Photo Challenge – the home stretch

So January is over, which means so is my January photo challenge. I’ve actually really enjoyed the challenge of taking a photo a day although I know there are some days where I could have tried harder, but just ran out of time – three things and comfort I’m looking at you now! But overall my little challenge was good fun, it certainly made me look at things from a different perspective to normal. So anyway, here are the last eleven photos, let me know what you think….

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The mid-week slump

It’s happened, I’ve hit the mid-week slump. Someone send help, preferably in the form of 500g of peanut m&m’s and a vat of Starbucks skinny mochas. The only way to get through today has been to focus on the things that are coming soon that I’m super excited about. So I’m sharing in case you’ve also got a case of the mid-week blues.

simple thingsThe Simple Things Magazine subscription – I’ve decided I need to subscribe to this magazine as I’m totally in love with the issues I have (4, 5 &6). Sadly I can’t justify the expense this month. But once I’ve been paid in two weeks I’ll be all over the iTunes subscription – I can’t wait!

Suits – This was recommended to me by my sister and having watched the first few episodes of series two I am obsessed, it’s hilarious and brilliant all in one! I love it so much after two episodes that I’ve now purchased the boxset of series one (only £7.50 on Amazon – bargain!). So I can’t wait to get stuck in to the new series soon, I just need a spare day as I fear I won’t want to stop watching!

Jodi Picoult’s new bookThe Storyteller is out in the UK in just 55 days and I can barely wait! I love all of Jodi’s books as they are brilliantly written stories with such intriguing characters and concepts. Her latest novel is about a woman who finds out that her new friend was a guard in a Nazi concentration camp during the war and she herself has ancestors who were affected. Certainly thought-provoking stuff and I really hope it’s as brilliant as my all time favourite Jodi Picoult novel – Nineteen Minutes.

browniesBaking – Baking relatively healthy chocolate brownies to be precise and yes you did read that right! I saw this recipe yesterday for chocolate brownies which are made with butternut squash – yes really – and now I can’t wait to make them! They sound like they will be wonderfully gooey and chocolatey, and at only 123 calories a pop they appear almost too good to be true. So really I must test them out, it’s my duty to spread the word about healthier brownie recipes, right? Plus they’ll be perfect snackage for Sunday Night’s Superbowl viewing.

Nashville – I saw the advert for this last night (YouTube trailer here) and it looks so good! It’s an American TV series that entails singing, bitching and some brilliant actresses so I know I’ll absolutely love it. Bring on February!

Star Shop #3 – Anorak

So I have a thing about owning products that feature animals. Case in point: I have a squirrel jumper, I bought elephant thank you cards and I have numerous animal related jewelery items, currently in my possession are whale, hare and bird necklaces, owl earrings, a swallow bracelet AND an owl bracelet. So it’s really no surprise that I’m a huge fan of all the products on the Anorak website. I totally love the simplicity of the designs.

I first fell in love with the trunks about three years ago and it’s my dream to one day own both the big trunk and the matching tuck box. How amazing would they both look in a simple rustic white bedroom – adorable! Since then I’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for all the products and all the different designs. Just don’t ask me which is my favourite kissing animal design – I’d find it impossible to choose to be honest, as they are all just so cute. How could you possible make a choice between the kissing stags, bears, robins or horses?

Kissing Stags Toiletry Bag Kissing Horses Picnic BlanketKissing Stags Steamer TrunkKissing Bears CushionKissing Robins MugProud Fox Nesting TinsKissing Rabbits Tuck Box Kissing Stags Lambswool Blanket Kissing Horses Double Duvet

Nights of culture in London Town

Rather than detailing my entire week in this blog post, as per usual, I thought I’d just share the main things I’ve been up to this week as let’s be honest you don’t need to know about what I’ve eaten or the monotony of my working week do you?! Well if you do, let’s just say I’ve eaten lots of yummy things – I’ve rediscovered jacket potato, cheese and beans, been tucking into left-over panettone and treated myself to m&m’s from the mecca that is m&m world! – and work has been monotonous, with splashes of excitement and good news. So let’s be honest it could be a whole lot worse than it was! The main story to tell is that I’ve had a wonderfully cultured week. I’m not sure why this week has been so full of London culture, but it has and I’ve loved every minute of it!! So what form has this cultured week taken I hear you ask….

