Monday, May 27, 2013

Minted

Happy Bank Holiday. I know we only had one at the beginning of the month, but I was so. very. ready. for this one. In my previous life, a bank holiday meant either being behind the bar for 3 weddings in 3 days or keeping a business BlackBerry to hand in case someone was sick/in need of emergency cover. In my current job I'm not required to be in the office and I'm not required to be on call and that, well that's precious.

This weekend T & I have worked pretty hard though. Earlier in the week I discovered on of my bike tyres was so perished from age and being kept outside in the cold in the early part of the year, that it had split. The other wasn't going to be far behind, so 2 new tyres, 2 new inner tubes, a new chain and a hell of a strip clean later, my Crimson Beast is back in shape. It was in interesting little exercise as bike maintenance is all new for me and we found a broken link in my chain when cleaning, which if left could have been quite dangerous. For any of you Londoners on 2 wheels, There are a number of Barclays Bike Clinics running through the summer months along Cycle Superhighways with free help, advice and once overs to ensure that your bike is in tip top safe riding condition.

Anyway.... I really wanted to share with you this outfit. Outfit posts haven't been as prevalent lately, because I've felt uninspired with my wardrobe, but if you saw my Budget Spring Updates post, you'll know I'm feeling a bit more enthused about my clothing selection.

Mint Pleated Maxi Skirt & White Shirt 4

Shirt, Zara
Shoes, Clarks
Jewellery, Topshop, Temp:Sec & Gifts


Mint Pleated Maxi Skirt & White Shirt 3

I bought this skirt via a Chinese eBay seller, but it's a totally different colour to the picture. Fortunately, it came to all of £6 with free postage, and I like mint green. I just would have like it more if it were the sage green I'd ordered. The shirt was a total impulse purchase from Zara on a trip to Stratford city with a friend a couple of weeks back but SO comfortable, if a bitch to keep pressed and the shoes. Yeah, shoes right now are a problem- I was after something to toughen this outfit up a little and these Clarks shoe boots are a little unloved since winter (kinda....) came to mind. It's been a few months since I last wore them, and they are just so comfortable. It was the reminder I needed, that I need some new shoes, some comfortable heels. I really really fancy a pair of wedge trainers, a la the Marant versions and Ash that have been so popular. I am really liking these Ash pastel versions and these Ash black leather and suede ones too. What do you think? I'm torn, and they're a little pricier than I've ever paid for a pair of shoes, but I do really, REALLY like them.

I hope you've had pleasant bank holidays, whatever you've been up to. I'm off to have myself a slice of my epicly yummy Peanut Butter Caramel slice (see EssBeeVee's recipe here, it's super easy and oh. so. ymmy) and pretend that my head doesn't still hurt from the fight I had with the shower curtain pole on Saturday evening. Don't ask.








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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spring Wardrobe Updates

Some of my outfits on Instagram have been getting a little more attention lately, and that's a flattering sign, as I've had a little bit of an update in my wardrobe. As the weather took pleasant positive turn, some of my makeshift work wear came to the end of its life span and I felt the need for a bit of a shake up, grab a look at my current working wardrobe- office AND casual. I opted for a few cheap and cheerful items, because with cycling, the fit of my clothes is continually changing.

New Favourite Skirt
I saw this at the George at Asda High Summer press day, fell in love with it, then relentless checked the website until it arrived.

Skirt, George at Asda, £12

George at Asda Skirt

Keeping it classy
Found this blouse in Forever 21, a shop where I've previously felt out of place. This time I came across some very friendly and helpful staff, and this top for £12. Simple, classy and ideal with a skirt or a pair of simple trousers. Shame my washing machine has wrecked it after it's first outing. I'm not sure if it's my better judgement or not, but I think I'll be trying to replace it when I'm next near an F21.

Blouse, Forever 21,  £12 (FYI I couldn't find this on the website in the zillions of items, and I didn't have any joy finding it so far)


F21 Chiffon Blouse


Something Simple
I saw this dress in Primark and it struck just the simplicity note that I'm fond of. The only draw back is that it's super short, and there's going to need to be some DIY to add some length in. I recently saw a woman on tube wearing a chambray shift dress, and it looked freaking awesome, I'd love to find something similar, but in the mean time, this £10 quick fix is good fun.


