The Happy List

Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have seen that I had a bit of a rubbish-y week last week. Nothing in particular, I just didn't feel my usual self and a lot of little things were getting me down more than normal.  I posted about confidence and anxiety and I also mentioned in my post on Friday that I'd been sort of wishing the week away. Well, now that week is gone and it is Sunday, I have decided to stop being a negative Nancy. I'm even going to attempt to balance it out by sharing some things that have made me smile in the last week.

Tuesday was the height of my glumness and so Tom made every effort to cheer me up, and the sun even put his hat on, and let's face it, it's pretty darn hard to feel maudlin when the sun is streaming into your garden and you can come home from work and put your flip flops on.  Tom poured me a glass of rosé and I spent a little while looking around the garden at the things that have changed over the last week or so.

The camelias were about ready to bloom, all curled up tightly and ready to explode with colour and beauty.  I can't remember the name of the plant below it as my parents dug it out of their garden and we transported it to ours but that's bloomed too and looks really pretty.  As it was such a warm evening we decided to take advantage and cook our chicken breast burgers on the barbecue...

I had to capture this moment - albeit I timed it wrongly - Tom was holding Bodhi up so he could see the girl next door bouncing on her trampoline!

Bodhi gave Tom a thankyou lick!

It was such a perfect evening, I wish the sunshine had stayed a little longer as it felt so perfect to be eating dinner outside and enjoying a cold glass of wine and the smell of a barbecue.  Roll on summer I say!

I downloaded an app this week called 'Happier'.  It asks you to record things that have made you smile and then you can sort them into categories and see all your 'happy' moments.  I've been using it this week and it's been nice to look back on them.  Here are some of the things that have made me happy;

[+] Receiving unexpected post and thoughtful cards
[+] Reading the newspaper with a mug of green tea
[+] Doing a food shop and having the cupboards and fridge full of yummy, healthy foods
[+] This face, generally...

[+] Ordering a Blurb photobook - I now order these every few six months or so in place of photo albums so I have lovely hardback books on my shelves to look through.
[+] Registering to do the National Lottery Anniversary Run in July - through Olympic park and finishing in the stadium!
[+] Listening to the birds singing outside before I get up in the morning.
[+] Making Rosie Londoner's epic fish tacos... (they were amazing!)

[+] Going for a walk along the beach and through the nature reserve on my lunchbreak on Tuesday (I am so lucky to work where I do!)

[+] Watching 30 Rock in the bath (with my Kindle Fire propped up at the end). I've just started Season Two, I'm a bit addicted!
[+] Curling up on the sofa and reading the second Hunger Games book. I so rarely allow myself to relax like that that it makes it really special.
[+] Running on the treadmill when Muse - Knights of Cydonia comes on, and upping the speed and running like a lunatic because it's such an epic song.
[+] Emma's post about some pretty exciting news that's come her way (and a little bump!) Congratulations!
[+] The holiday countdown.  Ten sleeps!
[+] This photo my Mum just sent me... The one on the left is me (how awesome is my rabbit hat?), my Mum and our old dog Geordie.  The one on the right is from a couple of weeks ago, me, my Mum and Bodhi... about 27 years later!

Which moments have made you smile this week?

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PS - Thankyou to everyone who entered my Lashes of London giveaway.  I'll be drawing the winner over the next couple of days and I'll announce it on Twitter and contact the person, obvs!

Some days are throw aways

I bought this dress a few weeks ago when I went shopping to Castlepoint.  I was actually looking for some completely different items in H&M (that I'd seen in the catalogue) when I came across this little lacy number.  I love the colour, and the patterned detail, which is really unique and intricate.  The colour really reminds me of spring - it reminds me of buttercups and daffodils and makes me wish its setting was was something more befitting of its colour - a champagne picnic perhaps - rather than the constant drizzle that seems to be neverending here at the moment.  It has actually been hailing here today! Do you think our Spring was just that one sunny day we had on Monday? I feel like I'm constantly mentioning the weather on my blog (well I am British, what do you expect?) but that's because I'm in this constant conflict of buying the pretty dresses that are in the shops for Spring/Summer and either being unable to wear them or having to swaddle them in cardigans, jackets and tights, which doesn't make for a wildly exciting outfit post.  I realise that, reading back that sentence, that sounds like the most superficial, shallow issue a person could ever have, but there it is.  Pretty dress vs. incessant rain/chilly temperatures.
dress: h&m [from store] - £29.99 | cardigan: primark [old]
fedora: missguided £14.99 |  court shoes: carma at spartoo shoes

