Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Fashion: Holiday buys (2)

I’m currently obsessed with Boohoo and their gorgeous and easily affordable range of clothing and accessories. Their holiday shop caught my eye and not only for the 30% off (which ended last Sunday) – I just love all the bright colours and prints!
I’ve managed to get the majority of my bits for Madrid from Boohoo, largely because they were basics like maxis. My latest purchases are these beautiful lot:

Lydia cut-out bangle stack (£4)
I’m a real sucker for costume jewellery and my drawers are overflowing, even though I don’t wear it that often. Because it’s so cheap, I’m not too fussed if I only wear it a couple of times and always bag a few bits in places like New Look, Primark and Lipsy! When it comes to costume jewellery, I just love gold, which is weird because all of my expensive jewellery is silver. At only £4, I couldn’t resist this stack, which I can mix and match with other similar bangles!
Narinda jersey maxi skirt in coral (£8)
Initially, I ordered this in green, because it was a colour I wouldn’t normally wear and it looked lovely on the website (teamed up with the bralet I bought during my last spree). Unfortunately, it was out of stock and I had to settle for the coral – I have SO much coral in my summer wardrobe! The length is perfect and the waistband, comfortable. The only negative to this is that it creases easily – I’m hoping it doesn’t get too ruined when it’s rolled up in my case!
Anya wet-look strappy side crop top (£14)
Boohoo’s size guide is really deceiving and after previously buying a bralet in size s/m, I bought this in m/l. Although they say m/l is for size 12-14, it fits perfectly and I think it depends on your bra size, as opposed to clothes size. I still love wet-look clothing and have been meaning to buy a dress for ages – this will do in the meantime! It goes so well with the skirt as well, but can be teamed up with jeans or high-waisted shorts, or anything really! Comfortable yet sexy, I love it!

Have you taken advantage of the BooHoo summer shop? And which colours/prints are must-haves in your wardrobe?

Monday, 27 May 2013

Sunday Snapshots #10

Rainbow veg ~ The Hills: from the start ~ More gorgeous clothes ~ New hair ~ Perfect Saturday evening ~ Beautiful in Essex
I’ve been taking the healthy eating seriously this week and have started pop pilates (check it out on youtube!) to hopefully tone up. I made a gorgeous dinner on Tuesday with those vegetables, chicken in Portuguese piri spices and brown rice. I’m trying to only eat carbs twice or three times a week and if the weather stays like it has been, it’ll be easy!
I got my Hills boxset out as I was having a fairly lazy day and started from the beginning with season one. I’m currently loving the song Beautiful in Los Angeles which is played at the end of the final episode. I’m gonna be using my Shazam app a lot more to find out all the songs I like, before putting them all in a playlist on my iTunes!
I seriously need to catch up with my fashion posts as most of my holiday clothes have now arrived. These bits were all from Forever21– I’d never shopped there before, but on the price and fit, I definitely will be! I bought the skirt to wear with a vest top and then found the top, which I loved because of the back (which you can’t see here). My brother thinks they both go together well, but I’m not so sure and my mum said I looked like a watermelon! I’m still loving peplum as well!
On Saturday, I went to the salon to get my roots done. I’d originally booked for the following week so I’d have fresh highlights for holiday, but my hairdresser had booked that day off for holiday. She weaved them more finely this time round, which I prefer because they blend into my actual hair colour and look more natural!
My favourite thing about this gorge weather is the light dinners, which is great as I’m healthy eating. I can enjoy the food my mum cooks and not have to worry. We had roast chicken with new potatoes and salad on Saturday, which is my ultimate summer supper! And leftover roast chicken = chicken salads!
Dad spent all weekend making the garden look lovely: cleaning the furniture, sorting the lawn and generally making sure everything looked right. Now we can sit out there and it’s presentable, I’m gonna be making the most of it – and hopefully have a base tan for holiday too!

