Monday, 30 April 2012

*Frugal Purchase*

How much do I love my new sweater from H&M?! Great with jeans, pleated skirt or denim shorts.
Sweater, £34.99, H&M, Bag, Zara, Jeans, Topshop, Bracelets, Carolina Bucci and Samantha Lou, Sunglasses, Ray-Ban.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Hen Weekends

Hen weekends are expensive habits...

But it only happens once, though, right? So here are my tips for a classy/thoughtful/inexpensive hen weekend...

Instead of Hotels, try and find private accommodation, especially if you have a group. I managed to find this flat in the centre of Edinburgh, £42 each a night (sleeps 9):

Personalised bunting, from £3, Not On The High Street
Found on
I don't do whistle-blowing, sash wearing, veil adorning hen nights/weekends. But I am a fan of thoughtful gifts and spoiling my friend. The biggest 'hen' reference were these badges:

£3.19, Flamingo Gifts

Friday night, we played 'hen' games. I took wigs and a polaroid camera - everyone drank and dressed up and we took polaroids for the bride's Hen Scrapbook, in which everyone wrote messages:
Scrapbook, £4.50, Muji
I wrote 'Cath's Hen Weekend Scrapbook' on the book with these stickers, £2, Accessorize
We stopped for Afternoon Tea at The Missoni Hotel, Edinburgh. Always ask for little 'extras' that places offer. We asked the hotel to write 'Cath's hen' in chocolate for a special treat:

Loved the Missoni kilt!

Luckily, the flat has a dvd player, so I took a silly, fun film to watch whilst nursing our hangovers:

£7.49, Play

Hen weekends are all about the little things that make the Bride feel special. If you're going out to dinner, or tea, try and see if you can go in early and decorate the table. Or organise a cake to be brought out. I decorated the table for the tea with crystal beads(£1.50 from John Lewis) and sequins. John Lewis have a great selection of accessories:
Why not dot silly photos around the place with these, £5

Personalised gifts for the Bride go down a treat (and don't have to cost the earth):
Cynthia garter - gorgeous AND something blue! £20, Agent Provocateur
 My super talented friend at Samantha Lou made this personalised bracelet with the date of the wedding! Email
Hen Games that worked:
  • Mr & Mrs quiz - an oldie but a goodie. I've been to some who have made videos of the fiance which have been hilarious.
  • Bodyparts - ask the fiance to send you pictures of his nose, eye, hands, feets etc and put them on individual boards mixed with photos of other people's bodyparts and see if they can guess which one.
  • Memories - this is just a nice one to do at dinner - make everyone write down a special memory of the bride, and she has to guess who matches which memory. I have also done this with gifts and also knickers - she has to guess who bought what.
The last day was a trip to the oldest pub in Scotland with delicious comfort food - it's good to have somewhere booked just in case, even if you need to cancel if everyone is too hungover!

I hope that has given you some ideas - email me at if you want anymore tips.

Myself with the Bride to be (she's the pretty one in pink!)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

24th April: National Stationery Day

As a stationery addict, I thought I'd pay homage to my new favourite event in the calendar (I'm sure it's not a coincidence that it's near my birthday!). Follow on Twitter @NatStatDay
I'd been meaning to do a stationery post for a while, so this proved the perfect opportunity. It is a huge part of my everyday life (I couldn't get through a day without post-it notes) and I am a big fan of the hand-written letter. Stationery and notebooks are a cheap, thoughtful and easy present, appreciated by most people. Although I also think receiving a card, rather than a present, on one's birthday is a far better gift. Here are some of my favourite objects/wesbites:

Boxed stamp kit, £12, Papermash
Notelets, £40 for set, Smythson
Notebook, £9.95, Liberty
Masking tape, £6.17, Object & Line
$20 for 8, Kate's Paperie (my FAVOURITE store in New York)
Archie Grand notebook, £9.95, Cult Pens

Sticky notes, £3, Paperchase
Card, £3.50, Karen Grout
Recipe cards, £8.95, Papermash
£60 for 25 menu cards, Hello Lucky 
Mousepad notepad, £14, Anthropologie
Card, £1, Marks & Spencer
£9 for 8 cards with 12 labels (eco cards: you can tear off the perforated front and re-use as a postcard!), by Paperbrat, buy online at Folksy
Map, £3, Herb Lester
Paper bags, from £2.25, Present & Correct

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Burger Joints

The 'Umami' burger, Umami, Los Angeles

I love a good burger, and out in California, there was too much temptation...I like the informal atmosphere you get in a burger bar, and you can have a filling meal without breaking the bank (I don't even  think I need to mention the milkshakes!) and in American more is more - you get fillings you never thought possible out there. My favourite is American cheese, avocado, caramelised onion and mayonnaise.

Best burgers in LA:

Mel’s Drive-In: this place is such good value (and was right by our Hotel!) – dotted all over LA but I love the one on the famous Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, the cheeseburger and banana milkshake is to die for. Plus, you have the added bonus of seeing a part of history. Spencer Tracy pulls up to the Hollywood diner in 1967 film 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner' and was used at the centrepoint of 'American Graffiti'.

In N Out burger: socially responsible, reasonably healthy, and a basic menu (burger, fries and cheeseburger are essentially the only items on the menu)....this chain is only in California and is loved by all.
Rumour has it, there is a ‘secret’ menu too. The website itself claims that these aren't a secret, but this is apparently a double bluff! If you order something called a 'Flying Dutchman' or 'Animal Style Fries', the name comes up on your receipt!

Animal style burger
Cut-in-half burger
Animal fries
Secret Menu images from
Umami burger: I’d heard great things about this place from locals, so I made sure this was on our hitlist. There is something about the grilled bun, soaked in sauce that tastes incredible. And although a negative point for some, I like that the burger is simply as it comes, no swapping fillings or asking for the meat to be well done. They take pride in their work.

Top burgers in London:

And across this side of the water:

The Diner: this American style diner has restaurants across central London: Shoreditch, Kensal Rise, Islington, one  just off Carnaby Street and a new location on Shaftesbury Avenue. It'ss a great place to catch up with friends after work with their traditional booths and 'hard shakes' fuelled with alcohol.

Byron Burger: I love Byron, despite the fact it has become a bit of a nationwide chain. I like that their venues are always a bit unexpected (the fact they have kept the facade of the old Pub it has taken over on Wardour St), the decor is different in every one, and that the burgers are plain and faultless. Also, they are partnered with Movember and if you go in with a moustache (men only, I'm afraid!) in November, you get a free burger!
Meat Liquor: I can't say from experience, as I have never actually been (the idea of queuing for food seems a bit archaic to me), but if you want to know the hippest place to go for a burger right now, then this is it. You need to get there early (or be prepared to queue) and with your whole group, no reservations. It's dark and there are DJs. But apparently the burgers are worth it. I'll wait to hear your thoughts!

Bodean’s: okay, so this isn’t a hamburger but the pulled pork sandwich hits the same spot! And with fries, it’s only £6.95. Bargain.
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