Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday wishlist #7

This week I've been mostly craving a few new beauty products. It's my real weakness at the moment - I'm trying so hard to save money but an expensive nail varnish totally throws me... seriously!

bottle service, by Essie,
My name's Kate and I am an Essie addict. You know you're an addict when you watch the Essie US site to see the new releases and then pop into Boots daily until they appear. Then you buy THEM ALL.

Seriously, this nail varnish is great. Boots do a great range with a fat brush that works amazingly. I own nearly all of them, but they keep bringing out new colours! This is part of their neons 2013 range... I will be buying it.

Advanced Night Repair, Estee Lauder, £44 for 30ml in Boots
I will buy this when I go through duty free this week - it's brilliant and cannot rave about it enough. Am just finishing my second bottle and I'm a real skincare cheater - i normally throw a bottle out halfway when I get bored. My skin has never looked so good since I started using this.

Special edition Pierre Hardy for NARS in Rotonde, £30
I just want to buy this and look at it. It's SO pretty! Nars blushes are amazing.

Although if you could see my makeup drawer you'd think I don't really need any more makeup...

How many brands can you name?!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday wishlist #6

 I'm planning a wedding outfit again...

Oasis, £85

Confession: I've already bought this dress. I struggle with Oasis's sizes so let's see if it fits!

Zara, £59.99
 Vampy high heels, lovely.

French Connection, from ASOS, £75
And for when the weather becomes obviously British...
Joules Umbrella, John Lewis, £19.95

Bring on the wedding season!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

A Sunday stroll

I am a lazy cow. I am really trying to get off my arse at the moment - I have a holiday planned and seeing as there'll be other people there, I'd like to get into shape so I don't feel quite so crap in a bikini.

So I've started doing Fitball and trying to run twice a week. Doesn't sound much but my normal exercise regime involves walking to the car and back so it's a step.

Instead of the run today,  we decided to go for a little stroll up Leckhampton Hill, near my house.

A *little stroll* doesn't cover how hard it was to get up that hill! I last did this walk just before I started my current job (3.5 years ago!!) and I was fine. This just demonstrates the effect of a sedentary lifestyle - my heart was pounding after two minutes. I'd like to blame the fact that I was carrying a heavy SLR but that's just an excuse! I am far too unfit!

 The first signs of Spring

I had a little sit down

The view was worth it right? (Bit cloudy today, it has looked prettier...)

Annoyingly, the walk was effortless for Nick. Sigh. 

Spot my house!

 Wow, I look knackered. And this was close to the bottom. 

The tree tunnel!

Good old iPhone panorama!

 I made it to the top!

 In reality, these pics don't really do the view justice. It was cloudy and grey - but it was so good to get some fresh air. 

This week is going to be manic so it was great to get away and sit above everything and just relax. 

And while I'm getting bogged down at work, it's great to know i've got something really exciting planned for the end of the year...

Planning my trip of a lifetime... with some sunshine hopefully!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My relationship with a camera

I'm going to a few hen parties this summer and have had to dig out the old photos and get scanning - a process that feels far too slow nowadays, surely there's an easier way?

It's reminded me how much I love my camera. I genuinely love taking photos, I don't claim to be a professional in any way, it's really just about capturing the moment and making sure you take the time to look back on the photos and remember.

I have boxes of photos so over the summer I'm going to spend serious time scanning, printing and hopefully (when I have my own house) displaying them for all to see. I also have about 16,000 photos on my computer, that I need to showcase. I'm really proud of some of my photos and want to look at them - to remember the people in them and just smile when I see them.

I started taking photos when I got my first camera at school. And I was always the one in my friendship group who had a camera - as  result there's loads of photos of them, and not a huge amount of me. I really thought it was my job to document what was going on - they're fairly crap, dark photos but they're better than nothing. I always had it with me to capture that embarrassing moment, which obviously my two friends are going to love at their hen parties (sorry girls!).

