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Life: New Year Resolutions

So tomorrow is 2013! I don't actually make resolutions most years, but I can see why people do. The human brain needs a firm starting point to begin their attempt at anything, whether it's a Monday or the 1st of the month, or the first day of the year. And the 1st of January is the big one really, with the whole world promising themselves that this is the year they are going to get thinner/richer/find the love of their lives/start a new career. And some achieve it! And why shouldn't I be one of them? I've tried to think of realistic goals for 2013, so here they are:

1) Get out of work by 6.30pm at least twice a week

I started my current job in March 2012, and I love it. It challenges me in many different ways, and I get to use my creativity and logical mind every day in something new. I've met loads of fantastic people (including some brilliant bloggers), and been to some exciting places - it really is a great job. However, it's hardcore. I often work until 10pm+, and it is a rare sight to get out at the proper time of 5.30pm. Realistically, twice a week I'd like to stay only an hour late. I really hope I can do this!

The big highlight of my job this year was getting to go to Bestival and meet lots of fabulous bloggers including Alex Loves (pictured) and Pink Julep (who took this photo).
2) Blog more

I love this little blog haven that belongs all to me. It's not much to look at, but I find writing it very therapeutic and it's fun to share my thoughts and opinions to an unknown mystery audience. I'm not out to become a famous full-time blogger, I just want to make sure that I set aside more time to blog for ME; to enjoy the process of writing, and experiment with my content over 2013.

I love writing about the places I've been and the things I see, like when I went to pay my respects at Douglas Adams' grave in Highgate Cemetery.
3) Save money

OK, so this one is definitely a cliche. But I'm actually a pretty good saver, and rather thrifty in all walks of life. I did have a decent amount of savings but as ever it went towards the deposit on my new flat, and I was selfish and spent the deposit from my last place on a holiday. So now I'm basically back to zero. It's for my own peace of mind and future security blanket that I need to ramp up saving again. But the aim is to carry on living life to the full, just on a budget, which is after all what this blog is all about!

2012 saw me moving in with one of my best friends. This photo was taken on moving day: daquiris and Bridget Jones to celebrate!
4) Eat more fruit and vegetables

I'm not dieting, I like my food too much for that. However, I do want to attempt at eating my 5 fruit and veg a day. I have adult acne, and I know a better diet will help clear that up, as well as improve my health overall, so it's definitely worth giving it a go. Oh, I'll still be loading up on cake every now and then, but hopefully by changing my everyday habits I'll be in a better frame of mind for the future.

Maybe not less of these, just more green stuff!
What are your New Year resolutions? I'll update how I'm getting on here on Shopped and Dropped later in the year!

Wardrobe basics

I'm really trying to update my basics at the moment. I've had enough of crazy pattern clashing and wild colours. Don't get me wrong, I still love those things but they always look better with a plain tee or simple jeans. Basics don't have to be boring, they just need to be paired with the right things. Here are the ones I'm loving right now.

This mesh insert tee is simple enough to dress up, but once you take off your leather jacket, BOOM! Check out the detail. Love it.
Topshop £20

This plain white tee has a sneaky little Aztec print that you'd barely notice if I hadn't mentioned it.
River Island £16

I get nearly all of my plain black tshirts and vest tops from H&M. This one is perfect to wear with blue jeans  and layered up with a big chunky scarf.
H&M £6.99
Having a new texture to a basic tee brings exactly what a pattern does - something new, but in a more subtle way. This one has a crepe paper like effect and a cool boxy shape.
Monki £15 (in the sale)
One basic I can't live without is my plain grey jumper. It's so comfortable! I always find the best jumpers in the men's sections of high street stores. Where do you buy your basics?

Tatty Devine and Making Gingerbread

A week today until Christmas! Our tree is up, the Spotify playlist is made, and a whole heap of baking has been going on in our little North London abode. I've never made gingerbread before (I don't actually like it!), but I wanted to make something Christmassy for my colleagues and this seemed the simplest option. It was pretty easy to make, once I re-started after forgetting to put sugar in the first batch that is! I used a really simple gingerbread recipe from BBC Good Food, recommended if you're a first timer like me.

Necklace: Tatty Devine
Cardigan: Vintage
Tshirt: Topshop £16

I'm verging on obsessed with my new Tatty Devine purchases, all of which will feature on here soon I'm sure. But this necklace is my favourite, I've been wearing it with everything. I can't believe I managed to get it for £10 at Clothes Show Live - what a bargain!

Sunday Night Nails #2

It's been a busy couple of weeks! I spent 5 days in Birmingham at Clothes Show Live working with some fabulously talented bloggers and snapping up bargains when I had the time (which wasn't very often!). Because of that I haven't written a blog post in what feels like so long. If you're new to this blog then I promise I don't just put up a nail art post once a week! But here is this week's Sunday Night Nails - Christmas style!

First I applied True Blue by Models Own:

While the polish was still wet on my ring finger, I dipped it in blue caviar beads (I got mine from Topshop, but you can get similar ones from eBay):

I then used Kathleen Stripe & Sparkle by Andrea Fulerton Nail Boutique from Superdrug. I didn't use the sparkle, just the white polish to paint the snowflakes on each nail. I always find white nail pens to be a bit difficult to use, but this was much better than the Sally Hansen one which washed off in the shower!

It's nearly Christmas!! I've got one more week of work and then I'm going to my parents where I'll have more time to write some posts and get cracking on my New Years Resolution of blogging more.

Sunday Night Nails #1

Doing my nails has become a bit of a Sunday night ritual in my flat and I always Instagram them. It seemed a shame not to share them on here too so here's the first of (hopefully) many Sunday Night Nails installments.

First I applied Bubblegum by Models Own:

Then I added a layer of Hot Stuff by Models Own on top.

Possibly the girliest nails I've had in a while, something to brighten up the dark Wintery days!

Explore: Portobello Road

I haven't been to Portobello Road markets in years. I went to Notting Hill Carnival in August, but obviously that is a very different experience! I took a Friday off work recently and wandered around the stalls and shops of the Road with my mum, perusing vintage clothing, finding bargain jewellery, and getting overexcited about haberdashery. There's fashion, food and furniture and so many friendly stall owners who are happy to chat with you, and let you try and haggle a good price!

Gold statement jewellery

multi coloured bead and necklaces

man carrying a double bass on his shoulder
I'm pretty sure this isn't how you're supposed to carry a double bass...

cheap london souvenirs

Multi coloured ribbons

christmas trees
Christmas is coming!

assorted buttons

Cheese shop with toy cow in window

Some of these tin soldiers are from the 1800s!
I really want to discover some more of London's markets, but many have their best stuff available during the week when I work. Let me know of any good weekend markets you recommend!

Life: November 2012

Spiky spiky shoulder pads from a Soho haberdashery
Beautiful ceramic doorknobs on Portobello Road
Getting excited about Christmas with Jack Skellington
My mum's roast dinner wins all the food awards

Finally visited the Models Own bottle shop in Westfield White City
Cartier Bond Street's Christmas front
Models Own comic nail wraps
Discovered a Japanese food store in Finchley

My first attempt at caviar nail art went quite well!
Photobooth at Channel 4 party
My place setting for Thanksgiving at Pink Julep's house
Our award for Best Team Effort at Musical Bingo (we were Zombie High School!)

The Marmite Oxford St Christmas lights
Underfire Red by Carine Roitfeld for MAC with gold nail studs
Pulled pork, apple and black pudding burger at BKB
Skull pin on my coat lapel
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review