I for one am pretty flippin' over the moon that it's Friday today.  Not only do I have a night of white wine spritzers, DVDs and popcorn ahead with my buddy Kate, but for various reasons I've been kind of wishing this week away.  There is a Buck 65 lyric I really like - "Some days are throw aways and others you're supposed to keep" - and I feel like there's been quite a few 'throw aways' this week and I'm kind of glad it's over.  I will probably be doing a lot of wishing away the next couple of weeks too to be honest as it's now only 12 days until my little holiday to Rhodes! However I hope it doesn't go too quickly as I need to do a lot of exercising and eating helfffy so I can feel at least vaguely happy donning a bikini (please ignore previous comment about white wine and popcorn).

I hope you've all got some lovely weekend plans to look forward to; Tom has been away in Budapest for a few days so I'm looking forward to him coming back tomorrow - apparently he has been swanning around in a vest over there as it's so hot so I am feeling very envious right about now (there I go with the weather again....)  My only plans for tomorrow are a run, a swim and some chilling on the sofa with my Kindle, and I am mightily looking forward to it! I'm currently reading the second Hunger Games book (Catching Fire) after watching the film a couple of weeks ago - I never in a million years thought the book would be up my street but I'm actually really enjoying it!

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Bill's Restaurant, Covent Garden

As I've mentioned on here before, I was in London a couple of weeks ago attending a course and also the amazing AX Paris Circus event.  Whilst in London I always take the opportunity to meet up with my awesome friend Charlotte, whom I met over ten years ago whilst at college (YIKES I AM OLD) and have missed terribly ever since she moved to the big smoke some years ago.

After a mooch around the shops in Oxford Street and Regent Street (swooning over pretty much everything in & Other Stories) we decided that dinner was in order, and Charlotte suggested Patty and Bun.  After stomping over there, with a little help from Google Maps, we rocked up with hungry, burger-craving bellies, only to find that it was closed on Monday nights.  Le sigh.

Some discussion ensued about where to go next, mainly involving various blog posts I'd seen including yummy looking food only available in London (or other cities where I don't live).  I proposed Byron Burger and so off we stomped to a miscellaneous location I can't remember (wherever Google Maps said was the nearest one).  20 minutes later we arrived outside only to be met with a queue snaking up the road.  It was freezing, we were hungry.  On the way we'd walked past Meat Liquor, which had a similarly long queue.  The Burger Gods were against us.

We then settled on Bill's Restaurant, another 20 minute walk away.  Thankfully this time we were in luck, and we arrived at a deserted St Martin's Courtyard and stepped into the welcoming warmth of the restaurant.  Rather annoyingly we then had to stand awkwardly at the entrance for about ten minutes waiting for a table (by which point I was so hungry I was considering shovelling a jar of their homemade jam into my mouth).

The restaurant itself had a really cool interior; the walls lined with their own jams, marmalades, sweets and cordials.  

Fearing we might expire from hunger when we were finally seated, we did what any self-respecting restaurant attendees do, we ordered bread and dips... (excuse Charlotte's Staropramen sneaking in the photo, what a lager lout! #kidding)

Having dreamt of beef sandwiched between two bits of bread all evening I knew what I was going to order before I even looked at the menu.  Charlotte ordered their Monkfish Stew but they'd sold out so she burgered up too.  The burgers were pretty exciting - two seeded buns with a heap of salad and horseradish mayonnaise, plus a cup of amazing skinny fries.

After going from starving to pretty jeffing full in about half an hour, there was still room in my pudding belly and so I had to go for their warm mini cinnamon doughnuts.  I think maybe they might be four of my favourite words together.  You just can't beat warm dough, sprinkled with cinnamon.  Oh wait, yeah you can - when it's served with chocolate sauce and strawberries! Charlotte ordered creme brulee and when it arrived it was huge! She only finished half (amateur).

