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Category Archives: Lifestyle
As I’ve said a few times here on my blog, I’ve just bought a house, I know, I know I’ve hardly mentioned it in my last few posts so incase you’ve missed it (I don’t know how you could’ve!) back in Feb this year I entered into a 30 year legally binding contract to buy a fabulous two bed, two bath house in my home island of Guernsey.
Now whilst actually buying the house is expensive enough, you then have to furnish it too and bearing in mind I’ve been living with my dear old mum since I came back from uni this basically meant refurbishing an entire house, again requiring a lot of monies.
My boyfriend and I are super lucky to have some amazing family and friends who have donated a load of stuff (thank you!) and one of the things we got given by my boyfriends grand parents was a dining table and chairs. Structurally there was nothing wrong with the table or any of the four chairs but unfortunately the general look of both didn’t really go with the rest of the decor in the lounge so I decided to see what upcycling them might look like.
If you’re considering starting an upcycling project then Pinterest and YouTube are your best friends. They have an amazing array of pics and videos to help get your creative juices flowing no matter what you’re looking to do.
I didn’t want to just paint the dining table but also reupholster the chairs, something my bf thought I was totally crazy for doing but I was determined to prove him wrong! Unfortunately all of the tutorials I watched on YouTube didn’t really show how to reupholster dining chairs like those we had so I set about instead getting some new (old) chairs to re-cover instead and this is where our local charity shops came in. For anyone reading this who lives in Guernsey the GO charity shop on The Bridge has a huge amount of tables and chairs in their basement and it was here that I picked up four chairs with the correct bases I was looking for for an absolute steal of £20 for the four!
The chairs were pretty solid but as with most charity shop items smelled a little musty. As per my tutorials watched on YouTube, I removed the seat covers from the base which was easy to do as you can see below there were little twisty bits on the wood holding the seat and wood together. As these were pretty ancient I couldn’t actually get the old fabric off, so whilst I worked on painting the wood I covered the seats in Febreze and left them out in the sunshine to absorb the febreezy goodness.
So now onto the fun part – painting!
I did a fair bit of research before starting this upcycling project and settled on using Annie Sloan chalk paint in the colour Old White, mainly because I’m lazy and the fab thing about chalk paint is that you don’t have to prep the surface before you paint it.
A word of advice here is that although you don’t have to prep the surfaces I would at the very least clean the wood with a damp cloth, especially if you’ve bought charity shop chairs because you don’t know how long they’ve been there and how dirty they actually are! I should say here that there are plenty of other chalk paint brands out there but I’d heard great things about Annie Sloan and also knew there was a local stockist here on an island where the options are fairly limited so I stuck with the one I thought was the best and easiest to get hold of. Brush wise I just used bog standard paint brushes from B&Q instead of the Annie Sloan ones, and whilst I think these did an ok job I think that using the proper brushes might have given a better finish.
This photo was taken after one coat of paint, and I don’t think the coverage is too bad if you were going for that shabby chic look, however I wanted a solid white finish so did 2-3 layers in the end which took about two days to do over the weekend in between wandering off and dancing around to Kiss FM.
Once the wood was painted, it was time for the part I’d really been waiting for – upholstering the seats. I had ordered some fabric off Ebay which had a sort of vintage postmark design to it for about £15 – bargain, especially when you consider I accidentally bought enough fabric to cover about 10 chairs! Whoopsie. So yes be sure to measure up your seats properly – this means taking the actual measurements of the seat and adding on about 3-5cm to each side to allow for covering the sides of the seat.
I’m so sorry but I was lost in a world of staple gun loving when I did the cushions that I totally forgot to take any photos of this part but safe to say if I can do it anyone can. One more tip here is to not be afraid to use brutal force, staple guns are easy to use but do require substantial force to actually ‘pull the trigger’.
Once I’d recovered all four of the seats it was simply a case of putting them back into the bases and re-twisting the twisty bits on the bottom to keep them in place – voila!
So that’s it, the finished chairs! Even if I do say so myself I was so pleased with the results and was super proud of myself for actually finishing what I’d started out to do and although I haven’t yet undertaken any other upcycling projects I know this won’t be my last.
