Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Should Be So Lucky

Having seen lots of the gifts you've all received, I thought I might share some of mine with you. I was a very lucky girl this Christmas and as you shall see...

My Bestest NEW TOY- my Kindle given to me by my very astute mum and dad,

Drum Kit Earrings which I won in Alex's giveaway on her blog Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks. Because of the bad weather, I didn't think they'd get here before Christmas, but they did, and I love them!

Silver and Red Necklace- from my grandparents. It's a very "me" necklace and came from a craft fair near to where they live.

 I spent Christmas morning on the ever glamorous M6 travelling to see my maternal family. There aren't that many of them, so thankfully it's not too difficult a job. They're all based in Cambridgeshire which is a truly beautiful part of the country in it's own way. The Guy and I managed to escape out for a post-lunch walk just around sunset, and this is why I love it

Across the Cambridgeshire Fens, Me very cold as taken by The Guy

That was Christmas. We were back on the M6 on Monday morning and back home for Coffee and Cake in the afternoon. Now it's gearing up for New Year.

Until more recently I always used to work New Years Eve as I worked at a large banqueting hotel, although it doesn't sound it, the Gala Dinner was always good fun, with a great crowd and usually a few bottles floating about amongst the staff. Since I finished working in trade, I've spent NYE at home, which has several distinct benefits, the biggest being FOOD.

This year being no exception, we're planning and in full swing with putting together a Lebanese Feast by the name of Arabian Nights. On the menu so far are the usual suspects- smoked aubergine dip, hummus, tszatziki, boreks, falafel and lots of other goodies. The Guy and I are joining my parents, our next door neighbours and 2 other friends (you might recognise Simon and Jude from Wedding Bells back in August).

So who else has exciting plans for NYE? In or Out? I'm interested to know if anyone has any traditions for New Year?

Friday, December 24, 2010

December Purchases

December crept right up on me and made me jump a mile when it landed in my lap. Since when was Christmas allowed to come around so quickly? And since when was it ok to have so many exams and assessments in the 17 days of the month that semester occupied?

Anyway, December's purchases mainly consisted of Christmas shopping. We don't really do major Christmas in our family- a lasting remnant of our years in the hospitality business I suppose, but I really enjoy giving somebody something that they really want or something they love that they're not expecting. The only thing I really hate about the Christmas shopping is in fact the shops, so once again I did mine almost entirely online- a glass of wine in one hand, mouse in the other, central heating and cosy slippers to the ready.

I did manage a couple of little purchases for yours truly though, so here's December's haul.

Yes I may have an addiction to tights, but what's wrong with that? I'm a particular fan of the 150 denier ones, which may in fact be warmer than my leggings and are perfect for facing the elements with a comfy sweater dress or the skirt I wore for our little soiree. But equally these pale pink ones are great for pulling on with my denim shorts, my favourite navy striped dress or (come on, you can guess what's coming here...) a comfy sweater dress! Thank you Primark.

A little bit cheeky, so you're not getting the full view but this was a discount special. I'm a late comer to Voucher Codes, but after finding a 15% off code upon clicking the Proceed to Checkout button on the last of the Christmas presents, I thought it might be rude not to. This is from the Luxury Silk range at La Senza, it's pretty but also super comfy and there are the matching pants- I do love matching underwear. What attracted me most was the gorgeous shade of green but you'll also find a pale pink colour- tempting I can tell you, a coffee colour and a really vibrant turquoise too. Well.... what are you waiting for.

 Jeans-Topshop, Sweater-Primark

And lastly, another Primark special. I'm a little bit in love with these V Neck Boyfriend sweaters. They're brilliant to throw on over jeans when I'm in hurry and off to class. they're comfy, they're warm, and they're the not so slouchy that they have no shape. I already have a black one, a navy one, a pale grey one and a stripey one but I couldn't resist this gunmetal grey colour. And at £7 each I don't sob when the laundry washing machines pull those really annoying little holes in them or shrink them a size.

