Top of The Rock

Posing in front of Empire State BuildingIt’s amazing how quickly you settle back into life after a holiday, don’t you think? I’m back on Californian soil after spending a long weekend in New York with Mr Ship-Shape to celebrate my birthday. It was the perfect way to see in a new year (and indeed a new decade *gulp*) and the city itself was just as good as I remember from previous visits.

On my actual birthday we managed to fit in bagels, Brooklyn, pizza and an early morning visit to the observation deck of the Rockefeller Centre, which is where these photos were taken. They’re just touristy snaps but I wanted to feature them on the blog as a reminder of how kick-ass this trip was.

Although we used the subway a few times, for the majority of the trip we walked everywhere, so I wanted to wear an outfit that could go the distance. I’m having a bit of a thing for denim at the moment so I picked this denim dress from New York for the occasion. The design is quite fitted but loose enough to hide the bagel belly I accumulated within a couple of days– result! The little fox badge is from the birthday card Mr Ship-Shape got me and I’m also wearing my favourite new Chelsea boots, which aren’t in shot because Top of The Rock on a Saturday morning = too crowded for full length photos.

I’ll be sharing more snaps from NYC soon, but in the meantime check out my Instagram to see what we got up to!

PS. I treated myself to a new ‘do before our trip so I’m a full-blown redhead again – do you like it?

Rockefeller CentreNBC Rainbow Room signPosing at the top of the rockRockefeller Centre viewDenim dress and fox badge outfitSleeping fox badgeView of the Empire State Building

Bloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

My Reverse Bucket List

Reverse Bucket ListHello! Greetings from New York. Right now I’m celebrating my birthday in the Big Apple and as it’s something of a milestone, I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on the last *gulp* 30 years.

There are so many ’30 before 30′ lists out there and they all focus on what a person hasn’t done, as opposed to what they have. That’s why, when I spotted Tara’s reverse bucket list post, I knew I wanted to write a similar list. When we’re always striving to do/be/have more, we can sometimes forget the goals and milestones we’ve already achieved.

So, please forgive the self-indulgence – it is my birthday after all – and have a read of my reverse ’30 before 30′ bucket list. If you’ve had any of the same experiences (or some of them are on your own bucket list) let me know in the comments!

Travelled around Europe on the back of a motorbike
Learned to hula hoop
Went hobbit-spotting in New Zealand
Got married to my favourite person
Learned to dive in Thailand
Colour-coded all my book shelves
Bought a house
Tried my hand at running a vintage stall
Gained a first class degree
Had features published in national magazines
Went on safari in Uganda
Slept on a junk boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Met my literary hero Caitlin Moran (three times)
Planned a wedding
Tried paddle boarding and didn’t fall off once
Tried skiing and fell down a lot
Attended seven wonderful Glastonbury Festivals
Started freelancing even though it was super scary
Learned to French plait my hair
Ran two half marathons
Kayaked the Nile
Dived with manta rays in the Maldives
Trapped and disposed of two spiders (and counting), despite being terrified of them
Started a blog, which is still going after five years
Hung out with koalas, crocodiles and kangaroos in Australia
Spun social media for Worthy FM during three Glastonbury Festivals
Learned to pick myself up when things go wrong
Swum in the Great Barrier Reef
Moved to another country
Celebrated my 30th birthday in New York

Bloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

My Miniature Carry-On Beauty Essentials

carry on beauty essentials1Today’s the day! We fly to New York later this evening and right now I’m standing in front of my wardrobe debating which outfits to pack. I probably should have started this process a little earlier, but, believe it or not, this birthday break has really snuck up on me.

One thing I don’t need to worry about is the beauty supplies I’ll be bringing along. We’re flying carry-on luggage only which means I get to dig into my supply of minatures. From blogger events to magazine freebies, I always hoard those dinky little miniatures to take away on breaks like this one.

Here are the miniatures that made the cut to come to the Big Apple…

Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm

A huge tub of cleansing balm isn’t going to make it past airport security, so a little sachet of  the stuff is a much better option. I’m a huge Neal’s Yard Remedies fan (it’s one of the brands that I can’t seem to find over here) and this balm is such a multitasker that it would be rude not to pack it.

Sarah Chapmen Overnight Facial

There’s no need for a facial oil and a serum when this tiny bottle can do the job of both. I think I picked up a couple of these samples at a Harvey Nics beauty event, and the formula is so soothing, hydrating and nourishing that I’m contemplating splashing out on a full-size bottle when these run out.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream

Another product that has multiple uses, this tube of mini Eight Hour Cream is a dry skin saviour that’s always in my travel bag. I’ll be using it on dry skin, as a hand moisturiser during the flight and to keep my unruly eyebrows in check.

Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional

I’m not that big on foundation – I certainly wouldn’t waste precious suitcase space bringing a whole bottle on holiday – so this dinky primer (plus my Collection Lasting Perfection concealer) is just the ticket for a short haul trip.

Rodial Glam Lip

How cute is this teeny tiny lip balm? Technically it’s a lip ‘treatment’ but given that New York will be a little chillier than San Francisco, it’s worth packing something a little more high duty for those cold evening walks up tall buildings. 30 Rockefeller Center, I’m looking at you…

Batiste Dry Shampoo in ‘Blush’

I only wash my hair once every three or four days, so I don’t want to devote space to unnecessary shampoo and conditioner. As a result I’m having a ‘blowout’ (which I’m pretty sure is American for a wash ‘n’ blow dry) today so that my hair is super fresh for the weekend. However, if it needs a helping hand then a spritz of dry shampoo should help bring it back to life.

Origins Modern Friction 

The final skincare miniature that makes the cut, finding its way into one of those super-sexy clear sandwich bags. I wouldn’t normally bring a facial scrub on such a short trip, but my skin has been feeling a little dry recently, so this should perk it up.

Those are my favourite carry-on beauty essentials – what are yours? Don’t forget to leave me your tips for NYC sight-seeing, too!

Bloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

The Canada Goose Jumper

Goose jumper and red Zara hatIf you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already spotted this Canada goose jumper from H&M. What can I say? I was killing time before a pilates class and it called out to me from the sale rail. Why I thought spring in California would be a good time to by a thick, navy jumper, let alone one with a flying goose on the front, is something I might never be able to answer, but it does make me smile.

I decided to wear it on a jolly to Inner Sunset, a seriously underrated area of San Francisco due to the tendency for it to be quite cold and foggy, compared to other parts of the city. The mission was to go in search of frozen yogurt, which is one of my favourite new things. I’ve managed to convince myself that even if said yogurt is covered in Oreo chunks and sprinkled liberally with Reese’s Pieces, it’s still much healthier than ice cream. *Spoiler* it’s not.

Inner Sunset has several quirks, including decorated trees, mini murals and colourful benches like this one. It reminds be a bit of Picton Street in Montpelier, Bristol – all that’s missing are some yarn-bombed lamp posts. Speaking of Bristol, we’ve booked flights back for a friend’s wedding in July and I can’t wait to visit my former stomping ground. Perhaps the goose can come along, too…

Navy goose jumper – H&M / Navy and red check shorts –  c/o Mango / Red fedora – Zara (menswear) / Brown backpack – H&M (menswear) / Black block heel ankle boots – New Look

High street jumper and shorts outfitPainted hearts benchNavy jumper and shorts outfitHeart bench Inner SunsetHM goose jumper and Mango shortsInner sunset benchCanada goose jumper

Bloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Back to Basics

Relaxed denim ootdToday I’m talking basics or, more specifically, jeans. Back in the day (the day being when Evanescence were on the radio and Buffy Summers was my idol ) I owned a ton of jeans – bootleg, flare, patchwork, skater, even a pair or two of skinny jeans, paired with ballet flats, naturally.

But then I started university, discovered vintage and the wonder that is floral printed trousers, and somehow all my jeans found their way to my local charity shop. I just didn’t get the casual urge anymore. I hung on to a black pair and some that were strictly reserved for festivals and camping, but even the latter bit the dust when we moved, along with a pair I picked up in a recent clothes swap. To me jeans signified casual, ordinary, uniform and dull, but I’ve finally realised what I’ve been missing out on.

Jeans can be a uniform but they are also an iconic piece of clothing that originated as a sign of change and rebellion, which is perhaps why they look so darn good paired with leather, leopard print and tartan. Jeans are an easy choice – they go well with everything, even vintage blouses, and there are no hidden surprises.

I decided to ease myself back into the denim game with this pair of skinnies from Paige Denim. Paige are an LA based brand but I actually found them in Nordstrom Rack for a stitch (geddit?) of the original price. I’ve only had them for a couple of weeks but they are fast becoming a wardrobe staple, and the perfect accessory for my growing collection of Breton-themed t-shirts.

Now that jeans are back on my radar, what should I try next? I’m thinking ripped at the knee… Tell me what your favourite brand/style is in the comments below.

Blue ‘Verdugo’ jeans –  Paige Denim via Nordstrom Rack / White and blue stripped t-shirt – Zara / Oak ‘Effie’ bag – Mulberry / Tan Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus

Casual denim and Breton t-shirt outfitPaige jeans and Breton t-shirtCasual denim and Breton t-shirt outfitBattered Topshop Chelsea bootsPaige jeans and Mulberry bagBreton stripes and denim jeans

Bloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram