Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Ten Lovely Things: Spring

I wrote a 'Ten Lovely Things' post about autumn last year, and I had such a warm feeling looking back at the list I put together that I wanted to write something inspiring for spring too. The weather might be apocalyptic out there, but that doesn't mean you can't hide from it AND make the most of it.

Get hooked on a new box set. 
There's nothing I love more than binging on a TV series when the wind is howling outside - it gives you something to look forward to on those miserable weekday evenings when you're tired from work but your mind just won't switch off. My current addiction is Game Of Thrones; luckily I've managed to avoid any major spoilers and still have series 3 to catch up on!

Host a dinner party. 
You and all of your friends have somehow double booked yourself every weekend so far this year, have minimal funds for adventures and haven't had time for so much as a cup of tea together since Christmas. Sound familiar? Stop what you're doing, get those friends on the phone and mark a day in your diary when you can get together, even if it's weeks away. Ask everyone involved to bring a starter or a dessert, provide a kick ass main and plenty of cheap wine et voilà - you've got yourself an exciting evening surrounded by people you love.

Have a 'me' day (or at the very least, a 'me' hour). 
Turn off your phone. Put a 'do not disturb sign' on your bedroom door. Tell your other half to hang out with their friends. Annnnnnd relax. Whether it's a long soak in the shower, an hour of catching up on the blogs you love, or a spot of exercise followed by an afternoon nap, spending time with yourself is important.

Visit your local charity shop. 
Avoid the busy high streets and shopping centres that give you a migraine and hit your local charity shops for a spot of de-cluttering. Take in a bag of your best 'crap you don't really need' for extra feel-good points and browse the shelves or rails for a nice cheap treat.

Treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers. 
Nothing makes me feel brighter than waking up to a beautiful vase of flowers in my room. Pick up some daffodils or tulips on your way home from work; they don't cost the earth and they're the perfect flowers for spring!

The inevitable spring clean. 
Stop thinking about doing it and just do it. Yes you'll want to have a tantrum half way through, but think about how much better you'll feel afterwards! My advice? Do it on a Saturday - that way, you have Sunday to unwind in your fresh space.

Get an early night. 
If I've learnt anything from Twitter recently it's that everyone is feeling overstretched and sleep deprived, no matter what their lifestyle. Do yourself, your mind and your body a favour and go to bed before 9pm sometime, ok?

Take in an exhibition. 
After a sluggish and cold winter most people jump on the 'new year, new body' wagon, but why stop there? Shake up your cognitive energy and immerse yourself in the cultural world; there are hundreds of free exhibitions up and down the country that might just awaken something new inside of you...

Make time for a face mask or three.
The wind, the rain, the cold…it's all bad news for your poor skin. Make your face feel like a million dollars with a clay mask followed by an exfoliating mask and finally a mask to rehydrate.

Organise Friday night drinks.
You've got a blissful and highly anticipated weekend to yourself on the horizon but you're feeling guilty that you haven't seen your friends/family/colleagues much recently. Get the best of both worlds and introduce Friday night beer club; you get to unwind, see loved ones AND have the rest of the weekend free to do whatever you want.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Just a (belated) minute…in January

Feeling thankful… For so many things. I had a wonderful birthday thanks to my family and friends (the Harry Potter Tour is AMAZING - go!) and despite having an emotional wobble recently, things seem to be falling into place *does celebratory dance*

Wearing… Nothing but my new Nike Free's, which Charlie very kindly bought for me. They're the most comfortable trainers I've ever owned and no, I won't take them off.

Looking forward to… Visiting Lisbon in May. I've never been to the city before so if you're reading this and you have any 'must dos' recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

Listening toA lot of old favourites; Brand New, Elbow and Reuben mostly. I love commuting via the bus as it gives me time to wake up with a great playlist (I suck at reading whilst on the move, so music is my go-to).

Watching… A million old episodes of One Tree Hill and the new season of Girls.

Eating… All the bad things (oops). I started January so well - I had a more structured diet and an ACTUAL exercise routine - but a bout of flu put an exhausting spanner in the works. I've just begun feeling human again, which means it's time to dig out the sports bra and cut back on the sugar once more (sob).

Embarking on… The huge effort that is a skin care regime. Oh how I miss my 20-year-old face...

