Friday, 20 December 2013

Fashion Fridays... Blue shoe blues.

 
As I mentioned in my Workout Wednesday post, I've spent all my monies on presents this month. So there's no budget left for spoiling myself and it's a terrible state of affairs. Though I'm so excited to give everyone their presents and revel in their smiles and laughs when they open them!
 
This time of year is so dreamy and fantastical; it's very hard for a girl to focus on the task at hand and not let her mind wander to her deepest desires. My deepest desires mostly revolve around shoes. Like Carrie SATC levels of obsession.
 
Unfortunately I don't have her budget and ability to pop to Choo and pick up a pair of slingbacks after a fight with my non-existent boyfriend. So I have to satiate my desires with a lot of online-window-shopping and shoe-porn-voyeurism. I dread to think how many hours a week I clock on luxury goods websites, my heart aching and yearning for some toe-breakingly high heels.

At the moment my colour of obsession is blue, mostly a bold, bright cobalt. (Autumn's colour of love was burgundy.) As I don't have any monies to splurge, I've got no fashion finds or beauty buys to share with you this week. So I've compiled the most fabulous Lust List of all the Blue Shoes I would give away organs to own for Christmas.
 
First are these Giuseppe Zanotti suede sandals. Entirely inappropriate for the weather at this time of year but I love how bold they are.
Giuseppe Zanotti
 
I shocked even myself when I found these elegant heeled pumps from Gianvito Rossi. Usually I love an obvious, tacky shoe but there was something in the 50s, PanAm vibe that made me want to totter around Milan with these on my feet.
Gianvito Rossi
 
The same applies to these Pigalle Patent pumps from my shoe god Christian Louboutin. Same subtle style and elegant shape but a bit shinier and brighter, making them appeal to my inner magpie.

Fortunately not all of my taste is so high end and insanely expensive. I really want to wear these cut out shoes boots from River Island next time I go out to get carried away in a nightclub.
 
 
 
So there it is. This week's Blue Shoe Blues Lust List. Next week's Fashion Friday's post will be post-Christmas so I'll be able to finally share some of the beauties I've found and given to my loved ones!
 



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Workout Wednesday... Want Want Want!

So this week's post is going to be mostly things that I want for my gym life. It's that time of year where I've spent all my money spoiling other people so don't have any left to splurge on myself. So I'm going to share with the universe the things I desire in the hopes the universe sends them to me!

But first, a little progress update on my LDNMuscle Bikini Guide life. I missed a workout. Maybe two. Fail. And I had one VERY boozy night and nasty hangover day (company Christmas party). BUT.... I still lost 1 pound this week!

How, I do not know. But seeing that difference on the scale spurred me to go back into it all with full effect again this week. Very smug Holly has surfaced.

This week is the last week at my gym and I'm actually quite sad about it. I do, however, get to upgrade as of Friday so I think I'll survive. It's just a strange end of an era.

The new gym (still Virgin Active) is swankier and I feel my gym wardrobe needs a little updating too. Mostly, I am dying to own this [ridiculously expensive] sports bra from Nike.


£50 for a sports bra is a ludicrous amount of money but it's so pretty! I definitely need some new ones though and am struggling to find ones with a good fit. Any suggestions would be welcome!

Another thing I'd like to update is my yoga mat. When I first got into yoga, I bought my own one but it's quite cheap and gets slippery sometimes. I've found this one from Adidas and it perfectly compliments my current colour scheme!
The last thing on this week's Lust List are these leggings from Sweaty Betty. I love the fun pattern on them and they look like a good fit for my body shape.
 
ECL Chandrasana Yoga Leggings

Friday, 13 December 2013

Fashion Fridays... Party dilemma!

So today is my company Christmas party and I STILL haven't decided what I'm wearing! We're having a boozy social event at a swanky hotel in Moorgate so I think I need to be a bit more glamourous than I was last year.  
I've managed to narrow it down to the two dresses below but am struggling to pick between them!
 
 
The left dress is a lovely little thing from Primark and is lacey and fun. The one on the right is from H&M and is actually a bright red. I feel really good in both dresses but I'm wondering if the red one isn't a bit too sexual for a company party?! I asked my instagram (@23HRH) followers and they voted unanimously for the left so I think I'll go with that.
 
