all decked out with bunting and cute welcome signs!





Here are some pics of the kitchen. I just love the welsh dressers and all the fairy lights. So cute! Also out of view is the aga oven (would die for an aga!). Sorry the pics are quite blurry, they were taken quickly whilst the room was free of shoppers. It gets busy in Nicky's house!



Here is an example of Nicky's mini bunting. It's very sweet and I like how it's not taking the form of the traditional triangular bunting. The shapes are irregular and it lends them a crooked charm! I'm going to have a bash at making this myself!


When I left this lovely dog came out to say farewell. This house really does have it all! Nicky, I am very jealous!

x