Sunday, 31 July 2011

California Package Exchange

While I was in California, I fell in love with all the different bits of makeup and candy that you just can't get here in England. To cut a long story short, this spawned a package swap with my dear blogger friend Kate who lives in California, near San Fransisco. She sends me supplies of my favourite candy, Essie nail polish and lots of little surprises from America, and I send her little bits of UK only makeup to try, traditional sweets and goodies I bring back from France!
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This is our second package swap - I was to excited to rip the first one open to remember I wanted to photograph it for a blog post!
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What I Got:

Wonka Nerds (one of my favourites, you used to be able to buy them everywhere in the UK, but now only for jawbreaking prices in specialist places like Selfridges, and not in big mixed boxes like this!

Milk Duds - Really, really amazing hard caramel balls covered in candy chocolate.

Pomegranate Fine Milled Soap

Jolly Ranchers  - Hard Candy, I love these so much I've dedicated an entire post to them, coming soon!

Love & Beauty Nail Polish (From Forever 21)

Bright & dark blue Sinful Colour nail polish

Whoppers & Reeses Peanut Butter Whoppers (basically an American version of Malteasers)

Essie nail polish in 'Bahama Mama'

Forever 21 necklace

E.L.F Lipglosses

Covergirl Lash Blast Length Mascara
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Though out packages are supposedly things we can't get in your own country, when I was in CVS I almost had a heart attack when I saw that Essie nail polish was only $7.50. That is about £4.60 a bottle. A bottle of Essie nail polish her in the UK is £9.95. It may be my favourite brand, but you can see why I refuse to buy it in the UK anymore... 
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I've wanted to try this Covergirl Lash Blast Length mascara for ages (my obsession with their Blast collection is well documented) and they'd sold out when I went to California. How could I not love NYLON magazine and not want to try the mascara that is always splashed across its pages? I can't wait to try it!
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I absolutely love this necklace she sent me from Forever 21, and I can't wait to show it off in an outfit post. I've heard great things about Forever 21 jewellery, but I can't see myself getting near the new Oxford Street store anytime soon without getting crushed! 


Do any of you take part in package exchanges with friends abroad? 

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Bloggers Do It Better: You're Invited To The Arm Party

I've been following Pretty Shiny Sparkly for a while now, and I've really enjoyed her idea of 'Bloggers Do It Better', where she sets outfit challenge posts for her readers to blog about, such as 'Neons & Neutrals' and puts together a roundup of links of what everyone made of the challenge. I've wanted to participate before, but for any number of different reasons I have not been able to. However, I'm totally in love with the latest challenge  'Arm Party', and so happy to be able to participate! 
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An 'Arm Party' is the uber fashionable idea of having loads of different bracelets stacked up your arms - priceless bangles, concert entires, friendship bracelets, watches - the lot. I used to be such a huge fan of doing this, but I'd stopped doing it recently. However, since I got my Whistles wrap bracelet (pictured above with my everyday silver bangle and my Citizen dress watch from this outfit post last month)
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With the challenge in mind, I decided to put together a variant on the look I had already tried, something feminine, but with edge. 
(left to right)
Black Wooden Bangle - Free with Harpers Bazaar, years ago
White Ribbon - From a Tiffany's box
Black & Gold Wrap Bracelet - Whistles
Silver Bangle - Gift from my parents
Dusty Pink Ribbon - From a Glossy Box
Harry Potter Inspired Star Wrap Bracelet - Pilgrims Proverb


Do you like stacking bracelets up your arms, or just wearing one or two? (I'd love to see some pictures!)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Weekly Love - Week 75

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+ My Dad was complaining about the lack of biscuits in the house, so I made The Londoner's Warm Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Bad Boys. I think I could have done with taking them out the other earlier, but I think they were still pretty amazing! 

+ Amber has written a post about the stigma surrounding professional blogging that I support wholeheartedly.

+ Sitting in a coffee shop and chatting for 4 hours straight.

I love Catlin Moran.

+ IFB has a great post on organising local blogger meetups.

+ My best friend getting talking to some random old guy eating alone at the table next to use in Nandos, who was absolutely hysterical even if he did annoy me quite a bit!

