Monday, 28 July 2014

Filofax

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Today I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend. She's bright, bubbly and perfectly pink. I spotted her on the Filofax website and knew she had to be mine. She's the perfect companion to any social butterfly, wedding planner or all-round diary lover.

I should point out here that I've always been a Filofax fangirl. Many moons ago I treated myself to a beautiful teal green leather diary, which sadly disappeared when my bag got stolen a couple of years ago. I always feel a little lurch in my heart when I think about it. That little bundle of leather and paper contained my whole entire life, from telephone numbers, photos and anniversaries to random thoughts and memories. I never replaced it, and when I was wondering what to spend my birthday money on this year, it occurred to me to have a little scout around on the Filofax website. And here it is. Bolder and brassier than I could have ever imagined. In many ways totally not me, but I adore it.

At work I'm now enduring endless heckling and taunting from the digital team over my choice of '90s diary keeping and I don't care a snip. Yay me.

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The Original Personal Organiser by Filofax in Personal Fleuro Pink Leather - £60

sally

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

10k training: 8 weeks to go


I feel sad as I write this post. I started writing it a while ago and promptly found myself hovering over the delete button. The truth is, I feel like a complete fraud talking about exercise. Time and time again I’ve announced my intentions on this blog to turn my life around, to become the runner/gym-bunny/swimmer/yogi that I always ‘knew’ was lurking inside. A couple of half-hearted attempts later and I’m off the wagon (usually clutching a spoon and a tub of ice-cream), forgetting that I ever had a plan to lose weight or get fit. I never seem to be able to see my plans through.

I was always an active child, spending endless balmy summer evenings riding my bike up and down the street, strapping on my roller blades, going horse-riding or climbing trees. In secondary school I played hockey for my school team and even the county. I competed on my horse most weekends. So what went wrong? I got lazy I suppose. I got a career, a boyfriend, a social life, a flat. I stopped prioritising exercise, my metabolism slowed and before I knew it the dial on the scales started creeping up. And up. And up. And…

Next year I get married. And without wanting to make another abandoned pledge, I really, REALLY want to get fit and healthy. I need a wholesale lifestyle change. I want to change my life. So I’ve signed up to my first 10k. And I’ll run it if it kills me. I also want to do yoga more frequently to strengthen my back and feel myself becoming more limber and balanced. I want to swim more, because it makes my arm muscles feel warm and tingly, and I like the feeling of propelling myself through the cool water. I want to run, and feel myself getting stronger, and faster, and fitter.

On Saturday 21 September I will run at Richmond Running Festival: a 10k route at Kew Gardens. Right now I can’t even run for a couple of minutes without stopping. I have 8 weeks. Here’s the week ahead. Hopefully as the week starts you'll see me crossing them off one by one...

Monday
Run to work (4.2k)
Swim 50 lengths

Tuesday
Yoga (20 mins)
Running club (5k)

Wednesday
Yoga (20 mins)

Thursday
Run to work (4.2k)

Friday
Yoga (20 mins)
Swim 50 lengths

Saturday
Run (5k)

Sunday
Yoga/pilates (60 mins)

sally

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Friday, 25 July 2014

Birthday outfit

I think a pastel tulle ballerina skirt should be a prerequisite for any summer birthday. I may not be the most graceful or swan-like of figures, but I certainly felt like a ballerina flitting around town in these layers of netting. It also gave me the opportunity to wear my new favourite necklace, which Frank bought me as a gift during a recent shopping adventure. On Wednesday I turned 31 (gulp), and Frank and I took the day off to spend together in London. Having a mid-week birthday isn’t the most convenient of things, but we decided to make the best of it. Armed with picnic goodies, bubbles and strawberries, we wandered over to St James’ Park and basked in the sunshine. We then made our way to the Strand to catch a performance of 1984 (which was amazing), before having a quick drink in the bar where we first met and then dinner at my favourite restaurant.

