holiday capsule

hey guess what? i hate the summer. yep, that's right, i am an australian human who does not enjoy the sunshine. i mean, it feels nice on the skin, and it's warming and it makes everything look nicer, which is all well and great, but there are so many awful things about the summer that makes me dislike it as a season immensely. for example, i don't like being sweaty; i don't like being unable to sleep at night; i don't like not being able to wear tights; i ~particularly don't like being able to wear layers. but the biggest thing i hate about summer is the need to bare skin. 

i'm not very confident in my own skin (as you may have read) as it is, and so in the summer, when your body boils to the point that organs turn to mush, i'm inevitably uncomfortable when the sleeves get shorter and the layers come away. suffice it to say, i also find shopping for summer clothes horrendous - ogling all the cute and crocheted and teeny tiny items of clothing that seem to be the only options available for those 6 weeks a year, leads to nothing but sadness and embarrassment when taken to the fitting rooms only to discover that the joke's on me and no, definitely no, and i retreat to my version of appropriate summer wear: maxi clothing. 

i normally don't update my summer clothes all that much for summer because there's normally not a lot i like about those summer 'trends', but this year is a different story because of the weight loss. i was forced to the shops last weekend in search of summer-appropriate clothing that actually fit, because i've gone and done something really ~silly; i've booked a holiday to portugal with the girls. portugallllz.

will i live to regret my sweaty decision? only time will tell, i'm sure, but nevertheless, summer clothes were sought out, tried on and almost-immediately disregarded once more. nothing suits; nothing feels comfortable; nothing is flattering. what i ~do have now is a plethora of maxi skirts and t-shirts in mostly pink and black, as well and and adorable bikini from george* that i will probably never wear but am obligated to take away on a summer holiday just in case i suffer a head injury and decide that swimming would be an ok decision (i don't like being submerged). i now have enough individual pieces to mix and match a basic and fairly uniform capsule wardrobe for my summer break, and that's just going to have to do.

cute and quirky tees will be worn with bold and flowing maxi dresses, and a signature floral crown or straw hat will be on hand tot pull it all together. i've picked up some incredibly adorable sandals this time 'round, so at least my feet will be on trend despite the rest of me isn't. i've also got the most amazing sunnies that i nabbed for a fiver from spitalfields markets a few weeks ago that are an incredible karen walker knock off that are going to come with me, as will my trusty denim jacket and polka dot tote. because you can take the girl out of her happy place, but you can't take the happy place out of the girl. or, something like that.

i mean, it's only a few days, so i'm sure it'll be fine. and it'll probably be so damn hot that i will just have no other option but to get in the pool to cool down, but let's hope that doesn't happen! what would you have in your capsule wardrobe? and how about that bikini!

w.i.w.t | dusty daze

duster coat c/o george at asda | top + skirt : primark | boots*: asos

(have you ever seen a more displeased erica?)

here's a fun fact: i'm not trendy. shocking! i know! but for real, sometimes a trend comes along that i look at and think, "oh yeah, that's a style i can definitely pull off!" and then i get all excitable and buy the thing and amazingly, sometimes it even works and i don't look like a total bell end. most recently that trend applied to smock dresses. i now own a plethora; the ones i have are flattering and slimming and hardly make me look frumpy at all - at least that's what i tell myself. sometimes it's just super hard to find fit-and-flare frocks, and a girl's gotta buy new clothes, you know?

based on my success in the dress department, and with the mainstream influx of duster coats on the market, i decided i wanted one. not just any old one, no. a coloured one. one that would be lightweight and casual and perfect for spring. maybe not a neon one, because i'm not a neon girl. but maybe something ~not pink. i know, controversial. seeing how great they looked on everyone else - on all shapes and sizes, i was ~sure this would be another trend for me to nail. so when i was able to get my hands on this perfectly pastel duster from the george press day recently, i thought i was lady luck!...and then, i got it home and tried it on and...

