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.

Thursday 11 November 2010


They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Photo Source: Sam Serif

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Hello, lover

Sigh. I think I'm in love.

Ring - YSL Arty

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Outfit Post: Layer Cake

I'm not really jaundiced, I swear.

This maxi dress is the most comfortable item of clothing. Ever. I fear I look like I have no waist here though. I blame the cardigan. I wore this on Saturday to go and watch the football in Levenshulme (my new soon-to-be manor, fact fans) with E and J. Apparently I looked 'very Topshop'. I'm taking that as a compliment. Also, I think Saturday was only the second time a girl had worn a maxi dress to the pub we went to. The first time? My friend E wore one a while ago. Someone took a photo of her. Levenshulme, not so much with the fashion then.

I understand the Topshop comment. Snood! Headband! Cardigan! Dress! Plus leather jacket (not pictured). Layered to the max. This is the same nail varnish as in this post but I actually managed to capture the green, hologram-type effect this time.

Now, just like Carrie Bradshaw doesn't like to play favourites with her shoes, I don't like to play favourites with my jewellery. However, when it comes to this little beauty I just might make an exception. It's by Swank and I am completely smitten with it. In fact, I'm quite smitten with a lot of their jewellery. I think this Rock Lobster is next on my list.

Dress, Cardigan & Headband - H&M
Snood - New Look
Boots - The usual Docs
Necklace - Swank
Nail Varnish - OPI's Go on Green

Dear Me...

Inspired by the lovely Sammy and the 'tweetyour16yearoldself' hashtag on Twitter...

Dear 16 year old me,

You are not fat. Far from it. I know you won't believe me but you're thinner now than you'll be for another 13 years. Enjoy it. Have more confidence in yourself and dress the way you want to dress. You can totally get away with it. Ditch the baggy jeans, they don't do anything for you.

Make the most of your Friday nights out. That club you love so much will be gone in a few years. Appreciate it now because you'll never find a place quite like it. Kiss more boys, fall in more gutters and sing more Spice Girls songs at full volume in the street. Dance moves included. Enjoy this time now, before you get your heart broken, to love completely, with trust and without fear.

Listen carefully when I say this, and ignore what Mum & Dad want you to do, DO NOT DO LAW AT UNIVERSITY. It will make you miserable. Don't worry though, if you do still decide to do it, you'll get through the traumas and the failures. But it will be incredibly hard. Do something you enjoy, don't worry about getting a job afterwards. You won't end up as a solicitor anyway, even despite the hard work. Some things just aren't meant to be. You will find a job that you love, you will succeed and you will be proud of yourself. You don't always end up where you thought you would, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Be nicer to your parents. They love you more than anything in this world and they'd go to the ends of the earth for you. Respect them and try and understand that they only want the best for you. Don't scream and shout and remonstrate when they try to give you advice. Bite your tongue. Learning to bite your tongue is one of the best lessons you can learn.

Make the most of working at the hotel, won't you? You'll have some of the times of your life there. Stay over after shifts, drink red wine with the boys, make turkey sandwiches at 3am and cause a little bit of mischief. Ask for a pay rise too, they're taking advantage of you.

Please don't cut your hair. That boy will break your heart in a couple of years but don't take it out on your hair. It'll take you forever to grow out and you'll spend half your life putting products into it so you don't look like a boy. Also, you won't be able to wear hats for fear of looking ill.

Finally, go travelling. You'll regret it if you don't.


The future you xx

Monday 8 November 2010

This just in...

1) I cannot get enough texture in my life at the moment. Velvet, fake fur, sheer, soft wool, sequins. I love it all. All from Topshop. Oops.
2) Paul & Joe lipstick. Shaped like a cat. CATSTICK.
3) Eyeko Fat Balms. I love them. And they taste ridiculously good.
4) Black Milk Tiger Spartans. Coming to an outfit post near you, soon.

I've had the most stressful Monday ever. It probably wasn't helped by too much boozing over the weekend and not enough sleep. So pictures of pretty things are all I can manage today. Posts coming this week: birthday shenanigans, house news and.... a giveaway! I finally managed to hit 100 followers (Lauren was number 100, thanks doll!) so I thought I'd put together a little package of joy for one of you. I'm super excited to show you what I've put together! It'll only be open to followers so be sure to click click click on that follow button over there to the left.

