Souvenir Scarves

I'm a natural hoarder and sometimes my collection of junk evolves itself into mini collections. I currently have a few of these souvenir scarves and am hoping to pick up lots more whilst I'm in America (which is now! I ♥ scheduled posts. I'm probably trying to survive 40+ degree heat in Death Valley right now!)

They were hugely popular with tourists in the post war era and can be found for almost every holiday destination imaginable- Paris, Rome and Venice being the most common.

I'm thinking of starting an official collection of them and making them all into cushion covers. They're ten a penny at car boots and in charity shops and would make beautiful vintage covers.

These two are my favourites- a sixties Paris scarf and a kitsch-o-rama silk piece from Florida, both £1 from a charity shop.

Project Take 10: Butler & Wilson

Top: thrifted
Skirt: Primark
Belt- vintage
Black sandals: Moheda
Bambi bag: thrifted

The kings of glitz Butler & Wilson, in partnership with QVC, offered to provide us with our next challenge piece and I was a tiny bit worried. I grew up on QVC, my mum was a bit of a fan, and whenever I was off sick from school we used to cuddle up on the sofa and watch the craft and beauty demos together.

I remember the Butler and Wilson segments vividly. A flamboyantly dressed presenter harped on about the exquisiteness of hundreds of crystals, whilst the model tried to keep her head up under the weight of a hugely over-sized hair clip or some such thing. I must admit when I first saw the collection, I immediately knew it wasn't very me, however I love the gaudiness of some of the pieces too. But I thought hey, this is a challenge, so I chose the piece I thought would match the best with my existing clothes.

This crystal flower ring suited my multi-coloured thrifted top perfectly and I decided to tone it down with a simple denim midi, platform sandals and my favourite vintage bag, a beaded Bambi number from a charity shop years and years ago.

The other girls chose some much more adventurous rings so go look! Paula, Harriet, Susie, Sabine, Sarah, Jen, Vicki, MJ, Sherin

Picture Theatre Thursday: Jane Eyre

I'm not going to tell you the story of Jane Eyre, because frankly, if you haven't read the book, we can't be friends. I'm joking of course, although I will still frown at you very disapprovingly for not having read my favourite literary classic.

Since I found out last year that they were releasing a new film version (there have already been 18 previous adaptations!) directed by Carey Fukunaga (director of Sin Nombre- a Mexican gangland drama- very different territory indeed!) and starring Michael Fassbender and the beautiful Mia Wasikowska, I have been hugely excited about its release. After what felt like the longest wait in history, I went to see it as soon as it came out and it was incredible.

The film sticks faithfully to the book, thank goodness, but Fukunaga plays around marvelously with the timeline and structure. Unusually, it starts with Jane fleeing Thornfield Hall, with her time there and her childhood shown to us in flashbacks.

Also thankfully, there is nothing rushed about this take on Jane Eyre and no sign of the director trying to cram the novel's every plot point in. Instead it is an original, gothic and highly sombre take on Bronte's beautiful novel. Wasikowska is perfect as Jane: moral, strong and humble. Don't get me started on Fassbender as Rochester, I could go on and on. I'm a massive Fassbender fan girl and love everything he does (see Fish Tank, Hunger etc), but as Rochester he is amazing. Just the right mix of teasing and terrifying. Also, there's Judi Dench. Need I say more.

Even if you haven't read the book (tsk-tsk!), I urge you to go and see this film and I dare you not to fall in love with the darling Rochester and the haunting landscape in which he roams.

Smug, moi?

Top two photos: Me
The rest: Smug

I found my new favourite London shop a couple of weeks ago, tucked discreetly and aptly down one of my favourite London streets, Islington's Camden Passage.

Smug is the sort of shop I'd love to own one day, a mix of vintage kitchenalia, bright melamine, one-off pieces by new designers, adorable accessories and the most beautiful hand-sourced fifties and sixties furniture.

