25 February 2016

A Totally Honest OOTD

This is a crazy little idea I had after something I saw Dorkface put on twitter:

"Honestly, what are you wearing right now?"

I replied saying PJs because honestly, that's what I'm wearing most of the time I'm writing for my blog.  In fact, I've had conversations with plenty of bloggers at events who tell me they do the exact same thing.  So I thought: hey, why not share what I'm really wearing when talking to you guys online!

Chances are, I'm wearing some form of Disney PJ's and Slippers, usually from Primark who have the best range let's face it!  These particular PJ's are nautical Mickey & Minnie themed although my actual current favourites are some fluffy Alice in Wonderland ones I got at Christmas - I actually own two pairs!  The slippers are Minnie Mouse too, but I also own Bambi ones, although my parents dog keeps stealing them.

I almost always have this Funeral For a Friend Jumper on in the house unless it's in the shower, I think it's one of my favourite things.  It's warm and fluffy, and you've probably figured out by now that I'm a little bit obsessed with Funeral For a Friend!

Hair and make-up wise, the answer is there basically is none!  I don't wear make-up every day, and I won't even put moisturiser on if I'm not leaving the house.  Hair wise, I probably have my fringe clipped out of my face so it's not annoying me, as I do almost every day. Honestly I don't know why I had it cut in!  

And that's about it, laptop close by and a glass of Pepsi Max Cherry (my most serious addiction) and I'm away!

Honestly, what do you wear when you're blogging?

24 February 2016

Pasta Remoli: Resturant Review

Last week I was invited over to Pasta Remoli to check out their latest menu in their new restaurant in Finsbury Park.  Pasta Remoli specialise in fresh and healthy Italian dishes, with pasta being their main attraction.  With a modern, fresh and relaxed environment, I was looking forward to getting down to business!
We started off by sharing a Salumi and Cheese Selection Board, it arrived full of traditional Italian antipasti classics.  Everything on the board was fresh and tasty, there were more unusual items such as crunchy vegetables in a tasty, Italian oil that was unlike anything I'd ever tried before.  The cheese was particularly good and even though I don't usually like olives, these were so fresh they had a completely different taste and I really enjoyed them.
Then it was on to the mains, now if you know me you will know I am a huge pasta fan, so there was no way I wasn't going to get that in some variety.  One of the more unique and attractive things about Pasta Remoli's menu is the feature that allows you to choose between one of 15 different kinds of fresh plain or filled pasta, and pair it with any of the 14 sauces.  I managed to narrow it down to the Truffle and Mushroom Ravioli but wasn't quite sure on what to pair it with, luckily the staff here are not only incredibly friendly but also very knowledgeable, and were able to give me a few different options based on my tastes.  I went with the Arrabiata because I thought it wouldn't over power the filled pasta too much.  You can also top it off with a variety of cheese toppings but I decided against this.  My partner chose the Oxtail Agnolotti paired with the Oxtail Sauces.  We both agreed that this was the best-cooked pasta we had ever had, but unfortunately for me, my pasta was actually a little cold.  Also there was no spice to my arrabiata, in fact the sauce was a little too strong, tasting almost like tomato puree, which is a shame as it somewhat drowned out the taste of the pasta itself.  The oxtail pasta was more of a winner, with the strong flavours balancing out well.
On to desserts and we decided to share a Lemon Tart and a Caramel Cheesecake, both were utterly delicious.  The tart was acidic, tangy and sweet in perfect measures, while the cheesecake was very sweet, but so light it balanced out, utterly beautiful.  I finished off the meal with a refreshingly tasty, and very strong, Passion Island cocktail.
It is worth mentioning here that while I didn't think this meal was perfect, the value for money is incredible.  A fresh pasta dish with all the trimmings starts from just £4.80 and the staff are so knowledgeable and helpful, it's not something you are going to get at another chain restaurant.  Thanks again to Pasta Remoli for inviting me over, I will definitely be back in the future.

22 February 2016

Nell Gweyn: Theatre Review

Last week I attended the preview night of Nell Gwynn, a production by The Globe Theatre.  Nell Gwynn was a real woman, from a rough background, who became one of Prince Charles II most loved Mistresses (he had a few!) and also one of the first women to grace the stage.  She really is a fascinating person, so it's no wonder she was chosen by The Globe to be the focus of a show all of her own.

