Tuesday 29 July 2014

Wardrobe must-have: the white blazer

It nearly didn't happen. You nearly weren't in my life. I was too full of uncertainty. I wasn't sure that you'd be a great fit. I just couldn't get my head around the concept of you and I.  But I took the gamble, and I'm so glad I did. Ladies and gentleman, I am talking about: the over-sized white blazer. Something I've since decided that everyone needs in their lives.

Mine was a sale piece from Forever 21. It was a standard fit blazer and love at first sight. Although it did present a bit of a dilemma: it was only available in "large". Medium would've been fine at a push. But large? Not so much.

I decided to give it a go. Because I am in no way sizist. Fast forward a few days and the blazer arrives chez moi. An off-white sort of colour, it wasn't what I was expecting. I notice how large it is and have reservations. But once on, I decide that I oddly like the fit. Rather than look-at-me-I-once-weighed-a-lot-more-than-I-do-now, it looked like I'd borrowed the blazer from a bloke - which is what all the cool kids do these days (or so I hear...).  But having said that, I did still have some reservations. You know that apprehension of wearing something new in public that you're not 100% sure about? So the blazer sat collecting dust for a little while.

Then came the job interview. I was recommended for a role elsewhere by an ex colleague of mine and I needed to dress to impress. I knew I had pencil skirts and suits hanging in my wardrobe back from where I used to work for a bank, but suits have always made me feel a bit uncomfortable. And I must stress the importance of feeling comfortable in an interview.

As the role was within media still, I didn't want to be TOO formal. "Smart casual" would be fine. I pulled on some skinny jeans and deliberated over the white blazer. Which as luck would have it, worked really well. Had the blazer been fitted, I may have appeared too "corporate". The good news? They offered me the job that very day! Although skills, experience, and how you answer your interview questions are largely key to your success, I really believe that feeling at ease with what you wear forms a big part of it too.

Now the blazer has done me proud, I have been browsing LookBook for inspiration of how I could incorporate it into my wardrobe:

And if you're curious... this is the Forever 21 blazer in question. The perfect light-weight summer cover up.

So next time the sales / Primark / wherever lack your usual size... take a chance. You just never know!

Saturday 26 July 2014

World Cup burgers

The World Cup may be over, but the memories live on. Except, as I'm not entirely bothered by football, my memories are burger based. I remember evenings in the pub, hoards of men glued to the TV, waving their pints in the air at missed goals, and me ignoring it all, focusing on one thing only: an epic World Cup burger menu. Some of the burger buns were even made to look like footballs:

Oh my goodness. Words cannot describe this burger. Hands down, one of the best I've ever had. This was the "Carnival" burger - topped with chorizo, pulled pork and black beans in a specially made "football" brioche bun. The meat / black bean mixture oozed from the burger making it the perfect dipping sauce for your fries - a choice of sweet potato, traditional "pub" chips or criss-cross fries.

Sadly this burger - and their World Cup burger menu - was only a temporary event at Flaming Grill Pubs. If you live in the UK, do make sure you drop into a Flaming Grill Pub at some point. They often do temporary special menus to mark certain occasions like Father's Day, Mother's Day, etc. They did a steak event a few months back which I was gutted to miss - venison steak sounded amazing!

If you like Man vs Food and speed eating competitions, then you may be interested in their food challenges menu. I'm intrigued by their trash can platter and may bite the bullet and order it one day... although I'd be sharing with other people rather than riding solo!

Tuesday 22 July 2014

A few days in the South of France

With France just over a hour away by plane and lots of low cost airlines out there, a few days in France won't eat up your budget or your holiday allowance. I tend to visit Paris and the South of France the most. Paris... because it's so convenient by Eurostar. And the South because I have my own place there. It's a sharp contrast to the bustle of the city, but there is something about the country air that is therapeutic and puts everything into perspective. Earlier in 2014 I went ahead and booked those plane tickets. Fast forward a few months to earlier this week... Martin, Mols and I set off to London Stansted airport to begin our French adventure.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. Everyday sunshine and temperatures in the late 20s or early 30s. In-between visits to the supermarché to stock up on essentials, we lounged in the garden, played pétanque, went on long walks, ate a LOT of cakes, had BBQs on a daily basis, and adopted our neighbours' cats. Here's a little photo diary of our time there:

We discovered the most beautiful sparkling cider from Normandy:

And were mesmerised by dragonflies down by the river:

Me looking very hot and bothered after a 3 mile walk...

Flowers we collected for our table that night:

Much cake was eaten:

I was way too excited about finding massive macaroons in the supermarket (who knew those existed?!!)...

... and finding my favourite flavour of sorbet

I love French houses. The brickwork is always so rustique and dreamy

Even the paving beneath your feet is awesome:

Homely touches in our little maison. Including a picture I brought back from Paris, towels from Matalan, and a milk jug gifted to us by a craftman in Limoges who also kindly gifted us plenty of crockery too

Our gold fish consume anything and everything that hits the water. Including pesky hornets:

Purchases included a French magazine, Oreo hot chocolate for back home, and a new pair of heels

I will never tire of France. Next on my bucket list: Avignon and Dijon.

Sunday 13 July 2014

Things you realise you can no longer do when you are back from holiday

1) Have a three course breakfast because... [click here]

2) Lay around doing nothing. This is just plain lazy if you're not on a sun lounger somewhere sunny

3) Wear sunglasses everywhere without looking like a tool

4) Wear bum skimming shorts. Well you can, but you'll be whistled at by men in white vans A LOT

5) Admire your tan in the hotel's awesome lighting. Because you are not actually that tanned

6) Walk around naked with the air con on full blast. Back home, you will be cursing at the radiator willing it to warm up quicker

7) Smuggle breakfast in your bag "just in case you get hungry later"

8) Drink cocktails in the morning without looking like you're having a mid life crisis

9) You will no longer have to spend HOURS applying thick sun cream only to get burnt red raw ANYWAY

10) Have your bed magically made every day. It's bed-making fairies, right?