Thursday, 31 May 2012

More dash than cash

Lately I've been finding myself getting irrationally angry with people who are overly wealthy. I'm mostly doing this in my head of course (we've not quite reached nuthouse stages yet) but as I stroll through Hyde Park on my way to work, passing by size zero women working out with their personal trainers and ladies wearing pristine Hunter wellies whilst walking their pedigree pooches I find myself getting more and more wound up. Case in point: Vogue magazines More Dash Than Cash issue, claiming to be big on fashion but low on price.

I mean really? Come on.

I would love to have a spare £350 to spend on a blazer but sadly for me the reality is that I take home less than that each month after rent and bills. Since when did life become so expensive? I vividly remember working in a pub in my early twenties and taking home enough each week for all my bills, a shopping spree and numerous nights out. Now I'm lucky if I get to make one new purchase and nights out usually need to involve some sort of 2-for-1 dinner coupon (or a meal at The Boy's fave, Wetherspoons). The girls and I spend most days dreaming up elaborate schemes to make our millions, but until then I need to keep a tight grip on my purse strings and try to stay out of the more expensive stores. Therefore please see below for my very own More Dash than Cash post, for us girls who are watching the pennies but still want to be bang on trend.

This Jacket from H&M is not only a great cut but will be a good transitional piece for when we move into Autumn. Jacket - H&M £29.99

I love a loose vest in the summertime and this mint coloured one from Lavish Alice is in a key colour for the season. Silk Vest - Lavish Alice £14

These vintage inspired lenses will keep the sun at bay and help you keep your cool (especially at the cash register) for a mere £8. Sunglasses - Dorothy Perkins £8

One of my work colleagues has this scarf and I've been admiring it a lot lately as it brings together a number of key colours and is in a great aztec inspired print. Scarf - Accessorize £22

What are your must-have budget conscious buys for Summer?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Love List

I've been talking a lot lately about getting back into some of my favourite childhood hobbies, one of which being drawing. When I was younger I used to draw before breakfast, easily cracking out a few designs before I'd even woken up properly but as I've got older, weeks go by without me even opening my sketch pad. This needs to change; I need to get my creative mojo back. Caroline over at Fashion Squad has also been doing some drawing lately and has inspired me to hit an art shop and pick up some new pens and art supplies.

I'm also desperate to try out making some of these DIY studded shoes (by Laura over at That's So Yesterday) as they look amazing and seem relatively easy to do. This is something that I've always wanted to try out but I'm yet to find the perfect stud or even the perfect shoe - I'm going to keep my eye out at the carboot sale for some shoes to attempt this look with.

Reading  A Beautiful Mess every evening before I fall asleep keeps me inspired right through into the following day, as not only do I simply love their blog but their craft and DIY posts usually end up being both beautiful and ingenious. I was so inspired by their song lyric wall art project to make The Boy a piece of art for part of his birthday present (see below), which I'm pretty pleased with I'm not going to lie. I always find that making something as a gift is always so much more personal than simply popping to shops and buying the obligatory smellies gift set.


Monday, 28 May 2012

A sunny saturday

This weekend something magical happened. THE SUN CAME OUT. I know, who would have thought it?

Following a long hot day of store visits in and around Manchester on Friday it's safe to say I was exhausted. I don't seem to have had a chance to catch my breath over the past few weeks so it was lovely to get the chance to have a small lie in on Saturday before heading out to make the most of the sunshine. The Boy and I hit the local fruit and veg market to stock up on ingredients for some summer salads before giving the house a bit of a clean (giving The Boy a Vax Grime Master for his birthday is literally the best thing I have ever done).

 Even though the weather was boiling and I was more than settled at home (doing my usual "it's too hot" moan) I headed into town on Saturday night to meet the girls for drinks and an exhibition. We had tickets for the Christian Louboutin showcase at the Design Museum in Shad Thames which we'd been looking forward to for weeks, however it must be said we came away feeling slightly disappointed. Not only were you not allowed to take pictures (a bloggers nightmare - these shots are from Designboom) but there were no interactive elements to the displays and the curation seemed somewhat confused. That being said, we all managed to find a few styles to lust after and were blown away by the sheer amazingness of the Dita Von Teese hologram (for half an hour I literally thought that was an oversized pink shoe up there).

Images by Designboom, Luke Hayes and the Design Museum

Zsa and I rounded off the evening with a walk along the river before catching the tube home (we were having a blogger sleepover-which obviously involved copious amounts of food and gossiping, it was bliss).

