Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Grown Up Weekend

clockwise from top left: blazer, clutch, dress, hat, skirt, top, shoes, scarf, top

I'm having a total Zara moment at the moment. I definitely feel an online shopping order coming on. I have talked extensively about making my work wardrobe a bit more grown up, and now I am looking to do the same with my weekend clothes. 

I don't know if it is the season (autumn is always the time to reinvent yourself isn't it?) or just a need for a refresh but I am moving more and more away from my old style of mini skirts, high heels and printed tees to something a little more elegant. I still love a good mini (I'm wearing one as I type this!) but I am generally finding myself drawn to clothes which are a bit less cute'n'quirky and a bit more pared down. 

I am endlessly pinning midi skirts, Breton tops and ballet flats. What I previously thought of as boring now appeals to me a lot more, and I want to get back into wearing scarves and jewellery to brighten up a more basic, classic wardrobe. Zara, Hobbs and John Lewis are currently my favourite places to shop, and the urge to shop is strong!

What's your autumn shopping list looking like?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A picture of the week


It's been a tough week. One of the toughest. But coming home to these two little faces always makes things better. So lets talk about my little fluffy monsters some more.

They are six-seven months old now and definitely fully grown cats. Looking sleek and just a little bit rotund around the middle (we've had to instigate a no-treats policy!) and a million miles away from the skinny scared little things we brought home. Lets face it they basically rule the house. Hershel is definitely in full on teenager mode at the moment, he is so boisterous, and stroppy when he doesn't get what we wants (usually the food off my plate or a seat on top of my laptop!) and has taken to knocking things over when he doesn't get his own way.

Emmy is still the shyer of the two but she does like to be brushed and stroked, although only on her terms. She's definitely taken the idea that teenagers sleep all day to heart (or is that just cats?) and loves shoes. So pretty much like me as a teenager then!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Dear Diary


James and I keep double booking ourselves, and when it got to the point I arranged a trip away with my girlfriends the weekend his parents were due to come to lunch (oops!) enough was enough. I popped into Selfridges one lunchtime and found these Moleskine diaries on sale. They are 18month mid year diaries so we are good til December 2015, and I like that you can see the whole week really easily on each double page.

The difficult bit is now sitting down and making sure we update them every week so we both know what is going on. I have one friend who uses a shared google calendar for her and her boyfriend, but I just don't see James remembering to update that. It's better if I make him sit down and talk me through each week!

How do you keep on schedule? Particularly when you re coordinating with friends and family?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Ballet Shoes

leggings - zara, tee - asos, cardigan - twenty8twelve, shoes courtesy rainbow club

Oh transitional dressing. Why you so hard? It was unexpectedly sunny at the weekend and I ended up being way too hot in this outfit, nice though it was. The focus was my shoes which were sent to me by Rainbow club. They are primarily a website for bridal shoes, and offer a bespoke dying service for when you've worn your white wedding shoes on the big day and want to dye them a slightly more practical colour to wear them again.

Of course it's not just for brides, and I could see the service working well for other special occaisions where you are stuggling to find shoes that match your outfit. I went for these plain flats, as I never really wear heels these days, and a pretty pale pink colour I knew would go well with a lot of my clothes. You can tell these are special occaision shoes - and I wouldn't wear them everyday for fear of getting them mucky, but for me these are perfect for dancing the night away at (someone else's) wedding, or perhaps a work party.

Monday, 29 September 2014

24 Hours in Mumbai


If you follow me on instagram or twitter you will have seen that I just got back from a week in India. I travelled for work (I realise how lucky I am to be able to say that!) and spent a few days in Bangalore working, then two of my colleagues and I decided to go to Mumbai for the weekend. Afdter all you aren't on the other side of the world very often.

Spending less than two days in a city is not necessarily something I'd recommend, but I couldn't have come home and said I'd only seen the inside of my hotel room and an office building after flying all that way.

