Tuesday, 29 April 2014

OOTD: Classic Breton Stripes

I've been working up the courage to put up my first Outfit Of The Day post on my blog. Fashion isn't something I usually go into - and I'm not one for taking photos of myself (you'll rarely spot a selfie on my Instagram feed!).

For months I've pored over my favourite blogs, envying their style, photography skills and (dare I say it) figures, and wished for a professional camerman to follow me around in scenic areas, taking artful and flattering shots of me looking fabulous.

In reality, though, all I have is an iPhone, a (borrowed) point-and-shoot camera, and not a lot of confidence. So, this is my first attempt at an OOTD post! It's taken me a bit of courage to post this online, so please bear that in mind!

I went for brunch - or rather, coffee and cake - with one of my closest friends before Easter (you can read about that HERE) and I had decided to make a bit of an effort with my outfit. I'm a huge fan of simple and understated style - I don't own any bright colours or patterns (though I'm trying to change that) and I aim for what I like to think of as 'Classic'.

That day, I pulled on my brand new indigo jeans from Zara, striped top from Topshop and vintage jacket, knotted my unkempt hair, and headed out for a long-awaited catch up.

I needed a new pair of jeans for months and after trying these on in Zara I just had to get them. They're a gorgeous deep, rich blue denim and fit perfectly. They're actually described as Jeggings but they're not thin and flimsy. I don't mind that they're slightly too long either. I think I'll be living in these this spring - it helps that they're very comfortable too! A good pair of jeans, in my books, shouldn't compromise your ability to eat a lot of food. The waistband seems to pass that test! You can find these jeans online HERE.

I bought the Breton striped top from Topshop in the sale for about £15 at the beginning of the month. It's quite thin - but nothing a strap top underneath can't fix. It's not too fitted either, and very comfy once again. I don't think you can beat  classic stripes. Unfortunately this top is no longer online, but you can find similar striped tops on the Topshop website.

The jacket is a little gem which I picked up at Lou Lou's Vintage Fair in Southampton back in February (I wrote a post about it HERE). It's a vintage Jaeger jacket from the 1980s; originally worth around £100 (apparently) and I go it for just £15. It was in perfect condition and is a great fit. I love my blazers and I think this is so unique. I love to wear it over dresses, and think it finishes this outfit off perfectly!

You can't really see my accessories, but my watch is a beauty from Urban Outfitters (I adore their accessories) and the ring is from the Topshop sale once more (also not available online). I think the gold and browns in my accessories set off the almost nautical theme quite well!

I adore this outfit and can't wait to have an excuse to wear it all again. If I'm ever unsure about what to wear, I find that a simple t-shirt and jeans with some pretty accessories can really do the trick.

I'm hoping to start doing OOTDs a little more (whilst improving, obviously!) so if you have any tips please let me know in the comments!


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Brunch at Basil

The best place for a long-awaited catch-up with a good friend is in a comfy wooden chair in a cafe, with a delicious cake on the table and a hot coffee in your hands.

I caught up with my dear friend B last week, and our meeting completely fulfilled this criteria. After a little deliberation as to our location, she took me to one of her favourite new places; Basil, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. I am always keen to try new places, and although we were a little tempted by the brand new Bill's which had opened opposite, we managed to find a table for two in Basil and settled down for some fresh, local produce.

Basil prides itself as a wholefoods cafe, and as soon as we stepped in we could tell that we were in for a treat. Freshly baked cakes adorned the counter; slices of brownies, great marscapone mountains dotted with blueberries and crunch peanut butter bars were piled high with pride. Further along there were bowls overflowing with salads, brightly coloured and full of flavour. Fresh frittatas and quiches were next, their huge slices filled with vegetables. Delicious sounding coffees and specials were scrawled on the blackboards. I didn't know where to start.

B plumped for a tasty frittata and a blueberry and marscapone cake with a large latte. Unfortunately I'd been silly enough to have already eaten a light breakfast, and it was a little too early for lunch - so I managed to get the last slice of apple and cinnamon cake and opted for a tasty hazelnut latte.