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

28 before 28

In previous years, I've written 'Life Lists' as opposed to resolutions in preparation for the year ahead - writing down things I'd like to achieve every day, every week, in 6 months time and by the end of the year. From small things like improving my eating habits, to bigger moments like moving to South London, passing my driving test and taking a trip to New York, this method worked for me because it always focused on what I wanted to accomplish; I never denied myself of anything and I never pressured myself into completing it.

For 2014 I thought I'd change the game up and challenge myself to a 28 before 28 list - a list that will hopefully make my life that little bit more awesome and maybe even improve the lives of those around me. Do we share any goals this year? Let me know in the comments below!

1. Discover a new restaurant once a month
2. Travel somewhere new
3. Get another tattoo (or two...)
4. Take advantage of the theatres on my doorstep
5. Visit my home girl in Lisbon
6. Ride horses with Charlie
7. Go to more gigs
8. Make a scrapbook
9. Balance a healthy mind with a healthy body
10. Learn to knit
11. Learn how to make the perfect chicken gyoza
12. Sleep somewhere magical
13. Take a dance class
14. Make a substantial start on my savings
15. Bake as often as possible
16. Volunteer
17. Take a road trip to Scotland
18. Develop a skin routine (and stick to it!)
19. Spend more time with my family
20. Write, write, write
21. Enter more competitions
22. Cook something new, often
23. Host a dinner party
24. Explore London
25. Spend a week performing random acts of kindness
26. Do the clear out to end all clear outs (and stay organised afterwards)
27. Be inspired by Pinterest and craft more in 'real life'
28. Spend less, wear more

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Ten Lovely Things: Autumn Mixtape

There's nothing quite like a good playlist to get you in the mood each season. I adore everything autumnal (even those blustery days) so I thought I'd share a few songs with you that never fail to make me think of autumn. It's the perfect for listening to on a leafy walk, or whilst you're wrapped in a blanket, watching the rain - just click the image and enjoy.

1. Joanna Newsom - Sprout And The Bean
2. College Feat Electric Youth - A Real Hero
3. The Church - Under The Milky Way
4. Ryan Adams - Come Pick Me Up
5. Etta James - Stormy Weather 
6. Portishead - Glory Box
7. The Velvet Underground - Oh! Sweet Nuthin
8. Echo & The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon
9.  Massive Attack - Paradis Circus
10.  Cat Power - Wild Is The Wind

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Nutella Cheesecake

If you've never attempted a cheesecake before, this is a really simple no-bake recipe that guarantees tasty results! Nigella's Nutella cheesecake is a great go-to dessert that will be welcomed not only by your dinner guests, but by you; it's perfect for those wintery days when you want something indulgent but you're too tired to create a masterpiece.

You'll need:
  • 250g digestive biscuits 
  • 75g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 400g Nutella
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 500g cream cheese

Make it!
  • Put the digestives, butter and a tablespoon of Nutella into a food processor and blitz until incorporated. Add 25g of hazelnuts and repeat until you have a damp, sand like texture.
  • Press evenly into the bottom of a 23cm springform tin to create the base and pop in the fridge to chill.
  • Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together, then add all (yes all!) of the Nutella. Continue to beat until smooth.
  • Take your base out of the fridge and pour the mix over the top, spreading out with a spatula as you go. 
  • Chop the remaining hazelnuts and scatter across the top, then place in the fridge for +4 hours (if you can wait, overnight is best).

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Just a minute...in October

Wearing... Pencil skirts! I wasn't a fan of the softer 'tube' styles in the summer as they highlight every curve (including the unwanted ones) but having recently purchased two thicker skirts (a black leather number from Zara and this jacquard checkered beauty from Topshop), I think the pencil skirt might be my AW13 staple.

 Reading... I've had a little spare time recently to indulge in my bookshelf, which I couldn't be happier about. I love curling up with a book and a mug of tea when the weather is so sucky. I've devoured The Mortal Instruments series (don't judge me), Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn Porter and Chuck Palahniuk's Diary. I also picked up Gone Girl yesterday and I can't put it down! Is there anything in particular you've read this year that I should add to my list?

 Looking forward to... Taking a trip to Lincoln. Charlie and I are heading to the city where we met/both studied for a well deserved long weekend, and I cannot wait: I absolutely adore Lincoln in autumn, and I'm really looking forward to catching up with old friends.

Thinking about... What I can do to motivate myself when it's SO COLD. Yes, throwing myself into the world of running would be much easier in the spring, but I'm determined to get into a regular routine before the end of the year. I'm also on the hunt for a good framer after treating myself to a magical full moon print by Sabrina Kaici at the Crafty Fox Market in Brixton last week.

