Monday, 15 December 2014

Weekday Wishlist 15/12/14


1. Black Jeans by Frame Denim - £225
2. Red Wool Jumper by Bella Freud - £270
3. Cut Out Boots by Alexander Wang - £515
4. Mini Satchel by 3.1 Phillip Lim - £585
5. Grey Oversized Top by Monki - £25
6. Leather Boots by Ash - £209
7. Light grey Leather Jacket by River Island - £65
8. Duster Jacket by Topshop - £89
9. Embroidered Blouse by Mango - £44.99
10. Silver Necklace by Alex Monroe - £108
11. Silver Watch by Skagen - £115
12. Heels by Supertrash - £215

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Sunny Afternoon

New Look cape
New Look cape
tartan cape

FEDORA - PEACOCKS (similar here) / SUNGLASSES - ASOS / TOP - NEW LOOK / CAPE - NEW LOOK (similar here) / JEANS - (NEW LOOK)  /BOOTS -NEW LOOK (similar here)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

10 Tips for Keeping on Budget this Christmas


   We all know the toll that Christmas takes on the old bank balance, and yes, it's difficult to find a happy medium between hosting a Christmas with all the trimmings, and saving some money for the New Year bash - but there is a way! In fact, there are multiple ways, and here are a few ideas on how to keep to your budget, and still have the Christmas you've been waiting for.

   1. Set a budget (duh)

   The whole point of sticking to a budget is to have one in the first place, so sit down and make a quick list (or spreadsheet, if you're persnickety, like me) of your incomes and outgoings, how much you're able to spend, and how much you need to save. List all the people you're buying gifts for and how much you're budget is for each person. This seems pretty Scrooge-like, but at least it gives you a rough idea of what you can and can't afford - do not shop on impulse!

   2. Sift through a charity shop or two

   I'm not saying, 'only buy from charity shops this season', but you can find some quirky one-offs if you're looking hard enough, for example, a set of books or an unopened makeup kit. Plus, it goes towards a good cause!

   3. Compare prices

   I really cannot stress this point enough. If you see something great in a shop, chances are it'll go for a cheaper amount elsewhere. Perfumes are a great example of this; I always check Boots and Debenhams first, and if the items aren't on offer I'll try fragrancedirect.co.uk or feelunique.com for better savings.

   Beware the internet, however. Always make sure the site's legit before you hit 'purchase'!

   4. Make your own

   These presents can sometimes turn out a bit dubious-looking, but at least you've put thought into it! First, brainstorm the interests of your gift-ee, then put your inventiveness to the test! For example, you could make your partner a movie-night-in package complete with popcorn, a DVD and some glass-bottled Coca Cola.

   For more homemade present ideas, check out my list here.

   This also works for food. Think about how much you could save if you made your own mince pies, reindeer cookies and Christmas cake with what you've already got in the cupboards, rather than buying them from the shops at much higher prices!

   5. Make a Christmas cupboard

   It may be too late for this year's Christmas, but maybe think about trying this for 2015: designate a cupboard, box or draw specifically for Christmas goods. If you see something at a great price that you know a loved one would want, buy it and pop it in the draw. You'll get your Christmas gifting done before you can say ho ho ho!

   6. Secret Santa

   This old tradition is perfect for offices or friend groups - if you've only got one person to buy for, you can focus on getting them something special, rather than trying to spread the cost over five or six people.

   7. Buy 'family gifts'

   If you're buying for, say, your partner's family, why not buy a 'family gift' in place of separate ones? This could be something that all the family will enjoy using, like a boardgame. It saves money and encourages 'togetherness' at the same time!

   8. Negotiate

   Remember, shops have targets to meet, and they'll sometimes be willing to reduce prices or throw in extra items to make a good sale. This works mostly for stores that sell  high-priced products such as appliances, electronics, jewellery, furniture, etc. This is where shopping instore, rather than the internet, comes in handy.

   9. Avoid thoughtless gifts

   Often, people tend to throw in thoughtless gifts (like a toiletries set, scarf or address book) just to bulk up present packages. However, that money could have been saved, or put towards a nicer main present, than one they may never use and end up throwing away (= wasted money). Also, 'joke' presents never seem to end up being useful to that person in the future and usually end up thrown away, too (= more wasted money).

   10. Stay local

   I know it can be a big temptation to flock to the capital (if you're not already from London) for its huge range of shops and Christmas activities, but this can really wrack up costs. Why not visit the local towns in your county for independent shops and fairs, and find yourself some unique gifts at affordable prices? Supporting your community and high street is so important at this time of year!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Delicious Confit Salmon


   This decadent confit salmon is perfect for a starter at your Christmas dinner; it features a subtle combination of sweet and salty flavours, and satisfies those pre-roast dinner hunger pangs!

   The recipe, put together by Michelin-starred chef, Tom Sellers, serves 2 portions; however, ingredients can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled depending on how big your Christmas gathering will be!

You will need:

300g salmon
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, crushed
25g dried cranberries
A pinch of flaked sea salt
4 slices of rye sourdough, toasted
Fresh watercress to garnish


   STEP 1.

