MINTY FRESH

Sunday, 31 March 2013
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I've been holed up in bed with the flu for the last few days but managed to paint my face, get out of my PJs and step into the outside world to take some photos of a few new things. Right after this, I was back in stretchy jersey and promptly removed all traces of makeup. UGH. Just hoping I'm better for my birthday on Monday.

As you can see, my latest pair of pink trews are serving me well. I got this leather jacket the other day but haven't really had a chance to wear it, being bed-ridden an' all. I chose in a medium so it would be a bit baggier and long-line and pinned this vintage fur collar over it. Another new addition is this mint green shirt from Urban Outfitters, which is letting me channel the white collar worker within - which I don't do very often, being freelance and too often able to work in aforementioned stretchy jersey.

Last but not least, my new beloved silver flats! These featured in a Shoesday post a while ago, and I couldn't resist.


Wearing...

WEEKLY WISH LIST

Saturday, 30 March 2013
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Another week, another wish list full o' pink pieces. It's my birthday on Monday and the Topshop neon jacket is one of my presents - can't wait to receive it. I've wanted the ASOS ID bracelet for ages (well I wanted the Céline original obviously, but dream on Natalie) but wasn't quick enough on the mark before it sold out. So when it arrived back in stock earlier in the week, I bought it straight away. Now I wanted the silver too. Oh, greed. And there is nothing more fabulous than a gold Jimmy Choo coffee cup holder - just when I didn't think I could love my Venti vanilla latte more...

1. ASOS Fluro Jacquard Prom Dress, £85
2. Jimmy Choo Rika Coffee Cup Sleeve, £105, via NET-A-PORTER
3. Topshop Ovoid Crop Jacket, £68
4. Charlotte Olympia Pink Scent Perspex Clutch, £795, via NET-A-PORTER
5. Topshop Pink Jacquard Mini Skirt, £34
6. ASOS ID Link Bracelet, £12
7. Mother of Pearl Deer Intarsia Sweater, £390, via NET-A-PORTER
8. Talullah Tu Emerald Crystal Drop Earrings, £20

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

Thursday, 28 March 2013
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And the winners of a Caroline Issa x LK Bennett case - selected by this random picker - are...


Mrs S Granger
Camilla Ackley
DRG
Susie Eldred
Sarah Donaldson
Aisling Keavey
Natasha Volonterio
Emma Southcombe
Tess Atkinson
Charlie Elliott


The winners have all been contacted and their shiny new cases are on their way to them!

Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned for Canned Fashion's next competition.


CANNED FASHION X JIMMY CHOO

Wednesday, 27 March 2013
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I'm honoured to be a part of Jimmy Choo's latest blogger campaign, featuring the insanely gorgeous Sasha sunglasses. Thanks, Team JC!

SHOESDAY

Tuesday, 26 March 2013
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It's that time again, folks. This week, I'm feeling ladylike bows and pointed pumps - can you tell?

1. Topshop Gwenda Pumps, £58
2. Christian Louboutin Madame Mouse Pumps, £495
3. Faith Crobon Shoes, £50, via ASOS
4. Roger Vivier Gommette Flats, £316, via Luisa Via Roma
5. Carven Silk Bow Shoes, £300, via Matches
6. ASOS Hometown Heels, £40
7. Topshop Gwenda Pumps, £58
8. Roger Vivier Loafers, £505

BLACK & WHITE & NEON

Monday, 25 March 2013
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I had the best weekend ever. My real birthday is next weekend but I celebrated with friends on Saturday with a night of karaoke. These photos were taken on Saturday during the daytime, spent running errands in the snow, drinking coffee and cosying up inside. Obsessed with this By Malene Birger cardigan - can't wait to wear it with my monochrome Proenza Schouler skirt and bare legs when (IF) the weather gets warmer.

I wore...

H&M Jeans (similar here)
Next Hat (similar here)
Umbrella from random supermarket (similar here)

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My little office space and desk essentials including my new Talullah Tu crystal glasses (HOW cute are they??) and blingy iPhone cover from H&M.

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Last but not least, another recent purchase: my new Urban Outfitters rug, which has totally transformed my sitting room.