 Going... To see my first NFL game with the boys at the end of October! I went to the Regent Street take over earlier this month and it was so much fun - watching the Vikings Skol line perform made my day.

 Watching... So many episodes of Gilmore Girls. Stars Hollow will always be my favourite guilty pleasure.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Curvy Kate: Daisy Chain & Starlet Petrol review

For ladies who're blessed with a fuller bust, Curvy Kate is like all your Christmases and Birthday's rolled into one. Ok, so sometimes having more-than-a-handful feels more like a curse than a blessing (especially when it comes to shopping for lingerie) but once in a blue moon you'll come across a brand that just gets it. Offering a collection of D - K cup lingerie, Curvy Kate's whole ethos revolves around making curvy girls feel good about their figure as well as providing those who need a little extra support and lift with beautiful underwear that fits AND flatters.

Back in July I was lucky enough to be invited to Curvy Kate's blogger event - thanks to the lovely Gemma - to view the AW13 collection and play bra bingo with some gorgeous half naked women (read more about the event and see the photos here) where I also won a competition and a lingerie set from the new collection! I opted for the Daisy Chain after seeing Star In A Bra winner Lotte Williams wearing it on the catwalk - isn't it lovely?

This pretty plunge bra is supportive without feeling constrictive, and although it's quite saucy in style (hello sheer top) it makes a great every day bra too. The daisy cut out embroidery is cute without being My-Little-Pony-cute, and thanks to the adjustable straps/laminated lower cups combination, you'll get plenty of projection. My top draw is a no thong zone thank you very much, so I chose the matching briefs, which are true to size and feature a nice ample band at the side. Whilst I'm not quite ready to share my body with the Internet, I did flash the beautiful George of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust fame my Daisy Chain boobs over Twitter...

After falling in love with the Daisy Chain, I was thrilled to be given the chance to try a second set from the AW13 collection, the Starlet Petrol, which my bra obsessed friend Becky refers to as 'the mermaid rack'. I LOVE the dual colour way, the star drop details and the diamond overlay on the moulded cups, which appears on the front panel of the briefs too. The Starlet gives a more rounded shape than the Daisy Chain (making it a great alternative to a boring t-shirt bra) and the briefs are super soft - if you're a fan of high waisted underwear, then trust me: you need these in your life!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Just A Minute...in August

Listening to... A real mix of songs. I've spent the majority of this month in teenage music mode (Reuben, Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday) as well as rediscovering my love for Radiohead. Oh, and soundtracks have featured heavily too, like always.

Wearing... The Curvy Kate Daisy Chain bra, which I won at the Curvy Kate Blogger Event last month. I promise to review it later this month - I've worn it non stop since July and it's incredible!

Reading... Very little other than Twitter and BuzzFeed. I have a whole shelf of new books that I CANNOT get into the right frame of mind for, which is incredibly frustrating.

Looking forward to... London Fashion Week.

Not looking forward to... London Fashion Week.

Eating... Non stop. I've started (and stopped) The 30 Day Shred twice now and I'm beginning to feel that exercise DVD's just aren't going to work for me. I am however, determined to be a much fitter and healthier version of me by the end of the year - all running advice, recipes and general health tips are welcome, so please do send me all of your links!

Thinking about... Dying my hair purple. Which I kind of did yesterday...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Tips: New York

So you're off to New York. You've got your flights sorted and a list as long as your arm of all the typical tourist spots (and an even longer one for those "off the beaten track" places that friends have recommended), but you're not sure where to stay, where to start, or what order to do them in. These are just a few tips that were passed onto me before my NYC adventure, plus a few I discovered for myself along the way.

Stay with Airbnb
I couldn't recommend Airbnb any higher - I even wrote a review about it over at The High Tea Cast which you should totally read.

Eat whatever you want
You're on holiday. You're staying in a city where every flavour imaginable is on your doorstep. I'm not saying eat yourself into a food coma (which I totally did, but hey, we're all different) but if you're on a diet, give yourself a break. Check out some of my favourite spots here!

Get a New York Pass
If you're heading to the big apple for 5 days or more, this is for you. It's a great way to save money and get free entry attractions and/or queue jump at certain hot spots. The only downside is that you have to use it on consecutive days, but if you want to make your dollars go further and cram in as much as possible, it's worth it.

