life, interrupted (in a good way)

you'll have noticed a small break from the ordinary around here. yes, i've been busy. little old me; busy! who'da thunk it! i promise the rest of the travel tales are coming... soon. but before that, let me tell you about a thing that happened while i was off gallivanting around the cotswolds last weekend...

what happened was that this wee smily cherub you see below - dee, was making plans. plans that involved her getting on a plane on sunday afternoon from adelaide, and me heading to heathrow around lunch time on monday to collect her... a spur of the moment, time to collect some thoughts, holiday on a whim type affair. well, it was a surprise, but a bloody nice one, let me tell you. she's staying with me this week, and will be heading home again on tuesday. short but sweet, and plenty of time for me to show her all my favourite london things. so, without further ado, let me show you what we got up to on tuesday...
ok so monday night i may have taken her out in new cross and got her drunk with my mates and made her sleep on my mate's sofa. probably not the nicest way to sleep off a 24 hour flight, but.. harden up. this is london. she was lucky there was a sofa! i kid. well, kinda. so we made the walk of shame home from new cross just after 8, and the weather was bleak. she was smug because she has in her mind that london is some twee foggy town. i've tried telling her about our summer, but she looks at me with disdain and laughs. like i forget where i come from or something.

we fed the hangovers, washed, changed and headed out. the weather was no better. i'd been wanting to check out the poppies at the tower of london for ages, and so that was our first stop. we got off the tube at shadwell and walked the back streets of east london until the overflowing floral exhibition was in our sights... it was soooo pretty. and a bit haunting too. over 888,000 ceramic poppies have been "planted" in the moat of the tower; one in memory of each man lost during world war one... truly a fabulous display of commemoration. if you get a chance to see it, do. it runs right through until november 11th (rememberance day), and it's totally free too.
from there, we made our way over tower bridge and along the southbank. we stopped in at borough market, and i was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of the vendors were actually trading... on a tuesday! i mean, the market stalls were not all open, but a lot of the foodie stalls were, which meant one thing: pulled pork bap lunch! i introduced dee to her first english pimms (ever), and we happily slurped on them as we walked the rest of bankside, me pointing out things of note as we walked; millennium footbridge (she's a harry potter fan), shakespeare's globe, st. pauls, the tate, westminster and big ben, as well as regale her with informative facts about london that i probably made up but hopefully retained from my best london walking tour a few weeks ago.

we walked and walked and walked, and before we knew it, we were banging on liz's front gates. she wasn't home though, which was a shame as i would have quite liked to intro the two of them, but alas, being so close to central then, and with madge not being in, we kept heading in. i hadn't really set out a plan for the day, we were just going to see where the day took up, but so far... it had taken us about four miles across london. it was almost three pm, and we had plans to meet some of my old work mates at four, so... we headed up into soho so i could show her the real tourist spots.
carnaby street. shaftsbury avenue. piccadilly circus. liberty. johnny cupcakes. dahlia. monki... you know, all the important shops on carnaby street. totally more interesting and important and meeting the queen at her giant house. so. that happened. four o'clock came, and so we headed back to my old local haunt, gem bar, to meet my old crew. the next couple of hours were spent laughing, catching up, and consuming all of the pretentious cocktails. oh, and then wahaca... because that's how i roll.

that was dee's first full day in london, and also - funnily enough, her first night in a bed since she left adelaide on sunday. so, when we pulled up back at my flat after ten that night, we were both absolutely shattered. with a list as long as her arm ticked off and seen with her own eyes, dee was certainly not regretting her last minute holiday planning, not one little bit.

i certainly didn't mind having a good reason to bunk off work and spend the day with one of my best friends either to be fair. hey, tell me about your tuesday?

wicked | a night at the theatre


ahhh, i do love me a good musical. my love affair started with the sound of music as a child; i "grew up" watching dirty dancing and grease, later came hairspray and - i'm not ashamed to say, the high school musicals, and my love was only cemented with the introduction of tv's glee. obviously disney had a huge part to play in the beginning too; the lion king, the little mermaid, beauty and the beast, all films that kept my childhood full of theatrics and music - not to mention the wizard of oz, charlie and the chocolate factory, and... well, you get the picture.

the shows never came to adelaide when i was growing up, but i remember mum and i used to travel to melbourne or sydney whenever something really special was playing. i always loved dressing up in my best, buying the program, lining up with all the fancy ladies and gents... always super excited to get to my seat and see the stage set up with the tiny binoculars mum always packed from home. "going to the theatre" was always a treat; something we did once every few years, and something i always really looked forward to.

so naturally one of the highlights of moving to london was the possibility to be able to go to the theatre allthetime. i planned to see everything that was showing, and see them regularly. see the big ones, see the independents, see everything i could get my hands on. sadly, there is always the small matter of money to contend with, and this has slightly hindered my ability to actually do the thing.