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Beautifully British

 Scarf: Next
Jacket: Topshop
Dress: Hobbs
Bag: Hobbs
Shoes: Aldo

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive one of the official Next ParalympicsGB scarves and I've been waiting for the warmer weather to arrive (finally!) to debut it here on Lost and Found. Now I've been eyeing up these scarves in the window of my local store for a while (along with many other Team GB items - we'll get to that later) and think that they're a great way to support our country and the athletes taking part (all profits from the sale of these scarves will be donated to the British Olympic Association – which helps British Olympic and Paralympic athletes deliver their best performance at London 2012 and beyond). I'm not a huge lover of sports but there's something about the Olympics that always gets me feeling patriotic so this year with the games being held in my home city my excitement levels are set to go through the roof! Alas, I shall be watching the games entirely from the comfort of my own sofa (or maybe on a big screen in a park somewhere over a glass of Pimms) as I missed out on tickets but I'm sure the atmosphere is going to be electric all the same.

I received one of the small scarves which looked great either draped around my neck or simply tied to my handbag (the perfect way to subtly support the team). Here's how I wore mine (I love a maxi and a denim jacket):
As I mentioned, there's many a patriotic item in Next at the moment that has caught my eye, from womenswear, the Flag Print Maxi Dress is my must-by of the season. It's supportive without being in your face and is a great cut for a variety of body shapes - plus is the bargain price of £35. I'm also loving the Team GB homewares (in particular: cushions) - it looks like I know where I'll be spending my May paycheck!

Visit to view all of the team GB collections, and to be in with a chance to win your very own Team GB scarf to show your support click here to enter.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

A new obsession

I have (yet another) confession to make. I am addicted to Pinterest.

Now I realise I'm arriving a little late to this particular party but omg HOW GOOD IS THIS?!? If Pinterest had been around when I was studying for my degree my life would have been complete - a website that saves and links all images so you can correctly reference them on moodboards? Seriously, I die.

So even though I still don't entirely know what I'm doing and every time I type it I spell it wrong, Pinterest is pretty much my new favourite thing. Goodbye free time. Here's what I've been finding and loving and pinning lately:

 Some food for thought

 Interiors ideas

Plenty of projects
Find me on Pinterest here

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Look of the day: Friday

Dress: NW3
Boots: New Look

With a film crew trailing me around the office (don't even ask) I needed to look my best this past Friday so I turned to what seems to have quickly become my favourite dress: the parliament shirt dress by NW3 at Hobbs. I've only worn it a handful of times but whenever I put it on I instantly feel cool (that's right, me, cool). The dress is silk and has a really cute paperclip print which I love. NW3 are known for their quirky prints but this has been my favourite one so far.

Oh and I wore my hair extensions (alas, my hair did not grow overnight).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Everybody's free to feel good

Last Wednesday started off pretty diabolical if I'm honest. You know the type, you wake up, in a bad mood can't decide what to wear and you have an event to go to after work, then you step outside and realise the weather is both wet and hot. Great, just the type of weather my hair loves. The day improved dramatically around lunchtime when Zsa and I took a trip to St Christopher's Place. We love this area for a number of reasons, mostly because of all the amazing eateries, but also due to the great boutiques and the fact that it's a lot quieter than Oxford Street (i.e. less slow walkers/tourists to get on our last frazzled nerve).

We were on a mission to head to Rituals and pick up a free sample of either body cream or scrub, having received a voucher with Easy Living Magazine, one of our favourite reads (old and proud). Now, I'm no beauty blogger (nor do I pretend to be) but if I were, I would be sure to check out Rituals. Having received a free sample of Rituals Himalaya Clay with last weeks issue of Stylist Magazine I was keen to see what else the brand had on offer.

For anyone who hasn't visited a Rituals store I'd recommend a visit, as it literally feels as though you are in a spa the second you step through the door. The sales assistant was really helpful and let us try some of their Hammam Hot Scrub which was divine (and is currently on offer on the Rituals website). After a stressful morning at work, a visit to Rituals was just what we needed and so far I've been really impressed with the products I'm trying, the Wai Wang exfoliating body scrub in particular is something I would definitely buy, especially as the price is so reasonable.

