Friday 31 December 2010


What better way to celebrate the end of 2010 than with afternoon tea? 

One glass of champagne went completely to my head and those cakes didn't last long. Oh Slimming World, I'm sorry. I promise this is just a temporary blip. I'll be back on form tomorrow.

So, that's that then. Another year has been and gone. How was it for you?

2010 has been the best year of my whole life. I'm sad to see it go but I'm incredibly excited for 2011 and all it will bring. This year I bought a house, lost over five stone in weight, went to Glastonbury Festival (again) and New York (again), visited Barcelona for the first time, got promoted and, most importantly, finally found happiness within myself. I've never been happier than I am right now and I feel truly blessed to have had such a wonderful year, filled with so many incredible people.

However you're spending tonight, I hope you have a fabulous time. Thankyou so much to everyone who's followed my little old blog this year. The comments, the emails and the lovely words of encouragement are appreciated so much and I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve.

Here's to 2011! xxx

Thursday 30 December 2010


My nemesis and downfall

001: I'm in that strange limbo period between Christmas and New Year when I stay up too late, wake up too late and am never entirely sure what day it is. I'm not back in work until the 4th January and I'm genuinely slightly concerned that I will have forgotten not only the passwords to my work computer but also how to do my job. Worrying.

002: Christmas was WONDERFUL. It was one of the nicest I've ever had and I was utterly spoilt by my parents. I got not one, not two but three lovely prints from Keep Calm Gallery. I cannot wait to get those bad boys framed and up on my far-too-bare walls. Christmas was quiet, relaxing and filled with far too much food and one too many gin and tonics. Basically perfect then.

003: The Sainsburys man has just delivered and I'm now eating fruit for the first time in about a week. Shocking. After 11 months of Slimming World plan following, Christmas was a complete shock to the system. I feel bloated and MASSIVE and I'm actually relishing the thought of salads, fruit and green tea. Must lose holiday weight. Must lose holiday weight. Etc etc etc.

004: I ventured into Manchester yesterday, intending to do a bit of sale shopping. After spending 45 minutes in the queue at Primark I couldn't face going to any other shops and so headed home. I did buy a onesie with rabbit ears though. It's simultaneously the most incredible and most horrific thing I've ever bought and I haven't taken it off since I got home.

005: I'm currently making a list of resolutions for 2011. Things I want to achieve include hitting my target weight, blogging more (I'm aware that posting has been seriously scant of late but I really have been busier than a very busy thing) and getting fit.

So, my lovelies, how was Christmas for you? Any exciting presents? Any amazing sale finds?

Monday 27 December 2010

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night...

1. Winter face. MAC Myth lipstick and Make Up Forever gold glitter. My new true loves
2. Like an ice rink
3. A tale of two Christmas trees. Mine on the left, my parents' on the right
4. Gin and tonic whilst preparing vegetables
5. Snacks and Christmas morning Buck's Fizz
6. Candle, fire, German candle thing
7. The money shot
8. Ginger and pineapple meringue. Basically the best thing I've ever eaten
10. Let sleeping dogs lie

Saturday 25 December 2010

Friday 24 December 2010

Eve Eve

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

The presents are all wrapped, Christmas Dinner dessert is made (Nigella flourless chocolate brownies), my Yankee Candle christmas cookie candle is burning and the fairy lights are twinkling on the tree. All is quiet and still, snow still lingering on the ground outside.

I'm so excited about Christmas this year. For the first time in years I feel at peace with myself and I feel truly contented with my life. This year has been wonderful in so many ways and I'm just so happy. I can't wait to spend time with the people I love the most.

Christmas should be a happy time for all but, for many people, it isn't. For those on their own, for those who have lost someone, for those who are struggling financially, mentally or emotionally, Christmas can be harder than any other time of year. Maybe I'm more aware of it because I volunteer for the Samaritans but it breaks my heart that not everyone can be as happy as they should be at this truly magical time of year.

There are small acts of kindness that can make people feel so cared for. If we can't show some love at Christmas, then when can we? If you have an elderly person near you, ask them if they need anything, particularly with the bitterly cold temperatures we've been having. If there's someone you know who's going to be alone on Christmas Day, and you think they might be feeling down, maybe take them a mince pie or give them a quick call. Noone should have to be alone or sad at Christmas.

Sorry if this post is a bit of a downer, I'm just acutely aware of how damn lucky most of us are, and, at Christmas, it's nice to be nice, isn't it?

Sunday 19 December 2010

A Very Merry Manchester Christmas...

