Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Paper Crown

I've always rather liked Lauren Conrad's personal style so it came as no real surprise to me that I loved the lookbook for her Autumn collection for Paper Crown.  Billed as a "modern take on classic style" the collection is the definition of "understated elegance" and I love the muted colour palette and choice of textures. I'd quite happily wear any of the outfits I've pulled out here - from the shoes to the accessories it fits my personal style down to a T. This top image, with the grey chiffon maxi & black leather jacket is my absolute favourite but I could see all these pieces fitting in with the rest of my wardrobe. Now to get round the little issue of it not being available in the UK...

I've just realised as well that this is my 100th post. I just want to say a little thank you to those of you who have stuck your heads above the parapets to comment on my posts or have started following this blog. Thanks you, thank you, thank you - it means so much to me that you took the time to do that. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I am enjoying writing it!
Love B x

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Make up

Somewhere along the line I seemed to develop a bit of a thing for pretty pricey make up brands. It's not really been the perfect combo when added to my student budget and so, in between the bits of MAC and Bobbi Brown there have been smatterings of No 7 and Rimmel.  My favourite two 'bargains' however are these two:

The Max Factor False Lash effect mascara is £10.99 and I picked mine up at my local Superdrug. Having tried my fair share of expensive mascaras, this more than holds it's own amongst the pricier products I've tried. In fact, as an everyday mascara it is better than several I've used before. It separates and defines, giving me far superior lashes to my natural unaided set! One coat, and a bit of a wiggle with the brush, and you've got perfect everyday eyelashes. Give it a couple of layers and some smokey eyeshadow and you're ready to go for a night out!


{after one coat}

Which leads me to the next item: Superdrug's 2true waterproof liquid eyeliner. The pot is £1.95 and it has lasted ages. I'm pretty sure it came under their make up offer of 3 items for £5 too which is even better! Price considered, it goes on easily, stays on well and gives a true black line. I like to set mine with a bit of black eyeshadow just to doubly ensure it stays in place but for me, this more than does the job! A friend of mine swears by it, and she loves doing her eyes in this style - certainly more frequently than I do. I have to say though, I've never used the regular one so I don't know if the staying power is as good as the waterproof version. I must be honest and say this isn't my go to eyeliner {that's a Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner} but for a budget option it's pretty berluddy good.

{Taa - daa!}
I can only really give personal opinions here - I'm no beauty expert by any stretch of the imagination but I figure I may as well share what has worked for me so far!

Love B x

Oh hell, my eye {singular!} just looks huge and terrifying in these haha! Sorry!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


I had gone into town with the intention of starting to source work clothes {I have finally got myself what will hopefully be a lovely job starting in September} and yet here I am surrounded by gorgeous but decidedly casual clothes. Oops!

{L-R: Jeans: Topshop, Stripey Jumper: H&M, Dress: Zara}

These jeans are a lovely rust/blush colour. I had pretty much held back from the coloured jean trend {despite my love of it} and I had only bought a red pair that I thought could see me into Winter/Autumn. I don't really go for bright colour but I knew I wanted a more muted pair that would see me through into the colder months. I was lucky enough to spy these in the sale and they were perfect. Even better {this is going to sound odd} the belt loops at the back had come away leaving tiny holes so with a discount for that added to the original sale price, these beauties only cost me £26! The issue is totally fixable once I get my hands on the right coloured thread and until then, I don't really wear short tops so the belt loops are always covered {I have issues where I'm convinced they make me look really disproportionate - just me?}.

The dress is from TRF in Zara. Always worth a look for a slightly cheaper version of some of the clothes that you find in Zara woman or Basic. I was once told that its a different set of designers working on each lot hence the difference in style, but I always think it's worth a look anyway. Always size up though - they're cut for tiny, pre-teen girls I swear! I loved the bird print though, and the back is slightly cut away. It comes in white but I thought the black was probably more versatile - it can be worn now with sandals {rather it could if it was actually sunny in Scotland} or later in the year with boots, tights and chunky cardigan.

Finally, the striped jumper was £15/£16 from H&M. It's a really fine, light weight knit making it perfect for the upcoming transition into Autumn and considering my love of stripes I couldn't really not buy it.

