Fashion

Current favourite kicks from Kurt Geiger

Out and about and online I see reems of shoes I love, but in comparison to many, have a fairly small collection. I’d love to be able to expand on what I’ve got, and current season Kurt Geiger have many a piece that has caught my eye.

It’s the Carvela collection that I think offer most in the way of mid-heel ankle boots that will be perfect come autumn and winter. These are my three favourites:Carvela  kurt geiger agnescarvela kurt geiger solero

carvela kurt keiger swapThe first is the Agnes boot and, a sucker for a toe cap, I love that this detail is featured and combined with the cut out side. This cut out design is one I’ve seen elsewhere, but here I think it’s done to perfection. The second is the Solero boot. The tassels make the boot causal, whilst the suede keeps it chic. I also love this colour boot for paring with white or dusky pink skinny jeans. The last ankle boot seen here is the Swap. This is the most unique of the three, with a chunkier design and heavier detailing – these boots could really set off a simple outfit.

Next up, these are my picks of the courts.
Carvela kurt geiger ashcarvela kurt geiger adara
KG Kurt geiger bastilleThe contrast colours on the Ash courts, as well as textures, makes these really exciting. The cobalt blue could add a flash of colour to a monochrome outfit or be paired with other brights. The black Adara courts were clearly designed to be more serious, but definitely in a sexy way. Again the contrast in fabric makes these shoes stand out, whilst the metallic touches add a feisty feel. The last court is, with out a doubt, fun. I love wearing colour as much as neutrals, and these Bastille courts could compliment many looks. With a lower heel height they’re also more wearable day-to-day, but promote a playful mood too and could be great for a night out.

Finally, my favourites of the loafers or slippers – a style that became big a year or so ago and looks as though it’s here to stay.
carvela kurt geiger larkCarvela kurt geiger later
kg kurt geier lexie

The first of the these, the Lark studded loafers, get me excited. I love detailing and I love the shape of slipper style loafers, so this pair tick my boxes. I also love the pattern of the studding, as it moves these shoes away from grungy and makes them oh so covetable. The next pair – suede, toe-capped and a wine/burgundy colour – I actually already own. I saw these Later slippers whilst out shopping and there was no going back. The toes are actually more pointed than the picture shows, which for me made them stand out from the crowd. This last pair, the Lexie slippers, would fill my craving for a colour-pop nicely. They do say to me ‘summer shoe’, less than ‘will transcend through the seasons’, but there’s no reason why these couldn’t provide a much needed colour injection to early autumn. I think they would produce a fun and causal look, as well as a smile.

I hope you liked my picks of Kurt Geiger. Let me know if you’ve spotted a pair that will get you investing. 

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Fashion, Fun

A December delight that’s seen me through to summer

DSC01917Last December I decided to trade in the usual chocolate or picture (usually chocolate) advent calendar, and instead gifted myself with a calendar packed full to the brim with nail varnish.  As soon as this offering from Ciate caught my eye there was no going back, I had to have it – a new colour every day – what could be more exciting? And it certainly didn’t disappoint. Not only was there a wide range of mini nail varnish colours (and the bottles not as tiny as you might think), but Ciate had also included a variety of their Caviar Mirco Pearls. DSC01922

The colours weren’t all winter themed either. Yes, there was a very sparkly red, which I wore for Christmas day, but there were colours to transcend all seasons. What I also love about the range provided, is that someone could keep up with nail colour trends throughout the coming year if they wished to as well, such was the potential of this selection.

I think, though, that I have come up with a favourite. Perhaps it is the summer sun that has influenced my decision, but I can’t get enough of a coral tone called Speed Dial. I’ve been wearing it on my toes since the weather started dictating sandals, and whilst I’ve picked other colours occasionally, I always seem end up back at this one. It’s true that come winter I might revert back to a much loved deep red from Jessica, but for now Speed Dial is the go to shade for me. 

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It was a while until I tried out the Caviar Mirco Pearls, and when I did delve in, I painted both mine and a friend’s nails, which made for a fun and exciting experiment; and I did think the results looked great: really exciting and different.aman & holly nails However, these were let down on longevity. They would catch on things easily and ping off, and many just rubbed off while sleeping. I think I could engineer slightly better staying power with a thicker coat before sprinkling on the pearls, and pushing them down with more conviction to embed them further, but I don’t think they’ll ever be a particularly practical option. But then again, I don’t think they were designed with that in mind – they were designed for fun and unique nails, and this they most definitely achieve. 