Primark Chambray Dress

Cheap and Cheerful
I was on the hunt for a replacement dress for a favourite green one which has reached the end of it's life and stumbled across this one from a Chinese seller. It appears to be a copy of a dress worn by a celeb I didn't recognise, I just love that it's green, and pretty, and also looks much better on the on the hanger, by the way. 



eBay Green Shirt Dress

Splash of Summer
I saw this dress at Easter, but the only one left was in a size 12, and although that's a usual size for me, or even a touch big, I couldn't even get the H&M 12 over my boobs, let alone the rest of me. BUT, I couldn't get it out of my head, so I ordered it online, This one is a size 16, and it's a beautiful fit.

Dress, H&M Conscious Collection, £19.99

H&M Conscious Collection shift dress

Untitled



I have a few more bits and pieces I've picked up lately, but mostly I'm lacking on the shoe front. I'm still searching for a couple of perfect pairs of shoes. I also have a couple of other little purchases to help update my wardrobe, and also to replace a few bits that are on their last legs or that our slightly dodgy washing machine has been eating.


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chloe Likes To Eat

Last week was T's birthday, and although my parents had already bought him a gift, and I've already had my birthday gift from them, I was cryptically informed that something would be arriving for us both on the special day.


Friday Cheese Board


Cheese Board

I know this looks like a super glutinous cheese board, and it is, but it's a SPECIAL super glutinous cheeseboard. Every one of these cheeses is a variety of goats cheese. Artisan and award winning cheese to be specific.

The cheeses came from the Shropshire Brock Hall Farm, producers of award winning artisan goats cheese. I have to admit, I read the information that arrived with almost a kilo of goats cheese, and I was a tiny bit dubious. Award winning is a term bandied about a lot at the moment, and sometimes, it seems it's just an excuse to ramp up the price. Good news, not so with the particular branch of artisan.

Each of the four cheeses had totally different traits, from the lightest through to the most powerful, creamy through to a harder cheese.  Each had it's own distinct set of flavours too. Aside a cheese board like the one above, I'm looking forward to trying out the various cheeses with an Aubergine dish that I've got planned, with salads (of course) and we also had some on home made pizzas over the weekend.

A few things to note- it really is fantastic cheese, whatever experience you've had of goats cheese before now, it's whole new level of flavour balance that is both delicate and and has power and depth. This is also not the kind of cheese you need to scoff huge volumes of, we ate less than a third of what was on the board over the course of five hours, taking our time to enjoy the flavours and truly taste each one.

If you're a fromaggio fan, do go and check out Brock Hall Farm, you can find their website as linked above, they're also very friendly on Twitter
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Green Elephants

I'm pretty sure there isn't a blogger who didn't hear about the Zatchels sale. I've been after a satchel for a long time, and although the sale seemed like a perfect opportunity, I tried my best to restrain myself because it was still pennies I didn't *need* to spend. Lucky for me, my lovely mum is full of bright ideas, and although it was a month off at the time, she offered to buy the satchel I wanted as an early birthday present. And because Zatchels products are handmade in England, they advise your order may take up to 30 days to arrive in busy periods, perfect for a birthday present.

BUT, much to my excitement (yeah... at work... on a slow Friday afternoon...) my beautiful early birthday present arrived just a week after it was ordered.

Zatchels Green Elephant Print Satchel


Zatchels


Zatchels Green Elephant Print


Zatchels Green Elephant Print detail


I think I ordered bang on the right size for my needs, It's not so huge that it's overbearing, although I'm finding the leather is quite stiff for the moment, meaning not as much fits into it as appears. I can't help feeling that's a plus point though. One of the appeals of these traditional items that have had such rejuvenation is the lasting and timeless element, and that items like these gain from their long term use.