By this point it was almost 10 o' clock and we were about ready to be rolled home - 'undo your top button' type full.  The only bad point I would say about the Bill's 'experience' is that service was incredibly slow, other than that I couldn't fault it, the food was incredible.

Have you been to Bill's? I'd definitely like to go back, their breakfast menu also looks very tempting!

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Honest to blog: Losing confidence

Prior to moving to my current workplace, which was back in 2006, I was a very different person to the one I am now.  I had almost no confidence, had frequent anxiety attacks and was a bag of nerves and worries.  The way I overcame my lack of confidence in new or uncomfortable situations was to plan things to the tiniest degree, anticipating every detail so that nothing was unexpected.  I remember losing sleep one night because I had to go to Boots the next day to buy make-up and camera film and they were on two different floors and I didn't know if I would have to buy them separately or if I could go up to the first floor and pay all together.  These were the sorts of challenges that would lead to crises of confidence and my mind running in circles.  I remember being at the till in Topshop once and knocking a cardboard sign over with my handbag - I can still remember the disparaging look the uber-cool shop assistant gave me.  She probably forgot the incident almost immediately, but I had to go home I was so mortified, seeing it only as confirmation  that I was somehow not built to do all the every day things that most people found simple and I found petrifying.  At the time I had a cocky, confident boyfriend and I leaned on him for everything - he would be the one to make phonecalls, ask for things in shops, find the way if we were going somewhere, and generally take charge of situations.  We broke up because when we were on holidays from University (e.g. in the long break between May and October) I was too nervous to get the train from Southampton to Hemel Hempstead (where he lived) to see him.  It seemed like a huge, unconquerable task, akin to travelling to the other side of the world for me.  Losing out of things because of a lack of confidence was a frequent theme for me.  When I was hunting for my first flat my Mum told me that if I was old enough to buy a property I was old enough to go into the estate agents and ask what they had available, and I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I was convinced everyone was constantly looking at me and thinking I was an idiot and so I minimised contact with strangers in case I didn't say, or do the right thing.  I always felt a little bit like there was this 'normal' way to behave that I'd somehow missed the memo on, like maybe I was off sick on the day they taught that in school.  I'd constantly overanalyse my thoughts and actions, with my most common thought being "Am I being weird?" or "Does everyone think I'm an idiot?"
img credit: gemma correll
Moving to my currently workplace in 2006 transformed me because it put me in situations I was uncomfortable with, or scared of, so frequently that they became second nature to me.  It gave me that positive reinforcement that I could do things, and the outcome was fine, or successful even.  Even being in an Admin role (my first job) put me in lots of situations I hadn't been in before and built my confidence in meeting new people, being assertive, networking and selling myself.  When I moved to the Press Office it was huge challenges all over again - being sent on trains and planes to meetings all around the country, representing our organisation at exercises, groups and meetings and having to deliver presentations.  Not to mention talking to journalists and TV companies and having to single-handedly deal with major incidents in the middle of the night whilst in my PJs.  I learned a million things during this time but the biggest lesson I learned is that with a bit of practice and a lot of exposure to it, you are capable of doing almost anything.

I've moved jobs twice since then and I stopped doing out-of-hours Press Office work last September.  My job now is much more routine and anticipatable, albeit I now have new challenges like I have to design and deliver training and faciliate workshops.  But for the most part, I've allowed myself to move back into a comfortable space.  90% of the time I can hide in my cosy office and my calendar is free of meetings and weeks away.  My capabilities in unknown situations are not being used.  They are gathering dust.

