Thursday, 1 October 2015

Create A Halloween Costume From Your Wardrobe!

Halloween is one of my FAVOURITE times of year. I am pretty much the kind of person who will happily get dressed up and look stupid in a silly costume for any occasion so Halloween is like my dream come true. I never really spend loads of money on costumes though because I try to use things I've already got. In fact last year was my cheapest costume ever! I put on my favourite 'Wednesday Addams' dress (ie a black dress with a white peter pan collar, and yes favourite because I embarrassingly have more than one), and used makeup to create a creepy 'possessed doll' vibe. I sprayed some dry shampoo in a concentrated area in my hair to make it look powdery and hey presto!

This year I'll probably continue my theme of thrifty costumes by trying to use what I've already got and adding one or two cheap accessories to complete the look. To give you some inspiration I've come up with three easy costume ideas that you can recreate using your own wardrobe!

Costume number one is a fairly simple but super stylish witch outfit. Everyone who knows me knows I love a good witchy vibe all year round, but on Halloween you can really go all out with it. A cute, structured black dress and tights, black cat accessories, a wand if you're feeling a more Harry Potter vibe, and of course, a pointed black hat. Black lipstick is what finishes this off and gives this costume a more dramatic, theatrical feel!

Costume two is probably what I'll be going with this year! I love to use makeup to create a fun look at Halloween (one of my favourite costumes was Marie Antoinette, where I powdered my face, blushed my cheeks, painted a doll-pout, applied a little heart-shaped beauty mark and finished off with a huge gory slash to my throat)! This one is easy too because you can wear whatever you like. I've gone for a grey wool, collared dress but added some fun skeleton tights. You can find these cheaply and easy enough on eBay. You can find fun bone accessories in lots of costume shops too, but obviously the star of the show on this one is the skeleton makeup. I'm going to be using this YouTube tutorial to help me with mine.

And finally if you're feeling something a little cuter, costume three is a flower fairy! For this one you'll need a floral top and a flirty, flowy skirt. Accessories that complete the look are a floral headband and some fairy wings. Cute, fresh makeup will help you look like a magical queen of the fairies!

And there you have it- Halloween doesn't have to be difficult or expensive! With a little creative thinking and your own wardrobe at hand you can create an easy and effective look without breaking the bank.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Edinburgh Memories

Even though it seems like a LIFETME ago I wanted to write about my trip to Edinburgh to stay with my favourite Scottish babe, Kirsty. This is the third time I've met Kirsty but I literally feel like I have known her my whole life. You know when you just click with someone, and everything's easy and fun and the best? Well that's my friendship with Kirsty. There is rarely a day that goes by when I don't hear from her, and to my delight she send me the best drunken whatsapps of all time, but equally I can really talk to her when I'm having a shit time and she gives me pep talks and advice and I pretty much adore her beyond belief. I've only been to Edinburgh once before but I didn't really get a good feel of what the city was about so I was SUPER excited to not only spend some time with one of my best pals but to have her show me HER Edinburgh, because I know how much she loves it and would do it proud.

I, of course, ended up completely falling in love with the place. It's so beautiful and interesting, and I felt really lucky actually, because Kirsty used to be a tour guide so she knew all these really macabre facts about Edinburgh's history which I LOVED hearing. And I got to see the Greyfriars Bobby statue & grave- uh dream come true tbh. I also went at the total right time as it was in the middle of Edinburgh's Festival. I had never been to Fringe before & I totally loved it- there is so much to see & do! We went to shows, saw all the different courtyards, and of course stumbled home every night laughing and on the prowl for food! (Side note I had the best falafel & houmous wrap of my life in Palmyra one night- I still think about it all the time, sigh). Kirsty also introduced me to some of her Edinburgh blogger pals and honestly, they are such a lovely, funny, warm bunch of girls who I had a smashing time with! It was a total pleasure to get to hang out with them.

