Life lately…

Last time I posted I noted how it had been ‘ages’ since my last post.  Well that was 7 months ago.  7 months have passed since I last found time to post, and as I sit now watching Christmas TV reflecting on the past year  realise what a crazy 7 months those have been; it’s no surprise I’ve not been able to post.

I’ve not really been up to much fun to be honest.  I was looking through my photos from this year earlier, and there really weren’t that many.  I have discovered a new talent in making home made marshmallows, and now the kitchen is nearly done I have a dedicated baking cupboard, and I now have red hair, but aside from that it’s been pretty work heavy.

My new job is very demanding and takes up a lot of energy, on top of that I was writing my dissertation for my MBA, which pretty much meant every evening and weekend was spent working on that, going to the library, reading, writing, drawing diagrams, crying, sending desperate texts of ‘I can’t do this’ to my friend, drinking Starbucks and neglecting nearly every other part of my life that wasn’t work.  That finished in October, but a week before it was due in I got really sick with some sort of kidney infection meaning I spent close to 5 days in bed.  I managed to submit, but it wasn’t quite the ceremonious event I thought it would be.

MBA ended, but my health deteriorated.  I was pretty exhausted, and after going back to the doctors as I still didn’t feel right she discovered by BP was something ludicrious like 200/130, so I ended up having many tests, including wearing a 12 hour BP monitor, and had to be referred to a cardiologist.  That took me to December and involved many other tests, including having to collect all my urine for 24 hours.  I am now eagerly awaiting the results to find out my fate….most likely being on BP medication for the rest of my life, which I’m not best pleased about, but it’s better than the alternative!

Thus we arrive at Christmas, and I am wiped out.  If you remember my posts from last year you will recall that I love Christmas, the food, the drinks, the atmosphere, buying and wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, singing carols etc..  Well this year was no exception, and with MBA out of the way, and a nice email confirming I’d passed having winged its way to me, I could finally relax.

So this brings me to today.  Another fantastic Christmas, and a week left before I have to return to work = relaxation, vegging in front of the TV, eating chocolate and resting.

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    Halloween costume

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    sitting on Father Christmas’ knee telling him what I want for Christmas

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    Red hair, much shorter

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    60s make up and hair for first Christmas celebration of the year

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    Birthday cake I made for my niece’s first birthday

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    medical tests

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    Halloween

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    Passing my MBA

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    Kitchen finally finished

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    Maple and honey glazed Ham for Christmas Day evening buffet

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    home made marshmallows

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    hazlenut truffles

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It’s been ages…

It feels like ages since I last posted, primarily because it has been.  Life has just been so hectic that I’ve not even had time to log on to read other’s posts, let alone find the time to write on.

Back at the beginning of April I started a new job in a different department at the Uni where I work as Finance and Operations Manager.  It’s a really great opportunity, and the fact I’m so close to the end of my MBA was what put  me in a position to apply for it.  It has been really full on though – I’m so busy and have to concentrate so hard.  The first few weeks I was coming home exhausted.  I’ve passed that stage now, but am so busy I am constantly thinking about what I need to do.  I think I’m going to be really happy there, but being new is horrible, and I just want to get to the position where I have everything under control like I did in the last job.  It’s one of those jobs I think is going to be really good for me career wise and personally, and make me a much stronger and confident person and provide lots of opportunities.

Alongside that I had to submit the last assignment for my last elective and am trying to work on my dissertation.  I have my final residential school next weekend, a midway report due in June, then a summer of writing up my dissertation (which I’m not looking forward to). So that is, well, mental!  I’m sort of at the stage now where I just want it to end and I want my life back.

Amidst all this, BF has been renovating our kitchen, which has included ripping out the ceiling.  I’m in our living room at the moment where the shelves are stacked with glasses, plates and everything that used to live in a kitchen cupboard until the work is finished and it can return to its rightful place.  The chaos of the kitchen makes it harder to keep the rest of the house tidy too, but I know at the end I’ll have an amazing looking kitchen, so despite the stress of it, it’s worth it.

So that has pretty much been my past 6 weeks!  We’ve made sure we kept Saturday nights free for champagne Saturday so we can actually spend some time together.  I wish I’d had more chance to take photographs of my outfits, but I’ve been leaving the house in a hurry that I’ve not been able to.  Instead, here is a montage from Champagne Saturdays and other things that have consumed my time over the past six weeks.  Hopefully after residential school I’ll have more time to think about what I’m wearing, and when the kitchen is done get back to baking too!

