Saturday 31 July 2010


I don't often use this blog to talk about my weight loss.

I have another blog where the boring weekly weigh-in posts appear. And occasionally a bit of back story as to how I got... well, fat. Yes, fat. F.A.T.

However, I just wanted to say that I'm feeling really rather proud of myself tonight. The trousers I'm wearing in the picture above are my old work trousers. In January this year they barely fitted me. Often, once I'd eaten lunch, I'd have to unbutton them. How shameful.

I decided to keep them as a measure of how far I'd come. I can only imagine what they'll look like when I hit my target. I could probably rent them out as a marquee. Available for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Reasonable rates.

PS: Apologies for my leopard print bra. And my bingo wing. Next step: hit the gym and tone tone tone!

Friday 30 July 2010

The Week In Pictures #1

Just a quick little post for you today, as I've been incredibly absent from this blog/Twitter/normal life in general this week. Work has been absolutely manic (even more so than usual) and, somehow, I've managed to be out every night for the last week.

This is the first post in a new series of blog posts... The Week In Pictures. Or TWIP, if you like. Which sounds slightly like an STD.

I tweeted last week about the fact I've decided to give up on my 365 for the time being. I hate giving up on things and I do feel like a big failure but it had become a bit of a chore. Plus, updating my iPhone to iOS4 caused most of my photos to disappear, taking with them about 10 days worth of 365 shots. Plus I'd missed a couple of days by accident. So I'll probably try again at some point, when I've got a bit more time and inclination!

I do take quite a lot of photographs every day though, usually using the Hipstamatic app on my phone, so TWIP posts will be a selection of these.

On the menu of visual delights today:

1) Lovely blue sky. There was some this week, although as I sit here listening to the rain hammering down it's hard to remember it
2) The Hills + Elle Collections = a wonderful afternoon
3) The best Graze box ever. Fire nuts, chilli almonds, spicy crackers and flapjacks. Nom nom nom.
4) My beatiful new necklace, courtesy of the gorgeous girls at Tatty Devine. Weird face courtesy of me.

PS: If you're here following Tatty Devine's retweet, do say hello!

Saturday 24 July 2010

Helen Loves... Tatty Devine

My name is Helen and I have an addiction.

A Tatty Devine addiction. I've had to ban myself from visiting the website because, somehow, things magically find their way into my basket. And then I accidentally click checkout. No good can come from that. If I had the money then I'd like to own pretty much everything they make but, unfortunately, I don't. There is one necklace missing from these pictures as my 'Senorita' necklace (see here) is currently on loan to my friend B. I don't like to play favourites with my jewellery but I think I do love that one the most.

The 'Sexy Legs' necklace is probably my least worn Tatty piece. It's a bit of an awkward length and the legs don't lie flat. Conversely, the Gilbert & George 'Gin' necklace is the one I've worn the most. I do love a G&T after all.

The 'Fishbone' necklace was my first ever piece of Tatty. I got it on sale and I still love it. Although I don't wear it that often because, with my long hair, it just gets hidden.

I've got two of the name necklaces that Tatty Devine make. A baby blue 'Helen' and a turquoise glitter 'Helsbells'. They may be one of the more expensive name necklaces on the market but they really are wonderful.

My latest addition! I wanted these swallows for ages but the price was just a little bit too high. Thankfully they were in the sale recently and, although still expensive, I decided to splurge. I adore them.

I'm currently coveting this Rob Ryan necklace (as it makes my heart ache just a little), the 'Chips' necklace (because I'm British and I do love good chips) and the gold 'Dinosaur' necklace (just because).

Do you own any Tatty Devine? Which are your favourites from the website?

Friday 23 July 2010

Roll up, roll up!

Things and stuff:

1 I've made a monumental mistake with regards to my monthly outgoings (I swear I am an adult, honest!) and now need to find £400 pretty quickly. It is with a heavy heart that I've decided that I need to sell my Christian Louboutins. The style is Miss Marple, they're a size 6 and they're completely unworn (they were always just slightly too big for me). £300 or your best offer. They originally retailed at $710 which I think is about £460. Any takers? Be quick, I'm very likely to change my mind.

2 This week at work has been MANIC. I feel like I've not stopped all week and am so ready for the weekend to be here. Working with numbers has really made my head hurt this week and I'm longing for a beach holiday. Cocktails, sun and sea are what I want. Alas, with the state of my bank balance I can't see it happening any time soon. Are you off on holiday soon? Where? Let me live vicariously through you.

