Month: March 2014

Visting Camden Town

I’m a very happy place at the moment. I had two pretty big essays in at the end of term, which was rather stressful and involved a lot of late nights. But yesterday I packed up my stuff and went London bound to stay with Lewis for the weekend before his parents drive us home and it’s been so lovely to just relax and do what I feel like doing for a while. Now I’m very much looking forward to a whole month off ( lucky me) at home, where I can just relax and revise for my exams in May.

Today me and Lewis decided to go to Camden for a wander around, as neither of us have ever been, and the weather was quite nice. Coming out of the tube station, the high street was pretty packed with people everywhere going into shops, buying food, taking pictures, buying London novelty gifts etc. We went a had a look round a few of the shops we knew: Vans, Urban Outfitters, America Apparel. I spent most of my time walking down the high street looking up at all the artwork and graffiti on the front of the shops, and turning around to look at what people were wearing – getting a little bit of outfit envy at how effortlessly cool everyone looked.

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We had a look around the market and I was very tempted by all the t-shirts and vest tops with the Starbucks Logo and Celine on the front of them, particularly as most of them were being sold 3 for £10. Then we went for a walk around the river – here there were loads of different food stalls: sushi, jerk chicken, flatbreads, camel burgers, falafel, paella, crepes, doughtnuts, churros, fresh smoothies, fresh orange juice. You name it there was a stall for it and it all smelt uh-mazing. Lewis and I were particularly tempted by the crepes, but decided not to get anything.

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In one of the sitting areas the side of a building had been painted with a chalkboard bucket list, where visitors could leave their  own goals. Although one was “Before I die I want to kill my husband” and another one was “Before I die I want to assault David Cameron”, with the most aspirational one being to “see all the wonders of the world”.

 

 

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Around the river as well, there were a few cute little shops including a really nice little bookshop. I spent so much time in the Classics section looking for books that I have on my list for the summer, that Lewis had to drag me out. There were also a few sweet little trinket shops that I was very tempted by but sadly I didn’t take any cash with me – note to anyone who does go to Camden, cash is a bit of an essential if you want anything, because obviously a lot of these places don’t take card.

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Despite how busy it was, the atmosphere around the river was really relaxed with most people just enjoying sitting in the sunshine with a cold drink in their hand. It was certainly easy to forget that we were in the centre of London.

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After a bit more of exploring, we came across a Byron Burgers on a little backstreet, and decided to stop their for lunch as neither of us have ever been. I really loved the retro feel in the restaurant, with the quirky wallpaper, and school-like chairs. The staff were all really friendly. The girl that served us spent a while looking for her pen before finding she’d put it in her hair and sat on the table next to us to take our order. The burgers came pretty quickly and they were so GOOD. The only thing I regret is not choosing to have a milkshake, as everyone in there seemed to have picked to have one, which I reckon means that they’re pretty good. But the food was really nice and it was nice to have a little break.

 

 

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We had a really nice little trip. I reckon we’ll probably go back to Camden again next term when I visit as I’d love to do a bit of shopping (funds permitting) and try out some of that great looking street food. How did you spend your Saturday? 

 

Harriette

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How to Survive on a Student Budget: Know Your Perks

Piggy Bank with savings message

As a first year I have been trying my hardest over the last two terms to adapt to budgeting things for myself – balancing buying food and tolietries with nights and meals out, or occaisional money for events such as Balls etc. It can be pretty tricky. Let alone when I want to go get my hair done, or get the train home for the weekend and that’s more ££s down the drain.

1. NUS Card/ RailCard 
– One of my best purchases this year has been by NUS Extra Card (it’s only about £12 and you make that back very quickly) you can buy these online, registered to your University and it entitles you student discount in a range of shops/ restaurants/ cinemas…. The most imporant thing if you are going to buy an NUS card, is to make sure you download the NUS Extra App on your phone, this will let you know what you’re entitled to. For example you can get 10% off everyday items at Coop and Superdrug (very handy for the average beauty blogger). And [one of the best deals by far] you are entitled to 40% off a Pizza Express meal on Mondays and Tuesdays and 20% off on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. This discount applies to your whole bill so you only need 1 card between a group of you to get the money off. So get you’re family to treat you when they visit, and in return save them 40% off the bill. WIN:WIN.

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– Another great deal, if you haven’t already got it this year is the free 16-25 RailCard that you can get by setting up your student account with a specific bank. This year it was Santander and I got a 4 year rail card (usually worth about £150), for the promise that I would keep some of my student money in their account. The downside is, this means you have to bank with Santander who’s online banking system is absolutely applaing, however it’s certainly worth it to get a 1/3 off your train journey everytime. Just make sure to take the card with you on every journey – and take a photo of it on your phone, incase you ever forget it.

