Friday, 30 August 2013

Dating Outfit inspriation

Are you unsure about what to wear on your next date? Well, this is my dilemma at the moment. I want to look elegant, sophisticated, and confident. I want to convey some personality with my clothes but not seem too over dressed. Tricky stuff!
I'm fairly new to this dating malarkey and it's a minefield of etiquette and brings a whole host of stress and worries. It seems very American to me and it was easier when you just met people at parties or on your course but I'm getting older now and apparently going on dates is a thing us oldies do. Anyway, I digress... I spend ages deciding what to wear for work and have it hung up the night before so you can imagine the panic I get in trying to pick something to wear on a date.

Here are the two looks I've chosen for very different date settings:



dinner date

The dress is from the Little Mistress Curvy range and is perfect for a dinner date or meeting at a bar after work for a midweek date. I would wear this to work with a cardigan and tights but ditch those in the evening and put some jazzy pumps on with them. This bag from Hushhush is big enough to fit my make up in for a touch up before the date but still chic and smart.


casual date

My second outfit is something I will pretty much be wearing this weekend for a date where I'm going to be walking and having lunch in a country pub. I'm pretty obsessed with Fred Perry at the moment (my instagram feed is full of FP eBay bargain buys) and this dress is making it's way to my house as I type. The Miss Selfridge parka and Dr Martens complete the mod-esque look and are also very practical. You could swap the parka for a smart black coat for a cinema date or exploring the city on weekends.

I know we all want to look our best and impress our dates but it's not a good idea to wear something that makes you feel uncomfortable. So I try to wear something which makes me feel cool and confident but most importantly, like me.

Do you find it hard to dress for a date?

Gemma
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Friday, 23 August 2013

Going Up the Country

It really doesn't get much better than the weekend away I had last week. Good food, gorgeous setting and fantastic company. My friend Oonagh is moving to Amsterdam to start her MA course and her family organised a big send off for her at their beautiful home in Monmouth. They are based in the listed Toll Gate in Mitchel Troy and I'm more than a little envious of their cosy home and cute little piglets.

pecan pie

Oonagh made pecan pie, chocolate cake and a raspberry and elderflower cake. Obviously I had to sample all three so I could judge them properly ;) Oonagh's family provided a lovely barbeque with produce from their small holding and the homemade elderflower wine and mead flowed all night.

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As night drew in we gathered around the fire and sing folk songs accompanied by a fiddle, banjo, guitar and Irish drum. We were very merry as the photo of my face below illustrates.

mead elderflower wine

The singing and shenanigans went on well into the early hours of the morning.

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Waking up to these views was an absolute pleasure and something I could get used to.

The generous hospitality continued on the second day with Oonagh's soda bread and eggs from the chickens making the best breakfast. Food miles = a few metres. I got to wear my new wellies and give them a bit of a test before I head off to Bestival in a few weeks time. For any fellow wide calf ladies I can recommend the short Hunter boots, they fit perfectly. Even though I enjoyed my time in the country I'm much more suited to life in the town, I was so unprepared for camping and have the least practical clothing ever.

soda bread

I need to say a big thank you to my generous hosts for the weekend and wish the best of luck to Oonagh on her exciting adventure in Amsterdam.

Gemma
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Monday, 19 August 2013

Blackpool Pt 2

I wrote about the first part of my trip to Blackpool last week and I had so many fun photos I had to write a second installment. After a day at the seaside and a sleepover we headed to Stanley Park for a picnic and goofed around before heading back home. Stanley park is a huge three hundred and ninety acres and has pretty Italian Gardens, water fountains, statues, Rose Gardens and Remembrance Garden. If you're having a weekend in Blackpool this place is well worth a visit.

I wore all my favourite things to the park including my colourful ASOS smock which I'm wearing about twice a week at the moment and my new Primark necklace. I love my Mel shoes and now want to get the less practical but equally as lovely court shoes with a raspberry heart.

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Dress: Asos
Tights:  c/o Stockings HQ
Necklace: Primark
Shoes: Mel heart shoes

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The park had lots of adorable wildlife.

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Posing and getting weird looks from people walking past.

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I've clearly got too much time on my hands if I'm making gifs...


I want to say a big thank you to Alice and Danielle for a wonderful weekend full of laughing and cake. If you are ever nervous about meeting bloggers, don't be! I've had some of the most wonderful weekends the past three years with blogger friends.

