Friday, 6 March 2015

REVIEW // NUTMEG.COM

Up until recently, I've been pretty thoughtless about my money. It goes into my bank. Sometimes I move it into a saving account and earn, like, 3p interest a year, sometimes I move it back of my savings account by the end of the month. Usually I spend all my paycheck and am struggling by the time the next one rolls about.

But since getting an actual full time job I can see myself in for a while and since turning 25, I've been thinking of ways my money can go further. I've wanted to start saving money for a long time now, putting it aside for a rainy day or maybe the future when I eventually want to move out or buy my own car. However a lot of money jargon is simply just gibberish to me and although I kind of generally know what most things mean - different accounts, different ways to invest your money - I don't quite know it well enough to understand it or understand it enough to make a decision.

That's where Nutmeg comes in and for someone who knows little to nothing about what to do with her finances, this site is pretty damn helpful. It's a super easy way to start investing your money and what's even better it's all easy to understand and is completely upfront. It's a really easy way to evaluate what you want to do with any savings you have - especially if it's all just sitting in a bank account and you're thinking it's about time you start doing something with it.

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The website itself is very easy to use and navigate, making the overview of your savings always upfront and easy to understand. On top of that, I really love that it's aimed at just your average person - you don't have to be a financial expert or someone who is really rich to use this website! Even someone like me who doesn't have the foggiest clue about most financial things could understand it clearly.

It's definitely daunting when you get to the age where you realize you can't always splurge all your spare cash on last minute weekends away and things like that. I mean sure, you can still do it now and then, but it's definitely tough when you get to the point of wanting to do something more with your money.

Nutmeg makes this a whole lot easier though and is definitely one of the first options you should consider when you get to this stage in your life!

*Post published in conjunction with Nutmeg.com

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

FASHION // POPULAR STYLES THIS SPRING

Lately, it's been almost impossible to ignore the trends that are ever so popular this spring. Working in a clothes store, I see the trends as they fill up the shelves, as they sell out and as customers rock them when they enter the store. This spring, we're moving away from the pastel colours and instead bold and bright is making a comeback; as are floral prints which are becoming popular once more.

One of the biggest current and upcoming trends is ripped/distressed denim. At H&M, were going big on denim right now by offering a variety of different styles and fits - our aim is for every customer to find their 'perfect' pair of jeans. One of the most popular styles at the moment is ripped denim. It doesn't matter how distressed it is - hell you can even do it yourself with an old pair of jeans - as long as it has that vintage/tethered look. You could go with the super stylish and chic look and pick up a pair with just one rip on each knee - think black skinny fit jeans - or go all out and pick a pair with rips up and down the legs, thread loose and a low waist fit. Distressed jeans may scream 90s fashion but there was a reason it was always so popular and that's because no matter how you style them, ripped denim always gives any outfit a bit of an edge.

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L - R Boohoo.com, £25.00, H&M, £20,00, Topshop, £45.00
Tassels and fringed tops are still huge, from oversized kimonos to cropped tops. This is a fashion that was particularly popular last summer and immediately gives off those festival vibes. However - you don't need to be partying it up at a music festival to pull off this trend, especially as we've surrendered the bright and bold prints for more dark, toned down colours this year. Mixing trendy cuts with versatile colours has given the fringe and tassles a new lease of life to create a more edgier vibe.

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H&M, £12.99, Miss Selfridge, £65.00, Select, £10.00,
Long length kimonos and shirt dresses are also favoured right now - it's all about the length this spring, which, as an added bonus, means you can also use this as an excuse to get much more creative with your footwear. Lots of shops are stocking patterned dark colours - making the items easy to mix and match with a variety of different looks - but soon we'll also see bold prints popping up too. The great thing about shirt dresses is that they're just that bit more stylish then laid back regular length kimonos and are terribly versatile. Match together a plain white vest top and skinny fit jeans before pulling on a maxi length kimono or shirt to instantly give your outfit the edge it needs.

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 New Look, £22.99, H&M, £14.99, ASOS.com, £50.00 
These are three of the biggest trends this spring and although there are more on the horizon, I couldn't pick a more suitable mixture to help transition from winter into summer. This fashion is perfect for this in between season with light floaty kimonos, festival vibe tassles and distressed jeans. All trends that are super stylish and look perfect for summer, but are also pretty warm too!

What do you think of this springs trends? Will you be rocking any of these looks yourself? Let me know!

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Saturday, 28 February 2015

RAMBLINGS // AGE IS JUST A NUMBER...

Yesterda I was forced into the very vigorous task of dropping to my knees, climbing in the small cupboard under the stairs and using my iPhone torch to read the gas & and electric meter out to my Mum. Cue my Dad standing in the hallway, relaying the numbers to my mum that I was relaying to him repeatedly. And then, when I finally emerged 10 minutes later, he repeated my actions to double check I'd called out the right numbers because he didn't trust me.

