Friday, 25 April 2014

#2 Make your mark, Primark

I don't know about you, but for me Primark is a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, you can get a lot for your buck, but it's usually so busy, my instinct is to get out of there as quickly as possible. And sometimes the quality can be questionable. Remember these studded boots? The whole underside of one of the shoes just fell off one day. With quality concerns and a potential stressful shopping experience ahead of me, I often lack the incentive to pop into my local. Usually when I go it's because I've seen a nice item featured in a magazine / on YouTube / on a blog. But when you go into your local, do you spy any of the items mentioned in that YouTube video? No. And if they do, they won't have your size. Or anything on the smaller end of the sizing spectrum.

The other day I popped into my local with some friends and I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't as crazy hectic as I remembered, and I managed to get lots of lovely bits and pieces for a gift basket that I've been putting together for a friend.

I have always found Primark's candles a little iffy. Sickly sweet and just a generic candle sort of smell. This time round I was really impressed with their candles  - they've really upped their game. A good mix of church pillar style candles, tea lights and candles in jars. The ones in jars are really presentable and look far more expensive than £2 (well, to me anyway!). I picked one up for my friend's gift basket and couldn't resist picking up a couple for myself too!

The citrus and ginger is my favourite. It's really fresh and perfect for spring / summer. 
The berries and orchid candle is a close contender but is more "perfumed" rather than fruity. 

Primark isn't somewhere I really go looking for lingerie  - unless I'm stocking up on basics - but this time I was pleasantly surprised:

I love the dusky mauve colouring, the silky front panels and the polka dot details.
My favourite find was this black and white check dress for a mere £10:

I have yet to try it on - hopefully it won't come up too short on me. Long limbs mean I'm a nightmare to buy jumpers and dresses for! I also picked up a couple of rolls of wrapping paper because they satisfied my love of everything that is French:

At just £1 a roll, I may be going back for more! I love the miniature Eiffel towers, random French phrases and the whole "carte postale" style they've gone for. I used to live in France and I'm feeling pretty nostalgic right now! France, tu me manques...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Come closer and see, see into the trees, find the girl, If you can

Bank holiday weekends for me are all about baking, photography, trips out, and catching up on sleep. And last weekend was no exception. Triple chocolate chip brownies were eaten on a daily basis and on Good Friday, a trip to the woods felt right.

Lunch break!

Feta and sun-dried tomato pasta:

Lunch time views:

I'd never seen pink forget-me-nots before!

Quite a few up-rooted trees blocked our path...

...but not for long...

The jumper is new. Some of you may recognise it from my instagram. Believe it or not, it's not from the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour... my Hogwarts sweater is actually from New Look! Intermittent sunny spells in the UK meant there was a chill in the air - and in that sort of weather only a jumper and jeans will do!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter gifts & craft inspiration

Easter and chocolate. A partnership that has been going strong since the 19th century. They go hand-in-hand together - like salt and pepper or bread and butter. As appreciative as I am to still receive Easter eggs, the excitement of receiving an Easter egg - and chocolate in general - is kind of lost on me now. Maybe I've just hit that age. Earlier this week I found lots of inspiring Easter gift and craft ideas on Pinterest - perfect if you have children and want ideas for the up-and-coming bank holiday weekend. But equally inspiring if, like me, you don't. Has Easter become monotonous? It doesn't have to be...

How cute are these jam jar vases?! Fill them with Easter treats, bright cereals and sweets

Candy carrots are easy to make - just place orange sweets into an icing bag 

Rabbit food! Fill with dried snacks like cereal, pretzels and mini biscuits

Carrot play dough! I'm in my 20's and I'm still excited by Play Dough!

Egg shell candles in egg cups

A packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds is a cute gift idea
As is home made carrot cake in a jar with a home made gift tag and twine:

All the above pinned from Pinterest

There is now even a market for pets. With safe Easter treats for dogs that aren't chocolate:

Pets at Home - £1.75                                                    Pets at home - £5

In recent years advent calendars have evolved to variations without chocolate as discussed here and here. So maybe it will only be time until Easter eggs follow suit. Because if faced with choice between an Easter egg filled with sweets or an Easter egg filled with beauty treats, I know which one I would choose. Especially if there was a speckled egg effect nail polish inside. Because nothing says Easter like having your nails resemble Cadbury's mini eggs

What would be hiding inside your ideal Easter egg?

