Sunday, March 31, 2013

Paddington

I've always had a bit of a thing for handbags, although in more recent years, I've reigned it back, and have generally stuck to buying nicer quality and fewer rather than many that will fall apart quickly. 

This one, was unexpected though. 

I was perusing a sale for a spring handbag, something not to oversized and in a paler, neutral colour ready for (ha ha ha ha ha ha) some warmer weather. I happened to show my aunt, who ummed and ahhed as to whether it was nice, then plonked this in my lap, proclaiming it mine. No, really. 



Chloe Paddington Back Tan



Chloe Paddington Bag Detail



Chloe Paddington Bag Padlock



Chloe Paddington Bag Key

Pretty, isn't it? For those interested, this is a medium sized Chloe Paddington in tan leather circa 2007. This is the first iconic handbag I recall paying any attention to, and I also remember the waiting lists supposedly months long, just to order one of these. 

I don't think I'd ever seriously consider doing that- signing up to be made to wait to buy something that costs hundreds of pounds, that I could technically do without. But as a gift, it's lovely. It's an ideal size for me- not so large that I could overfill it, not so small it doesn't hold the essentials. It's a beautiful spring colour, and it's a fairly weight piece which I like feeling on my arm. In all, it's love. And now I just have to find some perfect matching shoes....... 

Happy Easter Weekend all. I took these photos in the most beautiful place I know, so stay tuned next week to see what I've been up to for my long weekend. 
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chloe Likes To Eat

On Sunday I was afforded the opportunity to grab a Brunch/Lunch with Alex, which was rather nice. Being a touch impromptu, I didn't have loads and loads of ideas of where we should go, but stumbled across Salvation Jane when hunting online for something local to Alex & Lee's hotel in EC2.


Salvation Jane Brunch

Corn fritters with streaky bacon, crème fraiche, chilli lime salsa & fresh spinach


Salvation Jane Cappuccino

The most beautiful looking Cappuccino I've seen in a while.  

Perusing the menu left me with some serious decision making issues- Alex chose the salted beef hashcakes with poached eggs, relish and spinach, which I gave some serious consideration too, and the sides alone would have made an epic breakfast. 

When we arrived, there was a wait for a table, but rather than seeing this as a bad thing, we chose to hang out in the waiting area and chat, and there was some seating about as well. From personal experience, places with 'waiting lists' or that are consistently busy, are that way for a reason, usually that they're well liked and good at what they do. As you might guess from the tone of this post, I was impressed, and I'd definitely go back. It is in Shoreditch I suppose, but I won't hold that against them. 

Oh, and can I get a bit credit for having proper clothes and make-up on, on a Sunday, the 2nd Sunday in a row. 

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Chloe Handbag, Steve Madden Boots



Yeah, it's been windy as hell in East London. 

You can find Salvation Jane on City Road EC2 between Old St and Moorgate Underground Stations, on Twitter and their own website which includes a menu. Hit me if you go, and let me know what you try. I can't wait to have an excuse to go back! 



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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

This is what happens when you put 12 bloggers in one massive National Trust house. Yes, really.


Cake is first photographed, then eaten in vast quantities. There is every chance I am 5 kilos heavier than when I arrived. 


I apparently turn into a Twisted Fire Starter


One Schnoodle gets a lot of attention


A Grade I listed building has NEVER seen as many outifts, or as much cake. 


Much laughter and wine is had over a Sunday Roast. 

This time last week, I was grudgingly hopping back in Sarah's car to head back to London after a rather fabulous break organised by Alex

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Us Lot!
Photo thanks to Rosie


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Ahem....
Photo thanks to Rosie


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Comedy Gold
Photo thanks to Rosie

Grabbing a weekend out with some lovely people turned out to be exactly what I needed. London is a fabulous city, it truly is, but it can be a lonely place when you don'y know many people, and I work in a small business so even though the guys I work with are great, there aren't loads of people to grab a drink with or catch a movie with. Huge huge thanks to Alex for the invite, and thanks also to Sarah for being my fair chariot to and from. 


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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Arse Over Tit

My mother has, more than once, reminded me that I am a girl not lacking in the boob department, and the mirror regularly reminds me that I'm not short of behind either. But on a more serious note, there are 2 bits that it's super important to look after.