I’m chuffed to still be enjoying last year’s advent over 7 months on, how can next December possibly match up?!
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Other

Bicarb of soda – the secret to battling blackheads?

Having read blog after blog in search of a way to rid me of those pesky blocked pores known as blackheads, I saw one solution recommended by many – bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda). This method simply involved a damp, make-up-free face and rubbing on the bicarb of soda for 30 seconds, particularly focusing on blackhead prone areas.Neutrogena visibly clear blackhead clearing cleanser I’ve tried many commercial products to oust blackheads, not least because I thought this too might mean fewer spots, but none have really had any significant effect. Salicylic acid is favoured in these products and I’ve tried this both in scrub and cleanser forms with minimal visible results.

Blackheads are such a bugbear – although I know few people notice these on others, those on my nose, forehead and chin stand out to me like a sore thumb. This results in the inevitable urge to squeeze the things out – a big no-no I know. So of late I’ve been making a great effort to leave my blackheads alone; I’m banishing the prodding fingers that more often than not only cause infection.

bicarb of sodaThis has not, however, ended my desire to be blackhead free. So two days ago I delved into the kitchen cupboard and gave the bicarb of soda new residence in the bathroom. My first observation when applying the bicarb of soda to my face was that this is definitely an exfoliant. It wasn’t the harshest of scrubs I’d tried, but certainly not the mildest either. It felt peculiar to be rubbing what I know best as an ingredient for cookies onto my face, but of course many are very familiar with the cleaning properties of bicarbonate of soda. When my 30 seconds of scrubbing were over, I thoroughly rinsed my face and patted it dry with a towel. My skin felt incredibly soft and smooth as so many a blog had told me it would. And the blackheads? Well, they really did look significantly reduced. Unfortunately in my close examination of the results my eyes kept settling on the blackheads that remained – old habits die hard, and I may have tried to squeeze some of these remaining black specks from my face, but luckily I caught myself before any damage was done. Fairly satisfied with my squeaky clean face I went to bed.

nice-wooden-bowl-full-of-bicarbonate-of-sodaYet, in the morning the number of blackheads on my nose appeared not to have diminished as much as I had thought they had just eight hours ago. So that evening I rinsed my oily skin and again applied the bicarbonate of soda, and again I looked at the results (perhaps slightly too closely, as the temptation to squeeze the remainders was back) and blackheads did seem visibly reduced once more. Now, I was going to try this a third day running as I was seeing progress, but then realised that never would I normally exfoliate my poor skin relentlessly day after day – the quest for a blackhead free face would have to take a break.

But the verdict? A positive one. There certainly was a difference in my skin. Whilst many of my pores were still visible, fewer were plugged with ugly black dirt, and I felt confident both times I tried this method that ‘London’ had been thoroughly cleansed from my skin. It left a much nicer feeling than my usual exfoliating cleanser does – and I’ve been hooked on that for years! So whilst I won’t be dipping my face in bicarbonate of  soda again tonight, I feel that if used every few days this method may have success at banishing my blackheads. Another blogger converted!

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Food, Fun

My love for Southbank

IMG_20130825_142817For the second weekend running I’m wandering around the Southbank Centre and the Real Food Market near Waterloo. They just can’t keep me away, especially over the summer when the Southbank Centre is stuffed with free events. Seven days ago it was Pelourinho weekend and today it’s a village fair, not to mention Beano Town, a popup that’s been lasting the length of school holidays. Pelourinho weekend consisted of bright costumes, dancing and drumming, whilst this weekend has a calmer feel with arts and crafts stalls, most of which are full of children and adults having a go at making bracelets or designing cards.

However, it is the weekly draw of the Real Food Market which means I can never turn a trip to Southbank down. Today my lunch was a pumpkin and cheese strudel from a stall called Karantania, this tasted incredible.IMG_20130825_144016 In the past I’ve had hog roast, cheesecake, burgers, various salads, Indian street food, ice creams, and I’m not sure that’s even the complete list. It certainly isn’t the complete list of what’s on offer here. There’s every type of wrap you can imagine – a lamb and chickpea version is the one that appeals to me most – as well as crepes; bruschetta; bread, cheese and fruit stalls; cakes and brownies; chorizo; Japanese gyoza; and that’s just off the top of my head!