We arrived in Mumbai on Friday night and decided to get a taste of local flavour by visiting a market near our hotel. Well being total westerners we pretty soon realised that was a terrible idea! We had no idea quite now bad the relentless pressure of the sellers and beggars would be and if we hadn't dived into a nearby shop would probably have come back all owning multiple drums, a range of local handicrafts and having adopted several children! As someone who just isn't used to that it was quite a tough experience. In the evening we went to an amazing restaurant called Indigo, just round the back of the Taj hotel, but we were so exhausted from the market, and the week's work we barely spoke and probably didn't appreciate the food as much as we should have.

After a good night's sleep though we were in much better shape the next day. Banglore was hot, but dry, whereas Mumbai was just coming out of the monsoon season, and being by the sea it was hot and muggy all day, and it just sapped your energy. We had a blissfully air conditioned car take us on a tour of as many of the sights we could see in half a day. We made it to the Gate of India (where we got cornered by priests attempting to give us good luck in exchange for money... By this point I was sensing a theme somewhat!), the Dhobi Ghat - an amazing open air laundry, the Haji Ali mosque - which is a fantastic white building on a peninsula in the bay, and Ghandi's house, now a museum. We had lunch at Leopolds - a very western style bar-restaurant which made amazing milkshakes, and is famous for still having the bullet holes in the wall from the terror attacks in 2008.

In the evening we went to Aer bar, at the top of the Four Seasons hotel, which was just stunning. Amazing for people watching, and looking down at the lights of the city you could have been in any country in the world. I really loved my experience of India. It's certainly a culture shock - I have never been anywhere quite like it, and from the moment you touch down in Mumbai airport surrounded by the slums you are acutely aware of the terrible poverty which exists there. However everyone I spoke to was so welcoming, and so proud of their country and keen for us to see how amazing it was. It was a really great trip and i would love to visit again and see a bit more of the country.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Lazy Sunday Links

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1. Zoella's new beauty line looks so pretty 2. Kate's post on decorating on a budget is right on the mney (pun intended) 3. Salmon is pretty much my favourite food, so this post is perfect 4. Lessons from a Tuscan life 5. I love Daniel's dining room make over 6. When I grow up I want to be a baker

So hey, long time no blog. Again. I know I keep taking breaks, and for ages I've been beating myself up about it, but I've decided to stop stressing about it any longer. I'd rather blog when I want to and when I have something interesting to say than keep forcing myself to blog when I don't feel like it. So that's the last blog post I start with an 'oops I forgot to blog' non-apology! Probably.

This weekend has been spent painting my living room wall after the plaster finally dried out. We had a damp problem which we got fixed about two months ago, but it was six weeks until we could repaint and then we just didn't find time for a couple more. I'm happy my living room is starting to look less like a building site finally though. The bare plaster was not a great look. 

It was the first time we have decorated with the kitties being around, so we had to trick them into going into the bedroom then shut them in for the day. I felt bad. They were pretty grumpy at me when we let them out.  In my guilt I then fed them many treats. I think we all know who the real smartypants in this house are.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Instagram Lately.

Amazing foods at DF Mexico, Tinto Lounge in Bristol and the Bierra Moretti festival (pizza pilgrims and some epic handmade pasta

A berry good snack, it turns out the secret to instagram likes is cat pictures, coffee before an early morning meeting

Attending alunchtime concert in the library at Charlton House, RSVP to the wedding of some friends, making the house smell amazing with stewed plums and apples, a couple of new bits from No. 7

Here's what I've been doing on instagram lately. I'm @whereisharriet over there too.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Buying at auction (new chairs!)


On Saturday morning I persuaded my dad to drive me over to Wandsworth to pick up these two beauties, which I won at an auction on Monday. He told me not to use the phrase 'won' but instead to refer to it as 'paying more than anyone else was willing to' (!) but acquiesced anyway - given all my family have been obsessed with auctions all my life he had only himself to blame for my addiction!

Growing up most of my parents' and grandparents' furniture was picked up at  local auctions and house clearances. My mum's first introduction to auctions was aged 14 when my grandfather sent her to a farmers' auction to get a good price on some wood! I do use ebay but I prefer to go to local auctions if I can - so you can see the pieces ahead of time and it's not such a hassle to get them home.

