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Stylist Live 2015

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Months ago, one of my best friends Lucie messaged me asking if I fancied going to Stylist Live. I’m always up for a weekend in London with my girls so said yes and last weekend we took ourselves off to the Business Design Centre in Islington for the day.

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Upon arrival, we were handed our free tote bags by none other than Dawn O Porter and Edith Bowman (!) before grabbing a glass of free champers and exploring. The venue looked great with iconic Stylist covers hung from the ceiling. I have to admit that I’m not an avid reader of Stylist but I love the fact that their magazine incorporates so much more than just beauty and fashion such as food, art, travel, interior design and all this was reflected by the stalls and talks on offer.

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There were so many wonderful speakers over the four days that this event was on and in an ideal world, I would have liked to come every day! My friend Amy went before me and saw Caitlin Moran speak which I am very jealous about. (She wrote a great review on her blog too!)

We had tickets to see Nigella speak so headed straight there and enjoyed a talk on what food means to her, her take on the latest clean eating trends (just don’t mention juicing!) and there was  also a Q&A session.

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Afterwards, we decided to scope out the venue and stalls. There were beauty treatments and hair styling on offer, book signings, food stalls, make-up stands, gin tasting, candles, stationary, homeware…I was in heaven!

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I didn’t go too crazy but did try my very first Crosstown Doughnut (pumpkin and lemon – bloody delicious!), bought some beautiful Rituals foaming shower gel as well as this amazing goodie bag from Clarins.

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Priced at £20 for the event, I picked up a pretty coral leather make-up bag which contained some Pure Melt Cleansing Gel, a little pot of Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, some Skin Perfecting BB Cream in 01 Light, a beautiful Blush Prodige in Soft Peach, a tube of Be Long Mascara in Intense Black and a tube of Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01 Rose Shimmer. Along with this bag, I received lots of samples too.

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I am also considering signing up for this monthly postal service from Katie Leamon. This stall had the most beautiful cards, prints and stationary and it would be such a treat to get a monthly delivery full of goodies to use. It’s not that cheap but I love the idea of supporting a new designer so I may give the Christmas edition trial run.

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Around lunchtime the queues were huge for the food places in the venue so we decided to get some fresh air and head down the road to a lovely Spanish restaurant for some grub.

When we returned, we attended the fashion show which showed 5 autumnal fashion trends and was fascinating to watch. We had planned on attending a few more talks but these were in very small rooms and sadly filled up very quickly.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this event. There was a great mix on offer and I loved that there were talks and shows as well as the shopping aspect. As with all first-time events, there are improvements to be made – I would have more selection of places to eat and drink and also ensure the talks were hosted in larger rooms as they filled up too quickly. Would I go again? Yes – it was a lovely girly day out and I came away feeling very inspired and discovered some great new brands.

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Latest Purchases #91 – Handbags

Handbags have never really been my thing – shoes yes, stationary yes and nail varnishes oh yes! However, I decided that for my 30th birthday I would treat myself to a designer handbag to remember my birthday holiday to America and also to have a beautiful item to use on a daily basis.

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Not content with one handbag, I actually ended up buying two bags, one statement and one classic, but I have quite different uses for them.

First of all, I bought this bright blue leather bag from Nine West. I love this colour and think it will work all year round. It has a lovely slouchy style and a folded over front which I think adds a cool twist. The inner lining is also really pretty. I have been using this as my everyday handbag and find it is quite roomy.

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Secondly, I wanted a ‘timeless classic’ that I could use for years to come and I decided that a black handbag would always be in style. I had a serious shopping dilemma between a Michael Kors and a DKNY bag but the latter won and I have worn this beauty a couple of times now.

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I tend to save it for nights out or the weekend just to keep it feeling special. I think the black snakeskin leather with the gold hardware is just stunning and I love the fact is a very simple, classic shape that won’t go out of style.

Sunday Catch-up #39

It has been a funny old week for me. I’ve spent a lot of it dosed up on painkillers and the rest of it feeling stressed and busy. We all have these weeks so I made sure to switch off this weekend as we spent it with Ian’s family. On the way home tonight we stopped off at the ‘Farm Shop’ service station near Gloucester which was amazing and what I think every motorway stop-off should be like…those cakes!

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This week I have been…

Making: a start on my Christmas shopping!

