Thursday 27 January 2011

Snip snip snip

No deep meaning here, I just like this badge

001: I've been to the cinema more times in the last two weeks than I have in the last year. Four films in ten days. Oh yeah. Here's a little review of each:
  • The King's Speech: wonderful, Hitler-y, interesting 
  • Love & Other Drugs: porn with a side of emotional devastation
  • Black Swan: intense, minor lesbian escapades, made me jump
  • Blue Valentine: HARROWING but you do get to see Ryan Gosling's bum. I would gladly be harrowed  all day long for a look at that delicious rump
002: I'm really not enjoying work at the moment. The travelling, the cost of travelling and a few other issues are making me pretty sad. To be honest I quite fancy jacking it all in and going for an adventure on the high seas. Note to self: go on more adventures.

003: I've decided to get a haircut. This may not sounds very exciting but I've not had my hair cut properly for well over two years. It's time for a change. I will miss the tremendous swish but, to be honest, it's just been getting in the way of things for the last few weeks. It's too long, there's too much of it and it gets EVERYWHERE.

004: I got paid on Tuesday. Normally a major cause for celebration, a few drinks and an ASOS spendathon. Unfortunately though I appear to be completely skint. Once all my outgoings have outgone, I will have about £12 left. So, for the rest of January and the whole of February I am buying nothing. You hear me? NOTHING. No clothes, no jewellery, no non essentials. Depressing but, to be honest, I needed a kick up the bum to make me budget.

005: I'm taking part in the blogging 'Pay It Forward' malarkey that you've probably seen here, there and everywhere. I added my name to Em's list (who, by the way, has a lovely blog that you should probably be following. Just FYI) and so here are the rules...

"Pay it forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment here. They in turn must post this and send something they make to the first 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011."

I'm probably going to bake some treats so, if you'd like to receive some baked joy in the post, then leave a comment and I'll hopefully get round to it some time in February. Only five though, please. My little oven can't cope with any more (as much as it would like to).

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Outfit Post: 9 to 5

It's been nearly three weeks since my last outfit post and I rejoin the land of sartorial documenting with a work outfit. Poor show, Helen. Poor show. I am rather fond of this dress though and it's quickly become one of my absolute favourites to wear to work. Ruffles, spots, comfy and easy to wear. Ding ding ding, jackpot. All I need in a work outfit and more. The belt was a Topshop sale purchase and has a slight bondage-esque quality to it which is, of course, completely appropriate for a day at th'office. I'm such a boundary pusher. Ha.

A fair few people have asked to see more photographs of the house. Well, it's still not finished (and unlikely to be for some time) but I thought I'd leave the background in the photo above, rather than cropping it out like I normally do, to show a little bit of where I live. That television is both my pride and joy and my absolute downfall. Note to self: run more, sit on sofa less.

I think it's clear from these photos that I am a tired girl at the moment. I blame the following: gin, a boy, friends, insomnia and work. Not necessarily in that order.

Dress - New Look
Cardigan - Dorothy Perkins
Tights & Shoes - M&S
Belt - Topshop

Monday 24 January 2011

Last Week

1) Getting ready to go out on Friday night, wearing my new Me & Zena necklace. Love it.
2) Rain. Lots of it. One of the pitfalls of living in Manchester
3) Epic shoes. Reduced from about £90 to less than £20 in the Office sale. Be still my beating heart
4) My awesome friend Natalie sent me a package filled with American candy treats (let's not discuss the fact it took a month to arrive). Slimming World, I'm so sorry
5) New shower curtain and a new addition to my living room wall. The house is taking shape, very slowly but very surely

I've not really got into the swing of blogging this year. Sometimes life just seems to get in the way and I end up so tired that the last thing I feel like doing is sitting down and writing. I'd rather be watching endless repeats of America's Next Top Model and eating frozen berries. I fully intend to get back into the blogging habit though and there might even be an outfit post in the next couple of days or so. I know. Shocking.

So, how've you been?

Thursday 20 January 2011

Seeking Sanctuary

After an extremely hectic weekend and week so far, I'm only now catching up on all the things I should have done when I was a) drinking b) dying of a hangover and c) watcing football in the pub trying to stave off said hangover. I think I need to have a couple of weekends off the booze to let my poor body/liver/mind recover. I'm not really a big drinker at all any more but these last couple of weekends have been a complete exception! I'm not to blame though, I was led astray. Honest.

