Sunday, 30 November 2014

Guest Post: Emily's Thanksgiving

Mixing things up a bit today with a guest post from my beautiful friend Emily. I think I might make guest posts a regular thing (if I can find enough people willing to write posts for 'bdazzles'! Let me know if you fancy it...). I love to read what other people have to say and love, even more, seeing their photos. Emily (instagram here if you want to be nosey) is one of my best buds, and I have to say, having read this post, I really think she should start a blog of her own (if she ever does I will be sure to let you all know!). This post is a little insight into her family thanksgiving, which is something I personally have never celebrated which makes it extra interesting for me and hopefully for you guys too! Without further ado, I hand over to Emily...

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is something we’ve done for 21 years now, the family tradition is as old as I am. My parents moved to the US in the 90s for 3 years and during that time my sister, Tessa, and I were born.  
We moved away and ended up back in England yonks ago so the ties we have to America are now tenuous. Other than a passport (and mum’s People magazine subscription), thanksgiving is pretty much the only remaining titbit of American-ness we kept around.

We keep it small, me, mum, dad and Tessa, plus my godmother and her husband – who have been to every one since the first. We’ve swayed slightly from the pumpkin pies and sweet potatoes that typify an American thanksgiving but other than that it’s your run-of-the-mill turkey plus a thousand vegetables thanksgiving dinner.

And obviously we dress to the nines!


Here’s dad – does exactly what it says on the tin. Head chef of the household, perhaps not dressed to the nines but he does try. I suppose he is the foodie aspect of this fashion and food blog... fashion is not his forte.


Champagne! It really does taste like the stars.


This is Tess, a decidedly more fashionable member of the family than dad. She’s wearing an Urban Outfitters dress (link here) and Vagabond shoes  (similar here). The back of the dress is really lovely, very elegant. The billowy shape of the dress suits Tess but also lends itself to eating obscene quantities of turkey (something I also took into account when selecting my own outfit). The Vagabonds are a style no longer on the shelves but similar ones are still available on their website!


This is my godmother – a very trendy London lady, and her husband. I don’t know exactly where her outfit components are from but Helen tends to shop at Cos, Uniqlo, Zara and the likes. A lot of chic black items of clothing make up her wardrobe.


Here, mum and Helen are trying to embody what they’ve seen on the pages of People magazines, the sort of awkward leg tilt that is supposed to make your legs look thinner in photos. I think to varying degrees of success (see my own (botched) attempt below). Mum is also wearing a lot of black – in fact we all were. Her dress is from Hobbs, an old collection but a classic nonetheless. Hobbs tends to stick to a similar cut for lots of their dresses and there are a few similar ones to mum’s in the current collection e.g. this one


My own outfit (and botched awkward leg tilt)! Like my sister's, the dress is from Urban Outfitters. I should have taken a photo of the neckline because that's what really makes the dress, but ASOS (link to dress here) have a more adequate selection of photos to peruse. The shoes are Bebo, a Vagabond copy, and a shoddy one at that (they have already broken!)


Dad's proud creation!


Dinner is served! It’s funny how much time and effort goes into a meal that is essentially scoffed in half an hour. It was delicious! Thanksgiving for us is almost an extra Christmas dinner, there is nothing not to love about that notion.


Dessert was such a treat. Pumpkin pie is lovely, but Chocolate Walnut cake is lovelier. The lighting isn’t great but it’s served here with raspberries and vanilla ice-cream. The recipe (here) is one we have used for several years, by River Cafe. It’s reasonably easy to make, but is a bit of a heart attack to eat. It is truly scrumptious so it’s very easy to ignore the calorie count.

So that is thanksgiving – done our way! I can’t see us stopping the tradition any time soon, it’s a perfect excuse to get together and eat a ton of delicious food. More than worth the effort involved!

