During all the years I lived in London, I never once got around to visiting Bicester Village, which is only a 53 minute train ride away from London Marylebone. It’s only now, when I live over an hour away from central London that I decide to make the trip. (I do like to make things difficult for myself!) However, it was definitely worth the journey as the village is a label lover’s paradise where you can find some great bargains.
I visited Bicester in mid November on a cold, rainy day. We arrived at around 2pm as I’m not one to get out of bed early on a Saturday and it wasn’t overly busy as the weather must have put people off. Once the rain stopped though it did get very busy pretty quickly so we left at around 4. I did manage to look in a a few shops and pick up some Christmas presents along with 2 gifts for myself which were late birthday presents. My biggest bargain was a 5 piece make up set from Charlotte Tilbury which was a complete steal at £25.
Some of the shops such as Gucci and Burberry had quite large queues outside to get in so I avoided those and looked in Mulberry, Barbour, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Charlotte Tilbury. We also had some lunch in Pret a Manger to give us the energy to carry on shopping. The setting was so pretty and festive and I’ll definitely visit again but it will have to be after Christmas because the weekends should start getting manic at this time of year
There are no high street shops at Bicester but it’s a great place to get some classic designer pieces at a discounted price. It’s also pleasant to walk around and window shop. If you’re going to brave the pre-Christmas crowds I would suggest arriving early in the morning when it first opens, preferably on a weekday if you can. I need to start saving my pennies but there’s no doubt about it: Bicester, I will be back!
The slogan T-shirt is back in a big way and whether you opt for a political statement such as Dior’s ‘We should all be Feminists’ tee (which has sparked a variety of high street copies) or something more tongue in cheek, it is a trend which is difficult to avoid. I’ve had to restrain myself from buying about 10 different versions but I’ve picked out 3 of my faves to share with you.
1998 was a pretty good year for me. I started secondary school in September, made new friends and enjoyed the carefree, comforting times of childhood. Whether the number 98 on this Topshop T-shirt actually relates to 1998 I don’t know but it’s fun the reminisce nevertheless. Also French words or phrases such as L’amour and slogan tees often seem to go hand in hand. Unfortunately, each time I wash this top some of the black stones fall off so if you own one of these I’d advise to hand wash or wash on a delicate setting only.
1974 may be over a decade before I was born but the 70’s look is another trend this season and the glittery font on this New Look top is a subtle nod to the era-defining Studio 54. Who doesn’t love a bit of disco? Like most slogan T-shirts, this can be dressed up or down and worn in chilly Blighty with a jacket or on its own when on holiday in warmer climes.
Out of all the T-shirts, the slogan on this Miss Pap number is the most ‘me’ as I’m obsessed with fashion. ‘In Vogue we trust’ is like a fashionista’s mantra. This is also available in white and believe me, I was tempted.
I also have a couple of others including a H&M one with the message ‘Girls Support Girls’ but I’m yet to get a decent, non-selfie photo of me wearing it.
When it comes to my relationship with sleep, its complicated. I envy those who drift off as soon as their head hits the pillow as my active, anxious mind takes a while to switch off. I’m the world’s lightest sleeper and I need silence or a constant noise such as a fan, aswell as complete darkness in order to reach and stay in the land of nod. If there are any sudden noises they will stop me from drifting off or will wake me up and getting back to sleep often proves difficult. I’m going through a bad patch with sleeping at the moment. Some nights I feel like I’ve slept well but this happens once or twice a week if I’m lucky so I need all the help I can get. After hearing people rave about Lush’s sleepy body lotion I thought I’d give it a go. I used it over the course of a week and here’s how I got on…
Saturday night: I rub the comforting lavender and tonka scented lotion onto my chest, neck and arms and hope for the best. I feel really tired but my boyfriend falls asleep before me and proceeds to snore. It takes me about 2 hours to drift off due to the racket and I wake up a couple of times in the night to give him an elbow. N.B. He usually only stays with me on Saturday nights so although I miss him, I don’t have to cope with any snoring for the rest of the week!
Sunday: Same application process but not much improvement. Maybe I had the Sunday night dread at the thought of facing a week at work on little sleep. Still holding out hope for a miracle
Monday and Tuesday: After being advised to use the cream on my temples and the soles of my feet I notice a slight improvement but not enough to lift me out of my Zombie-like state or improve my mood. In work we found out about a halloween fancy dress competition so I joked that I can turn up without make up on and go as someone from the cast of The Walking Dead.
