Thursday, 27 March 2014

Outfit Post- New Look Red Dress

This is a picture of a new look red floral dress

Dress: New Look
Belt: Primark
Shoes: Chorus Voice by Clarks
Tights: c/o mytights

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Sookie decided it would be a wonderful idea to help me take these photos and stood in most shots and barked at me. Little madam. She's cute though so I forgive her. I wore this on Sunday for lunch with my family and took the dog for a walk in this later but swapped the shoes for some flats and added a cardigan. I love the vibrant blue of these shoes and have been wearing them a lot the past few weeks. The dress was a New Look sale buy and is nice and light so I will be wearing this a lot in the summer.

This is a photo of a labrador

You normally find me in 60 denier black tights even in the height of summer so I felt very brave baring my legs like this. I did have a little help from Aristoc in the form of their 20 denier tights Ultimate Satin tights. They have a light sheen which hides some flaws on my legs and they have sheer toes so you can wear them with any shoes. I would say the XL would fit up to a size 20 and these are some seriously comfy tights.

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Are you braving bare legs now that we are moving towards more spring-like weather?

I'm moving house on Sunday so not sure when I can post again or where I'm going to take outfit snaps. See you all soon!

Gemma
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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

I ❤ Cardiff - Work life balance

I may be a bit biased because I've lived here and work here but Cardiff really is a great place to live and work. You don't need to take my word for it because this article over on the Twinings Infusions content portal on Huffington Post backs me up. 'London might boast the highest salaries but the pricey cost of living in the capital means that Londoners do worse on disposable income than elsewhere.' Other important factors are workplace equality, transport links, job satisfaction and the quality of work on offer. London might be exciting but people looking for a work life balance and a good quality of living might want to head elsewhere.

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Cardiff is the best UK city for young adults because of its low cost of living, good job opportunities and decent wages. According to a recent study, it’s the best place in Britain to live and work for those starting out in the big bad world of employment. The report, found that younger workers got more job satisfaction from employment in Cardiff than in any other city in the UK. An impressive 70% said they love their job, and the same percentage said they feel that they have a good work-life balance.

I'm very lucky to have a secure public sector job because there are so many universities and government jobs in the area and I also get to have the coast, a city and a national park all within an hours drive.

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Isn't Cardiff pretty? I spend my lunch breaks in this park.

Cardiff Castle
Even though life in South Wales makes me very happy I still feel like I have so much to do but not enough time. Between working full time, spending time with friends, my boyfriend and blogging I can get a little run down. I'm always on my phone, replying to emails and trying to keep up with the news, the latest must-see TV show etc Balance is key and saying no to work out of hours and extra projects is a must for me.

It's really important to me that I see all my friends regularly and enjoying a quiet night in with them, some tasty food and a fun game last week was my idea of heaven.

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Jack rustled up some amazing tapas.
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Our brains need a break to produce innovative ideas, time with friends and no smartphone can be just what the doctor ordered. Be present. When you are with family or friends be fully there — in spirit as well as in body. No zoning out thinking about work or checking twitter. This is easier said than done and I know I'm guilty of tweeting and taking instagram photos in the middle of a fun day when sometimes it's better to just enjoy it.

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Recharging is not a luxury, something to enjoy after the work is done. It is fuel for your productivity. Take time to recharge your brain, batteries and mojo, and you’ll find you get more done and do your best work.

*collaborative post

Gemma
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Sunday, 23 March 2014

French Connection - County Cotton Striped Dress

french connection dress

Dress: c/o French Connection
Bag: Zatchels
Brooch: gft from Sarah
Boots: Bank

There's no rest for the Wicked and I certainly feel like I've not had a moment to relax this week. I went to Birmingham to see Maximo Park last Friday, stayed out little too late then headed to Devon for a weekend with my friends and arrived back in Wales for work on Monday afternoon. I'm still paying for the late nights and I've been busy all week. I've had lots of fun events after work to attend and I've been packing for the move and painting my new house before I move in. Phew! Happy to be sitting on the sofa with Sookie and a cup of tea right now. I love that this dress has pockets and the square neckline is a nice touch too. 

