Thursday, July 28, 2011

Louder. Faster. Stronger. Better.

Is anyone else listening to the DJ Fresh track Louder? A lot....?

Shirt, H&M DE
Jeans, American Eagle
Shoes, Primark
Bag, Nica
On to business. Today I'm feeling the 70's again. It seems to be a common occurrence with these jeans- probably because I'm so used to only ever wearing straight cut jeans. But the shirt, the flare of the jeans and my Alicia bag are all drawing my thoughts to the decade that produced ABBA, Space Hoppers, Record Players and the Ford Cortina.

I also can't work out if I like this outfit or not. The shirt was purchased from H&M in Leipzig about 18-20 months ago and I'm about 10kg lighter than at the time, so it doesn't really fit that well, and the jeans are obscenely low waisted. But something about it is easy, comfy and kind of natural.

Clockwise form Top Left
Shaun Leane Ring
Emporio Armani Watch
Ring from shop in Spain somewhere
Nica Crossbody Alicia bag
 Some accessories for you, because you know how much I love them. As part of my jewellery clear out last week I re-discovered this beautiful Spanish ring. I bought it on a holiday 5+ years ago along with another which I'll show you another time and because they're a bit tarnished they got shoved in a drawer and forgotten about. But tarnished or not I love this ring and the other that came from the shop because I've never seen anything quite like it anywhere else. There's something oddly nautical about this one, I just can't work out what it is....

A note about my watch, it is a mens watch. I find the ladies section a bit dainty and delicate for my blunt trauma personality, chunky wrists and general clumsiness. I love and have loved the simplicity and weight of mens watches for several years after being given one that someone thought I'd like. Whilst androgynous and unisex clothing seems to have really taken off, I think a lot of women who are looking for something a bit different or a bit heavier often dismiss mens accessories as too... well... manly. The truth is, that there are lots of amazing pieces out there that do not scream *ICOULDN'TFINDALADIESVERSIONIAMAGIRLIPROMISE* and will set you apart from the masses.

I'd better get back to it, I write this whilst waiting for the floor to dry having just mopped it and with a zillion things to do before Saturday because I'm off to London. My interview is on Monday and potentially another lined up on the Tuesday. I've had a frantic ordering session from ASOS with a 20% off code I had through my e-mail and making use of their next day delivery and from Clothing at Tesco thanks to a 20% off code that the lovely Gem has posted today (along with several others I might add). Here's hoping there's something interview-suitable in there somewhere.

So until I get back... and I do have something very special planned for you all when I get back. Hasta pronto.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chloe Likes To Eat

The Sandwich. Some might say the Humble Sandwich. On brown bread or white, with butter or without, vegetarian or meaty, toasted or otherwise, the sandwich is a quick and easy solution for many a meal and a British favourite. But I love a good sandwich and in house there's constant proof the a sarnie doesn't have to be boring.

The Sandwich

Homemade Wholemeal Bread
Leftover Barbecued Lamb
Iceberg Lettuce

Other favourite sandwiches at home:

Hummus and Chicken:
A layer of hummus on homemade wholemeal bread, chicken (simple grilled chicken, garlic chicken, left ovewr roasted chicken....) some rocket leaves and a good turn of black pepper.

Tuna Open Sandwiches:
1 slice of toasted bread topped with our own Tuna Savoury (tuna, red onions, peppers, tomato, a splash of tabasco sauce,plent of black pepper and a small spoonful of mayo), and some simple salad.

Cheese Toasties:
Homemade wholemeal bread, dijon mustard, mature cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, worcestershire sauce all shoved into the sandwich toaster- or if you haven't got one, I found a dry pan on a low heat will do a great job, so long as you keep a closse eye and remember to turn the sandwich.

