Thursday, 31 October 2013

Insta-updates: Events and Outfits

Another sign that the party season is on its way is definitely the filling of the diary with blog events, pre-Christmas parties and anything to make the dark mornings and evenings that little bit more bearable.

1 & 2. Last week saw me head to the Pretty Little Thing event at Disco off of Carnaby Street. Such an amazing (albeit very dark) venue and a great chance to see the party dress offerings (and have a few gin cocktails).

3 & 4. The Watch Warehouse bloggers event had me admiring a little Michael Kors number, getting my nails painted with Essie's "For the Twill of it" and getting a rather nice watch in my goodie bag.

5. Insta-outfit time: An old favourite Primark dress for a friend's house warming party.

6. American Apparel checked jacket from their Brick Lane sample sale for a weekend in Leamington Spa.

7. A blogger classic - the Motel Heidi dress for dinner with friends.

8. Banana Republic colour block dress for a meeting at work.

9. I-can't-remember-where-its-from dress and a retro up-do for another house-warming.

10. Vintage blouse and skirt for "dress down" day at work.

11. A couple of London snaps because I've been abandoning my city in favour of weekends away a bit lately. An early morning run before the sun comes up is always more enjoyable than it first seems when the alarm goes off and its still pitch black outside.

12. Sometimes only a big piece of cake and a Diet Coke will do - Notes in Covent Garden is my new favourite stay-all-afternoon coffee destination.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Halloween at The Science Museum

I love Halloween - its definitely the marker in my social calendar that the party season has arrived. When I got an invite to a Halloween party at the Science Museum I couldn't wait to combine my love of dressing up, eating sweets and throwing in a bit of science along the way. I took my friend K along for a spooky, scientific evening.

The museum was converted into a spooky wonderland with dead scientists wandering around, Halloween-themed food, a bar and a DJ set. We had a tour of the "Making of the Modern World" gallery with our guide, Garrick, who really brought the objects to life and threw in some spooky facts - while also giving us a chance to use our brains a bit amongst the music and sweet-eating!
I dressed as a spooky vintage type.
K was a pumpkin.

First stop was the Halloween buffet - mini sausages and mash, pumpkin arancini and spinach and ricotta pastries.
The invite promised unlimited liquid nitrogen ice cream - we tried toffee apple and chocolate flavours, both amazing. This is toffee apple in a chocolate cup.
The unfrozen ingredients are churned with liquid nitrogen.
A puff of smoke later and suddenly you have ice cream.
The trees outside the Natural History Museum on the way home - so pretty!
How are you celebrating Halloween?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Edinburgh Snapshots

Thirty-six hours, two EasyJet flights, one night in a hostel (Sarah and I survived to tell the tale), a trip to the castle, afternoon tea in the Missoni Hotel, a trip to the zoo, celeb spotting Russell Brand, trying to put on Scottish accents, £3.50 G&Ts (I'm a Londoner), lots of laughter and quite a few photos. Here are the best ones:

The Castle.
The Great Hall.
Hume and his lucky toe.
Me, Sarah and Hannah outside the Camera Obscura.
The cafe were JK wrote Harry Potter.
Pub time with a spotty dog.
Penguin at the zoo.
The Lion King (and Queen).
Bright columns.
A wee Scottish view.
Warming up.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Edinburgh Eating

One of the best things about visiting a new city is trying out the restaurant offerings. As a southerner, Scottish food has slight connotations of deep-fried Mars Bars and haggis but Edinburgh had so much more to offer (although both were available for the adventurous eaters among us).

As the trip was to celebrate Hannah's birthday, afternoon tea at the Missoni Hotel was pretty high on our to-do list as a birthday treat. We arrived on Saturday afternoon after a chilly morning exploring the castle and working up an appetite only to cruise past Russell Brand in the bar having a (soft, I assume) drink with a friend. I told you that I had joined the jet-set, didn't I? The hotel is predictably well decorated. We might have been staying in a hostel but it made the few hours in luxury feel all the more special for it.

The menu changes seasonally and we were among the first to try the A/W selections.
The Missoni print table wear.
The afternoon tea includes all the usual elements - open sandwiches, scones and cakes. We were also given little cups of ice cream which was a nice touch but when are you meant to eat it? As a starter? With the cakes when it has possibly melted?
The sandwiches are made with bread baked in the hotel - far better than white sliced!
The cake selection was quite unusual - I loved the calvados mousse and the home-made marshmallow was definitely a new experience.
 At £23 the Missoni afternoon tea was great value. There were no refills of the food but there was an endless supply of tea and we weren't rushed at all so had plenty of time to work our way through the food. The bathrooms in the hotel are also a must visit, seriously.


On our last evening we were recommended Cafe Marlayne, a French restaurant off of George Street where all the high end stores are. The weather on Sunday got increasingly worse throughout the day so getting out of the cold and entering the cosy restaurant definitely felt like a treat.