This play can be summed up in one word.  Bawdy, it is a romp through the more light-hearted aspects of this lively lass's life, focusing on her well-known wit and comedy, with music and songs along the way.  The play is set in the Restoration Period, which has a very recognisable style of over the top, fun theatricality that was emulated well here.  The characters were larger than life, almost bordering on a pantomime style, which might be off-putting for some, but is very in fitting with the time period.  The play uses this method well to present what could be quite complex ideas in an easy, effortless way, making it easily accessible for all.  

Now it just so happens I know quite a bit about Nell Gwynn and the Restoration Period in which it was set.  In fact I wrote my dissertation on one of Gwynn's friends and have done a lot of reading on this time period.  So did this help me enjoy this performance?  Actually I think it sort of ruined it.  As I already know the story I already knew exactly what was going to play out, and although it's not a drama or a mystery, it did ruin some of the fun.  I did love how the final words of the piece were real quotes (that I recognised, told you I was a nerd for this time period!)

The set design and costumes were very exuberant, bright and colourful, adding to the fun feeling of the piece.  I did have a slight issue with the sound as at times the orchestra was so loud I struggled to hear the dialogue.

If you want a fun, light-hearted show with some songs to boot and a historical twist, this one's for you!

Oh, and there was a puppy!

17 February 2016

I Fell For a Fake Mac Scam...

Fake makeup scams seem to be as old as the internet themselves.  We all know the places to avoid purchasing, the too good to be true mantra, and laugh at those who were so easily fooled.  I mean what did they expect right?  And then it happened; I saw an offer, jumped on it, and a while later some very dodgy products turned up at my door.

So how did this come to be?
Imagine the scene, it's Boxing Day, I'm hanging out at my boyfriend's parent's house.  Casually browsing the internet, checking out the New Years Day sales, when I see an advert pop up on Facebook.  It's for a website I've never heard of, but it looks legit.  I mean, it's an official Facebook advert so it has to be right?  The offer was for 50% off Mac lipsticks, it sounded incredible.  The site looked genuine, the post had plenty of comments and was getting plenty of attention, the facebook page itself had plenty of posts and content.  The actual website had a return policy, contact emails and a UK address, the whole works.  I did think it was a little odd that they mainly sold clothes but hey, we've all seen websites like this before.  So I excitedly placed an order for two Mac lipsticks, Heroine, that I have been after for well over a year, and Ruby Woo, that I picked up because hey, it's basically 2 for 1 right!

There was a warning on the site that it would take a while to arrive due to high traffic levels, and with it being sale time this wasn't surprising.  I waited patiently.  I even moved house in the time it took to arrive, but around 6 weeks later it arrived.

Now I thought something wasn't right straight away, as the package had a customs form on it stating it had come from Sweden.  A bit odd I thought, but maybe that's where their warehouse was or something, who knows.  Then I took a look at the product itself:
Now the packaging is incredible for a copy, I have to give them that.  Both the box and the bullet tube are identical to the real deal as far as I can tell.  It even feels the same weight and quality, and the lids click into place n the same way, it all seemed like good news.
Then the first warning sign.  As many of you know, Mac lipsticks have a very distinct scent, so I gave them a good sniff out of habit.  Now they do have a sweet scent, so the scammers had gone to some effort, but it definitely wasn't the signature Mac scent.  Worriedly I twisted the lipstick up and noticed two things straight away, the shiny consistency (these are supposed to be matte lipsticks) and the pronounced seam.  Honestly, it looks like the pretend lipstick you get for children to play dress up.
Which as it turns out is pretty accurate, because it has the pigmentation of it too.  Just look at this!  It's not even slightly usable, the colours are wrong, there's no pigment, and it feels oily and just plain awful!  I can't even really explain it but it's just plain wrong, it's actually worse than it looks in these pics.

So there you have it, sometimes if a deal feels too good to be true it's because it is.  I did try to contact the company but unsurprisingly received no reply.  The image disappeared from Facebook a few weeks ago, and as of yesterday, the website has disappeared.

Kariss is an idiot who falls for makeup scams, don't be like Kariss.

Have you ever fallen for one of these scams?  Also, if anyone has any fun ideas of what the hell I can do with these lipsticks let me know!  I'm so mad I don't want to throw them out, but have no possible use for them.

