Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Work Wear Edit

I've only gone and bagged myself a job! After failing to get on any graduate schemes (mainly to do with my terrible maths skills) I started applying for entry level jobs and after a couple of weeks of searching was offered a 6 month social media and PR placement at an online company. It's literally the perfect company (no I'm not telling you who you nosy parkers!) and I can't wait to start - I'm also a little over-excited about the wardrobe I can now indulge in. My job at the moment is definitely a jeans and strap top kind of place which, while often a godsend at 6am, also means that I don't have the opportunity to dress up as much as I'd like. My ideal work style is definitely smart-casual, I don't think I could ever imagine myself wearing a suit but love the tailored look and have a slight obsession with patterned trousers. 

Zara is the obvious choice for work wear, and they have a rather cheeky sale on:

Trousers £15.99 // Dress £12.99 // Trousers £12.99
Court Shoes £15.99 // Pumps £9.99 // Chunky Heels £19.99

H&M is great for basics:

Cardigan £9.99 // Sandals £24.99 // Trousers £14.99

Topshop for those things you just can't live without:

Dress £20 // Top £18 // Skirt £20

ASOS for those killer heels:

Wedges £45 // Boots £130 // Courts £30

And every girl has to have a bag.. I'm currently lusting after the Bayswater Double Zip Tote from Mulberry

Toodlepip. x

Monday, 22 July 2013

Ethnic Prints

If you follow me on Pinterest you may have noticed a few more eclectic prints making their way into my usual white, vintage style. It's inevitable that when you go to a foreign country you come home with all these grand plans to redecorate and have a house that contains interesting artefacts from every corner of the earth but unfortunately there are always baggage restrictions. I managed to squeeze a few things back in my luggage but there was so much stuff I could have bought.

Unfortunately I didn't quite get enough stuff to make my room (and future house) look like this but that's where great websites like Not On The High Street come in. I've raved about them before and pretty much have to restrain myself from spending my entire credit card limit on there on a daily basis. You can pick up great pieces that are individual and sometimes completely unique without all the hassle of trawling through the high street.

But if you're feeling like you need to treat yourself (go on, I know you want to) here are my top picks for making your home a little more vibrant. 

Patchwork Quilt, £111.75 - here

Moroccan Pendant Light, £97.75 - here

Hand Woven Rug, £40 - here

Scratch Off Map, £18 - here


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Halloumi, Avocado & Bacon Salad

Isn't this weather glorious?! I've been soaking up the sun which must mean it's time to crack out this old favourite. It's perfect for lazy mid-week dinners or easy to store and take along to a BBQ. 

What you'll need:
  • 4-6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • Half a block of halloumi
  • 2 avocados
  • New potatoes
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • A knob of butter
  • Lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots.. whatever salad you fancy! 
First of all get your potatoes on the go in a pan of salted, boiling water. Next up the bacon: if you have a George Foreman Grill this is perfect to get the right amount of crispiness, if not then slice the bacon into bitesize pieces first and then fry for 10 minutes or so. While this is all going on you can prepare your salad, cube the avocados and toss in a bowl with all your other bits. When the potatoes are done drain and return to the pan with the butter and a tablespoon or so of mustard, depending on how you like it. Then 'smash' them - use a fork or a masher but don't completely break up the potatoes. Leave in the pan and cover to keep warm and then grill your halloumi - again you can do this on a Foreman, or in a frying pan or griddle. It should only take 1-2 minutes. Add to the salad, crumble the bacon over the top and and hey presto you have a delicious and filling salad that goes pretty well with a sausage!

Enjoy the weather while it lasts amigos! x

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Island Hopping, Malaysia to Thailand

You can't go to South East Asia without doing a teensie bit of island hopping. We didn't have much time left (sob sob) so had to be very selective so chose Langkawi in Malaysia and Koh Phi Phi in Thailand. We wanted to make the most of our time so caught a 7am ferry from Penang to Langkawi and arrived at our guesthouse just before 12. We stayed at Soluna Guesthouse which was perfectly located at the top of Pantai Cenang and had the cutest kittens! We had longer in Langkawi than most other places so made the most of relaxing on the stunning white beach and taking a dip in the clear blue sea. If you ever get the chance to go there is also an amazing Indian restaurant called Tomato on the main road in Pantai Cenang - roti (Indian bread), dahl and dips for under 20p? Take me back! 

We had one active day where we hired a car with a girl we met at the hostel and ended up doing a full circle of the 478sq-km island. Highlights included stopping off at the Temuran Waterfall and driving up the tallest mountain in Langkawi, Gunung Raya to watch the sunset (made all the more exciting by the fact that as we were driving down we realised we had little to no breaks). 