Although I work very close to home, there are days when getting home for lunch just isn't going to happen, and on those days I tend to visit the sandwich shop next door to our office. Even in a town full of competing cafes and take-aways, it always surprises me how limited/safe/boring the filling choices can be. I like garlic. And pickles. And Chutneys. I can have egg mayo or ham salad any time. Although usually through necessity, if I'm buying a sandwich, sometimes, just sometimes it would be nice to see something that I couldn't or wouldn't make for myself, and it's this that I reckon gives the sandwich is bad name as boring.

A sandwich actually has endless potential, with the variety of bread available from supermarkets if you don't/can't make your own, and between those 2 yummy slices of ciabatta or seeded brown or walnut and onion bread, there really could be anything- meat, fish, spreads like hummus and tsatziki, extra flavours like harissa or chutney or pickle, left over grilled vegetables- peppers and courgettes are great with pesto or hummus, salad leaves- iceberg, rocket, spinach, little gem, romaine, cucumber, radishes, beetroot....

Do you have a favourite sandwich filling? If you are vegetarian, do you find sandwich shops/cafes limited with their options? I want to know!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chloe Likes #2

The lovely people at Motel recently sent me their new lookbook, and I have to say I'm impressed. I have liked Motel for a while, their concession in the Manchester Arndale Topshop is usually great, but it's always seemed a very casual brand to me and at the moment, I'm trying only to look for clothes that would work in an office/work environment. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a few things that I could really envisage being a part of my work wardrobe this autumn- provided I've managed to find said job of course.

So what do you reckon to my Motel Lust List? My absolute favourite is the dress in the centre, but the shorts on the left are gorgeous and I can so see them working with tights and a shirt and the coat, well who doesn't love a coat with pretty epaulettes?!

Do you have a brand that continues to surprise you? Agree with my picks? If you've bought anything from the Motel Shop recently, let me know how much you're loving it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lazy Girl Days

Growing up with parents in catering and working in catering myself until a couple of years ago, Friday has never held the particular allure that it does for those who don't work at the weekend. However, I'm now an office body, and although there is some work to do of a weekend, when Friday afternoon comes around, I'm usually thinking happily of lie-ins, of our traditional Sunday Pizzas and a little bit of time off.

As far as a Saturday goes, this one has been pretty standard. I didn't exactly jump out of bed at the crack of dawn, although The Guy did have to get up for work this morning. The cleaning has been done- this house suddenly seems 3 times bigger when it needs cleaning on a Saturday. For the first time all week, washing has been dried on the line outside instead of the clothes horse in the spare room and the ironing is up to date. But that only got me to about 1430.... plenty of time to enjoy an afternoon to myself then.

Trying to pick a photo to go into my graduation present from my parents....
Aforementioned graduation present....

Dos Velas par el Diablo, Spanish-German dictionary, snacks, BB 
Having realised quite how long I've been finished at uni last week, I decided it was time to get back into the habit of reading in other languages again. I have a fair collection of fiction in French, German and Spanish, most of which have been collected from book exchanges in hotels/resorts in Europe on holidays. This is a fairly easy going Spanish thriller I'm on with.

As for the snacks, another addition to the Spanish theme....

Salted Almonds- the salt is so fine it's almost like a dusting.
I love almonds like this. They're roasted and dusted with extremely fine salt. I discovered them when living in Valencia and asked my mum and dad to bring me some back from their last trip to Spain. These little beauties are FAR too easy to scoff down!

So that's my lazy girl day. Dinner will be a relaxed one with the parents. We usually have lunch around our dining table, but dinner is often eaten at the coffee table, nice and relaxed and comfy. Not to everybody's taste I know, but it's how we like to do it. More on the contents of the plate next week for the next installment of Chloe Likes To Eat. If you missed the first one, you can see it here

On a last note- hello everybody. Chloe Likes To Talk seems to be going through a  growth spurt at the moment, so welcome to all 92 of you, new and old followers. As I'm heading rapidly towards the 100 mark, I'm hoping to plan a little something, so keep your eyes peeled.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Candy Man Can

Dress, H&M
Cardigan, H&M
Ring on left, Local Jewelller, Ring on Right, Unknown

This dress has been a late revelation. At a mere £9.99 from H&M back in the midst of winter, I thought it was going to be too low to wear without something underneath it but when I pulled it on having mistaken it for something else in the wardrobe, it seems just fine on it's own. Hello easy-to-wear summer office staple.

