Monday, 29 July 2013

OOTN: Night out in Cambridge

Another attempt at doing an outfit posting!

This weekend, I went down to Cambridge to visit Lady T. We always have the best nights out! We do stick out like a sore thumb though, because Cambridge as a city is ridiculously dressed-down. The girls mostly wear jeans and flat shoes to the bars at night, which is a total contrast to Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester etc where the vibe is a lot more dressed up and you’d look odd without heels. Anyway, T and I both love an opportunity to get dolled up and crack out a power frock, so we usually just do our own thing regardless. It’s not us who are over-dressed, they’re all under-dressed, dammit!

I wore


White mesh pencil dress – George at Asda

So, there's a bit of a story behind this dress. I originally ordered a white leather dress from Missguided with cut out panels to wear. It was tagged as a 'blogger's favourite' and I was super-excited to have ordered something edgy and directional. However, when it came, I instantly hated it on. It just didn't fit or flatter. Perhaps I'm not ready to be edgy!

Cue a mad, last minute dash around the shops. I was determined to find a white dress (preferably with mesh inserts) to show of my newly-acquired tan. Of course, wanting something so specific, I was guaranteed not to find it. Dashes to Zara and Topshop had yielded nothing and I was getting desparate....until I went to Asda to do my food shopping.

Remembering the surprise success of the party flats I found there, I decided to dash upstairs on a last minute mission...and low and behold...there, staring me in the face was exactly the dress I'd been looking for. It was uncanny! And even better, it was in the sale!! I paid just £8. I'd always written Asda clothes off as being frumpy and aimed at mums (most of them are, its true) so I never expected to find something as flattering as this. It looked gorgeous on and far more expensive than it was, which is really important when you buy a white dress in particular, as they show every lump and bump up. I was so impressed!

White, black and gold, multi-strand necklace -  Topshop

This is cheating a bit, because I wore this necklace in my last outfit post, but it’s a favourite of mine at the moment so I couldn’t resist popping it on again.

Grey round patent shoes with cream snakeskin heels - All Saints

These shoes actually belong to Lady T, who kindly lent them to me for the evening after I spontaneously decided against my own Maison Martin Margiela for H&M perspex wedges, which I hadn't broken in and was pretty sure would hurt my tootsies...I danced all night and not a twinge of pain...although some dude did spill Grey Goose all down my legs, so they might have gotten a vodka polish!

Grey jersey quilted chain-strap bag -  Topshop (not pictured as I forgot!)

This is clearly an ‘homage’ to the Chanel 2.55, re-imagined in slouchy grey jersey, which I really like. It takes a very formal bag shape and subverts it with an ultra-casual fabric. The thing I like the best about this bag is the fluorescent coral lining!

Rose gold boyfriend watch -  Michael Kors

Pretty much my go-to accessory at the moment, I'm sure I'm over-wearing this, but I just love it so much. It toughens up a pretty frock and heels an absolute treat.

Make-Up


I thought red lips would be a nice contrast with the white dress, so I made these the focus of my look. I created a dewy base first using a blob of Mac Strobe Cream mixed into some Chanel Lift Lumiere foundation, buffed in using my Real Techniques stippling brush.

I contoured my cheeks with some Mac Matte Bronzer as I wanted to keep them neutral. As I was doing red lips, my eye-makeup needed to not compete but to have enough impact to balance out the face. I defined my brows using Mac eyeshadow in Charcoal Brown with a slanted brush. Lids were kept neutral -  Dainty Doll Eyeshadow Base in ‘Frankie’, topped with Urban Decay ‘Booty Call’ from the Naked 2 palette. I used the shade ‘Tease’ from the same palette to gently define the crease and provide some depth.

After creating a strong, graphic wing shape using Eyeko Skinny Mini eyeliner, I smoked out the edges with ‘Blackout’ from the palette. In the corners of my waterline, I used the black Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl.  Underneath my lash line, I ran a thin line of ‘Pistol’ -  this helps give definition, but not as harshly as black. A couple of coats of L’Oreal False Lash Flutter and some Eyelure Naturalites lashes completed the look. My lips were lined with Rimmel 1000 Kisses Lasting Definition and then I used my all-time hero red – Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in ‘Rebelle’.

