Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Unco-ordinated

I love co-ords, I really do. I love the look of a gorgeous little cropped tshirt with a matching pencil skirt, and the fact that you're basically adding three new items to your wardrobe- a skirt, a top and the dress-combo. The problem is co-ords really don't love me. I mean really don't love me. In the last two weeks I have purchased two sets of co-ords. Turns out, they look bloody hideous on me. Maybe it was the co-ords that I chose (both of the pencil skirts I chose were stupidly long and unflattering, and the tops were too long so any shape I had was hidden), but I feel like I've got them out of my system a bit. Well except for the tops. Both of which I kept. See I don't really have a lot of tops. I have a lot of blouses, but when it comes to tops I basically have tshirts or my well-loved black and white striped Primark tee. So I ended up with two separate pieces, just no separates. But while the skirt that matched this top was awful, the top itself is absolutely gorgeous. 
top- Oasis
skirt- Boohoo
shoes- Topshop
necklace- Topshop
lipstick- MAC Impassioned
Another new addition to my wardrobe is this skirt. I now have it in black, blue, pink and green. If I like something, I tend to buy it in multiple different colours. And especially when it's £8. This is actually the outfit I wore on Easter Sunday. I had a completely blissful Easter weekend where I really, totally and utterly relaxed. So much so that at work today when people asked me what I did this weekend I completely blanked. There has been a lot of running (I'm finally enjoying it again and getting my speed back up to where it was before my half marathon training, plus I LOVE my new trainers!), lots of yummy food (Phil and I went to Pieminister on Saturday. Ah-mazing) and a lot of napping! I also went to see The Amazing Spiderman 2 yesterday with Phil's parents, which I highly recommend!
Other than that, life is quiet, in a good way. Work is keeping me busy, but good busy. I absolutely love working in social media. Plus I have Katy's wedding on Friday-I can't wait!

Hope your Tuesday has been wonderful, especially when you've realised it's not Monday!

Charlotte x

Friday, 18 April 2014

Holiday Essentials with Marks and Spencers: Part 2

So I'm back from Amsterdam! I had a lovely, but very busy weekend. A trip with 28 other women was always going to be a bit of a challenge! Now, the first thing to mention is that my capsule wardrobe didn't quite go to plan! What I didn't mention in my last post (because I thought the bride might be reading!) was that in true Hen Party style, we all had tshirts! We ended up wearing these all day Friday and most of Saturday, so I didn't get a chance to snap my lovely summery dress until Sunday.
One thing I enjoyed most about my trip was that I managed to do a few things I didn't get to do when I was last there. With any city you can't do everything in a few days and although Ellen and I did a lot when we went last year, there were a couple of things I wanted to cross off my list. On Saturday we went on a canal cruise, which as it was sub zero when we went last year, wasn't really an option. And on Saturday night we went to a cocktail making class at the House of Bols which was ridiculously good fun! First we did a self-guided tour of the building and learned about the different tastes and scents in cocktails, and then chose a drink for the bartenders to make us, then our group was taken upstairs to the cocktail making class. It was a huge room with a dozen little bar areas set out and we all got to watch the bartender make a drink and then we each got to make it and drink it! We got to make three in total- the first one was a mixed drink, second was a muddled drink and third was a shaken drink. It was so much fun!
On Sunday, nobody really had any collective plans. On the plane out we had been sat next to a Dutch gentleman, who pointed out the tulip fields as we came into land in Schiphol. Now last time I went to Amsterdam it was a really brutally cold winter, and none of the tulips were out, and I had always been disappointed that I missed them. So we decided if we got any free time on Sunday before our flight we would try to go see them. So while everyone else was still in bed, we got up bright and early, suitcases in tow, to get a metro, then a train, then a bus to the Keukenhof (fortunately I am always chief navigator on trips so I got it sorted out!). And this was where we decided to take photos of my beautiful Marks and Spencers dress... (edit: Majorly photo heavy, sorry not sorry. TULIPS!)
Oh it's pretty much impossible to get a full-length photo without getting a dozen tourists in the background
I've decided to leave most of my flower pictures unedited because they were already so beautiful

