Thursday, 31 May 2012

My beauty must-haves

My friends know that being a make-up fanatic is just not my bag. Dressing up for a night out I always choose to play it safe with a bit of mascara and a touch of lippy, rather than risk painting my face like a drag queen. I’d love to be able to create a beautiful, flawless look with the stroke of a brush but I just don’t have a Scooby doo where to start. I’m like a child rummaging through my mum’s make-up bag trying odd things here and there and making nothing but a huge mess.

My friend Harriet, a beautician by trade, often likes to give me a ‘Hollywood makeover’ but I’m always sneakily rubbing off the blusher or smudging the eyeliner when she’s not looking. So when it comes to my favourite beauty buys, I opt out of pricey designer brands such as Mac or even Benefit and prefer to stick with the cheap and cheerful names that I trust will do their best at keeping me shine-free throughout the day. 

Moisturiser: Really nice texture, goes on your skin smoothly and sinks in quickly
Blusher: First cream blusher I've used and I love it. Goes on brilliantly and lasts for hours.
Mascara: Used it for years, dries quickly and gives lashes good definition
Compact powder: Just £3.99 it's a bargain and gives good even coverage
Dry shampoo and hairspray: I literally cannot live without them
Face wipes: What did I do before them?!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

My new spring staples pt 2

It seems I have gone a bit shopping mad this month. But then again I haven't been splurging at Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenberg or even Topshop (my pennies don't stretch that far) I've still been bargaining cheap and rummaging through charity shops for that glimpse of style genius. Once you get past the fact that an old granny might have popped her clogs wearing one of my new purchases, you soon wise up to fashion that's hidden underneath the memories. As well as bagging two pastel jumpers for a steal at just £7 collectively and dusting off my tropical sleeveless shirt from last year, I treated myself to a £8 dress from H&M which I can see being worn a lot this summer.

Dress H&M £7.99 / Top charity shop £3 / Jumper charity shop £4 / Crochet top £3

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

All I'm dreaming of is...

This summer more than anything all I want to do is go on holiday. Somewhere hot, with stunning views, sandy beaches, cheap cocktails and air conditioning. Last year me and Tom took our first holiday together and ventured to Madeira for a week. It was a fantastic time, even though we were surrounded by OAPs and the weather wasn't tip top, but it was just nice to have a week away from normality. This year I'm planning to risk it and book a late late last minute deal in a bid to bag a bargain. Here are just a few places I would love to visit, but unless I win the lottery, I don't think I'll be flying there anytime soon! 
Thailand
Fiji

Mauritius
I do love a bit of culture too...

San Francisco
Peru
Mexico

Monday, 28 May 2012

She shoots, she scores

fashion


What a month it’s been for your wardrobe. If you haven’t been digging out your winter knits, you would’ve been tugging at your summer florals, begging for the sun to come out to give them a spin round the block. It seems this month’s hottest fashion accessory was the classic umbrella and cardigan combo.

Aside from the disastrous start to the summer, it’s been a month of fashion highlights. With power brands Victoria Beckham and the Kardashians announcing plans for new flagship stores in the heart of the capital to high street staple Oasis releasing a tribute Jubilee range to honour to Queen’s 60 years on the throne; fashion has had its fair share of the headlines.

Now the Queen has given us the Royal wave goodbye and Prince Philip has gotten over his Jubilee hangover, there is already another event brewing. Forget the madness surrounding the Olympics, first we see England take on our neighbours in the Euro 2012 tournament. You can all breathe a sigh of relief – I’m not going to bang on about football kits for the next 500 words, although I’m sure I could rack my brains for something to say about 11 hunky men wearing shorts and getting sweaty.

