Thursday, 30 January 2014

Primark Spring Lookbook

You may have guessed by now that I am rather a big fan of Primark as their prices are reasonable and you can find some absolute gems as well. So, I went on their website and put together a few Spring outfits using the products that they had online - there were not a huge amount of shoes so these outfits are slightly lacking in these areas.
I hope you enjoy the outfits I have put together and are happy to see a long awaited fashion post on my blog. I would love to hear which outfit is your favourite too!


Colours and Prints

I am kinda a lot in love with these shorts - they are amazing! I thought they would look great with a simple top then a pop of colour in the blazer to jazz it all up a bit. 


Midnight Floral

I absolutely adore this blazer as it would look great worn with a LBD or just chucked on over a white shirt and pencil skirt for the office or even with a nice top and jeans on those casual days (which is every day in my life). I also think they silver colour of the skirt looks really nice with neutral colours like whites, blacks and golds.



Lazy Day Rocker

I really am a fan of the casual look and I think this would look really nice with the boots and bag to toughen it up a bit and make it not so 'run of the mill'.


Retro Raver

Personally this is not the kind of outfit I would go for but I had to share it with you because I think someone cool could pull this off well. I think the tee is great - I remember this song coming out when I was younger and listening to it. It's all v. 90s.


Old Time Fishwife

Don't ask me why this reminds me of a fishwife's outfit - it just does! It may be something to do with the acid wash denim. But I adore the shoes and the jumper and the skirt (everything really!) and I think together it would look really cute and a good way to ease out of the massive knitted jumpers.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear which outfit is your favourite!
You can also tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove. 

Also, as a bit of an extra which I have decided to shove on the end of this post but couldn't miss out - look at these shorts, aren't they blooming beautiful (if you'll pardon the pun!):


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Monday, 27 January 2014

What I Hope to Read in 2014

As you may have guessed I am the kinda person who would have an extensive TBR list which would actually take a few lifetimes to complete but this month I am trying to read more - I did initially attempt a book a week but I really don't have that much spare time. I have got through two books this year so far - Emma by Jane Austen and Animal Farm by George Orwell - which I have put on my 'empty shelf' so I hope to fill that up within the year.



Contemporary

Her Grace In Disgrace -Claudia Harbaugh
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro 
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The Catcher in the Rye - J. Salinger
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

Classics

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Persuasion - Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray 
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell
Ulysses - James Joyce
Middlemarch - George Elliot


I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear any recommendations or the books you have been enjoying recently.
You can also tweet at @TheEmeraldDove. 
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Saturday, 25 January 2014

#ScrimperSaturday: My Spending Habits & Mini Ebay Wishlist

I am sat here at 11pm on a Friday night after spending the evening at my Church youth group talking about budgeting (I know how to rock and roll) and have decided to confess my shameful spending habits so that you may be able to learn from my mistakes instead of having to make them yourself (not that you will, I am sure you are much better with money that I am).

I tend to purchase things I don't need but don't bother buying stuff I do need. Yes, I still need new jeans but am I really going to go and spend my money on them when I could go and buy Galaxy Caramel or a new bag - no, I'm not. But this isn't good because I always end up frittering away da dollars and still need to buy something which I actually do need then you end up borrowing from your parents or delving into savings to buy necessities that you didn't want to buy but had to buy and did, at one stage, have the money to buy.

As well as this I buy into trends then never wear the items. I'm like 'oh, my gosh! How great those that blogger look in those yellow disco pants?! I need to buy some now!!' then when I get home I realise maybe disco pants aren't so becoming on your body shape and now you have taken the tags off they will lie forever in your wardrobe (like Ginny in the Chamber of Secrets).

I hope you enjoyed hearing my confessions and I would love to hear if you share any of these.
I will now share with you some beautiful Ebay finds.








I hope you enjoyed my picks of bags .
You can tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove.
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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Being Shy


I have been intending to do a post for a long time now about shyness but, as you may have guessed, it takes time and effort and after a long day at college I have neither (just call me Downer Debby). But I have decided to sit down today and share with you my experiences of shyness because I know in my younger years posts like this helped me out and I think it is also important to inform people that shyness is not attention seeking/snobbery/laziness or any of the other negatives I have heard thrown about but a totally natural personality trait.
So, I am basically going to now spurt out everything related to this topic without much format so brace yourselves!