I noticed this with great clarity a couple of weeks ago when I had to travel to London for a two-day course and then go on to the AX Paris event afterwards.  I began going back into my old ways of meticulous planning to avoid awkward or uncomfortable situations.  I declined to do something on the Sunday before I was leaving because I felt like I needed to dedicate time to packing and making sure I had everything ready. The old me would have just done it the night before.  No biggie.  I got myself worked up about where I'd get changed and where I'd leave my suitcase.  Arriving in London on the Monday afternoon I mentally chastised myself for not pressing the 'doors open' button immediately when the train arrived at the station (what an amateur faux-Londoner - someone else had to do it for me) and then got all worked up, gripping my paper Google Maps printout in my sweaty palm and negotiating through crowds trying to find my hotel.  When I closed the hotel room door behind me I literally collapsed into a heap and wanted to hide there forever.  

img credit: anxiety cat
Part of the training I do where I work is in self-awareness - i.e. becoming more aware of your behaviours, values, personality, strengths, weaknesses and so on, and how you're perceived by others.  I guess I try and practice what I preach and tend to try and be self-aware, as well as being quite an analytical person, so this regression into some of my old ways hasn't slipped under my personal radar unnoticed.  

I think that part of the reason is that my priorities and goals have changed.  A few years ago when I was working in the Press Office my aim was to move to London, work in Press/PR and be one of those people who goes to art galleries, drinks wine al fresco on summer evenings and knows when to press the 'doors open' button.  Then I met Tom, for whom the idea of being in London for longer than a day is his worst nightmare, and we made the decision eventually to live by the sea (and the forest), get a little dog and continue working for the same organisation.  And so, when I'm sent away for events or training these days it's not a taste of what I want my life to be, it's time away from my lovely home, boyfriend and woofer.  Life has become easy and comfortable, and challenges and unexpected events seem larger by comparison.

I don't quite know how to finish this post because I don't know what the answer is.  Do I push myself into unfamiliar situations to train myself back to being uber-confident, or do I enjoy the solace of the space I've created for myself?  Do I recognise that what I like is the 'simple things' in life, or am I just copping out and convincing myself of that so I don't have to do the tough stuff?

For now I am going to be grateful for the achievements I have made and for the person I have turned into.  And also grateful that I have found something so special to me that it is now hard and out-of-sorts to leave it behind.  I recently found a list of aids for building self-esteem when I was doing some research on assertiveness for work and it really resonated with me so I'm going to end by sharing that.  I'm not sure I necessarily agree with 1 unless that's the source of your anxiety, but I like the others.

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Outfit photo photoshoots, and style inspiration

I find the blogging world hugely inspiring for millions of different reasons.  What excites me about reading blogs is that I know that just browsing through my Bloglovin feed can mean channelling creative inspiration in so many areas and could lead to a new recipe, a DIY project, a place to visit or an idea for a photograph, a blog post or an outfit.  I think we don't often enough sit back and take stock of all of the amazing content we generate - and the fact that we do it not for money, but because of the passion we feel for sharing the things we love.  *Insert collective pat on the back here*.

These days, when I read blogs or browse through Lookbook I am constantly stunned by how far the concept of 'outfit photos' has evolved since the inception of fashion blogging.  I see bloggers pushing boundaries and creating outfit posts that resemble photoshoots; immaculately styled, crafted, shot and edited, and I am constantly astounded by the beauty and art that people create in the name of fashion and blogging.  Here are a handful of bloggers that constantly inspire me with their photography and immaculate style.  I am so in awe of these ladies... (of course there are a whole host of fashion bloggers who take their photos in their bedrooms/living rooms/hallways that inspire me too!)
kavita from shewearsfashion, shot by lily from red brick lipstick
amy from the little magpie
olivia from what olivia did
elizabeth from delightfully tacky
megan from the briar rose
It's no surprise that brands are starting to catch on to the sheer amount of talent present in the blogosphere and it's now not uncommon to see photos of bloggers wearing gifted items from a brand on the brand's product page in place of the standard product shots.  On top of that, brands like Missguided and Miss Selfridge have even used bloggers in their campaigns.

I went through a period last year where I suddenly felt a bit overwhelmed by all of the beauty and creativity that exists in fashion blogging.  I realised eventually, of course, that in blogging (and in life!) you have to be yourself and carve out your own niche, and that you can't compare yourself to others or try and emulate them.  It can be a tough lesson to learn.

