What’s Occurring Wednesday: September Favourites

I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone! The 12 months since last September has been pretty tough for me, but I’m pleased to say things are looking a lot brighter now. I’m pretty useless at regular series of posts so I thought I’d hide behind my WOW posts and occasionally post monthly favourites. Something I swore I’d never do as they actually drive me crazy. My favourites are going to be pretty lifestyle-y though, and hopefully not too many ‘posed’ photographs, with most being taken throughout the month. *justifying myself*

This month I’ve virtually lived in pyjamas. Being ill, tired and my living situation (living with three lab mixes = a lot of hair) means wearing proper clothes after work felt like a bit of a waste, so I’ve been climbing into PJs virtually straight away. I did invest in some slightly less ‘sleepy’ looking ones though – I’ve fallen in love with ones fitted at the ankle, and I could just about get away with popping to the corner shops in them if I really had to. I’ve actually stolen this image from Pinterest though (cheeky!)…I couldn’t find the one I took!

 photo 2014-09-27203207_zpsce380b12.jpgI’ve developed a bit of a peanut butter addiction. Not only have I taken to scooping it out of the jar with dark chocolate (shush!) and baking yummy treats with it, but I’ve been eating ice cream and hot drinks laced with the stuff. I loved the Peanut Butter hottie, although it was a little sweet. Perfect for before bed as it made me feel really sleepy. Shame about the price…

Our Zoo. I wasn’t expecting much from this program, but I was hooked from the first episode when I accidentally left my TV on after Bake Off. Such a good period drama – decent story line, believeable characters, some excellent acting (particularly from the vicar), and it’s nice to see something without any kind of sexual scenes. I’m no prude, but sometimes I just want something easy to watch on the train without funny looks from the person next to me…

Other than being ill, lazy and working, much of the past month has been spent starting to look for a dress for my 21st (less than 9 weeks to go!). Not sure whether I’m more excited about my birthday, or the fact that it will be the first bit of time I have off work since I started in July. I’m looking for something lacy but different, either in black, plum or a nice green/navy. Not too long, but I don’t mind a bit of cleavage. I’ve fallen in love with this dress (and this one) from Anthropologie, my new favourite shop. How gorgeous is the first one?! Way out of my budget though…

Fashion: Printed vs Traditional Satchels

You all know I love my satchels. From my massive customiser monster of a Patent Oxblood satchel*, to my traditional easy-open one (which I STILL haven’t blogged about – I have just written a note in my diary to photograph it), to my drag it up mountains pre-distressed grab-and-go*, to my pretty summery pink delight*, I just love them. Something about the shape of a satchel feels so right to me, pretty enough to go with dresses, but not overly feminine. They’re pretty practical too – I find the shape means things can only rearrange themselves so much. And obviously buckles are a pickpocketers nightmare.

Up until a few months ago I’d stuck solidly to plain (ish) leather satchels, but winning Kat Got the Cream’s giveaway meant I was able to try out a patterned fabric style. This bird-pattern is lovely, though admittedly not exactly my thing, and the satchel is clearly well made. A teeny bit small (it’s probably a 8-10 incher) it’s ideal for popping out to do the food shopping, or walking the dog. Would I use it all the time? No. It’s not a practical size for me, and doesn’t tend to go with much unlike my others.

 photo 1417026e-3a0b-4c70-9ad2-304d3bf9891c_zps478ba716.jpgThe biggest issue for me however is how dirty it gets. I suspect this would be the same for all fabric satchels – it just doesn’t clean up very well. At least leather (even fake leather!) is pretty much wipeable, and all of my other satchels look pretty damn good considering how much I’ve used them. This one just looks a little worse for wear, though it has now been thoroughly adopted and loved by my mum.

Would I buy a fabric satchel? Nope. Leather all the way for me! It just feels so much more expensive (and it doesn’t have to cost loads!), wipes clean, and looks a lot more professional. Plus who wouldn’t want the opportunity to customise their very own satchel (PS, remember I have a discount code at Leather Satchel Company)!?

What’s your bag of choice this Autumn?

