Take Back the Night

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Jumper: Primark | Skirt: Zara | Boots: H&M | Bag: Forever 21 (Outside the Heron Tower, London Liverpool Street)

Post dinner, a little dishevelled after a days work and feeling drained I urged my friend to take some photos for the blog. 

I have noticed that not many (if any) bloggers take photos at night, so I jumped at the chance to give it a go.  It’s harder than it seems- trying to find light and angles to get a good shot, it makes you see and appreciate what our photographers have to put up with….Thanks guys! 

For dinner I opted for a fluffy, cropped jumper and a nude, leather pencil skirt.  I did have mules to wear but with it being cold out, my H&M boots made another appearance.

There’s something so beautiful about London at night; the lights the views and people are all great.  As much as I love to travel, London will always be my home.  The city has my heart.

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Approaching Winter

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Jacket: Topshop | Jumper: A Wear at ASOS | Skirt: eBay | Shoes: Just Fab | Bag: Vintage

You can probably tell that it’s windy out.  Windy and damp.  Does that stop me popping on a little tulle….of course not! I am not a winter person.  I find myself not caring about looking chic and caring more and more about the umpteen layers of clothing’s that I need to put on just to make it to work in one piece.  But this year I am adopting a new approach.  So I guess it’s a matter of start as you mean to go on!

Gem Tones

This past weekend has been nice and chilled.  In the run up to Christmas when everything becomes quite hectic, some chilled time is always welcome.  Due to the laid back feeling of the day, Saturday I couldn’t help but put on something long and floaty.  To be totally honest, I was prepared to leave the house and experience a serious wind in the air, but to my surprise it was mild and a really lovely afternoon.  Gem Tones are everywhere at the moment.  Deep greens and burgundies,  navy tones and ochre.  I love it.  A perfect accompaniment for these colours is grey.  It neutralises these vibrant colours and makes them more wearable.  What better than mixing a gem toned, Moroccan inspired print with a deep green leather jacket and grey accessories?

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Hat: ASOS | Leather Jacket: Zara | Skirt: Primark | Boots: H&M | Bag: Forever 21

I Love Lipstick

As you can probably tell from the title…This post is about lip stick.  Our pouts are precious things.  They should be just as well dressed as the rest of us.   With more shades in more odd names than you can think of, it all gets a bit much to choose from. 

Today I am going to show you a few of my absolute favourite shades.  I am a bit of a MAC lipstick addict because I find that they are quite long lasting.  I like to mix in Illamasqua and Sisley glosses for good measure though (it stops me feeling like I should run my own MAC counter haha).

The Berry:

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Mac Cosmetics: Rebel

The Red:

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Mac Cosmetics: Russian Red and Viva Glam 1

The Orange:

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Mac Cosmetics: Monange and In a Heartbeat

The Pink:

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Mac Cosmetics: Vegas Volt, Girl about Town and Pink Nouveau

The Nude:

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Illamasqua: Naked

The Gloss:

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SISLEY: Red and Pink and Illamasqua: Neon

The Need for Speed

Dating in the modern world is so clinical.  We can find out everything we want to know about someone though social media or running a quick Google search, then we think that we know everything.  There was a really interesting advert on for a popular, low cost hotel chain in the UK that stated how the persona we portray to others versus our real characters are 2 very different things.  For example, a Facebook status update could say “OMG just finished an amazing workout at the gym #feeltheburn”…but when translated it becomes, “I went to the gym because I felt guilty for wolfing down 2 packets of cookies today at work”.  Do you get my drift?!

Online dating is quite similar.  You trawl through these sites and create profiles- similar to that of your Twitter or Facebook and have to “sell” yourself in 3-4 lines.  My issue with online dating is that it lacks the the human essence that getting to meet people does.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that in a lot of western societies, getting to meet people outside of your full time work, friends or family can be both difficult and tiresome.  As someone who is still quite newly single, I feel as if I have to join the world of dating in the same way you would test a bath to see if it’s too hot…a little at a time.
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I was invited to a Speed Dating event hosted by Original Dating.  Set in a stunning venue in the downstairs bar of a trendy London restaurant, with funky interior and private booths, this event was ready to help people break down a few dating barriers!  Now, a few days on, I think it is a wonderful concept and although I was sceptical at first, I got to meet some interesting people (and 1 very, very drunk and intense man). 
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Speed dating put me in a situation that I don’t think I have ever been in before.  I am a chatty, outgoing person who felt a quite lost for words at first.  After all, you are in a booth- very close to someone you dont know, trying to strike up a conversation.  4 minutes later, a whistle blows and the men have to get up and move on to the next woman.
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As the night went on, it became easier to speak to people, with the top 3 topics of conversation being 1) Prior Speed Dating experience; 2) the weather; 3) Jobs.  One really funny guy (I’ll call him Steve) explained that this was his second attempt and told me a story about a lady at the last event.  She asked him what he thought about owls because she was “obsessed” with them. Steve explained that he could have responded in 2 ways- disbelieve and sarcasm or fain a somewhat genuine interest.  He chose the latter…  Well done Steve!