What did you get up to this weekend?

WEEKLY WISH LIST

Saturday, 23 March 2013
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My weekly wish list, a fuchsia assault on the eyes. Pink suede dungarees, towelling-fabric mules, and a rhinestone-encrusted iPhone case... just the essentials this week, then.


1. Brian Lichtenberg Ballin' Beanie, £40 via Matches
2. 3.1 Phillip Lim Suede Dungarees, £1,255, via Browns
3. Charlotte Olympia La Vie En Rose Bag, £895
4. Olympia Le-Tan Bag, £1,000, via Browns
5. H&M Necklace, £7.99 (so good IRL)
6. Next Trousers, £30 (I tried these on and they are the best fit ever)
7. Charlotte Olympia Wedges, £495, via Matches (because every gal needs towelling shoes)
8. MiH Jeans Jumpsuit, £198, via Matches
9. H&M iPhone 4 Case, £3.99

CANNED FASHION X FRENCH CONNECTION

Friday, 22 March 2013
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I was honoured to be invited by French Connection to style a few looks from their Trend Injection line, along with some of my favourite bloggers including the lovely Anneli and Reem. The shoot took place in their London flagship store, where the team had set up a mini studio, complete with the fab CR2 photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists and lots and lots of Dunkin' Donuts. Our model for the day was the totally gorgeous Dani who made me feel like a fat little munchkin stood next to her but more importantly, looked WELL BUFF in the clothes.

Above is my absolute favourite look from the day: floral trackpants and a matching sweater - 'I die', as RZ would say.
SHOP THE LOOK

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This look was inspired by my favourite chick, Izzy Marant. Also, I'd like my hair to look like this every day please.


SHOP THE LOOK

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I love me a long-line biker jacket. I chose the Athena jacket in a larger size so it would be a bit slouchier.


SHOP THE LOOK

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I am obsessed with this skirt. I'm also currently loving a denim jacket buttoned to the top, so I had to squeeze that into the shoot somewhere.


I'll leave you with some behind-the-scenes snaps...

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Thanks, Team French Connection!

FOOD DIARIES: MAMA'S 15 MINUTE SPAG BOL

Thursday, 21 March 2013
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I love trawling Pinterest and my ever-expanding collection of cook books for new recipe ideas, but so often I turn to my mum's decades-old family recipes. They're hearty, tasty and remind me of my childhood. I'm going to put a few of them up on the blog over the next few months and I wanted to start with something super easy (in fact the seasoned cooks among you might think it's too easy) but seriously good - Mama Hughes's spaghetti bolognese (modified for my palette with quorn, instead of beef, mince). In fact, the recipe didn't start this simply - it used to have carrots and onions in it if memory serves right, but because my brother and I were fussy little brats, the sauce got simplified and simplified and ended up like this. I still make it exactly like this (except for the quorn).

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This feeds two people, or one if you're really hungry.

Ingredients:
A handful of spaghetti (I usually use brown organic dried spaghetti but for this, I make an exception and go for white, shock horror)
A little olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 can of chopped tomatoes (or passata if you prefer a smoother consistency)
1 beef stock cube
1 desert spoon of cornflour
1 small cup of water
A handful of quorn (I use frozen)
Salt to taste

1. Heat oil and add oregano and bay leaf. Stir for a minute.
2. Add tomatoes and puree.
3. Crush beef stock cube into pan.
4. Mix cornflour and water together (ensuring the water is cold otherwise it will go lumpy) and add to pan. This will thicken the sauce as it heats through.
5. Add the quorn. Simmer for 15 minutes.
6. While the sauce is simmering, put the spaghetti onto boil.
7. Add salt to taste and spoon the sauce liberally over the spaghetti. I add a sprinkling of parmesan when I want something extra salty and hearty.

DRESS UP: ANIMAL MAGIC

Wednesday, 20 March 2013
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I bought this leopard print coat about two and a half years ago and it has served me well, as you can see here, here and here. I prefer leopard print coats of the fluffy, faux fur, sixties-style variety, so this one is just perfect. Thank you, Topshop.