1. Manchester Town Hall
2. Merry Christmas Manchester! 
3. Taken of one of the stalls at the Christmas market
4. My tree! I'm obsessed with it
5. My favourite bauble. So sparkly!
6. Presents. Obviously
7. Tree and the table set for the Christmas dinner that I cooked for 6 of my friends last night
8. I think I'm going to be finding party popper remnants for months
9. The reason why I genuinely feared death when I woke up this morning

Thursday 9 December 2010

Jewellery Shaped Things

My name is Helen and I am a jewellery addict.

There, I said it. I have a bona fide addiction to trinkets, jewels and pretty adornments. In fact, I'm currently trying to think of a way to transport my huge collection of necklaces to the new house without them ending up in one giant tangle. So when the lovely Sarah offered to send me a couple of pieces from her new Etsy shop I jumped at the chance! Particularly as they're so delicate and fine. I have a lot of necklaces but I really lack dainty ones, normally favouring Tatty Devine-esque acrylic numbers.

Hailing from the North West (and soon to be living in Manchester) I'm used to my fair share of rain so I opted for the 'Oh to be in England' necklace and, continuing my obsession with bee and insect related jewellery, the 'Between angels and insects' necklace.

Both necklaces are absolutely gorgeous and I can see me getting a lot of wear out of them. They're perfect for adding a quirky edge to a smart outfit for work or for layering up with other necklaces. All Sarah's pieces would make lovely Christmas presents for those gorgeous girls in your life and the packaging is so cute!

Prices start at a bargain-tastic £7 and, if you enter 'CLEARYOURHEART' at checkout then you'll get 10% off your order (expires on 15th December 2010). Go go go!

Wednesday 8 December 2010

A Christmas Wish (or 9)

Clockwise from Top Left:  'Shoot For The Stars' print from Keep Calm Gallery; 'Ghettoblaster' weekend bag; 'Touche Kouche' shoes from Office; Leopard print sweatshirt from Topshop; 'Red Lips' telephone; Micro Fleece Turtleneck Set from Uniqlo; 'Big Love' mug by Emma Bridgewater; 'Red Lips' necklace from Temporary Secretary; 'Madamoiselle Danger' iPhone cover by Marc Jacobs

Other things that would be gratefully received include (but are not limited to): lots of Tabio socks, tights and leg warmers; finally hitting my weight loss target (7.5 pounds to go!); finding a nice boy who will make me bacon sandwiches and mix a perfect gin & tonic once in a while; eternal health and happiness for me and my loved ones; My Mum's pineapple and ginger pavlova for dessert on Christmas Day.

I don't ask for much, do I?!

Sunday 5 December 2010

House of bruises

001: I am shattered. Firstly, it was my work Christmas do on Friday and, as a result, I have but one piece of advice for you. Don't wear 5 inch heels when it's snowing. Or start drinking at 3.30pm. In my defence, the office got evacuated at 3pm because of an electrical fault. It would have been rude not to take advantage of that by getting our drink on in the pub. I have a cut leg, two grazed and bruised knees and a ridiculously painful and bruised left hand. I am too old for such drinking related injuries.

002: The other reason for my state of extreme exhaustion is, of course, the house. I've been spending every spare minute painting and it's starting to come together nicely. In other news, I did a fairly vigorous booty dance to 'Poison' earlier and then realised that, not only were the curtains open, I was also standing on a ladder in full view of the street. Hello, new neighbours!

003: Speaking of my house, a few people have asked to see pictures of the palace so there are a few little sneak peeks above. Interesting features to note: the kitchen painted in orange gloss paint (yum), the pantry (!), the 'intense truffle' walls that I'm trying desperately to get rid of, the air raid shelter in the backyard (love) and the generally shabby nature of it. It was built in 1902 and I swear that hardly anything has been done to it since! Still, it's all mine and I'm completely in love with it.

004: The gorgeous Sarah sent me some jewellery from her new Etsy shop. I'll be posting about the pieces she sent me later in the week but, if you want to get a head start, head over to her shop now and enter 'CLEARYOURHEART' for a 10% discount (valid until 15th December). She's got some gorgeous necklaces and earrings that would be perfect for Christmas presents so go and spend your pennies!

005: I solemnly swear to post some sort of outfit post this week. Hopefully. Seeing as I currently spend my time either in work clothes or in paint covered leggings and jumpers though, maybe not.

Thursday 2 December 2010

And the winner is...

I know I'm a day late in announcing the giveaway winner but - apologies for saying this again - I OWN A HOUSE. Painting, ordering Virgin media (PRIORITIES) and continually squealing with excitement is rather tiring y'know.

Anyway, let's get down to business.... selected comment 21, which means that Bee is the winner! Congrats lovely and I'll be emailing you later to get your address and your cookie flavour preferences!

