Monday, 1 September 2014

Brogues Brogues Brogues!

I can't quite get over how quick the summer is slipping through our fingers.  Only the other day I went hunting for a bikini for a late summer getaway and the shops are replacing all beachwear with ponchos, woollen jumpers and an army of clothing fit for AW14. It all looks wonderful with rich tones and fabrics but what am I to do in the meantime... it's official we've hit the in between season stage. 

The other day I ventured off to London for a Next blogging event where I was going to be running about London and of course catching up with my friends.  I had spotted some brogues in a gorgeous colour from Clarks and wondered if I could pull them off.

Brogues have been an item I've picked and put back down on numerous occasions, I sometimes feel they look a bit too masculine or that they will cut off my legs and make me look chunky.  However I decided I'd try to be daring and purchased these little stunners from Clarks.

The inbetweeners AW14

5. H&M Wool Black Hat - £12.99
8. Aldo Laraewen Bangles - £12.00

Like a glove.  They felt amazing on and I can happily say that I did do the silly thing of wearing new shoes whilst having a day walking about in London, but I can certainly say there was no pain at all and my feet were content all day.  I did used to have this preconception that Clarks shoes were quite 'frumpy' but I was quite surprised when I took a nosey the other day. 

Obviously there is old lady style footwear but there are a lot of shoes that you would think were from somewhere else and are super stylish.... especially all there ranges of womens brogues.  
Can you believe the ones I've put above are all from Clarks?!  I know!  I'm a huge fan of the side buckle flats and the patent tassel flats too, both ideal for work and with thick tights and a dress or jeans.  

Have you gone into Clarks recently?  Honestly (in danger of sounding old) I will be buying more shoes from there as I know I'm going to be able to walk in them without being in lots of pain and you're not damaging your feet! 


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

It's all about the midi

You can't beat a skirt in the summertime can you? And heaven forbid you'd ever avoid a floral number!  Florals go hand in hand with summer with often many references rolling into autumn too.  I couldn't resist this gorgeous skirt when I spotted it in London when I was heading for afternoon tea at One Aldwych it had to be mine! 
I was rather skeptical about midi length skirts as if you're short, (like me) it can feel as if you look stumpy - however I think this totally proves that theory wrong!
I've played it a bit safe with a simple black vest as the skirt is rather dramatic with print, it keeps the whole look quite effortless.  If you invest in a midi length skirt  and add a plain tshirt or vest, then just tuck it into the top of the skirt to create a smaller waist.  We are love looking smaller!
The necklace I've added is pink in colour simply to stop the look being just black and yellow.  Personally I think adding a bold necklace of some sort to such a plain top, will really bring the look to life and ultimately seperate you from playing it too safe but without looking ridiculous.
What I'm wearing
Vest - New Look Black Cami - £6.00
Shoes - Primark Black Pointed Pumps - £8.00
Necklace - Next Pink Flower Jewel Necklace - £28.00
Sunglasses - Chloe Ladies Brown Sunglasses - £211.00

Have you seen this sort of skirt before?  What are you wearing with a midi skirt?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Chill in the blog office

Whilst trying to create a space for my blogging I've discovered that lighting is everything.  With this I've been a huge hunt to find a statement lamp of some description.
how to make a shabby chic desk
I've got my blogging desk that I revamped... I got an old solid wood desk off eBay for around £50.00, sanded it down (took some elbow grease) then painted it purple!  A nice statement piece for my office and it works very well against the white of my shelves and coffee table.
shelving units in white
I've got the desk and all my storage which includes the Ikona Ikea boxes, I got those from eBay for a cheaper rate than you would buying in store.  I decided that as I sit at a desk all day for my normal job I didn't fancy my blogging to become the same, so I saved our old white coffee table and create a chill space to read press releases and magazines.

table lamps
On the coffee table I've got a few key pieces but this is where my new lamp sits, it just works perfectly for when I want to sit and read.  I had a nose around the lighting from BHS
I tend to go for something that's typically me... aka floral or pink so I wanted something that was classic but fashionable too and the BHS Blythe large lamp looked just the part.  I was very happy to discover that it was in the sale for £65.00 from £130.00.  
fun offices
fun office ideas
What do you think so far?

