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September 2013
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November 2013

Check Mate

I'm writing this with a dog nearby rather than a cat, which is very strange. I've moved out of my mom's house into a place much nearer work with a few of my siblings and I definitely miss my mom's cooking! We are also looking after my dad's dog Oscar and I am really not a dog person. It's not quite fear but I find these furry friends a little too boysterious! Oscar is getting cuter though.

As for what's running through my mind and wardrobe for the weekends, I can't stop wearing a check shirt tied over everything. There is just about nothing  that will not look better with a shirt. I haven't worn one over my shoulders once, and I don't think I will! Tied above your hips all the way.

Pictures from Tumblr.


Bubble Tea Meets

Hi guys! I've had a few days away from this blawg which consisted of going to a blogger meet up, completing my maid of honour duties at a hen do and finalising my plans to move house! If we chat in chronological order, a few weeks ago I tweeted that I was looking for some new blogs to read and spoke to Cara of super sweet blog Glacial Glow, where I spotted she was organising a Birmingham blogger meet up! After working so many blogger events and barely going to any recently for just myself and my own blog, I was really excited to meet some like-minded bloggers and new people. 

On Saturday I stood at New Street Station and did think the effortlessly cool girl nearby in a great coat with popping red lips may be a blogger, but I was not keen on asking a stranger if they were attending a blogger meet up if they actually weren't and thought I was crazy! It turns out it really was delightful Jess of Jessthetics and we linked up when Cara came in her enchanting doll-like, porcelain beauty, and we know how much I love girly vibes! We had a hunt for the second WHSmith in the station to bump into Elizabeth of new beauty blog MungleVille - go over and show some welcome love! Elizabeth seems the perfect candidate as a beauty blogger because she can size-up and recommend cosmetics perfectly both online and in person, and has the pretty face I certainly would like to see adorned with products I may like to purchase! We were expecting a few more people but as with many meet ups, people may be nervous or a bit flaky, so we went off to Café Chino in Arcadian for some bubble tea and cake!

Yum! If I am around town I will definitely stop by for a bubble tea, and I think I prefer mine warm without the pearls. We were all set with tea and cake and my talented friend Leah came; a blogger I've known for many years now and always a source for inspiration, wisdom and awesome charity shop finds, including some Luella jeans that looked beyond fantastic.

As we nibbled, we chatted blogging, feminism, various highlights and crazies of the Midlands, and it really is a hive of inspiring thoughts when chatting with ladies with something to share with the world. I do think surrounding yourself with different and diverse people who have goals and dreams really does enhance your own, and I'm sure we will meet again soon!

Sadly I had to rush off soon after our lunch as it was the hen night of my oldest and dear friend, where I will be a bridesmaid in November! I wish I had taken a photo of the treats I had prepared, which included some flash cards of funny questions about her, tiaras, glowsticks, wine jelly, a 'Guess the Groom' game with various celeb grooms in envelopes, a pass the parcel, VIP passes, and a selection of dares that possibly weren't appropriate for her grandma to pick out! I really enjoyed the DIY aspect as I was browsing Pinterest all week, so I will certainly look into more fun and inexpensive wedding ideas to make her day even more special.

I stayed at my nan's house but I thought I would post these photos anyway as I am loving my new Motel Rocks Folly Top in Sun, Moon, Stars, my favourite print in a while! I did actually order the Kimmy Skirt also to wear as a matching two piece but it's really slimming for some reason, maybe due to the dark colour and large print, and I didn't really look like myself! The shape of the top is really chic though, with a high neckline and strappy open back. It will be my go-to top for weekends under a few layers! I also made a quick OOTD video to see the outfit in more detail. Loving blogging and vlogging again!


Marseille 2013 Part Two

Hi guys, happy Sunday! I finally have some more photos of my trip to Marseille with my friends, several hundred to be exact! While a normal club night doesn't really warrant loads of Facebook photos since around 2009, we always make sure we get loads of snaps on holiday and even took disposable cameras so we could get some mystery photos developed when we got home.

So I left off in my last Marseille post on our first full day, where we visited the Viex Port in the sunshine and browsed contemporary museums and a castle. Marseille is a charming, no-frills city with a laid back air, and the calm tourist spots took our conversations into what we will all do in the future and how we are all hitting 25 soon. It's not often my friends and I have time to chill and chat so it was even more lovely by the serene views.

Our French still left much to be desired as we wandered around the sights and took in the history. It's so different to be surrounded by water but not on a beach holiday, and we didn't see the beach over our three days as we just didn't have time and it was a little journey away.

