Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Tuesday Top Picks - Christmas Jumpers!

It's 36 sleeps until Christmas. Can we all just take a moment to think about that. 36 SLEEPS!

Now, believe it or not, I have never owned a Christmas jumper. You know the ones I mean: Fairisle knits; sequin Santa hats; cutesy slogans like 'Elf In Training'. This year, I need one. Today I've been scouring the internet for the perfect balance of kitsch and style (I'm playing fast and loose with the term 'style' here, I am aware) and stumbled across some gems on ASOS. Their in house brand are firmly on the Christmas jumper bandwagon, but New Look and Danish brand Only are giving it a fair go. And does that adorable penguin on the French Connection jumper remind you of anyone? If the recent John Lewis advert has had you clutching your Kleenex as much as it has with me, you'll know who I'm talking about. 

Lots of Christmassy love, Monica x

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Turtle necks and textured skirts

Shoes: Primark

 A crop top? In November? Madness. Ok, so this is definitely a case of fashion over function, but I just couldn't resist. I love a turtle neck at the moment (and so does my neck), and stripes are always on trend. I've paired this cute top with a burgundy wool mini skirt from Topshop, which has a slightly furry, felt-like texture - perfect for AW. Tights are a must a the minute, and I love, love, LOVE these shoes from Primark. I've been searching for some close-toed shoes for winter, and intended only wearing these on nights out but they are SO COMFY, so they've been promoted. I love the straps and the chunky cleated sole and they were a bragin, so you really can't go wrong. 

Are you embracing a Winter crop? Please don't say it's just me!

Lots of love, Monica x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tuesday Top Picks - Office

Ah shoes, my one true love. One can never have too many, although I'm trying my best. I am totally addicted to shoes, much to my boyfriend's dismay. Poor guy, he had big dreams of our spare room becoming a man cave, not dissimilar to Roger Sterling's office in Mad Men. The reality: it's full of my shoes. Heels, trainers, flats, sandals, boots - I love them all. And when I think of shoes, I think of Office. Not only do they stock lots of amazing and on-trend brands, their own line are fantastic. They have a huge offer, and are always bang on in terms of quality. I've picked out some of my favourites from their online selection, including some chic over the knee suede boots with gold accents, some studded Chloé Susanna dupes and those rose gold stilettos. Swoon. Go forth and spend, fellow shoe lovers...

Lots of love, Monica x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Where to eat and drink in London

Bit of a different post today, but it's raining so I can't take any OOTD photos outdoors. Plus, I love travel and lifestyle blogs, so I thought I'd dip my toe in.

Last week, me and my friend travelled to London to visit another one of our friends for a few days of girlie fun. I had an amazing time, and ate and drank at some gorgeous places, which I would really recommend. It's worth noting that these photos are not my own, but I thought I'd still include them to illustrate how lovely some of these place are.


Photo: Gary Davis via flickr
We ate at the Mexican Street Kitchen on Southbank, but there are various other locations. Wahaca is the brainchild of Thomasina Miers, who has an honest approach to food, which is tasty and wholesome. The Street Kitchen cater in take-out Mexican street food, which tries to balance health with a whole lotta taste. We all had (enormous) burritos, and I opted for the pulled pork version. The servers, housed in a turquoise and pink van outside the Wahaca Restaurant, piled gluten-free tortillas high with black beans, rice, meat, cheese, home-made (of course) guacamole and your personal preference of hot sauce. These beauties are then wrapped up in foil like a spicy, delicious Christmas cracker, for you to enjoy. The result - divine. Layers of flavour and juicy meat (which ended up dripping down my arm - nevermind) made this burrito something special.

Yalla Yalla
Photo: Yalla Yalla website
I've been trying to go to Yalla Yalla for a while now but, as they are walk-in only, we were turned away on our previous London jaunt. This time we went at lunch-time to the Winsley Street restaurant and SUCCESS. And, my word, I am so glad. Yalla Yalla serves Beirut street food, and to ensure we experienced as many dishes as me possibly could, we ordered from the Mezze menu. We ordered the Hommos Shawarma (hummus topped with marinated, thinly sliced lamb fillet), Baba Ghannouj (dip made from grilled aubergine, tahini and lemon juice), Batata Harra (spicy sautéed potato with red pepper, coriander, garlic, cumin and red chilli), Soujoc (homemade spicy Lebanese sausages with tomato, parsley and lemon juice),  Sawda Djej (sautéed chicken liver with garlic and pomegranate molasses),Halloum Meshoue (grilled Halloumi cheese with tomato, black olives, fresh mint and olive oil), and  Makale Samak (deep fried tiger prawns, calamari and white bait with spring onions, crispy aubergine and chilli minted Greek yoghurt). This is my absolute favouirte type of food. I love how sociable it is, and how many different flavours you can experience. My favourites were the Hommos Shawarma (gorgeous creamy hummus that tastes nothing like the shop-bought variety, and the lamb was tender and full of flavour), Soujoc (crumbly sausages in a to-die-for sauce that I soaked up with the complimentary pitta bread) and Sawda Djej (meltingly soft chicken liver and a sauce which packs a punch). The restaurant had a great, friendly atmosphere, and we were all sat on long, communal tables. I'll definitely be returning to Yalla Yalla, and in the meantime I'm going to attempt to recreate some of these amazing dishes.