These are two reproduction Eames style office chairs, which I've been hunting for ages. I actually have a similar one covered in a yellow linen fabric, which the cats have taken over as their chair (and scratched to pieces) - so I am looking at getting all three recovered at some point in a matching fabric. Any tips for cat proof upholstery let me know! James and I have one long white desk from ikea for both of us, so I like the idea of having matching chairs to make our study area look a bit more cohesive.

My favourite auctions in London are Greenwich Auction and Criterion Auction (based in Wandsworth and Islington). They are both weekly slightly junky auctions, with a total hodge podge of stuff. You never know what you will find, and they are really fun to browse. A bit further afield is Woolley and Wallace in Salisbury, which are a bit posher. The online photos are really good quality, and the auctions are usually themed. Every so often they do a 20th century design auction, which is where my coffee table was purchased last year.

I have to say I don't often attend the actual auction, as they are usually long and at inconvenient times. I tend to place an absentee/commission bid where you give your maximum bid and the auctioneer executes it for you, at the lowest price possible. It's good because you set your maximum and can't be lulled into upping it in the heat of the action, but the downside is I have missed things I really wanted because they have gone for slightly over my maximum.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A picture of the week


I'm usually pretty good at meal planning during the week, and sticking to it, but by the time the weekend comes all bets are off and we are scavenging leftovers in the fridge ahead of our weekly shopping delivery on Sunday afternoon. This week a couple of eggs, a pack of leftover salami from pizza making and fresh bagels made for a pretty good brunch.

This has been a weekend of unwinding and consolidating. It was James' first week back at school and I was travelling for work during the week so it's been nice just to spend a weekend sorting the house out, playing with the kitties and picking up a new home related purchase (but more on that another day).

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Muji To Sleep app review


I'd say 80-90% of the time I sleep really well, and don't have too many issues drifting off, or even waking up once I've gotten over the shock of my alarm. Over the past six months or so however I have found that there are more and more times when my brain is so awake and churning over the events of the day (and what I have to do tomorrow) that I do find it hard to force it to quieten down and actually sleep.

I don't know if its a in-your-late-twenties thing, or a in-a-recession thing, or just a that's-life thing, but when I talk to my friends it seems I'm not alone in that I find myself thinking about work all the time. It feels like everyone is taking on more responsibility, or changing careers, or thinking about promotions and career progression, or career breaks and having a family, and it's all just really stressful!

An app can't really solve all that, but since I have been using Muji's To Sleep I have been drifting off better than before. It's basically a white noise app - which plays one of six soothing sounds to help you get to sleep. I love the crackling fire one, which makes me feel like I'm falling asleep beside a campfire, or you can listen to the wind whistling through the trees, or a mountain stream. It has a timer so you can set it to run for 30, 60 or 90 minutes, but most of the time I'm asleep within half an hour.

I've never tried a white noise machine before while sleeping, but I am totally converted. It gives you something to concentrate on, instead of all the thoughts in your head, but it is subtle enough not to be distracting when you are resting.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Make Up Lately Two


I've picked up a few make up and beauty bits lately, a mixture of replacing things as they have run out, freebies and things I've wanted for a while. It's a fairly budget haul, mainly I have been spending way too much time (and money!) in Boots!

From left to right.

Mac Lipstick - Ladybug

I finished off another six (eek!) Mac products - mainly eyeliners and makeup removers which I re-buy religiously - and so popped in to back to mac those puppies into a brand new lipstick. I picked Ladybug, which is my first Lustre formula, a really pretty everyday red. I've worn it a lot to weddings recently - as it looks great for day time when you want to dress up a bit, but not look like you are going on a night out with your make up.

Tangle Teaser Compact

I already have a the wet hair version of the tangle teaser and I love it so much I've been wanting to get the portable version for a while. What spurred me into purchasing was embarrassingly I'm getting a new work profile photo done next week (Finally! My current one is five years old and was taken on a very bad hair day.) and I wanted to have a little hair brush I could take to work with me to ensure everything is in place to avoid the same thing happening again. I love that it has a little protector which slots over the bristles to avoid you getting hand bag detritus in your hair brush.

