Fashion: The 2016 Favourites (+Best Beauty Bits)

Throughout December, in an attempt to stop Christmas taking over entirely, I’m putting together a few posts to review my 2016. The best one (favourite eats – obviously!) will be going live on Thursday but today it’s time to talk all about my fashion and beauty favourites from the year.

This was kind of a difficult post to write, really, as I can’t actually remember much about the first few months at all. Then we hit exam season and I was lucky if I found time to moisturise my face, let alone put on makeup. My final-year of university saw me wear jeans more times than I think I had done in my entire life. Then I started work. My makeup is in a bit of a rut and I alternate between suits and pyjamas. All that said, this has been the year I’ve really experimented with foundation. I’ve found two of my all-time favourite lipsticks. I bought a graduation dress I love. My workwear wardrobe is perfect for both my corporate profession and my style. And I’m slowly, slowly updating my hairstyle.
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New Hair

Trying to grow out shorter, choppier layers is a slow process. So is going from a side parting to a centre one. It’s leaving me with some horrific hair days, but slowly they are becoming less frequent. When I have a REALLY good hair day it’s obvious. Take last Friday for instance. Randomly my third day hair looked pretty much perfect. Curls, volume, falling just right. I had so many compliments and it made my day. Saturday evening, on the other hand, it was horrific. Though to be fair I had walked in the wind and rain around the park (twice) waiting for the dog to do his business…

Next step is to figure out what I’m doing with the colour. I love coppery tones, but trying to keep it that colour is so difficult. Especially as L’Oreal seems intent on discontinuing any shades I grow to love.

Best Beauty Bits

I’ve picked up quite a few favourite bits and pieces this year. I’ve found a range of haircare that my hair seems to love and which doesn’t upset my bank balance (Dove, FYI, full review to come at some point). I picked up my go-to foundation, though I’m still on the hunt for one which may make the cut for my wedding day makeup. I’ve found my perfect bold lip in the form of MAC Diva. I’ve finally found a concealer that will hide my under-eye circles.
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The Christmas Dresses

For the past five years (and I say that a little red-faced) I’ve worn the exact same dress at Christmas; a plum jumper dress. Warm and cosy and forgiving on the tummy department, it was my safe option. And I’d never found the perfect Christmas dress. Something festive yet comfortable, smart enough to feel special but casual enough to roll about on the floor with the dog.

This year, I’ve found two.

The first I came across back in October, spying it on the rack in Next. In all sizes but the one I needed. I stalked their website for weeks, made trips on a twice-weekly basis to the five stores within walking distance from work. And it finally appeared one day. It fits perfectly, is SO comfy and makes me feel super slim (even after Bill’s Mac’n’Cheese on Sunday!). It’s the perfect length, feeling sassy yet demure enough for Christmas morning church.

The second is my work-party dress* – and I’m not sneak peak on here as I’d sooner keep the whole outfit under wraps until then! For the price I think it’s excellent quality, and it looks smart enough for the office under a black jacket. It’s quite different to what I would usually go for (bodycon is not my thing!) but the lace means it doesn’t look too clingy. I’m looking forward to pairing it with my new KoKo Couture Clutch* (another bargain, though deceptively small), a red lip and heels. Quiz have some lovely things in right now – and so much is in the sale too!
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Graduation

I actually felt really stressed about finding a dress to wear for my graduation ceremony. I wanted it to fit (seeing as most of my clothes at the time were pre-weight loss). I wanted it to reflect my personality (i.e. it needed to be floral). I wanted something classic, something I’d be happy to wear again, but equally something special and not “every-day.” I was lucky; I decided on the first dress I tried. And I loved it.

Love my new cord pinafore! #weekendfashion #cord #pinafore #cordpinafore #ootd #fotd #redlip #macdiva #whatastudentwears

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

Cord Pinafores

One thing I’ve discovered and LOVED this year is cord pinafores. Practical (because who doesn’t love pockets?!), warm and cosy and so easy to wear, my favourite are the Topshop ones. Pricey but I’ve found they wash extremely well, and the halter-neck style of straps is more flattery than some of the other styles. I’ve got one in burgundy and one in black – worn with either a jumper or a stripy t-shirt I could probably live in them!