Thanks for reading! And thank you Beth for letting me feature on your marvellous blog!
Em xxxo

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Winter Lookbook



Very different post today as myself and Owen set out on a video mission! We headed to Cannon Hill Park with the aim to try and make a lookbook (try being the key word). Now, neither of us have any experience in videography or video editing so this purely was an experiment to see whether or not we could get to grips with it. 

The result was...kind of. Owen did a grand job with the filming, and I tried my best with iMovie although while I was editing the video the clips kept corrupting - does anybody know what this means?! So it took me much longer than I had envisaged! 

I will be doing outfit posts in the coming week telling you where all of the clothes are from, alternatively the details are listed in the down bar on YouTube. This is my very first video and I'm not sure how many more there will be, but feel free to subscribe over on YouTube if you want to!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and it isn't too frustrating to watch if you are a pro at these kind of things! Let me know what you think.



Thursday, 27 November 2014

Christmas Markets


The most wonderful time of the year! The Frankfurt Christmas market in Birmingham is jam packed with over 180 stalls (most of which sell beer, Gluhwein aka mulled wine or Bratwurst (German hot dogs)) and is the largest outdoor Christmas market in Britain. 

On a cold Wednesday evening, myself and my boyfriend decided to head into town for a night of festivities. I donned my sparkly leggings (which do NOT photograph well) and wrapped up super warm. As soon as we got to the centre of town we headed straight for a bar and grabbed ourselves some German drinks. 


Nothing like a hot, mulled wine to warm your heart and hands. The drinks always turn out to be pretty pricey because you have to put a deposit down for the glasses as well, but a trip to the markets just isn't the same without one. 

As far as clothes go, I was wearing my New York Yankees beanie (similar here
 and here) which my brother got me for Christmas last year, as well as my huge and ridiculously warm Alpha Industries parka (similar here, and I love this bomber from them as well).  


The best looking stalls are always the sweetie stalls. Loads of candy canes, pick n mix and other sugary treats all served with a jolly smile. (I bet that guys photo is a lot better than mine). 


Don't they just look like little elves? After scouring the stalls on the main stretch we headed towards the pavilion and started looking at the cuter, more local stalls. We made our way through the pavilion and popped out the other side to be greeted by a beautiful, lit up ferris wheel. We didn't take a ride on it but we did take a photo...priorities. 


By this time, the stalls were beginning to close so we started to head back towards the Town Hall square in order to return our cups and get our deposits back. 

Before we got back on the train we headed for another drink at a local Wetherspoon's. This, in hindsight, was a mistake as it involved picking a very drunk woman off the floor, asking who she was with, picking her back up when she fell again and helping her back inside... Oh the fun of Wetherspoon's! Then it was back to Selly Oak for a cosy night in watching the Walking Dead with my housemates. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Blogs I 'm Loving Right Now

Hi guys! So today is a post (as you can probably tell from the title) all about blogs I am loving to read at the moment. It is a very wordy post - so sorry if you don't like reading! But if you are after some blogspiration, then take a look!

Fashion and Lifestyle
Photo from www.pricecaptive.co.uk
The Londoner
So, lets start with the Queen of lifestyle blogging, Rosie (aka The Londoner) has it all going on. If anybody is going to give you life envy it's her with her amazing clothes, out-of-this-world holidays and mouth-watering restaurant reviews. If you haven't already read her blog, which I am sure most of you have, then you need to! My housemate, Jess, introduced me to the Londoner last year and I haven't looked back since. She updates her blog almost daily and they are never a disappointment. They have a lot of photo content, so if you are into photography then that is another reason to check her out. Some of my favourite recent posts of hers include her Winter Wear post in which she showcases 10 different outfit ideas for the Winter months (the 5th is my favourite) and her Winter Whites post (how she manages to keep her whites looking so pristine in groggy England, I will never know).

