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Little Black Party Dress


Hey everyone,

As my favourite LBD is looking a bit worse for wear these days after being thrown in a backpack and worn on pretty much every night out in Sydney for five months, I was on the lookout for a new staple piece for the party season.

VoucherCodes were kind enough to send me some vouchers and I picked out this cute dress from the Pippa Dee concession in Dorothy Perkins (also available in Debenhams) with a pink and gold glitter clutch I've had my eye on for a while.
I love that there is a an extra zip in the front to keep my phone!

I was so tempted to get these peep-toe heels as well, as they're such a perfect match for the bag - however I decided to wear them with my Poetic Licence heels, which really don't get worn as much as they should!

I used a 20% off code from VoucherCodes to get a further discount, which is no longer in use - however you can currently get 15% off using the code XMAS15 and free delivery with FREEDEL!


DRESS: Pippa Dee
BELT: ASOS
CLUTCH: Dorothy Perkins
NECKLACE: O Necklace
EARRINGS: River Island
SHOES: Poetic Licence 


I love my new 'Carrie-style' name necklace from ONecklace!


SHOP THE POST:


I think you could definitely dress this look up or down. It would look great with a blazer for some after work drinks, or grunged down a little with Dr Martens and a (p)leather jacket!

I was planning on showing you guys some different looks - however I was feeling a little awkward as I haven't done an outfit post in so long. 

Also the weather was around 1*C and windy so I was absolutely freezing!
(I'm a rubbish Geordie, I wear coats…)


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! 

I've pretty much been playing my new pink Nintendo 3DS XL non-stop since I got it on Christmas Day, and drinking the festive brew from Quilliam Brothers my parents got me in my new Bodum cup-and-infuser:


Also for any 3DS users, you are very welcome to add me as a friend. 
Please find my code below - tweet me with yours and I'll be sure to add you back!



Anddddd I thinks that's me signing off until the new year.
I'm not going to lie, 2013 has been a testy one. However onwards and upwards!

I'll leave you with my favourite song from this year by Scottish synth pop band, CHVRCHES - I'm hopefully going to see them in March, eee! 



Muchos love,
MessyCarla



Favourite Holiday Films and TV!


Hey everyone,

Sorry I've been away for the past month or so. I've been very busy with my new job - which I absolutely love - and spending time with family and friends this time of year.

I even managed to squeeze in another trip to London where I hung out with Lauren, Daniel and Sam which was sooooo much fun.

But I've missed you all.

And since it's "Christmas Eve Eve" (in the words of the great Phoebe Buffay) I thought it'd be nice to put a post together about my favourite holiday specials and films I enjoy watching over the festive season.

There's some you'd expect, and some you may not.
Have a search around catchup services and services like Blinkbox and I'm sure you'll be able to find most of them!


10. Punk'd: Beyonce Ruins Christmas (2003)



Beyonce is scheduled to put 'the star of hope' on a Christmas tree for underprivileged children, with presents, Santa and a Nativity. I don't usually like prank shows, but this will never not be funny.


9. South Park Christmas Specials (1997-)



South Park always does Christmas well. There's always usually a twist on the usual jolly Christmas tale - and best of all, some musical numbers.

An earlier holiday episode Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics almost got the top spot - but I've only recently seen Woodland Critter Christmas, and honestly I think it might be one of my favourite episodes of South Park ever.

I won't give too much away about the plot, as it's such a dark and hilarious send up of all the cheesy specials that we all know.


8. Bottom: Holy (1992)



It isn't Christmas telly without something a bit sick, and it doesn't come sicker than the Bottom Christmas special.

Spending Christmas in their crummy flat in Hammersmith, all Edward wants to do is get drunk and watch the telly. However Richie plans a more traditional Christmas party with their friends, a turkey and Christmas pudding (no brandy butter, so they made vodka margarine - "spiced up with a few cans of hairspray".)

The party with their mates is soon interrupted when there is a knock on the door, but I won't spoil it.
It's usually on BBC2 around this time of year, so keep an eye out for it.


7. The Flint Street Nativity (1999)



A group of Primary school children - all played by adults - prepare and perform the nativity for their Christmas play.
Originally a play, you can sometimes see amateur productions popping up around the holidays.


6. The Vicar of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch Incident (1996)



The Vicar of Dibley is one of my favourite sitcoms: set in the fictional village of Dibley, which is assigned it's first female vicar - the vicacious Gereldine Grainger who desribes herself as "a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom".
The story begins just two years after the change in The Church of England laws which permitted women to become ordained. It's really charming, harmless and entertaining - but my favourite episode happens to be a Christmas themed episode, running about 15 minutes longer than usual.

