Holiday Gift Guide for extra taste on basic budgets

It’s no secret to anyone- and I mean anyone- who knows me that I have a real life hardcore probably need therapy shopping addiction. No book has ever spoken to me as much as Confessions of a Shopaholic did and that is a pretty sad feat. It is also no secret to anyone that I LOVE a bargain. I am rather well known around the office as Queen of the sample sales we hold- a title very well earned. These two little not-so-secret secrets about me lead in very well to two of the great loves of my life (after my dog obviously): TK Maxx and Home Sense. As you will have seen in this little post here.

I normally rifle through the rails in my local TK Maxx or special mention to during jury duty when I discovered a whole new joy that was the Wood Green branch and nearly missed the court time. I run around the near empty store frantically pulling out J brand jeans and Acne jackets like a mad woman as if someone is going to prise them from my fingers (Monica from Friends wedding dress shopping style). The constant pangs of anxiety that I will miss out like the one time they had silk Olivia Von Halle pajamas or the perfect Stella Mccartney jacket in just my size did make me wonder if this rather stress inducing process was possible online. Whilst I do love the rush of camping outside shops circa 1996 Black Friday scenes, purchasing online would be a lot easier and adhere much more easily to the time constraints of being a full time working girl. 

I had a little peruse online and to my delight although limited, it was almost as exciting seeing the highly discounted designer goods online. Club Monaco, one of my all time favourite but astronomically priced brands had about 20 items online at 60% off the original price. And so I decided to do my little holiday gift round up this year solely through TK Maxx. I do hope you find it useful- I’ll race you to the checkout basket!

For Mums

A Jo Malone-esque holiday candle, a ceramic vase, a stella mccartney bag, cashmere club monaco cardi and a coffee table book on Grace Coddington

For your Sister

Just sheepskin slippers, coconut oil hair mask, Nars lipgloss, Maria Black earrings, flamingo and palm tree notepad and the original Stella Mccartney chain bag

For Dads

Some Soho pajamas, a Duchamp wash bag, a Jaeger scarf, Newgate watch and a formula one coffee table book

For your best friend

Some freshwater pearl hoops, a Phaidon coffee table book, peppermint popcorn holiday candle jar, some illamasqua bronzer

For your boyfriend

Some Krosno beer glasses, The Kooples scarf, wireless headphones, a hugo boss leather papers holder and a Los Angeles coffee table book. 

For your Grandparents

Italian panettone, Miller Harris fragrance and some waterford crystal champagne flutes. 

This post is not sponsored in anyway I just really, really love TK Maxx… 


The Weekly Happy Edit


Have you ever flicked through the Daily Mail app or switched on Sky news and thought oh my god when will they put on some good news?!

Well your wish is my command, you can now hop over here once a week for the weekly happy edit of the 5 things that you need to know that week.

1. Snow leopards are no longer endangered

Their classification has now been increased to vulnerable, whilst this is still sad the improvement is great news! If we keep up the good conservation work we should have these cute little kitties around for a long time.

2. A millionaire took in 70 kids displaced by Hurricane Irma

And in even better news for the kids the $30 million house boasts a game room with pool, air hockey and arcade games, and a Star Trek-themed home theatre.

3. Young boy saves 5 lives

8 year old Steffan of New Quay has rescued 5 stranded tourists via kayak in the space of two days- plus he's so cute! 


How to stay healthy when you’re exhausted

Has anyone else noticed that a huge part of adulting is being exhausted and then going around talking about being exhausted? I’ve even noticed a game of sorts that we seem to play. ‘I’m so exhausted I only had three hours sleep last night’ says co-worker number one ‘well I’m so exhausted I’ve only had about three hours the entire week’ co-worker number two retorts and then co-worker number three chimes in and we’ve got ourselves a little competition that no one really wants to win. This all seems to coincide with the resident gym bunnies hopping around the office and the smoothie slurpers eyeing the exhaustion party with resolute stares. So how do you fake it till you make it? Is there a happy medium between the wheatgrass waifs and the Waitrose ready meal weaklings? Well yes in my opinion, not that I always follow it.

Domestic Sluttery is a term coined by blogger Sian Meades and is pretty much a lifestyle I live and breathe. This involves shortcutting your way to what appears to be the highly organised life of the Nigellas of the world. Think Betty Crocker and frozen canapes. I take exactly this route when it comes to health on planet exhaustion. I watch Netflix in bed until I fall asleep whilst slathered in This Works lavender pillow mist and sleep balm. I eat prepared salads and my smoothies are from a packet. I recently finally cancelled my gym membership after three months of routinely cancelling inductions and now walk for an hour or two a day and do a home workout three times a week. I save money on parking at the station and can’t blame traffic for lateness- although this hasn’t stopped me- people traffic is a real thing, you try pushing through a herd of tourists snapping their cameras around your face! So below I have outlined my little tips and tricks.

