Friday, September 30, 2011

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I don't usually do a monthly round up and I didn't enter into the university advice posts because it's not really me. But I guess this is a kind of hybrid of my take on both because as a lot of you will know, I started a "Post-Graduate" course at the beginning of September (it's not technically a post-grad, it's a graduate diploma, but it's essentially a post-grad study) and it's been a big period of adjustment for me.

So I started off with a full week of "induction" on my first week. Some of the sessions were the fairly standard- this is the library, this is how you log onto the computer, this is where you can buy a pen if you need one etc and some of the sessions were the first seminars of the course. I'm studying a Graduate Diploma in Law- which means converting my languages degree to a qualifying law qualification, enabling me to qualify as a barrister or solicitor afterward, so my first seminars were on the English Legal System and skills within academic law. The first week was the biggest confirmation that I made the right decision about taking this course. The facilities at my new university are a big step up from Bangor- the library is bigger, better stocked, centrally located, it has laptops available to borrow for as long as you need (within the library) at no charge, over 600 computer terminals, sound proof work space, group and individual work space with proper lighting, sockets located with laptops in mind, national and international news and a selection of food outlets. The course is challenging and it's based on you putting in the work and wanting to learn, which suits me just fine and the course tutors, so far, seem helpful, knowledgable and friendly.

I purchased a new school bag during the week too. It's the little thrills...

A lot of bits and pieces sprung to mind during my first week because the majority of other people around were freshers having their first encounter with university, and a few of us, feeling like 11 year olds on our first day at a new school.

1. Whether you're starting somewhere new or returning to university, smile, make conversation and keep an open mind about everyone. Whether you're 18 or 28, chances are you're worried about making friends.

2. Show up to the induction sessions. You'll make friends, you might learn something- even if you thought you knew everything there is to know beforehand (4 universities and 4 library tours, I severely doubted I'd learn anythng from a library tour, turns out my new one has a huge array of facilities I've never had access to before) and you'll find your way around better.

3. Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Make sure you take pens and notebooks, a drink, if you get hungry, take a snack, make sure you have your phone switched to silent and that you've read any preliminary materials given to you. You'll feel a lot less lost and you'll make a good impression.

4. Don't be too hasty- the above said, sometimes it's better to wait and see what you think you'll need before investing the equivalent of the Greek national debt in  stationary or accessories. You might find an A5 notebook suits you better than paper and files or that you don't need as bigger bag as you thought. This is an error I made as a fresher and am glad I did not repeat this year, it's saved me a fortune in stationary over the last couple of years and means that my notes are organised in a way that best suits me.

In complete contrast with my previous 4 years at university, I'm now commuting in from home. Living with my parents whilst taking this course is great in a number of ways, but it has meant a bit of an overhaul in the way I study.

Tips for those of you who might not be living on site and/or commuting:

1. Take the time to make sure you know about all the facilities on offer- where computer terminals are, how to pay for printing and when you can pay for it, opening and closing times of libraries and buildings, does your university lend/loan laptops or equipment to save you taking yours in with you? Are there food outlets and or do you need/prefer to take snacks and meals with you?

2. Check bus routes, train times and parking spots. If you take the bus or the train, keep a timetable handy, if you have a smart phone get app (it's free on iPhones, Android and BlackBerry here) as a quick and easy way of checking train times. Keep ahead and have 2 or 3 times in mind. If you drive, scout out free and safe parking, keep trains and buses in mind if it's costing you a lot in fuel or parking or in case of emergency.

3. If you use public transport, check the terms and conditions on tickets, discounts and rail cards, plan your travel times to fit with them.

4. If you have a longer journey to get to and from campus, plan a full day around it- go in earlier and use facilities you don't have at home such as the library or photocopying, if you pass a supermarket plan in your shopping for on the way home or schedule appointments between lectures to save further trips.

5. Be prepared for changeable weather- it might well be blazing sunshine but it may be cooler by the evening, take a jacket. Check weather forecasts and have wet or dry/cold or warm weather outfits in mind the night before. Umbrellas are cheap, neat and easily slot into bags, keep one to hand. In winter be sure to have an extra layer- particularly if there are weather warnings and you use public transport, you never know if you'll be delayed or stuck somewhere, being cold makes it more miserable than ever.

6. Use your time. If you use public transport- especially trains, use your journey to get things done. Train journeys are the pefect time to refresh your memory on notes from the last lecture, write up seminars, do some extra reading or check over a piece of work due in.