Thankyou so much for all the entries and I'm just sorry that I couldn't send something to each and every one of you. I loved reading all your Christmas lists and am now feeling so festive. I might just pick one or two more of you and send you some cookies, when I'm finally settled in the house! x

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Haus of Helen

The view from the train to London

Blimey, I can't believe it's been nearly a week since my last post! 

However, I do have an extremely good excuse as I now own a house. Yes, finally! I picked up the keys on Friday and spent most of Saturday cleaning skirting boards, undercoating door frames and doors and generally prancing around chanting 'HOUSE HOUSE HOUSE!' I can't really believe that it's actually mine. Not quite yet. Hopefully when I've moved all my things in and got it looking a bit more presentable (the walls are currently 'Intense Truffle' and it's so dark) then it'll start to feel like home.

A short and sweet post today as I was out of the office yesterday so am currently drowning under a sea of email. Send help if I'm not back by tomorrow.

*** If you've not entered my giveaway then what are you waiting for?! Hop to it as it ends at midnight tonight ***

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Lucky 100

Well, after mentioning doing a '100 followers' giveaway a couple of weeks ago, I never mentioned it again did I? Until now that is! I spent ages thinking about what I could give away that was representative of my blog and the things I love. I'm really happy with what I've chosen and I hope you are too!

So, without further ado, here's what you could win....

♥ A Me & Zena 'You Have The Right To Remain Romantic' tote bag
♥ An i love boxie t-shirt (one of my favourite brands)
♥ A Giles x Cadbury Nibbles scarf
♥ A bottle of OPI 'Catch Me In Your Net' (my all-time favourite nail varnish)
♥ A bottle of Eyeko 'Petite Polish'

And..... some cookies handmade by yours truly! (Using the recipe seen here and here)

Here's how to enter...

♥ Leave me a comment telling me what's on your Christmas list (if you don't have a blog then please leave a contact email address too) or, if you can't be bothered with that, then I guess you can just write 'enter me' too
♥ For extra entries, either tweet or blog about the giveaway. Leave me a separate comment for each to make it easier for me when I'm totting up at the end!

- Closing date is 30th November, at midnight UK time.
- The winner will be chosen using a random number generator.
- The giveaway is open to everyone but if you win and you're not from the UK, then I can't really send you any cookies, sorry!

Monday 22 November 2010


Right now, the inside of my brain looks like this...


It's not pretty but there is a good reason for it. Yes, finally, over two months since I put the offer in on the palace, tonight I went and signed the contract. Barring an absolute disaster, the house is mine and hopefully completion should take place on Friday. Terrifying yet incredible.

Of course, me being me, I hadn't let myself believe that it was acually going to happen so I'm completely ill-prepared. I don't know what colours I want on the walls. I don't know which wallpaper I want. I don't even know where I want to put the sofa. So now I need to start planning in earnest.

One thing I am sure of though, is that I need this duvet cover in my life...

Sunday 21 November 2010

Outfit Post: Caped Crusader

I was contacted by the lovely Helen from Afeitar a few weeks ago and told that she'd picked me to receive an item of clothing from Clothing At Tesco as part of their 'post it on' feature. I was, of course, utterly delighted and I chose this cape (which was actually in Helen's collage in her post about her item). I'm so pleased with it! I'd wanted a cape for a few months but had never found the perfect one for me. I love this one as it has sleeves and big chunky buttons, which are two things that I was looking for. Thankyou so much to Helen and Clothing At Tesco!

I'd bought clothes from Tesco occasionally, but usually only as an impulse buy in the middle of doing my weekly shop. They've got some absolutely gorgeous things on the website though and I ordered a leather look dress, a leather skirt and a knitted skirt after I received my cape, that's how impressed I am with it! I'm already picturing wearing the knitted skirt on Christmas morning, with a big arran cardigan and slipper socks. Yum.

My other new obsession are these cherry red Doc Martens. I can seem myself wearing them with everything this winter, whether it works or not. They're just so comfortable and keep my feet toasty warm. I've wanted a pair of 14 hole DMs for so long. My 16 year old self is DYING with jealousy.

Please excuse my pale and tired face, I just wanted to give you a better look at my beloved earmuffs! I bought them at Century 21 in New York and they make me feel like Blair Waldorf, which, let's face it, is my raison d'etre.

After posting on Friday about how I was going to get myself bang up to date with blog posts, I woke up yesterday with a horrendous cold. Aches, shivers, banging headache and dizziness. Not pleasant. I ended up spending yesterday either sleeping, sneezing or crying (at Hollyoaks and Corrie... the shame!) but am feeling loads better today. Praise be.

