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HOB Salons, Camden - Finding a New Hairdresser

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that recently that my photos have been jazzed up slightly by the addition of a frankly awesome new haircut.

Finding a new hairdresser is one of the most stressful things a woman can go through. Discovering somebody who understands your lifestyle, your face shape, your hair type, your likes and dislikes is impossible. How do you know until you've tried it, and by then it's too late!

I've read a couple of blog posts about HOB Salons before, and I've walked past the Camden branch countless times. I decided to take the plunge, and I can say that, finally, two years after leaving my favourite hairdresser in York behind, I have found my man! 

Ian at HOB Camden was so in tune with what I wanted. Experimental enough to excite me, inquisitive enough to try something new. He asked me questions about where I work and what music I listen to to get a feel for how my hair needs to fit into my life. He told me that he LOVES curly hair, which is always music to my ears considering I've had some shocking haircuts before now from people who just don't know how to deal with it.

I've never had such a positive response to a haircut before, everyone I know has commented positively and told me how much they like it. It's amazing! And I'm all booked in for September for my next cut.

Thanks so much HOB Salons, and thank you to Ian!

Purse Palpitations Week #13

It's been months since I've written one of these. Every week I have a mental shopping list of what I'm obsessed with, I just need to make sure I actually get it down on this here blog! Let me know what's your favourite item on this week's list on the comments below or by tweeting me at @charlienin.

Isn't this dress just adorable? It's 60s cut, cobalt colouring and preppy collar are all perfect.
Boutique by Jaegar - £80

My search for the perfect white shirt continues! It seems never ending. This has all the potential of having the right fit for androgynous tailoring without actually making me look like a man...
Filippa K at Stylight - £80

After breaking in my white A-line skirt a few weeks ago, I've decided I love this shape. This V front cut gives it a new take that I love.
New Look - £17.99

There's something about tweed and leather that work so perfectly together. A wrap skirt always looks so feminine but this has a punk edge to it. It demands big stompy boots for Autumn.
Rag & Bone at The Outnet - £69.70
This print is incredible. Goodbye ditsy florals! This looks like a photograph negative with splashes of neon. Tough and chic all in one.
Warehouse - £48

Leopard Print Blouse, Scalloped Shorts

This is my favourite outfit I wore on holiday recently. I didn't take many outfit pics while I was away as this holiday was about being completely cut off from pretty much everything and all I wanted to do was sit on the beach, read, and eat - and that's exactly what I did!

Blouse: Zara
Shorts: Monki
Sandals: Rascal @ Secret Sales
Clutch: ASOS
Bracelet: ASOS

I got this light weight chiffon blouse in the Zara sale. I'd been wearing it with jeans, when it wasn't so hot, around the office. Loosely tucking it into shorts made it slightly more formal and kept it cool in the sweltering Spanish heat (yes, even in the evenings!). I've had the scalloped edge shorts for about six months now and never worn them, despite that they're really cute. I'll be wearing these on nights out throughout the summer (if it lasts!)

With a big pattern on the top, my accessories were kept pretty basic. The gold woven sandals are my go-to hot weather shoes for evening way; they were my first purchase from Secret Sales - a great site to get reduced price fashion on high street and luxury brands. I matched the gold with my ASOS filigree bangle and the gold clasp on my oversized clutch. I never take a handbag on holiday, rather I have a backpack for the beach and a couple of clutches for the evenings. 

I love leopard print and gold all through the year. Next I'm going to wear this top with a cotton pencil skirt for summer proof office wear - although I am secretly excited about wearing it with big boots in Autumn!

Hot Weather on Hampstead Heath

One thing I really love about living in London is how I can walk with no idea of where I'm going, and somehow find myself somewhere amazing. Last weekend I set off in the crazy hot weather with a general aim to head towards Hampstead, having lived nearby for a year but never really going to explore.

We ended up walking past Kenwood House (where there was a conveniently placed ice cream van for heat relief!), around the edge of Hampstead Heath, and into Hampstead itself. The area is so pretty and quaint. It's quiet but bustling. There are lots of small cafes with outdoor seating and antiques shops who had moved their wares outside where it was marginally cooler than in their small stores. The quintessential English feel was perfectly topped up with bunting but counteracted by the round-the-block queue for a creperie!

We walked through Hampstead and reached the famous Heath where it was over run with sun seekers. Dog walkers were throwing balls, couples drank red wine on plaid blankets, groups of friends did cartwheels and cracked open cider. Everyone was happy, the atmosphere was so jovial it made me laugh! That and watching tens of people going crazy for the coolness of the bathing ponds - all daring each other to be the first to dive in. If I'd have thought it through I would have taken a bikini and gone too. Instead I wore my favourite striped tee from Monki with some vintage high-waisted shorts - possibly a rookie mistake, as it turns out the high-waist was pretty warm!

T-shirt: Monki
Short and belt: Vintage
Sandals: Miss Selfridge
Sunglasses: Miu Miu

Necklace: Accessorize
We made our way home via Parliament Hill where we looked over one of the most famous views in London, watching out over all the notorious London buildings: the Shard, the Gherkin, Canary Wharf and the BT Tower. We could even see the London Eye and St Paul's Cathedral. And as we headed back down the hill, we came across a bandstand with musicians getting everyone nearby to dance despite the heat. It was infectiously happy; London really is magical in the Summer.