I hope you all enjoy the bank holiday weekend and have taken advantage of the gorge weather. Has anyone had a barbecue and pimms/cocktails?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Graze: 03.04.13

In this box, I got:

·         The herb garden (herb and onion peanuts, baked herb bites and oregano rice crackers)
·         Mango lassi (yogurt coated peanuts, pumpkin seeds and mango)
·         Apricot torte (dark chocolate coated apricot, jumbo raisins and green raisins)
·         Little figgy went to market (diced figs, cranberry and apple)

The herb garden combines three of my favourite Graze savoury snacks: light soy bites, crunchy rice crackers and crispy coated peanuts. The herb flavours balance each other and aren’t too overpowering – and like some other nibbles, aren’t at all salty. Although I can’t wait to have it again, I don’t it’s quite worthy of a prestigious ‘love’ yet!
Mango lassi is no longer available on the Graze website, which is a shame because I liked it! I topped frozen yogurt with the mango and pumpkin seeds, which was amazing! I then snacked on the peanuts later that evening.
Apricot torte is nowhere near as exciting as some of the other snacks Graze has to offer, but I liked it because it was so simple. I’m not usually fan of the punnets containing dark chocolate because the buttons are too much, but the chocolate covered apricot pieces aren’t bitter or rich. If you like fruit and chocolate, this one’s for you.
As much as a fan of the dried fruit mixes that I am, little figgy went to market didn’t do it for me. I’m not really fan of figs unless they’re wrapped in prosciutto and goats’ cheese and the mix was too dry for me. They’re also coated in rice flour, which gave them a horrible powdery texture.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

May’s book: A Little Princess

My favourite film from childhood, I can remember my dad taking me to the cinema aged five to see A Little Princess, the story of Sara Crewe. Even now it never fails to bring a tear to my eye and I hadn’t read the book for over 10 years, so what better way to rekindle my love for an old favourite.
The novel somewhat differs from the film adaptation but still circles around Sara Crewe, a young girl who is taken to Miss Minchin’s school for girls by her father, who is off to fight in war. A far cry from her life in India where she’s used to luxuries and riches, Sara soon has to adapt to life with strict rules and no lavish treatments. Despite this, she becomes popular with the other girls because of her love for make-believe and storytelling and she is regarded a princess, a notion she believes in herself.
After hearing from her father that he and a friend have taken control of a diamond mind, Sara’s 11th birthday is ended abruptly and what is supposed to be a happy day of celebration, soon becomes sad. After being treated to a luxurious party with all the girls attending, Sara soon finds out her father has died from jungle fever – and the partner from the mines is also missing. From that day on Sara becomes a beggar girl, similar to Becky who also lives in the attic. Being made to dress in oversized rags and hand back all of her possessions, Sara has to run errands and teach the younger pupils, while being wrongly treated and starved. Regardless of the way Miss Minchin abuses her, Sara still has Becky and a rat (that she names Melchisedec) for company – the imaginative stories still continue.
She also makes friends with the family living next door and it’s later revealed the man who moved in from India was her father’s partner. Seeing Sara and Becky live in such horrendous conditions, he secretly sends the pair of them food and other luxuries, without revealing his identity. When it is finally revealed that Sara is Captain Cook’s daughter and Mr Carrisford is the partner from the diamond mine, Sara leaves Miss Minchin’s elementary and her riches are restored.
“I pretend I am princess, so that I can try and behave like one”
A real heart-warming story, A Little Princess is moving and no matter how old you are, you will never tire of reading it. The make-believe aspect is empowering, making you feel as though you are there. The riches to rags (and back to riches) feel is overwhelming and the classic fairytale happy ending is the outcome that the reader would hope for.
It’s dramatic, yet beautiful, telling the story of overcoming adversity. A must-read that you’ll be unable to put down, transport yourself to Sara’s world, enjoying exciting yet magical adventures.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sunday snapshots #9