If you’re interested in getting a Student RailCard this way, keep an eye out after results day [ you need to know for sure what Uni you’re going to to get the deal] on all the various bank websites to see which one is offering the deal. Alternatively, other banks do offer other deals – like a free NUS card, but as you can see a RailCard is much better value for money, especially if you’ll often be getting the train home from Uni.

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2. Tesco Vouchers
-Whilst on the topic of saving money on travel, one of the great discoveries I made this year is that you can double up Tesco Vouchers and use them to pay for your travel e.g. turn a £10 Tesco Voucher into £20 off your train journey. It’s rather complicated to set up, but after that it will work smoothly every time, so if you’re interested in knowing more visit MoneySavingExpert.Com.  You or your parent will need a Tesco Clubcard to do this, I currently use my Dad’s.

3. Sainsbury’s Meal Ticket
-Great idea if you’re parents are willing to help you out, but don’t want to give you wads of cash. Sainsbury’s have recently introduced this rather ugly twin set of cards that you can pick up free instore. One card is for your parent/ grandparent, which they can put money on when shopping in a Sainsbury’s store, the other is for you. The idea is that your card is linked to the one that your parent has back at home, so when they charge it up with money, you can then spend it in store on your groceries, or just alcohol if you want. I found splitting my shop in half and paying half on my Meal Ticket Card and half on my debit card helped spread the cost and made me feel like I was spending a bit less everytime.

4. John Lewis/ Waitrose Card
– If you haven’t heard about this already, the My Waitrose Card is a great little loyalty card to pick up, even if you don’t shop there often. For regular shoppers of course there is the benefit that you get regular, and exclusive discounts on a variety of products everytime you shop. But for everyone else, the two favourite perks are 1. the fact that if you spend over £5 you can get a free newpaper (Either The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Telegraph or The Times) and 2. the free coffees. Everytime you go into Waitrose [on the understanding that this is not more than once a day] with your My Waitrose card you can pick up a free tea of coffee (including Lattes, Cappicinos, Mochas and Expressos as well as regular coffee) to have in the Cafe or to takeaway with you. So fancy a coffee morning with your friends, but don’t want to fork out £3+ for a Costa/ Sturbucks? Take everyone to Waitrose for free coffees and spend the money on cake instead.

– A secondary point to add to this is that John Lewis have now issued their own card, My John Lewis, which offers cardholders a free tea or coffee and their choice of a slice of cake, once a month at their Cafe. Free coffee and cake once a month? Yes please. All you have to do is register yourself for a card online and you’ll recieve tea and cake vouchers to use in the shop.

5. Be a Model
This is a great tip for all the student beauty bloggers out there.Fancy getting your hair done, but can’t afford the price? I always have this problem because my hair is highlighted and that’s expensive. Solution: sign up to be a hair model. This is a bit more of a take the chance when you see it type of thing, but a large number of hairdressers employ Students who are doing some kind of course at College but have to do a certain number of cuts/colours/blowdrys before they can pass and become an offical hairdresser. As a result of this salons often advertise in their window, or post on their social networking sites that they are looking for cutting models or colour models and in return they will offer you the cut/ colour at a reduced price (I once had a full head of highlights for £15 at Tony and Guy). In my experience, student hairdressers have never been less capable than normal hairdressers and in some salons they have senior hairdressers watching over them anyway. So if you see a sign in a window looking for models, go in or give them a ring and suggest that you would like to be a model and what you would like to have done. It’s certainly worth it for the slash in the price.

I hope this ‘perks’ have been helpful. If you have any questions about any of these, please feel free to email me – email can be found on my contact page. On the other hand, if you have any other student tips or perks please post them in the comments. 

Harriette

A Sunny Weekend in Exeter

I’m actually writing this post a week late, because this weekend is full of  essay plans so far. But last weekend, I had the most wonderful time with my boyfriend Lewis exploring Exeter and Exmouth.

He came down from London on the train late on Friday night, as I had a Masquerade Ball for English – which was so much fun. Cue pictures of me and the girls dressed up, and the amazing three course meal we had…

Please excuse the very obvious pose, I was just following the photographer's instructions. Source: Karolina Balciunaite Photography

Please excuse the very obvious pose, I was just following the photographer’s instructions.
Source: Karolina Balciunaite Photography

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Tomato + Basil Soup

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Roast Beef with Yorkshire Puddings

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Apple Pie with Vanilla Custard

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On the Saturday, me and Lewis we got up pretty late and went into town to do some shopping – everyone always wants to go to Jack Wills when they visit me so of course we popped in there to look at the sale and then grabbed some Costa paninis and cakes, and went and sat on the sunny Cathedral Green for a nice lunch – although it was a little bit windy for our liking.

