Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The little things #1

I've had one of those completely crappy days- you know the ones, where things start off badly and get slowly worse as the day goes on, and you end up wishing you'd never bothered to get out of bed in the first place?
Well when I have days like this, I have a remedy. I retreat back to bed (work allowing!), mug of tea in hand and try to think of all the little things that have made me smile recently instead.
Well, it's better than flouncing off in a huff and ruining the whole day, isn't it?
I've been doing quite a bit of naughty shopping recently on my trips abroad, so that's what has made me smile through the pain today (call me superficial!) but of course the little things like making my favourite meal and watching entire seasons of Dexter on the couch with my husband generally rank much higher than makeup and sweets on my smile-ometer!

 I bought this beautiful, delicate rose gold bangle from Etsy (direct link). I absolutely adore it and have worn it every single day since it arrived.
 On my last trip to the US, I did a wee bit of drugstore makeup shopping and picked up this Hard Candy blusher for $6. It's really lovely and I'll definitely be buying more when I'm next over there. The Soap & Glory gloss stick (in Plum Jam) is the first item of S&G makeup I've tried and I'm impressed. It's a lovely colour and gives the shininess of a lipgloss without the horrible stickiness.
Mint M&Ms are the absolute best. Just like tiny after eights! As we've been having more and more sunny days interspersed with the grey skies and drizzle, I've broken out the Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia perfume in celebration- it's simply springtime in a bottle!

So there you go, now I'm well and truly out of my snit and smiling again! An evening of aforementioned cooking and Dexter marathon beckons just to finish my day of on the right note.

What's been making you smile recently?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

LA photo diary

I've been lucky enough recently to be doing plenty of trips to LA, a place I've grown to truly love. LA isn't so much a city, as a collection of towns and it takes some getting used to before you can really make the most of all it has to offer.
Despite the fact that I've been over there no less than three times in the last month, I've far from run out of things to do and am busily trying to plan my next trip as we speak!
It's hard not to fall in love with the sunny climate (even when it's springtime and the temperature rarely climbs above 15 c), the beaches, the food and the friendly locals.
One day, I'm going to get really organised and plan a month long trip to the USA starting in Chicago and taking in the whole of route 66 finishing up in Santa Monica where it ends, but this time I only made it to the very end of the trail.
I honestly think however many trips I do to LA, it will never be enough- there's always something new to catch your eye!

 The iconic LAX sign at the international airport, driving to Hollywood!
 Almost as good as meeting the men themselves? Not really but good enough for now!
 Stars on the Hollywood walk of fame- my heroes, The Muppets!
 More star-spotting!
 Santa Monica- the end of the route 66 trail and home to a picturesque pier
 Some signs just have to be seen (and photographed!)
 Watching the sun set over Hermosa beach
Cocktails and surf 'n' turf burger at The Yardhouse, Longbeach
 Banana pancakes with Maple syrup for breakfast overlooking beautiful Redondo beach

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's in Camden- Shaka Zulu Restaurant

Not everyone is into Valentine's, but personally I think it's healthy to set aside time for each other and have regular "date nights", whatever time of the year it is. 
This month's date night just so happened to be around Valentine's day, so we made more of a "thing" of it than usual.
One of my favourite spots in London has to be Camden. It's really unique and has its own special vibe unlike anywhere else in the city. It's always bustling, busy and full of interesting nick nacks and people. If I could live anywhere at all in London, I'd definitely choose here- it would be impossible to get bored of the place!
So last weekend we headed there to spend the day mooching around before going for dinner. After navigating our way through all the narrow streets and stalls, stopping to buy little bits and bobs that took our fancy, we went on to the restaurant.
 We'd booked in to Shaka Zulu, an African restaurant right in the heart of Camden Market.
 The decor in here is seriously impressive- every inch of the cavernous space is given over to African wood carvings.
During the meal we were entertained by a contortionist in a zebra leotard(!) and an Albino Python, which I kept my distance from!

The menu is very typically South African, and given that Matt's from Africa, a lot of dishes familiar to me from family meals were available.
So what did we have?  For starters we shared a plate of Biltong (dried cured meats- think beef jerky), then I opted for Bobotie, which is a curried casserole impossible to describe without making it sound weird, which it isn't, I promise! 
For dessert we shared Melktert and cinnamon ice cream.
I won't go into full- on review mode but suffice to say this is a restaurant relying heavily on it's impressive decor, the food certainly doesn't match up and is at London prices.
Apparently when it was built, £5.5 million was spent on the interior design- and it is a truly fantastic place with a brilliant atmosphere, but they really need to put some of the effort back into the menu in my opinion. Matt ordered pork spit roast, which when it came turned out to be two rather dry pork loin steaks- not great!
We had a great time though, and the food wasn't bad, it just didn't match up to the place itself!
The wine was great though!

I'm always interested to hear people's restaurant recommendations- have you been anywhere amazing recently?

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Dressing Table

A little while ago,my husband had a moan to me about the state of my dressing table. I'm not a naturally tidy person, and seeing as my dressing table is (obviously) the place I put on my makeup before hurrying out of the door each day, it was a bit of a sight for sore eyes.

I'm not tidy, but I do like things to be pretty, so what better excuse did I need to make  a couple of orders for a few beautiful but practical things to help me tidy up and redesign the space I had? Any excuse for some shopping!

I wanted to complement the beachy, whitewashed unit that we'd recently bought from Ikea so went with a shabby chic look.
 Heart hooks, eBay. 
Cotton wool jar, DotCom Gift shop

My necklaces used to hang over a candle lamp left over from our wedding, but they frequently got tangled, I couldn't see what was there and frankly it looked a total mess. I found this lovely heart shaped set of hooks on eBay and thought it fit the bill perfectly.
To house cotton wool, I found this ever so cute jar via Dot Com Gift Shop
 I'm a bit of a Royalist, and collect vintage tins and trinkets from antiques stalls, markets and auctions. The tea caddy has my hair bobbles and kirby grips in it, the smaller tin (an old Oxo container!) has earrings in it.
 As I said in a previous post, every Christmas I'm a sucker for the Space NK sale and stock up on my favourite Laura Mercier body butters at a fraction of the usual price. the bonus is that they all come in different candy colours and look so pretty lined up together!

My ever-growing collection of perfumes sit on a glass tray I found in a homeware shop in Sheffield.
 Home garland, Dot Com Gift Shop

I wanted a large mirror, but something a bit different. I hit on the idea of a vintage pub mirror, and just as I was about to buy one, my Mum said she had this little beauty hidden away in the attic.
The "home" sign is another DotCom gift shop bargain at just £1!

Bunny Light- Dot Com Gift Shop
Wicker Baskets- eBay (mine are no longer in stock but similar here and I've also seen some pretty ones in Tesco!)

I'm slightly obsessed with my new bunny light- Matt hates it and I'm sure it isn't to everyone's taste but he certainly adds a smile to my face and a little bit more kitch to my dressing table!

 I bought two white wicker baskets with Cath- Kidston esque lining from eBay to house my makeup more neatly:
The bonus of this is I can see everything at a glance, and there's no chance of forgetting about an old favourite lipstick ever again!

SO there we have it- one redesigned dressing table and a happy husband! I must admit I love it and I'm very proud of myself for keeping it so tidy (so  far!)

I'm always curious to see other people's homes- if you've done or seen a similar post please leave me a link!