Drumroll please...


Without further ado, I would like to announce the winners of my double-whammy of a giveaway which commenced 2 weeks ago today.

Using Random.org, the first entry chosen who wins prize number 1 which includes the Arcadia gift-card is...


Victoria from the wonderful Lily Loves Lola. Congratulations lady, you'll have to tell us what you spend the gift-card on!

And the second winner who has bagged prize number 2 which includes the Cath Kidston tote is...

Helen from the tasty morsel that is Afeitar!

Girlies, I hope you both like your prizes! Please email your addresses to myneonlights@hotmail.com and I will get both of the prizes sent out this week.

THANK YOU to everyone who entered, I really do appreciate every comment and email. You have made my relatively short time as a blogger very enjoyable indeed!

P.s London Fashion Weekend post will be up tomorrow! Ebay is calling me today. Must. Make. Money.

Whirlwind


Like the white rabbit in Wonderland I've been rushing around chasing my tail for the last couple of days and tomorrow will be no different! Work, drinks, boy, friends, blog, everything has been a bit mad this week. Does anyone else feel like their feet sometimes don't touch the ground!?

Anyway getting to the point, the amazing Amy at WolfWhistle recently ran a competition in collaboration with 3 Mobile . The brief was to tweet a photo with your take on the saying 'The best things in life are free'. (Mine was a pretty embarrassing photo with a fake moustache and glasses- playing dress up is one of my favourite free things)

In the end Amy used Random.org to choose fairly and I was thrilled to find out I had won!
The prize is to to accompany Amy to London Fashion Weekend with various other lovely bloggers including Carrie from WishWishWish to tweet from the catwalk trialling a brand new phone! I am uber-excited about this and have had butterflies since finding out (also because I get to try and nab a cut-price Luella bag- possible bargain of the century?)

I am so sorry this post is all text, but I promise to be back Sunday with lots of lovely photos AND of course to announce the winner of my giveaway!
I cannot believe two weeks have already elapsed, but if you haven't entered yet please do! Remember, all you need to do is be a follower and comment 'Be my Valentine'!

There a two prizes, so two lucky winners will be announced on Sunday at 3pm (ish)

Be my Valentine Giveaway!


Have a great Saturday everyone.

Link

Happiness is...Saturdays in London & Food


Two.

Happiness is…Saturdays in London.


“Hell is a city much like London” – Percy Shelley

London can be a serious and severe place Monday to Friday. A broadsheet-reading machine, it will snatch away that last seat on the tube home and won’t sympathise when the crowds are 5-deep and mania is in the air. Armpit-to-face and briefcase-to-back, body language screaming 'Don’t you realise we all have somewhere to be? Now!'

But Saturdays are good. Saturdays are full and lazy and simple. Everyone has his or her favourite time, and this is absolutely mine. Yes, there are tourists everywhere, but they can be avoided if you choose carefully or stay local.







My perfect Saturday was last Saturday. Ed and I got the tube to Angel and wandered around Islington and the Camden Passage area- me shopping, him browsing the curiosities. Islington is never hideously busy, and the mix of junk-shops and stalls leave me pining for a bigger paycheque.





Weekend works on the Northern Line meant taking the bus home- crawling through Euston and Camden and remembering that I live here, with all this craziness that I held on a pedestal at 15 years old. I’m still in awe most of the time, but Saturdays help assure me that London isn't that scary really.




Three.

Happiness is…Food


I don’t think an explanation is really needed but just in case you were wondering- I like it all. Even sprouts and broccoli and pungent cheeses and mussels. What I don’t like is fuss and frivolity.

Below is one of my favourite new simple recipes. It took me less than 10 minutes to prepare last night and is a great easy dinner.

Honey and Mustard-glazed Chicken with Balsamic Salad.


4 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, skin removed, sliced into strips
1 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
85g/3½oz fresh rocket leaves
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Method
1. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the chicken for 5-6 minutes, until golden-brown and cooked through, and then transfer to a plate.
2. Fry the onion in the pan until soft.
3. Mix the honey and mustard together in a large bowl. Add the rocket to the bowl along with the chicken and onion. Toss together and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.
4. Place onto a large serving plate and serve.

Happy Birthday Lula! 5 years & 10 issues of loveliness.

I have a subscription to Lula, so would have received this issue at some point next week but when I was wandering through Islington yesterday I spotted issue 10 on a news stand and waiting till at least Monday for the issue to drop onto my doormat really just wasn't an option.

This is only a very small sneak peek at the beautiful editiorials and articles- I wouldn't want to ruin it for you!



Lula 10 includes articles on- Joanna Newsom, Shelley Duvall, a whole article on freckles and Strawberry Shortcake!



There's also a piece on The Museum of Everything and Henry Darger's artwork, which weirdly I wrote a blogpost on recently here. His art is truly breathtaking so if you do get a chance to visit the exhibition please do!





P.S Just as a footnote, only 1 week left to enter my giveaway! Don't forget my pretties!

Have a lovely Sunday!

It started with a thrift...

I, like many of you lovely bloggers out there, was recently contacted by Helen at vouchercodes.co.uk letting me know about a fabulous competition that they were running for London Fashion Weekend. When I read the email, I knew this was something I definitely could not refuse!


The brief was to show off your thriftiest outfit and for me, this is difficult!

Nearly everything I own is either second, third or fourth hand! So, to narrow it down and keep it simple, I decided to show you my most-favoured charity shop find since it became my hobby 5 years ago.



I bought this dress- when I was just starting to realise the benefits of thrift- for £5 from a huge warehouse charity sale. It's 1980's deadstock and has seen me through many a night out and impromptu cocktail occasion. When Lily Allen was wearing her prom dresses with trainers, I was wearing Converse with mine and when the Luella-inspired, fifties-style ensembles infiltrated the high street, I had already pinned down my perfect petticoat.