Gemma
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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Spotlight on Duo Boots

I have real issues when it comes to finding shoes. I have wide feet with a rather high arch so finding boots that fit is practically impossible. I usually stick to pumps or converse but that can get a little dull and nether of those options are practical for the cold winter months.

DUO is a brand which focuses on high quality footwear in up to 3 widths and 21 calf sizes. All that choice in fit means that anyone with narrow, wide or just regular fit would be able to find something to suit them with DUO. They might just be the answer to my footwear problems!

duo shoes


I love the classic equestrian style of the Beaumont boots and low heel makes them the perfect choice for the day. I could wear these with my Barbour jacket for country walks in the winter or with some slim fit jeans and a chunky knit for another casual look. The fact that they are made of leather would mean that they would see you through a few winters and I also have loads of calf width choices to chose from which would mean a nice, comfortable fit.

I love the Darcel shoes which are a heeled version of the classic loafer featuring a traditional fringe detail and block heel. These would be so easy to walk in and would be super smart for work. 


The platform Campbell boot  would make a great replacement for my tatty old chelsea boots that have seen better days. The elastic means that they wouldn't be a pain to get on and I know these would go with most of the outfits I wear. 


Now I just need to make the not so easy decision of which pair to buy...


*Collaborative post

Gemma
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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Moroccanoil Treatment Review

I've always been really keen to try out Moroccan Oil due to its cult status within the haircare world. It has won numerous awards and was a Cosmopolitan Beauty Award winner in 2011 and Vogues Beauty Editors Award -stand out product of the year and star performer 2010.


So what does the oil claim to do? Its a very light hair oil treatment that helps add natural looking weightless shine to all hair types. It protects the your hair from the suns UV rays, general air pollution and it also helps restore and keep your hairs natural shine factor. So it should be great for coloured or chemically treated hair types. It also claims to reduce hair drying time by up to 50% and helps to detangle hair.

No wonder Moroccan Oil is one of the most wanted hair products but does it live up to the hype?

a picture of moroccan oil treatment


I tried the 25ml bottle of MoroccanOil thanks to Amazing Hair which retails for £12.85 and the 100ml normally retails for £30.45 but they currently have a 125ml bottle for the same price including p&p.  The 25ml bottle would make a great travel size bottle and fits in my overnight toiletries bag perfectly. 

Would I spend £30+ on a bottle of oil once this has been used? Yes. 

To use the product I place a 5 pence size amount on my fingertips and massage through the ends of my freshly washed hair, blow-dry and finish as usual. This oil doesn't leave your hands feeling sticky and it doesn't leave a residue in the hair either. been using the oil for over two weeks now and it leaves my hair smoother, free from tangles and without the weight some products give. My hair feels much stronger, smells great and has more of a natural shine. I can definitely tell when I have forgotten to use this product as my hair takes much longer to dry and looks very dull. It's a great product to take away with you because it can be used as a styling product, but also as a deep conditioning treatment or a finishing serum.

moroccan oil

Have you tried MoroccanOil? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Gemma
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Thursday, 15 August 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words

I'm so very glad that I started this blog for many reasons some of which include making some amazing friends, I've been lucky enough to attend some fun events and I feel like I'm part of a community. I'm also really happy that I started a blog because for the past three years I've been taking photos of pretty much every aspect of my life in a way I never had before. I've probably taken more photos since starting this blog than I have in the rest of my life put together. I've always got a camera in my bag now ready to snap that fun moment or beautiful sight so I can relive them over again.

I can't claim to know anything about photography so if you're on the lookout for tips I would pop over to this post but what I do have is curiosity and enthusiasm and I'm learning what I like and don't like in regards to photos with each post I write on this blog.

Here are a selection of my favourite photos that I have taken on my different cameras:

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Sookie playing in Abercarn  - Canon PowerShot

love locks

Paris Love Locks - Canon PowerShot

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Amsterdam - Canon PowerShot

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Metros - Disposable Camera

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Gatekeeper pub with Sophie and Emma - Disposable Camera

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Sookie looking pretty - Disposable Camera 


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Various photos  - Fijifilm Instax Mini

What you can see from my photos is that I really don't know much about lighting, composition or uum anything really. I enjoy taking photos but I really want to learn more and would love to attend a night class or a course in photography at Middlesex University. There's only so much you can learn from blog posts on the topic and i would love to get stuck in and learn from people who really know what they are doing.

