Tuesday, July 31, 2012

sunny lake days

I had a busy week last week and did a few things here and there, so expect a couple of upcoming posts, and on Thursday last week I went to Virginia Water with my housemate, Alex. It is probably one of my absolute favourite places to go when the sun comes out and when the winter comes, it's perfect year-round. There is a huge lake with small sections of sand and places where you can paddle, a mini-waterfall/cascade, a totem pole, lots of cute dogs, and my favourite of all things, the Roman ruins! They are actual ruins from Leptis Magna that were taken from there back in 1818 and now are what is commonly known as a folly - hint, folly's are some of my favourite things in this world! There's something awesome about fake Roman-temples in Wiltshire countryside and I love it. 
Anyway, we got some frozen-yoghurt, mini-Calippos, grapes and juice and went and sunned ourselves by the water. It's really relaxing there usually, but it was crazy busy when we got there, but  gradually people left and it was getting quieter the later it got. It's part of The Royal Landscape/Windsor Great Park, and the whole area is so lovely. There is a more planted garden, as well as the rest of the Great Park, so it's whatever takes your fancy! 
I threw in a quick snap of my clothes too, but they were completely inappropriate for the weather - I very much underestimated the heat!

Monday, July 30, 2012

convent covent

sunning ourselves in covent garden
obligatory amazing ice-cream!
chanel black-cabs with a twist

On Tuesday last week I had the pleasure of meeting my lovely friend Tam in London. She doesn't really live close to me (although closer than when she lived in America!) so we try and meet up every so often so we can catch up and gossip. Soon she will be moving to London and I am so excited to be able to see her more often! We planned on seeing The Dark Knight together because we both have a long-running love of superhero films and comic books and all such lovely things. Before we saw it though, we met up in Covent Garden in the sweltering heat and had lunch, ice-cream and a wander around, even seeing the awesome Chanel pink taxis outside the pop-up shop! I didn't go in because there was a queue, and I knew I would just spend money there.. We saw the film which was pretty awesome, and regardless of its flaws, I fell in lust with Christian Bale all over again. There is just something about him in a suit..?! He's even attractive in American Psycho.. maybe that's just me! We headed back to Covent Garden after the film to get dinner, and we had really awesome burgers and beer at a place called Byron Burgers, which were surprisingly reasonably priced for London! And then I got a sleepy train home and slept very well. It was just a really nice day, and I had been feeling down for a couple of days and it just made me feel so much better. Maybe it was seeing a good friend, a good film, or just remembering that there is life outside my little town, but it was a good day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

weekend wanderings #4

  • Kate Broughton's etsy store is just full of things I adore - birds and nail transfers and owls, oh my. I wnat the temporary tattoos an I reallly want a tote bag. I am tempted!
  • I've had the Russian Tattoo Encyclopedia on my Amazon wishlist for a while now - I really want it.. but spending £14 on a book I want just because I want to look at pretty illustrations is not something I can justify. I'm going to see if my uni library has it when I go back, though.
  • I think if I tried this method of making wall art from record sleeve covers, my housemate would kill me. He has a very extensive collection of vinyl and he treats them meticulously, and loves the images/design of them. He might not appreciate it if I started cutting them up! They do look pretty, though.
  • This beautiful house on sfgirlbybay.com's blog post showcasing Anna Dorfman's house is simply beautiful - it's kind of exactly everything I want my house to be when I'm older? A stunning mixture of modern, clean architecture and furniture with interesting ornamentation, and bold colours on the walls and beautiful prints. Sigh, can you tell I love it?! haha.
  • With the Olympics now upon us, take a minute to check out the last billboard on this post. Everything I love and hate about the Olympics in one post. Or there is always Paddy Power's trolling LOCOG with this one..
  • The blog I'm into this week is a bit different for me, it's the cooking blog Dragon's Kitchen - I made their caramel cupcakes earlier in the week and they tasted so good! They weren't quite as pretty, but they tasted fantastic. There are few more recipes on their blog that I really want to try. I might as well get back in the swing of baking in time for fundraising next year!

