Thursday, 31 July 2014

One Shirt Three Ways

A little while ago I talked about being a bit more creative with my wardrobe and trying to get more wear from my clothes. I got this shirt from Primark for £10, and I decided to challenge myself to put together three different outfits with completely different looks with it.

Outfit 1

Skirt- H&M, Shoes- Kurt Geiger, Bag- Zara

Outfit 2

Jeans- Topshop Joni, Heels- H&M, Hat- Miss Selfridge, Backpack- Topshop, Lipstick- Rimmel Kate Moss 107

Outfit 3

Shorts- Topshop, Shoes- Office (Old), Rings- H&M, Lips- Rimmel Moisture Renew in 130 Oxford Street Fuchsia 

It actually really helped me to look at my wardrobe in a different way and realise it really can go further! Have you ever done anything similar?

Annabel xxx

Monday, 28 July 2014

I'm gonna call you Dandelion

Let's face's sweaty everywhere. You have to be so careful with make up so it doesn't end up all over your face!! This is what I'm wearing currently. Apologies for the lack of smile in the top photo- apparently I have bitchy resting face!

No7 Skin Illuminator
Number 17 BB Cream in Light (SPF25!)
Maybelline FIT Me Anti Shine Stick in 120 Classic Ivory
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 2 Cool Medium
Bourjois Poudre de Riz de Java
Sleek Contour Pallette in 373 Light

Max Factor Wild Shadow Pot in 35 Auburn Envy
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Black
Benefit 'They're Real!' in Black

Benefit Dandelion Lipgloss

Annabel xxx

Friday, 25 July 2014

OOTD: Flower Crown

Today, the weather in London has finally broken...and it is pouring down with rain and really dull. It's nice to have it cooler and less sweaty, but as typical English weather does, it's ruined my plans of going to Embankment for frozen yoghurt. Today I'm working from home and creating my Oktoberfest costume for a boat party I'm going to tomorrow night. It's currently in pieces on my bedroom floor and I've run out of wonderweb. I'm trying not to panic yet!! I will be a sexy beer wench and not a drab disaster.

I got this skirt and headband from the Tottenham Court Road Primark yesterday on the way to meet my friends for Thai in Waterloo. I paired them with some basic seperates I already had to make something comfy for working and crafting today but that will still look nice if I do go out later. No Friday night plans yet!

Skirt- Primark (£8), Cardigan- Topshop, Shoes- New Look, Flower Crown- Primark (£4), White tshirt- Topshop (old).

Annabel xxx

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Life Updates

Today I thought I'd do a little life update as I feel I haven't been quite as inspired with blogging lately and haven't been quite as creative and personal. It can be really easy to get stuck in a blogging rut of reviewing places and beauty products because its quite easy to do. I had a big brainstorm today and have tons more creative ideas so I'm excited to share them all with you.

Recently I've been working really hard on taking life less seriously and just letting things go. That's why the first picture I chose for this post is me with a packet of crisps, on some police station steps, when I just decided to go for a walk at midnight. I'm very blessed with my life, it's one I absolutely love and I get to do amazing things, but I'm a massive worrier/anxious person and I always have been. I've been getting better at not overthinking things (even though it means when I do freak out it's a big one- working on it!). I never claim to be perfect- and blogging can give people such a false perception. You have to remember it's the highlight reel of someone's life..not their actual life!

Money has been tighter this month..a few big nights out, the after effects of holiday shopping and THREE parking tickets (I know..) has meant that I'm back to shopping my own wardrobe and stash. That was getting me down- blogging is such a fast paced thing and it can be so tempting to buy everything to keep up with the latest 'fad' or trend. But blogging is really an extension of my own personality, and the reality is I don't wear something amazing and different every day and I do go to work with just a flick of mascara. I'm being more creative and I am going to play with all the things I do have to create some new looks.

Work wise I've had to get realistic. While I can sit and daydream about being a full time blogger the reality is that I just don't have the readership to make money yet. I've started going into the office every day and knuckling down at my full time, bill paying job. While it's not as exciting, it can be rewarding and it always helps to have your options open. Having said that, blogging is going from strength to strength. It makes me so excited to see comments, shares and likes, especially from new people! I also got invited to my first PR I cannot WAIT to go and share it all with you.

