Saturday, 29 January 2011

My love for all things vintage

Yesterday, I made a trip to my favourite local vintage shop, and proceeded to spend a good hour whiling my time away, getting lost in the treasure trove that it is. J'adore vintage! There's something about clothes, accessories, shoes and bags that have a story, a previous life and a history, that is just so exciting and interesting.

In a lot of vintage stores, everything is reeaaally expensive, which, unsurprisingly, is not ideal for a student. (What is more ideal is Primark, but realistically, who wants to spend all yor money there, on clothes that are mass-produced, worn by the masses, and then proceed to massively fall apart after a few wears?) However, mine is really rather cheap (Huzzah!) and they do a student discount (Huzzah squared!) Yesterda, I got the most beautiful indigo, chunky, slouchy, hand-cable-knitted cardie from back in the 70s, for - wait for it - a mere £7! I couldn't believe my luck.

I also snapped up this stunning mock croc little purse! A beaut, no? There are so many bags, and what with bags being my weak spot, I could have spent a small fortune. However, trying to preserve my hard-earned cash (waitressing isn't easy, folks), I just got the one. My reasoning was that I have loads of black, brown, blue, pink and... oh, well... lots of bags - but not a white one. Another bargain at £12. *Alleluia chorus begins*

Thursday, 27 January 2011

2011's daily micropleasures - installment 2!

Because it's the little things that really count:

Even yummier in teeny format - from
13th Jan - Foodstuffs in miniature
14th Jan - When you get (nearly) all the things on your shopping list.
15th Jan - Finding your room unexpectedly hoovered.
16th Jan - Waking up and just reading a book in bed.
17th Jan - Still being able to (just about!) do the splits.
18th Jan - Being complimented on your nails.
19th Jan - Sharing a pink iced donut.
20th Jan - Having a full tank of petrol.
21st Jan - When people notice your new hair colour straight away.
22nd Jan - Finding a new food that you love.
23rd Jan - Your hair when it's just been washed and blow-dried.
24th Jan - Going to the gym and finding no-one else there.
25th Jan - Planning a holiday.
26th Jan - When something you ordered online arrives.
27th Jan - The feeling after you push yourself out of your comfort zone.

And that's where I'm up to so far, folks... nearly a month in, and 11 to go! I hope they might make you smile for a brief moment in your busy lives, and remember the little things.

Here's where you can see my earlier micropleasures. What are yours?

Monday, 24 January 2011

Maxfactor Lipfinity Lip Tint - Lusciously Lovely

After being bombarded with adverts and mentions in pretty much every women's magazine of late, I decided to go out and buy myself one of Maxfactor's new Lipfinity Lip Tint Pens.

To quote their website:

"Lipfinity Lip Tint Pen has a non-transferable water based formula that doesn't just sit on top of your lips but permeates the upper layers for a stunning kiss-proof effect. And its nifty pen applicator is perfect for precise application so you can build up the colour as much as you dare or keep it light and simple – you're in control!"
I went for the shade of Pink Princess, rather than a more reddish one, as I know pinky tones work best on me (however, I wouldn't say the colour is particularly pink, anyway). When I was in Superdrug, there were three shades to choose from, but according to Maxfactor's website, there are two new shades coming soon which I may just have to try.

I'm a bit of a lipstick-phobe, so was looking forward to trying this tint. I can strongly recommend them, folks! Depending on how strong a colour you want, you can either dab a bit on and blend for that just bitten look, or really colour in your lips. The felt tip application is so easy to work with. I also like using it as a liner and then smudging inwards, or just putting it on my bottom lip and then pressing my lips together to soften the colour over both lips.

But I haven't even mentioned the best part! IT SMELLS/TASTES SO GOOD! Literally, I kid you not. You will have to try hard to resist just sitting around all day licking your lips.

So go forth and tint your lips! Embrace a stronger colour than usual! Especially at just £5.99 (£2 off! Score!) at Superdrug, why not get them all!? Oh yeah, we're not made of money. Meh, get one at least.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Home Hair Dye - Nice 'n Easy, but bloody useless.

I'm an idiot. Really, I am. Despite seeing many a  friend's failed attempts at dying their hair themselves, I naively thought that they must have done something wrong, and surely it would be fine for me. I would follow the instructions to a T, and be the exception, thus reinventing my look for £4.99. Oh how wrong I was...