I bought my first digital SLR (my Canon 350D) when I was at university and gradually got used to it. I was stuck on auto for a long time, but gradually started reading up on it and turning the dial to the other functions!

I've upgraded my camera twice and now use a 60D. This is a great little camera and I'm now looking at spending money on lenses rather than the body, and build a stock of decent lenses. I can genuinely look at my photos and see progression over the last few years, and I have some photos I'm incredibly proud of!

Last year I photographed a wedding that made me realise I never want to do it for a living. I enjoyed it on the day, but I did it as a favour and it was bloody hard work. I was a guest at the wedding and didn't feel it - in fact, I'm really gutted that there isn't a single photo of me and my boyfriend from the day. It makes me sad - I've always been so keen to capture the moment, but I'm not in it! Actually, some of the photos are the best I've taken, and I've even done some editing (never done before!) and learned something new.

At the end of that day, when my arm ached and I could no longer lift the camera, I put it back in it's bag and have really struggled to take it out again. I'm not feeling inspired (probably helped by the iphone camera, which I use more and more) but from today... I'm getting out more. I'm picking up that bloody camera and using it.

And then I'll bore you senseless with photos of trees or the view from the hill by my house!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A trip oop north...

Two of my best friends are getting married this year so that's two ace hen parties to go to!

Last week was the turn of my lovely friend Kat, a nurse who lives in Liverpool. As most of the attendees are based up there, that's where the hen party was. Because I'm a pretty crap friend, I've only been to see her once before, and she's lived there for 13 years! The one visit I made before however did give mea good insight into just how seriously Liverpudlians take their appearance! Seeing girls in TopShop at 11am in stillettos, full makeup and rollers in their hair is not what you see in cheltenham! I'm not being offensive, I hope, as I have genuine respect for the amount of effort that goes into maintaining their look!

Anyway, I digress....

Emails had been flying about the hen weekend for a while before someone pointed out... That the 6th April was bloody Grand National day. Coming from Cheltenham I know the effect of a big race meeting on a town and suddenly knew that finding a hotel room was gonna be slightly difficult... Actually scrap that, it was just expensive! But I got one and after paying a fortune for it I decided to head up early on the Friday to make the most of it!

Ok, I'll admit. That meant sitting in the hotel bar on Friday night, people watching all the race goers (and wow the outfits were amazing!) and getting drunk. By myself. What a loser.

It meant waking up with a hell of a hangover on the Saturday but we were heading to the spa so that was kind of ok. Ibuprofen, a coke and some crisps later... I was feeling so much better! We headed to Formby Hall spa, which was a bit big and busy for my tastes but was pretty good. Lovely facial, an ok manicure and lots of lying around gossiping with the girls (with a break to watch the Grand National) was just what I needed.

We headed back to the hotel to get ready and I decided to go for the Liverpool look. I caked on the slap, curled the hair and wore a dress! And we then went to the most chilled, casual venue I've ever been to. Talk about not fitting in.

Camp and Furnace wasn't quite what I was expecting - it was a large warehouse that had a large furnace at one end (duh) and was filled with camp tables and caravans. Seriously. But the food was amazing and Kat had a great time. Especially when we dressed her up in a Danish outfit (her fiancée is Danish!) complete with authentic clogs! It was a great night... And I was completely sober.

I have been a tad worried about the amount I drink for a while. It seems that I have to have something every day, so it was a relief to be able to go out and enjoy a night out without drinking. I did go home at 11 but it was still fun.

We rounded off the weekend with brunch at The Tavern Company. Bloody hell, what a great breakfast. Pancakes and bacon, lush.

I set off down the M6 having had a great weekend, and glad I didn't have to face that drive with a hangover.

Bring on the wedding!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday wishlist #5

Yep, another week, another post of things I'm internet-window-shopping.