Learning how to juggle my job, work experience and now lectures, seminar and studies has been a big part of the last month. I didn't know exactly how it work and I knew there would have to be sacrifices, thankfully those have been relatively minimal. Routine has been my biggest helper, because with a routine I can plan everything in without anything being left to the last minute or one thing becoming too much of or too little of a priority. One of the best things I have been doing is spending all day at university on the 2 days per week I have lectures. My lectures and seminars run from 1400-2000 but typically I've been getting up as I would usually for work and catching the train at 1000, spending my train journey and a couple of hours in the library working, having lunch and then heading off to classes. This scheduled time is guaranteed, uninterrupted study time, with any and every possible resource available. Not letting myself have extra lay ins means my sleep pattern remains intact and by the time I arrive at my first class of the afternoon, I'm already one hundred percent focussed on my studies as opposed to work or training.

If you have several things on the go, these would be my top pointers...

1. If you have a job, try and set regular shift patterns or days to establish a routine. If you know how many hours per week on which days at which time you'll be working, you'll always know what time you have free and you'll know if you're taking on too much. Another added benefit is being able to predict how much you're going to earn per week or month enabling you to budget better.

2. Be realistic about taking on paid work whilst studying. We all have to eat and have a roof over our heads, but ultimately if you don't have enough time to focus on your studies and get through your workload, you may as well not bother with the course and make your job full time, as you won't do as well as you'd like and you'll feel overloaded. Many universities say that 15 hours a week is about the maximum paid work you should take on whilst attending a full time course, but do check with yours. If you're sturggling, talk to someone and get some advice. Personal Tutors and Student Unions are a good place to start.

3. Treat your studies like a job- set times when you will sit down and get things done. By having set times, you'll know what free time you'll have available, you'll know you've put the time in and you can see how productive you are over a time period and monitor whether you're on track.

4. If you have specific hobbies or activities you do, schedule those onto a "life timetable" too, so you can fit your studies around your life. I have training to do most days, and I schedule it in for a specific time so I know that it definitely fits into my schedule aongside everything else, and I have no excuse to be lazy and skip it.

This is how mine looks:

MondayWork ExperienceTraining
TuesdayTrainingWork in LibraryLecturesStudy
ThursdayTrainingWork in LibraryLecturesStudy

On a lighter note....I've also been lucky enough to receive a few freebies in the last month. Thanks to the lovely Cat, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one of the Aussie Party Packs, which included one of their Aussie-versary products of choice. I picked the 3 Minute Miracle Take The Heat conditioner. I knew I liked 3 Minute Miracle, but not I'm getting some extra hair dryer protection and it smells gorgeous. I keep getting wafts of it during the day and wondering what the nice smell is, then realising it's my hair!

Big gold envelope and pretty packaging from Aussie
I ran a giveaway with earrings from the lovely Wendy House this month and the lovely Wendy sent a couple of bits for me to keep myself, this lady is lovely and beyond generous and these beauties have been around my neck non-stop.

From Russia With Love Necklace from Wendy House

A Cut Above Necklace from Wendy House

And at the risk of sounding well and truly spoiled, I also won a giveaway being run by the lovely Eloise from I Need More Clothes and her shop I Need More Jewellery Now credit to Eloise, because she noticed I had a necklace the same as one she had lined up for the giveaway and offered to exchange it for something else. Whilst I'm sure I could happily have made use of the necklace she had planned, I thought it was a very lovely gesture to have noticed and made an exchange. Here's what she sent me.

Je T'aime necklace

And so concludes the month of September. It's been a toughie here at Chloe Likes To Talk with lots on and lots to think about. Big thanks go out to several of you who made it so much easier and more bearable, in particular to Cat, to Alex and to Ayden.

How has your September been? If you started university or a new job, I hope you're enjoying yourselves. You only live once after all.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Chloe Likes...

I have a confession to make. A big one. Regarding Dry Shampoo.
I only discovered dry shampoo 12 months ago.  
There, I said it. I was introduced to it by a friend who used to do a lot of festivals. Before this magical point in time, I had no idea that such a product existed. I simply washed my hair each day and got on with it. If it was looking a little less than clean, up it went into a pony tail or a top knot. Since discovering dry shampoo, I still wash my hair most days because I can’t stand not to when I’ve been out running, or when at uni I was swimming regularly, but when waking up and realising there’s no hot water, or washing my hair the night before only wake up and realise it’s not going to play ball and looks lank and limp, dry shampoo is my friend.

