Sunday, 30 June 2013

June in Photos

Holy heck has June gone fast! I cannot believe it's July tomorrow! Let's see what's been going on this month...

1. Friday night is wine night
A few weeks ago my friends and I had a Friday night at the pub and it was absolutely lovely. A bottle of wine (White Zinfandel is my favourite) and good company is all you need.
2. First ever ballet shoe
I've been dancing since I was 2 and in my bottom drawer I have a collection of my first dance shoes. Look how tiny my first ballet shoe is!
3. Party time
My Uncle Tony turned 60 a few weeks ago so it was a great excuse to get dressed up. I wore my favourite bright yellow Jones and Jones dress with pink lipstick and pink heels.
4. Pimms o clock
I have an insanely close family, so the Sunday afternoon after my Uncle's party my Dad and I still did the rounds and went to see family, even though we saw the night before. And we got to drink the leftover Pimms from the party!
5. Yet another salad
This one is quorn pieces, sundried tomatoes, goats cheese, cherry tomatoes and balsamic glaze.
6. New torture device this month
I've been using this on my non-running days. It's 55 minutes of strength and absolute hell.
7-9. My friends are awesome
My friends came over a few weeks ago to play with my Babyliss Perfect Curl. I curled their hair, we watched Not Another Teen Movie, and then Jenny and Eve both revealed their favourite, identical, Tom Hardy picture, and then proceeded to try to replicate it.
10. Veggie sausage and mash nom
To celebrate her new flat, my Nan took us out all for dinner a couple of Fridays ago. Veggie sausage and mash is always a good choice.
11. Is anything better than a stack of new library books?!
My nan picked me up some library books (remember when you used to get library books that weren't for essays?!) and I was SO excited. She picked me up Middlesex, The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
12. Saturday brunch
Pea and brocolli frittata and salad.
13-15. I like books (and hot drinks)
I finally, finally finished Libra and quickly read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (which is absolutely beautiful) and I've just finished Middlesex, which has become one of my favourite books.
16-17. Fathers Day
Made my Dad tea and toast in bed and shared this wonderful picture of us.
18. Veggie chilli
One of my favourite homemade dinners.
19. Frank mugs!
Kris and I had been talking about getting Frank Design mugs at work and we finally got them ordered. They make me way too happy.
20. Fajita night
Midweek dinners at Shaunagh's usually mean Mexican Food. We made quorn fajitas and nachos- two of my favourite things.
21. Thug Kitchen bean and pesto wrap
I love Thug Kitchen. I've been loving the Broccoli and Chickpea wraps so I gave the Coriander Pesto and Black Bean wrap a try.
22-23. Surprise from Popchips
Last week I got an unexpected, very very light package. I was intrigued and opened it to find a letter and a package from Popchips inviting me to be one of the first people to try their new flavour! What an honour! I absolutely love Popchips and can't wait to try the new ones!
24. Apple and cream cheese snack
My auntie used to make me this as a kid and I really fancied it the other day. The weird thing was, as I was eating it my Dad started pinching pieces! I never thought he was an apple and cream cheese kinda guy!
25-26. Free cake from John Lewis!
Okay, great story about great customer service. It's my Mum's birthday next weekend and she'd seen a bag she liked on the John Lewis website, so we decided to pop in to have a look at it (she's a bit of a bag connoisseur and wanted to check it out!) but when we asked, it wasn't available in the shop yet. However, if we ordered it online to store delivery before 6, it would be there the next day. Perfect! So we had a confirmation text that the bag had arrived so we went down to get it. When we got to customer services, they spent 10 minutes looking for the bag but couldn't find it. We were getting a little agitated by this point and I'm sure they were too (I used to work in Woolworths and it was so stressful when you couldn't find something someone had ordered!). Just when we were starting to worry they didn't have the bag, the lovely guy behind the counter offered us some vouchers for free tea and cake in the cafe while we waited! It was such a lovely gesture and such fantastic customer service- they even found the bag while we were queuing in the cafe and were happy to wait for us to finish our snack. A chocolate brownie and a pot of tea makes waiting for an order much more bearable. Thanks, John Lewis!
27. Reebok and Adidas Haul 
After three weeks of running, I decided I needed some proper running trainers (I'm planning a post on a guide to running for the ultimate novice like me), so my Dad and I took a trip to the local Reebok and Addidas outlet. I came home with trainers, leggings and a shirt for £45!
28. Monster truck trainers
My new trainers looks like monster trucks but they are like running on clouds. They make such a difference to my run. And they were £16!
29. Reading list
I have so many books that I want to read so I decided I'd better get them all down to avoid uttering the dreaded phrase "I have nothing to read!" I've just finished Middlesex and now I'm reading The Wolf of Wall Street
30. More running gizmos
To aid my running I also bought a easy-hold water bottle and an iPhone arm strap.
31. Lox Benedict
I was under strict instructions to eat the smoked salmon in the fridge (oh no, what a chore!) so I made lox Benedict as a post-workout brunch yesterday. Amazing.
32-33. Homemade curry
Shaunagh came round for tea last night so I made us a curry, FROM SCRATCH, I even made the paste! It was aubergine and green bean from River Cottage Veg Everyday with naan breads and poppadoms (which I did not make).
 34. Sunday lunch
I met Steph in Stockport for lunch today cause she was home for the weekend. I had a delicious halloumi salad.
35. Free Rubicon is the best Rubicon
They were giving Rubicon out in Stockport. Nom.
36. Leftover poppadom snack
37. Finally catching up with Breaking Bad
I've been so behind on Breaking Bad and haven't watched it for months. I've finally had a chance to sit down this afternoon and I'm hoping to finish season 2 tonight.
38-39. Mexican quinoa bake
I have loads of frozen bits of leftover dinners in the freezer and I really wasn't supposed to cook tonight, but I came across this recipe for Mexican Quinoa bake and had to make it. It was insanely delicious. As in, one of the best things I've eaten in ages! I had it topped with some greek yoghurt, avocado and coriander, and roasted broccoli and cauliflower. 