ended up looking like that person up there; defeated and foolish

lesson of the day: duster coats are ~not for me. long-line anything is not for me, in fact. even if it's pastel and crepe and has rolled sleeves and seems like the perfect item of clothing. even then, it's not for me. and mostly because... almost ~everything i own is floral or patterned or a fit-and-flare dress, and almost always worn with tights. wearing a duster coat with a floaty dress just did ~not work. at all. trust me, i tried it with one hundred dresses. also, another lesson i learned is that static is a bitch and impossible to remove from crepe. so yeah, tights don't work with a duster coat either, which leaves me officially un-trendy once more.

regular programming will resume in 5...4...3...2...1

being super sick is awesome*

*sarcasm sign

it's been coming for a long time, i suppose, and can partly be explained by my moods of late and also ~the sitch i found myself in a few weeks go (the one with the stirrups and the biopsy, in case you're not on the same page as me), but i've been pretty bloody poorly. oh, i know, i'm always sick. true. bloody true. and every time i am, it's "the worst cold i've had in a while", but this one truly was. i'd been low and tired for the best part of the last month - generally not my self, struggled for a smile, gumpier and nastier than normal, and that's all a fair sign something's up. i'd put it down to boredom initially - with work, with london, with this blog. then i had a colposcopy and freaked the hell out that something that was really wrong. then i wrote about how i was feeling, how i had been feeling, about things that were on my mind and as if by magic, a massive weight lifted from my shoulders.

and then i got sick. properly sick. i don't help myself by being perpetually busy during the week. i'm ~always out after work, and yet of a bingeing. makes no sense, but i like it. kinda. i mean, while i'm dressed and already out, i may as well stay out, right? so i could feel a hint of the sniffles and the glands start to swell, but i hate to let people down, so my after-school  plans stick. while i was ~getting sick, i still managed a gig, taco tuesday, a going away party, a comedy night, eat out with the theatre crowd, and design a t-shirt. i mean... what? that's madness.

so yeah, last week was rough. i made it to work the whole week until thursday, when i made it in just to turn around at lunch time after being pretty ~physically sick after one particularly horrible coughing fit, and stayed home and worked for the rest of the day and friday. friday morning i could barely lift my head off my pillow, and yet ~somehow i managed to pull together the most ridiculous spreadsheet known to man because - get this, the client wanted it. fair point! all i had in the house was bread and soups and savse smoothies, and so with the 5 and 2 a day i was getting from them and the mmm delicious buttery and honey-ey goodness that was my four slices of toast for lunch, i was sorted. there was no reason to leave the house. ever again.

once i'd managed to pull this hideous report and reply to all my emails, i promtly put myself back to bed with vitamin c slathered all over my peeling face, and resumed watching all the netflix i could. as a side note - check out all the telly i've watched since thursday: i finished orange is the new black (season two again). finished the returned. started - and subsequently finished, orphan black (recommend!). watched fast 6 (again). started brooklyn 99 (again). watched the whole of eurovision. caught up on bgt and dinner dates (oh, i know). watched a show about a food blogger that not once mentioned she was a food blogger, but was like...easy to put on and tune out, which is exactly the calibre of telly i was looking for this weekend.

bed, netflix and bread was like heaven on my exhausted and sore body, except honey on toast tires pretty quickly, and with a three-day weekend ahead of me, i needed proper sustenance. i legit made it to the shops on saturday, just as it started to rain. because i have great timing, if nothing else. i picked up luxury snacks for eurovision, nutritious food for ultimate health rejuvenation, and then returned to bed. with a cuppa and some excellent brunch bagels. because if nothing else, being sick is totally a reason to comfort eat all the bacon, am i right?

come sunday though, i was fighting cabin fever hardi'd essentially not left the house since thursday afternoon - except to head to tesco at the end of my street, and i hadn't used my voice in actual days because my flatmate was away. i was bored, grouchy but still sooooo lethargic. i'd made loose plans to see lis while she was in town, but after having to change my clothes three times before managing to leave the house thanks to fever sweats and unreasonable weather, there was just no chance i was making it to her in central london before she headed home again. no chance. i was moments away from bursting into tears thanks to the ridiculousness of having to change so many times, but instead put my shoes on and just walked - albeit slowly, toward the train station.