Following our visit to Rituals, we popped next door to check out the newly opened branch of Groom, an urban spa that offers "double the luxury in half the time". We were treated to free manicures (a lovely surprise and just what we needed) and spent a relaxing fifteen minutes gossiping and checking out all that Groom has to offer. Specialising in luxurious beauty treatments that allow their clients to multi-task (i.e. have a facial, massage and hot stone pedicure all on your lunch break) Groom really offers something special. Alas, we weren't allowed to take pictures but believe me the salon is beautiful and a is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of a London lunch time. So, if you find yourself with a spare hour (or even just fifteen minutes), pop down to Groom as there's bound to be a treatment for you.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Look of the day: Thursday

Blazer - Primark
Top - New Look
Belt - Primark
Skirt - Marks and Spencer

Last week the sun came out (finally) so I took advantage of this and cracked out one of my new maxi skirts. As a fan of all things animal print, I love the pattern, and the colour of this skirt makes it really easy to pair with other items in my wardrobe. Hopefully soon it'll be warm enough to team with a vest and flip flops (here's hoping).

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Random Wednesday: getting in the swing of things

Firstly, apologies are in order. I feel I've been a bit neglectful of the blog lately, not for want of trying (I literally have so many topics I want to blog about that I'm scribbling things down and writing draft posts every five minutes) its simply been due to a lack of time. Ah time, that elusive thing that when you need some more it just slips through your fingers, and, when you wish things would hurry up, it seems to take an age. I've simply been spreading myself a bit too thin of late and something had to give (as usual this turned out to be the one thing I wanted to do the most). 

Last week was The Boys birthday which called for major planning on my part (more of that later) and it also coincided with the final week of my online visual merchandising course, which meant many a night spent creating moodboards and writing reflections until gone 11pm (way past my usual bedtime). Still, it's all done and dusted now and I can really focus on what I love: spending time with The Boy, being creative and blogging away to my hearts content.

So, although this week was crazy busy I still managed somehow to find time to try out a new type of exercise with the girls. Namely, Anti Gravity Yoga at the London Academy of Performance and Dance. Now I know what you're thinking, me (the girl with absolutely no upper body strength at all) hanging from the ceiling by a length of fabric? This is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen. But I actually had an amazing time and best of all it was exercise that was actually (whisper it) fun.

Kirsty in action, one of the instructors shows us how it should be done

We headed down after work fully expecting to pretty much spend an hour sitting in a hammock (a common misconception it would seem) and came away feeling not only that we'd worked out but also fully energised and stretched to within an inch of our lives (a good thing). The classes are essentially a series of yoga postures done whilst either hanging from or supported by a long strip of silky fabric which is bolted to the ceiling. I'm not going to lie, some of the poses were tricky, but almost every one was loads of fun to try and it felt almost like you were simply messing around rather than actually exercising. Needless to say, Kirsty put us all to shame with her fitness abilities as usual and was hanging upside after what felt like minutes of starting. I struggled with some of the moves due to my lack of upper body strength but my sheer determination to at least manage each one once was a work out in itself (which I could feel every time I opened a door for the following two days).

LAPD is a dance fusion company and runs classes in various locations all over London but its main base is at Old Street Dance Studios, a friendly, quiet studio which was really easy to get to (but less easy for Zsa to find using Google Maps - my advice, check the address before you set off). LAPD currently have classes on discount through Living Social and their website but hurry these offers end soon.

Sweat-working, the branch merch way

Find out more about the London Academy of Pole Dancing on their website, twitter or facebook

Monday, 14 May 2012

Random Wednesday: On your Nelly

Blazer - H&M
Blouse - Primark
Jeans - Dorothy Perkins
Boots - New Look
Bag - Chanel (I wish)

Random Wednesdays* have become a bit of a habit for the girls and I of late, and last week was no exception. Namely the launch party at Aqua on Argyll Street, a fabulous fashionable affair which was just what we needed after a hard days work.

*unplanned alcohol consumption and general merriness in and around London town

Lovely clothes available at Nelly - Zsa and I - crazy hair and make-up - free shoes anyone?

Myself, Zsa, Rebecca and Clara were lucky enough to have been invited so headed down after work to see what surprises were in store for us. And surprises there were many. From the delicious variety of cocktails, free jewellery, fun photo booth, amazing shoes and garments on display, to the fabulous DJ skills of Gemma Cairney, the girls and I knew we were in for a good night.

