Monday, September 28, 2015

A Couple of Reads Which Might Change Your Life

Following on from my recent book related post, I have two more which I need to share with you before I forget!
First of all, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, the same Jon Ronson of "The Men Who Stare At Goats" fame. I'll be honest and say I absolutely demolished this book and found it totally hilarious. I loved it so much, my other half has read it already and I've already finished his latest offering which is entitled "So You've Been Publicly Shamed."

What's great about this book is it's educationally, but it's been written in such a way that it feels fun and enjoyable. However, I will say, once you've finished this, you may be convinced most of your friends of psychopaths and if you work in London, you'll know that everyone is off their trolley and could therefore make you doubt EVERYONE!

I realise I'm not describing this particularly well, so, if it helps, Amazon describe this as follows "What if society wasn't fundamentally rational, but was motivated by insanity? This thought sets Jon Ronson on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness...Along the way, Jon meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, including the influential psychologist who developed the Psychopath Test, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting. A skill which seemingly reveals that madness could indeed be at the heart of everything...Combining Jon Ronson's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is both entertaining and honest, unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges."

Next is an absolute god send for those of us that have a slight obsession with cleaning and tidying in general. Of course, I'm talking about the sensation that is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. This really is life changing, especially when it came to me tidying out my wardrobe and clothing in general. In one swift (well 2 hour) session I managed to completely organise my clothing and rid myself of three bags full of clothing. Two of those bags went to charity whilst the other sadly contained clothing which had become damp damaged in our flat so had to be binned.

I've now done the entire house and gotten rid of so much stuff it's unreal! I slept like an absolute baby when it was done and feel much more calm at home which is wonderful. If you're strange like me and actually feel a sense of accomplishment when tidying and cleaning then this book could be for you. 

Amazon describe it as "Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan's expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method....The key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need to choose what to keep and what to discard...The KonMari Method will not just transform your space. Once you have your house in order you will find that your whole life will change. You can feel more confident, you can become more successful, and you can have the energy and motivation to create the life you want. You will also have the courage to move on from the negative aspects of your life: you can recognise and finish a bad relationship; you can stop feeling anxious; you can finally lose weight....Marie Kondo's method is based on a 'once-cleaned, never-messy-again' approach. If you think that such a thing is impossible then you should definitely read this compelling book."

Have you read either of these books? Did you find them life-changing? 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Outfit of the Day - Chic in Navy

Given how much I love an excuse to get all dolled up, when two of our awesome friends decided to finally tie the knot, I relished the opportunity to get glammed up. I mean, isn't that what weddings are for?
Today I'm wearing:

Jumpsuit: Ted Baker
Shoes: Marks & Spencer
Jacket: Lulu Kennedy for Indigo - Marks & Spencer 
Bag: Elizabeth & James
As the jumpsuit was from Ted Baker, you know that it's got to be an investment piece. The white corseted top section with the navy culottes and chic gold detailing on the belt make this timeless and classic.
(please ignore the label!)
To keep the main focus on the jumpsuit, I paired this with some champagne caged sandals which were a bargain at £20, a gorgeous blue and cream printed jacket by Lulu Kennedy (yup the same Lulu Kennedy behind the prints at East) and a super cute black leather bag with gold detailing to tie it in with the gold on my belt.
This jumpsuit has to be one of the most luxurious pieces in my wardrobe and it makes me feel like a million dollars when I wear it, it just has that weight to it. The fit of culottes is flattering and they skim over my bum and thighs without making me look overly bulky. The fabric is also worth mentioning as it's actually incredibly stretchy which was somewhat surprising as looking at the pictures you'd expect it to be quite rigid.

The whole construction of this piece just screams quality, the fabrics used are weighty which means they flow beautifully when worn, even the fabric edges have been covered with a silk type material to keep them from fraying. 

The corset is, as you'd expect a little restrictive but I was quite content to sit down for most of the afternoon before getting my groove on that evening to some frikken awesome music!

To finish to look I used my Babyliss curler, kept my make-up simple with a bold lip courtesy of Urban Decay Catfight. 

How would you style this piece? What would you wear to a wedding in September?

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Couple of Great Comedy Reads

During my commute into work, I find I need a distraction to help with any anxiety attacks if the train is especially busy. Reading is one of my favourite distractions, especially if it's one that is going to make me chuckle!
I appreciate these two books probably are fairly obviously choices, but I genuinely loved reading both of them. Being a huge fan of Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock I couldn't wait to read both books!

Yes Please by Amy Poehler is part memoir, part life advice and is an absolute hoot which made me laugh out loud on several occasions. If you're not familiar with Amy, she's an Actress, Comedienne and Writer who hit the big time with Saturday Night Live and the UBC. Since then she's gone on to do some awesome bits and pieces including Parks & Recreation which, if you haven't seen, you need to watch because it's frikken hilarious. 

The inside of the book describes this as  "A collection of anecdotes, essays, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of America's most beloved entertainers, Yes Please offers Amy's thoughts on everything from her 'too safe' childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and showbusiness, the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has 'a face for wigs'. A delight on every page, Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by."

