Cats and Co-ords

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For me, 2014 has been the year of the co-ord. I’m not complaining mind – anything that makes me feel like a) an extra from Clueless or b) a beach-side babe from the 1950s is always a winner in my books. So, surprise surprise, I’ve just added another to my collection! This the fourth (oops) co-ord I’ve bought this year, but it’s something a little different to my usual pastel hued girly pieces – this is a little smarter and certainly more glamorous than you might be used to seeing on me.

I found this embellished co-ord in the Dahlia sale – it was an impulse buy, but a very good one – I remember admiring it months ago and how often is the item you covet 50% off? Exactly. By the way, the sale is still on, and this co-ord is still for sale, just follow the What I Wore link!

A slightly more substantial co-ord is the perfect transition piece for the strange weather we’re having – the bare legs ensure you’ll never be boiling, yet the decent thickness of the weaved material keeps you warm in a way that cotton simply won’t. When Autumn creeps closer, I’ll be donning a pair of tights (to hide my blindingly pale legs) and a leather jacket, and voilà – AW14, here we come! 

What  I Wore:

Co-ord – Dahlia | Hat – New Look | Shoes – New Look (similar).

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Beaches and Fireworks

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Carousels and Crystals

It’s nearly the end of my holiday – boo!

Thankfully, it’s been a beautiful week – one day of which was spent in the delightful Weymouth. Picture your stereotypical coastal town: stretches of sand, turquoise sea, pastel houses, donkey rides and an endless parade of tourist shops selling crystals, ice cream and souvenirs. That’s Weymouth. 

I spent the afternoon strolling around the quaint streets, eating Frozen Yoghurt and watching the boats in the quayside. Pretty sweet! 

4610911What I Wore

Dress  – Dorothy Perkins | Floral crown – New Look | Shoes – New Look | Bag – Accessorize | Necklace – Accessorize

Summer Fireworks

And to finish off the day, we headed to Poole Quay for a round of fireworks. When you live by the sea, this is a weekly event over summer. I set my camera to a long exposure to capture the crazy patterns – take a look! 10 11 12 13

Got Ink? TTTattoo.

Have you seen my new ink?

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Okay, I lied – it’s not real. Gotcha!

When TTTattoo asked me if I’d review their new temporary tattoos, I jumped at the chance. I’m fascinated by body art and despite having no ink of my own, I was excited to join the club – even if it was just for a week! 

Tattoos seem to be everywhere at the moment and now that one third of young people have them, they’re far from the sailor/soldier/rock star/bad ass symbol they once were. Everyone from accountants to catwalk models sport them now. They’ve basically become the ultimate accessory – as big a part of festival fashion as Hunter wellies, an oversized fedora hat and chunky ethnic jewellery.

I have a lot of concerns about real ink – how do I know I’ll like it in 10 years? What about picking a great design? I change my mind all the time – I can’t keep a haircut or a WordPress theme for more than a couple of years. Committing to something forever is pretty terrifying. Oh yeah, and it hurts! 

So whether you want to sport some cool body art for an event, to freak out an elderly relative  or to test out a design you’ve come up with before you get it inked for real, TTTattoo’s temporaries are the perfect solution.

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The Design

The best bit about reviewing these beauties was getting to design my own – any excuse to crack out the pens! I chose an anchor for my design, I love the aesthetic and what it represents: the sea. I’ve always loved and lived near the sea and therefore anything nautical has a special place in my heart. I even added a heart to the design! I drew the anchor to look thin and symbolic, so its overall look is light and feminine – or it would most definitely look very wrong on little ole me. I’m actually pretty pleased with how it turned out! 

If you don’t fancy designing your own, TTTattoos have a whole host of great designs – like the beautiful vintage style feathers featured at the start of this post. The vintage camera, the array of finger tattoos, the arrows and the compass are also personal favourites!

6The Tattoo

This works in exactly the same way as our beloved temp tattoos from childhood: peel off the plastic, slap it on your skin, apply water and hold for twenty seconds. The transfer worked perfectly – no patches or sticky bits. It remained shiny for an hour or so, but then faded to look more like a real tattoo. If you look very closely in bright light, you can see a faint outline from the transfer, but generally speaking, it’s completely realistic. I’ve been wearing it all day and it shows no sign of peeling off. 

