Life

One night in Paris – what to pack?

bonjourJust thought I would do a little post before I fly off to Paris for one night with work (I feel pretty cool typing that – such a loser!) We are all very excited in the office as all three of us are going, Bryony, Hannah and I. Office conversations over the last few days have definitely revolved around “What dress are you going to wear?”, “Boots or heels?”, “How do you say, I do not speak French?.” Hannah has also managed to find slots within our timetable for us to hunt down the closest patisseries and satisfy her croissant craving.

Anyhow, I thought I would write a little post before we go about what I am going to pack. I have tried to pack light, which I think has been quite successful and I hope to look professional, yet fashionable – success yet to be determined!!!

Clothing – Obviously I will be taking more clothes than this, but these are the main parts (not sure you want to see pictures of my pants…)

River Island Tank Top

River Island Tank Top

River Island Tank Top Around £16 (Last season). Not sure who says Tank Top anymore, but this is what RI call it. Looks quite cool with jeans and comfortable for travelling. It also says Paris on it which you will either think is lame or cute!

Awful picture - definitely better on!

Awful picture – definitely better on!

Topshop Drape Front Tunic Dress £40 (Available now). I have been saving this dress to wear for Paris as my lovely Mum picked it out when we were shopping a couple of weeks ago and then she even bought it for me because it “looks lovely on me” (what a result)! This picture is a bit dodgy and definitely does not do it justice. It is lovely,comfortable and classy and I LOVE IT!!! I hope with a pair of tights and heeled boots it will complete my professional, yet fashionable look.

My No.1 winter wardrobe item

My No.1 winter wardrobe item

River Island Cream Textured Relaxed Faux Fur Jacket £50 (Available now). This has been my absolute favourite purchase this winter. The fur can be removed, which is brilliant because you can dress the jacket down with a scarf and a hat or if you are feeling glamorous- keep the fur and strut around like a character from Game of Thrones. It is warm and cosy and for Paris I will definitely be keeping the fur!!!

Accessories – Again I will be taking more than these, but I wear the same jewellery most days.

All the accessories...

All the accessories…

Michael Kors Black Medium Tote Bag – This was my 2014 guilty present to myself which I purchased whilst I was on holiday in Florence with my family. I do not know if it was the warm weather, the beauty of Florence or just the fact that I wanted a designer handbag, but it is the best bag I have ever purchased. I have used it every day since and it is still in pristine condition. As I am going to one of the fashion capitals of the world then I think it will fit right in!! All bags and goodies from Michael Kors here if you dare.

Accessorize Green Fedora Hat (No longer available, but something similar here). My brother bought me this hat for Christmas and on my recent trip to London I was brave enough to wear it. It went down so well, that even a couple on the escalators at Paddington stopped me and told me how much they liked it (huge confidence boost). It is especially handy if you are having a greasy hair day, providing you do not have to remove it. I think the hat and the fur from my coat might be a bit too much, but you never know Paris might make me crazy.

Accessorize Super Chunky Hat (Now on sale at £5.10 from £17). I have received many compliments for this cosy number. It keeps your head lovely and toasty and looks quite cool too. Also if you are like me and have a large head then it fits perfectly and does not highlight this unfortunate problem.

Fake Ray Bans. I bought these in Italy for 10 euros which was a bargain. They have UV protection and everything. Not much else to say about these other than they are perfect for me as I always lose/break sunglasses.

Electricals

Electrical goods...

Electrical goods….

My trusty travel hairdryer that is really useful because of its size and deceiving power (My mane takes a good 20 minutes under this bad boy to dry!!) I have also packed a cool adapter that I may or may not have accidentally ‘stolen’ from a hotel I stayed in before. It is really useful as you only need to take the lead part of your phone charger. Obviously need a normal adapter for the hairdryer.

Reading Materials

So studious & prepared!

So studious & prepared!

Both Hannah and I are taking our Wine Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 course this year and this is our bible. Our course starts in a few weeks time, so I am trying to get ahead of the game with the reading (so far I have read the first page). I have also packed my custom made notebook to take notes during our very important meeting with our client, along with a posh pen (probs also stolen) and business cards because that is how an international jet setting business woman rolls (I presume)!

So small and travel friendly!

So small and travel friendly!

I also just want to share with you my super cute mini OPI nail varnish. It is a lovely shimmery purple colour which goes with everything and the bottle is adorable!!

The Dream!!