I know it's a cliché, I know I'm hopping on a bandwagon, and no, I don't care. I've been lusting after this beauty for a long time, I love it, it works for me, so sue me.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Converting to Converse

I think Converse are a tricky thing. You either love them, or loathe them. Having dabbled with look-a-likes in my teens, I realised quite quickly that they aren't really very... me. That is until I started kicking the Kilometres in on my bike each week.

I'm not really one for hardcore sports kit with cycling- aside a couple of bargain base layer tops to stop me totally overheating, and until recently I was using a pair of inexpensive Primark plimsolls to get me to and from the office, problem is, the grip has gone on them. I know I could buy proper trainers to cycle in, but one of the reasons I have is that canvas shoes take up less space when my kit goes into my bag under my desk during the work day, and also, there are occasions where I would quite like a pair of casual shoes to pull on in everyday life too- with jeans and a jumper for a walk, with leggings to drop to the shops, with shorts for the 48 hour summer in the garden, so a better quality pair of shoes to cover both would be nice.

For me, it'll never be the high-tops, they just aren't practical for my needs, but the low tops have some potential, I really like this shade of grey for versatility, for easy wear when it comes to dust and dirt.

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Grey Low Top Converse, £58 @ Spartoo

I do like the grey, but when I realised Converse make these more streamlined (and aptly named 'Dainty') shoes though, it was an easy sell. A bit more my style, easier to get into a bag and for me, altogether more pleasing.

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All Star Dainty Shoes, £43.15 @ Spartoo

I find that Converse are pretty pricey, but I've also heard from friends who are long time lovers, that they're very long wearing, that they really do go on forever. For the use I have in mind, I suspect the cost per wear on a decent pair of casual shoes may be better than a cheaper budget option. 

Have I been putting this off for too long, or am I trying too hard to reclaim a clearly vacant youth?

This post was written in partnership with a brand, and includes links for which I have been recompensed. All views are my own. 
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Recently I'm Wearing

I haven't done one of these for ages and ages. Mostly because I have been through a *I'm sick of everything in my wardrobe* phase. But a (relatively) restrained trip to Westfield and a couple of eBay purchases later, I'm feeling a bit better about things. The warmer weather is also helping, as my office has always been borderline tropical, my preferred sleeveless, bare legged and lighter weight choices are somewhat more appropriate. And a with spring has come a bit more socialising and getting out, which also means my non-work clothes are a little more inspired. It's amazing the difference it makes when the clothes you pull on something you like, and feel is more than *just* jeans and a shirt.

A couple of casual ones:


Sneakers & Skinny Jeans

She says.... Topshop Jamie jeans and biker jacket, Primark Sneakers. I thought I'd give sneakers a go, and this might just be jeans and a shirt, but I enjoyed some details making the whole thing a bit more interesting- turn ups, iridescent sneakers and

Chambray, Leopard and Chloe Paddington

Primark chambray dress, Clarks flats, Chloe Paddington bag
For dinner out with T, this Chambray shirt dress from Primark was only £10 but is obscenely short. I feel a DIY job coming on to add to the length. I like the idea though, and it's super easy to dress up with jewellery


A couple of work ones:


Conscious Collection Dress & Zatchels

H&M Conscious collection dress and Zatchels bag
I saw this dress on a bilboard and loved it. The print is a bit out there, but I love it. I was more than a little shocked by the H&M sizes though, I tired a 12 & 14 before eventually needing a size 16. I normally wear a 10 or 12 from most other shops. Also note the early birthday present from my mum, more on that to come.


Palm Print Skirt and Cream Blouse

George at Asda printed skirt, Forever 21 blouse & ASOS shoes. 
I saw this skirt at the High Summer press day a few weeks ago and have been regularly checking the website to see if it had come into stock, and launched for it when it did. At £12 it's a bit of a bargain. My office is quite relaxed most of the time, but more recently I'm working a lot more corporate cases including events, I have to make a bit more of an effort. 



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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Friend or Faux?

Friendship and friendliness are not fields with which I have vast experience. I've spoken before about being bullied as an adult, and I'm the first to admit that a snarky sense of humour and bluntness often mean I don't come across as friendly, even if it''s my intent to be so. But blogger community, well that's a place where friendships are formed, where people come together to be friendly to each other. Right?

