Wednesday, 30 July 2014

When I grow up I want to be a Princess...

Who didn't want to be a Princess when they were a little girl?  My mum is a childminder and most of the little girls that she looks after are currently obsessed with the new Disney film frozen and know all of the words too.

One of the little girls has even said to me before now, "Lauren, you are so lucky you are home from work early.  It means you get to see me as Princess Aurora", which to be completely fair to her is my favourite Princess!

This weekend on my travels in South Kensington, Sam and I discovered our childhood dream inside Harrods and we were gutted that we are now too old to be able to take part.  We found the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods, where little girls have their fairy god mother's make them over into Princesses. 

Now we are both 26 years old and the excitement was ridiculous, just standing outside the boutique you can imagine how magical it must be for the little girls who are being treated by their mummy's and daddy's.  The little girl who was about to go in was so excited bless her.

The whole day isn't cheap, but if your little girl is old enough, then this is the experience of a lifetime.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Afternoon tea and being a tourist in London

Living and working in London, means generally I don't get to see as much of the city as I would like to.  Or rather I see it, but I don't take any of it in all of the time.

So occasionally, I like to dress up and go explore.  This weekend, as you know I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the Wedding dresses exhibition that they are displaying at the moment.

Now, don't get me wrong I love the sun and the heat that comes with it.  But the last few days with such close and humid weather I have been finding it hard to chose what to wear, that I'm not going to want to take off 5 seconds later because I am too hot.

So I went to my go-to favourite dress in my wardrobe.  Spaghetti strap dresses and cami tops are my wardrobe staple at the moment, I think I have every colour and style you could imagine.  But this gorgeous dress from Forever21, I have had for a few years now and find that it suits almost any occassion.

The fact that the hemline dips and falls beautifully, adds to the femininity of the dress and means that although it is black I feel very girly in this chiffon number.

I have worn this dress on first dates, my nephew's first birthday and to work in the summer.  It is my very own trusty LBD.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Wedding Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum

If you read my blog a lot, you will know that my best friend Sam is getting married.  So way back at the beginning of the year we booked to go and see the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum and this is where I was heading this weekend.

I love walking into the Victoria and Albert museum, the building itself is a work of art, both inside and out and then you have the glorious chandelier by Dale Chihuly welcoming you in the foyer.

Before we headed into the exhibition, we had bought tickets for afternoon tea, so we sat down to eat in their stunning cafeteria and afterwards had a paddle in their pool they have in The John Madejski Garden.  I got suprise splashed by one of the children in the pool too, which was definitely one of the highlights of the day.  After laughing for a good few minutes we calmed ourselves down and had a slow walk through to see the exhibition.

There were some beautiful dresses at the exhibition, including some lent to the exhibition by Kate Moss and Gwen Stefani.  But my favourite by far has to have been the dress below, which had the most impressive train on it.

The dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, 1933, given and worn by Margaret, Duchess of Argyll.
The thing that we were so amazed at throughout the whole exhibition though, was the size of the brides who had worn the dresses.  They were tiny.  I also loved the illustrations of the bridal dresses, the fabric samples with directives written on them, saved by the dressmakers themselves and the way the shoes, so delicate in white satin and silk had survived not only the day of the wedding but the centuries that had passed since then.

If you have the time, then I would definitely suggest grabbing some tickets for the exhibition, as there is a lot more to see and do while you are there besides the bridal exhibition.

After you are finished in the museum, there is lots to do around the area too, the National History Museum is only a few steps away.  Or if like Sam and myself, dinosaurs aren't totally your thing, you can always have a short walk down to Harrods. 

En route, we stopped off at the cutest little pub to refresh too, which I would recommend if you want to have some lunch outside the museum.  We didn't actually eat inside, but the food smelt and looked amazing.

Check back in tomorrow to hear some more about our day and later for some of the treats that we found in Harrods, including a review of the new Clinique chubby stick and The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods...

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Throw Back Thursday

Each Thursday, I love looking back through photos and old memories on Facebook.  Most of them are from my time at Staffordshire University and so, as it has been three years this week since I graduated my #TBT had to be my graduation photo.

I also read a lovely blog post today about someone starting University this September and it made me think about all the things you forget you were worried and excited about before you start this new journey in life.

The blog post asked, "I think I’ve got everything . . . But, if you were packing for me, what’s the essential thing you’d put in my suitcase?" and here was my reply...

"Bring the entire contents of the medicine box! If you aren’t ill you will have a hell of a long hangover during freshers week! 

Bring some photos and posters too, they are a great way to make yourself feel at home in a strange place.
It’s not so much about what you bring to Uni with you though, you can buy all of that and more when you get there. In fact after 3 years you will be amazed by the amount you have managed to accumulate! Uni is about making memories and friends for life! 

My tips for uni would be:

1. Make friends with everyone in your halls
2. Snacks always help to bond with everyone (especially chocolate cake with tea)
3. Go to every event day or night during freshers week
4. If it’s free pick one up
5. Join a club or society!
6. Most importantly have lots of fun

Can you tell I am a tiny bit jealous? Good luck with your degree!"

But it got me thinking of my memories of University and my friends that I made there.  A lot of the memories that I have of University are a little bit hazy, but they are always funny and filled with laughter.  I am smiling away thinking about them right now.