Wednesday: By this point I was shattered and I decided to have a break from using the cream. Ironically I had the best nights sleep of the entire week. Could just be down to the fact that I was exhausted though.
Thursday: Decided not to use it again but had the kind of sleep that can only be described as ‘meh.’ This word pretty much summed up my week in general though.
Friday: Used some of the cream and had a significantly better nights’ sleep but still not on a par with Wednesday’s kip. I hate it when you wake up early at the weekend and can’t get back to sleep
Saturday: Snoring Ground Hog Day…
So, as you can tell it wasn’t exactly a roaring success for me. I love the smell as it reminds me of gingerbread cookies and being a carefree child and it has improved the texture of my skin. It definitely helps relax you but sleep fiends like me need something stronger. I highly recommend the This Works range from Space NK, especially the ‘deep sleep breathe in’ roll on as the scent is more concentrated. I need to buy a new bottle so perhaps then I’ll try using both of them at once and see how I get on. I also think maybe if I wasn’t going through a bad patch with sleeping it may be more effective on it’s own. Has anyone else tried Sleepy body lotion? If so, what are your thoughts?
There’s something about slipping into a suit, especially in a statement colour. It says that you are confident, not afraid to stand out and mean business. Power dressing is back in a big way and I couldn’t be happier. Whilst I wouldn’t want to be suited and booted every day, I love suiting up for a special occasion and I look for details such as bright colours, flattering cuts and shiny buttons to add a feminine touch.
I remember my mum wearing suits in the 90s and as I’ve got older my appreciation for a smart two piece has grown. Last winter I bought a grey velvet suit from Topshop which began my current love affair. Here are two suits I’ve put together recently but I’m sure there’ll be a few more over the coming season. I want to try a printed one next…
This suit isn’t actually a suit and I’ve had the New Look jacket for about 3 years. I found these ankle length trousers in Miss Selfridge about a month ago and bought the shirt and shoes to match on asos. I wore this ensemble for my cousins wedding last month. Buying a separate jacket and trousers is a risk but I thought these matched pretty well
Red is all over the high street and online stores such as Missguided so it shouldn’t be to difficult to find something similar. Extra bonus points for matching your earrings to your suit! Topshop, Next and H&M have some decent tassel earrings in a wide range of colours
This is also a separate jacket and trousers as I fell in love with this blazer in Miss Selfridge but they didn’t have any matching bottoms so I tried my best to match the colour with these military trousers from V by Very. I love cobalt blue at the moment and there is a similar suit available on Pretty Little Thing. My mules are from New Look and my bag is an old M&S one. The good thing about suits is you can mix and match the trousers and jackets and they can be worn for work, through to afterwork drinks without the need to get changed.
As a kid in the 90s, I would regularly visit Beefeater restaurants in Essex with my Dad and other family members. I have fond memories of those evenings and remember always ordering ribs and a pint of cola but until recently, I hadn’t been to a Beefeater for years. After moving from London to the Southend area last year I’m still exploring and discovering new places to eat locally. The Beefeater Strawberry Field is around a 15 minute drive from home and is a great place to go for a late lunch/early dinner at the weekends when you don’t fancy cooking. The first Beefeater restaurant opened in 1974 in Enfield and they now have over 140 restaurants nationwide
From the minute I arrived with my boyfriend the staff were all so friendly, helpful and accommodating so we felt very well looked after. The restaurant itself is very clean and modern looking and we had a lovely, comfortable seat by the window which looks out onto the outdoor seating area.
There is are so many options on the menu that we were spoilt for choice and it took us a while to decide what to have. I chose loaded potato skin dippers to start which were delicious and my boyfriend opted for the garlic prawns. We tried each other’s starters and were both impressed with how tasty they were.
For my main meal I had to pick my old favourite, a rack of ribs. They were of the sticky bourbon variety and did not disappoint. I also love how the chips that came with them were skinny and I’m always partial to an onion ring or 3. The ribs also came with a finger bowl which was a nice touch as I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve ended up with BBQ sauce all over my fingers with only a napkin for assistance. The other half chose the 18oz porterhouse steak which was also really nice although I probably wouldn’t order it myself as I’m not sure whether I could eat it all!
We were both full but couldn’t say no to dessert. Weirdly, I’d dreamt about apple crumble that morning so when I saw a salted toffee version on the menu I took it as sign! It was everything a crumble should be and I’ll be back for more soon. My long suffering partner was swayed by the chocolate brownie after previously declaring he was only going to have a coffee. (worth a mention, the restaurant serves Costa coffee so it’s a good place to get your fix)
Overall, our meal at Beefeater Strawberry Field was a very enjoyable experience and we will definitely be returning in the near future. They may be famed for their steaks but everything else we tried was just as good. It’s a great place to enjoy a hearty meal on a chilly day and with autumn coming up, it’s the perfect time to indulge.