Gereldine is invited to Christmas lunch by all of her parishiners who do not want her to be lonely. However because she is too kind to refuse anyone, she decides to go to all of them.


5. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)



There are so many versions of A Christmas Carol, but the ones most often shown on British television around this time of year are Mickey's Chistmas Carol (1989), A Christmas Carol (1999) with Patrick Stewart and my favourite: The Muppet Christmas Carol.

(This is also Daniel's favourite Christmas film and I'm probably due for an angry text demanding as to why this isn't number one.)

Now I wasn't a bit Muppets fan growing on - truth be told I was a bit scared of them.
But over the years it's really grown on me, and is now one of my firm favourites.

The songs are great, and it's surprisingly touching. I'm howling by the time Tiny Tim sings Bless Us All.

And if you don't link the Muppets, then it's worth a watch just for Michael Caine singing.


4. Russell Brand's Christmas Ponderland (2008)



Before Russell Brand went and became a Hollywood star he had a show here in the UK called Ponderland, which was essentially a series of monologues and taking the mickey out of old television and video footage.
Each episode of themed, such as 'Childhood,' 'Crime,' 'Education' and 'Family' - but the one most people remember when prompted is the Christmas special, which was also sadly the last episode.

In this one he makes fun of a un-rowsing pack of Christmas revellers, carolling yobs, and a department store Father Christmas ("Naughty Norbert Cleaverhook") who sounds more like a Dickensian villian.


3. The Snowman (1982) / Father Christmas (1991)



The Snowman is a British institution. It's usually shown on Christmas Eve, and I do try to watch it every year.
It's our 'Frosty The Snowman' but being the UK the ending is marginally less jolly.

Some versions have a live-action introduction starring David Bowie as the adult James - between this and his version of Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby, he really does love Christmas doesn't he? (It's my favourite strange celebrity cameo after Jack Dee in Sooty & Co.)

I'm also including here the very under-rated Father Christmas.
This must have been on one Christmas and my dad taped it for me because I can't recall seeing it on TV since.

In a twist to the usual story of Father Christmas inhabited in the North Pole with a magical factory of hardworking elves, this animation revolves around Santa in a small house in England, and going on a much needed post-Christmas holiday. However he keeps getting spotted and having to move on.

He's not so much the jolly Santa we all know.
He's a bit grumpy, prone to swearing (well, "blooming") and is shown drinking heavily, hungover, gambling, dancing with chorus girls, over-indulging in fancy food and ending up with diarrhoea.

Now as a kid, there was a nothing funnier than Santa with the runs, but I wonder if some found Santa's antics a bit much and that's why it is not shown as often as The Snowman.

But try and get a copy if you can - it's way more charming than how I'm describing it.
(And get the UK version if possible, as the American version apparently has all the hilarious stuff cut out.)


2. Friends: The One With The Holiday Armadillo (2000)



Ross wants to introduce his son Ben to Hanukah but is upset at the prospect of no Santa during the holidays. Ross goes to hire a Santa suit to appease him – however being so close to Christmas, he takes the only one left, and becomes ‘the Holiday Armadillo: your part-Jewish friend” to teach him all about the traditions and festivities.

The Friends holiday episodes are all great (especially The One Where Rachel Quits and The One With The Routine) but this one is extra special as it’s a mainstream holiday show that doesn’t focus on Christmas.


1. Jingle All The Way (1996)



There are very few Christmas films that work all year around - this is one of them.

Arnie plays a workaholic father who leaves it to the last minute to buy the most popular toy of the year - a Turbo Man - for his son. So therefore finds himself running on Christmas Eve around trying to find the last one in the city - competing with another panicked father, played by Simbad.

It's absolutely hilarious, full of one liners, comments on the commercialisation of Christmas and of course has a nice sentimental ending.


What do you guys think?
Are any of your favourites in this list - did I leave out something crucial?
(Yes, I know. Home Alone just missed the top ten...)

Right, that's me singing off again for the holidays.
I hope you all have a wonderful time, and I'll be back later this week with a post on party-wear for New Year's!


Muchos love,
MessyCarla


Christmas Wishlist


Hey everyone,

I come to you with another wish list.

God, it's cold now isn't it?
I've had a year off from blisteringly cold British winters - long gone are the days of my Geordie youth of going out without a coat on (yes, that's a thing we do here).
I'm now well wrapped up.

Now that Halloween and Bonfire Night have been and gone, talk immediately turns to the holidays!

Being part-neurotic and part-unable-to-handle-busy-shops-without-having-a-hissy-fit I actually have a lot of my shopping done already - with just my dad, sister and Daniel to go!

