Friday, 24 January 2014

Perfecting the Art of the 'Night In'

So Monday was what is known as "Blue Monday". Its the Monday of the last full week before payday in January, and it said to be the most depressing day due to  issues of debt, weather, failed resolutions and the time passed since Christmas.
 
With that in mind, its clearly a time we all need a bit of cheering up but, if like me, its still not quite payday, the prospect of yet another penniless weekend may just be more than you can bear. If your relatively new to my blog, you may not have seen my post last year about cheap and thrifty ways to beat the January blues, but for me, the ultimate night in is the perfect way to make yourself feel all warm inside for very little cash.

Any night in starts with good prep work, so its about clean bed linen (one of my many simple pleasures in life) and freshly laundered pj's and fluffy slippers, topped off with the ultimate in lounge wear - the onesie (sorry not sorry). I always have a good book to hand throughout any night-in ritual!
 
The best part about it being so soon after Christmas, is that your bathroom cupboards are probably bursting with bath time treats. Even if you didn't get anything new, have a rummage around, I'm sure you'll have loads of scrubs and creams that have got pushed to the back that you've forgotten about. I love a good soak with a beautifully smelling bath crème, and a good face mask while I lay and relax for ten minutes or maybe read (I always get bored in the bath, and yes I've even had my kindle in there! Just keep a towel nearby) I then use a skin scrub to scrub off all those dead cells and do the same with my face. When I get out, I'll then moisturise all of my body before undertaking my skincare routine. Just because its winter and your hiding under layers of clothing, doesn't mean you should neglect your skin, particular your feet. Hours spent in thick socks and boots isn't great for them, so give them a bit of TLC. Come summer you'll be bikini and flipflop ready in no time!

For those of you that have followed my blog for any length of time, there will be no surprises here, and I adore my Clarin's skincare routine. It works just perfectly for me and I wake up with my skin feeling fantastic.
 
 
After all that soaking and primping, its time to curl up in my jammies with a little hot chocolate treat, and a scented candle. Just because you are on a diet, it doesn't mean you should forgo treats, as denying yourself completely means your more likely to fail. And if you've been good all week, thrown on a few marshmallows too! There's nothing I enjoy more than curling up in a fresh made bed with a warm drink and a thrilling read! This is probably the bit I most look forward to!
 
Finally, just before lights out, there's just time for a few last beauty treats. I love the smell of Soap & Glory's Hand Food hand cream, which is currently part of my bedside table stash. A little Clarins blue orchid oil for my face and a good slaver of lip balm, means I wake up with baby soft skin and lips.
 
All this pampering and relaxing mean I'm in for a good nights sleep!
 
Good Night!
 
What are you night-in rituals and beauty products?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Shopping my Wardrobe

I go through phases with Pinterest where I don't go on it for months, them I'm literally on it daily. Now all my wedding-y stuff is pretty much all planned out (at least in my head) my current addiction to Pinterest comes from the concept of 'Shopping my Closet' (or wardrobe as us Brits say.)

I've recently changed job, and without completely changing my look, I wanted to start dressing a little bit smarter for work so that my weekend clothes were, in comparison, much more casual, but I didn't want to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, which is where this idea came in. Instead I pick out certain items in my wardrobe and type their description into Pinterest and basically just see what outfits come up! And if something comes up that I know I have other items similar to in my wardrobe, it gets pinned. Rather than pinning beautiful dreamy outfits that I've never got a hope in hell of either wearing or owning, my pinning is much more based around what I already own, or items that are easily added.

So for example, after a few days of Pinterest absorption I decided it was time I added a black blazer to the collection (I did have one once but it was too big so it went on eBay and I ever replaced it. ) Cue lots of pinning of outfits involving 'black blazers' or 'black blazer with jeans' and other variations of the same. Also recently added has been a pale pink blazer which I'm more than a little bit in love with, and since buying my grey Zara city bag, grey is definitely a colour I'm wanting to add more of to my wardrobe - it will look amazing with the pink blazer!

With this idea in mind, I wanted to share with you a few of my recent pins that are on my 'to wear' or 'worn' list, as I've already been sporting some of these looks! If you saw my last post, you may be able to spot the inspiration below!

If you want to follow me on Pinterest, you can be clicking here. I'd love to see some of your more 'practical' pins!



