In your denim eyes

If you're something of an avid online shopper like me you might know that feeling of excitement when you come across a site you haven't seen before with loads of cute clothes and bargainous prices.  You know that feeling when you're like, "I want everything!" I totally felt like that when I stumbled on sheinside.com.  They're based in China but you can easily flick the currency to £, they do free worldwide shipping and my clothes arrived in just over a week.  I ordered this horse print blouse and denim dress straight away and both are so lovely on.  After my order they kindly let me pick something else from the website and I chose this denim shirt with chiffon sleeves (£20).  I've realised now seeing the photos that I probably should have given it an iron but I couldn't wait to wear it out! It feels a bit Rihanna-y to me so I had to team it with my leather panel leggings and creepers.  What do you think?

Denim shirt*: sheinside.com £20
Leather panel leggings: Missguided £11.99 | Creepers*: Oasap £26 


Currently coveting | Payday wishlist

May picks

As payday is approaching my mind inevitably turns to new things to treat myself to when my favourite day of the month rolls around! Here are the items currently lined up to be exchanged for my hard earned pennies.

[1] First in my little wishlist collage is this super cute dress from Modcloth ($53/£33).  Having coveted things from Modcloth for a long time but not wanting to pay their crazy shipping rates I was seriously worried for my bank balance when I noticed they now do a new, much more affordable international shipping option.  This cute dress in their sale ticks all my fashion boxes; peter pan collar, cute little button and polka dots. Love!

[2] These gorgeous shorts from Lavish Alice (£12) have been on my list since I saw Laura tweet about them a little while back.  I love the aztec print trend and these are a snip at 12 quid!

[3] I've had my eye on several things from Apricot for a while and I adore this Bird Print Dress (£26) - I just love the neckline and the nipped in waist!

[4] I spotted this Jubilee Print Dress (£28) from River Island on Sophie's blog and I feel it's a must own! Perfect for sashaying around a Jubilee street party or at a patriotic picnic!

[5] I love all the asymmetric cut dresses on In Love With Fashion and this Flower print shirt dress (£40) is just gorgeous and would make me feel so summer-y.  If you subscribe to their newsletter they're always sending out £10 off or 20% off codes so the next time one of those pops up I'll be snapping this little number up!

[6] Another In Love With Fashion favourite of mine is this Aqua shirt dress (£38).  This would look gorgeous with a suntan and some cute sandals!

[7] I've seen lots of bloggers raving about Glamorous lately so I couldn't help but have a little nose at their website.  My favourite is this bird print dress (£29.99) which is the perfect shape for me.

[8] Another bird print! I think I'm obsessed! I need to get down to the gym and give the arms a bit of a blast before I embrace the sleeveless trend but as soon as I do this lovely Bird print blouse (£20.99), also from Glamorous will be a surefire purchase! I love the dusty pink colour and the printed buttons.


Not a beauty blogger | May

You may remember that a few times now I've featured beauty reviews on my blog as, despite the fact that cosmetics/skincare is really not my fort√©, I seem to spend quite a lot of money on products to beautify myself and I thought it was worth sharing with you the new things I've tried over the last month or so, and whether they're worth a buy or not.  I've spent a bit more on skincare this month as, where I've been feeling a bit poorly I've noticed my skin hasn't been as good.  I'm desperate for a really good moisturiser and something to battle away open pores and little bumps under my eyes.  If anyone has any recommendations please let me know.  Looking at thephoto, I think I could call the bottom line 'blogger's favourite products!' You can tell I'm a sucker for hype!

The blank black pot is a bot of Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic that I made in the Clipper Tea workshop.  I've been using this a lot lately and really notice a difference in my skin afterwards - it feels baby soft, smooth and soothed.  I'll definitely be getting another pot of this.

Lush Big Shampoo - £10.95/330g

I've been trying not to straighten my hair as much lately so I'm loving any products that leave my hair volumised and wavy after washing.  This shampoo is great and definitely does add volume and make my hair feel soft.  It's expensive for what it is but if you use it sparingly it should last a good while.

Lush Ultrabland - £6.45/45g

This is one of Lush's most popular products and was one that I tried at the workshop.  The idea is that you cover your face in Ultrabland and then take it off (along with all your make-up etc) with a muslin or cotton pad.  I didn't really get on with this at all, it feels like putting butter on your face and is really oily, and I found that I wear too much makeup for it to be able to take it off effectively as it just spreads it around my face, and I ended up having to wash my flannel every day! I think I'll stick to face wipes.