Hire a bicycle
When you've been doing that slow 'museum walk' combined with looking up in awe all day, then trust me; every part of your body going to ache, particularly your lower back. Midway through our trip we hired a bicycle for the day from Blazing Saddles and it was the best thing we could have done! It gave us chance to really see the city in a new way (we picked ours up from the pier and rode up the Manhattan greenway to Central Park) PLUS you get a free 24 hour hire with your New York Pass (another example of how awesome the pass is).

Twitter is a fantastic resource for travelling - I stumbled across some great bars and restaurants by simply asking around. Think about it: most of us use Twitter every day for catching up with news stories and for recipe ideas etc, so why not utilise your 'hive mind' for tips on places to stay, eat and do stuff? If you're already following someone who's already been to New York (or even better, lives there) then chances are you're going to enjoy what they recommend - otherwise you wouldn't be following them.

Walk The High Line
The High Line is a disused freight rail that has been transformed into an aerial park, running along Manhattan's West Side and ending in the Meat Packing District. It's a beautiful and unique walk with benches along the way should you need to rest (or take in the view), a sun deck, and some great food vendors too!

Top of the Rock VS The Empire State Building
The trouble with the Empire State is that when you're at the top of it, you can't see it! The best advice I can give you is to visit the Rockefeller Center during the day - it's less crowded, plus you'll get a clearer view of New York - and go to The Empire State Building at night. As the last lift is at 1:15am, Charlie and I decided to go for dinner and drinks first - when we arrived around midnight we couldn't believe our luck as we walked straight through! No 4 hour queues, no school trips, no screaming children, and a breath taking nightscape; yes, visiting one of the worlds busiest Observatory's out of peak tourist hours definitely had it's perks.

Harbour Cruise
I'm not a big boat fan, but somehow Charlie managed to convince me we should add a Circle Line River Cruise to our list and I'm so glad he did! We opted for the 'romantic' 2 hour sunset trip around the island which is timed to perfection - it was light on the way out, the sun went down as we reached Lady Liberty, and it was pitch black by the time we reached the pier. Perfect.

P.S Yet another freebie with your NYC Pass!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Just A Minute...in July

I posted my last 'Just A Minute' well over a year ago and thought I'd revive it in an attempt to post more frequently - think of it as a quick update between friends!

Wearing... As little as possible, and hating every minute of it. I'm not built for climates that don't accommodate cardigans. 
 Oh and a grunge inspired 90's outfit for our themed summer BBQ (above).

Reading... Tons of great blog posts after having a re-arrange on Bloglovin (check out Rosalilium's mouthwatering recipe index and this great observation piece about attitudes by Spadge) as well as Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, which I keep picking up and putting down. Is it just me who struggles to concentrate on literature in this heavy heat?

Looking forward to... Visiting the lovely ladies I lived with at University next weekend. It's been over a year since the four of us have been together, and I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to some 'girl time'. It's heartwarming to know that we've all taken such individual paths after graduating, yet still have that bond.

Eating... My first homemade choux pastry buns (recipe coming soon!) and a lot of BBQ food - my favourite hot weather tradition. Forget the stereotypical meat, meat and more meat approach; in our house, you'll find plenty of potato salads, vegetable kebabs, and at least one dish from this amazing Ottolengi cookbook (the chargrilled asparagus, courgettes and manouri recipe is a particular favourite of mine).

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Ten Lovely Things: Eating & drinking in New York

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed the few (hundred) photos of New York recently. Charlie and I spent just over a week in the big apple, and, to coincide with all of the usual tourist attractions, we made a seriously long list of places we wanted to eat in/drink at along the way. Isn't that what being on holiday is all about?

Unfortunately we didn't manage to hit every spot, however, there were a few stand out places that I wanted to share with those who might be planning a trip to NYC, or those of you who're lucky enough to live right around the corner from the following awesome restaurants and drinking holes. Enjoy!

If you're visiting New York, you have to eat a slice of pizza - it's basically the law. Artichoke is a straight up independent pizzeria that deals in excellent slices for less than $5.

The Standard Grill
This beautiful bistro situated inside a boutique hotel is the perfect place for dinner - especially if you've worked up an appetite walking The High Line, which runs underneath the belly of The Standard. Popular with the Meatpacking District/Chelsea crowd, you'll be met with excellent service, strong cocktails, and the best duck bolognese ever.

KATZ'S Delicatessen
Famous for it's huge sandwiches (and Meg Ryan's fake orgasms), Katz's deli is THE place to go for a lunch you'll never forget. You won't be faking anything when you sink your teeth into one of their huge pastrami on rye sandwiches - Charlie and I had to split it as we couldn't handle one each!

