30 September 2016

Arm candy

It's time for a review! Here's my recent purchases from Olivia Burton and Merci Majolie:

Merci Majolie

 A few weeks ago, I was passing time by aimlessly perusing Pinterest. Among the outfits, cityscapes, interiors and recipes, I saw these pretty, dainty rose gold bracelets. 
I'd been tempted to try wearing rose gold (I'm usually a silver kind of girl), so I pinned them and made a mental note to find something similar. 

But days went by and I couldn't find anything quite as nice. I decided to try and hunt down the bracelets from my Pinterest picture. They were a brand I'd never heard of called Merci Majolie

I typed their URL into my browser, bracing myself for stomach-churning price tags (the general rule is: I like what I can't afford). Cue a huge sigh of relief when I spotted everything on their website was under €15! And I found the bracelet from  Pinterest - a couple more goodies accidentally fell into my basket too. Luckily, they didn't take long to arrive...

Why I love it:

The packaging

I hope this doesn't make me sound vapid, but attractive packaging instantly warms me to a product. High-quality boxes with a clean embossed design? Check. Cute, stuffed shapes that serve no discernible purpose, but look adorable and make for a great Instagram flat-lay? Check. Illustrated thank-you card? Mais oui, et check'!

The bracelets even came with a drawstring bag. Perhaps it's just another way for Merci Majolie to push their branding - but for me, it's fantastically practical. If you travel, little bags like these are perfect for storing your jewellery. Wave goodbye to losing rings and bracelets in your suitcase!

The personal touch

How often do you get a handwritten note personally thanking you for your order? Basically never, right? It's a small gesture, but reading it made me smile - and was great French practice!

The product (duh)

With every bargain piece of jewellery, there's an element of apprehension. Will it turn green? Will I turn green? Will it fall apart?

Well, I've been wearing my bracelets non-stop for a few weeks now, and I can confirm both the bracelets and I are in good condition. The chains could be slightly sturdier, but as long as you're not rough with them, they'll be okay. If you're a bit of a clumsy oaf (me too), I'd recommend the bangle-style.

Bottom line: Will I be buying more pretty pieces? That is a definite OUI!




Olivia Burton

I've had my beady little eye on an Olivia Burton watch for years.

Delicate, feminine, timeless.

Slightly expensive. Not bank-breaking, but not something you can purchase on a whim unless you're loaded. Here's the thing: I am a whim-buyer. Until it's going to cost me more than £50, then I become a terrible over-thinker.

That's why it's taken me so long to get one of these watches - I can never decide which one to buy.

'Better get something that goes with everything. Would that be grey? Tan? Black? White? Nah, I'll get the white one too dirty. Now, do I want a rose gold or a silver face..?'

Having plenty of choice is brilliant until you feel incredibly indecisive. This is why I'm on my fourth year of agonising over a Cambridge Satchel Co. bag.

But as you can see, I did finally make a decision! The rose gold goodies from Merci Majolie convinced me to go for rose gold, and a recent shopping trip made up my mind that I bloody love lilac-grey.


Why I love it:

The quality

Soft, supple leather, rose gold plating that's unfailingly shiny. It looks good, it feels comfortable and I know it'll last me a long time. Now I know why mums always tell you to invest in good quality items instead of splashing your cash on cheap high street pieces.

The versatility

I opted for the lilac-grey, rose gold design - and it goes with everything! Whether I'm wearing something slouchy, something edgy, something girly, it still looks good. I'm only a couple of weeks in, but I feel like this is a timeless piece I'll enjoy wearing for years. Lucky it's good quality, huh?

The piece

It ticks! I find it oddly reassuring to hear the ticking before I go to sleep, when it's quiet in the office, or when I'm sitting on the bus. And wearing a watch, which I haven't done since Year Seven, is quite awesome - I feel more grown up, and I can look at my wrist pointedly when people are faffing around.



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24 September 2016

Photo diary: 10 days of fun

At the end of August, I took a week off. I had no exciting travel plans. No big events scheduled. Just a little staycation to give me time to relax and unwind. Maybe that doesn't sound hugely exciting, but it was one my favourite weeks ever!