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My new do!

It feels like ages since I last posted, probably because it has been ages.  I don’t know where the time has gone.  I’ve just been so busy.  I have my end of module assignment coming up for my elective for my MBA and it is pretty reading heavy so have spent many evenings pouring over articles about access to medicines as a human right and patent laws, trying to work out what my own opinion on the matter is (still not sure I have one).  I’ve also left my job.  Not in a drastic, quit and walked out way, but in a handed my notice in a few months ago to take on a new role kind of way.

I’ve been working for the past six years in University fundraising which, much as I’ve enjoyed it, isn’t exactly what I want to do.  Having been doing my MBA for the past 3.5 years and taking on different roles at work I started to realise that what I love doing is running things, keeping things organised and doing budgets!  So, as of next week I will be moving to a different department of the Uni (one of the academic areas) to work as their Finance and Operations Manager.  I’ll be heading up their finance and support functions leading three teams.  I am both excited and a bit nervous.

I have this week off to give me a rest between the two, and will no doubt be doing lots of baking and shopping to share.  I started off my ‘holiday’ by getting my hair done.  I love having my hair done – two  hours just for me!  Plus it makes me feel fresh and renewed.

I’d not been happy with my hair for a while – aside from desperately needing my roots doing to cover the grey (something I religiously get done every 8 weeks), my hair just seemed like a big thick untidy mess on my head.  It had got quite long, and never looked sleek – it was a sort of half wave half straight look and felt very heavy.  I spent ages looking at pictures of hairstyles on the internet, creating my Pinterest page of styles I liked, but in the end decided I would just talk to my hairdresser about what I didn’t like about my hair.  I was glad I did as she explained the problem was the layers weren’t the right length for the rest of the hair – I could either continue to grow them (and the hair) and wait for them to catch up, or go for the chop so my hair and layers were in much better proportion.  That way it would feel less like I had two different hair cuts, and it would sit much sleeker.  She suggested taking the weight out to make it less ‘full’, and recommended a great product Wella SP luxe oil to help keep it nice and sleek…so I went for the chop.  Quite a bit came off, but I have to say I LOVE IT!  my hair feels lighter, tidier and sits so much better.  Here are some before and after shots:

Before....

After...

 

Feeling invigorated by new hair, I decided to try a bit of a new look that evening and went for neon colours with uber heavy make up, it was fun!

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Top: Zara Jeans: Miss Selfridge Earrings: Zara Shoes: Kurt Geiger/Jessica Simpson

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Top: Zara Jeans: Miss Selfridge Earrings: Zara Shoes: Kurt Geiger/Jessica Simpson

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Shoes: Kurt Geiger/Jessica Simpson

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Earrings: Zara

 

Am I wearing too much pink?

A question I asked many times today was ‘am I wearing too much pink?’.  To which most replied ‘no’, though some did say I looked ridiculous, but I’m assuming they meant ridiculous in a good way.

So, I open the question up now….am I wearing too much pink??

dress: Topshop T-Shirt: H&M Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger Bag: Oasis

dress: Topshop
T-Shirt: H&M
Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger
Bag: Oasis

dress: Topshop T-Shirt: H&M Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger Bag: Oasis

dress: Topshop
T-Shirt: H&M
Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger
Bag: Oasis

Earrings: Gift Blush: Down Boys by The Balm

Earrings: Gift
Blush: Down Boys by The Balm

(that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat) I really love those tiger feet!

Don’t you just love it when song lyrics fit perfectly as titles to blog posts!

This was the first outing for my new trousers.  Am I the only one that finds it so hard to find trousers I like that fit?  Maybe I give in too easily as they are a real faff to try on and after a few pairs I do tend to get bored.  I happened upon this pair by chance in H&M when looking for a dress (isn’t that always the way).  For £14.99 I wasn’t expecting much, but when I held them up they looked like they would fit.  I was quite surprised to find they fitted so well.  They sit on the waist not hips which was just what I wanted and are straight but slim through the leg.  

Now, when I say fitted so well, I don’t mean fit like a dream.  I’m 5 foot and H&M seem to make trousers for people about a foot taller than me, so I did have to call on superstitch (also known as my mum) to hem them.  But this was a bit of a blessing in disguise as it meant I got to pick the length so decided to go for a slightly cropped style to show off my shoes.  My mum is the most awesome seamstress ever and did these entirely by hand and you couldn’t tell they have been hemmed.

