Collate, Collect, Create

You might have noticed a little hubbub surrounding eBay for the last couple of weeks all owing to a brand new feature they’ve launched called eBay Collections
I’m a big eBay fan, huge in fact, but it can be a pretty overwhelming place when you just fancy a browse. I’ve been a user for over 10 years now and since I first started using it, it’s a different beast altogether. Unless you know exactly what you want and have a precise search term to use to find it, you could find yourself faved with thousands of results to trawl through and it’s this that can suck the joy out of the whole thing. 
Collections are the answer. They allow users to create mood boards of items by simply clicking on the ‘Add to Collection’ button that is now visible on every listing. Collections can be based around absolutely anything from power tools to vintage vinyl and by following other peoples collections you can gain some great inspiration when you're feeling a little aimless.
I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the first UK users to trial the function and was tasked with creating 12 unique fashion collections- I say tasked but this was definitely more of a pleasure than a chore! 
It was easy enough to decide on what to base my collections around, I just thought of things I commonly search for on eBay and then had a very fun few hours finding the best bits to add to each collection. The Fields of Lilac board is one of my favourites (everything picked for its perfect pastel shade) and the Greyhounds and Blackbirds
collection is full of grunge greys, monochromes and American influences.
You can see all twelve of my collections here and follow them if you'd like some future retail inspiration!

This post has been sponsored by eBay.

Look-alike with the London Designer Outlet

The lovely people behind the London Designer Outlet got in touch recently and asked if I'd like to visit them and take on a little challenge. They had picked out some front row outfits from New York and London fashion week and wanted me and a few other lovelies to come up with our own budget versions with items chosen from their range of shops. 

'Yeah, why not?!' I thought but, oh my, did I underestimate the task at hand.

The London Designer Outlet is relatively new- it opened in October 2013 and it's location in Wembley means you can hit up Ikea at the same time for a double dose of retail therapy. 

I chose the impossibly beautiful and almost-impossible to replicate Leigh Lezark as my inspiration and with £100, 60 minutes on the clock and a host of highly discounted shops at my disposal, I set off in search of a similar outfit. How hard can it be right?

Photo: Getty Images

Sixty minutes worth of shopping is not a lot, let me tell you! It sped by at a frightening pace but luckily I came across the small but perfectly formed H&M outlet early on which had an incredible black mini dress with pretty ribbon embroidery, a total steal at £7. (Seriously, everything in the shop seemed to be £7, definitely worth a look in) I was uber pleased with the dress because even though it's not something I'd usually wear (body con? Ugh) the neckline really reminded me of the Leigh dress. 

Next up, I went for a little fitted tux-style jacket from Marks & Spencer to dress it up slightly. That came in at £24.99, down from £49. The shoes were the hardest part, I couldn't find anything remotely similar to Lezark's black cut-out heels so I ended up opting for a pair of metallic-toed courts, also from M&S for the bargain price of £15. 

I think I could have done better with a little more time, but I'm pleased with what I found in the time given. Thanks to the London Designer Outlet for a fun challenge!

A Bunch of Wedding DIY's

A lot of blogger babes are getting married this year and hearing about all of their preparations and exciting plans on Twitter and Instagram has got me reminiscing about all the time I spent creating things for our wedding. It feels like a million years ago now instead of just over 7 months! I realised recently that I didn't get around to compiling a run down of the different crafty bits we did for the day. There were so many I've narrowed it down to my favourite things:

DIY Photo Booth Wedding Invites

I'll fess up- these weren't actually made by us, but we did come up with the idea. We had the photos taken at the photo booth inside the Roundhouse (info here)- it took a couple of attempts because we were laughing too much and couldn't hold the signs properly!

We gave them to our good friend Lyndon (a graphic designer) who scanned them in, created the layout and added the wording we'd sent him. He then created the sticker design which we had printed through Moo. We bought envelopes from eBay and then commissioned the lovely Katie from What Katie Does to use her calligraphic skills to address them. And ta da! It was such a simple process and thanks to the kindness of friends, they were incredibly cheap. The most expensive part was actually posting them!

Vintage Mirror Seating Plan 

This was one of those things I spotted early on in my Pinterest searches- a vintage mirror seating plan. I was after something that stood out, something not too twee and something that could be used again afterwards.

I found the vintage mirror in a charity shop for £10 (one of my favourite wedding bargains!) and bought a cheap label maker from eBay to print out each name. For similar there is this one or if you have a little more patience this amazing piece of kit from Oh My Buy on Etsy is cheaper and has a proper vintage style to it. 

To decorate it I used chalk pens and my bridesmaid Vicky lent us her beautiful easel to rest it on. The best part about the whole thing is that after everything was wiped, peeled and cleaned off, the mirror was still totally useable. I gave it to another of my bridesmaids Natalie, who now hangs it in her sitting room, below.