Marseille is also surrounded by pretty hills and we ate dinner overlooking the harbour. Unfortunately we tried our best to find a decent looking restaurant and ended up with the worst meals of our lives! I am by no means a fussy eater and will eat most things (apart from meat) but even I was gutted by our food and we were not lingual enough to negotiate a cheaper bill. By this time the sun had set so we all had a nap and started getting ready for night out number two, putting the bad meal behind us and mixing a crazy French punch.

I bought this American Apparel Dress on eBay and the bright blue lycra was only really appropriate for a holiday look! This is the best photo I have as I don't want to put up photos of my friends without asking them and things get cray at the club, right! My friends and I were in two different hotel rooms and I was in the slower one, so I was always ready first for once and my job was topping up the drinks and choosing the music, which was mostly '90s RnB.

  

We had heard of a club called TrolleyBus which sounded as ridiculous as it was awesome so at around 1am (clubs in Europe don't get started until 2am) we went back down to the Irish bars we had found on the first night and saw the barmen we had made friends with; the first men who weren't super slimy! We all certainly stood out and fought off the constantly approaching garcons before hitting this strange TrolleyBus club with the bar guys, which turned out to be a series of underground tunnels. Much dancing and insane photos ensued, with us exploring all of the different rooms like rabbit holes and finding a new tunnel at every turn playing different music. I stepped outside for air with one of the Irish barmen who was a pretty Spanish guy and he said he would show me the most romantic place in Marseille. Oh you just can't find that sort of romance in the UK! We walked along the port and at one point I turned to find him standing by a scooter - his scooter! So it turns out you had to ride to this romantic place, which was an alcove where the sea lapped at the stone cobbles (aww) and I was on the back of a scooter (with helmet) feeling like I was in a movie as we zipped through the streets! Then we went to the highest place in Marseille so you could see the whole city by moonlight, it was the sort of scene you could only have on holiday in France!

So after this surreal night, we all woke up and got ready for the beach on our last day to just lie in the sun and gossip. Sadly the sun didn't make an appearance so we made it our mission to find a boat. We saw a tourist boat that visited a nearby island and hopped on the next trip. Strangely everyone was handed these straw hats and the captains asked our group if we wanted to drive the boat?! This meant we got to sit in the top deck cabin and these smooth French guys, who were all about 55, were playing salsa music and definitely not driving that boat properly!

We landed on an island that seemed to consist of a few bars and again confirmed the fact that Marseille may have never seen a bunch of girls before, because the waitress at one bar we stopped in made us all come into the kitchen to wish the chef happy birthday and cracked open the champagne! They were snapping photos of us as though the island hadn't seen women in years and it was even more hilarious when the captains of the crazy boat blasted Michael Jackson on the way back to the port, with one snake-hipped garcon declaring himself 'Michael White' and pulling some serious Jacko moves!

We returned when it was just getting dark and thankfully found a lovely restaurant where we all had a decent meal, at last! As always with the final night, we were slower at hitting the town as we all felt delicate from the past few days, and we dubbed it maxi dress night with a few of us in long dresses. I don't have a photo of just myself on this night but we visited a place a girl on the hotel reception recommended to us that turned out to be almost like a street rave! When asking for directions away, some people guided us straight back to the taxis as it was 'dangerous' and so we went to some bars along the port instead! It's so fun to sit sharing wine outside alongside the sea, definitely something we don't experience at home!

Here is a little snap of my holiday girls as we were strolling around, one of the few suitable and where were are all in one shot and not being pulled out by some French dude. I was so pleased it all went off without a hitch and I think the key to a good holiday is to have no expectations, group off if a few of you want to do different things, and know it's going to get crazy. We are already planning our next trip, I can't wait!!


Nails of the Week 31: White Out

Another white look. I have a white lifestyle right now! It's such a fuss free colour that still makes a clean, sharp statement. I think it will transition into autumn but there is nothing like white in sunshine. I opted for classic white nails for my Marseille holiday as I just couldn't decide on a colour that would go with all of my outfits. I really loved the matte red of last month and that will certainly make a comeback, but it was too dark for a sunny holiday. It's the first time I've worn longer nails to my new work and I think they are OK as I don't have many meetings so they are not so in-your-face. I might make another move into decorated nails soon as the party season is on the way. It will be a change to working in fashion and absolutely being snowed under during Christmas time!