I chose to use Clairol Nice 'N Easy's new Colour Blend Foam Dye - such the consumer I am, I believed all the hype - and chose the shade of Medium Golden Blonde (below).
Now, I wasn't expecting my hair to actually go that colour (being naturally a light brown), but was hoping for a bit of lightening and some golden tones. The instructions were easy enough to follow, although it took forever. Seriously, don't think you can get this done in half an hour. I have tres long hair, so had been worried that there wouldn't be enough dye, but thankfully that wasn't an issue. So far so good.

Right. Dye on, timer set for 25 minutes, time to kick back with Cosmo and let the magic happen... After washing it all out in the shower afterwards (and using the nice conditioning treatment that comes in the box), I really couldn't tell if it had worked, so was feeling a bit apprehensive about the final result. While drying my hair with my head upside down (for volume, naturellement), all I thought to myself was "Please don't have gone ginger! Please don't have gone ginger!" it's not that I have anything against ginger hair, in fact I think it's stunning! Natural redheads are really lucky to be so unique, and I love the look... on other people. My colouring just would not work well with red tones. Trust me.

I flinged my head back in my best "Because your worth it" impression and looked in the mirror. Crap. Well that wasn't what I was hoping for. Needless to say, my hair was not "medium golden blonde". Not even close. In fact, my hair hadn't changed much at the ends, but the roots had gone darker brown and auburny. Yes, that's one way of saying ginger. Sigh... I wasn't impressed.

It's not that it wasn't a nice colour, it was (note the use of the past tense - I have since been to my hairdresser, who is basically a God, and had some beautiful golden highlights put in. Alleluia!) but it wasn't the colour I wanted. I did get compliments from people, one of which is rather memorable: "It's a unique change" (decide amongst yourselves whether that's a compliment or not!

So overall, it was a bit of a mistake, but you've gotta try these things haven't you!? And hey, if it had worked, how awesome would that have been!? And for just £4.99!? (Reduced from £6.99 in Superdrug, folks). I can't say I recommend home hair dye... but there are people who do have success, usually when trying to go darker, FYI.

Has anyone else had any awful home hair dye failures? Or equally, any wonderful successes? I wanna know!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

My NY resolution 2011: daily micro-pleasures so far

A lovely diary from Paperchase - £9.00
As my New Year's Resolution for 2011, instead of aimlessly trying to get healthier/fitter/slimmer like the majority of people, I have purchased a beautiful notebook. Yes, I realise that's not really a resolution. But I have proceeded to fill said notebook with a little micro-pleasure each day. Just the little things that make me smile and make each day a smidgen better, the things we so often forget.

1st - People calling me by a nickname.
2nd - When you've been stuck behind a slow car for ages and then they finally indicate and turn off.
3rd - When you walk into Costa and find there's no queue!
4th - When someone perfectly expresses the exact same thing you're feeling, letting you know you're not the only one who feels that way.
5th - Waking up to the smell of warm, freshly baked bread.
6th - The fact that your parents are always there to pick you up when you fall down.
7th - Listening to Kiwis and Australians talking.
8th - When someone re-tweets you on Twitter.
9th - Ticking something off your 'to-do' list.
10th - The 'ping' of a new email.
11th - Holding a little sleeping baby.
12th - When someone lets you through the doorway first.

And that's where I'm up to! I'm really enjoying doing it... I think it's good to stop and think about the little joys each day,  especially when it seems like your day's been utterly pants.

What are your micro-pleasures?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

So I shan't be going to Cambridge Uni in September...

... but it's OK. I am not going to die in a hole screaming that my life is over. I figured some people might have thought that was the reason for my lack of blogging over the past few days - I've just been being a busy little bee, sorry!

I have to admit that I was extremely nervous at the beginning of last week, as I knew the letter would be arriving soon. After some Twitter researching (ahh how I love Twitter!), the word on the street seemed to be that everyone would get their letters on Thursday 6th December. Needless to say I pretty much did not sleep a wink on Wednesday night. I'm one of those people who just absolutely hates the "not knowing" period, as I just over-think things and get myself wound up into a frenzy, so had asked my parents to let me know ASAP when the letter arrived (I was at school, you see).

I'd been very nervous all Thursday morning, never stopping looking at my phone, and excitedly reading people's tweets about finding out their fates. It was lunch break, and I'd taken off my patent, pixie-style Office heels as I was about to get changed for netball. Then, I got the text from my father: "Letter is here".

All I could say was "Shit" (which I'm not proud of, as I hate swearing and very very rarely do it). So I slipped on my trainers (which looked ridiculous with my H&M bargain of a suit), dialled home, and ran outside. I asked Dad what size the envelope was - small, thin. "Oh no..." thought I. I asked him to open it, and I swear those paper rustling noises went on for an age.