Beauty Crush
Sammi Maria (who most people will know from her YouTube channel) is a babe and a half. Her style is to die for and she is just so likeable. She doesn't update her blog as often as The Londoner, but her posts are worth the wait. She's a big fan of bare legs in Winter, which I always find hard to pull off (without freezing) but she manages it with style and sophistication. She lives in London, and so also has many great restaurant reviews on her blog (mainly burger joints, which is great). She's introduced me to great brands such as The Great Frog London and is a huge fan of Urban Outfitters. Her style is a bit grungier and more relaxed than the Londoner's, so reading both their blogs gives you different inspiration for different events.

Sincerely Jules
Another big name on the blogging scene is Julie Sarinana from Sincerely Jules. I believe she is American (correct me if I am wrong) but she is often travelling around the world. Her style defined in one word would be: laid-back. She always looks perfectly undone, with denim often being a big feature in her outfits along with her sunglasses. Her blog is pretty much all about her personal style, which is definitely no complaint. She provides the most inspiration for summer dressing (as she always seems to be somewhere hot) so is perhaps a better read in the spring and summer but I like to read her blog all year round. One of her most recent posts, Sparkle, is a favourite of mine. How does she look so casual with that many sequins on? Mind blown.

Beauty Bloggers
Photo from www.huffingtonpost.com
Vivianna Does Makeup
Ok, so I have to admit I am not a big reader of beauty blogs and if I am after some inspiration I will usually search for a tutorial on YouTube. However, when I am after a bit of beauty advice, Vivianna's blog is one I immediately click on. She's a lovely girl, very down to earth, and her blog posts are always very original. Her Essentials Guide is very useful as are her reviews. She is a very comedic writer, and doesn't take anything too seriously. She has started branching out from just make-up posts as well, with posts on fitness and food making a nice change. Must Read.

Make-Up Savvy
This blog is a new one on my bloglovin' account and I have to say that I love it. Fee, the writer, focuses mainly on bargain beauty products and reviews, and her recent Tesco Beauty Haul was a great read. Just clicking on to her site today, I can assure you her latest post 'The Never Ending Gift Guide' is great for those looking for some Christmas inspiration.

Foodie Blogs
Photo from www.changefood.org
When it comes to food blogs I am particularly interested in healthy/clean eating. Ella's blog is a haven for easy clean recipes which taste delicious. She is from the UK which is useful as it means her ingredients are usually readily available (many of the other clean eating blogs are American and heavily feature ingredients which are tricky to come by in England). She has also started doing some YouTube videos so you can watch how easy her recipes are. My favourite recipe of hers that I have attempted is her Cinnamon Pecan Granola which I talk about here. For those of you looking to live a healthier lifestyle, her blog is definitely one to check out.

Clean Simple Eats
This blog is one that I have tried many recipes from and is actually run by my friend Zoe (not that I am biased). When she moved to Canada last year she became inspired to start living a cleaner lifestyle and has since become a real advocate for healthy living. Her style of writing is really personable, and her photos are always great. Her recipes are easy to follow and taste absolutely amazing. Her must try recipe:Chocolate Truffles. They are divine!

YouTubers
Logo from YouTube
I have been watching Hannah's vlogs since she was pregnant. Now she has a little son Grayson (or baby G as he is affectionately known) and her weekly vlogs with her husband Stefan are incredible. The time and effort that goes into filming, editing and selecting music for these little video diaries is astounding. The Michalak's (Hannah's married name) videos, in my opinion, are some of the best on YouTube. As well as taking a sneak peak into their family life, it is great to watch as each week the vlogs get better and better as their camera skills improve (and their camera collection grows). It also refreshing to watch how their life doesn't always go to plan - they show both the ups and downs of family life which makes their vlogs much more relatable. 

Sun Beams Jess
Jess is definitely one of my favourite YouTubers. As a fellow student, and at a similar age to myself, I feel as though I can easily relate to her. Her Vlogtober series (over on Extra Sun Beams Jess) has got me eagerly anticipating her Vlogmas series (vlogging every day in December until Christmas for those of you who don't know). Her Lookbook videos are incredible as well. They are expertly filmed and edited and I am lusting after every item of clothing she wears in them. I cannot recommend her channel enough. 