They also hide food babies extremely well. Win win!
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Wedding Dress

Oh, yep, just a little one here! Way back in May, before we’d set a date and a massive 2.5 years before our wedding, I put down a deposit on my dress. I’m lucky enough to be getting a bespoke design from a British designer and I’m SO excited to be part of the process. Eeek!

So yep, it’s been a pretty good (and hugely expensive!) year shopping-wise. Next on my list is to find a pair of work trousers I feel comfortable in, and the perfect pair of pointed ankle boots. Wish me luck!

What has been your favourite outfit of 2016?

 

Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #10

It’s Christtttmasssss!

Hands up who else can’t believe how quickly December crept up on us?! These past two weeks have been pretty full-on again. Lots of celebrating, an awful lot of food, more than a little cheeky shopping and cramming in study whenever I could too. I’m SO looking forward to a few weeks off over Christmas and New Year now, I seriously need to recharge my batteries!

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Here’s what’s been making me happy recently…

  1. Birthdayyyyy! I turned 23 at the beginning of the month and had a lovely, lovely chilled few days celebrating.
  2. Mulled cider. My favourite winter-y tipple, there’s a pub in Leadenhall Market that does this perfectly.
  3. A new Kindle. My parents treated me for my birthday. I’m so, so grateful and it was sorely needed after mine decided to die a slow and painful death over November.
  4. Getting positive feedback on my first assignment. Yes, I failed it, but it was clear I’d mis-read a question and I know exactly where I need to work on. Feeling motivated now!
  5. Honest burgers. Again. I met one of my besties after work and it was DELISH!
  6. The best eggs I’ve eaten. Ever. The yolk porn was insane.
  7. Seeing The Lion King. It was just amazing. I cried.
  8. Spending a fortune (worth of gift cards!) on New Look. I’m just hoping it all fits…
  9. Making new blog friends. I headed over to a Co-Op and Sorted Food event last week and met Tanya for the first time. We drank too much prosecco and had a ball.
  10. Ginger, Orange & Chocolate Cookies. My new favourite treat.

What’s been the highlight of your last week?

Lifestyle: November Favourites

November is normally one of my favourite months. It’s normally cold and crisp. I love Bonfire night; wrapping up warm to watch fireworks and scorch my face by getting too close to the flames. I love wandering around London and sniffing the first whiffs of Mulled Wine. I love buying presents, choosing wrapping paper, getting ready for Christmas. I love cosying up with a good bowl of comforting food.

This November has been different.

I’ve kept up a smile, a happy appearance (W would say differently, it’s his shoulder I cry on!). But I’ve really struggled with November this year.

I found it grey, the weather pretty miserable. Even on dry days, the biting wind of Fenchurch Street all but killed off my lunchtime strolls. I resented it being dark in the mornings and dark in the evenings, even dark during the days on one horrific Monday. I felt overwelmed with all I had to learn for my job, the amount of studying I need to do before my exam in April. I missed my university housemates, felt lonely and isolated. I felt pressured and fed up of wedding planning. I began to hate my appearance; frizzy hair, spotty and flaky skin, growing wobbly bits. All in all, it hasn’t been my best month.

It’s made me all the more grateful for the little things, the tiny bits that make me smile, make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Whether it’s ready a good blog post, understand a section in my course notes or making the perfect cup of tea (rarer that you’d think!), focusing on these has kept me from throwing the towel in and hibernating until Spring…

Bloggers do brunch! Happy belated birthday @jasxcharlotte 😘

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

Brunch & Babes

One grey and drizzly Sunday morning was certainly cheered up with brunch and catch-ups with some of my favourite blogging girls – and some new favourites too. We headed over to Cambridge St Kitchen for instagrammable dishes and plenty of chatting, all in celebration of Jasmin’s birthday. And it really cheered me up. I’d been feeling a little lonely over the past few weeks so it couldn’t have come at a better time!

The brunch was, we all agreed, “fine.” Nothing special, not really worth the 60+ minutes wait, bitter coffee and my toast was burnt. The cafe itself was lovely, the staff friendly if slow, and my poached eggs were yolk-porn perfection. Not bad, not great.