Like so many, Batiste was the very first dry shampoo I used.  Persuaded to buy the Blush variety, I’ve since discovered that Tropical is my scent of choice. After realising that you really do need to hold the can 30 (ish) cm from your head, Tropical Batiste and I have been firm friends ever since. So much so that I have mini travel sized ones in washbags and make up bags etc.

Recently I was offered the chance to try the new Batiste XXL Volume version of Batiste. I was quite excited by this, as some who has quite flat hair and having never ventured into the minefield of volume products out there, mainly because I’m too lazy to have to do much more than comb and occasionally straighten my hair each day. This, well this was not such an instantaneous hit. It took me a while to get to grips with the much heavier texture, the need to hold it further than the recommended 30 cm away, and the almost sticky feel of the product once it’s in your hair. Having adjusted to this, I still wouldn’t buy it. I’ve been able to use it where I know others really haven’t, and it’s done the job but I don’t think it adds masses of volume, it has a slightly sticky feel to it and after 4-6 hours this leaves my hair feeling dirty and as a product, it definitely takes some trial and error work to get used to. Personally, give me the standard Tropical Batiste any day.

Having tried 2 different dry shampoos, but both by Batiste, I recently (and somewhat apprehensively) ventured further afield. I’m a big fan of TRESemme products. I use their shampoo and conditioner and their heat protection spray is great, so when their dry shampoo was one of the products available to make up my 3 for £10 deal recently, I thought, go on, be a devil.

First appearances, good. Smells nice, similar destructions to Batiste. Further inspection, not so good. It did nothing for my hair, nothing at all. It was as though I hadn’t applied anything to it. Finding it a bit odd, I tried giving my hair another going over. Still very minimal effect. A slightly reduction in the grease I was trying to cover, but negligible. Next try, I sprayed a bit closer to my head, and much like Batiste, this mean very white patches. Once I combed that through with my fingers, the TRESemme made a difference, but still nowhere near as good as my beloved Batiste and so far I seemed to have used about 1/3 of the can. Not what I’d call good value as the can size is only 200ml.

I was really saddened that the TRESemme Instant Refresh dry shampoo was such a let down, being such a fan of their other products, and although TRESemme market themselves as affordable, the 200ml can from ASDA costs £4.38 which is pretty poor value if you only get a mediocre result over 3-5 uses. All this said, there are a number of different types of dry shampoo in the range that may work better.
I think it’s great when brands who make something you love come up with improvements or new ideas, but sometimes the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rules apply in a big way (Coke Zero, I’m looking at you too...) and no more so than with Batiste, I shall be sticking with my faithful Tropical version, although enjoying the new larger sized can (hello value for money!) and as for you TRESemme, maybe time for a bit more product development?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

No really, it is. Does this look like a bad option to you?!

Monty, doing exactly what he does best.

This weekend I've decided that it's winter. It has a limited amount to do with the pouring rain outside my window or need to turn my radiator up a level and a lot more to do with these...

Matryoshka Socks, Tesco
My favourite socks which came in a pack of 2 or 3 from Tesco last year. Comfy.... check. Matryoshka print.... check. Snug and warm.... check.

Oh and then there's this...

Scarf, New Look
One of my favourite scarves, one of a number. As soon as we head towards the end of September my mind turns to what I can wrap around my neck to keep myself warm and cosy. From now until approximately March when someone prises my beloved scarves away from me, they are a permanent fixture. Adding a bit of colour or interest to a conservative dress, comfort and warms to jeans and a breton tee, or as a necessary barrier against the elements.

The rest of the weekend shall be dedicated (not necessarily in equal parts) to reading/working for Crime/Tort/Contract law, ironing, reading Elle and Vogue that I haven't gotten round to so far this month, watching the X Factor and eating all the things I don't usually eat at home (Mum and Dad- aka my personal chef are away) including stir fry and omelette. There aren't a massive number of things I miss from living away at uni, but eating some of the things that only I would cook is a benefit of having the house- well the kitchen, to myself. In actual fact, having the house to myself doesn't mean an awful lot. Aside cooking a little differently, I still spend the majority of my time in my own space, I still come and go as I please, I still work in my special little corner.