3 The parents return from holiday tomorrow. This means that tonight will be spent frantically tidying and putting away the 25 pairs of shoes that I appear to have worn in the two weeks that they've been away. Also, hoovering, watering the plants (oops!), watching Gossip Girl and trying to avoid the siren call of the Ben & Jerry's that's stashed in the freezer.

4 Ask me questions! Any questions! Well, within reason. Obv.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Outfit Post: Is this summer?

Rain, rain, go away...

So, I'm guessing that summer is over then, yes? All it's done for the past ten days or so is rain. Hence why I'm wearing boots, a hat and a jumper in these pictures. In July. Ridiculous.

This jumper was one of my pre-spending embargo sale purchaes. £5 from H&M and it's perfect. Lightweight, slouchy and grey. It provided me with a little bit of warmth on those cold Glastonbury nights and now I wear it whenever the sun isn't shining. Which is often.

I only bought this eagle necklace three weeks ago but already I'm not sure where I got it. Hence why I'm now on a shopping ban. I think it was from Dorothy Perkins, in the sale. The Marc pendant is glorious and needs no introduction.

Leggings: Black Milk
Hat: Topshop
Shorts: Primark cut-offs
Ring: Dorothy Perkins (I think)
Boots: Doc Martens

Monday 19 July 2010

A reet good boozy do

Good morning my lovelies!

I can't quite believe that it's Monday morning AGAIN. I swear there are at least three times as many Monday mornings as any other morning. Horr-endous.

My weekend was... boozy. My beautiful friend Sammy came to stay and we took it upon ourselves to drink Warrington dry on Friday night. A low point was me ordering 8 shots of ludicrously coloured alcohol. A high point was rediscovering the joys of 'strawpedos'. Both resulted in extreme drunkenness and a hangover so potent that I feared for both my liver and my mind.

As a result of said hangover, Saturday consisted of 12 episodes of Gossip Girl (SO GOOD), curry and talking complete gibberish. Via bacon, eggs, Big Brother and a trip to the Trafford Centre to lust over the Louboutins, Miu Miu pumps, Mulberry handbags and expensive make up (Hi MAC, I would like one of everything please).

Selfridges is not a sensible place to go if you're in the midst of a shopping ban. Not sensible at all. But I left sans shopping bags, so I guess it's Helen 1, Trafford Centre 0.

Now, do save me from boredom and/or work on this Monday morning and tell me about your weekends! Any gossip?

Sunday 18 July 2010

Outfit Post: Working Girl

Aaah, Sunday afternoon...

I have mixed feelings about Sundays. On the one hand, it's still the weekend! On the other hand, there's the prospect of work in the morning. When I was bigger I used to wear the same kind of outfit to work every day. Baggy black trousers, a loose fitting top of some sort and flat black pumps. It was non descript, it was dull but, most importantly for me at the time, it hid a multitude of sins. Or at least, I thought it did. In reality wearing that probably made me look even bigger than I was.

These days I do make an effort with what I wear to work. It's still generally a variation on a theme (pencil skirt, nice top, coloured cardigan) but I never wear the same outfit twice in a week. I work in an office environment, in the legal profession, so I can't be too avant-garde with my clothes, but I do try and wear quirky jewellery and brightly coloured heels, to look a bit different.

The four outfits pictured here are what I wore to work last week (we have dress down day every Friday so I'm only in office mode for four days a week) and they're fairly typical of what I wear each day.

1) Necklaces from LLROK and Dorothy Perkins; 2) My favourite M&S shoes; 3) I feel like Emma Pillsbury in this outfit;
4) Miss Selfridge shoes - half price in the sale! 5) Hobble hem skirt from ASOS; 6) Next shoes... you can never be sad in yellow shoes;
7) H&M top and cardigan; 8) M&S shoes; 9) LLROK necklace and H&M bow

What do you wear to work? Are you lucky to work somewhere where 'office' clothes aren't necessary? Or are your employers even stricter than mine about dress code?

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Date night

Tonight I went on my first date in seven months.

Now I remember why I haven't been on a date in seven months.

Dates are awkward. Particularly when the man in question is shyer than shy, openly admits to being nervous and not having dated for a while and spends the whole night putting himself down. A little confidence gentlemen, please! Everyone is nervous on dates, fact. But don't admit it!

It probably didn't help that the date was in a restaurant on Lark Lane, in Liverpool. One of my regular haunts with C. Driving there, past all the familiar places, made me feel very very odd. As I said on Twitter... "Feel utterly sick. Not at the thought of the date. More that I'm back in Liverpool. And all the memories associated with it." Ho hum.

However, I did wear skinny jeans for the first time in about three years. And I didn't feel like an overstuffed sausage in them. Momentous.