We followed with a ‘cake quest’ – picking up the much-hyped Cronut and then a good wander around Victoria and across the park to work at least some of it off. Verdict on the Cronut? Insanely indulgent, deceptively filling, wonderfully sweet yet balanced. November’s flavour (yep, wish I hadn’t known about the monthly flavours!) was Cherry & White Almond, and the frangipane notes work well against the sharp jam and sweet dough. I’m not convinced it’s worth the hype, but it was good. Though it hasn’t replaced my love for Co-Op doughnuts…
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Date Night

Moving in together means there’s little room for romance in our day-to-day lives. However right at the start of the month W surprised me with date night. He cooked a super-fancy meal, we turned off all distractions and really enjoyed each other’s company. And with him in the kitchen, I’m a lucky girl. Pan-roasted venision with celeriac puree and blackberry pan jus, followed by his S’mores concept dessert. Homemade chocolate and whisky ice-cream, buttery biscuit base, mashmallow-y meringue blow-torched to give that toasted flavour. Yum.

He also surprised me with flowers. And remembered to buy us a vase to put them in. I found a good’un!
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Autumnal Sunshine

I know I said that the month was pretty grey and miserable (and it was!), but there were some gorgeously sunny days. Every time the sun made an appearance I insisted on wrapping up warm and heading out to make the most of it – which is pretty easy when we live right next to a gorgeous little park.
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Cosying Up

I’m on the go a lot. I rarely sit down and truly relax. I work full-time. I study on the tube. I get home and exercise. I either cook or wash-up (because adulting). I either blog or study. I sleep. I get up early. Repeat.

One Saturday we made the effort to really take some time to chill out, relax and start the weekend properly. We planned to shop on Friday evening (we usually go pre-9am on Saturdays, because me and busy shops is not a good combo). We didn’t set an alarm, we had giant mugs of tea in bed, we made scrambled eggs. Separately, because he likes a firmer-set scramble, I like part-cooked softly set eggs. Bliss.
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Crisp Sandwich

Right when Instagram is full of salads, of healthy dishes, of vegan “free-from everything” meals – I post a picture of a crisp sandwich that I had for lunch. With S’mores brownie on the side. I have no shame! In all honesty I’d been craving a crisp sandwich for months, it was the first lunchtime in a long time I was on my own, and so I indulged. White ‘plastic’ sandwich bread, proper salted butter (no of that spread nonsense), salt’n’vinegar crisps. So bad, so good. Messy, crunchy, slightly greasy and a full-on carb overload. I only regret that it’s not socially acceptable to do in the office…

And speaking of S’mores Brownie, that was a definitely highlight of November for sure… I took some wrapped up to our local Firework celebration. The perfect snack!
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Stocking Up My Freezer

A few weeks back Abel & Cole offered to send me one of their new student recipe boxes*. A veggie recipe making six portions, along with potatoes and some seasonal fruit – all for £14.50. I normally think recipe boxes are a bit overpriced, but actually I’m really impressed with this one.

I originally got sent their Mushroom & Leek Risotto Box – which sounded super-yum. Unfortunately Royal Mail, ahem, royally mucked up and I only got my hands on the box a week after it was sent. I rescued what I could and made a yum potato and leek soup (plus stock up my cupboard with arborio rice) and had apples for snacks for a few days.

They then sent over their Squash Scouse (hand-delivered). And I now have it stashed away in my freezer for evenings where I just want to leave something to heat up and cosy up with a warm bowl. It made eight massive portions (and I didn’t even use all the ingredients), the veggie flavours were simple yet stunning and it is super-filling. We’ve had it on it’s own, with chicken and with spicy sausages. Yum!

London Wanderings

Despite the greyness, the dampness, the shorter days – it’s been so lovely to get out and about and really explore some more of London. I loved wandering around Victoria with the blogging girls, I loved have a browse around Spitalfields with W – it took alllllll my willpower to ignore Bleecker Street burgers! Though my Christmas dinner toastie (cheers Costa) was pretty yum…

Have you tried any of the coffeeshops Christmas specials? What was your highlight of November?

Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #9

Woo, less than a month til Christmas! And even more importantly, my birthday is this week. I am the kind of person who inwardly gets so excited about their birthday, and this year is no exception. I have the day off work (and the day before off for study – yay for double lie-ins!). I plan to spend the weekend seeing some of my favourite people and eating more food than appropriate. Oh, and brunch which I’m hoping will involve a reinvented Eggs Benedict which incorporates black pudding. Yum!