Love B x

Monday, 22 August 2011

Animal Print

I am in love with this suede leopard print skirt from Whistles. Paired with a neutral silk shirt and tan patent heels, the look is as interesting as it is classic. The overall effect is chic and demure but I love that the print stops it being predictable. Plus, I love that it's suede - another details that lifts the outfit from the everyday to the simply gorgeous.

I am a big fan of adding leopard or animal print to an outfit in order to make it interesting. Especially on those days where you're short of time, it is probably the simplest and quickest way to take an ordinary outfit and make it that bit more special. Want to see some of my current favourites from around the web?

I adore these scarves from Boden {I'm actually quite impressed with some of their current stock - more on that later}. Though the red & print print reminds me more of poppies, I love the bright colour!

How about leopard print nails? Find the tutorial here. I loved the colours she chose too - I don't really think I have a steady enough hand for this unfortunately!

How about just a flash of leopard inside your handbag or inside your trench

These leopard print pumps from French Sole are fabulous too. I love my pair from Office.

As for me, my latest leopard addition comes in the form of this gorgeous silk top from a little shop down the road from me. Love it, and for £16, compared to similar pieces on the highstreet, it was a bit of a steal.

There is a line though - sometimes even a tiny bit of leopard print is too much. Ahem.

What do you think? Do you like leopard print as much as I do or was this post a bit OTT for your tastes?

Love B x

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Something on a Sunday

I hope you enjoy this Bon Iver cover of "I can't make you love me". It is just so beautiful - isn't his voice incredible? So sad though when you listen to the lyrics.

I hope you've had a lovely weekend.

Love B x

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Skull & Glossbones

I had to tell you about this gorgeous OPI polish that I managed to pick up online for under £7 {bargain - whoop!}. I'll be honest, I loved the colour in the bottle, hated the first coat then adored the final product. It's a gorgeous light grey, really rich in colour. It will definitely be making plenty of appearances come Autumn {can you tell I'm a little obsessed already?}.

Want to see some of others I want to add to my collection?

{Essie's Merino Cool, Sew Psyched, Velvet Voyeur}

{OPI's a-taupe the space needle}

Any favourite colours that I should know about? 
Hope you have a lovely weekend!
Love B x

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Fourteen Days of Food: Day 14

So to finally wrap up my fourteen days of food {considerably after my original 14 day deadline!} I thought I would go back to doing what I love most - baking. I'm pretty confident when it comes to baking, and willing to have a go at anything, normally with reasonable results {though I did attempt to make Rowies once for my Scottish boyfriend - we don't really talk about that incident...}.  When it comes to this however, I feel like I've met my nemesis.

Want to know what it is?

Banana bread.

Complete and utter fail. Every time. They either don't cook, or they over cook and burn even if I am meticulous about keeping my beady eye on them.  My sister makes an incredible version and I can't lie, I'm a tad envious. I love a challenge though! I laugh in the face of banana bread {and then weep a bit when it fails yet again}.

Now, I must admit, I've started writing this post as it is in the oven so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I used this recipe once before and it worked, though it burned before it had the chance to cook through. This time I've been sure to stick tin foil over the top when it was a lovely golden brown colour and I'm biding my time and trying to be patient and not open the oven too often to test if it's done {though we're just over an hour in and it's still not totally cooked. Patience Bridge, patience.}.

Anyway, I used this recipe here though I substituted 4 bananas for 3.  Maybe it's just me, but I seem to buy giant bananas and I've wondered if some of my overly soggy attempts have been thanks to the seemingly huge quantity of banana in there. It doesn't seem to do any harm to cut one out.

The result? As you can see - it looks pretty good! I am pleased to say I think I may have finally won! Waawaaweewaa! It was delicious. The tinfoil on top did it's job marvellously and the resulting loaf is probably not likely to see out the week. Marvellous.

One further word of advice, I normally use an all in one method with my magimix but decided this time to cream the butter and sugar alone for a pretty long time {5-10mins} before adding the rest as instructed.  I think it helped. Oh, and when you add all the liquidy ingredients, it will look like this, don't panic {it looks gross just to warn you}:

As soon as you start to fold in the flour however, all returns to normal and doesn't seem to do anything to the taste or texture so don't panic!