The Dream!!

All I really want is to take a picture with a croissant upside down (replacing my smile) with the Eiffel Tower in the background – too much to ask? I think not. Check my Instagram for updates!!

I will 100% writing a little post about Paris on my return.

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VALENTINE’S DAY: GIFT & OUTFIT SUGGESTIONS

Valentines-Day-Tumblr-4-300x194Whether you like it or not, Valentine’s Day has arrived in a BIG way – every year it seems to get bigger, better and more Americanised than the year before.

I am one of those annoying girls/women (I never know where girl ends and woman begins) that say things like, “OMG It’s so over commercialised, I think people should just celebrate days that mean something to them” and then I would be genuinely quite upset if I didn’t receive a card (one of those classic problem solving situations for my boyfriend).

So I thought I would suggest a few Valentine’s gift ideas for your loved one or for yourself and include a couple of cheeky Valentine’s outfit suggestions.

GIFTS                                                                                                                                                                                                          

I do not think Valentines Day requires big extravagant gifts and expensive dinners; small token gifts to show someone you are thinking about them is plenty, whether thats for your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or best friend. Here are a few ideas.

Home made gifts.

Vouchers that are much better than mine!

Vouchers that are much better than mine!

This year I have decided to explore (find) my creative side and I have made Matt a little voucher book which entitles him to things such as ‘the ability to trump my dinner suggestion with a Bolognese’ and ‘the final decision when it comes to choosing a film’ – do not worry I have included a terms & conditions page. I would include a picture, but don’t want to ruin the whole thing if Matt reads this. Other ideas for homemade gifts – bookmark or a coaster?

Home baked goodies.

I would be pretty pleased with these...

I would be pretty pleased with these…

Baked treats are always a winner when it comes to creating a relatively cheap present that shows how much you care. My housemate Sophie is a cupcake queen, the Mary Berry of a beautiful sponge and swirly icing! Unfortunately I am more like the first contestant Mary throws off in bake off, so I may go for something simple. BBC Good Food has a great page dedicated to Valentine’s baking recipes which look amazing!!! I will let you know how it goes if I take on the challenge!!

Flowers.

I would prefer a bunch of Daisies.

I would prefer a bunch of Daisies.

I am not a huge fan of roses, however I do know that both Aldi and Lidl are selling gorgeous bunches for under £5. I know Waitrose are also offering a good flower delivery service for under £20. I cannot speak for womankind when I say this, however if I were to receive flowers, I would also really appreciate a nice vase. Nothing posh, just something cool such as an old milk jug or jar with a ribbon around it – just me?

Beauty Treatment.candle

I always think a gift should be something that the recipient would not purchase for themselves and for many women this can sometimes be time to let someone pamper them. This is why a voucher to a beauty salon is a great idea as they can sit back and relax whilst they are having a manicure/pedicure/massage or facial. I may be biased, but any Bristolians out there I do not think you can beat my wonderful mother’s beauty place – The Beauty Retreat. You are taken care of from the moment you walk through the door. With a cup of tea/coffee in hand you cannot help but feel relaxed with the soothing music, gorgeous scents from oils and candles and warm reception from all of the therapists. Exclusively for Valentine’s Day The Beauty Retreat is offering a number of special therapies such as a 40 minute massage to unwind the mind and soothe the muscles with custom blended oils to suit your mood for just £30. If you can spare two minutes take a look at the Facebook page for all the latest promotions. 

Dining In.

Dining In AKA making a mess...

Dining In AKA making a mess…

If you are looking to make a 3 course meal for two, but cannot really be worried about cooking or do not want to give your loved one food poisoning then I have had a little scan of the best supermarket offers. Mark & Spencer’s is my favourite with Gourmet dining in for 2 for £20 this includes a starter, main course, side, dessert, box of chocolates and bottle of Cava or wine (individually this would cost £36+)!!! Let me tell you the options are also divine – take a look for yourself!. Both Tesco and Morrisons have also put on great deals for Valentine’s which will also save you money.

Miscellaneous.

Don't panic there is more...

Don’t panic there is more…

If none of the above are appealing to you then I have spotted a few little gems which I absolutely love and would make gorgeous little gifts, such as a Lily-flame scented tin (They are my absolute favourite and I have mentioned them before in a previous post) or the Primark cushion below which is so fitting for anyone who loves cake as much as I do.