As London has suddenly become freezing, I think I'll need to wear tights with whichever one I choose. I've reached the age where I choose comfort over vanity. Oh lord. But, am I too old for sparkly tights? I think the festive season should be full of as much sparkle as possible and love these tights with Swarovski Elements in from Marks and Spencers!
 
 
I can't really be trusted not to wreck tights so I think £25 is a little much for me to spend on a pair for one night so I'll have to go bargain hunting at lunch before I change into god-knows-what for the big event!
 
 
I have also fallen for some of this season's costume jewellery from Zara. I love this dramatic necklace on the left. The contrast between the 'gold' and the black 'leather' is just delicious! I also crave to wear these rings, on the right, below. I love that you can separate and just wear one or two for a more simple look and pack them all together for a shiny dramatic effect!
Image 1 of PACK OF THIN RINGS from Zara Image 1 of  from Zara 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Workout Wednesday... Week one success!

I'm 10 days into my LDN Muscle Bikini Guide plan and with brilliant success!

In a week I've lost 1.5lbs and 0.9% body fat!

I also found better form in some of the exercises I've been doing for months and discovered new exercises and muscles I didn't know I had, let alone how to push them!

I've followed the diet plan almost to the letter and even enjoyed my heavenly advent calendar choc each lunchtime! I even skipped one workout due to generally feeling naff and pathetic but I made up for it with an extra yoga session.

I am insanely proud of myself. Although I've been training for some months now and seen some improvement, I think having a set regimen and diet has really kicked me up a gear. Now that I'm understand more about nutrition and exercise, I'm wanting to learn more and delve deeper into the health world. I find myself browsing Amazon for supplements or workout clothes instead of the usual trashy books and shiny things. I'll never give up shiny things though, don't worry.

I'm also learning how to cook healthily! How to plan and structure my meals according to my macro needs and how to make yummy healthy things. For example, I've adapted a protein flapjack recipe to my tastes (and cupboard contents) with wonderful results!

 
I've started carrying one of these little beauties in my bag for an on-the-go snack to avoid me picking up bad treats in shops or as a substitute for the carbs in my breakfast if I don't make it out of bed in time in the morning!
 
 
Also, my Internet reading has changed. I've discovered http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/ which is packed full of articles on everything from beauty and workouts to sex and diet advice! The things that's really caught my eye is the wonderful little #WHUKFitmasChallenge Advent Calendar!
 
Every day on their pinterest account, they're posting an exercise to burn off the amount of calories in the average advent calendar chocolate! Then, they recommend, you add up the week's daily exercise to form an epic weekend workout. What a fun idea! I'm definitely going to start incorporating these into my workouts too.
 
Are any of you taking on any challenges to combat the Festive Fattening?


Friday, 6 December 2013

Fashion Fridays...Fabulous finds!

This week I am totally in love with my new leggings from H&M. I bought them a few weeks ago but haven't worn them much somehow! (Sorry for the poor quality pic!) 
 
 
I can't find them on their website to share but I know they're in store still. I love the glittery aspect of them but unfortunately this is fading as time goes on; the glitter doesn't last! Despite that, they're super comfortable thanks to the light, stretchy material and a really good length. They're not the warmest item I've ever own but I wear them with my fabulous thigh high boots from New Look and I'm super toasty!
 
I'm a true believer in glitter making everything a little bit better so these leggings are perfect for brightening up a dull grey winter day in the office! Though the glitter won't last, at only £7.99 and good quality material, I'm really impressed with this pair!
 
My beauty must-have of the moment is this delicious smelling leave-in conditioner from Boots.
 
My hair gets quite dry in winter so I need a little help to stop it looking like burnt straw! I wash & condition my hair normally in the shower, then spray this all over my hair just before blow-drying it.
 
It smells divine and the lovely gentle scent lasts a couple of days too! My hair gets a lot of wear and tear from the gym, swimming, styling etc so this is a lovely little boost to stop it from being totally destroyed. I've only been using it a couple of weeks and noticed a real difference! The fact that it costs less than £2 is just a heavenly bonus, especially at this time of year!
 
 
My lust-have this week is, weirdly, a hat! With the weather getting colder by the day, I'm really struggling to keep my big old head warm when out & about! Only about 1 in a million beanies look vaguely acceptable on my head so I can't go down that route which is really annoying considering how hot they are right now! More traditional hats such as fedoras or bowlers tend to not actually fit on my head so that's not an option really either.