Thursday, 16 January 2014

NITW - Zara Tartan Scarf

 





Scarf Zara// Blazer Matalan (old)//Belt Hollister//Cardigan (just seen) Matalan (old)//
Jeans Dorothy Perkins//Shoes Gap (similar)  
 
 
I've never really understood Zara all that much. I like the whole clean, classic-with-a-twist idea of it, but I never seem to find things in there, or nothing fits me quite right.
 
Recently, I noticed this scarf being pinned all over Pinterest, and became a little bit obsessed with tracking it down. This colourway seems to have sold out everywhere, and it ultimately meant paying a little bit extra to buy it on eBay.

I'm pretty pleased I did though. The pattern fulfils my love of Black Watch print, as mentioned in my post here, and the navy and green colour combo is perfect for this time of year. Burgundy is too autumnal and red too Christmassy, yet its still too early for the pastel pinks.
 
The sheer size of this scarf is also pretty colossal; you are getting a lot of fabric for your money here. Incidentally, my other half did joke as to why I had taken to wearing a picnic blanket around my neck, but in all seriousness, this scarf has got so much potentially than just being worn around the neck as a scarf: impromptu picnic or just a snuggle under the stars, as it will easily cover over two pairs of knees.

On the flip side, a scarf this big takes some serious tying and keeping in place. Luckily again, Pinterest never fails to inspire with a million and one ways to tie a scarf. The great thing about this piece too is that the rest of the outfit can actually be pretty plain and boring. Incidentally, this outfit idea came from (can you see where this is going?) yep Pinterest yet again! I've finally managed to revitalise my Matalan navy heritage blazer again just when I was at the stage of considering getting rid of it. Teamed with my trusty DP jeans, and a pair of Gap booties, its a weekend outfit, that perfectly makes the transition into my work wear.
 
Does anyone have any Zara shopping tips? I just seem to buy what other bloggers buy yet can't find anything myself, so all help welcome!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Book Haul

 


In the last few months I've really found a love of book bloggers and blogs who just promote a love of books and reading in general. Alex and Jenny have been part of my blogroll list for many months, and Jennie was recently added towards the back end of the year.
I've also recently discovered youtubers who vlog about books. I love the idea of beauty vloggers, but I can't apply make up properly for toffee so after so long, a tutorial video no longer thrills me. A bookshelf tour however very much does!

I've been doing book reviews for almost a year now, and the occasional tag post has popped up, but I wanted to start showcasing my book hoarding even more. I debated with this post a little while (as the source of three of these books may seem a bit braggy - its not I promise!) but after canvassing a few people on twitter I decided to go with it.

Picture 1

These are all books I bought in the charity shop. Every now and again I find my bookshelves are not inspiring me to read, so on this occasion I decided to hit the charity shops. I spent about  £12 and came home with this little bundle.

Death in Holy Orders; P D James. I've read other Dalgliesh books in the past but not this one. If you watched Death Comes to Pemberly over Christmas, you may be aware PD James wrote the book that inspired the drama series. If you enjoyed that, you may enjoy the Dalgliesh series.

The Holmes Affair; Graham Moore. Since picking this up I;ve read a few negative reviews about it, but they mainly seem to be focused on the fact that it doesn't really reflect the biography of Conan Doyle (which is what it claims to reflect, sort of). A few others have said if it is just read as a story and nothing more it is actually quite enjoyable, so I'm going to attack reading it that way.

White Nights; Ann Cleeves. Ann Cleeves writes Inspector Vera novels and Jimmy Perez novels. Both have been televised as Vera and Shetland. This is the second book in the Shetland series

A Place of Secrets and A Gathering Storm; Rachel Hore. I've mentioned few times my recent love for family saga type mysteries, particularly those that cross timelines. After doing a bit of research on Goodreads.com, Rachel Hore was suggested as an author I may enjoy, so I picked up these to give them a go. As they didn't cost very much its not the end of the world if I don't enjoy them.

Labyrinth; Kate Mosse. This was picked up for a similar reason as the Rachel Hore books.

The Murder Stone; Louise Penny. The word murder in the title is bound to grab my attention, and the blurb grabbed me upon reading. I've already finished this and really enjoyed it. I've since realised it is actually book 4 of the Gamache series, so I'm keeping a look put for others/

Picture 2

These are all books I received over Christmas.