Here’s what’s been making me happy recently…

  1. Brunch with some blogging gals to celebrate Jasmin’s birthday. It was so nice to see some new faces, and catch up with everyone else. It had been far too long!
  2. Pretty flowers. I came home one Friday to a bunch of flowers on the table. I’d had a grumpy week so this really made me smile.
  3. Making a potato-dauphinoise-cross-cauliflower-cheese-bake-thing to go alongside roast pork. It was super yum and I now have a mandolin to damage myself with!
  4. Booking our wedding photographer. It’s one of the most important parts to me and it’s resulted in a LOT of Instagram stalking over the last few months.
  5. Scallops. I love them, but rarely get to eat them as I’m never hugely tempted by the sound of the entire dish on the menu. These, however, were served with black pudding and a smoked aubergine puree. Cooked perfectly, they were delicious.
  6. Stir-up “Sunday”. Despite seeing Christmas Cake and Pudding as Devil’s Food (dried fruit = ick!), it was great to spend a Saturday evening baking, making a mess of the kitchen and breathing in festive smells.
  7. Sticking to the Christmas theme, we headed out for lunch at Costa to try out their festive specials. I love the Christmas Dinner Toastie I chose, though we were both a little disappointed at the Pigs in Blankets pannini – bacon and sausage together doesn’t equal PIBs, right?!
  8. A wander around Spitalfields and Brick Lane. Definitely a place I want to revisit.
  9. Watching The Missing. The series has been so, so tense. If you haven’t seen it, get in iPlayer now! The ending of last week’s episode was so frustrating I screamed.
  10. Meeting old friends and *finally* visiting Honest Burgers. Was so nice not to have to remove relish (#allergyissues), the burgers were yum, chips amazing, and the company awesome. A good night!
  11. An extra little one this fortnight. Katy put out a shout for Happy Things a while back and her post was so, so uplifting. She got over 150 replies and reading through it put a massive smile on my face.

What has been the highlight of the last few weeks for you?

Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #8

These last few weeks have been super busy – during the first week of November I had one evening where I wasn’t socialising after work. Coupled with the fact I ended up having to book onto tutorials for my professional exams TWO MONTHS earlier than anticipated, craming reading in alongside everything else has left me shattered. That said it has been super fun – I just know I need to tone it down a little.

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Here’s what’s been making me happy recently…

  1. Tacos and tequila. Me and W headed down to Wahaca to celebrate Day of the Dead. We stuffed ourselves with Pork Pilbil, Chicken Tacquitos and, of course, Churros. The perfect mid-week treat.
  2. Talking of mid-week treats, meeting up with some of my closest friends for burgers and catch-ups after work features rather highly. However thought of putting Camembert AND truffle mayo into a burger deserves a medal.
  3. Studying again. Sure, I moan about it, but at the same time I’m loving having something to work towards. The small amount of time pressure is actually making me get on with it, there’s been no procrastination here. Yet!
  4. S’mores brownies. Buttery biscuit base, gooey rich brownie, melted and slightly charred marshmallows. N’uff said.
  5. Autumn clothes. I’ve been loving mixing up skirts with jumpers and ankle boots. So comfy, so cosy.
  6. Writing my birthday/Christmas wishlist.
  7. Enjoying an Indian for the first time since leaving Redhill and my placement. Still not quite as good as Bombay Mela, but I’ve discovered Spiced Fried Okra is yum!
  8. W’s parents visiting. So nice to catch up properly!
  9. Our new little nephew being born. This actually happened in the previous fortnight but clearly I had Aunty-baby-brain. Looking forward to having cuddles in hopefully not too long.
  10. Getting a seat from the start of my morning commute two days in a row. I hate the tube in the morning, it makes me feel so sick, so this made my day! It also means I got 30 minutes of course-note reading done, which means more time in the day for fun things…

What little things have you been loving recently?