When choosing a hotel, I look for a place that will make me feel special and give me a glimpse of how the other half live for a week but also, somewhere comfortable that feels like a home away from home. Hotel Garbi combines these two elements effortlessly.
I’ve just returned from a girl’s holiday in Ibiza to celebrate my friends 40th birthday and this hotel provided the perfect backdrop for creating new memories. One of my friends who is part of the group visits Ibiza every year and always stays at Hotel Garbi and after spending 6 nights there I can see why. It’s a peaceful, luxurious retreat, hidden amongst the hustle and bustle of Playa d’en Bossa. The location is ideal for restaurants, bars and shops and is only 10-15 minutes from the airport by taxi. It’s also within walking distance to clubs such as Ushuaia and Hi so you can stumble home after a night out rather than waiting around for taxis.
The pool area is my favourite part of the hotel and it’s the perfect place to relax in the sun or shade after a late night. There are cabana beds available for hire which are very comfortable and make you feel like you’re posing at an exclusive beach club. The whole hotel has an indulgent, yet accessible feel and you feel pretty pampered whilst staying there. The staff couldn’t be more friendly and helpful and they all spoke very good English.
The rooms are clean, comfortable and contemporary and we were lucky enough to have fantastic views from our balcony. Breakfast had a good selection of options and being British, I was very impressed with the English breakfast tea which tasted pretty close to my morning cuppa at home.
The hotel is practically on the beach and there is a Chill Garbi restaurant and bar where we enjoyed a couple of late lunches, which has fantastic beach views. There are quite a few food choices such as Tapas, burgers and pizza and DJs spin chilled tunes which adds to the relaxed atmosphere. It also has to be said that the cocktails in the bar are delicious!
Hotel Garbi is the perfect antidote to the often crazy, hedonistic side of Ibiza and I could’ve quite happily spent every day and evening there. There is a real mixture of people staying there but everyone seems to be there for the same reason; to relax and have a good time. If I return to Ibiza there is no doubt that I will be staying in Hotel Garbi every time.
I recently moved house (which is one of the reasons why I haven’t been blogging lately) and although I now live only about a mile away from where we moved from, a few different options of places to eat within walking distance have opened up. One of these places is Traks steak restaurant next to Thorpe Bay station. It is part of the Trattoria Verde Italian restaurant next door (which is also worth a visit) but isn’t just your average steak joint. The meat is sealed in the kitchen then presented to you, still cooking on a hot lava stone.
This is a novelty in itself but you can leave it to cook to your preference for as long as you wish before you begin to eat. I opted for the fillet and have to say that it’s one of the tastiest steaks I’ve ever had. The chips were pretty decent too and it also comes with coleslaw. The only downside for me is that as the stone keeps the meat piping hot, I burnt my tongue! Next time I may ask for a separate plate to put the steak on once it’s finished cooking but if not the sore tongue is worth it for such a delicious meal.
We went at around 4pm on a Saturday so it was quiet but started to get busy as we were leaving so I can see it being popular in the evening. For desert I had white profiteroles which I’d definitely recommend
Since working full-time blogging has unfortunately, fallen by the wayside. Although I’ve often worked alongside blogging since I started back in 2010, I find it much harder to juggle now than I used to. The main reason being that I get tired and drained much easier than before and can’t always fit everything (and sadly, everyone) in. I just haven’t been the same since I fell ill at the end of 2014 and although by medical standards I’ve recovered; theres no serious threat to my health anymore, I’m no longer on medication and I’m not in as much pain as I used to be, I often feel like an old woman who needs plenty of rest and sleep and gets tired easily.
If you’re interested you can read about my illness here but essentially, I had a blood clot in a vein in my brain which blocked the blood flowing away from the exit of my brain and caused haemorrhaging which led to seizures. It built up over time and I was getting headaches but had no idea how ill I was until the headaches became very severe and I had a seizure and went to hospital. I feel like maybe people are bored of hearing me talk about it now as it happened 2 1/2 years ago and according to my last scan the clot has dispersed but I’m still in pain most days and I can’t push myself too hard. I went from rushing around, doing loads of things in one day and burning the candle at both ends to spending most of my time at home. Nowadays I have a good balance but I do have to look after myself, otherwise I end up in really bad pain. Most days it’s bearable but if I don’t drink enough water, eat regularly or get enough sleep or if I’m stressed it can become unbearable and affect my day to day life.
