Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Obsession: Lulu Guinness and Stripes


.... and breathe....

I had some birthday money left over that I was saving for something special. Like this...

Last week when we were out and about in London for Mr G's birthday I found my perfect summer accessory. The Lulu Guinness (obvs) striped (obvs) Natalia perspex clutch.

It'll go with everything, right?

To prove it, I'll post my potential outfits over the coming weeks. You see, by buying this clutch I am actually saving cash by not having to by new clothes.

I'm all about the economics, me.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Obsession: Instagram and Inkifi

Anyone that follows me on Instagram will know that I am obsessed with it. I have nearly 1000 photos on there. I just can't get enough of the snapping and treating and posting and liking and hashtagging...

Not a day goes past, really, without an Instagram opportunity. In fact, at the bottom of this post is an Instagram, of - wait for it - a collection of Instagrams. Oh yes.

Anyway, for Mr G's birthday I got a montage print made of our California road trip using Inkifi, which I found via a January Joy post on Florence Finds. It was also one of my New Year resolutions to get a bit more organised with my photos, so I feel very smug on three accounts:

1. Instagram makes me look like a much better photographer than I am. Hurrah!
2. Mr G loved it. Present Win!
3. I completed a resolution. Yay!

So here we go:  

Funky, right?

And such a great representation of our memories.

I went for the framed option and I think we'll put it in the hallway. One wall is full of people and the other full of travel... and seeing as the floor is full of shoes, the hallway will now be full of my favourite things. All I need is a cocktail bar and I'm all set.

Now that I've seen how cool these look, I'm itching to get some more made...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

We joined Nespresso club


We tested a few models at Selfridges and then purchased our chosen machine at John Lewis. We then trekked down Regent Street, lugging our cream Magimix Citiz complete with Aeroccino 3, to purchase some capsules (Dulsao do Brasil and some decaf for making espresso martinis) and to formally join Nespresso Club.

We arrived at the Boutique and it was like being welcomed in to first class or an Aston Martin show room. Soft lighting, stylish design and Nespresso brand ambassadors with breathy voices.

"Welcome to Nespresso. Can I show you through to the tasting bar?"

Crumbs! Mr G had pins and needles in his face from all the pre-purchase samples he tried and I'm coffee-free for the time being after an involuntary caffeine purge last week when I caught a stomach bug, so we declined the offer and got in the queue to register and to buy our first capsules.

A queue?!? For registration and coffee capsules?!?

Anyway, when we got to the Coffee Capsule Purchasing Desk we began our Nespresso Club initiation ceremony.

I think I lost points for not taking it seriously enough.

In her best breathy, welcome-to-first-class-madam voice we were asked: "would you like a leather key fob or a membership card?"

Uh... both, please?

She then swiped them like electronic hotel key cards to activate them... Really?  What am I supposed to do with an activated Nespresso card. What is is activated for?

Oh hang on. I'm about to find out.

(Breathy air hostess voice again) "Has anyone told you about The Benefits of Nespresso Club?"

I was then demoted to the bottom of Coffee Class for giggling during the speech about Nespresso Assistance which includes
  • 3 year extended warranty
  • 24 hour helpline with direct access to Nespresso experts in case of coffee-related emergencies
  • Should our machine break they will collect/repair free of charge (under warranty)
  • A courtesy machine will be provided in cases where the machine has to be taken away for repair, to ensure no interruption to our coffee schedule
  • A first look at special edition coffees
  • The card/key fob tracks our purchases so they can profile our coffee preferences and assist us in future coffee buying decisions (a-ha!!!)
  • A recipe book, tips  and instructions for making all coffee related drinks, desserts and cocktails.
For. Actual. Real.

I shit you not.





Then it was time to register the machine and get our membership pack, which was not too dissimilar to the manual I was given when I bought my last car.

Breathy Nespresso brand ambassador: "I see you bought the machine at John Lewis"

Me: "wow, that was quick - is that registered on our profile already?"