Nails

I used the new Rimmel nail polishes I got to create this manicure - a base of beige using 'Caramel Cupcake' and tips in 'Black Cherries'.
 

Hair

Big ass hair and a Pornstar Martini!
I wanted a big hair, sort of a ‘modern Barbarella’ look to contrast with the futuristic design of my dress. I prepped by washing with Tigi Bedhead Superstar shampoo, which is sulphate-free and gives big hair! Followed up with a hit of moisture from Herbal Essences Dazzling Shine mask. When still wet, I added in some L’Oreal Elvive Collagen Volumising Mousse to lock in the volume, and a bit of John Frieda Frizz-Ease Thermal Protect serum, and blowdried upside down- this really helps to get big hair!

To style, I started by massaging in some Clynol Powder Punch, which is a shot of volumising hair powder. I then swept up the top part of my hair into a big beehive, which is my current favourite style! I used the Denman Dress Out Brush (my new secret hair weapon!) to backcomb at the roots, along with lashings of Schwarzkopf Got2Be Happy Hour hairspray. I’m in love with this hairspray - it smells sooo good, like coconut cocktails, and the hold really lasts without giving crispy hair. It’s a definite winner and performs well above its affordable price tag.

Then I pushed up the hair at the back and fixed with Kirby grips and more hairspray! The remaining lengths were straightened and I boosted them with a few clip-in extensions.

My Night Out Playlist

Lady T and I partying hard!
Music is a hugely important part of my getting ready ritual before I go out, so I thought I’d share what was on my playlist that night and getting me in the mood to dance:

Night by Night – Chromeo (Skream remix)
XXXO – M.I.A (Jay-Z remix)
Give It 2 U – Robin Thicke ft Kendrick Lamar
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
Drop It Like It’s Hot – Snoop Dogg ft Pharrell Williams
Sweet Talk - Kito & Reija Lee
All Night – Jack Beats ft John B (Skream remix)
White Noise – Disclosure ft AlunaGeorge
Holy Grail - Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake






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Saturday, 20 July 2013

The 5:2 Diet: 1 week on




Hi Dolls

So, I've survived my very first week on the intermittent fasting diet, and I have to say, although its been challenging, I've actually kind of- sort of-whisper it- enjoyed it. I know. Weird, right? Not something I thought I would ever catch myself saying.

I think its because I have the virtuous glow of self-denial (if only for two days). I feel like I challenged myself and I actually stood my ground. My sketchy willpower somehow triumphed. And even though its only one week down, I feel like I might really be in with a chance here.

My second fasting day on Thursday was really tough. I was insanely hungry and even though I knew it was only for a day, my willpower seemed a lot weaker than on my first fasting day. I felt like I might actually crack. It seemed so much harder! Luckily, because I work with a couple of people who've done the diet, they are helping to guide me through the highs and lows, and they said that it was probably because I knew what was coming this time.

I managed to start my day off with a hot water, lemon juice and chilli powder. Then I just had a plain green salad with a small pot of cottage cheese. Dinner was a slice of wholemeal toast with half a can of baked beans. I had some mini Babybels in my bag, rather randomly, and I was so close to cracking in the afternoon and falling headfirst into a pile of cheese! Just managed to resist.


In the evening, as much to keep myself busy as anything, I went to the gym and despite the heat, did an okay workout - 20 minutes of intervals on the cross trainer, 10 minutes of interval running on the treadmill and 15 minutes of abs and core work. So I felt light as a feather and so pleased with myself coming out of the gym.

On the other days, I've been eating normally, but trying not to go overboard. Today I did slip up a little. I took my car in for an MOT and service just before lunch, and it was there until 4pm! I had no idea it would take that long and I hadn't eaten all day by the time it was ready to go. I was hungry, tired and fed up then, and I'm afraid the McDonald's drive through claimed me. I felt quite guilty about that one, even though you can technically eat whatever you like on a non-fasting day.I'm going to try not to repeat that mistake!