denim jacket- New Look
necklace- Topshop
sunglasses- H&M
lipstick- MAC Russian Red
As I said in my last post, I wore this Marks and Spencer's dress with these Marks and Spencer's shoes. I was a little bit cold (I did have tights on!) but I think this dress will be so perfect for the summer. I am also a little bit obsessed with orange at the moment! I would love to wear this with white converse for day and nude shoes for the evening with a little orange cardigan. It's also a perfect fit. I was a little worried because the dress I wanted was no longer available, so I asked for this one, but I was concerned because it is a petite. At 5'4" I'm a little bit too tall for most petite ranges and I didn't want this to be indecent. However it is a great length! I find most M&S dresses are a little longer anyway so I might start browsing their petite range more often. Also, I love M&S shoes because they do half sizes! I'm normally a 6 but my shoes are always too big, so a 5.5 is perfect. I also wore my M&S beauty products on my trip. While I didn't love the mascara (it was fine with a few layers of They're Real over the top but it wasn't standout on its own, although it is waterproof), I really liked the mattifying primer and it held my makeup well most of the day and my face didn't go shiny. I'm always on the lookout for new primers so I might repurchase this when I run out of Smashbox.
Well it's four day weekend time so let me get back to my busy schedule of doing nothing!
Have a great one!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Holiday Essentials with Marks and Spencers: Part 1

A few weeks ago Marks and Spencer's got in touch asking me if I would like to get involved in their Holiday Essentials Campaign, and asked if I was going on holiday in March/April time. Now usually by this time of the year I have my holidays all planned out (I had four last year!) but this year, with the exception of a trip to Ireland with my parents and Whitby with Phil's parents, I don't have any real holidays planned at all. I was about to give up when I remembered that I'm off to a hen do in Amsterdam this weekend! As some of you might remember I went to Amsterdam last year for my birthday, so I'm really excited to go back. Plus I think it might be little different from my trip last year when Ellen and I did the Anne Frank house, the Van Gough exhibit and were home in bed every night by 9.30pm.

Now with it only being a weekend trip, we're only taking hand luggage, so I needed to create a little capsule wardrobe for my trip. I decided to choose this pretty orange and white dress and orange ballet flats from Marks and Spencer's and build the rest of my wardrobe around an orange and white colour scheme. I've also added a leopard print dress and black heels as the theme for Saturday night is leopard print!


My Capsule Wardrobe
I always try not to bring too much when I go away, and my rule for this trip was no more than two pairs of shoes! I don't need more than two pairs for 3 days! I'm also not entirely sure if two jackets and two knits is excessive. I've added in a few of my beauty essentials but obviously I'll be bringing all my other beauty and hair stuff (I hope there's enough room in my suitcase!). To demonstrate how my capsule wardrobe is going to work, I've put together all the individual outfits that I'm planning to wear each day...

Day One: Travelling and First Night
Our flight isn't til nearly 6pm on Friday, so I'm planning just to wear jeans, a cardigan and my trench coat for the trip. I'm always a bit chilly on the plane! The evening is going to be a pretty chilled one with just a few drinks and snacks, so I'm just going to swap my flats for heels and throw on my leather jacket.

Saturday Daytime: Exploring the city
On Saturday we're going to be exploring the city so I'm going for a pretty summery dress and of course, flat shoes. My coat and cardigan might accompany me too, just in case! With a long day out, I'm also hoping that Marks and Spencer's Autograph primer keeps my makeup looking great all day!
Saturday Night: Cocktail making!
As I said, the theme for Saturday night is leopard print, which is no problem for me! I'll be wearing a leopard dress (not this exact one, but a similar one!), black heels and my trusty leather jacket. I'll also be using my favourite Urban Decay palette, the Smoked palette, and Autograph Waterproof Mascara. We're going to a cocktail making class before a night on the town which sounds a lot of fun!
Sunday: Coming home
Yep it's a real whistlestop tour! We're coming back home on Sunday, so I've just swapped the simple orange cardigan for a snuggly jumper which I think will be ideal for a sleepy Sunday. I'm sticking with flats again too cause in Amsterdam you never know which direction a bike or a tram might come at you!

