Narrow Feet Shoe Splurge!

Hello again friends! If you are UK based, I hope you’ve made the most of the fabulous weather we have had this week. I know that rain is due again and we’ve had some today but it really has still been a marked improvement on the rest of the summer!

I don’t know about you guys but when the sun comes out, I feel much more positive and obstacles seem much easier to overcome. On that basis, I decided I was going to hunt out some new shoes; ideally I was looking for some pointed court shoes but really I was looking for something to make me feel good. Now, if you’ve read some of my other posts, you will know that I am rather narrow of foot and shoe shopping is most definitely a challenge. I’ll confess that I haven’t yet bought any pointed court shoes (well I have, but they don’t fit and will be going back) but I have a plan for those next month. What I have done is found some lovely shoes at reasonable high street prices which stay on and look good on my narrow and shallow feet. If you are in the same situation, take note and don’t lose heart because there really are shoes out there, you just have to look for them!

The first pair I bought were from Zara and I just LOVE the studs on these bad boys. I’m so excited that studs are all over everything for AW12, I love that look and it means my River Island boots from last Christmas will still be bang on trend! Anyway, here are my new Zara flats:

These little badgers were £49.99 but they are real leather and are so amazingly soft on the inside that I just know they are going to be a joy to wear! I had to buy mine online (here) as they only had size 8 in the store but the reason I’ve been able to wear them is 2-fold. 1 is that they come higher up the front of the foot than most pumps so they fit much more closely. The other is that they come up a little big in terms of length so I have gone a size down to a 6, meaning the width is much more appropriate for my skinny feet. LOVE! They also come in red so if you are looking for some edgy, narrow pumps, give these a bash!

My second shoe purchase came when I was looking for a peplum top. I was mooching around on the River Island website and spotted some elasticated pumps with a pointy toe. I’ve gone for the grey pair but they also come in a leopard and black combo. They are just £22.00 and are available here. I’ve wanted some pointed toe pumps for ages but haven’t found any that would stay on my feet so I leapt at this opportunity and as I didn’t have any grey or snakeskin pumps, I chose the grey suede / snakeskin pumps. They fit really well but obviously lack some of the comfort of more expensive shoes. Here they are:

Finally, my last purchase is a pair of shoes I have loved for ages, also from River Island. I spotted them online months ago and held off buying them but then a bad thing happened. When buying the grey shoes, I also bought a peplum top but when it arrived, it didn’t fit so I took it back to my local store. Whilst in there, I spotted this shoe in the size 6 and thought I’d just check whether a 6 or 7 would be the right size in case I ever wanted to buy them. Well a 6 is my size and they fit like a glove! There is none of the gaping I often get with strappy shoes and they are really comfortable so for £55.00, I figured why not!?! I haven’t bought strappy black shoes for 3 years so here are my new babies (get them here):

So there you have it… 3 pairs of shoes which fit narrow feet, all from the high street at affordable prices. I’m not going to lie, they took some finding and court shoes that fit still remain elusive but this is a good start so spread the joy and if you are in the same situation as me, get out there and report back to the rest of us on your findings!

Enjoy the Olympics everyone! x

 

First Giveaway – Swarovski Aura Eau de Parfum

Yep, you guessed it from the title… I am doing my first giveaway!

I have a 15ml bottle of the super sexy smelling Swarovski Aura fragrance to give to one lucky person! (Cue, excited jumping around!!!) To enter, all you have to do is follow me on Twitter, etc. (the usual kind of stuff) and the draw will be taking place in a couple weeks 🙂

Providing this giveaway goes well, I’m planning this to be the first of a quarterly giveaway just to say thank you to people for reading my blog. As an FYI, WordPress hosted blogs do not support Rafflecopter properly so you’ll need to follow the link below.

Big loves to you all and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review – Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned once or twice that eye make-up is especially important to me as my eyes are my favourite feature so any time I manage to get my hands on a new product to try, I’m all over it!

I’m not sure how I came to have a travel / sample size of Lancome’s Hypnose Drama mascara but I did and my usual Clinique had run out so I decided to give it a go.