On the whole, I'm enjoying the diet. I don't think I've actually lost any weight yet (scales read the same on Tuesday and Thursday, although perhaps it takes time to show?!) but I feel lighter and somehow happier within myself. I am beginning to understand why people say they 'look forward' to their fasting days. I can actually see this becoming a lifestyle thing for me. There's a buzz that comes with fasting and I also feel like practicing little acts of willpower is helping me.

I feel like its teaching me the value of food, and that I'm enjoying it more when I do eat something. My brain has finally cottoned onto the fact that saying 'no' to something is not the end of the world.

I really hope the weight loss starts soon and I begin to see results. If nothing in a week or so, I might have to consider upping the intervals to 4:3 and see if that helps.

Wish me luck!
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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

5:2 Diet Update: The First Day



So, as I mentioned, I started the 5:2 or 'Fast Diet' yesterday. I decided to do it spontaneously on hearing from some workmates how easy it was and how it had worked well for then. I'll be trying to follow it for 8 weeks, until I go on holiday to Ibiza in September.

Yesterday was the day I decided to do the diet and also the day that I had my first 'fast' day.

And it actually went pretty well! Obviously it's only the very first hurdle, but I have been known to fail even at this early stage! Of course I was hungry. But it's totally do-able because you only have to tell yourself to wait until tomorrow- and even I can do that!

I decided to play the first day a bit by ear. There aren't any rules about what you eat or when on a fast day- only that you can't have more than 500 calories in total.

For me, if I eat breakfast, I get hungier during the day. It's ironic but true- if I have a big breakfast, I usually want to eat again about 11am! So I decided to see how long I could go without feeling ravenous.

I had a cup of tea with semi skimmed milk when I woke up (tea is a non-negotiable deal breaker for me!) and then just had a black coffee. I was alright most of the morning but felt really hungry about 12. This is usual for me, even if I have breakfast!

I ate lunch at about quarter to one. I had some watermelon and a peach and 200ml of unsweetened almond milk to fill me up. I also had a Diet Coke. I felt filled up enough just on that, which surprised me. I think it helped that I love watermelon so it felt like a treat- albeit a low calorie one!

I'm not going to lie, I was starving in the afternoon. About 4pm my tummy was rumbling so hard in a meeting, really embarrassing! I just tried to drink water and I was really busy at work which helped a lot to take my mind off it.

I walk to and from work (about 40 minutes each way) and I felt really sick on the journey home. It could have been hunger but there's a big heat wave here at the moment so the humidity didn't help.

I got home late so my husband had prepared dinner. He didn't know about my diet as I'd only decided on it that morning, but thankfully dinner was a light one anyway - just an omelette (two eggs, no filling) and a green salad, with a few oven chips.

I would have thought I'd wolf it down but I actually are quite slowly as I was feeling a bit queasy still. Felt satisfied but still very sick for about an hour after dinner, but I just kept sipping water and trying to ignore it.

The only major sense of sacrifice I had today was that I was only allowed one cup of tea this evening. Normally I have one when I sit down and one before bed, but I had to cut out the one at bedtime, which felt like a bit of a wrench! Trust tea to be what breaks me! However, anything seems to be possible when it's only one day! I stuck to my 500 cals with less suffering than you might expect. Being a bit hungry (but not starving) at bedtime is easily ignored when you can just look forward to porridge the next day!

I probably still didn't drink enough water, partly because I was so ridiculously busy at work it didn't occur to me.

On the exercise front, excuse central! I got home too late to fit in a gym visit and I felt it was too humid and hot for a run, so I guess today is my one 'off day'! I hate when work interferes with my downtime but unfortunately it couldn't be helped. I never have enough time for everything. I did obviously walk a few miles on my way to and from work, so I wasn't completely inactive.