10 February 2016

The Modern Sweater Girl Look

Jumper- C/O Woolovers
Umbrella Broach- Local artist (gift)
Skirt- Lindy Bop (old season)
Shoes- Ion Mint by BAIT Footwear ($67)

AKA That Time My Massive Ass Split a Skirt in Half, but more on that later...

The Sweater Girl was one of the key looks in the 1950's.  The tight high-necked sweater and bullet bra combination brought admiring looks from men and women alike.  It is one of the images synonymous with the famous Pin Up girl.  It was a controversial look at the time and these days the bullet bra has long been out of fashion, but you can still emulate this look without one.  

For this more modern look I started with this Woolovers Unisex Turtle Neck Jumper to bring the essence of this look more up to date.  The neck is perfect for me as I wanted something that showed that all important high neck, but the idea of one that goes too high up makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.  Is that crazy?  The joy of this jumper is that it's so lightweight and comfortable, you barely feel like you're wearing it, yet it still keeps me warm.  It's more than I would usually pay for a jumper, however it's also a much higher quality as it's made of Cashmere and Merino wool, so it feels very plush.  As it is unisex I was a little worried about the fit, but I got an extra small and tucked into a skirt like this I've had no issues.  I did think it would be a bit softer than it is, but it is still really comfortable.

The Lindy Bop skirt I have had since the summer, but haven't had the confidence to wear it much.  I love the style, but I feel like I have to have extra time to put it on and think it through, especially with the constrictive style.  A lot of this has to do with my weight gain, something which was highlighted just before this shoot.  I zipped it on, wiggled it down and heard a small tearing sound.  I was a little worried, but decided to ignore it.  Then I leaned forward to pick something up and that's when I heard the noise every woman dreads.  A gigantic rip, oh yes!  It had happened!  My skirt had split in two!  Now if that isn't a wake-up call about my weight I don't know what will be!  Luckily I was only in the garden for this one so I thought I'd persevere, but just know behind these shots there's a big split!  Anyway, it's a shame because I think it's the perfect skirt for this look - I maybe just need to up-size!  The quality of Lindy Bop is a bit hit and miss, and the material for this is really thin, but it is a summer skirt, so I'm not sure if I can really blame them for this one.  

I completed the look with this umbrella broach that I was given on my last day at work.  I thought it was perfect given the current weather - storms left, right and centre!  Lastly, I took advantage of the Bait Christmas sale and treated myself to three pairs of fabulous shoes including these Ione Mint Heels, these are the first I've worn.  They are so beautiful I am terrified of scratching them!  I was a little worried about the sizing and I could have probably done with going down a half size, but because of the strap it doesn't cause too much of a problem.  I now want all the Bait shoes!  Bait, if you are listening: please find a UK outlet so I don't have to pay such an embarrassing amount on postage and customs fees!  Anyway, this pair are cute, striking and comfortable - what more could you ask for?  I'd happily take them in every colour.  I do kind of wish I'd thought more about what these go with, a black and white pair might have been more practical with my wardrobe, but I just fell in love with this colour.

So there you have it, what do you think to the modern sweater girl look?

P.S Incase you somehow don't know Oxfam (always a favourite of mine for hunting out books and vintage gems) have a pretty great online store.  They are currently on the hunt for a face of various decades and are asking bloggers to choose on outfit to represent a decade.  I'm choosing this outfit for the 1950's as this is when this look started to gain popularity.  It's very unlikely I'll win but I love the opportunity to draw attention to a great charity.  There is something so satisfying about a charity shop rummage,  and highly recommend their online store if you can't make it into one of their physical ones!

8 February 2016

Bloggers Below Zero Event at IceBar London

When I was asked by Lauren if I wanted to attend an LDN Bloggers networking event - Bloggers Below Zero, at Ice Bar London - I couldn't say yes fast enough!  I've wanted to check this place out since I first stumbled across it over a year ago, so to be invited in my first week on London almost felt like fate!  After work one fateful Monday it was time for me to step into the snow (well ice!).
I was a bit nervous knowing literally no one in the London blogging scene, but luckily everyone was really friendly.  We were welcomed with delicious citrus cocktails (which helped on the nerve factor) and lovely nibbles, and were given plenty of time in the gorgeous welcome bar area to socialise - we were even given ice breaker challenges.  Mine was to find someone who was qualified in aqua masseuse, I never did find them which is a shame because I have so many questions!