I'm trying to also eat healthier recently. Around August last year I was really stressed out and life was crazy, which knocked my appetite completely and I got to my lowest weight ever. I was seriously poorly. Since then, I've gained it all back and new found enjoyment of life has meant I've gained over two stone in less than 6 months. I don't mind it at all, and actually look and feel much healthier...but I think it's time to slow it down and treat my body to good proper food instead of lots of meals out and drinks- so you will start to see more healthy recipes on here. As well as wine.

And finally...what I'm reading, watching, loving and wearing. I've been binge watching Suits on Netflix (which might explain the recent enthusiasm for my job), literally living in dresses because London is so so hot at the moment, and I went to my first night out at Ministry of Sound last weekend. I'm going to an Oktoberfest themed boat party, pizza with the girls and a street art tour of London within the next week. I'm barely reading at the moment..but I do keep picking up and putting down The Woman Who Went to Bed For A Year. It's very funny. Oh, anddddd, I keep planning more travelling. If I can ever afford to keep up with myself. Happy Summer Beautifuls!!

Annabel xxx

Monday, 21 July 2014

Gordon's Wine Bar

Last week I escaped the office and headed to Embankment to finally try a London institution- Gordon's Wine Bar with my friend Grace..who is one of those people who always know the places to go! Gordon's is the oldest wine bar in London, established in 1890, and it feels exactly like stepping back in time.

Photo Credit: Gordon's Wine Bar Website

You enter the bar down some rickety steps (don't take a suitcase, a heavy work bag or heels you can't walk in) and you are basically in an underground cavern/basement/cave thing. The closest thing I can liken it to is actually a cave. The ceilings are so low you have to duck, and it's atmospheric and exciting.

Despite loitering around looking hopefully at other weekday drinkers, we couldn't get a table inside, so we headed outside and found some chairs next to a barrel table. All good fun. We swiped a sticky menu on the way past and went for some Pinot Grigio. Gordon's doesn't serve beer or fact, they even have a sign behind the bar saying so!

We ordered a cheese platter, for an absolutely barginous £12..which came with a whole french baguette, unlimited cornichons, silverskin onions and chutney. We opted for Camembert, Smoked Cheddar and Stilton..but they have lots of choices if you're feeling adventurous. I heard the person in the queue behind me ask about pregnant women, which they gladly catered for. Impressive. They also have some yummy looking hot food- proper pub grub- scotch eggs, pork pies and BBQs on summer weekends.

Please note- due to the impossibly low level lighting and difficulty cramming myself into corners to photograph, not all photos are my own. You can see more on the Gordon's website.

Obligitory selfie in the work lift of what I was wearing! Dress is ASOS.

I'm now on the hunt for more quirky bars in London. Grace recently took me to the COLD Gin Distillery which was also great. Any recommendations?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

London Calling

I love travelling, but sometimes it's nice to explore what your own hometown has to offer. I've been living in London on and off for four years now, and working in the capital for a lot of that time. Most of my friends do the same. However, when you're running across Tower Bridge to get to a meeting or find somewhere to print a last minute train ticket (true story), it's hard to remember that you are standing on the Tower Bridge- one of London's biggest tourist attractions.

This weekend, we decided to go to London and actually do London...not the hidden bars we know, or the office, or where the fastest place to get a latte is..but the tourist side. We joined up with the backpacks and the school trips and the selfies and did a London tourist day...interspersed with a picnic in Hyde Park and an ice cream at Buckingham palace. 

This gorgeous little monkey was amazingly well behaved enjoying his sandwiches in Hyde Park.
His Mummy has just set up her own business making customised shoes. They're amazing- you can see her on instagram here!

Mum Rhiannon wears: Top and Skirt from New Look, Rings from Primark.
The little one wears: Next and an M&S dribble bib

Aunty Rachael is wearing New Look jeans and tee and Vans trainers.

I'm wearing a Warehouse kimono, black tank top, and Levi cut-offs from Rokit. It was such a nice day!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Hey Honey Bun!

The other day I took a wander into TK Maxx. I mentioned it in a recent post and ever since I've looked pretty much every time I've walked past. And considering it's about 5 minutes walk from my house, is quite often! This time, I picked up a Philosophy 3in1 shower gel, and just because it had a damaged box, I paid £6.99!

