The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Sunday 29 March 2015

Girls Night out - My VIP Wardrobe

 So I don’t usually do the sort of posts that include outfit descriptions or OOTD (Outfits Of The Day).  Not that there’s anything wrong with them, many bloggers do it well and manage to receive many comments from other bloggers on their sense of style.   I can’t describe what I’m wearing without feeling like... well a massive twonk, however this weekend I was loaned a beautiful dress from My VIP Wardrobe. 

Hannah, the owner, made everything easy and the cost is just so reasonable.  Some of the dresses are quite expensive to buy, so to be able to hire one for between £18 and £30, wear it out, receive many a compliment and then send it back when you’re done is really tempting.  You don’t even have to clean it. 
This black, one shoulder dress with intricate waist detail was a perfect choice, it was classy and chic, yet so comfortable and fitted me like a glove.   I paired the My VIP Wardrobe dress with a silver and black cuff from Bacoca Boutique and some classic Louboutins (I know, I’m a lucky girl) and I felt like a million dollars.  Cambridge was happy help me celebrate with some good friends for our girls night out.

Cocoa Crisis - Probably contains all of your daily calorie allowance
First we went to Las Iguanas where the cocktails were cheap and fast flowing.  Cosmopolitans and Expresso Martinis were the first order of the night.

Next was The Hidden Rooms.  Cocktails there were a fair bit more expensive but Cocoa Crisis, a dangerously fantastic mix of alcohol, chocolate, butterscotch and cream was well worth the price tag.  These could go down way too easily if you weren’t paying attention (remember drink responsibly lovely legal aged readers!)  The Hidden Rooms had a delightfully low key non-existent dress code and the recognisable, if somewhat cheesy hits from 70’s 80’s and 90’s meant for an easy-going and fun evening.

Finally we headed to a member’s club that my friend belongs to, the name of which I’ll keep secret for now (intrigue is a b*tch eh?)  Here a DJ played some banging tunes and half the people looked like Proudlock from Made in Chelsea.  While their drinks were really quite cha-ching they were scrumptious.  Shame I can’t say where it is eh?

Ending the night in La Gardenias a famous haunt for anyone who’s around at 2am with the munchies.  Apparently ultra-famous ex-customers include Stephen Fry et al. from their time as students which I don’t doubt. Their chicken is exactly what you need to end a night out on a protein filled high.

I’ll be looking to My VIP Wardrobe for any events I have coming over the next few, hopefully, sun filled months.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Simple Things - Soft Furnishing Offerings in Cambridge

Recently I asked on Facebook what your favourite types of soft furnishings were, turns out we really like this sort of shopping. I know right? “Humans enjoy decorating their own home shocker” not exactly a newsworthy headline.  One reply-ee... - Yes it is a word... well it is now ok? - did seem to think walls counted as ‘soft furnishings' but she’s in Leeds where room dividers are obviously considered a luxury.

Either way I thought this is a damn good excuse to stroll the Cambridge streets looking at some of the wares other humans have made or sourced so that our abodes are more appealing.
Cambridge Market
I seriously can’t get enough of this place, especially in the sunshine when the flowers in the stone fountain are all grooving away on the breeze.  There are some real gems to be found here like My Little Cambridge Shop.
The signs, cards, plaques and picture frames are all handmade and designed by Sandy Graham and her husband. If you like the look of a design but want it in a different colour/size she can do that as well and this flexibility means your child’s or friend’s room will have a genuinely unique touch.
Another stall (the name of which escapes me... bad blogger!) was chock full of Cambridge cups, china jewellery trays and cute little signs about champagne and who doesn’t love that? 

Rosa Fabulosa (I just love saying that!) is a stall selling home fragrances and her delicate designs with seductive scents are all in pretty little packaging.  Your mum, gran or neighbour would love these.
Green Street... kind of
Around the corner Catesby's has some adorable trinkets with a French influence.  Certain items would need a large wall to display them on like this over sized cutlery set. I realise there's nothing for a scale here but trust me they were huge.
Others add a chic touch to any dining room table, French salt and pepper containers anyone?  A little known fact is Catesbys have a small cafe upstairs. It’s all white walls (fancy eh Leeds girl?) and greenery with homemade cakes and coffee.  Smashing!
Across the way Susie Watson Designs gives us country kitchen couture.  This little shop of wonders is filled with coffee trays, candles, cushions, throws, lamps and curtains all with a hint of Susie’s distinctive designs.  The fair trade aspect is particularly appealing to this blogger, I could spend literally hours here.
Oliver Bonas
I pronounce this Bon-As though have been advised it’s Boners... anyone know?  Either way it stocks what I call my chair but they call The Velvet Tub chair... whatever!  Available in pretty much all the colours of the rainbow it’s the perfect place to sit and look at what a wonderful place your home would be if you had all these things. 

Best get saving up!

Let me know the places you like to get simple things below...