Friday, July 27, 2012

zero fucks - confidence

I have been a fan of Franceta over at Frantic Dreams for a while now, she's six-foot-five and has an absolutely amazing body and sense of style. As a larger, almost six-foot-tall girl, I have suffered with confidence problems all my life, and recently I've been getting annoyed at myself for thinking I have to fit into a certain bubble of wearing boring clothes and making myself "blend in" because I am bigger. I think, fuck it, no. And that is basically what Franceta talks about in this video, but says it so much better than I could ever say. I really urge you to watch it. Recently, I've been hating so hard on body/fat shaming and I am so much better for it!
How do you stop giving a fuck? Simple, you stop giving a fuck.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

caramel cupcakes

I helped my friend Rachel bake some cupcakes the other day, and it made me want to do some baking, which I haven't done for a little while. After scouring the web, I decided to trythese Caramel Cupcakes  and use up some caramel sauce that was sitting in my fridge. The recipe is a bit over-complicated, so you can check the original post for how they made it, but here is my abridged version!
150g unsalted butter at room temperature
295g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
*43g caramel syrup
2 large eggs at room temperature
vanilla extract (I normally use a cap full, more if I want them more vanilla-y)
256g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of milk (about 240ml)
*the original recipe shows you how to make caramel syrup, but you can buy it from the shop, so skip this step! I had some caramel dipping sauce that I melted and used as a syrup!
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt, and cream until the mixture is light and fluffy. 
3. Add the caramel syrup to the bowl, and beat in. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing after each egg. Mix until well combined.
4. Sift the flour and the baking powder together. (I generally don't bother sifting flour, I'll be honest. I don't find it makes an enormous amount of difference - the flour we use now is so fine anyway.)
5. Add one third of the dry mixture (the flour and the baking powder) to the bowl. Mix in. Add half the mix, a little at a time, and mix in. Add another third of the dry ingredients, and mix, and then the last of the milk. Finally, add the last of the dry ingredients and mix in.
6. Put the mixture into paper cases and cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown. My oven seems to run a bit hot, so it only took about 20 minutes. The caramel in the mixture makes them caramelise slightly on the top, so skewer them with a cocktail stick to make sure they are well cooked. 
7. When the cakes are completely cool, ice them with buttercream frosting. My go to recipe is a ratio of 2 parts icing sugar to one part butter. I also added in a little bit of the caramel syrup and vanilla extract to make them taste better. 
Mine made 12 good sized muffin cases, but it says it will make a 9-inch cake, too, if you feel so inclined. You could probably get more cakes if they were smaller cases, but I only had massive ones! I also didn't bother with the whole dry-wet-dry method of adding the mixture, because I was making them in a rush for dinner, but they tasted fine though. I know the more complicated method is better, but they don't last long in my house, and no-one complained! I didn't pipe the icing on top, but of course that always looks better than smearing it on seconds before me and my brother wolf them down.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

gin + tonic days

I've not been feeling myself recently, starting to worry about things like the future and jobs, and how I really hate my current job. I really just need a fresh start, and my life in this town is starting to get me down a bit. I know it's only for the summer and then it's just another year at uni, and after that everything will start. But I know it's going to be a hellish year, and the more I think about it, the more I panic. I just can't wait to move somewhere exciting and have a career and ugh. I think I just need to wallow in the misery of it for a bit and then I will be okay.
Anyway, later today I'm going to go see my lovely friend Tam in London, hopefully have a lovely day and see the Dark Knight. I'm really hoping that seeing her will lift my mood, because I haven't seen her for a little while and she's a good friend.
This is more of a ~life update~ than anything, but I snapped this picture of a gin & tonic I needed after my shift on Sunday! 

if you say the word then i'll say goodbye

I'm currently in the process of re-decorating & organising my room - it's going quite well actually! My room had previously been the same since I was fifteen, so obviously my tastes have changed slightly, and I was getting quite sick of the way it was laid out, too. It's not that much different now, my bed is on the other side and I have a lovely new carpet and curtains, as well as a beautiful pale green wall behind my bed. Anyway, I though I would show you a few snapshots of how it's coming along.

- Vintage-y plates I've bought at various antique/charity shops, and affixed to the wall. I feel like this is quite an old lady-ish thing to do, but I really love them! 
- A fraction of my collection of old postcards & photographs - I wanted to display them in a ay that wasn't just pinning them to the wall, and whilst the clip-frames aren't fantastic, they suit me well enough.
- A little note that I keep pinned to my desk, that my friend left me in the studio one day when I was sad, as well as a fortune cookie me and my housemates had - some of the other ones are sellotaped to our kitchen cupboards at uni..
- My beloved bedsheets. I splashed out on a rather expensive organic cotton bedset from John Lewis, but it's ridiculously soft and luxurious and I do love it. It's a strange colour but it goes so well in the room. It's somewhere between beige and pale green and ivory, and it's beautiful. It's hard to take a good picture of my bed, but it's the Hemnes day-bed from Ikea, pulled out to make a double. Again, not ideal, but comfy!
- The opposite side of my room, which I find tricky keeping tidy! The wicker baskets are really great for storing things I don't really want on show, and were really cheap online. I have another bookcase to the  right of this picture, where all my books are stored, as well as a cupboard and a bookcase for DVD's, but they're not really that exciting. Where the stool is on the far right, I really want to get a little chest of a low set of drawers to keep things like towels and jumpers in, and I want to get a nice mirror to go above it, but I haven't found quite the right ones yet, so I will keep looking.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