I have always been the kind of person who labours under the labels of 'shy', 'introverted', 'quiet', 'socially awkward' and I am not sure if I suddenly became like this but I am more swayed towards the idea that I was born this way (*baby, I was born this way*) and it is just my character. You may be wondering what kind character it is that I am talking about so I think that I will quickly define it (you may be able to tell that I am rather inarticulate).

I would describe myself as the kind of person who sits on the sidelines and watches and analyses situations but doesn't get hugely involved. In the company of people who aren't close friends or family I only speak when a question is directed towards me or I feel confident enough to do so - this is usually when I haven't thought about speaking because thinking of doing something makes me a bit nervous about doing it as I worry myself too much to be able to do anything. Around friends I am totally fine but I am just not a huge talker in group situations. Also at my most shy, which was when I was in school, I remember blushing having to answer my name in the register which is just crazy.
At primary I always remember the school reports would say things like 'hard working but too quiet' as though it was a fault, which it is not, and I found it hard to make friends. I would try and did make friends but I remember they would always tend to prefer others and I felt quite low in my self-esteem. Then we moved to where we live now and one of my most horrible memories took place. I remember it was my first day, I was incredibly shy and the teacher stood me up at the front of the class and said 'would anyone like Lauren to sit with them?' and no-one put up their hand and I slowly turned redder and redder. But I spent most of my time alone at Primary but did make a few friends (one who is lovely and I am still friends with today).
Then I remember Secondary School being quite a challenge. I was never bullied and I had a much better time than many but I was one of these 'wannabe' types and I was so desperate to fit in. I started straightening my hair in Year 9 and I remember once me and my friend were searching on Youtube 'how to become popular'. But people would always say 'why are you so quiet?' and when you are asked that you just go red and smile or apologise which is really dreadful because it is not your fault - the one asking you should apologise as they are being ignorant and making you uncomfortable. But I did have an amazing circle of friends, who I should have been more grateful for, and I could be myself around them. I also remember the horror of doing presentations in front of the class - that 10 minutes of mumbling, red faced and feeling the eyes of 30 bored teens burning into you (teachers, please, reassess your teaching strategy!) and that week before knowing you had to do it and that feeling of physical sickness just before you have to go up and present it.
Since starting college things have become much better because you have so much more freedom and people aren't constantly judging you or telling you to starting shouting out every thought which comes into your head. The first year was quite scary but I had my best friend with me so it wasn't too bad but now I'm in my second year I have made friends (which I never thought I would do) and I feel more confident. I have also found that the Church has been an amazing help in that everyone is always so eager to talk and encourage you so you don't feel so alienated. I even went to Church on Christmas Day alone and really enjoyed it which is something I never imagined myself doing - as well as volunteering in a charity shop every week and travelling into town alone.


So, I do have a few tips to do with shyness and not 'dealing with it' but how to stop it from controlling your life:
- Don't over think what you are going to do or you probably won't do it
- Don't try to be anyone else
- What doesn't kill you really does make you stronger (keep that in mind during those presentations)
- Be grateful for your friends and devote your time to them, not trying to fit in with the 'cool kids'
- If you are having serious problems at school/college/uni/work talk to a loved one or teacher
- Don't agree to things you really don't want to do
- Ignore the people who will be nasty because you are quiet
- If there is something which builds your confidence, do that a lot (be it volunteering or sky diving)
- Put yourself in a situation which is outside your comfort zone just so that you can say that you have done it and if you found it liberating you can always go back and do it again
- It is ok just to go and read alone if you feel out of your depth

I hope you enjoyed this post even though it was long, depressing and rambley. I would love to hear your thoughts on shyness and whether you have experienced anything similar. Also, you can always email or tweet me on the addresses in the sidebar.


Disclaimer: I am not trying to insult anyone who is an extrovert - it is just as natural as being introverted. 
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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Current Favourites Playlist


I thought it was about time that I posted which songs I have been loving recently - especially as I have discovered a few new artists who I really like. So, I hope you enjoy seeing my picks for this month!




Your Song - Kate Walsh
I am across this song, fell in love with it then realised where I had heard it before - it's in the movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging! I should have been able to recognise it seen as I have watched that film so many times. I also found it with an Emma montage so any Austen geeks like myself will be very happy also.



I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz
This is a bit of a golden oldie but it is so beautiful and I have been listening to it quite a lot recently. I especially love the start.



