Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Brighton boutique hotels with a vintage feel

There are some great little boutique hotels in Brighton, so I was pleased when Hugo sent me this great guest post with some more details about the best places to stay! 

Everyone already knows that Brighton is a great place for a holiday. Most people know that the beaches of Brighton are some of the best beaches out there but there is more to Brighton than the ocean. There are the festivals, the night-life, the theatre and the museums to name just a few. One of the coolest things about Brighton, however, is the vintage-style hotels. Anyone can sleep in a typical hotel so when you get to Brighton look out for one of these hotels instead.

For a totally unique place to stay head on over to Snooze
, which can best be described as a hotel with an attitude. Guests can choose from several rooms decorated with a mix of vintage and contemporary décor. Room number 2, for example, is what can be called vintage/shabby-chic. Large-flowered wallpaper in the colours of butterscotch, brown and orange decorate one of the walls upon which there are 3 mallard ducks winging across the wall as well. White vintage bedding and a clunky wardrobe also add character to this cheery room. White porcelain sinks with roses, velvet-topped chairs on distressed wood, white enamel pitches of flowers and gilded mirrors and frames are other touches that make this boutique hotel so fun to stay at. There are a couple of rooms that are funkier than vintage so call ahead.

For a bit more grand, and a little less funk, consider the Grand Brighton. While not all the room are styled vintage the ones that are make this hotel a worthy one to mention. The curtains are flowing and graceful, the bed canopies are in vintage floral patterns, there is a nice use of red velvet, the dark antique furniture has elegant curves and the colours that dominate are shades of yellow and red. There are also vintage-style botanical prints on the wall in gilded frames that add to the feel of the rooms. The dining room of the Grand Brighton is also quite vintage with floral wallpaper and carpet and dark furniture with more of those graceful curves that are reminiscent of another age. 

Blanch House
has a number of themed rooms in which the Perrier Jouet stands out. While not completely vintage there are vintage feels to this elegant room. The olive green wallpaper with a darker olive floral pattern and the crystal chandelier are just 2 of these. A large gilded mirror, tray ceiling and an antique roll top bath all help with the room’s character. A wrought iron balcony with pots of flowers is the cherry on top in this room.

The Sea Spray
is called an affordable boutique luxury and has one room that is wonderfully vintage; the Renaissance Room. The red wallpaper with huge gold flowers adds a lot to this charming room as does the white Italian Rococo bed with matching nightstands on either side. The dominant colours are red, cream and gold giving this vintage-styled room a touch of romance.

Decorated in shades of white and lavender is Room One at the White House
. A cream-colored iron bed, beige wallpaper with sprays of white flowers with little sage-green leaves and a balcony that overlooks a garden gives this vintage room a soft and dreamy feel. Small reading lamps with lavender lampshades and all white linens add to the effect.

Some more vintage-style hotels in Brighton
to think about include the Brighton House, the Regency Hotel, Neo Hotel, the Granville Hotel and Hotel Pelirocco. Keep in mind that some of these hotels have just one room that qualifies for vintage so call ahead to make sure you get the right one.


Monday, 27 February 2012

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Why vintage lovers should see The Muppets at the Cinema

Last night was a date night and I went with AB to see The Muppets (his choice!) as a Miss Piggy lover I couldn't say no, but wasn't really sure the film would be up to much. I didn't really pay much attention to the story line (if I did I would have been bored) I was distracted by the wonderful wardrobe of leading lady Amy Adams. Amy has a cutsie pie look any way and the sweetheart necklines and alice bands emphasise this look.

In The Muppets, Amy Adams wears some of the nicest 1950s style outfits that I must admit I was a little envious of! See the pictures and you'll see what I mean - lovely flowing A-line skirts and sweet blouses, cap sleeves and broide anglais, I looked forward to each scene to see what the next outfit was. And I was also impressed with Miss Piggy's Chanel look a like jacket....

I'm trying to decide on my favourite outfit but it's tough! I think the blue and yellow, no the orange and brown, no... oh! What's  your favourite, and what do you think of the style?

See more of my fashion blog posts here

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

They're Here!! Zaggora Hot Pants Flares Leggings, and see the discount here!!

I have written about how amazed I was by my Zaggora hot pants earlier in the year, and I'm still loving them! Some of the responses to my (unsponsored, unsolicited) review were that it would be great if the Hot Pants covered more than just the bum and thighs area.

Imagine how exceedingly excited I was when an email landed in my inbox telling me about the new Zaggora Flares Leggings!!!!!

You can get them for one day only with this link for £29. They are normally £69.99!!