Last autumn, I had a super stressful moment where some unusual bleeding left me with a doctor poking about between my legs, and no, it wasn't especially pleasant, but very simple, common and not especially painful procedure left me all sorted and back to normal. I wrote about how it feels to be scared, and to be worried, as a reminder to all the young women who read my blog, that it's better to be safe than sorry, and more often than not, these things are rarely as frightening as you think they're going to be. You can read the posts HERE & HERE.

Fast forward 6 months, you'd think once was enough, but I seem to be on a bit of a losing streak just for now. That other bit, that us girls have to keep a careful eye one, well it's their turn. We haven't long had Breast Cancer Awareness month (ok, October, but it doesn't feel like that long ago), and I have to say, it does it's job. When I noticed a pain in the side of one of my breasts, I got myself in the good girls' club, and dropped off to my Dr.

Good news- breast pain is a rare sign of breast cancer, I'm only 23 and I have no history of breast or ovarian cancer in my family (both of which are genetically linked). Annoying news, I still had to head to St Bartholomew's Hospital last week.

After my experiences in the autumn, I have been desperately determined not to stress. I worried and worried, then stressed some more about all the possibilities that could arise. And it turned out to be one of the most common gynaecological problems that are found in young women. I think I did pretty well. I got into my zone of persuading myself that it's probably something and nothing, and got on with it all, as you do.

It came as somewhat of a surprise when the surgeon I saw explained that there was a pretty well defined and not insignificant lump in my breast. I don't think anyone really ever expects that. As a young woman, I really really had convinced myself that it would be something silly like pulling a muscle or something.

The good news for me, is that it definitively is not malignant. Despite the initial shock of the trip to St Bart's, they're really not too worried. Should it get any bigger, I think the rather severe (but still reassuring and very helpful) surgeon will be keen to get in and get this horrid invader out, but cysts and small benign lumps, apparently, aren't as uncommon as we'd all like to think.

Tuesday morning was not the most fun I've ever had, who wants to have ultrasound gel stuff smeared half across their chest, and if only the male medical student (who I was asked if he could sit in) was attractive. But much like my autumnal experiences, these things are rarely frightening if we can get over the initial 'what if' phase. And this is yet another important lesson in not being ostrich-esque about breast or gynaecological issues. Make sure you know what is normal for you, make sure you see a GP if something changes, because all of us who get away with a minor shock, you never know if one person may survive a serious disease like cancer, because they got in quickly.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chloe Likes To Eat

It's no secret that I like Asian food, and since living in London, I've had the opportunity to eat more of it than ever before.

One of my favourite ways for T & I to get out for the evening and away from the chaos that is our schedules, is to have a small stash of Groupon vouchers on the go. This Thai restaurant is out at Notting Hill, and it was well worth trekking from the East End for a super yummy dinner.


Thai Rice Seafood Paenang Close Up



Thai Rice Seafood Paenang2



Thai Rice Coconut Rice


This was a superb mixed seafood Panaeng curry- a reasonable chilli content but not overpowering, and I opted for coconut rice which came in a coconut shell (always an easy sell on the old gimmicks...) 

It really was super tasty, as was the sharing platter which had 7 different items on it, in duplicate which I thought was pretty good value compared to some of the cop out sharing platters I've had. I think we would go back to this restaurant, Thai Rice, but only if we were already in the vicinity. It's a fair trip for us when coming from the East End, so I'm not sure the food merited that kind of status. 

In all, not a bad Monday treat, which was probably a touch unnecessary given the sheer volume of cake I have consumed in the last few days. More on that soon. 
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Spring Hit List

The idea of buying fewer, better quality items tends to lend itself well to a capsule wardrobe, and not having an unlimited bank balance to draw on, I've found that planning purchases to come is the easiest way to ensure I have what need as well as what I want. Now the light is lasting that bit longer, and heaven forbid, I even went out without my coat last week, my thoughts are turning to spring and as such, what on earth to wear when the temperature (and precipitation levels) tend to be unpredictable.

JEANS. Autumn and spring are when I tend to wear jeans the most, they lend themselves very well to jumpers as much as tops and shirts. Low rise jeans almost always end up slipping down and being generally unflattering, but a skinny fit does work, so long as they're good and dark. My eye is currently on these Cheap Monday high rise black skinnies:


CARDIGANS feature highly in my wardrobes throughout the year, in winter it tends to be heavier weight knitted versions to sit over my dresses. But moving into spring when I'm as likely to be found in a trouser as a dress, a longer, lighter cardigan works better. Having recently ditched my favourite Primark long ling cardigan, this year is the year to move into something a bit more durable (and I might also have put a little order in...)