Going: to see Ian’s family this weekend

Wearing: tights and boots

Eating: soft foods after a very painful root canal treatment

Drinking: a cold root beer

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Reading: Cosmopolitan magazine for the first time in ages and thinking I prefer blogs now

Watching: the finals of GBBO and Doctor Foster…gripping stuff

Buying: some midi dresses from Boohoo

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Planning: my half term

Cooking: a trio of mini pies from the farm shop for dinner tonight

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Baking: dark chocolate and cherry flapjack

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Writing: more Instagram posts about pretty skies

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Favouriting: cuddles with this little guy

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Working on: my to-do list

Trying to decide: what series to start next now that we have finished Sons of Anarchy…we’re thinking of Narcos

Wishing: there were more hours in the day

Enjoying: soup season

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Needing: a good girlie weekend (roll on Saturday!)

Feeling: stressed and not liking it

Giggling at: the new Snapchat features!

Sunday Catch-up #37

Hello! I was MIA this week as I spent three days away with my school on a residential trip. It was very fun but extremely tiring so this weekend has been very easy-going. We headed out to Bath Chilli Festival yesterday which probably wasn’t the best idea for me (I am a bit of a wimp with spicy food!) but Ian was a lot more adventurous and had the tears rolling down his face to prove it!

This week I have been…

Making: a blue cheese dipping sauce

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Going: to Bath Chilli Festival

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Wearing: my Hunter wellies again

Eating: Beef brisket and lamb wraps

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Drinking: Chilli beer

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Reading: In the Kitchen by Monica Ali

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Watching: Gogglebox – so glad it’s back!

Buying: some hot sauce

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Planning: a healthy week of no-effort meals

Cooking: more BBQ food

Baking: nothing this week

Writing: to-do lists

Favouriting: this beautiful new glitter from Essie

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Working on: running again (I’ve been a bit lazy lately)

Trying to decide: if it’s cold enough to put the heating on yet

Wishing: for more late summer sun

Enjoying: the great company of my colleagues

Needing: a three day weekend to catch up on life

Feeling: very tired

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Giggling at: Ian trying the ridiculously spicy hot wings from the wings-eating competition

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Latest Purchases #87 – Huge US Clothing Haul

So I think it was fairly safe to assume that I would be returning from America with a much heavier case than I left with! I saved my pennies for months before I went so although this is a lot of stuff, I had been pretty restrained over the past few months and I cannot see myself buying many clothes for a little while. I love reading blog posts about clothing hauls so thought I would take a quick snap of my goodies before I packed them away in my (now heaving) wardrobe.

I bought them from lots of different places but decided to roughly group them by clothing type…first up, dresses!

I bought this pretty dress with yellow roses on from Forever 21 in Times Square whilst Ian was queuing for theatre tickets. It is quite short so I would definitely need to wear tights or leggings underneath but I think it is a perfect autumnal dress and I love the sheer long sleeves on it.

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Also from Forever 21, is this grey marl tunic. Worn with leggings, this is my ultimate Sunday outfit as it is soft and cosy but also looks great with a statement necklace if I do venture out.

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I think I must have a thing about long sleeved dresses with sheer sleeves as I picked up another one from H&M. This is navy with a swallow print and will be good for work. My mum got married in a navy swallow print dress so I think of her when I wear it!

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This dress was one of my pricier purchases but also one of those that looks so much better on than it does on the hanger. It is an H&M striped shirt dress with gold details and is just such a flattering cut. I love all the detailing on it, like the folded sleeves and gold tie-pulls and I feel like a woman who has her shit figured out when I wear it!

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A more summery dress now from a shop called Loft…stripes and lace, what more you could you want?!

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Next, onto tops and my best bargain. This shirt from Forever 21 had a label on it for about $30 but rang up as $3 when I took it to the till! I love the geometric pattern on it and it looks great with jeans and boots.

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A nice Breton-style top from Old Navy.

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A New York-inspired t-shirt from Aeropostale. I love the semi-distressed material and the images in silver foil…a little reminder of our trip to the Big Apple!

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Similarly, a cityscape t-shirt from Aeropostale in the same soft, sheer material.

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A slightly cropped red jersey top from Aeropostale. I picked this up on a bit of a whim but like that it is made from thicker material so I can wear it as it gets colder.

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Is it wrong to buy a t-shirt because you like the back more than the front? I don’t know, but I love the plaited neon of this top so much and it is made of a really soft, sheer material.

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Another purchase from Loft, I bought this pineapple t-shirt as I just thought it looked cool!

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As it was our 2nd wedding anniversary when we were in New York and it is tradition to buy gifts made from cotton, we bought each other an I Love NY t-shirt….naff or romantic?! Anyway, I plan on wearing this for working out and will have to co-ordinate with Ian to make sure we aren’t twinning!

