Thursday, 30 May 2013

Wedding outfit!

Here's just a quick post as I'm away for the weekend at a friend's wedding. My fiancé is being best man and the wedding is going to be a village fete type affair with bunting and an ice cream van! I can't wait!

I'll share some pics from the day next week but in the meantime here's the outfit I'm going to wear.

The dress is from Forever 21 - a bargain at £19.75, the cardy is H&M, and my super amazing suede coral and gold glitter heels are from Topshop. I loooove them so much! I'm also wearing the little flower in my hair and yesterday I bought the beige suede and gold glitter clutch from Oasis to wear with my outfit.



What do you think? I can't wait for Saturday, fingers crossed its sunny!

X

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Cakes! ♥

One thing I've been really excited to plan is my wedding cake. I just love all things baking and cake orientated, and I've had loads of fun looking at all the amazing cakes there are. Some really are works of art!

Here are a few cake pics I found on pinterest that I absolutely love. They're all quite different and so I don't know how I'm going to decide what to go for, but I thought I'd share them with you as they're so pretty.


This cake reminds me of Cath Kidston fabric! It's so intricate and pretty, I'd be sad to cut into it! It's quite a big cake with lots of tiers, so there'd be plenty of cake to go around - yummo!



I call this the 'Marie Antoinette' cake. It's so opulent and glamorous! I love the combination of differently decorate layers, with the lacy patterns and the pearls. Just beautiful <3 



This cake is sooooo cute! I really like 'naked' cakes so you can see all the lovely layers of buttercream, and this cake takes advantage of the exposed sponge by dotting it with colour throughout the sponge mix. I've got no idea how they did this, but I'd love try this out as it looks amazing! If you're reading this and now how, do let me know!



A dream in mint! I'm loving mint at the moment, and this cake is just the right shade. It's a little small at only two tiers but I love the hanging pearl decorations around the edge. It's so simple but really effective and the mint colour is a nice change from the standard white/ivory.



I really love this 'dotting' technique on cakes. This one has quite a lot of dots very close to one another but I've seen others with more spaced out dots which look just as good! 



A more traditional iced cake, but with gorgeous bow decorations which finish it off perfectly. It's stunning. This would be great for a really glam and formal wedding, it's very chic!

Which is your favourite cake? And what flavour would you go for? Would you have a traditional fruit tier?

x
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Monday, 27 May 2013

Clarks - Free Your Feet Competition ♥

I was recently contacted by Clarks to take part in their 'Free Your Feet' competition, and was kindly sent a pair of their fabulous Studio Beat Sandals to try out. I was really excited to receive them as I've not worn sandals from Clarks before!

I always tend to shop in Clarks in the autumn/winter months for boots, and brogues, but now I've tried these sandals I'll definitely be paying a visit to get some summer shoes from them! I love Clarks shoes as they're always very high in quality, stylish, and they last forever. I have a lovely pair of nu-buck boots that are still going strong 4 years later!

The Studio Beat Sandals are gorgeous and perfect for summer. They are a gold metallic leather in a T-bar design, with a really unusual woven/metallic link detail as the T bar. The gold colour will look great with a tan, and they will go with so many summery, holiday outfits.



One thing I have to mention about these sandals is that they're so comfy! In this next picture you can see the little padding on the sole that sits underneath the ball of your foot. It's like walking on air! One common complaint I have with summer sandals is that they're usually really flat and have no support which makes your feet ache! But these sandals have nifty 'ultra comfortable softwear technology' which make them a dream to wear!


As part of the competition I was asked to upload a pic of me wearing the sandals with an outfit of my choice. So here are a few of me wearing the sandals with a nice summery outfit! I don't normally do 'outfit of the day' type posts, but I think I shall try to from now on.

I picked quite a simple outfit to style up the sandals, as I thought the sandals are quite chic and don't need too much fuss to show them off to their full potential! I chose an animal print and monochrome look to wear with the sandals, for a low-key sunny Sunday walk. I'm a bit ill with a cold at the moment so excuse the sickly pallor! 







I chose to wear a cute zebra print black and white cotton dress from H&M, with a vintage leopard print belt. I love how the two animal prints clash, and the buckle on the belt reminded me of the linked T-Bar detail on the sandals. The leggings are M&S, the cardigan is Topshop, and the big grey bag is Accessorize. The gold zips and fastenings on the bag complement the metallic sandals really well.

I went for a walk around town and the local park in this outfit and the shoes were so comfy! It was nice to get my toes out after months of cold and wet weather! I'd definitely recommend Clarks for summertime footwear. I've already compiled a wishlist of summer shoes I want to buy!