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Maybe wearing this for a couple of days will convince me to get a tattoo for real – or perhaps I’ll just repurchase some temps!

Check TTTatto’s Pinterest for your inkspiration!

By The Seaside

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Hello! I hope you’re all having a lovely week!

It’s my week off this week, so I’ve been fully embracing the world of no alarm clocks, late nights and day trips. Needless to say, I’m having a wonderful time!

I’ve written myself a little to-do list to make sure I don’t waste my week off with Netflix. Top of the the list was a visit to the beautiful seaside town of Swanage. A couple of years back, I spent many a summer evening here, walking along the sea front, guzzling fish and chips and taking in the sights. It might be one of my favourite past times, and I was long overdue a visit this summer.

Swanage’s relaxed atmosphere, down to earth locals and quaint boutiques make it a pretty perfect place to spend the evening. I never thought I’d say this about somewhere in Dorset, but it’s rumoured to be a great place for celebrity spotting (none spotted this evening though, boo)!

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An evening by the seaside felt like the perfect opportunity to dig out my H&M floppy hat, which I’ve never quite had the confidence, or the right outfit, to wear. When teamed with my Boohoo Bardot crop top and pleated midi skirt, I felt a definite Marianne Faithfull or Faye Dunnaway vibe. In my books, this is most certainly a big winner!

I’ve been toting this Accessorize bag all month (another summer sale bargain!) and it’s definitely become my summer favourite! I’m almost exclusively donning white accessories this summer, what don’t they go with? And, of course, you rarely see me without these River island strappy shoes. Aside from it’s copper emblem that leaves a green imprint on the sole of my foot (just me with this issue?), it’s my perfect shoe. 

Hopefully there will be a few more snaps like these before the summers out – the seaside is my favourite place to be!13

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Flower Girl

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This weekend just gone was pretty bloomin’ marvellous. A photo shoot in Upton Park, lazing by the beach and celebrating a friend’s birthday until the early hours. If you head over to my Instagram account, you can see a few snaps of me paddling in the sea and partying in Camden, but here I have the lovely pictures from Saturday’s shoot!

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I’m wearing one of my favourite dresses this season and – would you believe – it’s from Primark! It has all the hallmarks of the perfect summer dress: white, strapless, Broderie Anglaise, a Fifties silhouette, a bow, and even pockets (!). Not bad for £10, eh? 
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 Dress: Primark | Shoes: River Island | Bag: Accessorize 

And, of course, a huge thank you to the talented Emily for her brilliant photography skills!

Ahoy Sailor!

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When you purchase the sailor dress of your dreams (hello velvet ribbon!), there’s really only one location to début it… the beach!

The eagle eyed among you might have noticed this dress mentioned on my blog before, as it’s something I’d coveted for months! As soon as summer arrived, I knew it was time to make it mine! It is, of course, a Vintage Style Me handmade creation. Their smocks are without a doubt the comfiest dresses in my collection; they’re super flattering, they leave plenty of room for seaside ice creams and as they’re made with light weight cotton, they’re perfect for summer!

I stuck with a navy & white nautical theme, with a preppy white New Look backpack (eat your heart out Cher Horowitz) and a pair of River Island chunky white sandals. Next time I’ll be donning  red accessories (to match the ole lippy!) for a bit of va-va-voom.

I still have a VSM voucher to use from my birthday, so I’ll be adding to my already vast collection soon!

458Let’s go to the beach!

As soon as the sun appears, I feel incredibly grateful to live just 15 minutes away from the seaside. Nothing relaxes me like sitting in the sand, watching the waves and eating ice cream! Even as the sun sets, there are plenty of people eating fish and chips, cooking barbecues and having  a bloomin’ good time – one of my favourite things in the world is an evening beach walk. I’m hoping to do quite a few of those this summer!

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I had a gorgeous afternoon and I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Until next time,

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Parlez-vous Franglais? Day Three.