the whole time i was still absolutely talking myself into do anything at all, preferring to be back in bed where it was warm and there were pillows and fruit smoothies. nevertheless i carried on because i get fomo - or more, fear of having nothing cool to do when i have three days off. and truly - no matter how busy i am during the week, i do ~like having my weekends to relax. not imposed relaxation though, that's not ok. and i was bored and restless and had to do ~something. i grabbed my book, and took off for greenwich, thinking it would be a nice afternoon to sit in the shade and read.

on the walk there, i was suckered into the entirely too-busy market because of all the delicious scents that i was finally able to smell at long last, and ended up in a line for one of my food bucket-list items, the ramen burger. i had heard stories. friends had eaten them in new york. the time out had reviewed them. they were a fabled street-feast-food, and here it was being cooked in front of me. i watched them being prepared by the cooks at 'pimp your ramen' in the market, and i thought... sod it; it's now or never. and so it was. and... it was weird! i expected the ramen to be ~crunchy, but it was more chewable. almost rubbery, but not in a bad way. definitely not like a bread, but not crispy like uncooked noodles as i was expecting. the delicious pulled pork juices soaked into the ramen too, giving the 'buns' the smoky flavours of the meat and fire of the sriracha sauce, complimented perfectly with the cucumber coleslaw...omy, i want it again now.

i ate it in the shade of a big tree in the park, sipping on jasberry green tea, and admiring the families out to play on a truly overcast and bipolar spring day. i lasted probably an hour before i got fed up of being cold - again - washed my greasy hands, and headed home. again. being out of bed for what felt like an eternity on sunday (but was was really no more than.. three hours) made me really appreciate it's clean-sheeted comfort when i climbed back in with another pot of soup and crusty bread again that night. if chicken soup is good for the soul, then comfy pillows are definitely great for the physical.

monday had me feeling a lot better, and tuesday better still. i still feel like crap, but there's certainly something in the advice the docs give you when you waste their time with head colds and flus, because fluids, food and plenty of bed rest certainly do wonders to putting your wrongs to right. slowly, but surely.

i trust your long weekend was better than mine?

w.i.w.t | peachy keen, jellybean

my love for sugarhill boutique grows stronger with every day and every email that comes through my inbox, offering me discounts, and reminding me of their delicious sale section. this particular peach and blue poppy lux daydream of a dress set me back a teeny tiny £13 - a sum that could have been significantly cut down a fifth with a 20% discount code that went live the day ~after i bought it. typical! 

never the less, its arrival on my desk last week coincided perfectly with the safe delivery of my brand spanking new leather sandals* from jones bootmaker (30% off at the moment, meep!), and in an instant, the stars had aligned. the soft peach and pale blue and lilac print perfectly complimented the creamy tan leather, and rather than spending my time working that afternoon, i spent hours dreaming of outfit combinations for each of my new spring staples.

dress : sugarhill boutique | sandals c/o jones bootmaker | belt + bag : primark | lippy : rimmel no.16

oh hey, bare legs! the dress is a little bit too biiiiiiiig for me (i think it's probably the style of the dress, and something i'm beginning to notice about sugarhill dresses; they all seem to come up a little big on me. i just know that if i go down a size, it'll be too damn small.), and so falls a little longer than normal (except when i wear a belt, obvs), so perfect for spring sunshine.

plus, with the added height and sliiiight definition from the block heel on the sandal, this outfit had me feeling sass-say! the sandals are super comfortable too, which was really unexpected. over the autumn/winter (/currently, still) i have been wearing a lottttt of heeled boots, and i think it's been really good practice! it's been the first time in my life that i've really worn heels (i don't ~do out-out, i think we all know that), and so six months of chelsea boots and chunky platforms has really done wonders for all the potential heeled-shoes in my future.

i usually opt for a wide fit shoe as i am really ugly-and-wide footed, but sadly these babies don't come in a wider fit. i took a chance on them because perfect for spring, but i did worry that i might not be able to get my ogre feet into them at first; lucky for me though, the tan leather is so soft and malleable that my feet basically glided in to place. it was friggen meant to be, and these sandals - much like the beautiful dress, were destined for my wardrobe.

i'm still waiting on donna to send me ally's tulle skirt for the wedding next month, but i'm not panicking any more because now i have a definite back-up option for if time gets away from us. i think this outfit is totally country-wedding appropriate, especially with the love hearty accessories, don't you think?