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Then we went for a little walk down to the Quay, which was surprisingly much warmer and just sat with our legs dangling over the river, listening to the buskers playing music and soaking up the beautiful sunshine. I was having one of those soppy “this is such a nice day” moments, and we sat there until about 4ish when it got a bit cooler and then walked back to the Uni. We had burgers, potato wedges and homemade garlic bread for our dinner – thanks to my marvellous cooking skills, and  ended the evening all snuggled up in my room, watching TopGear -[if anyone hasn’t seen it yet, the two-parter filmed in Burma is brilliantly funny]

Sunday, we decided to go to Exmouth on the train, which if you live in Exeter is really worth doing. With both our student railcards it only cost £2.50 each for a return ticket (the price of getting the bus into town back at home) so it was really cheap and we didn’t feel too bad about not staying for the whole day. Exmouth is a really nice beach town, with lots of nice restaurants – we stopped and had a three course lunch at Prezzo’s, which was delicious [particularly after our NUS discount had been taken off the bill], and then ventured down to the beach.
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Personally I really liked the beach at Exmouth, I’d love to go back when the weather is a bit warmer. The beach itself is pretty big, and curves round in a nice way. The promenade isn’t too commercial, which was quite nice – although I’m sure in the summer there’s more ice cream vans about. We didn’t bring swimming costumes or anything, but we just went and sat on the beach for an hour or so, people -watching mostly and chatting. Lewis, being the big-kid that he is, was very excited to try out arcades, however these proved very disappointing as the 2p machines only really offered 10p Haribo sweets as prizes so we decided not to waste our money.

Again when the weather got cold we just got the train back, walked back to my flat and had a bit of a rest watching the second half of TopGear. Then in the evening we went with my flatmates out to The Old Firehouse for massive pizzas and £5 Elderflower Cider. It was a wonderful day.

Monday morning I walked/ ran with Lewis to the train station to say goodbye for another two weeks. We’ve been very fortunate this term that we’ve been able to see each other pretty much every fortnight, so it makes saying goodbye a bit easier.

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Overall we had a wonderful weekend, it’s so lovely to be able to explore Exeter and the surrounding area when the weather is nice.

How are you making the most of the sunshine where you are?

Harriette

This Week I’m Loving… Jacava Nail Varnish in Strawberry Miroir

IMG_3767If you’ve read my This Week I’m Loving… post that featured my No7 Gel-Look Shine Nail Colour in Neptune you will know that I have really rather fallen in love with painting my nails, after leaving my part-time job at home to move away to University, I am now allowed to paint them at my leisure, and I’ve certainly been trying out every polish I can find.

I was lucky enough to pick up this little goodie at the Bristol Bloggers Meet the other weekend, and I have been waiting for my No7 Stay Perfect Lucky Lilac Nail Varnish to chip so that I could give this one a go! The first thing I really liked was the oval shaped glass bottle and long gold that lid stands out from the rest of my nail varnish collection and makes the product look quite expensive I think. The long lid is also really useful for applying the varnish, as it’s not as bulky like your average lid and so feels more like you’re holding the other end of a make up brush.

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The varnish itself I noticed pretty quickly is quite runny, this means that depending on what shade you want to go you may not need to apply that much. On first applying this nail varnish I started out with a really gorgeous pinky shade. However, as a first timer using this product I quickly got the hang of the fact that the plastic just above the brush itself [see below], picks up quite a lot of the varnish, and so halfway through applying paint to one nail a blob of varnish would drip down  the plastic onto the brush meaning that even if I wiped the brush-part of the brush before applying the varnish, I would have a lot of varnish on my nail. This for me meant that, on some nails I had a half pinky coloured section and a thicker more red section where the varnish had built up. I quickly resolved this by simply adding another coat , carefully smoothing out the redder area to cover the whole nail. Surprisingly this was much easier to correct than some of my more unforgiving polishes and the result just looked as though I has applied several coats of paint.

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Overall, I was really impressed with this nail varnish, it’s quite runny but highly pigmented. Although, £11 is more than I would usually pay for a nail varnish, I would argue that the quality of the product is definitely worth paying for – one of my friends actually asked me if I’d had my nails done professionally because the colour is so rich and glossy, and was surprised to discover I’d just painted them quickly myself in my bedroom whilst procrastinating. Also, the consistency of the varnish means that you could get a range of different shades out of only one bottle, indeed the pinky shade I started off with was gorgeous, but looked nothing like the actual colour in the bottle, which had to be recreated through several coats. Another bonus is that it drys a lot quicker than my No7 polishes, and after applying it on Thursday, [I’m writing this post on Sunday] I have yet to experience any chips. Having never used any Jacava products before I was very impressed, although I will certainly need a bit of practice with the brush if I want to go for a lighter shade next time- if you’d like to check out Jacava nail polishes and their other shades click here.

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Hope you enjoyed this post, has anyone else tried Jacava nail polishes? Did you like them?