Anyway, prior to the weekend's debauchery, on Friday I headed off down to London courtesy of Kelloggs, for a presentation about, followed by a spa day at the Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was an incredible day and I don't think I've ever felt quite as serene as I did when I left the spa at about 6pm. Which of course lasted about 10 minutes, when faced with the thronging London rush hour.

I'll write more about in a later post, as I took a fair few notes that I need to try and decipher before I write a cohesive post. Suffice to say, I think it could be a really useful tool for weight loss and, it's completely FREE! I get a lot of emails from people asking me how I've lost weight and asking for tips and advice. I know that a lot of people simply can't afford to join a weight loss group (like Slimming World) and I think Kelloggs' new venture really fills a gap in the market.

Unfortunately I couldn't take any photographs in the spa (apparently women in their swimming costumes dislike that, I wonder why) so you're left with a photo of the lovely gift we each received as part of the package, and a photo of the gorgeous Koi Carp Lounge that I found on the Sanctuary website. Just look at those white chairs! They hold about three people and I could happily have spent the whole day in one, reading, napping and generally feeling very very serene.

We were lucky enough to have a gorgeous champagne brunch as part of our spa package too (hello smoked salmon bagel with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, I like you) and were also each told to choose a treatment from the ridiculously hard-to-choose-from list. I opted for the prescription facial and it was IMMENSE. Half facial, half massage, all incredible.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been invited by Kelloggs and a massive thankyou has to go to Louise and all the girls for being so lovely and organising such a wonderful day. It was also lovely to meet some new (to me) bloggers, including Laura and Becky. If you are at all interested in different ways of losing weight/getting seriously healthy, then these two ladies are extremely inspirational!

Thursday 13 January 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

I'm a blogger cliche I know, but I genuinely believe there are few things nicer in this world than a really good cupcake. When Laura from Airy Fairy Cupcakes contacted me and asked me if I'd like to sample some of her gorgeous creations I was hardly going to say no, was I?!

They arrived at my door on Monday evening, a beacon of shining baked goodness in the rainy, cold night. Beautifully packaged and for all the world looking like little works of art, rather than just cupcakes. I was lucky enough to receive Cookies & Cream, Raspberry Ripple, Naughty Nutella and Very Vanilla.

I may be a Slimming World convert and generally I stick to the eating plan 99% of the time, but I couldn't help diving headfirst into the box and devouring the Cookies & Cream cupcake within seconds. I basically inhaled it. And it was GOOD. So good. The perfect amount of rich buttery frosting, light fluffy cake and perfect flavours. Delicious.

Airy Fairy Cupcakes are based in Didsbury, South Manchester and currently deliver to parts of Manchester and Cheshire (but if you're further afield just contact Laura and I'm sure she'll be able to help). However, there is a shop on the horizon and I'll definitely be paying it a vist (or ten) when it opens.

Cupcakes make life in January better. Fact.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Outfit Post: Leatherette

Firstly, I must apologise for the tiredness that is apparent on my face in these photos. I'd just tumbled out of bed, had a shower and got dressed, all in the space of about 15 minutes. The Post Office was holding a package to ransom and I had to get there in time for the 3 minute Saturday morning opening period. Royal Mail are not my friends at the moment, in case you hadn't guessed.

This leather look dress was one of my sale bargains. I'd looked at it when it was full price but was obviously having a frugal day (rare) as I decided that £35 was far too much to pay. Consider me delighted when I found it in the sale for £15, and the last one in my size! I think we all know that that means it is fate and that it must be purchased immediately. Plus, it has pockets. Pockets in a dress are never a bad thing.

I'm surprised this aran cardigan has never appeared in an outfit post before, seeing as, seemingly, it's been surgically attached to me for the last month or so. I'd been coveting a similar one from Topshop for ages (like this one but cream) but really couldn't justify spending £48 on a cardigan. Thankfully ASOS were having one of their amazing special offers on this one and I got it for the grand sum of £19.20. Unfortunately it's now back up to full price at £40, otherwise I'd surely be buying it in both tobacco and navy too.

I actually wore this outfit to work yesterday (glorious dress down day, I adore thee) but liked it so much that I'm wearing it again today. Not that I'm doing a lot. A sojourn into town to covet things I can't afford is on the cards, as is some sort of caffeinated beverage, buying of hair dye (my roots have reached critical proportions) and making of soup. It's such a rock 'n' roll lifestyle I lead.