Without spoiling anything, this book will make you feel pretty darn chuffed about being weird, a little different, or perhaps someone whose mind didn't quite think like everyone else's. We're awesome!

Bossypants by Tina Fey is probably the book that started the whole comedienne book writing trend and again, I loved this! This is more memoir than than Amy Poehlers book and follows Tina through school, summer camp and her rise to fame, again through Saturday Night Live where she and Amy met for the first time. It is hilarious and well worth a read.

The synopsis of this on Amazon really does set the whole tone for this book, with the description stating  "Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her. Before 30 Rock, Mean Girls and 'Sarah Palin', Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately half-hearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon - from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy."

Again, I don't want to spoil anything for you, but if you'd like somewhere to start on the comedienne front, I'd recommend this as it's not too long and really will make you chuckle. As a fan I really enjoyed finding out more about where she started from. It certainly makes you appreciate how hard people have worked to end up doing a job they've dreamed of and makes me motivated to keep on pushing to wind up where I want to be. These things don't happen overnight people!

Have you enjoyed any good comedy reads lately? What would you suggest I read next?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Outfit of the Day - The Plaid Shirt

Given the cooler turn in the weather, I felt that it was time to grab out my androgynous boots, black skinny fit jeans and loose fitting shirts with deep autumnal colours. 
Today, I'm wearing:
Jeans: Jade Stretch Skinny - Oasis - £40
Shirt: Roll-Sleeve Plaid Henley - Gap - £34.95
Boots: Horrigan Jet Boots - H by Hudson
Watch: Marc Jacobs
Handbag: Dr Martens
Sunglasses: Runaways Luxe - Le Specs - £55
I was actually pretty lucky in getting my mitts on this shirt as Gap were doing 40% off their entire new collection thus meaning I only had to pay £20 which I thought was a bit of a steal. The overall fit of the shirt is nice and loose coming up a little shorter at the front with a longer shirt tail at the back. As we were travelling up north from London, I wanted to ensure I was wearing something comfortable.
The material itself feels more like a super soft brushed cotton as opposed to anything overly rigid and the sleeves can be worn up or down depending on your mood. What really drew me to the shirt (apart from the whole androgynous looseness of the whole thing) were the gorgeous autumnal colours, namely teal and a lush berry plum sort of shade.
To keep with the boyish feel of the outfit, I donned a fairly new addition to my wardrobe in the form these boots from H by Hudson. They're hand made and feature a jet black leather front, leather straps, a luscious suede back, leather sole and a nice dinky 4.5cm heel making them an awesome replacement for my old M&S boots which sadly died a death last winter owing to the fact I practically lived in them!
A reliable bag and a classic watch made this something of a perfect outfit for dawdling around the city before meeting an old friend for some drinks before heading out for dinner that evening.
As the sun decided to pop his head out from behind the clouds, I of course needed to don my sunglasses. These ones from Le Specs are a classic shape, super weighty and are a total bargain at only £55. I think they're super stylish with the chunky style and gold-tone arms, plus they also offer great UV protection to boot. 

Later in the day, I decided to "invest" in this gorgeous lipstick from Urban Decay which seems to just pull the whole look together, something of a cheeky bonus if I ever did see one.

Will you be donning plaid this autumn? What do you think of my new boots? Do you love androgynous styling?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Things to do in London - Borough Market

If you're a food lover and your close to London Bridge then the famous Borough Market really is a must. It's perhaps the most renowned of London's food based markets and really does sell a little bit of everything. 
Ad and I are very fortunate in that we travel into London Bridge every morning for our commute, that makes the Market only a short 20 minute train ride from home and a super short walk from London Bridge station.
Borough Market has been an epicentre for chefs, restaurateurs and food lovers since as long ago as the 13th century. It's a had revamp fairly recently and is now home to over 100 traders.
As well as the more traditional fruit and vegetable stalls, you can also find bakers, butchers, fishmongers and of course specialist wine and beer stalls.
One of Ads favourite spots to visit is Utobeer who stock a wide range of craft products from all over the world including ale, beer, larger and even wheat beer. The people at this stall are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their products which is handy if you find their selection to be overwhelming. 
If you have a good idea of what you're after, they'll be able to point you in the right direction. If it's hops you're after then Ads favourites of Brew Dogs Punk IPA, anything by London brewers The Kernel or Red Mistress by Siren Craft Brew should see you right.
In fact, most of the traders here are very passionate about what they do, they're super passionate about food and some will even grow, rear or produce the products on offer themselves.
This is reassuring for me as a consumer because it means that I know exactly where my produce has come from.
You'll find that all of the produce here is of an extremely high standard having been tried and tested by a food quality panel before it can even earn itself a spot within the Market. After all, Borough is one of London's oldest fruit and vegetable markets and it's therefore important to ensure that these high standards of taste and quality are maintained. 
Again, this is what keeps me coming back to Borough on such a frequent basis! The desire to try something new, something that I know will taste good, and something that I know I'm not being ripped off for. It's always such a worry at markets that you don't really know what you're buying, but that's really not so here.
If you fancy a visit yourself, the Borough Market is open for lunch on Monday and Tuesday between 10-5 and a full market is available on Wednesday through to Saturday, albeit the opening times do vary so be sure to check online.
Friday afternoons are incredibly hectic as is a Saturday so if these are the only days you have free, please do ensure that you brace yourself for a battle with the crowds. Below I've popped some more photos from over the weekend to give you a flavour of the other produce available and the general vibe.
If all of this is making you hungry, then Borough Market also has a ton of street food vendors from you to choose from including Pie Minister (they sell pie if you weren't sure,) the German Deli, salt beef bagels, curry of all varieties and paella which is cooked up in a huge dish!
The central area is always packed full of baked goods and sweet treats.
 Delicious hand made fudge
 More scrummy sweet treats
 Grabbing some gluten free brownies
 Enormous cheesecake slices
 Clearly I was feeling the sweet treats
 There is always a ton of street food to choose from if you get peckish!