Clara enjoys a cocktail - lovely clothes available at Nelly - rosewater cocktails - the rooftops of London town
Killer heels by Cuba shoes - Zsa, Rebecca and Clara - - summer loveliness by Little Mistress

We ended up dancing til pretty much midnight (some of us having two dinners) and then crawling into work the next day (the sure sign of a good night). Plus we even got to meet the wonderful Amy from Wolf Whistle - what more could you want from a random Wednesday? I also came away coveting these amazing mint heels, available here at

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Something to think about

The other day I was over on Freckled Italian and I stumbled across a post she had written entitled What my twenties are teaching me. Both this post and it's inspiration on the blog Fairytales are true have got me thinking; what have my twenties taught me? Next year I'll turn thirty and, I suppose, I will have to get used to the idea that I am now officially a grown up (for some reason, in my head I'm still exactly the same now as I was when I finished high school). A lot has changed over the past ten years and no matter how I feel inside (or the fact I still look about twelve) I've definitely come a long way.

Here's what I've learned so far, and the rules which I try to live by:

Worry less, live more - In my early twenties I used to worry (a lot) about what people thought of me, and to some extent I still do. The difference is that now I only worry about the opinions of the people that really matter. For example, will you really care about (or even remember) the opinions of people you barely know from work/college/university in five years time? No you will not. Making a great impression on the people you really care about is far more important.

Friendship is a weird and wonderful thing - I'm a firm believer that people both come into and go out of your life for a reason; the friends you have now are the ones that you were always meant to have. The girls I grew up with at school and for much of my college days were always the girls that I believed I would grow old with, but as the years passed our priorities changed and we grew apart. Although I found this really upsetting at the time I now see that our lives were meant to go in different directions. I'm happy for them for all that they have and I'd like to think they would be happy for me. I think that some people we meet in our lives are only meant to be fleeting friendships, and not seeing each other any more isn't necessarily a bad thing. Life's too short to waste time on people that don't care about you. I know for a fact that some of the friendships I've made even within the past year are ones that will last a lifetime, and they're the friendships that matter.

Love yourself now - I used to be three-and-a-half stone heavier than I am now and spent a number of years feeling thoroughly miserable, stuck in a vicious cycle of eating and not exercising. Seriously, life's too short. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying everyone needs to loose weight to be happy, I'm simply saying that if something in your life is making you unhappy, do something about it. It really is that easy. Weight Watchers and walking worked for me and now not only am I ten times happier, but I'm able to do so many more things than I could in the past, such as Anti-gravity Yoga and nipping around London on my fold up scooter (now people just laugh at me because I look stupid, not because I look fat and stupid - and do you know what? I don't care).

What you study doesn't have to define what you become - I know a number of people who are so hung up on not going to/not finishing uni, but here's the thing, times have changed and it really doesn't matter anymore whether you went traveling, worked your way up or got a first class degree; the school of life is more important. Developing yourself into a well rounded and, most importantly, interesting and likeable human being is what counts as far as I'm concerned. I was always adamant that I didn't want to go to university and instead went straight from college out to work, working my way up from part-time sales assistant to supervisor in one year. It was only when I returned from traveling in 2005 that I found a course I liked the sound of and decided I had nothing to loose if I studied for a degree. Since then I've even done a Masters (strange for someone who never even wanted to go to university) and am lucky enough to be working in my dream industry; fashion. But I believe the reason I am where I am now is due to the life experiences I've had along the way, and not simply because I have a degree. Ultimately, your life is what you make it and everybody's path is different, if you work hard and believe in yourself, your life can be whatever you want it to be. 

Never settle for second best - I do have a tendency to moan if something doesn't go my way but ultimately if I'm unhappy about something I move on, make a change and do something about it. That being said I also believe in perseverance. If something doesn't seem right the first time give it another go. That way at least if it's not for you, you'll know that you gave it all you could.

Stand up for yourself - I'm not a fighter (I'm a talker) but I'm loyal to a fault and am quick to defend my friends and family if they are under attack. However sometimes in the past I've found it hard to stick up for myself in difficult situations. Life's too short not to say what you feel so if someone's making you feel unhappy, speak up, be nice and remember; it's their problem, not yours.

Try to influence yourself and not be influenced by others - It's easy these days to get drawn into the latest fad or "it" item but I have found that the things that give me most pleasure are more unique and individual, and are things that appeal specifically to me. I know now that I'll get more pleasure from hunting down the perfect pair of summer sandals (albeit at a bargain price I'm sure) than heading to Primark and picking up three pairs for £20. Buy, see and do, what you like, who cares if it doesn't appeal to your friends, if you enjoy it, isn't that all that matters?

But most importantly love the life you're living and...

