Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Get your glad rags on!

Party season will soon be upon us, and many of us are searching for that perfect dress to wow the crowds with. Browsing online, there are so many outfits to choose from – long dresses, short dresses, glittery and colourful. It can be difficult to know where to start! So, I’ve done a bit of research and picked some of my favourites – perhaps you’ll spot a favourite too, or just enjoy browsing some clothing sites, imagining up your dream wish list.

In the montage above are dresses from a range of shops, beginning with the Coast Cher Dress at £150. I’m on the lookout for a little black dress and I love that this one is slightly more unusual, with the long sleeves and frilly trims. Under this is an Embellished Bodice Tutu, £65, from Miss Selfridge. This makes me feel so Christmassy, being silver and a bit sparkly – you can’t beat a bit of sparkle at Christmas! The centre photo shows a gorgeous red Lace Mini Dress, £25, from ASOS. I’m loving the lace trend this season, and this colour will really stand out at any party you wear it to. Top right is a more unusual Green Aztec Sequin Bodycon Dress, £45, from River Island. Again, anything a bit sparkly always stands out for me, and the Aztec pattern adds to the uniqueness of this little number. Lastly, is a Maxi Dress from New Look, priced at a very reasonable £32.99. I know not everyone always wants to wear a short dress, but this year there do seem to be a lot of longer dresses available, which look just as dazzling. This dress is fairly simple, with a bit of sparkly embellishment under the bust.

This second montage showcases some slightly more expensive outfit choices, if you’re thinking of treating yourself to something extra special. Top left is a striking blue VIP Maxi Dress, £140, from Lipsy at ASOS. The glittery embellishment at the top will make you sparkle like a star, while the slit down the side gives it a slightly seductive feel. Under this dress is a Rivi Dress, £95, from one of my favourite shops for dresses, Coast. This isn’t your typical party dress, but I really like the colours and pattern, which would perhaps make this outfit a bit more flexible to wear for different occasions. In the centre is another offering from Lipsy – a Lace Sequin Bodycon Dress, £48. Combining both sequins and lace, I think this simple yet effective dress is stunning. Bottom left is a floor length Desire Sequin gown from Coast, which wouldn’t look out of place on the red carpet. It does have a rather hefty price tag of £550, but it really does look beautiful. And finally, for my pick of the party dresses, is another Coast number – the Jac Dress, £195. I’ve been looking for the right white dress for ages, and think that I might have found it here! I particularly love the flower detail on the waistband.

Have you found your party season outfit yet, or are you still on the look out? 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Spotlight - 24th November 2013

This week, I’ve been loving…

Old photos

In a couple of week’s time my Gran is turning 90. I’ve been thinking for ages about what I could give her – there’s nothing she needs and I’ve asked her a few times what she’d like and she’s just happy to have the family around her. Then I thought about how much she loves looking at old photos – she has advanced Dementia and is often very withdrawn and confused, but looking at old photos seems to bring her back. So I decided to make her a photo memory book, and looking back through old family photos has been so lovely. It’s great how a photo can take you back to that moment, making you experience all the emotions again. I can’t wait to pick up her photo book and share it with her.

My family, before my youngest sister was born

Bath Bombs

It’s been so bloomin’ cold recently, so I’ve been sinking into a lovely warm, bubbly bath in the evenings to try and warm me up. I think having a bit of ‘me’ time is so important, so I like to treat myself to nice pampering things to help myself relax. I’ve been a fan of Lush Bath Bombs for as long as I can remember and I had a few stockpiled in my bathroom, so I’ve been working through them this week!

Lush Bath Bombs

I’m a Celebrity

I’ll admit it; I’m a sucker for a bit of reality TV! I think as long as you don’t take it too seriously, it can be quite fun to watch and get lost in for an hour or so. So I was happy to see I'm A Celebrity back on our screens last Sunday, as I waited to see which ‘celebrities’ would be entering the jungle this year. I can’t help but chuckle at Joey Essex and his funny ways and have found it a great distraction from real life this week!

