Thursday, 27 December 2012

#MSMSecretSanta: What I received and sent

Hi yall.

Hope you've all had a terrific Christmas. My Christmas was lovely but, frankly, lacked chocolate gateaux. Bad times. What it lacked in chocolate gateaux it made up for in lovely gifts though, including my #MSMSecretSanta gift from Rebecca at Oh! Panda.

I am so massively pleased with my #MSMsecretsanta present from Rebecca. She sent me a gorgeous woodland themed box of suprises which included some beautiful tree decorations, a cut out deer, a gorgeous wooden trinket box, craft supplies and, my personal favourites, a little deer necklace and scarf. 

I've been wearing my deer scarf every day since I got it and LOVE it. It's so cosy and I've had so many comments from people asking where I got it! Rebecca you've done wonders with the £25 budget and thanks for being so thoughtful and creative with your presents - I love them!

Here's what I got for Rebecca, I hope she likes them. (I know she's opened them, so I'm not spoiling any suprises, in case you were wondering!)

The first part of my present I decided to hand make. I'm a bit of a clutz I have to say, so the notebook I made didn't come out as beautifully as I would have liked but I gave it a good go anyway! I bought a simple notebook from Sainsburys for £1 and got some gorgeous remnant fabric from Laura Ashley (it's called 'Josette') and used fabric glue to cover the notepad after I'd stitched in 'Oh Panda' on the cover.
My second homemade gift was a teacup candle. I got the teacup from the charity shop for 20p and the rose-scented candle was 50p. I wrote a guest post on how to create teacup candles for the Laura Ashley Blog so if you want to know how to make them simply click here.

The second part of my gifts was supporting good causes and talented people. Rebecca loves tea so I simply had to include an Advent Tea calender! This cost me £5 and was handmade by a friend, Joey, who gave all the proceeds to Christian Aid. It's such a lovely idea as there's a different tea to open every day. So much better than your usual chocolate advent calender, I'm buying one for myself next year.
I also picked up some temporary kitty tattoos for £5.50 from the hugely talented Harriet Gray, these are just the sweetest fake tatts I've ever seen and Harriet is such a fantastic blogger and illustrator so check out her Etsy site.

The final part of my present for Rebecca was simply things I thought she would like. She's a great beauty blogger so I thought it important to include a beauty product. There's been HUGE hype around Revlon's Lipbutters and they're massive on the beauty blogosphere so I picked up the shade 'Lollipop' for £6.50. My final present at £5.50 from Amazon was the HILARIOUS book 'How to tell if your Cat is Plotting to Kill You' by Matthew Inman who you may know as the author of the website 'The Oatmeal'. This is one of my FAVOURITE websites and always cheers me up no end as it contains the funniest notes such as:
Picture from 'The Oatmeal' click to visit.
So there's what I bought for Rebecca and what she bought me, what do you think? I think that we both did pretty well for the £25 budget, I spent a total of £24.20.

Thank you so much, Rebecca, for my gorgeous woodland box of goodies. Everything is so beautiful and I've had so many compliments on my necklace particularly, which I adore! A huge thank you to Money Supermarket as well for organising the Secret Santa. It's been GREAT fun and I've enjoyed getting creative.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Competition Entry: A festive shop window for Next!

Click to enlarge image

Leather Gloves - £16 | Patent Clutch - £20 | Embellished Dress - £65 | Glitter Heels - £32
Rococo Mirror - £150 | Wine Glasses - £14 | Branch Lights - £14

When I read about a competition that Jess at Feeling Stylish was hosting to win £500 worth of Next vouchers I just couldn't pass it up! It's such a fun concept - put together a design set for a Next Christmas shop window. So I've spent this evening putting together my design - I hope you like it! 

I've gone for a rich and opulent Christmas window display in berry colours. This was really inspired by Kate Middleton's Sandringham outfit which she wore last Christmas - she looked lovely in this colour and it feels really festive whilst looking classy.

I've completed my window display with a rococo mirror, branch lights (with berry detailing!) and some lovely red wine glasses. I probably shouldn't admit to this (seeing as I work in Laura Ashley and all...) but Next have some absolutely stunning homeware. How beautiful is the detailing on the rococo mirror?

I really love the regal colours or rich, deep reds mixed with golds - if you can't be extravagant at Christmas when can you be, eh?

What do you think of my festive window display for next? This has made me want to be a visual merchandiser now!