Now when I say give it a go, I have put this bad boy through it’s paces! Firstly and most crucially is the brush, it’s one of those plasticy hedgehog type brushes except it’s also wavy. When it first popped out of the tube I thought it looked ridiculous and I couldn’t imagine how that would work. When I came to use it the first time I also found it a little cumbersome but the results were phenomenal. After just 1 coat my lashes were looking crazy long and were really nicely separated. Check out the result: (nose looked massive from this angle so I have chopped it off & I could not get a decent eyes open pic, the flash was killing me!)

My very close up eyes!

I loved the look so much that I have worn this mascara to work, to a spa and on holiday in 30 degree heat and it’s just brilliant. It doesn’t budge throughout the day and my lashes look really natural and long. My only criticisms are that I would like to be able to layer it up more easily to make it look thicker and it does budge in a spa. The bonus of my Clinique mascara is that it is so hard to get off, it stays put even in water.

Honestly though, for £21, which is cheaper than I though a Lancome mascara would be, this is a bargain. I LOVE IT and am in fact going to replace my sample size with a larger version – something has finally knocked Clinique off the top spot! Now all I’m hoping for is a waterproof version 🙂 x

Budapest (Part 2, The Food)

As promised, here is the second part of my Budapest write-up and this one focuses on the food! If you haven’t seen Part 1, check it out here.

If you’re like me then you’ll probably have no idea what Hungarian food really is and therefore no idea what to expect. Well, we’ve left feeling almost the same! It was very hard to find restaurants serving traditional Hungarian cuisine in Budapest, there was a lot of influence from the countries that have featured in their history books. You can find Greek food, Turkish food and Serbian food on pretty much every menu in the city but Hungarian food is much harder to find.

On our walking tour, we were told that Hungarian food is extremely unhealthy and involves a lot of meat and deep frying. Dishes you should look out for include goulash, pancakes with cheese or meat in the middle and what they call cottage cheese but which is really a cheesecake like cheese full of syrup! What you may not be aware of is that they also make a lot of wines in Hungary and their wine is fantastic, I’ll recommend somewhere to try their wines in a bit 🙂

Ok, so things we tried whilst we were there…the pancakes with cheese in the middle. I had these on Margaret Island and they were like pancake parcels with a weird soggy centre. I’m not sure if they were a good example but they were very strange! Goulash…we had this at Castro Bistro (Trip Advisor link here). The restaurant itself seems bizarrely placed and feels a bit like you are sitting in the middle of a car park but the Goulash was good. I also had some strange chicken dish with beetroot patties…not so good!

The cottage cheese we were told, is best sampled in bar form covered in chocolate which you can buy in any shop. This is what it looks like:

The Packet

The Centre

Now these bars are rather tasty and they are a bit like a cheesecake, that kind of sweet yet tangy flavour yet get with some vanilla cheesecakes. Be sure to grab yourself one if you go!

Whilst we were there we also tried out some of the Turkish cuisine; by this I mean we had an epic kebab one night from a place called Ali Baba’s right by our hotel. We sat out on the street and ate our kebabs and they were delicious, served with loads of fresh salad and your choice of rice, potato or pasta salad. Finally, our other big meal came from a place called 400 upon the recommendation of our walking tour guides. We sat outside and the ambience was amazing, such a friendly, laid back place. We went for the Serbian meat platter to share, here it is:

The platter was pretty epic as you can see and came with a pile of chips, plus we had ordered some salad on the side. The various meats were pretty tasty but I had to wimp out and give half of my share to my bf as it was just too much for me! The golden rule with the restaurants is really to try and avoid any near the river. The Jewish Quarter is where you will get a more authentic experience and where you’ll find Hungarian people hanging out as well.

Drinks wise, we stumbled upon a couple of places by accident when it was raining one night. Firstly there was GM Klub which is clearly where some of the cool kids go; the DJ was a beardy dude on the decks, there were exposed pipes and a black and white film was being projected onto the wall. It seemed awesome until we waited so long to get a drink that we gave up and moved on:

GM Klub

The next place we stumbled upon was called Kadarka and is a fabulous wine bar. It’s very minimal, was pretty quiet and they sell the wines by the bottle to take away as well as to drink there. I went to the barman and asked for a sweet white wine and was presented with 4 samples to try so I could choose before committing to the glass. The wine was delicious and I’d highly recommend you pop in here.