Unfortunately, being a little poor and trying to save all my pennies for thrifting in America, I could only afford to buy one of their fanciful Guinea Pig tote bags at the bargain price of £4.50. I can't think of a better way of spending a fiver and being left with change for a chocolate bar!

Farewell England, hello California!

Dreamy photos from Spanish Moss lookbooks.

This is my obligatory sign off post as tomorrow I fly out to California for my 17 day road trip to Vegas. Sorry to rub it in to all those who have to go back to work tomorrow, but I am EXCITED!

To those interested our route is as follows:

Los Angeles>Santa Barbera>Monterey>Carmel>San Francisco>Yosemite>Death Valley>Las Vegas
If anyone has any last minute tips or places to see in any of those locations, do let me know.

I've got a handful of posts scheduled in my absence but I'll only be checking my emails every few days as the Vodaphone roaming charges scare the bejesus out of me. I hope everyone has a great couple of weeks and to the people off to London Fashion Week, have fun!

See you on the other side!

Instagram Fan #3 feat. my Fairy Godmother

1/2 The Bedfordshire countryside on the journey back to London & my new galaxy teardrop ring.

3/4 New H&M sheer polka dot top & the best crème brûlée I've eaten in ages from Brasserie Gérard.

5/6 Some perfect emerald crushed velvet booties from Topshop & another peek at the gorgeous swallow necklace Eclectic Eccentricity were kind enough to send me.

7/8 My crammed bookshelves (the side that doesn't hold my tat!) & we finally got our dollars. They feel like monopoly money!

9/10 Flowers, flowers everywhere, not a vase to spare. My friend Natalie shares her birthday with Beyonce, so we celebrated both with homemade Beyonce bunting and big sunglasses.

11/12 I was blessed with a visit from the elusive blogger Fairy Hobmother recently who gifted me with some Amazon vouchers to spend as I pleased. I bought a much-needed Lonely Planet California guide book and series 2 of my new obsession, Fringe. I'm a die-hard X Files geek, so it's totally my cup of tea.

As a very sweet treat, any one who comments on this post with one of their current wishes also has the chance of being visited by the wonderful Fairy Hobmother...I'll have my fingers crossed for you!

Tips on toiletries

This is not a beauty blog but with my holiday fast approaching, I've been sorting out my bulging drawers and cupboards full of toiletries and deciding what to take with me. I thought I'd put together a little post on what I'm taking, why I'm taking it and a few tips that I've picked up for bagging yourself samples and freebies.

1. Skincare
Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimiser- A freebie when I bought my last bottle of Double Wear foundation. Make-up counters in department stores are the obvious places to start when looking for samples but you have to ask correctly. Ask the assistants questions about the products and tell them what you are looking for specifically. When you then ask for samples, it's not seen as opportunistic but simply the next step to buying something from them.
Dermalogica Multi Active Toner
- A similar story to above, Dermalogica counters are brilliant and will often offer samples before you've even asked.

Lush Gorgeous Moisturiser-
Lush are fantastic for samples. I often go and ask to try out their different moisturisers, of which I believe Gorgeous to be the best. They deal them out in these perfect travel-size tins and it's usually enough to last you a week or so.

Murad Essential C Cleanser
- free with a magazine. This smells of oranges and leaves my skin feeling soft and squeaky clean. The amount of quality products given away with magazines nowadays is really quite something! Mavala nail polish with Elle, Benefit with Glamour, the list goes on. Always look out for any new additions!
Eve Lom Travel Kit- the only items in this photo that I actually bought, and they were on sale. I bought them from the Space NK sale which happens a few times a year and always has some fantastic bargains. This Kit came in a gorgeous case and with a couple of other products for £25 instead of £50.