Heads up on this- American Apparel offer a 15% discount when you sign up for their newsletter, but it is only valid for 14 days after you sign up and subsequently receive the code.

My mum actually already has a couple of the jersey and modal (knitted, to the rest of us) versions of these, and I can confirm that they are suitably durable, super comfy and very versatile.

SHIRTS have been a problem for me. I believe the phrase 'too much tits and arse' probably was made for me. They rarely fit, and I own just 2- one that I wear over leggings, one that is beach wear. But there's something about a simple pale shirt, and as cropped/ankle grazer trousers have been all over the highstreet (Gap, Banana Republic, Topshop, Uniqlo...) and my very favouritest trousers are ankle length, I'm finding them more and more appealing for a simple, relaxed preppy type look. This one looks beautiful, but I'm still not sure I can bring myself to part with that much cash, and it definitely won't be without an extensive trying-on session first.


And lastly, a new spring SHOE- well it wouldn't be me without shoes... These babies, are, what a surprise from Clarks, and the perfect next step in my heels exploration, having just about mastered my wedged shoe boots. I love a flash of interesting colour, and it was always going to be green for me.


So that's my current spring hitlist, we shall have to see how it goes over the next few weeks as to exactly what ends up in my slightly depleted wardrobe. Shout if you have a hit list rather than a wishlist, I'm intrigued to know what everybody is after this spring, particularly you Fashion-Types who actually know what's supposed to be on trend. 





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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chloe Likes To Talk

I'm sure that according to my blog, lately all I seem to do is be spoiled by parents, and actually... um... that's not far wrong. I've seen my awesome parents 3 times in about 5 weeks, which is a treat in itself, but twice, it's been when I've visited their home.

As it was Mother's Day, followed by my Grandmother and her partner's birthday shortly after and also my parents wedding anniversary, my dad cooked up an Italian feast. Don't say I didn't warn you.



Focaccia, topped with olive oil and rock salt. 

Anti-Pasti plate- a variety of salami, parma ham & a sneaky bit of Iberico ham, chilli prawns, garlic marinated char-grilled peppers, rocket salad and a few tomatoes too. 


Pan fried cod with pea purée, lemon & parsley sauce, pea shoots & panelli.


Chocolate Panetonne with crème anglaise... some vanilla ice cream also appeared shortly after, which dad may or may not have forgotten.

Yeah... so next week I will mostly be eating as low cal/fat/salt as I possibly can. Not helped by the bacon sandwich I inhaled on Sunday morning I might add.

Call me spoiled all you like, in my current food coma, I don't honestly care.
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Monday, March 11, 2013

God Love A Cyclist... Nobody Else Will

I've had a driving licence for 5 and a half years, the last time (before I bought my baby) I got on a bike was 10 (and the rest) years ago. I am well schooled in the nation's sport of Cyclist Hating.

I thought being a cyclist might change my mind a little bit, getting to see the other side of the story, as it were. You know what, I can honestly say, I HATE cyclists.

Why would you take to the road wearing dark clothes. Without a helmet. Without lights. Without any high vis. Without so much as a nod towards reflective item. In the dark. WHY?

WHY would you and your two wheels fuelled by solely your own legs hit the A13 into London, fighting with morning traffic and buses when there's a huge, blue pavement extension dedicated to cyclist, otherwise known as a Cycle Superhighway? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?

Why would you and your mean machine hit up a busy pavement near a primary school when there's a huge green metre set into the side of the road dedicated to you and your precious, otherwise known as the London Cycle Network. WHY?

And for the love of all things in motion WHY would you and your precious STOP. At the side of a road. 3 metres away from the traffic lights. Which are green. For no reason. WHY? WHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHY?

I love my bike- although I'm yet to learn to love the increased size of my quad muscles, I have seen some truly beautiful sights on my trips to and from work, and I'm saving about £10 per week in travel costs as well as getting some much needed exercise. but bloody hell, I hate cyclists.
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Dark and Dangerous

If you ever look at models, actresses, tv personalities, anybody that is considered beautiful by many, 9 times out of 10, they will have blue eyes. All well and good, but I don't. My eyes are a pretty non-descript hazel colour, that take green or yellow tones depending on the light. My colour palette of choice when it comes to eye make up tends to be either neutrals (eyeshadows), olive/gold or black (eyeliner) and a decent helping of black mascara.


My most recent discovery- purple.