All Quite on the Western Front was sent to me by Alex. Just before Christmas I missed out on a lot of the organised swaps due to my absence from the blog world. Alex very kindly offered to do a swap with me and we agreed our own little rules, one of which was that one item to be literary themed. This was Alex's offering, and considering I love anything WW2 based, I'm sure I'll love this.

The Misbegotten was on my Christmas wish list, and makes up the next in my Katherine Webb collection.

I'm clearly a very easy person to buy for as two people actually bought my this little recipe book for Christmas!

The House of Hades was also on my Christmas wish list, and is the next book in the Percy Jackson  Heroes of Olympus series.

Picture 3

All these books were given to me.

The Winter Ghosts was passed to me by my Mum, as she saw I had purchased Labyrinth I thought I might enjoy this. Its actually quite a short book, and I intend to read it soon, as no one wants to be reading about winter ghosts once the suns out, right?

The Excursion Train is the second in the Railway Detective series, which you may remember I reviewed. My Mum found when she was packing to move, she had an extra copy so passed it to me, as I haven't read this one yet.

The final three books are all part of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I was asked if I would be interested in reading the Allegiant at the same time I was asked about The Taming of the Tights. When I realised it was actually the final book in a series I suggested that perhaps not as I hadn't read the others, instead I was sent the whole series!! (Can you see why I thought this may be a bit braggy?). I'm told they are in the same vein as The Hunger Games, which I haven't read yet (I'm still working my way through Twilight too!) but just reading the first few pages my attention was grabbed.

So I've definitely got a fair few books to keep me going over the next few months. I had hoped for a few days snowed in, but I've given up hope of there being any of the white stuff anytime soon - it seems rather unseasonably warm to me!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Also, who are your favourite book bloggers (or just bloggers who regularly feature book related posts)? I 'd love to see some links!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

NITW - Wolf & York Polka Dot Shirt

 
Shirt Wolf & York via Surfdome*//Necklace Primark//Jumper Chiara//
Jeans Dorothy Perkins//Shoes Littlewoods (old)
 
 
Instead of just using the term OOTD, I've decided to try out some new names for blog posts. SO this is a "New In The Wardrobe" post. So even though it is an OOTD post, it encompasses something that has been newly added to my wardrobe. Make sense? Hopefully?
 
Anyway recently Surfdome got in touch with me asking if I would be interested in reviewing anything from their site. I'd seen a few bloggers mentioning the Surfdome brand but hadn't really looked at it before, as it truck me as a kind of surfy-snowboardy kind of site. I was actually quite wrong in thinking this, as even thought they sell this type of clothing, they also sell more "lifestyle" brands such as Joules and Bench.
 
Whilst browsing the site I came across the Wolf & York, which is exclusive to Surfdome, and picked out this polka dot shirt. I thought it was something I would be able to both dress up and dress down.
 
The shirt is good quality material. I expected it being slightly thicker than it was, perhaps more of a winter thickness, but that's not a bad thing, as often really thick shirts are quite stiff. It's not completely thin and see through either though which is a bonus. The shirt is advertised as black but I will say everyone has said its more of a very dark blue. Having worn it next to a pair of black trousers I'm inclined to agree, although I'm not sure you can really tell next to the black jumper in these pictures. The shirt also has very dark brown buttons down the front.
 
Paired with some dark wash skinny jeans and a pair of heels, this makes a smart enough outfit for work or for casual drinks of an evening - easy day to night wear. I added a jumper for extra warmth, which helps dress it down but without looking too casual.
 
I was really impressed with the quality of the shirt, and the little details, such as the logo on the seam, make it much more 'high-end'. It's also currently on sale for £17.48 which is an absolute bargain! There are some great items in the Surfdome sale, and I will be keeping my eye on the Wolf and York brand in the future!

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may also have noticed yet another change in hair colour! I decided that I wanted something much more natural looking for the wedding, and white hair, white skin and a white dress didn't work so well! This is a working progress and I'm still working on the perfect colour as I still get a lot of fade at the moment, but this is somewhere near what my natural colour used to be! I've still got another nine months to get it right though!

*This item was sent to me to review

Don't forget to enter my book giveaway!

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