Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shop Spotlight: Part 1

In our Shop Spotlight feature, we'll be focusing on 3 different high-street/mall stores at a time, providing some basic background info on each as well as giving our personal take on their pros and cons. 

Background: Originally known as Hennes & Mauritz, this Swedish-based retailer has a massive 2629 stores and counting in over 43 countries. 
Where: Canada, US, UK, Ireland, most of mainland Europe, Asia & Middle East
Pros: Cheap, on-trend clothes; fantastic variety; often have designer collaborations; have a complimentary magazine in store.
Cons: Quite a lot of their stuff can be shoddily made (loose buttons, doesn't wash well, etc.), so you do get what you pay for; chances are you'll see several other people wearing the same top/dress/whatever you bought; stores are usually insanely busy. 
Great for: Trendy items you don't want to spend too much on; basic tees; often have pretty skirts, sundresses and blouses. 
Not so great for: Their cardigans generally do not wear well (although they do have a great variety of colours and patterns); accessories are often cheap-looking and poorly made; outerwear is hit and miss, but usually bland and not made to last.

Background: This Montreal-based retailer was founded in 1977, and currently has over 100 stores primarily in Canada.
Where: Canada, Massachusetts.
Pros: Affordably-priced clothes in classic styles; well laid-out stores; good customer service.
Cons: Some of their stuff is a bit bland & "corporate".
Great for: Workwear (pencil skirts, blouses, cardigans, etc.); classic outerwear; often have great dresses, especially in summer. 
Not so great for: This wouldn't be the place to look if you want bang-on-trend styles.

Background: Founded in Somerset, England in 1969; now has over 1000 stores internationally. 
Where: UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Singapore & UAE.
Pros: Cheap, trendy & colourful clothes.
Cons: Not fantastically well-made; will see numerous people with the same clothes
Great for: New trends; summer holiday/festival wear; tights, leggings, socks; also has a great shoe selection.
Not so great for: Cardigans, jumpers and coats tend to be poorly-made - their stuff is better geared towards summer wear.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Travels: Bath, Stonehenge & Stratford-upon-Avon

We started our adventures in England, where I met up with Vicky and Becky in London (they had spent a few days there already, seeing the sights and buying out Primark). The day before we left for France, we took an England-in-a-day trip, taking in Stonehenge, Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon. 

We started off at Stonehenge, that famous pile of prehistoric stones in Wiltshire, about an hour or so from London. No one really knows exactly why it was constructed (theories include some sort of religious/sacrificial site, a monument to past ancestors, an astronomical observatory...or maybe it was simply a Neolithic theme park?! <--- our personal view). Unlike in Tess of the d'Urbervilles, you can't actually climb around on the stones; in fact, as you can see from the below picture, the whole area is cordoned off at quite a distance.

There ain't a whole lot to do at Stonehenge, really. You get off the bus, look at the stones, take the pictures and then go off on your merry way.

{Greetings from Stonehenge!} 

{We liked that the sky was grey when we visited; it added to the bleak ambience}

{Stonehenge gave Vicky the creeps!}

And then it was on to Bath. A city that we found ourselves loving, for some reason. I'd been there before on a beautifully sunny spring day, but even in the rain it was lovely. It's just such a classy, elegant kinda city, you know?! The buildings are all Georgian, light-coloured stone, which gives it a majestic but airy sort of feel. A lot of European cities can feel a tad dark and oppressive, but this is definitely not the case with Bath. 

We sadly didn't have too much time to spend in Bath; we really just had time to grab a quick bite to eat and head straight for the city's most famous landmark, the Roman Baths. Constructed in the 60s AD by the Romans, the waters were believed to have healing properties and became a destination for centuries to come. You can't actually bathe in them any more, but you can explore the underground Roman ruins in the complex and then just spend a few minutes gazing into the murky green depths of the waters. 