That was December in purchases, and now I'm off to curl up on the sofa with The Guy and my parents whilst we decide whether we're going to be travelling tomorrow. We're supposed to be headed down to the South East to visit what's left of my maternal family for Christmas. Wish us luck.... whether it's the snow or the relics

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Party People

As you might know from my post So Close last week, I was having a little dress dilemma as Saturday night was our Christmas Party Thing. And given the lovely comments and distinct preference for my H&M skirt I thought you might like to know I wore.....

Skirt H&M Leipzig (2009), T-shirt La Redoute, Tights and Wedges both Primark

Unfortunately The Guy may need a little more practice taking pictures, but you get the gist....

A good night was had by all, largely aided by the vast quantity of Mulled Wine, well actually wine generally and my dad's home made Mince Pies

Yes, that's Monty our dog, ever hopeful that dad might accidentally drop something
 And now onwards with the rest of the week. The Guy's Christmas present went walk about, but Amazon kindly offered to re-issue it, so fingers, toes and everything else crossed that it arrives before Christmas or it could be a tadge embarrassing, but other than that there's not too much else to do. We usually aim to be finished at the office by lunchtime on Christmas Eve, cleaning our house doesn't generally take too long as my mum is super tidy and hates clutter of any kind, and packing for 2 days Chez my Grandmother isn't too monumental a task.

How are preparations going for the rest of you? Loads to do or enjoying kicking your feet back? Anybody got any fun traditions for the run up to Christmas? Got any plans that you're super excited for?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ask Me Anything

I've known about Formspring for a while, but stayed away as I wasn't sure it was for me. However, I've decided it's time to give it a go.

Lots of you bloggers out there use it as a way to answer any questions on posts and this was my main thought. One of the things I find frustrating with Blogger is that there seems to be no way of replying directly to a comment.

Aside the blogging use though, as the title of this post and Formspring's own tag line suggests, feel free to ask me anything. I'm hoping it could be another great way to get to know some of the bloggers I follow and admire and anybody following me, as it's been a pleasure so far via Twitter and blogs alike.

You can find me here:

ask me anything.....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Junkie Lust 18.12.10

After posting my Junkie Lust for last week, I thought I might make this something a bit more regular.

Junkie Lust is a tiny bit more attainable this week, this dress is from Zara. I caught sight of it whilst perusing the website. I had completely forgotten that you can buy online in the UK now and I could kick myself for missing out.

So here it is

Zara Dress £22.99
And for a mere £22.99 I may have to put a cheeky order in. I actually quite like the blue which is unusual for me when it's also available in a very dark grey.

Anybody else lusting something within or beyond their means? Are you also lusting something from Zara?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So Close

I've never really been a home bod, don't get me wrong I wasn't one of those 18 year olds, desperate to get to uni just to move out either but having lived abroad and away over the years I don't really suffer home sickness so much.

This year though, I'm really really really looking forward to heading homewards. Having had a very heavy semester brim full of exams, assessments and adjusting to being back in the UK on a more full time basis it will be joyous to be in a house free from white breeze blocks and slamming swing doors. And at the risk of sounding rather spoilt, I'll be cooked for too. My dad is a Master Chef of Great Britain, but now he doesn't work in kitchens he likes to take full command of our kitchen at home. Oh what a shame... never mind... what's for dinner?

So this week- well there's been the small matter of the last exams and assessments to get done but more importantly- the packing.

I'm at home for just about a month this time as all my exams except my finals take place during semester time. Normally I wouldn't be too fussed about the clothes I want to take home but this year I'm going to be office bound for at least one week full time and in and out the rest of the time. Thankfully we don't go OTT in our office but jeans are a no go zone and the dresses I pulled on for the summer are so not going to cut it against the snow and sub zero temperatures.

So far the preference is looking heavy on sweater dresses- just for a change- with tights and heels as opposed to leggings and boots, I think I should be suitably presentable to the glittering heights of catering  recruitment and the addition of a jacket- front runner is my H&M tux, should make for Fashion Junkie the Almost Professional.

There's also a little soiree, as my mother has taken to calling it, this weekend. My parents put together (quite successfully given the 5am kick out) a Christmas party type thing around this time last year, although I was still in Germany at the time. The guestlist is a bunch of our usual friends and colleagues from networking circles, but most importantly they all know how to have a good time and for the most part they also know how to sink a couple of glasses of mulled wine too!

Back to the packing front- what to wear. As awful as this sounds I can never quite remember what's in the wardrobe at home so I really do need to take something appropriate back with me and for the moment...

Dress £16 Asda

This dress was a real bargain at the end of the summer, I bought it with interviews in mind, but it's also a simple solution to nights out and parties alike.

Skirt H&M Leipzig, T-shirt ASOS
Another Germany purchase, I LOVE this skirt. It's super easy to wear and allows me to keep it simple with a plain t-shirt, tights and a cardigan. The first time I wore it was to go to the Opera in Leipzig so it holds lots of lovely memories too.
Any preferences here? Either of these tickle your fancy?

I'm intrigued here as I know lots of you have full or part time jobs- do you have a strict uniform? Anything that you wish you could wear for work that's a no go zone? Any inspiration for me-winter work wear that I can carry over into my every day life once classes kick back in?


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Junkie Lust 11.12.10

If you saw my All I want for Christmas wishlist, you may have noticed the Natasha bag by Marc Jacobs sneaking in.

Not that I can afford the £400+ price tag on a designer handbag, but I saw it and it was one of those *I want that one* moments. I like that it's a bit softer than some of the other satchels out there- I spend enough time traipsing books around without my handbag looking like it's got several crammed into it. And it's just perfection in size and shape. I rather like the bird detailing too. I'm a later comer to the bird trends but I'm getting to rather like them.

Right- back to the books. Thank you Net-a-Porter for the temporary distraction in the form of Marc Jacobs. In the meantime anyone suggest something similar on the high street to ease the craving? Anyone lucky enough to own one of these?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Living For The Weekend

As I may have mentioned (several... tens of) times, I had a very exciting weekend planned. The Guy and I managed to get tickets to see my favourite EVER act Faithless in Manchester and as a treat to ourselves having both worked  pretty hard of late we had an overnight stay in a hotel too.

Faithless were A-MAZING! A mix of some of their classics and tracks from their latest album The Dance. The techie stuff- lasers and lights were awesome too. These are a couple of The Guy's Pictures as the battery on my phone died.

The support act was Example. I'm a bit behind the times when it comes to current music so I didn't really recognise the name but once he started up I recognised the tracks and we got to hear a few new ones too. He was really really good and the perfect way to kick the night off.

We were standing room rather than seats which was great because we got to dance like crazy people as part of a huge crowd. The atmosphere was genuinely fabulous and we even got talking to a couple who were exactly 20 years older than us and had been to see Faithless 10 years previously. If you ever get the chance to see these guys live... DO IT!

I had a bit of a crisis on my hands on Friday as I tried to do my packing though. A 10 minute job I thought, planned in my head I thought, simple I thought. That was before I realised I had absolutely no idea what to wear for the concert on Saturday. I've been to small local gigs before, live music in bars and the like, but never to anything like this.

In case you hadn't worked it out already I like to plan and organise. friends and family would say I'm a bit of a control freak as I like to know exactly what's going to happen, when, how and what I'll be wearing when it does. So options had to be decided, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you all some of my November purchases. Well actually November's past and present...

Jersey Cuffed Trousers- New Look
1. These trousers seemed to refuse to be photographed. I picked these up at a New Look Event at the beginning of the November and they are the comfiest trousers I've ever worn. I love that they work with a pair of heels as much as my favourite flats and they're great for times like these as they swing from smart to casual so easily. 

Ruffled Blouse- H&M

2. This one is a November past. I bought it in my favourite Leipzig branch of H&M with advice from my Mum whilst she was visiting. I wasn't sold on the ruffles-something I usually avoid like the Plague, but the loose fit of the shirt when tucked into something (like the above trousers) seem to work. Simple? Yes. Much loved? For sure!

Tux Jacket- H&M

3. Back to November present. I know I've already talked about this jacket, but I do love it! It's my fail safe, guaranteed to do the job. It also has the benefit of having proper pockets, including an inner pocket which is great when I'm out and about. 