All of which has led me to this fabulous Cossack hat from New Look!
Cream (Cream) Cream Faux Fur Cossack Hat | 288380213 | New Look
 
I think this hat has everything I'm looking for. Flexibility to fit over my head / hair, a bright but neutral colour to go with everything, a decent price £12.99 and nice and warm and cosy! I'm hoping Santa will bring me one for Christmas. If not, I'm going to scavenge through the January sales until this baby finds it way to it's rightful place, keeping my ears warm!
 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Workout Wednesday... So far, so good!


This week I started following my new bible - the LDN Muscle bikini guide. Honestly, I thought it was going to be expensive, boring and a struggle. Eating prescribed foods at pre-determined times, 7 times a day? Yawn.

I'd eat my hat if I had one. I don't feel like I'm being dictated to and I'm not bored. I'm eating more than usual but I don't feel gross and full and stodgy. I feel satisfied, have very rare cravings and have a continuous flow of energy. My workouts have more pump and I'm sleeping better.

Technically, I'm not supposed to eat gluten (IBS etc) but often give in and eat it and feel awful. Eating this healthy, natural diet leaves my digestive system feeling happy. Too much info? Sorry.

Having the guide and living by it religiously is a little boring, yes. But it's also making me be creative and research ways to spice up the food, healthy recipes, perfect techniques for the workouts, all sorts!

At first, the food preparation and organising is a little time consuming but as I get into a routine and get more knowledgeable, it'll become easier and more natural, just another part of every day life.

On the 1st December, I took photos of my body as it is now, in my underwear. I'd strongly suggest anyone looking to transform to do this.  Seeing yourself in your least favourable light is inspiration to work hard. Also, it'll be great motivation to continue with the dedication when you start to see results. Or so I hope.

I also recorded my measurements (arms, legs, hips, waist, chest) and will do so again on the 1st of each month and, hopefully, track my progress.

I will weigh myself fortnightly, on the same machine and also track this. I'm not so fussed about pounds or kilos, more about dropping my body fat percentage and how I look.

My aim isn't to be "skinny" or look like a certain celebrity. My aim is to become the healthiest version of me. Whatever body shape is hiding under here, I'll embrace. I'm excited to see my development and become stronger, both physically and emotionally.

Wish me luck!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Manic Monday... A new chapter

I failed at writing a Geography Sunday post again last week. Though I think it would be better as a feature as and when I find somewhere that inspires me to learn and write about it. So it'll be intermittent from now on but I promise they'll be super spangly posts.

Onwards and upwards...

Today is the first day on my new LDN Muscle Bikini Guide. So far I've been successful, in that I've managed to get up early and eat my super organised breakfast and get all my food and gym bag ready for the day. This was my breakfast, plus a protein & oat shake...


I couldn't quite finish my eggs but I feel healthy and full! I'm feeling really positive about my new lifestyle and plan. For the first time in a long time, I genuinely feel prepared to succeed at something!

I have no idea how I'm going to manage to eat so many times a day but I'm determined which is a great feeling to start the week with!


This weekend I wrapped all my Christmas presents. And labelled each one with a number. And wrote a corresponding list of what each present was, who for, and in which order to give them out. I think my OCD may be back a little bit. Though I guess if it's just keeping me organised and helping me, then I shouldn't worry about it too much.

I am so excited to get home to my family and spend some good time with them over the festive period. I can't wait to see everyone's faces as they get their gifts, especially the piglet!

Aside from the diet, I'm planning a few little life-changing projects at the moment, ready to go full steam ahead into the new year and I'm bursting to share them with everyone but I need to keep them under wraps until I'm more certain on things!

In the meantime, fingers crossed for me for the first week of my new healthier lifestyle please!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Fashion Fridays... Dear Santa!

This week I've managed to complete most of my Christmas shopping! It's the first year I've been totally organised and I'm very proud of myself. Plus I saved a fortune on delivery charges thanks to Amazon Prime's free 30 day trial! Obviously I can't reveal all my secrets as my loved ones might read this and I love surprising people with thoughtful gifts!
 
This week's Fashion Friday is going to be my wish list to Santa. Some of these things I have a genuine hope of opening on Christmas day, some are only plausible in the fantasy world where I own a yacht but what's life without a dream or two...
 