I use this for creating volume and 'jujjing' up dry hair - I just spray it on in sections, underneath the hair and then use my hands to work it through.  It definitely gives me bigger, messy hair, which is the look I go for when I don't straighten.  It also doesn't make your hair crispy like when you use hairspray which is definitely a bonus!

This was a re-purchase as I finished my previous bottle.  As I mentioned before, I like to make my hair look more wavy to try and avoid straightening it as much and this is absolutely great for that.  I spray it into dry hair and then scrunch it and it really brings out your natural waves.  It also smells amazing!  I bought the Bumble and Bumble Salt Spray hoping that would be even better but it's nowhere near as good as this one.

I've always wanted to be able to wear lipstick.  There's always been something so feminine and ladylike to me about a slick of red lipstick.  Sadly, it just doesn't suit me; or, I've never found a shade that does.  I bought this after the blogosphere started raving about it last month and I must admit that the consistency is nice but the shade I bought looks ridiculous on me and it didn't stay very long in any case.

Again another blogger favourite.  I bought this in 'And on bronze' and I really like the shade.  I tried applying it with my fingers the first few times and managed to get it all over my face, so I've been applying it with a small eyeshadow brush and that works much better.  It really does stay on all day, and has very minimal creasing.  The bronze is a really lovely, summery, shimmery shade.

I bought this after seeing Lily's review here.  It's such a gorgeous, bright colour and definitely perfect for the summer.  I'm loving corals at the moment (brings out your tan!) and I know I'll be wearing this shade a lot over the next few months.

Another well reviewed and well loved product.  After lots of bleaching my hair can get a bit dry and frizzy and this is really good for making it feel soft and well conditioned again.  I leave it in for about 5-10 minutes and my hair feels noticeably silkier when you wash it out.  My only criticism is it's quite a small pot so if you had longer hair I think you'd go through it quite quickly!

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? This month I'm trying No7 Protect and Perfect Serum and the Skin Doctors Potent C Night Cream so I'll be reviewing them over the next few weeks.  I'm also considering treating myself to the Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant but I don't know if I can bring myself to spend £30 on a face scrub!


Your itchy feet like mine

I had such an awesome day today.  Tom and I have been apart a bit lately due to us both working away so we decided to book the day off work and spend some time together enjoying the sunshine.  We went for a bike ride in Bolderwood in the New Forest and took the dog so he could have a good run around too.  It was such a beautiful day and because it was midweek there was no-one else around.  I've had a bit of a cold and a bad throat lately so it did me good to have lots of fresh air! We only cycled about four miles as we had the dog and because it was so hot it made it difficult to do too much strenuous cycling!

Tom had suggested we had a picnic for lunch so we went to Sainsbury's on the way and bought half of their deli counter (lots of yummy tarts and pies!) along with some crisps, dips, Prosecco, strawberries and cream.  It was so nice being out in the forest in the sunshine with a glass of ice cold fizz (Tom has a cool box!) Then we came home and spent some time sorting out the garden.  We now have a little water feature and lots of things are flowering and growing.  It's going to be amazing for barbecues soon! We were going to go swimming tonight but I'm too exhausted from all the sunshine.  Have you been enjoying the heat or have you been stuck at work all day? I'll be back there tomorrow unfortunately!

I am a serious cyclist, I have cycling gloves and everything


Lemon floaty skirt | Room 31

Winnie Knee Skirt - Vero Moda at Room 31 - £26  |
Shirt - sheinside.com | Heels - Aldo | Necklace - Primark

I've chatted to Room 31's lovely owner Ruth a few times recently after they joined in with one of the #fbloggers Twitter chats, which I thought was such a brilliant and clever way for a brand to get to know the blogger community.  Room 31 is a gorgeous online shop that sells clothes, shoes and accessories from the likes of Vero Moda (one of my favourite brands), Yumi, Vila and Brat and Suzie.  I ordered several things from their sale last week (including this cute Peter Pan dress for 14.99 - bargain!) and shortly afterwards they contacted me to ask me if I wanted to review another item from the website.  Ruth very kindly sent me this absolutely gorgeous skirt, along with another item which I also can't wait to show you.  I absolutely adore this skirt and I know I'll be wearing it lots throughout the summer.  I love the drama of having a long skirt floating behind you, makes me feel like running through cornfields or along beach promenades.... For now though I'll just pose in my garden! If you haven't had a nose around the lovely things on the Room 31 website I highly, highly recommend you have a look - they also have a blog and a Twitter that are well worth a follow.