Basil was full and bustling. It's only a small cafe, so we were lucky to get a table (thank you to the kind member of staff who called us back in as we thought we would have to leave!) The staff were friendly and helpful and our food arrived quickly - everything was delicious and tasty and...well, let's just say it didn't last very long! The place seemed popular and we sat there for just over an hour sharing stories and marveling at the food before ordering our bill and vowing to return again soon!

I'll most certainly be going back to Basil - if only to have the chance to try one of their gorgeous looking salads.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Spa Day at Tudor Park Marriott Hotel

For my birthday back in November, my boyfriend gave me a voucher for a spa day for two at a Marriott Hotel of my choice from Buyagift. I had just started a new job and was so incredibly touched by the gesture and couldn't wait to book my visit! I'd never been to a spa before and couldn't believe I'd soon have the opportunity to relax and feel pampered from head to toe. I had visions of white fluffy robes and slippers, bright blue pools and relaxing on a table listening to whale music.

After a bit of thought I decided that it would be fun to take my best friend Lou with me for a girly day (checking that boyfriend didn't mind, of course!). It would be the perfect chance to catch up after nearly a whole year apart. After months of clutching onto the voucher and wondering when to go, I finally booked the day (with lots of help from the brilliant Marriott team) and eagerly awaited the week before Easter when we would be able to relax and enjoy this very special treat.

The gift itself was brilliant. It allowed me to take one friend to the spa for the entire day, and entitled us to one full treatment each. We had the choice of either a facial or a full-body massage, and I booked two massages since I knew that our poor stressed bodies could do with a little TLC. I was presented with a little voucher in a pretty tin, and all the instructions I needed to book my day. It couldn't have been easier.

I won't lie - I was a little nervous about the whole booking process. I'd heard great things about Buyagift but with all of the terms and conditions, I couldn't help but worry that something would go wrong; that booking would be complicated, or that there would be a misunderstanding or a misplacement. I'm sure it's just me! I had no need to worry however - the process was smooth, and the woman on the phone from Marriott Hotels was incredibly helpful - I booked out treatments, was told what to bring and was reassured that it would all be fine. The process couldn't have been easier!

The day finally came and, with our bikinis packed and leisure wear in our bags, we made our way to the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club in Maidstone, Kent, for our special day.  Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and we were incredibly excited!

The entrance of the hotel was welcoming and the foyer itself was very smart. We were quickly directed towards the spa reception which was easy to find and caught a glimpse of the pool and gym on our way. We booked in without hassle (my worries of lost reservations were quickly dismissed!) and were given a quick tour of the facilities. We were also told we could go along to any of the fitness classes running that day. We couldn't wait to get started. But first, we settled for a chat and a delicious hazelnut latte in the lounge area, looking out over the lush green golf course and planning the day ahead.

Our first stop was a Zumba class for an hour. I've done Zumba so I knew I'd enjoy it, and we both had a lot of fun. It felt good to be exercising and really energised us. We were by far the youngest in the room, but the regular ladies were very friendly and I think we just about managed to keep up. I loved having the opportunity to make the most of the classes and facilities at the spa and it was a great welcome.

We decided that a dip in the pool would be the best thing to follow a work-out. I was pleased  that my new bikini from H&M was holding out and fitted like a dream.  The pool was peaceful and I really enjoyed the chance to try the sauna and steam room. I've not had much experience with either, and although I really loved the way the sauna left my skin, the steam room felt - and I'm going to quote myself here - 'like sitting in a tumble dryer'. It was a very strange sensation, and I much preferred the sauna, but I loved having the chance to try something new!. After a little while enjoying the pool and sauna - and chatting the entire time! - we ventured upstairs for a light lunch before we went for the main event - our full body massage.

Now, I wasn't sure how to feel about letting a stranger rub me up and down with scented oils. I hadn't let myself dwell on the concept for long, but I was very uncertain as to what I could expect! Once we checked in at reception again, we were led to our rooms by two lovely ladies and allowed to undress (not completely!) and unwind on the beds before the session began.

