Monday, May 30, 2011

Pearls of Wisdom

Martha Jeans, Topshop
Pearl Print Bandeau Top, ASOS
Cardigan, Primark
I'll admit to forgetting about this top. I bought it last year in an ASOS sale and thought it would work quite nicely with the high waisted denim skirt I wore a lot in the warmer weather or with some shorts for a night out. Unfortunately the weather didn't provide enough opportunity to wear said skirt which went into the bin at the end of the summer being beyond redemption and there haven't exactly been many nights out in the last year, well not *that* kind of night out anyway.

I found the top languishing at the bottom of my drawer when starting to get a few things packed today, and decided it was time to pull it on. I quite like it with jeans and a cardigan and have resolved to wear it a bit more, although it's actually now a little too big, although this has it's benefits as it no longer clings in an unforgiving manner around my stomach.

There's something really quite satisfying about the rediscovery of clothing you've either forgotten about or shoved to the back of the wardrobe, no longer sure of it's style/shape/colour/fit. It's like a new purchase without actually having bought anything. Although I can be quite ruthless in throwing things away, I have started limiting my wardrobe clear outs a little, because I end up throwing things out that actually I probably would come back to and am annoyed with myself for getting rid of when I suddenly remember it's no longer in my wardrobe at that crucial moment.

Are you hoarders or ruthless wardrobe police? Do you have a rediscovery that you're particularly proud of? Or do you have a piece of clothing that you use to gauge weight loss or gain and fit into sporadically?
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lucky Bagels and Mango Shakes

From September 2009-January 2010 I lived in Leipzig, Germany. It was one of three places I studied as part of my degree and by far my absolute favourite. On a Sunday, tradition dictated we make a trip to Bagel Brothers- a chain of restaurants selling a variety of bagels to eat in, as well as selling loose bagels. Tradition also dictated the consumption of one of these beauties

Bagel Brothers Lucky Bagel
Image Credit
A Lucky Bagel has cream cheese, chives, a mini omelette type thing and bacon. Bliss. Usually this came after a long swim as the Leipzig Bagel Brothers was near the pool.

I just thought I'd share this today, as it's exactly the kind of Sunday food I fancied. Instead, I raided what's left in my fridge (not all that much as I have just FIVE more days to go!) and made myself a cheese and mushroom omelette for lunch.

Another Leipzig tradition, although a weekday tradition as the Coffee Culture cafe was opposite the university, was the joy that is a Mango Shake.

Mango Shake
A Mango shake is basically Mango Juice, Milk and Ice, blitzed together in those machines that Cafes used to make iced drinks (think Starbucks Iced Coffees or Cafe Nero Iced Drinks). Unfortunately the Mango Shake was a seasonal drink and came off the menu in November. But I could also quite happily have knocked bag a large Mango Shake today. Instead I'm drinking Apple and Ginger Tea.

It's been a very uneventful Sunday here. Sifting through all sorts of careers ideas and listening to The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. I love audio books, originally I started downloading them to help me sleep but I like to listen to them when I'm doing things like ironing or drifting through the Internet and no doubt they'll be great whilst I'm packing my room up into next week.

For those of you that might be interested in audio books, Audible which is a sister site of Amazon is great. For a monthly price (at the moment they're running a deal where you can pay £3.99 for the first 3 months and £7.99 thereafter) you receive one audible credit per month. I have yet to come across a book on Audible which is more than one credit. The books come via the Audible download manager but are compatible with iTunes and a number of other types of media software so they can be transferred to pretty much any mp3 player/portable device.

Anybody else craving something in particular? What's on the reminisce list for you? And am I the only one with "Sunday Food"?

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pulling Oneself Together

Today I woke up feeling rough. Tired. Irritable. Drained. Fed Up. I live in quite a stressful situation and combine that with having been unwell and sleep deprived and you have a Chloe who does not like to get out of bed.

But in spite of this, I hauled my backside out of bed and pulled myself together. Rather than continue to dwell on grey cloud hanging over me, I put on the war paint.


Jumper, Primark
Jersey Harem pants, Matalan,
Necklace, Primark
Under eye bags, nasty neighbours
And the armour...

Left, Shaun Leane
Right, local jeweller

It's too easy to give in to negativity and not leave the house. It's too easy to allow victory to those who feel it necessary to put others down and most of all, it's too easy to forget that making a bit of an effort to look after yourself can work wonders on your mood, confidence and fighting spirit.

This evening is the university summer ball. I'm actually not going. Although the headlining act is Feeder, the rest of the music doesn't look too promising. Headache inducing wine and pretending to enjoy the company of people who have either ignored me all year or pretended to be nice whilst behaving like a bitchy nasty 15 year old away from my eyes and ears is not really that much of an appeal. Oh and my nearest and dearest aren't going either. Instead, I'm rather enjoying looking like a human being (eyeliner and everything) for the time being. I have a date with The Boys which largely involves the consumption of some kind of unhealthy take away and a whole lot of lounging around.

Many of the other final years I know see the summer ball as the "last" opportunity to see friends and get together, even though we still have one more exam to go. And if they enjoy it and it's a good night, good for them. Personally, I can't wait to chill out with The Boys. I can think of no better way to enjoy their company before we head off in our separate ways than doing what we do best- talking, eating and taking the mick out of eachother. I'm sure they'd look great in their tuxes, but it just wouldn't be the same.

Anybody else avoiding the usual goodbyes or not giving in to the need to attend events that just aren't "you"? Having just come back from a brief evening with them, I can safely say The Boys and I made the right decision.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ready, Set, REVISE

Revision. Not the most popular word, but it's THAT time of year and I know many of you are either mid way through or about to begin university exams or finals. I'm 7 exams in, with 1 more to go and I'll be so wonderfully relieved when I've finished not just the exams for the year, but my last university exams ever.

Selina over at Flying Saucer has some great revision tips up at the moment, as she's just about to start her finals, and when I added mine to the mix, she suggested I post them here too. So here we go, the Chloe Likes To Talk Revision Guide.