Because I am 5 foot not-very-much and have an intense penchance for cake, I did not start packing my bags for a life of sashaying down catwalks when an email from Luxe Models popped into my inbox the other day.  Indeed they were not recommending I get started on my portfolio but instead wanted me to share the work they do with people who are considering modelling as a career (if this is you then read on).  What Luxe Models London do is guide people through the journey to becoming a model through advice and guidance as well as creating a portfolio for them and helping kickstart their career.  If you are considering a career in modelling they even have an advice page on where to start.  I'm aware that modelling can be a tough nut to crack as a career and so having experts coaching you and helping you with your portfolio sounds like a pretty awesome service.

How do you feel about outfit photos? Who are the fashion bloggers that inspire you?

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*post contains a sponsored link*


Bonne Chance dress

Ever since I watched Moonrise Kingdom I have been dreaming of Suzy Bishop's wardobe; all peter pan collars, contrasting cuffs, brogues and wicker baskets.  Personally I would quite like to go for an adventure around a little island off New England, hiking and camping, and setting up a little home in a secluded cove.  My bare arms and bare legs are probably ideal for that activity, but not so much our current temperatures (despite the beautiful sunshine can we all agree that it is still bloody freezing?) and so this is more of a wanderlustful outfit than one I will be wearing for the moment, at least not without tights and a big chunky cable-knit cardigan which is what was added immediately after these photos were taken.

I discovered Bonne Chance after they followed me on Twitter.  They caught me at in a moment of procrastination and so I went for a nose at their website only to find the most beautiful, unique, vintage-inspired dresses.  In the end I opted for this little number but there were many more I was tempted by, the Sailor Scout dress and Playful Kitty dress are next on my list!  Their dresses work out at about £33 each and they offer free worldwide shipping so they're a bit of a bargain if you ask me! After chatting to them on Twitter my package also arrived with a lovely handwritten card inside, as well as wrapped and tied with ribbon.  It's the little things, don't you think?

dress: bonne chance £33 [sold out - similar] | bag: brit-stitch
hat: primark [old] | wedges: h&m [old]

I hope you've all had lovely, sun-filled weekends.  Yesterday I found my exercise limit by going for a 10K run, then a bike ride in the forest with the dog and then a swim.  I say swim, I mostly lolled in the hydrotherapy pool and let the jets blast the pain out of my achy muscles! Naturally after all of that physical activity the evening contained lounging on the sofa watching Pitch Perfect and a long, bubble-filled bath whilst watching 30 Rock on the Kindle Fire.  Perfect Sunday evening.

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Weekly Bookmarked Wishlist

Been bookmarking but definitely not buying this week after treating myself to a Zatchels satchel and booking a holiday. Nonetheless, as soon as you have a holiday to look forward to it suddenly legitimises the buying of pretty dresses, bikinis and sandals doesn't it? Maybe not too many however as we only have a 15kg luggage allowance so I will have to pack light (or sneak some things into Tom's suitcase!)  This is what I've been eyeing up this week - a couple of picks from the ASOS sale and some other skater dresses just because! I love the nearly-neon loafers and there's something a bit festival-y about the aztec boots; I think they'd look great with the right dress or skinny jeans.

1. Lace waist skater dress | AX Paris | £30
2. Loafers | Méliné | £52
3. Daisy print skater dress | ASOS | £17.50
4. Skater dress | ASOS | £25
5. Denim smock dress | Motel | £55
6. Shoes| Koah | £96
7. Pinafore Playsuit | Pretty Little Thing | £25 [30% off with APRIL30]
8. Skater dress | New Look | £12.99

What have you been eyeing up this week?

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A dose of sunshine

As you will probably know by now I am a great believer in a good dose of rest and relaxation and in making time for a bit of a 'me time'.  I have to schedule in nights every week or so that involve a long bath with candles and some Lush goodies and curling up with a good book or magazine to ensure I don't go a bit mad, and I also get a bit antsy if I go too long without sunshine.  It always hits me suddenly, after a long Winter or a particularly wet Spring (*looks sideways at Spring*) I will wake up one morning and think, "Right, that's it, I need a holiday".  I did this about six weeks ago and Tom and I started planning a trip to Morocco.  We were getting ready to book it when, one afternoon after work I had a call from Tom to say his van had broken down, and he'd sussed out that it was the drive shaft, which was going to cost about £600 to fix.  Bye bye holiday!