The hand-written menu changes daily.
I had the red lentil, coriander and cumin soup to start. Soup is never going to be the most photogenic of foods but this tasted so good and was really warming.
I umm-ed and arr-ed over the main course but eventually opted for the veal. I don't eat veal very often but this was so good that I didn't regret not getting the tuna. The mains all came with sides of vegetables to share so this felt like a pretty virtuous meal after all the cake the day before!
Cafe Marlayne was the perfect foodie end to our Edinburgh adventure.

Have you visited Edinburgh?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Flesh & Buns

One of the best things about dining with fellow bloggers (sparkling conversation aside) is being able to take lots of photos without feeling like an idiot. While my non-internet friends know about my blog I still find it a bit weird snapping away at the food when I know that they probably want to just eat it (an entirely normal response to having a plate of food in front of you) and sometimes its nice to not be in "blogger mode". Michelle, Hannah and I headed to the new-ish Flesh & Buns in Covent Garden - its from the same team behind Bone Daddies so I was excited to try it and we definitely took advantage of the blogger company to photograph everything in sight.

We turned up sans booking, as is the way these days only to be told that most of the tables were, well, booked. Note to selves for next time. We got seats at the bar but were quickly moved to a long table running the length of the restaurant. I have mixed feelings about communal tables - it definitely gave Flesh & Buns a good atmosphere and the chance to peek at what other diners were eating but does make the restaurant quite noisy. Not one for an intimate date then (just in case you were thinking of taking me on one - obviously you still can but just saying that this may not be the ideal venue). 

Starting with a Diet Coke.The cocktail menu did look tempting but it was a school night.
We ordered a couple of hot plates to start with. The soft shell crab was amazing.
Prawn tempura, my favourite.
Then onto the main event - the flesh (we chose the duck leg).
And the buns. You can order more buns depending on how many of you there are. You also get lettuce to make lettuce wraps with the rest of the meat.
Assembling my own fleshy bun. Next time I definitely want to try the chicken katsu flesh and buns - I had such food envy when the diners next to us got theirs.
Green tea s'mores for dessert. Complete with our own fire to toast the marshmallows on. For those of you unfamiliar with s'mores, you toast the marshmallow until its golden and melty and then sandwich it between the green tea crackers.
And eat. The perfect ending to the meal, albeit a bit of a sickly one - definitely one for sharing.
I will be heading back to Flesh & Buns to try the rest of the menu and the cocktails. The food was so good and the service was super speedy. Flesh & Buns isn't cheap - it came to around £26 each for the food we shared but its something different and definitely worth paying a bit above the average chain restaurant for.
Have you tried Flesh & Buns?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

My Blogging Routine

I've been blogging for 4 years now (happy belated birthday, blog!) so today I thought I'd share my blogging "routine". While for me blogging definitely falls in to the "hobby" box, I still have a routine around it as life is busy and I need to make time to blog because I love writing posts and get blog withdrawal when I haven't written one for a few days.

I work during the week so most of my blogging gets done at the weekend. I'm a big fan of having a bit of a blog session and scheduling a few posts for the week ahead. I keep a note of when the posts are going live in my diary so that I can Tweet and Instagram the links to the posts and update my blog's Facebook page which makes life simpler during busy weeks.

Sometimes I blog from home but my favourite thing to do on a lazy weekend afternoon is to get out of my flat, pack my mini laptop up and head to the nearest coffee shop to get my caffeine fix and get a few posts written up. I live alone and while blogging is a solitary activity its nice to have a bit of interaction with the outside world (and, yes, it makes me feel a little like Carrie Bradshaw).

When I'm not at my laptop, I keep a notebook to hand to jot down ideas for posts and to keep a note of more long term "projects" like redesigning my layout and transferring my domain across properly. I also use my iPhone to help me organise my blog - from using to the notes app to jot down ideas to editing photos on the go with the VSCO CAM app and Instagramming inspiration or mini outfit shots which I'll then use in blog posts down the line.

I've yet to join the tablet party but am definitely thinking of getting one for Christmas as it'd be less bulky to carry around and would make it even easier to blog on the go. I've been reading some Acer tablet reviews to help me make my mind up.

What's your blogging routine?


Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Wedding Guest

Weddings. A "what to wear" dilemma if ever there was one. I don't think it will ever get easier deciding what to wear to them as each wedding seems to present its own sartorial challenges - churches, outdoor ceremonies, and, horror of horrors, having to walk on grass. Add to that the usual rules of not upstaging the bride, not wearing white and not wearing something that any of the guests have seen you in before (well, maybe that's just my rule) and there is definitely a changing room meltdown waiting to happen. And you're entirely forgiven if and when it does because it really is all just a little bit stressful. 

Also it might help to try not to think about how easy it is for men to dress for weddings (because no one will know or care if they wear the same suit twice) and maybe try to avoid a situation on the morning of the wedding where you have to wash your hair with liquid handsoap because you forgot that Premier Inns don't provide mini Molton Brown toiletries (living and learning). Oh, and maybe try to remember that you're actually there to celebrate a couple making vows of love and commitment and that, really, no one really cares what you're wearing and by the time you're a few drinks down on the dancefloor you won't either. 

