A travel and style blog

Plaster Cast & Prosecco

What I posted:  
London Calling this weekend to visit one of my oldest friends and take in the shops, cafe's and bars in Stoke Newington.

What really happened:
I try to get to London two or three times a year to catch up with my friend.  It's always a lively affair and never fails as a great weekend, despite the challenging train journey home and the inevitable soul searching that comes when you travel alone with a hangover.  We have the kind of friendship where you don't need to see each other very often but when you do meet again, you pick up right where you left off.  Usually in a bar.

I've loved my visits even more since he moved to Stoke Newington.  The High Street has a relaxed feel, with stylish independent shops, and good choice of cafes, restaurants and bars.  It's such a nice place to wander, strolling into wherever tickles your fancy.  The gallery of shops on www.independentlondon.com gives a great idea of what you can expect to find there.  Resist the urge to touch everything in Search + Rescue lifestyle store on Stoke Newington Church Street.

Image from www.independentlondon.com
Unfortunately in a rather dramatic and unexpected turn of events my friend made somewhat of a scene when he plummeted down the stairwell in a casino earlier this week.

With a slight dint to his dignity and damage to his tendons this weekend has seen a change of plan.  I managed to get a visit in, but popped down the road to his family home in the North. Thanks to Madonna's unforgettable closing performance at the Brit Awards this week, he is at least bang on trend.  If it's good enough for Madge...

I'm relieved that I have a friend still in one piece, his leg is recovering nicely and a trip to Stoke Newington is on the cards for later in the year.  In the meantime I have a bathroom without tiles that needs some attention.

Hope you enjoyed reading x

DIY Heaven or Hell?

What I posted;

Yesterday was officially DIY Sunday in my flat.  My bathroom saw the start of a serious revamp thanks to a helping hand from my boyfriend.  He did most of the manual labour.  Well ok, he did it all. 

What really happened;

I've hated the bathroom tiles since I moved in and having lovingly redecorated the rest of the flat the bathroom is my last job.  I had great pleasure in seeing these horrors finally be taken off yesterday.  If you're of a sensitive disposition you may find the following image upsetting.


My heavenly home improvements were disrupted an hour in, from a not so friendly neighbour, who after knocking on my front door waltzed uninvited into my flat and quizzed me on why I was redecorating, asked would I stop and claimed the noise was unfair.  When he started trying to tell me how to decorate my own home he was given an apology for any brief noise and was politely asked to leave.  He returned shortly after somewhat disgruntled and made a further complaint about a tiny amount of dust on the peach communal carpet.  All of this at 3:30pm. 
I'm still not sure who was more upset in the end, my neighbour over the dust on the peach communal carpet, or myself over the fact that the communal carpet is peach.

I may have fallen out with the man upstairs but shopping for the perfect tiles makes up for it.  Taking inspiration from the ideas below, I'm looking for crisp white tiles with a feature of bold colour.


Two trips to the skip and one trespasser later I'm closer to my dream bathroom. 

Hope you enjoyed reading x

The Time I Planned Two Weeks In The Sun But Had Two Nights In Durham

What I posted;
Summer is officially on it's way... 5 star all-inclusive holiday to Paphos, Cyprus booked!  Can't wait to be relaxing by this pool in 3 months.

What really happened;

This is the kind of holiday I had imagined I'd be on last year.  The week off work was booked, my bikini's and sun-cream were at the ready, I was all set.  My boyfriend and I were geared up for a last minute deal.  We'd both heard the tales of holidays for half the price, every extra imaginable thrown in.  Sea views, room upgrades, cocktails 24 hours a day, and all for a bargain price.
The mystery of our destination added to the excitement for our first proper holiday together. We waited until two days before until we tried to book.

We overlooked one thing.  Our week off was October half term.  Prices doubled.  Where did we end up? County Durham for two nights.

My visions of sipping cocktails while the waves lapped gently on the shore vanished when I slung my palm tree print cover up back in the wardrobe and dug my jumper out.

We spent two nights at Redworth Hall Hotel in County Durham, which don't get me wrong was well enjoyed, it's just that I'd sooner have sangria than scones.
This year we are making no mistakes and the countdown to Paphos has begun. x

Skin Care Overhaul

What I Posted;

Time for a treat this weekend, taking a trip to the Clarins counter for a skin care regime overhaul. Bliss!