Something that I’m loving at the moment is lips! Lip glosses, lip sticks, lip tints you name it I’ve tried it, and because of this I’ve also been making sure I keep my lips in tip-top condition. In the summer I know it’s not quite so important, but in preparation for the colder autumn and winter months I thought I’d share with you my homemade lip scrub which is super easy to make and is a really quick and simple way to exfoliate your lips.
What you’ll need
Olive oil – we use this to nourish the lips and whilst I used a mid range olive oil that I had in the cupboard, I’m sure any other oil will work just as well
Sugar – I used bog standard white sugar that you’d put in your tea! You can use other sugars, just remember the more coarse the sugar the more coarse the lip scrub will be
Honey – this gives a nice sweetness to the lip scrub and also helps to hold the oil and sugar together a little more
You will also need a small bowl and teaspoon to mix everything together and then a small pot/jar to keep the lip scrub in once it’s made.
How to make your lip scrub
This will all depend on the size of pot you’re going to put the finished product in but for me I started by putting about 2 tablespoons of sugar into the bowl, before adding in 1 teaspoon of honey.
To use your homemade lip scrub just scrape a little out using your finger and rub it onto your lips in circular motions, you should then leave it on your lips for a few minutes before washing off with a warm flannel or muslin cloth. I would recommend doing this when you’re home alone or in the comfort of a locked bathroom as you definitely end up looking a little crazy with this weird sugar mix all over your face!
Depending on how sensitive your lips are I would say it’s best to do this once a week to keep your lips looking and feeling fab!
It’s best to store your lip scrub in the fridge once it’s made and don’t worry if the oil separates a little from the sugar and honey mixture, just give it a little stir with your finger or a spoon to combine it all again and it’s good to go!
Have you ever tried making a homemade lip scrub? If you try making this at home I’d love to know so leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.
I know the resolutions posts are doing the rounds at the moment, and I wanted to add mine to it to make my promises more concrete. This year I didn’t want to go for the obligatory ‘get fit’ or ‘lose weight’ and wanted to think a bit more about what I could really stick to, and would make the best year.
1. Learn Photoshop
Last year I got Photoshop, and whilst I can use it for the basics I’d like to be able to use it properly for more complex editing so will be enlisting the help of a friend at work to teach me all the tips and tricks!
2. Make more time for blogging
Over the past few months the blog has unfortunately taken a bit of a back seat as things like holidays, sickness and a lot of things going on at work have meant that I’ve really struggled to find the time or motivation to get up quality posts. So in 2014 I want to get back my blogging mojo and make sure I really try to make time and put in the effort to make the blog the best it can be!
3. Always try to have a positive outlook
It’s fair to say 2013 had its ups and downs, and in general I’d say it was a pretty crappy year. So in 2014 I want to banish the negative and focus on the good things in my life and do less moaning!!
4. Make 2014 the best year it can be & 5. Be Happy!
Along the same lines as resolution number 3, I want to go full steam ahead in 2014 and make sure that when it gets to Dec 31st 2014 I can look back and think what a great year it’s been!
So that’s mine in a nutshell, link me some of your resolution posts below I’d love to know what your goals are for 2014!
I know there are a few of these posts around at the moment, but it’s Christmas and I’m constantly being asked by those around me what I’d like for the big day. So for anyone asking, here’s some of my top choices!
Pure Evoke Mio DAB digital radio in Seagrass
Tess Gerritsen novels – part of the Rizzoli & Isles series
Mulberry Primrose – well a girl can try!
So that’s what I’ll be having my fingers crossed for in just over a weeks time, what are you hoping to find under your Christmas tree?
It’s not very often that invites like ‘who wants to come and see Glamour editor Jo Elvin speak at a women’s lunch event?’ pop into my inbox, so when this one got circulated by one of the girls at work I immediately jumped at the chance to attend.
‘Women at One’ is a lunch series which enables the women of Guernsey to get together to socialise and network over some lunch, whilst also listening to the inspiring stores of guest speakers from around the UK including magazine editors, CEOs and founders of women’s Leadership Academies.