20130127-181345.jpgWicked – The first of my many planned theatre trips (as mentioned here) happened this week, when I treated some friends to Wicked for an early birthday treat. We managed to get relatively cheap tickets considering we were seated in the middle of the stalls, with the best view there is – honestly I don’t think we could have asked for a better one. Now I’ve seen the show a couple of times so I knew all the songs and what to expect, but even so the show was more amazing than I remembered and the actors had the most unbelievable voices. It was truly sensational. What was also great was that I’d forgotten so much of what happens so I was properly curious and anticipating what was about to happen – I mean I couldn’t even remember where the Tin Man comes into the story – yes honestly! As per usual I was blown away by my favourite songs Defying Gravity and For Good and I also found myself laughing uproariously at Glinda during Popular. The actress was just hilarious and played that part so well! What a great start to the week, how can anyone not love Wicked?!

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The view over Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column from The National Gallery

Friday night culture – On Friday I found myself on the steps of The National Gallery waiting for friends. Now I have an admission to make, despite being born and bought up just 50 minutes from London AND living in London for the past three years AND the fact that I work on The Strand, (just two minutes from The National Gallery), I’ve never actually been to The National Gallery. Yes really, I’m honestly quite ashamed. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I haven’t wanted to or that I’m a total philistine when it comes to culture; case in point: I love the V&A, have been to the National Portrait Gallery multiple times and totally love the Natural History Museum. Quite simply I’ve just never gotten round to visiting The National Gallery. So I was very excited to finally make it there on Friday and I wasn’t disappointed. We only did the more modern rooms, but the paintings we saw were amazing and there was something special about seeing images you’re so familiar with in a big grand gallery like this, where you can see all the brush strokes and the contours of the paint. I think my favourite paintings were Monet’s beautiful ‘Water-Lilies, setting Sun’ and ‘The Japanese’ Bridge’, Rousseau’s ‘Surprised!’ and Van Gogh’s ‘A Wheatfield, with Cypresses’. Strangely I was quite underwhelmed by Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, I’m not sure why but I think I expected the colours to be more vibrant that they were.

20130127-181434.jpgLondon walks – Something I’ve not done enough of since making my home in London Town is to walk through the parks. So this weekend after a late lunch at The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen – which is becoming a bit of a favourite place! – I walked through Hyde Park, into Green Park and St James’ before heading to the Mall and along Whitehall across to Waterloo. It was such a lovely stroll, and actually it’s not that far at all, maybe 2 miles or so. It was so lovely just to wander along past some unbelievably gorgeous and historic sites, including Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park Corner, Wellington Arch, Clarence House and Nelson himself. It’s during (and after) walks like yesterday’s that I realise how truly lucky I am to life in such a brilliant city; and one that is steeped in such awesome history. I really must make more of it over the coming year.

TV, TV and more TV! – So just as you thought I was becoming amazingly cultured and active I thought I’d put you straight and mention all the brilliant TV I’ve been watching recently. This week has been relatively quite of an evening so there have been some epic TV nights occurring. Some of the highlights have been James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon in The Following (AMAZING), The Great British Bake Off Comic Relief Special (hilarious and mouth-watering), Miranda (how laugh-out-loud funny was this weeks episode), A Walk to Remember (one of my all-time favourite films that I hadn’t seen for AGES!) and finally Arrow, which is finally back on TV – love it! So yes never fear even after all this culture my TV habits haven’t changed!

And to finish, below are three of my favourite photos from this week that I just had to share! I hope you’ve enjoyed this semi-cultural post and I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to this week, culture or crap TV?!

Lots of theatre trips, Tim Tams and Pixar love

Things making me smile this week include:

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1) My new Pixar desk calendar – My mornings are particularly smiley at the moment thanks to the brilliant images I find on my desk calendar every day. It’s so good to have it on my desk, as no matter how stressed I am throughout the day it always serves to make me smile by reminding me about the important things in life: the genius of Pixar, the classic moments Pixar have brought us and the universal truth that the monsters under our beds are more scared of us than we are of them!

