Thursday, 29 November 2012

Holidays are coming

You've just a couple of days left to get your advent calendar. We don't go over-board with Christmas decorations,  we just have a tree really,  but I so always insist on an advent calendar, and it's always Popeye's job to get it for me. Here are some of my favourites - the 24 Penguins Before Christmas is my winner.

Clockwise from top right:
Liz Earle advent calendar, £100 Liz Earle; Glitter advent calendar, £9.95 Liberty; Ciate mini-mani advent calendar, £38 Ciate, Selfridges or QVC; 24 Penguins Before Christmas advent calendar, £21.79 Amazon; Prestat advent calendar, £30; LEGO Star Wars advent calendar, £24.99 Amazon; 3D Victorian House advent calendar, £9.99 Amazon; The Ginvent Calendar, £79.95 Masters of Malt.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


Oh hello readers. It's not often you hear from me on a Sunday, but I've abandoned you a little this week, due to moving house and being without internet. So I've popped along to an internet cafe this morning, just in time to tell you about the Habitat 20% discount. It was in the Telegraph this week - the code you need to type in at checkout out is TEL11 and it ends tonight so log-on and check out! Here's my pick:

Clockwise from top left
Body wash by Helena Christensen, £12.50 (and buy one get one free); Orin tall occasional table, £200; Industry pendant, £80; Pack of three robot baubles, £12; Flamingo shower curtain, £20; Leather iPad cover, £20; Sesamee laundry bin, £48; Oken square occasional table, £35; Palaset three drawer box, £12; Grid hot water bottle cover, £15;  Brady throw, £95

Background image
Agnes rug, £55

Monday, 19 November 2012

Stocking fillers: for her

Ahhh, I love a Christmas Stocking. It's maybe my favourite part of Christmas. And girls are so easy to buy for - there's a never ending selection of high-street jewellery, toiletries and make-up out there to stuff into a stocking in any budget bracket. Here are my top suggestions. My particular faves are the Printed Leather Pouch from Culture Label (a great website that's a must visit for me when doing my Christmas shopping) and my favourite Almond Shower Gel by L'Occitane. I'm always open to ideas - have you got any requests I've missed off this list? Apart from the obligatory clementine and chocolate coins of course...

Top row, left to right
Gold heart stickers, £2.58 Knot & Bow; Dr Bronner's Organic Rose Castile Liquid Soap, £8.49 FeelUnique; Lipstick in Sartorial, £8 Topshop; Green fluorescent crystal stud earrings, £8 River Island; Organic cotton stripe ribbon, £5.25 notonthehighstreet.

Middle row, left to right
Almond Shower Oil, £16.50 L'Occitane; Clara postit notes, £5.50 Etsy; Instant Boost Skin Tonic, 30ml spritz, £5.25 Liz Earle; Marabelle earrings, £14 Oliver Bonas; Almond Hand & Nail Cream, £10 The Body Shop; Ladydate mini pocket diary, £7.49 Letts; Revlon nail polish in red bikini, £6.49 Boots; Printed leather pouch by Blackbird And The Owl, £22 CultureLabel.

Bottom row, left to right
Liberty print tray, £24.95 Liberty; Lucas' Papaw Ointment, £4.75 Pawpaw Shop; Bahoma candle, £6.99 TK Maxx; Liberty print post-it notes, £5.95 Liberty; Notecards, £4 Paperchase.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Last weekend

I started the weekend with a lovely brunch with Little Legs at Caravan in King's Cross. Think it's my new favourite breakfast spot, and the spread was hard to forget, with the side order of bacon being the icing on the cake. We got there about 10.30am and got a table no probs, but by 11am the place was heaving and people were queuing out of the door. For Caravan at its best, you should be an early bird. A just-in report from Little Legs on this week's evening visit heaps more praise on the place, making it a restaurant for all occasions.

{avocado on toast}

A mini trip to a flea market sale saw me buying these Green candle sticks for a mere £1 (pic coming later). Think the addition of some pink candles will make the perfect pairing, and these look to be just the right shade.