Shorts- Primark

4. These really are a November long since gone purchase. Although I bought them in 2008 they're another fail safe for going out. They're really simple, just long enough for me to feel I still have some modesty and can be paired blissfully with just about any top or t-shirt  and a pair of tights for a night out whatever time of year.

I ended up wearing the shorts shirt and jacket combo. Thermal tights, ok 150 denier but the point is that they were so very necessary. It was COLD in Manchester! But regardless, a fantastic weekend was had by all. A chance for The Guy and I to get away from our respective work and Faithless couldn't have been a better first live music event.

I hope you had a fabulous weekend, eventful or not. Been anywhere exciting? Got a November purchase that's truly amazing?


Keep Calm and Carry On

It may indeed be coming up to the festive season but many of the lovely people I've been following seem to be up to their eyeballs with work, studies or life in general. And so, having ordered my new, and very apt poster (it shall be taking pride of place next to my desk as a reminder....) and a couple of other last Christmas gifts I thought I'd put together a little list of Blogosphere pick-me-ups to help get us all through.

1. 12 Days of Christmas by Alex at Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks
 Alex is running a very generous and lovely give away that she's put together herself. all you need to do is leave her a comment on any of the posts that you'd like to win the contents of. So far the prizes are looking gorgeous, so you have nothing to lose and quite possibly something lovely to gain!

2. 12 Days of Christmas by Jen at A Little Bird Told Me
 Jen at A Little Bird is also running a 12 day give away. I've already got my eye on some personalized pieces from Stolen Thunder from day one! Again you quite simply need to leave a comment on the post and all the prizes are open until 11 December. You'll also find some special offers available so even if you're not lucky enough to win, you can still treat yourself.

3. The Ultimate Gift Guide by Ayden at Little Blog of Horrors
 Ayden is on a Blogger challenge with next and she's currently giving you a gift guide a day for the usual suspects you might need to buy a gift for. So far I've had a helping hand with finding something for my Dad and there have been ideas for Mum and Gran too. You can also give Ayden a helping hand by using the links on her blog if you decide on something she's posted about, not much to ask if she's sorted the one relative/friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/sibling who has everything for you.

4. Bargain Advent Guide by Susie at Bargainista Fashionista
 Susie is giving a little gem every day for Advent. Whether it be revolutionary make-up or discount events at a favourite shop, there's sure to be something to catch your eye over the coming days. I don't have an advent calender and I really really don't need to be eating the chocolate so Bargainista Fashionista is giving me my daily fashion fix and a countdown.

5. Christmas Giveaway by Blair at Blair an a Budget
 Blair has a very generous giveaway going on right now. The haul is fairly substantial with items including Gogo Philip Jewellery, Models Own Polish and Nail Pen and lots of other lovely goodies. All you have to do is comment on the post. It really is that simple.

So there we have it, the Fashion Junkie Keep Calm and Carry On pick me up. To all of you, keep warm, safe and as stress free as possible. And if all else fails....

I feel I may need one of these more than a Keep Calm and Carry on mantra....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bed Time Reading

There first full week of the new month is upon us, and for me that means only one thing- press! My love of fashion started with magazines, Vogue in particular and now I relish the shiny new editions hitting the shelves each month ready for me delight, delectation and dissection.

Now I don't think a monthly purchase consisting of Vogue, Elle and Grazia is too extensive. I occasionally pick up something else if I'm stuck on a train station or in an airport but I'm otherwise quite restrained. Normally I'd have to indulge my pleasure in a more guilty manner by staying up an extra half an hour to read one of my glossy delights or take a "break" from whatever I'm working on. But this weekend I was afforded a little luxury.

POP and Grazia a bonus and a favourite.

If you caught my last post The Final Countdown, you'll know I was in Manchester this weekend to see Faithless live (more on that later) and being as The Guy and I were so excited to have tickets we thought we'd have ourselves an overnight stay as well and make the most of a hard earned weekend off. So this weekend I not only got the thrill of purchasing some of my favourite press, unfortunately not the monthly's, but an extra bonus of POP, in my native language but I also got to read them from the comfort of a not unpleasant hotel room with no nagging feeling that I should really be working on my French summary of yet another exciting news item or propping my eyes open in a last bid to see something other than my German book review before bed. I even had a cheeky drink to hand.