Verdict so far: Ok, it's only day one and there's a long way to go until the 8 week mark. But although I've been hungry, it's all been bearable thinking that the next day I can eat normally again. I really think this could work for me and I'm actually excited to see if I can stick to it. Feeling so sick for a few hours was a bit horrid, but maybe that will go in time. I almost quite enjoyed feeling 'empty' and light for once. I can see how experienced 5:2 ers sometimes say they 'look forward' to their fast days. Wish me luck!
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer Beauty Haul: Rimmel, Eyelure, Dainty Doll

A few more favourite things I've been buying recently to tell you about...


Rimmel Nail Polishes - 60 Seconds in 'Too Pool to Tango' and 'Caramel Cupcake' and I Heart Lasting Finish in 'Black Cherries'


Like every other girl in the world, I'm massively into my coloured polished and funky finishes at the moment. My favourite ranges are Nails Inc and Models Own, and this is where I'd say I buy 90% of my nail polishes. And yet, at the moment, I'm completely loving Rimmel's nail polish range. They seem to be very quick off the mark getting the latest 'It' shades in, the quality is really good, and they're so cheap, its a great way to try out a shade you aren't sure about. The bottles aren't huge, but the brush is decent quality and at that price, I always seem to throw a couple in my basket when I'm cruising past their stand at the drugstore. I actually even have a few favourite shades from there, but these are my most recent purchases....

'Too Pool to Tango' is a gorgeous mint-turquoise colour. I'd say its slightly less mint green than all the Chanel Jade copies that came flooding out after the French fashion house made it the new must-have colour. I personally have never tried these sort of colours. I wondered if I was a bit too old for it! But lately, seeing so many girls rocking pastel nails for summer, I wanted to give it a go. Rimmel offered a way to do this without breaking the bank- and this lovely shade will be really wearable with a summer tan.

'Black Cherries' is a gorgeous kind of claret/blood-red colour - kind of like Nails Inc's 'Victoria' polish, which is one of my go-to shades, but shot through with a subtle bronze shimmer. My initial reaction was that this was more of a winter shade, but I actually think this could really work as a contrast when wearing whites and brights. Love a vampy summer nail!

'Caramel Cupcake' is me trying to find a 'foundation nail' shade. A couple of manicures ago, they used a gorgeous OPI shade on me that gave perfect foundation nail, but I didn't find out what it was, sadly. Since then, I've been on the hunt for a high-street alternative, and this is a really nice one.  This colour especially pops when you rock neon-pink contrast tips. I might try it with a 'Black Cherries' tip as well.

Eyelure Naturalites and Ultra Naturals



As you probably know by now, I'm big on a false flutter. I don't get on well with permanent lash extensions, so I rely on strip lashes to give me some lash power when I go out. I've even been known to sometimes wear falsies during the day - see my guide to doing it here.

There are so many girls that still seem to struggle with application and just can't do strip lashes well, but I'm the queen of them. By now, I've tried pretty much every brand going from high-end Shu Uemura and Mac to every drugstore brand, and even multi-packs from China (via eBay). But lately I've become a lot more discerning in my lash choices. And I've found other options are left sitting in my drawer because these are always the best. Eyelure lashes seem to offer me the most comfortable wear and I also believe they look the most natural.

I want to look like I have beautiful, thick lashes naturally. I don't want to look like a) Jordan b) any of the female TOWIE cast c) Ermintrude the Cow from the Magic Roundabout. In other words, I'm allergic to that spidery, synthetic look. Eyelure lashes can help me avoid this. With a couple of coats of mascara, their Naturalites line is perfect.

Crucially, they have a clear, slimline lash band, which is essential to have any hope of passing them off as your own, God-given lashes. They also use a mix of coloured fibres (brown and black, rather than straight black) to blend in better with your own lashes.

The 'Ultra Naturals' make it possible to wear fake lashes completely undetectably during the day. Love!