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I’m excited about what this year has in store, and crafting a list of things I’d like to see and do over the next 12 months. Life is good, and if the last year is anything to go by, my 30s will be my best decade yet.

Outfit details:
eBay skirt (£5.99)
New Look cropped t-shirt (£
Accessorize necklace (£17)
New Look sandals (£19.99)

sally

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

30 before 31: recap

Every year I like to write a list of things I'd like to achieve before my next birthday, and this year was no exception. Like most years I didn't manage to complete everything on the list, but I gave it a good try and did 19 out of 30. Here's how I got on.

Complete

1. Declutter my possessions DONE!
Moving house is the perfect excuse to get rid of clutter, and considering we have next to no storage in our flat, a declutter was essential. Since then I've done a little flat tour, which you can read about here, here, here, here and here.

2. Get my name changed at the bank DONE!
This might seem like a strange goal, but it's such a personal victory for me. Some of you may know I've been married before, and despite officially getting divorced in 2010, I'd never changed my name back on my bank account. After hunting down my Decree Absolute and passport, I marched into the bank and got my name changed. I can't tell you how it felt to hear the lady say "is there anything else I can do for you Miss Mavin?" I could have hugged her.

3. Get my camera lens fixed DONE!
My favourite DSLR lens, the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens, died on me last year. Despite being a brilliant lens, it's not as sturdy as some of the others on the market, and I've learnt that you mustn't store it attached to the camera, or the weight of the body can damage it (as it did mine). I finally sent it off to be fixed and now I have a shiny, perfect lens again. Hooray!

4. Buy a new laptop DONE!
I'm not even going to try to hide my happines about this one. I have wanted a MacBook Air for as long as I can remember, and my poor old Sony (aged nine years old) was on its last legs. I saved and saved and saved for this little beauty, and I'm so proud of myself for doing it. It's perfect.

6. Pay off my overdraft DONE!
This was such an incredible feeling. I've had an overdraft of one kind or another since uni, so finally paying it off felt like a dream come true.

9. Redesign my blog DONE!
It's nothing flashy, but I did design a little masthead and matching business cards. I don't have enough time at the moment to plough into my blog's functionality unfortunately, so for now I'm pleased enough with what I have.

11. Move in with Frank DONE!
The biggest of the biggies for me. Having lived sans man for 5 years, I'm once again sharing my space with a boy, having bagged a fab flat in London Bridge. Five months in and we're the best of buds, engaged (yay!) and I'm loving living with this bearded, silly fellow and learning all about his different idiosyncrasies (the photo below was when I sent him out to buy broad beans for a recipe and he was the MOST excited about finding the last two tins in the shop. Bless).

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12. Visit Claire and Finley in Manchester DONE!
I've known Claire-Bear for 13 years, and I don't often get to spend time with her and her beautiful little boy. I went up to stay for the weekend in September and we had a ball. Love this lady. She then came down to visit a few months ago and we had a picnic in Regents Park. She's also agreed to be a bridesmaid. Woo!

Stockley Farm

13. Make a video DONE!
My beautiful Canon SLR has a built-in HD video camera that I've never really used. Here's the first video I made, and despite it being so time-consuming, I'd really like to capture more videos in the future. This was of a Thames Path walk we did last summer.



14. Go to the doctor about my back DONE!
Oh my aching back! I've been having endless problems with it this year, and finally made an appointment to see the doc. After prodding my spine a couple of times, she referred me to a physio. I had 7 physio sessions with the amazing Gordon, whose long-term advice was 'pilates, pilates, pilates' (as well as being more active generally). So I've been doing pilates, yoga, swimming and running, and (fingers crossed) it's been ok.

16. Host a dinner party DONE!
A little while back we had Mandy and Tom round to try some Ilumi dishes, and it was so much fun entertaining in the flat. I definitely want to do more of this.

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19. Pass 500 followers on GFC or Bloglovin' DONE!
Seeing as my blog is a very slow burner, this was quite a highlight for me! It still astonishes me that so many people enjoy reading my little space. I'm so happy to have everyone on board.