Much needed retail therapy ~ I love yoo ~ Childhood memories ~ Productive week ~ Gorge geo print ~ Saturday night in
This week my bank account has taken an absolute battering, as I’ve been buying bits and pieces for my holiday. I made a list of the must-need bits, but I’ll admit, I’ve got a bit carried away in the process and can’t resist those few extras. The first of my parcels arrived in the week and you can read about my Boohoo purchases, here. I’m still after a pair of black wedges, some daytime comfy shoes and a light jacket to wear with my maxis.
If you’ve not head of Yoo Moo, where have you been? I’m a little bit in love with these little pots of yummyness and I’m working my way through each and every flavour. I also saw online they have bars, so I’m now going to have to make my way to London to find one. I think this is my favourite flavour – or possibly the Tropical Moo. I definitely recommend sampling if you haven’t already.
I finished reading A Little Princess earlier in the week and will be blogging about it shortly, as it was May’s book. I hadn’t read it for well over 10 years and although it differs from the film, it was a great read – and brought back so many memories! Growing up, the film was my all-time favourite and I still remember my dad taking me to the cinema, aged five. Remember: all girls are Princesses.
My maxi from Boohoo arrived and I couldn’t be happier with it. The colours and print are gorge and it fit perfectly, without being too clingy. I just want my holiday now!
Saturday night was a chilled one, in my slouchies, watching Eurovision! When I was younger, family friends used to hold parties and we used to have a right laugh together, but I spent the evening on my own! It was still fun though – who doesn’t like Eurovision for its fun and cringy factor? My Twitter followers’ running commentary kept me thoroughly entertained too!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend,

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fashion: Holiday buys (1)

I’m going away in under three weeks and I’m so excited! It may only be four days and to Madrid, which is where I went with my parents last year, but it’s also mine and Jake’s first holiday.
I made a list of all the bits I needed to get – let’s be honest, holidays are always better with new clothes, and boy did I need some. I’ve been purchasing in drips and drabs, so I thought I’d share my first couple of bits, all from Boohoo.
Shelli jersey bralet in black (£6)
I’ve been looking for a top to wear with a high-waisted maxi skirt for ages and on the website, the model was wearing one of these teamed up with a skirt I had previously ordered (but was out of stock – boo!). I got the s/m being a 10/12, but it came up a lot smaller than I expected. I think I’m seriously going to need to crash diet before I go, because I’d definitely feel self-conscious wearing it at the moment – it’s probably the motivation I need, though. I chose it in black because it’d go with more things already in my wardrobe and I’d be more likely to wear again when I’m home, to afternoon drinks or a summer picnic/barbecue.
Racer back maxi dress in orange (£12)
Believe it or not, having overhauled my wardrobe, I appeared to have ZERO maxis remaining. It’s a summer necessity, so a couple were quite high on my priority list. Going away for four days, I thought buying one plain and one patterned would be good as they’re light-weight and easy to pack and at least half of my outfits will be sorted then. There are so many colour options on the Boohoo website and it was hard to choose only one – I’m sure I’ll be back buying a couple more before I go. I went with the orange in end because it’s so vibrant and I knew it’d look good with a tan. It comes with the cute plaited belt, but of course you can add your own – I think I’ll keep the provided one though.
Geo print scoop neck maxi dress (£15)
I was initially after a floral maxi, but immediately I was drawn to the print on this one. It’s also a little different to anything I usually wear. I love the rainbow colours, which are really pretty and a lot nicer than one block colour – and like I say, the print is gorge! It’s really loose-fitting as well and like the other I purchased, is light-weight which makes it perfect for packing. I’m now after a little jacket to wear with this and a pair of black wedges, if anyone knows of somewhere with a decent selection (in a size 7)?

Which summer trends are you currently loving? And where do you get most of your holiday buys?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Restaurant review: Pizza Express

Where we ate:
Pizza Express, Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich
Friday night was date night as Jake took me to Pizza Express. We had planned to go to the restaurant on the docks, but after a mix-up (it turns out he’d booked for Thursday night, instead of Friday – men, eh!), we had to eat at the other branch. Although the views weren’t as good (it’s perfect watching the boats, particularly when the sun is setting), the meal was lovely as always.