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I did a little book shopping and took Sookie out for a stroll in this outfit earlier. The sun was shining but it was still a little chilly so I paired this lovely striped dress with some tights and took a biker jacket out with me too. This dress is made from a heavy cotton so it hangs nicely and I know I will be wearing this in the summer with my white keds and some sunglasses for days out at the seaside and strolls in the park. 

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I added my red heart brooch and my gold satchel for a bit of colour. I love that my satchel looks all battered and worn now, such a well used item. I like these boots, they are easy to walk in and only cost £20 but boy do they rub. I never attempt going out in these without some socks. 

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I'm going to enjoy the rest of my Sunday evening by reading in bed and pottering around my room before another busy week starts tomorrow.

Gemma
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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Dorset Holiday - Swanage Railway and Corfe Castle

I posted some photos from the first day on my holiday a few days ago but I've still got plenty that I want to share. These photos were all taken on the Sunday when Martyn and I headed to Corfe Castle on the Swange Steam Railway.

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The line from Swanage to Corfe Castle was closed in the 70s but a group of enthusiasts have worked hard to re-lay the tracks and restore the train stations along this line. You can read more about the history of the line here. The train engine we had that day actually came from South Wales and used to transport coal from the pits to Barry Docks.

a picture of a steam train on swanage railway line

Towering over Corfe Castle station were the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle, it was certainly an impressive sight. One of my favourite views appeared on my old commuter line, the Rhymney Valley line. I loved leaving Aber station and being able to see wonderful views of Caerphilly Castle and this reminded me of that.

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Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror, the castle dates back to the 11th century. It was one of the first to be built of stone instead of wood. In 1572 Elizabeth I sold the castle to Sir Christopher Hatton and Lady Mary Bankes, led the defence of the castle when it was twice besieged by Parliamentarian forces in 1643 and 1645. In March 1645 Corfe Castle was demolished on Parliament's orders and it is now owned by the National Trust.

A picture of corfe castle

A picture of corfe castle
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The ruins were beautiful as was the surrounding town but the rain and wind meant that we couldn't take the long walk that we planned. We headed back on the steam train from Corfe Castle to Swanage and had an early night with plenty of pulled pork, tea and a good film. My pulled pork was lovely but using the holiday let oven which was super hot meant that the outside didn't fall apart as much as I had hoped but it still tasted divine.

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I would love to head back to Corfe Castle on a sunny day to explore a little more and take my time.

Gemma
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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Brit Pack Presents : the Pastel Parade

My last Brit Pack post was an outfit post but as a girl who wears mainly black a pastel theme is a little tricky for me. I am now the owner of a glittery mint jumper but that didn't arrive until last night so I thought I would share a post about what I'm obsessing over at the moment, homeware. I'm moving house (sorry to keep going on about it) in a few weeks time and I've been looking at items to spruce the place up.

My boyfriend and his friends have been living in the house for a few years. The others have all moved on now but the house still feels like a bachelor pad. There really wasn't a feminine touch to the house before I met Martyn and I've slowly been filling the place with useful things like a little bin in the bathroom and adding some colour with new bedding. Now that I'm moving in I want to add my stamp on the place and make it feel like our home.

Martyn's bunny called Buttons has ripped some wallpaper and I want to paint my bedroom but there's not much major work or repairs that needs to be done so now I'm getting all excited about soft furnishings and I'm going to go for a pastel colour theme in my dressing room/guest room and in the kitchen. I've already got a lot of things in these colours so I won't need to get much but it would be great to have some items that we have bought together for the house.

pastels homeware
Flowers - BHS, throw, fairy lights, prints - Next, Bedding - ASDA, Kitchen storage - Wilkinsons

The rest of the house is quite dark and is covered in Martyn's gig posters and band prints so I definitely feel like I want some spaces to feel like my own. Martyn and I have been on lots of coastal days out and holidays so I've gone with a bit of a seaside theme to remind me of those times. I've already got the bedding, toaster and fairy lights. Moving day is less than three weeks now, very excited!I'm hoping to shop you some before and after photos of my bedroom soon.

If you want to check out all the other wonderful posts by the Brit Pack girls then folllow the links below.




