Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sunday Chat: My Random Favourites Summer 2013

Welcome, welcome on this boiling Sunday. Come in and sit down. Let's have a good old catch up.
Music: Bastille have been around for a few years but came across their Bad Blood album after YouTuber Zoella mentioned it in a video. I've been obsessed with it ever since it arrived from Amazon; I guess indie rock'n'roll for me :)

YouTube: I've always been a bit into organisation and planning and when I started regularly watching YouTube I checked out videos from organisation gurus like Alejandra Costello. This led me to watch one of organizedlikejen, Jennifer Ross' videos and I've been obsessed ever since. Her almost obsessive attention to detail and interior and housekeeping ideas are inspirational. I've now started a few much needed projects of my own, including new shelving and handbag organisation.

TV: The White Queen started two weeks ago and I'm hooked (might have something to do with Max Irons, I'm saying nothing ;)). Check out my previous review on the first episode in an earlier blog post. Amongst credit crunch TV this series stands out as one of the best historical dramas I've ever seen.

Food: Oh yes, it is actually summer time and summer lollies and choc ices. I love chocolate bars so Munchies choc ices are definately my food favourite at the moment! 

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 28 June 2013

Foodie Friday: Cooper's Sour Dough Bread

I've always liked the idea of baking and eating fresh pastries and bread, mostly because my mum has always been into it. Today we went on another foodie adventure, this time to collect fresh sour dough bread from a local deli that is supplied by Cooper's. Cooper's Bakehouse is a small business that bakes fresh bread from scratch every day and supplies delis and businesses in south London. Yum! A chewy, well-baked texture that passes the 'sniff' freshness test.

Carpe Diem xx

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Fashion Thursday: Impulse Buyer or Savvy Saver?

Are you an impulse shopper? Do you amble around shops waiting for inspiration to hit, knowing that even though you haven't intentionally planned to spend any money, somehow you will spend more than you should? A classic impulse buyer with a bulging wardrobe?
This is a note to all 'organised' wardrobe mistresses. I've often been described as organised in other parts of my life, and so when shopping I am also (usually!). So this post is dedicated to my what I need/want next time I go shopping list, which gets more extensive the poorer I get and the more time that elapses.

What's your style? 

Carpe Diem xx

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Watch Wednesday: Secrets from the Workhouse review

Secrets from the Workhouse (ITV, Tuesdays 9pm) bares resemblance to other credit crunch social history series, specifically Long Lost Family (ITV, Mondays 9pm). Starring Brian Cox, Fern Britton, Kiera Chaplin, and Barbara Taylor Bradford, and charting their emotional journeys as they discover personal connections to the hardship of the workhouse, the programme is frequently two-dimensional. Decidedly lacking in depth, integrity and the content of its ten-series BBC counterpart Who Do You Think You Are, I was disappointed throughout. Stripped of the historian within me, maybe I would have enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster, 'tug-at-the-heartstrings' intention. Just maybe.

Carpe Diem xx

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Title Tuesday: Dyslexia and the Summer Reading Bucket List Challenge

A combination of over-enthusiasm, work, slow reading and dyslexia means that my 'to read' pile is now pretty high. So this summer I'm challenging myself to become a bookworm and finish my 'summer reading bucket list'. These are just some of the books I need to get round to reading (after I finish Agatha Christie's 'Why Didn't They Ask Evans?'). 

What's on your bucket list?

Carpe Diem xx

Monday, 24 June 2013

Summer Beauty Favourites 2013

Firstly, apologies for not posting a beauty or makeup favourites blog in a long time, but I'm finding that a 3-month seasonal favourites works best at the moment. As I mentioned before, in my Where have I been? post, I have been scaling down my makeup collection and focusing on skincare. I'm finding that the summer, and occassional British sunshine, is drying out my skin almost as much as the central heating in winter, and this is reflected in my Summer Favourites 2013.

Jergens Ultra Healing Body Moisturiser:
I love using this sample size body moisturiser on my hands, especially at night. It's the perfect size to slot into handbags when you're travelling. Very nourishing and effective.

Olay Essentials Complete Care Plus Everyday Sunshine Plus (Light):
I've been an avid lover of this tinted moisturiser for about 3 years now, but it's an on-off love/hate relationship. Sometimes I finding it too oily for my dry skin and hate it's patchiness after 2 days, and then I use it and love it again because it gives a great glow and buildable tan after 3 days application.

Burt's Bees Richly Replenishing Body Lotion for Dry Skin (Cocoa and Cupuacu Butters):
Burt's Bees is a great natural skincare and beauty range, and I've always used their lip balms but never tried their body moisturisers. This cocoa and cupuacu (I don't know either?!) butters lotion is rich and moisturising, however it is definately an 'evening before putting on your PJs' lotion.
I will definately repurchase when I can.