Bride and Groom Chair Signs

Table Numbers

The chair signs were really simple, they were one of the first things I made! Small doilies folded over with string placed inside to link them all together and spray adhesive to seal the sides together. To finish, I added the the glittered letters that I had found at the pound shop.

The table numbers were something I had agonised about for a while as our seating was quite non-traditional and I wasn't even sure if I needed them. I spotted the Tolsby frames in Ikea (here for £1! Also now in heart shapes!) and loved the idea so decided to go for it. For similar numbers, just search 'table number printables' for loads of amazing free ones!

The other stuff

I also: collected vintage plates to write welcome messages on with Sharpie, collected old family photos and used like as bunting to decorate the rest tent, made our own dessert table with meringues from The Meringue Girls and cakes from Marks and Spencer and Costco (best cakes ever!), created a guestbook table with Fujifilm Instax cameras and enough film for 100 photos (top tip- this is MUCH cheaper than the Polaroid option) and finally, packaged up little jars of sweets for the children and tied them up with ribbon. 

PHEW. There was a lot more but let's leave it there for now! 

I was inspired and asked to write this post by Lloyds' Moments That Mattered campaign (they created the collage gif for me!) which celebrates peoples important moments from 2013. Getting married was obviously the most important moment of my life, let alone the year but I thought it would be nice to focus on all of the little moments that I spent with family, friends and Ed crafting and laughing. Those are moments I'll cherish forever.

Easy Chilli Spinach Quesadillas

About two weeks ago, I had a real hankering for quesadillas. I wanted melted cheese, crunchy onion, crispy tortillas and sharp sour cream and I wanted them to be as healthy as they could be. 

I've been a little under the weather for the past few weeks and Ed has looked after me and been wonderfully patient, plus it was recently our 6 month wedding anniversary so as a Friday night treat I decided to make us both a special dinner. A couple of people requested the recipe after I posted a photo on Instagram, so here we are!


Tortilla wraps (2 per quesadilla, so 8 for two people)
Spinach (Two large handfuls)

2 very hungry people!

1) Chop the spring onions, chillies (I used both but if you're not keen on heat, use half of one!) and mushrooms as finely as you can and mix together in a bowl with the drained sweetcorn. 

2) Wilt the spinach in a dry pan- basically toss it around a lot until it halves in size and remove from the pan before it starts burning! Mix it into the bowl with the rest of the veg.

3) Heat a frying pan without oil and place one tortilla into it. Sprinkle a handful (or however much you fancy!) of the vegetables over the tortilla, leaving a little gap around the edge to allow for spread-age. 

Add the grated cheese- I used cheddar but Monterey Jack is supposed to be incredible also. This is where the self-restraint comes in. If you want heaps of gooey cheese oozing from the sides, add a lot. If you want to be healthy, add a little. Easy math. 

4) Now add the second tortilla on top. Gently push it down and using your hand (please don't burn yourself!) and keep rotating the whole thing around so the bottom tortilla doesn't burn. Use a spatula to check the bottom and once it's golden brown and the cheese is starting to stick it all together carefully flip the whole lot over. You might lose a few bits of veg, but don't worry, you can put them back in!

5) Slide the browned quesadilla onto a plate and cut into four. Repeat as many times as necessary! Add the soured cream to your plate and voila! Gobble down as fast as you can and plan what you can put in them next time!

For dessert, we had toaster waffles (these ones are amazing!) dusted with icing sugar and heaps of real cornish ice cream and it was delicious! The healthy thing only counts for one course, right?! We washed everything down with a few glasses of champagne and spent the evening curled up in front of the TV, with full stomachs and fuller hearts,

Waitrose kindly sponsored this post, sending me a voucher to purchase the food with and a bottle of their champagne to celebrate their 'Thank You' campaign
Throughout January, for every order placed, Waitrose will include a free bottle of champagne to thank each of it's customers, both new and existing! 

Project Take 10: Bowers & Wilkins

Jacket: Whistles. Dress worn as skirt: vintage. Lace top: H&M. Loafers: vintage. Bag: Marks & Spencer

This month for Project Take 10, we've taken on something a little different. If you're not familiar, Take 10 is an ongoing project that involves myself and nine other lovely bloggers being sent the same item to style up and marvelling at the different outcomes!

This month, tech giants Bowers & Wilkins stepped in to offer us each a pair of P3 headphones to style a look around. I chose the white pair (they come in red, blue and black too) and decided to go for a full-on monochrome outfit to match! These foldable headphones are the Rolls Royce of the market, but did I know that when I received them? Nope. My usual for the daily commute of is cheap pair of earphones I picked up when my standard Apple pair fell apart. If I'm honest, I'm not sound-savvy at all- I've never been one of those people to buy expensive big-name speakers, iPod docks or new gadgets. 