I feel like not everyone understands and thinks I’m exaggerating or using it as an excuse not to to things but if only that was the case! I completely sympathise with those with any kind of health condition that leaves them in pain or lethargic. Although most of the time my pain is manageable I can definitely relate to what they are going through, especially when people question why you can’t go out for most of the day to and event or catch up with friends then follow it up with a party in the evening without feeling exhausted or in too much pain to enjoy it.
Another issue is alcohol. Before falling ill I’d go out pretty much every weekend and have a few drinks (sometimes too many) and was able to enjoy and join in celebrating occasions such as weddings and birthdays. Nowadays I pick my occasions when I choose to drink and more often than not I’ll only have a couple. I’ve probably only been drunk or tipsy 3 times since I recovered from my illness and I really have to be in the mood to drink. Most of the time I’m not in the mood to drink. luckily, family and close friends understand but I’m paranoid people who don’t know me that well think I’m boring. I used to be the life and soul of the party but nowadays I like to get there early, show my face and be home by 12 at the latest! Sometimes there are exceptions but this is very rare and I have to be feeling well, not at all tired and have no other plans for the entire weekend to give me time to recover. I’m going on a girls holiday to Ibiza in August and I am worried about how I’ll cope with the lack of sleep so I may have to miss out on some of the nights out or go back to the room early some nights if I’m in too much pain.
I’m hoping that in time my pain will improve and maybe one day I’ll be back to normal (here’s hoping) but the neurologists can’t predict whether this will be the case as my condition is so rare and according to them I should be fine now as the scan isn’t showing anything sinister. It’s very frustrating as I don’t feel like anyone can help me and I have to pretty much put up with the pain or take a type of medication, traditionally used to treat depression that has too many side effects for my liking so it’s a road I’ve chosen not to go down. When the pain is unbearable I take paracetamol which usually works. I’m lucky that the clot was in a place where it hasn’t caused damage and that I survived it so I just have to concentrate on that and hope that things do improve eventually.
I’m slightly ashamed to say it but I do love the odd selfie, especially when the lighting is good and my hair and make up actually look decent. I don’t like to pollute the feed of my followers with too many of them though so I only post them every so often. Instead, outfit pictures are my favourite thing to post on Instagram and to occasionally blog about.
As I live quite far away from my boyfriend and most of my close friends, more often than not there isn’t anyone around to take a photo of my outfit when I’m all dressed up for an occasion. (before travelling crumples my outfit and messes up my hair and make-up) A few weeks ago I had this situation and really wanted to get some pics of my outfit before travelling to London so I decided to use my Mooni which was a present and is a small remote control shutter that allows you to remotely take photos up to 30 feet away. I propped my phone up in the box that the device comes in and rested it on a bookcase and my mum’s car roof! I then stood a few feet away from it and once I was in position I pressed the button and took a some pictures. It does take a few attempts and obviously doesn’t come out as well as it would if somebody else took the picture of me but it’s not a bad alternative.
The most obvious downside is the lighting which I’m hoping can be improved with practice and may work better on less sunny days. I did try to edit them but it didn’t make much difference. I’ve never been great at photography so any tips would be welcome!
I think the picture inside looks better lighting wise than the outside ones, it’s just a shame about the background. However, the Mooni is perfect for taking closer up pictures such as selfies without getting an awkward arm in shot. In case you’re wondering my whole outfit is from Zara which I’m obsessed with at the moment. Have you every tried to take outfit pictures of yourself?
Until around February time I hadn’t had the Friday feeling for a good few months due to being unemployed, so it’s nice to have that feeling most Fridays now. It’s even stronger on a sunny day like today so this past week or so I’ve been making the most of the sun and got my long suffering boyfriend to take a few outfit photos. I’m limited as he is only usually here at weekends and the weather doesn’t always play ball but we managed to get quite a few shots last weekend. He is far more interested in the background than what I look like but he’s not a bad photographer so hopefully they’re up to standard.
The outfit was a slightly rushed decision, mostly based around one of my favourite new pairs of trousers from asos which were a bargain £25 and are super comfortable. I like khaki and orange together so teamed I it with this bardot top from New Look and every summer outfit needs a pop of metallic so these H&M sliders are perfect. Can you believe they were only £8? They’d be ideal to wear on holiday too