21.12.2014- My #ARWOMAN

Sunday, 21 December 2014

I've been reading lots of different articles and comment pieces online over the last couple of days, debating how 2014 has been for women- from Emma Watson's UN address to that 'break the internet' magazine cover, it seems that this year has been pretty polarised in terms of women's issues, and the reporting of them in mainstream media. Even some of the more inspirational, female focused news stories of the year have been tarnished by perpetual threats from those most loathsome of under-bridge dwellers- the internet trolls. So, when Atterley Road got in touch with me a little while ago to introduce their #ARWOMAN campaign, I was really excited to get involved. The campaign is aimed at getting people to celebrate the women who inspire them on a day to day basis- and needless to say my shortlist was pretty tricky to whittle down. My mum is a total inspiration- and never ceases to amaze me with her humour, strength and complete selflessness. Jessica Ennis is my fitness inspiration- and, as we've seen this year, fearlessly stands up for what she believes in. Laura Bates and Lucy Anne Holmes, who are campaigning to change the way in which the media and society perceive women, as well as providing incredible platforms for continued engagement and activism are definitely worthy of the title. Having thought long and hard about my choice, however, it seems fitting that, for me, one of 2014's biggest inspirations is Malala Yousafzai:

Malala has been a stalwart in the campaign for girls education, and last summer, I was lucky enough to take part in a Plan UK event centered around her landmark address to the UN. To see someone speak so courageously and passionately about an issue which is not only so personal to them, but which is also a cause for global action was a real inspiration. Being fortunate enough to live where I do, I thought nothing of the luxury of being able to go to school, college and university when I was growing up- but for 62 million girls all over the world, access to education is denied. Malala, joint winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize, is a tireless advocate for education, and believes that with shared commitment, action and campaigning the lives of girls all over the world can be improved by access to teaching. She is a real inspiration and a definite hero of mine. 

Who is your #ARWOMAN?

(Image credit: Author Stream. Video credit: Plan UK.)

17.12.2014- What I Wore Today #209

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In the words of Ned Stark, winter is coming. Or should that be, winter is well and truly here- particularly after the last few weeks of distinctly chilly days. Considering that it's my birthday at this time of the year, I'm really surprised that I'm not fonder of the latter months of the year, but if push comes to seasonal shove, I'll take spring and summer hands down, thank you very much! Not one to be a negative Nora, however, I've been trying to see the positives- and using the drop in temperature as an excuse to snap up some new knitwear:

Jumper- c/o Boden 
Trousers- ASOS 
Coat- c/o Very 
Shoes- Vans c/o Surfdome 
Bag- Warehouse 
Sunglasses- Topshop c/o Westfield London 

This neutral Boden knit is a real favourite of mine at the moment, and is the perfect casually cosy piece to snuggle up in on chilly mornings. It's such a versatile basic, and definitely something which is well on the way to becoming a winter staple. Speaking of staples, these ASOS trousers are a real perennial favourite, as is this coat from Very which I've been wearing for what feels like forever- proof, if it were needed, that these sort of wardrobe essentials are truly timeless. 

What have been your favourite winter pieces so far this season? 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

15.12.2014- Not Another Bill

Monday, 15 December 2014

If you're anything at all like me, you'll be something of a serial post opening putter offer. If I'm being completely honest, I'm completely useless at getting around to checking what has been popped through the letterbox by the postman, which frequently means that the majority of my mail can sit around for a fair few weeks or so, particularly if it's something which looks unappealing- life admin, I'm looking at you. Anyway, I think it's fair to say that most of us don't tend to get the sort of post which we'd like coming through the door- and that where those canny people from Not Another Bill come in. Far from offering doom and gloom in the form of bank statements or bills, their subscription service promises a monthly surprise through the post- a carefully curated present which definitely won't go unopened: 

Karen Mabon scarf, c/o Not Another Bill.

This gorgeous Karen Mabon scarf popped through my letterbox a few weeks back, and it definitely proved a really welcome alternative to the junk mail and pizza leaflets which are normally popped through the door. Carefully selected and curated by the Not Another Bill team, each monthly delivery is a real surprise, something which definitely injects a tad more excitement into the postman's usual round, don't you think? I love the idea of getting something completely unexpected delivered to your door every month, and if you're on the lookout for a really unique Christmas present idea, then this idea is perfect. I'm tempted to sign myself up just for the element of surprise! 