Lanterns Keep
Lanterns Keep is a wonderful gem of a cocktail bar, tucked away inside the Iroquois hotel. The secret salon is open when the lantern on the exterior of the building is lit and delivers everything a girl could want; excellent service, the best cocktails, and attractive staff.

P.S Let the barman suggest a drink for you, you won't regret it.

Beauty & Essex
A slightly more expensive eatery that's well worth the hype. I heard about Beauty & Essex through Dawn Porter on Twitter and after doing some research (and drooling over hundreds of tweets of recommendation) we decided to give it a whirl. Situated on the Lower East Side, you'll enter into this dark and stylish restaurant through a real pawnshop, be handed champagne in the Ladies, and feast on small plates of everything from lobster tacos and bone marrow, to bacon and tomato soup dumplings.

In the lead up to our trip, a couple of friends grabbed me by the shoulders and said "OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE TO GO TO BALTHAZAR", and it didn't disappoint. Charlie and I went here for our anniversary dinner and throughly enjoyed ourselves as we tucked into beautifully cooked French cuisine and worked our way through the extensive wine list. If you can't afford a trip to New York just yet, you can find Balthazar in London now too!

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
A glittering unicorn muriel painted on the wall, She-Ra defending the Universe on a shelf near by, and an ice cream called 'the salty pimp'. Do you need any other excuse to visit Big Gay Ice Cream?

Death & Company
Impossible to find at first, this cocktail lounge turned out to be just a 3 minute walk from our apartment! Death & Co is a dark-as-hell exclusive bar with a no reservation policy. As you step inside, you'll see why they don't accept groups large than 7 (it's small, narrow and almost pitch black) but if you can secure a seat at the bar, the cocktails will soon knock you off it.

In our experience, the service wasn't as great as we'd heard (however the place was rammed and our waitress was fairly new to the job) but the flavoursome food was definitely worth the wait! Check out Bareburger's super cool website and you'll soon be transfixed by their mouth watering organic burgers.

McSorley's Old Ale House
McSorley's was the last 'men only' pubs (it only started admitting women in 1970) and is, according to local legend, the oldest watering hole in New York. E.E. Cummings apparently drank "the ale which never lets you grow old", and there's even a photo of Abraham Lincoln drinking at the bar! There's also sawdust on the floor, newspaper cut outs, bottle caps and photos covering the walls, and you'll only find 2 drinks on the menu; light or dark beer. This snug ale house doesn't have a website (!) but you can read more about it here.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Passion For Fashion: Part Two

Do you remember last year when I entered Money Supermarkets blogger competition to win £1000 to spend on the ultimate wardrobe update? Well, it's back! There are less categories this time around, but the process is the same; create a Casual, Party and Holiday outfit for under £200 in the hope that you might inspire a reader, a stranger, or the brand new judging panel *waves*.

My last casual outfit was a typical everyday outfit for me consisting of jeans, a Breton striped top, classic trench and tote bag with trainers. This time I opted for something from the other side of my wardrobe; the one brimming with dresses and cardigans! (seriously, I'm a sucker for a good cardigan). I built this look around the dress - a gorgeous drop waisted number from the recent Celia Birtwell for Uniqlo collection - teaming it with a cardigan in my favourite colour, grey. I actually already own this dress but I'm already thinking of buying it in another colour as it's so comfortable and flattering, not to mention a bargain at £29.99! I added a pair of sturdy but stylish ankle boots that will last through to next season and a pretty oversized bag to carry all the crap I tote around with me during the day, finishing off the look with subtle jewellery and a rich purple nail polish.

If the TARDIS turned up on my doorstep, this is probably what I'd be wearing to run around the universe with the Doctor, so I guess you could call it my companion outfit...


Celia Birtwell For Uniqlo Dress £29.90
 Zara Basic Cardigan £19.99
 Topshop Ample Heavy Sole Boots £70
Monki Claire Bag £30
Urban Outfitters Black Stone Rings £16
Illamasqua Faux Pas Nail Varnish £13.50

TOTAL = £179.39 (£20.61 left over for lunch with the girls)

I'm going on holiday in a few weeks time, although unfortunately I won't be anywhere near a beach! I say unfortunately as ASOS have some amazing swimwear this season which I've been drooling over for a while now. My holiday look is inspired by the Sixties and Seventies style seen across the SS13 catwalks; these round framed glasses teamed with that high waisted bikini (which goes up to a 34FF by the way!) would look amazing with a slick of pink lipstick and a beachy beehive...