The room was warm and the massage table, lined with fluffy towels, was so incredibly comfortable. With the low lighting and soothing music, I tried to empty my mind and focus on the masseuse's hands on my skin. As soon as she touched my back, my worries about awkwardness subsided and I felt my tension leaving my body with every stroke. I could feel her easing the knots in my back one by one - slightly painful, but a huge release of stress. I tried to let my mind remain in the moment - to not think about later that day, or next week, or work...but to appreciate the opportunity and to really relish the treatment. I felt warm, soft and incredibly happy. It was blissful.

The massage left me soft and completely revived. I honestly had not felt so calm for a long, long time. Years of stress and tension built up after two degrees and a new job had been eased out of me. I felt incredibly content as I slipped back into my clothes and headed towards the changing room to get ready for a final swim. My back had, in all honesty, never felt so supple and soft. I couldn't quite believe it. I had opted for a massage with medium pressure, whereas Lou had asked for firm. She loved it too and, though she ached a little more than me, said it was a fantastic experience. We both sat in silence in the changing room for a few minutes, appreciating the peace that had overcome us!

After a final swim and sauna session, Lou and I ventured outside to take in the surroundings. The hotel itself is in a stunning location, with a huge golf course and beautiful little streams and ponds. I could imagine that it would be a lovely location for a wedding celebration. The sun started to ease, casting long languid shadows over the grass, reflecting our own relaxed bodies.If we had been able to stay for longer, I would have enjoyed a nice cup of tea in the late afternoon sunshine.

After a little wander and a few minutes taking it all in, we headed home for an evening of Ben and Jerry's and Frozen - the perfect end to a perfect day.

I loved my spa day at the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel. The staff were really fantastic - polite, helpful and very friendly. Never once did we feel out of place, and we were able to ask any questions. We were at the hotel for 8 hours and, if I am honest, I could have stayed there for many more. I think maybe next time I'll book a weekend break - and that facial!

I had the most wonderful day with my best friend and, when work gets stressful, I can think back to that moment lying on the massage table and instantly feel my back loosen. I'm already daydreaming of my next spa treatment. Thank you Marriott Hotels, Buyagift and, of course, my generous boyfriend for giving me the chance to show my poor tense body and soul a little love and TLC.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

REVIEW: 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion

I picked up The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion after seeing it pop up on my Instagram feed.  I had seen the book when out and about and had heard  about it once or twice from friends who work in publishing, so I just couldn't resist buying it when I was next doing some shopping and saw it on offer.

It's safe to say that it didn't take long for me to read; I settled down and opened it up one evening waiting at King's Cross station, and within a couple of days I had turned the final page. Ever since I finished reading it, I've seen this book everywhere. Word has spread like wildfire and it certainly seems that this book has been a huge success. In fact, plans for a sequel are already in motion for later this year.

I'll try to sum the book up quickly without, of course,giving away any spoilers! Professor Don Tillman is a brilliant man in search for the perfect woman. Don also has Aspergers, and has a very particular set of necessary qualities which he desires his partner to have. However, in order to avoid being alone forever, he has used his scientific mind to create The Wife Project.While he is hunting for a spouse, a vibrant and unforgettable woman by the name of Rosie bursts in and scatters Don's regimented and accurate life up in the air.

The plot is fantastic. I never once got bored and was completely swept along with the characters. Not only are the central protagonists funny and intriguing, but their friends are too; Gene is almost unlikable but you just can't dislike him. It's not a book that expects you to understand the ins and outs of Aspergers, but I really did learn a lot whilst reading it and began to understand more and more about how Don's mind works, and how he sees life. It was a joy to see the everyday mundane morph into enigmas, problems to be solved and circumstances to navigate. The mixture of Don's unique way of seeing things and his scientific tendencies meant that everything was new and exciting. Even speed dating was a whole new ball game.

The book itself is very well written by Simsion and very entertaining. Don's unique way of seeing things makes ordinary situations and people seem amusing and even more interesting than they would normally be. Simison writes so well and you become completely wrapped up in Don's mind which is, in my own opinion, the mark of a good book.

It's not a serious book, however. Of course, you're being educated as you read, but it's not a chore. It's funny, heartwarming and unique. I would turn a page and my heartstrings would be pulled as relationships grew, friends were loved and lost, and Don's feelings started to emerge more and more. Then, in a moment, I would begin to laugh. What may seem normal to us is completely illogical to Don - and vice versa. There is never a dull moment with Don! This book provides a whole new perspective. on life and it's trials and tribulations.

