Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A grand adventure ... to see the Northern Lights

I recently heard about Money Supermarket's "A Grand Adventure" competition where bloggers are invited to plan their own epic adventure with a £1,000 budget - detailing where they would go, what they would do, and how they would make the £1,000 stretch. I never have any luck with competitions, but thought it couldn't hurt to have a go!

My destination of choice? ICELAND

Now some of you are looking at me in disbelief, pointing out that it's already freezing and why on earth wouldn't I want to go away to somewhere hot?! Well, ever since I've seen Iceland advertised on the London underground I've been dying to go. There are some really good travel packages meaning that it won't cost an arm and a leg to get there. For example, the Northern Lights package starts from a mere £299. This includes return flights, bed and breakfast in a hotel for your entire stay and a tour of the Northern Lights. Not bad going, eh? There are also "extras" that you can add on as a supplement (these being as little as £15). The exchange rate for Icelandic Krona against £ sterling is meant to be really good at the moment - so this would be the perfect holiday destination for a trip on a budget.

Iceland is a photographer's dream and I would document every step of my journey on my blog - just like I've done for my Paris trip and my Barcelona trip... 1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6

I would go and see the Northern Lights, revelling in its amazingness and taking lots of pictures:

I would take a trip to the Blue Lagoon which has been voted as one of the top 10 spas in the world and is host to natural ingredients such as mineral salts, algae and silica - all supposed to help balance the body and mind:

I would go to the Golden circle to see Nature's finest including Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geothermal area:

Whale watching would be a must:

 Maybe, if time permits, a boat trip to the glacial lagoon:

I'd also walk around exploring - FREE! - taking pictures and enjoying the sights. I would sample the locally caught fresh fish - I have heard that their Hakarl (Icelandic for "shark") is an "experience". If you eat it, you follow it with brennivin (a local schnapps) and get much respect from the locals because it smells and tastes pretty putrid. When / if the cold gets too much, I would sniff out a nice pub / bar with a roaring log fire and consume many a hot drink to keep toasty! Maybe try some of that brennivin. Which is apparently referred to as "Black Death".

With such a good exchange rate going at the moment, it would be the perfect time to go. With a £1,000 budget I'd be able to treat myself and my fellow traveller to various tours and extras and we'd hopefully have enough spare change rattling around for visiting nearby towns and a nice meal or two. 

To sum everything up, Iceland would be a memorable trip with lots packed in without the need to file for bankruptcy. A very refreshing thought in these difficult economic times!

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** Image source: IcelandAir **

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Slipping over on the ice is snow joke

When it comes to potentially slipping over on the ice, it's snow joke. For years I have had a beaten up old pair of trainers that appear whenever the white fluffy stuff does. They are big. They are clumpy. And they cut the backs of my feet to shreds. They look like they mean business with their sturdy get up and grippy looking soles, but they can't grip for s**t. The other day something clicked. I looked around and realised the old folk were moving about on the icy surfaces faster than I was. Even the ones with walking sticks. And I know some say no pain no gain but this was ridiculous. I was in pain and I certainly wasn't gaining anything. Definitely not speed - at best I was probably doing about a quarter of a mile an hour on foot. If that.

So after work I went to hunt down a replacement pair and I knew just the place to go:

I know that those puffy snow boots that give you cankles would have been a slightly cheaper alternative, but I wanted something that I could wear at other times of the year too. And yes, I could've got some Timberland dupes, but I've seen how the backs can fall apart. I'm hoping that by getting the real deal, they'll be an investment that will last me for years. Do me proud, Timberlands!

I took them out on their first outing today and they were an absolute dream on slushy, slippery surfaces. Snail pace Lucy is no more! I'm already thinking ahead to my next Timberland purchase. I love their other boots they do but they'd sold out in my size when I went the other day :( So far I've been styling them with loose fit boyfriend jeans but I've been scouring LookBook and WeHeartIt for inspiration:

What shoes do you wear when it snows?
I'm sure you lovely lot are all a lot more graceful on the ice than I am!

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Monday, 21 January 2013

The power of a blog. Discuss.

I sometimes think that we under-estimate the power of a blog. What we may see as our own materialistic ramblings with a sprinkling of outfit posts can be oh so much more. Blogs are having an increasing influence on High Street collections and the pages of fashion magazines. Items that bloggers feature can quickly become hot property and fly off the shelves like no one's business. We are not solely lusting over new clothing we think we need - we are also being inspired and shown different ways of styling our existing wardrobe staples. Your follower count is irrelevant - you can still inspire whether you are a big time blogger or a lesser known one like myself. There does seem to be a bit of a blogger "look" developing  Think Litas and Litas look-a-likes, disco pants, and rose gold jewellery. Blogs clearly have a great influence on deciding up-and-coming trends. But are they also turning us into an army of clones?

A question to all fellow bloggers: How do you feel knowing you've influenced someone to wear or buy something? 