If you want a stunning view while you sip on a expertly made cocktail, Oxo tower is where you need to be. We sat out on the balcony in the Bar area, which overlooks Soutbank, with stunning views of London and St Paul's. Chic, minimalist design and excellent service made for a wonderful evening, and the cocktail menu left you spoilt for choice. I'm a sucker for anything sweet, so I opted for the Vanilla Chocolate Malt, which was adorable served in a small milk bottle with a stripy paper straw. Absolut vanilla vodka, almond milk & chocolate liqueur with vanilla sugar & malted milk made for a rare treat, and tasted comfortingly like Baileys. I'm in love.

Shoreditch is one of the coolest places in London with a higher-than-normal ratio of cool kids to regular folk. I may or may not have invented that statistic, but if Loungelover is anything to go by, I'm sure I'm right. The interior is like nothing I've ever seen before, and is some sort of mix of antique shop and decadent pink-lit palace.  Mismatched chairs, odd curiosities and crystal chandeliers pull together to create one of the most interesting and cool bars I have ever visited. The cocktail menu is extensive and caters to every possible taste. I opted for a Black Mamba (Ketel One Vodka, Motzart Dark Chocolate with red chilli and chocolate bitters) which turned out to be a bit too spicy for my taste, but my friends' cocktails were both gorgeous. I'd happily return to try every cocktail on the menu. Oh, and stare at all the cool people.

Lots of love, Monica x

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Beauty Review - Dior Addict Fluid Stick

Well, what a delight this is! Is it a gloss? A lipstick? A stain? Well, it's all three actually. The Dior Fluid Stick has an unusual, almost gel-like texture that glides on fabulously, and feels super-comfortable on the lips. These glosses are very pigmented, and after a few hours dry down to a stain. The initial glossy effect is extremely long-lasting, but it is an unusual feeling that takes a bit of getting used to. I've read that some bloggers thought this was 'sticky', but I wouldn't agree. The look is glossy, shiny, and chic, and the shade I bought is a gorgeous coral-pink that goes with everything. I think my the next shade I will buy is 995 Intrigue, which is a deep plum, or 219 Whisper Beige, which is a chic nude.

Have you tried the Dior Addict Fluid Sticks?

Lots of love, Monica x

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Body Shop Beauty Haul

If any of you follow me on Instagram, you will know that this blog post is a long time coming. I like to give honest reviews, and to do that I like to try something new for a long time, to make sure what I'm saying is true in the long-run. And I can safely say that all three of these beauties have impressed me.

Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Make-Up Remover
I've actually used this for some time, and this particular trip to The Body Shop was for a much-needed repurchase. It's by far the best dual-phase eye make up remover I've used, and I much preferred it to the DIOR Instant Eye Makeup Remover which I had used previously. It's also less that half the price - no-brainer. You simply shake the bottle to mix the two phases, plop some out onto a cotton pad, and sweep the make-up away. It does feel quite oily, so if you're not keen on this kind of texture I would probably avoid this. However, I have oily/combination skin and it suits me just fine. It's also super-gentle, for you girls with dry or sensitive skin. 

Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
As I'm so in love with the Make-Up Remover, I thought I would try out this cleansing butter (not sure I'm a fan of the word 'butter' though - who would want to put Lurpak on their face?). This product is a DELIGHT to use. It's a balm consistency that you scoop out and massage int your face, then remove with a muslin cloth or a good old fashioned flannel. As soon as you begin to work the product in, it seems to melt off your make-up, and your skin feels nourished and soft afterwards. I would even put my neck out and say it is suitable for all skin types. Bonus.

Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream
Anything with the word, 'mattifying' grabs my attention instantly, so I thought I'd give this a go. It has a less rich texture than most daily moisturisers, and felt almost gel-like and very cooling on the skin. I imagine this would be a dream on to use on hotter days. It does give an instant 'mattifying' look to the skin, and this lasted for a few hours with a mattifying foundation on top, which is all I can ask for really. I would say this is my least favourite out of my three purchases, and is a steady, middle-of-the-road moisturiser. 

Have you tried any of these? What has your experience been?
Lots of love, Monica x

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tuesday Top Picks - Net-a-porter

First of all, lets start with an apology. I've had a crazy busy couple of weeks, and have been running around between Hull, York and London (London blog post to follow...) so haven't been able to find the time to blog. But alas, never fear, for I am back.

As the nights are drawing in, and the temperatures are plummeting, I've started to think about that all important time of year - CHRISTMAS!! I bloody love Christmas. And so does my boyfriend. So much so that he's been asking what I would like as a gift which, naturally, has had be scouring the internet for something lovely. I've decided on jewellery because, as much as I have tons of stuff from H&M, Topshop, Zara and Accessorize, I end up wearing it to death until it looks all brassy and leaves green marks on my wrists and fingers. So this year, I'm going to ask St Nick for something a little more grown up. Net-a-porter have some gorgeous pieces, as I'm sure you can imagine, so this week's Tuesday Top Picks are essentially a letter to Santa. I love simple, delicate, gold or rose-gold pieces that can be layered up or worn alone, and you'll see there is a definite theme going on. Hopefully I've been good this year ;)

Lots of love, Monica x