Between my Canon 70D and my phone, I always had a way to capture what I was doing. These are my favourite pictures from the week:

(Be warned, you may need snacks. This isn't a short post and it contains a lot of brunch and ice-cream.)

Day one: Saturday

You know how it is. It's your first day off, all you want to do is lounge and laze. 



Sadly, my laptop had other ideas and decided this'd be the prime time to break. I spent hours frantically trying key combinations to bring it back to life - but to no avail. I ended up having to send it away to get fixed - which is why this post is a little later than usual.  

The highlights of the day included curling up in bed to watch Splash (because, generally speaking, you can't beat a Tom Hanks film) and hanging out with Pepper the curmudgeonly cat. That's how exciting Saturday was. It gets better, promise.

Day two: Sunday

Sunday started like all good Sundays do - with brunch. 

Maddy, Rob, Zoe and I headed to Urban Reef to celebrate our friendiversary. And Poco came too!





Once I'd finished stuffing my face, I walked up Boscombe's cliff front to meet my friend Rich. Every so often we plan photography fun days and, with my new camera in tow, I was super excited to start snapping. This was the weekend of the Air Show, so we avoided the crazy-busy Bournemouth and drove to Old Harry Rocks on the Isle of Purbeck. We took a walk around the cliffs and looped back to The Bankes Arms for a drink. As luck would have it, we didn't even miss the Air Show - the planes flew overhead while we sat sipping our beverages in the beer garden!







Day three: Monday

Turns out the only thing better than a Sunday brunch is a Monday brunch!


I started the day in Westbourne, one of my favourite spots. Ma, Kate and I had breakfast at Circo Lounge, before taking a quick browse of the local shops. I'm a huge fan of the gorgeous-looking Westbourne Bookshop, where I picked up a quirky notebook (instead of ruled lines, it had lines of literature. In this case, it was Alice in Wonderland).
And then it was time for my hair cut! After getting a few inches chopped off and having my blonde balayage updated, I felt super fresh and summery!

On my way home, I treated myself to a bath bomb, a Primark trip and a Mr Whippy. Start the week as you mean to go on, right?

Day four: Tuesday

I had a day trip planned with Ma on Tuesday. We'd decided to visit the quaint seaside town of Weymouth. She sprung a little surprise on me, though: I had to drive! I'm still a learner, and I've never driven anywhere close to the 60+ miles I did that day, so I'm sure it was pretty good practice. But I won't lie, I totally had white knuckles from gripping the steering wheel.


Our first stop was a little outdoor cafe for a refreshing drink and an ice-cream. We browsed the shops, I picked up a few bargains (maybe more about that another time), we sprawled on the sand to enjoy the late-August sunshine and then grabbed a fabulous lunch in Prezzo. After that, we spent the afternoon walking along the promenade. Weymouth is picture-postcard perfect; a still from a seaside poster you might have seen decades ago, just with the saturation and vibrancy turned up.









Day five: Wednesday

I'd earmarked Wednesday for my home gal Becky. Friends come and go, but Becky's stuck with me for life - we've known each other since we were five!

It was forecast to be sunny, so we decided to hit the beach. The little yellow icon on my phone hadn't prepared me for quite how hot it would be! Naturally - despite the SPF30 - I got slightly sunburnt, but it was nice to lie in the sand and relax for a few hours. 

After getting suitably frazzled, we decided to paddle (cautiously) in the sea. One of us was wary of the unseasonably chilly water, the other was terrified of accidentally stepping on a weaverfish/jelly fish/crab/great white shark. I'll let you work out who's who. 

We were having a beautiful time until a rogue wave snuck up while I was trying to take a selfie and drenched us. 
Our sandy, damp selves then fancied an ice-cream, but we couldn't find a kiosk that'd accept cards on the promenade (an eternal struggle of the beach-dweller). I'm sure you'll agree, we had no other choice than to drive over to Sprinkles and treat ourselves to mountainous sundaes! It did a fabulous job of cooling me down after three hours of sunning myself! 