Click here to visit Feeling Stylish and enter the competition yourself!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Evening all!

A few weeks back I was contacted by the ever-innovative people at Money Supermarket who wanted to know whether I'd like to take part in their blogger secret santa challenge. I thought it was an absolutely brilliant idea and so here I am, weeks later, in the process of planning my gifts for my Secret Santa partner!

Here's how it works: Money Supermarket have paired each blogger up with one another and given everyone £25 to buy a Christmas gift for their blogger partner. It's such a great idea! It's given me the chance to discover some fab new blogs that I've never seen before as well as trying to come up with some creative presents for my secret santa partner.
Not only that though, the blogger who is deemed to have come up with the best present for the £25 budget will win themselves and iPad mini, as well as three runners up receiving a £50 voucher!

The blogger I've been partnered with is the beautiful Rebecca from 'Oh! Panda' I'd never seen her blog before being partnered with her but I'm so glad that I was! She's such a brilliant writer and she loves and cats and tea. In my book, that pretty much qualifies her as a mega-awesome person.

Check out her blog here:

As hard as it may seem to buy gifts for someone you've never met before, it's really incredible what you can tell about a person from their blog. As I said, she loves cats and tea... so there might be just a couple of pieces to do with that amongst my gifts. I also wanted my gifts to be heartfelt, so I really put some effort in and handmade a couple of pieces, these are perhaps more representative of me than Rebecca, but I hope she likes them all the same! I've still got a little bit left within my budget though so I'm still considering what to do with that. She LOVES nature so something nature-themed is a definite maybe but I'm also considering a staple beauty product as she is, after all, a fantastic beauty blogger!

Also, on a side note, her cat Tequila is just THE cutest thing I've seen in my life:


If you want to see what the bloggers are buying use the #MSMSecretSanta hashtag on twitter or go to Moneysupermarket's Secret Santa Challenge page for more information.

Anyone else taking part in Money Supermarket's Secret Santa? Who have you been paired with?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Emotions and Competitions...

Since this is my 'blog' and by definition blogs are supposed to be personal I'm going to talk about something personal. I've been feeling like absolute C-R-A-P recently. I must be an absolute pain in the butt hole to be around because I've just been feeling so down in the dumps and grumpy recently, so thanks to my friends for putting up with me.

My mood is completely affected by the weather. I always feel SO depressed when it's grey and wet outside and don't feel like leaving the house, I can't believe it affects me as much as it does but I've noticed it for quite a few years now. These feelings have just been heightened by the fact that I've been feeling a complete lack of purpose since finishing university and struggling to get anywhere with 'big person' job applications. I've also just got too much time to overthink things and send myself into a panicked frenzy. So basically this year it's just been worse than ever.

The only thing helping me get through this right now is exciting blogging opportunities and my lovely friends. Especially the most wonderful Emily because I can tell her anything without feeling insane or like she's going to judge me. (Check out her blog; The Cosy Traveller) Not many people actually 'get' me really and she just does. You can't put a price on that.
In any case, I'm REALLY going to try and perk up a bit a look on the bright side of life.

Anyway, I was having one of 'those' days yesterday and feeling sorry for myself after I had a rough day at work and really needed cheering up. To my utter shock and huge delight, when I came home I discovered that I'd received an email from Westfield London to tell me that I'd won the #MYWLDREAMWARDROBE competition!! I literally screamed and ran around like a loon for ages. So I've won a £700 gift card to buy my dream designer bag with at Westfield London. This is me just thinking about it now:

I can't thank Westfield enough for picking me as the winner. I'm completely shocked and am certainly one lucky ducky!

Another exciting project to focus my attention on is Money Supermarket's Blogger Secret Santa! I'll do a more detailed post on this soon enough but it's basically what it says on the tin and I'm trying to home-make the majority of my gifts and that's been keeping me busy and happy.

I've also just noticed that I hit 200 followers today, hooray! A massive thank you to anyone who reads and comments on my posts - It really makes my day when you do. Also, the new lens for my camera came the other day but unfortunately the auto-focus doesn't work so I've had to send it back. I'm not having much luck with cameras recently. Ah well, can't win 'em all!

I'll be back soon hopefully with a working camera lens and less of the crappy depressing feelings.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Wishes, wishes, wishes...

