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Category Archives: art

Latest Purchases #111 – A Primark Haul

What a beaut of a weekend! The sun was out and the clocks changed which means lighter mornings and evenings which are guaranteed to improve my mood.

Last weekend, I popped into Primark to hunt out the silver Gucci-inspired loafers I have seen everywhere and of course, picked up a few more items…

Here are the silver shoes I wanted. I am still wearing them in but think they will be perfect for Spring.

I love Primark’s loungewear and pyjamas. I find they are made of super-soft cotton which hang beautifully and are really loose and comfortable. I picked up a couple of cosy tops to wear in the evenings or as pyjamas.

On the pyjama theme, I bought this silky black pair of pjs which feel quite luxurious on.

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This top was probably my favourite purchase of the lot and one that I think encapsulates a lot of this season’s trends in the embroidery and the flared sleeves. I ended up getting this a couple of sizes bigger as I wanted quite a loose, almost floaty fit.

I really liked the colours in this knitted jumper and I think it looks more expensive than it was. Again, I sized up as a I wanted a baggy, over-sized fit and this looks great with jeans.

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I am after some green leaf prints for our bedroom and this cacti one is a good start. I may collate a gallery wall of sorts and I like the colours and gold detail on this print.

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I am slowly replacing all of my old mismatched hangers with these slim, copper ones so I picked up another 4 packs of these. It’s amazing how much more I can fit in my wardbrobe and they look really nice too.

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Whilst in the home section, I picked up a candle and reed diffuser. They definitely don’t have the strongest scent but do offer a subtle fragrance to a room.

Finally, a little at-the-till purchase of these coconut chips. I am trying to snack healthier at the moment and not reach for the biscuits and these coconut chips are really tasty.

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Five Friday Favourites #5

I’m not in the best shape on this Friday night. I have pulled a muscle in my neck so can only turn it in one direction and I have also got the start of a cold which is making my nose and eyes stream alongside constant sneezing fits…not the best start to the weekend! Nevertheless, this weekly Friday post gives me a push to focus on the positives of the week.

New Leggings

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I have been trying to exercise regularly and one thing I love is a good printed pair of leggings. Ian treated me to these leopard print beauties this week and I gave them a trail run at Pilates this week.

Women of the Hour

I love these podcasts from Lena Dunham. I think they are clever, witty and cover a wide range of women’s issues. I am currently binge-listening to Series 2

Gallery Wall

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I have started a gallery wall in the kitchen. I want to fill it with colourful prints and add to it throughout the year every time I find something I love.

Spotlight

Ian and I watched this film last weekend and it was incredible. We missed it at the cinema and it feels like we have been waiting for it to come out for ages. It was worth the wait though and we both really enjoyed it. It was also set in Boston so it was lovely to see some of the places we had visited!

Winter Walks

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As much as I love staying in under a blanket when it’s cold outside, last weekend we wrapped up and headed out. It was a crisp, sunny day and surprisingly refreshing.

Marley and Wood Jewellery

Today I wanted to share an amazing little jewellery company founded by my friends Cat and Kim.

Marley and Wood specialise in ethically-sourced gemstone necklaces. Each comes in beautiful navy and gold packaging and is named after inspiring women in their lives.

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I was lucky enough to receive the ‘Simone’ in white howlite, a stunning marble-effect gem. You can have these on silk cord (my personal preference) or gold and they are really reasonably priced for the range and quality…the hardest part is choosing which beautiful design to buy!

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Latest Purchases #106 – Two Urban Outfitters Books

I really like browsing the homeware and gift section of Urban Outfitters. I think they have some really original products and we have a few of them dotted around the house. I was looking through the book section and found these two.

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The first is ‘Bringing the Outside In’ by Val Bradley. This is a guide to growing cacti and succulents with sections on how to display hanging planters and terrariums.

My parents got me a beautiful copper terrarium for Christmas but I’m a bit clueless on how to start it off so this is ideal for knowing which plants to use and how to best care for them.

As well as having lots of handy hints and tips for all things plant-related, this is a really beautiful book and I really like the photography throughout.

The second book I bought was this lovely Daily Journal. I have to admit it was the marble green cover that pulled me in but the content is pretty great too. I am constantly making to-do lists to keep me on top of things and this has several sections to work through. I really like the fact that the pages aren’t dated so I can use it as and when I want to.

So, hopefully these two books will get me organised and green-fingered in no time! x

Travel Diaries – St. Petersburg

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I realised I never finished writing about the last two destinations on our Scandinavian mini-cruise this summer so today I wanted to share our day in St. Petersburg!

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We arrived at the port and made it through immigration before making our way into the city centre. It started out as quite a grey and drizzly day which felt almost fitting for Russia.

I knew a little of St. Petersburg’s history after reading The Siege but it is a huge city with so much to see. Given the limited time we had there and the weather, we decided to get on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour so we could see most of the highlights as well as hearing some history too.

My first impressions were not as I expected – it was a much prettier city with beautiful boulevards, grand buildings and fascinating history.

We got off the bus at the iconic Hermitage. This was a vast building with a huge square in front of it. We decided that we couldn’t do such a massive art museum justice by simply popping in for an hour so we admired the exterior before having a wander along the river.

Ian hates the ‘tat shops’ I always manage to find on holiday but I do love a good gift shop and we stumbled upon babushka gold.

The highlight of the day was visiting the Church of the Saviour of Spilled Blood. This was breathtaking inside with gold, marble and colours everywhere you looked.

After a good walk we decided some tea and cake were in order so we found a coffee shop on Nevsky Prospect (the main street of St. Petersburg) in an excellent people-watching position!