   Melt the Lurpak Clarified Butter* in a pan, and add the thyme, bay leaf, crushed garlic and cranberries.

   The Clarified Butter is 100% pure concentrated Lurpak Butter - so it allows you to cook at high temperatures and really lock in flavours.

   STEP 2.

   Lightly salt the salmon and leave on a tray for ten minutes to cure the flesh, then place the salmon into the hot melted butter skin-side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip over and cook for 2-3 minutes until the fish is opaque.

   STEP 3.

  Chill the contents in a fridge for 30 minutes or until the butter solidifies. Toast the sourdough slices.

   STEP 4.

   Spread the butter (with all the extras) onto the toasted sourdough. Break up the salmon with a fork and place on top of the layer of Clarified Butter. Garnish with fresh watercress and serve!



* (Gifted) In association with Lurpak

Friday, 5 December 2014

Budget Christmas Wishlist - Everything under £50

   If I were compiling my regular 'Weekday Wishlist', it'd be usual for me to throw in a few of my current favourite designer items to hit stockists like Avenue 32, Nordstrom or Coggles; however, I've decided that, as I'm on a serious budget this Christmas, I'd create a wishlist that I can actually afford! And, hopefully, you may spot a couple of high street goodies below to suit your friends, family, or even a naughty little self-gift (we all do it...).

   Without further ado, here are my select budget buys for the first week of Christmas!



1. Black Chiffon Midi Shirt by New Look - £19.99
2. Black Ankle Boots by Public Desire - £27.99
3. Retro Round Sunglasses in 'Tortoise Midnight' by ZeroUV - $9.99
4. Bra by Monki - £18
5. Pants by Monki - £8
6. Backpack by La Moda - £39.99
7. Bodycon Dress by Topshop - £30
8. Biker Trousers by H&M - £19.99
9. Sequined Jacket by Bershka - £49.99
10. Stitched Skirt by Mango - £34.99
11. Faux Croc Stilettos by Missguided - £24.99
12. Perfume Bottle Clutch by Aldo - £40
13. Contrast Flats by Missguided - £13.99

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Bringing Booty Back: My Style Icons of 2014

IGGY AZALEA / JENNIFER LOPEZ / NICKI MINAJ / BEYONCÉ / KIM KARDASHIAN

   Has 2014 been 'the year of the booty'? Iggy's 'The New Classic' became the highest-selling female rap album, J-Lo featured in the official song for the World Cup, Nicki released the controversial 'Anaconda' which broke the Vevo record for the amount of views it received within 24 hours, BeyoncĂ© performed in the sell-out 'On the Run' tour and Kim Kardashian tried to break the internet with her notorious 'Paper' magazine cover. 

   It's easy to say that it's been a pretty amazing year for these women - and their influence and popularity have spanned the entire world. Sure, some of them have received hate for the emphasis and exaggeration they place on their own figures, and I'd be the first to say that I wouldn't want all eyes on my behind, but if it empowers them then why not? 

   So why am I featuring these women in particular? What is it about their figures that resonates so much with me?

   Well, I've always been hugely self-conscious about my pear-shaped figure, so much so that I've always tried to cover up my hips and thighs with long t-shirts, smock dresses and oversized cardigans. I hated standing in front of full-length mirrors, and there was no way I could wear a bikini without a sarong around my waist.

   As a teenager I was always jealous of my friends' slim frames, and I couldn't help but wonder where I was going wrong. I began exercising obsessively, racking up miles on the treadmill and even doing squats while brushing my teeth. My friends always joked about how they ate junk food and got away without doing exercise, but I felt like I'd just get bigger and bigger if I did the same.

   It took me years of exercising, and not really getting anywhere, to realise that no amount of squats, push-ups, lunges, skipping, hula-hooping or running would make me look as slim as Kendall Jenner or Taylor Swift. And so I began to embrace my curvaceous hips, and with the inspirational style of the women mentioned above, dressed to compliment, rather than to cover up. Jeans, an item of clothing I never thought I could pull off, became an everyday staple, and pencil skirts were my workwear saviour. 

   I'll continue to exercise and eat well, but this time I'll look in the mirror and love what I see. Self-improvement is always a lingering aim in life, and we SHOULD improve ourselves, but only if it brings happiness and confidence, whether pear-shaped, apple, strawberry, hourglass or column!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Rainy Sunday Comfort Food



   I'm not enough of a mature adult to cook a Sunday roast yet, but I can definitely rustle up some super yummy comfort food to indulge myself on those rainy Sundays spent in front of the TV.

   This recipe for simplified tuna pasta bake is one of the easiest cooked meals I've ever made; if I can do it, you can definitely do it!


Ingredients:

600g pasta (any kind you prefer)
50g butter
250g mature cheddar
2x 160g cans of tuna, drained
1 can Heinz Chicken Soup

Recipe (serves 4):

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (fan oven). Boil the pasta for 2 minutes less than stated on the packet.

2. Drain the pasta, then mix in the soup, tuna and butter.

3. Transfer to a baking dish, then sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of the pasta.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the cheese is golden on top.

5. Enjoy!