Dainty Doll Eyeshadow Base - 'Frankie'


Dainty Doll is a line of cosmetics launched by the ginger one from Girls Aloud, Nicola Roberts, as she continues the fight to stay relevant after their split (sorry, was that a bit catty? I'm not a fan.) I've actually always thought the line looked good- quality and cute packaging- but as it is aimed towards those with very pale skin, this golden-skinned girl didn't think she would find anything relevant in the range.

However, I found this in the make-up section of my local 99p store (yes, really. Have found Stila and Urban Decay there too in the past- for reals!) so of course I wanted to give it a go. Although it's a little pale for me, because its an eyeshadow base this doesn't matter, and a bit of a paler base can actually help 'lift' your eyeshadow colour.

I would only normally use this if I was going out and doing a big, layered shadow look, not for everyday. However, a sweep of it on its own is actually a pretty good way to 'wake up' the eye area, a la Benefit's Lemon-Aid. I'm pleased to say it works really well as a primer, and I felt it did give a smooth finish and help keep my shadow in place all night, especially paler shades that tend to just fade away quickly.

In a fix, this also makes a pretty decent concealer when topped with some translucent powder.

This is meant to be £10.50 retail, so all I can say is - I got a bargain!

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum


I wrote in my post about my new Summer Skin Saviors that I was in love with this new line, and since discovering their 3-in-1 Purifying Micellar Solution, I have abandoned all other cleansers. I'm now on my fourth bottle and my love shows no signs of wearing off (although do not buy it for £6.50 at Boots- I found out Asda sell it for only £2.50!).

The line was originally all cleansing items, but has now been expanded to include moisturising and skincare products too. I was recently really liking Superdrug's own-brand Optimum Advanced Lift and Firm Serum, but I ran out suddenly the other day. Superdrug means I have to go into the city, whereas there is a small Boots store in the town where I live, so lazily, I decided I'd have to try another serum. Imagine how pleased I was to find this!

First of all -  I love the packaging. The inner 12 year old in me is still all about Barbie pink. And I like the ombre and the squared tube. So shallow, I know, but packaging is crucial to me. What does it claim to do? The box says it contains LR 2412 and Perline. As far as I know, those are two made-up beauty words like 'Pro-Vitamin B5' and  the like that companies pretty much make up.

The box states that LR 2412 is a 'powerful active from 10 years of research' that 'optimises the structure of the epidermis' and although there's no mention of peptides, I'm hoping there's some in there. Meanwhile Perline is 'an association of 3 perfecting actives which act on pores, skin tone and skin texture.' For me, I'm more bothered about fine lines, but I won't say no to those!

The serum promises to 'refine skin texture, tighten pores, and even and brighten the skin tone'. This all sounds good, but I would have preferred more in the way of long-term anti-aging ingredients. To me, it seems as if this product will make a short-term, visible difference, but won't really be doing anything behind the scenes. To be honest, I want more from a serum. The whole point of them, to me, is to be anti-aging and turbocharge my moisturiser. So although I snapped this up at the offer price of £12.70, I'd expect more if I was paying the usual price of £19.99. I do so love the cleanser though, I'm prepared to give this a go- don't let me down, L'Oreal! There's a whole range of new goodies in the Skin Perfection line- eye cream, moisturiser, BB Creams. I feel like this would be a great line to get a teenager started on, because its fun and fresh and priced fairly.

And finally...

One sunny day this week, I had a go at transforming my bedside tables, and I'm so pleased with the results, I had to share them with you! Let me just say, I'm totally rubbish at DIY, so this was such an easy, low-key makeover, and I'm thrilled with the results.

So I had these pine bedside tables. They're not the most attractive tables in the world, but they were handmade by my lovely husband, with the romantic intention of furnishing our first home together before we'd moved in, so I didn't have the heart to get rid of them. Also, I find the deep drawer and the space underneath so handy for hiding all my miscellaneous crap! And when I was looking for new bedside cabinets, I found myself trying to find the same layout and failing.

