Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Motel Rocks 24 Hour Flash Sale

Starting at 5pm Motel are having a 24h 20% off flash sale on all full priced items on their website. I had a good look at their Christmas collection at their bloggers party earlier in the month, and I must say that the collection is pretty fantastic!
There are currently some great party dresses on their site, both body con and otherwise, so if you're stuck for what to wear for any upcoming parties, you'd be stupid not to make the most of this 24h discount! However, if you do miss out and still want to order something from Motel you might notice a new icon in my sidebar, which contains a 15% discount code that is valid all year round at Motel as I am now one of Motel's Top Bloggers! 

I usually don't go for body con styles, but I think this black lace one is lovely, and I'm totally in love with the glittery Gabby dresses from Motel's Christmas ad campaign - I think I need one in my life, but I'm really not sure of which colour to get! As for this blue dress, I really love the cut and the built in waist. 

Check back soon for an outfit post featuring the beautiful black 90's style faux fur coat Motel recently sent me!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Places To Eat In Canterbury: The Hutch (Now Closed)

I've escaped from the busy bustle of London for a few days to spend some time with my family and visiting some of my favourite haunts in my hometown of Canterbury. After helping my Mum with a bit of Christmas shopping on Thursday we stopped off at The Hutch, the only all vegetarian restaurant in Canterbury, opposite the cathedral about 3/4 the way down the beautiful Palace Street. We'd only eaten there once before, about this time last year and we were even more impressed with the meal we had than the delicious one we had been treated to the last time we'd visited. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: The Style Blogger

For the final part of my Holiday Gift Guide series I'm going to tackle the category that will fit most of us - The Style Blogger. As usual, the list is full of things that not only would I love to receive or have tried and tested, and I think that both you and your friends will love! Also, don't forget to check out my guides on what to buy your BookwormFashionista and Beauty Blogger friends!
1. Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange, £12.29 - I reviewed this book back in July, and I still maintain that it is one of the best personal style books out there. Lots of beautiful photos, great ideas for chic and stylish dressing, and if your friend is planning on visiting Paris anytime soon you have to buy it from them as there is such a great and extensive section on where to shop, visit and eat! 

2. Nars Beautiful Life Palette, £39.00 - This is the perfect luxury gift for any Nars lover. This includes eye, cheek and lip colours in a handy zip case, making it also the perfect luxury gift for frequent travellers and jet setters! 

3. Models Own & Wah Nails Nail Art Pen, £6 - While it is easy to get loads of cheap coloured nail pens off of ebay, I think this one from Models Own is the perfect gift for someone if you know that they're looking into getting into nail art. 

4. Mulberry 'Lily' Bag, £495 - By far the most expensive item on my list, I decided to leave it in here because I think it is something that every girl needs. Black, great quality and practical - my best friend has one, she uses it all the time and it is amazing on nights out or when you want to have your hands free. 

5. L'Oreal Professional Mythic Oil, £11.95 - My stylist had been using this on me for a while when I received it in a Glossybox and while everyone raves about Moroccan Oil (which I also use after receiving a bottle) I think it is much, much better.

What will you be buying your style blogging friends this season? 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: The Fashionista

So today I'm going to tackle what to buy your Fashionista friends. I love everything on this list - I want it all for myself to be perfectly honest! If you missed them, here are the links to my guides on what to buy your Bookworm friends and your Beauty Blogger friends!
1. Polaroid Instant Camera, £79.99 - Who doesn't want a Polaroid camera? Instant, shake to see the picture photos? Amazing! I love the fact that they now sell these again and I'd really love one to take around with me on my travels or when I'm hanging around with friends, and I'm sure your friends would love one too! 

2. Kurt Geiger Gift Card, £20 - Kurt Geiger has so many cute shoes and accessories it is nearly always impossible to choose, so I got rather excited to find they do gift cards which can also be used in their online store - the perfect present if you just want something you can slip into a Christmas card!

3. Nars Orgasm Gift Set, £22 - Nars products are pretty amazing, as is their cult 'Orgasm' shade. This set included the Super Orgasm lip gloss, Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer, also a classic! A perfect gift for any Nars Junkie friend, or even to buy yourself - I know I want to! 