Park Inn Manchester- basically opposite the MEN

I do love reading my blogs, and they are my daily fix of fashion, and there's no doubting the talent out there whether it be the writing, the styling or the reviews but there really is nothing quite like escapism that comes from gazing at the (currently) unobtainable wares displayed upon the pages of Vogue, or relishing in the wardrobe of the It Girls who seem to have Devil Wears Prada type jobs and wardrobes.

So here's to the written word and the printed picture and all they have to give.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

Someone asked me today what I wanted for Christmas. I always find this a scary question, what are you supposed to say? Well actually I'd quite like a new car, and if you're offering a nice helping of the McQueen Silk Scarves that I love would be nice. And ooooh what about one of those MacBooks I've been lusting after?

No. Perhaps not. But I did have a little think on the subject and whilst I was at it, I thought I'd share the Fashion Junkie Wishlist with you so here goes....

So from Left to Right
Row 1
 1. The Coco Chanel Biography by Justine Picardie, Amazon
2. Natasha bag by Marc Jacobs, Net-a-Porter
3. Gossip Girl Season 3 DVD, Amazon
4. MacBook Air, Apple
5. Piped Detail Satchel, Topshop

Row 2
1. Guilty by Gucci Perfume, Debenhams
2. Loud by Rihanna, Amazon
3.Wyborowka Vodka

Row 3
1. Kindle 3G, Amazon
2. Mouse Ring, ASOS
3. Bug Earings, ASOS
4. Paparazi magazine style clutch bag, ASOS
      So there we have it. The things on my wishlist, some more realistic than others, but a girl can dream. What are you wishing for this Christmas? Anything you think I've missed?

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's The Final Countdown...

I am the biggest fan of a good countdown, they keep me going through the darker months, tough times, or particularly manic periods. The most obvious one is Christmas with most of you opening the third door on an Advent calender today, but I'm not really huge on Christmas as I grew up in Hospitality where Christmas means major planning, scary decorations and long days.

So what am I counting down to? Well tomorrow I shall be in sunny Manchester, but more importantly, I shall be going to see FAITHLESS! They are my all time favourite act, and it will also be my very first proper concert. I've been to smaller local gigs before, but nothing on the scale of the MEN. Being as I don't see that much of The Guy, we're staying overnight in a hotel, something that's quite a treat after a couple of months of my cell- I'm sorry my room in halls. So something else to look forward to.

Whilst in Manchester I shall be making the most of the opportunity to visit *real* shops, and there's the matter of my last Christmas present to buy, thankfully most of the Christmas Shopping was done online, from the comfort of a comfy chair with a glass of wine to hand.

Here's what I've been up to on the final leg of the countdown:
Wednesday- THREE
My very favourite nail polish. Wednesday evening was spent swearing at the polish and my unsteady hands, but I do love having pretty nails:

T'Easy Does It by OPI

Thursday- TWO

My new photography blog. As you might have seen from my earlier post Pretty As A Picture (also the name of the blog), I've joined an Unofficial Photography Group in a bid to improve my shocking photography. I'd love to know what you think and ALL help, tips, tricks and advice would be welcomed with open arms.:

some of my images so far...

And Friday- ONE
I'm fortunate not to have any lectures on a Friday, so I try and use the day to get up to date and if possible a little ahead on work due the following week and any tests and assessments (plentiful as they are at the moment). Today I gave in to comfort food and drink. One of my very favourites:

And naturally the whole of the last week has had a soundtrack that conists pretty much exclusively of Faithless tracks!

I know I'm not alone having lots on at the moment, so what are you counting down to? Do you mark your counting in any special way?


Monday, November 29, 2010

Wrapping Up For Winter

I did mention a certain new coat a little while back, and I'm so pleased with it, I thought I'd dedicate a post to it.