Breathy Nespresso brand ambassador: "No madam, it's in a John Lewis Bag"

Mr G: *snort*

I flunked Nespresso School. Big time.

But in all seriousness, we tried it last night and it's yum and fun! And, really, if you asked me to recommend a coffee machine/company/service now, the first thing I'll say? Get a Nespresso.

I have been assimilated.

Mr G loves it like it's our first born and keeps going in to the kitchen to caress it.

First rule of Nespresso Club? COME ROUND FOR ESPRESSO MARTINIS ASAP!!!!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Fancy dress 2013

I love fancy dress. I love to put a lot of thought and effort in to my fancy dress. And so I seem to write about my fancy dress excursions, costumes and experiences a lot.

My two most recent fancy dress costumes were constructed for two of my besties as we celebrated some exciting events.

When I grow Up...
Firstly, Katy turned thirty and had a "when I grow up party". I was finding it hard to pick an appropriate career choice to dress up as, but eventually I settled on being a cheerleader. I made my own outfit, with bits and bobs from some cheap high street shops and a trolley load of sequins and glittery fabric.

And some rose gold wedge trainers... an obvious wardrobe staple.

Gimme a K, gimme an A, gimme a T, gimme a Y...... cos I gotta!

Attention to detail! Team 30!!

latest wardrobe staple...

Katy arrived as Legally Blonde - she is actually both, so it was a great choice. We wanted her to be a bunny girl though! Boo.
Claire came as Annie. She's actually a stylist, and although she grew up singing, it was not in an orphanage.
Nicky came as pathologist. She's actually a barrister.
Sarah came as Madonna. I can confirm that she is not Madonna.
Alison (of first Caterpillar fame) came as Willy Wonka, accessorised with Maverick. I'm pretty sure she does not own a chocolate shop.

So, clearly it was only Katy who followed her childhood dreams...

Legally Blonde

Cheerleader, Legally Blonde, Annie and a pathologist.

Willy Wonka and Maverick
Madonna and Slash

Elephant watcher and an astronaut

Honey Monster!
Best fancy dress of the night has to go to The Honey Monster.

Best career aspiration of the night has to go to Liz* for elephant watching (they are my first-fave animal after all) although she actually became an accountant. There's not a lot of elephant watching jobs going around these parts.

Best excuse for wearing a parrot costume (!?!?!) has to go to Tim. He wanted to fly...

Parrot.... ?
Great costuming! Great career aspirations! Great party!

Mad Wacey Tea Party...
Secondly, we all dressed up in Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter's Tea Party themed fancy dress for Claire's  EPIC hen weekend.

I was designated the Caterpillar and the brief was "glam, ATNM, photo shoot" rather than "local Am-Dram production"... quite how you're supposed to make a Caterpillar glam I don't know. I did a lot of research and most pictures involved slinky maxi dresses and cigarette holders.

I took inspiration from Holly Golightly because of the pipe and took the rest of the outfit from there. I purchased a tight blue midi dress and sewed little pink "feet" to my "belly-side". I got my hands on (in!) some long blue satin gloves, piled my hair up and donned some twinkly antennae in place of a tiara and went one better than the cigarette holder and used one of my many (un-used, decorative only) hookah pipes as an accessory.

Claire was the Mad Hatter and wore a variety of funky items and accessories. I remember the details of none, because I was so fixated on her ACTUAL Chanel sequined tuxedo jacket (borrowed from Katy), Katy came as Alice, borrowing my dress last at my Jubilee party last summer. Nicky dressed up as the White Rabbit and Claire and Nicky's Mamma Bear, Michele, of course, came as the Queen of Hearts. Liz* and Sarah came as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Mel rocked a Cheshire Cat outfit, Sarah (there were at least seven of them on the hen do) came as a flamingo and Jennie donned a giant teapot to transform herself in to the sleeping dormouse. Everyone else went mad on the themeing with flowers, cards, colour and stripes everywhere. It was amazing!