1. Ready meals can be ok

If you know you are getting home late and you’ll need a bit of creamy comfort. Ready meals are okay if you choose wisely. If you read through the ingredients and don’t spot too many unidentifiable letters and numbers it’s fine and keep it under the 500 calorie mark. I tend to stab H E A L T H Y  R E A D Y  M E A L into the Ocado search bar.

2. Walk to and from the station and do home workouts.

For some of us the gym is a whole performance we are not ready to break a leg for- quite literally in my #klutzlife experience. I love Lauren Conrad’s skinny jeans circuit it’s kind of easy ish dare I say but will still make a difference:

100 jumping jacks, 20 crunches, 20 squats, 10 push ups, 25 bench dips (you can do this using a chair), 60 second wall sit, 60 second plank (repeat two times)

3. Spruce up pre made salad and invest in snacks.

You can order huge ready made salads to take for lunch that have pre chopped veg and you can just add things like pumpkin seeds, feta, halloumi, salmon, chicken and keep a dressing at work. I tend to bulk buy from Costco things like cliff bars and seaweed snacks and nuts- not amazing for your waist line but better than the cake from the office back table. I often bring fruit and granola bars for a breakfasty snack if I haven’t had anything mid morning.

So there you have it, trick your way into the gym/ yoga bunny tribe whilst still being able to join the exhaustion competition.


Jury duty: How to Elle Woods

A pink letter arriving through the door meant that I had been summoned to court. I had been summoned to perform my civic duty. I am sure I am one of the few to admit to this but for me, this was the moment I had been waiting for. The moment that I would fulfil all my crime novel based dreams and get the ins and outs of a true criminal case without the slurs of the daily mail to accompany them.

My first two panics that were not gracefully greeted in the jury welcome pack were what do I wear and what do I bring? After careful consideration, I opted for black chiffon culottes and a grey tee with black leather slip ons and a bag big enough to fit in the jury summons letter, books, my laptop, endless snacks and some toiletries. This turned out to be appropriate. Most people do opt for smart casual although this proved difficult when we suffered a heat wave in the second week.

As you walk in through tight security measures you join around 100 other jurors in a jury waiting room reminiscent of an airport. After tales of days and weeks of waiting around I was not comforted by the girl next to me informing me she was on her second week and still no trial. Wifi was £10 a day which seemed a harsh way to make money from the already disgruntled people desperate not to fall too far behind in their jobs. After around 20 minutes of reading my book the first set of jurors were called and to my surprise, my name was called. Around 20 of us headed down to court, it was smaller than I imagined but all the same the wigs and general atmosphere did not disappoint.

The whole process was very quick and before I knew it I was being sworn in with around 8 other jurors being sent away. They give the defence an opportunity to essentially ‘veto’ any jurors so they keep 8 extra on standby. Pretty quickly, the case was underway. We had several bumps in the road or court disruptions which meant we were sat around waiting but we never knew when this would be and it was never long enough to get anything substantial done. The case fascinated my fellow jurors and I. We were left confused right up until the very end. It went on for 2 weeks and 1 day, the final day being our prolonged deliberations.

What to bring?


A book
Any work bits
Hand sanitiser
A jumper
Pen and paper
Any toiletries to freshen up
Your jury summons

What to wear?

Karen Millen, on sale

Smart casual
Layer up and wear comfortable clothes for sitting for long periods of time.

What to expect?

I do not think it would be a stretch by any means to say I found the experience completely outlook altering. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of responsibility you will feel when you are holding someone’s life in your hands. Your decision and the decision of your fellow jurors quite literal changes another person’s life. None of you are qualified for the job in the way a judge is and yet you have the power to adhere to your judgements and morals and make a decision. I had the incredibly difficult feat of being the only person on my jury to feel the way that I did. I had to stand my ground and trust my own instincts whilst under pressure. Learning about crime in such a way is eye-opening. It is difficult to comprehend the madness that goes on in the rest of the world. You will find yourself sucked into the story as if it is a film but often it is happening on your doorstep. My particular case was surrounding drug supply and seeing the effects of the demand for drugs on people who are forced to be part of the chain of supply was harrowing.