My first wish is for the Babyliss Curl Secret. This is a very clever contraption which appears to be able to drastically reduce the time it takes to curl your hair.
From what I've seen, the barrel kind of slurps up your section of hair then spits it out all lovely and curled perfectly. I love, love, love having big curled hair but it takes me so damn long to do that I so rarely do it. If I had this beasty machine I like to think I'd do it all the time and be in a state of permanently fabulous hair-ity!
 
The second thing on my Christmas list isn't the most exciting but something I've been lusting after for a while. It's the funky Nike Free TR III Printed training shoe.
 
 
They're just so different and fun and everyone in my gym has a pair except me! I don't really need them as I already have two pairs which perfectly match everything else but sometimes it's nice to have the option to change up your outfit, even in the gym!
 
My first ridiculous wish are for these epic Hallie shoes by Kurt Geiger. Although I find a stilettos beautiful to look at, I know that paired with my clumsiness, they'll result in disaster for me. Especially after wine. So I prefer to totter around in something a little more substantial like these lovely leopard print things.
hallie, black/other shoe by kg kurt geiger - women shoes occasion
I'm surprised at the high volume of open-toe shoes this Autumn / Winter season! I hate having cold feet and I'm not a fan of tights with open shoes but I'd brave frozen tootsies for the sake of looking vivacious in them!
 
 
Lastly we come to the most ridiculous item on my wish list. I am currently on the search for the perfect new handbag as mine is dying a slow death. After much searching online, I have found it! Unfortunately it costs £1560. Just take a look at this heavenly Yves Saint Laurent Sac De Jour!
 
I want something that isn't black; something that's going to stand out against a dreary grey winter day! This totally clashes with my coats and all of my clothes but in an utterly fabulous way. But unless I win the jackpot on the lottery this week, gazing longingly at this picture and daydreaming will have to do!
 
                                                         saintlaurent, Classic Small Sac de Jour Bag in Orange Leather





Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Workout Wednesdays... A new beginning

 


I have discovered during my fitness journey that I'm really bad at the diet side of things. I'm also bad at remembering what I'm supposed to be doing on each day. I've hit a real plateau in my progression and decided it's time to Eat Clean, Train Dirty and Get Lean.
 
There is so much information on weight training / diet / fat loss / health on the Internet. I've found that's a problem. There's too much information. Too many conflicting opinions. Too many contradicting articles. Trying to learn everything from the Internet with no real guide or structure can be just as bad as not knowing anything, I think.
 
I follow various health and fitness accounts on the different social media platforms and the one that is consistently praised and recommended by the social media fitness sphere is LDN Muscle. Created and run by four (beautiful) young lads, LDN Muscle has it all. Blogs, diet, exercises, apparel, the works.
 
Before you read my rave review of LDNM, please bear in mind, I have not been asked or paid to write this post. The guys don't even know I'm doing it. I've chosen to write about this as part of my Workout Wednesday theme and narration of my life.
 
They also produce and sell a multitude of digital training guides called Premium Programmes. Specifically for men, there are a wide variety, ranging from the Natural Bulking Bible to the Leg Torture Pack. Lads, whatever your aims, they have a pack for you. If you're unsure of which would be best for you, tweet them or facebook them or email them. They're wonderful at replying and full of really helpful information and advice.
 
The thoughtful lads at LDN Muscle have realised that it's not just men who want to train insane. They've collaborated with each other and some of their female guest bloggers to create a pack especially for women wanting to lose fat and gain lean muscle. All herald the Bikini Fit Guide!
LDNMUSCLE BIKINI FIT GUIDE
 
With 34 pages of intense advice and direction, I think this guide is going to drastically change my training and, hopefully, my body! It has information on: diet, including a sample week menu plan; exercise, with different training types and picture descriptions of all exercises; supplements, including what / when / where / why / how to take!
 
To quote their website:
"The price of your comprehensive ticket to bikini bod glory? Just £29.99. To put that in context, these days that could would buy you;
- A 30-45 minute session with a PT. Once.
- Half a bottle of perfume.
- A top you’ll wear twice."
 
So I figured I had to at least try it. It's payday today and I'm feeling good so I went ahead and bought it. I've glanced through briefly at work but will devour it in full at home.
 
I've set a date to begin my new regime - Monday 2nd December. I'm going to fully embrace every aspect. I'll be sticking to the diet as tightly as I can and training exactly how they say. I'm going to record a before and after of weight / measurements (and maybe even pictures) from Sunday and then after 6 weeks and see what results I get!
 