1. DO make sure you have everything you need before you sit down to work- pens, pencils, highlighters, adequate paper/notebooks, sticky page marker things, any books or notes, if you're a linguist like me- dictionaries. There's nothing worse than getting started and getting into your revision when you suddenly realise you're missing something you really could do with and have to interrupt your work to go off and get it. This usually ends in long procrastination filled diversions and forgetting what you needed in the first place!



2. DO try and work somewhere with plenty of light. Working in bad light is not good for your eyes, will give you a headache and increases that horrible caged in feeling. Luckily for me, my desk in halls is straight in front of the window so I get loads of daylight.

3. If you have lots of subjects or modules or separate exams to revise for, DO plan in time slots for each one. This will mean that you don't over prepare one particular area or worse still, under prepare another and you can prioritise each one the nearer you get to the exam. It also helps to mix things up so you don't get too overwhelmed (or bored) with one thing.



4. DON'T drink too much caffeine, DON'T eat too much sugar and try not to rely on energy drinks. Caffeine and sugar might give you a quick boost, but as soon as it starts to wear off you'll start to feel more tired and even less able to concentrate than before. That said, a treat coffee and a biscuit at 1600 keeps me going. All a case of moderation.

5. DO leave the house. Every day. It can be quite easy to get through a whole day, and suddenly realise you haven't stepped outside the door. This can make the whole task of revision seem more overwhelming, it can allow you to get over-stressed about your exams and lose perspective and I find it makes me fidgety and unable to concentrate properly. Even if it's just to go buy something for lunch or post a letter, get out for a little while.

6. DO exercise. Find something you enjoy- running, swimming, aerobics classes, cycling, pilates, Zumba, the Gym, whatever. And do it. I swim and at the moment I swim 5-6 times a week. I like to go around lunch time and then have a quick lunch afterwards. to break up my day and make sure I'm taking a proper break. Exercising will help you to concentrate, it gets you out of the house (see above), it helps you to focus your mind and will help you to stay healthy through your exam period.

7. DO clear your desk and start again after each exam has finished. My desk always looks like a bombsite the closer I get to the exam, littered with papers, notes, reference books and highlighters. Once each exam is finished, I clear away all of the notes and materials from that particular area so they're out of the way and don't get mixed up and it means my desk is properly clear to get back to it for the next round.

8. DON'T let your phone be a distraction. If you have a BlackBerry/iPhone/Smartphone- turn off the e-mail/Facebook/Twitter sounds so they don't distract you. I only have sound for texts and phone calls because they're the only things that I need to know about if they go off. If you receive a lot of texts that are likely to distract you, turn that off too. Then put it out of reach. Phones are great, but they're an easy way to waste half an hour or to disrupt you when you least need it.



Good Luck to all of you doing exams at the moment, especially those of you sitting your finals like me. We CAN do this. And if you have any tips of your own please share in the comments- it all helps.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To The Max

So there's a story behind this dress. Back in August and September I had a wedding to go to and a black tie function to go to. In my hunt for dresses, I spotted, ordered by ended up returning a brightly coloured maxi with splashes of pattern, I found a great black dress for my function and something else for the wedding. But the dress looked a little something like this...

Dress, Odd independent shop that was closing down, £5
Cardigan, Primark

Dress, odd independent shop that was closing down £5
T-Shirt, H&M
Cardigan, H&M £9.99
Shoes, H&M
Crossbody Alicia Bag, Nica
Full Length photos thanks to The Guy
Recognise it from the little preview of my recent purchases? That's right, I found it in a shop that was closing down when perusing the shops last week. I'm not sure if it is the exact same one, but it's certainly a strong enough reminder of the original for me to buy it. For £5, I figured there was little to lose, particularly as the original cost around £20.

Loving the bright colours and it's actually quite versatile- so far I've worn it with a cardigan, with a t-shirt over it (as you can see above) and also with a simple v-neck black jumper over the top and a t-shirt underneath.

The only, ever so slight, tiny weeny down side of the maxi dress is dirty feet. Because it's so close to the ground, it tends to drag across the top of my feet leaving me with horrendously dirty feet. I feel I may end up having to take a couple of centimetres of the bottom.

But aside that, I'm loving this dress. Comfy- check. Versatile- check. Something a bit different- check. Suitable for the bipolar weather- check. I wore it on Saturday to travel South. When I left uni it was cloudy and practically gale force winds as well as being chilled but London was beautifully warm and sunny so this worked nicely for both without having to change on the way down or walk the streets of London feeling over hot.

So what do you think? Too much colour and print? A dose of summer despite the reluctant weather?
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Disco Kitty

Since I got my WAH x Models Own Nail Pen I've become a little obsessed by leopard nails, I love the potential colour combinations and I love that they don't have to be deadly accurate so I can do both hands myself.

The Guy reckons I'm becoming steadily more feline by nature and so he named these ones.


Disco Kitty Nails
Base- OPI Mad Hatters polish and spots with WAH x Models Own nail pen.

Top-with flash
Bottom- without flash.
The Mad Hatter Polish does not photograph all that well once it has a top coat over it- too much sparkle and shine but I do love it, it's one of my absolute favourite polishes. I could however do with a bit of advice on this polish- it's gone really gloopy and kind of stringy. I'm not sure why, but it's really frustrating because at £10 or so, I consider it an expensive polish. My question to you: can it be rescued? If so how?

Can't wait to keep trying new things with my nails, anybody got any good and SIMPLE ideas for things to try?
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bare Legs and No Tights. It Only Gets Busy at Night

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have seen my mounting excitement for this weekend. I planned a couple of surprises for The Guy's birthday, which was actually last week but we couldn't get away. Because The Guy likes to keep an eye on the blog, to make sure I'm not being too soppy, I couldn't tell you all what I had planned, but having just got back, I thought it was time to spill the beans and share.