Lily-flame Rose Petals Scented Tin £8.50

Lily-flame Rose Petals Scented Tin £8.50

Primark Cushion £4

Primark Cushion £4

Outfits for the perfect Valentine’s Date – day & night options (sorry the pictures are so blurry, you can see the individual items better if you follow the links):

Day:

The perfect outfit for a daytime date...

The perfect outfit for a daytime date…

Sheinside Green Batwing Long Sleeve Cable Knit Sweater SALE £18.48 

Topshop MOTO Black Joni Jeans £36.00 

Primark Camel Trench Coat £25 (out now)

River Island Black Felt Fedora Hat £25.00 

Urban Outfitters Circle Triangle Double Pendant in Silver £12 

Topshop Leather and Suede Shopper Bag £42.00 

Topshop MERIBEL Ankle Boots £75.00

Night:

A feminine and chic look for an evening date or night out with the girls.

A feminine and chic look for an evening date or night out with the girls.

River Island Black Textured Bardot Bodycon Dress £35.00 

Topshop **Blige Duster Coat by Another 8 £75.00

Accessorize Small Hammered Hoop Earrings £10.00

Accessorize Grace Embroidered Ziptop Bag £29.00 

M&S Stiletto High Heel Platform Court Shoes £25.00

So whether you are out with your friends, on a romantic date or just having a cosy night in, I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. Even if it is a money making, marketing ploy; it is an excuse to receive a present, drink nice wine & eat nice food and I will never turn down any of the above!

Charlotte Crosby 3 Minute Belly Blitz DVD – Sweat is just fat crying!!!!

showbiz-charlotte-crosby-3-minute-belly-blitz-1After the excesses of Christmas most of us are overcome by a wave of over indulgence followed by a sudden need to sign up to the gym.

I have realised over the last year being fit and healthy isn’t about a sporadic diet of Kale and crackers (gross) or forcing myself to run for miles on a treadmill (even more gross), but finding something that makes keeping fit bearable.

Netball girls in match kit.

Up until now netball has been a real game changer (excuse the pun) for me as I play 2 /3 times a week and even though I feel the burn I can push through it because I am VERY competitive and want to win. It has also inspired me to go to the gym, as I want to improve my fitness so that I am a better player.

Gosling always on hand with great advice…

I have got to a point now where I am doing plenty of cardio and not enough resistance training. I know that I could use the women’s weight room at the gym, but I don’t think I am alone in saying that I have no idea what to do in there especially with the free weights. I find it pretty intimidating walking in and looking useless in front of the women who look like they were drawn by an adolescent teenage boy who has watched way too many Baywatch episodes and Kim K sex tapes.

Classic Charl...

Classic Charl…

Back to the point…the Charlotte Crosby 3 minute Belly Blitz DVD. Say what you will, but despite the fact Charlotte is a reality TV star from Geordie Shore who openly wees herself and has sex on TV, this DVD is Awesome.

Apparently I am not the only one who thinks so; it is the fastest selling fitness DVD to date.

I think it is great for a few simple reasons (bullet points mean I am deadly serious):

  • There are 12 sessions in total and they alternate between cardio and resistance workouts. This keeps your heart rate up and tones at the same time. It also allows you to mix and match the workouts depending on time and preference.
  • There is a beginner’s option for every workout if you are struggling (Dave leads these. Note: Dave LOVES all the workouts, even the cool down!!!)
  • Every session is 3 minutes long – which means you do not get bored, it is not repetitive and you push yourself harder.
  • It includes a great diet plan with simple and extensive meal options.
  • There is a 10 minute extra abs workout, which is great to do every day even if you do not do the whole DVD.
  • You feel the results the next day. After two weeks I feel more toned and my upper body strength has definitely improved.
  • Charlotte is always on hand to give you vital advice e.g. “Don’t forget to breathe” and my personal favourite “Try not to punch yourself in the face”.

largeJokes aside, I am by no means a fitness guru, however here are a few pointers I will be following to make 2015 a year of change:

  • Find a sport you enjoy
  • Find a keepfit buddy (preferably someone with a similar outlook on exercise)
  • Try to improve your everyday diet and treat yourself occasionally instead of yo yo dieting
  • Be kind to yourself – be proud of your personal achievements and do not compare yourself to others (especially not those in the free weights room if you dare to go in in the first place)

I will leave you with this parting note: If you are feeling the burn “Sweat is just fat crying…”

You can buy the DVD here for £12.99 from Amazon.