Having spent the day walking around quite a beautiful city, it was interesting to see how the buildings changed to a more stark and ‘Soviet’ style as we neared the port.

St. Petersburg was a fascinating city. Not high on my list of places to visit but I think that’s what made it even more special – I wasn’t expecting much so was pleasantly surprised by our day there.

 

 

Travel Diaries – A Week in Boston (Part Two)

Day Four

Our fourth day in Boston started with my first ever cronut! Man, this was delicious.

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We got the train to Salem which was about 40 minutes away. I have to say that we were both kind of disappointed by it. You would think that Salem, a place renowned for its spooky heritage, would be great around Halloween but it was all a bit try-hard and tired. There were some street performances which were fun to see and the graveyard and memorial sites were interesting but there were too many witch museums and haunted houses – all claiming to be the original/ scariest/ most authentic.

We had a walk along the coast before visiting Salem Beer Works. Here we did two beer flights, working our way through some East coast beers and some seasonal specials. I had a delicious cinnamon beer and a fruity one with real blueberries floating in it. I think there was a fairground and parade that opened in the evenings in Salem which may have been better to see.

After returning to the city, we found a bar to watch the Liverpool game then headed to TD Garden for our first ever ice hockey game. We were watching the Boston Bruins who are meant to be quite good but ended up losing. However I was happy as we got to see a fight within the first few minutes followed by regular scuffles throughout the game!

Day 5

The next morning, we were up and out early for a tour of Sam Adams craft brewery…yep drinking before 10am! This was a great little tour where we found out a bit about how the brewery started and worked our way through some samples.

Afterwards we got the T to Chinatown and had the best lunch. We ordered a Mongolian hotpot which came in a split bowl filled with two different types of stock, placed on an electric hob on the table. Separately, we had plates of fresh vegetables, raw prawns and beef, cooked rice and some noodles which you drop into the stock and allow to cook. This was a bit messy but a really fun lunch!

We did a spot of shopping that afternoon then headed back to TD Garden, this time to watch Boston Celtics. This was our first basketball game and it was really fun. There was a bit more atmosphere than the previous night (and it wasn’t as cold!) and we won too! We also had free t-shirts as it was the first game of the season.

Day 6

Our last full day started with a big walk along the river. We had some lovely  views of the city and wandered down Charles Street to Boston Common to enjoy pumpkin-spiced lattes in the park surrounded by squirrels.

We decided to have a final blow-out seafood lunch and I had read good things about The Barking Crab. We started with clams and prawns in garlic butter then I had a lobster roll and Ian had a mixed seafood platter. You really do have to indulge in seafood in Boston – it was so fresh and tasty.

I had been building up to a Sephora visit so I sent Ian back to the hotel and indulged in an hour of me-time, coming away with quite a hefty bag which I will share soon!

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For our last night, I had booked us tickets to ‘Rise of the Jack ‘o’ Lanterns’: an art exhibition made entirely of carved pumpkins. We went out for Mexican first then headed to the show.

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It was really amazing to see the skill involved and the exhibition took place in a darkened room which really added to the atmosphere – I took a lot of photos…

Day 7

We were travelling home today so spent the morning packing before a trip to the Boston Public Library. This is such a beautiful building and it had a really cool map exhibition too.

We had our final meal at 5 Napkins Burgers where I had one of the tastiest burgers of my life topped with smoked onion and rosemary relish and melted gruyere cheese…wow!

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I don’t feel I can write about a trip to America without mentioning the result of the elections this week. In the UK, Trump was presented as a total buffoon with Hillary as the voice of reason but when we were in the States, the constant adverts on TV painted a very different picture with Trump being a ‘true American’ whereas Hillary was a ‘criminal’ following the email scandal. Ian and I even remarked that it looked like quite an even race between the two of them which is why I wasn’t totally surprised at the result.

However, that isn’t to say that I am not completely gutted at the result either. I hope Trump has enough skilled, sensible and experienced people around him to keep him in check but bigger than that is the message of sexism, racism and homophobia that I feel has triumphed. Polls have shown that young Americans mostly voted in favour of Hillary so you can only hope this is just a four year blip in the history of a country that I truly love to visit.

Before and After – The Guest Bedroom

This bedroom was actually finished ages ago but a) I never got around to writing a blog post about it and b) it looks even better with our new carpets so here is the makeover of our guest bedroom (with a lot of help from my mum and dad!)

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When we moved in, this room had a rather interesting colour scheme. The walls were alternately painted a dark and pale blue which did nothing for the room and I didn’t think the two shades complemented each other either.

We spent the best part of a week painting layer upon layer of white paint onto the walls which really freshened things up and made the room look much bigger and brighter.

I decided on a grey, pink and copper theme so painted one wall (the wall the headboard of the bed would go against) grey and broke this up with some framed prints.

We already had a pine bed, drawers and bedside tables which I think kind of go with the copper-tones of the room.

Accessories were really important to bring everything together. I didn’t want the pink touches to make the room too girly, so we just stuck to some pink and white striped bedding plus a few candles.

The copper came from these gorgeous beside lights and a copper lampshade. My dad also bought us this copper fan.

Finally, some finishing touches in the form of this cool circular mirror hung on a leather strap, some framed artwork (we got the New York pictures last summer when we were there and the Japanese prints were a present), a pink and grey cushion, a pretty blind, a pink chevron rug from Urban Outfitters and possibly my favourite thing in the room which is this lovely pink, grey and white chevron blanket which Ian’s Mum kindly knitted for us.

This room looks onto the back garden and our friends and family always tell us they had a really good night’s sleep in here. Ian and I have thought about having this as our main bedroom too at times, just for the view of the trees you get when lying in bed!

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