I'm nervous and excited. I'm always scared of failure, as we all are, but I'm excited to discover what fabulous body I've been hiding for so many years!
 
And yes, I know it's ridiculous to start a new plan before Christmas but if I don't start now, I never will. I'll always find some excuse to prolong it and avoid success!
 
 
 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Manic Monday... Life update.


I massively failed at creating my Geography Sunday post to share yesterday! I've had a manic weekend and literally couldn't find the time!

Friday I decided to indule in some "me time" and totally chill out on the sofa and relax for a change! Saturday I went on a mad cleaning frenzy and spruced up my house a bit.

I then went to an awful yoga class. Apaprently I don't love Ivengar yoga. Mean teacher, no flow, not fun at all. The swim / sauna / jacuzzi after was heavenly though!

Saturday night I worked at McClusky's nightclub to help out a friend who was short staffed! I had such a laugh on the bar and the place was rammed with lots of young girls hoping to glimpse the beautiful Danny Mac (aka Dodger in Hollyoaks)!

I went to bed in the early hours of Sunday morning and, before I knew it, my family (mum, brother and nephew) had arrived to visit me for the day!

My nephew is the light of my life. I never envisaged being able to love someone so wholly and completely as I do my little piglet. I could go on all day about why he is the cutest, sweetest, funniest, most adorable boy on the planet but I won't...

In the morning, we headed into Kingston to do a spot of shopping & show Riley the Christmas bears singing show thing in the Bentall's centre. Apparently he quite enjoyed it. This was his reaction...


We went back to my flat for some lunch and then decided to brave the cold and get some and exercise in Richmond Park. Both my brother and nephew were totally dumbfounded by the deer in the park (or reindeer as Riley insisted they were called).

Seeing the world through a child's eyes is just so refreshingly beautiful. Everything is so new and fun and it makes you remember the little things and forget all the big worries for a while.

My family are RUBBISH at having photos. I'm the only one who can pose. My mum always looks crazed and my brother usually looks bored or murderous. Or we actually produce a nice photo but the useless cameraman (aka my brother) fails and makes it blurry, like this one...


Rubbish photos aside, I had the most beautiful day with my family. My family are friends to me too and that's a beautiful thing. When the baby tells me he loves me or even just talks to me, my heart melts and my world is whole again. I'm filled with love still that I hope will last until Christmas when I can be with them all again!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Fashion Fridays... Festive frocks!


Most people who know me will tell you that I'm a bit "bah humbug"; I refuse to accept the Christmas period until it's actually December. This year, I'm trying to be organised (and spread my finances further).  I've already bought around half of my gifts and have the rest in mind. I'm in the process of setting my budget for the following month when I [finally] get paid on Monday and I'm factoring in the need for pretty things for Xmas Parties.

Hence this weeks' Fashion Friday post. I need an outfit for various occasions: an office party locally; Christmas night out with friends at Candy Bar; a company party in the City; Christmas Eve drinks at a very flamboyant house; Christmas day with family and friends; Boxing Day with the piglet. Whew. Writing it all down makes it seem like a marathon of parties and outfits!

So I'm obviously going to change my mind a hundred times about what I'll wear (as I always do) but I need various options for the various occasions.

I'm aiming to be as fabulous and frugal as possible combined. So I think one dress for the City party and Christmas day is doable. Then I need a couple of versatile separate pieces that I can create a few looks for different other occasions. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

I'm thinking something like this lovely piece from H&M (below, left) for the sparkly fun dress? Jazzed up with some feature jewellry and low heeled boots I think.



Blue (Blue) Blue Twist Front Wrap Dress  | 291483040 | New Look


 I also love the colour of this dress from New Look (above, right) but I'm not sure how flattering it would be on my small(ish) bust. I love the look of the material and the strange cut to it. I'm determined to not get something black; I want to stand out in the winter crowds!

I have a nice black skater skirt from River Island which is already a solid part of my wardrobe so I'm thinking of getting a fun top or two to wear with it for a couple of my other festivities.
 
I've found a few beauties from River Island that I think could work well. Maybe a nice, simple cami to be teamed with some epic jewellry (below, left) or a little more casual purple statement tshirt (below, middle) or even a really bold statement cropped tee as the skirt is high waisted (below, right).


 
I've got a couple of weeks before the party season kicks off so I'm hoping I'll get more inspired and find some more cool pieces before I end up ransacking my wardrobe in a panicked stress!
 