This online recipe book is so sweet!

+ I need this cat in my life...

+ White Cubans made with Sailor Jerry Rum and Peach Daiquiris.

+ Annie's China photo diary is absolutely incredible...

+ I tried my hand at nail art for the first time this week!

+ Ceriselle has created a UK Bloggers Map - have you added your blog yet?
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+ These flowers my Grandma sent us to thank us for the lovely time she had while she came to stay - arn't they beautiful!

+ What it's like to date a writer. I'd also file this totally true article under what it's like to have a writer as your best friend. Even if I'm a writer too!

+ One of my guy friends asking if a Miu Miu was a type of cat.

+ Jessie has Christmas in July - this is both so incredibly cool and so incredibly mental in equal measure!

+ Romola Garai's performance as Bel Rowley in The Hour. Still not sure about the show, but her hair, her clothes and her acting are all fantastic, even better than when she was in The Crimson Petal And The White.

+ How to find out if someone has stolen your blog images using Google Image Search.

+ Planning a London Blogger Lunch.

+ Whoever got this is the luckiest Maroon 5 fan in the world.

+ My Mum's homemade bread.

+ Another fantastic episode of Blogger Hopping, this time with The Blond Salad!

+ DIY Glitter Brogues

+ I need a Barbour jacket with a Liberty London lining in! The purple one is totally going on my wish list!

+ What to do with old chair backs. (It has something to do with hangers!)


What have you been enjoying this week?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

My Top 5 Favourite Food Blogs

In case you had not noticed by now from the photos of my baking adventures I included in my 'Weekly Love' posts, I'm a real foodie. I love to cook, I love to bake, I love to read about food, eat out, take pictures of food, and, most recently read lots of food blogs. (Yes, that was a lot of commas!)

Today, I thought I'd share my top 5 favourite food blogs as well as some of their beautiful and mouthwatering photography!
fashionintel

Though the name of her blog might not indicate that it has anything to do with food, Natalie's Los Angeles based blog is my favourite food blog on the net. She does write about other fashion related things too, but as a food writer for Refinery 29 most of her posts are about her mouthwatering culinary adventures - enough to make me want to up and move to Los Angeles tomorrow simply to eat myself to a size 20! 
whatkayieate

Katie's is the first food blog I started reading. She's a food photographer based in Australia, hence why her photos make me desperately hungry by even looking at them! When I have the time to hunt down some of the ingredients, there are so many recipes I want to try! 
smittenkitchen

I have so many recipes bookmarked to try from Deb's New York based recipes blog it's getting ridiculous! I particularly love her clear step by step photos, and how she links back to what she was cooking this time last year at the bottom of each post. 
thelondoner

The Londoner has made me very, very excited about when I finally move to London (hopefully in September, if I get the exam results I'm hoping for!) for all the great places to eat she's discovered for me. I recently tried her recipe for Warm Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Bad Boys cookies - they were fantastic!
becominglola

Another blog based in New York, Becoming Lola is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth - her baking adventures and cake reviews are to die for. Her entire blog is also very, very cute!


What are your favourite food blogs? Be sure to leave me some links, I don't nearly have enough food blogs in my news feed!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Dear Rachel: How Can I Make My Blog Better?


Dear Rachel,

About a month ago I started a fashion blog. I was wondering if you could give me any tips on how to improve it?

I know the blogging world is completely awash with 'Blogging 101' posts, some of them good, some of them not so good and some of them absolutely fantastic, but since I've been helping a few friends get their blogs off the ground (which means sitting with them at their desks for about an hour giving virtually a masterclass) I've decided I might as well throw my hat into the ring and let you know some of my thoughts as to what makes a good blog. 
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Give your blog a clean, clear and easy to navigate layout.

All of the blogs I read, without exception have fantastically designers and easy to navigate layout. Chances are if I've landed on your blog and I've either got lost or been overwhelmed by ow busy the page is I've closed the tab on my browser instantly without stopping to read what you have to say. All this being said, a to have a good clean layout you don't have to be a graphic design whizz. I may be able to write basic HTML, but I think I have tweaked the code of my blog a grand total of twice, and none of these for aesthetic reasons: changing the copyright information of this blog past Blogger's template, and removing the Blogger task bar from the top of this page, both of which were annoying me. 