Anyway, I'm not going to recount our whole conversation, but the long and the short of it is that I've not been offered a place, unfortunately. I have to admit that I was more overwhelmed than I thought I would be, and couldn't help but burst into tears. Sure, I was disappointed, but I think half of the reason for my emotional outburst was because there'd been such a massive build up and suddenly it was all over. The whole process is really emotionally exhausting, and the past year of my life had basically been leading up to that moment. I'm not going to lie, I really wanted to get in.

A few days on and I'm feeling much better, although it has been difficult at times seeing people get their offers, having to tell everyone, and hearing them tell me how they're astounded and thought I really deserved to and should've been offered a place.

But the way I see it now is: Oxford and Cambridge know what they're looking for, and who's the right fit for them. So if that's not me, then fine - that's probably what's best for me (and them). I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and when a door closes, two windows will open. I'm very ambitious, and not being at the top (so to speak) is hard for me. But there aren't enough Oxbridge grads out there to take all the top positions in the world, so I'm determined not to let this hold me back in the slightest.

Another upside to this outcome was offered by my Mum: I'm the type of girl who likes to get involved with everything (drama, journalism, sport, choir etc), and joining loads of societies is one of the things I'm most looking forward to about Uni. But at Oxbridge, the terms are so short and so intense, that I would hardly have time for anything else apart from academic work. So there are pros among the obvious cons. If I really wanted to, I could also reapply next year...

But for now, I've got an English exam tomorrow, so must dash for some last minute cramming! Well done to anyone who has been offered a place, and I'd love to hear about anyone's outcomes to the whole process.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Bicester Outlet Shopping Village - a bit of a lottery

Yesterday I went to Bicester Outlet Shopping Village (near Oxford) in the hope of finding a sneaky lil designer bargain. For anyone who's never been to Bicester or hasn't heard of it, to quote their website:

"Chic Outlet Shopping® [...] has become synonymous with luxury brands, charming open-air ‘village’ settings, a welcoming five-star service and, not least, exceptional value for money. World-leading brands offer their genuine previous seasons’ collections with up to 60% reductions, and sometimes more, off the recommended retail price, in their own luxuriously appointed boutiques, all year round."
So there you have it. I must say, it really is a super pleasant shopping environment. The shops are so nicely laid out, and interspersed with Pret-A-Manger, Carluccios's, and Starbucks among other food outlets (including an awesome little crepe van and an ice cream parlour - which, unsurprisingly, was rather quiet seeing as it's early January! Brrr!)

There's a mix of high-end designer stores (from Prada to Ralph Lauren via Alexander McQueen) and also some more common on the high street (such as Monsoon and Superdry). But it's not just clothes! There're also many-a-reduced handbag on offer (Mulberry jsut kills me!), jewellery (Links of London), interiors (The White Company), gifts (Cath Kidston) and stationary (Smythson). Plenty of choice to say the least.

"60% off!?!" you're thinking. Well yes... potentially. But I can't help but come away from Bicester feeling slightly disappointed each time (yesterday was only my third visit to be fair). There are some good reductions, but most things are still very expensive - too expensive for moi and the majority of students anyway. For example, I was hoping to find an iconic Alexander McQueen skull print silk scarf that I could afford. There were some gorgeous ones in the store, and sure, they were reduced, but the cheapestw as still £100. *Sigh...* As I was walking round looking at people with loads of big designer shopping bags up their arms, I couldn't help but wonder what they were actually buying (and how much they were spending.)

So what did I get? Well, dear reader, I treated myself to this gorgeous Vivienne Westwood wallet, reduced from £135 to £54. not bad eh? And it's absolutely beautiful! I kid you not. The picture does not do it justice (it's actually pinker than it looks) and is made of lovely leather inside.

Maybe my trip wasn't as successful as I'd liked for a reason. it probably wasn't the smartest idea to go the day after the bank holiday weekend as all teh best stuff had been snapped up already. It also probably wasn't wise to go on a shopping trip the day of the VAT increase. Whoops!

But if you've got the money to spend, Bicester is great! And you can still get some lovely things without breaking the bank, honestly. It's a great day out, and definitely worth the trip if you ask me!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Cambridge decisions are coming...

It's that time of year again. You know the one. (No, I don't mean when everyone makes resolutions and shells out for pricey gym memberships - althouhg it is that time too.) It's Cambridge University decision time. Teenagers around the world are sitting nervously at home, rushing to the post every morning (or in my case, afternoon. We never get our post till about 4pm - bloody Royal Mail) to see if they've got a letter from THE ALL POWERFUL UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE. Dun dun DUN!