instawhaaaaat - part two

movie decisions, getting my comic book fix / lazy days in bed / sunny evenings and mornings, but it rains all day! 
lovely bit of christian bale / watermelon breakfast / pretty sunsets (so instagrammy)
the summer show at the RA / rare bit of sunshine / seeing the amazing spiderman! so good
made some good pasta and sauce / and some good bread / mirror photos before a day out
rainy uni / bored at work, in my uniform / eating coconut and lime ice-cream

It really hasn't been that sunny here, I think the second it is sunny I run outside and bask in it like a cat or something, but these pictures make it look quite lovely. It's not. There's a lot of rain. A lot. Sigh, one day, I hope, it will stop.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

weekend wanderings #3

(image from thelooksee.com, http://theshineproject.storenvy.com and abeautifulmess.com)
  • I have my own mini-terrariums in my room, but these ones from Score and Solder are just simply insane, I adore them. The shapes are ridiculous, I simply must have one of the cube planters before I die. Or.. I might die. 
  • I am trying to get through some dissertation books but I just really want to read Game of Thrones.. sigh. These Real Housewives of Game of Thrones gifs' have me cracking up, they're just hilarious.
  • My little fishy Ned is not so little anymore, I'm going to have to release him to a pond one of these days, but at least it won't be to one of the worlds largest aquariums.. I would kill to visit one of these!
  • These bracelets by Thread are not only beautiful and stylish, but the money goes to a good cause and helps kids. 
  • Sweet tea and lemonade are two of my favourite things.. I wish it was sunny enough over here to make Sun Tea, because these Arnold Palmer's look beautifulll.
  • I'm really enjoyed The Clothes Horse at the moment, the pictures on her blog are absolutely beautiful. I just want to have her wardrobe and live somewhere sunny! haha

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

instawhaaaaat - part one

nails so orange they don't photograph at all! / showing off my new sunnies / ray-ban love
new bag / finally painting out the 6 year old stripes on my wall! / birthday cocktails 
birthday books and chocolate / a strawberry from a plant in my garden / trying on pretty Mint Velvet dresses
sleeping on the floor with no furniture, waiting for a carpet! / the last hot day we had?! / there a few things better than jam and toast
new bed sheets! / cloudy lemonade / hanging plates on the wall, such an old lady!

I know everyone and their mother loves a good Instagram post - I think it's cause we're nosy bunch on these here blogs. I've been instagramming (is that a verb yet? You'd think it would be) an awful lot of late - the name is unciaandtigris, like my twitter! - and I like having a little snapshot of my June & July on hand. This is a bit of a crazy one, so I'll post half today and half in a couple of days!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

penhaligon's blenheim bouquet review


I posted that I had recently acquired this a couple of weeks ago now, for my birthday, and I wanted to wait until the initial love-affair had worn off before reviewing it properly for you. Well, the affair isn't over, it has just intensified. Sorry! I will try and be as unbiased as possible.
I will get onto the packaging later, and shall start with the most important thing - the scent. You get an initial burst of fresh, limy, citrusy goodness, with a spicier undertone. The freshness lasts on me for quite a while, despite it only being an eau de toilette. As time wears on, you get a slightly different scent, one that is more spicy, and smells more like the base notes of pine, musk and black pepper, I find however, that even when it's starting to wear off (usually around the end of the day) I get little flashes of the sweeter, lighter lime and lavender head notes.
I'm generally not too concerned about staying power of a perfume, as I know if I want a strong perfume, to go for parfums with a richer and deeper scent.
What I really love about it, is that it's fresh and citrus based without it being too girly. I used to love girly, fruity scents when I was younger, and I still sort of do, except they can smell quite cheap overpowering and thats not really what I want. A lot of Penhaligon's perfumes are unisex, and my housemate said he really liked this one, and it smelt like something he would wear, so I think it's quite suitable for both men and women.
The packaging feels very expensive - because it is. This costs £80, which I don't actually think is unreasonable, not for 100ml, however, it was a birthday present, I didn't buy it myself. The box comes in two parts, the top three quarters lifting off to have the perfume resting in a little stand. It's thick, reinforced card, not cheap. The whole experience of the shop is amazing, too. I got this from the little store in the Burlington Arcade in London, where a very lovely woman ran me through various scents that I would like and let me try and uhm and aah, even throwing in a few samples of the other ones I liked. 
I absolutely love the bottle itself. The label is beautiful and exactly the kind of thing I love, right down to the typeface used. Apparently they used to come with little glass stoppers, hence the top, but this lifts off to reveal a typical spray pump. The bow is the only thing I don't like, because it feels a little cheap and you can see the glue. However, everything else is perfect so I can't fault this one thing.
This concludes my mammoth post! I've never reviewed a perfume, even though they're one of my absolute favourite things in life. I had put myself on an extreme perfume ban (I own too many!), I haven't even had any bought for me in over a year and a half, so this felt like such a treat. Is it bad that I have my eye on Castile already?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

