Friday, 16 March 2012

Travelling light

Although I dither whether I want to live a minimalist lifestyle, one aspect of my life in which I fully support minimalism is when I'm travelling. I think travelling light is 100% the way forward! This is not to say that I've always done this- I guess I've learnt the hard way! On my recent trip (which covered 5 days, though only 3 full ones) I packed one carry-on rucksack and it was great. I've come up with some reasons why not taking 3 suitcases is great.


You have more freedom. Picture this- you arrive somewhere after a flight/ train/ bus journey into a bustling station. With minimal luggage you can explore the place first, rather than your 1st priority being getting a taxi to a hotel to dump your stuff! Additionally, being able to first explore an area means that you may be able to find a better value/ nicer hotel if you haven't already booked. On my recent trip to S. E Asia I remember having to lug my 60l rucksack to our hostel in the heat for 40+ mins. This would have been so much easier if I had taken less stuff!

It's cheaper. So many budget airlines charge for bags in the hold now. These extras all add up so if it's just a short break, why not see if you can stick to hand luggage?

There is no risk of loosing your luggage. If like above you manage to travel without luggage in the hold you eliminate the risk of being the last person standing at the carousel waiting for your bag to turn up. Whist they mostly do turn up, you always waste a day or two waiting and wishing you packed more clothes in your carry-on!

There are no difficult decisions what to wear. With less clothes you often only have one option clean/ ready to wear! It's really easy to hand wash clothes or send them to the hotel laundry. If you plan multi-use clothes/ outfits all round a colour theme, you can get away with a super capsule wardrobe! My favourite multi-use item is my american apparel dress.

Keeps some room for souvenirs. If there's space in your bag you can buy more in the markets for you or as gifts!!

My little trip also gave me the perfect excuse to use some of the free samples that I'd collected recently. Here's a snap of my wash-bag that I took with me.
I've had the bag since I was about 10!! The only things I bought here were the toothbrush, the sunscreen, the deodorant and the face wipes!


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Week in December by Sebastien Faulkes

This is the second book that I have read as part of my reading challenge that I set a few weeks back.

Sebastien Faulkes is one of my favourite authors although I have to say I have preferred his books set further in the past (ie. Birdsong, Charlotte Grey, Human Traces). Nevertheless, I had high hopes for this book!

From pinterest

The story focuses on a number of people who live in London and whose lives are intertwined one week in December sometime around 2007/2008 ish. There are quite a lot of characters ranging from wanker bankers to an Eastern European footballer to a would-be terrorist bomber. There are so many characters that it took a while for me to work out who everyone was and how they were connected. I think this is why I was slow to get into the book (and the reason it lay unfinished above my bed for so long!).

 It touches on a lot of modern themes such as causes of recessions, terrorism, loneliness and seemingly common in Faulkes' novels, mental illness. It also touches on love in a few stories, enough anyway to satisfy my sugar coated demand for a few happy endings!

One comment on the back said it was 'hilarious' which I didn't agree with. It was amusing in parts but with a black humour, mocking aspects of modern culture such as reality TV programs.
I would recommend it if you haven't read it. Although if you're like me, I'd read it in a short space of time to keep track of all the different characters! If you have read it, what did you think?

Sorry for the short review again, but I don't really know what else to say!


Monday, 12 March 2012


I'm sorry for my week long hiatus from the blog world. I've been pretty busy the past week and rather than do my usual weekly round up/ picks of the week I thought I'd share  few things I've learned in the past week with you...

I didn't ride a camel, but I wish I had done! From pinterest

- Flying makes me feel rich. In other words, time spent in airports makes me spend money I don't necessarily have in duty free shops! I purchased my first ever MAC item (!) along with a very swanky Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream lip protector.

-Being a western woman in the Arab world is a lot harder than in the UK. I appreciate being able to walk down the street without drawing stares, propositions and catcalls which certainly isn't the case in the Arabic country that I was visiting my friend the past week. I wasn't showing any skin from my neck down. I was not particularly comfortable there because of this which is such a shame as otherwise it was a beautiful country!