I received a very dark purple coloured liner in a Bare Minerals kit, which I have used once or twice, and liked fine enough, but the liner was better for single solid lines rather than smudging and working in. I aqyured a No7 Kohl pencil on a freebie deal a while back, and feeling inspired to play with something new a couple of weeks back, this is how it ended up.

If you have dark or hazel eyes ladies, give purple a go. This turned out to be great for a afternoon visiting some friends, interesting without being ott.


Face- Bare Minerals
Eyes- No7 Kohl, Benefit Mascara
Lips- E.L.F. Mineral moisturising lip tint in Blush

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chloe Likes To Eat

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's been a while, but this is a rather tasty little dinner I made recently, that is super quick, super easy, pretty cheap and reasonably healthy.

You will need:
1 courgette per person
A pack of tortellini of choice (my personal choice was Spinach & Ricotta, 99p from my local Lidl)
Lemon juice
Black pepper
Pesto of choice (mine is either homemade, stored in the freezer or Sacla's basil pesto)


Take a potato peeler to a couple of courgettes to leave them in thin ribbons, as above. Elegantly dumped into a large heavy base pan or a wok with a splash of olive oil, plenty of lemon juice and black pepper, keep the heat very low, keep an eye on the courgette, it shouldn't need more than 2-3 minutes- think slightly wilted and warmed, rather than cooked.





Put the tortellini into boiling water- usually they only require a minute or so to cook, but keep your eye on the destructions on the pack. Once they're done, drain, and add to the pan/wok of courgette. Mix thoroughly and add a spoonful of pesto to mix. Side note- you may choose to drain some of the lemon juice before add the pesto, depending on how much you've used. 

Serve- preferably with a good crisp chilled glass of white and a sprinkling of Grano or Parmesan. 

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

In My Mind. In My Head.

Yeah, been a bit quiet around here of late, hasn't it. February shaped up to be a month of madness between mine & T's personal schedules as well as work being utter mayhem. I'm not apologising, my blog is my hobby, and the only commitment I make is to not just post rubbish for the sake of it. So what's been a happening....

Well.... I was lucky enough to win Rosie's giveaway for a Personal Planner. Meet my new baby.





Personal Planner, c/o Personal-Planner.co.uk (thanks to Rosie and her competition)

(Disclaimer- I won my planner, and was under no obligation to subsequently blog about it or personal-planner.co.uk, I'm just suitably pleased with my prize)

I opted for lists, training and squared note paper inserts. I resisted the urge to put it into German, mostly because their public holidays are different, and I really, really don't need the extra confusion. So far, I'm impressed. The binding is metal, good and strong, the paper is a nicely heavy weight, and the ability to personalise what actually appears on the page as much as the colours and photo cover are all winners, but hands down the best thing- being able to start your diary any month of the year. I won my planner in February, knew it would probably be here in time for early March, and ordered my planner to go March-March. No wasted pages, no having to skip through the first half of my planner before using it.

I've been doing a little shopping this week too. The first couple of months in my job were financially challenging for both T & I as we had a lot to juggle, the new year has finally allowed us to exhale a little, and for me to indulge... a tiny little bit.

My buy it better mind set is very important to me. It's been the turning point in my mentality not just towards my money and the things I spend it on, but also towards myself, my own worth and how I treat myself. My move towards purchasing better quality items, as I talked about here, is also about feeling more confident in myself and my appearance.

All that said, I have never ever claimed to eschew the likes of fast fashion, because it has it's own place and it's own use. Primark has been a god send for the clothes I cycle in (leggings, t-shirt plimsolls and lightweight waterproof jacket, FYI), and I have a super soft spot for a supermarket dress that I wear at least once a fortnight for work. And when I spied this near the check-out at Primark, I knew it was coming home with me.



Bag, Primark £12

I've been thinking of buying a new handbag that is a bit smaller than the one I use for work- which is a monster, and I probably will still save for something leather, and less fashion sensitive. But for £12, this ticks the current boxes, it's a nice flash of current with all the studs, and given that I only need to use a more 'normal' sized bag once or twice a week, I don't exactly feel guilty for buying something I didn't technically need.

In other news, I'm also having a total tech fail of late. My work laptop decided to blue screen of death me, more than once, my iPhone has had to go off to Apple to be fixed and my Kindle appears to be having a hissy fit too and my own laptop has long been on the decline . It has reaffirmed why I'm currently saving for an iPad, but in the mean time, don't be surprised if I'm just as absent as I have been... Hasta La Vista




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