Hope you've managed to enjoy the sunshine!

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros at Somerset House

Every year, on top of London Fashion Week, an open air cinema and the city's most famous Christmas ice skating rink, Somerset House is home to the #AmexSounds Summer Series - a number of gigs from a wide range of musicians, all in the beautiful surroundings of the historical building in central London.

Playsuit: Alexander McQueen
Esparilles: Office
We were so fortunate to have good weather for this, a light breeze but still so warm which meant I could wear this denim playsuit (donated by my big sister!). I love all the pinafores and playsuits that are available at the moment, I think they're perfect for slightly more formal summer wear while still being casual enough to not feel dressed up. I didn't have any accessories with the playsuit, as it felt like a statement in itself really. I do love my little anchor espadrilles though, they are so cute and playful don't you think?

 The gig we went to see was Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, a band I was introduced to by an old uni housemate about 4 years ago and who I've loved ever since. They're most famous song 'Home' has been used in adverts and quoted on romantic posters on Etsy and propelled them into a cult status group. There are two types of gigs that I absolutely adore: the ones where they hardly play any instruments but they still make incredible sounds, and then the complete opposite. That is, the ones that have so many instruments the music is a glorious jumble of exotic noises that confound but delight my musically talentless ears. Edward Sharpe are definitely the latter. There's 11 members of the group and each one got to show off  their multiple talents; each one could sing with a unique style that somehow still fit the folk country indie pop they've created. 

But the amount of people on stage didn't overcrowd the stage. They were infectiously active, all in harmony with each other's excitement, bouncing on (and off) the stage. It was never raucous, it's not the sort of music that can create that sort of atmosphere. Instead it radiated happiness, which is so rare at gigs. Everyone was dancing and cheerful, singing along and laughing. They played until the last second of their curfew, dragging out songs with extra bridges and handing the microphone to the audience in order to drag out their time on stage. They, and the audience, were savouring every moment - it wasn't so much of a show but a collaboration and a meeting of friends. Adorable. 

Revisiting York

It's been two years since I graduated from the University of York with a 2:1 in English Language and Linguistics. I cannot believe that it's been five whole years since I first moved all the way up north and started my life as an adult (with all the cotton wool cushioning of being a student anyway!). Now it's my little sister's turn and she's been going to loads of open days across the country recently to decide where she wants to start her journey. When they said they were going to York I jumped at the chance to have a free trip back up to the city I still consider to be a second home.

It was so bizarre being back on campus. I know the place so well and yet it's moved on without me and new people own it now, I feel jealous of them and want to tell everyone "I used to go here!".

I decided to walk from campus into town rather than getting the bus. I walked past old graffiti that's known by every student, past the old school that I used to volunteer at, down the road I lived on in my third year and to my horror found our old battered blue door had been replaced. It was the same walk I'd made hundreds of times on my way to nights out, going into work, or just to walk around the city.

And the city is so beautiful. It never got old, even when I lived there. The cobbled streets, the gothic architecture, the hidden cafes and clean cut gardens. I heart it so. I spent the afternoon having coffee with old friends, visiting the shop I used to work in, and sitting outdoors just looking...around. I was so sad to leave, but I'm determined to make sure that I'll be back soon. I won't be leaving it two years again until the next visit.

Canada Day - Trafalgar Square, London

Ah, Trafalgar Square. Slap bang in the middle of London it hosts some of the city's greatest and weirdest free celebrations. Every year you could stumble across a mass read-a-thon, a free screening of a nearby opera, or the country's largest gathering of people dressed as Santa. 1st July is Canada Day, and there's nothing that says you have to be Canadian to enjoy a night out drinking lukewarm watered down beer in a can.

I've got family in Canada and luckily have a fabulous Canadian friend in London who I went with. She was completely prepared with every maple flag accessory you could imagine, so obviously I embraced that fully! There was food, live music and a really friendly atmosphere. As the night ended around 10pm it wasn't rowdy, and it ended with the crowd singing the Canadian national anthem, met with whoops and cheers from everyone.

Canadian or not, head down to Canada Day next year and get ridiculously excited about meeting a real life Mountie like I did!

Life: June 2013

I can't believe I haven't even had time to write this little monthly Instagram round-up. End of June and July so far have been crazy busy at work, and then I took a much needed holiday to Spain. Now I've sorted my life out a bit I am going to try my best to blog a bit more frequently! So, June 2013:

Very proud of my Aztec nail art attempt!
My first trip to Meat Liquor. I was so full and SO happy.
My aunt's beautiful dog. She's old now and doesn't like as much fuss.
The penny farthing race at the IG London Nocture

My aunt's Marmite collection
An aerial view of my hometown of Milton Keynes from a business flight to Scotland
More nail art I'm proud of
The lumberjack breakfast at The Luxe: cinnamon french toast, pancakes, waffles and bacon
A good Friday night in
Sitting ON the stage at The Hothouse starring John Simm
Mr Darcy on Netflix
Revisiting Highgate Cemetery
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review