Great effort team!

* Liz is my newest Two-for-One (complete with sister Sarah) and I promised her a "pink word" and so here it is. Henceforth I shall always be able to link back to this post about her epic fancy dress creations!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Out and About: Fine(ish) dining for Mr G's birthday

I missed Mr G's birthday this year. I was away on Wonder Hen. I felt bad so I bought him a Birthday Hoe.

Get your minds out of the gutter. I also bought him a spade and a rake, amongst other things. He's getting old - he asked for gardening stuff. Boring!

Anyway, to make up for missing his actual birthday, I took Monday off work, partly for Wonder Hen recovery, but mainly for a little bit of a birthday celebration and present shopping.

I managed about 30 mins more than usual as a lie in and then we hustled to London for breakfast at The Wolseley. I've been wanting to try their famous breakfast for a long time now, and seeing as Mr G is a bit of an eggs benedict aficionado it was the perfect place to get the day started. We even spotted a few (slightly) famous faces in there. Well, Mr G did... him and his sister are experts at it. I saw no one, mainly becuase I was concentrating hard on my pancake stack. Mmmmm-mmm.

Next stop was the Burlington Arcade where Mr G was very patient whilst I salivated over some Laduree and Lulu Guinness delicacies. I also may have purchased some.... Naughty Mrs G.

The second part of the birthday plan involved a tour of the various Nespresso boutiques in the capital to pick a machine and some capsules. Now we're 31 we felt it was time to properly join the Grown Up Club and buy a new coffee machine.

I can't write about it twice, it still boggles my mind, so watch out later for a full post. Let me tell you this much, it was BIZARRE!

To celebrate joining Nespresso Club we plonked ourselves in the Parlour at Sketch for some champagne and patisserie. Again, I've been wanting to dine here for a long time, but my lemonade budget doesn't really stretch to my champagne tastes except on special occasions. I thought Mr G would appreciate the bonkers decor and I was in my Kitsch Clutter element. The highlight has to be the space pod toilets, accessorised with a real life French maid. Bonkers.

After that we rolled home to chill on the sofa for a while (I blogged about Wonder Hen and Mr G read his Nespresso manual from cover to cover. Twice) and then we met Family G for dinner.

So that's it. We're both now 31. We're both old. All exciting blog posts will now cease and will be mainly about the various coffees we can make with our newest kitchen gadget and the gardening he's doing with all his new implements...

Bet you're well excited.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Wacey in Wedding-Land: The Wonder Hen

Today I feel so happy, but so sleepy. Sleepy like a Dormouse maybe?

Yesterday I got home from what shall henceforth be known as The Wonder Hen. One of my Disney Princess besties, Claire, is getting married in June. To celebrate, we embarked upon a hen do of epic proportions to Matlock Bath and loosely themed around Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass (OMG, OMG. OMG!!!). Let me expand...

On Friday afternoon we convened Chez Wacey and boarded the Booze Bus for...

Wacey's Journey to Wonderland

Wacey's Wonder Bus

Two (almost three) toilet stops before reaching Watford, thrice around a north London one way system, multiple "beep and waves" and four replays of a Musical Extravaganza compilation CD (Guess the Hen that picked the song! Guess! Guess!) and we arrived at Portland House c1870 in Matlock Bath to a glass of welcome fizz and a mini house tour.

Hiding behind the bar (yup, there was a bar room, complete with vintage billiard table, jelly-mould chandelier and iPod-wearing taxidermy. Totes. A. Maze. a whole house of Kitsch Clutter) were two very special guests that had been little house elves all morning, allocating rooms, stocking the giant fridge and decorating every nook and cranny with glitter and glitz. There were tears. It was glorious.

We all found our beds, rummaged in our welcome pack goody bags (Haribo - YES!!!!), ran around like Mallory Towers characters full up on e-numbers (or in fact prosecco and rocky road mini bites) for an hour or so and then convened in the dining room for home-cooked lasagne, salad and caramel roulade. Yum.

