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My favourite blog

May 5th, 2014

I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Curry’s to take part in their blogger competition. All they were asking me to do was write a blog about my favourite blog and why. Relatively simple, no?

Apparently not! My first decision was that I was going to write this about the things I love and enjoy reading for amusement and relaxation. That’s not to say that reading about the world of social, technology and digital isn’t a passion or pleasure of mine, but there are so many differing topics, sectors, specifications and entertainment levels that it made it difficult to pick just one. I found myself swaying from Mashable to The Next Web to State of Digital. As they’re (and many more not listed!) all news sources for me, I found it difficult to pick an outright winner as they’ve all served me well at one time or another.

So, that’s when I went for fun. And again I struggled, I have a dear love for Refinery 29 for fashion, health & beauty, life tips and I also enjoy perusing indie bloggers such as my friend over at Sweaters and Sequins, but picking a *favourite* was like trying to pick a favourite song.

That’s when it struck me, Hello Giggles.

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Ok, ok, it’s a bit of a cheat. It’s sizeable and it’s more of an online magazine covering a vast range of topics, but that’s sort of why I love it.  Not to mention the fact it was started by three talent women, including the gorgeous and very much girl-crushable Zooey Deschanel. It feels like it’s been written by a team of bloggers who have extracted thoughts from my head and combines serious issues with joviality.

For example, upon my brief daily jaunt across its pages today, I’ve learnt five very important things:

 

1. Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender & James McAvoy danced to Blurred Lines on The Graham Norton Show



2. An EINTKILF article about Topanga Lawrence-Matthews of Boy Meets Girl

That means Everything I Need To Know I Learnt From (yes, I had to Google it first time too). Aside from the fact it’s given me real nostalgia from a show I used to love growing up, it also has little gems in it such as:


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3.  Nailspiration: Accent Nails

Because…reasons.


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4. The creation of a Plus-Size documentary 

As well as entertainment it tackles difficult societal issues and because there are a number of bloggers you’re able to get different points of view and analysis of topics. The site covers a range of topics including body issues, feminism, politics and many others.

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It provides me with food for thought as well as cute animals,which brings me too….

 

5. 15 Animals We All Want To Squeeze

 

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This is crucial journalism.

 

DISCLOSURE: This blog was written for the Curry’s #WonderBlog competition for a chance to win a HP Envy Recline 23-m120ea Beats Edition (worth £999.99) or an HP Envy Rove 20-k014us (worth £799.99). Follow the hashtag to see other bloggers favourite blogs.

 

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The Perfect Bag Hunt…

February 26th, 2014

Just before Christmas I fell in love with a bag. Ok, not in love with, but I’d convinced myself it was the perfect solution for all my everyday “lugging-my-entire-life-along-with-me” problems. Many women (I hope!) can empathise with the desire and motivation to find ‘The Bag’. Over time the requirements of ‘The Bag’ change, hence needed to buy more bags, but for me at this point the main points were that it:

a) Had to have a long strap so I could sling it across my body to run for public transport/important meetings/lunch

b) Need to have enough *sizeable* compartments to separate the inevitable trove that I tend to tow around with me

c) Be big enough to cart everything around, but no so big as to be cumbersome

d) Look smart and stylish enough to take to client meetings and other eventualities

In the Kate Spade Hamilton Heights Sloan I thought I’d found just this. But it wasn’t cheap – racking in at over $350 without shipping and customs.

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So imagine my delight when I spied this little beauty in the John Lewis sale. The COLLECTION by John Lewis Sparky Shoulder Bag was made from leather, had three sizeable compartments and a slightly longer strap than the Kate Spade beauty. Then I saw the price. £60 reduced from £120!

It was a no brainer and has proved to be a great decision. It’s all the criteria I was looking for rolled into one – plus I’ve received several compliments for it from people who thought it was designer! True to John Lewis standard, it”s a fabulous combination of function and form with leather than belies it’s actual price.

