Monday, 2 July 2012

The Lust List

I've been musing over this necklace for a month or so now, and could never quite make up my mind. I love the mix of gold and silver, the chunky bold statement style and the ring detail just before the silver turns to cord.

However, I wasn't quite sure what I'd wear the necklace with or if the cord was strong enough to hold the wait of such a clumpy necklace. On further inspection it turns out the item is quite light; and following a recent event in Hackney where I saw the necklace styled in two different ways - over the top of a rock-themed tshirt, paired with black skinnies, and also with a simple one colour shift dress and gold watch (both worked beautifully) - this necklace has most definitely made its way onto The Lust List.

Cord and Tube Collar Necklace, £16.50, Topshop

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Lust List

A girl can never have too many bags... and I've found the perfect addition to my ever-growing collection!

The drawstring and duffle bag shape are spot on trend for day wear at the moment, and the neutral shade makes this bag so easy to match with numerous outfits. It's a beautifully soft leather and a great size for make-up, books, etc. Whats more, I'm a sucker for anything gold or studded, so the detailing on the strap of this bag is an added bonus in my eyes.

Merino Stud Duffle Bag, £85, Topshop

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Beauty Paradise

While in America these last few weeks, I discovered and fell in love with a shop called Sephora. As a way of introduction to all you Brits who have not yet found the joy of Sephora, it is in essence a beauty haven. It has a vast range of make-up, fragrances, skin care, body care and hair products all under one roof.

For a girly girl like me, these stores are a little bit of heaven. There is a large selection of brands, and as many items were a little cheaper than the UK I was able to treat myself to a few new products I otherwise couldn't have afforded, including my first ever primer (Laura Mercier). I'm already addicted to this product. Though I've always been a little sceptical about the claims of beauty brands, I swear this primer really does create a smooth, silky surface that makes make-up application so much easier, and increases the staying power of all my make-up products.

Other brands instore that filled me with excitement included Bobbi Brown and Nars - next on the purchase list is definitely a Nars Illuminator.

What's even more impressive is that all the staff are so highly trained. I was looking for a new moisturiser, and had a long list of (somewhat contradictory) features I wanted the product to provide. Staff were able to highlight five different products that fitted my needs. The stores are also beautifully laid out, creating a great shopping environment. My only complaint - there are no stores in the UK as of yet!

I also paid a visit to Mac while away - again the prices were a little cheaper than the UK. Investments included a beautiful new blush (Pinch o' Peach) and a nude lipstick (I'd been searching for the perfect shade for a good few months). All in all, one very successful shopping trip.

30 Things to do before I'm 30 - American cities and Wine tours

One item on my '30 Things to do before I'm 30' list was to visit certain cities in America - I've always been curious about the extravagant, over-the-top feel of Vegas, dreamed of riding a tram car in San Francisco and loved the glamour of LA. Luckily, a friend was more than happy to keep me company on a trip this month to all these fantastic cities; we also managed to add in a few days in New York to finish off the holiday in style.

Another item on the list also got ticked off while I was away - a wine tour. I knew nothing about wine, other than the fact that I liked it; but have always been curious about how wine is fermented and how grapes can make so many different variations of one drink. While in San Francisco, we signed up for a tour of California's best wine valleys: Napa and Sanoma. We visited three beautiful wineries, sat in the sunshine sipping wine, learning all about the process and the history of the valleys. It was such a sight to see vineyards stretching as far as the eye could see and the experience even changed my opinion of dessert wine - I can now appreciate that a good moscato can really make a dessert pop.

So, two down, only 28 to go...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

30 Things to do before I'm 30

A few months ago I read an article in Company magazine by the writer of blog 23 Things To Do Before 23... Grace Collins wrote about the death of her older brother, who sadly died in his sleep at the age of 23, and how since his death she had been determined to live life to the full. This feature was both awfully sad and utterly inspiring.

With only four and a half years until I reach the grand age of 30 and enter another decade of my life, now seemed like the opportune moment to set myself a similar task. I've spoken to various friends - keen to discover what would be on their 'to do' lists, and have found numerous blogs full of suggestions online. I still haven't decided on the final 30, but below are a few that have made it onto the definite list:

30 Things to do before I'm 30:
1) Visit Italy - I love love love Italian food, and can easily get on board with a lifestyle that involves sipping coffee or wine while watching the world go by. And although Rome is definitely on the list, Cinque Terre looks so beautiful with all the multi-coloured house fronts, that I can't help but dream of hiking along Lover's Lane (the stretch between two of the small towns looking down on the coast).

2) Swim with Dolphins - ever since I fed Dolphins in Florida at the age of 12 I've known this is something I want to do.

3) See Adele live - I get goosebumps just watching the dvd of her Albert Hall performance; every single member of the audience looked like they were having a blast, and of course that's what this is all about: having fun! Plus I know every word to every song.

4) Learn a language - A fairly standard one on a lot of people's lists. I don't just want to learn the basics though, I want to be able to hold a full conversation (possibly about something really random). So far I've narrowed the possible language of choice down to three: Spanish, French and Italian. It's a toughie.

5) A hot air balloon ride - I think this will be a peaceful and truly relaxing way to view the beautiful English countryside.

So, there's my first five. I'll keep you updated on how the list is coming along and will report back when each one is ticked off the list. Here we go...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Lust List: Converse High Tops

Converse All Star high tops have been on the 'will purchase soon' list for a few months now; but for some reason I never got round to it.