Shoes, Primark
Ring, Unknown
I love a candy stripe, and for a girl who is generally known as "one of the lads" this liking for pink is probably a bit sugary...

Now onto the ring. You know that feeling. When you look at your jewellery (not the "proper stuff" just the everyday bits) and you realised that there's far too much of it. And some of it's broken and you'll never quite get round to "...just reattaching this bit..." and it's not organised by type, colour, occasion or anything else, and you know you've got to tidy it, organise it, and get rid of some of the bits that are knackered. Yeah, that. At the weekend I went through *that* cupboard, and as well as clearing out all my out of date contact lens solution and other such glamorous tasks, I did indeed tackle my jewellery. Cue several discoveries, things I'd *lost*, things I'd forgotten about, things I couldn't remember where I found them and this ring is one of those things. I'm pretty sure it's not from a highstreet store as it's hand painted, and I'm also pretty sure it's not from one of my trips abroad- I think it's older than that. Otherwise, I'm drawing a complete blank.

In other news, I have an interview!


I'm beyond pleased because it's for a virtually ideal position and a job I really desperately want. The only slight snag  is that I need to find something to wear, so am planning to head into a London the weekend before my interview on the Monday in order to find something suitable. Any tips on the best places to look for smart simple dresses that are not obscene in length or neckline? I was thinking of heading to Westfield, given I'll have a good excuse! 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chloe Likes To Eat

Since I seem to talk about, take pictures of, post about food so frequently, I thought I'd better start something dedicated to the food I've been eating or loving of late. And to start this feature-ette off, dinner with my parents pre-graduation.

Amuse Bouche- Tomato and Red Pepper soup.
It never fails to amaze me how often soup is badly done, but this was full of flavour without being too overpowering towards either ingredient, a good thick consistency but still liquid.

Scallops with Black pudding (made in-house) and fried Quails Egg
My Dad's starter. Judging by his cleared plate, it was tasty. Well present and not a ridiculous portion. When eating a 2+ course dinner, I think portions should be this kind of size- enough to taste and enjoy, but without being too over facing or creating the need to sacrifice a course later on.

Goats Cheese Mousse with Figs and Parmesan crisp
Whilst tasty, this wasn't quite what I was expecting. The Mousse was more of a cream and the crisp had a sharper more cheddar like flavour to it. It was still tasty though, and the figs were sticky but not too sweet.
Palette Cleanser
Raspberry Sorbet with crushed meringue.
A bit sweet for a palette cleanser in my humble opinion, but well presented and tasty.
Main Course 1
Chicken breast with chicken and pancetta ravioli and smoked pancetta sauce, sauteed mushrooms and dauphinoise potato

Main Course 2
Rump and Shoulder of Lamb with fondant potato, confit shallot and braised savoy cabbage
Main Course 3 (MINE)
Tender loin and crispy belly of pork with red wine jus, garlic mashed potato, carrot puree and red cabbage
The belly pork was amazing, soft, slightly crunchy on the outside and full of flavour. the tender loin was a little over cooked for my liking, but not indelibly so. The portion was also a little on the large side for my taste, but nicely presented and a very enjoyable main.
My dessert, Chocolate Tasting Plate

Chocolate Fondant, Milk Chocolate Ice Cream and White Chocolate Mousse
The ice cream was the show stealer for me, not too sweet but without the bitterness that puts me off dark chocolate and not  too solid or under set either. The fondant was good, the chocolate mousse was a bit over powering and needed a sharp coulis to cut through it, I wasn't able to finish it because it was so sweet.

The Fondant

The Mousse

All in all, a pretty good meal, a very nice way to spend the evening with my parents pre-graduation.