Finally, I’d like to introduce you to Szimpla, a ruin bar which I’m told is awesome of a night time. Sadly, being old and having walked around all day, the bf’s leg had given up so we didn’t make it there for a night but we did pop in during the day; even if that’s all you can do, you have to go and check out the interior. There are several bars and the place extends outside and upstairs with so much to look at. My pictures do it no justice at all but here they are:

Szimpla

Szimpla

They have something on basically every night so head on down there if you’re young and fit!

So that was our food and drink experience. I’d say Budapest isn’t somewhere you go for the food but it is worth trying some of their more traditional dishes, just so you can leave assured that you had an authentic experience. There are plenty of lovely places to eat and drink so try as many as you can, it’s dead cheap out there and the wine is delicious! x

Budapest (Part 1)

Hello friends!

I am back! This week I have been in Budapest (pronounced Buddapesht btw!) and I have walked miles and miles in the sunshine looking at pretty things and generally having a bloomin’ good time 🙂 I’d like to share some of my experience with you so this post will be a bit of a generic one about things we did and the next post (Part 2) will be about where we ate and what I’d recommend on the food and drink front. Here’s my travelling outfit:

First thing’s first… getting from the airport to your hotel can be a costly affair, don’t take a taxi from the airport unless you pre-booked it. It cost us more than double what it should have for that journey and as our walking guide told us, taxi drivers are not nice people, they will just try and con you! I’d agree with the con bit for sure!

The hotel we were heading to was the Corinthia Hotel Budapest which looks very expensive but really it was pretty bargainous for the deal we got and it’s somewhere I would definitely recommend. The staff are very friendly and the rooms are huge; check out Trip Advisor to see exactly how good it is 🙂

Once we’d settled in, we went in search of some food and utterly failed. We reached a crossroads and walked 3 out of 4 possible directions and didn’t find any nice restaurants… they were down the 4th road!!! However we did accidentally stumble upon the stunning train station and sat outside it with a picnic of cheese, meat, bread and a giant apple! Just check out how stunning the station is:

The following day, we decided to check out the city some more so we enrolled ourselves on a free walking tour…not sure what possessed us to do that in the boiling heat but it was well worth it! They have a FB page which is here if you want to find out some more. Between the walking tour and our Legenda cruise down the Danube, we saw a lot of the city, including Margaret Island which sits between Buda and Pest. There is loads to do and we barely scratched the surface but here are some highlights:

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Hero’s Square

Parliament

Sadly I was very good at putting my camera away just before the best shots came up but I think the above gives you a tiny inkling of how beautiful the city is.

I’d say definitely get on the free walking tour, they run them twice a day and they give you a really good introduction to the city and some of its history. A trip down the Danube on one of the river cruises is also very worthwhile, though if you stop off at Margaret Island for an hour as we did, you’ll find that you barely have time to get your bearings before you need to be back on the boat! The Szechenyi Baths are also very popular if you have the time to visit, though this isn’t something I would rush to do. What I would choose over the baths is the Terror Museum, TerrorHaza. Luckily for us, this museum was actually pretty near our hotel and it’s a haunting but insightful look at what happened to the Hungarian population under Nazi and Communist regimes. There are a lot of video accounts from real survivors which are very uncomfortable but make the experience feel very genuine.

Finally for this post, just a quick one…Andrassy Utca is the path to all things beautiful and fun. If we’d known that on day 1, that would really have helped! There are designer shops, stunning architecture and lots of fab places to eat down there, but more on the food in the next post 🙂 x

Family Fun in the Sun (Caversham Festival)

I’d been having some puppy love withdrawal symptoms so I decided to tag along with my dad on today’s epic dog walk and then as the weather was quite nice for once, we decided to check out a local festival. Local festivals can sometimes be a bit lame with just a couple of gazebos with people selling cakes and a bouncy castle, so that’s just what I was expecting today…luckily for us I couldn’t have been more wrong!