Fallin' For You - Colbie Caillat
I have always been a bit of a Colbie fan since she did a duet with Taylor Swift and sang Bubbly. I love this song and it is something I can relate to - as I am a bit of Harriet Smith (yes, I have been reading a bit too much Emma recently).



Bonfire Heart - James Blunt
I don't usually like the kind of music which is in the charts but my brother goes around this on his phone and I was like 'this song is actually good!'. Who doesn't love a bit of James Blunt, anyway?



In Christ Alone - Owl City
This is possibly my favourite hymn and when I found that Owl City had done a cover of it I was rather happy. It is so beautiful and powerful.
Disclaimer: not putting this song in same league as others as this is a worship song and should be used for that purpose - not saying that this is just a pretty song that I like listening to but a powerful song I use to worship and glorify God.



Ich Will Nur - Philipp Poisel
You may have guessed at my love for the German language and thus I do really like German music. I think Poisel is such a great artist (only criticism maybe being that his quick singing if sometimes difficult to follow) and this song is so beautiful. Also I would love to do a translation of the lyrics in a post if anyone is interested..?

I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear which songs you have been enjoying recently.
You can also tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove.

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Please Advise Me!


This is quite an unusual post but I really need some advice. I have the chance to go to Germany on a twinning trip and stay with a host family but it would mean I would have to fly there alone and stay a week with complete strangers in a town I never visited before. You may not have guessed but I am very shy (which I could do a post about if anyone is interested?) and rather a worrier so I'm not sure how I would find it so I would love to hear what you guys think and whether you think I should go. I would also be very grateful to hear from anyone who has travelled alone - especially if you are quite young or are shy/nervous.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
You can also tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove. 
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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Scrimper Saturday: 6 Money Saving Tips


I was very tempted to post another wishlist today but I have decided that I would stop myself from finding lovely items of clothing, which I will end up being very tempted to buy, and share with you my tips for saving those pennies when you are out shopping.

1. Only take the amount of money you need shopping. For instance, if you only want to spend £15 then don't take a £20 note else you will end up spending it all.

2. Keep tags on your clothes until you are actually wearing them because you can still return it and get store credit if you change your mind no matter how long it is after you bought it.


3. When you want to try new trends or move out of your comfort zone, buy these items from cheaper shops like Primark then you can go back to the higher end stores once you are sure you will get wear out of an item. I mean, I would be rather happy now if I had bought a full set of dungarees (with the legs etc) from Primark for £12 rather than from Topshop for about £45 as things become less fashionable so quickly.

4. Always buy what you went shopping for no matter what, else you will be spending a great deal for same day delivery when you realise that you didn't get a dress for that party which is the following day.

5. Look around all the shops before buying something which will cost most of your budget in case you see something that you prefer elsewhere.

6. Always try clothing on before you buy it. I know it is such a faff but if you buy something then find it isn't quite as flattering as you may have thought, you will have to take it back to the store within the next fortnight. That is where the problem lies for me - I am slightly lazy and then leave it too late to get a refund.


I hope you enjoyed this post and that it will help you out.
You can tweet me on Twitter at @TheEmeraldDove and I would love to hear your tips - you can just tweet them with the hashtag #ScrimperSaturday.
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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Current Favourites

I have decided to compile a list of all the things I have been loving recently. Prepare yourself for a lot of unhealthy food and 'uncool' music!


Galaxy Caramel
I don't know where my love from Galaxy Caramel sprung from but it really is amazing! The caramel is so nice and I love Galaxy chocolate - I prefer this caramel bar to the Cadbury's one. I always buy it and once I have eaten if I always profess that I could easily eat another.

Higgidy Spinach, Pesto and Goat's Cheese Slice
This picture really doesn't do this product justice. It is a lovely puff pastry slice with pesto on it and goat's cheese as well as sun blushed tomatoes - it is amazing.


Fanta Fruit Twist
I was never in love with original Fanta but since they introduced this one I can't seem to enjoy any other fizzy drink as much. It is nicely sugary with a tropical fruit taste.


Jane Austen's Emma
Lately I have immersed myself in the world of Emma as I am currently reading the book and I have watched the 2009 BBC series twice in the last few weeks. I love Knightley so much! 