The Rosie Project is vibrant, engaging and entertaining. I found it incredibly hard to tear myself away from it to eat, work or even sleep. I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment and really so urge you to pick up a copy if you can!

If you fancy reading another review, I recommend this one from The Guardian, or find it on Goodreads.

Have you read The Rosie Project? Let me know your thoughts.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Pancakes, Plums and the Perfect Chai Latte

I've sampled Chai Lattes from many different chains and cafes- Costa Coffee serve the worst by far - but the best I've ever tasted are from Finch House in Tonbridge, Kent. They're creamy and spicy without being overwhelming. They taste of comfort in a cup; one sip will instantly calm me down and relax me. I order mine skinny, but no richness is lost. It's always foamy, silky and delicious.

I visited Finch House last week and took my best friend Lou. I couldn't resist ordering a skinny Chai Latte as usual and a Vegetarian Savoury Pancake - loaded with fresh spinach, mushrooms, tomato and mozzarella. Lou plumped for the ultimate toastie which well and truly lived up to its name; three types of cheese, peppers, tomatoes and some slices of chorizo. I even treated myself to a fresh plum and almond tart afterwards which was light and tasty - I am having a true love affair with almonds at the moment and just had to taste it - the perfect sweet treat! I did eye up their homemade salted caramel brownies but, alas, lent prevented me from indulging in chocolate, so I am hoping they still have them when I go back!

I adore little cafes like Finch House; there's nothing like finding somewhere unique and close to you. The cafe itself is open, airy and bustling (without being overbearing or loud). They sell fresh local produce too - which I find is always the mark of a good venue. It's a thoroughly cute cafe with light-coloured paint and countrified details. The wallpaper upstairs is even adorned with little finches.

I will always return to Finch House and, if you're ever in the area, I really recommend it as a delicious, friendly and fresh alternative to the chains of coffee shops and cafes in and around local towns. I get so bored of the same-old options, so I can't wait to go back again - if only I was always nearby!


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Happiness Is...#8

I haven't posted one of my Happiness updates for a while, mostly because time has run away with me and life has been manic! I've been happy though - don't worry! I'm finding life a little tough sometimes but the little things are keeping me going.

So what's been making me happy over the last week (or so)?

I sent a little parcel to my dear friend E in Denmark, which I think was received very well! I adore sending little surprises by post; it gives me a huge sense of satisfaction. In fact, I wrote a little guest post on that subject over on the lovely Lemon Freckles' blog, which you can read HERE.

Some exciting news:She Wears Burgundy hit 100 followers on Bloglovin' last week! I know it may not be a lot compared to some blogs, but I feel that I've worked very hard to get there and it's a little milestone which I am proud of. Now that I've hit the big 100 I'm planning my first little giveaway...so watch this space! You can follow my little blog on Bloglovin' HERE.

I visited Winchester last weekend with my good friend H and we spent a lot of time in The Hambledon. It's one of my favourite little shops and, although I couldn't afford to buy anything in there, I always love wandering around and admiring the home-ware and beauty products! I even wrote a post about it, which you can read HERE.

On Sunday the other week I made what I consider to be the perfect brunch. Mediterranean eggs: feta, olives, eggs and vegetables all served up in a tomato sauce ready to be dunked and devoured with warm fresh bread. Heaven. I'm nervous when it comes to cooking as I don't feel I have any real skills, so when this turned out so well I was ecstatic! You can find my recipe HERE - let me know if you make them!

On Friday my sister came to stay with me and I took her to visit 7Bone. It was my third time, and her first, and it was absolutely delicious as usual. I just can't get over how good their burgers are! I reviewed 7Bone when it first opened, and it was one of my first posts on this blog. You can find that review HERE.

I took my sister to Lou Lou's Vintage Fair the next day, and we scoured old dresses, trinkets and silk scarves. My sister is really into vintage style, and absolutely rocks floral fifties dresses, so Lou Lou's was right up her street.