Lifestyle: October Favourites

Woah, this month has been weird. In the blink of an eye we’ve gone from a glorious Indian summer to grey skies, short days and cosy evenings. I’m getting home in the dark (which I find deeply depressing) although the upside is the stunning sunrises I see most mornings.
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Celebrating 6 Years Gone & 2 To Go

I still can’t believe myself and W have been together for six years – it’s gone so quickly, but equally it feels like a lifetime. I definitely can’t imagine a time without him now! We celebrated on our anniversary with a gorgeous meal at Mac & Wild (review to come, it was insanely, struggled-to-walk-cos-so-full delicious). We also toasted that it’s now officially less than two years to go until the wedding. It almost feels as though we can begin to plan a bit more now, though I do wish it would hurry up!

A Good Haircut

I got pretty disillusioned with my hair over the summer. I’d grown it quite long during my final year of university (vainly wanting it to sit well under my graduation hat!) and once I’d had it chopped back into shape I decided I was bored. Typical, right?! Well I’ve gone for an itsy-bit of a change now, ditching the choppy-ness and going for longer layers. It’s a work in progress but I’m reassured that it will only get better. And at least longer layers means more choice for bridal styles…
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New Shelves

Since moving in I’ve been a little bit frustrated with our bedroom. It’s not small, but with a king-size bed there’s not a huge amount of spare space. And with only 25cm between the bed and the wall on ‘my’ side I was unable to have a bedside table. Which during spider season was not ideal. Fortunately, W came to the rescue and BUILT these gorgeous ladder-shelves. Sure, he made a bit of mess in the process and I’m not convinced the neighbours would have appreciated the noise, but I love them. I’ve added Primark fairy lights, pretty books and candles and now the whole room feels a lot cosier.

Escape Rooms

For my teams away day right at the end of the month we spent the afternoon in an Escape Room right in the heart of the city – next door to our office in fact! I’d never done one before, now I’m trying to round up a gang to do another. Logic puzzles, physical challenges and a whole load of laughs, it was such a good way to spend the afternoon. It was great to meet more of my wider department in a social setting too – I’d been pretty much thrown into work and some of them, I’m ashamed to say, I hadn’t spoken to before.
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All The Burgers

You know me, I love a burger! Over the past few weeks I tried London’s Best Burger of 2015 (post coming soon, I promise) and sampled some of GBK’s newest additions to their menu. Next on my list is Honest – they are right next to my office!

Baking with Co-Op

The Co-Operative Food sent me a hamper filled with all kinds of exciting goodies last week, designed to get me in the spirit of Halloween, to get me into the kitchen. I have to admit I haven’t quite followed the spooky theme, but W did make some amazing S’mores Brownies with the ingredients. They also have some super-yummy recipes on their site, which I’d never actually visited before. These Chorizo Bean Burgers are going on our menu plan very soon!
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New ‘Pets’!

So, we live right next to a park, taking the entire top floor of our (admittedly small) block. We’re pretty much right in the trees, and our super-wide window ledges have turned into a bit of a squirrel run. We’ve had Stuart (as we’ve christened him) nibble on his breakfast, have a scratch and even a nap right outside our window, just next to our sofa. And then there was the Sunday he, erm, brought a friend to visit. Which was interesting. And slightly embarrassing as they were ‘getting to know each other’ as two AO delivery men dropped my freezer off. Ahem…

Dark mornings mean pretty sunrises.

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

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Oh you Mother Clucker 😍

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

And then there’s all the little things that I’ve loved this month. Finding a new favourite fruit tea (Blackcurrant & Blueberry, SO good). Sunday morning snuggles with Saturday’s papers. Yummy dinners. Discovering a new favourite cocktail, with a name so filthy I can’t bear to repeat it here (mine and W’s parents probably will read it!). Kicking through Autumn leaves. Kerb at Camden (though not the upset stomach that followed for us both!). Playing tourist and going on a riverboat – and learning an embarrassing amount of fact about London. I have to say I’m loving living in the capital, and I’m so excited to spend my first winter here.

What was your favourite thing about October? Are you loving the Autumnal weather or hating the colder days?

Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #7

Wow, it’s the end of October already! This month has definitely gone from being summery (I was wandering around in t-shirts only a few weeks ago!) to being properly cold and Autumnal – I need scarves and gloves on pretty much a daily basis now. And, dare I say it, it’s not long until Christmas. I’m starting to feel a bit excited…

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Here’s what’s been making me smile lately…

  1. Meal-prepping. Things have definitely gotten hectic but I’ve loved getting organised and prepping things at the weekend. Plus my fridge looks super neat and tidy.
  2. M&S released my favourite work style dress in burgundy. I saw it and bought it within around 3 minutes one lunch-break!
  3. On a related note, I found my Christmas day dress!
  4. And on a Christmas theme, I’ve managed to convince W to let me buy a new Christmas tree for the pair of us. No more £10 trees from Tesco, I’ve got my eye on a ‘pencil’ one from John Lewis.
  5. Starting to study again. I was torn between dreading it and looking forward to it, but it turns out I’m hugely enjoying getting my teeth stuck into new material.
  6. Heading home to be spoilt for a couple of nights. My mummy cooked all my favourite treats!
  7. Having a good haircut and managing to get it dyed at the same time. It’s been a while since my haircare was so in sync!
  8. Mushroom risotto. W was working late on a project, I couldn’t resist…
  9. Narrowing down our wedding photographer search. Quite possibly the most important element for me and despite the time we’ve got I found it stressful. Some were booked on 2019 dates!?!
  10. Wandering around London. I can’t quite explain how much I love living here!

Hope your fortnight has been as lovely as mine! What’s been making you smile lately?

Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #6

Happy Monday everyone! These last two weeks have been pretty hectic. Will’s now started his Master’s course so we’ve been having to get into an actual proper routine. It’s been pretty tiring – I announced I was going to bed last week before realising it was only 9.30pm, whoops! I’m also properly working now, rather than just being on the graduate training programme, so I’m getting used to new processes, seeing everything in Excel spreadsheets and trying to remember allllll the things. Super interesting, but my brain feels a little like mush once it gets past 5pm everyday!

 photo Happy Things 2_zpstx894dal.pngHere’s the best bits from my fortnight…

  1. A welcome lunch with my team. Not only did I have some delicious food (bread and balsamic, squid salad, stone bass with cannellini ragu), it was great to get to know them a bit more. Not feeling so intimidated now!
  2. Cooking a delicious butternut squash risotto, with goat’s cheese. I’ve avoided this veg as last time I tried it I hated it, but I could definitely eat this again!
  3. Doing a bit more wedding planning. We’re looking into photographers now and I’ve got a short-list, hoping to get that booked in the next few weeks.
  4. On that note, the wedding is less than two years away! Safe to say I’m excited…
  5. Celebrating our anniversary. It’s been six years since we got together – whilst I didn’t plan to meet my future husband at 16, it’s meant we’ve been able to grow up together. I can’t wait for all of our future adventures!
  6. “London’s Best Burger” at Mac & Wild. I feel I need to do more research to verify the ‘best’ claim, but it was damn yummy!
  7. The nice man in Waitrose fetching me a trolley and helping me transfer my shopping after the wheel feel off mid-shop. The fact that he didn’t laugh was greatly appreciated!
  8. Receiving a pretty good Bake Box in the post. I have to admit I wasn’t too impressed with the last few, but I’m looking forward to getting into the kitchen with my new bits and bobs…
  9. New bed clothes. Enough said.
  10. Finding the perfect copper fairy lights to hang by my bed. My cosy corner is nearly complete!

What’s been making you smile recently?

Lifestyle: September Favourites

Only three more months of 2016, how weird is that?! It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was seeing in the New Year, just recently engaged and having picked up my re-size ring that day. Now I’m having to think about Christmas, plan presents, work out when I’m heading home and genuinely kick my butt in gear already!

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September was exhausting for me, pretty predictable really. I remember when I first start placement in 2014 how tired I was, how difficult it was to adjust to working rather than studying. This wasn’t any different, and coupled with moving, sorting bills, fixing the mess the council made of our council tax application, it was all a bit stressful! That said I have an okay-ish commute and I’m now managing to stay awake past 10pm again, so I guess things are good! Favourites have been…
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The Lake District

Work arranged for the whole 18-strong graduate cohort to head up to the Lake District for team-building in our first week; I had a blast. I was initially worried about whether it would be too ‘outdoorsy’ for me, whether I’d have to sleep in a dorm (I hate sleeping in front of people!). It worked out fine, the place we stayed in was right on the edge of Lake Windemere and absolutely gorgeous, and I even managed to kaykak in a reasonable fashion. It definitely helped that the Lake District is a beautiful part of the UK too…