This will be the best £29 you spend this year especially if you're planning a beach holiday soon and like me suffer from the dreaded dimples! I must stress I'm not sponsored by Zaggora or any other company to write these posts, I do it because I am so happy I found something that works for me and would like to share it with everyone. If you want to see my original post, here's the link to Zagorra Hot Pants review


Can't afford the hotpants? Try this Avon Body Contour cream instead, that has been given 5 star reviews and works on cellulite and bingo wings to tighten and lift the skin. Click on the image to learn more!

Happy Pancake Day! Low fat pancake recipe from Slimming World

Yes it's one of my favourite days of the year, Pancake day! I can eat pancakes all evening if I'm not careful, and usually celebrate with friends and have a frying pan flip off!

I've found a nice recipe on the Slimming World website that's not so naughty, so if anyone is watching their waistline... Enjoy! (It's 4 syns each, for those of you that speak slimming!)

Banoffee Pancakes - makes 8 pancakes
2 ounces of plain flour
2 large eggs
Fat free fromage frais (150g)
1 tablespoon of sugar
Quarter oint of skimmed milk
a couple of drops of vanilla essence
2 bananas
1 pot of Toffee flavour Müller light
1 cal spray cooking oil - Fry Light

1. Mix the flour, (seived) beaten eggs, fromage frais, sugar, milk and vanilla essence together to make the batter and stick it in the fridge for half an hour

2. Chop the bananas up and mix them into the toffee yoghurt

3. Spray a frying pan with the Fry Light, on medium heat , drizzle a ladle full of the batter thinly around the base of the pan to make 1 pancake at a time

4. Put in your banana filling when the pancake is cooked and out of the pan, and sprinkle on some cocoa or garnish with a mint leaf if you're feeling fancy. 


If  you fancy savoury pancakes instead, try grilled bacon and some Quark - fat free cream cheese. Mmm


Read more of my diet blog posts

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

My Edward Monkton Valentine Surprise

AB and I don't go over the top for Valentine's day because we prefer to celebrate our anniversary more instead. We do however make token gestures to each other, and aside from him cooking us a lovely 3 course meal at home, he made a customised Edward Monkton card for me which I thought was so funny I had to share. He got me a single red rose too, That's more than enough for me, because I get to keep him for the rest of the year anyway and he's great. x


Monday, 13 February 2012

Minimalist or miserable?

Many people espouse the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle. It's certainly true that a clutter free home has its benefits, but recent interior design trends have taken this to extremes. Wooden floors, pristine tables, and shiny, show-home style seats are nice - in a show home, but aren't real homes designed to be lived in?

Tidy By Nature?
Some people are naturally tidy, some people are not. Even those who are naturally tidy, though, are still humans, and humans have lives to lead. How can you cook a meal if you're scared to spill something in the kitchen? How can you eat some chips and dips in front of the TV if your heart skips a beat every time it looks like some dip could fall from the chip and land on your coffee table?
Minimalist furniture is great for showing off, but it draws attention to every spill, every scuff mark, and every stain. That's not something that's conducive to having a good night in with your friends!

It's Time to Relax
A home is supposed to be a place you enjoy spending time in, so instead of putting yourself in a position where you don't want to use your living room because "I just cleaned it, the glass table might get smudge marks on it!", why not take a different direction with your decorating? Forget carefully polished wooden floors, buck the trend with some woollen carpeting; and not white woollen carpeting that might show wine stains - something dark, luxurious, and stress free instead. Quality deep-pile woollen carpeting is a joy to walk around in barefoot, and instead of being a slave to the mop and floor polish, all you'll need to do is an occasional run around with a hoover.

Forget shiny glass coffee tables, look for something with frosted glass that doesn't show smudges, and think about huge, heavy book cases, and nice comfy chairs. Things that you can gleefully relax in, instead of worrying that when you sit at the wrong angle you ruin the symmetry of the room.
Minimilist, or miserable?
If you buck the minimalist trend, not only will you enjoy your home more, your visitors will be able to relax too, and they may find that they envy your relaxed way of living. That's good news for you, as it means that you won't have to feel like you just committed a crime on the level of murdering your best friend's kitten if you get a few sandwich crumbs on their freshly polished floor, or spill a drop of wine on their leather sofa.

No Excuse to Hoard
That doesn't mean that you have free license to hoard possessions - clutter is still clutter! However, there is a healthy balance between minimalism and clutter. The current trend is a backlash against clutter, and fashion has swung too far in the direction of the minimalist lifestyle. Now is the time for you to reclaim the homely feeling of your home.

Lovely guest post written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Stewart Groom Flooring; Leicester carpet fitters.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

When your birthday falls on a national holiday...

