birthday

Cake in Chelsea

On the lead up to my 20th birthday  (nearly 3 weekends ago now and I still can’t believe it),  I thought I had better start thinking about sorting my life out. Pick up some good habits, like getting into some kind of exercise, and finding out once and for all whether I actually like avocado and whether in that case, if I’m prepared to eat it for the rest of my life – as apparently it’s the only thing worth eating anyway. So I joined the gym at the beginning of June with my sister, and was going quite regularly and actually not hating it, but then my birthday came, and if the camera roll on my phone is anything to go by, I ate a lot of cake. Homemade Victoria Sponge from the local farmshop cafe, and Salted Caramel Tart from my birthday meal with Lewis at Pizza East.
 Lewis always jokes that I’m 19 going on 80, because I love nothing more than a sit down and a chat and bit of cake and a cuppa – so afternoon tea is right up my street.
Then on Sunday I was lucky enough to be taken on a surprise trip to Bluebird in Chelsea for afternoon tea, which was really lovely. Lewis surprised me on Saturday with a little note in my birthday card, saying that he’d booked afternoon tea on the Sunday afternoon.
We had to get the bus to Chelsea from Victoria as Sloane Square tube station was closed, but it was actually really nice. You forget how much you miss out on when you travel around London on the tube.
We weren’t really sure what we were doing, we’ve been to Chelsea before (worth a visit if you haven’t been), but only ever passed Bluebird and it’s a lot further down the King’s Road than you think.
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We awkwardly joined this queue for people trying to get tables in the courtyard outside, before being told that “we” (the royal we obviously) were supposed to be “upstairs”. We were quickly shown to our reserved table and sat for 5 mins just looking around the room. It was really busy, lots of people had come in for lunch and a few people were sitting at the bar drinking Bloody Mary’s (very MIC I thought).
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I popped to the loos (not as nice as you’d think actually, I was a little disappointed) to sort out my hair, and Lewis ordered us both tea.
Then came the tower of treats itself, with its very own man to explain what it was we had infront of us. On the bottom tier there were Smoked Salmon Tarts and a selection of sandwiches. On the section tier there were scones with jam and cream, and little lemon slices, and on the top tier there were Coconut Macaroons with a Caramel filling, Dark Chocolate Mini Eclairs with raspberry cream filling, and little Cappuccino Chocolate Mousse Cakes with a chocolate casing.
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Everything was absolutely amazing, even the tea, which I had about 8 cups of. The scones were lovely and light, and the salmon tarts were really yummy, but the top tier was by far the best, absolutely amazing. We were looked after really well by the staff, and sat there for ages, before we were so stuffed, we thought we’d better go for a walk.
We went for a wander down the King’s Road, and I bought myself a really gorgeous mug from Anthropologie (which I’m sure will be featured on here soon). I was a lovely afternoon, and I had a really wonderful time, afternoon tea has well and truly been added to my list of cool things to do in London, especially for a special  occasion and it felt like a good way to kick off my 20s – even if it did break the one resolution I had made!
Have you been for afternoon tea in London? Where have you visited?
Harriette

Birthday Celebrations in London

For my birthday last week, Lewis took me to London for a surprise meal out. I’d just got back from University so it was really lovely to get a spend a bit of time just the two of us and it was easy enough to hop on the train and stay over at Lewis’ student accommodation for the night. It was a nice day so we went to Covent Garden for a wander round. I love Covent Garden because there’s always something going on, whether it’s the decorations in shop windows or street entertainment.

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Here’s Lewis proving that he’s a 6ft 5″ big kid….

He wouldn’t tell me where we were going for dinner so I found it a bit difficult to decide what to wear. He just told me it was a sort of casual, cool place as opposed to a posh restaurant. In the end I decided to wear my new skirt (that he bought me as a birthday present) from Topshop and an Urban Outfitters top.

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Top – Urban Outfitters

Skirt – Topshop

Leather Jacket – H&M

Bag – River Island

Necklace – Republic

Shoes – Topshop

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I was so excited when I turned round a corner and saw Jamie’s Italien and Lewis told me that that was where we were going. I’ve been going out with this boy for two years now and he definitely knows how to impress. I was tempted to ask to sit outside as the little chairs and tables and lovely flower beds looked really inviting, however it was a little bit chilly so we decided to stay inside. The interior had a really cool warehouse feel – a bit like an old wine cellar – and cosy lighting. They had really cool copper taps in the bathrooms swell, which probably impressed me more than it should have.

