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Monday, 30 September 2013

Autumn Essentials: The Parka

I have developed what you could call a slight obsession with the Parka Jacket. I bought my first parka over two years ago now, it was always something I had wanted but never got round to buying. Since buying it I definitely have to say it is my most worn coat or jacket. If you find the right one it really can go with most things, I would draw the line at super dressy but for most other times they work great. They are essentially a "casual" jacket, but again, if you find the right one they also work well with a smart outfit. Throwing a casual jacket like the parka over a smart outfit with more tailored pieces can look amazing and tones down what can sometimes look to structured.

A parka is a staple wardrobe piece for the colder weather and when you find one you like you can have it for a long time, plus they never really go out of style. Even so, lately I cannot stop looking at them! I love my comfy cozy parka and I wouldn't dream of replacing it but I really want a new one for this winter. Maybe in a slightly different style so they aren't too similar. While looking I have found so many I like so I thought I would share some of my favourites with you.

River Island have a great selection this year which you can find here, I love this one! I normally always go for green but the navy is lovely. The few I have narrowed my search down to are these...

1. Topshop Borg Lined Parka Jacket - £95
2. Topshop Fur Trimmed Borg Lined Short Parka - £78
3. Oasis Faux Fur Lined Parka - £88
4. Zara Combination Parka With Faux Leather Sleeves - £109

When I first found these jackets online and I was so sure I would like number 1 the most, but I was wrong. After trying them all on I love the Zara jacket, it looks far better on than it does in the picture and is amazing quality. I now just have to decide if I really do need another...? What do you think?

Do you have a favourite Autumn/Winter coat?


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Autumn To-Do List

While Christmas is my favourite time of the year Autumn has to be my favourite season, I love how beautiful everywhere looks when the ground is covered in multi-coloured leaves. While in Summer nearly all plans are set around being outdoors, the colder weather brings the chance to stay inside and cozy up in pyjamas and blankets with really good hot chocolate. I also find I bake more around this time of year, some things as trial runs for Christmas hampers and others just for us all to enjoy with a good film. And now we are officially in Autumn, these are some little things I am planning to do this season.

1. Find and start burning the perfect Autumn candle.

2. Make apple cider.

3. Visit a pumpkin patch and pick some ready for Halloween.

4. Have a major clean up & clear up of my wardrobe.

5. Make some sort of apple pie.

6. Try a Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks, I know...I must be the only person who hasn't already.

7. Find the perfect red wine coloured beanie.

8. Try to make French Onion Soup, with cheese croutons of course.

What are you looking forward to doing this season?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Autumn Accessories: Polka Dot Gloves

Last night I was looking out a piece of jewellery for a friend, we have a lot of things in a lot of boxes right now so this was a mammoth task. While trying to find it I came across a pair of gloves I forgot I had, I know that sounds bad but when things have been put away out of sight for around a year you tend to forget about them. But it actually turned out to be quite a nice thing, it was like discovering them all over again and it was at the perfect time. Sunday is the official start of Autumn, even though I have been in Autumn mode now for a couple of weeks. I think these gloves fit this season perfectly, everything for the colour and material to the playful design. I can't wait to start wearing them! They are a lovely soft suede and each year around this time I am really drawn to suede, even though its not the most practical material for cold wet weather. I got them just over a year ago now so I don't have a link to share but Mango have a beautiful leather pair here with big bows in a lovely red wine colour. And just because they are too cute to not tell you about, have a look at this little polar bear pair from Asos...I love mittens!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Repurchased Products: Urban Decay Primers

Primer isn't something I use every day, but these two are definitely something I like to have around for times when I do.

The Eyeshadow Primer Potion, I use on quite a regular basis. I don't have particularly oily eyelids so for a normal day without make-up or a day with make-up but just running a few errands I don't tend to bother with it, it would just be an extra, unnecessary step in the morning routine. However, for days when I have to be out for a long time, or a very busy hectic day it is excellent. Over the last few years of using this product I have tested it out in many different situations. It is absolutely wonderful for nights out when you maybe apply a little more eyeshadow and make things look that bit more special. It lasts the whole night with any creasing and I wouldn't dream of getting ready for a special occasion without it. It comes in four different shade, I have only ever used Original, it blends out to be a lovely match for my skin and I feel gives a more true look to eyeshadows, especially lighter shades. 

I don't use face primer all that often, my foundation stays on well enough for day to day, but I think just like the eyeshadow primer, its good to have for when you need it. To be honest I haven't tried a great deal of primers but this Urban Decay one does a great job! If I am wearing this throughout the day I will concentrate mainly on the centre of my face as this is the area I notice wears off first. During the colder months when my nose is really cold my foundation just won't stay on! I'm not sure why this happens but having a primer underneath is a big help. The product is white when it comes out so you have to take care and smooth it on well so you aren't left looking a little ill after applying it. Because I don't wear it that often I do notice a difference when I do, things last longer and as I have the pore perfecting version I can see a slight difference there too. It doesn't make them disappear all together but it does give a smoother appearance. 

Are you a fan of primers, what ones are your favourites?


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Lip Balm Collection

A couple of nights ago I came home with another new lip balm type product. I have always been a little bit of a lip balm addict lover, but I am starting to wonder if I now possibly have more than I can use? I seem to always be picking them up or finding new ones to try and I have managed to make my self quite a little collection. I have ones that I leave in hand bags and coat pockets, some that I leave in the car (Paul's car, I don't drive), and some that I truly have know idea where I have left them. I leave them so many places in fact that I could even find half of them for the photographs.