I have a guest post here, that I got in honour of my poor friend FL who has her birthday on Valentine's day, which sadly I can't make as AB and I have plans... well let's see how to manage it then!

There are 365 days each year and there are only a handful of holidays that take place each year. Unfortunately this means that there are thousands of people who have birthdays that take place on holidays every year.
Feeling overshadowed because your birthday falls on or near a holiday? Don't. It just means that you'll have to find unique ways to celebrate while still leaving room for holiday get-togethers you may be planning.

The following are a few ways that you can balance having a special birthday party with celebrating the holidays – with everyone winding up happy.

Having the Birthday and the Holiday Party Together
People live busy lives, so it may be hard to gather a group of people to attend multiple parties in a short period of time. This is especially true when the parties share a common special guest (the birthday “girl” or “boy”).To keep the costs of the party under control and to provide the best group of attendees possible, you could celebrate the party as a part of the holiday celebration. Feel guests out first on the idea. If they're in, then go for it!

Have the holiday party as you would in any other normal circumstance, with all your normal holiday traditions (for example, the kids opening a small present each at Christmas, or bake heart-shaped cookies on Valentine's Day). But for dessert, serve the birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to the guest of honor with the whole group.

If presents for the guest of honor are involved, either follow up with that after dessert if the night isn't already too full, or thank guests politely for their gift and open all your presents after everyone leaves. Sometimes, this is the easier route. By making the birthday a part of the holiday process it will make the whole event flow naturally and basically force everyone in attendance to participate in the birthday portion.

Or you could avoid complications altogether by advising guests (not on the invites – spread the word via email, text or Evite) that no presents are expected. This will probably mean only close family members will bring gifts and will be unobtrusive about giving them, so you can put them in a back room with a hug and a thank you from the giver, then proceed with the holiday portion of your party
Hold the Birthday Party on Another Day
If the birthday person is truly opposed to sharing their birthday with the holiday, you could hold the birthday a before or after the holiday event (two weeks should be fine). By leaving plenty of time between the two events, you will enable more people to be able to make plans to attend both events.
Also for the birthday party only invite those that are special to the guest of honor, rather than trying to have two huge get-togethers within a couple of weeks' time; you're more likely to have a good showing if it's casual. And of course, having the two separate events also allows you to focus the attention of the day to that person. In the case of children, for example, their feelings can be quite hurt if they're not the center of attention on their own “big day.”

A complication to this method is that people’s schedules are tight and people may have to ask for time off from work to attend either event. Asking for multiple days off at work looks bad to employers , let's face it. In this case, don't have the birthday party on the actual day if it's a weekday; make it as easy as possible for your guests to comfortably attend the birthday party and they're more likely to show.

The bottom line here is that birthdays are special and should be equally treated as such regardless of what day it falls on. So even if you are holding the party for the birthday on a separate day from the holiday, be sure to recognize the birthday on the actual day, even if it's a small meal with your immediate family and a rousting round of “Happy Birthday to You.” Plan well, and you'll have a very satisfying holiday and birthday.
Chris is a writer and editor of Themeaparty.com, a website devoted to birthday parties and entertaining tips. One of his cousins has a birthday Christmas Day, which he usually celebrates a week beforehand. One of his daughter's friends has a birthday on Valentine's Day, and last year she celebrated with a heart-filled Disney princess tea party.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Happy Chocolate Day!!!

Today is national Chocolate day!! I wish I had some chocolate to give away, but sadly I don't so here's some virtual chocolate instead :)


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Life as a 1950s housewife: Could you cope?

Life in the 1950s was very different to life today.  Some pensioners feel that life back then was better than it is today, and long for a return to what they see as simpler times.  However, if you didn't grow up in the 50s, you'd probably find life in that era rather alien compared to the fast paced, always connected world of today.  Do you think you could cope in the 1950s?

Different Etiquette
The rules of etiquette were far stricter in the 1950s than they are today.  If you've ever read Miss Manners and thought that some of the things she suggests were arcane, then you'd have found the labyrinth of dos and don'ts of the 50s incredibly confusing.
In the 1950s, people dressed up smart in silk shirts, long skirts, and smart suits, for even a normal day at the office, and many of the things that people wear to nip to the supermarket today wouldn't have been deemed suitable even for lounging around the house.   In the 1950s, you were expected to be smart, polite, and personable at all times.

Different Technology
Compared to previous decades, people did have some home conveniences in the 1950s, but food was still cooked in an oven (not a microwave), dishes were done by hand, and the modern washer-dryer didn't exist.  Most people washed everything from their pyjamas to their silk underwear by hand, and air dried and carefully pressed silk shirts ready for work.   Home chores took up a large portion of each day.