Flattered? Or is it a little annoying? I imagine that for those of you on the negative side of the fence, you may see eye-to-eye with the aforementioned clone comment. But on the other hand, I guess it's probably quite touching if a stranger takes the time to contact you saying they like your style. 

Another thing to remember... no matter how popular the blog, bloggers are not celebrities. And most are certainly not living on a celebrity budget. Who are they? They are students / in full-time employment / struggling to make their cash last until the end of the month / fellow shopaholics... just like you and me. Their body type / complexion / hair more closely matching your own than that of air-brushed models you see in magazines. I find that blogger style is usually something that is very easy to relate to.

With this logic, it's hardly surpising that we are taking more and more inspiration from blogs and every day street style in lieu of high end fashion magazines and campaigns. With bloggers like you and me, blogger fashion is less "out there" and often a a great deal more practical for every day life. Those stacked Prada heels you saw in Vogue? Gorgeous, but hardly suitable for me to run for the train in each morning.

So where did this all stem from you ask?

Well, I realised the other day just how much I am influenced by other blogs. It was only the other week that one of my favourite bloggers Sarah featured the most exquisite piece of jewellery on her blog. My eyes lit up at the price (only £7.40.... no joke!) and fully aware that F21 do some amazing statement pieces, I promptly headed on over to their website to see what other necklaces they had on offer. In no time at all, the number of items in my basket started to multiple. In the end, I ordered a dress... a blouse....

..... and cheekily snapped up the necklace that Sarah featured. How could I not? It's too beautiful. 

And if you want any further evidence of the power of a blog, know this.... that necklace came in two different colours - plain or a peach sort of colour. The plain one that Sarah featured has sold out. The peach one has not. High praise indeed. Which leads me on nicely to my recent Miss Selfridge order....

Typical blogger basket much? Skater skirts being yet another blog regular. And the kimono? I'd been eyeing it up for ages but some how resisted temptation. Then I saw Lily rocking it and I was powerless to resist. 

I am weak. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Sales? What sales?

Those of you who have been with me right from the start know my thoughts on salesThis year was another disappointment. But January isn't over yet. And most places seem to be slashing their prices even further. I however refuse to call them January sales - most started pre-Christmas after all. 

I went to Watford to try my luck and found so little, I'm not sure it was worth the trip. Although saying that, I was pleasantly surprised by the Watford Primark, finding things that I couldn't possibly have got online:

... I grabbed some reduced cards in Clintons ready for next year:

... and then spent a mere £3 on a mini satchel in River Island:

Is it a key ring? Is it a mini purse? Who knows!

This thriftiness is very unlike me. But then sales weren't all that this year. I had better luck online:

... and two pairs of Jeffrey Campbells that have YET to turn up on my door step. Impatient much? I'm still seeking out a reduced pair of Dr. Martens / Timberlands / both.... know of anywhere?

Did you pick up any sales bargains?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Expect nothing - you will never be disappointed

I don't know about you, but I find diary hunting a right old faff. I'm always on the look out for something a little bit different that is easy on the eye and small enough to cart around in your suitcase bag. Last year, tempted by a ridiculously beautiful diary cover, I went for a page-a-day diary. Worst. Idea. Ever. I've actually lost count of how many times I forgot about plans later in the week because it was pages away and out of sight. So if you're ever considering a page-a-day affair... don't do it. It will screw up your social life. A double page spread with your weekly shenanigans all laid out right in-front of you is the way forward. 

This year I spent more than I'd usually choose to spend on a diary... but it was worth every penny. 
Let me introduce you to the new love of my life:

This diary ticks so many boxes. It's light. It's small. It has a week-by-week view. It's sarcastic and - pardon the French - fucking hilarious. When you first open the diary, a couple of sheets of paper fall out. The first:

The second, in case - God forbid - the Disappointments Diary is.... disappointing. Imagine(!) They even provide return codes. I wish reasons like these could be used for the likes of Topshop, ASOS and etc

The publishers only printed a limited amount of copies and they log which number diary you've got:

As with most diaries, there's that obligatory first page for personal details such as name, next of kin, medical conditions and so on. I love the last couple of lines:

Every week you are provided with a pessimistic quote. Here are some of my favourites:

Because everyone needs to plan and sort their shit out:

.... and plenty of space for your contacts. You just have to decide which category they go under:

Being an aspiring writer, this next section really appealed to me:

I'm also an avid writer of To Do lists... which the diary "helps" you to prepare for:

To sum it all up, I love all the little details and silliness that you get with this diary. As you flick through, the pages become greyer and greyer which is meant to signify an impending sense of doom (apparently!). And the thing that really makes me laugh? The disappointment you face when you first remove the diary from that padded envelope. I found out about this diary through work as it was featured on one of our publications' websites. And on that website the diary looked pretty sizeable  Remove it from that padded envelope and you'll find it's actually pretty small. It's all part of the fun though!

I paid full price for mine but they are currently on sale if you wish to purchase one for yourself / family / a friend / your cat. You can find them here: 

What do you look for in a diary?