Do you have a favourite banana bread recipe? I'd love to hear it!

I have to say, I've loved doing these 14 different foods. It's been good to push myself to make things I normally wouldn't. I don't think this will be the last food post at all.

Love B x

Monday, 15 August 2011

love this...

{available here}

I LOVE this guy! Now, if only I had somewhere to put him? Or £89 to spend on a faux deer head. 

Love B x

Friday, 12 August 2011

Black & Tan


Kg boots, £180

To turn my mind on to autumn again {I know, I can't help it!} here is a round up of some of the boots available at the moment that I would gladly make room for in my wardrobe. Black and tan seemed to be an unintentional trend, as was suede. Some of them are practical, and some considerably less so and some, are within my budget whilst some are considerably outside of it. 

Such is life!

Which are your favourites? I love the Zara biker boots and the Tan suede ASOS pair. Can anyone enlighten me as to why polyvore insists on muddling up some of the prices into dollars? I definitely linked them from U.K sites. Thanks!

Love B

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Miss Selfridge

Miss Selfridge

All missselfridge.com

Whilst not one to often shop at Miss Selfridge, I am really quite enamoured with some of their current stock. The aztec print knit in particular is lovely - perfect for Autumn - as is the dress with the rough polka dots {though I'm not keen on the belt}.  I love the idea of the blazer with the faux fur collar though  I fear that, in reality, the quality might not do it justice. Shame really, it reminds me of this image that I've had in my inspiration folder for ever:

Le sigh. So chic! Maybe I just need to find myself a faux fur wrap/scarf* and a tweed blazer instead! Oh and a Chanel bag!

The Leopard loafers are bang on trend too, with plenty of others bringing out their own versions. Not one to judge a book by its cover, I'd be interested to see what the pieces are like in real life.

What do you think?

Love B

*I'm aware this is 99% unlikely to be fake. Not really my cup of tea to wear real fur. I still think the combination is lovely however.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Fourteen Days of food: Day 13

I included a little sneak peaks of this Day of Food quite a while back now. We had friends coming round one evening for some drinks and food, and I had hoped to make a batch of 3 different dips. As it happens, I couldn't get any tahini for houmous, so that was out of the question. I had wanted to make a tomato salsa dip too but, to be totally honest, I really like the ones you can buy? I'd love to make my own version of them, if anyone has any good recipe suggestions. It frustrates me that the only 'salsa' I can knock up involves chopped fresh tomatoes, and whilst delicious, it's not really the same for dipping, is it?

Which left me with Guacamole. As simple as this dish is, I've never made it before. Like they say though, there's no time like the present.

I looked up some recipes online but the basis premise was the same throughout so I just played around with quantities. In the end I used:

2 big tsps of Very Lazy Chilli
2 avocados
1 ripe tomato
2 finely sliced spring onions
A generous helping of frozen chopped Coriander
Juice of one lime
Pinch of sea salt

I mashed together a tsp of the chilli {the very lazy stuff made this so easy!}, spring onion, coriander and a tiny pinch of salt into something a bit paste like. After that, I peeled and diced up the avocado, mashing it in with the paste. Not too much though - I like my Guacamole to be a bit chunky {unlike the lurid green stuff you get in a pot at the supermarket}. I diced up the tomato, and stirred it through the mixture with the rest of the spring onions and coriander. I finished it off with a tad more seasoning and the juice of the lime.

It was delicious, I have to admit. One hundred times nicer than the stuff you can buy and, especially with the shortcut ingredients {Coriander & Chilli} it was super simple with minimal prep time.

I made mine about 30 minutes or so before everyone turned up so I stored it in the fridge. One neat trick I did come across on my Googling search yesterday, is that you should press a layer of clingfilm onto the Guacamole before you store it in the fridge. Literally onto the surface. This stops any air getting to it so it will still be a lovely vibrant shade of green by the time you come to eat it.

Hope you liked this! Does anyone have any particular guacamole recipes that differ from this? Or like I said, is it pretty standard?