The November lunch was particularly popular as it was hosted by long-running editor of Glamour Magazine, Jo Elvin. Now whilst I am not an avid Glamour reader, I thought this would still be a fantastic chance to hear first hand how someone like Jo got to where she is today and what pearls of wisdom she had to bestow upon the rest of us (I also wanted to hear if she had any embarrassing celeb stories, which she definitely did!).
Australian-born Elvin started her magazine career doing work experience at girls magazine Dolly, where was offered a full time job before moving to the slightly older Cleo. As well as working in magazines Elvin also had a brief stint as an Aussie cliche (her words, not mine!) when she worked as a publicist on Neighbours, and no, not during the Jason and Kylie years. She then took the huge decision to move to the UK with dreams of making it big in the UK magazine industry.
As careers go, Elvin’s has been one of working incredibly hard, always using her initiative and putting everything into every job she’s undertaken, including taking the several knock backs she encountered on arriving in the UK. In fact she recalled a story of sitting in a greasy spoon in Notting Hill back in the early nineties and thinking it was maybe time to cut her losses and go back to Australia and even seeing a Quantas plane flying overhead – surely an even bigger sign?! It was at this low point that she was offered a job at Sugar magazine, and has since gone from strength to strength having been editor of women’s magazine Glamour, which she describes as being ‘glossy with grit‘, for over a decade.
Attributing her success to her Aussie determination and never wanting to give up, some of the highlights of her career include drinking a Vodka and tonic with Tony Blair on board a private plane and being papped with Terri Hatcher in the Hollywood Hills. But the life of a magazine isn’t all glitz and glamour as Jo also recalled a time at an awards ceremony when she was drafted in to hold up a certain female celebs dress whilst she went to the loo as it was so tight she couldn’t do it herself!
So what’s her advice for a successful career? Firstly she advocates internships, but more to demonstrate the hard work you’re willing to put in, and if you’re looking to get into fashion that doesn’t mean only interning at fashion magazines. All experience counts, and in fact one of the current Glamour staff had never worked on a fashion magazine when she applied and was working on a car magazine, but the fact that she has immersed herself so fully into the world of cars really impressed Jo who decided to give her a chance, which she says absolutely paid off.
My personal favourite piece of advice Jo gave was straight to the point – ‘say yes and then figure it out later.’
Unfortunately we had a meeting to get back to at work so were unable to stay for questions after lunch which was pretty disappointing as I had wanted to find out Jo’s opinions on bloggers and whether they’re having a positive or negative effect on the magazine industry. But we did have just enough time to scoff the amazing cheesecake that came for dessert, although I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have eaten the whole thing so quickly as I felt super sick on the drive back to the office!
All in all though this was a great event, Jo was incredibly warm and funny and although I’m sure she’s a totally formidable woman in the office her career stories and advice helped many of us around the table to understand the most important areas to focus on to really impress the people around you to drive your career forward.
Thanks to Jo and the organisers of Women at One for such a great afternoon out with the girls!
Some of you may know that back in March my big sis and I headed to Liverpool to see Derren Brown live as part of his Infamous tour, but what you won’t be aware of is that at the same time we were also supposed to go and see Jesus Christ Superstar in Birmingham as part of its second tour of the UK. Unfortunately due to the demands of other countries also wanting to see it, the UK leg was actually postponed until October. After some initial disappointments and having to move flight and hotel bookings and even forking out for a second flight all travel pains had been sorted and we just had to sit back and wait the six months for the show to come back to the UK.
As my sis and I are both fans of Tim Minchin in particular (my sister massively so!), our mum had bought us the tickets for Christmas (thanks mum!) so safe to say when we boarded the plane to fly to Manchester at 7am last Thursday morning we were both pretty excited about what lay ahead.
Me and the sis – excited in the lift shot!
