30 October 2013

GIFT GUIDE: 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,

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

26 October 2013

MITN: 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.


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

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


Muchos love,

14 October 2013

TRAVEL: Autumn 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,

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

8 October 2013

FAVOURITES: September 2013

Hey everyone,

I've been meaning to start a 'favourites' series on this blog for months and months now - and it's finally happening! (Eight days into October, but oh well.)

So here's what I've been loving this September:

This is my first cleansing balm!
I must admit, my skin routine is pretty much exactly the same as it was when I was sixteen: exfoliate, moisturise, then remove my makeup with a wipe at the end of the day. So I was excited when I was very kindly sent this to try from Balance Me, who promise 100% natural ingredients with no parabens, sulphates, petrolum or artificial colours and fragrances. I have really sensitive skin, so this is always an issue and therefore end up sticking to what I know.

So I've been using this for a few weeks now, and absolutely love it! My skin feels a lot tighter and smoother.
Oh, and it smells like sherbet lemons! 

This is an old favourite - and I think is often overlooked as this mask isn't usually stocked with the other fresh face masks (you don't need to keep this one in the fridge.)
It's great especially when there is a sudden outbreak of unwanted friends on your face (read: time of the month), but even when my skin is relatively clear I like to use this as my pores feel a lot tighter afterwards. 

I used to be a major candle girl - but after an incident a few months ago involving a recently extinuished candle, my elbow and my new carpet I'd gone off them slightly (as would you if you stayed up til after 2am scrubbing francitcally with bleach).
However the Hallmark outlet shop near where I live always has great deals for these candles and I got this one for about £7. It's absolutely yummy - foodie smells are always my favourites.

Barbara Remedies is a health and beauty studio based in South Shields, who I often spot (and end up buying lots from) at local markets. My friend Chris is very holistic and new-agey (he was once late meeting me for lunch because his tarot reading went over time) and is always telling me to start replacing my high street moisturisers with essential oils. So when I spotted this, I just had to try it - and it's honestly the best moisturiser I've ever used!

You can order online (shipping is only £3.00 - or free on orders over £30) and it's always great to support an independent business and someone who is passionate about her work. 

5: Amber Oud perfume from The Body Shop.

I've needed a new perfume that I can just pop in my bag during the day, and I recently saw this in the sale. Truth be told, it was slightly heavy for summer - but it's perfect, rich and musky for Autumn/Winter. However if you prefer lighter, sweeter, more floral scents you probably won't like this!

Over the past year or so I've become rather obsessed with blush, but have only really stuck to pale Barbie pinks - but I've compleltely fallen in love recently with coral shades, especially this one. It comes with a little brush, though I only really use this if I'm going away and don't want to take my brush set with me. But the colour payoff is great for the price - if you spot this in Superdrug, pick it up!

Since dying my hair back to red, I've also had to change my eyebrow routine to match. So when I saw this in the Illamasqua £5 sale, it was just perfect. As always I apply with a slightly wet, stiff angled brush.

I've found myself shopping more and more for makeup at Superdrug - I used to be an all-the-way Boots girl (think of the points!).
But they're stocking brilliant, ridiculously inexpensive brands such as Sleek, afformentioned BeautyUK, GOSH (great for MAC dupes), MeMeMe and MUA.
I own a few MUA lipsticks (they're only £1 each!) and while they're not the longest lasting - they're very creamy, glossy and never dry my lips out!

This is a pretty mid-pink which I'm loving wearing with my red hair!


BBC4 has been killing it lately with various film documentaries (Hollywood's Lost Screen Goddess: Clara Bow, Secret Voices of Hollywood and Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood) but my favourite was the three-part series Sound of the Cinema with Neil Brand.

I was pleased to see my all-time favourite film A Clockwork Orange featured in the electronic section, so I fancied giving it a re-watch. (I used to watch it a ridiculous amount of times per week as a teen, so now I try to only watch once a year or so!) If you've never seen it, I can't recommend it enough.

I've also been re-watching The Office from the beginning, and re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy since Catching Fire comes out next month (OMG!Finnick!).

Also since 2013 is the year we all fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence en masse, honestly any excuse to give her post-Oscar interview another watch, and also the time she met Jack Nicholson and behaved like any of us would in the situation.

Also in Autumn, there is nothing better than a cup of hot chocolate and curling up with Poppy Z. Brite's 90th goth horror fiction. (Where the vampires don't sparkle.)

And finallement some September throwbacks via the magic of Instagram:

Broccoli and stilton soup.
Hot chocolate and coconut mallow cakes.

Me and a bunch of bloggers were kindly given tickets to a performance of The Ladyboys of Bangkok which was so much fun!
Finally realising my childhood dream of appearing of a Top Trumps-style card thanks to StyleFruits!

Tomato, mozzarella and lime olive oil panini from The Charles Grey.
Zsu zsu nooboos, it's simming time!

A productive shopping trip as ever.
Spicy carrot and lentil soup.

Anddddd my new favourite skull jumper from Pilot.
I swear I've worn this nearly every day since I've bought it!

Is it Halloween yet?

So that's your lot! 
How was your September?

Muchos love,

PS: I almost forgot - last week was my fourth anniversary writing this blog! Where does the time go?!