From Inverness to Skye

I've been absent from the blogosphere this week as I've been up in the Highlands and Inner Hebrides in Scotland with work.  I'm now on call over this weekend so I'm going to take advantage of being in the house and catch up on my blog reading and get some posts written.  I have come home to some parcels of things I ordered from ASOS, Room 31 and H&M so I'm looking forward to doing a mammoth trying on session and showing you what I've been spending my pennies on, along with doing lots of catching up on TV, lolling around in my pajamas and drinking tea.

My trip with work took me to Inverness, and then across to the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland.  Because we were away with work we couldn't do much exploring, but I'd been told that the drive from Inverness across to Skye was absolutely beautiful so I took my camera along in case there was anywhere to stop along the way.  Unfortunately it rained from the moment we arrived at Inverness Airport until the moment we left yesterday so taking photos was quite challenging due to the camera getting absolutely soaked and the fact that it was so overcast and dull.  We did drive past Loch Ness but unfortunately I didn't spot the Loch Ness monster either.  He was probably sheltering from all the rain.  Here are a few snaps I managed to take during the drive.

As you can just about see, the scenery was beautiful - I'd love to come back and have a good explore when I'm not working.  Have any of you been up in this neck of the woods before? I do envy people who live up here, can imagine Bodhi would enjoy his morning dog walk if he had this on his doorstep!


Recipe: Cider, sausage and potato pie

Our happy pie!
I was never a great lover of pies until I went to End of the Road festival in 2010 and happened upon the Pie Minister van.  I'll tell you, there is something about warm pastry, a meaty filling, mash and minty peas on a cold festival night that really warms you to the core.  Since then I often pick up Pie Minister pies from Sainsbury's for an easy, quick dinner, and went straight out and bought their cookbook 'A Pie For All Seasons' as soon as it came out.  It is such a beautiful book with the most gorgeous recipes, along with lovely anecdotes and beautiful photography.  Well worth the £11.69 it is on Amazon.  My favourite of all the pies to cook in the cookbook is the sausage, cider and potato pie. It is indescribably delicious and perfect for a chilly day or Sunday dinner.  It's also really easy to make.

The recipe in the book suggests you make your own suet pastry, and if you want to do that, you can find the original recipe here.  I'm sure it's very easy, but I'm lazy, so I bought Ready Roll Shortcrust Pastry.  I've adapted the recipe to reflect that.  I should probably mention as well that the pie dish we used above was a bit small (we made another smaller pie too) so you'll want to use one a bit bigger than that to make sure you've got room for all your filling! This one from another blog that features this recipe would be perfect.

For the pastry

Depending on the size of your pie dish I'd recommend 500g of Ready Roll Shortcrust Pastry

For the pie filling

500g new potatoes, cut into slices 6-8mm thick
25g butter
1 onion, sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 tsp sugar
100ml cider
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
500g herby sausages
handful of grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze


Cook the sliced potatoes in boiling water until tender, then drain and set aside. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and cook gently until softened. Stir in the apple and sugar and cook until the apple slices are tender but sill hold their shape.

Pour in the cider and simmer until almost completely evaporated.  Stir in the mustard, season and remove from heat.

Slit the sausages open and peel off the skins. Mix the sausage meat with the potatoes, using your hands to break it up a little. Finally, stir in the warm onion and apple to give a loose mixture.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Roll out half the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Use to line a pie tin and then fill with the sausage and apple mixture. Brush the edge of the pastry with beaten egg.
If you like, you can add the cheese at this stage, pushing it down into the filling to make cheesy pockets. Roll out the rest of the pastry to about 3mm thick and use to cover the pie, trimming off the excess and pressing the edges together to seal. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and then make a couple of holes in the centre to let out the steam.

Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through – check by inserting a skewer in the centre; it should come out hot.

I served up a big old slice of our pie with homemade chutney and spinach - you could have yours with whatever you like but beware, this is a very filling pie so don't be too overambitious with your accompaniments! :)


Food festivals and vintage fairs

I'm going to have to be a big ol' British person clich√© and start off this post by commenting on the beautiful weather we've had this weekend.  I have definitely managed to soak up a lot of sunshine over the last couple of days  - have to make the most of it in case it goes away again! On Friday night we walked Bodhi to the pub through this little forest path that unfortunately was a lot muddier than we'd originally thought it would be. I took the three instagram snaps above on the way.  It's evenings like this that feel so different than when I lived in Southampton and I do cherish being able to walk through the countryside with the dog and sit in a country pub with a glass of wine on a Friday night rather than going on a big night out.

