NaBloPoMo: Shopping

Now that I have finally climbed my way out of my overdraft, with a little hard work, a girl needs a treat to cheer her up.

I have been a little naughty by buying a few new items to cram into my stuffed wardrobe.

Zara is my new best friend and I am a very happy girl when I leave the shop with an odd top or a pair of trousers.

The other day, on my trip to Bristol, I couldn’t resist the urge to have a little wander into some of the shops.

I fell in love with a sequin dress in Topshop but I couldn’t justify spending £68 when I had just bought a pair of jeans and a black spotty top in Zara.

 

I recently had a sort out so I was left with only one pair of jeans (they were a must have).

When it comes to jeans I look for comfort and stretch. I cannot stand jeans that are so stiff you can’t bend or move in, that is why I tend to go for the bigger size. I also like it if they look a little scruffy so I decided to go for a faded pair of skinny jeans from Zara.

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I love the tiny little spots that are covered all over the top I bought, I also love the colour black…it is slimming and goes with everything.

Here are a few of my other favourite items that I have seen on the rails recently…

 

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NaBloPoMo: Big baggy tops

When I go to bed, I am the least glamorous dresser. I love wearing big baggy tops that are very unflattering but comfy.

I don’t see why I need to look presentable when I am asleep.

A lot of the tops are sort of souvenirs from places I have visited or friends that I have made, so I guess they possess sentimental value.

I have a collection of t-shirts from my time in America this summer.

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My friends and I had one of them especially made which has all our nick names on it and a famous quote from the summer.

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Whilst I was at camp, a friend from Israel gave me a t-shirt as a goodbye gift.

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One of my friends from university bought me a top for my birthday saying ‘Brizzle is the Shizzle’ on it and this reminds me of my first year at uni and of Bristol. I have worn it a lot which is why the lettering has started to come off.

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When I ran a 10k race with my dad we both wore the same t-shirt so our supporters could spot us both amongst the other runners.

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I have many more baggy tops but these are my favourite.

My large and often paint stained tops are that comfy, I find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. The memories they hold and how comfy they are makes me happy.

NaBloPoMo: Jewellery

When it comes to jewellery I have a particular shop that I tend to be drawn towards whenever I plan on buying myself a new ring or some earrings. This particular shop and all their wonderful pieces of jewellery, makes me happy.

The jewellers in question is situated in a small town centre in Newton Abbot. I daren’t give you the exact name because what I like most about the shop is its uniqueness.

The town itself is run down and in need of some up market shops, but the jewellery shop stands out and I always have a look at the window display whenever I am in the area.

For my birthday my mum surprised me with a new pair of earrings from my secret shop and I also picked out a lovely ring.

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At the moment, I am really into mixing gold and silver pieces together and that is why I chose this particular ring. It is also a little different from anything you would find in the well known jewellers, which is another reason why I like this shop.

Whenever you look in the windows of almost every jewellers on your typical high street, you will find a range of diamond encrusted rings, watches, necklaces and bracelets, some gold pieces and then some silver next to that. Nowadays, every jewellers has a stash of Pandora charms and a range of Thomas Sabo. Don’t get me wrong, I think diamond rings are lovely if you are getting engaged, and I do have a Pandora bracelet, but when I pacifically go out to buy some jewellery I love to go to the shop in Newton Abbot because it offers something different.

I also like to shop for jewellery in a place called Totnes. There are some lovely, one off, shops that line the hilly streets and this is where I bought my Nomination bracelet. Nomination is apparently the up and coming thing but it has not yet kicked off in the South West. I love the bracelet because it is simple, yet elegant and I can wear it everyday.

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Whilst I was in America, I became fond of some bracelets by the brand Alex and Arni. Before I returned home I ended up purchasing four of them, two in silver and two in gold. They are a nice reminder of my travels.

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Jewellery is a girls best friend!

Comment: Visit to Argos, I mean the Embassy

I headed to London last Wednesday for my Visa appointment which was at 8am the following day. Luckily I have a nice friend (Josh) who let me stay the night so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel because London hotel prices are ridiculous!