In other news, the gorgeous Bee interviewed me for a little feature on her blog so do head on over and check that out if you get a minute!

Dress - Next
Cardigan, Necklace & Ring - ASOS
Tights - Primark
Boots - The usual Docs

Thursday 6 January 2011

365: Redux

001: Firstly, I just want to say thankyou and hello to all my new followers! Mainly thanks to the lovely Morven, I seem to have gained rather a lot of you over the last few days. Posting has been a bit lax over the last few weeks due to the epic house move but I'm slowly getting back on track so normal service should be resumed shortly!

002: People who've been reading Clear Your Heart for a while will probably remember that I attempted to do a 365 project last year but failed miserably. I got upto about 210 days and then just lost all enthusiasm. Well, as I'm a glutton for punishment, I'm doing another one. I started on 1st January and I hope to actually complete this one! Last time I took only self portraits and I think that was my downfall, I just couldn't think of any more to do! This time there will be some self portraits but it'll mainly be photos of whatever takes my fancy on the day. You can follow my progress over at CYH365 if you so desire, and also on my Flickr for larger format photos.

003: Yesterday was my first day back at work after eleven days off. Predictably, it was a bit like being hit by a train and today wasn't much better. I think my bodyclock is just destroyed following too many late nights and too many lie ins but hopefully I should be back on top in a few days. I sincerely hope so anyway.

004: Speaking of being back on top, I've added a few more (very dull) resolutions to my list for 2011. One that I've obviously broken tonight is to get off the internet by 11pm. It stops me sleeping, makes my brain overthink and generally makes the next day at work awful if I stay up too late looking at nonsensical things. I realise that makes me sound terribly old but there you have it. Other resolutions include being more organised (hello Moleskine, my new best friend), working out a monthly budget (boring but very necessary now that I actually have a house to pay for) and finally getting a skin care regime. I'm 29 and I've never had one. Shocking.

005: I don't have a five tonight. Talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday 2 January 2011

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

1) Was 2010 a good year for you?
It was wonderful, in virtually every way. I'm sure it had its low points but, looking back, all I see is happiness and good, positive changes. My Dad's cancer is under control and he's getting back to the man he was before the illness. I own my own house and, although there's a long way to go, it's starting to take shape. I'm no longer unhappy with the way I look and I can now wear leather shorts without fear of being harpooned.

2) What were your favourite moments of the year?
Having dinner at Butter in NYC and three women sending over champagne to our table. My Dad being able to help me decorate my house. The whole holiday to Barcelona. And, although it was right at the end, New Year's Eve!

3) What was your least favourite moment of the year?
Being let down by someone I considered a close friend. However, onwards and upwards!

4) Where were you when 2010 began?
In the gay village. Obviously.

5) Who were you with?
Friends and an assortment of decadent gays.

6) Where will you be when 2010 ends?
I was in a little cafe bar. We won the Quiz of the Year and our prize was 6 litres of scrumpy. Oh yeah. One of the best New Year's Eves ever.

7) Who will you be with when 2010 ends?
I was with some of my favourite people in the world.

8) Did you keep your new years resolution of 2010?
They were "Just to continue on my road of self discovery (I'm aware that makes me sound like a tosser) and lose weight. Slimming World here I come." Both achieved. A+, good work. Ooh, also my 'plans for 2010' were "To travel a bit, work a bit, live a bit, love a bit, laugh a bit and buy my own house." DONE AND DONE.

9) Do you have a new years resolution for 2011?
I want to hit my target at Slimming World (which is slightly further away post Christmas), get fitter (I'm running the Great Manchester Run in May), blog more and be better with money.

10) Did you fall in love in 2010?
I fell in love with my life.

11) If yes, with who?
See above. There may not be a special someone in my life right now but I'm happier than I've ever been.

12) If yes, do they know?

13) Are you still in love with them?
Currently I am more in love with my life than ever. I'm sitting in my own house, drinking espresso, eating satsumas and catching up on Christmas television. Love.

14) You regret it?
I never regret love, even when it gets me in trouble.

15) Did you breakup with anyone in 2010?
Nope. I had a few dates here and there, but they didn't really go anywhere. I just wasn't interested.

16) Did you make any new friends in 2010?
Yes! I met a lot of incredible people that I know through this blog or Twitter and had some wonderful times with them. Plus new people at work and a few others that appeared along the way.

17) Who are your favourite new friends?
Ah, I don't pick favourites. My London lovelies and my Scottish sweethearts know who they are.