The one thing I do have planned is Boxing Day. It's going to be more like Christmas Day for us; jsut me, my mum, my brother and the baby.
 
I want to my brother to be Santa and have the piglet as my Elf so I think I'm going to get them these!
 

 
and maybe I'll have something cute that I can wear more often like this
 

I am a Super Girl, after all!












Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Workout Wednesday... Back on the grind

Last Wednesday, I came home from work to a letter from my gym saying they are going to close permanently as of the 20th December! There's two VA gyms in my area, "not financially viable", "we regret", blah blah blah.
 
I was devastated. I love my little gym. It's not huge and it's not over-subscribed. It's full of friendly staff and members and there's almost always something that you want free. The yoga classes have become a staple in my life and part of what keeps me sane. The facilities are well-kept and the luxury of having a jacuzzi etc is a lovely bonus in a somewhat dreary world.
 
I struggle to adjust to changes that I don't initiate so I was worried that the loss of my life line was going to make my world fall apart. I am also a drama queen, occasionally.
 
Luckily, the lovely bods at Virgin Active realised that this would ruin several people's lives and have created a special transfer membership for us to the other, swankier, bigger VA gym in Kingston. For only a slight increase in price, I get access to almost twice as much as before; two jaccuzzis, double the size of gym, double the size of the pool, twice as many classes and more.
 
So I don't think my world is going to fall apart. I think it's going to be a challenge getting myself into a new routine with the classes etc but there's more classes that will help me to achieve my cardio goals as I really fail at it on my own! Plus a friend of mine trains there so he's gonna be my buddy from time to time and help me when I've lost motivation! I'm almost at the point of being excited about starting at the new gym too and I'm hoping the change will create fresh motivation in me!
 
Back to the current routine...
 
I was still poorly with a chest infection last week so I decided to give myself a good rest to recover and not hit hardcore cardio or weights. I went to a lovely Dynamic Yoga class as a tester at the new gym and for a really gentle swim after but that's literally all I did all week!
 
Sunday afternoon came; I was fully recovered and itching to get my hands on some heavy metal so I took the opportunity and went so hard my arms still ache today! 

 
I definitely noticed the setback that the sickness and time off caused. I'm weaker than I was two weeks ago and quite annoyed about it but it's made me more determined to get back to where I was and progress from there.
 
Sunday was biceps / chest day and I definitely felt the burn! Monday was legs day and I squatted hard and, magically, at a deeper angle than I have before! Tuesday was yoga and a good chance to stretch out the burn and clear my head.
 
I've set myself a challenge for the next week: attempt a spin class! I'm a little scared but I definitely need to up the cardio and the fat burn!
 
What challenges do you set yourselves? I'd love to try more challenges and shake things up sometimes!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Geography Sundays... Arkansas

Continuing with my "places I'm confused about" theme, this week I bring to you... Arkansas.

Flag of Arkansas

I recently discovered that Arkansas and the place I thought was spelled Arkinsaw are the same place and that whoever created the place had a very strange way of saying what they spelt. Cue raucous laughter from my colleagues.

I genuinely, my whole life, thought they were two different places. I told my twitter followers this and the response was quite evenly divided. Half thought the same as me, half thought I was a moron. Oh well. My mum tells me I'm clever so I don't care. I don't need validation from the Internet. (I do really, hence why I blog. Please love me.)

Anyway, with my new found knowledge of the truth I thought I'd investigate some more and found some lovely little nuggets of knowledge for your noggins.

Residents of the State's capital - Little Rock - are called Little Rockers. I love the mental image this creates - lots of babies dressed as Elvis having a party. Fittingly, Little Rock is the home of Connie Hamzy - perhaps the most prolific groupie of all time, allegedly bedding several rockstars and was propositioned by Bill Clinton in the '90s!

 
 
Probably the most prominent Arkansawyer of all time is the late great Johnny Cash. Born and raised in Kingsland, Cash went on to become one of the most famous American musicians of all time and his legacy definitely lives on ten years after his death.
 
I'm sure that Arkansas has a lot more cultural offerings for us but we don't want to overload on facts.
I think this is definitely a place that I'll visit in my dream tour of the USA!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Fashion Fridays... Forget festive





Firstly - this is me loving life and celebrating my birthday at McClusky's last week! A terribly cliched picture but it made me laugh when I saw it the morning after (which was a truly terribly morning. I'm too old for hangovers now). To my right is Not my sister, before you ask; it's my Partner In Crime, Daniella, who happens to look a lot like me but, as far as we know, we're not related.