I trudged on regardless for a few weeks until the need became unbearable and I decided that the only option was to dip into my savings and treat Tom and I to a cheap and cheerful all inclusive holiday.  My only requirements were that it needed to be ASAP, there needed to be cocktails and there needed to be the possibility of me being horizontal in the sunshine.

Depending on how well you know me at this point will depend on whether you can guess what I did next.  Despite wishing I was more spontaneous I'm just not, and so the last week has been a flurry of internet research, cross-referencing with Trip Advisor and furiously jotting things into my notebook.  It makes it more difficult that neither of us had any idea of where we wanted to go.  I found out quite quickly that there aren't really any websites that cater for the holiday go-er that with no specific destination in mind and so it took a lot of looking at every option on drop-down menus to find possible hotels and package deals, which was frustrating.  Luckily, a friend recommended Latedeals.co.uk which is great as they have an option for 'Cheapest Destinations' and then you can even look at their deals on a month view if you're flexible about when you're going.

After a lot of research we narrowed it down to Rhodes, Lanzarote, Majorca and Ibiza.  And because I am me I then printed up some cards with all of the different hotel options on and their ratings and Trip Advisor ratings! Cringe! We just couldn't decide and this seemed the only way to do it.  After each compiling our pile of 'top threes' from the cards we found we both had the same hotel in our top two and so we went for it and booked it on Friday night.  We are going to Ialyssos Bay Hotel at Ixia on Rhodes.  I've been to Rhodes a couple of times and I'm really looking forward to going back.  I have some great memories of going to Faliraki in 2010 with my friend Carlie...

I always go 'all inclusive' on holidays as I love not having to worry about paying for food or drinks.  We'll still go out for a couple of nice meals but it's nice knowing everything's all paid for and I can recline and drink cocktails without worrying about the cost!

My favourite all inclusive holiday was when we went to Barbados as a family a few years ago.  The hotel was unbelievable and it wasn't your atypical 'all inclusive' with all your food ordered 'a la carte' and cooked to perfection.  The barmen were all cocktail enthusiasts and made us some amazing cocktails - nothing like a refreshing strawberry daiquiri by the pool at 10 in the morning - bliss!

I can't wait for my dose of sunshine in a few weeks and I highly recommend Latedeals.co.uk if you're looking to book some time away any time soon.  They also highlight great deals on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Do you have any holidays planned this year?

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*post contains a sponsored link*


Hoodies and pancakes

Just this morning I was musing over how, despite how many pretty dresses I own, my default movement on a Saturday morning is towards my jeans drawer.  I've bought quite a few nice tops lately; blouses and brightly coloured t-shirts so I'm enjoying having a bit of a trousers moment, plus I'm a bit in love with my new Toppers jeans.  I'm sure the dresses will be out more often when it finally warms up enough for bare legs (or I go on my holibobs, but more on that later!)

So I guess it's quite fitting that the outfit post I'm sharing today is very casual and includes my aforementioned favourite jeans (or at least in one iteration of the outfit). You will have seen in my post about styling running shoes that I'm also having a bit of a trainers moment at the moment.  I've started running again for the first time since January (it is painful!) so I guess sportswear is currently in the forefront of my mind.  I never thought that sportswear would blur into my daily wardrobe (or that I would own enough for it to do so) but Nike in particular have some awesome stuff out at the moment - I'd definitely feel more excited about my morning run if I was doing it in these Dip Dye Leggings!