Monday, 14 April 2014

How to make: Toblerone cupcakes

If you love cake and want a recipe that is minimal effort, then look no further. All you need is vanilla cake batter (plenty of recipes can be found on Google, or alternatively buy a box of vanilla cupcake mix from your local supermarket) and a bar of Toblerone. Crush some pieces of the Toblerone up and add to the cake batter:

Start spooning the batter into your cupcake cases. Then add a triangle or two of Toblerone.

Continue to add more cake batter until the triangles are mostly submerged:

Don't worry if your Toberlone is a little exposed still like mine was. The cakes rose once baked so the chocolate didn't burn!

The result? Beautifully fluffy cake that is best consumed warm for a lovely gooey centre:

This experiment one weekend turned out to be one of the best ideas I'd had in a long time. 
But then again, cake is always a good idea.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Festival hair inspiration

The countdown to Coachella is onnnn. Once again, I didn't get my act together in time... I live in hope that it will happen one year! For now, I can admire from afar. Catch all the action on YouTube. And magazines and blogs worldwide will have plenty of coverage on festival style. Not booked in for a festival this year? Don't fret, for you can still get involved - as I proved here. I may not be going to a festival in 2014 - yet - but dammit, I am still going to rock festival hair. My festival board on Pinterest is chock-a-block and finds inspiration from flowers, braids and wavy locks. The stuff dreams are made of.

All images: Pinterest

If you like the above pins, and are equally enthused about pretty food, home decor, inspirational quotes and coloured hair, come find me on Pinterest:

Don't forget to leave me a comment with your Pinterest links so I can have a snoop too :)

Friday, 4 April 2014

I want you, I need you

I'm often left wondering when it is that love turns into obsession. How moments of desire, passion and I want you so badly turn into stalkerish tendencies. When it's all that's in your head. Both last thing at night when you go to bed, and first thing when you wake up in the morning. How and why it consumes you so. But worry not, ladies and gents. I am not talking about a guy. Nor do I possess any stalkerish traits when it comes to men. In this instance, I am referring to clothing. That perfect dress that sold out before you had a chance to snap it up. Forget guys, coveted items of clothing can be the ultimate obsession.

Placing a large online order and find that the main reason for your order sold out before you had a chance to finish typing in the last few digits of your card? It's an all too familiar story for many of us. You are then faced with that dilemma: do I like the rest of my order enough to continue? And if you do, mark my words there will be online stalking. Oh yes. Across the day you may cheekily check back on the site to see if said item has come back in stock. It hasn't. You kid yourself into thinking it's all ok. You may even shrug your shoulders and call it fate. It wasn't meant to be. But one day when innocently browsing "just in case" you see it there. It's in stock. It's in your size. A provisional click tells you it's "low in stock". Your pupils dilate and that's it. The final push you needed.

I had this very issue with an ASOS coat recently. I spotted the perfect pastel blue coat on the site which I loved and obviously so did everyone else. It sold out and I was crushed. Soon after it was featured on ASOS' Instagram which rubbed salt into the wound even more. The coat was worn by a mere mortal - not a model - and it still looked perfect. I checked on the site most days and upon discovering it only coming back into stock in a size 18, I was ready to abandon all hope. Then the other night, I refreshed the page systematically without even thinking about it. And there it was. One left in my size. I was on it like a car bonnet.

ASOS cocoon coat

But things are never simple are they? Earlier that day I'd seen a grey ASOS coat on their Instagram and my love for Blue was called into question. I could see Blue and I lasting a few months maybe. A spring fling at best. Whereas Grey could offer me so much more. He would look after me all year round - even the autumn / winter months. Because Grey isn't particularly seasonal.

ASOS drape coat

But then last minute Trench caught my eye. Trench is suave and timeless. I think I even prefer Him to Blue. And considering the amount of time I mourned and obsessed over Blue, this is most confusing:

Via ASOS - Noisy May trench coat

Does anyone else feel a sadness like this with out of stock items?!