4. Essie 'Trophy Wife' Nail Polish, £9.95 - This is from their New Year Metallics collection, and I think the colour of blue is absolutely beautiful. Not only can is be used as a festive colour because it is a metallic, but it can be used all year round too. Also, Essie nail polishes are pretty fantastic! 

5. Zara Gold Sequin Clutch, £29.99 - Zara always make amazing clutches, and this seasons offerings are no exception. With all the golden festive sparkles on this beauty I can totally see why the blogasphere has been going a little crazy over this number!

What will you be buying your Fashionista friends? Don't forget to check back for the fourth part of my gift guide series, what to buy your Style Blogger friends! 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: The Bookworm

So, it is that time of year once more. I've already spent countless hours browsing online and wondering around Westfield pondering what I am going to buy my family this year. So you don't have to go through the same headache I am at the moment (I have a birthday and a Christmas gift to buy my Grandfather for December and I still don't have a clue about either of them!), like last year I've put together a series of four handy guides to your Christmas shopping: what to buy The Bookworm, today over on The Glossy Guide what to buy The Beauty Blogger, and later this week on what to buy The Fashionista and The Style Blogger - enjoy, and I hope they're helpful!
1. 'R' Black Tote Bag, £12 - Ever since I received mine (less than 24 hours after I ordered it no less!) it has become one of my favourite tote bags in my collection. You can buy them in any letter (they also stock a lot of phrases and punctuation marks), and you can also get rhinestone and black on white versions - the perfect literary gift! (You can see this bag in an outfit post here!)

2. Hotel Chocolate Caramel Penguin Chocolate Shapes, £5.50 - Made out of Hotel Chocolate's delicious caramel flavoured chocolate this adorable little penguins are the perfect treat to nibble on in front of the wood fire when you curl up to enjoy a good book. 

3. Emma Bridgewater Reindeer Mug, £17.95 - I have a bit of a thing for cute and adorable mugs, and I've always loved Emma Bridgwater designs, all hand painted, as I'd always thought they'd make perfect gifts. This adorable reindeer mug is therefore not an exception. Cinnamon hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows anyone?

4. 20 My Cup Of Tea Wild Berry Teabags, £4.29 - This is the tasty berry tea they serve in the Hummingbird bakery. Sweet and fruity, the special bags make a clearer, pure taste which is absolutely delicious. Perfect to drink out of the Reindeer mug! 

5. Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath, £14 - If you are, like me one of those people who like to sink down in a nice hot bubble bath with a good book you're always going to need a great stock of fantastic smelling bubble baths. This one from Philosophy does in fact smell of Vanilla Birthday Cake, and it doubles as a shower gel and a shampoo (that actually works might I add) no less!

What are you going to buy your literary inclined friends this year? Make sure you keep checking back for my gift guides to help you shop for the Fashionistas and Style Bloggers in your life!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Weekly Love - Week 83

+ I love the video made at the Motel Rocks party last week, though I knew it was a bad idea to let the videographer film me touching up my lipstick - look at that frown! 

+ Christmas shopping in Westfield for my family.

+ New TV shows I adore: Hart of Dixie, Unforgettable, Revenge and The Lying Game.

This Los Angeles photo diary makes me want to visit so badly! Also very jealous of the Hart Of Dixie set visit - one of my new favourite shows!

+ Getting rolls of film back from being developed and remembering photos I took months ago. 

+ St James' Park when all the leaves are down on a crisp Autumn morning. 

+ OPI Glitter nail polish, I really love this shade!

+ Fee has written a brilliant post on affiliate links - a must read for any bloggers interested in monetization. She recommends Skimlinks as I do - its totally amazing!

+ All day American breakfasts at The Diner. 

+ Discussing The Bell Jar at Sherin's book group.

What have you been enjoying this week?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Places To Eat In London: The Diner

I am a massive fan of the all day American breakfast, so I was naturally really excited about going to The Diner (the one just off Carnaby Street) for some bacon, pancakes and maple syrup. 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Motel Blogger Event

On Thursday night I headed over to the Motel showrooms just off Oxford Street to take a closer look at their new collection.  
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I don't think I've ever seen so many bloggers in one place before - the room was literally packed to bursting and it was so nice to see so many familiar faces!
Glossybox were also at the event chatting about their boxes. They were also giving out there absolutely amazingly tasty Glossybox logo cupcakes from Lola's bakery.
There was also the opportunity to have out nails done by a total nail art guru. I'm so in love with my nails I've dedicated an entire post to them over on The Glossy Guide. 
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Aside from the Glossybox cupcakes the event was packed full of the most amazing food, drinks and cocktails. There were bowls of Haribo and sweets, and in case you had not noticed from the photo a candyfloss machine!
Sweet popcorn
Kate and Lily
I totally fell in love with this big '90's style coat - hopefully you'll be seeing it in an outfit post soon!
Ellie seemed to really love this balloon. I must have done too, because I took it on the underground with me and it now lives in my flat!