If you were at the Bristol Bloggers Meet I’d love to hear what you thought of your shade.

Harriette

Bristol Bloggers Meet

On Sunday and after a lot of organisation I went to my first ever Bloggers meet. I am at University in Exeter, which isn’t too far away from Bristol but I had to go home for the weekend for the Orthodontist so my wonderful Dad drove me all the way to Bristol on Sunday morning. I wore my Topshop Daisy Dress and my new Topshop [ i do wear other brands honest!] Moni Cut Out Leather Boots.

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The Meet, organised by the lovely Emily Stoker from Pretty Please Blog and events organiser Phil McCormick was held in Revolution – a really pretty and newly refurbished bar. I hadn’t gone with anyone and so felt a bit awkward walking in, but I soon got chatting with lots of other bloggers, which was lovely. In particular I met Melody, Kim and Beky who were all really nice.We had our own little mezzanine above the main bar, with our own little bar where we could order drinks and food to be brought upstairs.

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I picked up a great cocktail, Cranberry Fizz which came in this really sweet jam-jar style mug and tasted pretty strong. Putting it down on the table for a while so I didn’t have to hold it all the time, I noticed a few bloggers taking photos of it. In fact, it was quite funny how normal it was for everyone to be taking photos of/ videoing everything all day.

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Mostly we sat on comfy sofas and chatted, but there was also a Lush table with all kinds of testers and new Easter-themed products, which smelled amazing! Natalia, founder of iamsociable (a business aimed at helping creatives seek their potential) and some of her friends gave use some great blogging tips and made Vine videos of us saying our names and our blog URLs. We all got a bit peckish around 3ish so we ordered some food, I had sweet potato wedges because I love them.

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Towards the end of the day Emily and Phil did a raffle, allowing us to purchase tickets in order to win some beauty goodies and donating the proceeds to charity.

Finally it was time to go, and my drinking in the middle of the day had made me pretty tired so I said goodbye to everyone and Emily gave us these amazing goodie bags to take home with us. I’m certainly looking forward to trying everything out and posting up my thoughts. Hopefully these goodies will keep me away from the very tempting Boots 3 for 2 offers that are on at the moment….

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Overall I had a really lovely day and was very pleased that I went. Thank you very much to Emily and Phil organising such a lovely event, I hope to go to more in the future! If like me you don’t really know many other bloggers, but spy a meet coming up in your local area I would definitely encourage people to go as it’s a great way to meet other bloggers that share similar interests to you – plus the goody bags are fabulous!

Hope you enjoyed this post.

Harriette

How to dress with elegance. *

My sister’s prom is coming up soon [well, in July but you’ve got to start looking for these things early!], and so I have been enlisted to help her find a dress. Picking a dress for prom is always a bit difficult, the most important thing is that you don’t want a dress that anyone else has, generally you want to be fairly comfortable in it for the whole day, but also to look very pretty – and for us, not to spend too much money. Whereas some of my friends spent £2,000 on dresses, generally I find that you can find very elegant dresses for a much cheaper price. Obviously you want to spend more than you’d normally spend on a dress, but sometimes it’s nice to find a style that you can wear again and again, I know I’ve worn my prom dress several times since the actual prom.

We came across Victoria’s Dresses online and we were immediately drawn in by their celebrity section [most of which are currently on sale]. These dresses are great copies of the elegant dresses worn by celebrities on the red carpet and so they are guaranteed to look unique at any prom or social event.

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This gorgeous one-shoulder, coral-coloured dress looks very sophisticated and unique. Its pleated skirt gives it a light, flowing look ideal for the summer. Here it has been matched with a bit of silver sparkle, for a pretty, feminine style.

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Short, but sexy this cream with lace, wrap around grecian-style dress is ideal for girls who prefer a shorter length, it’s pretty and fun and would look great worn with heels for a prom or just out at a cocktail party.

victoriasdresses 4This beautiful emerald green slimline maxi-dress will certainly stand out in a prom photo. It’s very flattering and looks great with blonde hair. It would be ideal for a summery ball, especially when worn with a delicate statement necklace.

victoriasdress5Finally, this elegant A-line sweetheart chiffon dress in slate grey with embellishment looks beautiful with hair-up drawing attention to the dress and shoulders.

There are a wide range of different dresses available from Victoria’s Dresses, but these are some of my favourites. Each dress has the option of being custom-made for the customer to ensure that it will fit them on arrival, and you can also pick virtually any dress and order it in any colour as well – helping to create a really unique dress. The prices of the majority of dresses are under £200, which is pretty reasonable compared to average prom-shops. The website appears to have a lot of sales on at the moment,with some dresses being reduced to up to 65% percent, and customers can expect free shipping if they spend over £200.

I hope you enjoyed this post or found it helpful if your currently shopping for prom/ evening dresses. Which of the above is your favourite dress?

Harriette