I wanted to create an outfit that could go from beach to bar, so I included a beautiful blue jersey dress (which would fit easily in the large metallic tote bag without creasing too much), a sleek pair of white sandals and a pretty charm necklace. 

ASOS High Waisted Bikini Pant £16
ASOS Print Fuller Bust Halter Bikini Top £16
French Connection Jersey Maxi Dress £48
Topshop Hermione Geek Sandals £22
& Other Stories Lipstick in Ninon Pink £12
Sam Ubhi Charm Necklace £35
ASOS Tortoiseshell Round Sunglasses £10

TOTAL = £159 (£41 left over for ice creams and duty free)

My last outfit may not be particularly daring or typically 'dressy', but then I'm not really the type of girl to party in tight dresses and sky high platforms - this look is very true to my own style with a few trend pieces throw in.

This Prada-esque skirt from Topshop keeps making its way into my shopping basket - I LOVE IT - and to me, it's the perfect swishy skirt for dancing. As it is so bold I've dressed it down with a loose fitting tee (tucked in at the waist of course) and added a statement necklace to balance out the outfit. To finish off the look, I threw in some wonderful pointed cats eye sunglasses (only £12!) along with an on-trend metallic clutch and classic heels from Zara, who I can always rely on for stylish shoes on a budget.

TOTAL = £177.97 (£22.03 left over for a cocktail or two...) 

I hope you like my outfit picks - if you want to see more, Money Supermarket have created Pinterest boards full of inspirational entries, or you can search for the hashtag #PassionForFashion2 on Twitter. Good luck to everyone who's entered!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Hope For Now

Hey strangers, friends and family,

Firstly, sorry for the hiatus. Sometimes I forget that other people besides me often stumble into this teeny tiny corner of the Internet and care whether I'm here or not - I don't think I'll ever quite get my head around it, but that doesn't mean I'm not grateful to anyone who's ever found themselves here. THANK YOU.

Admittedly I haven't written anything non-work related for months; not on my blog, not in a freelance capacity, not even in my sketchbook. I've also got a pile of books on my bedside table that have gone untouched, spines still intact, and a bunch of letters from my dearest friends near and far, that I'm ashamed to say I've yet to reply to. Basically, the creative side of my brain hit the wall running and the bruising has only just begun to fade.

The only thing I've written of any tangible worth this year? One sentence, consisting of eleven words.

"Sometimes I look at you and all I see is noise."

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ways To Wear Challenge: The Little Black Dress

My lovely friend Gemma Cartwright (the extremely talented woman behind Catwalk Queen and Big Girls Browse) recently decided to put together her own outfit challenge, and I jumped at the chance to do something I haven't done in a while - a fashion related post.

Although I write about shopping and fashion for a living, I've never classed myself as a 'fashion blogger' - yes I have occasionally shared photos of the outfits I've worn, but quite frankly my wardrobe is in dire need of updating and I tend to wear the same things over and over and over again. Inspired by Gemma, I figured it was time to step outside of my comfort zone and focus on what I wear rather than what's on the red carpet, so without further ado, here's my first entry into the Ways To Wear Challenge!


Even though 90% of my clothing consists of dark clothing, I actually have a surprising low number of black dresses (two to be precise!) I decided to go for a sheer boxy dress that I got from Topshop forever ago - I've never worn it in the day before as I always thought it was too 'office', but, determined to try something new, I threw a grey cardigan over it for a more laid back look. I didn't want to break it up with a waisted belt because for me, the details of the dress are enough. The vertical stitching travels down the front panel add another dimension to it - stopping it from being a boring old bib - and there are tiny buttons down the back. The hem is gathered slightly at the sides too, providing a subtle cocoon effect.

I teamed the dress with black tights, black ankle boots and kept the accessories to a minimum; a black briefcase style handbag and a gold hare necklace. Not wanting the outfit to consist purely of dark colours, I added a slick of my favourite red lipstick for a pop of colour. Et voila!

If you want to join in, it couldn't be simpler. Head over to Big Girls Browse on the 5th of the month to find out what the theme is, style it up your way, and send across your blog post to Gemma by the 20th. You don't need to have a designer wardrobe or the best camera on the market - just an interest in dressing up! To find out more, click here.