Wednesday 5 February 2014

Window Shop Wednesday

On this grey, drizzly, Tube-striked Wednesday I decided I needed a little sartorial pick-me-up. A stroll along the online high street to day-dream about a new dress or scarf and a slick of gloss and help to give me that faux shopping glow. As a master penny pincher and suffering the jobless blues, I can usually get away with a quick browse on ASOS or The Outnet to trick my body into thinking I've splurged on some new wardrobe additions. If you're not as restrained as me however, do let me know if you purchase any of these finds that are topping my Window Shop Wednesday. Happy faux shopping! 

1. Map Print Scarf, £16, Topshop
2. Mini Bead Drop Earrings, £5.00, ASOS
3. Robin Contrast Collar Dress, £15,
4. Ripped denim backpack, £30, Topshop
5. London Rebel Barnaby Brogue Lace Up Flat Shoes, £30, ASOS
6. Benefit Dandelion Lip Gloss, £14.50, Boots

Sarah x

Monday 3 February 2014

Bruges: Beers, buildings and gluttony!

Last weekend, the bf and I went on a Eurostar jaunt across the channel to Bruges. We'd long been intrigued by the Belgian city, me for its wonderfully preserved medieval architecture and the bf for its endless selection of beers. With an overpacked case (I can never travel without packing the kitchen sink) we boarded an afternoon Eurostar train and soon found ourselves racing past the green countryside of France and the industrial cities of Belgium. As an Aussie it never ceases to amaze me how quickly you can get into Europe from Britain. A mere three hours later and we were disembarking in Brussels. A short train journey later and we arrived in Bruges. 

Friends had told us that we simply had to visit a local institution, the Ribs 'n Beer restaurant. Those two words are like a red flag to a bull for the bf so as soon as we'd unloaded our bags in the hotel we went in search of the recommended restaurant. Through cobbled streets and serene churches we had our first taste of Bruges. It was so picturesque and fairytale like we couldn't help but laugh when we saw a Claire's Accessories shop, it seemed so out of place!

We soon found the aforementioned restaurant, which describes its fare as tongue-in-cheek Belgian soul food, and settled to down to a truly moorish feast. Meat eaters, this place is heaven! Plus, did I forget to mention that the ribs were bottomless!? I am most certainly going to hell because my gluttony knew no bounds that night. Drunk on rib sauce we emerged into the frosty night and quickly took shelter in a nearby backpackers hostel bar. Bar snobs might sneer but I truly believe you can't get a more authentic and exciting local atmosphere than in a backpackers hostel. Everyone seems so carefree and relaxed, we always like to duck into a hostel bar whenever we're abroad, they're definitely some of the best nights we've ever had! Truly drunk this time we tripped and staggered, no thanks to the cobbles, back to the hotel. 

The next few days passed in a haze of beer, historical buildings, frites, waffles, more beer and the odd downpour (cue movie-like montage!) One of my favourite things about exploring Bruges was coming across hidden architectural features, they were everywhere. Cherubic door knockers and little figurines on the edges of window shutters. It's these hidden finds that make a journey so much more memorable than the big attractions (the view from the top of the Belfry was amazing though!) 

If you want to explore Bruges in its natural habitat, so-to-speak I'd definitely recommend visiting in January. The city is quiet, with minimal tourists and it's the perfect opportunity to leisurely wander the city without having to battle through the crowds to get those all important photo ops.

All too soon our visit was over and we were bidding Bruges goodbye through a haze of drizzle (well-timed!) Both ourselves and our case felt a couple of stones heavier, thanks to an indulgent diet and some souvenir drinks.

Have you visited Bruges? What was your favourite memory?  

Sarah x

Thursday 16 January 2014

Happy Birthday Kate Moss

I wasn't sure whether to do this post or not. I didn't want to come across as another Kate Moss sycophant and in many ways I really want to dislike her. She's gorgeous, her mobile phone book is basically the front row of London Fashion Week, the fashion press think everything she wears oozes sartorial brilliance even if she's just thrown on a pair of jeans and black T-shirt and Johnny Depp is her ex. She reminds me of that uber popular girl in high school. The one who has older boyfriends and sneaks smokes at the back of the bike shed. She can be a bitch but everyone wants to be her friend and even the teachers love to linger in her presence.