2. Make up
Benefit Benetint- As before, a generous freebie from Glamour Magazine and a perfect size for travel. GOSH Xceptional Wear Foundation, Brow Kit and Long Lasting Eye Liner Pen- Bought on the fantastic 3 for 2 offer in Superdrug. GOSH products have always impressed me. The staying power of the eyeliner is almost a miracle and as a new devotee of their foundation, I can tell you it's currently competing with Double Wear to be my favourite!
Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm- after reading Notting Hill Girl's posts on French pharmacy skincare I decided to invest in some more products. For £10, this lip balm isn't cheap but it can be used sparingly. It's very thick and will be great for flight dehydration and the transition from the British to Californian weather.

3. Haircare
Molton Brown Shampoo- see below
Dove Conditioner- Outside the bigger tube stations in London, at rush hour you'll often find promo people giving away freebies. I've had can of drink, breakfast cereal and a couple of weeks ago, Dove were handing out samples of their new conditioner. A good size for a couple of weeks travel too.
L'Oreal Elnett- I'm actually more of a fan of Tresemmé hairspray, but in the summer this is a bit lighter but still holds my curls well.
Aussie Take the Heat Shampoo/ Sachets of 3 Minute Miracle- Instead of carting around the whole bottles of my beloved shampoo and conditioner, I decanted the shampoo into an empty Lush bottle and saved a few of the 3MM sachets from magazines.

4. Shower/bodycare
Molton Brown Body Lotion and Shower Gel- I've got a whole stash of mini bottles like this kept from hotel stays that I save up.
Argan Oil- Cheap Argan oil from a local shop is a great way of keeping the moisture in my skin. Much like baby oil but smells divine.
Liz Earle Energising Body Wash- Small bottle of my favourite shower gel
Cath Kidston soap and Crabtree & Evelyn Lily body lotion- I'm a fan of sample website Latest in Beauty, for a small charge you can get sent small monthly sample boxes of your chosen products. It's a good way of having a regular supply of minis to take travelling!

5. Perfume
Stella McCartney Nude- Bought in Debenhams a couple of weeks ago for the bargain price of £17 for a 30ml. The bottle is the perfect shape to take away as it isn't fancy or vulnerable to breaking.
Lush Snowshowers solid perfume- my favourite Lush perfume, a Christmas special edition. The ideal thing to take to freshen up on a long flight as it doesn't alter under pressure.
Miniature Chloe- free in a magazine a while ago.
Miniature Burberry Body- Loads of brands are now promoting through Facebook. Like their page and you can be eligible for samples, competitions and other freebies. Burberry had this promotion a couple of weeks ago and I was thinking it would just be a normal sized sample vial, but was pleasantly surprised when this 5ml bottle turned up in the post!

6. Lifesavers

Benefit High Beam- Another one of the infamous Glamour freebies. I won't sing the praises of High Beam, since everyone knows already.
Benefit Ooh La Lift- Taken from a Benefit compact when the other products had run out and which is perfect for soothing the eyes after a flight or long car/train journey.
P20 Sunscreen- I don't know if everyone else has caught onto the amazingness of P20 but it is a savior for those of us with pale skin. I used to have to apply suncream every hour or so, but with this once in the morning is enough. It also lets me achieve a very light tan gently but I am slightly nervous about using it in 40c heat in Death Valley. I'll let you know how I get on! It's not cheap at £15, but a bottle of this size will last me a whole 2 week holiday.
Germolene- an antiseptic that helps a multitude of nicks, bites, cuts, spots and grazes. A holiday essential no matter where you're going.
Hair pins- no explanation needed, although can also be used to pick locks.
Safety pins- another no-brainer!
Compact mirror- After an 11 hour flight, I know I'll want to take off my make up and start again and I know I won't want to go to one of the teeny tiny bathrooms to do it.

7. Storage
These matching washbags were from the home section in H&M, which if you haven't checked out yet, I would do ASAP. They have some very kitsch bedlinen and kitchenalia for very reasonable, Ikea-like prices. The set means I can store most of my stash in my checked luggage and the little pouch will hold just the in-flight essentials. Organised, moi?

Do you have any other tips for travelling? Is there anything I've forgotten? Or, as I suspect, is this way too much to take on an almost-3-week road trip?