Another 3+ hour train trip, but I took the chance to get my nails re-painted and munch my way through some Graze goodies and listening to some re-discovered greats on my iPod.

So what was the main event?



We went to see Basement Jaxx at the Ministry of Sound in London, and to say it was good would be an understatement. Some great tracks and some amazing remixes- the video above is from Queen- Don't Stop Me Now, and the lighting and screens were amazing too. The other and probably bigger bit of the surprise was bringing 2 of his best friends along to join us, which made for a pretty good night.


Clockwise from Top Left:
The boys
Strawberries to go with the Champagne
The Guy and I- a few more drinks later
Starting the night in style- Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne from the manager.

That was the main event, but we also had the afternoon in London and the weather chose to honour us with sunshine and warm temperatures, cue cafes and people watching to unwind and enjoy a cheeky break. We had lunch at a deli on St Johns Wood Highstreet which was nothing short of amazing- Schnitzel and Hummus and salad in a pitta bread and we managed to get a spot right in the sun in West Hampstead to have a late afternoon drink and people watch and hypothetically spend our hypothetical Euromillions win


My Schnitzel Pitta
Drinks in the sun

It all came together pretty perfectly and organising it has been so much fun. It was a real reminder that it is better to give than to receive as it was brilliant to see the look of surprise on The Guy's face was well and truly priceless. Oh, and I did get to see the Basement Jaxx live too.

Hope that you've all had fabulous weekends or at least restful ones, what did you manage to get up to? I'm pretty shattered this evening, we finally stumbled through the door at just past 0600 this morning and the sun was coming up. Needless to say there were a lot of bleary eyed squinting clubbers, foam covered party-goers and bare-legged women starting to feel the cold (myself included) joining us for the last Night Buses of Sunday morning and it's really quite nice to be curled up in my PJ's and Hoodie this evening.


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Friday, May 20, 2011

Room 101

So this marks 101 posts. I didn't want to mark a year since I started blogging because my blog has changed significantly since I started it but I thought I'd give you something different for post 101. I'm just that kinda girl. So here we go- a few things you may or may not have wanted to see, know about me, know about my life and what would be in my Room 101...

ME

1. My full name is Chloe Emma Martin-Brown. I picked my surname when I hit 14 to match my parents as I'm no longer in touch with the paternal biological family my given surname came from.

2. I'm a final year student. In 14 days time I will have completed a triple major BA in French, German and Spanish. When we graduate, the 9 of us who take our triple major will be the only ones doing so, as this degree combination was unique to our university when we started it back in 2007.

3. I collect postcards. When I started my studies abroad, I got a bit obsessive about buying a postcard from every place I visited and it's something I've carried on ever since. My favourite ironically comes from the place I least enjoyed living- Toulouse and shows the view across Place du Capitole in the rain.

4. I love the colour green. In particular grass green. I love it. I'm lucky enough to be able to wear green well too so I own green t-shirts, shoes, a hoody, a handbag, a coat as well as green bedding, green mugs, and all sorts of other things.

5. I wear a mans watch. I'm not known for being delicate- neither my personality which has been described as blunt trauma before now, nor my physical being. I find womens' watches delicate and they just don't suit me. I first discovered the joy of mens' watched when my dad gave me one he couldn't wear. And so it has continued, but I still have serious explaining to do when I go into a jewellers and tell them I'm not looking at the guys stuff as a gift!

6. At 5ft 5 inches, shoe size 38 and dress size 10-12, I'm about as average in stature as you get for a 21 year old British woman. The major advantage of this is that I have few problems getting clothes to fit me, the disadvantage is that clothes and shoes in my size often sell out pretty damn quick.

7. I was born on 3rd June. I'm a Gemini, although I'm not into horoscopes, I am quite typically Gemini in that I have quite distinct parts to my personality- the Chloe that will go to the office on a Saturday night, even if it's technically not my job, just to make sure I secure some business is not the same Chloe that drinks coffee and puts the world to rights with the boys.

8. As the name of my blog suggests, I like to talk. I've learned about hydro power on a flight from Munich to Manchester, I met a woman who was visiting her husband in a prison in Israel in Frankfurt am Main Airport and compared experiences of French strike action on train from Carcassonne to Toulouse. And this is without all the amazing people I've had the pleasure of talking to via the blog. It's good to talk.

9. I love taking pictures of flowers. I think flowers are beautiful but generally I dislike the scent and they often make me sneeze, so I prefer to enjoy pretty pictures of them. And no matter how many I take, there's still something beautiful about the pictures that I can't take my eyes off. This one is my favourite.


10. I really really can't see without lenses or glasses. I'm long sighted at +6.00 in my right eye and +3.75 in my left. I also have a lazy right eye, which means that even if I could have corrective surgery on my eyes, I'd still need the glasses or the contact lenses to correct the way my eye wanders. This had lead to a penchant to designer glasses, my favourites being my black Prada glasses or my plum coloured Versus ones.

FOOD

11. I come from a foody family, therefore food is something that is talked about a lot on my blog, with my family and with my partner who has fully embraced the foody nature my family.

12. I have a minor addiction to Angel Delight in either strawberry or butterscotch flavours. I have no idea where this came from, but I've given up caring. I also nurture a fond love for jelly, in practically any flavour going.

13. My family lovingly call my fruit bat. I LOVE fruits of most kinds. If I had my way I'd actually eat a lot more of it, but fruit and fruit juice actually contain quite a lot of natural sugar so in the interests of my waist line and my skin, I try to keep fruit as no more than 2-3 of my 5+ a day. My absolute favourite fruit? Granny Smith apples.

14. Soup is nothing short of a miracle and a life saver. In the winter I probably eat soup 4-5 times a week. I tend to buy fresh soups such as the Covent Garden soups in bulk for the freezer when it's on a good offer, and for me it's the ultimate fast food- it's hot and quick to heat, it's easily transportable, it's nutritionally sound and best of all, never gets boring because there are so many varieties.