After we were suitably lubricated and food filled, we headed over to another room for a talk with marketing Manger Tom.  Tom is one of those instantly charming people, who can speak to a room full of people with ease.  Quite frankly I'm jealous, as it is a skill I don't possess.  He gave us a talk about the company, his background, and how he came to work with bloggers.  I thought it was fascinating that all the Ice was imported from Sweden, right next to the famous Ice Hotel and they have a new theme every year to keep it fresh.  Then it was time for the main event...
When it was my time to go in, I headed up to the bar and donned my rather fetching blue cape and mittens (it is -5 in there after all), and headed through the doors.  I was instantly taken aback by the beauty of it.  The bar was smaller than I imagined, which made the experience seem all the more intimate.  The room was wall to wall clear ice, with huge and impressive sculptures that project it's current theme, Rock and Roll (perfect for me!).  Among the many wonders was a throne, a skull big enough to climb in, a full drum kit and a design on the wall full of legendary rock bands - all made entirely of ice.  We had so much fun running around taking pictures, and we hadn't even gotten around to trying the drinks yet!
The cocktail options were vast, so I didn't know what to choose.  The barman recommended Monkey Wrench so I decided to trust his judgement.  All the cocktails were rock themed and of course, the glasses were made of ice!  Towards the end of the drink you could see how the class had melted around the shape of your lips.  It was all quite surreal but a lot of fun, you'll definitely need your mittens to drink here!

Afterwards, it was back to the bar for a few more drinks before we said our goodbyes.  Ice Bar London were the perfect host, and as we left we were given a goodie-bag, including Phoenix Magazine and some rather handy smartphone gloves.  If you want to check out Ice Bar London for yourself, packages start from just £13.50 and include 40 mins in the Ice Bar and a cocktail, but there are others that include food too.

A huge thank you to Ice Bar for letting me share this experience and the wonderful Lauren for organising it all.  If you are ever in London and want to visit a bar that's truly unique, I couldn't recommend this enough.  As soon as the theme changes, I'll be back!

4 February 2016

Moments: January 2016


I'm taking a leaf out of other bloggers' book's this month and bringing you a new series.  Life rushes by so fast it's easy to forget what you've actually seen, been part of and achieved. So I want to do a round-up every month to share with you guys the things that didn't make it into a blog post, because to be honest there's so much I don't get the time to tell you guys about!  Hopefully, this will help us get to know each other a little better.

Side note: This will be replacing my Monthly Reads posts for the time being, as I will mention what I've read in here.  I might still do full book reviews from time to time - who knows.

January has been a big month for me, for a start I moved across the country to London and started a new job.  Here's just a little of what I've been up to

I've read...
Gladiator Games by Tanika Gupta- This is a play I saw back when I was a teenager, and it had such a big effect on me that I remember almost every moment of it.  So I decided it was time to read it.  It's about a true event and it's dramatic, tense and sad.  A near-perfect play.
How To Build a Girl by Catlin Moran- I don't know how I felt about this book.  In short I was disappointed, it wasn't out and out awful, but about 1/3 of it felt completely irrelevant to the story, and almost just seemed like bragging.  The beginning I just couldn't get into, but I enjoyed some parts of it.

I've visited...
Leeds for the Murder on the Posh Floor event- It was such a fun event and so good to catch up with some of my fave blogging girls!
The British Museum- This is right next to work so I go there to read on my lunch break most days. I've had a wander through the exhibitions too.
High Barnet and Cockfosters- As part of Walk London I took part in a walk that went between these two places.  It was like being in the country and I ended up covered in mud, strange for London!  The guide was amazing and told us the history of the areas as we went. 
The Ice Bar- This is somewhere I've been wanting to visit for ages so I was delighted when I was invited down to review it as part of a blog event.  My review is here but in short, it's amazing!

I've seen...
The Danish Girl- I don't go to the cinema much but myself and Mum went to see this before I moved.  It was good, but it didn't blow me away
Making a Murderer- Like everyone else in the world, I am hooked on this documentary series. I haven't finished it yet because I'm watching it on and off with my sister when her husband is working away.  I've become addicted to true crime podcasts recently so this feeds into this obsession. 
How I Met Your Mother- I've been binge-watching this because I've never seen the last two series, so I started over.  I've got a season and a half to go!
Wonder.land- This was my first London theatre show since I moved, and it was a lot of fun!
Lumiere and Winter Light Festivals- Two similar events just days apart, both lighting up the city in different ways.
Henry V- I got very lucky and got a free last minute ticket to see this as someone at work had one spare.  I didn't know the person but I'm glad I went through with it, there's nothing like a bit of mid-week Shakespeare.  
Red Velvet-  The third theatre show I saw this month, I enjoyed it but felt like it was missing something. 