What we drank:
Jake – coke
Me – San Pellegrino sparkling water

What we ate:
Dough balls to start
Jake – Polpette Bolognese (spiced Bolognese sauce, beef meatballs, fiery roquito peppers, mozzarella, rocket and grana padano) Romana
Me – Pollo ad Astra Leggera
Toffee fudge glory (shared)
Pizza Express has a couple of new additions as part of its summer menu, including new starters, pizzas, a salad and a couple of desserts. I always go for the same thing though – the Pollo ad Astra Leggera, which is possibly my most favourite pizza ever, combining all my favourite toppings. I’m not one of those people that goes out to restaurants and then eats healthily because I’m on a diet, but the pizza comes in at 500 calories and is perfect for someone like me, who can’t manage a whole pizza! I always tell myself I’ll try something different, but I never do! I guess it’s good to stick with what you like!
We always share the dough balls and you can’t go to Pizza Express without having them! Although, I think there used to be 12 in a portion – you now only get eight (I normally have two or three and let Jake have the rest). We always share the sundae afterwards as well – although I have the wafer! I keep meaning to try something from the Dolcetti menu though, where you can order a small pud and coffee. Again, perfect for someone like me who has a small appetite, and a sweet tooth.
Other than the earlier mishap (I’m so glad I decided to wear flats!), I had a really lovely evening and it was nice to go out, as we don’t always. I’ve already decided next time I’ll be trying the superfood salad and possibly ordering a side of polenta chips. Maybe, we’ll even get a table quayside.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Graze: 20.03.13

In this box, I got:

·         Orange and ginger flapjack
·         Salsa fresca
·         Garden of England (mini strawberries, blackcurrants and apple)
·         Bounty hunter (milk chocolate drops, coconut flakes and cranberries)

Orange and ginger flapjack
The Graze flapjacks are the perfect teatime treat and because they’re in three pieces, you can have as much (or as little) as you want – I never normally manage all three slices at once. I wouldn’t rate this as my favourite and the ginger was a lot stronger than the orange. I think lemon would have worked better.
Salsa fresca
I’m a big fan of the dippers, whether they’re savoury or sweet, but the savoury ones generally are a good replacement to crisps at lunchtime. At only 51 calories, which is boasted by the ‘I’m extra light’ badge, Salsa Fresca contains a tomato salsa dip and cheesy sombreros, which are pretty similar to rice crackers. Compared to the other nibbles on offer, Salsa Fresca isn’t amazing and you’re not like “wow” when you open it up – but there’s always fun in dipping!
Garden of England
Possibly my favourite of all the dried fruit punnets, Garden of England was part of last year’s summer range and I’ve only had it twice – nowhere near enough! The mini dried strawberries are just too good; I’ve had something similar in Spain and never found them over here. At only 70 calories as well, it’s an ideal midmorning snack.
Bounty hunter
Imagine biting into a Bounty while stuffing your face with cranberries – well that’s exactly what Bounty hunter tastes like. I’m sure that sounds weird and I don’t even like Bounty bars, but for some reason I like this. It could be because it contains chocolate, but it’s really moreish. I’ve already decided the next time I have this in my box, I’m gonna make Bounty hunter biscuits – I don’t care if that defeats the object of healthy snacking, it sounds good!

Remember you can get your first box free by entering code: B1MFKZN and can cancel deliveries at any time.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Sunday Snapshots #8

Tuesday treat ~ Love summer ~ End of my internship ~ Put a ring on it ~ Weekend worker
The weather this week has been absolutely gorge and while I was in town on Tuesday afternoon, I just had to go and buy a Rossi’s. I ended up sitting inside because it was cool with the AC on and sat in the window, it meant I could people watch – always fun in Brentwood. I always buy something different when I go to Rossi’s and this time opted for strawberry and ‘nana.
Another good thing about this weather is the summer salads and berries – I’m loving lunchtimes at the moment! I had a whole punnet of blueberries for lunch after having some celery and pepper sticks. I’ve already planned my lunches for the week: I bought strawberries at the weekend and two salad pots. Hopefully the weather holds out!
So Friday was the final day of my internship in North London and other than waking up at 6:30am, I’m sad to not be going back. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much, I’m already feeling a bit more positive about finding something full-time and permanent! On my final day I had to compile a newsletter (see picture) and write a couple of bits for the website – I’m already looking forward to seeing the fruit of my labour later on this week. My portfolio is already looking better with copywriting and marketing work in another field.
Before you say anything, no I’m not engaged! This is my new obsession though – the Tiffany app! I only downloaded it on Friday and I’m already addicted. Basically you design your own ring from their collection, before ‘trying it on’ (taking a photo of your hand and positioning it). You can then save and share them – although there’s the option to book a fitting... I don’t think I’ll be doing that just yet!
It’s been a busy week, which ended in me working at West Ham on Saturday lunchtime. Standard vain shot of me on my journey to Upton Park! I could think of worse ways of spending my weekend and my holiday fund is starting to look halfway decent (five weeks on Thursday!), so I can’t complain.