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday Spotlight - 17th November 2013

This week, I’ve been loving…


The first pet I ever had was a hamster, called Ginger, when I was about 8. Since then I don ‘t think we’ve ever been without a pet – a few more hamsters, then some guinea-pigs and then we got my lovely cat, Jaffa, who is now 9. A few years after bringing Jaffa home, my Dad finally gave in and we got our gorgeous Golden Retriever, Alfie. He’s 4 years old now, but a couple of years ago my brother also brought home the tiniest hand-reared kitten, who we called Xena. It’s amazing how quickly they become part of the family and I find when I’m not feeling too good they seem to pick up on it and come and sit with me. It’s great having something to cuddle day or night :)

Alfie as a puppy



Christmas Adverts

The Christmas adverts are out in full force now and you can’t turn the TV on without seeing one. Some are rather tacky and annoying, but there are a few which have been making me feel all warm and fuzzy! I think one of my favourites is the Sainsbury’s advert, Christmas in a Day , where people from around the country have filmed how they spend the Christmas period.

There’s also the John Lewis advert, in which Lily Allen covers a Keane song. It’s a cute advert and I do love the song, but I don’t think it’s the best Christmas advert John Lewis have done.

The final Christmas advert that has stood out for me is for Marks and Spencer, which has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it. The advert all feels very magical and I particularly love the little Westie!

Percy Pig Porridge

It’s that time of year again when I get out the porridge to warm me up at breakfast time. I tend to stick to either Readybrek or Quaker Oats So Simple if I’m having porridge, but this week my Mum brought me a little present home from her shopping trip – Percy Pig Porridge from Marks and Spencer. I’m a bit of a Percy Pig fan, so was quite excited to try it, and I wasn’t disappointed. You get yummy fruit flavoured porridge, and guess what….it’s pink!

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Friday, 15 November 2013

My short break up to York

It was half term a few weeks ago, and my Dad had offered to take my sister and I away for a few days so we could have a break. Our original plan was to stay at my Aunt and Uncle’s villa in Callian, France, but after a bit of thought we decided that it was a lot of travelling for only a few days away. My Dad then suggested a city break up to York. My Grandparents used to live in Yorkshire so we’ve had many a family holiday up there, but have never spent more than a few hours in York, so it seemed like the perfect idea.

Sunday afternoon arrived and we headed off on our train up to York – not the best journey as it was completely packed and we ended up sitting on the floor in the vestibule! We were definitely glad to arrive and get a taxi to our apartment…and what a gem it was! As we walked through the old York street, we found an inconspicuous looking door set amongst the shop fronts.

It was very Harry Potter-esque, a bit like the entrance to Diagon Alley! Our apartment was linked to the pub, 'The Trembling Madness' who have two holiday apartments to let. We stayed in The Old Gallery – a pad that transports you back to the ‘60’s!

It was a complete Godsend as it was so central, yet very quiet and really cosy. It meant we could pop out for a little wander but come back to rest throughout the day. We spent our Sunday evening just relaxing in front of the TV, while my Dad sampled one of the hundreds of beers that the pub stock!

On Monday, we decided to visit The Castle Museum. I’d been there as a child, but couldn’t really remember it, apart from the old street that runs through it. It was fairly busy with it being half term, but we didn’t have to queue too long and moving around inside was no problem.

Coming back to our apartment, it was interesting to see The Shambles, as it really is like stepping back in time. The buildings and cobbles are beautiful, but I’ve heard they’re talking about getting rid of the cobbles to make it more disabled-friendly. I’m all for making places accessible, but it seems like such a shame to lose such an important piece of history.

For a very late lunch, Dad and I decided to visit The York Cocoa House, who specialise in chocolate, and most importantly, hot chocolate. I’ve never seen so many different types and flavours of hot chocolate in my life!

The hot chocolate menu

 Dad and I decided to go for their classic hot chocolate and I’ve got to say, it really was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had! We also treated ourselves to one of their lovely cakes, all made around a chocolaty theme. Very rich, but a very yummy treat.

Tuesday saw us heading a few hundred metres down the road to Betty's cafe for breakfast. I’ve been a couple of times before for sandwiches and cakes, so was intrigued to see what they had on offer for breakfast. There was a lot to choose from – from a full English to Eggs Benedict and everything in between. I decided to go for fresh orange juice and muesli with autumn berries, while my Dad and sister both went for a full English.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and I met a friend for a coffee, which was lovely as generally we only manage to see each other once a year. York is full of great shops, so I was able to do a little bit of Christmas shopping before crashing out on the sofa and watching back to back episodes of The IT Crowd! On Wednesday we made our way back to the station and travelled home in style, deciding to pay a little bit extra to go First Class.