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by FreestyleXtreme, a Bristol based independent business specialising in urban, skate and alternative clothing and asked if I wanted to review an item.  I'm a massive fan of Volcom clothes and I instantly picked their 'workout hoody' which will be perfect for running as well as slouching around in at the weekend.  I wasn't really sure how on earth to style it for an outfit post so I've just taken photos of what I've worn it with a couple of times, sorry if it's a bit unimaginative!
deathly hallows beanie: orange circle £11 |  hoody: freestylextreme* £59.99
jeans: topshop £40 | trainers: nike [old]
I'm going to carry on taking my photos indoors from now on but I couldn't resist a quick snap outside in the sunshine earlier this week.  It's been nice to be able to bring my sunnies out of hibernation!

sunglasses: d&g* via sunglasses shop | disco pants: american apparel £74
shoes: new balance £49
I hope you're all having lovely Saturdays so far.  Tom and I went out for breakfast this morning at my favourite little local café, Boscanova.  I've only been there for lunch before so I was excited to try their breakfast menu, which is what they're famed for (that and great coffee).  Chai latte is my hot drink of my choice...

I had their 'Lumber Jill' breakfast...

And Tom had their 'East End breakfast'...

The perfect way to start a Saturday - with pancakes, maple syrup, poached egg, bacon and sausages.

We had a quick mooch around Boscombe and Tom got his haircut in a salon called £9.90.  You guessed it, everything is £9.90 - cuts, highlights, colours, everything! He actually got quite a good haircut but I don't think I'll be swapping hairdressers quite yet.

I'm afraid to say that subsequent to coming home I spent a significant amount of time on the Zatchels website as they're having a 50% off everything sale for their 2nd birthday.  After a lot of umming and ahhing I settled on the cream colour satchel (13") for a bargainous £53.  I feel very naughty, especially as I already bought a satchel this month but I've featured their lovely bags in a few wishlists and not yet purchased one so it would just be silly to not acquiesce at 50% off!  Their sale is on until midnight tonight (20th) if you're feeling a bit naughty too!

I mentioned earlier that we booked a holiday last night too (I can hear my bank manager softly weeping) - I think I'm going to dedicate a separate post to telling you all about that, suffice to say that I'm ridiculously excited, in 18 days I will be en route to cocktails, suntans and bikinis, whoop whoop! (Just need to locate that bikini body over the next few weeks then! Step away from the pancakes....)

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Singer with the denim skin

I bought this dress before the Benefit event a couple of weeks ago.  I rarely get to go in Primark any more now I don't work in the city centre and faced with arriving 15 minutes early I thought I'd go for a quick nose.  I like the Bournemouth store as everything is relatively neat and tidy so it's easier to browse.  I've mentioned before that I don't tend to shop in Primark as much, as when I have big clearouts it's always the Primark items that tend to be the ones still hanging in my wardrobe with tags on but they seem to have stepped things up recently in terms of the quality and the designs.  I was drawn to this denim dress with rose print as I thought it would be nice for the summer but could also work now with tights and boots (obvs not quite the weather for bare arms yet so I did add a jacket!)

dress: primark [instore] | satchel: leather satchel company £82 | necklace: ebay £1.98
hat: vintage | wedges: office [old] - similar shoes here from stylistclick £26

The satchel in the photo admittedly was a bit of a naughty purchase.  I don't know what it is about 30% off vouchers that make me feel compelled to make a purchase.  I'm like "I could get someting for nearly half price, must find a bargain!" I'd been after a new leather satchel for a little while and had had my eye on this one from The Leather Satchel Company (on ASOS) but couldn't justify the £132 price tag.  Then it went down to £82 in the sale, and then ASOS sent out a 30% off code to Premier customers and I just couldn't resist snapping it up for £57 - albeit that's still quite a lot of money! I decided I needed a new satchel as quite a lot of my others are smaller and I can't fit my camera in but I still can't fit my camera in this one... But have I sent it back? No I haven't, because a) it is beautiful, and b) it was a bargain, remember?

Who's excited that it's nearly Thursday, ergo, nearly the end of the week? Whoop whoop! This week has been a super busy one for me, both at work and outside of work, as usual I am exhausted and counting down until the weekend for the opportunity to catch up on sleep.  On Monday we had Book Club at a cool bar in Christchurch and our Book Club discussions turned into us entering the pub quiz and coming third! (And we managed to to bag the second prize on the proviso that we enter again the following week!) Tonight Hannah came round to mine for gossips, in our PJs, with tea - two pretty awesome ingredients for a catchup!  Hope you're all having similarly lovely weeks so far.

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