However I haven't given a lot of thought as to what I'm asking Santa for, so I thought I'd make a list up now in case any elves are trolling the internet on their lunch breaks.


















If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that I've recently started a new job - hooray!

I'm working in travel and tourism in a friendly office in the city centre - two weeks in and I'm throughly enjoying it!

There's however lots to learn and I've been really busy lately, and sadly my October Favourites post ended up being only half finished.

But I thought it'd be nice to still post the October Instagram throwback section here to look back on the best bits of the last month - as it really was quite a good'un!

Georgina (far right) got engaged so we celebrated by having a few too many drinks.
Everyone else was very civilised and (naturally) we brought the tone down slightly by doing a round of shots just as her family arrived!

What I basically lived in: bat leggings, bunny jumper and gold chain all from Primark.

Forever browsing Halloween aisles.
Tartan and Dr Martens = winning combination for Autumn!

Mint hot chocolate - Options is my brand of choice.
I baked spicy ginger cookies - they didn't last long!


Italian Catholic Mother bought me this tree from the Halloween section - it's going to double as my creepy Christmas tree. It's going to look so cute with baubles and tinsel, non?

My sister defying the 'no pets' rule in her building.

I went to visit my sister in Glasgow, and we also had a day in Stirling which was so much fun!

I went to my friend Lauren's for drinks, pizza, cake and we watched Les Miserables.
L'Occitane goodies!

 
Preview of the Autumn Style Clinic with Cosmopolitan at the MetroCentre. There was an awesome presentation on holiday sparkle by the style team and I fell in love with this clutch from Accessorize.

Christmas showcase at Fat Buddah. The honey-chilli chicken was especially delicious. 

"Ariel listen to me, the human world - it's a mess!"
Gettin' my mermaid on for Halloween.


I'm sorry again I didn't get enough time to round up some of my favourite products and do a full post - however I couldn't resist posting my new favourite nail polishes from Model's Own; inspired by the melon liqueur Midori: 

LOVE!


Muchos love,
MessyCarla



Gift Idea: Vivienne Westwood


Hey everyone,

It's that time of year again: the council are starting to put the lights up, pubs and restaurants are advertising their party menus and the phrase "oh, _______ would like that!" pops into your head more than ever while shopping.

This is also the time of year when it's more acceptable than ever to treat yourself to a nice bag.
I have a terrible habit of buying bags (especially party bags) around the £10-£20 mark, having them fall apart after a few weeks - but still wearing them right up until the strap snaps.

One of the items on my bucket list will forever be a Vivienne Westwood bag. I was very kindly given a patent leather purse for my 21st birthday - which is quite large so easily doubles as a clutch.
(It's surprisingly roomy and I can fit my phone in there!)

However, 'tis the season and here's a selection of my favourite bags from Dame Queen Viv this A/W:












My favourite is definitely #7 and I think it'll look so cute with one of my favourite dresses this season from Pink Clove




1: Pink Clove Tartan Skater Dress: £22.00 (Similar here, here, here, here and here)







Do you have an ultimate piece you've been coveting for years? Let me know!


In other news this will most likely be my last post this week as I'm off to Plus London 3 this weekend. I'm looking forward to catch up with everyone - especially as I've been out of the loop for so long.

Are any of you guys going? I can't wait wait wait. 


It's also Halloween tomorrow, my favourite time of year but sadly I don't think I'm doing anything special. 
I'll most likely have a giant bowl of popcorn and my Vincent Price box set. 

Though Daniel and I had pre-celebrations last night with pizza, Corpse Bride and our special witches' brew punch (aka: all we had in)
It was surprisingly good and tasted like jelly babies! 



Muchos love,
MessyCarla



DISCLAIMER: Post in partnership with Harvey Nichols. All words and opinions are - as always - my own.

Newcastle's Newest Secret: Boutique Clearance Outlet


Hey everyone,

While I was in Glasgow visiting my sister I unfortunately missed the opening of Newcastle's new secret Aladdin's cave: Boutique Clearance Outlet in Blaydon.

However although I was away for the opening, I was very kindly invited upon my return to have a look around at their treasures.

Now I have to admit, I had my reservations.
The North East has a plethora of outlet shopping including Royal Quays and Dalton Park, and I never really find anything clothes-wise to my taste or in my size.

And set in the unusual location of a industrial estate in Blaydon - which could seem a little tricky to get to if you are unfamiliar with the area. However it's not that difficult to find by car.

Plus lots of buses leave regularly from Newcastle City Centre if you are like me and rely on public transport - see bottom of the post.


Adorable!