I first came across Mossy when I was about 12 and I was reading The Guinness Book of Records. Her claim to fame was being the shortest supermodel at 5 ft 7 in. Being fairly short myself (I'm a teeny 5 ft 2 in) reading about Kate and her petite proportions gave me hope that I could be a model myself (clearly that didn't last long once the harsh reality of being the shortest person in my grade made me realise that Kate Moss or not, short models don't exist).

Whatever you think about Kate, love or hate her, admire or revile her she has been a stalwart in an industry with a retirement age of 25. And while I am beyond envious about her birthday treats (a week on Richard Branson's Necker Island, oodles of designer goodies from Hermes, Mulberry and Givenchy) she has earned her reputation as a British Icon. In tribute to 40 years of Moss Mania here are my fave Kate Moss looks across the years.

1. The siren with short hair

I desperately tried to make short hair work for me in my late teens, early 20s but alas I don't think I ever really pulled it off. Not like Kate Moss. Her hair versatility know no bounds and I love this grungy but cute elfin look from 2001.

2. The doting mother

Imagine having Kate Moss as your mum. Go on, just think about it for a minute. You'd have the coolest godparents, you'd be in dress up heaven and you'd know that if you stumbled in at 6am she wouldn't care cause she wouldn't be getting in til 9! Underneath her cool exterior I like to think there's a softness to Kate though and that amidst all the glitz and glam there's just a normal mum.

3. The wild child

I LOVE this look from Kate's other milestone birthday, her 30th. I'd kill to get my hair to curl like that and I love the boho glam of her dress. The theme for this particular party was 'The beautiful and the damned.' Kate had famously battled drug addiction in the years before her 30th and the theme was a fitting tribute not only to her life so far but the years that were to come. Beautiful and damned she may be but throughout it all she's proved there can only be one Kate Moss.

What's your favourite Kate Moss look?

Sarah x

Image credits: 1/2/3

Monday 13 January 2014

Browsing the Borough Markets

I always think there's something so exciting about food markets. The noisy salesmen, the frantic exchange of money across tables heaving with vegetables, the inevitable smell of strong cheese and the sheer joy of shopping outside, instead of crammed into a supermarket. Ever since I moved to London I've been waiting with anticipation to visit the iconic Borough Markets. I was introduced to them a couple of years ago on a visit to the big city and since then I've been desperate to return and explore their eclectic wares. The beauty of actually living in London means that I can peruse them at a more leisurely pace, discovering hidden gems and safe in the knowledge that I don't have to sacrifice one food sample over the other, I can always come back another day! 

This Saturday the bf and I took a stroll from our house along the river front, past Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye (as ya do) right along to London Bridge and the Borough Markets. Although we'd been advised to visit the markets before 10:30am (that's when they're at their most quiet but shh, don't tell anyone!) a sneaky lie in meant we turned up after midday. 

As anticipated the markets were packed but seeing as negotiating a crowd is standard practice in London we still managed to see all the markets have to offer. Wild game hung from one stall, while round the corner a seafood bar served freshly shucked oysters. I was sorely tempted by the mouthwatering line-up of antipastos but resisted and instead opted for a famed chorizo, pepper and rocket sandwich from Brindisa

The markets offered some great photo opportunities, crowds permitting, and I can't wait to return and serve you up another visual treat. 

Have you been to the Borough Markets? What's your top tip for a newcomer? 

Sarah x 

Thursday 9 January 2014

Happy New Year (and a bit of inspiration)

So we've said goodbye to 2013 and embraced the dawn of 2014. In recent years I've noticed a trend with the beginning of a new year. January is often filled with some seriously wild weather. This year is no different, with a polar vortex in America, heat waves in Australia and storms in the UK. It's as though Mother Nature wants to welcome the new year with a bang! Wherever you are, I hope you're staying warm, dry and cold (delete as applicable). For me, this new year comes with an air of excitement. I usually always start a new year off by saying, "I've got a good feeling about this year". Sometimes it's true and other times it's a bit far off the mark but this year I really do feel like there are special times ahead (feel free to remind me of this when I'm bemoaning the bad weather or complaining about my job!). To help keep me on the positive and narrow and instead of making New Years resolutions (which I never keep anyway) I thought I'd look to a few women I admire and take some inspiration from the way they live their lives to use as goals for my life in 2014. You go girls!