Bodo Wartke's Liebesleid 
Yes, I am a languages geek but I absolutely love the concept of singing something in a range of different languages! My favourites have to be the Berlin dialect and the Latin. You can listen to it here.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear what things you have been loving recently!
Also you can tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove.
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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Moments That Mattered 2013

I just came across the amazing competition on Hannah's blog Away With The Fairies. She has teamed up with Lloyds Bank to British bloggers the opportunity to win an iPad Mini. If I were to win, which I deem rather unlikely due to the sheer talent of literally every blogger I know, it would be unbelievably great as I am starting uni in September but don't really have a laptop to work from (well, I have a netbook which takes half an hour to load anything) and, unfortunately, can't take the family PC with me.
So, all you have to do to enter is write a post about your best moments of 2013, which is similar to a recent post of mine, and check out Hannah's blog for more info and to enter.


I think my best moment of 2013 was starting this blog. When I first started it I thought I would have no followers but just carried on writing away and spending a lot of time planning posts and taking pictures. I'm glad I didn't stop blogging after the first month or so when I still had no followers and knew no-one was reading by ramblings. But I remember the first few people who started commenting and following and the immense value which their interest had to me. Even now I feel all warm and fuzzy in my heart when someone comments on a post or links my blog in their post. I love how I now have frequent people who come and comment on my posts and I see them very much so as my friends. I love how much blogging has affected my life and helped me to become a bit more confident. But, above all, I love all the friends I have made. I love that a have a wonderful pen pal called Emma who I would not have even known if I hadn't started this blog and so many others that I doubt I could count them on my hands.

As well as this, sticking on my theme of friendship, I have made some really great friends at college. Starting college in 2012 I feared that I wouldn't make any friends and me and my best friend didn't make any within the 6 months of college and felt rather lonely. But now we have made 2 amazing friends and all 4 of us are so close and I feel like I can really be myself around them. As well as this I was able to meet up with old friends from school and had such great times with them all.

Overall 2013 was a great year in which I was blessed with so many friends and without them I think my life would be rather dull.

I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to enter the competition - good luck to everyone who enters!
You can tweet me, if you like, at @TheEmeraldDove.
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Monday, 13 January 2014

2014 Bucket List

I just watched Becca's 2014 Bucket List over on her YouTube channel and felt inspired to create my own bucket list for 2014. Long time readers may recall that I wrote a bucket list last year but I intend for this one to be just about things I want to achieve in 2014.



Write bible verses onto sticky notes and leave them around town
Buy someone a present for no reason
Find a German pen pal
Learn some Latin
Travel abroad
Attend a barn dance



Make a tiramisu

Own a copy of the Bible in German
Read the Harry Potter series in German
Read at least 3 C.S Lewis books




Visit London
Attend a blogger event
Make jam


Write in my diary every day
Take a picture in a photo booth with my friends 
Receive red roses - even if I send them to myself



I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear your plans for 2014.
You can also tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove.


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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Scarlett Fashion Blogger Competition

The fashion brand Scarlett Fashion are currently running a blogger competition to compile an outfit from their sale items. I love a blogger competition as much as the next person so I leapt at the opportunity to put together a rather bargainous outfit. You can see the details for the competition over on their blog


When I saw this dress I absolutely fell in love with it. I love the simple cream colour and the embroidering gives it a bit more of a 'wow factor' 

My leather jacket has never failed me when (quite rarely) I venture out for an evening. It goes with so many things and it is a good basic items to dress up an outfit. But what I love most about this leather jacket is that it is slightly cropped so stops at your waist which is very flattering - especially when worn with a dress like this which clinches in the waist.

I love the colour of this bag and how sparkly it is - it is just a perfect night out clutch. The colour goes well with the dress and adds a certain something to the outfit.

I would finish this outfit off with a pair of black heels and coral lipstick.

I hope you liked this outfit and if you take part in this I would love to see your outfit!
You can also tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove. 


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Saturday, 11 January 2014

#ScrimperSaturday: Primark Wishlist


I think it is widely acknowledged that when the pennies are few, Primark is the shop for you (heh, slick as always) and is thus the best way to kick off this series for the scrimpers among us. Despite not having an online shop they do now have a lovely website which shares blogger's outfits and products which are in store so from that I have compiled a few things which I think are worth checking out if you want to do a bit of shopping but can't quite stretch to Topshop prices.



You guessed it, I love a bit of Disney! These socks are so adorable and quite reasonable. Also they look similar to the Topshop printed socks but for a bit less money. I love these Snow White ones especially!