15. My dad is a Master Chef of Great Britain. The MCGB is actually nothing to do with the TV programme. It's an association of chefs, which you have to be asked to join. There is an annual lunch each autumn which my dad has managed to go to every year since 1997.

My Dad and I
16. Roast chicken and the trimmings is one of my absolute favourite meals (although there are many) and it's something I wish I got to eat more often. On my perfect roast chicken plate you will find: roast chicken leg, yorkshire pudding, a couple of small roast potatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots, roasted parsnips, sage and onion stuffing and some gravy. Aside being amazingly tasty, a roast dinner like this is actually pretty healthy and well balanced as there's plenty of fresh veg, protein and carbohydrates too. BONUS!

17. I like Marmite, but I love Bovril- the beef version of Marmite. On toast, in a sandwich, added to the mince in spaghetti bolognese, the list goes on.

18. If I ever had to give up a food, I'd kiss goodbye to potatoes without too much of a fuss, but ask me to give up bread and you'd have a fight on your hands. I try and be good and not eat too much of it, but I do love bread.

19. I can cook quite well, but I really like to bake. Unfortunately I rarely have the time in a fully equipped kitchen to go to town with, so I don't get to bake often. I make pretty good cookies and fairy cakes.

20. There aren't many things I don't or won't eat, but I cannot stand leeks, capers, olives, asparagus or smoked fish.

FAMILY

21. When I say family I mean my very immediate family- my mum and my dad. The 3 of us are really quite close and it's a good job because when I'm at home during holiday, we live and work together.


My amazing parents
22. I have relatives all over the world from Sicily to New Zealand, most of the ones spread across other countries and continents are on my dad's side of the family and I haven't met them all, but am incredibly fortunate that the ones I do know are incredibly hospitable and have had offers to visit and stay with many of them.

23. There are 4 living generations of my maternal family. All female. me,my mum, her mother, and her mother. My Great-Grandmother is heading for 90 although suffers from dementia so isn't entirely with us. I never really understood the significance of knowing my grandparents, let alone my great-grandparents until I met one of my best friends, Dev. His dad is 6 years older than my grandmother and unfortunately his mother died 2 years ago and he never knew his grandparents on either side of his family.

24. I have a half sister who is 15. She lives with her mother and I have no contact with our biological Father, but despite having had very little contact until recently, we're quite alike in many ways. We also look quite alike which is odd for me, as I don't really look particularly like anybody else in my family.

25. Despite not being biologically related, I've lost count of the number of times people have said to my dad and I "don't you two look alike" or similar. It never fails to make me smile because to me it means that we probably share gestures and mannerisms that show how close I am to my dad. I know countless people who have a step-parent in their family, but I couldn't imagine ever considering my dad as anything other than my dad because he's such a big and important part of my life, and because he has always treated me as his daughter. To me, this only means I love him more for being my dad.

Friends

26. I have very few female friends. My best girl is Mel and I love her to bits. She studies French like me which is how I know her and she's one of the few people I'll keep in touch with after we finish uni. She's one of the all round nicest people I know, and despite having more than enough to contend with herself this year, she's been amazingly supportive.

27. I don't have a 'best friend', but I do have some very important friends. I actually think I'm pretty lucky to have it like this, because my closest friends range from someone I've worked with for 8 years and who is more than 10 years older than me, to a couple I know through my parents and business networking group to 2 of the guys I study with.

28. Although I enjoy socialising in cafes, going out to bars and clubs and long convaluted conversations in the sun I'm the kind of person who is quite happy with their own company. I grew up as an only child so I'm pretty good at entertaining myself. I love the time I get reading or listening to music and audio books or writing for Chloe Likes To Talk. If I only see poeple in class or don't do anything 'social' in a week, it doesn't really bother me. But I do try and make a concerted effort to do something each week so I don't become too introspective.

29. I honestly believe that Facebook can be as much a hindrance to friendship as a help. It has changed our definition of friendship, and  nothing highlights loneliness like seeing all the things people have been doing that you weren't invited to, or how much people aren't communicating with you as how much they are. Although I do have a Facebook account, I generally only have it as a means for people to get in touch in a world where many of us have become too lazy to even send a text or an e-mail.

30. I have acquired a couple of penpals through Chloe Likes To Talk, and I love the old fashioned nature of getting to know those people slowly and the act of writing to somebody.

Life in General

31. I am fanatical about basic manners- please, thank you and you're welcome, holding the door for people and waiting your turn. I know it's a bit old fashioned, but if we all took the time to be a little more polite, I think we'd live in a much more pleasant place.

32. I'm not religious, nobody in my family is but I have a huge respect for anybody with enough faith to follow one.

33. I am not a patient person. People say patience is a virtue, not one I possess. I'm working on it, but in the mean time, I get cross quickly and I'm a "I want it, and I want it now" kind of a person.

34. I have a rare blood type. I'm AB Rh-. Less than 5% of the population have this blood type and it is considered a particularly good blood type for use in Cardiac Surgery. I believe strongly in giving blood and did so regularly until recently when I was stopped due to a medical condition.

35. I swim. At the moment 5-6 times a week. I'm not a particularly talented swimmer and I've only once been part of a team/club, but I love it. Swimming gives me time all to myself to concentrate on clearing my head. It also doesn't aggravate my slightly dodgy knees and and hips whilst being an all over work out.

36. Being in a relationship is one of the most challenging things I've ever done. Allowing somebody to get as close to me as The Guy is, allowing myself and my feelings to be influenced by somebody, and trusting somebody has been tough, but well worth the effort.


I can't post a picture of The Guy and I because he prefers to stay anonymous for his own reasons. There's also only one picture that I have. But this picture represents me working out exactly what a relationship means.

And lastly- My Room 101

Entitlement. Or the sense of- I hear so many people say they deserve something or that they are owed something. I wish I could find a way to diplomatically tell them that actually, things have to be worked for. Effort is required and actually you will enjoy your achievements so much more and you will be a better person for it.