European style has worked its way into the helm of British designers’ ranges and will be the real talking point for me during the football competition. The media plays a huge part in predicting what’s hot and what’s not and it’s not just us Brits who read Vogue cover to cover. Just a short hop across the channel, other fashionistas on the continent are watching the designers and transpiring the trends in their own unique way. Often playing with brighter hues and experimenting in a braver way, even big name brands look to Europe to inspire their creative minds. Gucci, Michael Kors and Roberto Cavalli all embrace European style influences to design that catwalk wow factor. Most notably is the proliferation of H&M’s, the fast-fashion retailer from Sweden that has redefined stylish fashion at inexpensive costs, with stores now popping up in key cities across the UK. This coupled with the rise of Spanish store Zara, Amsterdam’s focus on sustainable sources and Denmark’s love of emerging designers, has helped put Europe firmly on the style map. It’s colossal how much this has influenced the way us Brits dress, especially in a time where every penny counts.

That’s not to say that the UK shouldn’t be forgotten in all this. We invented mods and rockers, and swinging London of the 60s; even the infamous ‘bob’ originated from Mary Quant and her trend setting persona. Eyes are always on the emerging talent that comes out of Graduate Fashion Week in London to catch a glimpse of the icons of the future. It’s clear that the UK plays a huge part in influencing the rest of the world too.

This summer we welcome the sport luxe look from Italy as renowned fashion designer Donatella Versace has taken this trend to the catwalk. Sport luxe aren’t two words we would usually team together to envision style; one conjuring images of upmost glamour and the other giving me dreaded flashbacks of plimsolls and vests from my school days. However, there are a number of ways to ooze this trend. Be it racer back vests from Topshop or luxury sports jackets from River Island. The high top shoe has also become the epitome of cool in the capital, and if you’re a diehard fan they even come in a wedge version.

Fashion is obviously not limited to our European boarders and we have already see trends from Africa – vibrant tribal patterns – and India – luxurious fabrics and beautiful prints – take shape this year. If you’ve been hitting the shops hard recently you would’ve noticed the quirky collar trend everywhere. From studs to sparkle and bold colour to delicate lace, adding a special collar to an outfit is big news and can give a look that instant update without diving too far into your pockets. Miss Selfridge and New Look have a great selection of quirky, rocky and cutesy collars to suit everyone.

So whatever section of the globe you look towards for style inspiration, with the Euro 2012 coverage, it’s safe to say I’ll only look up from my copy of Vogue to catch a glimpse of what the WAGS are wearing.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Yummy lamb curry

Last Saturday night, I thought I’d play the doting daughter and cook mother and father a nice meal. So after scouring the internet on the sly at work looking for the perfect recipe, I found this one from BBC good food and thought it looked simple and delicious. Plus, my dad loves a good curry that brings him out in a light sweat. All in all it went down in the recipe books as a roaring success and I even teamed it with a zingy courgette salad just to show off a bit.

Ingredients

small chunk ginger peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 green chillies, sliced
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
600g lamb neck fillet
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée
100g bag spinach chopped
  

Method

    1. Put the ginger, garlic and onions in a food processor and whizz to a paste. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan then add the paste, green chilli and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add all the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the lamb and keep cooking and stirring until browned. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée and a cup of water then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour.
    2. Add the spinach then cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with rice or indian breads


    Wednesday, 23 May 2012

    Brighton bound

    Two weekends ago, I whizzed off the Brighton for a weekend of fun, frolics and fatty foods and it did not disappoint. Friday night started with a bang; scoffing an Uncle Sams, my first time viewing of the film Burlesque, and the re-enactment of some old embarrassing photos we found hidden away at Emilys. My belly ached from all the laughing.

    Look how young we all look!
    Saturday we headed off to the bright lights of Clapham for Lauren and Sam’s birthday BBQ slash house party slash cool mini rave. I tried my best to perfect the casual, bang-on-trend London look with my pastel jeans and floral top combo and spent the evening chatting, drinking and straining to hear each other over the loud music. We finished the night like you would any normal BBQ; with a McDonalds. And yes I went large. 

    Sunday swung round and the sun was shining. We decided a walk along the prom and a bit of sea air was on the cards, where we gaped at slobbery dogs and felt guilty looking at the red-faced runners.


    In the afternoon we met Becky and Freddie for a spot of lunch. Inbetween the little tinker playing percussion on the table, we had a good girlie chinwag and loads of cuddles with the gorgeous boy.