The Eiffel Tower

No trip to Paris is complete without a quick visit to the world’s favourite landmark. With amazing panoramic views of the city, it’s must visit for any tourist, old or new.

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There’s a few tips for a successful trip:

  • Go when it’s quiet – week days and early in the morning are generally suggested to be the best times.
  • Be prepared to queue, regardless! Even when I arrived early on Monday morning I queued for 40 minutes (still beats the couple of hours you might have to wait otherwise!).
  • If you can, buy your tickets online so you don’t have to join the big queues. They sell them in specific time slots, but don’t release many – so be quick!

But it’s worth the queues for the amazing views – I’d recommend visiting all floors to make the most of it! I’m lucky as, of all my fears, heights is certainly not one of them! I loved the third floor – which is that little platform near the very top! At 896ft up, you can see for miles and miles and miles! Even if you’re a bit scared of heights, I’d recommend pushing past your fears for this – you won’t regret it.

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Of course, we deserved a celebratory ice cream! Another chocolate-vanilla combo for me – which was my favourite treat en Paris. Where can we get these in the UK!?

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Not long after this we headed back to the UK – another holiday over, boo! There was still time for one last embarrassing moment – a French boy asked if he could kiss me in a Carrefour (think Tesco’s) check out line. He then brought his elderly Grandpa over to translate. Mortifying…

As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea“. I’d fully agreee. Beautiful buildings, airy streets, al fresco cafes, uber safe transport, excellent food and shopping galore  – what more could a girl ask for? I’m pretty in love with this beautiful city and can’t wait until my next visit. Any takers?

I hope you enjoyed the pictures, videos and recaps of my adventures. Have you ever visited? What were your favourite moments?

Until next time,

Nikki

Parlez-vous Franglais? Day Two.

Montmartre

Our first port of call on day two was Montmartre, located in Paris’ Latin quarter. If you were a bohemian in the late 1800s, this was the place to go – think Van Gogh, Toulous-Lautrec and the rest of the Moulin Rouge crowd. As you can imagine, this is now a pretty big tourist spot- everyone wants to catch a bit of that Moulin Rouge sparkle; taking in a show, slugging coffee with local artists and taking in the amazing views from the Sacre Coeur. Being 10am, I did the latter.

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But it’s not me without an embarrassing moment or two, right? After zooming through the Sacre Coeur (I’m not a church girl and there were enough shh-ing clergymen to ensure I didn’t want to hang around long), we took a stroll through the tourist-shop lined streets where street-artists in their handfuls roam, looking for tourists to draw (and charge). As soon as the spotted me, the sore thumb 23 year old with a head full of brightly coloured flowers and an even brighter lipstick, their targets were locked and loaded. “You’re so beautiful! May I draw you?” “You look like a Princess!” “Please, the artist wants what he wants!”. I am not sure compliment really count as compliments when the prospect of money is involved, so I was immediately doubtful of their sincerity! I’m not the best at receiving compliments as it is. Still, if you need an ego boost – head to Montmartre and wear flowers. That’s my number one tip.

Bateaux Mouches boat tour

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After our morning in Montmartre, we headed the Bateaux Mouches for a boat trip across the Seine. It was midday by this point and around thirty degrees, which meant that the plastic chairs on the boat’s top deck were hot hot hot. There was a few scalded tourists leaping around the top deck before the cruise started! If you’re planning on cruising around the city this summer, bring  a layer you can sit on (top tip #2). The boat trip provided a completely different viewpoint of the city, so for anyone wanting interesting pictures, I’d seriously recommend it! All the iconic sights of Paris, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre etc, are very close by and the boat moves slowly enough for you to snap plenty of photographs. The trip takes about an hour and a half, so it’s a great opportunity to sit back, relax, eat some lunch and enjoy the stunning views. Just rememeber your sun cream…

Le Petit Palais

After our sweltering boat trip we were in serious need of shade and a drink. Our guide recommended we walk up to the Pont Alexandre III (a blooming beautiful bridge) and explore Le Petit Palais from there. When we reached the bridge, we collapsed, took a long drink and sat in the shade. And, of course, I couldn’t resist snapping a few outfit shots with a tantalising Eiffel Tower infused background. Le Petit Palais was a short stroll away, a jaw-droppingly beautiful building (do they make any other sort in Paris?) which acts as an art museum for a host of early 1900’s art. We saw humungous murals that took up whole walls, quirky portraits, and plenty of grand sculptures. It didn’t take too long to walk around and we found a delectable modern cafe outside. It’s big brother, La Grande Palais, sits across the road – if you have a while longer, it could be worth a look round. Judging by it’s side you’d need at least a couple of hours!