My special little corner...
I've mentioned before that I'm fortunate to live at home and for it to work really well. In particular because I work with my parents, meaning having our own space at home becomes a bit more inmportant. As well as my bedroom, the room opposite (which is where my en-suite is too) is my living space.

Special Little Corner and the bistro table and chairs (just out of shot to the right)

TV and bookcase, the dog and his bed are NOT a permanent feature...

For the record, yes that's the 2nd Sex and The City movie playing on tv, an impulse purchase when at the Supermarket last week. For £5, it would have been rude not to, right?! My only other purchases of late include English Legal System Directions, half a dozen train tickets and postage.

And now... back to bilateral and unilateral contracts. Happy weekend queridas.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Packing Your Bags Like People In The Movies Do

You know that moment. When you suddenly realise that your old faithful bag, the one that has been stoically holding all your junk as you lug it from place to place, just isn't going to work anymore? Yeah, I had that last week.

This bag was that bag.

A Primark special I think it cost me around £5 (give or take). It's waterproof, the tote straps are long enough to go over my shoulder and it was always big enough to fit a couple of files, a couple of notebooks, a textbook or 2, purse, phone, keys, a drink and an umbrella or extra cardigan. We were a good match. What I hadn't considered when I reached for it upon starting my GDL was that my situation has changed a fair bit and actually so have my needs.

You see the biggest problem with this bag, is that it has no pockets. Things like keys and train passes sink to the darkest depths. Things like sandwiches get mashed up by folders and notebooks. Oh... and this bag also has no fastening, leaving it open to any theiving little fingers on trains or in cities could quite easily work their way into my bag of goodies.

When I studied my under-graduate degree I lived in halls, a mere 10 minute walk from the buildings my lectures were held in. I didn't need a train pass or quick access to my phone. I didn't worry about taking my lunch with me, because I'd always be coming home, and the "city" I lived in was tiny, no more than a large town with the university set away from the high street. Now, I live at home, a 10 minute walk-45 minute train-10 minute walk away. My university is in a large city and is in the city centre. I need a student ID card to scan myself into a number of the buildings, I need my train pass to hand in case I'm dashing for a train, I quite like my lunch to be 3D as opposed to resembling the pieces of paper in my bag.

So meet my new bag.

Oilskin-esque Primark Satchel, £10
And the contents

Incidentally, another Primark special- I loathe to spend too much on a bag for this purpose, because I know it will take such a beating. I'm sure the world and her blog will have one of these if in close vicinity of a Primark, but I like it, and it does the job.

Note- Front pockets with my ID card and train pass
Note- Fastenings to deter theiving little fingers
Note- Big enough for A4 files annd notebooks
Note- Structured so my lunch doesn't get crushed
Note- Waterproof
Note- It's not bad looking and it was only £10.

Here's hoping we'll be very happy together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wendy House Winner

So I couldn't get the print-screen to paste on these computers, but I thought I'd get the winner for the Wendy House Earrings up anyway.

Wendy House Earrings
And the winner is......... 

I think Cat must be on a bit of a lucky winning streak lately as this is the second prize she's one from Chloe Likes To Talk in the last few months.

Thanks to everybody who entered, but thank you most of all to the oh so generous prize. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

You Get Bored and I Get Cold Feet

A sneaky peek of a present from The Guy. He knows me a bit too well if you've noted the branded hardware above...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

3 words. 8 Letters.

Jumper, £8 Primark
Jeans, £11 Primark
Shoes, £10 ASDA
This is what I looked like for a day of induction seminars and the first seminars on the English Legal system. My new favourite jeans, my new favourite jumper and my new favourite shoes to go to my new favourite activity- lectures for my GDL course. Thank you everyone who wished me well with my first day and the course, I do read every comment posted to Chloe Likes To Talk and the kindness of others grabs me every time I see it.

Also, someone I feel you should all meet, a very important person in my life and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Meet Jemima
Yes, that is my favourite childhood cuddly toy, yes it is on my bed, no I don't have a problem with that, yes I would be interested to know if I'm the only one just at the moment?

To my quiet German follower, thank you so much for your comment. If you'd like to know how my course works or how studying law compares to Germany, or anything else at all please drop me an e-mail.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chloe Likes To Eat

Yes, I know, I know, I said not that long ago that our Sunday tradition is Pizza, but .... We do sometimes have a roast and this weekend we swapped things around a bit... So Chloe Likes To Eat.... Roast Chicken this week.