    Friday, 18 May 2012

    Put a stamp on it!


    Everyone seems to have gone just a bit Jubilee crazy. If it's not the flags on Oxford Street, or the window display in Selfridges, its restaurants rolling out a patriotic menu or my mum planning a special tea party. However you are planning to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne, it looks set to be a momentous occasion and one not to be missed. Now the Royal Mail has decided to get in on the act and has brought out special edition stamp collection heralding Great British Fashion. They feature original outfits from ten British designers and have been shot by fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø. The outfits were borrowed from designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith and shot on models - the models faces were then taken out. I think they look fab and I don’t mind paying the price hike to bag some of these beauties.



    Thursday, 17 May 2012

    My new spring staples

    I'm not going to keep banging on about the rubbish weather and how I haven't even got my milk bottle legs out and it's already May, so I thought I'd give you a sneak peek of my summer wardrobe so far. I can't help buying a little addition every time I venture into town at the moment, and am loving the spring ranges from H&M and New Look; such gorgeous clothes at bargain prices! So hopefully I will be able to showcase my new threads in the office soon before they start collecting dust.



    £7.99 H&M / £12.99 H&M / £14 Matalan
    £16 Matalan
    £3.99 Charity shop

    Have you bought anything for spring yet?

    Wednesday, 16 May 2012

    Little things

    Today I am... 


    Obsessing over: The pastel trend and shirts. What a simple combo and great when you're not feeling great body-wise. 

    Working on: Building up a portfolio of all my best journalism work to show off in a pretty folder. 

    Thinking about: booking a much-needed holiday. Please bank account let me go somewhere hot, tranquil and free of civil war in September! 

    Anticipating: seeing my parents at the weekend. It's been over 3 weeks and I'm looking forward to some home-cooked food, relaxing and being pampered. 

    Listening to: Conor Maynard, Can't Say No. I can't resist blasting this tune from my car, much to the dismay of grannies at the bus stop.

    Eating: A bar of chocolate before I hit the gym tonight. Oops 

    Wishing: Two things – firstly that the sun would finally come out of hiding so I can finally banish my winter wares back to the wardrobe. Secondly that I was seeing Tom this weekend and we didn't live so far apart. :(


    Tuesday, 15 May 2012

    Tuesday blues anyone?

    These are a few of my favourite quotes to encourage, inspire and generally put a positive spin on those dull, never-ending days.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    Mark Twain

    "Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not." 
    Oprah Winfrey

    "Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is."
    Anne Frank

    "A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water."
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    And a little Tuesday pick-me-up from one of my favourite films.



    Monday, 14 May 2012

    I want to be a book worm...

    Last week I was struck down with some horrendous stomach/sick bug (I'll spare you the gory details) and was confined to my bed for a few days with just Philip and Holly for company. It was during this time and in-between my dashes to the toilet, that, apart from the fact that daytime television is hugely boring, I haven't read a book in a long time. I usually immerse myself in the pages of a romantic novel on holiday while basking in the sun, but it suddenly occurred to me that as soon as I touch down on British soil, reading a book gets pushed to the back of my mind.

    The last book I started to read was Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman, which probably wasn't the best choice for company on a packed commuter train to Southampton. So far I have only managed a pathetic three chapters, but she has already mentioned her experiences with periods, pubes and masturbation, so I am almost too nervous to see what chapter four unveils.

    Before this, the last time I read a book cover to cover was when Tom and I were holidaying in Madeira last year. It was One Day which I simply couldn't put down and was often caught ignoring poor Tom while completely wrapped up in the love lives of Emma and Dexter. After I had finished reading it, Tom even got involved and attempted to read it all on the plane home; he seemed to enjoy it just as much as me!

    So now after deciding that I want to do more reading, and not just fashion magazines, blogs and the MailOnline, but actually get stuck into a book. I have seen a lot of people mention The Help, or read about You Don't Have to Say You Love Me over at Charlotte's Web which sounds right up my street. I usually stick to rom-com, typical girl-meets-boy stories to satisfy my inner book worm, and want to find a new one to read, any suggestions?