We trotted down to the Caversham Festival (in Reading) and were greeted by loads of stalls, loads of people (and dogs), bouncy castles and a heck of a lot of good music! There were several stages, including a floating stage on a barge and a great variety of acts from rock bands to bohemian buskers. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the best part yet; this was FREE! Accessible to everyone, good old-fashioned free!

These guys started playing as we were waiting for an act to start up on the floating stage – loved it!

The obligatory bouncy castle!

Highlights for me were some scrummy ice cream, (thanks daddy!) and 2 bands. One was a band which was my dad’s fave, Subverts and I have to admit that they were pretty good. (Catch them on YouTube here but they are way better live.) My personal favourite however was a band called Private Jet – the lead singer had a proper rock voice and I was just loving everything about their performance. Their website is here, again much better live though so get yourself to a gig!

All in all, it was a brilliant afternoon and I will defo be heading down there next year, I’m really happy that I’ve found myself some new bands to follow – most of the stuff in the charts sounds crap to me! lol! So, the moral of this story is that if there is a local festival in your area get down there, it could be a pleasant surprise 🙂 x

Review – Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara

Benefit products have been circling in my peripheral vision for years but I’ve never spotted anything that’s grabbed me enough to give it a go, despite many of my friends raving about the range. Then, last month Glamour magazine was offering free Benefit cosmetics so I thought that would be a great time to give something a try. Mascara is one of the items of my make up bag I feel most passionate about so I went for the BADgal Lash option. Here’s what I thought about it:

Upon unscrewing the brush from the bottle, I was quite excited as the brush is thick and full so I was expecting some serious volume, not least because this mascara is meant to give a true false lash look. Oh boy was I disappointed! The brush was so fat that actually it came out of the bottle with barely any product on it. After coat number 1, my lashes looked exactly the same as they did before I’d put any mascara on. Literally nothing! Maybe it’s just because I’ve just opened it, I thought. In I went again…yes, I double dipped! Sadly the same result. I’ve never been this disappointed by a mascara and for something that costs £16.50 normally, it’s an exceptionally poor show!

I appreciate that it was always going to have a tough time filling the shoes of my Clinique mascara but it was truly terrible. To get some perspective, I asked around at work to see if anyone else had any luck. One colleague who has stunning, long lashes said that she had also tried it a while ago and thought exactly the same as me. Point proven, it’s not just my high standards getting in the way, this mascara just does not live up to its claims.

Sorry folks but this is one to miss and it’s not exactly warmed to Benefit as a product range! x

Review – I Heart London, Lindsey Kelk

I’m not going to make any excuses for it, my favourite genre of book is chick-lit, in the same way that my favourite films are chick flicks! Last year whilst sunning myself in Kos, a friend introduced me to Lindsey Kelk and I Heart New York and we soon realised there is a whole series of these books. For anyone not familiar, the protagonist, Angela discovers her fiance cheating and runs off to New York. The books then follow her life and adventures from that point forward; love, work, fashion…the usual suspects. It’s amazing!

This is truly one of those stories that draws you in, makes you jealous of her new life and makes you miserable when you come to the end of the book. Between us we worked our way through the entire series (I Heart Paris, I Heart Hollywood, etc.) and were pretty devastated when we came to the end. Then…a few weeks ago, I was blog browsing as I often do and discovered that I Heart London was due out. I pre-ordered, it arrived, I read it, I loved it and now I am finally telling you all that you’ll love it too!

This book follows hot on the trail of the previous books and meant I turned pruny in the bath many times as I refused to believe it was time to get out before I had finished the book! The great news is that it’s been left wide open for another book as well 🙂

So, if you have read the rest of the series, buy this and love it; if not, start with I Heart New York and work your way through the lot on your summer holiday this year. Yes, they’re a bit trashy but you’ll love reading them for the same reasons you go see all the Jennifer Aniston films in the cinema – you know what you’re getting and you know it won’t disappoint 🙂

My next stop is a bit behind the trend but it’s going to be Fifty Shades of Grey – it’s going to be a little bit different methinks! Big loves people x