weekend wanderings #2

(images from abeautifulmess.com, zainsaraswatijamal.com, and ilikethisblog.net)
  • Krisatomic's iPhone apps review is one of the best I've seen, it's very comprehensive, and coming from someone that takes amazing photos, and draws amazingly and I've followed for a long time, I really respect her opinion, and I think you should too! 
  • These amazing Yearbook Votives over at abeautifulmess.com are really pretty and look super simple, too. I'm thinking of doing something like this to brighten up my room back at university, as I'm trying to be really good at recycling there, and this is a great use for old jars.
  • I am a sucker for Vitamin Water, but I know they're ridiculously bad and a bit gimmicky, but I just love the colours... is that so shallow? Okay, don't answer that. But when I saw these natural and altogether much better vitamin waters, I know I really want to give one a go, c-power looks the tastiest, to me.
  • I follow both her blog and her tumblr, and her drawings are absolutely divine.. I just discovered that Abbey Watkins of Tobacco and Leather does amazing prints, and I want one, so much.
  • These stills of Jacques-Yves Cousteau are just so amazing, I love the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and it was obviously inspired by Cousteau. They make me want to live a life on the coast with no responsibilities and go snorkelling and sailing forever. I think all my fantasies involve a lack of responsibility. Hmn.
  • My favourite blog this week is Verhext, an absolutely stunning blog with beautiful picture posts, such as this one or this post of her daily jewellery - I am in love with it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

night driving

I recently came across this article, Cruise Control, on Rookie Mag (one of my favourite online magazines) and it really struck a chord with me. I love Rookie because it's a great mixture for an online magazine, and because it's run by Tavi Gevinson I feel like it's more suited to younger girls. 
The article is about how good it feels to just get in your car and go driving. I feel like everyone I know went through this stage, when you turn about eighteen and you have recently passed your test, all you want to do is just turn up your music, open the windows, get lost, get cold and forget everything exists. I just thought it was a really nicely written article and made me feel almost nostalgic for those days. These days, petrol is too expensive for me to blow it on random drives around town, eating ice-cream in the car and listening to sad songs! One of these days, I might just do it though, because I miss it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


The face you see (or don't) above is one that two weeks of virtually uninterrupted rain has caused. I'm actually started to go a bit crazy, and rather sad because of it. I was watching beautiful videos on Vimeo earlier today of sunny dawns and warm evenings and I could feel myself going a little bit crazy. It's not even like it's Autumn and I have the winter to look forward to. I'll try and stop moping, I'm sorry! To keep me occupied, I went to the shops for my mum the other day and splurged on two magazines. I was going to get the magazine that had the Ren skincare with it but I didn't think I'd actually use any of the products, or read the magazine - and then I spotted these two, and couldn't decide which one to get, so went for both!
The Neom hand cream is really nice, although the smell is a little strange and I can't quite place it, it's very moisturising. I know when my Nivea & L'Occitane have run out, I'll replace it in my handbag with this one! I also opted for the Balance Me face wash, as I am almost finished with my current one and I want to have options to try when it's done. This one smells amazing by the way - apparently it has grapefruit, frankincense and ylang ylang in and I can't wait to try it out. 
anyway, I thought this would be a little heads up, because I haven't seen these doing the rounds like the Ren has and the Benefit one did. I like this because it made me buy Harpers Bazaar, too, and I haven't done that in years - I forgot how much I really like the magazine! I also spotted one with a Xen Tan freebie, but I don't really go in for fake tans, so that didn't interest me.
Have you gone for any of these - what did you get?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

it's gonna be grey for a day

Hasn't this weather has just been horrific recently? Every time the rain lets up and I think I will go out and do something - it starts again! I think the only thing today calls for is curling up in bed with some knitting, magazines and some crappy TV and doing absolutely nothing! I'm alright with that, you know, I'm quite cosy here. I might even do some work. I probably won't, but I might!
What have you guys been upto on a day like today?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

weekend wanderings #1

(images are from designsponge.com, freecabinporn.com and rustjewellery.com, they are not my own)

I like the idea of doing a weekly feature of things I've been perusing, and I want this blog to be less... well, less shallow. I love makeup and I love clothes, but they're only so interesting, you know? I feel like if I don't change up my blog a bit, I'll get bored with it! So this marks the start of Weekend Wanderings! It might be a weekly thing, but more likely it'll be fortnightly (particularly when uni starts up again!), and I'll post a few links to interesting things around the internet, or other blogs I'm enjoying - let's get started..