Guys with their jeans/trousers half way down their backsides. I'm sorry, just NO. I neither want nor need to see your trashy underwear. Pull. Them. Up.

Whistling. I don't know why it irritates me so much. But it does. Does that make me a bad person? Tough.

Posh. I have a neutral accent and I aspire to earn a high salary to take foreign holidays. I like eating out and champagne is a wonderful creation. That doesn't make me any better or any worse than anybody else, so please do not try and label me with a word that does not have any real meaning. The term posh seems to have become a way of making people feel bad for having aspirations or being fortunate enough to be educated or for speaking in a certain way. Who has the right to do that?

Phew. So now you know a bit about me. I hope you enjoyed and if you want to ask me something, feel free.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mona Lady Umbrella

I first came across Lady Umbrella via the lovely ladies at Style Rawr. Upon following them on Twitter, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the personal touch is definitely one of the big strengths at Lady Umbrella. I got talking to them, and when they asked which was my favourite design, it was quite an easy decision for me, I was drawn to the Mona Lady Umbrella. So when they kindly offered to send me one, who was I to say no?



Mona Lady Umbrella T-Shirt, 27,99 (Euros)
Shorts, Primark (ancient)
Now tell me you don't love it?

Over the last year, I've developed a whole new love for quirky t-shirts. I find myself backing away from my previous penchant for the plain t-shirts I can own in a multitude of colour and moving toward more individual pieces, making the days I wear 'just jeans and a tee' a bit more interesting. And that's precisely what drew me to the Lady Umbrella designs, they're original, they're relevant and they're just a bit unexpected.




This what came in my package, not just my tee, but a cute Lady Umbrella button badge, a sticker and a sweet little note from the lovely pair behind Lady Umbrella.
A few other things that impressed me about Lady Umbrella- my t-shirt is well made. All the seams are properly stitched and finished. The fit is pretty much perfect for me- I picked my size based on their size guide measurements, and they were accurate- a rare bonus. My t-shirt has a really cute label, and one that is properly stitched in so it doesn't scratch or itch my neck. And lastly- shipping on the Lady Umbrella site is FREE. Yes you heard me right. Free, so I was more than impressed when my t-shirt landed on Monday, having only been dispatched on Thursday.

The shorts in the picture I bought from Primark several years ago. I was probably at the slimmest I've been as an adult, when I bought them. I tend to wear them for nights out because they're satin-y/shiny and indecently short for me to wear during the day without tights. Although my weight has fluctuated over the last few years, meaning I haven't always been able to wear them,  I've held on to the shorts, because they're a night-out wardrobe go to for me and it took me ages to find a pair that are the right length and shape and that have pockets. So I was rather pleased with myself when I pulled them out last week and they fit and I'm looking forward to wearing them sometime soon (post exam celebrations demand a night out surely?) and I reckon my new (favourite) t-shirt looks pretty damn good with them.

Now all I need is for my exams to finish....

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Life, As I Know It

So this week is going to be chaos. Total, utter, widespread chaos. Today I've been (just for a change) revising for my French essay exam on Tuesday morning. Straight after the exam, I have a revision-session-workshop-thing for my Germans essay exam on Friday morning, straight after the revision-session-workshop thing, I will be spending 4 hours travelling home for a hospital appointment that I can't cancel, because the next available appointment is at the end of June, straight after the appointment on Wednesday, you guessed it, a 4 hour train trip back to uni. Thursday will be spent chained to my desk revising for my Friday morning exam. Friday afternoon will be frenzied laundry and packing of notes for my Monday morning Spanish oral exam, because on Saturday, well Saturday will be a little bit special, I'll be spending another 3.5 hours on a train to take me to London Euston, where I will be meeting The Guy who had his birthday yesterday. I have some surprises lined up for him,( if you can't wait to see what we're going get up to, you can tweet me @chloelikes2talk) followed by 3.5 hours of train trip/frenzied revision on Sunday. So to sum up- 2 exams, one nasty hospital appointment, 15 hours on trains over 4 trips, frightening amounts of revision and a TON of excitement- forgive me if I'm not about too much over the next 7 days?

In the mean time, here's a little preview of some recent purchases, which I can't wait to share properly when I get 10 minutes to take some proper pictures and a day where I can actually bring myself to dress in more than just jeans and a t-shirt.

Don't tell me the colours on the right hand side don't excite you
And I wanted to share a few other things with you

1. Go check out Bee at Vivatramp and her Open Letter. She's fabulous and this sums it all right up!

2. Last week I was once again touched by the kindness of the bloggy people I've come across. Maria has reminded me that I believe in kindness (more on than here) and really made all the difference when I was shaking with rage. Go check her out at Frills n Spills

3. Strawberry flavoured Angel Delight. Go get yourself some now. Yes, I'm serious. No I haven't gone mad, yes it IS amazing. It's also pretty much the only food The Guy will not eat. Oh, what a shame, moreforemenevermind!

4. "If you're feeling low, do something lovely for someone else. It makes you feel good and stops isolated and introspective thoughts."
This was a retweet of a retweet I saw a while ago on Twitter, unfortunately I can't remember who wrote it. But a stellar piece of advice.

So hasta luego, bis bald, be good, and if you can't be good please tweet me so I can take pleasure in somebody else and their badness!
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Open Birthday Card to The Guy

Despite being the kind of person who's known for voicing their opinions and being pretty gobby, I like to write. I'm a hundred times more eloquent on paper (or blog post) than I am in person as well you know.

Today marks the start of 19 glorious days where I get to gloat that I'm still 21 and you're now undeniably and completely into your 20's at the age of 22. Yes it's only 2.5 weeks, but they're 19 days I'll be making the most of. Happy Birthday old man.