While we were at Lou Lou's we just had to indulge in some cake! It was delicious and looked stunning, so I had to include it in this little round up. After the fair we grabbed a Starbucks to drink on our way home. I saved our barista from undercharging us, and he was lovely and put little smiley faces on our cups and even giving me a little extra cream. It completely makes my day when happiness is spread around; earlier that day I donated some money to a very happy chappy who high-fived me in the street. When you make others smile, it makes your day even better - let's spread the happiness!

I am currently home for an Easter break after taking some extra time off from work and boy, do I need it. These gorgeous tulips were waiting for me in my bedroom.

Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed, right? Sleeping on a mattress which doesn't have springs digging into my back? This makes me very, very happy!

On Sunday I went to the coast with my parents. It felt so good to get outside and to breathe in some fresh air - to get out of the office and to just be free for a bit. Lying on the pebbles with the fresh spring sun on my face and the waves lapping at the beach helped to ease my troubles for a bit.

What have you done recently which has made you happy?


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday Brunch: Mediterranean 'Baked' Dippy Eggs

It was a drizzly grey Sunday; perfect for staying inside and taking some guilt-free time out from the world, shamelessly watching musicals on television and drinking mug after mug of hot sweet tea. It was the first Sunday I've stayed in at home for a while and by pure chance my boyfriend decided to spontaneously visit, so what better way to start the day than a delicious brunch?

I'm normally one for making pancakes, a vague version of Eggs Benedict, or a classic fry up. However, this time I wanted something a little different; something tasty and full of goodness but still indulgent.  I considered what I already had in my fridge, popped out in the rain to my local shop to pick up a few little extras, and set to work, chopping up ingredients and throwing them into the pan when it felt right.

I'm the sort of cook who will need to follow a recipe book if I'm making anything slightly off of my usual beaten track. I need guidelines, measurements and steps to follow. This time, however, I decided to make it up as I went along, building on basic knowledge gained from briefly looking at similar recipes in the past.

The end result? Delicious, rich, tasty and satisfying. This recipe contains plenty of healthy vegetables, a sprinkling of cheese (who can resist indulgence on a Sunday?) and some fresh bread to top it all off. What's more, it's incredibly easy!

So here's how to make my Mediterranean 'Baked' Dippy Eggs:

You will need:
  • Half a courgette
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • Two handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • Half a red pepper
  • Half leek
  • One clove of garlic
  • Half an onion
  • Half a chorizo, sliced
  • Four eggs
  • Sliced black olives
  • One can of chopped tomatoes
  • A little feta cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • A few leaves of fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh bread (I bought a loaf of Mediterranean bread)
  • Large frying pan (with a lid) 

This was made for two people although it would have comfortably fed three or four. But who's going to judge? Especially when it's this delicious...
Firstly, chop up all of your vegetables. You want them to be fairly chunky; I suggest halving the cherry tomatoes (it's a great way to use up vegetables which are just about to turn)

Pour a glug of olive oil into the pan and pop in your garlic, chopped onion and sliced leek. Stir until soft. Add your chorizo and allow to cook, the oil turning the vegetables a delicious orange colour.

Add the rest of your chopped vegetables and cook steadily until they're softening but not over-cooked.

Pour in your tin of tomatoes and stir in. Allow to bubble away and reduce. 

Mix in your olives and season with salt and pepper and a dash or dried oregano.

Once the tomato juice has reduced a little, make a small well in one quarter of the pan and break in an egg. Do this for each egg, in each quarter.

Put the lid on the pan and allow the eggs to cook for five minutes (or until intuition tells you they are cooked with a runny yolk)

While the eggs are cooking, wrap the bread in foil and warm through in the oven.
Once the eggs are almost done to your liking, take them off of the heat and crumble the feta and basil over the top.

This is best served straight from the pan: place on a heatproof surface, break up the bread and tuck in.

How's that for a hearty, healthy brunch?

Let me know if you end up making this - I'd love to know how you get on! What's your favourite way to cook your eggs in the morning?


Friday, 11 April 2014

The Hambledon, Winchester

Hidden away next to Winchester Cathedral is a little gem of a shop called The Hambledon.