20. File away my paperwork DONE!
Piles and piles of bills, pay slips and other paperwork have been slowly accumulating on my 'to file' pile at home. This teetering heap finally collapsed, making me realise an admin day was long overdue. I went through my files and realised I was still harboring bank statements from 2001! Needless to say it all got shredded and organised. No more pile!

21. Get a massage DONE!
Linked to my bad back, I knew a massage could definitely help with my various aches and pains. Working at Great Ormond Street Hospital, I'm lucky enough to get subsidised massages, and paid a 'whopping' £25 for a full hour with an amazing lady called Deborah. I'll definitely be going back!

22. File my tax return DONE!
Boring, boring, boring but done!

25. Buy new plants for the flat DONE!
You may know that I bought a little succulent collection. Well, they've been merrily growing away on my bathroom windowsill and the other day I finally instagrammed a before and after shot. Voila!

PLants

28. Grow my hair long DONE!
Still not as long as I'd like it to be, but it's definitely getting there!

Love this Peter Pan necklace from @frenchconnection_official :)

29. Buy a new suitcase DONE!
How can a simple purchase be so stressful? In short, I bought one suitcase and wound up with four, after numerous mistakes on the part of Tripp Luggage and Yodel. Although it was rather nice to get an entire set of suitcases rather than the one, the process was so laughable (and stressful) I would have happily gone without!

30. Travel abroad (not including France!) NEARLY DONE!
Although I technically haven't been yet, I booked flights to Croatia a few months ago, and we're finally fulfilling a lifelong dream in a few weeks' time :)

I'm now beavering away to write this year's list! What do you hope to achieve this year?

sally

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Birthday

Today is my birthday. I'm going to spend it picknicking in the park with Frank, going to the theatre and eating at my favourite restaurant. Win :)

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sally

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This site contains links to outside sources including paid affiliates. Queenie and the Dew is not responsible for the content of any third party website.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Harrods beauty and outfit picks

[noskim]My skin has been a bit temperamental this week, which is frustrating because it decided to break out two days before my engagement celebration drinks. Sigh. But truth be told I've not been as attentive to it as I could have been (aka I'm a lazy bones). Instead of continuing my militant double cleanse, tone, eye cream, serum, moisturiser and spf regime, I've given it a quick scrub, slapped on some cream and had done with it. And considering it's been hot, muggy and dirty in London recently, I only have myself to blame.

Prevention is definitely better than cure, so reinstating my skin routine now is probably a bit late, but better late than never I suppose! This got me thinking about some products that I'm due to update, and I've been doing a bit of 'window shopping' on the Harrods website. This may seem a little aspirational, but I actually find Harrods to have a fantastic beauty range, and the beauty prices are comparable to a lot of other online sites. Here are some of my current wishlist items.


Harrods beauty picks


[1] Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (£16.00) | I had a sample of this in a Birchbox once, and it's simply fantastic. You use it before your shampoo and it leaves it bouncy, shiny and bright.

[2] Philosophy When Hope is Not Enough Facial Firming Serum (£34.50) | Definitely for those disaster skin days. I reviewed this Philosophy range a while back and have never been able to find a range to match it.

[3] Molton Brown Limited Edition Black Peppercorn Body Wash (£22) | My absolute fave. Quite masculine, so nice for the mornings when sickly sweet smells leave me feeling a bit icky. I love it.

[4] OPI Nail Lacquer in Jouce Bar Hopping (£12) | Definitely a holiday colour. I love coral in the summer.

[5] Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face SPF 50 (£26) | Having scoured many beauty tips from the incredible Caroline Hirons, I've learned that factor 15 spf in a moisturiser is simply rubbish. Factor 50 all the way! I have this Elizabeth Arden one and it applies beautifully.