Coat - Topshop (similar here)
Bangle - Topshop
Star Ring - Made

SHOESDAY

Tuesday, 19 March 2013
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I never intended for this to become pink-themed (I never intended for the blog to be come pink-themed) but alas, such is my social conditioning. Plus the fact that those Charlotte Olympia's showgirl-in-shoe-form is too good not to include. (As are those Rupert Sanderson lips heels - Mr S has seriously upped his game.)

1. Charlotte Olympia Gigi Wedges, £725
These fringed-bedecked beauties were just made for dancing. On tables. Wearing a matching fringed dress and headdress.

2. Office Ophelia Heels, £62
Obviously I would wear these with sugared almond tones exclusively.

3. ASOS Flare Sandals, £22
ASOS's selection of sandals is getting my toes seriously excited.

4. Charlotte Olympia Kitty Slippers, £545, via NET-A-PORTER
I don't yet own a pair of Kitty flats and I'm still not sure why.

5. Rupert Sanderson Frisia Slingbacks, £485, via Browns
Kiss me. But not before buying me these.

6. Chloé Susanna Boots, £795, via Matches
I will never tire of Chloé's Susanna boots, especially when they come in sorbet pink. The price on the other hand...

7. H&M Plimsolls, £7.99
I've never been a fan of Keds and Ked lookalikes. Until these metallic pink guys came along.

8. Valentino Rockstud Flats, £609, via StyleBop
LET ME COUNT THE WAYS.

PINK PANTS #154

Monday, 18 March 2013
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I own A LOT of pink trousers. Like, a disproportionately high number. Lately though, my many pairs haven't quite been sating my pink pant appetite, and I've been on the hunt for the perfect cerise peg legs. I bought and returned a pair from Zara (just not the right fit) and finally found The Ones from Pied a Terre at House of Fraser of all places. I never usually consider that brand and TBH, they didn't look great on the site. But since they were on sale, I ordered them just in case and they turned out to be amazing. They're great quality - on par with some of my designer trews.


Supreme sweatshirt (hem hacked off by yours truly)
Miu Miu bag - similar here

MAMA'S GREAT DAY OUT

Sunday, 17 March 2013
To celebrate Mother's Day, the lovely folks at Westfield Shepherds Bush invited me to take my mum out for a day of shopping and celebrating. Since we couldn't make it last week, we made the trip yesterday for belated fun instead. Read on for what happened and my guide to navigating the mall...

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We hopped on the 49 bus, ready for a day of shopping.

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We started the day as we meant to go on - with a champagne lunch at Searcy's Champagne bar - before hitting the shops. We stopped in at my mum's favourites - Marks & Sparks, Wallis, and Next, where she ended up spending most of her gift card (which you can spend anywhere in the centre), kindly gifted to us by Westfield.

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On my mum's wish list? The perfect pair of black trousers. Above you can see a rare sight - me waiting for Mum in the changing rooms (usually it's always been the other way round, so I can't complain!). She found The Ones! A pair of blue suede flats (chosen by moi) and the perfect black trousers. Mission: accomplished. Unsurprisingly, I ended up finding a few things for myself, including a pair of navy silk shorts from Next and a pink faux fur collar, leopard print t-shirt and amazing baseball cap from H&M - photos to follow another day.

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After admiring the Caroline Issa x LK Bennett shoes, we stopped for a snack - a cola bottle and brie and rocket mini baguette, YUM.

After six solid hours of shopping, we were definitely ready to drop. Luckily we had enough bags of shopping to make ample pillows for the bus ride home. Zzzzzz....

Thank you Westfield for organising our fabulous day out! We had the best time. Highlights included: seeing a four-year-old boy wearing a LEATHER BOMBER JACKET, beanie and skinny jeans, trying to drag my mum into the Disney store and failing (it will always have the same, magical allure, no matter how old I get), being completely bemused by the live DJ set in Topshop (I think my exact quote was, 'This must be what the kids like these days'), scoffing chocolate truffles and champagne, trying on COUNTLESS pairs of pink trousers and, of course, those little pieces of heaven also known as the Mr Pretzel samples tray (more on him below). Oh and thank you to my dad for being official photographer all day.