Kirsty had also just gotten her new pal Fitz the cat a few days before I arrived too, so I was so excited to play with him. I am such a huge animal lover and he is the cutest little scamp ever. I did get a really great photo of him looking serene & angelic & like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth (a lie) relaxing on the sofa but I lost it when I updated my phone recently & had to restore it! Devastated, so I've nicked this one off Kirsty so you can see his cute lil face.

One thing we did NOT do though was take pictures of OURSELVES! Honestly, what kind of rookies are we?! So that just means that we're going to have to do it all over again so we can document our obviously beautiful faces together. I love Edinburgh, & I want to visit again & again & again, & what makes it 100% better is that one of the best pals a girl could ask for lives there, with her little rascally cat.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Five Things To Do When You're Flat Broke

If you're like me, and most of your socialising and revelry occurs within the first two weeks after you get paid and the following weeks are mostly spent lounging around in your pyjamas at home wondering if you have enough money in your purse for a bottle of wine from the corner shop, then you know how frankly rubbish it is when you get to your long awaited day off work and realise you have no money left to actually do anything! I have become something on a expert on doing fun things for little/no money thanks to this vicious cycle and so I thought I'd compile a list of Things To Do When You're Flat Broke. Some of these things need a tiny bit of money/pre planning and some need nowt.

Take a really long bubble bath

There isn't a bad mood that cannot be cured by a gloriously long bubble bath. But you have to do these things right. You need lots of bubbles so if it's the end of the month and you don't have much money left, or much in the way of bubbles, then scour the end bits of all those bottles you never quite got around to finishing and mix them together. The bath needs to be the right temperature too so keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't cross the fine line between lava hot and miserably tepid. You need some nice relaxing music too, so fire up Spotify and choose your favourite classical album. Movie scores are great as well, as are some of the Spotify curated playlists. I recommend Camille Saint-Saens' The Carnival of the Animals, The Harry Potter Soundtracks (for a very magical bath), and this 'Coffee Table Jazz' playlist. You can also add in other options like candles, a good book, and a glass of wine for optimum destressing.

Make flavoured syrups 

For this one you will need one cup of sugar & one cup of water. That's basically all syrup is. You can fancy it up by adding vanilla, lavender, cinnamon, cardamom pods, rosemary. Basically you can experiment with whatever you have in your cupboard. It's one part syrup to one part water, in a saucepan, heated and stirred until the sugar dissolves/the ingredients infuse flavour into it. You can use the syrup in coffee both hot & iced, but it's great in all sorts of things like on top of ice cream or pancakes, or in cocktails. Once it's cooled your can put it in a glass bottle or jar in the fridge and it keeps for up to one month. It also kinda feels like you're a domestic goddess but really you're just dissolving sugar in water.

Make a blanket fort

If anyone ever tries to tell you you are too old to make a blanket fort please delete that person from your life because they are incorrect. Blanket forts are a magical dreamland that will remove you from all the bad in the world where you can get all cosy and watch movies & drink hot chocolate. You can invite over a buddy or be on your own or share it with your cat. For added cosiness add fairy lights and a hot water bottle. Once at university I made a scarf/blanket fort in my bedroom with one of my friends and I didn't take it down for like 5 days. It took over my entire bedroom. It was amazing.

Paint your nails all fancy

If you like nail art but you can't afford to go to a salon you can just do it yourself at home! You don't need a bunch of fancy equipment either. The more you practice the better you'll get so you could start off just painting a different colour on each nail and work up to polka dots & stripes- plus it doesn't have to be perfect! I've posted here about how to make a dotting tool from an old cork and a pin but if you do have a spare pound or two, Poundland sell lots of nail art supplies that are great! I've gotten brushes, striping tape and gem/stud wheels from there before! They have some lovely glittery topcoats too. Once you have a mini collection built up from a bit here and there every month you can whip out your tools and have sparkly, dotty, colourful nails in no time.

Make bread & soup from scratch.