{Street scene}

{Bath Abbey}

{Bicky in Bath!}

{Pret a Manger pizza wrap - my fave!}

File:Roman Baths in Bath Spa, England - July 2006.jpg
{Bath on a sunny day}

{Murky Baths}

{It was actually really relaxing to just sit by the water for a bit}

{Little tucked-away nook}

{Beautiful countryside}

And then it was on to Stratford-upon-Avon, which was, truth be told, a little bit disappointing. The part we saw of it (around Shakespeare's Birthplace) was kind of drab and featureless; definitely not as quaint as imagined. The streets just seemed too...wide?

{Stratford street scene}

{Ooohh exciting!}

{Shakespeare was born here in 1564!}

{All the furniture seemed so small!}

{And the ceilings were so low!}

{The man himself}

{Beautiful garden, ugly Shakespeare Centre}

{So preeeeetty!}

{Goodbye, Stratford!}

Image 8:,_England_-_July_2006.jpg
Image 15:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Comfy Cosy

I've never really been a big denim person. Ever since I was little, I've tended to veer towards skirts and dresses rather than jeans and trousers. But since I started working at the Gap, I've definitely taken more of an interest in jeans, and this comfy pair in a boyfriend style has made me a true denim convert. A big, comfy cardigan is the perfect accompaniment to casual jeans, making for a super cosy outfit ideal for crisp fall days.

Stone-coloured wool cardigan - Dex via The Bay
Dark grey tank top - Zara
Black lace bandeau - Aerie
Red and grey patterned scarf - American Eagle
Jeans ('Sexy Boyfriend' style) - Gap
Red wedges - Old Navy
Plastic rose ring - Old Navy
Lips - Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in "Rose"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Five Laughs

It's that time of the week again, guys! We hope everyone's September has been going well thus far - it's a liiittle bit scary to think that we've only got about a week left before October, right?! Our workloads at uni are slowly but surely piling up - there's just so. much. reading. And plenty of essay deadlines creeping their way up, too. If you're feeling the stress a little bit as well, we hope these five laughs help brighten your day :-)

a juggler giving up his dreams


Soviet Cat



Monday, September 24, 2012

Star Style: Libra

Today is the day, all you lovely Librans out there - it's time for your Star Style! Librans are renowned for their style, grace, and charm (and not to make the rest of the zodiac jealous, but you guys kinda have the reputation for being amongst the most stylish of the signs!) If you're unsure whether or not you're a true Libran, you can check out what the rest of your chart holds by keying in your date of birth details at You may find you relate more to the characteristics of Virgo (the sign before yours) or Scorpio (the sign after). Buuuut, if you think you truly are a real Libran, read on and enjoy our style picks for you!

File:Libra2.jpgLIBRA (23 September - 23 October)
Symbol: The Scales
Element: Air
Colour: Pink, blue, lavender
Gem: Opal, rose quartz
Flower: Rose, violet, pansy, primrose
Traits: Charming, vivacious, refined, fair-minded, and diplomatic, but can be too indecisive, self-indulgent, and lazy. 
Your Style: You are a true lover of fashion and are always well aware of the latest trends, but tend to go for pretty pieces in feminine colours. The more pink, ruffles, lace, sequins, and fur, the better!

{Kate Winslet}                        {Gwyneth Paltrow}                          {Catherine Zeta-Jones}

{Kim Kardashian}                     {Avril Lavigne}                                  {Hilary Duff}
{Mia Wasikowska}                            {Naomi Watts}                         {Marion Cotillard}

{Camilla Belle}                             {Freida Pinto}                        {Stacy Keibler}



1. Pink Statement Coat: Be on the look-out for a statement coat in any shade of pink, one of your lucky colours. To keep it from being too Barbie-esque, look for bold details like the black zip on this one.
Gianluca Capannolo long coat -

2. Jewel Tone Leather Satchel: A practical bag, in a luscious hue like this violet-blue, will be a statement staple worth investing in. 
Proenza Schouler leather bag -

3. Opal Ring: A dainty ring in your lucky stone, opal, will shine brilliantly and draw attention to your perfectly-manicured nails.
Art deco jewelry