I hope this post was interesting for at least some of you, and provided you with some good procrastination material for when you need to do that next big essay! 
Speak soon! 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Too Cold Outside

Dungarees - ASOS, Tshirt - Zara

Ok, so a bit of a weird setting today as myself and my personal photographer (aka my boyfriend) decided it was far too cold to go outside and take photographs so we tried to make my university bedroom work as a reasonable backdrop...it didn't. But hey ho! These shots are what we've ended up with so we will have to make them work (I promise my room is tidier than it looks here). 

These babies have been going in and out of stock on ASOS for ages now (since September I think), and I have never been able to catch them when they've been in stock. However, my mum clearly has her eye firmly on the ball as, to my surprise and glee, she ordered them for me the other day! As soon as she ordered them I went back on ASOS and saw they were already out of stock again so it must have been fate! (...although having just gone to get the link for them they are in stock RIGHT NOW! So zoom on over to ASOS to grab a pair.)

They are without a doubt the most comfortable thing (aside from PJs) that I have ever worn and make me feel like I am on the set of The Good Life (anybody else remember that show? British classic). I think I will probably get the most wear out of these in the summer, however they can definitely work for winter too. With a pair of Converse and a jumper slipped on underneath you are set to go. 

Still very bogged down with work and everything so once again I am sorry these blog posts have gone from three or four a week down to one or two :( Hopefully over the Christmas holidays I should be more on the ball again. Is everybody excited for Christmas? Just over a month to go!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Happiness

So, as Summer has turned into Autumn, and holidays have turned into doing actual work, I have noticed a lot of people's moods changing from super happy to a bit down in the dumps. I, myself, can admit to feeling a lot like Grumplestiltskin when trudging into university for an early lecture (ok...11AM) on a Monday morning. So I thought tonight, on this cold and misty Sunday evening, I would give you 5 little things that should help you feel happier.

1. A cute puppy compilation video



There are thousands of these babies on Youtube and if there is one thing guaranteed to cheer you up and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside it is videos like this one. (If you aren't a puppy fan (WEIRD) then there are also cute kitten compilations). 

2. Christmas time



The fact that it is almost CHRISTMAS should definitely turn that frown upside down. From this very moment in time, it is only 38 days 5 hours 21 minutes and 5 seconds until Christmas day (click here if you want to see how far away it is right this second). Christmas is the blimmin' best time of the year. You can forget about work for a while, stuff your face with Celebrations and mince pies, wear paper hats all day long and watch countless feel-good movies on television. That's without even thinking about presents. What's not to love?

3. Have a flick through your Facebook/phone/laptop photos. I guarantee there will be loads and loads that make you feel happy. You could maybe even try doing the current trend that has been going round on Facebook and pick out five of your favourites that make you feel good. Whether they be of your dog, you and your friends and family or a picture of a particularly impressive burger you ate last week, I am sure there will be a good few that fill you with cheer.

4. Jake Gyllenhaal (or your equivalent) exists...


HALLELUJAH! (other suggestions include David Beckham, James McAvoy, Zac Efron and Harry Styles)

5. Sing along to your favourite tune immediately. Blast it out at the top of your lungs (even if the walls in your university house are extremely thin) and act like nobody can hear you. My personal fave is Bohemian Rhapsody so if you, too, love this song I have inserted it below WITH THE LYRICS (phew, less of those embarrassing moments when you realise you don't actually have a clue what they're saying).


If none of these things have improved your mood, I reckon a good old natter with your mum or your best friends will help you on your way. And if even that doesn't work, hop into bed (it is a Sunday, after all), snuggle up, and watch a film (or the Strictly results) and wake up fresh tomorrow!