Whilst on the train a man came and sat opposite me, I glanced up from my book in curiosity. On deciding he was not as interesting as my book I returned to reading. He was chatting on the phone for a while and I thought nothing of him. I then heard him say goodbye and out the corner of my eye I saw him retrieve a black notebook from his bag. He opened his black book and began drawing. I only assumed he was drawing because he kept turning the book from side to side whilst putting pencil to paper. Looking down at my kindle I sensed someone was watching me, I quickly glanced up and was shocked to find the man quickly glance back to his notepad. After this happened several times I began to think that he may be drawing me. My suspicions were confirmed when I noticed that there was a drawing of another girl on the facing page.

I did not really know what to do so I a sheepishly sat there knowing a strange man was drawing me, in his little BLACK book. The fact that the book was black is what freaked my out. I then thought that this is ridiculous so I decided to get my own back by taking a picture of him. You know…just incase he is a serial killer. I now have evidence.

1368631483152After an eventful/slightly bizarre journey, I finally arrived at Paddington Station where I caught the tube to Brixton to meet Josh.

That evening Josh decided he wanted to bake some cakes. I agreed to help and suggested we make those lemon meringue cupcakes I blogged about the other day. He was torn between his love for lemon and his desire to bake chocolate chip cupcakes with mint chocolate chip frosting. Undecided, we ended up baking both. When I say we, I actually mean Josh and I sat and watched whilst one of Josh’s close friends did all the work. I did help by licking the mixture out of the bowl and Josh did dictate from the sidelines. I guess you could say it was a group effort after all.

The recipe for the chocolate chip cup cakes with mint chocolate chip frosting can be found on Sally’s Baking Addiction blog.Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 15.21.33

I have to say that both cakes were delicious and I will definitely recommend them to anyone.

After the hectic baking session, feeling as though I had over indulged on my share of cakes, I headed to bed to ensure I had a good nights sleep ready for my early morning start.

On the day of my visa appointment I begrudgingly rolled out of bed, at 6.30am, to get dressed. As I left Josh’s flat the sun greeted me and by the time I made it to Brixton station I was wide awake and ready to delve deep into the underground to catch the tube to Green Park.

Once at Green Park I quickly typed in my destination onto google maps and followed the trail by foot. Realising I only had 10 minutes until my appointment, I began to run the last leg of my journey until I spotted the American flag flying high above the building.

The Camp America team were very helpful, checking my paper work with a smile despite the early hour. Everything seemed to be in order so I was able to join the que outside the security entrance. Two men stood nearby with guns – scary.

As expected, I was ushered along the conveyer belt of people, passed security and into the building itself.

Inside, I was instructed to take a seat and wait for my number. It really was like being at Argos, I sat, I waited for my number and then I approached the desk. The only difference was not retrieving a household object at the end and I also wasn’t allowed to occupy myself on my phone whilst I waited.

I find it a little odd that you aren’t allowed to take your phones into the Embassy building. In this day and age, a mobile phone is attached to practically every person. If it wasn’t for my smartphone, I wouldn’t have been able to find my way to the Embassy as easily. Thankfully Camp America were there to look after my electrical items but I am sure it is a huge inconvenience for everyone else.

Whilst at the desk I had all my finger prints taken and for some reason I was disappointed to find out that they didn’t use ink and paper. I now cannot imagine why I even thought they would use ink and paper, but I was disappointed no the less because I really wanted to see what my finger prints looked like.

After that I moved along the conveyer and waited in line to be interviewed. It was fairly simple and I was done within the hour which left me with four hours to spare before my train left London.

Reunited with my trusty phone, I google mapped the location of Oxford Street and was happily surprised that it was only a short walk away.

Heading down the street I realised that none of the shops were open yet so I decided to grab some breakfast and my morning cup of tea. This was far easier said than done because I ended up walking the length of Oxford Street before I spotted a Costa. Bewildered and desperately in need of that tea, I headed for the counter and ordered a chocolate swirl to accompany it.