I hope you like the outfit! How would you style the sandals?

x

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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Chooks Restaurant ♥

A new restaurant, Chooks opened up a while ago in the town where I live. It took me a good while to get around to checking it out, but let me tell you - it was the best thing I ever did!

The restaurant itself is decked out in a retro eclectic style with exposed brick walls, a huge neon Chooks sign, kitsch mismatched table and chairs and American diner style seating booths. It has such a fun and lively atmosphere and such lovely, welcoming staff.


If you manage to get there between 5-7pm on Mon-Fri you can start off your evening with half price beers and margaritas  - definitely a reason to leave work on time! The best thing about Chooks is that if you get your hands on one of these nifty key rings, you also get half price food on a Monday! What better way to get over that miserable Monday feeling! Even if you don't have a key ring, the prices are so reasonable it definitely won't break the bank.



Chooks is well known for its yummy chicken dishes - mostly grilled or buttermilk fried, but they also have lots of other delicious things on the menu! I'm partial to a Fat Pig shredded pork burger with beans, melted jack cheese and BBQ sauce...yum! They also have veggie options such as halloumi burgers, cous cous salads and a whole range of sides like Mac 'n' Cheese and onion rings.



My boyfriend had the delicious Buffalo Chicken Wings to start last time we went and they're served on cute chip shop style Chooks paper! My favourite starter is the Fried Mushroom & Feta Pops - to die for!


Desserts - oh my. Here's the Vanilla Cheesecake with raspberry coulis. So good...I've also sampled the chocolate brownie, and the deep fried mars bar. Mars bar is my fave, takes me back to the 1990s!


And last but not least - the drinks! The margaritas are 'frozen' (think alcoholic slush puppy!) and served in cute little jam jars, the wine comes in tumblers, and the beer has champagne in it - yep, champers. Curious Brew is their lager and it's fermented with champagne yeast. I really love this beer as its so light and refreshing, and it's much more ladylike with champagne in it ;-)

I think Chooks is my new favourite place to eat in Muswell Hill. It's cheap, cheerful, delicious, and the whole place has such a sunny, fun atmosphere, I never want to leave! If you're ever in the area you should definitely check it out. I know what I'm doing on Monday!

What's your fave place to eat locally?

x


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Friday, 24 May 2013

Loafers / Slippers ♥

I've recently bought a really comfy pair of studded loafers from Primark. They were only £10 and look a lot more expensive! I wear them dressed down with jeans or dressed up with dresses and black tights. In the below pic I wore them with a long black maxi skirt on a sunny day. I really love them and have my eye on several others in the shops at the moment!




I'm not really sure if you call this kind of shoe a loafer or a slipper. I'm more inclined to call them loafers as slippers makes me think of the bedtime kind!!

Here are some loafers/slippers in a variety of styles. These shoes are really so comfortable I think I need to get a loafer for every kind of outfit possible!

H&M Nude & sparkly slipper shoes - These are a bargain at £12! I like the combo of the nude beige colour with the twinkly stones on the toe.


River Island Grey skull stud slippers - These are really unusual and a nice twist on the usual studded loafer shoe! 

London Rebel Studded shoe - I love the piped edges, the cutaway lip and spiky bits on these. They remind me of drawing pins! 

Next Metallic loafers - A 'sporty' version of the loafer! The metallic material makes these less trainer like. Would look great with skinny jeans in the summer!


Lush Nude Crystal slipper - a cinderella slipper! Similar to the H&M ones but slightly more special and pretty. I just love all the crystal embellishments!


Do you own any loafers/slippers?

x

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Wedding Wednesday - The Something Borrowed Boutique ♥

I'm a little bit in love with The Something Borrowed Boutique - a wedding decoration and car hire company. It's run by our friend Carly and her sister Victoria, and they have all sorts of amazing goodies available for hire.

My fiance and I attended Carly's wedding last year, and it was such a lovely day, with lots of beautiful decorations and little touches. We had such a great time and the bride and groom looked amazing!

The Something Borrowed Boutique hire out a number of items from table number holders to candy table equipment to wicker hearts to vintage cars. They are always expanding upon their collection and their most recent addition is a large blackboard which is great for chalking on table plans!


Cute post box for all your wedding cards. Comes with personalised collection card

The website lists all of their items according to different wedding styles so you can select the items that suit the style of your wedding. The categories are Vintage, Rustic, Whimsical and Classic. In each section you will find lots of gorgeous pieces. The idea behind the boutique is so clever as not everyone wants to purchase lots of wedding paraphernalia that they'll have no use for after the wedding! They really have everything you could possibly imagine, from larger props like an amazing photo booth wall to little details like crystal place card holders.

