Hiking in Florals at Twin Peaks

Sunshine at Twin PeaksA couple of weekends ago Mr Ship-Shape and I decided to walk to Twin Peaks, a local landmark that boasts incredible views across the Bay and downtown San Francisco. The views make it a popular tourist spot but one that we’d never quite made it to before now.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m using the term ‘hiking’ in the title loosely, in an LA kind of way here – not the kind that we used to go on in Wales, which involved muddy paths, gale force winds and hardcore hiking boots that gave me blisters for days. As a result I was able to get away with a pair of pumps and a floral dress, hidden under this cropped Zara sweatshirt. The walk to the viewing platform and then the climb up each peak was manageable but once we got to the top it was impossible to take many pictures as the wind was so strong – my featherweight fringe didn’t stand a chance!

Fortunately there are lots of paths to explore around the peaks which is where some of these photos were taken. I dug out my Diana lomo camera for the occasion (I can’t believe it’s the first time I’ve used it since moving here) and despite not paying attention and winding the film on for too long, we ended up with some really great shots, some of which you can see below.

PS. If you’re a new reader you might want to check out my other lomography posts – I love shooting on film, especially as you can never guarantee the outcome when using a lomo camera.

Floral dress (worn as skirt) – charity shop / Cropped grey marl sweatshirt – Zara / Plimsoles – c/o Toast / Gold camera handbag – Accessorize

Lomo florals ootdFloral dress and gold camera bagTwin Peaks San FranciscoFloral ootd at Twin PeaksDouble exposure at Twin Peaks SFAccessorize gold camera bagCherry blossoms in San Francisco

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The Little Things #12

The Little Things 12This Little Things post comes a little later than planned but I took part in Bay to Breakers this morning (more on that below) so I didn’t have time to post before my 6am start! Since my last Little Things post I took a bit of an impromptu break from blogging, but I’m excited to be back on form now so without further ado, here are the little things I’ve been loving recently…

Blogging about: The magical outfit combo that is denim and tulle, the difference between US drugstores vs UK pharmacies and a review of FitMob – San Francisco’s fitness passport trend.
Watching: Reruns of The West Wing, plus we’ve finally started watching Orange is The New Black and True Detective, which have been on the old watch list for ages. Oh Netflix, what would I do without you?
Buying: Very little, though I did make it to the Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair yesterday which was so good and reminded me of vintage fairs back home.
Making: It all the way around the Bay to Breakers race course – an annual 12k race from one side of San Francisco to the other. My feet are pretty unhappy right now, but I had such a fun day running alongside Pac Man, schools of salmon, Audrey Hepburns and the occasional nudist. I was worried I wouldn’t make it round the course but along with my friends C & F we breezed through the finish line.
Reading: The Martian by Andy Weir, the plot for which revolves around a NASA astronaut stuck on Mars. I read this under duress for my book club but it was actually brilliant – accessible sci-fi, funny and realistic, too. Also The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, which I gobbled up in one weekend, and I’ve just started The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank, which I picked up at a recent book fair.
Listening to: A Bay to Breakers running mix of Muse, MGMT and Mr Scruff.
Wearing: Yoga pants trousers – I’m going to several yoga and pilates classes a week at the moment and I feel like I’m seeing a definite improvement in my core strength and posture.
Eating: Homemade falafel with roasted veggies, lots of smoothies and the occasional slice of vegan chocolate & peanut butter cheesecake.
Enjoying: Seeing The Book of Mormon on stage at the Orpheum Theatre. The Trey Parker/Matt Stone musical about two mormons missionaries in Uganda is absolutely hilarious. We were lucky enough to win cheap tickets in the production’s daily lottery, so we got to sit front row center for just $29 each!
Looking forward to: A long weekend in Miami, which gives me a legit reason to play this song on repeat.

What little things have you been loving lately?

The Difference Between US Drugstores vs UK Pharmacies

Difference between US drugstores vs UK pharmaciesReading beauty blogs over the years has taught me a lot – from how to fill in my eyebrows without looking like a caterpillar, to the joy that MAC’s Ruby Woo can bring. One other thing that crops up a lot in UK blogs is the mythical American ‘drugstore’. From what to buy in the States to holiday hauls, drugstores are considered to be far to superior to the likes of humble old Boots.

I refuse to call Boots and Superdrug ‘drugstores’ (they’re pharmacies, ok?) but now I live in the land of Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, and I’ve noticed a lot of differences between US drugstores and British pharmacies. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright distressing – here are a few of the most noticeable differences…

New brands to try – CoverGirl, Wet ’n’ Wild, NYX… there are so many brands to try that aren’t available in UK pharmacies.
American drugstores don’t have testers – this is my number one bugbear, especially when it comes to trying out concealers or foundation. Tester sections in the UK can get pretty grim pretty quickly (I’m picturing the make-up aisles of Superdrug on a Saturday afternoon) but it’s nice to have to option of colour matching if you want to.
Dupes for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders – the Milani baked blushes are so good and a fraction of the price of the Hourglass ones.
Dry shampoo is hard to find – forget Batiste and the like, dry shampoo seems to be really hard to track down in drugstores over here. I’ll definitely be stocking up when I’m back in the UK.
Cheaper cosmetics – mascara for five dollars? Don’t mind if I do…
There’s no Boujours stand – ‘nuff said.
I can get a side of sushi with my skincare – most drugstores are more like large convenience stores and many of the larger ones sell as much fresh food and coffee as they do make-up and medicine, which kind of blows that £3 Boots meal deal out of the water.
Lack of premium brands – in the UK you can find Benefit, Clarins and even Chanel in some corners of Boots. In the US, drugstores cater for beauty on a budget and while higher-end brands stick to selling in the likes of Sephora.