Oral-B 3D White Enamel Protect Toothpaste (Lovely Mint):
I've had a fixed dental brace for over a year now and build up calculus easily (TMI!), and therefore good oral hygiene is essential (I'm planning a dental hygiene post for the next week). This is a great protective, whitening toothpaste and has a refreshing flavour.

Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish (Sky High) and Collection 2000 Lasting Colour (Ice Cube):
After I finished my exams I got into wearing nail polish again. Now I can't choose between them, so my joint favourites are Rimmel's Sky High (a sharp sky blue/turquoise colour) and Collection 2000's (now Collection) clear Ice Cube. Ice Cube is a great topcoat.

Carpe Diem xx

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Simple Organisation Solutions for Offices and Home

Compartmentalizing things you might not use often into clear plastic box (e.g. Tupperware, Lock'n'Lock) can be a great space saving solution to storage. Not only practical but also makes finding things quicker as you can immediately see the contents of each box.

Keep a folder of stickers and labels for labelling storage containers and boxes or creating a 'reward system' sticker chart for daily chores or activities. It works for children, so why not use it to motivate you to stay organised and keep you on track?

Keep a labelled folder containing all you important documents (driving licence, passport, birth certificate, etc.) so that you always have it at hand and know exactly where they are when you need them. I use my favourite butterfly folder from John Lewis. Never miss a holiday, deadline or bill due to disorganisation again!

Carpe Diem xx

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Alternative Makeup Collection Organisation and Storage Tips

Reuse and recycle vintage tins and containers, or new pots and jars with pretty designs on them, as holders for organising makeup brushes and tools. Aesthetic, practical and free! 
What more could you want?

Keep a collection of travel size makeup and beauty products and tools in a safe place. Build up a collection from freebies or products you just haven't gotten around to trying yet so that you have them ready to go. Use a clear plastic cosmetic bag or zip-lock sandwich bag so that you can put it in you suitcase when you're ready to pack for that special holiday.
As we all know, airlines are sticklers for liquid allowances now. So be prepared and keep clear plastic 100ml bottles and jars ready to decant shampoos, conditioners, shower gel and moisturisers into. I got mine, with the cosmetic bag, from Boots.

Vintage and retro tea cups and saucers can be a great solution to compartmentalizing your makeup and beauty storage on the cheap. Not only saving you the trouble of going out and buying a load of clear plastic containers, but also adding a touch of glamour to your collection.
Have fun and get creative!

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 21 June 2013

Foodie Friday: Fruitarians for the Day (A Spitalfields Market Adventure)

There are amazing wholesale fresh fruit and veg markets all over Europe and the world. They are often hidden gems that masterfully supply produce to restaurants, market stalls and traders. I love an adventure and when I was invited to go the Spitalfields New Market in Leyton, East London, at 5am, I said yes. Secret melting pots of culture and languages, places like this are even better when you find them 'under your nose'.

We came back with plenty of mangoes, strawberries and cherries to start a health kick and become fruitarians for the day. Homemade foodie chutney, jam, ice cream and sorbet to come!

If you could exist on one fruit alone, which would it be?

Carpe Diem xx

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Fashion Thursday: F'edore Summer

This year in a bid to save money and experience the full-on summer weather experience in South Asia, I'm basing my outfits around my favourite 3-year old denim shorts and knock-off black and floral wayfarer sunnies. 

My new £18 straw fedora from Accessorize will also make an appearance, at some point, when the British weather becomes logical. The point is that even in Britain their isn't an excuse not to bring summer home. Lazy bonfire evenings, Pimms and lemonade, flip flops, sunnies, homemade teepees in the garden....

Have fun!

Carpe Diem xx

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Watch Wednesday: The White Queen review

BBC1's new drama The White Queen kicked off on Sunday, the first part of a ten-part blockbuster based on Philippa Gregory's book of the same name. Is it a historical drama? Is it a TV adaptation of a novel? Is it a romance? The truth is as ever is that it includes elements of all of these genres. 

As a historical drama I'm afraid it disappoints avid historians. The story is that of peasant and relative commoner Elizabeth Woodville and her rise to be 'The White Queen' of England alongside her husband King Edward IV. England is in a tumultous time as the Wars of the Roses (the Yorks and the Lancastrians) kicks off, and yet The White Queen is seemingly oblivious to the poverty and grit of 15th Century life.

As a romance the story is much more fitting. Some have described it as a romp buster and a bonk buster, but there is something beautiful about the cinematography of the piece, and the cast isn't half handsome! Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson (Wallander, Vi) is Elizabeth Woodville to Max Irons (Red Riding Hood, The Host, Jeremy Irons son, and Edward Cullen lookalike) Edward IV, and the two have chemistry from the off.

Much has also been said about the filming taking place entirely in Belgium, but I don't think this detracts much from the landscape. Finally, I cannot comment much on its value as a novel adaptation as I started but didn't finish the paperback. I do however want to finish it now, which I think makes it somewhat of a success. As I said, there's also nine more hours to go.