EDIT: Don't forget that we're saying goodbye to Google Reader tomorrow (still don't understand why!). I'm personally not a fan of Bloglovin' so I've moved over to Feedly which has a gorgeous interface and a lovely iPhone app and I would recommend it! I've also signed up for Digg Reader cause I'm indecisive! Hope you guys continue to follow me wherever you're following from!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Video Post: Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl Review

Yep, I finally did it. My first video blog. I've been putting this over for ages because a) I'm not very good at editing videos and b) I'm really socially awkward and I talk really fast, but when I got my Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl a few weeks ago I knew the only way to really show it off was via video.
Now, I apologies in advance for this video. The quality isn't great, I talk really fast and get all confused and I accidentally turned my webcam off a couple of times without realising! But generally, this product is awesome and I would highly highly recommend it if you curl your hair regularly. Anyway, let's have a look...

(The Youtube link is here)

In the video I mention the results from the first day and the photos that I took (I actually found out when I rewatched the video that I told this story twice and had to edit it out!) and I said I'd include them in the blog post, so here they are...

7.30am: First photo of the day, straight after curling and with lots of hairspray Second photo, after work. Still holding up well. Let's see a comparison...
Of course, they're dropped a bit, as expected, but still pretty good for after work drinks!
10.30pm: Right before bed and still pretty good!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my first video post! Please let me know if you have any questions about the Perfect Curl (not about my bad videoing please!). I don't know if I'll do a video blog again. I think I'll stick to photos and writing!

Charlotte x

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Leopard, Red and a Running Revelation