Different Transport
Cars did exist, and so did public transport, but neither was as ubiquitous as it is today.  If you wanted to go somewhere, a lot of the time you would walk.  So, you'd stroll to the local greengrocer, butcher, and baker (one stop supermarkets weren't that common), and then lug the shopping back home.  Even small tasks were far more labour intensive than they are today, so it's no wonder that obesity wasn't as much of a problem back then as it is now.

Different Communication
Instead of emailing or Facebook messaging distant friends, people wrote letters.  The telephone was used only for emergencies, and most socialising happened face to face.  While many people think that a return to face-to-face socialising would be a good thing, just think about what else you'd lose if you went back in time.  For starters, the loss of the internet would mean that working from home would be almost impossible, and you'd lose instant access to information.  If you ever wanted to know something, you'd have to look it up in a book.

There's nothing wrong with books as such - except that you probably don't own books about every single topic you look up on the Internet.  So, that means a trip to the library for every piece of information you want to check.  If someone has already borrowed the book you're interested in - well, you're out of luck until the book gets returned.

In conclusion - there's a lot to like about the simple life of the 50s, but don't forget about the home comforts you'd be losing out on!

This lovely look back on the 50s was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Patra, retailers of glove liners and silk underwear straight out of a 1950's wardrobe. Thanks Amy!


See more of my blog posts about vintage life

The Effects of Alcohol on Our Skin

Alcohol plays a significant part in most of our social lives.  Dinner parties, drinks with friends, an evening down the pub... all seem barely imaginable without an alcoholic drink.

However, we aren’t always aware of the negative effects of alcohol on our looks.   While a little is considered beneficial to health, it’s ever so easy to go beyond that threshold.     

According to drinkaware.co.uk, government guidelines for consuming alcohol are 3-4 units a day for men (equivalent to a pint and half of 4% beer),  and 2-3 units a day for women (equivalent to a 175 glass of wine).  Drink any more than that, and your health is at risk.   And if your health suffers, it’ll be reflected in your looks,  your face and skin.

So, what can too much alcohol do to our skin?

A For Alcohol     
Too much alcohol can attack vitamin A, which is a very important nutrient for the skin.  It helps skin cell turnover, which gives skin the healthy appearance by pushing new, younger cells to the surface.  It also helps to limit the spread of free radicals.  Free radicals damage the collagen fibre and elasticity in skin, so limiting its spread is vital for a wrinkle free appearance.

So you can see the potential  effects to the skin from  too much alcohol consumption.  

Another effect of excessive alcohol consumption is dehydration.  Alcohol has to pass through the liver, therefore, making it work harder than it otherwise would.  For this reason, the body has to divert oxygen and blood to the liver to compensate for the extra work.  This is what leads to the dehydrating effect.  As the skin is the last organ to receive oxygen and nutrients, it is also the first to suffer when there’s a shortage. We know drinking a lot of water is great for our skin, so why dehydrate our bodies with alcohol?

It isn’t necessarily all bad.  Let’s also remember the benefits of a little alcohol as part of a healthy diet.  Studies have suggested that the antioxidants in red wine can reduce the likelihood of heart disease.  Even further studies have  recommended a daily (small) glass of red wine for the over 45s.   It is unlikely that an amount such as this could ever put you at risk of violent behaviour, cause drink driving, or any other behaviour associated with drunkenness.  And it won’t have any long-term effects on your health or your looks.  If you were going to get caught for drink driving, then it would be from a far more excessive amount than what is suggested.

So, to summarise, it is fine to enjoy a little wine or a beer to relax, to socialise, or as a celebratory drink.  If you follow the government guideline as your maximum level, your health and your skin will benefit.  It is not necessary to forever deny a little pleasure, but as with any pleasure in life, everything in moderation.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Make up mal-function / mishap

For some time now I have been meaning to upload some photos and a post telling you all how fantastic my mascara is, and how I'd never use another brand again. I promise I'll put the pics up soon and you'll see why. Anyhow, it's one with a white base coat that is put on first and needs to be left for a minute before the second black coat is applied.

This morning, I got up at 6am to go off to a business breakfast networking event. Feeling proud that I had planned my perfectly smart casual outfit, plus accessories the night before (very organised for me) all I had to do in the morning was stay awake long enough to do my hair and make up and drive myself there. I did have to rush a little. And I failed. During the first coffee break, I popped to the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror realised I hadn't quite finished my make up. I had only put the white layer of mascara on, and it looked like my eyelashes had caught the morning frost. Luckily people are a bit more liberal and accepting in Brighton so no one mentioned it but I couldn't help feeling a little mortified inside that people may not remember me for my exciting business and brilliant networking skills but more - "the girl with the weird mascara".....

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