Overall, although it was an extremely tiring few days, it was nice to get a change of scene and see such a beautiful city.

Me and my sister, Rosiie

Have you been on a UK city break? Where did you go and where would you most like to visit?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sunday Spotlight - 10th November 2013

This week, I’ve been loving…

Unexpected thoughtful post

I really do have some very special friends. This week I was greeted by an Amazon parcel one morning, which puzzled me a bit as I was sure I hadn’t been ordering anything! I opened it to reveal a gift-wrapped DVD set from a friend, with a little message simply saying she had sent it to cheer me up. How lovely :)


I’m always interested in watching documentaries on health and medical issues, so when I saw adverts for this Channel 4 series of programmes on the oldest psychiatric institution (now South London and Maudsley Trust) I set my TV to record it. There have been 2 episodes so far – the first exploring anxiety and the second looking into the world of a psychiatric crisis. I’ve been really impressed with the coverage and I’m hoping it will open people’s minds more to the reality of psychiatric illnesses, and help people to see that it’s not an issue that we should be scared of.

If you’re interested to find out more about the series, take a look at the Channel 4 website 


I’m not quite sure how we got round to Bonfire Night again so quickly, but this week many people celebrated with fireworks and sparklers. My Dad very kindly drove my Mum and I down to our local display, and wrapped up in our hats and gloves, we stood right at the front to watch a beautiful display, before huddling round the bonfire for a little while.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

A round up of this year's advent calendars

When it comes to this time of year, my thoughts turn to preparing for Christmas. I’m sure it comes round more quickly every year – I must be getting old! As well as all the presents to buy, cards to write and people to visit, comes the decision of which advent calendar to buy. When I was younger we would each get a traditional calendar, probably with a little glitter. There was then a big material tree with 24 pockets, which my Mum would fill with chocolate Santa’s, and we could eat one after our tea!

Over the years advents calendars have become big business and now there is so much choice out there it’s hard to know where to start. Do you want a simple traditional calendar, one filled with chocolate, or even one filled with beauty products or whisky!? The options are endless. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d put together a post summarising the different calendars I’ve found, to give you a head start on what’s out there in 2013.

Non-chocolate calendars

I’ll begin with the beauty calendars – companies are cottoning on to the idea of a calendar jam-packed with pampering goodies, which are going down a storm in the blogging world. These aren’t a particularly cheap option, but you can save a good amount of money on some of your favourite products, and with 0 calories it’s a good guilt-free option!

Boots £30. Latest in Beauty £Unsure. Ciate Mini Mani Month £42. Benefit Countdown to Love £50. Selfridges Beauty £84. Body Shop £55. You Beauty £49.95.

Next up are a selection of non-chocolate calendars aimed at children – all the fun without the sugar!

Hot Wheels £5.99 plus P+P. Moshi Monsters £15. Lego City £19.99. Mega Bloks £10.99. Barbie £18. Lego Friends £19.99. Playmobil £17.99.

There is also a good range of non-chocolate calendars suitable for adults – after all why should we miss out on all the fun?!

Biscuiteers £45 without cloth calendar, £85 with. John Lewis £35. Do Crafts £14.95. Whisky £165. Marks and Spencer Wooden £39.50. Marks and Spencer Giant Santa £95. Yankee Candle £21.99.

Chocolate calendars

So, there might be all these fancy calendars in the shops now, but there are still also plenty of chocolate ones out there. I’m sure the variety of these gets wider with every year that passes, so there should be something out there for every taste and interest. There are so many reasonably priced chocolate calendars in the shops, so obviously I’ve just had to pull together a selection of my favourites, but I can assure you that there are hundreds of choices!

Cadbury Wishes £3.50. Dairy Milk £3.50. Malteasers £2.75. Mars £2.75. Milkybar £1.75. Waitrose Woodland Friends £2.49.

For those chocolate connoisseurs among us, there is also a range of more luxurious (and expensive!) calendars available, which also include organic, fair trade and free-from ranges.