The lamp really finishes off the room and makes that corner of it ideal for my reading... and tea drinking! 

I've got to start to sieve out some of my old 'crap' I've carted from house to house that hasn't got a particular home.  There are elements of the office that need to be tidied up as they just don't match or work with everything.


Monday, 25 August 2014

New Look Holiday Vs. Festival Summer Personality Quiz

I can't hardly contain my excitement... I'm off on holiday!  I know that doesn't sound much but honestly it really is and the best part is that I'm away for two whole weeks.. two whole weeks!! 

I have not been on a proper holiday in years and believe it or not me and my other half, who might I add have been together for seven years... have never been on a proper holiday together.  Crazy isn't it?!

I had a go at New Look's Holiday Vs. Festival Summer Personality Quiz. It basically showed where my perfect holiday location would be based on my answers, which was of course going to be somewhere tropically lush - Barbados. 

It actually gave me three top picks for clothes to go with my holiday outcome and I must admit I loved all three! The swimsuit is such a funky and fun pattern - might have to purchase that for the beach!

The great thing about all of these items is that once you add any bright colour the patterns come to life.  Neons are the obvious choice for the beach to emphasise the tan, just to point out that if you go shopping now for any holiday bits most will be in sale! Very good news for us late holiday travellers! 

If you fancy embracing the tribal vibe here are some top picks
Tribal dance

Have a go at the New Look Holiday Vs. Festival Summer Personality Quiz and tell me if you're off to Barbados like me or jet setting elsewhere!


Go Walk

I literally counted down the days to bank holiday.  I have never needed a break as much as I did after this week and so all I decided to do was chill, be selfish and see the people I love. 

I never always get a chance to appreciate what I have on my door step and so we decided to take the dog over to Leicestershire's Bradgate Park.  
bradgate park
Bradgate Park is beautiful and unlike other places we usually dog walk, you can go along a main footpath which helps in not getting muddy (and the dog too of course).  
leicestershire dog walking
We set off and I decided I'd just go in jeans, jumper and my new Go Walk Skechers.  I was so excited about using them because I have Skechers running trainers and they are absolutely amazing.  They completely changed how I run and so I was pretty excited about testing out their 'Go Walk' range.  

I'd stupidly forgot my socks but my other half explained that sometime he even runs without socks.  I was a little bit apprehensive but decided to give it a go.  Oh my word.  They felt like a glove. 
skechers walking
Whilst walking I was really impressed with how supportive yet flexible the shoes were... sounds totally contradictory but I didn't even notice I had trainers on.  These particular Go Walk Skechers are also for trail walking too so when we were trying to get the dog to move and stop sniffing in one place, we started running which obviously caused Olly to hot tail it over to us... but we continued all running together over the grass... I couldn't quite believe how it was. 
walking go walk skechers
Sorry, I should of mentioned I am petrified of running on grass or uneven surfaces due to my knee, but this was fantastic and I could of continued running quite happily.  
go walk
There are many things you can wear whilst walking your dog so I've pulled together a few essentials bits. 
Jeans, jumper and some sort of light waterproof jacket should be a must,  however getting a good pair of trainers or walking are top priority.  I'm in big danger of sounding old here but if you do tend to walk your dog a lot, then you will damage your feet and cause your joints to be a risk if you don't wear supportive/comfy footwear.

What did you get up to this bank holiday weekend?  Oh I did see Serge from Kasabian whilst walking Olly... little star spot for the weekend!


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Still time for a festival

The summer feels like it's slipping away far too quickly, but fear not the summer festivals are still very much in full swing.  With this in mind I've decided to create a little shopping list of musts to take with you.

You can't obviously pack the world when going to a festival, because unlike going on holiday you can't cart a case through the field... it all goes on your back.  With that in mind you need to pack items that have been carefully considered and more importantly versatile.

What to pack

You will always need a small side bag for your purse and phone - ideally something you can zip up. 

Denim shorts are a must as you can take different tops and wear the same shorts

Vest tops/tshirts
take 3-4 different ones as you can team these up with your staple denim shorts

Welly boots
 You can't go wrong!  You know it will rain at somepoint... 

Same reason as above!