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Champs-Elysées (again)

We were faced with two options after we arrived back from our boat trip and museum visit: relax in the hotel room (very tempting) or make the most of the beautiful city and head back out. We chose the latter and headed over to the Champs-Elysées again because I was desperate visit Laduree and try my first macarons!

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You’ll be pleased to know I did visit Laduree, there was a huge queue so I didn’t buy anything. Looking satisfied me well enough, though! After checking that off my list, I realised I was very tired, very hot and pretty peckish. “I can’t face sitting down in the sun and waiting half an hour for some food”, I thought. We looked up and saw a McDonalds… the rest is history. I got a little bit excited by this Parisian Maccy D’s – which houses a McCafe selling tarte au citron, macarons and other delectable goodies, and you could order everything on a little screen and have it ready in under 60 seconds. It was a magical experience. I’m not even ashamed.

After our gourmet dinner, we took in a couple more shops and headed back to the hotel for our final night and a much needed sleep! Stay tuned for day three…

Parlez-vous Franglais? Day One.

By the time we got to our hotel we were feeling pretty tired from a long day of travelling and very warm from the unexpected 30 degree heat we arrived to. After changing into cooler clothes (in my case, both temperate-wise and aesthetically) we couldn’t face much more than a walk around Porte de St. Cloud to find a nice little place for dinner – or should I say le dîner?

4This felt like the perfect excuse to don my new Broderie Anglaise dress and white sandals (Primark and River Island, respectively). After a quick walk, we found a little restaurant called La Fontaine, which had open air seating (much needed), classically French decor (I felt like Amelie!) and a very smiley waiter. I ordered a rather delicious melt-in-your-mouth bacon cheese burger, which arrived with a mountain of crispy golden fries. Am I dribbling?

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After a quick walk around the local area, we headed back to the hotel room to grab some beauty sleep – we had a very busy day awaiting!

The Morning Tour

After a continental breakfast (better than expected), we headed out for a two hour tour of Paris. I’d highly recommend taking a guided tour of the city, as it’s a great opportunity to learn some interesting facts about the history of Paris you wouldn’t otherwise get to know! Did you know, Paris was originally inhabited by a group of Celts called the Parisii who lived on an island in the river Seine  – now  home to Notre Dame! The Notre Dame itself is about 800 years old, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in the city. The city is relatively modern looking, having been systemically demolished and rebuilt between 1860 and 1910; taking it from a medieval, overcrowded, crime-ridden crib of disease  to the Paris we see today – wide streets and awesome architecture that bring plenty of light and air into the beautiful city.

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One thing I was surprised to see on my tour was the Statue of Liberty… seriously! I knew the real statue was built by the French as a “congrats on the independence” present to America, but the French actually have a smaller version that resides on an island in the river Seine! Eiffel (guess what he designed?) also engineered the interior skeletal support system that supports Lady Liberty, as they call her, which is basically very similar to the Eiffel Tower!
The morning tour was a great way to get an overview of Paris – which to my shame, I didn’t know much about. The grey weather didn’t show the city off to it’s fullest but never mind – the blue skies and bright sun started shining around midday!