After an amazing few days we packed our bags again and headed back to Kuah pier where we got a boat to Satun in Thailand. Because it is low season we weren't able to get a direct boat to Phi Phi but had to get a bus from Satun to Krabi and then another boat to Phi Phi, a journey which is impossible to do in one day. We spent one night in Krabi, at Pak Up Hostel which is a great place to stop over. It's a converted school house and all the rooms are different subjects. We stayed in 'Art' and the beds were named accordingly; Van Gogh, Warhol etc. The next day we took an early boat to Phi Phi and trotted off down the beach to find a good place to stay. 

We came across Dee Dee Guesthouse which has a backpacker hostel attached and honestly must be the cheapest place with A/C on the whole island. We met some really nice people there and headed out for a very messy night on the beach which included me (typically) getting hit in the face with a stick that was on fire and the boys jumping in a Thai boxing ring. 

We also did the mandatory sunset boat trip to Monkey Island, Maya Beach (where the actual Beach was filmed) and Sunset Point with a bit of snorkelling in between. Slightly dramatic trip as one of the guys on our boat slipped and stuck his hand in the engine resulting in him losing a finger poor thing! By the time we reached sunset point we were all feeling a bit queasy so headed back to watch it on the beach.

So sad to leave this amazing island, could have stayed for so much longer! x

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Final Leg: Pai & Bangkok, Thailand

We only had three days left but decided to go slightly further up north to Pai because we'd heard so many amazing things about it. What started out as a hippy enclave is now a thriving backpacker town but it has not lost its character. Its such a shame we didn't have longer there (and that I was ill) but we spent our time exploring local eateries (Mama Falafel is a must!) and stretching our budgets in several jewellery shops. 

The next day we headed back to Chiang Mai to catch an overnight bus to Bangkok. We arrived in the city at 4:30am, a few hours earlier than scheduled, and made our way bleary eyed to Lub-D where the guy on the desk was lovely and let us check in early at half the price. After a quick nap we headed back out on the bustling streets of Bangkok to Siam Square, Sirocco Skybar where The Hangover was filmed and Khoa San Road. 

The last two months have been amazing and I didn't want to leave but it's time to head back to reality and start that job hunt again :( x

Friday, 12 July 2013

Chiang Mai, Thailand

To save time we decided to fly from Phuket (a 2 hour boat journey from Phi Phi) to Chiang Mai, a journey that would have taken us 24 hours by bus. Our first day was spent exploring the Old Town, in the morning we went to Wat Phra Singh and ended up having a long conversation with some young monks, helping them improve their English and in return they taught us some Thai which was just amazing, and in the afternoon we sought out a spa and pampered ourselves until it was time to head to the night market for some well deserved shopping.

The next day, and I still feel so excited typing this, we went to the Elephant Nature Park. Not one of those slightly dubious elephant riding park but a proper sanctuary for abused elephants. We spent the morning feeding and getting to know some of the elephants and after an incredible buffet lunch it was bath time which was so much fun and we all ended up being completely soaked. An absolute bonus as well, there was a new arrival last month and I have so many photos of the baby elephant I want to show you!

It was such an incredible day and worth every penny - don't be put off by the slightly amateur-looking website! x 

Cameron Highlands & Penang, Malaysia

Our next few days were spent in the cool oasis of the Cameron Highlands. After battling with the heat in Taman Negara this was the perfect escape; surrounded by soft blue mountains, tea plantations and strawberry farms the temperature in Tanah Rata, the main highland town, coasts between a cool 12 - 22 degrees. Of course we had to do all the touristy things: our day started off at the Sam Poh Buddhist Temple, then we headed off to the Rose & Flower Centre which honestly wasn't as much of a bore as it sounds - the views were absolutely stunning. Next up was the strawberry farm where we tucked into jam tarts and strawberry milkshakes and then the Apiary or Bee Farm to try out the honey. Last but not least was the Boh Tea Plantation which not only smelt incredible but served some pretty amazing cream teas.

After two days of basking in weather than resembled British Summertime we made our way to the north of Malaysia, to the island of Penang. Nicknamed 'Pearl of the Orient' Penang is the hawker food capital of Malaysia and the Red Garden Food Paradise round the corner from our hostel did not disappoint. Once again we stayed in a Reggae Mansion, the same owner as the one in KL, just on the outskirts of Chinatown. Once I satisfied my Dim Sum craving we explored Georgetown and the surrounding area, heading off to Penang Hill where we road the incredibly steep funicular railway to the top. You could see the whole of Georgetown, my pictures really didn't do it justice! We also visited the Kek Lok Si Temple, the temple of serene bliss, which is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia to hang our wishes.