As a recent treat myself and a few girlfriends took a weekend trip to Barcelona. The weekend was full of long lunches of tapas and sangria, cocktails in the evening and of course, plenty of sight seeing. It was during the sight seeing that I realised just how useful that pair of 'will purchase soon' converse would have been. Although sunny, the weather was not always hot enough for gladiator sandals, and a pair of funked-up pumps would have been the perfect shoe.

Since returning from sunny Spain, I have invested in this lead grey pair, which arrived at 7.30 this morning and will be promptly worn for tonight's outing to the pub. Practical and gorgeous!

I love the colour, and the high top makes them perfect to wear with jeans or leggings and a rock tee during the day, and I might even brave wearing them with a floral mini dress for that urban rock look at night.

All Star Hi Lead Grey, Office, £41.99

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Pink Lipstick Magic

A friend of mine recently introduced me to this fabulous new Barry M Lipstick. Not only is the pink lipstick long lasting; it has added aloe vera to ensure a smooth application and that your lips stay super soft.

The real magic, however, is that the shade of pink differs depending on the alkali level of your lips. The lipstick itself appears green, but once applied to the lips transforms into a rich or pale pink, this means the colour often suits your skin tone at that very moment. I was thoroughly impressed by the product, and at only £4.49 it's a steal.

Touch of Magic Lip Paint, Barry M, £4.49

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Trend Report: Autumn/Winter 2011

I'm thrilled that parkas are making a return to the fashion scene, and this year they're going to be more luxurious than ever before; as thankfully designers have not compromised the value of design aesthetics when taking into account the practical need of outer-wear. Altuzarra leads the way this season, teaming parkas with heels and sequined gowns for eveningwear practical-luxe. But my fave has to be Thakoon's retro red and blue checked number.

Spots were popping up everywhere on the catwalks. Stella McCartney opted for sequin-like discs embroidered onto sheer tulle dresses, whereas Marc Jacobs covered his models head to toe in spots, including gloves, hats and hosiery. Invest in a spot print dress for the office a la Vena Cava or pick up a few spot themed accessories to ease your way into this trend.

For evening wear the emphasis was on borrowed-from-the-boys tuxedos. Yves Saint Laurent's came in white with nothing underneath, other designers feminised the look by adding sequins to the trousers or teaming a cream silk shirts with statement black chokers.

Book Club - Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Much delayed but as promised, here's a review of one of my holiday reads, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

The novel begins with 23 year old Jacob Jankowski preparing to take his final exams as a veterinary student, when he receives the devastating news that his parents have been killed in a car accident. Soon after Jacob suffers an emotional break down and abandons University before he is able to graduate.

He jumps a train in the darkness of night, only to discover later it belongs to The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. When the circus manager, Uncle Al, learns of Jacob's veterinary training he is hired to care for the circus animals. It is then that Jacob meets the beautiful performer Marlena and her charming but dangerously temperamental husband August.

The prose cuts between the months following his arrival at the circus and Jacob as an elderly man. These cuts are almost seemless, and added another dimension to an already exciting novel; though I did find the focus on the older Jacob less enthralling.

The theme of circus has never been one that appealed to me. Yet, Gruen's descriptions and dialogue create a magical, enchanted world that left me full of intrigue.There is also a sense of honesty to the writing. Gruen makes the reader aware that the circus of 1950s America was not all magic but a world of trickery, illusion and at times, even cruelty.

The writing is powerful, with a surprisingly uplifting sense of sentimentality - my eyes filled with tears within the first 30 pages. However, there is also humour in the novel, often in the most unexpected places. The drama was constant and absorbing, though I do wonder if there was too much to contain within the narrative and due to this some developments in the plot felt rushed and forced. For example, the romance between Jacob and Marlena.

Though an easy and enjoyable read, Gruen dealt with some serious themes including diseases of the mind, identity, animal cruelty and treatment of the elderly. These themes are incorporated into the plot of the novel so intelligently that they do not disrupt the flow of the story, yet are unmissable. There is a brilliantly varied cast of characters and friendships are developed beautifully through the prose. The ending is unexpected and original, though perhaps slightly abrupt.

I also found Gruen's author's notes particularly interesting to read. Discovering where the inspiration for the novel came from and what she learnt during her research gave fascinating insight to the novel as a whole.

I'm particularly keen to now see the film adaptation and can picture Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattison as well cast for the roles. I imagine the splendor of the circus will be conveyed even more spectacularly on screen and will be rather breath-taking to watch. Overall, this is an original, sad, hopeful and quick moving piece of fiction.

The Lust List...

Like most girls, I have a list of key items I want to add to my wardrobe - classics, that I'm willing to spend that little bit more on. Quite often these items stay on the list for some time, as I have a strong image of what I'm looking for and won't settle for anything else. Until recently, a pair of tan suede ankle boots with a low heel and a soft black leather jacket had been on mine. The boots were to be worn during the day with jeans and a rock tee, but also needed to be smart enough to dress up a mini for a night at the pub or even a spontaneous trip to a Motown club. The jacket, had to be a combination of soft draped leather to create an air of grown up glamour and sophistication, while sporting enough buckles to create a tough, urban vibe. Thanks to River Island, I can finally cross both off the list. There's a real sense of satisfaction when I find an item on the list, knowing that it will become a staple go-to in my wardrobe for a long time. I've already worn the boots to death, they turn out to be just as perfect for work as for play. And I can't wait for my jacket's first outing.