I was pleasantly surprised by the interior - it's beautifully decorated, and mostly grouped by colours.
You can tell all of the peices have been chosen with great care to match the tone of the shop.

There are recognisable brands such as ASOS, AX Paris and Lovedrobe as well as names that weren't so familiar to me.

Blues and pinks.


I was also impressed by the fairly large range of sizes available for a boutique shop.
Most I've been to previously seemed to be in the lower end of the scale.
But I spotted everything from a 6 to an 18, and the outlet has said on their Facebook page that they sometimes get stock in up to a size 26.

The staff were very attentive, as soon as I entered the shop I was asked if I was looking for anything in particular.

The shop was also rather bustling for a drizzly Tuesday afternoon - and the staff were being very helpful to shoppers; helping one customer pick out a necklace for a party and assisting another with choosing hair extensions.

When I asked, they told me it's been steady every day since they opened and very busy on weekends!



Prosecco and glitter? Singing to the choir, here.



I was very kindly given the chance to try on some pieces - and these were my three favourites:



The first dress is from ASOS was absolutely beautiful, and very similar to my favourite Red Herring prom dress
However like a lot of ASOS size 16 dresses this fit me everywhere except the bust! 

The second dress is from Lovedrobe and they only had it in stock in a size 18. 
This was sadly just too big for me on the waist and hips, but it's also gorgeous - black and gold is always a winner this time of year! 

And the final dress is also from Lovedrobe, this time I was lucky and there was a 16 in stock. 
Being that Lovedrobe have very generous sizing, this is also ever-so-slightly looser on the waist than I usually wear - but this will definitely come in useful during Christmas parties after one-too-many mince pies and cocktail sausages. 
I love the baroque print with subtle gold throughout making it look very festive. 

So I ended up buying that for £30, as well as this jumper which caught my eye and I couldn't resist trying on:


Yep, it's absolutely nothing like I'd usually wear - this made me think of Bethany and Hayley who would both look amazing in this! 

However I've been coming along a lot over the past month with my body image after struggling for most of the year. 
I've been wearing lots of separates lately, and this is light enough to be either layered on top of a collared dress, or tucked into a skirt with a cardigan on top.

Yes, it does make it look a little like the love child of Ariel and C-3PO - especially the way the light has hit me it looks like I've been dipped in gold. But it's actually incredibly soft, comfortably material.

And it was only £10 - such a bargain, and I'm going to get a lot of wear out of it during party season!

The brand is JCL Paris, and appears to be one-size but it fits me perfectly - it just goes to show, you should always try something on even if it doesn't necessarily come in your size!



If there's one thing Newcastle girls do well it's glitz and glamour.
And the thing we do even better? Glitz and glamour on a budget!

Check out Boutique Outlet before it becomes the worst kept secret in town.

Boutique Clearance Outlet
Tundry Way
Chainbridge Industrial Estate
NE21 5SJ
Blaydon

(Catch the 10/10A/10B/11A bus from Eldon Square or Central Station and it's a few stops after the Metro Centre.)

www.boutiqueoutlet.co.uk
Facebook
Twitter


Muchos love,
MessyCarla

Autumn Weekend: Airport Tips


Hey everyone,

Following on from my Autumn weekend packing tips, I thought I'd chip in my two cents on how to save money at the airport.

Mostly thanks for the wonders of the internet in my youth, I have friends scattered all over the world and have been lucky enough to have been invited to stay with some of them.
(Which they then regret when they meet me in person and discover how tedious I really am. Not really. I think.)

I've stayed in Virginia twice and travelled around the East Coast with Jessica, ate all the food in Belfast with Claire and of course became a squatter at Hayley and Henry's house in Sydney (and later her mum's in Melbourne!).

However this also means the bane of some existances - airports.



I actually don't mind airports and flying at all.
For some reason train journeys get me way more flustered.

But since like I said in my last post that Autumn is the time to grab quick last minute deals, I thought I'd write up some of the tips and tricks to save money at the airport and have extra cash for your trip!


Use public transport to get to the airport.

Yes hawking your bags on buses, trains, trams and tubes is never fun – especially if you’re travelling during a rush hour. However it’s worth so much in the long run: if you take your car you run the risk of racking up hundereds of pounds in car park fees.

Taxi fees depend from place to place, so do some research beforehand.
For example: a taxi from Kings Cross to Heathrow is about £60 and a single underground ticket is just a fraction of the price. But a taxi from Sydney Central Station to the airport was about $15 – around the same price as a train ticket! 


Double (and Triple) Check your luggage!