Stay tuned for photos of my outfits when I get back from my trip!

Charlotte x
Edit: All other items from my Polyvore sets can be found here!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Singin' in the Rain

striped top- Primark
leather jacket- Boohoo
necklace- Topshop
skirt- c/o Rare London
wellies- Hunter
Do you know when you have a really great idea for blog photos and they just don't really work? That's kind of what happened here. I wasn't initially planning on wearing my wellies but it was raining outside so I popped them on to walk to the shops and quite liked how they looked. And then I decided if I was going to take photos with my wellies on I should really be outside. But that I would need my umbrella. Which looks like the kind of umbrella you might find accompanied by a ten year old girl. So all in all, I'm not totally sure about these photos. I do quite like this outfit though. I love a bright floral print and I love me some mixed prints. However it wasn't very wet for the rest of the day so I felt a bit daft in wellies. They're also super heavy and walking in them can be a bit of a challenge!
Thank you for all your birthday wishes. I've had a lovely, but busy week. Thankfully, this weekend has been fairly quiet. I had my first run since my race yesterday (it wasn't great! My body was like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WE RAN 13 MILES TWO WEEKS AGO!") and then had my hair cut and coloured and had a much-needed night in with Phil. Today we went shopping for new trainers for me as my lovely £18 Reeboks have done over 400 miles now and were in desperate need of replacing. I went to have my gait analysis at Sweatshop and chose a bright pink New Balance pair. I've been out in them today and it's been a bit weird running in new trainers, but Sweatshop have a 30 days guarantee which is great if they're not right. Definitely recommend going to get a fitting- buying new trainers is so intimidating!
Hope your weekend has been lovely!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Twenty Four.

It was my twenty fourth Birthday on Sunday. Yay birthdays! Despite having had twenty four of them now, I still get very, very excited about my birthday- my friend Kris says I'm the only person she knows over the age of 18 who still gets super excited about their birthday. I blame being an only child. And the daughter of an only child (my Mum is just as bad). This year, with my birthday being on a Sunday, I ended up having a kind-of birthday weekend. Not that I'm complaining! Here's what I got up to...

Friday
I went for breakfast at work on Friday morning and when I got back I was greeted with party poppers and the entire marketing department clapping and cheering. Oh and my desk looked like this! I brought treats for the marketing department as a thank you.
Then, in the afternoon, we went out for lunch and I was surprised with a bowl of ice cream with a candle in (with everybody singing Happy Birthday!) and my card and presents! My team got me a little ducky for my desk and an Um Bongo jumper! I'd only mentioned the afternoon before that I'd always wanted an Um Bongo tshirt so god knows how they got it so fast!
Not brilliant photos, but on Friday night Phil and I went out for dinner so I could use my Las Iguanas free birthday meal. We ended up getting a LOT of food (mmm guacamole) and I got a free birthday cocktail!

Saturday
On Saturday Phil and I went to Alton Towers. It was the best day ever. We went on The Smiler twice, front row both times (fast passes are so worth it!), Sonic Spinball, Hex, Oblivion, Rita and Thirteen. We couldn't resist buying these pictures. The Rita picture is Phil's keyring and I bought the Smiler picture for my room. 