Roast Chicken
Yorkshire Pudding
Stuffing (Paxo- our favourite!)
Roast Potatoes
Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Broccoli, French Beans
One of my favourite thing about a roast dinner- aside the yummy-ness, is that it's actually quite balanced. We have plenty of fresh veg on ours, with the protein from whichever meat you're enjoying and some carbs from roasties and the yorkshire pudding. I can safely say- this was very, very tasty and even better- left over chicken and stuffing for my packed lunch for 'back to school'

Some of my favourite bits....

Oh and it was topped off with...

Now tell me that doesn't look good!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back To School

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I was hoping to gain a place on a Graduate Diploma in Law course this year. It's a conversion course for people who have a degree but not a qualifying law degree and want to be able to qualify as solicitors or barristers.

I never thought I would be clever enough for a legal career and never gave a thought to studying it with the languages that I studied to A Level and degree. It was only when someone I know through business networking (a solicitor with a practice local to me) suggested it, I had a lightbulb moment.

And so I find myself going back to school... well university today. I only got confirmation of my place on Friday as my application had a few hitches so last week was a fraught one. Yesterday I had a horrible thought- did I keep my waterproof Primark tote bag that I used to use for uni? Oh and- where *is* my pencil case with pens and highlighters etc? Swiftly followed by- Must remember to pull out the spare notebooks from when I finished my undergrad?

But by yesterday afternoon waterproof bag was safely found (folded up at the bottom of my cupboard, exactly where it should be), pencil case and notebooks (both in the box in my cupboard labelled stationary) packed into it and 2 outifts- one for if it's pouring rain (as forecast), one for if it's dry (over-optimistic). Nails were painted, the iPod was charged and loaded with (amongst others) the new Example album Playing in the Shadows that I've been listening to this week, ready for my train trips.

Clockwise from Top Left
A sneak peek of option one, wet day outfit
Inside my 'back to school' bag
A sneak peak of option two, slightly less wet day outfit
The 'back to school' bag

All said and done I'm looking forward to starting my course. I've opted to do it one year, full time, so I'll be doing 1400-2100 2 days a week, and hopefully will give me a chance to meet some new people and make some friends. I live and work with my parents, and don't have many friends in the area, despite going to school here.

The only downside to this next stage of my life is that Chloe Likes To Talk is going to have to take a back seat for a couple of weeks whilst I find my feet and sort a routine through. I'll almost certainly still be posting Chloe Likes To Eat on a Tuesday and I may just have a couple of guest posts for you. You can still get me on Twitter or feel free to drop me an e-mail. Any tips or advice on doing Post-Graduate studies would be welcomed.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chloe Likes...Wendy House

When I received an e-mail with "edible moustache" as the subject line, I knew it was going to be good. This was my very first e-mail from Wendy House. I've been following them on Twitter for some time, and never one to say no to a new necklace, she very kindly sent me this

A Cut Above Necklace

Wendy also sent me something else which I had my eye on, which I shall show you later on. Equally lovely and something that will surprise nobody who has been following me for a while or knows of some of my little loves.

And as well as the generosity Wendy has show me, she thought you lot might like something too, so here's what's up for grabs....

Cherry Masacre Earrings

yes those are cleavers with the cherries, yes I love it, no I'm not a crazy psycho killer.... well only at weekends.

Wendy has very kindly offered these up as prize for one lucky person and because I like to keep things simple, all you need to do is:

1. Follow Chloe Likes To Talk on Google Friend Connect
2. Follow @WendyHouseLoves on Twitter
3. Comment on this post with your e-mail address

*Winners will be picked by me using the magic of a random number generator. If I'm unable*
* to contact the winner, another will be picked.*
Competition closes at Midnight GMT on Sunday 18th of September... Go to it!

And P.S. I hit and passed my 10 000th view this weekend. Thank you everybody.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In The Middle Of The Night

ASDA Midnight
ASDA Glitter Top Coat
OPI Madd Hatter (on ring finger)

When I recently spied someone wearing a black polish with glitter in it from Topshop, I got a bit inspired. I've never been a fan of black polish, but this seemed to be a perfect lighter way to wear it. And it turns out that Asda is the perfect place to find nail polishes to experiment with too.

I do in fact have a life and do NOT spend my entire time in Asda, despite how it may appear this week!