Do you know how easy and cheap it is to make your own bread? All you need is strong bread flour, salt, lukewarm water & a sachet of fast action yeast. That's it. They're the kind of things you can just have lying around in your cupboard for ages and take out for a rainy day. The bread flour & yeast sound fancy but you can basically get them both in most supermarkets for less than £1 each. And soup is basically just stock and a bunch of vegetables chucked in a pot and simmered together  until the vegetables are cooked so you can blend it all together. Bread making is an ideal 'rainy day with no money' activity because it's relaxing, it makes your house smell cosy and it takes a few hours to do it. I've covered a basic soup recipe before, in this post. My favourite bread recipe is from Great British Bake Off: How To Bake. I am going to post it here for you now because I can't find it online & it's basically the only bread recipe I've found that doesn't put butter, oil or sugar in the bread, which are totally not necessary. I've placed it after a cut because it's kind of long! Happy Cheap Baking!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Etsy Treasures: Fruit Salad

I have always been partial to a fruity print. I love bright colours, (my wardrobe looks like an explosion in a crayon factory), and I love anything kitsch or cute so I think that's why I can't really pass up anything with a fruity theme.

I love Etsy because you can make treasuries to suit a theme and it appeals so much to my list-making, organise everything into categories, virgo brain. I also love how you can search for something as innocuous as 'fruit' and get so many brilliant, hand made & vintage things. I had loads of fun putting this treasury together- it can be a little addictive!

(from top l-r)

1.Lime & Coconut Bowl Pair £23.85: This is one of my favourite Etsy shops 'Vegetabowls'. You guessed it- bowls and pottery in that shapes of fruit and veg. They have some great mugs too! But I love this 'lime in the coconut' set the best.
2.Pineapple Print Skirt £55: There's something really cheering about a pineapple print. I like this skirt because of the thick waistband and structured 'tulip' style
3.Gin & Tonic scented candles: This combines all my favourite things: Gin, lemon scented candles, cute illustrations and mini things!
4. Gold Pineapple Wall Decals £14.24 If you wouldn't want a wall covered in golden pineapples then I don't even want to know you.
5. Pineapple Watch £7.95 What time is it? I don't know because there are no numbers on this watch but look how cute the pineapples are.
6. Vintage Jewellery Fruit Collar Necklace £58.96: I think this is my favourite item on the treasury. I just love how this looks with all the fragments of jewellery assembled together to create something so beautiful. I really like this whole shop- the statement necklaces are amazing.
7. Banana Pillow £21.20 I love yellow and I try and get it into my home furnishings as much as possible so this cushion is PERF.
8. B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Acrylic Earrings £11.93: Gwen would be proud tbh. This whole Etsy shop is amazing too and really affordable.
9. Orange Blossom Fascinator £13.25: Fascinators have kind of become a bit 'mother of the bride' these days but I think this one is so cute and summery. It comes in lemon and lime too!
10. Watermelon Print Apron £25: I love the big pockets in this apron! I wear an apron pretty often, both at work & at home so this would make wearing me feel a bit fancier wearing it.
11.Botanical Lemon Artwork £6.63: I love these kinds of botanical vintage drawings, and I am particularly partial to a lemon. I think there's something really pleasing about how citrus fruit looks.
12. Banana Mouse Pad £7.95 I don't even have a mouse and I want this mouse pad.
13. Watermelon Slice Artwork £7.99 Watermelons look great too.I always love the contrast between red and green and those little black pips. Plus they are pretty much essential summer food.
14. Vintage Fruit Cardigan £22.53 I want this cardigan so badly. Applique fruit cardigans are the kinds of things dreams are made of.
15. Kiwi Fruit Necklace £15 This Etsy seller hand draws her designs onto shrink wrap so no two are the same. It gives them a really unique look too!
16. Summer Fruits Cross Stitch Pattern £6.95 If you are into cross stitch like me you can stitch yourself a fruity masterpiece. This design looks fairly simple too so any skill level could have a go!