Thanks to everyone at Motel for such an incredible evening!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Weekly Love - Week 82

+ That satisfied feeling when you bake a perfect batch of double chocolate chip cookies. 

+ To support Hugs, Scones & Kisses Amy is going to step out of her comfort zone and wear nothing but dresses for a week if she reaches her sponsorship goal, you can find out how to support her here!

+ Heads up, there is a £20 gift card free with this months Elle!

+ Adding another Penguin Classics mug to my collection - this time, George Orwell's 1984!

+ That moment when you think the biscuit tin is empty, but there is in fact one cookie left inside!

+  Lovely walks through Notting Hill and Hyde Park. 

+ I had an amazing time at the Motel event last night - more photos and a proper post to follow soon!

+ Bribing myself to finish essays with cubes of Galaxy. 

+ Cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery

+ Girls do actually prefer shopping alone - I totally agree with this!

+ Hot bubble baths after being caught in the driving rain.

+ You can buy Marshmallow Vodka. My life is complete! 

+ Scented candles. 

+ Making piping hot onion and Strongbow soup - recipe to follow soon!

+ Winnie has written the most adorable post about Asian desserts!

+ Nachos, Fajitas and frozen Passion Fruit Margaritas. 

+ Dancing around the house my myself with my iPod blasting Blake Shelton's version of 'Footloose' at full volume. 

+ The people over at Harrods have been kind enough to make me blog of the week!

+ Pinkberry frozen yogurt in Selfridges. 

What have you been enjoying this week?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Innocent Smoothies: The Big Knit

A while ago I got a very exciting email from Clemmie at Innocent Smoothies about a very exciting collaboration to promote their 'Big Knit' initiative. do you remember those cool knitted hats you get on bottles of Innocent Smoothie every November ? Until November 29t in Boots and Sainsbury's stores you can buy these special hat adorned bottles of delicious smoothie, and for every bottle sold 25p will be donated to Age UK - how awesome is that?

This November Innocent have asked celebrities and designers to design special hats for them, from Heston Blumenthal to Sienna and Savannah Miller... and me (alone with 13 other bloggers).  I was both very flattered to be asked to design a special hat for such an amazing cause, and very excited to get started!
Fast forward to Monday night when I heard a knock on the door while I was helping to cook dinner and the courier handed me this pink bag from Fruit Towers - my hat had arrived, along with some extra smoothie type goodies too!
Innocent Hat
So, this is what I designed! I was very, very happy with it after I'd designed it and was really, really excited to see it knitted up as an actual hat. However, nothing could have prepared me for the excitement of receiving the final result...
What is special about this year, the wonderful knitters over at Fruit Towers made special life sized hats from our designs to give away to our readers - so, as much as I really, really want to keep it for myself, who wants this hat I designed!  For a change to win this knitted wonder (they did a very good job considering they were just working from my drawing!) you need to leave me a comment on this post, telling me why you should win the hat and what you'd wear it with! Remember to leave your email address in your comment so I can get in contact with you if you win, and in order to enter you must be a follower of my blog via Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin'.
The wonderful team at Innocent also included a smoothies sized hat too, which was a lovely surprise for me as I'm having to give away a hat that I have fallen so in love with - now I'll have something to remember her by!

Have you been out to buy your woolly had adorned bottle yet?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Dear Rachel: Should I Put Advertising On My Blog?

Dear Rachel,

I'm looking to take my blog in a new direction and post more often, and I was thinking about making space to have advertising. Do you think this is a good idea? What type of advertising do you think I should have? 
The idea of making any money out of your blog or receiving anything for free has always been controversial, but I really think you should go for it. Even if blogging is just a hobby, you're still providing people with a service: something to read, for free so who is to say that you should not get at least a little compensation for it? And besides, having a little extra pocket money is never a bad thing! I make some small change in Paypal for the advertising on the side of my blog, but it is nice to be able to treat myself to something (you can use Paypal to pay on ASOS) once in a while. Why should you feel bad about getting a little something back for your hard work?

