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Latest Purchases #89 – A Paperchase Haul

It’s September and even if you are not going back to school/ college/ university, the shops are full of beautiful stationary so it’s only right that you indulge in some notebook-related loveliness.

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I think stationary shopping can be dangerously tempting. All those planners and cute to-do-list notebooks make you feel like you are getting super-organised whilst having an Instagram-worthy desk space. I popped into Paperchase, one of my favourite stationary shops, to get a few back-to-school essentials and some not-so-essential items!

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First up, an academic diary. I long for the day I can get a January to January diary but luckily there are some pretty September to September versions available. I bought this peony-covered one and used my neatest handwriting to keep it looking beautiful!

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If I don’t write it down, then it will be forgotten about so I also picked up a new notebook for my to-do lists. I love this bright, geometric print.

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I can’t get enough of nice pens and pencils to write in the aforementioned books so I bought a set of metallic gel pens and some pretty pastel pencils. I’ve already sharpened the pencils in my new electronic pencil sharpener…yes, I am that cool!

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Finally, I picked up a few birthday cards and some birthday cups too…just because.

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I think I have also discovered where my next stationary purchases may come from – I love everything in Kate’s new shop…ahhhhh those prints!

Travel Guide: New York

Another new feature I thought I would add to the blog following my recent travels was a little series of ‘Travel Guides’. I tend to write a really long, picture-heavy post after I have visited a new place and I thought these mini guides could be a quick read with my highlights including where to eat, what to do and where to stay.

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First up, New York, one of the most vibrant, exciting and fun places to visit. No matter what your interests, there is a never-ending amount of things to do including walking tours, sports, art galleries, shopping, sight-seeing and an amazing variety of places to eat. I have only been to this city twice so this is by no means an exhaustive list but just a few recommendations.

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EAT

Argo Tea

Dotted around the city, these tea shops offer delicious beverages with several free tasters in store!

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South Street Seaport

A very cool district full of great bars and restaurants. We happened upon the Smorgasburg food market when we were there and had some amazing lobster rolls and local beers.

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Tick Tock Diner

Standard, American diner serving great pancakes and other breakfast items.

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Gansevoort Market

A little foodie mecca with some amazing choices for lunch – it is a perfect stop once you have walked The High Line.

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Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Good for breakfast with singing Broadway-trained waiters – a really fun start to the day!

Iguana New York

This Mexican restaurant was next door to our hotel and did the best margaritas.

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Grand Central Station

Not only is the station itself a must-see in my opinion, but there is a great little food court on the lower level which includes Shake Shack, Magnolia Bakery and a lovely soup bar.

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Katz’s Deli

A New York institution, endure the queues as the pastrami and beef brisket sandwiches are worth it!

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DO

Visit Central Park

It’s huge so you can make several visits during your stay and see a different area each time. We went running here in the mornings, strolled in the afternoons and even came for a picnic but there are also outdoor concerts, play areas, a boating lake, sculptures and an outdoor swimming pool in the summer…a beautiful oasis amongst the skyscrapers.

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See a Broadway Show

There is a booth in Times Square where you can get discounted tickets for shows the same day and we took advantage of this to go and watch ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ for my 30th birthday. Times Square at night is a sight to behold too.

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Buy a CityPASS

If you plan on doing several of the major tourist attractions then it is worth looking into this ticket booklet to save some cash. My Mum bought me mine for a birthday present and we ended up visiting the Empire State Building (twice!), the Natural History Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the 9/11 Memorial Museum and a ferry tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, all of which I would recommend.

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Walk The High Line

Once an abandoned railway track, this elevated walkway takes you through wild gardens, art installations and food vendors with great views of the local neighbourhoods.

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Go Kayaking on the Hudson River

The Manhattan Community Boathouse offers free half hour kayaking (which is about how long my arms could take!) in a couple of locations. We went at sunset and it was such a fun thing to do!