Love B x

Monday, 8 August 2011

Today's Outfit (and some shopping)

Today's outfit could not be less post-worthy if it tried: oversized grey knit {H&M - lovely!} and jeans. Practical outfit for a grey day at work.  I did want to blog about these shoes though. From New Look, they cost £15 {reduced from about £25 I think}. I'd put off buying a pair of shoes like this for a while - constantly trying them on then convincing myself I looked like a numpty.  I borrowed a pair from a friend though and instantly fell for them when I wore them outside of New Look's shoe department. They've got a slight give to them so became quite comfy, quite quickly and I love how I'll be able to wear them as a smarter work pair of flats.

This necklace I've mentioned before but I ended up snapping it trying to take a photo of the shoes {skills} and I just love how it catches the light. The grey jumper, the H&M one, though not really post worthy is really worth investigating. It's a fine, oversized knit that comes in a range of colours, and for £15 it's a great piece to have tucked in your wardrobe ready to move into Autumn.

Finally, to make the post a bit more interesting, I popped into Habitat on my way home from work and picked up a couple of lovely bits and pieces. If you haven't already popped into one of their closing down sales, it is well worth it. I bought two of these lovely chandelier tumblers {I thought they'd be sweet for water on our bedside tables or as make shift vases} for £4 and 2 glass candlesticks to add to my already hefty collection.

What do you think?

Love B x

I love...Bird Vases

{available here}

How sweet are these white ceramic bird vases from Graham & Green? I love the sparrow. I don't know whether I could add it to our home though - what with the owl bookends, the Picasso Penguin print {I don't think I've shown you that} and the two real life budgies {Gilbert & Sullivan - I don't know if I've told you about them too!} I'd be worried about looking like we have a bird of a bird obsession. Still, I think they're so lovely!

Love B x

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday Afternoon

It's been pretty grey and horrid here today so we've spent the afternoon curled up indoors. I like to pass the odd afternoon mentally shopping online - I pop whatever I fancy in my bag and think nothing of it. Thankfully I stop myself before I press 'buy' else I could end up spending a small fortune on net-a-porter and the like.

I spent this afternoon browsing H&M's current collection and there are so many pieces I'm coveting that would make perfect additions to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. The ones above are just a small selection. What do you think? I reckon I might need to go shopping...

Hope you've have a lovely weekend!

Love B x

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Today's Outfit: Summer Dressing

I wore this, rather ambitiously, for Friday night drinks to mark the start of the Edinburgh Festival.  As it happens, I got dressed when it was still gorgeously sunny outside obviously not considering sitting outside all evening. Oh well! At least I thought to throw on a jacket! This necklace is one of my new favourite pieces of jewellery. It was £10 from Next and I love how it sparkles when it catches the light. It's definitely the kind of piece I would've paid considerably more for in Accessorize or the like. The skirt, though you can't clearly see, has the sweetest tiny four leaf clover print all over it. I would love to pretend I just threw this together but last night was one of those nights where I didn't really like any of the clothes in my wardrobe {ever feel like that? Or do I need help?!} and so I took inspiration from one of my favourites, Rachel Bilson:

Blazer: Topshop, Silk Top: Topshop, Necklace: Next, Skirt: Urban Outfitters, Belt: from a New Look dress, Sandals: Newlook, Handbag: Zara, Watch: Asos

Love B x

NB: I've just noticed that I look about 12 years old in this photo. le sigh

Friday, 5 August 2011

Mason Jar Sewing Kit


This is one of the sweetest ideas I have seen in a while - wouldn't it make a lovely gift for any of your friends who were into sewing? I love the little pin cushion on top! I, for one, can think of several people I could give it to. Considering the price however, I'm sure it would be possible to put together your own set on a budget. Or a variation on that theme. It's certainly something I'll be keeping up my sleeve for gift giving later in the year. I love thoughtful gifts so this is right up my alley. I'm even tempted to make one for myself to store my own sewing kit {which is currently hidden away in a drawer in a mishmash of containers}.