-Always check your flight details. Seems obvious right? Well.. apparently not for me! When I arrived at the airport to come home, I had a very confusing few minutes where I couldn't understand why my flight wasn't on the board. Turns out my flight was the following day. Doh!!

-Parents are sometimes heroes in times of need. Because of my flight debacle I had to miss loads of house share viewings in the New Town I'm moving to. My mum, bless her, picked me up from the airport and drove me straight there to stop me missing any more! I think I better order an extra big bouquet for mothers day this coming Sunday!

-Free things are not always worth taking. Notably the full English breakfast option when staying in B and Bs. Far too big, far too fatty, I always regret it. I need to remember, just say no! (I used to really like these breakfasts but I just can't stomach them any more :-().

Right... I'll try and post more regularly from now on!


Saturday, 3 March 2012

Picks of the week/ Weekly roundup

I've sort of rediscovered this kit. The eyeshadow pot in RSVP is really pretty and the whole look is just very fresh but polished. The concealer is also pretty good! It was a gift from a friend a while back and I'm still very grateful :-)

The only book I've finished this week is How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and you can see my review (if you can call it that) in my previous post.

I received this as a Christmas present and have only just got round to watching it. It was brilliant. Very random but very funny! 

I tried the Sorted Food coconut crusted chicken recipe (link). It was really tasty! I didn't make a papaya salad as we didn't have a papaya but I just did a normal salad with corriander and lime juice. I didn't take any photos I'm afraid but I can definitely recommend it! It was like healthy (ish) chicken nuggets and chips.. with a twist!

I managed to download this song free from Amazon. It's strange because now it's 89p....  I really like it. It's not new or anything but I've just downloaded it this week!

I'm sorry for a pretty sparse post. I haven't mentioned quite a few categories just because I have nothing to really say about them! It's quite late at night and I wanted to get something up and just to say that I'm off for a few days, visiting a friend and so won't be posting!


Friday, 2 March 2012

Learning how to be a woman with the help of Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran's book, 'How to be  a Woman' follows her life from an overweight, friend-less 13 year old through Brit pop to marriage and two children. I approached this book with caution as very few 'chatty' books like this can sustain my attention for however many chapters. She covers topics spanning a wide field of women related topics such as feminism (mostly), fashion, children, marriage and abortion.
Find it here:

She does it with a chatty style and enough slightly crude anecdotes that actually did manage to keep my attention. I kind of think she's trying to make feminism 'cool' again, trying to move it away from the 'man hating' image of previous decades. She touches on important topics that lots of women just don't discuss like abortion and topics that are maybe discussed more such as the portrayal of women in the media.

I definitely recommend it! (for men and women!). She talks a lot of sense without preaching or judging in a funny lighthearted way.

Please excuse my awful attempt at a book review. I haven't done one of these since school but I thought it'd be interesting! Plus this means I'm one book down for my book challenge!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Leopard print is a neutral

I'm currently still one the first of the books from my book challenge which is 'How to be a Woman' by Caitlin Moran. I'm really loving it and I'll do a proper review on it when I'm done but she has a chapter on fashion. In this, she lists things she's learnt about fashion, one of which is that leopard print is a neutral.. Now I know that the tone of this list is jokey but I've recently come to the realisation that she is 100% correct.

This has come as a bit of a shock because two years ago, the only thing leopard print I owned lived in my fancy dress box. Now, however, my wardrobe is home to a pair of leopard print flats and I love them, they are so versatile. There is very little they do not go with and so I agree with Caitlin that leopard print is indeed a neutral!

So, although I'm not likely to regard Kat Slater as my fashion icon any time soon (remember her?), I do think leopard print accessories in small doses glam up my outfits while staying true to my style. Here are some pieces that I could see myself wearing!

Untitled #3
My pick of leopard print accessories
What do you think of leopard print? Are you a fan?