I'm most severely disappointed that not a single person you work with has remembered that it's your birthday today, particularly given that you've not done any kind of celebrating this week. But I promise you this- I'll be doing everything in my power, albeit limited, to make sure that next weekend will be the best birthday celebrations possible. You still have no idea what's going to happen, but they're good surprises in store. Promise!

But until next weekend, enjoy your little package- couldn't let the official day go by without a little something to open now could I?!  Remember that 22 is going to be a year of progress and whatever twists and turns you come across, you'll be brilliant.

Happy Birthday querido.
Cx



If there were a cover to this card....

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chloe Likes #1

Ok, so formerly Junkie Lust, but given the new name here, I felt a new name for my lusts was needed too.  So Chloe Likes- just things I like right now.



Clockwise from Top Left
1.Bat ring, £8 HivenJ
2. Cath Kidston Purse, £25 ASOS
3. Rubber Ducky Ring, £6 Temporary Secretary
4. Shaun Leane Ring, £265 Shaun Leane
1. What's not to love about this. I have a bit of a thing for bats- it's a bit like bugs, I'm not sure I get why either...

2. Desperately need a new purse at the moment. My (fake) Valentino is on it's last legs and I've decided it's time to try and downsize my purse a little. I love this Cath Kidston one, but at £25 I think a New Look special will have to do for now.

3. Oh come one, don't tell me you don't think that's cute? I'm all about brightening things up right now.

4. Shaun Leane. My favourite jeweller. I already have a ring from the Cherry Blossom collection, with pale pink pearls set into a similar band, but I lovelovelove the hardness of the black pearls on this.


Psst, I may have some purchases to show you soon. I was supposed to be hopping on a train to head out to a proper city and some proper shops, as I now have to go home for an appointment in the middle of next week (8 hour round trip) followed by my little jaunt to London for The Guy's birthday surprise at the weekend (6 hour round trip), I decided to stay local, and it turns out all is not completely lost!
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Maybe It's Not As Crazy As It Seems?

Ok, before I get to the point, and I will, I promise, I had to show you this.


Silicone BlackBerry Curve cover, Amazon
I was taking a look at the new Kindle skins on Amazon, and I had been looking "Keep Calm and Carry On" Skin that's available, so when I next logged in, in my "You Might Like" bit, this phone cover popped up. For £3.99, I couldn't resist, particularly as the silicone cover I already have, had stretched and was becoming a pain anyway. It made me smile.

Anyway.....
From experience, when times are hard, or you find yourself under pressure, these are the times that you learn the most about yourself. If you've read I'm Not Afraid. To Take A Stand or I'll Tell On You, you'll know that things have been a bit tougher than they needed to be, on top of the work load associated with the final year of my degree. And when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep at 5am this morning, I realised what I've learnt about myself lately.

Most of my friends In Real Life (IRL) are male. I tend to get on better with guys than girls because I'm quite blunt, I like things to be black and white where possible and I find that there seems to be all sorts of unspoken rules and codes amongst women, rules and codes I'm not up to speed with it seems. Most of my (male) friends would describe me as cynical, straightforward, and commercially motivated- I asked them! But actually, I think I'm may have become a bit softer of heart.

I believe in kindness. Something I had begun to question after recent experiences with people. But the kindness of others- comments on the blog, people reaching out on Twitter, letters and e-mails from friends, family and The Guy, has really touched me and never fails to surprise me.

Although I've always enjoyed giving people gifts I know they'll love, I truly learned the meaning of  "It's better to give than to receive" this month. Organising a birthday surprise for The Guy has been more than fun, and I am ridiculously excited for the main even next weekend. I'd love to tell you all what I'm planning, but The Guy likes to check up on the blog from time to time, to make sure I'm not telling you all how lovely he is too much. But putting some thought into everything, and even getting his other present ready to post has been great. It's a reminder that maybe thinking of others a little more would make us all a lot happier.

I believe in Thank You. I was brought up to say please and to say thank you, and I find it incredibly rude when people do not use proper manners. They cost nothing after all, and holding a door open or letting someone ahead of you in a queue might be small, but I hate it when people don't acknowledge these things with a simple thanks. But more than that, saying your thanks can be highly enjoyable. Some of mine have recently been great little notes to write or ways of reminding someone that you appreciate all the things they do. Putting some effort into your thank you's will not only benefit the person on the receiving end, I always feel better for doing it.

And lastly, sometimes it's good to give in and let those around you influence you, the decisions you make and way you feel. Not always, but sometimes. This has been the biggest adjustment in thinking for me. I don't trust people easily, and have long been scared to allow others to influence how I feel about things or what I think or what's going on, but letting go has opened up new possibilities and taught me that it's ok to let go. Sometimes.

I think we massively under-value knowing ourselves. I think that knowing yourself allows you to understand why you make mistakes, how to avoid them. How to make the best of the skills that you have and be the best that you can be both as a person and in anything you choose to do. It's not always easy, but well worth the effort.

Has anybody had a recent epiphany? Suddenly realised you're not quite the same person you used to be? Decided to make some changes to your life and seeing a difference? I'm intrigued to see if it's just me.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Leopard Doesn't Change Her Spots

No exam today and having spent most of my day at the desk wearing my favourite and comfy jersey trousers, I felt the momentous occasion that was heading to the gym warranted some proper clothes. I love my track pants as much as the next student, but there'd have to be a drastic wardrobe disaster for me to leave the flat in them. In that respect I hope I never change, superficial though it may be, I like to try and present if not my best, then at least a face that has had some effort put into it, to the world.

Martha Jeans, Topshop
T-shirt, ASOS
Cardigan, H&M
Necklace, Temporary Secretary
After the devastation of finding a hole in my favourite pinky/nude coloured H&M cardigan, I thought I'd have a quick look on their website and see if I could replace it. I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I saw this one, the colour was called beige pink, but on the picture it looked the right colour. It appears that it is in fact beige pink, but I decided to keep it anyway, as it's the kind of colour I am likely to wear, particularly with the plain basics I'm so fond of. What do you guys reckon? Good colour? Awful colour? A bit odd?