So, I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently. This hasn't been intentional but the lens on my camera broke and I feel at a bit of a loss without it! Anyway, I'm eagerly awaiting payday so I can buy a new lens - they're not cheap. I have so many photo-based posts planned too, I've been feeling a bit creative recently and have been doing some lovely nail art designs (if I do say so myself) and making some teacup candles which are so easy to do and make great little gifts. I'm also going to try upcycling some old furniture soon so I'll have to take some pictures to document how that goes!

Anyway, as usual, I'm a bit poor at the moment but that doesn't stop me doing some window shopping. I'm getting bored of my hair, I've wanted it to grow out for a while since having it chopped in the summer, so now it's quite long but I want to just jazz it up a bit. I think I'm going to try Loreal's wild ombre dye this week, just for a little change. Has anyone else tried it? I haven't seen too many reviews as of yet.

How amazing is this Topshop dress? I absolutely love the cut - it's a dream! I love the nipped in waist and the floaty midi skirt which falls beautifully. It's a hefty £95 but if it's in the sale after Christmas (PLEASE, Topshop?) it'll be an instabuy for me as it will easily see me through winter and spring. I'd really like to team it with the YSL Volupte Lipstick in Forbidden Burgundy to create a bit of a vampy look. I've been meaning to get a deep red lipstick for a while but can't quite find the right shade - this looks perfect!

I don't like to spend lots of money on hugely expensive clothes, £40 is about my limit (even then it's with hesitation) purely because it's likely that I'll get bored of them in a week or two and then I'll be out buying the next thing. But if there's one item I'm willing to invest in, it's shoes. Most cheap shoes absolutely rip my feet to shreds - I bought some studded ankle boots in Primark, walked about 20 metres out the door in them then turned back because I could feel blisters forming. As it goes, Clarks aren't renowned for having the most stylish shoes on the street but they're certainly the most comfortable and that's SO important for me. I really LOVE these black ankle boots, they're really chic and not too high and look great quality. They're a really reasonable £74.99 too!

BE KIND TO YOUR FEET, PEOPLE. Nothing is worth ending up with bunions like Victoria Beckham. 

Have you got anything on my wishlist? How is it? What's on yours at the moment?

Thursday, 8 November 2012


I spend my life dreaming of designer clothes.
I'd really like to live my life walking around an enchanted forest wearing a Valentino gown, under the illusion that I'm a fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream. More specifically this Valentino gown:


In reality, I actually just wander around high street stores/charity shops without my glasses on, holding up dresses and deluding myself by thinking "If I squint really hard, it sort of looks like it could be from Valentino." When the (literally) ugly truth of the situation is no, it does not and will not ever compare to designer... no matter how hard I squint. 

So when the lovely people at Westfield London emailed me to let me know about a competition they were running to win your dream designer handbag I was on it like a car bonnet, if you'll excuse the turn of phrase.

Here's the dealio: You choose your favourite designer handbag and create a Pinterest Board of your dream wardrobe to go with that bag which makes up your Westfield London Dream Wardrobe or #MyWLDreamWardrobe. I've had my dream handbag picked out for a while now so there was only one choice for me: the Miu Miu studded shoulder bag. 


Next it was a matter of browsing pieces by designers from The Village to go with the bag and creating a board of my dream wardrobe.
Here's a little peak at what I came up with, click it to view the whole board:

I basically wanted my wardrobe to encompass the qualities of the bag: ladylike but with an edge. The whole wardrobe is based on autumnal colours as the bag comes in a rich, deep red. The design of the bag itself is actually quite simple and elegant, so I've tried to reflect this in my wardrobe by using elegant baroque prints and classic cuts. This is then contrasted with black leathers to create the rock edge which appears on the bag in the form of the studding. 

You can see why I chose each piece in my wardrobe over at my pinterest board:

Here's one of my favourite outfits from the whole board:

Oh you just don't get designs like these on the high street *sob*

I love the contrast between the beautiful, elegant print of the Miu Miu blouse with the ruggedness of the leather skirt by Burberry - It's edgy elegance.

What do you think of my pinterest board? If you could win your dream handbag, what would it be?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

What are you going to do with your life?

Hi all!

Gosh, it's been a hectic couple of weeks.

I've just finished an internship as Marketing and Social Media Assistant at Hayley Menzies. I completed a month with Hayley and would have loved to stay on longer as I'd really started getting into the swing of it. It's an exciting time as Hayley's just released her new collection and I was contacting the press about it. 