I found a table in the corner and happily sat with my tea and swirl, checking all social media whilst I ate.

After an hour had passed, I presumed the shops would have opened their doors to customers, so I left Costa and headed for Topshop which just so happened to be right across the street. With America in mind I ended up buying a few things.Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 15.42.20

I thought the yellow dress would go perfectly with the blue jumper and I have wanted a large gold neckless for a while. I then went into other shops but didn’t buy anything else until I came to Pull and Bear. Here I bought the denim shirt which was surprisingly only £19.99, a whole £14.00 cheaper than the one I tried on in Topshop… bargain!

Basic Denim Shifrt – Pull and Bear £19.99

Daisy Circle Chain Neckless – Topshop £10

Ditsy Floral Flippy Dress – Topshop £18

Curve Hem Sweat – Topshop £18

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With a slightly lighter purse and great train snacks in hand, I headed back to Paddington Station to catch my 13.15 trainback to Bristol.

Comment: The Great Gatsby and the 1920s

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Highly anticipated but disappointedly given a 2 star rating by Empire critic Ian Nathan, I don’t know what to make of the recent film that has hit the UK cinemas this week; The Great Gatsby.

Watching the trailer, I myself feel compelled to part with my pennies just so I can sit and listen to DiCaprio’s (Jay Gatsby) smooth, seductive voice. I am also a sucker for any movie or television drama that depicts a time way before my era. I think this is because I often secretly long for an escape from the 21st century buzz that comprises of computers, mobile phones and social networking. Wasn’t life a lot simpler without it?

The decadent 1920s, all jazz, pearls and falling in love, is the era to which the movie is set. It feels as though I have been engulfed by this era, as only last month was I part of a dance show that exhibited a 1920s theme. Although I was only featured in a short hip hop routine, having never trained in hip hop or any form of dance, I was proud to be a part of something that was important to my flatmate, Lauren.

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Lauren worked very hard to make the show a success and luckily it all paid off. After I performed I got to watch the rest of the UWE dance society’s performances. I seriously think they should audition on Britain Got Talent or something. They all dressed in tassel and sequin dresses, wore pearl necklaces and added feathers to their hair. And yes the song ‘All That Jazz’ was performed by the dancers.534118_10152174406581542_1976744535_n

The Great Gatsby film itself also made sure they got the look right. With a budget of $100 million dollars, to which it is said to have been largely spent on recreating the lavish parties detailed in the book, it makes me question how so much money can produce something the critics are calling ‘lit-crashing’.

Director, Baz Luhrmann had Miuccia Prada collaborate on a number of 1920s costumes obtained from the Prada and Miu Miu archives. Tiffany & Co worked with costume designer Catherine Martine to create some essential diamond and pearl jewellery pieces to feature in the film. 500 suits and 1700 accessories, all handmade by Brookes Brothers, along with MAC makeup, Fogal Stockings and vintage automobiles were all considered important pieces to fork out for.

Even if the film doesn’t live up to the book, which many films don’t, surely it is worth watching just for the fashion and beauty aspect. The costumes featured in the trailer did dazzle me and I can’t wait to be transported into Luhtmann’s take on a 1920s world.

I imagine the 1920s ‘look’ will transpire before our very eyes as we trawl the shops looking for our summer ball dresses. Here are some pieces I found online:

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Embellished Flapper Dress – Miss Selfridge £129

Cream Jeweled Maribou Stole – Debenhams £48.75

Flapper Hair Band – ASOS £15

Hanging Crystal and Chain Hairband – ASOS £15

Aftershock Boutique Grey Sequin Domino Dress – New Look £65

Comment: Tea, cake and Clifton

Yesterday my mum came to visit me in Bristol and I decided to take her to one of my favourite places; Clifton. I enjoy wondering around Clifton village because the people have smiles on their faces and the shops are full of dainty objects that tempt and tease me as I window shop.