The black polish is, like all the George at Asda colours it would seem, Quick Dry, and it does, dry quickly I mean. And that for me is a huge bonus- patience is not my virtue. But even better than that is the price. The black polish and the top coat set me back a whole £1.95 each. That's less than half the price of an OPI or Models Own colour for TWO bottles. This my friends, makes me happy.

George at ASDA Glitter Top Coat, £1.95
George at ASDA Midnight, £1.95
I'm sure a lot of you who are more nail-savvy than me would contest the quality of these polishes, but personally, I've been very unimpressed with Models Own, and whilst I like OPI polishes, I detest the price tag. I also find that even better quality polishes rarely stand the abuse a heap on my hands any better than more budget brands like GOSH.

Anybody else tried the Asda polishes? Let me know if it's love or loathe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Got My New Shoes On

Peter Pan Tunic, Topshop
Leggings, Primark,
Geek Specs Necklace, Temporary Secretary

You'd never guess this was only about 5pm.... Darkness has descended and I feel well and truly into Autumn wearing this tunic. It's a testament to how much I've changed since I bought this tunic too, as I would never has dreamt of wearing it with leggings as opposed to jeans or shorts earlier this year.

But most importantly, as you might have guessed from the post title... I have some new SHOES... *ahem*. A recent visit to Asda yielded some real gems in the shoe department. I was desperately in need of a new pair of tan shoes and when I spotted these for £10, I decided it would be as good a time as any to give brogues a go.

Brogues, £10 ASDA
Brogues, £10 ASDA
So far, so good. We seem to be hitting it off. I'm looking forward to wearing them with jeans (in particular my New Favourite Jeans) and dresses too. I have also given them a good spray with some waterproof spray today, as the rain seems to have made it's presence further known across the area and I'm hoping these will be a better replacement to my very NON-waterproof tan flats that went in the bin this weekend.

So what do you reckon? Too late jumping on this bandwagon? Are you a lover or a hater of brogues? And if you love them, are you more a fan of proper traditional ones or mad keen on these highstreet versions?

PSSSST I have some pretty heeled brogues for SALE at the moment...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chloe Likes To Eat

Afternoon Tea
Cake. Sandwiches. Scones. It could only be afternoon tea now, couldn't it?!

I love afternoon tea, it's something done well by many hotels in the Lakes and as a 'lastweekendbeforeyouleaveiwanttocramsometimetogetherin' treat to The Guy and I, we headed off to the Beech Hill hotel for afternoon tea on Saturday. Yummy, no? Unfortunately the weather was not....

The Lake District
There was something distinctly pleasant about sitting in a warm lounge on comfy sofas with an array of food between us whilst watching the rain come down, and bounce back up off the terrace. Albeit not so pleasant when driving back...


Obligatory Sandwiches

Lemon Cake- amazing, lemony, enough said.

Chocolate Brownie- would happily have fought my (military trained, 5 inches taller, 4 times stronger) Guy for the other bit

Scones with Cream and Jam- we actually ended up asking for these to be exchanged for scones with just butter, as they came out with jam and cream, neither The Guy nor I eat cream. They were pretty though.
We also had some Fruit Cake and some Choux Pastry thingies. A tasty way to spend our afternoon.

The Beech Hill definitely comes in at good value- the whole thing (including our pot of tea) cost £16.95 and it was all home made. The Beech Hill has AA Rosettes for it's food and the setting is beautiful, sneak peek of the chandelier hanging in their lounge....

More on this at a later stage
Afternoon Tea has become a very Zeitgeist 'thing' of late, but it's something that has been prevalent in the Lakes for years. I reckon it's a perfect alternative to lunch out with the sheer volume of food and for us, it was the best possible way to get out somewhere, and be able to sit for long enough to chat and relax, eat and enjoy the company.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Favourite Jeans

Despite being an item a wear on a very regular basis, I find jeans a bit of a nightmare. Finding a fit that works and that can accommodate my ever changing shape and weight seems to be a bit of a chore and a needle-in-a-haystack type job. In my despair last week, I picked up these Primark skinny jeans, in a bid to try something new with colour but also a last resort as my favourite Topshop Martha jeans are falling down to the point of obscenity.

Turns out it was a good move. Not only am I in love with the colour for autumn, it's really nice to wear skinny jeans again. They're something that I've shuffled away from and left alone for a while, but I'm firmly back into these. They also have the added benefit of staying put without me having to hoist them up every 30 seconds- definite bonus after the last few months!

A bottom half shot for you, to see them in all their glory.