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I bought this long t-shirt from Aeropostale (yeah, went a little crazy in that shop!) and I really like the silver geometric pattern on it. It hangs really nicely and looks ace with leggings or skinny jeans.

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A little random at-the-till purchase now in the form of this woven clutch/ make-up bag from H&M.

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Onto some shorts now, something I never used to wear but I seem to have found a style that suits my short legs! These black and white geometric print shorts are from H&M and I love them. They kept me cool on holiday and looked great with a loose black t-shirt and sandals. I’m hoping we get a few more warm weekends this summer so I can wear them again.

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Feeling emboldened by my H&M purchase, I also picked up a floral pair of shorts from Aeropostale which actually look quite like a skirt when they’re on.

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Let’s talk skirts next. As you may know, I am slightly obsessed with anchors and I just love this nautical navy skirt from Aeropostale! I’ve worn it with a plain white tee tucked in and it feels very ‘me’.

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Also from Aeropostale is this mint green lace skirt which is another one I am hoping I can wear again before the sun disappears this summer.

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Buying a whole new load of clothes always gives me a kick up the arse to have a good clear-out, mainly so I can fit everything in and also to get rid of the stuff I haven’t worn in a while. I’m really pleased with my US haul. It’s hard on holiday not to be lulled into buying really summery gear but I think I have a good mix of work and weekend wear and I luckily didn’t go over our suitcase weight allowance! x

Sunday Catch-up #32

This week I have been…

Making: pie!

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Going: to watch Bristol City play with my bestie

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Wearing: my new winter boots…in August!

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Eating: one of my Spanish omelettes

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Drinking: this Earl Grey Tea Latte

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Reading: To Kill a Mockingbird

Watching: Jurassic World (for the second time!)

Buying: lots of fruit and veg

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Planning: on making the most of my last week off

Cooking: a new Coca Cola chicken recipe

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Baking: white chocolate and chai tea bread

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Writing: my holiday posts and reminiscing

Favouriting: the Dismaland website, then we decided to just try our luck queuing up and we had the best day here!

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Working on: the three essays I need to do

Trying to decide: who my favourite is on GBBO…Tamal maybe?

Wishing: for a few more weeks of light nights and pink sunsets

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Enjoying: our new lawn

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Needing: to remember the words on my new mug (thanks Lu!)

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Feeling: strangely happy at the thought of going back to work

Giggling at: my lovely colleagues (we had a grown-up sleepover and a lot of sangria!)

Latest Purchases #85 – Fitness Wear

It goes without saying that I bought a lot on our recent trip to the States so I thought I would break up my Travel Diaries with a few hauls for good measure. First up, some fitness wear…

I invested in good quality shoes and a good sports bra for running but don’t put quite so much thought in to the rest of my ‘outfit’. In fact, I usually go out for a run in my plain black sports leggings and more often than not an old band t-shirt. Practical? Yes, but I have to admit I don’t feel that I look great.

I decided to treat myself to some cool and practical items to work out in, whether it be running, my weekly Pilates class or yoga in my conservatory! Here’s what I picked up…

Most of this haul is from Nike as it’s a brand I know is good quality, they had some awesome designs and their stuff was much cheaper than it would be in the UK. First up, a pair of cropped leggings. These have a little zipped pouch for an iPod or house key and I like the pattern of the material. The waistband is also one that can be folded down.

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Next, a pair of full length leggings in a jazzy grey design. Again, there is a hidden pouch in the waistband and I loved wearing these out for a run yesterday morning!

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A boring but necessary purchase as I upgrade from my Primark socks to some proper, super-comfortable ones.

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I went a bit mad on the vest front but they were all so pretty and comfortable when I tried them on! First of all, there is this coral pink patterned number with a racer back.

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To match the cropped leggings, I also got this black, grey and white vest.

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And finally I thought this striped one was a bit different and a cool bright turquoise colour.

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Continuing with the vests, I picked up this feather design from Adidas (and wore it to run up the ‘Rocky Steps’ in Philadelphia!)

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Finally, I bought a couple of pieces from Old Navy. Two more vests in a purple and green design. Although these look very similar, I like the fact that they each have a different back to them.

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And last of all, another pair of cropped leggings which you definitely won’t miss me in! Haha I wore these for a yoga session this morning and they are so comfortable and seem to hold you in as well as having a good amount of stretch in them for a bit of downward facing dog.

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I am hoping that cool workout gear = more motivation to exercise and so far this week it has worked and I have definitely felt better than wearing my old misshapen tshirts that I should really think about getting rid of now! x