Divine Chocolate £3.99. Harrods £24.95. Moo Free £4.59. Lindt £5.29. Montezuma £9.99. Thorntons £3.99. Hotel Chocolat £26 for 2 to share.


As well as the standard chocolate calendars, there are also a plethora of novelty calendars (usually containing chocolate), with a wide variety of children’s characters adorning them.

And what the kids can do, us adults can do just as well! So, here’s a selection of novelty calendars suitable for the bigger kids among us!

John Lewis Gingerbread £12. Doctor Who £1. Tatty Teddy £1. Percy Pig £4.89 (also available in store). The Snowman £5.99.


I always think it’s important to remember the true meaning of Christmas, so for me a traditional advent calendar is quite important (even if that means getting 2 calendars so I can have a non-traditional one too!) I was quite surprised at how difficult it is to get a nice traditional calendar – there are a few out there, but to be honest the majority that I’ve seen have been fairly unappealing, which I think is a real shame. However, I did manage to find a few.

John Lewis £5. Traidcraft £3.75. Not on the Highstreet £29.95.

So, which calendar will I be purchasing this year? To be honest, I’m still undecided! However, doing this research has made me think about the calendars I’d love to see. I think it would be great to see a larger range of traditional calendars on the market – perhaps with cute cartoons and a bit of glitter, so that people can celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas but still have fun. Aside from that, wouldn’t it be great to see some High Street beauty brands like Rimmel, Barry M and Soap and Glory doing calendars? And stores like Accessorize, Lush, Paperchase and Whittards – I wouldn’t know which to choose! But anyway, back to reality…

Have you started planning for Christmas yet? Which advent calendar will you be buying this year?

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sunday Spotlight - 3rd November 2013

This week, I’ve been loving…

Half term short breaks

Working in a school has its perks, half term being one of them! My Dad offered to take my sister and I up to York for a few days for a break, so of course I said yes! I won’t say too much about it here – that’s for another post. But although it was very tiring, and I came home for a rest, it was nice to get a change of scene and the chance to visit such a beautiful city again. Keep your eyes peeled for a more detailed post soon…

The Shambles, York


If you’ve never heard of Bitstrips, you may be wondering what on earth I’m talking about, and until earlier this week I would have been exactly the same! A friend introduced me to this new app and I’m slightly hooked on it now! You create your own avatar to look (or not look!) like you. You connect through Facebook, add other co-stars (Facebook friends) and then you can post cartoons with you and friends in all sorts of strange and silly situations. Here’s one I posted of my youngest sister and I.

Novelty socks

I’ve always been a fan of novelty socks – I mean, if you’ve got to keep your feet warm you may as well have some fun while you do it, right?! And with winter well and truly with us, novelty socks are taking over our high street. I’m particularly taken with these Accessorize cat socks and these New Look button-nose giraffe socks. My only issue is where to put them in my already overflowing draw of novelty socks!

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Look's Interactive Magazine Review

When I saw on Twitter that Look were searching for bloggers to review a new interactive issue I was intrigued, so dropped them a line to find out more. I was expecting something similar to other digital magazines, where you have to download the magazine onto your iPad and then read it much like the paper version. However, this was quite different.

I had to buy this week’s Look magazine, at a special price of 99p (usually £1.80) and also download a free app, Blippar. I downloaded it to both my iPad and iPhone, so I could have a play with both. You’re greeted with a screen, which explains the basics of how to use the app - very useful as I was a little confused a first! But once I’d had a go, it soon became clear.

Basically, you sit with your copy of the paper magazine in front of you, then use the Blippar app to access interactive extras, such as behind the scenes videos and your chance to be a cover star. The first thing I decided to try out was the ‘Be a Cover Star’ feature, so I hovered my phone over the front cover, using the Blippar app, and this uncovered a selection of orange ‘blobs,’ as you can see in the image below.

To replace the lovely Kate Moss with your own face, you simply tap the central orange ‘blob,’ take a photo of yourself and the app makes you a Look cover star. This was my attempt…I’m certainly no Kate Moss!