Crystal Cake Stand

The Boutique also owns two gorgeous vintage cars very cutely named 'Eric' and 'Mavis' after family grandparents. Eric was lovingly restored by Carly and her husband for their wedding, and they recently purchased his partner in crime, Mavis! Here is a pic of me enjoying Eric's company at their wedding! He is such a handsome chap.



The Something Borrowed Boutique not only stocks a wide range of items, they also offer fantastic hire prices. You can hire individual items for very reasonable fees, or if there's quite a few things that take your fancy, they also offer package deals. Not only are they amazing value they are really friendly, lovely people with a genuine interest in your day!

Gold Framed Mirror Table Plan

This lovely little boutique is based in Coventry, Warwickshire, and can be found at wedding fairs in the area, and have recently started holding open days at their beautiful home. You can get in touch with them here and also on facebook, and twitter. Check them out!

What's your favourite wedding 'style'?

x

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Friday, 17 May 2013

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nails ♥

I love shellac/gel nails as they last so long and look so nice and shiny. I'm also a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to nails, so when I go to the nail salon I want them to be just right and if they chip quite soon after I get really annoyed! So shellac and gel were a magical discovery for me!

Shellac and gel manicures come with a hefty price tag, so you really do have to pay for perfection! But recently Barry M released a new range called Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint and the 'gelly' bit really intrigued me! I bought the Pomegranate one which is a lovely bright pinky red colour. The first time I applied this I didn't use a base coat (advised) or a top coat. The result was lovely juicy shiny nails, but they chipped straight away! I was a bit disappointed.

I've seen so many bloggers raving about the Gelly nail polish so I thought I should give it a second chance. This time I used a top coat, a Gelly coat (just the one) and a top coat. The results were much better as it applied more smoothly and looked gorgeous when done.






I only applied it a couple of days ago and it started to chip the next day! :-( I'm not sure if I just do a lot of washing up (!) or what but I was disappointed it chipped quite easily again. I think this nail polish is great for getting the lovely shiny shellac look but it's obviously not as hard wearing. I think I was getting over excited and had too high expectations!

I think I will buy more colours from the range as it does go on the nail really nicely, and I love the shininess! I think on my next go I'll do 2 coats of the Gelly to see if that makes it a bit more durable.

Have you ever tried Barry M Gelly nail polish? What did you think?

x
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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wedding Wednesday - High Street Dresses ♥

I've decided to start up a regular Wednesday post on all things I'm up to wedding-wise! I have set a date now and booked my venues, and I am starting to get really excited about all the different things I've still to plan - cake, invites, flowers, cars, dress, shoes! The list goes on!

A couple of weeks ago I spent a mammoth day on Oxford Street trying on lots of high street wedding dresses. I initially did not want to spend a lot on the dress, as I'm only going to wear it once! So I thought I should check out all the high street ones on offer to see if there were any hidden gems!

I've realised that my figure is not really suited to a 'one size fits all' kind of dress, and I think I'm going to have to get a dress fitted properly (I am dorito shaped - broad shoulders on top, little hips and legs on bottom - v.attractive!!) I've since found a designer dress that I've fallen in love with, but I thought I'd share my high street finds as they would certainly be perfect for others who don't have abnormal proportions like me!

Here is a review of all the dresses I tried on, and some bad iphone pics too. I've chopped my head off as it was chucking it down with rain all day and no-one wants to see my flustered face with hair plastered to it!

Monsoon

I went to the Monsoon store on Oxford Street and they had quite a few from their collection in store, but not all, and the particular one I had my eye on wasn't there which was a shame. But I tried on a few that seemed quite nice.



Margot Bridal Dress -  this dress is only £229 - an absolute bargain! It fitted quite well and the quality was good, but I felt it was a bit 1970's for me and the look I'm going for! This would be lovely for an outdoors-y laid back 'woodland' type wedding.




Olga Bridal Dress - They didn't have this dress in my size so I had to kind of hold it against me to see it properly. It was really pretty but didn't feel 'bridey' enough. It also had quite a Grecian feel to it. This is only £249, so again, fab price!




Annabel Dress - Again, I had to stuff myself into a size 8 and hold it closed at the back to see the fit. Looks pretty awful in this pic but I could imagine how it would fit in the right size. This was my favourite of the monsoon ones I tried. It was made of a thicker material and felt more like a wedding dress than the others.  It had really gorgeous embroidery around the neckline and straps. This is £249 too.


Phase Eight

I tried on a few dresses from the Phase Eight collection in a couple of different stores. I tried some on in House of Fraser (first 2 below) so they didn't have the full range or many sizes. And then I went to the flagship Phase Eight store which had a lot more choice. These were a little more expensive, but a lot more workmanship has gone into them in terms of details and embellishments. The fabrics used are also quite sumptuous and feel bridal-like.