I hope you all had a good week and enjoyed the long bank holiday weekend, taking advantage of the weather! x

Sunday, 5 May 2013

April’s book: Cocktails for Three

I love the books of Sophie Kinsella and after reading a couple from the ‘Shopaholic’ range, I moved on to a title from the group of books she writes under real name, Madeleine Wickham. I recently purchased Cocktails for Three and thoroughly recommend it.
I can always tell if a book is going to be good by reading the back. This really drew me in and it does tell you all you need to know, in terms of what to expect: 
Roxanne: glamorous, self-confident, with a secret lover – will he ever leave his wife and marry her?
Maggie: capable and high-achieving – will she take motherhood in her stride?
Candice – honest, decent, or so she believes – how will she cope when a ghost from her past turns up?
The narrative revolves around these three central characters, good friends that work together and socialise together once a month at a cocktail bar. The three soon becomes four though, with a blast from the past invading and trying to separate the group.
Although the story can appear quite choppy, with each paragraph focused on one of the three girls, it’s easy to remember where you left off and the narrative flows well.
The editor of The Londoner magazine, she’s the quiet but calm member of the trio. It appears nothing will ever faze her or ruffle her feathers, that is until she experiences motherhood. Being stuck at home, away from work and her friends and under the watchful eyes of her mother-in-law, Maggie’s thrown straight into the deep end and struggles to cope. Having a baby turns her life upside down.
Glamorous and oozing confidence, Roxanne has a dark secret, one she’s kept under wraps for six years. She’s having an affair with a married man and neither of her girlfriends know his identity. When it appears he might just give up that life and start a new one with her, tragedy strikes, leaving Roxanne lonely and heart-broken.
An honest, decent and generous young woman, Candice hides a family secret. When a face from history appears at the Manhattan bar, the secret soon comes out and its consequences could ruin her career, friendships and life.
It’s a great summer book, making it perfect for taking on holiday. It took me about a week to read, but I simply couldn’t put it down – each girl’s story had me gripped. There was so much drama, it was almost like being there and something I could easily relate to. Reading each story was like having a catch-up with my own friends over a glass of wine and hearing their problems. When penning under her real name, Madeleine Wickham has a real way of writing so that you’re instantly absorbed by the characters and this is no different. I thoroughly recommend it.

Next month’s book – A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Restaurant Review: Bella Italia

Where we ate:
Bella Italia, Leicester Square, London
I was in London last Wednesday as I went to see Viva Forever in Piccadilly (which you can read about here) with Vicky. Having rushed from work with little time, we had the pick of the restaurants in Leicester Square. After being told there’d be a 20 minute wait at TGIs, we went around the corner to Bella Italia (even though Vicky had been to Ask earlier in the day), where we were seated straight away.
The restaurant had outdoor seating, which was great for this time of year, especially if you’re only have drinks or sharing platters with friends. Leicester Square is always so manic though and I don’t think I’d particularly want people walking past and staring while I ate.
Inside was a little dark, although there were candles on the tables and there was little room between tables so it did feel like you were on top of the people next to you. Luckily we were quite near the door, so there was a lovely breeze and it wasn’t too claustrophobic.
What we drank:
Vicky – San Pellegrino blood orange
Me – San Pellegrino sparkling lemon
What we ate:
Vicky – Margarita pizza
Me – Pollo pizza vita (chicken, roasted peppers and parmesan)
I didn’t really know what to choose as there was so much on the menu and nothing in particular caught my eye. I usually have the pizza leggera at Pizza Express and the vita was a similar concept – a pizza with salad, coming in at around 500 calories.
I went for the chicken and pepper combo, again like I usually have – it’s a winner in my eyes. I would have preferred it if the peppers were pepperdew peppers as opposed to the standard bell, which were a bit plain.
The sauce on the base was a little bland as well, but on the whole, it was alright – I liked that there was no cheese on the pizza, with the parmesan shaved on the salad. It wasn’t so heavy and doughy like a standard pizza, so I felt full but not sluggish afterwards.
We didn’t have time for starters or desserts as we had to head off to the theatre for 7:30, but it was an enjoyable meal – and I hadn’t been to Bella Italia since finishing Uni! Our waitress was a bit divvy as well.