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Guilty pleasures

I've spent the evening indulging in some of my guilty pleasures. No.. nothing kinky, just two of my favourite cheesy-but brilliant US tv shows... The Vampire Diaries and 90210! TV scheduling means that on Tuesday nights I can enjoy one after the other- amazing!
Do you have any TV shows you know you shouldn't but you still enjoy? What do you think of these shows? Btw. I don't know if they even have teams, but I'm deffo team Damon!!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Picks of the week/ Weekly roundup

My fashion pick of the week is this wonderful cardigan that we found when sorting through my mum's wardrobe. It was knitted for her by her aunt ages ago and she's given it to me! It's really cosy and great just to throw on!

I've been striving for a dewy/  iridescent skin look lately- I think it looks very youthful. I want to buy a powder that gives me this finish (any recommendations?) but for now I've been using my clinique colour rub and the highlighter that comes in the sleek contour kit. You can see both these items in this post.

Before I started my reading challenge I actually finished two books this week. One was a chick lit book called RSVP. It was okay, classic chick lit. The other was a Poroit 'Peril at End House'. I really enjoy Agatha Christie books. They're so easy to read and very entertaining!
Read more about it here

I've added this section this week. Mostly because I've become obsessed by this song by Emili Sande. I think it's kinda a through back to big 90s tunes by Whitney Houston and people like that. I love it!

My film this week is One Day. I'm a huge fan of the book and I wasn't keen on seeing the film because I thought it might spoil it! I saw it last night however and I enjoyed it! I thought Anne Hathaway's accent was truly awful but it didn't take all of the enjoyment away. Jim Sturgess is sweet!
From Pinterest

I've been fairly good. I bought some cosmetics but nothing extravagant. I need to keep it up though!

I made another banana loaf. Because I've given up chocolate I made this one with hazelnuts and rum soaked raisins! It looks crumbly in this photo but that's only because we we impatient and wanted to taste it before it cooled!

Health and Fitness
I've been swimming and cycling this week. I'm still not 100% (come on immune system, start working!) so I'm happy with what I've done. I've also given up chocolate for lent although I had an ice cream today (with chocolate in and didn't realise until about an hour later!).

So... aims for the week ahead.. pretty much the same as always, spend and eat less and exercise more!!

Hope everyone's had a good week :-)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

What I bought yesterday..

So I know I am on a spending diet but I'm not very good at it! I spent £22.68 in Boots yesterday :-( I thought I'd share my purchases...
                                                           La Roche-Posay Anthelios melt-in cream spf 50
 I'm quite serious about using sun protection and I think it's worth spending a bit more (this was £14.73) to get one that sinks in well so I'm comfortable using it daily! My job will entail working outside a fair amount so this will be important.

                                                             No 7 BB cream for normal to dry skin in Fair
I got seduced by the £5 No 7 voucher. I'm not the first person and I'm sure I won't be the last! I wanted to try a BB cream and so I thought why not? The colour works well for me. I'll see how it goes and let you know! This was £7.95 after the discount so not too bad!

                                                                           Diorshow New Look mascara
No... I didn't. But the lovely lady at the Dior counter gave me a free sample! I'd gone to see what powders they had and when I discovered that the one I wanted was £45 I think she felt sorry for me! Diorshow 'regular' is my 100% favourite mascara for full voluminous lashes and I'd repurchase it if it wasn't so pricey! It's strange because the thing I liked about it was the big brush. This has a tiny brush so I'm not convinced it'd be the same. I already have a favourite little brush mascara (Clinique lash power see here) but we'll see!

Happy Saturday Everyone!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Spring wish list

I cycled into town today to pay a cheque into the bank and had a sneaky look around the shops while I was there! Let me just tell you, it took every ounce of will power I had not to buy anything! I did by some beauty supplies but nothing too extravagant! I'm loving the spring/ summer trends. I thought I'd do some virtual shopping instead, sharing my favourite looks for the coming season.

£40 from Warehouse but they have 25% off at the moment!
£17.99 from New Look
I love yellow! It's one of my happy colours (you know a colour you look at and can't help but smile!) so I'm really happy it's in fashion wise. I really want the warehouse knit!!! I like the simple top from New Look but I wouldn't pay that for what it is!