Original Dating really made the whole experience really easy.  During the event every person has their own unique number which you write down along with their name.  The number  is linked to a nifty app- Mixeo.  This app is great because not only can you get into the event and create your profile similar to that of Tinder; you are able to submit your ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘friend’ selections after the event.  If you get ‘yes’ or ‘friend’ matches with the other speed daters then you are able to make contact them using the app too (saves you giving out your number!)

I do think that the essence of human contact is lost on Internet dating and speed dating gives you short bursts with lots of different people.  It breaks down barriers with people that you wouldn’t haven’t normally met and I really find that commendable!

All in all, I enjoyed the night and would like to thank Original Dating for having me. 

Bianca xx

Bad Light

With it being so much colder out now, I feel guilty asking people to have to step outside to take my photo.  of course, if like my last post, I happen to be outside then its great to utilise the time when you can! Not so bad if it’s just bright but chilly, but when it rains in England, believe me it ain’t tropical!

Taking pictures in doors is so much harder- especially when you aren’t using a super cool, state of the art camera.  between that and finding somewhere where you aren’t stopping the flow of people, a quick snapshot of your #ootd becomes a lot harder.  It’s all in the life of a blogger!

What do you all think of this mix of leopard print? One traditional and one contemporary? Leopard print in any form just makes me happy.

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Coat: River Island | Jumper: Primark | Shirt: Zara | Leather skirt and Boots: H&M | Bag: DKNY

Fire Drill

Wednesday…1.30pm… I step away from my desk to take lunch.  I stand in the kitchen, warming my lunch, bag on arm and phone in hand, headphones on; checking what I have missed on Instagram over the past 4 hours.  A mere 60 seconds into warming my leftover risotto and what do you know?! FIRE ALARM!

I feel at this point I should state that it was not me who set off the alarm, by warming my food!  As I shuffled to get out of the building…not forgetting my half warmed lunch and a spoon (if the building is going to burn down, I may as well take my lunch with me right?!), I get outside to the designated meeting points for roll call.

When there is a drill normally someone gets warning, but this time nobody had a clue.  Was this another real fire?  I forgot to mention that 4 months ago I started at this job for a company that was heavily affected by the London riots of 2011.  The main warehouse was burnt to the ground in the middle of the night so as a result, fire safety is kinda their thing!  Definitely a drill.

The point of my story is, as we all grouped together trying to stay warm on the coldest day of autumn so far- my manager looked at me and said “Bianca, when did you have time to grab your handbag and put lipstick on? Looking all done up!”

There are few moments in life that call for dowdy clothes- fire drills are not one of them!

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Jacket and Bag: Zara (bargain at £30!) | Dress: River Island (old as time) | Boots: H&M | Headphones: Beats by Dr Dre | Lipstick: Mac Viva Glam I 

Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto

In Autumn and Winter my carb intake increases so much.  Foods that I don’t normally eat throughout the year become appealing.  Now rice or potatoes are not things I will tend to eat as part of a meal.  But when it comes to risotto- I fall apart.  Maybe it’s the Sicilian side of me; calling for a dish that includes everything I love about easy dishes- one pot, lots of healthy ingredients, a glass or 2 of wine (purely for flavour, of course) and lots of fresh Parmesan.

You will need:

225 g parmesan, (Parmigiano-Reggiano), plus extra to serve
60 g mushrooms
3 tsp vegetable stock powder or 1 vegetable stock cube
4 tbsp olive oil
300 g arborio or carnaroli risotto rice
1 bunches spring onions, finely chopped
300 g pumpkin, butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small chunks
150 ml italian dry white wine

I like to boil the squash and pumpkin first then use the water for stock, that way everything gets used up.  So start by boiling the veg for 10-15 minutes on a low heat. Then remove from the water and place on a plate until they are needed.