18) What was your favourite month of 2010?
June I think. Glastonbury, hot hot sun and lots of fun times. December was also pretty special though as that's when I moved into the palace.

19) Did you travel outside of your country of residence in 2010?
New York! Barcelona! Paris (on the way to New York!) and Edinburgh!

20) How many different states/provinces did you travel to in 2010?
Again, I'm not an American. I went to one state and three different countries. I want to travel more next year but, the way my bank balance is looking, I'm not sure I can justify it.

21) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2010?

22) Did you miss anybody in the past year?
Of course. My Nottingham crew and various friends scattered around the country.

23) What was your favourite movie that you saw in 2010?
Toy Story 3 and Precious (although, was that last year?). I didn't see that many films this year, not that I can remember anyway.

24) What was your favourite song from 2010?
Tenderoni - Kele, Regenerate - Booka Shade, Turn My Swag On - Soulja Boy, I'm In Love - Alex Gaudino and Wonderful Life - Hurts. They all remind me of very happy times.

25) What was your favourite record from 2010?
'The Boxer' by Kele Okereke. and 'Progress' by Take That. Both make me immeasurably happy.

26) How many concerts did you see in 2010?
Hardly any! Marina and the Diamonds, Kele Okereke (twice), MIA, Kelis, Glastonbury Festival.

27) Did you have a favourite concert in 2010?
Kele Okereke at Leeds Cockpit. Incredible. Oh, and seeing the Pet Shop Boys at Glastonbury. Blew. My. Mind.

28) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2010?
Nowhere near as much as last year. My new found slimming regime didn't really allow for it and I often went three weeks without a drink.

29) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2010?
I drank a lot of lemsip. 2010 was the year of the cold.

30) How many people did you sleep with in 2010?
A lady doesn't kiss and tell.

31) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
For the first time ever, I don't think so! Bar the usual drunken escapades, I was fairly well behaved this year.

32) Where did most of your money go?
Tax, national insurance and pension. Ugh. Also, my house and the holiday to New York. Oh, and clothes. Losing five stone in weight necessitates a new wardrobe though, right?

33) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2010?
I'm not aware of any lies. So either everyone I know is a very good liar, or they're all saints.

34) Did you treat somebody badly in 2010?
No, I don't think so.

35) Did somebody treat you badly in 2010?
Yes. I'm still not really sure what I did to deserve it either. C'est la vie!

36) How much money did you spend in 2010?
A lot. Hence why one of my resolutions for 2011 is to be better with money.

37) What was your proudest moment of 2010?
Probably winning Woman of the Year at my Slimming World group. Or getting promoted in March. Or losing over five stone. Or finally getting the keys to my very own house. 2010 was incredible.

38) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2010?
Falling flat on my face in Butter, New York. In front of a full dining room. And then being helped up by the waiter. Mortifying. I wasn't even drunk, just clumsy.

39) If you could go back in time to any moment of 2010 and change something, what would it be?
I honestly wouldn't change a thing.

40) What are your plans for 2011?
Embrace new opportunities, live life to the full, run a 10k race and not die, throw lavish dinner parties, eat well and take care of myself, laugh A LOT, kiss inappropriate boys and dance like noone's watching. Hurrah. I'd also like to develop Clear Your Heart more and see where it can take me.

See last year's list here, and 2008's list here.

Saturday 1 January 2011

Outfit Post: Camel

I seem to have a slight addiction to camel coloured clothes. My ASOS order that arrived yesterday consisted entirely of camel, caramel and rust. The colours, not the animal, sweet or iron oxides. Just to clarify.

My peter pan collar obsession also continues unabated. I think I may need to get some help. I've got this dress in black and white (which blogger hasn't!) and I've worn it so much that I just had to treat myself to the camel version too.

I bought these shoes a few months ago but had never worn them until now. Despite their ridiculous height, they're incredibly comfortable. Check out that platform! Although I did have a slight wobble where I managed to knock over my tripod, sending my camera plummeting to the floor. Thankfully its fall was broken by my shopping bags. More proof, if any was needed, that shopping is the route to all that is good.

This is a scheduled post as, given my track record on New Year's Eves gone by, I'll be spending today in a darkened room with a cold flannel over my eyes.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2011 brings you all your little hearts desire x

Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
Dress & Cardigan - ASOS
Tights - Marks & Spencer
Ring - A gift from the beautiful Lisa