It's a haven of domestic beauty - and every corner of it looks like something found on Pinterest, in Vogue or a really fashionable home magazine.

I end up in The Hambledon every time I go to Winchester. I find myself poring over their kitchenware, wishing for a little place to call my own which could be filled with the beautiful products they have on display. Delicate glass bottles and vases, gorgeous pie bowls and quaint decanters sit on simple yet stylish shelves. Books detailing the wonders of shopping in Paris, cycling in Amsterdam and culinary delights made easy. Little postcards to send your loved ones and pretty but fake flowers (which you would never know were fake until closer inspection) to give your home the sense of everlasting Spring.

Their beauty range is also to die for - lotions and potions from all sorts of high-end brands sit waiting to be tested, and candles of all scents finely perfume the air. They even have a small area dedicated to children's parties, stocked high with pretty paper straws, cute plates and bunting and cheeky little gifts ready to be placed in goody bags. I'm pretty sure they aren't just a favourite with little ones!

I visited Winchester with a friend last weekend and introduced her to The Hambledon. We found a few favourites, and I even fell oddly in love with a candle which seemed to be specifically for men - it smelt like a very clean (and very attractive) gentleman's skin...and I had to try hard not to buy it and take it home! It sounds strange but it really was lovely...

I just wanted to buy everything, but I will be honest; it's not overly cheap. You will find some little gems in here which you could pick up for under ten pounds, or within your budget, but the really gorgeous stuff is a little more expensive due to the true quality of it all.  Especially the clothing! It certainly is a treat for the eyes and is perfect for finding the perfect wedding present or special gift. Let me tell you, it's especially amazing at Christmas, as you can imagine!

This post was not sponsored, before you ask or start pointing your fingers. I just wanted to share The Hambledon with you. Not just because it makes for some very pretty photographs (I had to stop myself from spamming my Instagram account after I left!) but it's definitely somewhere that should be shouted about. I'm a firm believer in letting people know about something you like!

It's also a little insight into my trip to Winchester - I had a lovely day and had so much fun catching up with my friend. It's such a beautiful little city and I can't wait for summer picnics on the grass in front of the cathedral.

They do have a website and, joy of joys, you can buy online! So even if you live a hundred miles away, you can still have a little bit of The Hambledon in your home.The site is stunning too, and I wager you'll be trawling through the photos and goodies for a while. It's definitely a good way to wind down in the office last thing on a Friday! You can find The Hambledon online HERE.

I'm already planning my next visit and they trinkets I will be buying. I have my eye on a little glass vase...or two...


Saturday, 5 April 2014

March Favourites

March came and went in a flurry of blue skies, pancakes, daffodils and the occasional rain-shower, and as usual I developed a few little favourites which I'd like to share with you. It's a real mix of beauty, fashion and lifestyle, and I hope that maybe one of these gems becomes one of your favourites too!

I've also written another post about my favourite blog posts this month; nothing is more important than showing appreciation for the things you enjoy, and I love to make sure people's hard work gets the recognition it deserves! So once you've read this, hop on over to my Burgundy Blogroll for the mad ol' month of March to see what else I've been loving.

Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in Elusive

After much hype in the blogosphere for the Revlon Colourburst balms - matte, stain and lacquer - I decided to give in and see what the fuss was about. I bought a matte balm in the shade Elusive (which also seems to be the most popular according to the comments on a number of blog posts) and have been wearing it a lot ever since. It's a very pretty pink; some have said it's a 'my lips but better' shade but I find it a little too bright and candy-coloured for that. It's taken some getting used to - I'm more of a dark red / neutral lip colour girl - but the reason why I do love it is because it's thrown me out of my beauty comfort zone and has proved that I can wear brighter colours. It has fantastic staying power too and feels lovely and silky. Thoroughly recommended! I may even buy another shade.

L'Oreal Nude Magique BB Powder

When I bought the Revlon Matte Balm, I also purchased L'Oreal's Nude Magique BB Powder in the lightest shade. Day to day, I only wear powder on my skin which lets it breathe; foundation is now only for special occasions. I spotted this and was intrigued, and have been really enjoying using it. I'll be honest, I don't really see how it's different from a normal powder, but it is velvety soft and easy to apply and I think it will last me a long time. The built in mirror and applicator compartment is another bonus and takes me back to the days when I used to buy their True Match powder before my student budget forced me to rethink. I'm tempted to branch out into the rest of their Nude Magique range, so perhaps watch this space.