We've all heard about internet trolls, and if we haven't received them, then we all know the risk of nasty anonymous (or in one case I saw just last week, not so anonymous) comments. But more recently, I've come to know that there is a more subtle kind of unpleasantness, a snide cold shoulder. Not sure what I mean.... read on.

At a sizeable event, which I should add, I enjoyed very much for the most part, 2 bloggers, one of whom sporadically tweets with me about anything from food to beauty recommendations, cut into a conversation I was a part of, didn't introduce themselves, moved the conversation well outside of my field of knowledge and cut me off from the conversation by standing half back to me, eventually edging me out all together. Nice huh? We've all cut people out of a conversation by accident, but not to even introduce oneself or say a polite hello, not the friendliest welcome to an event ever, and put me off wanting to mix with those I hadn't already met at said event. Good job the drinks were good.

At the same event, a blogger I've tweeted with often, whose blog I regularly comment on and who tweeted just that day in fact, to ask about my day and say how nice it would be to meet me that evening. That same blogger smiled politely when the ended up in conversation with someone I was with, but had absolutely no idea who I was- or certainly didn't behave as though they did, doing that vague uncertain thing we all do when you see someone, you think you recognise them, but can't dredge where from....fair enough, it had been a long day, I looked a bit rough round the edges, but also, they didn't ask or seem to want to know. A real shame as I was someone I'd been looking forward to meeting.

At a different event, I recently overheard to talking about general events culture. What a shame it was that nobody gets together for these things any more, and there's always lots of new people that they don't know. Which was a bit of a turn off, having met neither before, and that being one of only a handful of events I've been invited to and able to attend. I thought meeting new people was a good thing?

I didn't start my blog to make friends especially, it was something that came as an added bonus, the community that surrounded blogging gave me the opportunity to talk to people I'd otherwise never have met, and to be surrounded by people who I felt were like me- who worked hard, cared about something, and who were so much friendlier than so many of the people I came across whilst studying or working in my various vacation period jobs. But whether you blog to find people and community or not, sure some of the above mentioned things are merely a common courtesy?

And even were they not, we've all be the new girl- school, uni, job, sports club, gym, friend's party where you only know the host, it's nice to be the person who smiles, says hi, and introduces themselves. In a 'world' that thrives on each of us involving ourselves with each other in an online context, and where SOCIAL media is the name of the game, and whilst there are so many more overt trolls, shouldn't we be pulling together to welcome each other?

It isn't all bad, by the way. This March I had the pleasure of a blog holiday, meeting plenty of lovely people. I also had a most enjoyable brunch with Odd Socks Alex who is possibly my favourite person for her love of doing and living how she pleases, and not giving a damn what people think. If you have a problem with people having a book for company in a restaurant, you have a problem with Alex and with me!

Sarah has fast become great and quite regular company- any girl who knows where the good and cheap London cocktails can be found, was always going to be awesome, but she also has something to say. I almost didn't realise we were at the station I needed.

Laurenella has the rare gift of transversing the boundary of online and life at large. I wouldn't have believed I were 'meeting' her, had I not reminded myself. A much welcomed friendly face.

Cat has emoticon wars with me, and is one of the first in my phonebook when I need a helping hand with the tough stuff. I am beyond happy that we finally have plans in motion to shop and roll in the big smoke in the coming weeks.

This girl, made me laugh even more in person than she does on Twitter and in her writing. My overriding image of this girl will be her hilarious poses on our blogger holiday in March.

And Klee is also relatively newly relocated. Aside having the world's cutest dog, it's been a pleasure to have a fellow Eastender to chat with and make dinner dates with. I have a horrid feeling she's going to be a terrible enabler at Westfield too- remind me again why I agreed to go there with someone who also likes to shop?

And lastly, Ayden, who regularly brings a smile to my face, and the first time I met a blogger face to face. Start as you mean to go on, and Ayden couldn't have been a better intro.