I'm hoping to make Chloe Likes To Eat a regular feature, and it will not just be restaurant food, but anything and everything that I happened to have eaten recently, that I've really loved or maybe really loathed. What do you think? Want to see more food here at CLTT? And if there's something particularly you'd like to see on Chloe Likes To Eat, let me know. In the mean time, head over to the Queen of Snacking, A Daisy Chain Dream, as she's hoping to host a snack-swap soon... food swaps can only mean good things!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

We're Off To See The Wizard

Not entirely sure why a Wizard of Oz song is stuck in my head when we are in fact going to see Harry Potter tonight... even I worry about my sanity sometimes...

Having a very lazy Sunday here at Chloe Likes To Talk HQ, starting with bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, hashbrowns and tomato in bed, naturally accompanied by coffee. I'm now curled up with my laptop, researching a few things and catching up on some odds and ends. Hope you're all having a lovely relaxing Sunday of sorts.

"Dress", MissGuided
Cardigan, Primark
Leggings, Primark,
Necklace, French shop I used to live above.
 I bought this "dress" last year from MissGuided. Yes, it was sold as a dress, and the model in the picture must have been all of 1m tall, because this doesn't even cover my behind. I'm still not entirely sure I comfortable with leggings and a top, but I was feeling lazy and this seemed to suit my mood. The leggings are Primark specials from last year and are meant to look like jeggings even though they're just jersey.

Leggings, Primark
Love them or hate them, Primark are pretty good for trying something you're not entirely sure about. Jeggings and similar are a prime example. I've tried them in various shops and they are possibly the least flattering thing I've ever tried on, but for the £2/3 that these were, I thought jersey look-a-likes were worth a try, and so be it if they only last a few wears.

Clockwise from Top Left
Necklace, from a French version of Claire's Accessories that I lived above during my time in Toulouse
Ring, Shaun Leane. More about that here
Shoes, H&M. My favourite grey ones.
I still can't get my head around it being Sunday again, with my parents getting back from their holiday last weekend and then us being away for my graduation earlier in the week, it feels like we should be at least a week further into July than we are. Not that I'm wishing away any time, I'm on the career hunt and as the weeks slip by, it becomes more and more difficult to believe I will ever actually get anywhere. I have got a few things bubbling along though.

Maria and I were chatting about the great job hunt on Friday night, and it was a reminder that I'm not the only one finding the graduate job market pretty soul destroying. I'm finding the problem is not that there is a lack of jobs, there just seem to be a lack of jobs with any progression or real career path attached to them. I'm lucky enough to have a job for the time being, and one that allows me to gain transferable skills, but the thought of being completely unemployed and on the graduate job market is pretty terrifying and I'm beginning to understand why so many people I know have chosen to go onto Post-Graduate courses, even if it's not what they originally planned.

But enough doom and gloom, it is Sunday after all. I'm off to make myself some Apple and Camomile tea and return to my research, accompanied by all the trash TV I've got queued up to watch on iPlayer et al. Have a lovely Sunday, whatever you're up to and whatever the weather where you are (rain, rain rain here- so much for British Summer Time!).

I'm part of Bee's guest post Summer Holiday Series today, go show me and the other lovely ladies some love and be sure to check out the posts from the rest of the week here, here and here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Red and Gold

Dev, me, Tom
Yesterday was graduation day for us. Unfortunately, due to a branding overhaul at our university, we looked a bit of an odd bunch with 2 different hoods depending on which uni name we picked for our certificates.

It's been a very tough four years for the 3 of us, and despite being pretty indifferent to the whole ceremony/tradition thing, it was great to see ourselves graduating, wearing stupid hats and 4 tonnes of polyester. We made it.

Mum and I before the ceremony.

After the ceremony, The Boys
From L-R
Tim, Me, Geoff, Gaz, Dev, Cian (who is a graduate but didn't take part in the ceremony)

Me, next to our university sign, after the ceremony and ditchnig my VERY hot gown.
I decided to keep it simple for the ceremony, the dress is Boohoo and it had a large jewelled bib which I removed because it made the dress look a bit cheap and over the top, comfiest H&M shoes and feather bag from ASOS to add a bit of glamour.