When asked what possessions people would rescue from their burning house, one of the most frequent answers is a photograph album or a computer with their photo collection. It's interesting that we chose to save photos over valuable items like jewellery. We have a powerful urge to capture our precious moments in the form of images and keep them safe.

What photo means the world to you?

*collaborative post, but all of us bloggers like taking photos don't we? (especially of our food to put on instagram)

Gemma
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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Blackpool Pt 1

I had been looking forward to my weekend up north for ages, I love a trip to the seaside and a trip to the seaside with Alice and Danielle is even better. Alice has been my pen pal for a couple of years now and Danielle and Alice became pen pals through the pen pal exchange I set up a few years ago and have been writing to each other ever since. I've met Alice before at Norbury and I met up with Danielle last time I was in Manchester but we haven't all be together at the same time before.

I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't get to spend time in Sheffield (and find my own Alex Turner) but me and Alice left Sheffield super early Saturday morning and drove to Blackpool to meet Danielle and have some seaside fun.

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Posing on the comedy carpet. All photos are a mix of my own and some that Alice took.

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We tried and failed to win some cuddly toys in Coral Island and got some candy floss as a consolation prize. I find those 2p machines mesmerising...

Coral Island Blackpool

We had a day at the seaside so we had to get some traditional fish and chips. Less traditional was the odd neon pink ketchup that it came with but it tasted great.

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We hit the shops picking up some bargains in Primark including the huge fluffy cardi I have on in the photo above and went a bit mad in Home Bargains buying junk food and weird alcopops for the hotel in the night. The amount of junk food we got was pretty obscene but soo good. You have to have all of this stuff for a sleepover, right?

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We planned on watching some DVDs but we ended up listening to music and chatting until we got  knock on the wall at 1.30am to keep the noise down, oopsie.

WARNING: I'm not wearing make up in the following photo.

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I had the best day and stayed up too late and ate way too much junk but you only live once ey? I took about 300 photos you have to endure another post about my trip to Blackpool later in the week ;)

Gemma
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Monday, 12 August 2013

New Look AW13 shoe wishlist


New Look AW 13 shoes


Metal Tip Boots | Chunky Lace Up Boots | Patent Loafers | Classic Brogues
Leopard Plimsolls | Block Heels | Lace Up Heels


Oh New Look, you really do spoil me! I love black shoes, the chunkier the heel the better and if they are under £30 then I'm in heaven. New Look are always my first stop when it comes to finding affordable heels. I always go there if I'm looking for cheap shoes for a night out and you can always pick up something that Topshop sells for half the price in New Look. My favourite heels are from New Look (wearing them here) and they were only £18.




AW13 is going to be all about the punk look with some 60s mod influence thrown in for good measure. The lace up boots are great for wet and cold weather and have a punk feel and the loafers and brogues would look great with a shift dress.

Also, the plimsolls are leopard print with grey and one pair of boots have gold on so you can't complain that all my choices are boring and black ;) A girl can never have too many pairs of black shoes, right?

*collaborative post

Gemma
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Friday, 9 August 2013

Doll Parts - Tartan dress

I have to admit I'm not sold on this 90s fashion revival at the moment. Only a handful of people look good in 'mom jeans', you would never find me spilling out of a cropped t-shirt or in dungarees but a bit of plaid, a slip dress and some chunky shoes are much more appealing. This is my attempt at channeling a Angela Chase - My So-Called Life/Courtney Love vibe.

I always wanted a dress like this or a black one with a white collar as a teenager because I wanted to dress like a cross between Courtney Love and Wednesday Addams but could never find any but now they're everywhere. This dress was from the River Island Chelsea Girl collection and was pretty reasonably priced at £25.

tartan dress

Dress: River Island
Shoes: Shelly's c/o Spartoo
 
Shelly's shoes

I loooove my cute patent Shelly's shoes and haven't stopped wearing them since they arrived, I feel very prim and proper in them and I might get a back up pair for when I wear them out. Going to be pairing these with all my shift dresses and peter pan collars this autumn. I'm also thinking of getting some Dr Martens chunky shoes for even more of a grunge/90s look. I'm going to try to create a more glam 90s look for the evening with this Religion dress from Serene Order

tartan dress collar river island 
Sookie wanted to play the game of standing in all my photos, little madame.

I made a little playlist of 90s tracks that I like from all female bands or bands with female members because this dress inspired me to dig out some of my old records. It's a shame I can't sing or play guitar because I'de love to be the next Shirley Manson or Justine Frischmann.