Wendy Davis

Now, I don't know much about the American Government system, but even I recognise that debating something for 11 hours is no mean feat (Wendy undertook a historic filibuster to stop a bill for new abortion regulations in Texas). Add in Wendy's remarkable life story - trailer park single Mum to politician and you've got yourself one inspirational lady. Wendy is my reminder that it doesn't matter what's happened in your past, if you've got guts and determination you can achieve anything.

Diana Nyad

Overcoming jellyfish stings, potential shark attacks and four failed attempts this determined lady was the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark net. Her recent Ted Talk encourages people to find their own path to achieving their goals, that age is no barrier against pursuing your dream and to never, ever give up! When times get tough I like to think that if Diana can get through 53 hours of swimming with thoughts of sharks swimming close by, then surely I can get through my own Gulf sized issues.

Kimberly Hughes aka Redlilocks

Yep, my partner in crime from and brains behind interiors blog Swoonworthy is one pretty special lady. She's always encouraged me with my blog, offering tips and tricks or just even a little note to 'hang in there.' Plus, anyone who's had to listen to me moan about work for 8 hours a day deserves some recognition. Her eye for style and organised work ethic are my inspiration and remind me to keep working with dignity and drive.


My best friend since birth (literally, we met when we were a few months old) Karly has motivation like no one I've ever known. While I'm a master procrastinator Karly just gets down and does it. She already finished her first novel (something I've been trying to achieve for a few years but rarely get past the first few pages) and is on the lookout for an agent. I've no doubt she'll achieve everything she sets out to accomplish, just because she can. Karly is my inspiration to just do it and stop putting things off. You only live once after all.

Quentin Bryce

Aussies will be familiar with Quentin as she's our Governor General, the Queen's representative in Australia. She's also my inspirational woman of choice. Whenever one of my friends is a bit down or in a need of a feminist pep talk I bring out Quentin. My favourite quote of hers is that "Women can have it all. But not all at once." Simple, but inspirational. Especially for people like me who try to take on everything and end up achieving nothing. Also something to consider if things aren't going quite your way. Ok, you might not have that perfect job at the moment but maybe this is your time for a great relationship or amazing friendships.

Michelle Obama

Behind every great man is a great woman. While for many Mrs O is lauded for her individual accomplishments and fashion credentials I admire Michelle for her role in shaping Barack Obama into the man he is today. Oftentimes inspirational women are singled out for their own achievements and every effort is made to distance them from a man's influence. We forget though that being a support for your partner and encouraging them to achieve their goals can often be as inspirational as achieving them ourselves.

Lena Dunhem

My idol. As a huge Girls fan Lena was always going to make my list. She's quirky, funny and doesn't take herself too seriously. Plus, you know she doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks of her. Lena (and her character Hannah) are my inspiration that you don't necessarily have to have everything together in your 20s. Just go with the flow and enjoy the journey, everything will work itself out in the end.

Happy 2014 everyone! Who are your inspirations for the New Year?

Sarah x

Image credit: MSNBC/ and Philosophers /

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Follow the Reader

A few months ago I submitted a piece for the travel section of The Australian newspaper called Follow the Reader. Writers send in a 400 word article about a travel experience for a chance to win a prize. Unfortunately my work wasn't published (sob) and so far I haven't heard a response back from them. Nevertheless, I'm still pretty proud of what I wrote and thought I'd share it here with you all. It recounts my experience at Glastonbury 2013. As 2013 draws to a dark, cold end it's time to look back and get nostalgic at the year that was. Here's my favourite memory this year - arguably the best 5 days of my life!

Glastonbury: Heaven on Earth

It’s dawn when we leave Shangri-la. The misty morning sees glittered and neoned revellers depart the hedonistically named club. I’m at Glastonbury 2013. The Rolling Stones headlined last night and the memories of their set still linger.