The Portobello Bags at Hayley Menzies were my favourite item of hers - LOVE them. Also, how amazing is her campaign?
Leaving is rather bittersweet though as I had to quit because I got a job at Laura Ashley - yay! Unfortunately my hours aren't routine but, if I can, I'm going to try and go up to London and work at Hayley Menzies once a week because it's been a great experience and I feel as if I'm learning a lot. Also, Hayley and her other intern, Jess, are just lovely - I was rather upset to have to leave to be honest!

I've done a lot of thinking about my future over the past couple of weeks and, although working in a shop hadn't been on my post-graduation to do list, I've found that being stuck in an office all day just isn't for me... I start going insane after a while. I really love helping people and doing tasks which is probably why I love working at a theatre so much - it's always different! Laura Ashley is similar, where I'm based is a retail park, meaning that people come in with the intention of buying and not to browse and have a lot of questions to ask - this really appeals to me.

I'm really happy about having this job actually as, if there was any company that I could work for, it would be Laura Ashley. I've always admired their history and beautiful rural designs - whenever I'm at work I'm just planning how I'll decorate my house and the staff discount won't be wasted on me I can assure you!

Soooooooooo Pretty!
I've also figured that I'm 21, no one really knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives or where their career will begin at my age. Who knows? Maybe my career will begin with Laura Ashley. Maybe I'll start my own business (something I've been thinking about since interning with Hayley) or maybe I'll move to the country and become a farmer. I don't know! I do know that I'm fed up of people asking 'what are you going to do with your life?' all the time. At this stage... does it really matter as long as I'm happy?

On a side note, I'm so in love with this song Bastille - Flaws. Some of the lyrics seem particularly relevant at the moment.
You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve,
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them out, let's finish what we started.
Dig them out, so nothing's left unturned.

All of your flaws and all of my flaws, when they have been exhumed.
We'll see that we need them to be who we are, without them we'd be doomed.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

What I actually bought with my House of Fraser voucher

Hello all!

Thank you to those who took the time to vote on the poll in the last post, the overwhelming majority of you thought I should go with the first outfit (which was my favourite it the end too!) so off I went to spend my voucher only to find that the skirt had gone out of stock in my size online. Nooooooooooooo. 

Yesterday I had to be in London for a couple of interviews for some potential internships so, whilst I was there, I decided to pop into House of Fraser to see whether I could find the skirt in store. To cut a short story even shorter... I couldn't. 

BUT I did find something else to spend my voucher on...

I know some of you might think it's a bit ugly but oh my god, I love it I love it I love it.

It's from a brand in House of Fraser called 'Therapy' and cost me £42 (except, of course, it didn't because I had my £50 voucher)

House of Fraser - £42
I absolutely adore both the print and the cream and burgundy colours. If you can recall, my entry into the HoF competition has that same colour scheme so I think this was really meant to be!

And, if I actually found out that it was in stock, would I swap the dress for the skirt? Why, NEIGHHHH. (Ha ha, geddit? Like a horse...)

What do you think of my dress? Love it or hate it? I really think it's a marmite dress.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

HELP! What shall I buy?

Calling all stylish people... I need your help!

I was recently named a runner-up in the House of Fraser styling competition and won a £50 voucher to spend - HOORAY! As I'm strapped for cash I'm determined to make that voucher go as far as possible, so I spent all last night scouring the House of Fraser website to make me some great outfits as close to the £50 mark as possible. 

The only problem now is that I'm spoilt for choice and don't know what I should go with. I need more lovely skirts in my life so I'm swaying towards one of the first two but I've also got the opportunity to try some staple beauty products for free which I'm REALLY tempted by. 

Please take a look at the outfit combinations and vote at the end because I'm so torn!

Combination 1: It's the faux leather skirt that really does it for me here. I absolutely LOVE this cut at the moment. Not overly sure about the fedora as I don't know whether hats suit me really but I thought I'd give it a go.
Combination 2: I absolutely ADORE this BIBA skirt. It's really something I could see me wearing but I'm not sure whether this combo is too summery? Could it see me through the colder months?
Combination 3: I love this Oasis floral blouse but I'm not so sure what I'd wear with it... I don't wear jeans and none of my skirts would look right with it. Any suggestions?

Combination 4: I've wanted to try the Naked palette for AGES but never been able to afford it before. 

So, what combo do you think I should buy? It'd REALLY help me out if you'd place a vote. 