However, what I am interested in is quality. Living in London means that I need something which keeps my sound in and outside noises out. Loud talkers, the track noise on the tube, crying children, roadworks and all other manner of aural nuisance mean I often struggle to hear the dulcet tones of Mr Alex Turner on my twenty minute journey from central to North London. Even worse is that niggling worry that I might be sharing my music with the rest of the bus- mega awkward when I'm blaring the first Fall Out Boy album on a particularly nostalgic day. 

The P3 edition are quite remarkable in that they shown me the difference between cheap and not-so-cheap. They are massively noise-cancelling, plus I've tried them out when I'm with Ed to see if they leak any sound and so far, so good! The look is sleek, they don't protrude like some of the other over-ear headphones I've seen and the white finish isn't too flashy, they just blend in.

Do you tend to spend more on quality audio or prefer the cheap and cheerful? It's a tricky one as I've been through about 4 pairs of earphones in the last year, so if the more expensive ones last- surely it's a wiser investment?

P.s. Say hello to the wonderful Dunya, who filled our latest space after we sadly said goodbye to Paula. Can't wait to see more of Dunya's lovely Take 10 outfits!

Holy Pennants

Alexandra Ferguson Happily Ever After cushion
La Luna cushion by Pillow & Pocket
Skull cushion by Be Bop a Lula

All pennants from Carnival Crate on Etsy: Circus Elephant, Nevada and Florida

Recently, we have been growing weary of the flat we've lived in for nearly five years. It's teensy tiny but in an amazing location that we love with all our hearts, so the decision to start looking for alternative places has been a difficult one. 

Whilst we look, I decided to have a mini rearrangement of our living room to try and rediscover some love for it. New cushions make me irrationally happy so with a Liberty voucher my best friends clubbed together to buy for my birthday in the summer, I bought the Alexandra Ferguson cushion in the clearance section for £40. Felt cushions keep their shape really well, are hardwearing and these ones are totally handmade so I didn't feel too much of a sinner spending so much on a couch decoration. 
The skull cushion is a few years old now, bought for me by Amy as a birthday present from Be Bop a Lula and is looking a little worse for wear but I can't bring myself to throw it away. 

The cute Vv plate is from Anthropologie and was my secret santa gift from my friend Natalie at Christmas. My nickname used to be VV because I was obsessed with The Kills and Alison Mosshart, so she thought it was apt, plus I'm a sucker for anything with a horseshoe motif. The vintage suitcases piled up hold the original huge Anglepoise lamp I found in a charity shop nicely. 

The other bits- the Tim Burton print I bought at his retrospective at the LACMA in 2011, the Paris pennant I found on Etsy, the deer family- are collections I'm always looking to add to. Pennants are my new love- the brightly coloured vintage graphics, the Americana feel, the affordability and the look of them all hung on a plain wall lead to me stalking the best examples for hours on Etsy.

If any of this takes your fancy, I put together a little shopping guide on where to get similar items and if anyone buys that Circus pennant, make sure you send me a photo!

Borough Belles

Dress: Topshop. Jacket: Whistles. Boots: Bronx c/o Bank Fashion. Bag: Marks & Spencer

Saturday's weather was just too beautiful to hibernate indoors, milking my Netflix subscription, so I decided to get out on my own (Ed was working) for a wander. I wore a new tea dress I picked up in the Topshop sale for £15, some lovely leather Bronx boots I was kindly sent by the people at Bank and my trusty leather Whistles jacket. I caught the Tube to London Bridge and went somewhere I have, inexplicably, never been before: Borough Market.

Conveniently, it's directly next door to the tube station and very VERY busy on a Saturday morning. It's a good busy though. Traders shouting, offering samples, hawking their deals on apples and pears, people bustling through with paper bags full of kumquats and physalis and curly kale. And the smells! Oh the smells. Salami and calamari and stinky cheese and roses and garlic and then on the outskirts of the market, coffee. Monmouth coffee to be exact, see the photo above for the insanely long queue I witnessed for their flat whites.

By the time I'd fought my way outside, I'd bought three punnets of blueberries for £3, some chocolate eclairs and a hot apple juice to warm my hands. Out in the street, I was met by the bluest sky I have seen in a very long time perfectly framing the tallest, pointiest building in London. I wandered to the banks of the Thames, past Drake's Golden Hinde, the ruins of Winchester Palace and past the spot I was lamely excited about- The Globe pub which pops up numerous times in the Bridget Jones film.
After I'd finished my little jaunt and my fingers were numb from the cold, I hopped back on the tube with my eclairs and berries, feeling thoroughly contented that I had seen something new that hadn't involved a computer or a television.