My love for the Real Food Market has also made me want to discover others across London. I’m excited to visit Brockley market in Lewisham (my planned trip yesterday was rained off, in a relentless downpour kind of way), as well as Exmouth market. I’ve been to Borough market many times and, despite how packed it often is, I like it very much. Chelsea food market has some lovely stalls too.

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I don’t know precisely what it is that I love so much about a food market. Perhaps it’s the smells and the huge variety of types of food. Perhaps it’s the delicious samples that get thrust your way. Perhaps it’s just my fascination with food in general. But either way, if I can fit a forage at a food market into my plans, that constitutes a fun day out for me.

I often follow my Southbank wanderings with a walk along Embankment – another reason I can’t resist this area: the atmosphere. And as I am currently occupying one of few chairs for people to perch on as they indulge in their purchases I should probably get on the move. Stomach full and senses satisfied – thank you Southbank.

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Fashion

The Bag

Having had mixed feelings about & other stories in the past, the brand has finally won me over. It was this bag that did it:

& other stories two-tone shoulder bag & other stories two-tone shoulder bag 2 & other stories two-tone shoulder bag 3

I recently said goodbye to two much loved ( but old, tired and worn out) handbags after they both broke in quick succession. This meant that I had to buy a new one. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?! So the handbag search began.

My budget was never going to stretch to Mulberry (but maybe one day!), therefore the high street would be my stomping ground. Staying true to my unusual fashion, the internet was my first port of call. I headed onto a website called Shopstyle (on which you can search for various items across many websites) for some inspiration and to gauge what was on offer, but from this in general felt very underwhelmed. I wasn’t sure quite what I was looking for – it was going to be an ‘ I’ll know it when I see it’ purchase, and it couldn’t be any old bag, it had to feel like the one.

After trawling Topshop, a glance at Urban Outfitters, pawing over Zara, and scrolling through many others, I had made no progress. None of these bags were ‘it’. I wasn’t getting excited. So I turned to Asos Marketplace in the hope of something more individual. There were some well priced, reasonable looking, handmade leather satchels, but I do own the most beautiful of 15″ Cambridge Satchels, so these slouchier versions for me just didn’t compare. I should probably mention at this point that I wanted a small bag, but had to be just big enough to fit a 10 inch tablet (I do hate having things like size specifics when shopping, but it certainly narrowed things down!).

So, feeling disheartened and having searched almost every retailer I could think of, I wracked my brain for where else i could look. &Other Stories – now there’s a thought! Their collection of bags had always been both fairly extensive and with the attention to detail which I wanted to win me over. No further than the second row of bags on their website and I was sold. The Two-tone Shoulder Bag was unique, high quality, the perfect size and had that extra something that i can’t quite put my finger on. It took me all of 24 hours to be in the store to see it for real, and another 15 mins of ‘just making sure’ deliberation before I was on my way home, new bag in hand.

& other stories two-tone shoulder bag 4

The last time I wrote about &Other Stories I wondered if it was mine or the brand’s fault that they never stuck in my mind as a ‘go to’ retailer. I feel now that it might have been me who was missing out. The bag has had many compliments already and I can’t stop admiring it myself. If you’ll excuse the pun, &Other Stories I think you might have bagged yourself a more regular customer.

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Fashion

My picks of Mink Pink

mint velvet grey fur gilet

Last year I discovered Mink Pink for the first time and bought a fur gilet. It’s one of my favourite items and I love how I feel when I wear it. I’ve never looked back.


This season they have a similar gilet, but in grey tones instead of the white of last autumn/winter. But this is certainly not the only new season piece to lust after. My favourites include the Ivory Pleat and Lace Blouse, as well as the Charcoal Waterfall Front Jacket, and the Wine Leather Pencil Skirt.

mint velvet ivory pleat blousemint velvet wine leather pencil skirtmint velevet charcoal waterfront jacket

The collection of intricate blouses continues with the Ivory Embroidered Blouse, also available in black, which definitely deserves to go on my wish list. I’m also taken by the Black Buckle Long Boots, particularly as they remind me of some I used to have but wore out, so I’m certainly in the market for a new pair in this style. Plus, their Shell Pink A-line Jacquard Dress is a really unique design, and would be a lovely one for autumn.

mint velvet pink shell a-line dressmint velvet ivory embellished blousemint velvet black buckle long boots

I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these.