Dress & Cardigan - New Look
Tights - Marks & Spencer
Necklace - Dorothy Perkins
Ring - Topshop
Brooch - Vintage 
Earmuffs - Century 21
Doc Martens - c/o Cloggs

Friday 19 November 2010

Kiss and make up

Man alive, this week has been busy!

I've been a terrible blogger yet again this week. Sometimes life just takes over I guess. The highlight of the week was seeing Kele Okereke last night. If you've never listened to his album then I urge you to get a copy now, put Tenderoni on and dance round your room like a lunatic. It will enhance your life in so many ways, I promise.

1) Sequins on a Friday are practically mandatory in my life. And this Markus Lupfer jumper is still one of my absolute favourites.
2) I went to see MIA at the Warehouse Project last Saturday night. MIA was slightly disappointing, the big gay night out afterwards was not. Dancing round to Cher at 9am is never a bad thing. I wore falsh eyelashes for the very first time and I think I can now call myself a proper girl, yes?
3) The Models Own x Wah Nails nail art pens popped through my letter box today. I cannot wait to try these bad boys out. Although I am fairly cack handed when it comes to matters of the nail so we shall see. THE PACKAGING THOUGH! Incredible.
4) Another of my latest obsessions is Eyeko. Gorgeous packaging and lovely lovely products at very reasonable prices. I'm currently loving the Minty Fat Balm and the Extra Glow Cream which bares more than a passing resemblance to my beloved Benefit High Beam but at less than half the price. If you enter my ambassador code at the checkout then you'll get yourself a lovely little free gift... E12432.

After spending the last three weekends in various dens of ill repute in Manchester I'm really looking forward to this one. I have no plans other than a Samaritans duty this evening. So I intend to sleep, bake and blog. I have so many blog posts to write so that's going to be my main focus this weekend.

What are your plans, my lovelies?

Monday 15 November 2010

Outfit Post: Yellow

Brought to you from the glamour of my garage! I know, I know, but unfortunately it's the only place light enough to take outfit shots by the time I've got home from work. These early nights are rather depressing me at the moment. I feel like autumn's been stolen and we've just skipped straight to winter. This is an example of the type of outfit that I usually wear to work. Basically my staple outfit is coloured tights + bright shoes + a pencil skirt or cropped trousers.

Another peek at that gorgeous ring. I can't get enough of this little fella at the moment. Also, these shoes are probably my most complimented footwear ever. They were £5 in the Next sale last year. Oh, and they're incredibly comfortable. Shoes of win.

I decided to give red lipstick another go. I've tried it before and I'm just not sure that I like it on me. Ho hum. Maybe I'll just have to keep searching for that elusive perfect shade of red for me. This yellow belt was a bargain Primark purchase (£1 I think?) and I wear it so often. It really brings a nice pop of colour to an outfit.

I've just realised that I don't really ever put how much I've paid for things on this blog, but a lot of other bloggers seem to. I think that's mostly because I fear if I wrote down how much I actually spend on clothes the world would implode. Or at the very least the British banking system would collapse. Again. My wardrobe is a hybrid of designer and very very cheap. I love a good sale bargain but I also seem to have developed an unfortunate designer habit this year. I justify it by reminding myself that I work hard for my money and therefore I deserve to treat myself. Ridiculous. My resolutions for the new year will surely include 'spend less money'.

Faux fur jacket & tights - Marks & Spencer
Trousers - New Look
Shoes - Next
Belt, top & necklace - Primark
Cardigan - H&M
Ring - YSL

Friday 12 November 2010

The Week In Pictures #9

Well, the last month in pictures, if we're being pedantic. Which I always am...

1) Marie Claire in the bath. Yes, that is October's. I am very very behind on my magazine reading.
2) Girliest bath products ever? Snow Fairy is gorgeous.
3) This winter I am all about the colour. Then again, when am I not?
4) Sometimes I like to wrap Daisy in my Slanket and see her reaction. She likes it, clearly.
5) I'm bringing Totes back! I've had these since about 1994. Nice. 6) My One & Other book arrived!
7) Can you spot me? Read about my plinth adventure here and here.
8) It's that time of the year. Blanket on the bed time! I have two, because I get so cold these days (I blame weight loss!). The one in the foreground is an IKEA special. The one in the background is from Glastonbury.
9) I spent yesterday watching the lads from my work play a 5 a side match against a team of boys from one of our clients. So much fun.
10) The red cups are back. Life is complete.
11) Marks & Spencer frozen berries plus Danone Activia. Lunch of kings.