As for what type of advertising you should take on, I really recommend small independent advertising, charging for ad space in your sidebars on a monthly basis. Unless you are a super blogger, you're not going to make a whole deal of money from affiliate schemes, as these pay on commission. Though it is hard to make money through affiliate schemes, there is one scheme that I would highly recommend to make money through affiliate links with minimal effort. I heard about Skimlinks on Lily's blog. Skimlinks basically turns all of your existing product links into affiliate links that you can earn commission from from any sales made on the click through. It was really easy to install, and though I was sceptical at first I really do seem to be making money out of it!
The bloggers panel at The Only Way Is Blogging

You can also look into doing sponsored posts. I usually get these where companies email me offering me money in return for posting their content or writing about their product, but if you join a network such as Handpicked Media you can get offers of sponsored posts through them. The only issue surrounding sponsored posts is ethics. Lots of people have a problem with posing words and photos that you have not created in exchange for a pay out. I think, and it was the general consensus during the discussion panel at The Only Way Is Blogging that if you support and would endorse the product anyway, and you make it clear that is is sponsored content there is not an ethical problem. If it feels right to you it probably is.

What are your tips for sucsessful bog advertising?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Spitalfields and The Hummingbird Bakery

This afternoon I headed over to Spitalfields with my blogger friend Elodie to visit The Hummingbird Bakery and to have a little wonder around the area. 
I was quite excited - in spite of being a big fan of baking out of my Hummingbird cookbook and a few mini cakes I had at a Lime Crime lipstick launch, I'd never actually sampled a Hummingbird cake or visited one of their infamous bakeries before!
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The cakes in store put my icing skills (which I thought were pretty amazing before) to shame!
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The Spitalfields location of Hummingbird is hidden down Frying Pan Alley. We British have the best street names!
We both loved the pretty pink Hummingbird takeaway cups out delicious (but scaldingly hot) berry tea came in.
I had the special of the day, a Brooklyn Blackout (chocolate sponge with chocolate custard on top) and a Red Velvet cupcake to take home with me and eat later. It was totally delicious, and remind me why that particular recipe is not in my Hummingbird book?!
After gorging on the cupcakes we took a little wonder and we came across these two women in a box. As you do. We were not quite sure why they were there - you get all sorts in Shorditch!
There were also some awesome giant white bunnies with gold eyes. Because every locality needs some giant white bunnies!  
These fresh flowers were so beautiful - I really wish I'd had the facilities to take some home with me!
We wondered around to the Lomography store because I had some film I'd left there to get developed last time I was in Spitalfields to pick up. 
How adorable are these key rings? I want a pink one, just like my Lomo to put on my flat keys!
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Brick Lane is on my way home from Spitalfields, so I pointed out some of the brilliant shops I had discovered when I was with my friend Catharine and her boyfriend a few weekends ago. This is Brick lane Bookshop, aka. my new favourite bookshop! It reminds me a lot of The King's English, an amazing and individual indie bookshop in Canterbury that used to be right outside my school gate but sadly closed down. 

What did you order the last time you where in The Hummingbird Bakery? What would you recommend? Are there any shops in Spitalfields or Brick Lane you really thing I should check out? 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The High Tea Cast Presents: Sex Mugs & Rock 'N' Roll

Today I want to tell you all about a fantastic event the lovely girls over at The High Tea Cast will be hosting on November 26th in Kensington: Sex, Mugs & Rock 'N' Roll. You will never understand how gutted I was to realise that I already have plans for that evening so won't be able to attend!
Sex, Mugs & Rock 'N' Roll is basically a super awesome charity night jam packed with live music, auctions, burlesque dancers (one of the main reasons I'm so gutted to be missing it) and of course, cake. It is basically your whole Saturday night planned for you, for only £8 with the proceeds going to an amazing cause - Janie's School. Janie's School is an initiative where a lovely lady called Jennifer Begg is trying to raise £25k in an effort to build a school in Cambodia in memory of her late mother. 

So, if you don't already have plans that evening and you're a Londoner I urge you to grab and few friends and head over to Kensington for what looks like it is going to be an incredible night! (Click here to buy your tickets!)