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NATALIE'S GUIDE TO WESTFIELD SHEPHERDS BUSH

As you may or may not know, I used to work at NET-A-PORTER, whose HQ is inside Westfield Shepherds Bush! Consequently, I spent a LOT of hours and lunch breaks seeking out sale buys and delicious lunches. I thought it might be useful to give some of my favourite places to stop by, especially as the centre is so gigantic:


EATING & DRINKING

Marks & Spencer - people often think the only place to get pre or post shopping bubbles is Searcys Champagne bar. Little do they know that good old M&S have a pretty sweet Prosecco bar. AND when every other eaterie is PACKED at lunchtime, the little cafe on the second floor (I think) nearly always has a table free (only the old ladies seem to know about it).

Benugo - I always order ciabatta with brie and rocket and no butter/sauce. They always give me a funny look. BUT IT'S WORTH IT.

You Me Sushi - Go at 1pm on a workday and I guarantee you will see all the NAP girls standing in line for sushi at this little stall. The miso soup is some of the best I've ever tasted for takeout (but make sure you ask them to fill in up to the top, they can be a little stingy). I just checked and they do online delivery now. MY LIFE = CHANGED.

Mr Pretzel - Oh, Mr Pretzel, you draw me in with your cinnamon samples and I want MORE. Except you don't accept cards and I don't carry cash. You're maddening, Mr P. (Tip: you can go for more than one sample if you change your hat or leave a few hours between visits OR like the cheeky yoof I saw today, take two and run.)

Sacred - BEST. COFFEE. EVER. Again, a NAP haunt. And quite often very good-looking Aussie baristas for the coffee-loving perves among you. Order a flat white. They make 'em PROPA.


SHOPPING

Topshop - especially the top floor, a lot of the good stuff is hidden there. Downstairs can be a little teeny bopper.

House of Fraser - OK, you guys, I'm gonna let you into a little secret. House of Fraser sells CÉLINE. Yup, you heard right. I'm not sure of the details but I think once upon a time a contract was set up and Céline don't seem to want to shout about it but... they have the bags and a waiting list should that micro Phantom not be on the shelves. You heard it here first.

Zara - An obvious choice but also the TRF section here is ACE.

Joseph - I LOVE this Joseph. All own brand and all the classics - cashmere sweaters and leather pants agogo.

Miu Miu - the staff in the Westfield store are super helpful and friendly, and once helped me track down a pair of polka dot platform sandals.

Next - I'd always been a bit cynical about Next - that is, until I visited this shop. They have the best stock - the stuff you tend to see in magazines but somehow doesn't seem to be available to mere mortals. Why? It's all HERE.


PAMPERING

Hershesons Blowdry Bar - I had many a beehive concocted here during my NAP days, when I needed good hair fast for work events and parties.

Le Monde Nails - Great for a quick, cheap-ish mani when you're done with shopping. I much, MUCH prefer this to the Models Own concession.

WEEKLY WISH LIST

Saturday, 16 March 2013
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Firstly, I'm sorry for the extravagant wish list this week. It's my birthday soon (please send gifts and pug pictures) and I think I got a little carried away.

1. MSGM Coat, £2,474, via Moda Operandi
This has a fuzzy pink collar. 'Nuff said. (Well, probably not 'nuff to justify the *cough splutter* pricetag but, still.)

2. Stella McCartney iPhone 5 Case, £175, via NET-A-PORTER
I'll never tire of the Falabella. Sigh.

3. 3.1 Phillip Lim Tank, £105, via NET-A-PORTER
I basically want to be Glamour Magazine's Maria Duenas Jacobs and this is the first step (she has it).

4. Eugenia Kim Headband, £95, via NET-A-PORTER
I want this SO BAD for my birthday party. Mouse ears! Organza! It just makes sense.