Inevitably a click led to another click, and another, and another, and I soon found myself lusting over outfits from the AW14 collections. As much as I adore basking in the warm sunshine, I've been feeling deeply resentful about being cooped up in a badly air conditioned office all week, and would much rather be cosied up in jeans and a jumper while the wind howls and the rain gushes down outside. You definitely feel you're missing out less I think! I'm not sure the likes of Givenchy or Giorgio Armani are going to wind up in my wardrobe any time soon, but here are a few bits on my wishlist (some realistically and others most definitely not!)

Harrods outfit wishlist



sally

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This site contains links to outside sources including paid affiliates. Queenie and the Dew is not responsible for the content of any third party website.
PR collaboration
[/noskim]

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Instagram recents

Life lately

[1] I've been missing these little munchkins so much recently while I've been at work during the day. Socks has started 'singing' a lot more recently at teatime. She has the cutest 'chirruping' meow. It's adorable.

[2] A little snap of Port Gaverne from when I was there in June. This was the view outside our back door. Sigh.

[3] The bargain lace crop top I snapped up from eBay for £3.30

[4] Some recent skincare buys I've been trialling. So far so good!

[5] Love my new aztec print joggers from Topshop, but was gutted that they went bobbly after one wash! Can't really justify that for £28 so think it's going to be a reluctant store return :(

[6] These lovely ladies organised a barbecue and bubbles to celebrate my engagement. LOVE.

[7] Some juicing goodies. It's funny how you can pretty much throw anything into a juicer and as long as it includes an apple it will taste delish! I've also been hunting down lots of tasty ideas for tea, including these Florette salad recipes, which look so yum!

[8] I did the London Color Run a few weeks ago. So much fun!

[9] My new New Look kimono will be appearing on the blog soon. If you haven't had a peek already they have so many pretty styles. Tassles and chiffon heaven.

Life lately

[1] I bought this Accessorize necklace a few weeks ago and it always gets a kind comment when I wear it. I love it's modern art deco feel.

[2] Ilumi dishes have been a life-saver for me recently when I've been lured out after work because of that tempting evening sunshine. When I haven't got time to cook a full meal it's such a yummy, healthy alternative.

[3] I was given this French Connection necklace a couple of months ago and it makes the perfect instant Peter Pan collar. Love it.

[4] Frank and I went engagement ring shopping recently and I got it! Can't wait to share it with you all soon!

[5] I grey this little beauty from as seed (posted here). After numerous trials and tribulations on the horticultural front this made me very happy!

[6] Changing rooms in Joy stores have this amazing 'Who Tall Are You?' mirrors. I'm the same height as Elton :)

[7] Didn't swim fully in the sea in Cornwall due to these rascals. Fascinating to look at though.

[8] I visited the Crossbones Cemetery a few weeks ago and made this little video.

[9] I popped into Poundland's Christmas in July showcasing and loved this art deco table. Feeling very festive indeed now...

And finally, for good measure, I love that I can ask Frank (and my friend Mark) to pose in any silly situation and they'll always oblige. Tee hee :)

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sally

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Girls - the myths debunked

I often hear the phrase 'a season, a reason, a lifetime' when it comes to friends. I guess I always thought that by the time I left uni my friendship groups would be set in stone. I might meet the odd 'season' and 'reason' friends along the way, but my 'lifetime' friends were built on longevity. I'd known them for 10, 20, even 25 years.

And then there was the 'colleague' thing - the dangerous blurring of the line between friendship and professionalism. I thought the two should be kept relatively separate. Work friends for work, home friends for home.

On both counts I was wrong, and now I find myself with three of the most wonderful friends - Mandy, Rach and Lou - who I met through work and have known for between 2 and 4 years.

These photos were taken a couple of weekends ago, when the girls insisted on throwing a barbecue when I got engaged. On that day (and every day) they made me feel loved. I've had a lot of thoughts about friendship swimming around my head lately, which perhaps I'll save for a later, longer post. For now I just want to say how much I adore and treasure these beautiful ladies, and how lucky I feel to have them in my life.