Took advantage of Bob's last trip to France to put in a pharmacy order, which also signalled the start of my Christmas shopping. Felt quite smug surveying my goodies, especially my industrial quantity of Bioderma Crealine H2O Micelle Solution which is simply the best eye-makeup remover. My new rule not to start a new product before I've finished the old one is proving hard when it comes to this Masque Apaisant by Bioderma, but I'm trying to stay strong.

{products from France}

A visit to friends in Stock Newington saw us trying the amazing pizza at Il Bacio - wish I'd had more time to explore the large number of vintage shops in the 'hood - looked like there were excellent offerings! Any tips from London-based readers on where to try?

After a hard week, I had one goal in mind, and that was to find a pair of pyjamas to curl up in on the sofa. I have been hankering after a pair of the old-fashioned button-up style since I did this post. On my way back from work on Friday evening, I swung by TKMaxx, and scored myself this pair for £16.99, in 100% brushed cotton. I also got two Bahoma scented candles for £6.99 each. Mission accomplished.

Embedded image permalink
{new PJ's}

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Stocking fillers: men

It's never too early to start your Christmas shopping and we all know that men can be difficult to buy for, so here are my thoughts on the subject, with some input from Popeye. I've already bought Popeye variations on most of the items below over Christmases gone by, so if you've any other ideas to help me out, please leave your suggestions in the comments box below.

Top row, left to right
Monocle magazine, from £6 (subscriptions also available); Lego lunch box, £7.99 Amazon; Luggage tag, EUR 15.90 Ordning & Reda; Post-poo drops, £21 Aesop; Korres Shower Gel in fig, £5.33 Waitrose; Orange leather phone case by UnderCover, £14.95 Liberty; Tri-stripe boxers, £8 GAP.

Middle row, left to right
Arko Turkish shaving stick, £4 Roullier White; Birkenstock Davos felt slippers, £24.60 Amazon; Stripe socks, £8 Happy Socks; Blue herringbone box tie, $29 The Cordial Churchman; Cotton jersey striped neck cushion, £7.95 Muji; Bean pocket square, 30 EUR, Pochette Square; Kiehl's Facial Fuel SPF 15, £33 John Lewis.

Bottom row, left to right
Wind-up sumos, £8 Heal's; Pantone ruled notebook, £6 The Paperie; CD: Bloom by Beach House, £10 HMV; Leather card case by Almanac Industries, £22.66 Etsy (also in navy) - super slim; Sardine hankie box, £15.95 Thornback & Peel.

And for a little geek-chic for the genius in your life, I couldn't resist the selection below.

Clockwise from top left
Head Boy mug, £8.95 Glint; Lamy Safari fountain pen, £14.95 Ryman; Travel Scrabble, £17.40 John Lewis; Letterpress notecards, £4 Paperchase.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Ways with pastry

We've had a roll of sausage meat in the freezer for a while, with the intention of making some sausage rolls - got to be one of my all time favourite treats, but I've never tried making them myself. I should have, because it was a doddle. Admittedly I didn't make the pastry, I don't really see the point when the ready-made stuff is so convincing. I used this recipe, minus the mushrooms.

I'd bought too much pastry for the amount of sausage meat, so I ended up with a whole extra packet. So because we had some left-over roast chicken, I made a chicken pie using this recipe. It was my first outing for my little blackbird pie-funnel, which I thought did a handsome job. And also the first time I'd used this pie dish to bake an actually pie in - was so much easier that using a regular oven dish, as the wide lip allows the pastry to sit on top in a very well behaved manner.

A square of pastry was still hanging about, even after all this baking activity, so jam tarts completed this hat-trick. Just score a square in your pastry, a couple of centimeters from the edge, and fill the square with jam. I used blackcurrant jam here. Easy peasy.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Topshop classics

I've been liking a lot of Topshop's stuff recently, and at the mo they've got free standard delivery until tomorrow night. Their Boutique, Premium and Made in Britain ranges are all producing the good stuff - here are my favourites below, with a focus on natural fibres - lots of wool and silk in this selection. Sorry about the dark, muted nature of the colours, but I reckon these items are classics, and so you'll be wearing them with everything for years to come. 