Malin and Goetz

These little minis were free with a magazine (Elle I think), and are coming in handy as I am travelling for work a lot this month. It's a little lip salve, moisturiser and cleanser, and so far I've only tried the lip salve but I really like it. They don't really have a scent, and everything has quite a medicinal feel, but in a luxurious way. From the packaging to the products it gives the sense that they will really work.

Seventeen Stay Time Concealer

Oh look, this was in my last make up lately post, and here it is again! The fact that I have used it up completely and repurchased is a very good sign. It gives decent coverage without being cakey or too thick, and the price is really good.

No. 7 Stay Perfect mascara and Shade and Define eye crayon

This mascara is another old favourite and a rebuy after my old one got really gross (I kept it way longer than I should have! Sorry eyes!) It is the only mascara which I have found which doesn't smudge or flake at all on Boots were doing a buy one get one half price deal on No. 7, so I also picked up this eye crayon to try out. I like the idea of the crayon but the colour pay off is not great. I regret not getting a darker colour.

Hand Maid Cleansing Gel

I picked this up on three for two with a little mini shampoo and conditioner. There is nothing worse than being ill when you are away from home so I went a bit nuts purchasing things for my travels to try and avoid getting ill. I like that the smell of thing isn't too antiseptic.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Each Peach Pear Plum


London has gotten very autumnal over the past week or two, and I spent the bank holiday Monday avoiding the rain and busying myself with indoor activities. My grandparents gave me a lot of plums from their garden last week so I stewed them with some cooking apples to make a fruit topping for my breakfast.

I don't really think this even qualifies as a recipe, I just sliced the plums in half and removed the stones, and peeled and sliced a couple of large cooking apples, then added three teaspoons of sugar, and three table spoons of water. I heated them on the stove with the lid on until the fruit softened, and then took the lid off and continued to cook them until they had reduced to a thick consistancy.

Eat with unsweetned greek yoghurt and maybe some granola (Next I need to make granola!). This freezes really well as well, so if you do have access to a fruit tree then it's a great way to make use of all the fruit you can't eat before it goes bad.

Monday, 25 August 2014

London Restaurant Wishlist


Eating out is pretty much my favourite thing to do. Mainly because I love to eat, but don't love to cook. I tend to find the five or six restaurants I like though, and stick to them religiously until I get bored and I am getting to the point where I think I need ot branch out. Inspired by The SW6 I decided to make a list of all those places I've been meaning to try for ages, but haven't quite made it to yet...

Sodo Pizza - It's local, and it makes sour dough pizza. How have I not visited yet?

Patty and Bun - I think this needs to be next on my listin my hunt for the perfect burger joint.

DF Mexico - Mexican is probably my favourite cuisine and after reading about this place on What Katie Does it made it up my to eat list pretty quick.

The Pudding Bar - James hates that I like to eat different courses at different restaurants (he finds it really awkward when I go to places and just ask for a dessert menu!) so I feel like this is perfect solution. A bar which just serves pudding.

Bone Daddy's - mmmmmramen. That is all.

Albion Cafe - sometimes you just need baked goods.

Hawksmoor - the most expensive place on the list. One for a special treat I think, but the steak sounds amazing.

Brockley Market - Not quite a restaurant, butthis is so close to where I live and I can't believe I've never been. It is definitely happening soon.

What's on your restaurant wishlist, and do you have any suggestions for me that I need to add?!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Lazy Sunday Links

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1. I've been meaning to share Jane's photos of China for ages 2. This gal has some good shoes 3. I love a good library 4. These summery desktops are in rotation on my pc at the moment 5. I am crazy for dip at the moment 6. Hayleigh's tip to Italy makes me long to go back

Hell yeah bank holiday weekend! It's the last one in the UK before Christmas though so I am trying to make the most of it. And book the rest of my leave for the year so I have a few long weekends to look forward to! I think I must be getting old because all I can say is wow this year is going by fast.

I went to see James' play on Saturday, which was good, and only got rained on a bit (it was outdoors). I was expecting a long solo trip up with my book for company, but randomly bumped into two of James' friends on the train also on the way to the play, so it was nice to have company. 

Today Reda and Kat are coming over for lunch which means I really need to clean this morning, as the house is something of a bomb site, or more realistically a cat-site as it's mainly cat hair everywhere!