Do you like the idea of Not Another Bill? 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

11.12.14- Christmas Wishes: Interior Inspiration

Thursday, 11 December 2014

If you're finding it tricky to get inspired by your Christmas shopping, or are still on the lookout for some special last minute presents, then struggle no more- I've handpicked some more festive favourites to give you some ideas. Following on from my cosy and beauty themed installments, this little selection features my pick of some of the best homeware in the shops- perfect if you're shopping for someone who might have just moved, or are planning a post Christmas spruce up yourself: 

Bubble Vase, £48, Oliver Bonas/British Isles Cushion, £35, John Lewis/Bon Voyage Journal by Rifle Paper Co, £14, Quill London/Brontosaurus Plantasaurus, $30, Plantasaurus/Botanical Print by Kari Herer, £58, Anthropologie/Bow Lovely Magnets, £20, Kate Spade/2015 Pocket Diary, £29, Sloane Stationery/Butterfly Pushpins, £12, V&A Shop/Alphabet Mugs, £10 each, Oliver Bonas/Handpainted Wanderlust Globe, £178, Anthropologie

If you're a regular reader, then you'll know that I'm a huge fan of all things floral, and since doing my course at The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers, I've been arranging blooms regularly- so for me an ideal Christmas present would be this lovely bubble vase from Oliver Bonas. It's a really simple, statement gift- and would be perfect teamed with some fresh flowers, or even a subscription to Bloom & Wild as a really unique present. For an injection of character and a splash of spring colour, look no further than this cushion from John Lewis- ideal for brightening things up after the Christmas decorations come down. If you've resolved to make 2015 a year of traveling and exploration, or if you're shopping for someone who has adventures a plenty on the cards next year, then it's well worth picking up Rifle Paper Company's travel journal. Not only is it beautifully adorned with Anna Bond's signature designs, but it's also a great motivator to fulfil your traveling wishes over the next year and beyond. 

One of the things which I love the most about the festive season is the sheer novelty of the pieces which you can pick up, and this amazing planter from Plantasaurus has got to be one of my most coveted items at the moment. Although I think they're only available in Australia for now, I'll definitely be keeping my fingers crossed for international shipping in 2015! If artwork is more up your street, then this botanical print from Kari Herer's range at Anthropologie is definitely one to pop on your wishlist- again, it's another gorgeous burst of colour for your post-Christmas walls. If 2015 is going to be all about organisation for you, then be sure to do it in style with these super chic bow detail magnets from Kate Spade, and a new diary from Sloane Stationery. Also, if you're on the lookout for a practical pressie, then the V&A shop have some beautiful bits and pieces in stock, including these butterfly push pins- perfect for ticking off to do lists and keeping all of your important paperwork together. 

If you're looking for a little slice of interior decor, then these alphabet mugs from Oliver Bonas are brilliant- and were some of my favourites from their press day back in the summer. Finally, this globe from Anthropologie is definitely at the more extravagant side of the spending spectrum, but if you're on the lookout for a luxury buy, then it's a dream gift- perhaps for that person who's planning on traveling the world next year? 

What are your dream Christmas presents?

(Image credit: Oliver Bonas, John Lewis, Rifle Paper Company, Plantasaurus, Anthropologie, Kate Spade, Sloane Stationary and V&A Shop.)

09.12.2014- On the Menu: Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

When you think of London, what do you think of? Buckingham Palace, the Underground, Boris Bikes? I guarantee that one of the most familiar images which springs to mind is that of the iconic double decker Routemaster bus, perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable hallmarks of the capital. If you're a bit of a food fiend like myself, then perhaps you'll think of tea, finger sandwiches and a cornucopia of cakes- afternoon tea is, after all, one of my favourite pastimes to indulge in town. And now you're probably thinking how brilliant it would be if there was something which combined both of these London wonders into one experience. Well, look no further- thanks to BB Bakery, it's now possible to have afternoon tea on a bus! Last Wednesday, my mum and I were kindly invited aboard to sample the experience for ourselves- and we definitely weren't disappointed: 

Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, c/o BB Bakery

Hopping on board just a stone's throw away from Trafalgar Square, we speedily settled down with two steaming hot cups of Earl Grey- perfect for keeping the December chill at bay. As we meandered our way past London landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, we indulged in delicately cut sandwiches, smoked salmon and mini quiche, as well as scones served with plenty of clotted cream and jam. Heading westward past the Royal Albert Hall and towards Notting Hill, we tucked into pretty patisserie, melt in the mouth macaroons, luscious lemon meringue pie and super sweet sponge cakes. 

The whole experience was a absolutely faultless- from the service to the food. I was really impressed with how well put together the menu was, with each individual element complementing the overall flavours perfectly. It was also lovely to experience some of London's most iconic landmarks from such a leisurely perspective, and if you're looking for a truly unique, ultra relaxing way to while away an afternoon, then I can't recommend the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour enough- I'm already planning a return visit!

What do you think of this idea?

I was kindly invited aboard the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour as a guest of BB Bakery. As always, my impressions and opinions (much like my love for tea and cake!) are 100% honest. 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)
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