Hope your Mondays were significantly better than mine, my loves x

Saturday 6 November 2010

Outfit Post: Sequinned

Firstly, apologies for the horrible lighting in these photographs. Going to work in the dark and getting home from work in the dark limits my ability to get decent outfit shots!

Let me introduce you to my Christmas jumper! The minute I saw it in Topshop I was smitten. Sequins, soft cream wool and a zig zag pattern. Sold! It looks so festive and I am all about the festive. I did a little squeal yesterday in Marks & Spencer when I saw the Turkey Feast sandwich. Best. Sandwich. Ever. Don't even get me started on the gingerbread lattes and red cups at Starbucks.

Let me just say that this jumper was far more expensive than it should really have been. But it's testament to my love for it that I didn't even think twice before flinging it at the till and handing over my credit card. The 'Queen' necklace was a birthday present from my gorgeous friend Sammy. A bit of birthday Tatty! What could be better?

I wish this photograph did this nail varnish more justice. In reality it's a gorgeous shimmery blue colour that looks green when in the light. A bit holographic and bloody lovely!

At the moment I seem to be inexplicably drawn to pointy flats. The Office sale is like my crack as, invariably, all the shoes I love end up in the sale. I'm not sure what that says about my taste but I also don't care as it means cheap shoes for me! These were £7, reduced from £40, and I'm slightly obsessed with them.

In honour of Movember, here's a horribly overexposed photograph of me with a moustache. LOLZ. In all seriousness, the Prostate Cancer Charity is a cause very close to my heart. I wrote a little bit more about it in this post last year and, if you do have any pennies to spare, please do think about donating it to this wonderful cause.

Jumper & Jacket - Topshop
Leather shorts - ASOS
Tights - M&S
Shoes - Office
Vest - New Look
Necklace - Tatty Devine
Nail varnish - Go on Green by OPI
Poppy - RBL

Wednesday 3 November 2010

The Big 50 results

Back in October 2009 I set myself a challenge. To do 50 things that I'd never done before, all before I turned 29. The Big 50 was about taking me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to do things that either scared me or that I'd just never considered doing before (the original list can be found below).

Well, I turn 29 tomorrow so I guess it's time to assess my progress...

Somewhat disappointingly, I only managed to do 22 of the 50. I say disappointingly but the past 12 months have actually been the most incredible year of my entire life. I've emerged stronger, more confident and happier than ever before so I'm calling this little experiment a complete success.

The main things I'm glad I achieved? The most obvious is managing to lose over four stone. My life is immeasurably different because of this. I ran in a 5k race. I visited a new European city and I finally saw a sunrise at Glastonbury. Oh, and I volunteered at a dogs' home, which is something I've always wanted to do.

The things I'm most disappointed that I didn't achieve? Cooking a new dish every month! April 2010 was my nemesis and I didn't manage to cook anything new. What an utter failure! I did cook more than one new thing a few months though so I guess that kind of makes up for it. Also, failing my Flickr 365 was a bit of a disappointment. I got 210 photos in and then I just lost all motivation. Ah well, I'll try again one day. In fact, I'm going to keep everything on the list and try to complete everything before I turn 30.

Oh, and number 42? Well that should be completed in about two weeks.

Bye bye 28, you were my favourite year so far. You were hard, you made me work for what I got, but I bloody loved you. Bring it on, 29!!!


50 things to do before I turn 29...

1) Live in another country, if only for a couple of months

2) Lose 4 stone in weight. (achieved 21/08/10)

3) Buy a DSLR camera AND actually learn how to use it properly

4) Go spinning (completed 27/10/09)

5) Run in a 5km Race for Life. (completed 19/06/10)

6) Eat a portobello mushroom with stilton on it (I hate mushrooms but C always promised to make me one that I'd like, so I figure I'll do it myself)

7) Go on a ghost walk

8) Learn how to make treacle toffee. I tried once when I was about 11. All I'm saying is this... we had to throw the saucepan out. (completed 16/10/10)

9) Go and hear some jazz at Matt & Phred's.

10) Buy myself a name necklace from Tatty Devine. Or, even better, get bought one by someone else. (Ordered a baby blue one on 03/01/10)

11) Go ice skating at an outdoor rink this Winter. (Completed 03/12/09)

12) Go for afternoon tea somewhere fancy.