When we finally got into the arena, we found our seats just 9 rows back in row J and I crossed my fingers that at 5ft 4 no one tall would come and sit in front of me. Unfortunately I was not this lucky and of course the one tall guy in the whole of our section came and sat smack bang in front of little ol’ me. But fear not, because the staging itself is very well designed for the perils of flat floored arenas and is actually one entire staircase meaning that a lot of the action goes on higher than eye level so thankfully I only had to spend about 15% of the show bobbing my head around Gigantor. So thanks to the stage designer for sorting that out for me! The use of the large video screen at the top of the stairs not only aided in my being able to see what was going on but also played a pivotal role not only in scene setting and story telling but also served as a stunning backdrop to bring the whole show together.
So onto the show itself, having had little knowledge about the story or the songs, I had no preconceptions of what to expect but can honestly say that the show did not disappoint. As some of you may know the cast is a pretty stellar line up with Tim Minchin playing Judas Iscariot, Melanie C as Mary Magdelane, Chris Moyles as King Herod and finally the winner of ITV’s Superstar Ben Forster in the title role of Jesus.
For me, there were a couple of issues I had mainly due to the music being incredibly loud which sometimes made it hard to hear the cast, which as I didn’t know the story made it difficult to understand what was going on because there is no talking in this at all, so if I couldn’t hear the lyrics I didn’t get the story. Thankfully my sis explained to me some of the bits I’d missed during the interval and the second half was much better, however there was one particular moment where a guitarist comes onto stage with Judas which was ear-burstingly loud and unfortunately lost some of the poignancy of the moment.
My stand out songs were Herod’s Song which is Chris Moyles’ one and only performance, but to say he’s in it for such a short amount of time he really provides the comic relief that is needed in such a generally harrowing story, plus who knew he could even sing?!
Oh heeeeey Chris Moyles – couldn’t stop myself from pulling a Miley!
There were also a number of heart wrenching moments in the second half from Judas’ inner torment at having betrayed his friend, culminating in his eventual suicide which was all done in silhouette to stunning effect to the moments following the crucifixion when the key characters rallied around the body of Jesus in complete silence whilst thousands of rose petals fell from the ceiling. This very nearly had me in tears but somehow I managed to keep myself in check! Kudos to Tim Minchin who arguably had the hardest songs to sing but carried the role incredibly well and has definitely made me to want to go and see him live again – come back to the UK with a new tour soon Tim!
But the most spellbinding performance of the night has to go to Jesus himself. Ben Forster’s performance of Gethsemane was nothing short of stunning. For anyone who has never heard the song, Google it, it has some seriously high notes in it which lets face it men should not be able to hit and only dogs should be able to hear. But that aside Ben performed this song beautifully, completely getting across all the emotion that a song like this demands.
One final mention must go to Melanie C whose character Mary Magdelene managed to do an excellent job of removing Jesus’ shoes whilst making it look like something entirely different *ahem* – think back to the different levels of the staging and imagine her directly in front of Jesus but slightly lower down and I think you’ll get the picture….
The cast doing the encore at the end of the show
So that’s all folks, my whistle-stop tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. For any theatre fans out there who don’t live in London but want a great night of entertainment, show stopping performances and a Chris Moyles/Jeremy Kyle hybrid then this is definitely the show for you! There are still limited tickets available, so if you haven’t got any yet, what are you waiting for?!
The Show Programme
Have any of you been to see the show? What did you think?
When you live on an island and a lot of your friends live on the mainland quite often I’m looking for good reasons to pop over and have a cheeky weekend staying with my BFF and her boyfriend.
Dawn O’Porter’s Best Friends Ball was not only an excellent excuse to visit friends but was all to raise money for Breast Cancer Care alongside the launch of their new Pink Friday’s initiative which runs for the month of October as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month – for more info see here.
Hosted by fellow Guernsey-girl Dawn, also involved were the lovely Gemma Cairney from Radio 1 as well as Dawn’s Hollywood hubby ‘Roy from the IT crowd’. We were also treated to musical performances from Sophie Ellis Bextor, Kate Nash and even a spice girl in the form of Melanie C! Other performers were comedienne Andi Osho and also a dramatic reading by Laura Dockerill from ‘The Booby Trap’, which I would highly recommend all women go out and buy as £1 from every copy goes towards Breast Cancer charities.