Monday 23 March 2015

The Shoe Whisperer - Silver Wedding Shoes

So recently I was asked if I knew where to go for some silver vintage-esk shoes for a friend’s wedding.  Ever happy to help with any shoe emergency I set about looking for some examples, which has become this blog (I know, I know any excuse to write AND shop!)  NB: It is amazing how friendly some customer service staff become when you mention you are “shopping for a friend’s wedding” or if you're feeling cheeky ahem 'a client'.  But I digress, you didn’t come here to listen to me twitter on, you came for shoe knowledge – voila!

TK Maxx
Faithful Maxxy provides us with an array of goodies at ‘cutmeownthroat’ prices and these two little gems were no exception. The first pair were fairly high around the ankle as well as the heel so would require a little practise and may not be ‘vintage-y’ enough but they are ever so pretty!

This first pair are super sparkly (though they don't seem to be so in this image) and come with a matching bag if that’s your thing.  Also available in gold as you can see.
Though a darker silver I have it on ‘good’ authority from the sales assistant that these are comfier than they may look.  Try to ignore her upside down decapitated head in the background!

LK Bennett

A long standing favourite shop of mine (yes before Kate Middleton used to shop there!) these silver sling back sweeties are the most expensive ones I found but were one of my favourites.

Available in a beautiful iridescent gold or cream shade as well I figured if you can’t splash out for your wedding when can you?

Kurt Geiger
Back to the sparkles and the detail on these Miss KG shoes would make for gorgeous wedding pictures. The second pair are again a little darker but the design really draws your eye.
Burr Bridal
Finally we have a few from a proper bone fide bridal shop. More cream with silver accents than silver per say they nevertheless have a vintage-esk appeal.  All available to order as well so no issues with selling out of your size!
Man I love shoe shopping, even if it isn’t for me.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Summer Time Jewellery by Bacoca Boutique

I defy any girl or guy, if that’s his thing, not to love finding unique jewellery it’s a basic human right…sort of. So when Hayley Brown walked into the latest conference I went to wearing a beautiful silver and black cuff a few of us had to know where she got it. 

Turns out it’s from her own company. Bacoca Boutique named after three adjacent neighbourhoods in New York, has been established for almost a year and their bold looks (no ‘wallflower wearers’ here) are sure to get you noticed. Comfort and glamour go hand-in-hand with the aforementioned cuff having a soft inner lining which is a thoughtful touch.  I’ve got my eye on their Slake Wrap as well as the ridiculously cute starfish hairband perfect for warmer weather - Come ON Summer! I asked Hayley about her company and its vision...

1.    What is your Company ethos?
The company ethos is to provide unique, original and gorgeous statement jewellery at affordable prices along with excellent customer service.

2.    Where do you get your inspiration for designs?
When choosing the jewellery I have to feel that it is unique enough and that chances are you won’t see it anywhere else on the high street.

3.    How are you able to keep prices so affordable?
Prices are kept reasonable by buying smart and because we do not have shop overheads.

4.    Where are your pieces sourced?
The jewellery is sourced from all over the UK.

5.    Are any of your items fair trade?
No, but that is an area that I hope to go into soon.

6.    What are your visions for growth?
The growth for Bacoca has been fairly rapid so far. Within the last year we have gained a loyal following on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and now have our website live. Our vision is to now become a household name for any ladies looking for gorgeous statement jewellery.

7.    Any exciting plans you can tell us about?
We are always to looking to work with Bloggers (such as yourself) and we have also got some other companies looking to us to provide them with statement jewellery - watch this space!

8.    What in your opinion should jewellery provide a wearer?
The wearer should feel ultra glamorous. It should be an extension of the outfit [but] still be able to hold its own and be a talking point.

9.    What celebrity you would most like to see in your designs?
Lots of celebrities love statement jewellery, you only have to watch the Oscars to see that. However closer to home it would be lovely to see some of the gorgeous Towie or Hollyoaks ladies in some of my Jewellery. Maybe even Michelle Keegan.... fingers crossed!

10.    What would you say will be the biggest jewellery trend for Spring Summer?
For the summer I still think that gorgeous brights are in, so anything yellow or turquoise in either necklaces or cuffs would be fab especially with beautiful tanned skin on holiday. Another huge trend for SS15 will be the metallic tattoos.

We have it all on the Bacoca Boutique website!

Its early days for this vibrant jewellery line but if their pieces keep calling to me like this, I could be decked out in Bacoca all summer long!

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Bloglovin' Request

Hello lovely people,

So I'm joining ranks with Bloglovin.  For those not in the know Bloglovin' is a tool to keep track of the blogs you love and alerts you when a new post is up.  I've resisted this for a while as I wasn't sure it was necessary however I've been noticing my stats are much higher than my followers.  I'm assuming this is because people are reading (thank you!) via Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram.

It does pose the question though how many people really read my ramblings on an, at least semi-regular, basis.  Enter BlogLovin!

Please do follow me if you like:

Ranting or Rave Reviews (Books, Music, Films, TV shows, people who are nice or numpties, you name it, I've got an opinion on it!)
Fashion and Style
Local Information (Cambridge UK)

I'd really appreciate it.  Look forward to seeing you all there!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
My Blog lovin' image

Monday 16 March 2015

ESPA Skincare - Beauty Blog Post

As a blogger I do get the odd sample item sent through the post to me, which I love but sometimes feel a little bad about advising the product which someone has so kindly provided isn’t all that. So when my Tatler subscription arrived this month with a wonderful free sample of Espa Skin Care I was thrilled, here’s a product I can review stress free!