so, when the editor over at official theatre got in touch with a spare set to last tuesday's showing of wicked, i naturally jumped at the chance. i have seen the show before, but a long time ago, and before i really knew what the show was about; after seeing it the first time i was a little disappointed in myself for not having the foresight to actually scrub up my lyrical knowledge prior to heading along, and as such, was keen to see it again.

i grabbed laura from work (another theatre nerd) and we headed down to victoria's apollo theatre for a night of sing-along fun. in my mind, all the shows play in the west end, so it was nice to get out of the hustle and bustle and head south for the night. we grabbed our tickets, ordered our drinks (pink wine), took our seats (excellent, of course), and waited for the show to begin.

over the course of the next two hours we laughed, we cried, we sang along and felt all the feels. the show was pure magic (pun intended), and definitely better than i remembered. maybe because this time i was more knowledgeable about the story, the songs, and how it all ties in with 'the wizard of oz' (having seen that show in the last year too also helped) story line.

if you haven'e had a chance to see the show that always tries defying gravityyyyy, then you absolutely should. you can pick up last chance tickets for almost all the shows at outlets like lastminute.com and other such reseller sites, and usually for less than twenty quid. honestly, a great time was had by all - and nice to be able to get home so easily from victoria afterwards too!

have you seen wicked? which is your favourite west end show?

love life, love... hint hunt


a few months back i was contacted by the team over at joe's bloggers network to see if i'd be up for a laugh. a laugh? yeah, i love a laugh, but what did you have in mind? previously they'd been trying to get me down to a singles night they were planning to run, and... no. i mean, yeah ok, i'm single and maybe getting a bit close to the winter boyfriend deadline for comfort, but a speed-dating singles event is something i am pretty... pretty keen to steer clear of. i think... we'll see how desperate i get.

then they came at me with the concept of hint hunt. a four player team game a bit like crystal maze and a bit like cluedo, and a bit like... well, like nothing i'd ever heard of before, and you lot know how much i like random london things. so, yeah. with an invite extended to laura, and knowing katy and haydyn would also be in attendance, i agreed with vigour and headed down after work last wednesday to see what the fuss was all about.

of the twenty odd bloggers in attendance, we were split into teams of four and ushered off to five separate rooms. there, we were issued with the standard house keeping rules, and then... our mission; once you're inside your game room, the only way out will be via a locked door. to unlock the door, you must first solve a series of clues, piece together puzzles and uncover passwords to find the final key. did i mention there's a time limit? well there is. you have to do all of that in sixty minutes.

sounds easy, huh.

at first, we thought it was a bit... lame. then, we realised ten minutes had passed, and we'd accomplished nothing. then, the help started arriving. up on the tv formerly keeping time, clues and hints started to be fed to us to help us head in the right direction. once the first puzzle was unlocked, and new clues were provided... we were hooked. the adrenalin of opening locked boxes and working out safe codes was the drive we needed to get our game on. after that, we were on fire.
the last fifty minutes passed in a flurry. we were getting closer and closer to the final clue, but we were running out of time. with more and more hints being fed over the tv and us running around like headless chooks, it was becoming clear we weren't going to win; we were going to be locked in this game room 'forever', and have to face our captures defeated. not ideal.

except. something happened. we saw the time counting down to the final two minutes, and we resolved that we could do this. the last clues were in our hands, and it was a matter of brain power after that. we ignored the clock and worked together to come up with the right answer. first attempt; wrong. fools! calm down, try again. second attempt... success! sirens rang, lights flashed, and the door flung open with 45 seconds left on the clock! we'd done it, we'd solved the puzzle!

we spilled out of the room and ran into two of the other groups - both whose times were less than ours, making us... the hint hunt champions! the hour had flown by in the blink of an eye, and we'd had an absolute ball while we were at it. at times it was so frustrating and pointless, at others, totally euphoric and tones of fun. all in all, it was a great way to get the heart racing that totally didn't include too much exercise or anything extreme, and the best way to spend some quality time getting to know new(ish) people. laura and i had so much fun that we're going to go back in a few weeks and try hint hunt's other clue-based game for a team building exercise for work... i can't wait!

what do you think about the idea of hint hunt - are you a clues and puzzles kinda gal?
thanks to l v = and joe's bloggers for the chance to play the game.

falling for layers


the good folks over at joe browns recently sent me this mythical moments skater dress and challenged me to figure out how to style it for autumn. the colour way is called 'ruby', so i was excited to get a head start on the burgundy palette, especially with this turn in the weather of late. the dress retails at like, forty quid - which is certainly a bit more than i would normally spend on a dress, but once it arrived, it was easy to work out why the price point is what it is.