. Doll Parts by Gem Southgate on Grooveshark

I'm currently on the train making my way up north to see Danielle and Alice, so excited. Hope you all have a lovely weekend I apologise in advance for bombarding you with photos and tweets but I really love it up north.

Gemma
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Thursday, 8 August 2013

A/W 2103 - Style in View

We have only just had a heat wave and a flurry of days at the beach and BBQs but I'm already thinking about AW13 fashion.With the summer sales coming to an end, the high street shops are starting to get in their first few autumnal items. Here's my guide to the key trends next season and items to look out for


Cute camo
Camoflage print is set to be big next season but in a much more feminine way than we have preeviously seen. Christopher Kane showed the look on the catwalk but Whistles have got some gorgeous items in this print and they have a lovely camo maxi skirt in the sale so why not pick up next seasons trend at a bargain price.


Dusky pinks
Lady-like, dusky pink items are going to be all over the high street soon and Reiss and Whistles already have some lovely dresses in these shades. Head to Primark or Debenhams for coats in this colour at a fraction of the designer price. Both stores have released press images of some delicate and pretty coats in this colour.


Whistles AW 13


Punk/ 60s
This is the look I'm most excited about. Moschino, Vivienne Westwood and Saint Laurent all channeled this vibe in their shows. 90s grunge was a big trend this Summer so you can carryover these items and mix them up with some loafers for a 60s look or some studded boots for a more punk look. Primark have some gorgeous items from this trend and Dorothy Perkins already have some shift dresses with leopard print collar detailing. I'm going to be aiming for a Courtney Love/Siouxsie Sioux/Twiggy mash up look this A/W.


I tried out the new Get The Look feature on the fashion website Style In View to create a look/board of some of my favourite 60's inspired items for next season. Style in view lets bookmark your favourite items and create your own inspirational look book to store your favourite pieces and outfit ideas. Style In View enables you to pick out your next wardrobe items all on one website as it hosts items from Topshop, New Look and Boohoo etc You can use it to compare similar products from different brands and choose which one you like best, very handy!

My look is below but if you click on the widget you can see all the other items I chose.
             
               
             

               

                    A/W 2013, powered by: Style in View
               
Are you looking forward to Autumn fashions or hoping for a second heatwave?

*post in collaboration with Style in View

Gemma
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Monday, 5 August 2013

Gok Shapewear - Celebrate National Underwear Day

Today is National Underwear Day so there's no better time to introduce Gok's Simply Be exclusive underwear collection. His range of Slicker Knickers and Banger Boosters are well established here in the UK now and one sells every hour. Gok believes the right underwear really can work wonders and just because it’s super-shaping it doesn’t mean it can’t look good too. Gok Wan’s shapewear range is designed to make your outfits look amazing, give you confidence but still look cute. 

The new additions to the collection come in a very fetching and on trend dogtooth print in both purple and black and white and black. The white and black fits perfectly with the 60s trend that is going to hit the high street this Autumn/Winter. The range comes in sizes 12-32, back sizes 34 - 46 and cup sizes A - G.

I don't regularly sport shapewear because I find it very restrictive and I rarely wear tight fitting clothing that requires smooth lines. I'm also not a fan of nude underwear which most shapewear seems to be. This range appealed to me because it is light control and comes in a rather lovely print so I couldn't wait for my package to arrive from Simply Be.


gok shaper

I found that the briefs gave a nice silhouette under dresses without leaving me feeling squashed and unable to breathe and the balconette bra did the same, it gave a nice shape and the wide straps didn't dig in to my shoulders. I love the high waisted briefs and the set has a very fun and retro feel. 

gok

Another factor that puts me off buying shapewear is that it's so difficult to get on and trips to the ladies room become awkward and take five times as long. I didn't have those problems with this all over light control body shaper which has a handy fastening at the bottom. I love wearing this under dresses on a night out and feel very confident when I'm wearing my items from the range. I love the price of this range as it's comparable to if not slightly cheaper than my normal brands of choice Freya and Fantasie and it comes in a wide range of sizes. My only quibble is that the sets don't come in a FF cup size and I had to size up a little but I still managed to get a great fit.