I am still wishing for sunshine by looking at clothing for slightly warmer weather than we're experiencing!
Oasis, £48
This is just pretty. And has mini peacocks on. I LOVE IT.
Gap, £24.95
Gap does brilliant shorts. Mine don't fit any more, conveniently, so will definitely be buying these.
Warehouse, £36
Almost bought these yesterday. They're cute.

Christian Louboutin, Net-a-porter, £395
Doesn't every girl want a red sole?? These are serious shoes and way out of my price range. 

Instead... I might get... some more sensible ones from the high street.

But a girl can dream of a lottery win!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Soushi sushi

I tried something new last night!

In an earlier post I talked about wanting to try new food - I always choose the same things on menus and tend to stick to the same places. So that's Nando's or Thai.

This week, my friend +Anthony Hua introduced me to sushi.

Yes, I feel like I'm about 15 years behind everyone else but if I'm honest, raw fish didn't seem like my thing. But my mission was to try new things, and so I tried the raw fish.

And you know what, it ain't half bad.

We visited Soushi in Cirencester. It's down a tiny street surrounded by cute little shops (I am SO going back when they're open too!) and because we went after work we were some of the first customers that evening.

 We wandered through the streets as quickly as possible as it was bloody cold... but it was very beautiful.

 My friend Anthony posing, catalogue-style, while reading the menu. 

Some actual raw fish
 So he introduced me to the basics... inside out maki with salmon and avocado. The good news is I no longer think I'm allergic to avocado - last time I had it my tongue swelled. Oops. 

I actually ATE some sushi! Go me!

Yes, I look knackered. I'd been up since 6 (like I am every day!)

Then I cheated and ate something cooked. This was chicken nan ban, and was LOVELY. 

Anthony has photographed food for as long as I know him. I used to think that was weird... now I seem to be doing it!

Thank you Anthony for a great first Sushi trip!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A right Cornish weekend

I love Easter weekend. No, not for the chocolate. Instead for the FOUR days off work!

It's been a hectic few weeks so I cannot describe how glad I was when the weekend finally arrived. Friday was spent lying around, as I was really quite tired, but by Saturday morning I was ready for some time away.

So we headed to a BLOODY COLD Cornwall - and apologies because this post is very pic heavy.

Hitting the road - someone was slightly more excited

We were booked into Watergate Bay hotel - based on a comment from someone at work who had loved their visit. And we LOVED the place.

Amazing mirror in Room 1
The view from our window
The view of the sunset
Pedicure time :)
Amazing room
Oh god. The best cream tea ever.
A bath! In the room!

The view from the bath! In the room!

The Watergate Bay Hotel is a family and dog friendly hotel near Newquay. It is right on the beach and next to Jamie's Fifteen restaurant and despite the fact that it feels like it's in the middle of nowhere, it's really buzzy and vibrant. However, if you don't like kids it's probably not the place for you! Obviously we went in the school holidays so it was really busy, but we did feel slightly left out for not having a child or dog with us!

Having said that, it felt really grown up. I've been in a family hotel before where it feels incredibly childish and messy. This was not the case here. My favourite place was the Ocean Room, part of the Swim Club area with the pool, treatment rooms and gym. The Ocean Room was a quiet, tranquil area with an amazing view. We sat here for a fair few hours, reading, drinking and chilling. Peaceful and classy.

The room was also amazing. I was actually gobsmacked when I opened the door because I was not expecting it to be so nice! It had a bath with a view of the beach and a separate tv area (perfect for the first Dr Who of the series!). The shower had FOUR shower heads - amazing! And I was this close to taking the bedding off the bed to work out where it was from - I have NEVER slept in such a comfortable bed before, and I would go back to the hotel just for that bed. 

But most of the weekend was spent outside, in the BLOODY COLD...

We visited Padstow, home to the Rick Stein empire and some damn fine fish and chips

A dog made out of wellies

You know some people look good in outdoor gear? Not me!

 Thank you Cornwall. We will be back... hopefully in the warmer weather.