In the winter, I might swoon over tartan, but anyone who knows me will tell you that leopard print is the way to my heart. As if to reiterate the point, I'm typing this wrapping up in my leopard print dressing down. Over my leopard print pajamas. Checking the time on my leopard print watch. My leopard print collection extends to dresses (at least three), shoes (six pairs), shirts, tops, blouses, cardigans, coats, jeans, bags... the list goes on! So when I saw this leopard skirt in the Oasis sale I knew I had to have it (it's still in the sale for £10!). Any excuse to introduce more leopard print into my working wardrobe. I also wanted an opportunity to prove that a leopard print pencil skirt doesn't have to look trashy. And I'm also kind of obsessed with Oasis at the moment. I swear they don't pay me!
leopard skirt- Oasis
red shirt- New Look
heels- Marks and Spencers
necklace- Zalando
Where has this month gone? I cannot believe it's July next week. Time goes so fast now I'm  working, so I'm trying to fill my evenings and weekends as much as possible! I had my penultimate photography class on Monday and last night my Dad and I went out for a pub tea. And I had a revelation tonight! I've been sticking with my workout schedule and tonight was my first day of week 3 of couch to 5K. I had my new running trainers, new leggings and I was proper ready to go. And I actually enjoyed it! I enjoyed my run! And I finished my book today! Productive! However I was reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and I genuinely feel a big hole in my life having finished it. Such an amazing book. I'm just about to start The Wolf of Wall Street on the recommendation of my boss. I want to read it before the film comes out!
Other than that, not much is new! I'm going to Ireland next weekend for my Uncle's 50th and I'm really looking forward to that, plus it's my Mum's birthday that weekend too so it will be really nice to be away for a few days. I need a holiday, seriously! I can't wait to go to Berlin in August and I'm hijacking my parents holiday to Spain in September too! This is my first summer of not being a student so it's going to be weird working through the summer!

Speaking of work, if you or anyone you know is looking for a web developer job in Manchester, we're looking for a Junior Developer at Frank Design where I work. You can read more about it here. I absolutely love where I work and this is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a brilliant team so get applying!
I'm gonna add some new songs to my running playlist (suggestions please!) and get started with my book. Have a great evening!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Cosmic Girl

These photos are from a few weeks ago now. It was during the awkward post-spring, pre-summer phase over the last bank holiday weekend, I was stuck in the middle of my shopping ban and I was just completely uninspired. So I did what I always do when I'm uninspired, completely stole an outfit from someone else. In this case, Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky who wore an outfit just like this a few months ago. Sincerest form of flattery, right? Also I assure you there are times that I don't wear this skirt. The shirt on the other hand? Might have worn it both days this weekend. Sorry not sorry.
striped top- Primark
galaxy skirt- Modcloth
necklace- Topshop
leather jacket- H&M
ballet flats- New Look
How is your weekend going? Mine has been another quiet one, but I'm totally okay with that! Yesterday I got up, did my workout and then went out with my Mum to look for birthday presents for her. Then we had our semi-monthly two-film Saturday. We watched The Fighter and then Drive. Drive was good but as a person who doesn't like gory films it was a bit too violent for me! I'd seen The Fighter before but I just think it's a fantastic film and Christian Bale definitely deserved that Oscar! Today I've been out for my run and done my workout and I'm going out on usual Sunday errands today- food shopping, family visiting and to pick up my Mum's present that we ordered yesterday, and I'm also gonna have a look for some proper running trainers in the Adidas outlet shop. And then come home and get some work done for work tomorrow. I guess not that quiet really!
Hope you have a brilliant weekend! I have some more workwear outfits to post about this week that I'm really excited about!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Camera Shy

How was your weekend? Mine was exactly what I needed. Friday I went for a drink after work with my wonderful colleagues and then raced to meet my family for a meal with my Nan to celebrate her new apartment. Saturday started with a much-needed lie-in, and I spent the day finishing my book (Libra by Don Delillo), reading another whole book (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and doing my two workouts (Couch to 5K and the 30 Day Shred), before going out to a family party on Saturday night. I've said it before but my family are absolutely bloody mint. My cousins in particular are such a laugh and I'm so lucky to be part of such a close family. Father's Day was spent, predictably, with my Dad, but doing our usual Father-Daughter Sunday things of food shopping and visiting family (despite having seen them the night before!), and then reading, cooking a big veggie chilli and watching Hairspray (one of my favourite films!). It's been so nice to have a relaxing weekend and catch up with my reading and really get going with my new workout routine.
dress- Yumi via USC
boots- London Rebel via New Look
leather jacket- Miss Selfridge
This was the outfit I wore to my cousin's going away party on Saturday. It was pretty casual so I seized an excuse to wear my new favourite dress- WITH CAMERAS ON IT! The minute I saw this dress I knew I had to have it. I just wish I could figure out a way to wear it to my photography class! In my head I wanted to wear this with a denim jacket and bare legs but typical British weather prevailed so I went for navy tights, nude boots and my beloved pink leather jacket. I've also been getting acquainted with Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl and it's been beautiful. I plan on doing a video to show it in use but I've never done a video blog before so I'm a bit nervous!
I've had a really great, but intense day at work so I'm ready for my fruit tea and curling up with a book. I've just started reading Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides and I can't put it down! With my new workout schedule, I can fit my run and DVD in straight after work so it's nice to have an evening to chill out after, without thinking "oh it's 9pm already! Time to do my workout!" 
Hope you've had a lovely day!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 16 June 2013