Once I arrived home, my sister Kate practised her latest make-up artistry techniques on me and turned me into a mermaid. Getting covered in make-up scales and glitter is a fun way to spend the afternoon.

And finally, as all Union Jack-toting Brits know, Wednesday means... Great British Bake Off! So Kate and I baked cupcakes in preparation for the first episode. Kate's rosebud decorations were pretty sweet:




Day 6: Thursday

Thursday started with another breakfast out (wow, exactly how many of those have I had now?). 

This time, Dad and I went to Jenkins & Sons, which is one of my favourite places for crispy bacon and perfectly poached eggs.



After eating, I went straight to my friend Lizzy's house and spent the day with her and her baby, Mila. Just in case that makes me sound too grown-up, I'll let you in on a secret: we danced to Rizzle Kicks (Mila's idea, honestly), played with Snapchat filters and watched Grease: Live. Well, I sort of insisted on the latter. But obviously, I was enjoying it ironically. 


Day 7: Friday

I'd only been away from work for a week, but I seriously missed my work chum Jasmin. So, on Friday, I popped into Poole for a lunch date with her! The week's heatwave was still going strong, which could only mean one thing: ice-cream! We dangled our legs over the quayside while we munched our cones, watching the boats. 

After that nutritious snack and fun catch-up, I popped into Primark to snoop in their homeware section, went birthday present shopping for Mila and moseyed around, enjoying the sun. 

How cute is this little denim dress? I do love clothes shopping for tiny friend.


Once I got home, I got ready to go to a family dinner at the Riggers Restaurant. Riggers is part of the RNLI College and recently had a beautiful revamp. 

Here's the thing about Riggers: you're served delicious food, and you get a pretty good feeling after paying the bill - that's a first. Every £1 you spend there goes to helping the RNLI's amazing volunteers save lives at sea. You don't get that at many restaurants, huh?


Day 8: Saturday

Saturday was Mila's birthday party, so I walked over to wish her a happy first birthday! I feel it's important to mention the bouncy castle and emphasise how grown-up parties really lack inflatable fun things.



After the party started to wind down, Lizzie and Jonny (he's on the bouncy castle!) asked me to be Mila's godmother. I'm 99% sure that, for a brief moment, my face morphed into the heart eyes emoji. I was, and still am, totally over the moon. 

And it's weird - I'm not really into babies or children. Puppies? Cute! Kittens? The best. Babies? Meh. But Mila, my favourite tiny person on the planet, is an absolute exception. I'm so incredibly honoured to be a part of her life.


Day 9: Sunday

Just when I thought life couldn't get any better, I did something kind of huge. 

After weeks of reading, planning and browsing Expedia, I booked my next holiday. Where to? Just a little city called NEW YORK.

I'm so excited I could vomit rainbows. Not just because it's New York, the magical place I've wanted to visit since I was small, but because I get to visit during the most wonderful time of the year. 



Yep, I'm there from late November into December, so I get to experience Christmas in the Big Apple. I've already booked tickets to see The Rockettes at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular - and my head is swimming with giant Christmas trees, ice-skating rinks, tankards of hot chocolate, festive department store windows, frosty Central Park views and big wooly hats... 

I'll stop now. 

Day 10: Monday


Bank Holiday Monday gave me one final day to get my life together before heading back to work. Somehow I'd been having too much fun to crack on with boring life admin.


I managed to be pretty productive, quickly cramming several years' worth of laundry, meal planning for the week and cooking into the day. The latter are new additions to my life. I'm trying to be a) more organised, and b) healthier. That means finding creative ways to feed my fussy self vegetables, and actually cooking myself delicious little lunches rather than gorging on Asda sandwiches and junk food during the week. Wish me luck. I think I'll need it.

I'll leave you with this picture of Jude, who appeared on Sunday night for a cuddle before bedtime!


Huge thank you to all my friends and family who took time out to see me during my week off. And for putting up with my incessant picture-taking. Writing this made me realise how bloomin' lucky I am to have such brilliant people around me.

Stick around to find out what I've been up to since! And while you're waiting, may I suggest following my Twitter and Instagram accounts? It's mostly my cats and food. And very occasionally I'm funny.
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