Also, although nothing special, this outfit could not be more different to the one I wore on my first date with C. A dress with holes in it (classy), some battered black jeans, even more battered Ugg boots (cringe) and a grey cardigan with a hole in the sleeve. The hole slowly got bigger until the entire sleeve was in two parts. At the time I was upset when he C later told me that he'd been disappointed with the way I'd been dressed. Now, I think the man had a point. I guess I dressed that way because I didn't like the way I looked, so saw little point in trying to make an effort. I rarely did anything with my hair, I wore little make up and I don't think I ever wore skirts or dresses.

I'm not sure I could be more different now if I tried.

Top: Matthew Williamson x H&M
Cardigan: M&S
Jeans, Bracelet & Necklace: Dorothy Perkins
Shoes: New Look

Sunday 11 July 2010

Objects of Desire: Black Milk & ASOS

My poor broken purse... too much use!

I'm one week in to my spending embargo.

It's actually not been as hard as I thought it was going to be. You see, over the past few months I've developed a serious online shopping habit. Online shopping somehow feels less real than actually going into a shop and handing over cash or card. You can almost convince yourself that the packages that arrive are presents. Alas, they're not. So a curb on my spending was seriously needed.

In the last seven days I've spent £10 on clothes. Yes, I know I've broken the embargo slightly, but it was on a Topshop dress that was reduced from £32. And I'd wanted it for a while. Believe me, £10 is a drop in the ocean compared to what I was spending each week before.

Of course, now that I'm on a serious budget, everywhere I look I see sales and beautiful things that I need want.

Oh ASOS I really do love you. Those little eyelet shoes are calling my name, and they're in the sale too! That ring and cuff fulfil my need for overstated jewellery... and what a massive need it is. The less said about those heels the better, I've been coveting them for months. Sob.

Alice leggings, $60 AUS; Cape, $70 AUS; Leg Bones leggings, $60 AUS

I am seriously in love with the Black Milk cape. In fact, I wouldn't exactly say no to any of the gorgeous things in James' shop. His blog is also one of my favourites so if you're a fan of unusual leggings, etc, be sure to check it out...

Saturday 10 July 2010

Chairman of the bored


I get a weekend all to myself for the first time in I don't know how long and I'm bored. I never get bored! Never! I'm usually very much in the camp of "only the boring get bored" but not this weekend. Whether it's the muggy weather (really warm and sticky but with no sun? What?!), the fact I'm not used to doing nothing or someting else, I just don't know.

 I even got my reader down to zero. Shock, horror.

So, I did what I normally do when I'm having a bout of frustated boredom, I redid the blog. I've tidied up the sidebars a bit and got rid of some bits and pieces that have been there for ages. Plus I've condensed things a little and made some new buttons for the right sidebar. Any thoughts or comments?

I'm not sure if the header will stay (it's a little bit 'HELLO LOOK AT MY GIANT FACE') but it'll do for now. Also, you might notice that I've got rid of the 'With Eyes Wide Open...' It's Clear Your Heart now. In both name and web address. Nice and simple.

Amongst my boredom and blog tinkering I did make one of my favourite treats for lunch... Slimming World chips! These are pretty healthy as they're baked in the oven with Fry Light. My Dad, lover of junk food, has proclaimed these to be better than 'normal chips'.

Chop some potatoes into wedges (or smaller if you prefer).
Put the potatoes into a pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil and leave for eight to ten minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 190c.
Spray a baking tray liberally with Fry Light (or other low calorie spray) and add spices and seasoning (I use salt, pepper, paprika and my new favourite ingredient... the Nandos Hot Peri Peri Grinder!)
Drain potatoes and shake the pan, so the edges of the wedges are rough and fluffy.
Place the wedges in a single layer on the baking tray, spray with more Fry Light and add more spices and seasoning to taste.
Place the wedges in the oven for 30 minutes, turning them once.

Bob's your Uncle!

Mushy peas... food of the Gods!

Friday 9 July 2010

In the country...

Eep, I've been a terrible blogger! In my defence I have been out every night this week. And I've not been getting a lunch hour at work, much to my devastation. Eating whilst working does not a happy Helen make. I've not even had time to read Closer. Sob.

But, the parents are off on holiday tomorrow! For two whole weeks. Which means I get two glorious weeks to myself. So expect lots of posts, as I try to fill my evenings after inevitably going stir crazy after two days of dog sitting.

For the time being though, I need to do a bit of a catch up. A couple of weeks ago, the day before I went to Glastonbury, I took a little trip to the Cheshire Show. I do love a good agricultural show.