taco tuesday with brixton brewery and wahaca

meep! you guys know how much i luhhhhve wahaca, right, and so naturally i follow them on twitter. last weekend i was casually scrolling through my twitter feed when i saw them tweet about an upcoming beer-pairing night the brixton restaurant was holding with the lads from brixton brewery, and when i checked it out and saw it was only a touch more than a tenner to match five craft beers over four courses of wahaca's finest tacos, well... i was keen.

except, it was the week-of payday, and i didn't have a tenner to my name. i was gutted, because i've been saying for ages now that i want to do a beer tasting course, because i legit know nothing about beer. when i'm at the pub, i'll get a pint of whatever's going. it all tastes the same to me. real beer lovers will be rolling their eyes at that statement, but that evidences the fact i needed learning. i tweeted them that in response to their ad, asking if they'd be holding another one ~after pay day.

their response? come on down, and bring a friend - it's on us! never one to refuse an offer of tacos, i grabbed my beer-blogging mate little shaun, and we headed to brixton for #tacotuesday.

we were a little late, but rolled in to a taster of the lupolo pale ale, and some tortilla chips and guacamole. not the worst way to enter the room! the lupolo is especially brewed for wahaca brixton, and can only be bought on-site or from the brewery itself, so it's a bit of a speciality for the brewers. it was so deliciously yum, and tasted a lot like a fruit beer - something i do know that i like!

mike from the brewery talked us through the brewery's history, and a bit about how to pair beer with foods. he says the main things to try and remember with pairing - any kind of drink to any kind of food really, are: cut, compliment,and contrast. so, in this case, where the food is salty or bitter (tortilla chips and guacamole), cut against this with a sweeter beer (the pale ale). so far, so good. learning is fun!

next up was the effra ale paired with the chicken tinga taco - a versatile amber ale to compliment the sweet and smoky taco dish. this beer i liked, but didn't find it as fruity as the lupulo, which was still definitely my favourite. as a side note, i'd never had the tinga taco before, and it was bloody delicious. i'll be having that again! as another side note, shaun had never been to wahaca before, and it's fair to say that he too, will definitely be back.

the next taco was my favourite of all the tacos ever; my number one wahaca food item, the life force behind my mexican obsession; pork pibil. this firy taco was contrasted by the bold and tropical, although definitely fuller-flavoured (i.e. more of a "beery after taste"), atlantic i.p.a. (india pale ale) named for the road that both wahaca and the brewery are on, this beer was (i think) shaun's favourite of the night. so far though, my favourites had come in the order they were served. this was number three!

the last serious dish - but one i didn't really enjoy, was the barbecoa beef tacos and the electric i.p.a. the chilli chipotle tacos were complimented by the sweet and floral pale ale, and although the food left me unsatisfied, the beer was a total redemption. slightly fruiter than the last, but still not as much as the lupulo, it was a refreshing and tropical, and very easy to drink. this was my second fave after the lupolu, for sure.

and then comes dessert. wahaca turned on some of their famous churros, and paired the deliciously crunchy doughnuts with the brewery's rich windrush stout. i am notttttt a stout drinker, at all, and that fact still remains. although it wasn't horrible, or as "chewy" as some other stouts, it was definitely a lot thicker and less "drinkable" (imo) than the other, lighter beers, and definitely my least favourite of the night. in discussing our likes and dislikes with mike and the others, we discovered that i like a "hoppy beer", as it's the added hops that give the fruity taste. noted for next time!

it was a really great opportunity though, the beer pairing, and probably a better way to do it - with food, rather than just beer tasting. i got to learn about what it is that i do and don't like about particular beers, what types of beers or ingredients to look for in the future, and definitely that i am never going to just "order a pint" again. a massive thank you to anna and the team at birxton wahaca, as well as mike from the brewery for having shaun and i over for dinner, and to learn a bit about their brilliant partnership!

this night is specific to the brixton restaurant only, but follow wahaca on twitter for updates about the next beer-pairing nights - maybe one will pop up in your area! i'd definitely recommend this if you're a beer newb like me.