Crochet / Lace
£29.99 from Zara
59.99 from Zara
I really like the boho, hippy vibe of crochet and lace. There's loads in Zara at the moment and these are just a few I'm lusting after. I'd quite like to find a little waistcoat in crochet material. I know there's lots about but I need to find one for a good price!

49.99 from Zara

49.99 from Zara

I saw these shoes on buy now, blog later and really liked them! I think the shape is really flattering! Also the height is good for me because I'm not great with heels. I know kitten heels are controversial but I like these! Also, I would like a semi relaxed black blazer and this one is perfect!

£8 from Urban Outfitters
£16 from Urban Outfitters

£12 from Accessorize

Skulls aren't normally my thing but I think these earrings are really cute! This necklace is a much more vibrant turquoise colour in real life, I love it! I think the accessorize necklace is really simple and really pretty!

So.. roll on my first payday! Or does anyone fancy buying any of these for me? Ha ha!


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Half- finished books

I have a bookshelf above my bed and I thought I'd show you the pile of books on top of this bookshelf that has accumulated over the past few months.
I obviously like a bit of danger when I sleep!
Some of these books I've started reading but never finished, others I have read (mostly the Christmas related chick lit... ahem!) . I'm really bad at staring books and not finishing them so I'm going to set myself the challenge of finishing all of these books that I've never got around to finishing!
My reading list for the next few weeks
How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran- I'm a couple of chapters into this one. It's good so far. I can't remember why I didn't finish it!

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas- I've started this one. I was enjoying it, but it never grabbed me and more excited books came along..

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell- I really haven't read more than a few pages so far..

A Week in December by Sebastien Faulkes- Sebastien Faulkes is one of my favourite authors but there was so many characters in this that I kept forgetting who everyone was.. I just need to push on!

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert- I've read about 3/4 of this. I took it travelling with me a few months back. I haven't loved it so far but continued reading while I was away but promptly forgot about it when I got back. It'd be silly not to finish it now!

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman- I read the whole dark materials trilogy years ago but started to re-read this a while back. I got quite a way through but this was just before christmas and I think I forgot about it when new shiny books appeared!

Anyway... I'll write reviews of the books when I finish them. I'm going to try really hard to finish all of these before I find new books to read. This may be a challenge as if you haven't already guessed, my attention span isn't great lol!

What are you reading at the moment? Do you recommend it?


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Time for tea!

As I come from a nation famous for tea drinking I thought I'd share my favourite teas. I am rather partial to a nice cup of tea and I have a few favourites that I pick depending on my mood and what I fancy.

A pretty tea cup and plate that I recently got from a charity shop

-Clipper organic tea. This is my standard tea. 'Builders tea' if you like, though it is organic! I like to start my day with a cup of this but also at any interval throughout the day. Milk, no sugar please. Friendly and reassuring, like drinking a warm hug! Goes excellently with a plain chocolate digestive biscuit (or two...).

- Twinings green tea with apple and pear. This is light and fruity and refreshing. After reading about all the great things green tea does for you, I tried to find one I liked and this is my favourite so far!

- Twinings straberry and mango tea. Some fruit teas don't taste of much but this one is really fruity. After a indecisive shopping trip a few years ago when there was an offer on these teas I ended up buying 4 of these range and this one was the only one I really liked. It's a gorgeous pink colour when brewed as well! Nice for when I don't want any caffeine.

- Char Roobois orange and eucalyptus. This is a recent purchase actually. It's loose tea so is a bit more of a hassle but I love it! It's very refreshing, the mixture of the fruity flavours mix well with the freshness of the eucalyptus. Roobois is also caffeine free so this is another good evening drink.

-Fresh mint tea. Another favourite is mint tea made with fresh mint (ie. mint leaves in hot water). This is very cleansing. It's nice if you've had quite a rich meal. We have loads of fresh mint growing in our garden so this one is also free!
From pinterest.