I recommend a white background and black text, easy to read for everyone, and to not use too many colours in your design. Apart from that, just try to de clutter (less is more) and make sure everything is easy enough to read in your sidebar. 
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Create a 'start here' page.

Inspired by Gala Darling (say what you like about her, that girl has a blog design every blogger should learn from) I installed a 'Start Here' page at the top of my sidebar. It is in a good place for new readers to see, and, well, click on. It includes a 'About Me' section and a little bit about what this blog is about, links to my social media networks, the option to subscribe to blog posts by email and a list of 10 blog posts I think it would be a good idea for new readers to start at to get a feel for the sort of things I write about. This page is basically my whole blog in one place for new readers to find out what rachelphipps.com is all about, and from what some of my new readers have told me, and from what I can gather from my stats page, its been a massive success! 


Blogging is a community activity. 

Contrary to popular belief, the best way to get the word out about your blog is not through jazzy or expensive ad campaigns, its about engaging in the community, commenting on other blogs you enjoy, chatting to other bloggers on Twitter and utilising social networks like Lookbook.nu and IFB. 

I know someone who writes an absolutely fantastic blog, but she does not really engage in the community by commenting on other peoples blogs, or anything really. She just sits at her desk churning out content every few days. she has this fantastic blog, but no one knows about it to be able to read it! 

The blogging community is also great for making friends, friends who share blogging as a common interest with you. Have you ever tried explaining why you blog to non blogger friends? The end result is usually not too pretty! 


Post engaging and original content.

This is the most common blogging tip, so I've sure you've read it everywhere, but the only reason everyone says it is because it works. People want to read your blog and not the 1,0000,0000,0000 others out there because you have something unique and original to say - so make sure you say it and you're not posting yet another post about 'X', 'Y' or 'Z' (says the girl currently typing an overdone Blogger 101 guide, irony acknowledged)


Take your own photos.

The blogashere is over blogs who just take someone else's pretty pictures to illustrate their posts. Hands up, I used to do it but I've taken so much more pride in my work since I started taking exclusively my own pictures. If you want a constant stream of photos that have gone viral across the web, there's Tumblr for that! 

You don't even need to have a snazzy expensive camera or a full suite of photoshop skills to take good photos for your blog. Just a good camera that takes clean shots, not a phone camera (unless you've got an iPhone and you're using Instagram) or webcam, and a little imagination. 

Also, copyright wise its really hard to credit a photo back to its original source if you've nabbed it off of We Heart It or Tumblr is somewhere like that. Using your own photos makes the whole process of copyright so much easier as well! 


Make it easy for people to subscribe. 
Sign up to Bloglovin' and have a Bloglovin' widget in your sidebar. Most of my traffic comes through people who have subscribed via Bloglovin'. Make your RSS feed easily linked, and make sure you also have links to your other social networking sites like Twitter readily available - you need to make it easy for people to be able to come back! 


Stick at it.

Sometimes is can feel like no one reads your blog, you're not getting any new followers or you're not getting as many comments on your post as 'X' blogger. You are you and not anyone else, your blog is an online extension of yourself. Sit back and take a breath, before keeping calm and carrying on. It takes years for a blog to get established. You are your own milestone. 


Blog for you, not for anyone else.

Everyone always asks me why I gave up running Lipstick Royalty Magazine. The long and short of it is it made me miserable and eventually brought me to hysterical tears. Blog for you, not for anyone else. For most of us, blogging is not our job, its out hobby. There is not point engaging in a hobby and writing about things you don't enjoy and make you miserable. 


What are your tips for making a great blog?