Paired with some Primark T-bar heels and a just-seen corsage this outfit comes to just £19.00! So, not only is it my favourite, it is also probably the cheapest outfit I own!

My top tips for a thrifty outfit are as follows-
  • Check the mens and childrens sections of charity shops and jumbles sales, and ignore the sizing if you think it could fit! Try things on if possible and look out for good quality materials and labels. Liberty scarves, leather boots and Burberry trenches are more valued today than they once were and are some of my most-spotted items in charity shops!
  • Haggle, be cheeky! This is obvious, but even applies in high street shops. If things have mini-imperfections most shops will offer 10% off.
  • Use vouchercodes.co.uk to look for discounts. And not just for the obvious things! They currently have discounts for Hotels.com, Tesco, LOVETheatre and Liberty! Share them and make it family affair too.
For more tips, I wrote The Penniless Guide to Thrift and let me know if you know of any other excellent recommendations for bagging a bargain!

Vouchercodes.co.uk currently have the AMAZING 20% off at ASOS voucher here- my favourite discount of the moment. It not only runs until the 28th February (after pay day!), it will also still be valid when the Alice in Wonderland collection by Paul&Joe releases- my shopping list is currently running to 3 pages, but at least with a 20% discount I'll save enough to feed myself for the rest of the month!

Happiness is...Brown paper packages tied up with string

I was tagged by the wonderful French For Cupcake to share 10 things that make me incredibly happy which I thought would be a great anti-dote tag for grey February days!

I thought I would do it a little differently though, and spread the 10 things out over a few posts as I wanted to share a few photos for each one and otherwise it would turn into a crazy, essay-esque novella. I'm calling this series of posts 'Happiness is...'!

ONE.

In no particular order, the first thing that makes me giddy with joy is seeing a nice plump jiffy bag with my name on it- something bought online, something sent by a friend, even a little notecard from my dentist to say I'm due for a check up makes me smile!

This week has been a perfect & amazing example of why it makes my top 10!

a) The brilliantly witty and talented North West London Girl In The Country recently ran a competition to win a very-hard-to-get-hold-of limited edition Chanel nail polish. Never in thousand years did I think I would win, yet lo and behold she sent me an email on Sunday letting me know she had chosen my entry!

Yesterday I received the varnish, together with a very sweet handwritten note (which is always the cherry on top for me!) and I was beaming with excitement!



I have been searching for the perfect taupe/ beige shade for the past year and this colour is it! I'll do a swatch soon, but my nails are hideous at the moment, so will spend an evening getting them into shape and show you ASAP!

Thank you once again to NWGITC!


b) LLYMLRS, hand-drawn-typography-doodle queen, offered up a limited number of copies of her first zine- a darling, illustrated calendar. I was lucky enough to receive one and came home from work to find the prettiest envelope waiting for me on the welcome mat!


She had even added a personalised post-it note, which I plan to put in a little frame and keep! Thank you so much lady, I love it! <3




c) And my favourite package of the week, or packages really because she sent two, was from my mother. She knew I had been having a tough couple of weeks and had hinted that she might send me these boots that she didn't want anymore to sell online but when two huge jiffy bags turned up at work I had no idea what they were!

In one, she had sent a Topshop floral skater dress which I adore! (better pictures of this to follow for sure!) Also, a Motel dress, some chocolate mini eggs, some Botanics face wipes (one of my favourite products which I can never afford!) AND a Lancome Hypnose waterproof mascara! I had just been talking to her about this mascara Vs the Clinique one I currently use and she remembered the conversation! I was so thrilled.

She also sent this amazing card which just made me so happy. Mum, if you're reading this (which I know she occasionally does!) I love you!



These are the boots she sent, Office white winklepickers with studded detail. I cannot decide if I can pull them off! What on earth would I wear them with? Ideas would be much appreciated. Otherwise, I may just put them on ebay!



And that my dears, is why I love packages! Unexpected, expected, bought, won, letters, packages - anything that Mr.Postman wants to pop through my letterbox will be guaranteed to brighten my day.

Tuesday already!

Just a quick little post tonight my lovelies, mainly to say THANK YOU to everyone who has entered the giveaway already! If you haven't entered yet, the post is just below this one or here!




This is what I wore on Valentines Day for mine and the boy's Marks & Spencer feast- yummy steak with peppercorn sauce and Champagne & Strawberry Souffle. The cute little dress was from Primark for a very cheap & cheerful £7.50! However it is quite indecently short, so may have to team this with leggings or jeans most of the time.

Now, this is very unusual for me so promise you'll forgive me! I don't like people bragging about expensive things - this blog is called Pretty Much Penniless after all- but I wanted to share my Valentines present from Edward because it is so pretty and I really have been lusting after it for ages.


I wanted a sturdy key charm necklace that I could keep forever&ever and one that could become a family heirloom and I definitely was not disappointed! The Tiffany ribbon and wrapping was so exciting to open and the necklace is heavy and just perfect! I almost can't wait till it becomes a little more bashed up and tarnished, a bit more worn-looking but don't tell Tiffany I said that.


Also, of course I made pancakes today! Did you even have to ask? I ate seven. Erm, yup- on my own. Instead of dinner. With banana though, so that makes it okay right?

They were yum and we'll totally ignore the fact that I used the ready-mixed Aunt Bessy batter. I am so lazy sometimes that I even surprise myself.


And as a footnote, did you see the Marc Jacobs Ready To Wear? I loved it! MJ is so reliable, which some people hate, but I was always one for consistency!

And finally it is Wednesday tomorrow, and another day closer to payday. This makes me happy and hope your week is going as swimmingly as mine!