Yesterday Tom, my friend Nicole and I went to Christchurch Food Festival, which is a short walk from us in the centre of town.  We spent the whole day strolling up and down the street, trying all the different foods and drinks on offer.  Between us we ate Chinese food, chicken in pitta with salad, cupcakes, pastries, currywurst, scallops and churros, drank cider, ale and sangria, and came home with more cider, breads and cheeses.

Me and Nicole hanging out at The Priory listening to jazz

Tom's chorizo and scallops
In the evening we just munched on more bread and cheese and watched the Britain's Got Talent final.  The highlight of the evening was when Pudsey the dog came on the TV - Bodhi instantly jumped up from where he was napping on the rug and stuck his face right up against the TV screen.  His little nose was pressed on Pudsey for the whole routine! 

Today my Mum and I went to Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Bournemouth.  We had loads of fun rifling through all the clothes and I came away with two tops and a woolly jumper which I'm sure will pop up here in outfits in due course.  We also bumped into Joseph from Unlimited By JK - he was there taking photographs for the event and kindly took my photo outside in the sunshine.

When we got back from the fair, Tom, me and my parents walked to the same pub (not the muddy route this time!) for lunch, with Bodhi in tow again.  We all had roast dinners but it was a bit disappointing (burnt Yorkshire puddings! Sacre Bleu!)  Now, after a little blog reading session I expect it will be sofa and blanket time for catching up on last night's episodes of The Bridge.  Have you been soaking up the sun this weekend?


"Am I too old to wear this?" | Age appropriate fashion

If your Mum is anything like my Mum, you, at some point in your life will have been asked to answer the question; "I love this, but it is a bit too young for me?" - usually as she wistfully strokes an item of clothing that is in any way fashionable or quirky.  Now, I am of the opinion that people should be able to wear whatever the hell they like regardless of their age, and I'm certainly not of the opinion that on reaching 50, women should be required to hand over their wardrobes in exchange for a sea of beige garments and a Clarks' privelige card.  But the question of 'age appropriate fashion' has crossed my mind on more than one occasion recently and I wanted to get your opinions on the issue.

Last week I was on my way to work when I drove past a gang of schoolgirls - approximate age 13 - several of whom were wearing the same Primark backpack I bought last week.  It occurred to me at the time that, given that my next major birthday is the big 3-0, perhaps I shouldn't be sharing clothing tastes with someone half my age.  In the past I have also been told that I dress like someone's 15 year old niece, dress like a student, and my ID is required on almost every purchase of alcohol (or, recently, scissors).  Although outfit posts on here usually feature dresses or skirts, I am also often found at the weekend wearing skinny jeans, pumps and a tattoo company t-shirt or checked shirt.  At work I usually wear dresses and skirts - but sometimes a dress with a sailboat print or polka dot pattern, sometimes slim legged trousers and deck shoes, sometimes leggings and a long Breton t-shirt.  But I am increasingly beginning to wonder if this is what other 27-year-olds wear, or indeed, what other people expect a 27-year-old to wear.

from: http://weheartit.com

When I was younger, 27 was old.  27 was 'Children, a family, a house and an important job.'  In my head, then, 27 year old women wore white shirts, jeans and tan heels at the weekends.  Men wore v-neck jumpers and polo shirts.  Now I am 27, I wonder if other people think the same.  Maybe the reason I get ID'ed in Sainsbury's is because people think that anyone wearing aztec print trousers, tunnels in their ears and hair with an (unintentional) lilac tinge must be under 18.

Elsewhere in my life I'm certainly not dragging my heels in terms of reaching adulthood. My regular endeavours of gardening, baking, decorating our house and being tucked up in bed with a good book at 9pm do not, I'd argue, imply that I'm desperately hanging on to my youth.  But maybe people would look at my nautical print clothes, stripey pumps, brightly coloured nail varnish and turned up jeans and argue the opposite.  What do you think? Are there things that people of certain ages shouldn't wear? Do you think there's such a thing as dressing too young for your age?

The wind would blow with rain and snow

I wanted to post a couple of outfits from Friday but I'm going to have to apologise in advance as, as the photo of the outfit I wore to work was taken at the very beginning of the day and the outfit I wore to dinner at the very end, I'm afraid the light is not great in either.  One of those 'looks fine on the camera, looks terrible on the computer screen' situations I seem to find myself in with outfit pretty much all of the time! I wish I could work out a way to improve them.  Ho hum.

shirt: ebay | skirt: zara | cardigan: primark | belt and necklace: h&m | shoes: aldo

Anyway - I wore this outfit to the office on Friday.  Shirts/t-shirts and high-waisted skirts with a waist belt are fairly standard fare for my office outfits; I feel they're a good smart/casual mix and high waisted skirts are a flattering shape for me.  You may remember the H&M necklace from my last post - I was desperate to wear it to work as soon as I'd bought it but I'm still not 100% sure that under a standard shirt collar is the best way to wear it.  How would you wear it? 