White Tee Styling Challenge

I'm not great when it comes to wardrobe staples. I've always had a bit of a penchant for print, pattern and colour so I often find myself stuck trying to pair a leopard print skirt with a polka dot top. I get bored shopping for simple things and often find myself abandoning my "need" list and heading towards the category of "I don't need this but oh it's so pretty!". Over the last few months, however, I've been really trying to build up my arsenal of staples; white shirts, pencil skirts, blazers, jeans and simple tops. So, when I was asked to be a part of the Collective White Tee Styling Challenge I was excited to see what I could come up with based around everyone's wardrobe staple- a plain white tshirt. The challenge was to create three different outfit, all styled around a gorgeous, soft white tshirt. Here's how I got on...
tshirt- c/o Collective
skirt- Modcloth
boots- Boohoo
leather jacket- H&M
sunglasses- H&M
necklace- Zalando
Oh galaxy skirt, how I love you. This is actually the fourth time I've worn this skirt lately (I am so behind on outfit photos!) and I thought the simple white top was a great way to dress the skirt for daytime without overpowering the print. Of course, I couldn't resist my studded boots even if they make my feet blister!
jeans- Topshop
trainers- Converse
necklace- Topshop
If you see me on a Sunday, this is a typical outfit (I'm actually wearing something similar right now!). There is something about a comfy tshirt, my favourit jeans and converse is perfect weekend fodder.
skirt- Topshop
pink leather jacket- Miss Selfridge
shoes- c/o She Likes
necklace- Topshop
For my last outfit I wanted to do something a little more summery. The tshirt is light and comfortable, so I thought it would be great with a pretty floral skirt and ballet flats. As with the first outfit, this skirt is so pretty and printed that all it needs is a plain tshirt and a pastel jacket to finish it off.
How do you wear your white tshirt? What are you wardrobe staples?

Charlotte x

Saturday, 15 June 2013

New Workout Schedule

Yes I have a Jillian Michaels tshirt...

Contrary to popular belief, I've never really been one of those people who loves to exercise. I do it because it makes me feel good (afterwards!) and because it means I can have a second scoop of ice cream. I rarely enjoy working out while I'm working out, but it's become one of those things that is a big part of my life and my leisure time.

I've posted before about my love of Jillian Michaels DVDs (I've reviewed 30 day shred, Ripped in 30, 6 week 6 pack and Killer Buns and Thighs, and I recently finished Extreme Shed and Shred) but recently I've wanted to mix up my workout schedule a bit. After watching my friend Eve complete the Great Manchester Run a few weeks ago I stupidly signed up for the 10K race next year.

Now let me explain. I hate running. Absolutely and utterly hate it. I like to think I'm relatively fit, but a few minutes of running and I'm done for. Which is exactly why I signed up for the race. Because I was so convinced I couldn't do it.

I've started Couch to 5K before but given up after three or four weeks due to just really hating it, but this time I have a deadline to work towards. I have to be able to do this. My 10K isn't until next May but I want to feel confident in my ability, and with the couch to 5K programme I hope to be able to complete a 5K by the end of September.

I got started again with C25K on Wednesday. I'd been growing bored of Extreme Shed and Shred (review to come) and it was a gorgeous day when I finished work. It was light and warm with a slight breeze and I thought, "this is it, I have to go for a run." So I got in from work, laced up my trainers and off I went. And it was lovely. The only problem was I didn't feel pushed. I didn't feel exhausted when it was over, so I knew then it wasn't enough.
C25K, in the initial stages at least, is mainly walking, and 30 minutes was just not enough. Plus they encourage you to only do the programme 3 times a week. After doing 40+ minute workouts 5 times a week I knew I wouldn't be able to have that extra scoop of ice cream if I dropped down to this, so I devised my own workout plan that includes C25K three times a week, plus additional strength and cardio.