So that's it. I can now officially call myself Chloe Martin-Brown BA(hons). Now.... to find a PROPER job.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Letters After My Name

As this goes live, I'll be on my way to sunny North Wales. Tomorrow marks the end of the 4 years of study it took to make me Chloe Likes To Talk BA Hons. Graduation. Don't worry, pictures of me looking suitably stupid in my board and gown are sure the be up soon.

In the meantime, remember I've been telling you I have something special to show you? Well it's here. I went to collect it yesterday...

From the jeweller....
Another little clue....

Shaun Leane
Shaun Leane is a jeweller and well known for a strong collaboration with Alexander McQueen as well as Shaun Leane Jewellery, launched in 1999.

I already own one beautiful ring, which was bought with money given to me for my 21st, you might remember it from here

Well say hello to my latest piece from Shaun Leane

In the box

From the front

On me

From behind
This is the silver Blackthorn Ring from the Blackthorn collection (which you can see on the website here). You might remember it from Chloe Likes ...

A reader of Chloe Likes To Talk, my mum saw the Blackthorn Ring and suggested that it would make a good combined present for graduation and my birthday (although we graduate tomorrow, I got my results on June 3rd, which was also my birthday). She thought right. I love the ring, and at £265 it was something I'd be unlikely to buy myself at the moment. I also think jewellery makes a great present for occasions or birthdays because it lasts and can hold a wealth of memories but you can wear it as opposed to something that forever sits on a shelf or behind glass.

So a big thank you goes to my very lovely and thoughtful mum. She's pretty amazing with most things, but in particular at finding great gifts and this is no exception. It's beautiful and she was just as excited as I was when I was finally able to pick it up yesterday morning.

Shaun Leane is available to buy online as well as from various jewellers. I chose to purchase mine from the local branch of Wave Jewellery (they also have branches in London, Windermere, Lancaster and Manchester) because I have used them before, including when I purchased my other Shaun Lean Ring

Shaun Leane Ring from Cherry Blossom collection
One reason in particular for choosing to go to the jeweller is sizing. My ring size is bang in the middle of the Shaun Leane "Medium" and "Large" and I wanted to get it fitted completely right. This turned out to be a touch more complex than expected but I've been really impressed with the lengths gone to, to ensure that I got the best possible fit and that I had my ring in time for graduation tomorrow as it is a gift for the occasion.

I hope you love this as much as I do and I can't wait to wear it tomorrow, alongside my board and gown.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dixie Chick

My love of Nica is relatively well documented (see here and here for evidence) but it was a sudden and distressing to surprise to me, to realise that I had failed to show you, in any detail, this Dixie Cross Body bag that I bought in January. Without further ado....
T-shirt, ASOS
Jersey Harems, Matalan,
Cardigan, H&M
Dixie Cross Body, Nica
Rather lovely, is it not? It's also deceptively large. It doesn't look or feel oversized but I can in fact fit an awful lot in it. And as evidence of that, I thought I'd do another "what's in my bag?" for you, in particular for those who praised my ability not to carry too much junk around- it was a new handbag, this one isn't.

Top Row from L-R
Miniature Insolence by Guerlain perfume
Exam notes from my French oral last month- they seem to keep turning up everywhere!
Pen and Pencil
Small make-up bag, Primark
Bare Minerals travel brush
Travel Pass/Business Card Holder, H&M
Headphones, Philips & Swarovski

2nd Row From L-R
2 half used packs of painkillers
Train ticket- from home to Bangor from the trip I had to do mid-way through my exams for a last minute hopsital appointment
AA Rechargable Batteries, Energiser
Purse, New Look
Notes on a system I use at work
Letter of interest that I received earlier in the day

Bottom Row From L-R
Strawberry Lipsalve, Boots
Lipfinity Liptint, Maxfactor
Oh-so-glamorous poo-bags

The contents of my bag, and a few closer details

As with my other purchases from Nica, I've been really rather enamoured with this one. The size, the number of pockets- that's one large pouch-y one of the front, a zip one on the front, a small envelope style one on the front, a zip one inside and one of those little ones designed for a phone (although my keys usually end up in it), it also has a rather lovely lining and the strap is adjustable. Oh and did I mention, it's pretty!