Eliza Wedding Dress - Excuse the god awful photo and lighting! They only had this dress in a size too big, and so you can see it hanging a bit and not very flattering! I was impressed with the detail in this dress though - it is covered in lots of crystals and beads. It's a bit more at £750, but you are paying for the level and quality of detail in the embellishments.




Evelyn Lace Beaded Dress - Another bad photo! This was a couple sizes too small so I look a bit stuffed into it. This had lots of lace, bead and sequin detail all over it. It was really pretty and sparkly, but I found it weighed a ton! The amount of decorations on it do weigh it down a bit. It's really nice but a bit too covered up for me. Would perhaps suit an older bride, a winter bride, or someone who doesn't want to expose too much skin! This is £750 too.




Carolina Lace Dress - These two were tried on in the Phase Eight store so I was able to try them on on my size - hurrah! I absolutely loved the Carolina dress. It's so soft and pretty and romantic and has a rose lace detail all over it. It's a bit of an unusual fabric - it feels quite cottony and stretchy, but not in a horrible way. This was one of my favourites. My only drawback is the high neckline. High necklines don't really suit me (v-necks all the way) so whilst this was gorgeous it wasn't 100% right. If it had a v-neck I'd be sold! This one was £550.




Flora Embroidered Dress - This was another favourite from Phase Eight. The quality was amazing and it felt really elegant and special to wear. The material is embroidered with a lovely floral pattern and it has a gorgeous pearl encrusted belt to cinch the waist. This was £550 too. I really liked it but again had the high neckline problem! It also felt quite formal and I wanted something a bit more floaty and romantic. Would def recommend this and Carolina dress to others!


I didn't take any other photos of these, but I also tried some other brands on. They didn't suit me but I thought I'd list them in case any brides-to-be are reading and are interested!

 Damsel in a Dress Signature Dress -  I tried this dress on and it wasn't for me, but it was really figure-hugging (in a good way) and looked quite glamorous. Again it's affordable at only £229. One thing that put me off though was that the material seemed quite shiny, which isn't for me.





Ghost Sylvia Wedding Dress - This dress was really good quality but the material was quite thin, and so it showed every lump and bump! I think this would be good if you're quite tall and slim. It's very plain but really elegant and on the right person this would look lovely. Another bargain at £225!


Phew! Well that's my mammoth wedding wednesday done!

Which dress do you like best?

x


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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Peanut Butter Cake ♥

The other weekend I fancied doing some baking but I had limited ingredients in my cupboard. I've always fancied trying peanut butter in a cake, so this is what I decided to do!

I only had 2 eggs but wanted to make quite a big cake in one tin so was completely expecting it to turn out to be really flat or dry, but I was pleasantly surprised! I didn't follow any recipe, just kind of made it up as I went along, which is dangerous in baking which is a science somewhat! But I was lucky this time. And it tasted so yummy! Here's the recipe:

Ingredients

200g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar (golden is best if you have it, but normal will do!)
200g unsalted butter
2 eggs
A few drops of vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
3-4 tablespoons of milk

Method

1.) Weigh out all your ingredients ready and preheat oven to 180 degrees.

2.) Cream butter and sugar together until fluffly

3.) Beat in one egg at a time with electric mixer and add your vanilla extract

4.) Beat in your peanut butter, a spoonful at a time (you can put as much or little as you like in but bear in mind that it will get quite salty if you put a lot in. About 2 or 3 tablespoons was just right in mine)

5.) Fold in sieved flour a bit at a time with a metal spoon

6.) When all flour folded in, if the mixture is a bit clumpy and dry looking, add a tablespoon of milk at a time and fold in to get a more fluid consistency. I did this as I was worried about the cake getting too dry seeing as there were less eggs, and the peanut butter seemed to cloy up the mixture a bit.

7.) Pour into lined baking tin and leave in oven for 30-40mins at 180 degrees. Check after 30-40mins with skewer to see if cooked in centre, and if not leave in a little longer.


Voila! My cake turned out to be really moist and yummy. It had a little bit of a savoury taste whilst still being sweet and cakey, and the little crunchy bits of peanut gave it a really nice texture! You could use smooth peanut butter if you don't want bits in it. I'm not sure if my oven timings are 100% accurate as I was just winging it! But I did keep it in for quite a while and at a low temperature so it wouldn't dry out.

This cake was so yummy it didn't last very long, but here is a pic of a slice! It's delicious with a bit of strawberry jam - next time I'm going to sandwich 2 cakes together with jam and buttercream to make a peanut butter and jelly cake! Yummo.


Let me know if you try this recipe and send me a pic!

Have you done any baking this weekend?

x


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