  Anyway... speaking of leopard, I had my first go at leopard nails over the weekend- I was feeling the need for a study break!


Base, Nails Inc x Diet Coke in Caramel with an unknown shimery colour over the top
Spots, OPI Alice in Wonderland in Mad Hatter
Accent, Models Own x WAH Nail Pen.
My left hand came out ok except for the little finger, which was a surprise to me as my hands are a bit shaky. The joy of leopard nails (or so I have found) is that actually they don't have to be super precise and so there's room for error (or shaky hands).

And on the topic of nails, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced top coat? Mine's almost run out and I could do with a new one.

Right, back to the books. Spanish tomorrow and there's plenty of room for improvement, but before I go I wanted to say HI to all the people following- those who have been here since the beginning and those of you who have come by more recently. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy.
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Dig, Dig, Dig Dig Dig

I know the "What's In Your Bag" posts have been done by many a blogger, but when taking pictures of my pretty new handbag, I couldn't resist having a proper look at what I had already shoved in there, despite only using it once. So here it is. A quick dig through my handbag...




Alicia Cross Body Bag, Nica

Top Row L-R

My iPod.
I love the classic because it has enough capacity to hold my 2500 songs but also 7 series of Spooks, so I can watch them on the move. I also could not exercise without my own music to keep me going, and I walk from halls to uni (about 15 mins each way) approximately 8-10 times a week so my iPod is almost always somewhere in whichever handbag I'm carrying.

Purse
Probably fake Valentino, but big enough to hold change, receipts, cards, business cards, bits of paper I seem to end up with, coffee shop loyalty cards and all kinds of other rubbish that inevitably ends up there. I need to look for a new purse as this one is on it's last legs and is really just a bit too big.

Make Up Bag
Usually containing a miniature perfume, my Bare Minerals compact, lip balm, odd brushes or bits of make-up and plasters. Not really that exciting. the bag itself is just a Primark special and is precisely right in size for me.

Second Row L-R

Address Book
Yes I still use an old fashioned paper address book. Having lost information at the hands of malfunctioning technology too many times, I like to have a back up. In my bag on this day as I'd been to the post office to post a few things.

BlackBerry
I'm rarely seen without my BlackBerry, I like having my Twitter account, e-mails, Facebook and things like GoogleMaps at my finger tips and I love BBM. Without it, The Guy and I would not be able to talk as much as we do because I'm the only one of us with unlimited texts but we both have unlimited data allowances.

Student Cards
Some people have a charm or a keyring or a cuddly toy that lives in their handbag, I have my student cards from all the unis I've studied at. I have my UK one in my purse but these ones are from Leipzig, Valencia and Toulouse. Strange, I know. But I like to have them about me somewhere. They remind where I've been and what I working for I suppose.

Pen
I can tell my handbag is new, it has just one pen in it. Give me a week and there'll be at least 2 more and a pencil floating in there somewhere. They migrate to my handbag from my pencil case, the mug on my desk or other handbags.

Hair Ties.
I buy these by the hundred from Primark, because my hair is long I often need to pull it back during the day or when doing something, and they just seem to magically disappear...

Receipts
Post Office and Morrisons. Like most people, they collect in my purse and bag from all sorts of things. Again I can tell this is a new bag because there are no train tickets accompanying receipts. There's almost always at least one in my bag from one trip or another, as I usually end up with multiple tickets for one trip with changes.

So there you go. A quick dig through what's in my bag. Not the most exciting contents in the world, but I always think looking into somebody's handbag is is like looking into a little bit of their personal world. People keep all sorts of things in their bags and I'm super nosey and love seeing what you all have in your bags.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Accessorise

After receiving my parcel of goodies on Thursday (take a look here if you missed it), I was all to keen to get wearing my new jewels, even if it was just a trip to the Post Office and the gym.


Cropped Harem Pants, Matalan
T-Shirt, ASOS
Alicia Cross Body Bag, Nica
Glasses Necklace, Temporary Secretary
Rings, ASOS, Temporary Secretary and Local Jeweller


Mouse Ring, ASOS
Cicada Ring, Temporary Secretary
Silver Ring, Local Jeweller
Watch Emporio Armani via Local Jeweller
 You might have spotted my other little purchase in with the outfit. Say hello to the Alicia Cross Body bag from Nica. When I saw the recent Groupon offer for £30 to spend for just £10, I jumped to it. I have a long standing love for Nica and this is my 3rd handbag from them. Durable, practical and modern without being so trend lead they look dated quickly, they tick all my boxes.

I was looking for a new tan handbag, as my current one is like a bottomless pit- great for work, not so good when I have to spend 10 minutes hunting for keys amidst folds of fabric. This one is everything I was looking for- cross body, tan leather, enough space for my Kindle, lots of secure pockets and space, small enough to work for day to day and out and about.


Anybody else purchased a new handbag recently? Do you tend to have a one-bag-for-all-occasions or lots of different ones you switch around or are you like me and have just a handful that you rotate for time of year/colour/occasion?

Right, back to the revision- first exam on Monday. I shall be trying to keep up with Chloe Likes To Talk and all of your blogs, but bear with me if things are a little sporadic just for a while. I also have The Guy's Birthday upcoming. I have a pretty cool surprise planned, all he knows is that he is to meet me at Euston Station. Planning someone else's birthday should NOT be this much fun. So far he sounds excited and I hope he likes what I have planned because he deserves a fab birthday after having some tough decisions to make and a tough couple of months. Oh, and for being amazingly supportive, thoughtful and patient.
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pretty Little Things

I love jewellery. I love looking at big expensive stones in windows at a jewellers, I love the £1.50 primark packs of stud earrings, I love big chunky manly watches and I very very rarely leave the house without at least my watch, 2 rings and earrings.