What really happened;

My skin care regime has taken a bit of a knock since buying my first flat last year. Needing to make my money go further I decided to cut back on my beloved Clarins beauty products and try some cheaper alternatives.  I haven't been happy with my skin since and just couldn't find anything as good. I made the decision I was going back to Clarins after months apart.
I made a bright eyed return to the Clarins counter in my local Debenhams, ready to splash out on the tighteners and moisturisers that would give me an eternally youthful complexion.

It didn't start well when 'Clarins Carol' gasped and went straight to the first signs of ageing drawer.  I stood shell shocked as she told me off and grimaced at my dry skin.  I looked at the floor when she chastised me and said the "Pure and Radiant Mask won't work in my cupboard will it."
"No Carol it won't"
After being quizzed on my application method of various items (which was wrong - pat don't rub), I left with a bag of urgently needed items and a list of must use products before ever leaving the house again. Feeling like a bulldozer had hit me I cut my shopping trip short and took myself and my newly acquired complexion anxieties back home to cleanse, cleanse, cleanse wondering if Carol might possibly hate me.

Some of the products I needed;
Cleansing Milk with Alpine Herbs
Toning Lotion with Camomile
Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream with Microbeads
Pure and Radiant Mask
HydraQuench Cream Mask
Extra-Firming Eye Lift Perfecting Serum
Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle Correction Cream
Multi-Active Night Youth Recovery Cream

The horror.

I've been known to come away from Clarins counters with a bag of a treats and a possible new best friend. This visit has left me moderately traumatised.

I'm going to the bathroom now, I may be some time. Hope you enjoyed reading x

Nothing Says I Love You Like Triangular Shaped Chocolate

For Valentine's Day this year a table is already booked at a mystery restaurant.  All I need to do is pick the perfect outfit and wait for my lift on the night.  Thinking back to Valentine's Days gone by my previous boyfriends haven't been quite as thoughtful, trust me.  Here are my Top 5 Valentine's Day Disappointments. 

5.The only card I received was a hoax
The sender had cut letters out of a newspaper to make their 'declaration of love' hoping they would remain undetectable.  A friend of mine always sniggered a little too much whenever I brought it up. As a single girl seeking true love Valentine's Day wasn't the right time for jokes.

4. I didn't even receive a hoax
There is nothing quite like the disappointment of not receiving a single card.

3. My Valentine's card was a birthday card
With a small stock of cards up for grabs in a local corner shop the one I received had 'Happy Birthday' crossed out and 'Happy Valentine's Day' scrawled across the front.  Receiving a card was progress, however I did have to sit outside the shop while the necessary amendments were made.

2. A romantic meal was interrupted by a sickness bug
Instead of gazing into anyone's eyes I spent most of the night gazing into the toilet.

1. A Toblerone
My number one speaks for itself.  A Toblerone, and not even the 400g one.  No card, he didn't like cards.

Needless to say this year is already off to a winning start x

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Be My Valentine

They say true love knows no bounds, unless your bound by a £20 gift budget that is.  For my second Valentines celebration with my boyfriend I suggested a budget to see what creative gifts we could come up with on a shoe string allowance.

Taking inspiration from the "love lock" bridge, Pont L'Archeveche in Paris I had my very own eureka moment and decided to get a love lock of our own and see if we could start the trend in our usually unromantic home city.  The locks are meant to symbolise an unbreakable love.  If you place the lock at a landmark or any place special to you, it is thought that the two lovers who place it there will one day return to that spot and their love will be forever locked.

For only £10 I was able to get a padlock and even had the date I met my boyfriend engraved on it. Typically lovers have their names or initials engraved but seeing that some authorities view the 'love locks' as vandalism I opted for a more incognito declaration of love (if there is such a thing) not wanting to lead any scrupulous environmental health enforcement officers straight to the culprits. There's no allowance for fines in this years budget.

So there you have it, for a bargain price of £10 our love will be forever locked this Valentines Day, unless of course local authorities see fit and take a pair of bolt cutters to it.  What did I spend the rest of the budget on?  A card and a bottle of plonk.

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