I hope you all have a fantastic week - and if you are ever feeling poop then just click back onto here and watch those squeaky little puppies again!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Boyfriend's Birthday

Dress - similar, Coat - similar, Scarf - ASOS, Boots - Office

Hey all! Sorry my blog posts haven't been so regular lately. I have been so bogged down with work and job applications that I have barely had a spare moment - plus, I haven't really been going anywhere exciting/dressing up! Also, experiencing autumn/winter for the first time as a 'blogger' (ie when I am attempting to take photos) is a real struggle as by the time I finish university most days (in between 5 and 6) there is absolutely no natural light so taking nice photographs is a real struggle. Anyway, I hope you can forgive me and I am going to try harder to keep the blog updated more often because I really do love writing it. 

So, this post is all about a little date I went on last night with my boyfriend, Owen. It's his birthday coming up and so, seen as he did such a great job with my birthday (see Birthday Date) I thought it would only be fair if I took him out and treated him to a delicious meal. The outfit I wore isn't that interesting but I wasn't sure how dressy the restaurant we were going to was so didn't want to dress too smart but at the same time didn't want to go super casual. This Topshop dress is probably the most go-to item of clothing I have in my wardrobe. Suitable for almost any occasion and stretchy enough that you can eat a humongous meal without feeling like you are going to rip it, it really is perfect. 

We, first off, went to a great little bar called Island Bar. We had never been before but had heard lots about it so decided to give it a go. Due to it being early evening on a Wednesday night, it wasn't that busy but we still had a great time. The staff were super friendly, and there was free popcorn so you can't really go wrong! We both had a cocktail for our first drink of the night. Owen went for a super-girly cocktail (complete with cherries and an umbrella) called 'Cherry Rose' which consisted of Hendricks gin, cherry brandy, sloe gin, lemon juice and sugar. We likened the taste to one of those ice lollies that we used to get when we were children that you would freeze yourself (Calypso??). I opted for a 'Basil Fawlty' which was also gin based with flavours of lavender, basil and ginseng. It was delish. 

So, after our cocktails we headed to the main event at Le Truc. I had never been before, but had heard great reviews from my friend Kirsten. It's a french restaurant with a nice laid back atmosphere and, once again, super friendly staff. The menu was great with loads of choice, especially if you're a meat lover like Owen. For starters I chose goats cheese bon bons off the specials menu, which came with a cranberry jus and candied walnuts. Scrumptious. Owen got braised porks cheek, quails scotch egg, pork scratching and caper berries...he always likes to opt for the most expensive thing on the menu. 

Look at these mains! Mmm-mm! Owen once again chose the most expensive think on the menu (as one of my friends said: he certainly knows how to treat a birthday!) which was an onglet steak (we had to google what an onglet steak was...it's also known as a hanger steak) with beef dripping chips. It was cooked to perfection, and having tasted some myself, I can admit that it was certainly worth the price tag. I went for the 'Royale with cheese' (in reference to Pulp Fiction) which was a double stacked burger with cheese and bacon. It was pretty nice, although I could only eat one layer. Don't worry though as Owen polished off the rest. 

With very full bellies we headed off to another bar called The Victoria. This pub-like restaurant/bar thing is owned by the same people as Island Bar, but couldn't be more different. Still with an impressive cocktail list, it is much more like a British pub with slight querks (such as portraits of animals instead of people). Owen had a couple of beers, and I had a glass of wine but when they rang the bell for last orders I couldn't resist getting them to make a very long winded cocktail (sorry!). It was called a Rhubarb and Ginger Daisy, and consisted of cognac, fresh ginger, rhubarb and an egg white. It was a bit bitter, but I think I would have it again. 

So! That concludes our night out and I have to say I would definitely recommend all three places we went to. I hope you enjoyed this post! Just by the by, I recently realised that my bloglovin' link was going to the wrong place but I have since fixed it so if you did fancy following 'Bdazzles' on bloglovin' so that you never miss a post just click on this button -  

Speak soon!