My love affair with jewellery began at 18. I was given 2 beautiful pieces of jewellery by my parents and when I was given money by lots of other family I decided the best thing to buy would be jewellery- it lasts, it can hold meaning and you can use it as opposed to it forever being sat on a shelf or behind glass. I've been hooked ever since. My latest shiny obsession is bugs. I bought these earrings from ASOS last summer


Fly earrings, ASOS
Not really intending to, I ended up on the Temporary Secretary site last week. I had heard good things about their jewellery and have been following them on Twitter for some time (you can do this here). Whilst there, this is what I fell in L-O-V-E with.

Cicada ring, £6 Temporary Secretary
Cicada Ring, £6 Temporary Secretary
Having not seen any bug rings that make this kind of statement, I jumped at this one, and a snatch at £6. It's also an adjustable one-size-fits-all ring, which is great because I can wear it on any of my fingers.

I'd also heard about the Lucky Dip bags available. 5 items for £10 and 12 items for £20. Looking for a couple of gift type things, this was perfect so I picked a 5 item bag. At £2 per item, nothing to lose. All of the items in my bag were awesome, but when I saw this necklace, I knew it was staying right here with me.

Necklace, Temporary Secretary Lucky Dip

Necklace, Temporary Secretary Luck Dip Bag
I've worn glasses since I was 2 years old although since I was 15 I've mostly worn contact lenses for the convenience and better field of vision they offer. I still love glasses and I can't wait to wear this.

So far, so good right? Pretty things, bargainous prices? Well it gets better. I can honestly say packages like this one make me never want to shop with the big boys like ASOS or Boohoo etc again. My goodies came in pretty candy striped bags. They arrived in one piece and were not faulty (ASOS, I'm looking at you). They arrived well within the estimated delivery time.They came with a handwritten post card wishing my enjoyment of my purchases AND a sweetie in with everything. Naturally I couldn't hold off tweeting about the brilliant service, and a lovely response came back.

So to recap- pretty and individual pieces, amazing customer service, efficiency and value for money. My friends, what are you waiting for?

Oh and P.S. they also sell some of the cutest stationery for those of you with penpals or a passion for writing letters.

And P.P.S you can find the Temporary Secretary Blog here
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy.

I am happy. I realised this last night, just before I went to bed. This may sound like something a bit odd to suddenly realise or something odd to state, but maybe we should all be shouting about being happy. It's precious. So why am I happy?

I'm happy because I just spent 3 weeks at home. 3 weeks being fed yummy food by my wonderful dad. 3 weeks of a peaceful house to work in. 3 weeks of unlimited careers/life advice.3 weeks of being able to put my slightly broken self back together. 3 weeks of being within 100 miles of The Guy.

I'm happy because I saw my best girl Mel this morning and managed to get coffee and catch up with her too.

I'm happy because I decided to start going to the DW gym again as opposed to our university gym. I stopped going to DW because it takes 20 mins to walk there and back on top of my work out and the university gym is next door to my flat and therefore eradicates travel time and means I can justify a short work out if I was struggling for time. With exams upcoming, the extra time out will benefit me and the better facilities (hello swimming pool, steam room and jacuzzi) are a big pull.

I'm happy because I went to the gym and enjoyed it for the first time in a long time. And I didn't come away in pain.

I'm happy because as I post this, there are just 29 days left until I finish at uni and just 39 days until I head off on my holiday.

I'm happy because I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of a few little purchases. The first clothes/accessories I've purchased in aaaaages, including a couple of things from new places.

I'm happy because I have a couple of things that I'm planning, and I can't wait for the results to come good. I can't say too much now, but I'll enjoy showing you the outcome.

I'm happy because Gossip Girl is back.

I'm happy because someone commented on how much healthier and happier I looked today, compared to before Easter.

I'm happy because I can be, I should be and because I'm lucky enough to have all of the above.

I'm happy because my box of Bare Minerals goodies have arrived from QVC (more on that later)

I'm happy because although noisy, they're cutting the grass outside my window, and I love the smell of cut grass (yes, cliché I know.)

Sometimes life is tough, we get dealt a tough hand or things don't go as we want them to. Sometimes others impact on our lives in a less than positive way, but sometimes it's good to be happy and good to remember why so you can hold on to it for as long as it is possible.

And I'm also happy to be wearing this little outfit


Martha Jeans, Topshop
Racerback Vest, ASOS
Cardigan, Primark
Necklace Accesorize via giveaway
 It might not be special, but it makes me happy.

What's making you all happy? Agree that it's good to remember these things or think I'm wandering around a delusional cloud?
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Old Enough To Know Better

I should be back at uni by now. I should have been on a train just after 9am this morning. I should not be laying on my bed watching Grey's Anatomy, drinking my weight in water and nursing a hangover caused by these.


One cocktail is always going to end in tears- it's the antithesis of drinking- mixing your drinks. I'm old enough to know better than trying 5 DIFFERENT cocktails on one tray.
 Because it was (supposedly) my last night here at home, The Guy and I wandered down to our usual and favourite place to eat, drink and be merry. The Lymehurst is a hotel owned by Kevin- an MCGB who cooks steak to perfection and Andrea- the most talented pastry chef I've come across. To say we're always looked after would be an understatement which is why we keep going back.


Duck Breast with savoy cabbage (The Guy's main)
And honey glazed duck leg and salad (a starter that I had as my main)


Lemon Tart with Berry Sorbet on crushed meringue (my sweet)
Cranberry and Orange Bread and Butter pudding with Creme Anglaise (The Guy's sweet)
 A good night. Great food. Stupid hangover.

I also managed to get a few full length shots of me wearing proper clothes on and wearing make-up and looking respectable, thanks to The Guy.


Martha Jeans, Topshop
Shirt, Tesco
Blazer, New Look
Shoes, H&M
Clutch, Sacha London (concession at Dorothy Perkins)
Simple, but a favourite combination and best of all this is the kind of outfit that I'm most comfortable wearing. You'd better all have had fabulous weekends and please tell me I'm not the only one who feels they're old enough to know better?
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