Special mention goes to the grey sleeveless coat, which, as a devoted jacket wearer, will be the perfect option to layer over my usual jackets to add more warmth, kind of like a posh gilet. 

Another thumbs up for the black silk vest, which I have maybe been looking for all my life. After finding the perfect vest shape in a charity shop, but in polyester, I have been on the look-out for a silk version for ages. What's so special about this one? The scoop back. Well done Toppers.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A red lip

Despite my recent rush of affection for my Nars Schiap lipstick, I have for a long time been a dedicated follower of a red lip. I was prompted to write this post when I realised recently that my all time favourite red lipstick, a true pillar box red, has now been discontinued by Elizabeth Arden. A panicked Google search resulted in a bulk order at a hugely discounted price, so I hope my stash lasts for as long as my lipstick love continues.

{Elizabeth Arden lipstick in marigold available here}

Another great red lippy is Tom Ford's in Cherry Lush. It's expensive, but then the packaging is particularly glamorous, and the texture and pigment is fabulous. I borrowed my friend's and had trouble returning it.

{Tom Ford lipstick in Cherry Lush available here}

I once met lipstick doyenne Poppy King when she spoke at an event, and have been a little enamoured with her ever since. She's a lady who wears a lipstick well, favouring a strong lipstick in lieu of any other obvious make-up. I tried her Saint Red lipstick (and I also use Saint Rose regularly) and like it for being a more everyday red than the Elizabeth Arden or Tom Lush lippies above. Her collaboration with No7 has resulted in a edited collection of brilliant quality lipsticks, which are currently on buy one get one half price at Boots - a lovely stocking filler.

{Lipstick Queen in Saint Red, £18 SpaceNK}

No7 Poppy King Lipstick in History, £10.95 Boots

I was in Boots a couple of weeks ago when the Revlon range was on 3 for 2 - I bought a couple of nail varnishes and a great orange lipstick. Revlon's lipsticks are impressive for the quality and price, and Red Lacquer is my favourite of their reds. Its classy packaging keeps things chic and this one is also on buy one one get one half price at the mo.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Red Lacquer, £7.49 Boots

I like to wear my red lipstick without a lip liner, which gives it a modern edge. But if you're a fan of a lined lip, then Barry M's lip liner in LL113, £2.99 Barry M or No 7's Precision Lips Liner in 15 Fire, £6.75 Boots are both great. They also work well on there own, by just lining and filling in the lip, with a little lip balm over the top.

I find a strong red lip gives you a chance to give your other usual make-up a rest, and so it can really be a time-saving option or a whole look in one slick, if you're caught on the hop. It's perfect for those straight-from-the-office occasions or for a few drinks in the evening when you've been out all day without the chance to nip home first. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Charity shop marathon

A couple of weekends ago, Popeye was away for the day and so I decided to organise a charity shop marathon for myself. It was a 12 shop whopper, and here are my spoils.

{the assembled finds}

One of my favourite finds was this metal bowl (above) with a handle each side - it's got a million uses, and so far has been good for putting our vegetables in after we've dug them up down at the allotment. It could also make a nice outdoor planter for heather or herbs, or an impromptu ice bucket for BBQ beers.

{two gold necklaces}

{yellow leather bag}

{buckle detail}

{silver toed gold shoes}

{khaki silk shirt}

The silk shirt is an old C&A classic with some nice pleated details on the top pockets. It looks good with the gold & silver pumps plus my grey skinny jeans (and an iron!) and navy blue bag below. I am trying to resist the urge to replace the current shirt buttons with gold buttons, which has been a bit of an addiction in the past.

{Liberty fabric skirt}

This skirt looks rubbish on me, but it was only £1 and I love the fabric - I'm going to use the fabric to make a couple of cushions or some more drawstring bags. The navy blue bag is perhaps the most perfect bag I've seen in a long time. I love it.

{navy blue leather bag}

{gold clasp detail}