Girls

Girls

Girls

Girls

sally

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Monday, 14 July 2014

Five wedding dreads

When it comes to getting ‘wedding-ey’, I’m not exactly the 'bridiest' of brides. Naturally when they found out I was engaged, my lovely friends were excited about the wedding planning, but I have to admit that my heart sank a little bit at the thought of all this planning, and the truth is there's a teeny part of me that's dreading it. This is not to say that I don't want to marry Frank. The thought of spending the rest of my life with him fills me with complete happiness and contentment. It's the prospect of wedding fair scouring, dress altering, hymn choosing, venue negotiating, music playlisting, menu sampling (ok, maybe that bit I can handle) and photographer booking that doesn’t exactly fill me with un-'bride'-led joy. I know, I know - you're probably thinking 'get over it'. And it's true, I really should, but having flicked through a few wedding magazines and scoured a few Pinterest boards, I feel a little uninspired. Is it just me? Am I a complete bah-wedding-humbug?


The fact is, I don’t really care if the ‘organza favour bags’ are mint green or duck egg, or if the groom wears grey or navy. I’m not bothered about a Master of Ceremonies, or seat covers, or canap├ęs. And I'm not bothered if the speeches are before or after dinner, or if my hair is up or down. I’m sure my enthusiasm will increase with time, and that once I’m there with my loved ones (and Frank of course), I’ll have the best day imaginable, but there are certain elements of the lead-up (and day) that I’m just plain apathetic about (like the above). And if I’m honest, there are also a couple of other areas that I’m just plain dreading. Namely these….

1. Wedding dress shopping
I'm sure this will raise a few eyebrows, but I'm terrified about going wedding dress shopping. Every time I glance through the window of a wedding dress shop I see a sea of white (although I'm told there's also 'bone', 'blush', 'ecru', 'oyster', 'champagne', 'mocha', 'cream' and 'ivory' – who knew?) This is strange because as a publications editor I work with colour and detail a lot, but to me, THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME. I know this isn’t the case, and I know I’ll probably feel pretty blooming spectacular in my chosen frock, but right now, those limp swathes of fabric hanging in the bridal stores just leave me cold. And bored. And that crap about knowing ‘the one’ when you try it on? Nope - I don't buy it.

I think I've convinced myself I'll end up looking something like this...

2. The best man’s speech
The prospect of sitting at a table, with all eyes on me, grimacing and cringing my way through a stream of bad jokes terrifies me, especially because I know it’s a rite of passage that cannot be avoided. Having heard some absolute horror stories (just search for #badweddingspeeches on Twitter if you want to see what I mean), I know this will quite possibly be the longest 2-20 minutes of my life. Gah! While voicing my fears, Frank told me that Paddy Power has a downloadable wedding sweepstake kit so guests can bet on the length of the speech. Winning a few pennies from a potentially gruesome experience could soften the blow I suppose (assuming I’m allowed to take part that is!).

3. The first dance
I can’t dance at the best of times, let alone in a floor length dress and heels with a packed room of people watching. A colleague of mine took dance classes and did an entire routine to the Muppets theme tune on his big day. I’m more likely to find myself arse over tit on the next episode of You’ve Been Framed. Sigh.

4. The “can my partner/child/best mate/elderly relative/dog come?” conversation
This is always a tough one, and I know there are going to be some very difficult conversations ahead. Guest lists are painful, and as much as I’d love to invite the world and their mother, two charity workers funding their own wedding (when we don’t even own our own house) is not conducive to an ‘invite everyone’ approach. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

5. The stare
At work we have what is known as the birthday 'cake and stare', and every year I book the day off in an attempt to avoid it. This pretty much encapsulates how I feel about being the centre of attention. I'm a bubbly person, but I hate being looked at. Ugh ugh ugh. I know it's something I'll have to suck up and get on with, but really - the pain!