It was clear they had to stay. The rest of my bedroom furniture is cream and slightly French looking, mostly from Laura Ashley. And it was actually amazingly easy to give these a cute distressed looking finish to match. First of all, we used a power sander to re-sand and refresh the wood, before giving them two coats of cream glaze (again- we made this ourselves from cheap white emulsion, mixed with a tester pot of a cappuccino brown). This was applied using a kitchen sponge. When it had dried, we gave them two coats of wax, which rubbed off some of the paint and gave that distressed look finish.

Finally, we fitted them with these cute black and white ceramic clock face handles I picked up on eBay (search 'ceramic handles'), and then...


...we had these! I love them and I think they look pretty designer considering what a low-key makeover it was. I'm also planning to decoupage the inside of the drawers with patterned wallpaper and varnish and get dark wicker baskets to sit underneath. This has really inspired me to reinvent some old furniture. We're currently planning to move and I'm serious thinking about hitting the charity shops and using paint and new handles on some old pieces to give them a new lease of life...what do you think?
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Monday, 15 July 2013

The 5:2 Diet On Trial



With 8 weeks to go until I'm on a beach, of course my thoughts turned to shaping up. I hadn't really thought much about it, I was just planning to go on SlimFast for a few weeks and try to be better behaved about treats.

But when I got to work and mentioned what I was up to, a couple of colleagues mentioned that they'd had really good results using the 5:2 or 'Fast Diet'.

I looked it up and it seemed so easy, I decided then and there to give it a go, and I'm going to keep a log of my progress here to review the diet and hopefully keep me on track!

What is the 5:2 Diet?


You have probably seen a lot of recent coverage about this new restricted eating sensation. But there's really not much to it. Sometimes called 'intermittent fasting', the only rules are that two days a week, you eat a quarter of your usual recommended calorie intake. In most cases for women, this is about 500 calories - although this can vary according to your activity levels etc. These can be any two dayes you like - consecutive, or spaced out during the week. The rest of the time you just eat normally (although I suspect going overboard is still going to cancel any benefits out). The diet was invented by a medical journalist -  you can find out more at www.thefastdiet.co.uk

How does it work?


Obviously, you are lowering your overall calorie intake, which always helps! But the authors claim that intermittent fasting keeps your metabolic rate in high gear all the time, which means you burn fat a lot faster. The diet confuses the metabolism and helps it burn off more calories.

How do you do it?


You can buy The Fast Diet book from Amazon and other bookshops. And it contains lots of good recipes to help you through your 'fast' days. But although I am considering buying the book if I think the diet is working for me, mostly there's no trick to it. You can start from nothing. Just make a decision to do it and stick to it. You are told to avoid refined carbs on your fasting days- but only because they use up your calorie allowance quickly. High quality protein, fruit and veg is the best way to go on fasting days. Again, there are no rules about how to get those 500 on restricting days. One big meal, three smaller ones-  whatever you can stick to, as long as it doesn't go over your limit.

Why am I doing it?

I'd like to lose a few pounds in time to hit the beach, but I'll be brutally honest here. I'm lazy, and I don't have lots of willpower. I'm notoriously bad at sticking to things. And I sort of new my SlimFast diet would fail after a week. But I've decided to try the 5:2 because, for once, I genuinely believe I can stick to it. In fact, the only reason I'm making it public on this blog is because this is the first time I think I'm in with a shot of being on a diet I don't break!

The fact that its so simple- I can't be bothered to count points and I know cutting out food groups only makes me want them more. But this is so easy its ridiculous. If you want something badly enough, you only have to wait until the next day to have it- which even my scanty willpower will stretch to.

The fact that no food is 'banned'- friends have told me that even when they're craving something on a fast day, often by the next day when they can have it, they don't even want it anymore! I loathe feeling restricted, so the thought of being able to have a little of what I fancy works for me.

Its only two days a week -  even I can manage that. And if you mess up one day? Normally I use that as excuse to fall off the wagon. But with the 5:2 diet its not a problem- as long as you get those two days in. It also means if there's a special occaision you don't have to miss out by dieting- just do it the next day.