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Food, Fun

Popups passing me by

London is a city of popups. Whether these be art exhibitions, roof top cinemas or retro gaming. Yet it’s the food, cafe and restaurant popups that I follow religiously. Now I say ‘follow’, which might sound a bit peculiar when one considers that these are one off events, but I can spend hours deciding which I’d like to go next. So here’s the sad bit, I’ve never been.

Yes, I’m regularly found at street and food markets, however committing my money to these often pricey popup eating events feels far less natural to me. I think it’s usually the cost that’s the biggest bug bear. That’s not to say that the inspiring menus, often accompanied by entertainment or cuisine themed decor, wouldn’t be worth paying for – I’m sure they would. The real issue is, which one would I pick? They all look great! Ok, so in reality I’d have to choose something in my price range, but where do I set that for a one a off experience? As you can tell, it’s half wanting to splash out, yet at the same time reminding myself that it’s not the sensible thing for a humble student to do, which has prevented me thus far from attending one of these days or nights of creatively mastered indulgence.

grub club

My favourite website for browsing the latest unique food popup events is Grub Club. They work with the chefs whos events they feature, helping with organisation and finding venues. Reading through what they have on offer always has my mouth watering. The latest event that has caught my eye is H.M.S Plate and Skaker Docked in Bermuda, in which not only are you served cocktails and food to match, but taught how to make each cocktail as well.

the hangover club presents good eggThis type of one off dining experience is alongside as their more regular events such as The Hangover Club presents The Good Egg serving breakfast/brunch. At £8 it’s not too expensive for a meal out, especially if you’re used to London prices, and the description of breakfast burritos, exotic shakshuka and healthy egg white omelettes with a long list of detox and re-tox beverages appeals to me, but I think what I’m looking for with this one is an excuse to go. The morning after I celebrate my 21st perhaps, that could do nicely, lets just hope it’s still running come November!

Christabel's mad hatter brunch partyChristabel’s Mad Hatter’s Brunch Party is another that I can’t wait to get some friends together for. Sad to have missed August’s offering, perhaps I can catch the one on 15th September. This Alice in Wonderland inspired tea party looks quirky, cute and fun – I want ‘brunch fit for a king and a mad hatters cocktail!’

But reems of these popups come and go, passing me by; so far I’m missing out on experiencing all those culinary delights! And so there it is, the popup bites back – do it now or you might regret it later!

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Fashion

Lust Haves: Reiss AW13

reiss joanna zac trousersI’m always lusting over Reiss, and commiserating myself when I don’t have the funds personally to go beyond coveting their collections. Last season it was a certain royal blue jacket, which nipped in perfectly at the waist and lay beautifully at the back, that had me yearning. Alas, I couldn’t part with that much money.

New season has now arrived, and AW13 at Reiss features a lot of work-wear inspired items, these particularly in duck egg and royal blues, as well as some chic accessories, and some noteworthy winter coats.

reiss montage 1 I love their Brina Asymmetric Court Shoes as a new take on the classic court. I’m not a big heel-wearer day to day, but I think I’d make an exception for these. And, as a sucker for a soft, light-weight knit, and for powder colours, I can’t resist the pale blue Lewes Crew Neck Jumper. I particularly like wearing knits tucked into waisted items  – my favourite Reiss offering on this front are their Rosie Geo Print Silk Shorts. The Liza Embossed Croc Shoulder Bag also caught my eye.

One of my particular favourites from Reiss this season is the Sophia Lace and Silk Shirt. It’s intricate and sexy, and the design strikes me as having a certain uniqueness when seen against others on the high street; and the Joanna Zac Straight Leg Trousers in soft neutral could provide a nice pairing. These also come in Cobalt Blue, which I’d love to wear to brighten up the winter – perhaps whilst cosy and wrapped up in the Board Large Collar Overcoat.

reiss board coat Reiss sofia shirt reiss joana zac trousers

And then for the evening? I’d pick the Mia Contrast Fit and Flare Dress with Jolene Cross Body Envelope Bag. I love the mixture of textures here, as well as the feminine silhouette. Plus, the dress would be great for swing dancing (a favourite past-time).

reiss mia bress reiss jolene bag

So, on a very big budget, Reiss has the coming season sorted.