What do you think?

Carpe Diem xx

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Title Tuesday: My Current Favourite Beauty and Fashion Books

Whilst I enjoy a good read of a blog post or an online article, I'm pretty old school when it comes to books and I love a good paperback. The same goes for fashion and beauty books, which is why I love to have a few good reference books in my library to flick through for inspiration. These are my current faves, which are yours?

The Little Dictionary of Fashion, A Guide to Dress Sense for Every Woman (Christian Dior):
A 2008 Victoria and Albert Museum re-printing of Christian Dior's original 1954 'dictionary of fashion', this is a great handbag or coffee table book. Fun to flick through, with some useful and some outdated tips and tricks on how to dress well, this book perfect for any fashionista.

Compacts and Cosmetics, Beauty from Victorian Times to the Present Day (Madeleine Marsh):
From fashion to beauty, Madeleine Marsh's 'Compacts and Cosmetics' is a great guide to the history and evolution of beauty, makeup brands and vintage makeup collecting.

Check out my Title Tuesday post dedicated to Compacts and Cosmetics:

Fashionista, A Century of Style Icons (Simone Werle):
Beautifully combining neat biographies and classic imagery, this book charts the classic fashionistas and starlets of the 20th century. All the great are there, Marilyn Monroe (of course!), Audrey Hepburn, alongside guides to the unique styles of more recent heroines such as Agness Deyn and Gwen Stefani.

Carpe Diem xx

Monday, 17 June 2013

Makeup Monday: Time Travel in Beauty, George IV and Travel Makeup's 1830 in the south of England and King George IV is on the throne. You're a wealthy lady about to go travelling. You have no makeup bags, cleansing wipes, eyeshadow compacts...
So what do you pack?

Ok, so it isn't 1830, this is 2013 we're talking about here. However, yesterday this amazing rosewood ladies travel box came into my possession and I'm in love with it, and chances are if you were a lady in the 19th century this is the kind of thing you would have taken travelling with you. 

With secret compartments and bottles for your various lotions and potions this box is completely of another era, very Harry Potter! The box not only has bottles and sections for beauty products and tools, but also a section for a sewing kit, a writing compartment, and a jewellery drawer. I'm trying to work it into my makeup storage and organisation because I'm that in love with it.
Some things are worth cherishing forever.

For more on the box check out my family history blog at:

Carpe Diem xx

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Handmade Cards and Crochet: An Alternative Fathers Day Gift Guide

Instead of shelling out a fortune this Father's Day, why not get creative and try a handmade card. You could get the children to try their hand at drawing basic cards. For a more indulgent card why not recycle old materials, such as ribbons or cut-off patterns from old cards or gift wrapping paper. To create a multi-media collage effect, incorporate unwanted or duplicate family photos for a more personal touch.

Craft gifts such as mug cosies made by crochet can be a perfect present for those teapot dads out there. A perfect way of looking after dad and keeping the tea from getting cold! Alternatively, create an ornamental gift that will add years of sentimental value on father's days to come.

Crocheted and knitted gifts can be extended to technology such as cameras and personalised in dads favourite colour. For the tech-savvy or the clumsy, this simultaneously sentimental and practical gift will keep technology safe for years and will be more cost effective than most mass-produced presents.

For the dad with more technology than he can handle, why not personalised crafty cases and covers with patterns or stripes? The possibilities really are endless and can be fun for the crafty son or daughter too. It might be a little too late to crochet a blanket or knit a jumper now though!

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 14 June 2013

Foodie Friday: A Health Kick and the Case of the Misleading Muesli

Muesli is great. High in fibre and low-fat, it can be a healthy constituent of a balanced diet. And that's what I thought when I started a health kick last week and decided to switch my normal cereal or toast for muesli at breakfast. It was going well, or so I thought. However, I soon realised that I had become so used to the puffed out supermarket cereals that I was eating twice the recommended portion! One 45g serving, which looks pathetically measly in comparison, with 125ml of semi-skimmed milk is 211 calories, whilst 100g is 337 calories! So beware, next time you think you're starting the day off well, you might be breakfasting bigger than you think.

My favourite is Essential Waitrose Fruit Muesli - 1kg, £2.63

Carpe Diem xx

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fashion Thursday: Statement Fashion Jewellery

Statement jewellery is the perfect way to accessorize an outfit and bring it together. I'll admit I'm the worst at getting in the habit of wearing jewellery every day, but this summer I'm challenging myself to. 
The three sets of bold eighties style earrings (my favourites are the pink roses!) are from Accessorize and the Statement Heart Ring is from Pandora.
Why don't you challenge yourself to be bolder with your jewellery, and wear some statement pieces even when your not going out to a special event or occassion?

Carpe Diem xx