Plus actual people I know (not just magazine testimonials) have told me it really works for them and that they found it fairly easy to stick to.

My body, My willpower


My body is not brilliant. I could certainly stand to use a few pounds, but I'm not really overweight. My BMI is mid-range for my height but I have a bit of a belly etc. I exercise moderately (2-3 times a week) although I could do more. I don't watch what I eat, but I also don't eat a lot of processed foods etc, because I like cooking from scratch. I'm just thoroughly average, with terrible willpower. In an ideal world, I'd be ten pounds lighter, but I don't lose weight easily unless I'm very restrictive. Before my wedding I cut out all carbs and did military fitness bootcamp and I still barely lost a pound, which was extremely discouraging as its the one time I genuinely tried to stick to something. I get impatient without immediate results (my brain is unfortunately very short-term focused- I'm a sprinter, not a marathon runner!). I feel like my body is quite happy at the weight I'm at and forcing it to go lower is a massive effort that doesn't seem proportional to the weight loss I get! But I think this could be my chance to prove I can do it.

What else?


In addition to the diet, I'm going to try to avoid treats even on my 'normal' days, apart from the weekends, which I find too hard to be strict on. I'm planning to split up my two days so that my shonky willpower doesn't run out! I will chose the days randomly each week to suit me and what's going on in my life, but generally I think Mondays will be good (post-weekend excess) and maybe Thursdays (close enough to weekend excess not to get discouraged!).

I'm also going to make a big effort to drink more water in general. I have kidney problems and get dehydrated a lot of the time, but I still don't drink enough water! I'll try to keep a bottle on my desk and drink it during the day while I'm working. I will try to only drink black coffee, herbal tea and water during the day, and limit my Diet Cokes to 2 cans a week, max!

I'll also be trying to up my exercise and do a few more weights. I'll try to exercise every day except one, although what I do will be different. A mix of gym sessions, at home toning exercises using an iPhone app, and running outside. Perhaps a few classes or DVDs at home.

I'll be reporting back on how I'm finding it etc and trying to stay motivated on here! I may not get a body like the Angels above, even after losing lots of weight, but dammit, for once I'm going to try!


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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Hot Trend: Shoe Jewellery

Call it recession chic, call it inventive genius, but just lately, there seems to be a surge in shoe jewellery, or pieces that let you customise and refresh your old shoes. I love a bit of a reinvention of old favourites, so I'm all for this trend. Here are a couple of great pieces I've found recently....

Clip On Neon Jewels at H&M



I found these brilliant, neon-yellow chunky jewels in the clearance section of H&M recently and they've been rocking my world. They're mounted on a little butterfly clip that you secure onto your shoes to transform them with a shot of neon from hmmm to hello...


Here they are livening up my old nude Amore court shoes from Ted Baker, but I think they'd work equally well with an open-toed sandal. I've also attached one onto a long chain to make a fab neon pendant! I love things with multiple uses. And you could also clip them onto bracelets, hair ties and even handbags to luxe them up. Love!

Gold Ankle Cuffs from eBay


I noticed these when they were featured as a trend in a magazine, but the best part is you can pick these up for about £1.49 each on eBay (just search 'gold ankle cuff'). A few designers- notably Prada and Chloe- have featured real metal detailing on shoes in recent seasons. Its a futuristic trend I liked straight away, but although the high street was quick to follow, they invariably used metallic leather in place of real metal, which disappointed me. So when I saw these, I was quick to pounce!

They have a simple catch and you can fit them easily on top of any ankle strap shoe for a modern look. I customized this pair of black stilettos with transparent side-panels by replacing the ankle staps with a twist of black, grosgrain ribbon crossed over at the ankle, ballet-shoe style, and my gold ankle cuffs. This look will look hot on into autumn and winter too.


So there we have it, shoe accessories are a really fun way to change up the look of your footwear and they seem to be a hot trend right now. What other shoe jewellery do you know about?
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Friday, 12 July 2013

A Few of My Favourite Things for Summer

Hi Dolls!