Or maybe I should get both of the skirts from the first 2 outfits... OH, I DON'T KNOW!

OOTD: A bootsale bargain!


Today's outfit post features a vintage pinafore dress that I got at the bootsale a couple of weeks ago for a mere £1! I loved the sailor style of it, it has the cute square 'hood' at the back ( that what I should call it?) The lady selling it has raised the hem a bit, so it might be a little too short on me but I love it all the same and couldn't pass it up for one measly quid!

See what I mean about the square 'hood' bit?!?
What do you think of my bargain? I'm pretty pleased with it, even if it is too short.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Project Healthier Helen... with a little help from Jenny Craig!

Now, I've never been one to be overly concerned about their weight. I've always been bigger than average, even since I was small and tend to put that down to genes (My mum and my brother are thin as pins but me and my dad are on the larger side, unforuntately... despite having the same diet!) But since finishing university I've decided that I should make an effort to be healthier. I've graduated now and don't have the constant stream of pressure and essays to use as an excuse, so it's definitely the right time to get started.

I was really inspired by Ella's weight loss blog post and left her a comment about how I wanted to be more healthy but lacked the will power. Later that week, I got an email from the team at Jenny Craig who asked if I'd like to try out their weight loss programme that offers diet food delivered to your home. The email came at the perfect time for me so I snapped up the opportunity and now here I am, a week later about to embark on my first ever PROPER diet and lifestyle change.

On the programme, Jenny Craig provides you with breakfast, lunch and dinner for every day, as well as a few tasty snacks. All you have to do is finish off the meals with a few fresh fruit and veggies. I really think this is going to be perfect for me because what I've lacked in that past is the strict structure that this programme provides. 

Here's some of the meals that I'm most looking forward to trying:

The dinners here are Creamy Coconut Thai Chicken Curry (drool) and Chunky Beef Goulash and Potatoes. Cor, I hope they're as good as they sound!

Here's a little look at the timetable of meals. This is EXACTLY what I'd been hoping for, I really need structure to keep me on the ball.

The Programme also comes with a really helpful information pack which I've learned a lot from already. Whilst I was at uni my bezzie mate, Catherine, told me that you shouldn't eat after 6pm because you put on more weight - not true apparently! In your FACE, Caffytingz. *ahem*

To me, the meals look absolutely delicious! The calorie intake for every day is 1200 which I find completely hard to believe because the programme looks full to the brim with tasty meals. As I write this, I've just started Day 1 of the programme and had Raspberry Porridge for breakfast which was really yummy. If it's all as delicious as this, I can tell I'll have a good two weeks!

I'm hoping to get out and about and be a bit more active alongside the meals. I absolutely HATE running but I'm planning to go power-walking through the woods where I live each day. 

I'll keep you updated on my progress and let you know if I've lost any weight by the end of the two weeks.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A little update...

Alright, lovelies?

I've not been the most updatery (new word) of bloggers this past week but I've had a busy week and a lot of work at the theatre recently. Starlight Express is on at the moment and I've gone from 'What the heckins is this shiz about...' to 'ZOMG I LOVE TRAINS' in the space of a week. It's seriously good. If you get the opportunity to see the UK tour, TAKE IT!

Anywhoooooo, aside from that I've had a pretty fun week. Me and my gorgey porgey mate Emily went to watch the athletics at the Paralympics. It was brillz despite the fact neither of us had a clue what was happening half the time and it was lovely to have a catch-up in any case.

On Sunday I had my own little stall at my local carboot sale and managed to make over £100 just from selling old clothes, shoes and bags - what a result! I'd gone the previous week to investigate the time I needed to be there and picked up some lovely bits that I still need to show you (haven't got any decent pics of them yet). It was pretty packed as you'll see from the picture below:

Lastly, I also managed to bag free tickets to see Elbow at the iTunes Festival and took my brother, Richard, along. I've loved their music for ages so I was super excited! I also managed to get my 2 seconds of fame as I made it onto the live stream of the festival during 'One Day Like This' whilst I was singing my heart out...

In other news, I'm by no means a blog designing expert but had a lovely email from Brani Laine over at That's Just Lovely... who liked my layout and said she'd like something similar with hers. I do enjoy a good layout making-sesh so I was happy to help out and here's what I came up with:

Make sure you check out her blog because she's just lovely too!

That's pretty much it from this little update post. See you soon, hopefully with a haul or OOTD.