5. Topshop Nail Polish in Air Kisses, £5
The perfect sky blue mani in a bottle.

6. Topshop Organza-Trim Socks, £3.50
People should wear frilly socks more.

7. MSGM Mohair Pullover, £510, via Moda Operandi
You know I love me some mohair. I'm predictable.

FRIDAY FOUR

Friday, 15 March 2013
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1. Olivia von Halle's monogrammed silk PJs and ace new campaign
I get a lot of press releases in my inbox. It takes a lot for something to really catch my eye and I can say with enthusiasm that Olivia von Halle's latest campaign really did. Something about the sepia-toned photos of four fun-time gals just having FUN in their candy coloured PJs. And then I clicked through to the website and there is MONOGRAMMING, y'all. Sadly £330 is a little out of my budget but I will be dreaming about these (wearing my cheap faded set, obvz), which is why they made it to my Friday Four.

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2. Lanvin AW13 bling
I want one of these slogan necklaces, OK?

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3. Gabriela Pardon Guitar Cushions
I always wanted a Daisy Rock guitar and these cushions are affordable alternatives. I want the gold and the pink, naturally.

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4. My Mama
My mother is a seriously cool babe. Thanks for everything, Tiny One.


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And some of my favourite reading material on the interweb...

...Hadley Freeman on being banned from Jean Paul Gaultier and the authenticity of show reviews over at The Guardian. Back in the day I interned for Hadley and she was the nicest person ON EARTH.

...YouTube is deleting EVERYTHING and replacing it with Jash. Amazing.

...This column from the brilliant ladies at Vagenda made me Laugh Out Loud

...The apps to change your life by the wonderful Gala Darling. I've already downloaded all of them.

**Only three days to go to enter my competition to win a bitchin', money-can't-buy iPhone case from the Caroline Issa x LK Bennett collection! Click here to enter. **

FOOD DIARIES: GARLIC PRAWNS A LA SKINNY TASTE

Thursday, 14 March 2013
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Welcome to my food diaries! I have a miniscule kitchen but I abide by the mantra 'have kitchen, will cook' - I love to cook, whether it's a meal for one (wow that sounds a bit sad, doesn't it) or a feast for friends, and I'm not sure why I haven't blogged more about food before now. But there's no time like the present, eh?

Pinterest serves me no end of inspiration, especially on the culinary front. I was on the hunt for a simple but tasty (and not too naughty) recipe idea when I happened up Skinny Taste's 'Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro' (that's prawns and coriander to us Brits). It was SO, SO good - the flavours are lovely and fresh (it'll make a great summer dish) and it only requires about a teaspoon of oil so it doesn't feel too naughty. I wanted to make it with a side of quinoa but had run out of that AND brown rice so I had to use - GASP - white rice. Something I normally avoid. The consistency also means that you could enjoy it as a soup for an even skinnier option. You can find the recipe over at Skinny Taste but I made a few little changes:

- I'm not the biggest fan of coriander so I put about 1/4 cup in (I got some American cup measures from M&S)
- I used cooked, not raw, prawns and just added them right at the very end as I took the sauce off the heat
- I fried the red pepper slices for about 10 minutes, purely because I like them nice and soft


Follow me on Pinterest for food, fashion and more

P.s. Don't forget to enter my competition to win one of ten Caroline Issa x LK Bennett iPhone cases! Click here to enter.

PUG ALERT PUG ALERT PUG ALERT

Wednesday, 13 March 2013
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I'm so excited I can hardly breathe, let alone type, but I am going to steady myself to share the PUG PHENOMENON that is Mamma Biscuit, with you. Is this the cutest - and more importantly, best-dressed - pug ever? And there's a heartwarming (but sad) story behind it too - Mamma Biscuit had been caged for 7 years and forced to breed, before she was rescued forever by her fabulous now owners.

Here are five reasons why Mamma Biscuit should be a sartorial inspiration to us all...

1. She knows that pearls and tweed are a classic combo.

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2. She knows the merits of an oversized bow. A lesson in working next season now.

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3. She has her fashion references down pat.

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4. She knows that an embellished bib necklace lifts every look.

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5. And finally, just when you thought no one could do that swan costume better than Bjork, MB proves you wrong.

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I LOVE YOU MAMMA BISCUIT.

All photos from MammaBiscuit.com

P.s. Don't forget to enter my competition to win one of ten Caroline Issa x LK Bennett iPhone cases! Click here to enter.