My friends D and P got married a few weeks ago in the countryside on what was the last weekend of proper summer weather which has got to be a good omen for married life, not that they need it because they are the most perfect couple ever. I'd picked out my dress in the Whistles sale back in August as I had never worn a long, formal-ish dress before and so this felt like a more justified purchase than yet another cocktail dress. It wasn't the easiest to walk in but I did feel a little more like a put together grown up than I usually do (at least before the drinks and dancefloor part). 

Dress: Whistles; Shoes: M&S (old but the only ones I had that were high enough for the dress but that I can actually walk/stand in); Ring: YSL. Photo credits go to my friend L for patiently taking these.
Wedding season is probably over now until next year but what are your top tips for perfect wedding guest attire?

Monday, 14 October 2013

Insta-updates: Autumnal

Autumn's in the air and so far I'm enjoying it. Maybe because time seems to be going by so fast at the moment that it only feels like last week that we were in the middle of the Great 2013 Heatwave. I'm not complaining, time supposedly flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?

1. Finally wearing my Louboutins. No buyer's remorse here, they really are the most comfortable heels I own based on my experiences of only wearing them on carpet.

2. Lovely birthday gifts from the Dream Team. Gin, mascara and a restaurant journal - they know me too well.

3. Early morning runs in the autumn mean getting to see the sun rise over London - best start to the day.

4. Never-ending stairs outside the Tate Modern.

5. Treating myself to a mani-pedi at Nail Girls, I read Marie Claire and drank coffee while my nails got made presentable.

6.Catching up with my friend C who's been in Singapore for the last six months over a Byron feast - skinny burger and corguette fries.

7. The changing skyline of the City of London.

8. My first (and probably last - I was terrible) time playing disk golf on a weekend break in Leamington Spa for D and P's wedding. Think an 18-hole golf course but with frisbees rather than golf clubs and balls. Oh, my jet-set life!

9. A night out in Leamington - hello £4 cocktails!

10. Brunch in Leamington - pancakes with maple syrup and banana.

11. I switched off "Blogger Mode" for the wedding and this was one of the only photos I took, obviously it was of the dessert.

12. I popped up on Sarah's blog wearing my Ray-Bans.

13. Celebrating the end of the working week with dinner at The Chinese Cricket Club which, yes, does serve Chinese food (I had to ask).

14. Brunch at Jaks in South Ken, an old favourite lunch venue of mine. Perfectly poached eggs are one of my favourite foods but are sadly far beyond my cooking skills.

15. I think this counts as pre-half marathon carb loading. A slice of carrot cake and a glass of soya milk at Hummingbird is guaranteed to make you feel like a six-year-old again. 

16. My medal from the Royal Parks Half. Loved this race - the route was beautiful, the weather was perfect and I got a PB.Obviously its all down to the carrot cake as my training was slightly lacking in actually going for runs and sleeping properly.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Check Mate

Every time the new season trends come out I am filled with disgust and decide that I absolutely hate everything. Then...a few trends starts to grow on me and I suddenly need to purchase a whole new wardrobe. Happens every season and yet I am still never on my guard and able to protect myself from new season lust. This season I am surprisingly in love with everything 90s. I was but a mere child during the actual 90s (well, that's what I tell myself - I was born in 1987) so while I remember the trends I was a little too young to really participate in the trends besides from Tammy Girl and 915 at New Look's interpretations of them. I love early 90s music and the grungy style that came with it, secretly I still want to be D'Arcy Wretzky from the Smashing Pumpkins...As for the later 90s, no thank you very much.

While full-on grunge is probably never going to happen given that Monday - Friday I need to look vaguely office presentable, a plaid shirt is a good place to start. I wore this outfit for a decidedly un-grungy day of getting my nails done, having burger afternoon tea with the Dream Team (amazing caramel donut, terrible service) and going to what almost definitely was my first and last BBQ of the summer.

Dress: ASOS Petite; Shirt: Pull & Bear (purchased in Spain); Necklaces: Vintage via my mother

Yes, the magnifying glass is real. I'm sure it will come in useful one day.
What are you favourite autumn trends?

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

I'm Taking Over!

Not the world, just City Girl's Fashion Box.

I'm talking all things skincare today while Sarah is on her holidays. While I can't offer you the Florida sun, if it's a skincare holiday you're in need of then I might just be able to help you out.


Monday, 7 October 2013

New Job New Dress

I started a new job a couple of weeks ago - an occasion deserving of some new dresses, obviously.

I picked up this one in the Banana Republic sale, I can't believe I have only just discovered their petite range. No more trying on nice-on-the-hanger dresses to find that they make me look like a child raiding her mother's office wardrobe. I wore this for a day of work followed by a birthday dinner at Wahaca with the Dream Team (salad in an edible bowl, always).

Oh, and I slipped on an old pair of shoes I found lying around the house as I ran out the door too...

What are you wearing to work this autumn?
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