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, be they on blogging, beauty or books, you can drop me a quick email, contact me on Twitter or leave me a comment on Formspring

Sunday, 24 July 2011

How To Write A Book Review

Aside from this blog, I write quite a lot of stuff for quite a few other websites, and my favourite type of article to write are book reviews. Following all of the positive feedback on the blog post I wrote on writing album reviews, I've decided to put another 'how to' post together for writing a book review!
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The first thing you have to do, obviously, is to read the book. As a real bookworm, this is my favourite part of writing a review. However, sometimes, as I've had recently, they book you've been sent/ asked to review is truly awful, and very very long. What do you mean I have to read 400 pages of this crap?! This is where my '100 pages' rule comes in. If you hate the book, stick with it for 100 pages at least. I find for most adult books after 100 pages you'll still be able to give a book a fair, albeit bad review. 

While you're reading, I really suggest that you have a pen and paper to hand to jot down any ideas that come to you. They could be anything, a phrase you really liked, if a character reminds you of something or something in the book you particularly liked or disliked. Sometimes I just demolish the entire book in one go, and forget to write anything down. However, usually if I've enjoyed the book that much I'll remeber exactly what I liked about it, why I was kept hooked and which bits I particularly enjoyed. 
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Once you've taken a few notes and finished the book its time to start writing. The first thing to thing about is the style you should be writing in and which audience you're writing for. Is it for your personal blog, or for a review magazine or website? Does the publication have a set style their reviewers usually stick to? Are you writing a review that is going to be read by children, adults, men, women? All of this is important to bear in mind when you approach writing your review.

You need to open your review with an opening statement that lets the reader know why they should read your review, and, but extension go on to share your oppinion of the book. Be creative, write anything you want but you should be able to step away from it and think 'yes, I want to read on' once you've left it for a while and gone back to read it.

Next talk about what you liked about the book. Make sure to include bits about the plot (without giving any spoilers away!), the setting and the characters, as well as any things you jotted down while you were reading that you particularly enjoyed, and you can still look back on with a slight smile on your face! 

Next, any criticisms you may have (if you did not enjoy the book this whole thing works the other way around, say why you did not enjoy it first, then put out some good points towards the end). Then finish the whole thing with a few lines or a brief statement, again hard hitting like your introduction that tells the person reading why they should or should not read the book.

Obviously, there are may other methods to use for writing reviews, and when you become more experienced you'll find they just free form in different structures as you plan and write, but I've tried to give you a simple to follow basic structure to get you going!


If you want to see a few examples, I've recently reviewed blogger and childrens writer extrodanaire Laura Jane Cassidy's debut novel Angel Kiss, and you can read my regular reviews over at my reviewer page over at Judging Covers or check my portfolio for links to some of my Guardian reviews!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Weekly Love - Week 74

You might notice that there is a considrable lack of makeup and beauty links in this weeks 'Weekly Love' that is because starting tomorrow over on my beauty blog The Glossy Guide I'll be posting Weekly Love [Beauty Edition], make sure you follow on Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin' so you don't miss out! *edit* 23/07/11 You can now check out the first Weekly Love [Beauty Edition] here!
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+ Looking through all the photos I took of Hydrangea bushes in France - they're everywhere in Brittany, and they're one of my favourites! 


+ A very dear friend of mine, who will remain nameless telling me the best way to pass a driving test is to wear a low cut top and to flirt with the examiner. 


+  Starting to plan next summers holiday.

+ Sarah's list of 22 things she thinks it's imperative we know. I've known this girl for years and I feel the need to tell you she's a total lunatic - but in a good way! 

+ My amazing friends who are always there for me. 


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+ Twinings Peach Iced Tea bags from the French supermarket.

+ I found the perfect black suede fringed bag in Topshop - I've been looking for one for ages, but god knows how I'd pay for it!

+ Hanging out with and catching up with Sarah for the first time in years.


+ Body Of Proof - I love discovering exciting new TV shows to sink my teeth into!


+ The fact that I no longer go to a school where nail polish is banned - I've been getting maximum enjoyment out of my favourite Essie nail polish!


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+ I'm gradually clearing out my room and my office, and though I have been throwing a lot away I'm going to be putting a lot of it up on my blog, and over at The Glossy Guide for you guys to grab and bargain prices! These books are all paperbacks that I've read, but are in very good condition. They cost £1 each, plus £2 postage. Add 50p to the postage for each additional book (UK only) - all four of them could be yours for £7.50 - cheaper than most paperbacks in Waterstones! In you're interested in any, drop me an email


+ This weeks Graze Box being entirely filled with crackers. 