White on White: Nike Air Force 1

Is there anything fresher than white on white on white? You know you have something new and completely unspoiled when your latest loves are so preciously ivory that you really must wash your hands before lacing them up! Air Force 1s are almost like boots and when you strap in, you feel fully cushioned in kick heaven. I admired the standard sizes but Nike sneaks are on the larger size, especially when shopping guy shoes. I went for half a size down in the JD Sports Junior Nikes and they fit perfectly, even with a little room for comfort and sweet socks.

Matching nails and shoes are essential too you know, and white will transition easily into autumn as a neutral colour, perfect with black and navy and a flash of metal. These ankle cuffs from eBay are the accessory my whole wardrobe was missing and I'm warding off any evil with the eyes in these leggings; my first order since leaving Motel! I miss those gals! I think my expanding trainer collection is due to my new office dress code and on the weekend I want to step as far away from smart-casual as possible and turn it out. I only just managed to wear these beauties out of the house, they are just too perfect! The straps, laces, height and sole all elevate you to flaunt those ankles and white shoes really stand out. With an inky black winter coat, chilly weather can only compliment them even more.

JD Sports Nike Air Force 1s, Motel leggings


Marseille 2013 Part One

I haven't even started this post but I know it will be long and I only have photos from the first day at the moment so we shall  just begin there! Last week I went to Marseille with some girlfriends and we have been on holiday a few times before but we have never quite timed it right so almost all of us could be there. I met this group of gals in college so we have known each other for over six years now! I'm always really inspired when we hang out as they are all confident, high-flying ladies and the only non-single one actually met her partner on one of our holidays, so we know when we go away together we just have a blast and see where the wind takes us. Many of us have lived abroad, are far into our careers, and through the ups and downs of being twenty-something, we all hold ourselves highly and strive for that work/life balance.

Finally we almost all booked similar time off work despite our very varied jobs, from nursing to medicine to engineering to teaching. Some of us don't live in the same city but a few million Whatsapp messages later, we had all booked a holiday to Ibiza. Then they rang us saying the price would be going up by £50, we all had a break down, one of us found £15 flights to Marseille, and we just booked up!

We have been to more off-beat places before shall we say, as our first trip was a few of us off to Madrid where we had no idea what to expect. As all of us are 24, we were avoiding 18-30 party destinations at allll costs so we favour city breaks but on the cheap. Madrid turned out to be great because you meet locals rather than British tourists and you have no expectations so it's a total adventure! Marseille lived up to this because it is the second biggest city in France, but sadly it isn't known for the nightlife. We set off for the airport at 4am and were soon stuffing our liquids into teeny clear bags at security and dashing to the plane. I had had a few days off work before but it still came around very quickly and to stay on a budget, I didn't splash out on anything new; I just took my current favourite clothes and makeup.

We stepped off the plane to a relatively warm morning and discovered our GCSE French was not going to get us far. We had baguettes and pastries as we couldn't check into the hotel yet and shopped around Sephora and Zara, before hunting everywhere for some cocktails and having a nap! I had printed off loads of info about clubs and bars as you end up asking local people but you never quite know if it will be the right recommendation. Now my friends and I dress UP and hilariously said the first night would be for our 'most casual outfits', but we were all in bodycon midi dresses and damn high platform heels. When we came downstairs I think the receptionist nearly fainted! We hopped in a taxi to a recommended spot but made a u-turn towards the port, something which Marseille is famous for. We had a contest to see who could meet a captain first!

We soon realised the bars and pubs along the port were 90% men and we certainly stood out. We fell into an Irish bar where my friends pushed me to ask a handsome stranger where the closest club was (he wasn't my type), but he stood up and was literally 5ft tall! I think it was him that took us into the second Irish bar, where we met some cool barmen and took way too many photos on our disposable cameras. You can't delete the photos that way, you see! The French men were literally ALL over us, they wouldn't leave us alone! It is possibly a city where groups of girls do not visit for partying but the language barriers were hilarious as we just could not get the message across that we were not interested in these slimy guys! They would just hang around our group like rent-a-crowd but really we would rather party with just us! We did move onto a club which we packed into like sardines, somehow walked straight into the VIP section, and danced until close. By the end it was just my bestie and I, and we were maybe the only girls on the dance floor, maybe the whole club! We found our way back to the hotel and gathered together for gossip in the morning, but of course that is under wraps!