2) Tim Tams – I don’t think I can explain my absolute adoration for these gorgeous chocolatey biscuits. I love them so much that I could easily chomp my way through an entire pack in one half hour sitting, hence the fact that I don’t allow myself to purchase them in Tesco’s ever. But thankfully my cousin recently sent us a packet of them (a very late Christmas present) and I spent Sunday afternoon scoffing them all – my entire month was made in that one lovely gesture and afternoon!

20130121-143543.jpg3) The Simple Things magazine – I got my first issue of this wonderful magazine over Christmas courtesy of Santa (isn’t he kind) and I finally read it over the weekend. And can I just say I’m in total love with everything in it, where do I subscribe?!?! First off I saw these gorgeous egg cups, then there were some brilliant Christmas decoration ideas (ripping those pages out for next years Christmas house decoration!) and finally some gorgeous recipes. I didn’t really digest everything that was in there in just one sitting as it’s all so wonderful, but it’s definitely one to be recommended!

4) Cheap theatre tickets – I’m so concerned about having a dreadfully dull and depressing January and February that I’m making sure to fill it with interesting things, so when I heard that you could get super cheap theatre tickets at getintolondontheatre.co.uk I went a bit crazy. So far I’ve purchased tickets for Wicked, Spamalot and Shrek and what’s great is that the tickets were for £25, £10 and £10 respectively – how awesome is that! So it was Wicked this week, then Spamalot is the week after next and Shrek the week after that – I can hardly contain my excitement!

20130121-143611.jpg5) Mr. Sheep – I think I’ve mentioned this cute cuddly sheep in the past, but this week he’s really come into his own as it’s been so so so cold! Since my wonderful sis bought him for me so I’d stop stealing her pig version it’s become something of a ritual to pop him in the microwave and hug him to death each night. It’s amazing how warm this cute bundle of squidgey lavender sheep can keep me! So who cares if I wake up in the middle of the night really uncomfortable as he’s ended up underneath me? Or if I’m like a four-year old taking a cuddly sheep to bed – he keeps me warm so I certainly don’t!!

Outfit ideas for a lovely new shirt!

At the weekend I bought this gorgeous denim shirt from Primark for a mere £10! It was a dream buy as I’ve been looking for a shirt like this for a while, and this one’s nicer than others I’ve seen as it has lovely white lace along the top and small silver studs on the tips of the collar. So a lot more interesting than a very plain shirt without any detailing would be.

So as is the norm when I’ve bought something new I’ve spent the last few days thinking about ways of wearing this shirt. As I really want to ensure that I don’t just wear it in the exact same way every time, which I know I’m inclined to do fairly often! So with that in mind I’ve created a few different outfit ideas below for future reference, that way I’ll remember some of the great ways I can wear this outfit and I won’t just reach for the same old jumper or pair of jeans with it!

Outfit number one: teamed with my grey star print jeans, a purple cable knit jumper and snuggly ugg boots.

outfit1

This outfit is probably how I’ll wear this new shirt when I wear it for the first time as it’ll certainly keep me warm in the current freezing weather. Plus I do have a bit of an obsession with purple and denim at the moment and this outfit ticks both those boxes!

Outfit number two: teamed with a black dress, coloured belts to cinch the shirt at the waist, pink beads, tights and leopard print pumps

blog outfit 2

I bought a similar black dress to the one above in the sales recently and I have been waiting to wear it in a more interesting manner than just simply with a jumper and uggs. So I think this new shirt would be the perfect accompaniment for it, it would dress up the black dress without being too much and it would also be an unusual way of wearing such a dress. Plus this outfit would be really fun if paired with pink accessories and cool shoes, absolutely perfect for dinner out or a shopping trip!

Outfit number three: Team the shirt with a dark denim skirt, a striped long-sleeved top, gold pumps and a bright coloured blazer.

blog outfit 3

This final outfit would be perfect for work or when out with friends as it’s smart and casual all in one. I love the idea of teaming this paler shirt with a bright blazer as it adds a bit of fun to what is otherwise a quite plain outfit.