+ Blake Shelton's new album 'Red River Blue' is absolutely amazing - a must for anyone who is into country music!


+ The chocolate fudge cake in Cafe Nero is absolutely divine, and they also do a good cup of mint tea!

+ Finishing watching every episode of Castle made so far. The only problem is, what am I going to do with myself until 19th September when season 4 starts?!



What have you been enjoying this week?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Dear Rachel: How Do You Go Shopping Without Spending Too Much Money?

Dear Rachel,

You always seem to be shopping. How do you manage not to run out of money?

Yeah, I am a bit of a shopaholic - I usually head to the shops about three or four times every week! I always try loads of stuff on, I must take about 8 items into the Zara fitting room every single Saturday without fail! I think I've managed to master that elusive art of shopping for fun without spending much money. For starters, I'll try anything I really like on, even if I'm not sure if it will suit me or not, because it's fun anyway, and chances are it won't fit you or will look horrible on. 
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The key is, only try something on if you really like it and know you have the money available to spend if you try it on and fall in love with it. If you try something on, love it but can't afford it you'll still be tempted to buy it anyway. Also part of this point, I don't think of my bank balance in terms of how much more I have. I know how much money I like to keep in there are the bare minimum, and how much I need for other things. When I'm shopping I don't think in terms of I have 'X' amount in the bank, I think I have, say, £60 because £60 is what is left when you extract all of the money I don't want to spend out of value 'X'. (Sorry if this sounds very mathematical - I'm surprised at myself, I hated Maths at school!)

Also, shop around, see what other skirts in that cut or colour are available in other stores etc. There may be a cheaper or nicer option out there. It's only in stores like H&M where if you snooze you lose I try something on the first time I see it. 

For all of the above, on my laptop I actually have a treats list. I have everything I want, but don't need listed in price order with how much they cost next to them. For example, at the very top of the list, the cheapest thing I want at the moment is Soap & Glory's Heel Genious which comes in at £5.15, and the most expensive is a bottle of Chloe by Chloe perfume at £40. If I have some money to spare, and something in my life has gone either very well or very badly and I want to treat myself to a frivolity that's not (usually) and item of clothing, I can take my pick from the list to match my budget, rather than just going out and impulse buying things I might not want as much.  Also, if when I go back to the list I see something there I no longer want, I just delete it, meaning that I'll never be spending money on it!


I hope some of these tips help, but I think its really about finding spending and saving habits that work for you! 


If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, be they on blogging, beauty or books, you can drop me a quick email, contact me on Twitter or leave me a comment on Formspring

Saturday, 16 July 2011

France Photo Diary #3

On Friday I got back from another lovely week spent at my home in France. This time around it was beautiful and sunny - did you know you can get a much better tan in Cancal in July than in California in April? Who'd have thought it!
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Friday, 15 July 2011

Recipe: Blueberry Pancakes

Do you remember these blueberry American style breakfast pancakes I posted a photo of in my Weekly Love? So many of you had such wonderful things to say about them, I've decided to post the recipe! 
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Sorry about the quality if some of these photos, yellow rooms with not much natural light are always the worst to take photos in, but I decided I might as well to help illustrate the process!
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Ingredients:

200g Self Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt
300ml Milk
Unsalted Butter
Couple of handfuls of Blueberries
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First, put all of the dry powdery ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) through a sieve to remove any lumps there may be in the flour. 
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Make a well in the middle of your flour mixture. 
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Beat the egg into the milk until it is well mixed, but don't over beat it. Sometimes if I want extra special pancakes I add a drop or two of vanilla essence at this point!
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Next, melt a knob of butter. I usually cook in my Mum's kitchen, which has an Aga so I do it in a small pan, but this can be done on a very low heat for a short time, if you're really careful, in a microwave. 
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Pour your milk/ egg mixture into the well in the middle of the flour mixture, and using an electric whisk mix it together, keeping the whisk near the middle and gradually scraping the edges to incorporate the flour. 
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Once it is all well mixed, whisk in the melted butter, and pour the mixture into a jug. 
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Melt another piece of butter, a bit smaller this time, over a medium heat in a pancake pan if you have one, if not just an ordinary pan. Swirl the pan so the base is well coated with melter butter, but be careful you don't let the butter burn! 
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Pour a pancake size drop of the batter into the pan, and then drop a couple of blueberries into the batter, carfully, if possible, rolling them over slightly in the uncooked mixture to they are covered in batter. 
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After a few minutes use a wooden spatular to gently lift the edges of the pancake and make sure it has not stuck to the bottom of the pan. 
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When you can see bubbles at the surface turn the pancake over It should be golden brown like this. Cook until the other size is golden brown. Remove it from the pan and place it on a piece of kitchen towel to pick up any excess butter. Repeat the process with the rest of the mixture, adding more melted butter to the pan as necessary to stop them from sticking. 

This recipe makes about 8 pancakes, which makes 2-3 servings depending on how many you want to eat at once. Serve in a stack with more blueberries and either golden or maple syrup. Or, if you're me blueberries, strawberries, maple syrup and unsmoked streaky bacon! 


I have adapted this recipe from BBC Good Food

What is your favourite brunch?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Commemoration

On Thursday at school it was Commemoration, which is the day of graduation for the Upper 6th: my last ever day at school. 
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Me & my Grandma | Thais & I

It's traditional for everyone to wear either court dress (these white dresses for the girls and tail coats and breeches for the guys) or the national dress of their country if they're not British. I was totally in love with Thais' Moroccan national dress!
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Lots of people were complaining about the white traditional court dresses we had to wear, but I was actually very, very sad to take mine off. The only things I could not wait to get off were the very, very high ankle breaker Carvella platform white heels I wore to the service in Canterbury Cathedral in the morning - switched them out for my Jaeger wedges for lunch, speeches and afternoon tea!
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In the evening we had the leavers ball before we went onto a nightclub afterwards. My dress is from Karen Millen. 
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My Grandma took this photo in out hallway while I was brushing my hair and checking my lipstick - it lets you get a good look at the back of the dress too. The photos don't show it, but it went down to just above my knee. 


I don't think it has really hit me that it it all over yet, but I'm pretty sure it will soon! Those of you who have finished 6th form/ High School, especially this year, what were your last days like?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

New Vintage Camera

About a week ago I came downstairs to find a very, very dirty and dusty object I did not recognise sitting on the kitchen table right in front of where I usually sit. Curious, I looked a little closer and when I realised what it was I got very, very excited. 
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My Dad had found it while he'd been cleaning out some old boxes in the garage, and wondered, if I could get it to still work if I wanted to have it. 
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It took me quite a long time to clean it up to this standard, but its all in good working order. I removed the metal wrist chain and replaced it with a nice mauve Glossy Box ribbon so it can hang round my neck. I had to finally give back the 35mm film camera I have been borrowing the other day, so I was so excited to get this one - my next stop has to be the photography shop to stock up on some more film! 


Has anyone else got their hands on a surprising second hand or vintage treasure recently? 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Book Review: Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