The next day we ventured out in delicate groups and sought food and water, before hitting the port in the daytime and admiring the boats, views and a few museums. It was a gorgeous day and let us cheat autumn for another week with warm sunshine, forgetting all about our office desks as we strolled around and simply admired. We spent a long time hunting a decent looking restaurant among the tourist haunts but our choice was terrible, so we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night again while playing Sunshine Anderson and half watching what I believe was the French version of Geordie Shore on an island! I'll pause here until tomorrow, the best is yet to come! I wore a Topshop crochet dress (remember my crochet post?) to match my white nails with Topshop rose sunglasses as I don't think I'll be able to wear this until next summer, sob!


Moving back in with the parents: Pros, Cons & Moms

I have lived in terrible houses, I have lived with six boys, I have lived in houses where I didn't really know my housemates, and thankfully I have mostly lived in houses where my housemates are BFFs for life. However after six years living away from home for university and work, I found an unmissable job opportunity back in my home town and moved back in with my mom in her new house with her new partner. I've read lots of articles about recession-struck people moving back in with the 'rents and I can say that I am as happy as Larry! It was not a hard decision because so many of my friends do live at 'home', and they have actual savings, are stress free, and do not spend weekends travelling to see their loved ones. My group of friends from college are all confident, independent career women who also let their hair down and basically win the world, and they can afford to do this because many have financial freedom and the support of homelife. Moving home seemed very attractive as when hearing all of that. Why was I living away?!

Really I wish I had moved back home after graduating as the money I have spent on rent, bills, council tax and transport, especially as I moved south where it is so much more expensive to live, really makes my eyes water. I had forgot what it's like to have a motherly figure around who will just change your bed sheets or replenish the shampoo randomly. If your housemate changed your bed, that would just be slightly weird! Suddenly you don't need to juggle the expiry dates of all the food items in the fridge, avoid the bill at the end of winter, fork out a huge deposit and a month's rent before you've even unpacked, or deal with mould, mice or a panic when you drop a black eyeshadow all over the carpet. I do still pay rent but it isn't the huge chunk of my wages as with rented accommodation, and let me say if you want to work in fashion marketing, prepare for minimum wage. If you ever want to make money, don't choose fashion! I know many popular bloggers earn a living through blogging but I make money from sitting at a company desk and it certainly is a tough old financial time out there for graduates.

However it isn't the home you left as a teenager, now (hopefully) you will have a job and maybe a car so if you do fancy a takeaway or something specific for dinner, you can pop along and get it yourself. You'll have no curfew so you will be late-night shopping, staying out for cocktails, and generally your lifestyle won't be compromised. I'm lucky that my mom still loves to cook and my nan loves to do washing (truly!) so I don't always need to anymore. Half my things are still at my nans in the room I stay in when I sleep over each weekend and I swear every time I go there my things have been tidied and sorted a little more. That woman loves to damn tidy!

The negatives may be the freedom, as your parents may want to know where you are and who you are with and not approve of coming home in the middle of the night. I can say my mom is very lenient and I remember years ago when she went on a trip and I suggested my younger brother definitely would have a secret house party, and she just said 'Well, a house is there to be lived in!'. I can do as I please but actually it's generally a decent thing if someone does know where you are.

I visited some friends on the weekend who have an amazing flat in London and did miss living with your mates where you are always laughing and gossiping, but I chat to my friends daily and see different groups weekly anyway so I don't mind too much. I do miss the independent feeling of being a single adult and going with the flow of just your own feelings as I do like my own company! So I think in a few years I'll be looking again to live completely independently and do everything my way, but for now my priorities are saving money, having fun adventures and working hard, so not having the responsibilities of living alone really isn't a loss at all!


French Fancies: Bioderma Buys

I have just returned from a few days in France and like everything this year, it went so fast! You spend all week wishing for the weekend and the days just fly by, and this holiday was no different. I will go into the trip details when I have gathered all the photos from friends and chose the best to show you but these items are the only things I bought. The whole trip was on a budget as the flights were £15 and we stayed in a budget hotel, so shopping wasn't really the point. The point was to party!

We travelled via Ryanair which is super cheap and cheerful, especially at 5am in the morning, and only allows 10kg hand luggage, which isn't much. Security restrictions of 100ml liquids also mean I couldn't buy or take anything large, which had my friends and I squeezing all of our makeup, products and perfume into one teeny clear bag each. I visited a French pharmacy though and spotted these baby Biodermas; they are so cute! The perfect way to try the toner without splashing out on an online order. I heard they stocked it at the Birmingham Boots store but I didn't find any and I have just ran out of my Superdrug B. Micellar water. A sweet daily reminder of my holiday and hopefully I will like it as much as every beauty blogger I read!