Have you been to the Borough Market? When do you find it's best to visit? Who's your favourite trader?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Outfit of the Day - The Mono Jumpsuit

For the bank holiday weekend, Ad I decided to hop on the train down to Torquay to visit my future mummy in law (waves!). As such, I wanted something comfortable to wear on the train for our 3 and a bit hour journey from London. But, I also something stylish to wear out for a few drinks on the harbour before heading back to the flat.
Today I'm wearing:

Jumpsuit: Banana Republic - Sale
Sandals: BHS - VERY old

To fit the stylish side of things, I thought this monochrome printed jumpsuit from Banana Republic would be ideal. Surely monochrome is the epitome of chic yet stylish?
The slightly slouchy fit through the bust and the legs means this is incredibly comfortable to wear and is not in any way constrictive.
At first I was a little bit concerned about the drawstring/elasticated waist and ankles but only because I'm not really used to wearing this sort of clothing. Looking back through the pictures, the elasticated waist and ankle sections help to nip things in a little thus stopping me looking too sloppy and the drawstring adds a nice element of detail.
I really do love the mono leaf print on the jumpsuit, it's classic meaning that this will be a piece I can keep in my wardrobe for many years to come.
Whilst I've paired it with flats for our journey down south, I reckon this would look seriously classy with some heeled sandals, some simple bracelets or a long-line necklace and a cute clutch.
For those of you worried about the practicality of a jumpsuit, this thing was a serious pinch to get into and out of, probably the easiest jumpsuit I own to get into! There is simply one silver button at the back which you undo, then slip the straps over your shoulders and voilĂ , you're good to go. This is the first jumpsuit I've not need someone to help me out with...result.
Make-up wise, I kept things natural and super simple. Lip balm on my lips, the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue on the old fizzog and a good old slick of the Clinique Chubby Lash Mascara.

How would you style this jumpsuit? Are you a fan of monochrome? What do you wear for long trips away?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Origins Original Skin Serum - A Review

I've been on the hunt for a new daytime serum for a little while now, but it's been tough to narrow down exactly what I'm after. As I suffer from hormonal acne, I'm always seeking something to calm stressed out skin, but, at the same time, I want something that will help my skin glow and, if possible help fade old acne scars.

I'd been trialling several new serums, each for a few weeks at a time having blagged myself some samples from various counters at Space NK, Boots and House of Fraser before finally settling on the new Origins Original Skin Serum.
I'd only been trialling this for a week before I purchased it, granted this isn't that long in the skincare world but hear me out! Given I'd had four ladies compliment me on my glowing complexion in the last week I naturally took this as a sign that something must be right in my routine. The only item which I'd been changing up during my hunt for a new serum was the serum itself, my moisturiser, eye cream and cleansers had stayed the same.
As a cheeky little bonus, Origins were doing a free gift of three free deluxe samples along with a recycled cotton pouch which will no doubt come in handy during the course of my travels. I choose the Checks and Balances cleanser, the Drink Up Intensive Mask (which by the way smells incredible) and the GinZing eye cream.
Back to the serum however. and it promises to give your skin a noticeable glow by de-stressing the skin with Persian Silk Tree, smoothing roughness and refining skin texture with Chestnut Seed Extract as well as helping minimise flaws and dullness with Willowherb.

I'd never herd of Willowherb before, however, the lovely ladies on the Origins concession advised me that Willowherb is found in Canada and is known to withstand very extreme environments. Its inclusion in the serum apparently helps to inhibit a protein change that can lead to dullness and discolouration. The Chestnut Seed Extract helps to rid the skin of dead surface cells thus revealing smooth and soft skin.
I'm currently polishing off the last of my sample pot before cracking open the full size but given the noticeable results are already kicking in I have no doubt that the results will only get better over time. The serum sinks in quickly, works well under my make-up and has a lovely citrus like smell which makes it a pleasure to use in the mornings.

My skin is certainly more glowing, my scarring is continuing to fade and the texture of my skin is certainly more uniform. I can't wait to see how my skin looks a month down the line. Thus far, I can only sing its praises.

Have you tried the Origins Original Skin Serum? What do you reckon?

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