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I have an inherent love of everything French. I wouldn't class myself as a bona-fied Franco-file as many people would class themselves (I'm nothing like the girl from An Education) but I think having spent a lot of time as I grew up in France, reading French books and magazines, and spending a lot of my time living in my parents house there now, eating, shopping and soaking up the culture and the countryside, I really do feel a connection to the country. (I wrote this post sitting at my desk looking out over miles of Brittany fields, tiny villages and gothic churches, and this is a scheduled post, so as you're reading this I'm back in France again!) I've spent a lot of time in France, but only one brief day in Paris, a fact that upsets me greatly. I really want to get to know the city, but until I can plan a trip there that does not fall through at the planning stage, I've had to content myself with reading everything I can about the city instead.
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After reading about this book on Refinery 29 (I think, though it could very well have been Fashionista), and in NYLON magazine, I decided to order myself a copy and see what all of the fuss was about; it has had exceptional write-ups so far. I'm not usually one for lifestyle 'guides' of any type, but I was surely going to enjoy it if Ines de la Fressange managed to relate that air of Parisian 'chic' in her book (I usually find books such as these tacky, as well as unhelpful).
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Parisian Chic covers almost every aspect of everyday life; from dressing like a Parisian, beauty tips, home decor, entertaining, and where to shop, eat and visit in Paris. There is also a few pages at the back left for your own notes to jot down the names, addresses, phone numbers and websites of your own hotspots, be they in Paris of for a bit of online French shopping from wherever in the world you happen to be based. I have the English version, but if your language skills are up to scratch I really think you ought to read it in its original French version.
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I adore the style section, as I was reading it I felt that it had my own personal attitude to style down to the tee. There are so many great tips on shopping and creating a basic wardrobe that you can mix up with eclectic combinations and accessories, but I really love the guide to the seven essential items any woman must have in their wardrobe and how to wear them; a mans blazer, the trench coat, navy sweater, tank top, little black dress, the perfect pair of jeans and a leather jacket. Each section has a list of shops with photos and addresses in Paris, all of which I want to visit, but Ines has also included websites where you can shop these stores online too. The book also shares my 'less is more' approach to beauty: less is more, and once you have found products and routines that suit you and your skin, stick with them. She also preaches my approach to perfume: find one you love and stick with it for at least a couple of years (though I know this might not suit everyone).
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As for the rest of the book, the home decor section made me wish I had my own apartment to do up in a Parisian style, and I'm going to be sure to refer to the lists of restaurants, hot spots and of course art galleries when I finally get to Paris. She's listed many of my two of my favourite city hangouts wherever I find myself in the world: bookshops and art galleries.


If you live in Paris or not, I think Parisian Chic is a book that every girl should have on their shelf. It is in fact a brilliant guide, and a really good read to boot. Has anyone else read it yet?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

St Malo

St Malo is my favourite town in the region of Brittany (Northern France) where I live. I first went there a few years ago when we were thinking about buying a house in the area, and I fell in love with the little walled town. I'm leaving for France again this morning, so enjoy the last of the photos from my trip last month, and I'm sure that there will be many more for you all to enjoy when I get back!
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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Weekly Love - Week 73

This is a scheduled post. As you're reading this, I'm at school for my last ever day, most likely dressed in my white court dress graduation dress, ready to leave school behind for good! I'll try to post loads of photos, and of my ball dress for tonight later in the month!
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+ I think this picture speaks for itself. Total heaven.


+ Picking up all of my favourite French magazine titles at the supermarket such as Vogue Paris, Glamour France and Jalouse, even if it did seem like the place was conspiring against me, being sold out of all of my favourite French sweets and teas!


+ French radio is so much better than English radio, and they play all my favourite music like Maroon 5 and Lady Antebellum every day! Also, lots and lots of classic rock.


+ Stretching out to sleep in a double bed.


+ Listening to albums that I listened to in California, that now remind me of California every time I listen to them.

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Fish pedicures with Sherin and Susie!


+ Sitting writing at my desk in France, looking out the window and over the miles of Brittany fields, gothic churches and tiny villages as far as the eye can see.


+ The wonderful feeling when an idea for a novel starts to take shape in your head, and you know that you'll actually have the free time to try and write it for once!


+ Long, French lunches.


+ Sand in-between my toes from running along the beach.

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+ Relaxing on my bed with a glass of wine and a copy of French Glamour with Laetitia Casta on the cover.


+ Finding somewhere where you can have an aperitif, a steak, a glass of wine, bread and ice cream all for 12€ at lunchtime - bargain!

+ Blair gives us a peek at the new Primark Collection - I think I'm going to be buying a lot of it!

+ Early evening walks picking wild flowers along the roadside.


+ Jalouse Magazine.

+ Getting a Whistles wrap bracelet for £10 in the Fenwick sale, reduced from £25 - I've wanted one for ages!

+ How to write an editorial calendar for your blog - I use one, and it is really useful!

+ Jazz on a summer sunset.


What have you been enjoying this week?