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Of course I was very excited to get my hands on the menu. I’d purposely skipped lunch so I could enjoy every mouthful – knowing that Lewis would pick a good place to visit. There was certainly a lot of choice available, so I was pleased that I didn’t have to decide right away. Lewis went for a “Jamie’s Own” Liberta Beer, which he said was very nice. I was tempted to go for a cocktail but settled for an non-alcoholic Refresher, [fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade] which tasted amazing.

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After scouring the menu for a while, we both went for The Jamie’s Italian Burger [prime British chuck & flank steak with smoked mozzarella, mortadella, balsamic onions] and Funky Chips with fresh garlic and parsley. When the food turned up it was huge – of course Jamie Oliver isn’t know for making delicate little dishes and so I should have expected a good healthy plate of food. It tasted SO GOOD. The chips in particular were my favourite.

I said to Lewis if I could go back in time like the guy in About Time I’d go back and eat that meal a couple more times. I didn’t understand why in the film, he didn’t use his power to re-eat anything. We all have those moments where we eat something amazing and then feel sad when it’s all gone don’t we?

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I have no idea how I had room for dessert, but I couldn’t pass up trying this Raspberry & Chocolate Rippled Pavlova. My nan makes the BEST pavlova in the world, but sadly I haven’t had one in ages so I thought I’d give Jamie’s version a try. It was pretty nice and I especially liked the raspberry sauce, however I think my nan’s is still my favourite. Lewis opted for the Epic Homemade Brownie which was really rich and yummy.

After dinner we were both pretty full so went for a wander around The Strand to stretch our legs. Then we walked back across the Waterloo Bridge. I have been jealous all year of the fact that Lewis has this amazing view that he gets to see everyday on his walk to University.

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We were both quite tired after dinner so we ended the evening watching the last couple of episodes of Breaking Bad together in bed, a great end to the night as far as I was concerned.

The next morning I was eager to get up and out as we had to get the train back home at two, so Lewis and I decided we’d go back to Chelsea.

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We’d been to Chelsea previously and really enjoyed it. There’s a great range of shops and cafes on the Kings Road, and loads of pretty parks and fountains. Sloane Square in particular is wonderful to explore, and it was lovely to just sit and relax in the sunshine and people watch – there’s certainly a lot of people to be watching in Chelsea.

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Dress – Topshop

Leather Jacket – H&M

 Floppy Hat + Shoes – Topshop

After we’d wandered around the shops for a bit, we took a walk slightly off the main road and had a look at all of the beautiful rows of houses. I was particularly impressed with all of the well kept flower boxes.

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We stopped for a bite to eat at My Old Dutch, a really cool pancake place that I’d been to once before with my best friend and her family when I was 11 and really wanted to take Lewis too. The pancakes are pretty big (although admittedly they looked considerably bigger aged 11) and you can pick from the menu or customise your own. Lewis went for the simple, sweet ice cream and maple syrup choice and I chose a savoury pancake.

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It was sad to get the train home as I love London and I’d had such a wonderful couple of days with Lewis, but I felt like we’d managed to fit quite a bit into our day and a half and I was grateful to him for organising it all. Now I’ve just got to get my plans together for his birthday….

Harriette

Photo Credits: Lewis Foster 

The Birthday Wishlist.

So it’s my birthday on Thursday (the 20th of June) and I can hardly believe it’s come around so fast. Although, looking back my little cakes and wine party with all my best friends, and going out in a borrowed gold dress from my sister and a cardboard tiara made by a friend’s boyfriend, does seem like a pretty long time ago. This year probably has been one of the most dramatic of my life so far (duh duh DUUUHH), but first year at Uni has come and gone so quickly I can hardly believe I’m at the other side of it, celebrating a new birthday. 19.

Present-wise of course, my friends and family have had a slightly more difficult time this year as I haven’t been at home to drag them around various shops endlessly hinting that THAT looks very nice. I have however, spent what I think is probably a considerable amount of time, going into shops a ‘browsing’ unable to make my student budget stretch to THAT dress or THOSE really nice shoes.

So to help them out, and to hopefully acquire some of the many, many products I have been coveting I wrote a Birthday Wishlist. Some of things you will see below are actually on the list, a few our other things that caught my eye whilst I was sourcing photos. The original Birthday list, comes with the explanation that these presents are ‘ideas’ and that I certainly don’t expect everything on there, it’s really just a guide if they have no idea.