Versailles

We then took a thirty minute ride to the historic palace of Versailles. The queue to get into the palace was huge, so we elected to walk around the gardens instead. I cannot describe just how big the palace and gardens are, taking up a whopping 67km squared! It’s no wonder that it took us the entire three hours to wander round (we still didn’t see everything)…

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I’m not a gardens sort of girl – general speaking, I find them incredibly dull. But Versailles is a far cry from your typical English heritage garden. English gardens are designed to mimic nature as closely as possible, but Versailles is a never ending maze of perfectly manicured greenery and flora, hundreds of exquisitely designed sculptures and handfuls of fancy fountains and lakes. Louis XIV, who was behind the big expansion at Versailles, was a bit of a character – as all Kings tend to be – and thought he was a God on earth – as all Kings of the time tended to do. To show how powerful he was, he engineered the gardens to be so unnaturally prim and preened that it showed he was more powerful than nature. I can’t help but wonder how many gardeners he had to employ. If you look around you’ll notice quite a few references to Apollo, the Greek/Roman God of the Sun. This was because King Louis modelled himself on Apollo having played him once in a play. Which sounds weird, if you think about it, is no weirder than fifteen year old girls modelling themselves on Kim Kardashian. But I digress.

Whilst gardens are’t my bag, I was very impressed with the vast greenery and superb beauty of Versailles – it might have been easier to wander around if it was just a few degrees cooler though! We got so hot we simply had to treat ourselves to two ice-creams to cool down – when on holiday, right?

Champs-Elysées

24 26 27 28 After Versailles, we arrived back at the hotel and went straight out again to the Champs-Elysées! I was set on a pilgrimage to Sephora to find one very coveted item – their ‘Always Red’ cream lip stain. I was amazed to find it in their vast store and elated to find it was cheaper in store than online! Result! If you’ve noticed bright red lips in my other Paris pictures, that’s the one. We took a few photos by some beautifully decorated stores (the heavily flowered perfume shop looked amazing), as well as visiting beloved high store brands. My one regret is not getting to see Forever 21 as, not living near one in the UK, I’ve never been in before.

The Night Tour of Paris

This was perhaps my favourite part of the entire visit. Paris, the city of lights, is simply spectacular at night! If you visit at any point, you need to swing by the Eiffel Tower at night to watch the light show that happens on the hour. It’s very tourist-y, but you won’t regret it.

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We got off the coach at Esplanade du Trocadéro to watch the Eiffel tower’s light show at 11pm, by which point the sky was finally properly dark. The bright lights looked amazing against the inky back drop of the night sky – you’ll see in the pictures and videos! We were given fifteen minutes to explore the area, watch the show and come back to the coach to continue the tour. A slight hiccup arose when we arrived back fifteen minutes later to find no tour guide, no fellow passengers and no bus to be seen… We waited five minutes before taking the Metro back to the hotel. It turns out the guide and passengers hadn’t realised we were missing and it took until their next stop before recounting and realising we were gone – panic reportedly set in and they came back to look for us. By that point we were probably walking back to our hotel! We were pretty much minor celebrities at breakfast the next morning  – everyone wanted to hear our adventure (unfortunately it wasn’t that exciting).

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Stay tuned for day two of my adventures!

Vintage Style Me: Co-Ord

As you can see, my Vintage Style Me collection is rapidly expanding – every time I see their new stock, I fall a little bit in love. It’s been great for my wardrobe, but slightly less so for my bank account!

Checkmate

Rhiannon posted a few gorgeous co-ords last week and as soon as I saw this blue checked ensemble, I knew it had to be mine (it may have had something to do with the giant peter pan collar). I’m really enjoying all the 1950s sartorial revivals at the moment – the high waisted bikinis, shorts and jeans, the gingham, the crop tops; I hope they keep coming! As a homage to one of the most stylish decades, I pinned my hair up a la Brigitte Bardot, added some catflicked eyeliner and got snapping!

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Mix and Match

The test of a truly good co-ord is it’s ability to mix and match with the rest of your wardrobe – if the pieces don’t go with anything but each other, you might as well have bought a dress, right? I have to be honest, I was sceptical about whether this would go with much else, but I needn’t have worried. The cropped top looks great with jeans (and I’m sure, shorts) and the skirt, which I thought would be the hardest thing to piece, looks pretty cool with my new Beatles tee – I’ll be sharing these pictures on the blog soon.

Have a lovely bank holiday weekend, and don’t forget to check out Vintage Style Me for some great retro pieces for summer. I’ve got a lot to share this week, so keep an eye out!

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