Room allocation

Then the door bell rang....

"STRIPPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" screamed the Bride-to-Be as she peeked through the curtains.

Nope. Mixologist! And so began...
Wacey through the Cocktail Glass

We were divided in to two teams, and two at a time got behind the bar to make a number of different cocktails, competing against each other in terms of skill, flair and of course, taste. We rounded off the session with a little competitive cocktail creation, following the mixology rules we'd been taught (something strong, weak, sour and sweet) and a little of our own imagination (hulled out pineapple and a filthy mind), fuelled by the copious amounts of alcohol consumed for the past seven hours!

Cocktail competitiveness
I'm not at all biased when I say that my team was clearly the winning team. We used a whole pineapple for goodness sake. How could we lose?

After all that excitement we burned off all those calories with sofa dancing, karaoke singing screeching and Gangnam Styling in our PJs and Onesies.

Saturday morning began with shouts of "ORANGE JUICE!" from one of the first floor bedrooms and slowly we began crawling from our beds to help ourselves to coffee, tea, toast, crumpets and warm pastries for breakfast before getting ready for...

Mad Wacey's Tea Party!

We all got dressed up either as characters from Alice in Wonderland or tea party guests, with the bride taking the role of the Mad Hatter, and made our way down a very steep hill to a local pub for a photo shoot. The idea being that as the bride is a stylist, we'd provide her with a Harpers Bazaar/Vanity Fair style photo shoot to get her teeth in to. I was the caterpillar and to put a slightly more "photo-shoot-glam" spin on the costume, rather than local am-dram production, I took inspiration from the smoking characteristic and turned the costume in to a bit of a Holly Golightly-esque caterpillar... slinky dress, hair piled up, long gloves all accessorised with a hookah pipe in place of a cigarette holder. Everyone put in so much effort and the morning was a kaleidoscope of colour full of glitter, glitz, sequins (fake) cake and bonkers props. Our squeals of delight and extravagant costumes took the quaint little town by storm as we trooped through the middle of the road to pose by the river/hang off signs/lay in the road/hold up the traffic etc etc etc.

We worked up a good appetite with all that posing, seat rotating (as seen in the film) and attention -grabbing antics in the village and so we climbed back up the hill for an actual tea party back at the house with finger sandwiches, giant scones and miniature cakes. And of course fizz. Always fizz.

Time for (actual) tea...

This Way? That Way? - The Scavenger Hunt

The team line up
After tea, cakes and fizz (and unsuccesful attempts at glitter removal) we all gathered in the garden in our team t-shirts for our pre-scavenger hunt briefing, accessory collection (ears, wigs, glasses and tashes - guess which my team got?) and team tactic talks. I was team leader for the greens (aka The Snot Rockets) and my team talk went something like this: "Hustle hard. Run fast. Survival of the fittest. WIN!"

The mid-afternoon bonus point checkpoint required a cable car trip to the top of the Heights of Abraham (eeeeeek!) to meet at the entrance to an old mine. We then took a short tour of the underground caverns (more eeeeek!), learning about minerals, mining, miners and a teeny bit of geology before hustling for the 100 points for being the first ones back.

WINNERS!!!!! Yay!

Prizes for the Mr and Mrs Game
Some snacking and chatting in the late afternoon sunshine provided a little bit of down time before the madness of the ubiquitous Mr and Mrs game which got us all excited for...

Wacey in the Looking Glass

Back down that sheer drop in our killer heels to the local pub which, we discovered, had not only a great taste in wallpaper, but also a live band performing excellent covers of some of our fave rock songs and power ballads. Score! We ate dinner and danced the night away in our own private area in our "looking glass" wigs (bright red, to mirror Claire's Ariel-esque locks), shocked the locals with a little bit of stage invasion and then clamped on our cleats and carabiners to climb back to the house for more onesie/unitard sofa dancing, a little bit of musical beds and then deep, deep sleep!