I think this would look great with some knitted tights, ankle boots, a chunky black knit with a white collar over the top and a lot of red lippy. I love how these hint towards the disco pant shorts trend but are probably a bit less tight and end-of-Grease-like. 


This reminds me of the jumpers in Topshop but at a fraction of the cost. Also the colour is lovely.

I saw this jumper in Primark about a week ago and I fell for the collar but I didn't buy it. But it is so lovely I think I may have to return and pick it up.



I think for a LBD that can be worn at so many occasions, this is such a bargain. I love the collar especially!


My friend received this jumper for Christmas (from my other friend) and absolutely loved it so that proofs how lovely it is. I just love the collar - as you may have guessed, I am quite a collar kinda gal!


I love this skirt as it could be easily dressed up or down. You could just wear it with tights, boots and a jumper in the day and with a black top for the evening.


A final cheap collar love-in! This boxy top is so lovely and the collar is so nice.

I hope you enjoyed the first post in my series and I would love to hear suggestions of other posts you would like to see.
You can also tweet me at @TheEmeraldDove.


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Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Wanderlust Tag

I saw that the lovely Amy from Cocktails in Teacups did The Wanderlust Tag so I decided I would give it a go myself as this year I hope to travel more and make the most especially of the summer before going to uni when I will have a bit of money as I won't be spending it all on Pot Noodles. 




1. Your most treasured passport stamp?

As I have never travelled outside the EU I don't have any passport stamps (*sob*) but I do hope to aquire some in the future.

2. Can you recite your passport # from memory if asked?

Nope. I doubt I would even know where to find it. When I travel I just thrust my passport at the person and grin hoping they will recognise me from my picture.


Ferry from Dover to Calais

3. Preferred method of travel; planes, trains or automobiles?

I would say travelling by car is the lesser of 3 evils for me as I get terribly nervous on planes and trains. I think I prefer coaches as they seem the most safe. I quite like ferries as well on a calm day as they have food and shops (shops which sell OPI nail varnish!).

4. Top 3 travel items? 

1. Camera, of course (I'm a blogger, of course I take my camera everywhere with me!). 2. Hand sanitiser because I don't like germs and you don't know what kind of germs you may pick up whilst abroad - however most countries are quite a lot cleaner than England.


 Hotel in Belgium
5. Hostel or hotel? 

Hotel! What is the fun of travelling if you don't have free bath things, free biscuits with your tea and a big cosy bed to jump into?!

6. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?

Definitely a repeat visitor! Whenever anyone asks me where I want to go on holiday I am like 'GERMANY!!' and they say 'what? again?'. But I love to try new places as well but, in my mind, nothing can top Germany. 

8. Favourite travel website?

I don't really use travel websites. Whenever I travel it is on a coach trip and we often use Ledger Holidays who are great but when we travel as a family my parents organise it.

Cologne

9. Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city & why. 

Go to Cologne!! It is so beautiful there, especially at Christmas time with the markets, and they have an amazing Cathedral! It is so pretty, has loads of amazing shops and is just an amazing place to visit. But take change as the public loos aren't free but they are attended and very clean.


Munich

10. You're leaving tomorrow, money is no option, where are you going?


So long, England! Hello, Germany! I would go to either Cologne or Munich as I know Cologne is great and Munich is where Sophie and Hans Scholl lived and they are such an inspiration as I would like to go where they lived.

I hope you enjoy this post and I tag everyone to take part!
You can come and chat to me on Twitter as well at @TheEmeraldDove.
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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

BBlogger Secret Santa



Last month I got involved with the BBlogger Secret Santa run by the lovely Tamsyn-Elizabeth of Peachpowxo and Gemma of Slight Gem. I sent mine to Frankie from Frankie Boo and received this amazing parcel from Hayley of Water Painted Dreams which was a really nice surprise as I love reading her blog so it was nice to receive a Secret Santa from someone whose blog I read.








I am so thankful to Hayley for sending me such lovely things! I adore the cushion especially as you may have guessed that I have a bit of a passion for cushions. The necklace, and I guess everything else, came from a lovely website called Robyn Makes Things which has such great products and is run by the blogger who is evidently rather talented.

So, I am really pleased to have received these lovely items and so thankful for lovely Hayley (whose blog you should all check out!). 
I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to hopefully partaking in more swaps like this.
You can come to chat to me night or day on Twitter, if you would like, at @TheEmeraldDove.
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