Can you tell it's pretty mad in our house?

Then again, I'm not surprised. In my house, I'm known for doing some real stupid stuff. Stuff such as...
  • When I put the dishwasher one evening so that I could empty it, since we had ran out of clean cups. My dad comes home and asks me why I've put the dishwasher on since he'd already put it on this morning when he left for work and I failed to notice all cutlery and items in said dishwasher were completely clean.
  • When I attempted to take some washing out of the washing machine to put it on to dry, my dad told me I should give it another spin. To which I replied 'what, manually?'. I hand on heart thought he meant I should stick my hand in and rotate the inside of the washing machine myself for a final wash/spin. He was not amused. What can I say, up until recently I'd never done my own washing since using the Panasonic washing machines at uni...
  • One time when I was younger, I decided to make those microwavable noodles I was obsessed with. All was well until my mum starts screaming, runs into the kitchen and switches off the microwave. Then she pulls £500 out of it (only mildly burnt) which I didn't see because a) the microwave was high on a shelf and I couldn't see inside it and b) who the HELL hides money in a microwave anyway?! Now it's a common story in my family about how I almost burned £500...
  • When I opened a cupboard one time and a jar of jam just fell out and smashed the plate on the side, sending bits of china all over the kitchen and narrowly missing myself and my dad. Please don't ask me how this was my fault, but apparently it was.
  • I also tripped down the stairs once because I have these slippers with a long tassel and a little cotton ball on the end and they got tangled as I walked down the stairs and tripped me. It was then that I realized I had them on the wrong feet and the tassels were supposed to be on the OUTSIDE not on the inside. Which makes complete sense if you think about it..
I think it's safe to say that I'm a bit of a div and that I'm very clumsy, but some of the stuff above is also kind of common sense. How I lived away from home for three years when studying at uni I don't know...I guess if I want to get my own place this year, I'm going to have to start becoming more independent again first!

*Post published in conjunction with Panasonic 


Monday, 23 February 2015

TRAVEL // COOL THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM

I've already blogged about Amsterdam at a glance - where we stayed and places we dined at - when myself and a friend visited earlier this year, but in that post I didn't really talk about what we got up to when we were there. I spent a lot of time researching quirky things to do in the city and in the end, I actually ended up with a long list of things we simply wouldn't have had the time to do. However, here's what we DID get up to.

Electric Ladyland
This was probably the most oddball quirky thing we did overall. Electric Ladyland is basically the worlds first (and only?) florescent museum and since the pictures looked fun, I thought why not? As it turns out, it's basically just one room in this lady's house and is where she has experimented with florescent stuff to create these weird blobs which are very colourful. It's hard to explain but once down there (yes, we removed our shoes and climbed down into some random lady's basement, don't judge) we actually got given a somewhat interesting talk about rocks and how everyday items such as different currencies are actually dyed with invisible ink and can create amazing patterns under UV lights. It was definitely an interesting way to spend a rainy afternoon...
Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, 1015 TB, Amsterdam

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Festival of Lights canal cruise
There are tons of canal cruises you can go on in Amsterdam and if you don't go on this particular one then I'd recommend that you at least go on one canal tour. It's a fun and alternative way to see the city and Amsterdam is well known for it's beautiful canals. This particular tour we took in the evening - the best way to see the colourful light installations - and it was terribly seasonal. On the dock there was a bar selling hot chocolate and mulled wine and the bar was surrounded by fairy lights. The tour itself was lovely and took about an hour and a half. It was interesting too because at one point I thought we were just going to turn around and go back the way we came but somehow despite heading in that direction, we ended up doing a round trip down some new canals. It was confusing. But definitely fun.
All canal boats dock right outside of Central Station.

The Sex Museum
Though this is a tourist attraction that EVERYONE visits when visiting Amsterdam, it is definitely an oddball one. Since we'd already decided to visit another sex museum (see below), we were going to skip this one but we passed it one evening when it was raining and realised since it was so cheap to get in, we might as well kill an hour or two mooching around out of the rain. It was definitely weird and although we spent most of the time giggling away, it was impressive. Who knew sex had such a rich history?!
Damrak 18, 1015 LH,  Amsterdam