Sunday (Birthday day!)
Now the rubbish thing about my birthday was that I was actually kind of poorly all day. I had started to feel sick when we arrived at Alton Towers on Saturday and had a terrible night's sleep Saturday night. I ended up feeling horribly nauseated all through my birthday and well into Monday and even today. It did put a dampener on the day a little bit, but I'd planned on a quiet day anyway. I started the day giving my Mum her Mother's Day presents while we waited for my Dad to get back from playing golf (I wasn't allowed to open presents until he got back). I did very well this year! Here's what I got!
I'd asked for Insanity and the books, but the dress, soup maker and kindle case were a surprise (mine broke a few days ago so my Mum bought me the exact same one because I love it!). The Picture of Dorian Gray is my favourite book so I really wanted the leatherbound, hardback copy. It's beautiful. I can't wait to get through my 125 Weekends in Europe book too. I spent most of the day resting and feeling rubbish while drinking a tonne of hot water with lemon, ginger and honey while some of the family came to visit. Phil came round in the evening after he'd watched the Liverpool game (he's a huge Liverpool fan so he was over the moon at the result!) and brought my presents! 
The big print is made up of the entirety of The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is absolutely stunning. I asked him to get me this but he got it framed for me. It's beautiful. He also got me this Breaking Bad print. I love these prints- I first shared them with Phil after reading about them on Buzzfeed. They're done by a Hungarian artist and he has created a print based around every episode of Breaking Bad. Phil says it took him ages to choose but he eventually went for this one, season 1, episode 4.
He also got me Twister, to continue our tradition of buying each other a board game for every birthday and Christmas, and this Arrested Development necklace.
I had booked a table at my favourite restaurant for dinner weeks before, but as I felt so rubbish I wasn't sure if I would be okay to go. In the end, after all my ginger and honey drinks, I was feeling well enough to go. I managed to enjoy some bread and vinegar, along with this delicious prawn skewer. They also brought me out a pudding with a candle in, but I couldn't eat it because I gave up chocolate for lent, but I ate the ice cream and my family and Phil enjoyed helping with the pudding!
All in all, despite being ill, I had a lovely lovely birthday. I am really excited for twenty four. Twenty three was one of my favourite ages yet. Leaving a job I didn't love, finding my dream job, meeting Phil, starting to run, completing a half marathon. Let's see what 24 brings.

Charlotte x

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hunter

A super-quick set of photos I took before work the other day to show off my new wellies. Yes, I jumped on the Hunter bandwagon, but hear me out. Last winter I walked to work in my Uggs to keep my feet warm, but as Ugg-owners will know, they're not exactly waterproof. They also started to let in water, which made soggy feet a bit of an issue. My plan was to get some cheapy wellies and wear those to work for this winter, but I couldn't find any I liked. Except for one pair, which I spotted right in the middle of No Shopping November and promptly sold out by the time December rolled around. Anyway, I was still on the hunt for some nice wellies, and my thoughts started to turn towards some Hunter wellies. I just couldn't justify the price. I'm not super-outdoorsy and I knew they would only get worn to and from work and on the occasional wet Saturday. But yet, I wanted some. To cut a long story short, a few weeks ago AO.com were announced as the 4th Best Company to Work For in the UK for the second year running, and on the Monday we had a pretty mental day at work. We were welcomed in by firebreathers, there was pick n mix, an ice cream van, a photobooth with props in the canteen, a guy singing to us at lunch, a magician. And me being me, I instagrammed all of it. Now what I'd forgotten was that they were giving a prize for the best picture at work, and the winner won a £50 voucher. And because of my incessant Instagramming, I won. I could have the voucher for anywhere I wanted, but I knew Amazon had reasonably priced Hunters, so I decided to have them from there. And I actually found a pair for £66. So my £85 Hunters were actually purchased for £16, thanks to the wonderful company I work for! I now wear them to and from work and they keep my feet lovely and warm and dry (especially because it is always terrible weather in Horwich. It has some kind of horrible microclimate of grey raininess). Oh and then I change into my normal shoes when I get to work. I don't plod around in these all day! If you are thinking of getting some, mine were from here and a sized down to a size 5 as I heard they run big. I'm somewhere between a small 5.5 and a 6 so they're perfect in a 5, with normal socks and a pair of tights underneath. And of course, I had to get bright red!
dress- River island
cardigan- Debenhams
wellies- Amazon
The last few weeks have been pretty mad around here. But with my half marathon being over, I actually have some time to enjoy other pursuits! I'm currently off running for a week and then next week I'm starting a new routine of running and strength. I've got the Great Manchester Run in May so my aim is just to work towards that. People are already asking me when my next half marathon is going to be (and many are asking me when my first full marathon is going to be!), and at the moment the answer is next year. I've spent all my running time so far building up my distance so now I'm going to work on my speed. I want a good year or so to build up my speed and enjoy short, fast runs, with a day of strength training per week. I'm not letting it take over my life again! I've also asked for Insanity for my birthday and I'd like two months off to do that too. Speaking of which, YAY BIRTHDAY! It's my birthday on Sunday. I am twenty four. It feels like yesterday I was 16. Nope, that was 8 years ago. Eight years ago, wow! Phil and I are going out for dinner tomorrow (I always use my free Birthday meal voucher from Las Iguanas!) and then Saturday we're going to Alton Towers! I cannot wait. I am such a child and I love rides. Plus I haven't been on The Smiler yet! Then we're going to Phil's parents' for tea. My actual birthday is probably going to mostly a usual Sunday (minus my usual 10+ mile run!) but in the evening we're going out for a meal at Albert's, one of my favourite restuarants. I'm really looking forward to it! We're going out for a team lunch tomorrow too so it's definitely a weekend of ALL THE FOOD. I absolutely love my new job though! Working in social media is an absolute dream. It's so great to look forward to going to work everyday!
I'll be back next week to share my birthday presents! Have a lovely weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums for Sunday!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Half Marathon Training: I DID IT!