Missing from the bag, 2 things you might have expected- phone and keys. I do, in fact carry both, but they weren't in their because I've taken to keeping them in my hand, and so they were missed from the shoot.

Whilst I was at it, I thought I'd have a rifle through and see what's ended up in the small make-up bag I carry around, as I've had a few trips of late....

Top Row L-R
Bare Minerals Travel Brush
Lipfinity Liptint, Maxfactor
Lipsalve, Boots
Mascara, Bare Minerals

Second Row L-R
Blusher in Dandelion, Benefit
Prime Time Brightening Eye Primer, Bare Minerals
Bare Minerals Compact

Third Row L-R
Eyelash Curlers, Mercadona (Spain)
Concealer Brush, Bare Minerals
Perfume Miniatures, Guerlain Insolence and DKNY Be Delicious
Full Coverage Kabuki Brush, Bare Minerals
Make-Up Bag, Primark.

A few things floating around in there that I'd forgotten about- not entirely sure why the eye primer is in there, although it can work well as a highlighter if you're stuck without one. The eyelash curlers and miniature mascara have both ended up being permanent fixtures, despite me never applying more mascara during the day, as I've recently done a brief weekend trip.

Clockwise from Top Left
Kabuki Brush, Bare Minerals- these come in all the starter kits and are quite useful to have in a bag for use with my compact.
Full contents
Blusher, Benefit and Primer, Bare Minerals
Kabuki as above
Bare Minerals refillable travel brush. Infinitely useful. I currently have blusher in it. It dispenses whatever you load it with through a brush but the brush can also be use without releasing more product. Genius!
From L-R Bare Minerals travel brush, Maxfactor Liptint, Boots Lipsalve and Bare Minerals Mascara miniature
So there you have it. The rundown of what ends up in my bag when it's not brand spanking new and what ends up in my make-up bag after a holiday, a weekend away, a few days in the office and a couple of appointments.

And I'll leave you with shoes. These were also a January purchase, but I didn't end up wearing them in properly, then I brought them home at Easter, and rediscovered my love for their waterproof goodness as the rain has set in this week. A complete bargain too ....

Ballet Flats, £1.50 yes ONE POUND and FIFTY PENCE, ASDA

Pssst I know I said I'd have something exciting to show you last week, well it experienced a delay. I got word that it arrived yesterday so I can't wait to show you next week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

24 Little Hours

1 Day. My life. Pictures of.

Simple really....

0800  Rocket Fuel Coffee- the best way to start the day

0930 At my desk. I spend a lot of time using this...

1030 Typing never looked so good...

Ring, Temporary Secretary

1130 Monty hasn't moved from his bed since we arrived. Not altogether unusual. It's a dog's life.

1330 My ever expanding key bunch. Time to head home for lunch.

1400 Mint Choc Chip Cakes. Afternoon pick me up. 

1630 Home for the day

Bag, Sasha London
Cardigan H&M

1730 Threatening Rain

1900 Time to find something edible. Nothing like dancing about the kitchen whilst cooking.

2030 And then the rain came down...
2100 Home alone and relaxing on the sofa.
2200 Showered and wrapped up in my hoodie and ready to curl up with an audiobook in bed.
Thank you and goodnight.

Inspired by the amazing  Paula of Pink Bow


For those of you professing your love for Monty, he's loving all the attention! He pulled a muscle in his leg and the vet has given him anti-inflammatory pills and instructions to rest more.

Thanks also for all those who wished me well too- getting there, slowly.