I wore them for work the other day, with a simple cream top and my favourite animal print heels.  I loved the way the trousers looked and I felt very chic (though somewhat cold) wearing this outfit.  I even put on my cream trench coat and Tiffany sunglasses to add to the chicness, though forgot to get a photo of this 😦  I did my hair in a sort of weird up-do which pretty much involved using about a hundred kirby grips to pin up my hair and red lips as I just love red lips!

Sadly, the only comments I got were ‘you look different, you don’t usually wear trousers’, but I am reading into that what I want, and taking it to mean that I made an impact!

Oh, and I joined a new gym and have been buying lots of swimwear for my spankingly renewed motivation for exercise 🙂 

Em x

Trousers: H&M Top: Miss Selfridge Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger

Trousers: H&M
Top: Miss Selfridge
Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger

Trousers: H&M Top: Miss Selfridge Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger

Trousers: H&M
Top: Miss Selfridge
Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger

Trousers: H&M Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger

Trousers: H&M
Shoes: Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger

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Coat boredom

So, I am officially bored of winter coats!  You spend ages putting together a really cute outfit, only to then cover it up with your winter coat before you go outside.  So yesterday, the sun was shining (a little bit) and for once it wasn’t raining, so I decided to ditch the big winter coat…..and go for a little winter coat.

I bought this River Island crop jacket ages ago – it’s thick like a winter coat, but I see it more as a piece of the outfit as it doesn’t really hide too much and is fun to style.

I kept my outfit simple – all black. Simple black pencil skirt, black blouse, black boots, fresh looking make up as opposed to glam (i.e. pink lips and subtle eyes) so that the jacket really was the statement.

I got loads of comments, and felt very Audrey Hepburn chic.  I was going to wear it again today but with colour this time, but looking out my patio window as I eat my frosties all I see is rain rain rain rain rain, so I think a rain mac is in order.

Have a great Friday (and pay day woop)

Em x

Jacket - River Island Skirt - M&S Boots - Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger Blouse (you can't see) - Warehouse

Jacket – River Island
Skirt – M&S
Boots – Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger
Blouse (you can’t see) – Warehouse

Jacket - River Island Skirt - M&S Boots - Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger Blouse (you can't see) - Warehouse

Jacket – River Island
Skirt – M&S
Boots – Jessica Simpson for Kurt Geiger
Blouse (you can’t see) – Warehouse

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The last few days

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I am so glad it’s Friday; I’ve only been at work for three days this week, but it seems to have been a long week.  I’m quite behind on studying and have an assignment coming up so need to knuckle down; but at the moment after the cold I had last week, my main motivations are telling me to chill out and rest.  At least the red wine is helping me through the evenings pouring over books and articles, and Miss Maddie is trying her hardest to help me as you will see.

I did some baking on my days off, I tried out two marshmallow fluff recipes, one using melted marshmallows and syrup and one from scratch using egg whites.  Both tasted awesome, but aren’t quite what I was wanting.  I think my candy thermometer isn’t working properly and I always have trouble converting measurements from US cups into imperial or even metric!  I’m going to take a trip to Lakeland tomorrow to see if they sell measuring cups so I won’t need to bother with the conversions anymore, and I think a digital thermometer is the way forward!

I’ve been wearing some nice dresses this week, and I bagged myself a cute little cream blazer that I happened upon when walking through H&M the other day on offer for £15.  Sadly I forgot to check the label (assuming as H&M clothes are so cheap they must all be machine washable)  and it’s dry clean only so soon I’ll have another item to add to the ever increasing pile of clothes I need to get round to taking to the dry cleaners.

I decided to wear the blazer today, and have styled it with one of my favourite (very old and getting a bit shabby) Zara animal print tunic dresses, my favourite boots (as it’s still cold) and a big gold necklace.  I put my hair in a high up messy bun to try not to look too ‘mumsy’.  Fortunately (for the first time in ages) it’s not raining here and so I managed to get away without having to wear a coat over the top (despite the cold!) which I was pleased about as I always feel weird wearing a blazer under a coat!