I fell in love with Philosophy shower gels when I bought the Peppermint stick one as a Christmas present to myself with my Boots points. I used it everyday and it lasted until the end of March. I wandered into Debenhams, where they stock all the new Philosophy products, which usually retail for £14.50.

This one smells literally exactly like buns from the bakery. Super sweet, and leaves your skin smelling like golden syrup. I'm obsessed with it. It just borders too sickly, but leaves your skin so soft and smells so yummy. I've always loved things that smell like pudding.

TK Maxx beauty section is fantastic. Go and have a look!


Thursday, 10 July 2014

100 Coloriages Anti-Stress

There's a new craze sweeping the blogging world, and it's not just for kids. A lot of high profile bloggers have come forward and spoken about their struggles with depression, anxiety and stress. 100 Coloriages Anti-Stress is a French colouring book, that's not for kids.

It's the most relaxing, addictive thing of all time. The designs are so intricate and beautiful, you really have to concentrate to do it. The one pictured above took three days. Because it's so detailed and you have to concentrate it really relaxes you. The French claim you have to use both sides of your brain to do it which is why it's so effective. It also gives you something to do with your hands while you watch less boredom eating!

It's available on Amazon, I got the pens from Paperchase, and they have loads of different designs.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Magazine Freebie Face-Off: Glamour vs Elle

So this month the magazine freebies are really good! I could've spent a fortune in the magazine aisle. InStyle have a free Neal's yard hand cream, Harper's Bazaar have a L'occitane perfume, and Marie Claire have a Balance Me face cream. The big hitters are all competing! I picked up my usual reads, Elle and Glamour, and thought I would do a review of the freebies they have this month.

Elle has a Malin + Goetz skincare trio, worth £10, and Glamour has an Eyeko eyeliner worth £12.

Malin + Goetz

There is a lot of hype in the beauty blogging world at the moment about this brand, so I was looking forward to trying this little trio. All sample sizes, it includes the grapefruit face cleanser, the vitamin e  face moisturiser and a lip moisturiser. I tried the cleanser first, and it has a light, fruity grapefruit smell, much more natural than say the Neutrogena pink grapefruit. It barely foams at all, which means you could be inclined to use more product than you really need. The second I dried my face I got the dreaded feeling people with sensitive skin hate..taut, irritated, dryness. It said it was suitable for sensitive skin so I proceeded on with the moisturizer...and was equally not impressed. I don't know if it's because it's so natural, but I felt it really needed some glycerin to help it actually spread across my skin. It was just very dry.

The lip moisturiser, however, I did really like. It's not really a day thing in my opinion, it tastes pretty horrible and feels sticky like the lipglosses you get your hair stuck in at school. I was all ready to write this product off, until I woke up the next day. And ohmygoodness I had the softest, most repaired lips of all time. This product will be staying by my bed as an overnight wonder product to get rid of dry chapped lips. But it's not a handbag product.

Overall Freebie Score? 7/10.


I am so so glad I didn't buy this product before the freebie! I was really tempted. I love eyeliner, I particularly love felt-tip pen style eyeliners, and when Alexa Chung is the face of something it's just an irrisistable package. So I was very excited to try this.

The packaging is feels expensive, if you know what I mean? I couldn't stop looking at it. It reminds me of some of the Urban Decay packaging. When swatched, it gives a lovely deep, dark line, totally smudge proof and looking almost permanently wet. The swatches had some good staying power but came off easily with soap and water.

On my eyes, however? Ermmm....I don't know. I don't know if it's so smudge proof it barely glides at all. I know this post sounds like I just have really dry skin, but trust me, I don't! I normally use either the Collection Extreme eyeliner or the Soap and Glory Supercat for pen liner...and they're both better. It was difficult to apply overall. It came off easily with a face wipe.

I'll give it another go before I relegate it to the bottom of my make up bag, but I couldn't help feeling really disappointed and glad I didn't buy it!

Overall Freebie Score? 5/10

So on the Freebie face off today, the prize goes to Elle, for fixing my chapped lips and the lovely smell and washing experience of the Malin + Goetz products. I also feel that the products would be amazing on someone with oilier skin than me.