When I started University, I was pretty quiet and had just finished a gap year.  I moved in with a friend from school who had been there for a year and began a foundation degree in Art and Design.  It was a bit of a compromise, I knew my family expected me to go to University, but I really didn't want to go.  So I chose a course that would only last a year and fell in love with the whole experience.  Half way through my first year, I applied to stay on at University and study Advertising and Brand Management and it was the best decision I made that year!

My first week of University

It took me another few years to pluck up the courage to join the netball team and I was gutted that I hadn't done it before then.  I had an amazing two years with the girls while I was at University and the fun didn't stop there.  The girls have been down to visit, some of them now live in London and we see each other often.  I have even been half way around the wold with two of my friends from netball and work with one of them too.  Friends for life.

Here are some photos of the fun we had during this time...

Staffordshire University Netball Club 2010

Pub Golf Netball Social during freshers week

Winning Varsity

Winning Committee of the Year
It is normal to be worried about University and I was too, but just go and enjoy - I promise it will be one of the most amazing things you ever do.  You will achieve so much more than a degree while you are there too.

Here's our University leavers song to leave you with, listen to the words as a fresher because as a graduate you will feel completely different about them.

This year, it's your dream.

Thursday, 24 July 2014


There are lots of different things that make me feel old these days, but more recently it is the celebration of those films, that were a right of passage for everyone to watch growing up.  This year Mean Girls and The Note Book have both turned ten and I read yesterday that Clueless turned 19 this year! 19.

There is a child out there somewhere, that is older than Cher was when she appeared on our screens.  With nearly 20 years flying passed, I have to admit, I still want her wardrobe.  Maybe not all of the things that were in it, but that computerised wardrobe of outfits, which is probably bigger than any flat I could afford to buy in London.

I feel like Clueless is really having a moment right now too.  The fashion from the 90's seems to have circumnavigated back around again and even the latest rap videos are referencing the film.

So today (the day before pay day) I have had a mini splurge on some of my very own 90's inspired dresses.  When all my new dresses arrive, I will post them all on here for you!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Losing someone you love when you are travelling

**This evening I set out to write a totally different blog post to the one that I am actually writing now.  But when you are travelling, it is a real issue that more people than you realise have to deal with.**

My own journey travelling around the world came to a bitter sweet ending.  When I was in Fiji (my 4th of 7 stops) I had a call from my mum to tell my my beloved Nan had suffered multiple strokes and a heart attack.  My trip was over and I was going home as soon as I could get there.  I left that phone box in Fiji numb.  Not because my trip was over, but because I was so scared that I would lose my nan before I could get home in time.

Frantically that evening I tried to book a flight home, but I was already on the earliest flights home possible.  So I had to wait it out for two whole weeks.  I couldn't enjoy the rest of my trip though, as much as I tried and I wanted to because I knew my nan would want me to too.

I finally made it home and I saw my nan, only hours after landing.  I walked into that hospital room and was devastated to see the cruel effects of the stroke.  My mum confessed later to me, that she was hoping that me coming home would make my nan come back to us, as growing up we had always been close.  But as much as I would love to say that was the case, it wasn't.  There were moments of clarity, when my nan knew who I was again, but it didn't last for long and after a week of being home, she made the choice in one of her clearer moments, not to receive any more dialysis treatment.

My nan died two weeks later.

As much as I loved that trip, I still wished today that I had been able to spend those last five months with my nan instead because the world will always be waiting for me.  As irrational as I know that sounds.

It is a strange experience losing someone you love so much and I don't think you ever get over something like that, you just learn to kind of live with it if that is the right way to explain it?  I still think about my nan a lot and I wonder what she would say about me now and the things that I have achieved as she encouraged me to do so much.

There have been moments in my life that I really wished I had been able to share with her, like passing my driving test, starting university, graduation day and starting a new job. 

It has been seven years this year and sometimes I still go to pick up the phone or ask her who someone in a photograph is.  To share a memory or ask her to tell me one of her stories.

I hope she would be proud of me today and of who I have become.

I wrote this post though, because I think death is something that everyone needs to deal with in a different way.  You may chose, if something like this happens to you, to stay travelling and live life or you may chose to go home.  Neither of these choices are the wrong or right decision.  But I am glad that I came home and I got to spend a final two weeks with my nan and to tell her about the things I got to see thanks to her encouragement.

My Nanny

Monday, 21 July 2014

Yoga Pants

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you will have seen that I am trying to lose some weight.  So far, so good - I have lost 7lbs in 3 weeks... I still have a long way to go though, as I have a target of 35lbs.

This week I am going to sign up for the gym, so that I can start Swimming and going to Yoga lessons too.  I have my eye on a membership at Fitness first, as they are local to where I work and run Bikram Yoga lessons as well as normal Yoga and they have a pool.  BONUS.

Now all I need to do is get some new things to wear to the gym and of course, this is no chore for me, as I love shopping.

Here's my gym wishlist...

I'm in love with H&M's new range of sports clothing, as shopping at places like Lulu Lemon or Sweaty Betty are completely out of my budget right now, even though they are beautiful and I am completely envious of their lines.

I already have a few swimming costumes too, but I am thinking about getting a few more - especially as I tend to wear my swimsuits under my gym kits.

So here are my top five, swimming costumes at the moment...

You can find these costumes, here, here and if you search for 'Speedo Sculpture Simplyglow Swimsuit' there are lots of different places you can purchase the last swimsuit.