If you check out nobody else, then these are some of the truly friendly faces I've found in blogland. I'm off to send a long overdue response to an especially lovely email.
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Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Shoe Shaped Problem

I like shoes. I think we've all worked that one out by now. Last year, I discovered that my feet, knees and hips liked me a whole lot more for spending a bit more on better quality shoes rather than trying to live in £5 flats. And that's awesome. I have 5 pairs of shoes I wear day in, day out. Problem- what happens when you know what you need, know what you like, but can't find something to fit your need?

Now it's starting to warm up in London, and I am spending less time running about the cobbled streets of Chancery Lane, I'm in the market for a for  new shoe solutions- a pair of easy wear heels, and possible a pair of summer- maybe peep toe flats. Since I cycle to work now, I'm thinking of trying to break further into heels- as I only put my 'proper' clothes and shoes on for dealing with the office, not my commute to and from...

I've also been doing a bit of eBay hawking lately (My name is Chloe and I am hooked on eBay) and have a couple of summery bits en route, so the search for the summer shoe needs to get moving. Hit me with suggestions, but for now, my current picks look a bit like this.


Spartoo Omega Peep Toe Flats

I had some H&M flats like these, but flimsier a couple of years ago. I lived in them. I miss them- what do I say?!

Omega Flats



Spartoo Melissa Ultragirl

I'll admit, I saw these and thought- pft. How impractical, but I still love them. I've hear good things about Melissa shoes, and I guess the pragmatist in me is thinking that they'll be good and watertight!

Melissa Ultragirl flats 



Spartoo Geox Mink Heels
I've hears lots of lovely things about Geox, they have a focus on creating shoes that are scientifically sound first, and then they make them super hot and sexy, like these. Perfect summery colour for the greens in my wardrobe. I'm seriously swayed here.

Geox Heels 

Spartoo Clarks Chorus Voice
I've been head over heels with these shoes since trying them on in a Clarks store at Easter, they just didn't have my size and I haven't quite been able to split with the cash for them since, they're on my favourites bar, they are viewed at least once a week. They. Will. Be Mine.

Clarks Chorus Voice 


Spartoo Tuk Heels
Not sure these are the most practical thing ever, but one of the benefits of having a browse through shoes on websites such as Spartoo which bring lots of brands together, is seeing something different. Back in the day (more years ago now, than I really want to admit to....) I have a pair of the pink and black flat mary-jane style TUK shoes. I lived and died in them for a couple of years. Sigh, the nostalgia.

TUK Heels 

I'm still not decided quite, aside those Chorus Voice shoes, which obviously, will be mine, but to peep toe or brave heels?! I just don't know.


This post was written in partnership with a brand, and includes links for which I have been recompensed. All views are my own. 
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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chloe Likes To Eat

I swear, some weeks, T and I do stay in, every night. It's just that lately, I've been stalking Groupon and trying to make sure we get out regularly, as he's off for most of the summer again, and has exams and trips in May. Most recently, a trip to the newly opened restaurant in the Regent's Park Marriott, Zaike NW3. I was aware that this restaurant was due to open, as my parents have used this particular Marriott a number of times due to it's highly convenient (for them) location at Swiss Cottage. It so happens that it's nearby to T's workplace too, so I headed to meet him there.....


Zaike NW3


Zaike NW3 Popadums


Zaike NW3 Main Courses

Zaike NW3 Main Course Close Up


Zaike NW3 Gulab Jamun Dessert

So first and foremost, the food. It was yummy. The food we ordered was well prepared, accurately described  on the menu. The portions were really good too, often with Indian food, I find the portions massively overfacing and I leave feeling over full.

One thing we did feel, was that the service was a little on the sharp side- whilst the staff were friendly enough, we felt rushed, despite plenty of empty tables. Luckily, the management team took our feedback as it was meant- as a constructive observation. The Marriott is typically a business hotel, and they are used to dealing with customers who want to get in and out as quickly as possible, as leisure customers, we wanted to take our time.

Overall, it was a very pleasant evening, although the menu is quite a short one, there's something for most tastes and being close to the Odeon at Swiss Cottage, it makes a pretty convenient drop in. 
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