Does anyone have any tea recommendations?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

HRH collection

One of my recent (but before the spending diet- don't worry!) purchases was a chain necklace from HRH collection. Before I share the chain, I want to talk about the girl that makes them. Her name is Alex and I've followed her blog and youtube channel for a while now and have always admired her classic yet modern style. Her chains are so much a part of her look and for a while I've wanted to try one to see if I could emulate it.

I decided that I'd start with one single chain as this isn't my usual style (and also the price!) and so I went with the 'Sheba' necklace.
As you can see it's a fairly heavy duty chain comprising of two types, one smooth and one textured. I'm struggling to style this so I don't look like a wannabe rapper...  I don't think I'm cool enough to pull it on its own. I think actually paired with the sheba necklace that she designed it with, it would look more of a statement piece and suit me more. So.. until I have money to spend on another necklace, I have come up with a solution...
The sheba.. restyled!

I folded it in half, doubling up the chains, separating them by texture. I prefer the necklace on me this way. I did it with ribbon, so nothing permanent so I can undo it when I want to. I also think the ribbon gives the hard chain a slightly girly-er  edge.. This necklace doubled up is actually just like her 'original cuff' necklace so maybe I should have just got that one lol!
I need to neaten up the ribbon..
What do you think? I'm looking to expand my collection now! Her stuff is really popular and when I saw on facebook that she'd restocked recently I was so tempted to get another piece. I want the ombre bracelet but I resisted because of my spending diet! Aren't you proud?! Also if anyone has any tips to make it work just how it is, I'd love to hear them!

Coincidentally, you can see my mini mannequin that displays some of my necklaces in my bedroom. It's from Hobby Craft and I just painted it black. I decorated one more elaborately and gave it as a gift to my mum a while back. 


Monday, 20 February 2012

Money Monday

I think when it comes to money that there are certain types of people. Take my friend, she accounts for every single penny that comes in and goes out. I bet that she could tell you at any given time, exactly how much is in each bank account she has . Now with this, she is not a penny pincher. Indeed she lives a much more extravagant lifestyle than me but she manages her money very well.

All the moolah! From Weheartit

Quite opposite to this friend, I'm ashamed to say is me. I would call myself an ostrich. I spend money without thinking what my balance is with my head stuck firmly in the sand. I don't add expenses up and then I am surprised when I finally read my bank statement (having avoided it for a week). Now I am an intelligent person (without blowing my own trumpet lol!). I have a masters degree. It can't be that hard to change my habits can it?!

Well I'm going to try!! I know it may be slightly over the top, but I'm going to be strict with myself for a while to try and beat some good habits into me. I don't want to carry these bad habits into my adult life when my financial responsibilities extend to scarily responsible things like houses, pensions and so on..

-When I'm aware of how much money I have I don't knowingly overspend so therefore I will check my current account every day.

- To practise some self control I am starting a spending diet. I found out about this idea from the blog and then she saved. I'm giving myself £75 a month to spend.

-To make sure I stick to my spending diet, I will track everything I spend on an excel spreadsheet. I spent loads of time earlier in the year, making an all singing, all dancing one and never really filled any of it in! Not this time though!
What my spreadsheet should look like! From Weheartit

And of course I shall let you all know how I get on here. Wish me luck!


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Picks of the week/ weekly roundup

This week I'm going to pick a combination of clothes. It's my H and M top (see below) paired with pale pink jeans. The weather has warmed up a bit and so paired with a cardigan and coat, this combination reminds me that spring is just around the corner!
H M blouse

I dyed my hair this week. I have dark blonde/ light brown hair naturally that lightens in the summer. The past few years, I've had occasional highlights that have built and built and following a trip to South East Asia a few months ago became very light and golden. I decided to go back to my roots (literally!) and I used Clairol nice n' easy non permanent in 91, dark blonde. I left the tips untouched to give a slight ombre effect and I really like how it turned out! It was very easy (as the name suggests), my hair feels in great condition so I am one happy customer :-).

I saw Crazy, Stupid Love on Valentines Day. I really enjoyed it! It was  different to standard chick flicks and it had Ryan Gosling in!!It's centered around a couple who decide to get divorced and the people around them. Definitely recommended!
From pinterest
I still haven't read any books- dammit! Need to change this!