Love B x

Thursday, 4 August 2011



I don't know what the weather is like where you are right now, but here in Scotland it's chucking it down. As a result, I've spent this morning delaying going out and instead started to lust over Autumn fashion. I have to be honest, I'm not all that great at summer dressing. Not to imply I'm brilliant at dressing for Autumn/Winter either but I'm much more comfortable doing so: effortless Summer dressing and the palettes that come with it don't come naturally to me. I'm much more at home in the darker, richer tones of Winter where structured dressing and layers come into their own. I played around on Polyvore for the first time this morning {yes, late to the party, again.} and put together this little ensemble that seems oh so appropriate for today's weather. Now if only the coat, ring and handbag were oh so much more within my budget. I love the leopard print snood though - classic - and the boots are a much more affordable version of the pair I'm currently coveting. Granted, this outfit isn't exactly groundbreaking with its mix of classic leopard print & trench and its foundations in good, neutral knitwear and denim, but it's perfect for a casual afternoon at that point when Summer begins to transition into Autumn.

Love B x

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Art Attack

I had a couple of days all to myself this week and I knew I wanted to do something with them. I've been on a bit of an art kick recently, trying to add things to our flat. It all seems to add up pretty quickly though so, having bought one piece of art {and wanting plenty more} I decided to turn my hand to making a couple bits and pieces.

Now, I'm not daft so I am aware of my limited drawing skills but I love pieces like this and this and I thought the graphic black and white would look great against the bright green walls of our kitchen. With that inspiration in mind I hunted down these graphics online and, armed with a £3 9x12" canvas and a packet of 99p permanent markers, I set to work.

It was pretty simple to be honest with you. I split the canvas up into measured sections to give myself a rough idea of the spacing between each doodle and then set to work copying out the images with a pencil.  The best part is that you can be pretty rough at this part knowing that the marker will cover most of the sketch.

After that, it was simply a case of colouring in the outline, and rubbing out any remaining pencil drawings...

Until I was happy with the result!

What do you think? I'm really pleased with how it turned out, considering it cost me under a fiver and only took about 30 minutes. I bought a few larger canvases whilst I was there and I've got another couple ideas up my sleeve so I'll post about how those turned out too.

Love B x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Fourteen Days of Food: Day 12

Right, so this is actually a drink but hear me out.  I've wanted to have a pop at making a 'green monster' for a while.   Having read all about it's amazing-ness {not a word, I know}, and being a complete sucker for stuff like this {aka anything that claims to promise amazing hair, skin, eyes, energy etc in, literally, one glass} I had to give it a go.  

I had a pop at making the original but changed my mind and through in the blueberries I had left from my batch of muffins {these had been frozen so they had to act as my batch of ice too - does anyone really keep a bag of ice in the freezer?} because the original recipe wasn't sweet enough for me to be willing to drink a batch of the stuff. I also left out flax seed because I wasn't even sure what that was and I was pretty certain my local Scotmid was not going to have any.

I have to admit, I'm a bit torn on this one.  I don't hate it by any stretch of the imagination and I certainly plan on making it again {especially if it does keep up it's end of the deal and have all these seemingly magical properties}.  That said, to tell you I couldn't taste the spinach would be to tell a porky pie. It's definitely not spinach-y, which I thought was pretty incredible, but you know you're drinking something other than just the banana and blueberries {though the green colour gives that away a bit too...}. I got my boyfriend to have a, very nervous, sip and when I asked him if he liked it, his somewhat delayed and hesitant response was "well...it's a bit....grassy". Says it all really.  I can't imagine any of the menfolk I know would really be into this one, but like I said, it's reasonably tasty and drinkable and gives you a nice hearty punch of vitamins! Not bad really! Just for the record, the recipe I've linked to made about a pint and a bit, but then I didn't add any ice to bulk it out.

Anyone ever tried one? Got any suggestions to make it a bit less 'grassy'?

Update: having made this several times since I actually wrote this post, the green monster has really grown on me. I use a bit less spinach so it is less 'grassy' and try to use slightly unripened bananas. Maybe it's because I know I'm drinking something that is good for me but I actually kind of enjoy it. Word of advice - don't use defrosted frozen spinach when you run out of fresh stuff. That really does taste like grass and it will make you want to vomit. Not a pleasant start to the morning.

Love B x

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