Sadly (for anyone but me), I managed to get the last one, but they do a laptop bag in the same range if you’re interested.

The perfect bag hunt is complete…for now!

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So I’m trying not to online shop and was innocently perusing Facebook when Domestic Sluttery posted up a post about Lisa Angel Scarves. Me being a sucker for an animal print, well, anything, couldn’t resist. And it was only ?12 or less – what a bargain!

Fox scarf for the win! Plus it comes in this gorgeous packaging with free pnp – happy days! :)

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For a long time now I’ve been a fan of the KBShimmer Oh Splat!? nail polish, but with it only being in available in The States it just wasn’t a viable option.

So, when I saw this Barry M Sequin Nail Effects polish I was super excited. They do it in other colours too and there’s a buy one get one half price offer on at the moment in Boots.

It bubbled a bit, but it does say to put a base coat on – which, me being me, I didn’t bother doing. I think the white would have stood out more too then, but I’ve had quite few compliments despite that.

Shiny, shiny.

Barry M Sequin Nail polish Barry M Nail Polish Barry M Sequin Effects

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So mega excited at the moment because I’ve just purchased this little baby…well, I say little, I’m actually hoping it’s quite sizeable. I had to send back the last bag I ordered online, because despite online pictures, I seem to have entirely made up the fact it was the perfect size in my head.

Anyhoo, here’s the puppy…or Madewell Kensington Satchel as it may actually be:

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The thing that really excited me about it was the fact you can have it monogrammed (not ‘mammogrammed’, as I embarrassingly told a colleague this morning). I’ve plumped for the gold as I think it’ll stand out better against the brown. Even more excitingly, you can get $40 off with this Madewell Discount at Refinery29! Extra bargainous.

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The only issue is that Madewell don’t actually ship to the UK, so I’ve had to order it via BundleBox, a mailbox or mail forwarding service, that will provide you a US address and then forward it onto the UK. I looked at various others such as, MYUS, Reship and ShipItTo, but the reviews didn’t look great. It was only after a recommendation from Paul Burley on twitter that I took the plunge.

Expect a post in two to three weeks time…if it actually arrives!!

madewell bag

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Inspiration: Debbie Millman

June 23rd, 2013

I stumbled across this quote the other day. It’s awesome; eloquently put and just the right side of moving without being hammy. It’s part of Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design by artist, strategist, and interviewer Debbie Millman. I’ve paid homage in the below image, as this section for me was key, but I would recommend visiting the article on Brain Pickings to hear a speech by Debbie Millman and to see the quote in it’s original context, as part of the main body of the essay.

If you found it as inspiring as me, you may be buying the book too : )

If you imagine less,  less will be what you undoubtedly deserve.

If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love, and don?t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don?t compromise, and don?t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.

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I recently voyaged to Malaga, rather than just post up my holiday snaps (that’s for another post!), I thought I’d share some of the more humorous life lessons I learnt while out there.

 

1. There’s no point having a cool/expensive/awesome thing, if you don’t use it/promote it/turn it on.

I saw this free Facebook photo booth at one of the bars in Malaga. It looks pretty awesome and is a nice way for the bar to promote themselves through pictures of their clients enjoying themselves on Facebook. I thought I’d have a go. It wasn’t turned on. I presume that they turn it on at night or the staff are unsure of it and don’t know how to do it. Or, of course, it could all be a ploy, so that digital and social fan girls, such as myself, take a picture and upload it to their blog, giving the bar promotion anyway. Yeah, that’s almost definitely it.

Facebook photobooth

 

2. Reality doesn’t always live up to the promise.

Just like a woman in a Wonderbra, these two foodstuffs only provided disappointment once unwrapped. You’re hardly going to go and complain at this stage, but you can’t help but feel a little cheated.

Promise vs Reality

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3. Good artists copy; great artists steal.