Did you buy any magazines this month? What did you think of the freebies?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Weekend Wonderings- How to Deal with Setback

I am the worst person in the world for beating myself up. About anything and everything. I was browsing around and having a think about what to do if you do mess up. Everyone does it! 

1. Expect mistakes and knocks. They are a normal part of life, and no matter how hard you try, they will not go away. Give yourself a break.
2. Remind yourself that you are good enough. You may not be perfect, but at least you’re trying. It take courage to step out, and to get up when you fall down. Just being willing to do that is a true mark of success.
3. Don’t overreact. It is better to stay calm, to maintain your composure and choose how you’ll respond. A knee jerk reaction often leads to real regret.
4. Try not to think or worry about how others see you. Don’t let other people determine your self-worth.
5. Put a positive slant on a bad experience. What can you learn from this that moves you closer to success? What can you laugh about with friends; what can you see as humorous?
6. Fix your focus on your goals, then look ahead and keep on going. Don’t let a setbacks deflect you from your purpose and your dreams.

What do you do when you make a mess of something? How do you get back on your feet?

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Andalucia Photo Diary

If you've been reading my blog and twitter, you might know that I recently went on a road trip around Southern Spain, a region known as Andalucia. The Costa del Sol has a pretty terrible reputation, but Andalucia and Southern Spain in general is far from the 'Chips-with-everything' culture of the package holiday places. It's absolutely beautiful, winding streets, breathtaking scenery and a late eating tapas culture that suited me down to the ground.

Our itinery saw us stay in a different place virtually every night, and I used airbnb for the first time to stay in an amazing place right in the centre of Malaga- a gorgeous historic town that most people only use for the airport! I took a risk booking some unusual places, and it paid off ten fold. We met some great people and stayed in amazing locations for less than a hotel. We rented an incredible BMW convertible from Sixt, who I'd recommend...but if you're doing a roadtrip I'd definitely pay for the peace of mind of zero excess. The beauty of a trip like this is that you really can do it on almost any budget...just vary the quality of your car and accommodation.

Andalucia Road Trip Itinery

Day 1-  Took the late night flight after work into Malaga.

Day 2-  Spent the day relaxing in the rooftop pool, explored Malaga Cathedral, the Picasso museum, and realised the meaning of the expression 'There's a fine line between genius and insanity'

Day 3-  Picked up the car in Malaga and began our journey to Tarifa. We drove via Fuengirola, Estepona, Belimedina and Marbella, where we stopped, got on the beach, and fell asleep for two hours! Tarifa was one of the best places I've ever been to..decievingly hidden behind old town walls, an international surf culture with cobbled streets, hidden bars and the best passion fruit mojitos.

Day 4- Gibraltar- The weirdest place ever, a tiny bit of Bournemouth moved south..pukka pies, pub grub and a weird sing-song accent, half Spanish, half English. The cable car up the mountain to see the monkeys was breathtaking. Stayed back in Tarifa.

Day 5- Cadiz via Bolognia. Bolognia beach is gorgeous! White sand, sweeping sand dunes and a great tapas cafe serving sizzling garlic prawns and salad.

Day 6- Seville. We started with Cadiz Cathedral, which had the most amazing crypts that were probably the cultural highlight of the trip. We then drove to Seville. The Alcazbar is beautiful, the bull ring tour is fascinating, but the best thing is the crazy tapas bars..lots of shouting in Spanish and a total cultural experience.

Day 7- Granada via Grazelema and Ronda. Ronda is probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Sweeping white villages surround a gigantic bridge over a gorge full of turquoise water. Granada is day, don't attempt to drive anywhere. By night, wander the streets and join in the free tapas culture and the edginess of the city.

Day 8- Malaga. The morning started at Granada Alcazabar for city sights, followed by a drive back to Malaga for returning the car. Back in Malaga the squares are buzzing after midnight, so we went out, befriended the backpackers, and had a night out with some hostel-stayers. Attempting to order drunk food in Spanish is an experience!

Day 9- Malagueta beach for hungover massages, fresh sardines and sea bass in the sun, and a paddle before the much unwanted trek to Gatwick.

1000 blissful kilometres later and I've got holiday blues. I'm already planning the next one!
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