13) Visit London for a few days, with the sole purpose of having lots of fun. The next four tie in with this one... (Completed 25-27/04/10)

14) Try a macaron from Laduree, to see what all the fuss is about. Verdict: I think I prefer Paul's. Don't tell anyone though.

15) Go to Borough Market (It wasn't open! Next time!)

16) Visit the Wellcome Collection. Verdict: LOVED IT.

17) Buy myself something ludicrous and decadent from Fortnum & Mason. (I bought some very expensive ginger green tea, in a fancy tin)

18) Go back to New York, relive all the wonderful memories and make some new ones.

19) Get a facial (I know, I know. But I've never had one, or done any of the following three)

20) Get a manicure/pedicure (I'm a rubbish girl)

21) Get my eyebrows waxed (No, I really really am)

22) Get a spray tan (Seriously, just change my name to Bob, shave my head and stick me in a pair of dungarees)

23) Learn how to make the perfect lasagne

24) Take a life drawing class

25) Go kickboxing

26) Finally see a sunrise at Glastonbury. I've been five times but never quite managed it, usually passing out about 10 minutes before the sun is due to come up. (completed 24/06/10 but sadly it was a rubbish sunrise!)

27) Visit at least one European country/city that I've never been to before. (Barcelona, April 2010)

28) Take at least one photograph of myself every day and upload it to the 365 project on Flickr. This starts tomorrow, once the last remnants of this disgusting cold have left my ravaged body. (FAILED)

29) Buy one new CD every month, by a band I've never listened to before. I'm too stuck in my ways and listen to the same songs over and over again, never really leaving my comfort zone.
  • November 2009 - Miike Snow by Miike Snow
  • December 2009 - XX by The XX
  • January 2010 - Manners by Passion Pit
  • February 2010 - Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
  • March 2010 - Lights by Ellie Goulding
  • April 2010 - Darwin Deez by Darwin Deez
  • May 2010 - Colour The Small One by Sia
  • June 2010 - Rules by The Whitest Boy Alive
  • July 2010 - The Boxer by Kele
  • August 2010 - The Flying Club Cup - Beirut
  • September 2010 - Fantasies - Metric
  • October 2010 - Happiness - Hurts
30) Visit the South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

31) Volunteer at Cheshire Dogs Home. Although I fear this will lead to me getting horrendously attached to all the dogs and trying to adopt them all.

32) Visit the Imperial War Museum North. (completed 21/08/10)

33) Watch an opera. Apparently everyone should watch an opera before they die. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

34) Go to Cloud 23 for afternoon drinks.

35) Buy some expensive, frivolous underwear just for me.

36) Go to a yoga or pilates class.

37) Walk up Mount Snowdon.

38) Cook a completely new dish at least once a month.
  • November 2009 - Jamie Oliver's Southern Sausage Stew; cupcakes
  • December 2009 - Lasagne; gingerbread cake; lamb shanks with piperonata; key lime pie
  • January 2010 - Spicy pork meatballs
  • February 2010 - Chicken Tikka Masala (from scratch)
  • March 2010 - Slimming World chips
  • May 2010 - Babybel burger; chocolate chip cookies; king prawn and pea risotto
  • June 2010 - Lamb cochifrito 
  • July 2010 - Raspberry and white chocolate cookies 
  • August 2010 - Jamaican corn soup 
  • September 2010 - Blackberry crumb bars 
  • October 2010 - Treacle toffee; peanut butter & chocolate squares
39) Paint a picture that I'm proud of it, frame it and put it on my wall.

40) Learn to knit.

41) Learn how to make pastry.

42) Move out of my parents' house and into my own place.

43) Finally watch Curb Your Enthusiasm so I can see why everyone loves it so much.

44) Visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

45) Order a cheesecake from the English Cheesecake Company, just because life is wonderful and so is cheesecake. (Ordered a chocolate truffle honeycomb cheesecake for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. It was incredible)

46) Buy myself something lovely from Emma Bridgewater. I've only been coveting the pottery mugs for about 6 thousand years after all. (Ordered a pink hearts 1/2 pint mug on 08/01/10)

47) Remember each and every one of my friends' birthdays and get them a gift befitting how marvellous they are.

48) Find the beauty in my life at least once a day and cherish it.

49) Go on the Yellow Duckmarine.

50) Go and see a play that I've not seen before. I heart the theatre. (Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, 01/03/10)