If it’s good enough for Steve Jobs, surely it’s good enough for you and I? And Nutella. It appears they’ve seen the success of Coke and jumped on the band wagon. Only they have stickers, so you don’t just have to buy a tub to share with a friend, you can whack a sticker with the branding all over it onto their face. Plus they’re also pushing the the Facebook page more. It seems like they’re really embracing social, odd, given that they ordered superfan Sara Russo to cease and desist with her World Nutella Day; the unofficial international holiday created by fans to celebrate their love of the hazelnut-chocolate spread.

Nutella find your name

 

4. Wear sunscreen.

Finally, to quote Baz Luhrman, wear sunscreen. Seriously, I’m still hurting from a burning.

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Coca-Cola + Marc Jacobs Bag

June 15th, 2013

So, a couple a months ago, something a bit exciting happen. Not mega exciting, like omg I’m going to New York or I’ve just grown a tail, but a bit exciting. I won one of the Diet Coke Bags designed by Marc Jacobs. If you weren’t aware of these, basically Marc Jacobs collaborated with Diet Coke, as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld have done before him. The cans and bottles themselves were really cute too.

Marc Jacobs for Coca cola

Image credit: Daily Mail

 

My prize arrives on my desk at work, I’ve had worse starts to mornings, designer gifts before breakfast is definitely something I could get used to! So I eagerly tear off the packaging and dive in.

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How fab are the little can studs? Here’s some shots of what it looks like from different angles:

marc jacobs + coca cola bag

And a full-length pic, as let’s face it, artsy shots can make anything and anyone look good!

Marc Jacobs and Coca-cola bag

Overall I think it’s quite nice, if not exactly my style. I’m sure there are others out there who will be positively salivating looking at it. To be honest, when I first won I thought I was going to receive an actual Marc Jacobs Handbag. Cue immense excitement that I might be getting his ‘Petal to the Metal’ Sasha bag, which I’ve had a bit of a bag crush on for while. I wonder if he’ll swap….

Marc Jacobs 'Petal to Metal' Sasha bag

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SoLita

May 27th, 2013

This weekend we went to Solita in the Northern Quarter. I’ll let the picture do most of the talking for this one, but it was awesome.

Mr. Tom and I shared a pulled pork sundae and toastie, sweet potato fries and a parmo. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it was amazing – if you get the chance to go I’d highly recommend it. It’s hard to say what my favourite bit was, probably either the sweet potato fries or the toastie, but to be fair…it’s all good.

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One thing I would say, is be prepared to wait at peak time – it can be anything from 30 minutes to over 2 hours and you can only book in advance if you have a party of six or more. We went during a Friday afternoon just after lunch and it was still quite busy, but that’s the price of awesome eats in the NQ.

Don’t let that be a downer though, because it’s worth the wait! Whether you pick pulled pork and fried mac n cheese balls or go for the Big Manc, just be sure that you arrive hungry – because you’ll be leaving very, *very* full!

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It was Mr.Tom’s birthday recently so we went in to town to celebrate and stumbled across the Cadbury Marvellous Creations Travelling Funfair. The Cookie Crunch is awesome, but not as cool as their website via mobile, which is a joy to behold.

Anyway, lots of things were happening and all in all it went a bit like this…

Cadbury Marvellous Creations Travelling Funfair

These chaps sang songs and got you to scream, “Pop!” as loud as you could until chocolate rained (read: was handed through the holes) down on the eagerly awaiting crowd.

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Then these nut cannons chucked plastic hazelnuts into the air which you had to capture in your bespoke nut catching hat and net.

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The aim was to fill up your card with stamps by completing these games to get free chocolate. All in all it was good laugh and a brilliant bit of experiential marketing from Cadbury’s. The highlight in my opinion was the NFC/RFID chip on the back of your card that you could link to Facebook so all your activities and photos from the day were logged and shared on Facebook….except it didn’t work for me.

Even still, it reminds me of the Coca-Cola fun park which allowed kids to like drinks and rides via a wristband linked with Facebook. Loving the real-world/online interaction and the fun of the event – it’s only a shame they couldn’t have brought Joyville weather instead of the dreary Manchester rain!

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