Birthday Wishlist 1

Clothing 

From top left:

Pins & Needles Floral Playsuit 

I spotted this playsuit in Urban Outfitters, next to the underwear and was a little confused as to weather it was some weird kind of nightie/ sleep suit. I did however resolve that I would wear it as a day playsuit regardless, as it’s so little and pretty. I can definitely see myself wearing this and a pair of wellies at Reading later in the year. I have recently seen a sunflower version of this playsuit, which is really pretty too.

Topshop Stripe Organza Trim Crop Tee

I loved this top when I first saw it in the shop, as I am rather partial to a striped tee in the summer – they’re just so easy to pull on over a pair of denim shorts and make a really cosy, casual summer outfit. This top is particularly nice because it’s cropped, and it has a really pretty lace trim on both the arms and the hem giving it a girly touch. I’ve seen quite a few people wearing this since my local Topshop starting stocking it and it looks great paired with a number of different outfits.

White Chunky Cleated Sole Gladiator Sandals 

My favourite type of shopping is when I can actually completely justify ‘needing’ an item. I’ve recently had a few problems with achey feet and my doctor has told me that wearing flat sandals and esprdrills in the summer is definitely not helping. She suggested that if I could find some shoes with a bit more support on the bottom, then both my feet and back would be relieved from the horrors of wearing flat shoes all summer. I stumbled across this pair of sandals in New Look the other day whilst I was searching for clothes. They come in both black and white, although I thought I might be daring and try the white as it’s lovely and summery and all of my other shoes are black. These shoes weren’t on my original birthday list, however, they might be a bit of an essential if I am fortunate enough to get any spending money.

White No 1 New York Boutique Paris T-Shirt

I saw this T-shirt a pretty long time ago now in River Island, and I am both surprised and thrilled that they currently still have it in stock. I was really, really lucky last year and got to go to New York as part of a joint birthday celebration with my mum and ever since, for no particular reason I’ve really wanted some kind of t-shirt that says “New York” on it. This one for me is ideal, it’s crisp  and simple with the black and white writing and like the striped Topshop tee I can see it working nicely with a pair of denim shorts, or with jeans or skirts in the winter.

Petite Paint Floral Flippy Skirt 

Like probably a lot of people, come the summer time my wardrobe is usually in need of a bit of a colour injection. Black is certainly my winter staple and I love it, but I do like to try and mix it up a bit every now and then. I thought this skirt was a really pretty colour and could be matched with different tops for day/ night outfits.

Pink Floral High Waisted Bikini

After investing in an high-waisted bikini from Urban Outfitters, I have very much fallen in love. I just think the shape it gives me is much more flattering, and it seems to make my legs look a bit longer, which certainly is never a bad thing. Usually I wouldn’t go for a swimsuit quite as bright as this, however I really love this pattern from Topshop, I think it’s so pretty. Just have to watch out for those ‘unfashionable naked scenarios’ as Alexa Chung calls them.

Glamorous Tall Paisley Print Playsuit 

Although I certainly don’t fall into the category of “tall”, I really love the shape and pattern of this playsuit. It’s very summery and pretty and could be easily dressed up or down, for day or night.

 

Birthday Wishlist 2

 

Beauty 

From top left:

Elemis Total Glow Gradual Tan Bronzing Body Lotion

I’ve seen a couple of good reviews for this, and I am both a big fan of Elemis and of tanning products so I want to give this a try. Gradual tanners historically are not my favourite to use, as I find they are typically slightly more streaky to apply, however I thought this might be a good product for topping up my (hopefully natural) tan from my holiday. I’ll be sure to review this if I am lucky enough to receive it.

Benefit Dandelion Blusher

This is definitely one on the duty-free list if I get a few extra pennies. The Benefit lady used this on my face when I had my makeup done at the counter, and it really works for my paler skin. The colour is so light and pretty it’s perfect for summer as well.

Fairy Dust Scented Candle by Lily Flame

Lily Flame make some gorgeous smelling candles and Fairy Dust is by far my favourite. I used all of mine up at Uni, so I’d love to get a replacement so that I can get my room smelling like melted marshmallows again. You can read my post about this candle here.

Real Techniques Finish Perfected Blush Brush

I started out with the Real Techniques Starter Kit of brushes just before Christmas and I’ve really got on with them so well, I’d love to add the Blush Brush to my little collection as it’s just a bit of a better size for blusher that the Buffing Brush.

Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner

After seeing Anna’s review of this new product on Vianna Does Makeup I really wanted to give this a try. I too am a bit hopeless at eyeliner and tend to rely heavily on eye makeup remover to fix my wobbly mistakes and to make it look vaguely like a smooth line. Maybe with this product from Benefit my skills will improve!

St Tropez Face and Body Self  Tanning Kit

I have become rather fake tan obsessed ever since I recieved the Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Mousse in a goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers meet. And of course, I am curious to try the ‘real deal’ and to compare it to my first love of fake tan.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

There’s a lot of hype around the Urban Decay Naked Palettes and I’ve always taken the opportunity to dabble in other peoples when I’ve had the chance. My friend Rachel is some what more of a makeup expert than me, so when I was having a little eyeshadow crisis she grabbed her Naked Palette, smudged a few shades onto her fingers and one, two, three I had a smoky eye in no time. The variety of shades and how easy they are to use certainly makes this product tempting.

MAC lipstick

Hands up, I’ve never owed a MAC lipstick and I think it’s about time I got my hands on one. At the moment I can’t decide whether I’d rather go for a lighter, nudey pink shade like this one for day use, or whether I want to go for a deep dark red for big nights out. Any recommendations on favourite shades will be much appreciated as the range is so vast!

Birthday Wishlist 3

 

Mugs and Books 

Of course, as an English Degree student there are a few books on my birthday list. The promise of having most of the summer to read whatever I like is certainly a nice thought, so I put a few on my list: God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby [making myself read this before I watch the film] and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

I have also been in the search for a really cute little mug to fill up with tea and get me through long days of essay writing next year – I really love these sweet designs from Paperchase, Emma Bridgewater and Indigo [sadly I don’t think this one is available for purchase in the UK].

So there you go, that’s a idea of some of the things I’ve got my eye on for my birthday. I’ll have to do an update on what I do get, my friends and family always have amazing surprises for me, so I’m sure I’ll be over the moon with whatever I receive.

Do you ever write birthday lists for your birthday? Or do you prefer surprises? Would your family be clueless if you didn’t give them a bit of help? Let me know.

Harriette

18 thoughts on turning 18

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In the spirit of The Guardian’s Sophie Heawood and with my own birthday just passing, here I have complied a list of 18 thoughts on turning 18…

1) The best advice I’ve had so far is that everything happens for a reason, despite the fact that the majority of the time it is a concept that I don’t believe in, it encourages me to carry on when things get tough.

2) Never holdback sending an email asking for an internship or work experience or a job, sometimes it’s those cheeky emails that might work to kickstart something which could be your future career.

3) Always listen to your mother, as much as I sometimes still hate it, she’s generally right and I wouldn’t go to anyone else if I had a moral dilemma.

4) Close friends do not make good boyfriends but sometimes acquaintances do.

5) Getting drunk and not remembering the night, does not guarantee it was a good night.

Me on the left totally sober...

Me on the left totally sober…

6) Having a friend who you can go without seeing for weeks and then chat to non-stop is invaluable.

7) Working hard pays off, A levels are damned hard but right now I’ve got an 8 week summer holiday planned and there’s nothing like that good feeling on results day.

8) I can never quite decide whether I’m ready to leave home yet, but neither does anyone else my age.

9) Smoking and drugs are gross, it never will be cool to have yellow fingernails and teeth nor to pay £200+ to go to a festival only to spend the entire weekend hotboxing in your tent.

10) In life you have to put up with people you don’t like

11) Grandparents have so many stories to tell, and many are a lot more interesting than they first sound. One day I hope my grandchildren will be interested enough to listen to me talk.

12) There are people in my life right now that I wish I could keep forever.

13) I have seen what anorexia did to my close friend and recognise the importance in feeling comfortable in my own skin and staying healthy and happy.

14) High heels hurt so much to wear but they make me taller and my legs look longer so like every other woman I shall buy plasters and innersoles and struggle on.

15) Working as a checkout girl at an upmarket supermarket I have realised that talking to customers is important, particularly those who are elderly. I might be the only person they speak to all day.

16) There’s nothing like seeing a band live and outside in the warm summer air – that is my idea of happiness.

17) It’s important to tell people how important they are to me.

18) I’m the only one responsible for what happens next…

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