Going on a quick weekend jaunt with your friends? Fit as much as you can in your hand luggage without going over the weight limit to save spending extra on hold luggage (remember if you’re going anywhere particularly touristy to factor in souvieners on your way back.)

If you are checking in hold luggage be sure to check the weight before you go to the airport.

I’ve only been caught out by this once when I was doing last minute shopping the last time I went to Virginia and found I had gone over my limit.
While it's not the end of the world, it's honestly the last thing you need before a long haul flight to be fussing and sorting out what you are going to leave behind.

Looking elated the day before I started backpacking. 
(I was less elated when the floral backpack from ASOS broke at Heathrow! It didn't even make it out of the country.)


Sleep at the airport/enquire about an earlier flight.

If you have a 12 hour+ layover and are considering staying local overnight, hotels near aiports can be a premium – especially last minute.
If you must stay overnight, have a browse for cheaper alternatives but be sure to take into account travel to and from including airport shuttles (airport shuttles average around £15 return), taxis and public transport.

If you are travelling with a backpack, tie your backpack to the chair with a bike lock and sleep with your day pack full of clothes as your pillow. 

And you never know, check with the desk – there may be an earlier flight they can bump you on if you ask nicely enough!
(This happened to me in 2008 – I was expecting a nine hour layover, but when I asked, I was put on a quicker flight for no extra cost in two hours time.) 

There's a phrase we say in the North East: "Shy bairns get nee broth" - aka: "You don't ask, you don't get!"


Looking fresh as hell after a 10-hour flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong, about to board a 13-hour flight to London.

Remember to pack baby/face wipes, a toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry-on for a quick freshen up in the airport/transport bathroom.


Bring your own food.

Eat before you leave for the airport or bring some sandwiches to munch before your flight.

Or, if you’re like me and compleletely lose your appetite before travelling; pack the backpacker saving graces - granola bars! 
You can get heftier ‘meal supplement’ versions but I usually go with standard versions by Quaker. If you're able to eat them, get ones with nuts in to sustain your energy. 

HOWEVER if you have extra foreign currency leftover you might as well spend it as you'll most likely just lose money exchanging it back, so during my last trip to Virginia I ended spending my last $20 at Buffalo Wild Wings. Class-ay.


$20 well spent!


Avoid buying entertainment

Magazines, books and games can be sold at a premium in airports, so bring your own enterainment.

Personally, if I know I’m going to be at an aiport for hours bring my Nintendo DS with a word-heavy/puzzle/point-and-click game from the Professor Layton or Ace Attorney series.

I’ve found that these use up less battery than action or racing games, but by all means bring your charger – a bit of hunting and you’re bound to find a plug!

Yes, we still have the original Nintendo DS consoles.
Definitely asking Santa for a 3DS this Christmas. 


Don’t Pay for wi-fi!

Discreetly sit nearby a Starbucks or fast food chain like McDonalds and check to see if they have free wifi. You could pay £10+ per 24 hours if you pay the airport’s rates.
(However, be sure to sit near or outside the venues – as someone who has worked in food service, don’t be the douchy obvious person who is sitting without buying anything.) 

Some airports I’ve been to such as Hong Kong offer free internet service at their hotspots, but this is also worth checking a day or so before your flight.


Don’t Buy Souvieners At the Airport.


When me and my sister were in New York we planned on buying everyone I HEART NY t-shirts as inexpensive souviencers we found at a shop for 3 for £10. 
However in the airport, the same t-shirts were retailing for about £30 each.

(Of course if you do some exploring, you're bound to come across something way more unique. We were just a little pushed for time.)


Avoid The Fines: Know What You Can and Can't Take Into the Country!

If you are travelling abroad, make sure you check the customs guidelines for prohibited goods and know what you have to declare to save yourself on hefty fines. 

When I travelled to Australia where they are notoriously strict with their customs, I had a pretty good idea what I was able to bring into the country including my medication.

As a precaution I declared everything I had on the form (Prescribed: asthma inhalers. Unprescribed: ibuprofen, stomach tablets, travel sickness pills), and just to be on the safe side food-wise, I left my stash of Cadbury’s chocolates with the housekeeping team in our Hong Kong hotel. 



What are your top tips for saving time and money at the airport? 
Do let me know!


And honestly, I've tried to find a smooth way to work this picture into the post as it's hilarious, but really there's no other way around it.

For goodness sake if you're flying long haul, move around on the plane otherwise you may end up with feet like this...

I couldn't fit into my Vans shoes for a week!


Muchos love,
MessyCarla


DISCLAIMER: Post in partnership with Purple Parking (ooh, unintentional alliteration there!). Be sure to check out their own Airport Travel Tips!