As we walk back to our tent we reminisce about the night before. The surging crowd and feeling of euphoria as we caught glimpses of Mick strutting on the big screens either side of the stage. The sounds of ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘It’s only Rock and Roll (But I like it)’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ still reverberated in our ears as we made our way to Arcadia, one of Glastonbury’s legendary after party arenas. The huge metal spider which formed the stage belched fire into the air and a crowd quickly grew. It was rumoured Daft Punk would be performing. Everywhere around us people whispered their names excitedly. Fat Boy Slim started his set. We’d seen him on the festival’s first night, playing a secret gig. He’d included a snippet of Get Lucky and two people dressed in the duo’s distinctive masks had walked behind him. The crowd had gone hysterical. Everyone assumed it was a not-so-subtle nod to tonight.

When the famed DJ finished his set we strained our necks hoping to get a glimpse of a gold helmet, black visor – anything to confirm the rumours. Alas, the MC comes on the stage to announce the imminent arrival of Chase and Status. The crowd quickly dispersed, let down by yet another false Glastonbury rumour. But this is what it’s all about! The fevered excitement, the feeling that anything is possible.

It was our last big night at the festival and I was determined we weren’t going to bed before dawn. We’d followed the crowds through the maze of takeaway stands and tents, passing Boundary 9, another of Glastonbury’s after party areas, designed to appear like an apocalyptic city. Decaying buildings and laser lights set the scene. Finally we came to Shangri-la, home to the opposing clubs Heaven and Hell.  Along the way we found a pop-up club in the side of a tunnel where dancers in bras and knickers sprayed dry ice into the crowd. When I went to get a drink I noticed Veuve Clicquot advertised on the menu along cheap spirits and mixers – only in Glasto!

Back at the tent we fall into bed fully clothed. In just three hours we’ll be waking up to our last day at the world’s greatest music festival.

What are your favourite memories from 2013?

Sarah x

Monday 25 November 2013

Day dreaming at the Ideal Home Show

I'm not yet a homeowner and although I rent I rarely personalise the property apart from a few throw cushions and none-permanent fixtures. I dunno, I just don't feel quite ready to commit to styling somewhere unless I know I'm going to be living in it for a few years - call me old fashioned! Still, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate day dreaming about my future home. Last week I had the perfect opportunity for some mental interior design when I attended the Ideal Home Show Exhibition in Earls Court. My lovely friend Kimberly from Swoonworthy and I had been kindly invited by Magnet to check out what the show had to offer. I hadn't seen Kimberly since my move to London so it was the perfect opportunity to catch up!

We arrived early afternoon and were greeted with a scene that wouldn't be out of place in John Lewis's latest advert. Fake snow and pine trees abounded outside the exhibition centre. Inside was similar with a whole area customised to look like a snow covered forest. Very cute without the accompanying cold weather!

Very sweet bath bombs by Pretty Happy Lovely Stuff.

In between gossip about work and general girly chit chat (she's going to kill me for saying that :-P) Kimberly and I took in the delights of the Home Show. From hot tubs and roofing to knick knacks and bedding, this place had it all - including an ice rink! While most of the stands showcased some genuinely lovely homewares, we did have some questions about others (E Cigarettes?)

My favourite stand was the opulent Moroccan Bazaar feature - I'm a sucker for anything Morroccan! I also loved the his and her bedrooms designed by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. The colours were probably a bit too bold for me but there were definitely elements I'd love to incorporate into my (future) home. That bath tub is gorgeous!

Classic luxury from Moroccan Bazaar.

An LLB designed room - naturally!

LLB's 'her' bedroom

After a few laps of the ground floor we were exhausted! A short recharge session at one of the bars (non alcohol - we were working after all!) we decided to see what the upstairs had to offer. It was delicious - literally! One half of upstairs housed all the food stands and we were kicking ourselves that we hadn't started our tour of the show there first. (Apologies for the lack of images from my favourite section - I got too distracted, the curse of being a food loving photographer!)

I'm a sucker for food stalls of any kind and could happily spend a day (and a few hundred pounds) browsing all the treats on offer. Sadly, we didn't have very long to spend upstairs as we'd underestimated how much time we had left before Kimberly had to catch her train back up north (sob). We tore ourselves away from the food, had a quick look around the fashion section (disappointing) before we bid goodbye to the fake snow and cheery elves still waving outside and hopped on a tube home.

Sarah x

Did you visit the Ideal Home Show? What was your favourite part? 

Image credit: Demotix/All other photography my own