All in all it was a truly amazing girls night out which was all in aid of such a fantastic cause, so thanks to Dawn for hosting but also special thanks must go out to Gemma Cairney for playing Blu Cantrell and Sean Paul which was undoubtedly the highlight of the night!
Obviously I had my trusty camera with me so instead of just telling you about it, below are some snaps from the night. Enjoy!
Dawn O’Porter – our lovely hostess for the evening
Me and my gorgeous bestie Little Miss Notting Hill aka Annie xx
Sophie Ellis Bextor
The Kissing Booth where you could get a cheeky kiss from Chris O’Dowd for the bargain price of a tenner
Dress by Anna Scholtz at Simply Be available here
Taking a picture of taking a picture
The actual picture with the super lovely Gemma Cairney – loved her!
With Chris O’Dowd
Guernsey Girls – with Dawn O’Porter
Bits and boobs from our Andrex Washlets sponsored goody bags – love the pink diary!
Did anyone else go to this? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought about it below!
Also check out what Little Miss Notting Hill thought of the night here!
I’m sure I’m not the first person to refer to Herm as Paradise, and I certainly won’t be the last, but that’s exactly what it is. Sometimes I have to stop and pinch myself to realise how lucky I am to have this gorgeous haven of peace and tranquility (there’s no cars at all on the island, only quad bikes or tractors) just a hop, skip and jump away from my own native Guernsey.
This was not my first trip over to the island so far this summer, having been there only a few weeks earlier for the Real Ale and Cider Festival. But this time I went with my mum, big sis Emma and my gorgeous nephew three year old Sebastian (is that name good enough for you Katie Hopkins?!) for my mums birthday as we fancied doing something a little different and by going over on the 8.30am boat it was only £9 each return for us adults and a few pounds for Sebby, I can’t actually remember exactly how much but it wasn’t loads.
It was a gorgeous day and when we arrived at Belvoir Beach around 10am we were actually the only people there so felt like we were on our own private beach which was awesome. Given the heat and the sunshine, I did unfortunately get a little burnt on my face but thankfully not too badly and I also did something I never thought I would ever do which was sunbathe in a hoodie (it was a little windy at times despite the sunshine and I wanted to cover my red hair) and still get burnt! By anyones standards I’d say that’s pretty impressive?
Anyway, whilst we wandered along the sandy paths and up and down the winding hills I took some shots with my trusty Nikon as well as my iPhone and here is a collection of some of the stunning sights that Herm has to offer.
If you like what you see and want more information on visiting Herm you can find out more at their website here.
Have any of you ever had the pleasure of going to Herm Island? Did you like it?
As you may know, I’ve recently been in London and whilst on the hunt for some evening entertainment I came across the latest Roald Dahl story to be turned into a West End extravaganza, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
As the show was still in previews when we went it was fairly easy to get tickets even just a few days before the event. When going to West End musicals we always try to sit in the stalls, and managed to get tickets in row O which was just over half way back in the auditorium. For any of you long-legged lovelies out there be warned the seats in this theatre are very close together so you don’t get much leg room but for shorties like me I was perfectly fine (although I was wishing and praying that no tall folk sat in front of me and thankfully the theatre gods answered my prayers!).
So onto the show itself, written and directed by David Greig and Sam Mendes it stays true to the traditional Roald Dahl story and amongst a largely unknown cast it also stars Young Ones actor Nigel Planner as everyone’s favourite all singing, all dancing granddad, Grandpa Joe. As it was in preview there were some teething problems, mainly with some of the sound which at times meant that the orchestra were so loud it was difficult to hear or understand some of the singing. Some of the songs were also incredibly quick, which I imagine were very difficult for the cast to sing and get very good diction, but again this unfortunately made it quite tricky to get what the message of the story was in a handful of songs. Although that being sad this was definitely in the minority of songs, and the rest were pretty awesome.