I only hope I can be as confident and carefree as this blushing bride.



sally

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Friday, 11 July 2014

Some recent adventures

Once again I've realised that in between blogging about some of the bigger bits and pieces, there's been lots of lovely moments that have slipped through the net and gone unmentioned. I decided it's high time to give you a little update about some of my recent adventures. So here it goes.

Last year I went to a wedding where our favours were little packets of seeds. When I got home and unpacked my suitcase full of dirty laundry, I tucked the packet in a drawer and promptly forgot about it. A few months later I came across the seeds again and thought I’d try planting them. I’ve never been very successful with my horticultural endeavours, so when I saw two little seedlings pushing up through the soil I was over the moon.

sunflower seedling

As the little plants began to grow, I was a bit flummoxed about what to do with them next. A little prowl on the interweb taught me that they needed to become ‘acclimatised’ to the outside, so every morning for a few weeks I’d pop the little plants on my outside windowsill and bring them back in at night. Once the plants became a bit too big for their pot, I planted them outside and staked them so they had support. Left to their own devices, a couple of months later – boom!

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I know it sounds a little silly to be quite so excited about this, but there’s something really satisfying about growing a living thing from scratch, giving it your time and care, responding to its needs and seeing it flourish. I definitely can’t wait to get my own little garden in the future!

The other big development this week was finding a certain sparkly item of jewellery that is currently sitting on my left ring finger. I’m really looking forward to updating you about this soon because the whole experience (which I was a little disheartened about at first) ended up being so lovely. Stay tuned!

In other news, it’s no secret that one of my favourite brand relationships is with Superdry. The press team are so lovely and genuine, and often drop me an email simply to say hello and stay in touch. They recently opened a new concept store in Islington, round the corner from Frank’s work, so we popped down to have a nosey. While online shopping is handy, if you get the chance to pop into the Islington or Regent’s Street store it really is worth it. Superdry always go to a lot of effort to preserve the integrity of old buildings, giving them an antique, industrial feel. The Islington store is no exception. It used to be an old tram station, and they’ve retained many of the old features such as the bare and glazed brick walls and iron railings.

We sipped fizz, listened to the DJs and band, I tried on a few clothes while Frank got stuck into the pick ‘n’ mix area. As always the staff were on hand for a chat and a giggle in the warm sunshine. Lovely.

Superdry Islington store opening

Superdry Islington store opening

One of the nice things about working in central London is that from time to time I can pop into the odd press day. Having missed out on a tour of Battersea Dogs Home due to my holiday (booo!) I plumped instead for Poundland’s Christmas showcasing. While it felt a bit strange admiring tinsel and baubles on a hot summer’s day, I found myself getting well into the Christmas spirit. The team were so knowledgeable and helpful, and had clearly gone to a lot of effort to bring the decorations to life in the venue. I’d been so pleasantly surprised with Poundland’s Christmas decorations last year, and this year didn’t disappoint. My favourite had to be the silver and mint table, which you could easily add a shot of black to to give it an art deco feel.

Poundland Christmas decorations showcasing

Poundland are also about to launch a new range of jewellery, and I picked up this necklace (fondly referred to as the ‘Shreddie necklace’. I wore it out with the girls last night and it got lots of compliments. They couldn’t believe it’ll be on sale for only £1!

Poundland jewellery necklace

Other than that I’ve spent a lot of time working, blogging and freelancing, while trying to avoid the World Cup (except Germany who I have in the sweepstakes – come on guys!) and catching up with friends. I have so much planned over the this weekend – Pakistani food at the amazing Salt ‘n’ Pepper tonight, a barbecue with my sister tomorrow, Frank’s British 10k and the World Cup final on Sunday among other things. Still, there’ll be lots of fun things to tell you all about I’m sure, and I’m looking forward to seeing what some of you lovely bloggers are up to too!

sally

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This site contains links to outside sources including paid affiliates. Queenie and the Dew is not responsible for the content of any third party website.