Student Summer: A Filofax for University

My first Filofax is one of my most treasured possessions, and I’m rarely without it. It was a gift from my parents for my A-level results, and I was so, so, so sure it was the one I wanted. Sure it was expensive at the time (around £50) but it’s definitely been worth it. Its not fallen apart like past diaries, and I actually want to use it. Plus I’ve had offers/emails to buy at at ridiculously high prices (I’m not selling) as it turns out it’s actually quite a rare organiser. Anyway, I thought I’d do an update on the system I’ve got set up for now – it’s working really well for keeping me organised whilst on my placement, and also worked well during my second year. Here we go…

 photo 2014-09-24175026_zps64eef189.jpgI’ve finally found a pen that fits in the pen loop of my Malden! I was sent this Pink Gold Parker pen a few months ago from Pen Heaven (see here) and I keep it in my filofax all of the time. Means I will always have a pen with me, though I do wish it was black ink.

 photo 4bce8a46-d4a7-4f15-91af-c4b1efccba35_zpsefa76f54.jpgOnto the inserts, and I’ve finally found my perfect combination for keeping myself organised. I was going to take photos of the system in action, but I’ve gotten rid of last year’s inserts, and my placement involves some confidential details. So blank pages it is! I use the standard mid-year diary from Filofax – a week to view. Sandwiched between this is an undated ‘day’ planner for each week. This gives me enough space to add daily appointments/meetings/lectures, important things, deadlines, to-do’s and notes. For university, I’d generally put my lectures into the standard diary, and all other important things into the planner.

 photo 13bb4b5a-0572-4b23-93d0-fc022f362a89_zpsdefa7e5f.jpgTo keep track of deadlines, payment dates and boyfriend visits I like using a fold out year planner, though monthly planners are also useful. My pretty dividers are from an Ebay seller – I can’t remember the name off the top of my head, but I do have her business card at home so will add it in soon. I also have inserts tracking finances and address of networking contacts, but obviously it’s not appropriate to post pictures of those on my blog!

I’ve found going simple with my Filofax is the key – I was using an undated planner for each day, but found that required a lot of work keeping it completely up to date. This way is much simpler, and it’s easier to keep track of the whole week too. I may get mocked by my friends for having a Filofax, my bag may be slightly heavier, but I find a paper diary so much easier to handle than typing into my phone. Plus technology always breaks on me – hence why my blog has been offline with a down server for the last few days (sorry guys!). Paper is the way I’m going from now on!

 photo 2014-09-24175015_zps1b3bd22c.jpgOh, a little note about Student Summer…with the sad end of summer, and the great reaction to the series, I’ll be continuing with University themed posts every weekend. Unsure yet whether it will be Student Saturdays or just University, but either way they will be sticking with the blog past summer now! So…

How do you stay organiser?

Student Summer: Freshers Discount at Hungry House

It’s been two years and twelve days since I moved to university. Now that was a stressful weekend – saying goodbye to my boyfriend, realising my stuff and us didn’t fit in the car (mum and sister ended up getting the train) and worrying about everything. Most Freshers this year seem to have started last week, so here’s a great deal to help celebrate surviving your first week.

 photo uk_140911_feedingfreshers_nl-3_zps01902254.jpgHungry House have a great selection of takeaways to choose from (Bombay Mela is on there – woo!) and this year all students with a valid university email address can take advantage of a pretty tasty 25% off. Just head over to their Student Portal, enter a few details and there will be 25% off for you until 5 October. Who knows, maybe there will be more student offers in the future too – definitely worth signing up in case!

Hungry House have also created a great guide to popular Student Takeaways, so if you’re in a major city it might be worth a look – a new favourite to be found perhaps? Either way, I know I’ll be signing up, and whilst I maybe won’t be taking advantage of the student discount (I’m currently suffering from Freshers Flu despite not being at university!) I know I’ll be bookmarking the site for future use.

Disclaimer: I will be receiving a Hungry House voucher for the post, but all opinions are my own.

What’s your favourite takeaway? Indian? Chinese? Pizza? Craving a curry right now…

Baking: Citrus Loaf with Mojito Marmalade

Ah September. The month of cosy jumpers (thought not this year!), Great British Bake Off, and horrible house spiders. When I’m not brandishing a hoover, shoe, or heavy object I’ve been baking this month – bake off always puts me in the mood for something yummy, and there’s only so many nights that a jar of nutella can keep me company. Quick bakes are something I’m always looking for due to working full time, and this fits the bill perfectly. Stir up the mix whilst my dinner is cooking, bake whilst I eat, then let the icing set and cake cool whilst I clean up after myself. My kind of cake.

 photo 11a1e97a-4b3b-48ae-b101-7f6f76ec7c17_zpsb9e6897d.jpgI love baking with all things citrusy, since moving away from home the vast majority of my food comes seasoned with zingy lemon as it’s a substance banned from my family household – my sister is seriously allergic. Yep, we’re the weird allergy family. No tomatoes for me, no citrus for her (including cleaning products) and even my mum has joined in, with reactions to dairy, fish and strawberries. Safe to say mealtimes can sometimes be tricky! But no matter, because away from home I indulge my citrus passion.

 photo dad5a366-ad7a-4bb1-aa49-29c1e237d0c8_zps22cbb439.jpgThis weekend I finally had the opportunity to bake with some Mojito Marmalade* I was sent ages ago from Funky Food Gifts (my new favourite site – I’m desperate for these, these and this). I have to say I was a littleeeee disappointed. It actually just tastes like a lemon curd with bits – no lime zing, no minty hit. Certainly no alcoholic punch, so if you’re after a mojito flavoured cake I’d wait til I publish the recipe I’m working on. But its a nice lemony flavour, and I’d definitely buy lemon marmalade to make this cake again.