Now it’s over to you – regardless of which side of the pond you’re on, are there any differences you’ve noticed between US drugstores vs UK pharmacies? And, if you had to choose, are you a drugstore or pharmacy kinda gal (or guy)?

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Grey Skies at Fort Mason

Denim shirt and tulle skirtHere’s a little photographic proof that it’s not always blue skies and sunshine in California. Indeed it feels like there have been grey skies hanging over my head recently. I’m not homesick, I just haven’t been feeling as perky as normal, hence the short absence from blogging.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break – is it too cliché to call it a digital detox? – and in the last couple of weeks I’ve spent time training for Bay to Breakers (a12k race from one side of San Francisco to the other), cooking vegan and veggie treats and reading a lot, including a novel called The Martian by Andy Weir, which was a surprising hit given its sci-fi premise.

Anywho, enough about me, let’s chat about this outfit, shall we? These shots were taken last month when Mr Ship-Shape and I made our way to Fort Mason for the city’s annual Friends of San Francisco Spring Secondhand Book Fair. Imagine a room the size of a football pitch filled with second hand books on every topic imaginable, all for $3 or less and you have the book fair. I got a little carried away and walked away with almost a year’s worth of books, which was a lot to carry home!

As it was a lazy Sunday afternoon activity, I picked a denim shirt and jazzed it up with this tulle skirt from Topshop. I’m not sure it’s actually ever appeared on this blog but I’ve had it for ages – at least five years – and I bought it on a whim in London from their Unique range. I remember that at the time it seemed like so much money to spend on something that was so frivolous and dry clean-only, but heart won over head and it’s been a mainstay in my wardrobe ever since. Tulle is definitely my bag at the moment  – a little bit of ballerina flare makes any outfit instantly more dressy.

So, what have I missed?

Denim shirt – Next / Cream tulle skirt –  Topshop / Leather biker boots – The Boot Room / Cream and tan Dooney & Bourke handbag – Rose Bowl Flea Market

Denim shirt and Topshop skirtFort MasonDenim and tuelle ootdSeagulls at Fort MasonRed hair don't careVintage Dooney & Bourke bagLooking out to AlcatrazWeathered wood at Fort MasonBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

FitMob Review: Why Fitness Passports Are The Way Forward

FitMob San Francisco reviewFor this month’s Fitness post, I wanted to talk about ‘fitness passports’. If you follow me on Twitter then you’ve probably seen me raving about a company called FitMob, and all the exercise classes I’ve been loving recently.

In a nutshell, fitness passport companies allow members to attend lots of different exercise studios for a set fee per month. In San Francisco the two most popular companies are FitMob and Class Pass (which also operates in London). There are lots of differences between them and I agonised for ages trying to choose which one to sign up to, but I went with FitMob and as I’ve been using it for a couple of months now, I thought I’d review the service. To be clear, this isn’t sponsored content, I just really dig what they do!

The reason I decided to sign up for a fitness passport is that I’m not a massive gym bunny, but I love exercise classes. There are a ton of boutique gyms and studios in San Francisco, but unfortunately the going rate is around $20-25 per class. If you’re going to classes three or four times a week that soon adds up! With FitMob you pay $99 per month (though I got my first month for $1 through a promotion) and you can attend as many classes as you like. Now if I go to three or four classes a week the average cost is around $6-7 per class, which is much better for my sanity, and my bank balance.

On another thrifty note, one of the things I like best about being a member is that I can try lots of different activities without fear of wasting my money. Since signing up I’ve tried heated yoga, pilates, boxing, TRX training, acroyoga, barre classes, and circus stretching. Some have stuck (I’m loving reformer pilates at the moment) some haven’t (acrobatic yoga was not my bag) and that’s ok. Even if I don’t like a class I know it hasn’t cost me the earth.

Classes can be booked two weeks to a few minutes in advance, so it’s handy if you have a sudden urge to go to a class after work. The only downside is that the most popular classes get booked up so quickly – there’s an aerial silks studio I’ve been trying to get into for weeks which is permanently fully booked, which is frustrating. Some studios only allow a limit of one visit per week but this isn’t the case for every studio, and given that there are over 50 to try, it’s not too much of an issue.

FitMob also offers access to selected gyms for a a few hours at a time, though I’ve yet to use this part of the service as I’ve got more than enough on my plate with all the classes I’m taking. Classes can be booked via their app or online and while the interface is a little clunky, having a map of all the different locations is really handy – especially as I’m still finding my feet in the city.

I love the variety that fitness passport companies offer, so it’s definitely something I’ll stick with to help me reach my fitness goals for 2015. Have you tried a service like this and if not then do you think you would? Thoughts on a postcard please… Also, if you have tried FitMob in San Francisco and have any recommendations for classes then I’m all ears!

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