Yankee Candle tealights in Fireside Treats

This post isn't all about beauty - I'm no makeup wizard (my makeup collection would make most bloggers weep). I was given these Yankee Candle tealights in the fragrance Fireside Treats by my friend C as part of a (very) belated Christmas present. These little nuggets of scented heaven have been burning every evening since. They're technically a winter fragrance and are very sweet. They fill the room with delicious smells and I can't get enough of them! I personally think that they do smell of melting marshmallows, which takes me back to camping and bonfires, but they may be a little sickly for some. I don't think this little box will last long so I might have to hunt some more down soon.

Nestle Cafe Menu Latte Caramel

Since I gave up chocolate for Lent I've not been able to enjoy my usual Mocha when stopping for a coffee break. This is tough, especially when I can only really drink instant coffee sachets at work at the moment due to my desk situation (in that I haven't got a one) so I had to find an alternative. These Nestle Caramel Latte sachets are heaven. No, they don't compare to a delicious, freshly made caramel latte, but they're tasty, cheap and (hopefully) slightly less indulgent. They're also quick to make and they satisfy my 11am sweet tooth. So I thought I'd share my love for them, since they have improved many a dreary Monday morning in the office.

Topshop Matte Nail Varnish in Dress Up

I own a few matte nail varnishes, and this is the latest addition to my collection. It's a beautiful deep burgundy (of course!) and is easy to apply. I'll admit, it's not the most long-lasting varnish but it looks so lovely and is sophisticated with a slight edge. This will definitely be worn throughout spring.

Graze Breakfast Boxes

I blogged about Graze's new Breakfast boxes before, and I have been really loving them this month. The Cherry and Almond porridge is my favourite, and you can imagine my excitement when I heard that they are going to be launching even more options soon! My day is always better with a good breakfast.

Primark Kimono  

The bit of floral fabric you can see in this post is a kimono / cover-up I bought from Primark at the beginning of the month. It's a little too big but I don't care; the pattern is beautiful and I just know I'll be wearing it all the time in warmer weather. I paired it with an all-black outfit for cocktails in Oxford when visiting C and I can't wait to wear it again.

What have you been loving this month? I'd love to know, so let me know in the comments below!


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Burgundy Blogroll: March

I'm a huge believer in showing appreciation and making sure that people who deserve it get recognition for their work. I've been trying to show appreciation recently by commenting more often on blog posts I've loved. Being a part of the community is so important when you're a blogger - it's not just about writing posts and getting followers! I find that knowing that someone has enjoyed my writing enough to tell me about it can really make my day, and I like to think it's the same for all bloggers.

This is why I've decided that each month I will start pulling together some of my favourite blog posts and sharing them with you all in a monthly blogroll. Perhaps it'll be something you've already read, or perhaps you'll discover a new favourite. They're a range of blogs, including fashion, beauty and lifestyle, so hopefully there's something for everyone.

All posts are linked in the heading, so simply click the burgundy text.

Here are the posts which  really stood out to me in March. Happy reading!

Ok, I know this was technically published at the end of February, but I couldn't leave this out. Megs's candid discussion of Anxiety and the problems sufferers face really resonated me, and I thought it was also an incredibly brave thing to write. The support that she received was great and I personally have a lot of respect for her for being so honest and for asking for help in the first place. It can be a sensitive subject, but when someone chooses to talk about it openly it can help so many people. If you suffer from anxiety, think you might do or simply want to know a little more about it,I can't recommend this post enough. It will help you to remember that you're not alone, and you're certainly not making a fuss 'about nothing'.


Darling Magazine: 

I was sent a link to Darling Magazine by a friend and have since utterly fallen in love with it. I have so many favourites, but here are two which really stand out to me:
I have always felt the desire to please everyone around me; it's one of the things I love about myself but it's also one of the most difficult personality traits of mine. It can be wonderful, but also exhausting, upsetting and damaging. This post particularly made me think about self neglect (something which I touched upon in my post last month called Falling In Love with Yourself). 

Unemployment is something which looms over many of us at the moment; times are hard, and it can be particularly terrifying if you've recently graduated. I know a few friends who have had trouble with this in the past, or are currently going through it. This post is candid and gives some great advice without the pressure found in most other articles on the subject.


A lovely little lifestyle post from Rosie - the perfect thing to read if you like being a little nosey and peeking into someone else's everyday life. In this post she has managed to make even mundane tasks seem exciting and something deserving of appreciation. A good read to ground you and to appreciate life in its simplicity. Plus it's really well written, too.


Aside from the brilliantly witty title, I love this little post because it's incredibly detailed and gives real, honest opinions about what you should do in Brighton. I'm hoping to visit in the summer and will be consulting this guide before I go! Brilliantly written, and from a local perspective.


I already mentioned my love for this post in my entry about my weekend in Oxford, but after discovering Scarphelia (which has quickly become one of my all-time favourite blogs) this post really stood out to me. I'll let you read it for yourself, but the idea that we should make the most of our own situations and grab life by the proverbial horns really resonated with me and made me think - and boy do I love a post which makes me think!

Do you have any favourite posts from March? Let me know in the comments below!


Tuesday, 1 April 2014


March has come and gone so quickly, and in that month spring finally sprang, and we bade farewell to (most of) the awful weather we'd been having since December began. I have had a good month, mostly comprised of time spent with loved ones; no revelations and no dramatic events

So, here are my March Highlights according to Instagram!

At the beginning of the month was pancake day and, consequently, my last fay of eating chocolate before I gave it up for Lent. This is nearly an annual thing for me (aside from during my final year of my undergraduate degree, and my Masters last year) so I never find it too difficult. Saying that....boy, could I do with a chocolate brownie right about now! 

I read a few books this month, including the brilliant 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simison. I've mentioned it on here before, and I can't wait to write a review of it soon. This book is definitely now one of my favourites!

I visited Cambridge again, this time involving a beautiful walk in the spring sunshine, cream teas in the orchard, dinner at Bill's, frozen yoghurt, and a picnic at the market. It was a really lovely, relaxing weekend and really heralded the beginning of spring for me. There was so much blossom and so many daffodils! I love Cambridge, and look forward to going back soon. The sky was so blue when I went last time, I'm hoping it will be the same again. I can only imagine how lovely it will be in the summer.

The next weekend I went to visit my friend C in Oxford. Well, you can't do one without the other! Oxford was grand, impressive and absolutely stunning. I really did fall in love with the place. As well as exploring the city I went out for fabulous cocktails, ate a delicious and fresh brunch at Jacobs & Field, and had a cheeky little shop. It's so full of culture and history, and I think I need another trip just to make sure I see and appreciate everything!

While I was in Oxford I managed to get a last minute appointment at a Benefit Brow Bar to take part in Brow Arch March. I had my brows waxed and shaped for a mere £5 donation to a brilliant charity, 'Look Good Feel Better', which focuses on the physical and visual effects of cancer. It was for a wonderful cause and my brows have never looked better! You can find out more about Brow Arch March HERE.

Skipping a week, I spent a day working in an oceanographic centre - my job can be so varied! I couldn't resist taking photos of Nemo and friends. It was definitely a highlight, and I just had to include a photo in this blog post.

Mother's Day was at the end of the month, and I went home to spend it with family. On the day, I made Mum American Blueberry Pancakes, served with peach yoghurt, sliced banana and maple syrup. It was a lovely breakfast which we ate outside in the garden, and was the start of a lovely relaxing Mother's Day. Nothing beats a well-cooked breakfast, especially when it means you can sit back and relax with loved ones.

During the last weekend of March I also picked up a few goodies. I bought a couple of tops from Topshop during a shopping trip with Mum, and I ordered some books and a DVD from Amazon. Mum also treated me to two Lush Bath Melts which I can't wait to use. A little retail therapy never hurt anyone! 

What did you get up to in March? I'd love to hear about your highlights, so let me know in the comments below.