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STAY

If you want to be near to Central Park and the buzz of Broadway and Times Square, then I would recommend staying at The Ameritania. The staff are incredibly helpful if you need directions or a recommendation, the rooms are clean and modern and there is  a Starbucks over the road for chai tea and free wifi!

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TIPS

Buy a MetroCard for getting around the city. We bought a 7-day card for around $30 and definitely got our money’s worth using it several times a day. The carriages are also air-conditioned which is a godsend in the summer!

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Recipe – Coca Cola Chicken

After indulging in chicken wings on an almost daily basis whilst in America, I was craving chicken again so had a play around with this recipe. I call it Coca Cola chicken but it is akin to a very mild, sweet barbecue sauce and one that makes the meat almost fall off the bones. You can make this with drumsticks, wings or even thighs.

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Ingredients

A glug of olive oil

9 chicken drumsticks

One can of Coke (I used Diet Coke)

One tin of chopped tomatoes

One teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

Salt and pepper

Some fresh coriander

How to make it

  • In a large pan, add the oil and chicken and brown for a few minutes on each side on a medium heat
  • Pour over your can of Coke, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and mustard, season well and stir
  • Lower the heat slightly and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring regularly, until the sauce has reduced and thickened

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  • Remove the chicken legs and scoop up the rest of the sauce
  • Serve warm with some fresh coriander and my Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

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Hand Luggage Beauty

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I feel like I really got it right with my carry-on make-up bag on our recent trip to the States. My skin suffers on a longer flight and rather than spend the first few days of my holiday battling with parched skin, I decided to try a few in-flight treatments that meant I landed feeling fresh and ready to go.

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I used my Birchbox clear plastic bag as it meant I could see everything, it was small (so I couldn’t overpack!) and it met the airport security requirements.

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First up, handcare. I always carry a little bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel and the scented ones from Bath and Body Works are my favourite. To give a little moisture, I am currently loving this Subtle Violet hand cream from L’Occitane.

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In terms of skincare, I didn’t bring any sort of cleanser as we had an early morning flight and I wasn’t wearing any foundation or base product. During the flight, I applied several layers of REN’s Instant Firming Beauty Shot, a great little serum and I had a few blemishes, so used Balance Me’s Congested Skin Serum too. This Vitamin E Face Mist from the Body Shop is a must-have holiday product for me as it is amazing at administering a cooling, refreshing blast in the heat and I like to spritz my face after a few hours on the plane when the air starts to feel a bit stale. I also popped in a travel-sized bottle of Benefit’s Dream Screen so I had some SPF to hand when we landed in the sunshine.

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Finally, some lip products. I applied the Body Shop Lip Butter constantly and brought two lip options for when we landed – a L’Oreal nude lip and a Bourjois statement lip depending on how I felt.

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Mani Monday – Essie Nail Wraps

I realised it had been a while since I had worn any nail wraps and decided to do my whole set of nails in these Essie ones. Printed with romantic calligraphy, these Love to Love You nail wraps were really easy to apply and are some of the best quality I have tried.

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You know the drill…size them up and stick onto the nail

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Then use a nail file to tidy things up.

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I like to apply a layer of top coat too, just to give my manicure an extra few days.

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I love the monochrome look this has and is a twist on the plain white manicure that has been popular this summer.

Sunday Catch-up #33

Whilst most have been bemoaning the rain this week, I have secretly quite liked it as I have been stuck inside essay writing…3 down, 1 more to go! We’ve also been dog-sitting Ruby Soho and I have loved taking her for her morning walk and watching her run through the fields, barking at imaginary dogs. Let’s not mention the fact that this was also the last week of the summer holidays and I have to go back to work next week.

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This week I have been…

Making: my bed every day and feeling like I’m getting into fresh sheets every night (I’m sure most other grown-ups do this as standard!)

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Going: to watch Bristol City play

Wearing: my hair in a centre-parting again

Eating: Sicilian sardine pasta

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Drinking: homemade sangria

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Reading: Pop Goes the Weasel (and it’s just as gripping as the first one!)