There are few things more quintessentially British than wandering round the WI tent, having a scone with cream and jam and then going to watch some pigs being judged. Topped off with a perusal of the cheese tent, grabbing a few samples in the food hall and then watching the grand parade of champions (the best bulls, cows and horses in the show).

There was, of course, only one real reason for my attendance though...

Sadly the Show was on a Tuesday, which is my weigh in day. So no glorious food samples for me, and not even a cream tea. I did have some amazing frozen yoghurt though, which almost made up for it.


Tuesday 6 July 2010

10 things...

♥ 1 is because all I can think about is the iced lemonade I had at Glastonbury. There is nothing quite as thirst quenching.

♥ 2 is because I'm quite ignorant when it comes to flowers. Particularly wild ones. So I'd like to be able to name a few more.

♥ 3 is because it's time for a change. The raven has stayed for two years. It's time to move on.

♥ 4 is just because I really like fish. And I never seem to eat it. I fancy a lovely trout salad or a haddock risotto with a poached egg on top.

♥ 5 is because I haven't seen the sea for ages. I love the sea. It's so soothing.

♥ 6 is because I'm an indecisive, fickle woman girl at the moment. I need to decide what I'm doing and where I'm going.

♥ 7 is because... well, who doesn't love meringues, whipped cream and berries? A fool, that's who.

♥ 8 is because I haven't been getting enough exercise. My excuse is that it's too hot to go to the gym. It's not too hot to go walking though, so I must.

♥ 9 is because half my clothes are now too big for me. I don't intend on ever putting the weight back on so they've got to go. Charity shops and ebay here I come.

♥ 10 is because life is wonderful.

What do you want to do this summer?

Monday 5 July 2010

Votes for women!*

You've probably seen hundreds of bloggers asking you to vote for them in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards. I probably don't have a hope in hell of winning but being nominated would be so so lovely. I love writing this blog and reading all your comments/emails is one of the best parts of the whole process.

So, if you like my blog and you fancy helping me out then please vote for me in the 'Lifestyle' category. It's simple enough to do, just choose the category, enter as the blog link and then write a few words about why you're nominating me.

In return you'll get lots of good thoughts from me and a virtual brownie or two... xx

*Men are, of course, welcome to vote to. But I've had the Sister Suffragette song from Mary Poppins stuck in my head all day. Hence the title of this post.

Sunday 4 July 2010


Dress - Miss Selfridge; Bracelets - Top Shop; Necklaces - Tatty Devine and Dorothy Perkins;
Flower corsage - H&M; Headband - Primark

I'm on a spending embargo.

I was due to start on 1st July but I failed spectacularly. I blame the sales. And my inability to avoid the sales in my lunch hour. So I'm starting tomorrow. No more unnecessary spending for the rest of July. No more online shopping in my lunch hour, no more trawling the shops and buying things that I can live without.

One of the positive and negative side effects of weight loss is that I can wear lots of clothes now that I would never have dreamed of wearing before. Positive because I can finally wear things that I feel good in, negative because my bank balance has taken a severe dent. So I'm stopping it. Now. I've got so many clothes that I've barely worn so I think it's time to get a little more creative and work with what I've already got.

Sandals - Marks & Spencer; Ring - Dorothy Perkins; Necklaces - As before

This dress was one of my last purchases (£20, Miss Selfridge) and I've basically lived in it this weekend. The top picture is how I wore it to my friends' barbecue last night, the picture below is how I wore it to a garden party this afternoon. The accessories were the same both times, except for the addition of the Tatty Devine necklace and a massive flower corsage in my hair last night. And a slick of red lipstick.

Dress & Necklace - As before; Sunglasses - Top Shop; Hair - No straighteners

I never ever thought I'd embrace the maxi dress. It was one of those items of clothing that I thought I just couldn't wear. I love this one though and although I'm still not a huge fan of my arms I don't mind getting them out so much anymore. I'm also embracing my natural curls and not straightening my hair to within an inch of its life any more.

How have your weekends been, my lovelies?

Thursday 1 July 2010

Outfit Post: It ended with a kiss...


I cannot get enough of my garden at the moment. I think it's the thing I'll miss the most when i finally move out (apart from the canine and human contingents). Getting home from work and being able to sit in the evening sun, smell the flowers and hear the bees buzzing is blissful.

I finally feel like I'm clean from Glastonbury. Numerous showers and baths have washed away the many layers of grime and dust and I'm left with a rather spectacular tan. For me, anyway. I normally just go from white to red and back again.

Cardigan - New Look
Shorts - Cut off Primark jeans
Flip flops - Muji
Nail varnishes - Barry M 304 and OPI Glamour Game
Chunky legs - Too many cakes