Espa started strong, the first impressions are of definite quality.  And not only because the cleanser bottle could stand up on its own with none of that collapsible toothpaste tube shenanigans.  Good sturdy stuff!

First things first I have to admit it does look a bit like albino frogspawn (that'll be the jojoba beads) but once applied I didn’t think of spunky frog goo once…until now that is.  Anyway, the scent was definitely pleasing, very “posh spa-esk” and though the application felt rather oily it was not at all heavy and didn't leave a residue. 

Pro Serum
I know that if I ask my husband what he thinks I’ll get an honest response so I queried if he liked the smell of this. “You smell like my mother” he replied, hmmm not that sexy then? For me this left a slight tingle that luckily went away after a few minutes but did remind me of the 90's, all patchouli oil teenage angst.  It also didn't show any real evidence of taking any grime from my face (you know when you look at the cotton pad and see all the yuck that has been there since the night before?) which I kind of expected it would. In truth it never claimed to take dirt away just that it will "brighten and even skin tone enhance elasticity and protect against premature ageing.  Note the clever wording premature ageing", not actual ageing obviously.

Slick, easy to use and the company are obviously keen to impress.  With a quick search you can find where Espa products are used and in which establishments, they even advise how close they are to you.  It is also especially good at remembering what you ordered and if you have any vouchers to apply so no need to add in your details 50,000 times. 

One point I will make is while it says “two free samples” with every delivery (which happily you get to choose from a selection of 5 or 6) the delivery charge is a minimum of £4.95.  I feel a little of that has been allocated the cost of our “free” samples.

For 2 weeks I cleansed and Serum'd my face and overall my skin definitely felt softer and less "combination-y".  Aside from a massive zit which appeared at my left temple the condition was good with a shiny glow, not in a grease-ball way, the good kind of shiny I promise.

I’m not sure how much better it is than the St Ives apricot facial scrub I use daily but for when I’ve had a few too many or am trying to fake the dewy appearance of youth and non-hungover-ness, I could well reach for the Espa  Proserum again.  Just not when the husband’s around.

NB: I've been contacted on what I said about a 'daily scrub'. so I should clarify.  I'm pretty scatty so when I say daily I mean when I remember... which is not even close to daily.  Please note this is not a recommendation! You do what floats your boat.  Love Ally

Thursday 12 March 2015

#CambMeetUp or what happens when 50 cool chicks with the same interest get together

First off I have to admit to being truly shite about blogging over the past week or so, however having attended my first Cambridge Blog event I'm raring to go again.

Like many other blog posts I've read on the event I was feeling trepidatious (I know, I just made it up!) about what to expect. Would they all be frightfully young and gorgeous (pretty much) would they look at me and think ‘what’s this old bird doing here being all has’beeny and snagging our freebies’?   Truth is I did know one or two girls there and this meant I was on a more comfortable footing than most, props to those that walked in on their lonesome!  Everyone was really nice and I met some lovely ladies who were so welcoming and seemed to really enjoy each other's company. Who says girls can’t get along?

Some of the local bloggers there I was already following, others were new and seeing all their posts on this event along with whatever else they are chatting about really helped me feel part of a growing community.  A few you should check out are:

Simple Little Pieces - A positive happy vibe giver
Aash's Little Talks -
One to watch for make up and beauty tips!
I don't like peas -
Cool pics (not to mention the best name for I blog I've seen in ages!)
MissSueFlay -
Recipes, Spa recommendations and a bit of a local celeb when it comes to blogging!
Lady Katabella -
One of those effortlessly cool chicks, loving crafts, beauty and has an adorable pup
Clashing Time
The event wouldn't have been possible if it were not for this lady who's into fashion and general fabulousness!

The event itself was a stonking success, everyone who registered turned up (plus a few extras) and the products were top notch.  Lush, l'occitane and Chocolat Chocolat treats were all around and a Christmas type joy filled the air when we started to dig in.

The mark of a good goody bag is how much of it you want to give away and I can safely say I made damn sure no one got their mitts on mine when I got home, my Blogger Programme tote will be with me forever more!

A quick nod to a few of my fav products:
Sniffy Wiffy Body lotion for guys and gals with instructions on how to cop a feel of yourself to check for breast and testicular cancer. Admittedly the wiffy part is rather strong but not unpleasant and much more delicate on your skin than in the tub.  For moisturising quality it gets a good 8-9 out of 10 as it sinks in wonderfully and for scaly bags with dried out hands like me that's a real plus.

Lisa Angel This scarf is so soft, feels rather luxurious and has a cute message and design, I’ve worn it most days since the event last Saturday. The image I took doesn't do it justice so go have a look at it here
Claireabellemakes Let’s face it, the bike is like the emblem of Cambridge so this adorable necklace was always going to be right up my street.  Cute without being too gimmicky I’ll think of  my fellow bloggers and this great event whenever I wear it.

The only question I have is... when’s the next one going to be?
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