Unfortunately the weather was rather miserable so I don’t think my mum was able to gain a true sense of what the village has to offer. Luckily Clifton has an amazing cafe cum restaurant called Primrose Cafe, that we could hide from the rain in for a few hours. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend you visit this place. I assure you will not be able to resist one of their homemade cakes to accompany your cup of tea or coffee.IMG_7294 copy

I should probably mention that cups of tea and slices of cake will be a regular feature on this blog because they are two things (amongst others) that I simply couldn’t live without.20130509_150110 copy

What I enjoy about my visits to Primrose, apart from the delicious food, is the quaint decor that makes you feel at home. I previously visited the cafe in December when they had mini Christmas trees and baubles dotted around the place. This time, seeing as Christmas had been and gone, they filled the empty spots where the trees had stood with an ornate picture frame and fairy lights. Large chalk boards inform you of the daily specials and the small service counter is manned by friendly staff who are skilled at making heart shapes out of milk and coffee.

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On this visit I sat upstairs in the corner next to a vintage lamp. I felt hidden away from the 21st century world, free to gossip with my mum about the latest Devonian news. When our food arrived I envied my mums chicken and noodle soup as it looked more like a stew. 20130509_150820

When we felt brave enough to face to rain and wind I decided to show my mum some of the special shops that line the streets. I new it was a bad idea actually entering the shops because I ended up buying a bag when I really should be saving for my travels. I suppose, if the rain had not of forced us to take shelter, I would have been able to defy my urges to spend money.20130509_153832

In my defence, I had been looking for a new bag that I could take traveling with me because my current tote does not have a zip and I consider it rather large to carry round a country. The bag I chose was from About Face a shop that features many different styles of bags in all sorts of colours.20130510_181949 copy20130510_190815

About Face also sells jewellery, accessories, mugs, tableware, wall art, clocks and candles, as well as a variety of other things that all have that vintage look. I always like to go in these types of shops and point out various different objects that I think I will buy when I have my own house. I guess this method is the next best thing to actually buying it all. I hope that after you have finished your tea and cake in Primrose cafe you will take a look in this shop, provided you don’t mind parting with some of your money.

I ended the day with a bedtime film…Peter Pan 🙂

Corned beef mash and a flowered tea dress

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The 1940’s was a decade dominated by war and as a result it is thought on as a very tough and unsettling part of history, or so I thought. However, after attending a 1940s themed event last year, I myself felt quite at home in full 1940s style attire.

It made me question if I was born in the right decade as I enjoyed the food, music and dancing. I also think I looked the part in my flowered tea dress and minimal make-up. Admittedly my hair may not have been entirely accurate as the styles proved very difficult to re-produce.

Looking the part and enjoying the food is one thing but I am not naive in thinking that the 1940s was all flowered dresses and corned beef mash. The effects the war had on the world was evident even at the party. Talk of ration books, outside toilets, slinkys and leg make up was prime conversation and all a result of the limitations war produced. Although it did seem like the older generation who attended the event looked upon their past with the same enthusiasm and excitement as I do my childhood.

tumblr_m2ipb6Kjry1qj59roo1_1280Watching them reminisce about their past and recall all things 1940s is what made me questioned whether I would have enjoyed living the 40s lifestyle. Would I have been able to survive the effects of war and still live a happy life? I do not know and will hopefully never have to but I did feel a sense of longing for the simplicity that seemed to surround the second world war era.

The things they did to have fun just seemed so easy and simple, swing dancing and listening to live bands instead of getting ‘smashed’ and proving you are cool by downing the nearest pint. There was no facebook or twitter to communicate, it was simple face to face interaction.

I really enjoyed the stories I heard that night but actually living it may have been a completely different experience. When it comes to re-living and re-telling your past, the fond memories do surface whereas the bad seem to stay buried deep. I hope the stories I was told did demonstrate a true reflection of what it was like to live in them days but I somehow think that unless you lived it, you will never know. I think a case of yearning for an idolized past I never had in a dreamt up nostalgic form is what happened to me that night.