Take a few different kinds as these will make your outfits a bit different

It might get chilly later on

I love to take my onesie with me as I always get so cold in a tent at night.
Festival ready
As you can see above this is the sort of outfit ideas I had... if you like my selection above check out where to get them below

Bag - Oliver Bonas Festival Macrame Bag - SALE £12.50
Boots- Topshop MUD Jelly Boots - SALE £12.00
Nail polish - Nails Inc Festival Silver - £12.00

Onto nightwear... now I made myself swear that the next time I went to a festival I would pack something warm to wear in bed.  I can't stand being stuck in a tent and cold!  This actually also applies to when you go camping but a onesie is your best friend in these situations
Festival bedtime
You can get up and go to the toilet in the middle of the night if needed without looking like a fool... or freezing further! Genius. 

I have a new one from OnePiece that is a paisley pattern - perfect for festivals this season.  It's nice and light for summer but warm enough that you won't freeze in your tent!

This particular snazzy onesie was so popular it sold out... Boo! But fear not there are numerous you can chose from and you can get an amazing 15% discount with my EXCLUSIVE discount code. (If it's not working let me know!)


There you have some good little pointers for packing for a festival this summer.  Off to any that are coming up?  I know we have Creamfields this weekend - are you heading up to it?  

Annie xoxo

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Exclusive chocolate making evening with Paul A.Young

 As I'm getting increasingly closer to my 30's I've began to realise I should of appreciated things more.  What I mean is when you are at school most of us aren't thankful for the many possibilities of learning, for example I wish I'd taken more interest in textiles or maybe even learning more about how to cook properly... but I didn't at all I just coasted my way through unsure.
Learning to make truffles
I'm all about learning now and anything I can do to add a string to my personal portfolio or to my CV, I'm all for!  Considering all this I was of course going to snap up the chance to learn how to make chocolate truffles, not only would I learn a new skill... I'd be feeding my chocoholic needs!
how to make truffles
Taking place at paul.a.young's chocolate shop in Soho, Paul himself was going to guide us through the world of fine chocolates.  

We would be taken on a journey from the bean to the bar, looking at single origin, single bean varieties and rare unique chocolates.  He would then demonstrate some of the key skills in how to create our very own truffles! I couldn't wait...
Paul A young's London
 I arrived in Soho and entered Paul's shop, I couldn't believe how wonderful it smelt (I wanted to eat everything) and how many varieties of chocolates were available to purchase.  

We were soon escorted down to the kitchen where I fitted my gorgeous headwear for the evening (I looked like a dinner lady!) and got ready for some chocolate action.  
After Paul introduced himself and his work colleague Cesar, we began discovering a variety of flavours by tasting beans from across the globe and different chocolate combination.  It was fascinating to learn so many new things about this delicious dark sweetness, that I'd spent so much time eating without giving a second thought.  
chocolate making course
As the workshop commenced I got chatting to Paul.  I discovered he used to be a chef at Marco Pierre White and then worked for both M&S and Sainsburys in product development, before opening his first boutqiue chocolate shop.  For someone who is so famous in the chocolatiering world he was extremely down to earth, lovely to speak to and most of all a very patient teacher! 

After we'd got an understanding of chocolate and how paul.a.young's salted caramel was crowned best in the world... we began the best bit... the making of the chocolate truffles.
 After Paul gave a demonstration of how they make fine chocolates in store, we got a chance to get our hands covered in chocolate and create our very own truffles to take home.
I think my favourite part was actually the decorating as I may have got carried away with the shimmer! I won't lie I so enjoyed the chocolate truffles... but couldn't eat another bit of chocolate after the workshop.
Having a partner who used to be a head chef I know how much paperwork they need to get through each day, but I was really surprised to discover Paul and his team didn't do that.  

I queried where there paperwork was but it turned out that Paul used the Intel tablets, apparently the use of the modern technology has completely changed his company...check the video below.

One main thing I took away from the paul.a.young chocolate truffle making was how much time and effort goes into their creation.  I did like the fact that everything is natural and therefore chocolates won't last for months, (unlike those you buy in normal supermarkets) it just emphasised how special these chocolates really are.
I gave my truffles as a treat to my fiance as it's been a standing joke that since we got together, (7 years ago) that I never cook for him... so I gave him some delicious chocolates... and only pinched two! 

If you fancy having a go at one of Paul's workshops check out the paul.a.young events page



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