The two I would say are my most used and loved are my Nivea Milk & Honey and Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil. I find the Nivea one to just be a really good, hydrating, moisturising lip balm that is good at keeping your lips nice and soft for a good portion of the day -what you want in a lip balm. It gives the slightest shine to your lips but nothing really that noticeable so good if you aren't looking for something glossy. The Burt's Bees gives ever so slightly more shine and applies thinner than the Nivea, I mostly use this under a lipstick to give me a little hydration as lipsticks can sometimes be quite drying on me. When I first say these Burts Bees lip balms I was actually expecting a little colour from them, purely from the packaging but they all go on clear. I was a little disappointed but they are still good products. 

Other than them I absolutely adore my EOS balms! Starting with my first one that was very kindly sent to me by the lovely Ellie who you can find here, they have now become a mini collection of 3. After trying one and loving it, my friend picked two more up for me while she was in the US. I love the formula and the little egg shape but when you get down so far and the egg has gone flat, they are a little more difficult to apply than a normal stick lip balm. I love to use these before bed, and my lips feel lovely and soft when I wake up.

Even with these to get through there are still some other I have my eyes on. What are your favourite lip balms?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Anniversary Gifts

Tomorrow is our very best friend's 2nd wedding anniversary, we decided that each year when their anniversary came around we would get them something to correspond with that year, this year is cotton! I'm not sure if there is a main list that should be followed but this is the one we use.

For the first year, which is paper, we thought of the normal things such a money, gifts vouchers, tickets of some kind but wanted something different. They were married in a small ceremony in Las Vegas so we ended up contacting a newspaper there to ask for the front page of the paper from the day of their wedding, we framed it and it looked more like a proper gift instead of just a sheet of paper. This year we have stuck to the list and the cotton theme, today I picked up a Yankee Candle in "Clean Cotton", get it? The candle was Paul's idea, and I thought it was very clever. The second part of the gift is a set of cotton pillow cases with a heart detail, each pillow has half the heart and when they are matched up on the bed they make a whole one. The cases are available here and you can have the heart design in a few different colours, we went with shades to match their bedroom.

I know it's way too early but I can't help but start to think about next year which is leather, nothing really springs to mind but I'm sure we will have fun coming up with ideas. One year that does puzzle me a little is the 6th anniversary, that year is sugar or iron...not really sure where to go with that but we have quite some time until then! Have you ever received any unusual anniversary gift? Or given any? I love all the different ideas that people come up with for the themes.

Also, in case you were wondering the meaning behind cotton is to symbolise the need for a marriage to remain strong and be able to adapt to changes.


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Last week we had a very cold day and it left me so excited for all the wonderful colder weather coming our way and I had an urge to bake something inspired by the season. I decided on these cupcakes because something about salted caramel just reminds me of Autumn and Winter. I cheated a little with the caramel sauce because we had a bottle of Starbucks caramel drizzle in the cupboard but if you wanted to make your own of course you could.

For the cakes I used my tried and tested cupcake recipe that never fails me but you could use any recipe or box mix you choose. Just as long as its one you like.

For the icing I wanted something chocolaty so I went with white chocolate butter cream. My recipe (actually stolen from my brother) is really simple and lets you make as much or as little as you like with out having to work out odd measurements.

200g white chocolate
200g butter
200g icing sugar

Very simple, all you do is melt the chocolate, mix the butter and sugar together until smooth and when the chocolate is cool enough mix that in too.

When your cakes have cooled completely all you have to do is ice them. Because I was covering them in caramel I decided to spread the icing on in a very rustic way, which is really just another way of saying I didn't feel like getting the piping bag out! But there is something nice and homemade about messy icing. All that is left to do now is cover your cupcakes with as much or as little caramel as you want, and then just top with your flakes or rocks of sea salt. It is one of my favourite combinations and it will be something I make again and again. Also because of the salt, it makes them not quite as sweet which lets yo maybe have one or two more than you should.


Monday, 2 September 2013

Some Favourites from August

I am very excited that we are now in September, a little sad to see August go because it is always such a great month but we are edging ever closer to the festive season. I may have already started buying Christmas presents -ssshhhh, don't tell anyone.

My most favourite thing from the last month has to be the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it is what makes August so amazing for me.  I have to be honest, nearly all of our free time last month was spent in the City doing one thing or another. Even if we didn't have a show to go to or anything planned it was just great fun to walk around, there is such an amazing atmosphere.

One of my favourite shows from the Fringe this year was the Edinburgh Tattoo. We started going to the Tattoo maybe four years ago, it was never something I thought I would be interested in with it being mostly military based but it is actually nothing like I thought it would be. You see different music and dance from all around the world, some very interesting and even beautiful. If you are even in Edinburgh in August I highly recommend it, although it does sell out very quickly so booking in advance is the best way to go.

Even though August is still pretty warm it is so exciting when all the Autumn Winter clothes start coming into stores, my favourite purchase recently is definitely this pair of boots from Forever 21. As I said here, I have been looking for a pair for so long now and I am over the moon with them. Even if I haven't yet had the chance to wear them I know I will have them glued to my feet as the weather gets colder.

I have fallen more and more in love with Instagram this year (you can find me here), there are so many amazing accounts out there and I have found what I think is my favourite one. Humansofny is an amazing account introducing you to people from all of New York City. Along with a picture of the people or humans, is a little story or a few questions they have answered. Some are funny some are short and simple and some are just beautiful. I found myself reading post after post of this account and I have since found out the account owner, Brandon Stanton, has a book of the same name.

I am looking forward to so much this month, especially things getting a little cooler. And maybe some baking? Do you have anything exciting planned this month?
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