When I got home from work on Friday we had to get on the road as soon as possible as we were going to Weymouth for the weekend.  Unfortunately there was a somewhat unplanned element to our arrival home as there was a very poorly, skinny, scared cat on our neighbour's drive (not their cat) and we decided to call the RSPCA so that they could get it and look after it.  We gave it some food and water and they collected it whilst we were away.  I think Tom had visions of us setting up a sort of animal hospital and we were both a bit sad to have to leave it behind.  Does anyone remember the dove we looked after about a year and a half ago? 

When we got to Weymouth I quickly got changed into this outfit to go out for dinner and drinks with some friends.  It's a shame the light is not great as I love these new leggings - they are these leather panel leggings from Missguided [£11.99].  I got them last week and I love them; they're ideal for smartening up an evening outfit.
blazer: primark | t-shirt: topshop | leggings: missguided | boots: boohoo | necklace: primark

We went to a place called The Stables in Weymouth Harbour as we'd been there before for a drink but wanted to try their food.  They sell pizzas, pies and cider - lots of cider.  I tried their 'cider tasting board' which was £7.50 and means you can try five of their most popular varieties.  The Lyme Bay was my favourite.  I had a blue cheese, potato and onion pizza but it was pretty underwhelming so it was lucky the cider was so good!

On Saturday we walked the dog along the beach and then went to see Avengers Assemble.  It was pretty good though perhaps not 'THE BEST FILM EVURRR' like some people are saying.  It was a good easy watch though and we raided Tesco's before and took in a whole picnic of snacks which made it infinitely better.

Today my plan was to get all the gardening done I've been meaning to do for ages (I have a stack of seeds about half my height that need planting) but sadly it is absolutely pouring down again so that seems off the cards.  We have an online food delivery coming later and I am currently doing less Jenny Craig every week to prepare for coming off it permanently so I think I'm going to nose through my River Cottage Veg book (£14 on Amazon - bargain!) and dream of the yummy meals we have planned this week.  Would you ladies be interested in me posting recipes up here or is that not really your thing? In the last couple of weeks I've made falafel, a yummy frittata, coca cola chicken and whoopie pies and this week I have lots more lined up so if you like recipes (and photos of food) I'd be happy to oblige!  

Hope you're all having a more exciting Bank Holiday than me, boo to the rain!


Lunchtime shopping spree

At the moment I am saving for various different things including two holidays, a hen do, a busy August and a potentially expensive MOT so I am having to rather curb my spending habits.  Knowing that a spending ban would probably be unsuccessful I decided instead to pick a few things I knew I wanted this month and not allow myself to buy anything else.  I did a lot of overtime over the bank holiday in April so I wanted to treat myself but without the obligatory 'walk round Primark/H&M etc grabbing at random garments' shopping experience that leaves me full of things with tags on in my drawers I forget about until the next time I spring clean.

After making a mental list I trotted up to town on my lunchbreak today and managed to tick everything off my list:

L-R Primark £4 | Primark £3 | H&M £7.99
Collar necklaces

Although I own a fair few necklaces, the ones I do own are name necklaces in acrylic, big ol' anchor necklaces, and Tatty Devine-esque pieces that are lovely but wholly unsuitable for work.  I love the collar necklaces that seem to be everywhere at the moment and I think these will be perfect for the office over a shirt with a high waisted skirt and heels.

H&M £14.99

I've been desperate for a Cambridge Satchel for quite some time but don't feel able to justify the pennies so when I saw this H&M satchel for £14.99 I knew it had to come home with me.  It will be perfect for taking to work and stashing my iPod and Kindle in for the train journeys.  Unfortunately, as you can quite plainly see from the photo (but I didn't notice at the time) it is missing a buckle so it will need to be taken back tomorrow - annoying!

Both Primark: £6

Boaty pumps

Obviously you all know by now I am a lover of all things nautical and I have been on the hunt for a while for some new pumps to wear with jeans and shorts (when the sun comes back) since my Sperry Topsiders are becoming a little worse for wear.  I couldn't resist these two pairs in Primark.

Nail Polish, H&M £2.99 | Matte Top Coat, H&M 1.99

Matte nail varnish

Actually it appears I've failed already as the blue polish on the left was a bit of an impulse purchase, but the matte top coat has been on the list for a while so I went and grabbed this one from H&M - 1.99, bargain!

What's on your list of must-haves this month?