Gemma
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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Dorset Holiday - Lulworth Cove

I must apologise because this will be the first of many posts about my holiday. Dorset is such a beautiful area, I ended up taking hundreds of photos of the beautiful beaches and attractions I visited and wanted to share lots with you so will be splitting my holiday into a few posts.
The first night we arrived at the barn we just relaxed, had some nice food and watched a DVD as we were both tired after a busy week in work. We stayed at the barn at the end of last year (post here) and loved it so much that we headed back for a longer trip.

I spent Saturday morning with the lovely Rosie and her fiancée Tom in the historical town of Dorchester and I scoffed a huge slice of chocolate cake. After getting loads of tourist tips from Tom, Martyn and I headed off to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and wandered around in the sunshine taking in the wonderful sights.

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Note how I'm bad at taking photos and Martyn takes nice ones of me even though it was so bright. Ooops.... Really need to learn how to use my camera.

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Durdle door is a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast and was only about 5 miles away from the barn and Brisport. If you are ever in the area I urge you to visit. It's such a lovely place to walk and sit and watch the sea rolling in.

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You can never have enough cake when you're on holiday so after a day out we headed back to the barn for some scones with generous helpings of clotted cream. Yum!

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Gemma
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

How to style: Clarks Chorus Voice Shoes

I always wear my plain black Clarks pumps to work, they are functional and comfy but I have to admit it can get a bit dull always wearing black. I wear black boots on nights out and have black converse, boooring. These lovely cobalt shoes from Clarks have brought a much needed bit of colour to my footwear collection and it makes a change for me to wear shoes with a bit of height. I paired the shoes with my favourite dress which has a hint of blue in it and wore this for a night with my boyfriend. I've also worn this comination to work with a vest underneath and a cardigan and on the weekend with a splash of red lipstick.

clarks chorus voice

Dress: Dickins & Jones
Shoes: c/o Clarks

The shoes have cushioning and come in sized 2-9 with wide fit options.

This is a picture of blue Clarks chorus voice shoes

Isn't the colour great? Such a bold blue.

I love how versatile these shoes are, they can be styled in so many ways. Some of my favourite bloggers have also got these shoes so I thought I would share some photos so you can see how they have worn them. I love how Sarah has paired them with a fluffy jumper and umbrella print skirt for a fun, casual outfit and Cici looks wondefully chic in her mushroom coloured pair which add to her retro look.

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Sarah & Cici
Clarks are running a competition with a fabulous prize at the moment, all the details are below and all you need to do to enter is simply sign up to their mailing list on this page. It couldn't be easier!  I think I would spend the vouchers on some fabulous shoes and a dress to wear to a wedding I'm going to soon and some practical bits and bobs for my new house, I'm definitly entering. Best of luck if you enter, I will be very jealous of the person who wins. 100 runners up can win a pair of shoes so if you want to get your own pair of Chorus Voice in cobalt then make sure you enter.
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Gemma
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Monday, 10 March 2014

Joules Monica Dress

I would like to say I'm happy to be back but I'm not really. I miss Dorset, the barn I stayed in and my holiday was over far too quickly. All good things must come to an end I suppose and I have a gig and a trip away with friends this weekend to look forward to. I will be sharing a few snaps from my holiday later in the week but for now I have a wonderful new dress to share with you.


A picture of joules monica dress

Dress: c/o Joules
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins
Bag: ASOS
Necklace: gift

I've worn this dress about three times in just over a week because I like it so much. The crossover waistband and drapes are very flattering and add shape. The fabric is a heavy jersey with a little stretch so it fits perfectly without clinging. The bird print is fun and I've worn this to work and on holiday and it suited both occasions. I wore this on holiday with some wellies and a Barbour jacket for a walk around West Bay which I guess fits nicely with Joules as a brand which aims to create outdoor clothing with a bit of personality and fun detailing.Floral dresses at Joules (including this one) are available in sizes 8-20.

A picture of joules monica dress

I definitely felt very sophisticated and ladylike in this dress and can't wait to wear it again.Are you a Joules fan? I love their bold bedding, I might have to treat myself when I move house soon.

Gemma
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