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When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan or large saucepan. Add the rice and sauté it gently over a medium heat for about one or two minutes, until it looks translucent, though not browned. Add the spring onions and pumpkin or butternut squash and cook gently, stirring often, for another two or three minutes.

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Pour in the wine and let it bubble up for a few moments, then add in the chopped mushrooms. Cook gently for about 25-30 minutes, adding more stock as needed, until the rice is tender and creamy.

Stir in the parmesan and season to taste. Top with shavings of parmesan, or freshly grate some more onto each portion, then serve.

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Best Face Forward

On a regular day I wake up around 7am and fall out of bed around 7.30am.
I have until 8.15 to be heading out the door ready for work.

In the midst of this 45 minute dash around the house (yes, I should get up earlier), I have a fair bit to do.  Getting showered and dressed never takes me long-30 minutes tops; and if my hair feels like behaving that day then I’m like the Flash! I tend to eat once I get to work, but I have to feed the cats and put the dogs out, make sure I have everything I need and then I am out the door.

In the middle of it all- I have to do my make up.  My make up routine is so military, that my make up regiment has to resemble this too.  I’m a simple girl at heart- with a crap load in my beauty box (well a girl has to have options!)

I like to moisturise, highlight, cover up, bronze, fill in and done!  Gosh, when I put out the stages it’s seems like so much, but it really isn’t.

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I start my morning using Ren Clean Skincare Gel Cream as my cream.  It is really lightweight and blends in really quickly.  It mattifies without leaving my skin dry looking.  I do like to give my face a little pat all over- somewhat like a massage to stop myself looking pale and pasty.  L’Occitane’s Essence Sublime replicates this look for those mornings when face aerobics don’t make the cut.

Foundation is a touchy subject for me.  As much as I am not super keen on the colour (they discontinued my exact skin colour at MAC).  I dab a little Studio Fix Fluid all over using a foundation sponge and just have to blend it in.  But if I could go without one product- it would be foundation.

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Nars bronzer is my absolute favourite, it goes on really well and leaves a smooth finish with a nice colour without leaving me glittery!

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Many of you will have read an old post about my eyebrows.  This part takes the longest and now I even have that fine tuned hehe.  Stencils ate great if you have a minute to fill them in.

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I have recently found the best red lipstick for my skin tone.  MAC’s Viva Glam 1 is so lovely and it’s half matte half satin formula makes it long lasting without giving you dried out lips.  In winter especially- I love to use Jurlique’s Love Balm.  You can use this anywhere you get a little dry skin, but under a lipstick it acts like a primer.

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I love Lancome mascara but out and about the other day I picked up a Maybelline Great Lash mascara.  This took me back to my teens and is still a great product.  When I have a little extra time or I’m going out after work.  I put on a coat of Magnifibres between coats of mascara, it extends and bulks up lashes and stops flakes.

Once I’ve got a little war paint on, I feel ready to hit the road.  The last thing I want to do is my make up on the morning commute with school kids and people fighting for a seat! I do like the way that make up transforms a look, a perfect extension to any outfit.

What’s your everyday make up look?

An Audience

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Jacket: Zara | Shirt and Bag: H&M | Trousers: Forever 21 | Heels: Primark

As I looked through the selection of pictures available for this post, I kept seeing a very grumpy face and I had to ask my self “What is up with that?!”

I’ll tell you what is up with that: Sunshine + Posing + uncomfortable stance (because builders were watching this shoot) = RBF on a whole new scale!

As good as their intentions and odd compliments may have been- I found the builders a little off putting! It’s a common problem for bloggers, having an “audience ” can feel a bit awkward when you aren’t used to it. But, hey! It’s fun and the onlookers are just wondering who these chic ladies having their photos taken really are!

Now onto the outfit- I have been killing a monochrome palette lately and I felt I needed a bit of colour in my life. This bold blue bag is the perfect accessory. These printed harem pants are really lightweight and very flattering. With the autumn being oddly warm (Halloween was 23°C in London?!!?), I find myself wearing light layers more than chunky knits. I have a feeling that Winter will not be so kind, so it’s time to enjoy it while it lasts.

Have a great day everyone

Xx