The only thing is now I have to use all of my willpower to not buy all of it PLUS I have a real craving for watermelon!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Bowling and Beers at Lane 7

I have been wanting to go to Lane 7  ever since I first heard about it. It's a retro-styled bowling alley & restaurant which honestly sounded like the best thing ever. Sometimes it's nice to do something a little different on a night out and Lane 7 seemed to be just that. So last week a few of us from work decided to check it out and so we went there for a 'work social' as we are now calling them!

I thought it was great- I really want to go back again and try the food too! We just went for games and pints but they have an American Diner inspired menu that looks really good. Price wise it's kind of what you'd expect, not as cheap as a regular bowling alley (you book the lane and then it's £6 per person per game on an off peak night which I think is fairly expensive) but cheap enough that you can still have a good night out on a budget (which we were all on as it was the week before payday!) They also have other things to do like pool, ping pong, beer pong & karaoke- definitely want to try some of those! Although we played two games of bowling and I lost BOTH times so maybe I should practice that a bit before I move onto something more difficult hmmm.

Drinks were fairly priced as well, it's always nice to go somewhere and be able to get a pint of beer for less than £4 these days! I've also heard really good things about their alcoholic milkshakes- definitely want to go back and try one of those! Generally I think Lane 7 is a little treasure in Newcastle, there's nothing else in town like it and it's a great night out that won't break the bank. The atmosphere is great- there's loads of fun to be had and the staff are really friendly and helpful. I definitely would go back and I'd happily recommending it to anyone looking for a good night out. (Also, am I alone in thinking that actually, the shoes look kind of cool? Er maybe I should keep that one to myself).

Friday, 8 May 2015

#CoffeewithCurrys - Cocktails & Coffee & Bloggers! Oh my!

The lovely, lovely folks at Joe Blogs emailed me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd like to attend a coffee cocktail masterclass evening hosted by Currys. As someone who views coffee and alcohol as two major food groups I could not reply yes fast enough! I've always wanted to go to a cocktail masterclass so I was super excited. I also really couldn't wait to hang out with the lovely NEblogger lot too- a huge part of my reason for wanting to get more involved in blogging is the social aspect & the prospect of meeting new people with similar interests to mine.

So on Friday at 7PM (after a small disaster where I forget my phone in my house and had to go back for it), I arrived at Revolution in Newcastle city centre to attend the masterclass. Chances are you're familiar with Revolution- there's probably one in your city! The Revolution in Newcastle upon Tyne is inside an old bank and it's really pretty with ornate ceilings and huge columns. It's got a nice chilled out atmosphere and the staff are really friendly. I hadn't been in in years and had forgotten how nice it was- it's definitely made me want to go again. We were all served a delicious coffee cocktail upon arrival, I'm not sure what it was but it was totally unreal. Natalie confessed she wasn't ordinarily one for coffee cocktails but that she was pleasantly surprised by how good it was- I think a few other girls felt the same way too!

L-R Natalie (, me & Rachael ( enjoying our coffee cocktails!

The lovely lot from Joe Blogs welcomed us to the event and talked us through what we'd be doing- they also revealed that the two best tweeters would win a top of the range coffee machine each! After we had all inhaled delicately sipped our cocktails we were led over to the bar area where we were taken in groups of 4 to create our own cocktails! As the evening was coffee themed we would each be making a different coffee based cocktail. The one we made was called the 'Honey Fee'.

It was rather exciting being behind the bar if I'm honest. I kind of felt like a bit of a rebel being somewhere I wasn't supposed to be! The Honey Fee cocktail was made in a regular glass tumbler packed with ice which we would use with a silver shaker but any kind of cocktail shaker would do- we used 2 shots of honey whiskey (I obviously would have preferred Bushmills Irish Honey and repped for home but I'll take what I can get), 1 shot of gomme syrup (simple syrup would probably do the same job if you don't have that), 1 shot of freshly brewed coffee & 2 shots of cream. We then shook our cocktails (my fave part) until they were ice cold, and poured them into ice filled mason jars and topped with whip cream. Very indulgent! They were obviously very delicious, how would they not be with all that sugar and cream! I would definitely try making it at home- although I might just leave out the cream because I kinda felt a bit sluggish and sickly from all the dairy.