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Food

I’ll be dreaming of ice cream

Sat in La Gelatiera, I wish I could live here. Firstly, their ice cream and sorbets are divine – absolutely amazing. My choice was a cup containing two scoops – one dark chocolate sorbet and the other honey, rosemary and orange zest. The dark chocolate sorbet has a beautiful texture and a deep flavour without bitterness, whilst the honey, rosemary and orange zest has just very subtle hints of the latter ingredient, leaving a fresh rosemary taste partnered excellently with the sweetness and flavour of honey. Delicious.

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The shop itself is small for sure, but in a cosy and quirky way. Little wooden stools and benches surround two little tables. Colour is added through painted wood strips in muted reds, pinks and blues. I even like the light fittings. I love the attention to detail put into this fun and petite place.

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And I’m not the only one who is taken by the delights on sale here. There has been a constant stream of custom here since I’ve been sat admiring, some of whom were obviously regulars and other baring all the marks of a tourist. This place appears to appeal to all. And I can see why, I would certainly take any excuse to come here again and again. After all, I still have an array of ice cream and sorbet flavours to try, including sour cherry and meringues, matcha and tea, pear sorbet, basil and chilli, and raspberry tart. Not to mention coffees, hot chocolate, milkshake, and a small selection of bakery-esque nibbles including croissants, brownies and macaroons, all of which I can only imagine would also be pretty fantastic. Though for me, it’s the multitude of chilled flavours that I’d look forward to delving into the most.

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Free WiFi is available here also, though I think I’d be wary of sitting browsing for too long simply as I wouldn’t want to hog a table, especially if custom here is as regular during the week as it is today, a Saturday. But that isn’t to say I wouldn’t love to sit in this cheerful space all day (and eat ice cream for every meal). Just be sure to bring cash if spending less than £5 if you don’t want to pay a 20p extra card charge. Prices are £3 for one flavour, £4 for two, and £5 for three – worth paying to taste this.

La Gelatiera does take away tubs too, as well as catering. Ice cream birthdays and weddings please! I’ll also be picking up a stamp card on my way out to get my eighth scoop free – yes, I think I probably can wrack up that many. Anyone in my life, be prepared to be dragged here to indulge with me soon!

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Fun

A great night out… sober.

What counts as a great night out? For many, a bar or night club might spring to mind. But what if there was another perk of your early twenties beyond partying stamina and being of a socially acceptable age to frequent many forms of night life. What if there was a way to have a great evening out and not wake up in the morning with a hangover. What if you took that fiver reserved for club entry and went to the theatre.

National Theatre’s pop-up, The Shed

At the start of my second year of university in London I decided that I would make more of this city. After all, if you’re forced on a daily basis to negate your student bubble when standing in the armpit of a commuter on the tube, you may as well laugh to yourself in the theatre when the man next to you grasps a ticket on which it says that he paid forty-five pounds more than you did. So, having established that with a National Theatre Entry Pass this evening will be affordable, it’s about time I said how enjoyable it is too.

I can’t deny that, when pouncing on the release of cheap theatre tickets, one has to take a punt as to what sort of show they might be signing up for, but in my experience, it’s a gamble worth taking. The first performance I saw was one called People. It was a simple production about the future of a stately home and the aged occupants, but it was full of wit and humour and great acting. I emerged from the theatre beaming, already primed for my next visit.

The Magistrate

Following this, I saw some better known plays – The Magistrate and One Man Two Governors. Of the latter all I can say is that you have to see it for yourself.  Yet, it was the most recent and smallest of productions I’ve seen, a play called Table showing at the National Theatre’s The Shed, which had me raving. It was an intimate venue and a heart-felt play. I laughed and I cried, which is quite something for someone who a year ago would barley chuckle at the TV. It was an evening out that I certainly won’t forget, which stands as quite a stark contrast to a drink fuelled clubbing experience.

Perhaps some people favour the drunken night out as a way to lose themselves, but one can still most definitely get lost in the theatre. It is a different way of relaxing, but without doubt a fantastic one. Of course, if you still fancied a drink to wind down with beforehand, there’s many a ‘happy hour’ along Southbank – Las Iguanas two-for-one cocktails are always a winner for me. But in truth, I’m yet to see a play that needs it; I always have a great night without. So it suffices to say, if making more of London is on your to do list, I would highly recommend the theatre as a excellent place to start.

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