Apart from that the set and scenery were to be honest nothing short of extraordinary. The world of Willy Wonka is well-known as being totally out of this world, and how Greig and Mendes managed to translate this into a stage production was amazing. My personal favourite parts of the set were the chocolate river, the robots who create Violet Beauregard’s three course dinner chewing gum and finally the giant TV set that’s used to show each of the other four children who win the Golden Tickets (trust me, if you see this production live I’m sure you’ll be amazed by it too!).
Throughout the first month of previews the cast and crew have been continually refining the show, which has now finally opened to a star-studded audience including SJP and Uma Thurman. Personally I haven’t read any of the critics reviews on the show, but as an avid theatre-goer I would whole-heartedly recommend this show to anyone who wants to be transported to a world of wonderful creations and if you have children old enough to sit through a full length show like this, then this is the show for you and them. It’s funny, energetic, inventive and undoubtedly a world of pure imagination.
Have any of you been to see this show? What did you think?
Don’t forget there’s just over a week left to vote me for Best Newcomer at the Posh Fashion Awards!
POSTED IN: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, David Greig, Roald Dahl, Sam Mendes, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, West End theatre, Willy Wonka
POSTED IN: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, David Greig, Roald Dahl, Sam Mendes, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, West End theatre, Willy Wonka
Firstly apologies for the lack of posts lately but it was my birthday last week and I was away in the bright lights, big city that is London (separate posts to follow). So apart from now having to update my age in my bio to 26 *eek!*, as per usual nothing really feels that different apart from I now have lots of nice new things from lots of awesome people who I love very much and am very grateful to have around me.
So, gushy emotional stuff to the side, let’s move onto the good stuff which was my actual birthday itself and the awesome presents I was lucky enough to receive. A few weeks ago I did a birthday wish list post, and I can’t believe that I actually ticked a couple of items off the list!
From my totally awesome best bud Little Miss Notting Hill I got both of the Nails Inc polishes I was lusting after, as well as a gorgeous Christian Lacroix notebook to keep track of all my blogging thoughts and musings. Plus the card she gave me was nothing short of genius.
My usual handbag unfortunately broke whilst we were away so the boy treated me to this River Island number as a replacement, which I think isn’t too dissimilar to the ASOS satchel above and he’s also treating me to the Marc Jacobs watch I had originally wanted when I pulled together my wish list, it will be my first designer watch so I am super excited about it arriving!
So as for the day itself, we headed to the Riding House Cafe just off Oxford street which was a lovely little place I came across thanks to Time Out London. I will do a separate post about the ridiculous amounts of food we consumed, but this was a gorgeous little cafe which we managed to sneak into just before 12 and still get some eggs benedict for brunch before the lunchtime rush. In the afternoon we headed to Mayfair hotel The Chesterfield, to indulge in even more eating, this time it was for afternoon tea with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory twist.
Including all the treats of a normal afternoon tea, this also included Wonka themed delights like an oompa loompa cupcake (which given the bright orange and green colourings I suggest is not given to children!), a blueberry macaroon (which was a.mazing.), a golden egg, fizzy lifting drink and even your very own Wonka Bar.
As I don’t actually drink tea or coffee, and as it was my birthday I opted for a glass of Rose Champagne with mine which was delicious and was quite an interesting mix when drunk after having popping candy on the fizzy lemon cake! This was a great little treat, that was finished off with a lovely present from the hotel which was a golden ticket of your own which can be opened upon returning to the hotel for the chance to get money off your next booking or even a two night stay at the hotel.
Finally, to round off what had so far been a great day it was drinks and complimentary cheese at the Chukka Bar on Archer Street before heading to see The Book of Mormon on the West End. This musical is not for the faint hearted or easily offended, but is a fantastic night out with some absolutely hilarious songs that will be stuck in your head for days and weeks to come. Currently it’s sold out about 2-3 months in advance and I can definitely see why.
So all in all, my 26th birthday was probably one of my favourite in recent years thanks to all my amazing friends and family who made it so special.
Have any of you got any birthdays coming up, what do you have planned? Any ideas what presents you’ll be hoping to get?
p.s. don’t forget you can vote for me for Best Newcomer at the Posh Fashion Awards by following the link on the right!