So there we have it, a few ideas for wearing my new shirt, that should last me a couple of weeks as I can’t be wearing it everyday! I’ll let you know if these proposed outfits work or not, as to be honest they could look dreadful in real life couldn’t they?!

Wise words

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I saw this quote on Pinterest earlier tonight and it seemed to strike a chord with me. So I thought I’d share it. I’m not sure why it’s this quote of the many I’ve pinned recently that seems to resonate with me at the moment, it just does. There’s a sense of logic to the words.

Why on earth would you surround yourself with people who are negative or don’t fully appreciate what you’re capable of? There’s always going to be a time when we need support and someone in our corner, so why not choose the people who know how truly brilliant you are and the potential that you have? They will always be the ones to drop everything for you, convince you that you can get through anything, to pick you up when you’re down and who’ll share their last bag of mini eggs with you.

It seems pretty clear to me that you’d be stupid to ignore these special people.

Pinterest Corner #5 – Glittery Nails

Yes I know I’ve done a nail art Pinterest Corner before (see Pinterest Corner #3 – Coloured Nail Tips) but I have fallen in love with another brilliant pin that I can’t put off doing any longer, sorry! The below pin is lovely isn’t it, I love the way it looks like the tips have been dipped in superglue and glitter. Amazing!

Glitter french tips

So having seen this ages ago on the wonder that is Pinterest I finally gave it a go this weekend and below is my finished look, thoughts?

Yes I know it’s not a bright colour and silver glitter but I really fancied going slightly goth with this look as it’s too dark and depressing outside for bright orange nail varnish, (really it’s just an excuse for me to try this pin again in the summer with a bright turquoise or pink nails isn’t it?!) So not only did I go for black over orange I also switched the silver glitter for gold, as the silver I have didn’t work because it’s far too clear and the glitter flecks weren’t big enough. So it all ended up looking a little weird. But overall I think the gold flecks and black work really well, and the nails have certainly cheered me up today every time they catch the light – so pretty!!

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Photo Challenge (Days 10 – 20)

My January photo challenge is now over two thirds of the way through so I thought it was about time I updated you with the second set of photos from day 10 to day 20. So here they are below, let me know which are your favourites and which you think are rubbish. It’ll be interesting to know how your thoughts on the photos match (or don’t!) my feelings on each one!

Pinterest Corner #4 – A stripey and colourful outfit

Yes I know I’m a little bit late on my Pinterest Corner post for this week, five days late to be precise but it’s still technically the third week of January so I’m okay right? Oh dear it’s not good that I’m already talking about technicalities on a weekly post that’s only four weeks in…. I promise to do better next time! So as for this weeks Pinterest post, it’s a recreation of the below outfit.

cardigan with striped tank, rolled up skinny jeans, flats, long necklace

This outfit is one that I love, well apart from the pumps as they aren’t quite to my liking, but the rest of it is lovely and perfect for a day at work. What I love most about this look is that it’s so simple and effortless without being boring, which sometimes happens when you’re trying to keep things simple and effortless. So I pinned it as I wanted to recreate it one day and with the purchase of my new striped top from Oasis I was all set and ready to give this outfit a whirl! And here it is:

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So what do you think, a fairly good recreation right? I teamed my stripey top with jeans, leopard print pumps, neon pink cardi and a simple gold necklace. I think I pulled it off quite well and it’s definitely something I’d wear again and again especially in the summer when I don’t need to worry about switching boots after the morning commute! So there we go my first Pinterest Corner outfit post and I have to say it’s one of my favourite outfits for a while!

What to get any of the items I was wearing? Well then, here are all the links:

Leopard print pumps – I got mine years ago from M&S, but these are similar ones here.

Straight leg jeans – Mine are from Primark, but again there are similar ones here.

Striped top – Oasis

Neon pink cardi – H&M

Gold ‘Luck’ necklace – Mine was from Accessorize, but this is a similar one.

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