I’ve had lots of compliments about my outfit today, and also about the cakes and fluff I brought into the office for everyone to sample.  In fact, I think a post-lunch snack may be due 🙂

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A taste of the tropics

It seems like ages since I last posted.  I’ve had a rotten cold, and although I’ve been dragging my tired body to work every day, I’ve looked and felt awful, and have gone for wearing the most comfortable things I could get away with for work.  Then as soon as I get home it’s been PJs and blanket chic!  I hate getting a cold anyway, but this one has seemed particularly rotten and I still feel the malaise.  Worst part though was just feeling down about myself, feeling unattractive and just generally gross.  Greasy hair, dry flushed skin, massive bags under my eyes, and you know the general ill look you get with a cold.

The other day was the first day I felt even remotely human and managed to even think about putting together an outfit and doing something with my hair other than scraping it back into a pony tail.

I bought this top in the Zara sale in January and hadn’t got round to wearing it yet.  I originally bought it to wear with jeans, but seeing as I was working I couldn’t get away with that, so decided to try it with leggings and my reliable Jessica Simpson boots.  I’m not sure if it was smart enough for work as when I met my friend for lunch he did ask me if I had the day off as I didn’t look like I was working, so maybe I won’t wear for work again, but I do love this top.  It reminds me a bit of the Hawaiian Tropic bottles from the 80s and 90s!

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Pluck my petal, Valentine…My Grabble challenge

Yesterday I had an email from the etailPR Blogger Network with a competition/challenge to put together an ASOS outfit inspired by valentines using a new tool.  Grabble is a bit like Pinterest, you use it to ‘grab’ an item of clothing you like and add it to collections.  The fun thing is that is says it will notify you if the items you’ve ‘grabbed’ get reduced in the sale.

I have often been inspired by the collection blog posts Fashion Frenzy puts together, and so thought it would be fun to not do any work yesterday afternoon, but spend the time hiding behind my computer putting together my own valentines inspired outfit.

I’ve called this collection, Pluck my petal, Valentine!  There were various elements of valentines I wanted to bring out….firstly, the flowers (perhaps in the hope I may get some from BF this year).  Flowers I think are symbolic of love, valentines and romance and so when I saw the floral bodice, I knew I wanted to create a naughty, cheeky outfit that hints at….play your cards right and those flowers you gave me earlier won’t be the only ones you’ll be seeing tonight.  At the same time, I wanted it to remain girly, chic and playful.  I thought the blue dress did this perfectly, and brought in pink accessories to echo the colours of the bodice, but also who can think of Valentines without thinking of pink??  The jewellery I thought brought an element of elegance to the outfit; despite your naughty intentions, you and BF could confidently eat in an expensive restaurant on valentines night.  The seamed stockings for me completed the whole look – classic and sophisticated, yet screaming….look at me look at me….

grabble

Click on the picture to go to my collection at Grabble.co.uk

I love this outfit and really want it.  I know if I were to wear this on valentines, BF would be in for a treat 🙂

Cooler than the red dress….

Arrgh, what do you were when you are interviewing someone but can’t be bothered to wear a suit as it’s only an internal interview?  Why a red dress of course!  I think a red dress is a bit of a staple, like the old LBD (which is still also an essential), but a red dress I think can be elegant, sophisticated, and apparently makes me look ‘grown up’!

This dress is an ebay find – it’s an Oasis dress and I think I paid something ridiculous like £1.99 plus postage from Ebay.  The great thing about Oasis clothes is I can buy them from Ebay because I know a size 8 fits me perfectly!

The last time I wore this, I wore it with ‘sensible’ shoes, and I got told I looked ‘grown up’, which let’s face it, is just a polite way of saying frumpy.  I’d not worn it since then, but decided to give it a go again, only this time putting some mega heels with it to give it a bit of an edge and putting on some statement jewellery, rather than the simple necklace form last time.

I also did my hair in a sort of random half bun/twist thing that I made up to avoid any ‘mum hair’ adding to the frump!.

I thought it worked well with the necklace and shoes, but see what you think for yourself, as the red dress could go either way for me….wear often, or never make it out of the wardrobe again!

Em x

dress - Oasis Shoes - Kurt Geiger Necklace - forever 21 Earrings - Topshop

dress – Oasis
Shoes – Kurt Geiger
Necklace – forever 21
Earrings – Topshop

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dress – Oasis
Shoes – Kurt Geiger
Necklace – forever 21
Earrings – Topshop