 
Well, I did it. 13.1 miles. 
And the honest truth? It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my whole life. But I did it.
I was nervous when I got there. Thankfully running into Phil and his family calmed my nerves. I was scared but excited at the starting line. Edging my way right to the back. Way past the 2 hour mark.
I didn't have a goal except to finish. But in the back of my mind I wanted to do it in under 3 hours.
As the crowd starting to move I picked up a good pace and got excited as I saw my first few miles come in at under 12 minutes. 
But after 3 miles I was already getting tired. 
At 5 miles I hit my stride. I was singing along to my music and enjoying the sunshine after starting out in hail.
At 9 miles I hit the wall.
Knowing I had 4 miles still to go.
Those last 4 miles were hard. Harder than anything I had ever experienced before.
The Wilmslow Half Marathon is marketed as a big race for serious athletes. Of which I am not. With only 4000 places I was naturally going to fall near the back but I didn't expect times when I couldn't see the person in front or the person behind. After a 2 and a half hour cut off they start to reopen the roads, which means if you're near the back like me, you have to watch for traffic too.
At 11 miles I lost hope of a 3 hour finish. I just wanted to get through it.
The exhaustion is indescribable. I was dragging my feet knowing I had miles to go. Knowing nearly everyone had already finished. Feeling disappointed that I was so near to the back. 
I still couldn't see the end after 12.5 miles and was starting to panic, but just as I was getting to 13 miles, the end was in sight.
So I sprinted.
I saw my Dad cheer me on from the side, long after most of the other spectators had gone, their friends and family having completed the race hours before.
I crossed the line at 3 hours 2 minutes with tears in my eyes.
And then I saw someone waving. And heard my favourite laugh. 
It was Phil, who had finished 40 minutes before (even with two dodgy knees!) and his family, waiting for me with my mum. 
I walked straight over to Phil and just dropped myself onto him. It was over.
I'd done it.
While part of me is beating myself up about my time, a year ago I couldn't run for a minute. I had no interest in running.
The people coming in with one hour and two hour times have been running for years, not just 9 months.
And regardless of my time, I made over £500 for the Alzheimer's society. And that's what matters.
So for every person who thinks they can't run a half marathon, go back a read my story.
Read from when I was so inspired by my friend Eve running the Great Manchester Run that I signed up for the following year's, despite never having run in my life.
The struggles and the injuries and the pain of my half marathon training.
A year ago I was just like you. Convinced I couldn't run. Would never run.
9 months after started to run I've completed a half marathon.
It is possible.
It's not easy, it's not always fun, and it bloody well hurts at times.
But the sense of achievement from completing something that you never thought you'd be able to do is worth it. 
And when I beat myself up about my time I think back to myself a year ago and how shocked I would be if I was told back then I'd run a half marathon.
Bring on next year.