Jeans, £11 Primark
Shoes, Tesco Sale (January)
So.... things I love about my new jeans....
They fit (well, better than my old ones anyway), the amazing colour that goes with pretty much anything, they don't look completely like jeans straight off- great for the office, the price....

Primark Skinny Jeans, £11
Primark Boyfriend Jumper
Specs Necklace, Temporary Secretary
Also thought I'd have a bit of a play with this headband. I won it from the lovely  Fashion Bandit last year, but it has since sat in my box of hair "things" with me too scared to have a go with it. Not sure it's quite me, but it was fun to try. any thoughts?

There are still some very pretty shoes up for grabs on my SALE section, as well as some dresses from Spanish brands unavailable in the UK. Go check it out.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Fighting Fit

It's been a bit over a week since I posted the week 1 of the fitness programme I'm following and with an overnight stay and a night out I fell off the wagon a bit, but over the last few days I've definitely jumped back on. Although I didn't quite make it through all this, I thought I'd post week 2 for you anyway.

Day 8
20 minute run, moderate intensity

Couch 2 5K

Day 9
Low impact aerobic activity, 25 mins, Gentle intensity

Day 10
2 Circuits:
17 tricep dips
23 sit ups
8 press ups
17 dorsal raises
27 step ups

Day 11
Rest Day

Day 12
20 minute run, moderate intensity

Couch 2 5K

Day 13
2 Circuits:
17 tricep dips
23 sit ups
8 press ups
17 dorsal raises
27 step ups

Day 14
Rest Day

Despite having slipped a bit, I'm definitely more fired up than ever. Getting back into everything now the week has settled back to usual routine is much easier and I'm quite good at finding myself a routine time slot to get my activity into.

I've continued to use our Wii Fit for the low impact aerobic activity and I'm really getting into the boxing. If you have the option to have a go at it, I recommend it. The instructor "Mii"s can be a bit annoying sometimes, but as you unlock the more advanced settings on it, you can focus a bit more on the activity.

Couch 2 5K is a struggle for me- I get bored and I'm also used to a programme designed for recovery from injury. I'm currently perservering, but we'll see.

Links to programmes like the one I'm following are all on my Fighting Fit Page, as is the Couch 2 5K info. If anybody else has decided to give this a go, please let me know, I'd love to know how you're finding it and your motivation to follow it.

More on Fighting Fit next week but in the meantime.... there are still some very pretty shoes up for grabs on my SALE section, as well as some dresses from Spanish brands unavailable in the UK. Go check it out.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Squeezing In The Seasons

I quite like the early autumn, to me it means the start of new things (the perils of being in education for so long), the excuse to cover up my limbs a bit more and the mass exodus of tourists who take with them their incompetent driving, their caravans and their screeching children. All this said, I don't really have an autumn wardrobe, just like I don't really have a spring wardrobe, in terms of the clothes I wear, I tend to go straight from "summer" (looking out of the window I see black clouds, trees being blown about and rain from earlier this morning sitting on the ground and the cars...) to winter and back again. Dresses suddenly are worn with tights or leggings or with bare legs, shorts come out and are then promptly boxed up again, tee's suddenly find themselves covered in thick wooly cardigans and I bounce from that nude pinky colour and navy to jewel tones and black, and then right back again.

This year, in light of the unusual situation I find myself in- working and hopefully about to be a Post-Grad student, I thought I'd use the opportunity to pull myself out of my comfort zone and try a few new things for Autumn to try and ease myself from "summer" (I've never worn jeans as much as I have done this year...) to winter and squeezing that extra season in. Cue trip to Primark when in Manchester last week....

Nude slouchy fishtail t-shirt, £6 Primark
Rust coloured skinny jeans, £11 Primark
Specs necklace, Temporary Secretary

I know that Primark is a love or hate kinda thing, but for £17 I got to try a whole new look for the new season. If I have to chuck these jeans and this top in 2 months time, I won't feel I've been robbed and I will have tried something new.

Psst...If you're not mad keen on battling through your local Primark, you should check out Jen's guide to shopping there which you can find here
Leopard print flats, Tesco (January sale)
I've also been playing with Picnik a bit more which is a great reminder of how much you can do with free photo editing software if you're a complete amateur with your photos like I am.

Anybody else out there braving new worlds of colour this season? If you fancy trying something new with a bargain price tag, check out the bits I've got going on the new SALE Page