I made this chicken with a red thai and peanut sauce  on Friday. It was very tasty but I forgot to put the corriander (cilantro) in! Ooops! Never mind, it was still nice, but I guess it could have been better! We had it with brown rice, broccoli and carrots.
Image from Kalyn's kitchen. I forgot to take photos.
Not too bad. Bits and bobs here. I've decided however that I'm going on a spending diet. More on this to come later in the week!

Health and Fitness
I'm feeling a bit better now and I've been swimming a few times and am planning on running in a few hours. I really need to step my fitness up a bit if I'm going to do a triathalon (which is on my 30 by 30 list) in the next few months, even if it is a beginners one!

Now for some weekly goals:
- Be on a spending diet.
- Focus on triathalon training at least 5 days next week.
- Continue trying not to snack between meals (haven't been doing very well on this one!).

Saturday, 18 February 2012

When life gives you lemons... and other corny phrases that I am partial to

From Pinterest
I know, I know, these phrases are corny beyond belief but I really believe that sometimes they can get you back on track in terms of positivity, motivation and self belief. At the moment, I have plenty of spare time before I start working. That's putting a very positive spin on things and I've been getting quite frustrated recently. However... I need to make sure I use this time positively like crafting, sorting, seeing friends etc!

So... if you are in need to any life pick me ups, take a look at these...

From Pinterest
From Pinterest
From Pinterest
From Pinterest
From Pinterest
Does anyone else have any good ones?


Friday, 17 February 2012

My make up volume 3

I started doing these a while back and thought I better finish them off. So without further ado.. my lip products...

From left to right: M+S lipgloss in pashmina, Benefit the gloss in rave reviews, Urban decay pocket rocket in david, juicy tube in lychee, Benefit Benetint pocket pal, Red rimmel lip liner, M+S- pillarbox, Rimmel -starry eyed, vintage pink, Clinique- bamboo pink, Kate Moss for Rimmel- 03, Barbara Daly- Sorbet.
As you can see, I don't have a huge amount of lip products! I mostly use lip balm or a tinted lip balm from day to day. I'm really excited to try the Revlo lip butters when they are released as they've been hyped up so much on youtube!

I'm not a lipgloss fan really. I find them sticky and my hair always gets stuck in them! I do like the Pocket rocket though! It smells like creme brule and this one is a really nice deep pink colour. I also really like the mini benetint, as the colour doesn't rub off, you just have to top up the gloss. You can also build it to the exact colour you want which is good!

I'm just getting into lipsticks really. I have yet to find colours that just screem 'me'. I do like the ones I have though. I want to try these mini private lipsticks from Duwop which are meant to react with your chemistry to create the perfect shade. Has anyone tried them?

If you're interested here are my face products and my eye products!


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Even more 3D than 3D cinema..

Last night I went to a local theatre to see a modern adaptation of a Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's more accessible plays, just because of how well known the story line is. The language is always challenging to start with for me, but after a while, I don't notice any difference. I really enjoyed it!


There is something special about live theatre that you just don't get in cinema. You can see physical things that get cut out of films, the tears (The girl that played Juiliet was wiping tears off her face all through the curtain call showing the true emotion that the final scenes brought out of her), the sweat, the humanity that makes it much more life-like which is often cut out of Hollywood blockbusters. 

Sure, there are things you get in cinema that you don't in live theatre but I 'm not one for crazy special effects!

And.. all this amazing, tragic live action for only £7!! This is actually cheaper than it would be to go to a 3D movie! I think my friend got some kind of group booking, student discount but still!! Now I realise that good seats at The National Theatre or one in the West End may not be so cheap but I think it's definitely worth checking out regional companies. I know I certainly will from now on. Plus it sounds so sophisticated when asked what you did last night when you can reply, 'Oh I went to the theatre dahhling'....

Cheerio! And as I'm in a Shakespearean mood... 'good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, that I should say good night til it be morrow'!