4. Blush Lace Dress: You are a social butterfly with a constant string of events to attend, so you should make sure you have at least one classy, high-quality dress on hand. This blush-coloured lace one could be worn with either nude or black heels for a sophisticated look.
Emilio Pucci short party dress -

5. NARS "Schiap" Lipstick: This stunning hot-pink lipstick is definitely a daring, look-at-me choice, but who better to rock it than a Libran girl?!
NARS Cosmetics matte lipstick -

6. Fur Hat: Add a touch of girly glamour to your winter apparel with a white fur hat.
River island -

7. Pink Jeans: As you no doubt know, coloured denim is big - test out the trend with a bright pink pair.
J brand skinny jean -

8. Embellished Skirt: A tiered sequin skirt adds a dose of '20s glam to your look, whether you dress it down for day with a blazer and tee or up for a night out with heels and a sparkly headband. 
A Wear mini skirt -

9. Amazing Pink Heels: Hot pink and sparkle-encrusted heels...what more could you want?!
Miu Miu platform heels -

10. Lola Perfume: A playful, feminine perfume with notes of pink peppercorn, peony and vanilla.
Marc jacobs fragrance -


Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Treat: Nutella Hot Chocolate

The evenings have gotten really cold of late, making it the perfect excuse to indulge in a mug of comforting hot chocolate. Here's our simple recipe for Nutella Hot Chocolate; hope you enjoy!

You will need only three ingredients, including these:

And of course this:

{Please excuse the grubbiness of our tub of Nutella...}

Heat the milk on the stove while stirring in a few generous dollops of Nutella. Stir stir stir until the chocolate is all dissolved! Keep testing until the mixture is hot enough for your liking  (and sweet enough - you may have to add a bit more Nutella). 

Then pour the yummy goodness into a mug and garnish with a generous topping of whipped cream. Enjoy!

{Nutella Hot Chocolate, photobombed by Lulu ;-)}

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Travels: Nice and Monaco

Nice is definitely nice, but we wouldn't be the huuugest fans (at least I wouldn't...Vic isn't too keen on Paris so in making the Paris/Nice comparison, she doesn't really favour one over the other). The only two occasions I've been to Nice have been directly after visiting Paris, and in my opinion, it just always seems kinda boring. Some people really love the gentler pace and sunnier clime of this French Riviera city after the bustle and grime of the capital, but I find it a bit meh. I mean, obviously I don't dislike it - it is charming and pretty and the surrounding landscape is absolutely stunning. 

{Nice is kinda nice, I guess}

{Just sooo much of this}

{Loved all the warm, sunset-coloured buildings though}

{Nice seems to have its very own colour palette - every place seemed to have yellow & burgundy decor}

{No idea why this one was so sulky, after being so well-fed and all!}

We did a lot of walking in Nice. Our hotel was by the train station, in the somewhat less salubrious part of town, so the walk in to the city centre was a good twenty minutes through lots of drab streets like this: 

We did make some interesting discoveries, though, like the fact that there exists a type of burger called "Bicky"!!! So of course Vicky and Becky had to have their picture with it.

{Vicky + Becky = Bicky! Still no idea what exactly this "bicky" burger consists of...}

{We also did boring things like laundry}

{Posing in the Place Masséna - Nice's main square}

We then took an evening trip to Monaco. We were only there for about 2 hours so didn't have too much time to explore. After briefly having a look at the legendary Monte Carlo casino, we went in search of somewhere for a bite to eat...but the part of town we were in was strangely deadsville (seriously, there was no one around) and the only place we could find was this fancy outdoor Haagen Dazs. So ice cream for dinner it was. And there were no complaints. 


{There were actual menus...}

{...and actual tables and chairs and even a hostess at the front like in a proper restaurant. So weird.}

{Every bit as good as it looks}

{Monaco at dusk}

{Sea front views}

And then it was goodbye to the glamour of Monaco (well, supposed glamour - it was super soulless when we were there) and back to our shabby little Nicean hotel. And a little midnight snack at the Chinese across the road from us. Delicious and elegantly-served as that ice cream was, it wasn't very sustaining. 

{Chips and chow mein - classy}