Now, onto the bake! Grab from your cupboards:

  • A jar of lemon marmalade – about 1/3 to go in the cake, and the rest on top.
  • 175g very soft butter
  • 90g sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon (and you’ll need the juice too)
  • 3 eggs
  • 190g flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • And for the topping – the rest of the marmalade, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and a knob of butter

 photo c5f67bad-5426-4a84-975f-19d8f0a472ef_zpsafaa4b36.jpg photo 7994fc70-6b4c-4c5d-ab7a-647bcd4e4dd4_zpsca158f04.jpgStart by beating your sugar, butter and zest together until light and fluffy. I go for the wooden spoon – my thinking is the more calories you burn through the baking, the more cake you can eat.

 photo a6a699d2-aea1-4bae-b746-5fc6668018d9_zpsa6f2dde1.jpg photo d1fb67eb-d2b7-46ba-ad31-3614585bbc04_zps8c28122c.jpgBeat through the eggs, then add the marmalade and lemon juice.

 photo b7a8ccb2-2f74-4524-95c4-4108cea41882_zpsc089110a.jpgSift the flour and baking powder together, into the mixing bowl, and stir lightly to combine everything.

 photo a352033c-5a6d-410f-9931-1f7611c23c94_zpsbfa6a444.jpgPour into a greased loaf tin, and bake at 175g for about 30 minutes. Due to the marmalade content, you may want to cover the top as it does catch a little (I also haven’t gotten used to this oven – hence the burnt edge!).

 photo 76fdeadf-3c83-4a80-838e-71b150470530_zpsa115c8f4.jpgOnce its risen and golden, remove from the oven, cool for ten minutes then untin onto a plate. Heat the marmalade, stir through the knob of butter and sugar, and pour over the cake. Leave to cool – the icing is sticky, so it won’t completely set.

Eat and enjoy – it’s a moist and sticky loaf, full of lemon flavour, and it keeps wonderfully well in a tin. Well, it would if your boyfriend wasn’t eating it for breakfast…

Have you been baking along with Bake Off?

 

Beauty: Nails for the Office

Having started a professional placement recently I’ve definitely had to smarten up my appearance. I’m by no means suggesting all work places are like this, but my office is quite strict on workwear and smartness. The men wear ties, everyone is in suits, and personally I’d never show up with overly bright, sparkly or (God forbid) chipped nails.

 photo 10fa5b41-869e-49fa-89c8-fda21a656fc5_zpsac8687d8.jpgI have nothing against bright nails. In fact the shade on my toe nails right now is definitely eye-catching, and I do wear brights on my finger nails. But I don’t particularly like them against workwear, particularly mine (I wear a lot of brown-toned suits) so I’ve found myself gravitating to more neutral shades.

 photo d92452d0-e2a9-4f5c-a3fb-a75175fb1b9d_zps6902c316.jpgThe grey tones in this little collection are earmarked for the cooler weather; I bought a set of four from Primark this time last year and love them. The shades are so unique compared to anything I’ve seen, and I like the thin precise brushes. Admittedly the quality isn’t the best, it’s a little gloopy, but finished with a top coat I can get three days wear out of these. I’ve not got a full week out of any nails ever (including Shellac) so three days isn’t too shabby at all.

 photo 443ed9c1-31c8-4244-95e0-6b68055834ad_zps693e7c27.jpgHere’s my two favourites. The dark shade is Essie’s Shearling Darling – I might not like brights, but I do like dark nails! This was in their last Winter collection, though I bought the single bottle on Ebay. Essie polishes are expensive, but I love the shade range, love the brushes, and they last well without chipping. I can virtually guarantee that if I can’t find the shade I have in mind anywhere else, Essie will have it. Now the nude. This is my perfect nude! A lot are too cream or brown toned, but this is just pink enough to warm my skin tone without being pink. Pretty impressed with the formula for Collection too (it’s not a brand I hold highly in my opinions), and I can just squeeze four days wear out of this one.

 photo 7d4bbb87-20cd-4381-a0a5-e695ad8b2073_zpsdaa624f5.jpgMaybe I need a new topcoat. I’m currently relying on Barry M’s, and I do love it – but I need something a little more chip resistant. Any non Seche Vite recommendations?

What are your current favourite nail polishes?