The search for a new coat after my trusty H&M Mac finally gave up the ghost last year, has been a long one and a frustrating one. Over the summer I discovered ther joy that is eBay in particular people selling Burberry coats on eBay. I really really want one, but even the eBay prices of the ones I like are a bit out of my league. So it is that H&M have come to my rescue once more.

I was only poking about on the H&M website because they sent me a 20% discount e-mail, having already looked in various branches I wasn't really holding out much hope. But it was pretty much an instant decision. I love the length- just above the knee, it pulls in really nicely at the waist but the skirt of it isn't too flared so it doesn't look too fancy dress, and it's a wool mix which means I can wear it for day to day but it also works for smarter occasions.

And all of that for £49.95! Well actually I only paid just under £40 with my discount, so I was even more pleased. Who doesn't love a bargain?

I was also pleased to find the 63% Wool content of my new best friend is recycled wool. Now I'm not actually that clued up on ethical/green/fair trade fashion, and it's something that I know I really should pay more attention to, but what I like most about the recycled fabric content was the idea of ethics, fair trade and recycling finally making it to the main stream high street. H&M are showing it's possible to make a move towards being environmentally friendly in large scale production and without compromising style.

 The only thing I'm not sure on is the buttons. I'm not sure I like the gold ones, and may have to have a hunt for some less obvious ones whilst at home over the Christmas Break. Any thoughts on what might look better, or do you disagree and think I should leave the gold ones as they are?

The buttons in question
Fortunately for me we have no snow here (well, not yet anyway), it is still horribly cold and I'm very glad of my new coat having just returned from days lectures, in the dark, on the ice and with a bag full of translation dossiers, text books and possibly a sneaky carton of my favourite smoothie.

Here's hoping keeping warm is as much enjoyable for you as it is for me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pretty As A Picture

I am the first to admit, my photography skills are non-existent. It's one of the reasons it took me so long to start posting photos as part of the blog. However, someone I know (a photographer) recently started an "Unofficial Photography Club" on Facebook. The idea is blissfully simple. All the members of the group take it in turns to pick a theme/subject each week, and we each post five photos we've taken.

When I saw the group flash up on my News Feed I simply thought it was just a clever idea for more than a few people I know who are keen photographers, then I got to thinking (dangerous I know) what better way for me to have a play with my camera and try and improve on my own photography, and truth be told a welcome break from French translation.

So hear goes, a couple of the five photos I took for the theme of "Household Items".

So there we go. My trusty desk lamp. I really enjoyed having a play with the settings on my camera- which by the way is a very basic 4 year old Samsung S1030. I have no idea what the letters and numbers mean, or what the techie acronyms mean though.

Anybody else interested in photography or improving their pictures but too scared of the proper photographers to give it a go? I decided to set up a photography blog to keep track of my pictures and my progress so introducing Pretty As A Picture...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Geek Chic

Like lots of bloggers I know, I'm a student and I'm also in my final year. My degree is French, German and Spanish (hence I spent so much time abroad) and it's also fairly unique because it's a triple major, unfortunately it means my workload is pretty horrific just at the moment, my observations have been limited to uses of the literary tenses in French, target audiences for German translation and some particularly nasty paraphrasing in Spanish. I know you're all horribly envious of me right now, aren't you?! So that said, I thought I'd try and inject a bit of my fashion passion into my study regimen.

My chic accessories this week have for the most part been:

The Laptop- Like many, I don't think I could live without it. I know lots of language students who have specialist software packages or digital dictionaries, but I'm quite boring, so long as I can SpellCheck in French, German, Spanish and English, I'm happy.

The other bonus is that the laptop is a very funky blue colour. It didn't really show on the pictures of it before I bought it, so it was a little surprise when it arrived. It's the little things right?!

Cupcake Mugs- These were a Tesco find.

I like a good cup of coffee, and I'm also a fan of Lemon and Ginger tea from Twinnings. These mugs almost always make me smile, because if you can't have real cake, there has to be something.

The Books- Possibly the least stylish things (but at the moment most used) I own. Well I did say Geek Chic...

So there you go, my geeky week. And now... onwards. There's German Grammar calling my name.