the fabric is super top quality for a start. it's thick, heavyweight, and the pattern in the fabric is flocked and raised against the dress. there's no side zip or easy access, which makes it a bit difficult to get into, because the fabric doesn't have a lot of stretch in it - which is both good, and bad. it means it sits fitted against me, which is good, but as mentioned, is a bit tough to get into. see? bad. also, it's a bit ill fitting. i know, i know, change the record. but it's a little longer than i'm used to, and the waist is a lot lower too - so, it's not very flattering as it is.

which is why i've teamed it with a nice, thick jumper. the jumper will hide a multitude of sins, while keeping me warm and still showing off the pretty print and cut of the skirt. then, to defend against the longer length, i decided to pair it with my new leather chelsea boots* from new look. the added height in the heel is the perfect way to balance out the hemline, and to also lengthen the legs and ward of unwanted wet feet! to finish the layered look, i'd add my leather jacket, a wool fedora and a statement necklace to tie all the colours together. there's a tiny pink 'joe browns' love heart emblem on the left hem of the skirt that i'm super in love with, and which ties the hues of the necklace in perfectly.

so, maybe the whole thing is a little darker than what i'm used it, but i think it'll be perfect for fall. 
as soon as those leaves start to turn, i'm all about the darker colours!

what do you think of the outfit i've created - how would you style this dress?

guest | kara from abracadabra girl (+ giveaway!)


regular readers of this here blog will be familiar with the blog button you're seeing in the right hand corner there; kara from abracadabra girl has been with me for at least the last four months, and hopefully has no plans to leave me any time soon. i'm sure you've all checked her blog out before (if you haven't, you really ought to), but for those who haven't, i wanted to share one of the posts that appeared on her blog recently - five gift ideas for any occasion;

[appropriate because my own birthday is coming up, and you could mayyyybe read between the lines and posssssssibly buy me something from her list. a ha...]
Diptyque Paris Mini Candles
These mini sized candles offer a hit of Parisian luxury for a fraction of the price of the full sized product. It's still exactly the same lush product but at a purse friendly mini price, most could afford for that special (BFF) friend. I've chosen Diptyque here simply as it has a larger range of mini's available than its competitor Jo Malone. This fragrance is one of the most popular figuier (fig tree) It's a dreamy mix of warm fig notes, reminiscent of balmy summer days (even in the midst of our up and coming UK winter) Finally if candles are not your thing or your friends rather just adopt this mini concept to another product. Most of the Lux brands are doing a mini of something lately; and who wouldn't want to unwrap a little slice of luxury. Diptyque Figuier Mini Candle £20- 70g (30 hrs burn time)

The Bathory
The Bathory are a very cool new start-up company offering personalised bath soaks. That let you personally invent a customised bath soak, online. You can choose from three base blends (Bask, Soothe and Detox) and three of ten essential oils. I went for a detox base, and included the essential oils of Sandalwood, frankincense and grapefruit for a body and mind detox. Its hand blended with premium ingredients that are pure natural and organic. Also the packaging is super cute, just take a look. A definite 10/10. I cant wait to try some more of this brand. You can design your own Bathory soak online for £18


Dior Addict Lip Glow

This innovative idea from Dior is totally unique - Literally. Dior's colour reviver balm is a moisturising lip balm that revives the pinkness of your lips depending on their unique PH level. So it delivers an individual colour from a light to medium pink glow depending on the wearers lips. It's a hydrating balm quite thick in consistency and has a gorgeous minty-vanilla smell. Something really a little different to receive. I Love this one. Dior Addict Lip Glow online priced £23.50 @feelunique 


You Are My Sunshine Mug
How cute is this mug. Now this is where the inspiration part comes in. Think of Easter time how you see all the eggs and little chocolates inside fancy mugs. Well this can be your own custom version of that concept (in a way cuter mug in my opinion) Who wouldn't feel happy looking at that in the morning. Filling ideas, well the list is endless but a few ideas are mini body lotions, a lippy and mascara or Luxury chocolates. You Are My Sunshine Mug (set of four mugs on sale at the moment) via Dot and Bo USA priced $39.99 

Disaster Designs Makeup Bag
Such a Pretty vintage style make up bag from the 'In a Nutshell' range by Disaster Designs. The reason this item made the gift list is not only is it a beautiful little cosmetics bag; it comes with the wording Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining...designed on the outside perfect for a daily dose of motivation/inspiration. It's from an online shop I'm currently in love with called Lisa Angel; not only do they carry this awesome bag but also a multitude of other great non commercial gift items. Makeup Bag by Disaster Designs online priced £14.50

So there you have my 5 Beauty Gift Ideas all designed to make that special friend or family member feel a little bit spoilt. And, for you the lucky readers of Erica's blog, I want to open a giveaway for her (and my!) UK readers, to win one of the make up bags I've featured above. Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below for three easy entries. Good luck! (hint: open INTERNATIONALLY!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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well now, isn't that lovely of kara? best get entering you lot, and don't forget to pop over and give her blog some love too. happy monday guys! e x