Anyway, onto my fashion Friday...

Last week, I posted about the epic necklace that my housemate got me for my birthday. Sadly, when I went to put it on with the birthday outfit, it fell apart! I was really gutted as I'd actually planned my outfit around it (a green silk cami and a highwaisted black skirt and my Louboutins of course).

Yesterday I went to exchange it for a new one in River Island. Disaster struck again; they didn't have any in stock. So I had to spend a long time deliberating and browsing the various ridiculous shiny things they have there before I settled on this awesome alternative!


The picture doesn't do it justice - it's huge and shiny and wonderful and I also Love it.

On my wish list this week is this beautiful faux fur coat. I definitely cannot afford it and there's also no point in having a coat like this in a country of rain but a girl can dream. In my dream, I'm running between fabulous parties in New York and being Carrie Bradshaw.

Image 1 of Unreal Fur Two Tone Short Fur Jacket In Cream and Black

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Workout Wednesdays... Woe is me

My poorliness from last week is still lingering, now in the form of a chest infection. Thus, I'm giving myself a break from my regime and not exerting my body in the hopes of getting better.

I did, however, manage a lovely revitalising yoga session on Saturday which left me feeling quite uplifted. Note - coughing in Downward Dog causes you to fall on your face.

Seeing as I have no update on my new workout plan whatsoever, I think I'd quite like to waffle on about how much I love yoga.

I never thought I would get into yoga as much as I have. I'm not a particularly spiritual person, nor am I very good at letting go of my mind and being 'in the moment'. I've tried yoga classes on and off over the years and never really got into it.

I don't know at what point I realised I love yoga. I started going again earlier in the year after joining my new gym (Virgin Active Kingston, thoroughly recommend it) and something magical clicked. I go for an hour on Tuesday evenings and again on Saturday afternoons and find myself really looking forward to it.

The classes are mixed up every time so I'm constantly challenging myself but definitely noticing improvements. My strength in my arms is improving slowly which means I've got a better foundation for some of the poses and I can really feel a difference in my tight hips which is pleasant.

I'm also finding that the two one-hour sessions are the only part of my week where my brain isn't running at a billion miles an hour. I constantly have a hundred thousand different thoughts in my head, even when I'm running or lifting weights. For some reason, when I'm doing yoga, I'm so centred on that moment and focused on my breathing and the feelings in my body, that it's all that I think about.

I'd love to join an actual yoga school but I really can't afford it unfortunately so for now the two sessions at my gym will have to suffice but I'm so glad I found a love of yoga.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Geography Sundays... Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Whilst helping a friend devise a quiz this week, I stumbled across the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. For once, I actually knew something that someone else didn't about a place! She thought it was a current real place that you could visit. I knew that it's mostly discussed in mythology and no one knows if it's real and / or it's location. Score for me!
 
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (HGB from now on) are considered one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World - alongside: the Great Pyramid of Giza; the temple of Artemis; Statue of Zeus at Olympia; Mausoleum at Halicarnassus; Lighthouse of Alexandria; Colossus of Rhodes - but it's the only one that's location  has never been determined, a bit like the Lost City of Atlantis.
 
There's been several depictions of HGB over the years but most show a lush, Utopian paradise with beautiful vegetation and flowing rivers, like the one below.
 
The lack of evidence of its existence has caused most historians to refute any of the writings of it by the likes of Quintus Curtius Rufus (no, I never heard of him before either).
 
Various writers have described it as a myriad of cubes, immensely wide with the grossly thick walls and they also place a lot of emphasis on irrigation.
 
Still to this day there is no archaeological evidence of it having ever existed. It is possible that there is proof lying under the Euphrates (river) but it is physically impossible to excavate it to investigate.

What we do know is that it's most likely location is in the Middle East, specifically in either Hillah or Nineveh, both in Iraq.
 
One of the most common tales of the HGB is that Emperor Nebuchadnezzar II create them for his Persian Wife Queen Amytis as she missed the lush waters and greenery of her homeland.
 
Whichever location, for whichever reason, I'd like the believe they did exist and that it'll be a mystery that we never get to the bottom of. Sometimes, life is good with a little extra mystery!