Isn't it fabulous that summer has finally made a long-overdue appearance? I'm so enjoying the sunshine, although it seems weird that there was snow on the ground what seems like only a few weeks ago. I'm absolutely loving morning coffee in the garden and eating watermelon. And we've finally booked a holiday in September, so we'll be off to Portinatx in Ibiza (the quiet bit of the island!), which I'm so excited for. Here a few of the things that are currently rocking my world....

L'Oreal Studio Line Matt & Messy Salt Spray

Normally, I am a fan of poker-straight locks. It's not the coolest style around, but I think it suits me and its easy to do. But lately (must be the sunshine), I've really been craving messy, beachy bed head hair, so I invested in this spray. I must say, its nice to be giving my hair a break from the GHDs for once, and I think it looks a bit cooler as well. After washing and drying, I just scrunch in some of this, pull my hair back into a messy knot, and when I release it, I've got that undone looking texture. This is a great product for getting that laid-back, summer look.




Topshop Lips in 'Ooh La La'

To be honest, me and Toppers fell out in a big way a while back, and I haven't been in there for quite a while. They just seemed to be going all out for that hipster, wearing ugly granny clothes in an 'ironic' way thing....which is not my style at all. I much prefer pulled-together, sleek looking clothes...I guess I want to look 'expensive' rather than full-on fashion. If I could only choose one shop to shop at, it would be Zara. So yeah...Topshop went down this ironic fashion path that scared the beejeezus out of me, so I just stopped going. But lately, things seem to have changed and last time I went in there I was back to wanting to buy everything in sight! I'd actually never tried their make-up before, and I usually don't have a great opinion of clothing store make-up. It usually seems like a lazy afterthought they've just slapped a name on. But this totally doesn't seem to be the case with Topshop make-up, after trying out a few of the products, I'm hooked. Since I bought this lipstick, I've worn it pretty much every day, which is not at all like me! It's such a summery, fluoro coral, but somehow its not too OTT. J'adore!

These amazing shoes...


Are my current favourites! I must admit, I'm a fan of foot comfort and I'm always on the lookout for flats that are pretty enough to be worn out in the evening. I think these are! The leopard print, the clear side panels, the almond shape pointed toe...they're just great! And you'll just die when I say where they're from...George at Asda!! They cost the grand old sum of £10. I actually saw them in Look magazine. I didn't think they'd actually have them in stock, but they did. I always wrote supermarket fashion off as a bit mumsy, but these have made me think again. I will now be having a sneaky peek at their stuff when I go in to pick up my groceries!

This Outfit...

Which is going to be the inspiration for my next night out outfit! I have a bright coral bandage skirt that I've never worn. I love the colour, but it looks a bit 'obvious' somehow, and I've never really known how to style it. But I think I've worked out that the key here is a sloppy white vest, half untucked, and possibly a denim shirt tied at the waist! Oh yeah, I'm going full on K-Stew here. I'm going to grunge that bad boy up and see how it looks. Pairing it with loose, sloppy items takes some of the 'barbie' out of it, while still allowing the colour and shape to shine. Love!


Seeing old friends...

My friend Katie (pictured) came back from Dubai last week, where she has a really sickening glamourous job doing PR. It was so good to see her and have a catch up! I didn't do any outfit posts, but basically I wore white tailored shorts and a baggy brown vest tucked in, with this Aztec style necklace, and wore my hair in the most massive beehive! I had such a fun night. Summertime makes going out so much better.

....And meeting new ones!

My sister in law had a baby last week, and I now have a new nephew who is so gorgeous! We were looking after our 1 year old niece while her mum and dad were at the hospital, and two days of playing at being a parent really tired me out...not sure how mums do it! But I loved it. We were there when she went into labour and I actually fainted, just dropped stone cold. Ironic when she was the one having a baby. But its been so nice to be around this week to help out.

How is your summer going so far? xx
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