I've played...
Fallout 4- I started playing on New Years Eve, only stopping briefly to kiss harry at midnight.  In my defence I was ill but I was instantly hooked, I played right through till 6 am and only stopped because I felt bad Harry was already in bed.  I played as much as I could before I moved but it's hiding away at the moment as to not annoy my sister (I'm currently staying in her living room!)

I've been...
Creating Goals-I am hoping I can stay on track.
Updating my blog, with some major help from the other half I should add.  I have a new header, description (with some help from Corinne's blog series), background and social media buttons.  I'd love some feedback, and I'm definitely open to criticism.  It's a work in progress.  
Ordering new Business cards.  A little thing, but I haven't had any for so long because I knew I wanted to wait until I'd re-organised my blog.
Walking home- I've only done it twice but I get to walk through central London and it's beautiful
Tweeting- I've been trying to find more time to get involved with twitter and it's become one of my greatest little pleasures.  I've been having some great chats with people on there. 
Dealing with a Long Distance Relationship- Myself and Harry have been long distance for a while but now we are literally at the other side of England.  With no car and trains being beyond expensive, being apart is hard, so I just have to hope we can be together soon, he's totally worth it.
Wearing this dress- It turns out I can wear red and it's a great fit for work.  I just need to lose some weight so it fits more comfortably.
Creating a Lush giveaway- To thank you for helping me hit my Bloglovin' goal, it's still running if you want to enter.

I've hung out with...
My friend Dave for lunch- I used to live with Dave at Uni but hadn't seen him in years, he works near my new job so we had a catch up over lunch.
London Bloggers- Thanks to the Ice Bar London Event I got to meet some great new people, review coming soon!
Work people- Of course I've slowly been meeting people at work.  There are only two people (including me) in my department as it's specialist, but luckily the guys I share an office with took me out for a burger to say hello!
My friend Will- An old friend from Lincoln happened to be in London one weekend so we went to visit The Science Museum for a catch-up.

Missed out on...
Ideally, this is an area I would love to be empty.  My anxiety can get the better of me and stop me doing things, and also due to plain old-fashioned laziness!  I had tickets booked for Bookslam since before I moved, but decided not to go as I was just so exhausted.  It's a shame because it was about Samual Pepys which is an area of history I love.  I also didn't go to a crazy musical art event on Sunday because I wanted a lazy weekend and chickened out of going to a Swing class on Tuesday due to general sleepiness and laziness.  It's a shame because I really want to learn.

What's your best moment in January?

1 February 2016

Theatre: Red Velvet


Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riot in the streets over the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre? 

What struck me the most from this performance, based on a true story, were that some of the speeches in this play felt like they could have been written by the media today.  Some of the words used, such as minorities being referred to as 'other' definitely felt like it could still be representative of some people's views today.  It's awful that past discrimination can reflect on our present so well.
As Red Velvet is set on the stage it used some of the 'play within a play' style tropes we have become familiar with.  However as an ex-drama student, I can say that this melodramatic style of acting is very accurate to the time period.  It's the kind of thing that makes audiences laugh today, and was performed as such, but that was just the norm back then.

Now, this particular performance was a bit unusual, not long into the performance some very loud static began to sound from the PA system.  It frightened people, because it did sound like the ceiling was cracking. Eventually, it got so loud that people started panicking and running from the theatre and the stage manager had to ask everyone to leave.  It wasn't long before the technical issues were fixed and we were let back inside however, and the whole team dealt with it really well.

It was eventful that's for sure, but the real reason I am telling you this is because I think it might have reduced some of the dramatic effect of the piece.  One of my main issues with this play was that it was lacking dramatic tension, but it's possible that this might have been because of the interruption.  It's hard to say, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

On the whole, the performances were OK.  Adrian Lester was a great Ira, but even here I was expecting something more.  There was an element of tension that felt was missing from this piece.   Not to say that this was a bad show, it just didn't blow me away as I thought it would.  It's a fiery subject, and this was missing it's fire.

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