Everyone tells you that the letter will arrive "in early January", but no-one knows anything more precise than that. To quote a friend and fellow applicant who texted me earlier today: "WHY WILL THE LETTER NOT ARRIVE?! I'm honestly about to explode with tension..."

The thing is, whether you think you're going to get in or don't really have a hope in hell (I fall into the latter camp), you just want to know, to be put out of your misery. Because while we're in this waiting period, there's still the teensiest glimmer of hope inside us that imagines what it would be like to be offered a place, and getting your hopes up is the worst possible thing we can do - but it's so damn hard not to. I've found myself comletely overanalysing my interviews - sometimes, looking back on it and thinking they were absolutely awful, but then occasionally remembering bits that seemed to go well (and then hitting myself in the head to try and stop getting my hopes up).

I mean, the chances are incredibly slim. But while we wait, the fact of the matter is that there is still a chance. And it's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a thing to go through. Not the most brill timing either, what with most of us trying to revise for January exams, but finding our thoughts constantly consumed with Cambridge. C'mon! You would be too - it's a majorly big deal. And we worked SO hard!

My interviews and test were four weeks ago yesterday. I came out of them thinking I would never get a place, and feeling alright about it, not too bothered and all, but the whole thing's become harder. I don't know why. It's not so bad for the Oxford people - they get their offers or rejections before Christmas and all the pooling is already done. Whereas with Cambridge, if you're pooled you could be waiting for the final decision for another couple of weeks. ARGH - it's rather dragged out. I bet they made all the decisions a few days after the interviews to be honest. It's not as if they've been deciding it all over Christmas and New Year is it?

Well, what will be will be, and we shall see (hopefully sooner rather than later though!) I must admit that it's all very exciting because I've got loads of friends who've applied too. Good luck to anyone who's waiting to hear! I just hope the Royal Mail don't make this take any longer than it needs too

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The stylish ways in which I'd like to flaunt my iPhone

I love technology. I love gadgets. I love smartphones. But most of all, I love my beautiful little iPhone. Now it's only a mere 3G (nope, that wasn't a typo - not even a 3GS), so yes I am rather behind the times, and tend to find myself admiring people with their godlike 4G versions. I would be utterly and completely lost without mine though. I seriously wonder how I ever functioned without it. I know that nearly everyone out there seems to have an iPhone or Blackberry these days, but I tell ya: once you get a smartphone, there's no going back.

So, as a girl who loves any excuse to accessorise, I naturally love the idea of doing so with my lil baby of a phone. And here are my top three ways of doing so:

  1. the Kate Spade range 
Pic from
I absolutely adore Kate Spade's designs - from her clothes to her handbags (via her iPhone cases!), and was very lucky this Christmas to receive a few little goodies designed by her. (You see, Santa was very clever and visited her pop-up shop in Covent Garden a couple of months ago!) After my trip to New York back in October, I've just completely fallen in love with everything in her collections, so am thrilled that this year she's opening a store in London! Alleluia! THis is one of her latest iPhone cases, and sadly are only for iPhone 4s (*sniff*), however, at a lot of places, such as the Apple store, you can still get ones for earlier (inferior, lamer, suckier but I don't care) models. I just laaaave them because they're quirky, cute and different.

Another designer I just can't get enough of (in my dreams, that is). Absolutely lush, I'd say. This is the "Mademoiselle Danger" cover for 3G iPhones (can I get a whoop whoop?), which I think is really a rather sexy little number, don't you agree? Not too in your face or gaudy, but still a bit different, and I think quite classy. I also love the range of jumbled logo iPhone covers in the Marc By Marc Jacobs collection, that come in an array of colours to suit all tastes. How does one choose just one is the real issue? I think the answer has to be to buy multiple, eh girls? To quote Naomi from 90210: "Oh my god! I'm wearing white and I have a pink shell on my cell phone!"

Mulberry Daria Messenger for iPhone - from
Ahh Mulberry, the iconic British brand. I would just die for a Mulberry handbag (actually, that's a bit far - but I would reeeaaally like one!) But, if like me, their prices are a trifle too steep, this iPhone case/messenger bag/wallet seems like the perfect way to get the feel of the brand without bankrupting yourself. Multifunctional too - can hold your credit cards and money as well as your phone. And so chic, non?

So there you have it, folks. Three of the ways in which I would love to protect my dear iPhone Let's face it - they're pretty much a necessity to keep our expensive phones safe from scratches and the like. Totally justified.
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