Flicking through the rest of the magazine you are greeted with further orange blobs on certain pages, giving you more chances to interact with the articles. Something I thought was particularly good was the chance to ‘buy something now’ simply by tapping the orange blob by it. So, if you see a gorgeous dress that you simply must buy, all you need to do is use the Blippar app and it will take you directly to the online store. What could be easier?! Perhaps not so great for my bank balance, but makes online shopping so much quicker.

When used with Look magazine, the app also gives you access to behind the scenes videos from their fashion and beauty photo shoots. It also allows you to try out hairstyles from the magazine, by cropping out a particular style and enabling you to take a photo of yourself sporting the style. Hairdresser nightmares will be a thing of the past!

It’s not just Look who have made use of this new app either. I hovered it over my bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup and a recipe book appeared with different Heinz recommended recipes. I’m sure other brands will also start to see how fun and useful this app is in the coming weeks, so the brands you can engage with will grow and expand.

Within the app you can also see new brands to interact with, popular brands or choose from a wide range of categories to explore. I’m quite excited about this – I think it’s a great way to engage with brands using the latest technology and I can’t wait to see how it develops over the coming months.

Have you used Blippar yet? What are your thoughts?

Friday, 1 November 2013

October round up

A collection of my favourite things from the month of October

I’m your typical girl, who just loves bags, shoes and accessories in general. I was given this lovely Accessorize handbag for my birthday, which includes multiple pockets, including a special padded pocket to pop your tablet in.

This month I’ve really been enjoying watching Educating Yorkshire on Channel 4. You’d think working in a school would mean I wouldn’t then want to watch a programme about the goings on in a Secondary School, but I thought it was brilliantly put together and shows just how much work and personal investment staff put into educating and supporting young people. I can’t wait for another series!

I also decided to treat myself to a couple of pairs of new shoes. I’ve been lusting over a pair of Timberlands for years, so when I got a bit of birthday money I thought I’d pop into my local Office and try some on. I tried on a couple of pairs – one was more of a shoe, while the other was a higher ankle boot. They were both comfy, but I went for the ankle boot as it gives me a bit more support. I’ve also wanted a pair of Converse for ages, and was particularly keen on a pair of cute pink ones I kept seeing in shop windows. However, when I went shopping I found this grey and pink pair and couldn’t resist getting them instead. Perhaps in the Spring I will treat myself to the pink pair too!

Things I’ve learnt this month…

+   Family are so important
+   I have some pretty special friends
+   I still manage to baffle my GP with my health!
+   I’ve discovered I actually like popcorn
+   My family are pretty lucky when it comes to pub quizzes
+   No matter how many I’ve had, I still want my Mum with me when I have a blood test
+   Being sent/given a bunch of flowers really cheers me up
+   Jumpers are one of my favourite items of clothing
+   Natural yoghurt and honey are a yummy combination
+   Some friendships are too one-sided
+   Sometimes you just need to put you pyjamas on and hide from the world
+   Finding Mr Right is an impossible task
+   I’m definitely a Yorkshire girl at heart
+   If you’re going on a long train journey, always book a seat!

What to look out for in November

Doctor Who returns to our screens with a 50th Anniversary special on the 23rd November and I for one can’t wait! I’ve been watching it since Christopher Ecclestone and have been trying to catch up on some of the older episodes with my sister (who is the World’s biggest Doctor Who fan!) It will be great seeing all of the old Doctors together in one episode and I’m hoping for lots of the old baddies too! And for hardcore fans you can even visit your local cinema to see the episode in 3D.

Christmas is drawing nearer, so in November I will be hunting for an advent calendar. These days there are so many choices – from your traditional nativity scene to the typical chocolate one, to a beauty themed one. I’ll be doing a post soon on all the choices out there, so keep your eyes peeled!

John Lewis Wooden Advent Calendar

On the 21st November, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will come to a cinema near you. I’ve read the books, and I’ll admit at first I really wasn’t sure it was my kind of thing. But I was quickly hooked and loved the first film. I’m hoping the second instalment will bring as much action and drama as the first. Catch the trailer here.

Party season will soon be upon us, so I’ll be using November to hunt for the perfect dress (or three!) I’ve found a few favourites so far, but I’m sure there will be plenty more to choose from as the month goes on.

Do you have any favourites or things you’ve learnt in October? What are you looking forward to in November?