Off with their heads! The Queen's Shooting Ground

Sunday began with bacon sandwiches and tea in the sunshine then we all wrapped up and headed off for clay pigeon shooting... which was less about the shooting and more about girly giggling as we teased the poor instructor every time his gun-related innuendos accidentally slipped out! Oops.

Top marks for our chief hen for 5-out-of-5 on her first round only to be surpassed by Rina-Hen for her double hit (there is a technical term but I forgot it. I suppose the archery equivalent would be splitting the arrow!).

Bang... Bang!

a clay pigeon massacre
After all that excitement and massacring of clay pigeons we popped in to a cute local fish and chip shop for a Daily Special (fish, chips, mushy peas, bread and butter, tea and ice cream for £5.75 - since you asked) then a short walk home to pack up and re-board the Booze Bus, which actually became the Snooze Bus for the trip back to London.

Oh how well I slept that night.

Once I'd edited and uploaded all my hundreds of photos... obvs.

So, to finish I'd like to tell you what I learned on Claire's Wonder-Hen:
  1. The sun actually will come out tomorrow
  2. The monkey fell out of his bunk (BANG)
  3. He was NOT drunk (HIC)
  4. Those safety tips on not wearing iPods when out running after dark are probably true. Even for woodland creatures.
  5. Some mixologists are actually just mixologists
  6. ...and their girlfriends are not in appreciation of stripping requests.
  7. Walsh's Love Juice must always be drunk from a pineapple
  8. ... as must everything else...
  9. Particularly ORANGE JUICE
  10. ...which will magically appear in your room if you shout it loud enough
  11. Matlock Bathonians have been mining lead galena for hundreds of years
  12. Mountain climbing is optional, but for some, it's necessary. Even in wedge trainers and flip flops.
  13. Is is also totally acceptable to rock climb in glittery stilettos and a Chanel sequinned tuxedo. There's a handrail. What's your problem?
  14. There IS in fact taramasalata in the fridge
  15. Gemma did not buy any of the presents. Well, maybe one.
  16. Claire should join the cast of the Muppet Show. And so should the bassist.
  17. Matlock Bath has a warm enough climate that a gilet can be worn with no other under garments
  18. But also cold enough that bobble hats must be worn indoors
  19. Just because he sounds like Jon Bon Jovi, does not mean he looks like Jon Bon Jovi
  20. Shoe phone always tells you what you want to hear
  21. Parklife is not often on the play list of a rock legend cover band night. Nor is Ooops Upside Your Head.
  22. Sleeping Rabbis is TOTALLY a game
  23. God is Omnipotent. He can hear you singing both in and outside the church yard.
  24. The verger is not.
  25. Not everyone is called John
  26. ...but most people are
  27. If you're right handed, you can do things, like play air guitar and pool with your other hand...
  28. ... except point
  29. Don't write in the damage book until all buses have vacated the premises
  30. A broom handle is a perfect replacement for a safety door 

Until the wedding....


Monday, 15 April 2013

More Lulu Love

Last week in the office, we stumbled across the Lulu Guinness range for Uniqlo. She's popping up everywhere are the moment. I snaffled up a tote just recently in Sainsbury's for Comic Relief. It makes me smile in the mornings!

Anyway, back to Uniqlo. The tops are so cute with just the right amount of Lulu's quirky details thrown in, so you don't look like you shopped in Mothercare. I think, from the range, these are my faves:
Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo cat t-shirt
Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo doll face t-shirt

Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo stripe t-shirt

I'm already seeing the cat t-shirt with a pair of skinny black jeans, my pink Louboutins and my Lulu Lips clutch, I'm dreaming about the doll face t-shirt with jeans and my white converse, but most of all I cannot wait to get that black and white stripey t-shirt on with my pink trousers and some killer heels.
I also found this little Toy Story beauty - it'll make a perfect birthday gift for Mr G, don't you think?