Red Light Secrets of Museum of Prostitution
I'd strongly recommended visiting here. It's slap bang in the middle of the Red Light District (also well worth a visit) and was intensely interesting. I actually learnt a lot during our visit and it showed us a much different side of prostitution. One area I found particularly interesting was the red room which overlooked the Red Light District and was an accurate representation of what it was like to be on the other side of the window. You could sit on two stools and look out as tourists looked in, assuming you were selling yourself. Further on, there were room set ups like the rooms the prostitutes work in, from the gritty single bed in a run down room to much more glamorous set ups. It held my attention throughout and the location is fab. If you want to spend an evening exploring this area of Amsterdam, then definitely take a stroll around the Red Light District and allow yourself time to visit this museum.
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 60H, 1012 DP Amsterdam

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Yes, that is us posing with a giant penis. Why else do you think we visited the sex museum?!
City Sightseeing Tour Bus
They have these in almost every major city and I loved going on the one here. We managed to see the city, learn some history and add new places to our 'must visit' list for the next time we visit Amsterdam. There's not much to say about this really - it is just a tour bus but with the added entertainment of learning about the history of the city whilst being warm and not getting rained on.
The City Sightseeing Tour Bus has stops throughout the city, the first stop being just outside Central Station. 

The tram
This might not sound like an attraction, but on one sunny day we jumped on the tram that takes you from one end of the city to the other and decided to just stay on. Since we had a travel card, we thought this might be another way to see the city and not just the tourist parts. I had a giant bag of Doritos (or at least some foreign version) and we sat right at the back with a great view. It was really fun and probably one of my favourite (as well cheapest) days of our whole trip.
There are tram stops throughout the city.

Bars
Going clubbing/drinking certainly isn't a necessity in Amsterdam but if you do, these are the places I'd recommend. Studio 80 is fun and definitely the go-to place, but as it only plays house music, the moment you walk in it's pretty obvious everyone in there is off their heads on drugs. A great place if you're into that type of music and definitely popular, but there are also better places to go. Another great bar was Smokeys which had a really cool atmosphere and played typical English clubbing music which again, is great if you want to dance to some stuff you already know. These two clubs are in one of the main squares which are filled with the most popular clubs and bars so flitting between these two or staying in this general area is ideal for a night out and you'll without a doubt find yourself somewhere which is busy and upbeat. We also loved Club Up, a club that seemed to have a million different floors (though now that I think about it, only had two I think). Amsterdam seemed to be filled with lots of cool bars (many were Irish!) that you could just duck into and party too, so I'd say it isn't necessary to plan exactly where you want to go and that you can easily find somewhere cool on a night out.

The Ice Bar
We booked this attraction along with the sightseeing tour bus and although I enjoyed this, I wouldn't say it was a must visit being that many places offer ice bar's these days - there's even one in London. It was really fun but it's obviously not the type of attraction you have to go all the way to Amsterdam to experience. Saying that, we could stay in the actual ice bar for as long as we wanted (which wasn't all that long because - and I know this is going to sound stupid - but it was REALLY cold. And I mean colder than you'd expect). The price included two free drinks in the ice bar and then a cocktail in the normal bar too. The normal bar was quite snazzy and the location of this attraction was pretty cool too with lots of pretty canals to walk along nearby.
Amstel 194-196, 1017 AG Amsterdam

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That's pretty much most of what we got up to in Amsterdam and I think we had a great time seeing the city from lots of different angles and not just doing the typical tourist thing. 

So there you have it; my mini guide of things to do in the beautiful city that is Amsterdam. It's not everything and there are a lot more things not mentioned (we spent one afternoon looking around a cool street market and we also planned to go to the Anne Frank museum, but the line was way too long) but it's a start and hopefully suggests some things other blogs have not. 

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Have I missed any must visit places off of this post? Let me know with a comment!

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

REVIEW // MY LIFE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL FROM ADVENTURES TO ZEALOUS PLOTS


One of my favourite Christmas gifts this year was this cute and thoughtful present from my sister, My Life: An Autobiographical Journal from Adventures to Zealous plots.

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Write-it-yourself books - books that require the readers participation - have become hugely popular in the last year. From Wreck This Journal; perfect for art lovers, to Map My Heart; a book perfect for anyone who's love life might be a bit all over the place. This journal is a little different though; it's part journal and part memoir - the perfect way to reflect back on your life regularly and all the adventures you've had. It's the type of book I know I'm going to keep all my life to re-read and be reminded of all those memories and on top of that, it's also been really fun beginning to actually write in it.

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Set out in alphabetical order against chic style of pages, each  part offers prompts. So rather then just talking about your day or jotting down a random memory, you write things like advice to your seventy year old self or essentials you can't live without. It's SO cute and the prompts range from meaningful to simply bonkers.

It's such a 'me' gift but I think this is the type of thing ANYONE would love. I hadn't heard of it before I received it as a gift but I know that had I not, I would have eventually bought myself a copy anyway. It's so funky.

What do you think? Are you the type of person that enjoys these write-it-yourself journal books? Let me know!

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