The final showstopper in the masterclass was when the final group were pouring their cocktails- the bartender showed the girls how to pour three cocktails at once! It looked so tricky & I would definitely have spilled it everywhere but Rachael pulled it off like a total pro!

Rachel ( pulling out all the stops and pouring 3 cocktails at once!

Then the guys set up a huge shot train (which I am so hip & cool I had never heard of that word before) of rainbow coloured shots with different flavoured vodkas and set it off- very cool! You can watch it here on instagram.

After our cocktail class was over the food arrived and we all decended like locusts on the pizza, cute little paper cones of chips, posh fish fingers and spiced chicken skewers. The winners of the prizes were announced and Lucy and Rachael were the very deserving winners thanks to their top coffee puns and amazing photographs!

It was so lovely hanging out and chatting with the NEbloggers- I really do like them, they're such a funny and warm bunch. I was chatting quite a bit with Rachael from, it's always nice to hear a familiar accent and I guess with Northern Irish people there is a shared sense of humour because I really enjoyed how easy it was hanging out with her. The more we talked the more we realised we had in common- I'm from a small town on the North Coast of NI called Portrush and basically nobody has ever head of it but it turns out she has a lot of family there! EVEN WEIRDER is that as we talked it slowly dawned on us that her uncle is my neighbour. Like genuinely lives across the street from my mum & dad's house. Honestly what a small world. We were also the only two cheeky people to buy extra wine and were the last two to leave. Those damn Irish girls eh? Not really doing a lot for the stereotype, sigh.

It was SUCH a lovely evening and really nice to meet new people as well as see some of the girls I had met at the craft event I went to. I can't wait for more events in the North East so I can hang out with these lovely people again. If you want to see more of what we got up to just check out the #coffeewithcurrys hastag on Twitter & Instagram, or you can read all about it on the Currys Blog post! Thanks so much to Joe Blogs & Revolution Bars for getting us together and a huge, huge thanks to Currys for hosting the event and supplying the winners with such amazing prizes! Cheers!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Television Style: Annie Edison

I know, I know- I'm so late to the party, but you guys I just realised that Community is AMAZING. I'm so disappointed in myself for not getting into it ages ago, considering the sixth and final(!) season premieres tomorrow in the US! My excuse is that isn't really easy to watch in the UK- I don't even know what channel it's on over here. It got released on Netflix though so I decided on a whim to check it out one day and then I think I finished season 5 about 3 days later. I barrelled through it, seriously. From paintball battles to 'Troy & Abed in the moooorning' to 'The Hunger Deans' to games in the dreamatorium to the darkest timeline I just love it so much. I think my favourite character is Dean Pelton but honestly I love them all. The best dressed by far though has to be Annie (soz Dean P). She has a really strong sense of personal style- preppy and colourful and cute, with lots of bright cardigans, floral prints and block colours.

All three of these outfits I think Annie would wear to class- if you want a breakdown of what items of clothing I have chosen or where to get them you can check that out here on my original Polyvore set! Generally though in order to dress like the inimitable Annie Edison you should embrace florals and colour in a BIG way. Annie also tends to go for natural yet pretty makeup- think neat brows, rosy coral blusher and pinky tinted lip balm; and sleek, tidy hair, usually pinned back at the front. She also keeps her accessories to a minimum and lets her clothes speak for themselves, a plain watch and a simple gold necklace seem to be her favs.

I cannot WAIT for season six to arrive- I have been obsessing over any and all news of what might be in the final season, and come tomorrow I will be glued to my screen to find out what the new semester has in store for my favourite Human Beings!

(P.S. #sixseasonsandamovie)