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Watching: Sons of Anarchy all day errrryday

Buying: a sneaky Birchbox order

Planning: my lessons for the next few weeks

Cooking: my smoked haddock chowder

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Baking: peanut butter and jelly bites

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Writing: on my blog daily again – I hope I can keep it up when I go back to work!

Favouriting: the new Autumn/ Winter fashion on ASOS

Working on: these damn essays

Trying to decide: what to get Ian for his birthday

Wishing: we could get a pet dog

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Enjoying: the rain

Needing: to start getting up earlier…10am lie-ins just won’t cut it anymore

Feeling: excited about starting a new term

Giggling at: how cosy this little one looked all wrapped up on the sofa!

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Latest Purchases #88 – Sephora Haul

Possibly the visit I was most looking forward to making whilst we were in America, I had a list and was a woman on a mission when I went to Sephora in Georgetown, Washington! I am so surprised this store hasn’t made it to the UK but I think that just makes it a little bit more special when you do get to visit one. I picked up a range of make-up and beauty items, some I had been lusting after for a while and others I grabbed on a whim. I also bought two lipsticks which have gone missing since returning home…I’m still hoping they will turn up one day soon!

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First up, a little bottle of Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray that I bought as a present for Ian. I don’t use anything like this in my hair but I’m told this stuff is the best so like the good wife that I am, I popped one in my basket.

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Next, a bronzer from Sephora’s own make-up range in the shade Aruba. This formula has some serious shimmer so gives a lovely glow when used. It is quite dark but with a light hand, gives a beautiful golden sun-kissed look.

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I had to pick up another one of the Instant Nail Polish Removers when I saw it. It is one of the best I have used and my nail varnish was so badly chipped, I used it as soon as we got back to our hotel room! I was toying with this and the ‘white chocolate’ version from Ciate but it was such a tiny pot for the same price, I thought the Sephora one would last a bit longer.

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Next, a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in the shade Trooper. I had been after one of these eyeliners for so long and they are raved about in the beauty world. I have used this a couple of times and am pretty impressed. The staying power is the best I have seen in a liquid eyeliner. My only complaint is that it isn’t as deep a black as I was expecting but you can build up the colour quite easily. The tip is really unique too – very fine but you can get a thick or thin line from it. I now wish I had picked up a couple of other items from her line as the packaging seems just as beautiful as the products.

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A bit of a less glamorous purchase now – deodorant! I have read a lot lately about how harmful aerosol deodorants can be so decided to try a more natural version and see how I get on. I had read recommendations for the Pure Vanilla Healthy Deodorant from LaVanila so picked up a stick.

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I picked up these Sephora Sleeping Masks for gifts and really wish I had bought myself one too!

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Next, a cleansing oil to try out from Boscia (another one recommended by beauty bloggers). I use these type of cleansers every evening and keep finding gems so hopefully this one will prove as good!

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One reason I love/ hate Sephora is how easy they make it for you to spend more than you had planned! I wanted to try out the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads (a favourite of Lily Pebbles) but when I saw this lovely kit with their Face Cleanser and Ultra Repair Cream included, I decided to try out a bit more from the range.

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A real treat now from Tarte. Their Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blushers are raved about but quite pricey. After not buying one the last time I was on holiday, I decided to try out the shade Tipsy, a gorgeous bright coral-pink shade. I also love products that are embossed and this pretty jungle path means I will be really reluctant to use it too much!

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I have saved the best for last as this was the purchase I was most excited about trying. I love the ‘Sephora Favourites’ boxes where they select the best items from different brands based on a theme such as ‘bronzers’ (which I have bought in the past). I picked up the ‘Time to Prime’ box which contains a variety of amazing primers. Included is a Formula X Base Coat, an Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, an Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer, a Smashbox 24-Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, a Bite Beauty Line and Define Lip Primer and a Living Proof Prime Style Extender for Hair. I think you’ll agree, this is a pretty awesome collection!

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