Pizza

I’ve mentioned my love for white pizzas a few times, and thanks to a new favourite restaurant it’s definitely growing. The Dynamo is dangerously close at only 3-minutes away from our flat and serves gorgeous sourdough pizzas. The base isn’t quite as good as Franco Manca but the toppings are excellent. Three (3!) tomato-free pizzas are on the menu, but on our visit it was a special that caught my eye. Smoked chicken, pancetta, mushrooms, mascapone, smoked mozzarella, garlic, herb oil and Parmesan. Sounds like an overload but everything worked so, so well together. One of the best pizzas I’ve had for sure!

Dynamo also do an amazing sounding brunch menu (Eggs Benedict, with black pudding instead of ham?!) so I’m sure at some point you’ll see more of the place on here…

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Great British Bake Off

The best thing about this time of year, right?! I’ve been loving this series, I think they’ve gone back to basics a bit which is SO much better. It annoyed me last year how contestents would be baking macarons for ‘decoration’ – this year it’s very much about good baking, good flavours and the recipes seem so much yummier!

Me and W are also trying to ‘bake along’ as best we can. We missed the first week, but so far have pretty much kept up. I’ll be blogging about what we’ve made from next week – but the spiced chocolate hazelnut tea bread was a huge hit! Even if my kitchen did look a bit sticky and doughy…

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That ‘New Year’ Feeling

September is definitely the month for new starts, and that definitely was the case for me this year – new home, new job, new study plans. I celebrated with ensuring I had a fresh clear diary in my Filofax, organising my time and setting myself some goals. It scares me to think that starting in a few short weeks I’ll be back to studying again, but I’ve set myself a challenge to try and complete all my exams in 2.5 years (including skipping a sitting for the wedding!). Nothing like a bit of pressure!

First day at work “selfie” – good luck to all the grads starting their new jobs today!

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

Workwear

I might be a bit of an odd one, but I love formal clothes. I think that they can look so lovely and feminine, and I’d like to think I’ve managed to hit the right balance of formal and personality in my work outfits. Typically I’ve not get photography my favourite outfit – a lovely lace skirt, duck-egg blue, midi-length, pleated. I love it!

Now I’ve got to work on the shoe front. I bought so many lovely pairs of shoes and all of them need a ridiculous amount of breaking in so I’ve shied away from wearing them. Whoops!

What have your September highlights been? Anyone else looking forward to Autumn?! Oh, and congrats to all grads who started their new jobs this month, hope it’s going well!

Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #5

It’s really hard to believe that 10 weeks have passed since I started doing these posts. I’ve loved doing a more regular update into my life, and I’ve found these quick-fire posts great for making me think about the really positive things that have happened recently.

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Here’s what’s been making me smile lately…

  1. The Lake District. I mentioned it in my previous post that I was heading up for some team building – it was a great few days!
  2. “Rock” climbing up a (bloody tall) tree. I hate rock climbing having pretty much zero strength, I also hate heights. This was a massive achievement for me!
  3. Managing to do 50 sit-ups in a row. Just call me superwoman…
  4. Watching W’s mum getting licensed at Peterborough Cathedral. I know she’s worked really hard to get there, so it was a proud moment. Also very lovely to see his parents and rest of his family for the day!
  5. We also got treated to lunch at Prezzo. Whilst I was never a fan when I could eat tomatoes (never had a good tomato-based meal there!) there is one dish I can’t get enough of. It had been around a year since I’d enjoyed a Pollo Carbonara but it was just as good as remembered. Rich, creamy, insanely cheesy…
  6. Forgetting to shave my legs, then realising it’s cold enough for thicker tights. I love Autumn!
  7. Watching W settle into his Masters course. I’m unbelievably proud of how far he’s come.
  8. Catching up with my girls. We’re trying to make a date to see each other every month, and this month involved a bit of a shopping spree.
  9. Finally kicking my cold out of my system. I picked it up just before heading to the Lakes and it lingered a bit. I’d sure W is glad not to have a constantly coughing person all night!
  10. My family visiting. Including the dog. It’d been SO long since I had doggy cuddles.

What’s made you smile these past few weeks?