  • Cabin Porn; Whilst the address itself may put people off, Cabin Porn has become one of my favourite ever tumblr's. I entertain an elusive dream of dropping everything, and living in a cabin in the woods and ignoring all responsibilities and living off the land and drawing for the rest of my life. With this blog, I can do that.. in my head.
  • Rust Wedding Rings; I wear two very special rings on my ring finger, and I've often said that an amazingly special ring would have to replace them.. and whilst I'm not getting engaged, and I don't even have a boyfriend, I find myself lusting after these rings. They're absolutely, ridiculously stunning. I want them all. Now, to find a fiance..
  • Sirima Sataman's Studio; Working from home this summer makes me realise how much I miss the print workship at uni. I posted about this on my tumblr this week, and god, it looks amazing. Sataman's prints are stunning, too, but ugh, that workspace is to die for.
  • Wolf cubs at Zooborns.com; I don't really need to say anything else about this one, but I highly recommend following zooborns' twitter, it just gives me little doses of adorable happiness at various points throughout the day - sometimes you really need that!
  • Fight Club Chocolate; Just how cool are these? Fight Club is one of my all time favourite movies, and so is the novel, and I really want to make these.. I need to get me one of those soap moulds!
  • Gillian over at Elevator Musik is my favourite blog this week - I love all her posts, and I think she has amazing style, and I love her twitter, too. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

silent pool's & witches caves, oh my

I wanted to show you some photos of my day out this week - we found some really amazing places and I took a few pictures that I took. The first place doesn't look that remarkable in my pictures, I'll be honest! It's called the Silent Pool and it's on the edge of the North Downs near Guildford. It's a strange thing, but the water is completely clear, because the water comes from a natural springs nearby. You can see right down to the bottom of the pool, and see all the plants on the bottom. In the pictures you can see that it just sort of looks like there is dirt and grass, covered in a bit of water - more like a puddle than a pond, there is only a bit of algae on top in certain places, and because of the natural spring water,  it looks sort of blueish-green. It's all very awesome, if you're ever in the area, I suggest you go and check it out! There is a car-park nearby, and it's a very short walk (about 5 minutes, if that) from there. Unfortunately, it was bit wet, but we're going to go back when it gets a bit sunnier and maybe have a dip in the pool, because it's so clear!
The second place was a lot more tricky to find, it's called Mother Ludlam's Cave near Farnham. We ended up going down several dead ends, but its near Moor Park house in Farnham, and it looks like a private house, but there is a little public trail down the side of it. There's limited parking, and the actual cave is about a mile along this path following the River Wey, but along the way there are several of these little WW2 pilboxes, one of which we were too scared to go into because it was very dark and cramped, but the other was much larger and you could stand up and walk around in. The cave itself is much bigger than I was expecting, but it's all gated up so you can't go in, which I found quite disappointing. Apparently there are bats in there too, but I couldn't see any sleeping ones.
So that was our day out! I wanted to go and see Waverley Abbey too, but it was getting late, we were quite tired and it was rather rainy so we called it a day and went and got dinner instead, but it was very lovely! It's weird, I take living in a small countryside uni-town for granted a bit, forgetting that there is a lot of interesting history here, but oh well! Have you been anywhere interesting recently?  

PS - The last picture is my favourite because theres a gate hidden under all that foliage, and it reminded me of the Secret Garden, which is one of my favourite films!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

down time

I've been a bit MIA this week, I'm afraid. I'm back in my uni-town to visit my housemate for the week. I also told myself that I would come here to do some dissertation-prep.. that hasn't happened yet! But the internet is being dodgy here and we are in the process of fixing it, but it means I only have temporary internet access so until the weekend I'll be a bit out of reach. I have my phone, so I'm available via Twitter, but it's quite nice to be out of it for a while - being someone who does a lot of things online, I think I tend to rely on it too much sometimes, as a source of interest.. Yesterday me and my housemate had a lovely day exploring some local woods and found a Silent Pool and a Witches Cave.. pretty good day all in all!
Anyway, above are some things I've been reading, when I should be doing dissertation reading! I suppose Cabinet can sort of count towards this.. Maybe!