Visit Sarah over at Fairytales are true for a link all the other what my twenties have taught me posts

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Fat Friday: Vapiano

After a pretty hectic day on Friday (work followed by working the sample sale) I met up with Mum, Dad and The Boy for a bite to eat in London before heading to Manchester to spend the bank holiday with The Boy's family. We were short on time so wanted somewhere local where we knew the food would be both good and quick, so following Zsa's recommendation decided to bypass the massive queue at Meat Liquor and headed to Vapiano, which is just behind Topshop on Oxford Circus. 

Vapiano is a canteen style restaurant where you pick up a card on your way in and then load your food purchases onto the card when you go to one of the different counters to order your meal. The food is Italian, pizzas and pasta mostly, with a selection of salads for the more diet conscious (obviously not me: weekdays are for dieting, weekends are for eating). Mum and I went for pasta with prawns which was amazing, whilst Dad and The Boy had pizza which was equally delicious. As it was friday the restaurant was pretty noisy and hectic (I'm not sure it was my mum and dads cup of tea, but then my dad is more of a Wetherspoons kind of man) but I'd like to go again, maybe earlier on in the week when it might be a bit quieter.

Amongst the throng of Friday night eaters was Lauren Pope, she of TOWIE fame (needless to say, she was not eating pasta, or pizza, or anything for that matter).

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The (food) love list

Firstly, apologies in advance as this weeks love list is pretty food heavy (well, unhealthy food heavy mostly). What can I say, a lot of my favourite foodie bloggers have caught my eye of late with many a plate of delicious delights.

I'm always on the lookout for lunch ideas and, being a fan of all things bread related, this recipe for Cuban Paninis over at The Three Little Piglets naturally caught my eye. Turkey, pickles and baby swiss cheese? What's not to love. At some point I also want to make a batch of their Double Caramel Brownies after last weeks baking success (more of that later).

Speaking of lunch ideas, Sophia's Journal has prompted me to get healthy (as her lunch boxes always look so amazing). I'm thinking of doing my "A week on my plate" feature again and hope that my lunches will look at least half as nice as Sophia's.

Image by Sophia's Journal

Another sandwich I have my eye on is by Dixie Chik Cooks (a girl after my own heart, whose blog tagline is "A Southern Belle who thinks about what's for dinner while eating lunch") and consists of Caprese grilled cheese, Mozzarella, Brie and Honey Mayo. There's something so satisfying about a grilled cheese sandwich to liven up an otherwise ordinary lunch (not that there's anything ordinary about three different cheeses for lunch. No siree).

Image by Dixie Chik Cooks
Ever since Zsa told me that she'd had a toasted ham sandwich for dinner one night last week I've been craving a sandwich of the cooked variety. This primal urge for melted cheddar wasn't helped when I saw this post on Sacramento Street on Tuesday. Toasted cheddar and spinach. One word: YUM.

 Image by Sacramento Street

But enough with the sandwiches (well, kind of), I'm dying to try these black bean and roasted sweet potato tacos that I found over at Bubby and Bean, they look simply delish and perfect for the summer weather (if we ever get any).
Image by Bubby and Bean
I hope you've enjoyed this week's love list - see you again next week for some more of my weekly obsessions!

Friday, 4 May 2012

A Mango Winter: a preview

I know it may feel like Summer hasn't even arrived but with all the press days and previews lately my fashionable thoughts have already turned to the season ahead. I so much prefer dressing in the Winter. I love layers, coats, scarves, gloves, boots, basically anything that enables me to stay cosy and warm when the weather turns cooler (although I HATE roll necks - just someone wearing one around me makes me feel uncomfortable). The Mango collection for Autumn Winter looks set to be amazing, with lots of quirky details and strong tailoring (on a more casual note, I already have my eye on the khaki parka with cream trim, see below).

Preview the Mango Autumn/Winter collection here (available in-store from July)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

My hair history

Those of you that know me well will be familiar with my on-going quest for the perfect hair style. I’ve rocked many a look in my time but none have been quite right ever since I (stupidly) thought it was a good idea to get my hair cut into a Victoria Beckham-esque bob. Huge mistake. MASSIVE. And I’ve been attempting to grow my hair long again ever since. Since changing my haircare routine at the beginning of the year I have seen some results and growth has been noted by my work colleagues (and myself) but I’m still longing for bottom grazing locks. If anyone knows of any miracle products that will encourage my ravaged tresses into submission, please get in touch. For now, lets take a look at my hair, through history (most images where my hair actually looks long is thanks to Dream Girl hair extensions):

 ...and here's the look I'm sporting right now, not as long as I'd like and a pretty strange colour (but hey, it's a work in progress):

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