My new workout schedule is:
- Couch to 5K three times a week, followed by the 30 Day Shred (switching up levels when necessary)
- Jillian's No More Trouble Zones once or twice a week for additional strength

I hope this workout is a good mix and helps me to push myself with running as well as build strength through additional cardio and strength training.
No More Trouble Zones is a fast-paced strength workout that takes almost an hour and I'm hoping it will be perfect for rest days from running to build muscle.

I'm only on the first week of my new schedule but I'm really excited about it! The current plan is to run once in the week and twice at the weekends (depending on the rain!) and try to fit in NMTZ twice in the week, but my running takes precedence over strength. Today was my first day doing C25K followed by the 30 Day Shred and I loved it! I was ready for more after my run but exhausted by the end!

I'd love to know what you guys think and hear about your workout plans!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Summer Uniform

The converse are out- that means summer is here! Now if you've been reading my blog for a couple of years you'll know that my summer uniform basically looks like this: dress, denim jacket, converse. Example...
girl next door fashion outfit girl next door fashion outfit
You get the idea. I wore a variation of dress, denim jacket, converse both Saturday and Sunday and I don't see it stopping any time soon. Fortunately I have enough pairs of converse to match a variety of outfits (red, pink, green and black). I actually hadn't worn these red ones in about 5 years as my Mum found them in TK Maxx when I was about 16 and they're only a size 4.5 (I'm a 6). They actually fit fine but I've always been a bit wary of wearing them in case they rub (I have awkward feet at the best of times), but they went so well with this dress that I had to wear them.
dress- Oasis c/o Zalando
denim jacket- New Look
converse- TK Maxx
necklace- Topshop
earrings- Accessorize
sunglasses- H&M
Funny story about this dress. I was doing some research for an article last month when I came across this dress in a blog post and fell in love with it. I didn't think it was a recent post so I was surprised to find it was still available on the Oasis website. It was while I was still on my shopping ban so I decided to wait, and tried to convince myself it was too similar to this dress. Anyway, by the time payday was rolling around I noticed the dress was out of stock on the Oasis website and put it down to "oh well, it wasn't meant to be". Until I remembered I had a gift voucher for Zalando who I knew sold Oasis. Amazingly, they had the dress and in my size! I was so excited that I placed the order in record speed... before realising the shipping address was my old flat in Birmingham! I rung customer services frantically who told me they couldn't change an order once it was processed, but could cancel it for me, but I'd have to wait for another gift voucher and it was past 5pm and the marketing team had left for the day. To add insult to injury, there were only 2 left in stock in my size! So of course, I had to have the order cancelled and was panicking that the dress would sell out by morning, sending neurotic emails to Zalando. Anyway, within minutes of the order being cancelled, a new voucher was issued and I could place the order again. Which was good as the dress was sold out by the next day! Anyway, me and this dress were clearly meant to be together and I'm looking forward to a long and happy life together.
Anyway, apologies for the blogging absence. I worked out today I have ten (10!) blog posts planned that need to be written but I've had a really busy few weeks. Work has been crazy, plus I've had my photography class, workouts and a semblance of a social life! The "quiet drink" with the girls on Friday night resulted in a 2am bedtime and the family party on Saturday night ended at 1am, so I've had a bit of an exhausting weekend! I think things should be quietening down now anyway, which is good because I need a break. I need a holiday! Berlin in August feels very far away at the moment! I have a good mix of posts coming up though- some outfit posts, recipe posts, another Jillian DVD review and maybe even a video post! My Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl will be here tomorrow and once I've got the hang of it I want to do my first video blog. 
Camera earrings!

Anyway, I think I'm going to have a much-needed early night. I went for my first Couch to 5K run when I got home from work and it was so lovely to run in the park and it still be light outside, but I'm feeling a bit droopy now so I think it's bed time!
Have a lovely evening!

Charlotte x