I rarely wear bodycon dresses because I'm not confident enough to show off all my lumps and bumps but I would consider wearing that style and this dress more now that I have some light control briefs. Here are some before and after photos sporting regular briefs before and the Gok high waisted control briefs after:

before gok wan

Not entirely sure that these photos do the range justice but the after look is noticeably different, leaving me with a far smoother silhouette and feeling much more confident about wearing this dress.

after gok wan

If you want to try the Gok range it is available from Simply Be right now.

What do you think of shape wear, do it give you more confidence? 

Gemma
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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Dr Who Experience

I've been meaning to go to the Doctor Who Experience for months but somehow never found the time despite being a huge fan of the show. I finally managed to pop along in the week and had a lovely afternoon. For any of you that have ever met me you know I only talk about a few things: northerners, my dog, cake, Doctor Who and Sherlock so I spent most of my time in the exhibition space fangirling over everything.

You start with and interactive journey stepping through a crack in time which leads to an adventure before exploring the world's most extensive collection of original Doctor Who props. Exciting stuff.

I got to see all the Doctors' iconic costumes from 1963 onwards.

a picture of Dr Who Experience costumes

Dalek Clara

a picture of Dr Who Experience dalek

'Hello sweetie'

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David Tennant touched this!!! 10th Doctors' TARDIS.

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I'm not going to lie, I cried when I saw the regeneration on the big screen. *loser fan girl klaxon* 'I don't want to go' SOB. Don't think it gets much more pathetic than that. 

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I went for lunch down Cardiff Bay after so I wanted to be a little smart so I donned my new skirt and my favourite comfortable but cute flat shoes.

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Skirt: Dorothy Perkins
Shirt: ASOS
Necklace: F21
Shoes: Mel Pop Special Heart Pump c/o Spartoo

Even if you're not a huge Doctor Who fan I think an afternoon at the Experience would impress you. There's plenty to see and I will be going back again as the props are regularly changed. I'm also glad that the Experience has come back home to Cardiff, the show and spin offs are all filmed here and I think post 9th Doctors home is definitely in Wales.

P.S. CAPALDI!! Are you excited?!


Gemma
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Friday, 2 August 2013

Ultimate Summer Driving Playlist

I'm going to be driving down to Bestival this year instead of getting the train, well not me because I can't drive but I will be sitting in the front of my friends car hogging the CD player as usual. I always make the party playlists, make a mix CD for a road trip and spend hours perfecting Spotify playlists. I spend more time listening to music than I do reading or watching TV so when I was asked to take part in the moneysupermarket.com Ultimate Summer Driving Playlist feature I knew I was going to have fun compiling my songs.

I'm heading to Bestival with my friends Harri and Laura who I've been to Reading and V with previously. All the songs on my playlist are by artists that I've seen at festivals in the past 8 years and some of the songs on this list have certain memories attached to them and the final four were chosen because they are on the line-up for Bestival 2013.

    
festival-crowd Ultimate driving playlist

Seeing New Order at Bestival last year was such a special moment for me. I was pretty gutted because I  thought I wasn't going to Bestival and New Order are one of my favourite bands but I was very lucky to be invited to go by Echo Falls and spend the weekend with some of my favourite blogging ladies.

Still Life is becoming a bit of a festival anthem for me, I've seen The Horrors play this song over ten times live and it always leaves me feeling really uplifted.

I mainly listen to music by bands who split up years ago or who have members who are no longer with us so festivals can be a little tricky for me. I feel like the whole Disclosure type of music that fills festivals now is past me but when bands like The Maccabees headline a stage it fills me with joy. I've seen these lads move up the bill over the years and they are so genuine they make me smile whenever they take to the stage.

Feeder will always have a special place in my heart, I can't say I've ever loved this band but I've seen them play at festivals so many times now and some of the founding members are local lads so I kind of grew up listening to Feeder and going to see them play in Newport. My favourite Feeder memory is going to see them play with Harri after getting bored by Kasabian, drinking a little too much rum and covering the crowd in glitter. We met people who we named Essex and Guernsey and sang our hearts out.

If Oasis never reform I can say that I saw them play together for the last time.They played a set full of all of my favourite songs at V 2009 and there was no hint of trouble but they had split up by the next day and didn't turn up for the V down south. Any child of the 90s has a place in their heart for some Brit Pop I think.

festivals

There is a serious message behind this campaign. THINK! research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep or tiredness related. Listening to a rad playlist full of your favourite songs can help you to stay awake and alert on a long journey.

You can listen to my playlist here, grooveshark is a fab free website where you can make and share playlists so well worth checking out.


Gemma
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