Cannes you handle it?

With the close of the film festival and the last Monaco stragglers filtering through Nice customs, this year’s much awaited starlet vacance is over until 2018. I can finally reflect on my mini break with my partner in crime, colleague and bombshell bestie Emily,

Each year, assistants pack up haute couture and glam squads get their brushes at the ready whilst celebs begin juice cleanses to look their best at the magic that is Cannes film festival. Meanwhile, in north London each year I am sat browsing asos for the best celeb style pieces and a special dress in case this year I am whisked off to a premiere (although I am still unsure about sitting in an evening gown in a glorified cinema, it’s a must do right?).

This year’s round-up of celeb style finds:

Wildfox, £145
Asos, £35
Asos, £60

Flowy ruffled dress | MANGO
Mango, £35.99
Zara, £39.99
Zara, £90 

This year as spectacular as every, perhaps even more so, we attended the parties, brushed shoulders with the most beautiful and influential, ate truffle macaroni three times in four days, drank our weight in prosecco and minute rosé and shopped boutiques for bikinis, straw and pompomed bags and evening dresses in the form of shreds of lace. My dresses got more than a few outings each and we had many a sunrise uber ride home with a special mention to being approached for a street style photo in the morning in our dresses that we had put on at 6pm the night before- suffice to say we did not oblige.

The one thing about Cannes is the sheer cost of ‘living it up’. It is near impossible to bear witness to numerous of bottles of Dom in every club, the half-eaten lobsters gracing the restaurant tables and the covetable but astronomical dresses on every leggy lady catwalking past without buckling under the pressure and Amex tapping your way around. With this in mind, I have pored through menus and hotspot guides far and wide to present you with the most budget friendly picks without compromising on the star feeling that you deserve over the film festival.

Tea at the Armani café

Image result for armani cafe cannes

Perfect for people watching- a must in Cannes not only for the celebrities but also the old men in panamas with their bleached rails of wives teetering in Loubs and trailing Chanel shoppers. Having a slice of cake and tea is the ultimate luxury. Bring some big sunnies to hide your stares.

Dinner at Le Maschou

Le Maschou is famous worldwide as you may have seen in last year’s Cannes post here. There is a set menu payable upon booking so you can forget about it and just enjoy the evening. For a set menu of 49 euros, your table is laden with the signature crudités basket, fire cooked bread, meat, jacket potatoes, dips and you finish with mousse au chocolat, peaches, tarte au citron the list goes on… Be sure to book in advance as a table on the night n’est pas possible!

 A stroll or uber lux down La Croisette

Window shopping (or window licking in French and probably more accurate in my case) is not only free but deliciously satisfying in Cannes. Pick out your dream red carpet outfits and be sure to linger outside to Martinez to catch any starlets.

Hopping on a friend’s yacht

Yes I agree this is highly subjective to you having a friend with a yacht but they are hotly available if you hang around in the right places. Not only is it free but it is the best way to spend a day.

Rosé and nibbles chez vous

Although you may pay hundreds of euros for a magnum of rosé, in the local supermarkets the best is very reasonably priced. Our favourite was minute and if you pick up a bottle along with some olives and crisps, you have yourself a very civilised aperitif or ‘apero’.

Boutique shopping in Juan Les Pins

Cannes is filled with beautiful boutiques at high prices which are admittedly irresistible but if you venture 20 minutes along the main road towards Nice you will happen upon Juan Les Pins, a slightly more budget friendly but equally gorgeous town which is bursting with boutiques. They change names frequently but never cease to consist of finds that will lead to eye rolls when you tell your envious friends they are only available in South of France. We came across the most gorgeous Valentino sandal copies, lacey playsuits, handmade and hand customised denim shorts and a little boutique that weekly ships her picks from stockists in Milan.

Private concerts at Vip Room or Gotha  

Across the film festival every year, there are pop up clubs such as Vip room and guest performances from some of the biggest names, this year being Tyga, Martin Solveig, Fetty Wap and a collaboration with 1OAK. The great thing about these nights is that essentially they turn into private concerts with never more than 25 euro entry. Girls often don’t have to pay and get shoved onto tables and if you are with friends willing to buy a table then even better.

Okay so this isn’t budget friendly but…

Lunch at the Eden Roc

Not only are you sure to spot celebrities but the food is delicious, the surroundings are spectacular and it is well worth the treat. Stick to a salad and share a bottle of rosé and you won’t go too wrong. 

So after catching all the last minute sun we could, we eagerly are awaiting next year...