Cool for cats

This autumn fashion’s going feline, so I’ve been on the hunt for the purr-fect accessories!

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Above: Tights from Primark

Novelty items usually aren’t my bag, but since I got my two kitties last year I’ve gone cat crazy and, luckily for me, so has the high street. Feline inspired accessories are everywhere right now. Since it’s unlikely to be the most durable trend, I’ve managed to find some bargain bits to give a cute nod to the trend this season without breaking the bank. I love that there’s something a bit Harajuku inspired about this trend – these Japanese girls have such a cool, urban style.

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Above: T shirt and cross-body bag, Primark. Postcard, Paperchase in IKEA frame

Cats come in all shapes and colours but, for me, it has to be black cats. There are all sorts of legends that abound about black cats – for example, did you know it’s lucky for a bride to see one before her wedding? Or that in ancient Welsh folklore, they were believed to ward off sickness? At the risk of revealing myself to be a mad cat lady, I’ve even got my own black cat wall at home, filled with unusual prints and Edwardian postcards picked up at vintage fairs…

cat wall

This wall is at the top of the stairs in our house, but I’m hoping that, in the years to come, we’ll be able to fill the whole wall with quirky cat cards and paintings. And, if you’re not all kitty’ed out yet, here’s a little snap of the two beasts who inspired it all, my Popeye and Olive. Did you know that 70% of cats left behind at the RSPCA are black cats? Apparently they’re not as photogenic as other cats, but I beg to disagree. Look at them…

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(Popeye and Olive were looked after by Bristol and Wales Cat Rescue  before we adopted them)

Finally, if you STILL haven’t had enough cats, here’s a song by Japanese pop punk band Shonen Knife which you won’t be able to get out of your head…meow!

How to be a cover girl

My friend Amy shared this charming little video starring Lena Dunham and Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, which is all about the difficulty of posing.

Not only is it utterly adorable, but it really speaks to me as a blogger – if you’ve ever struggled to get your outfit pictures right, you’ll feel Lena’s pain…

Hearst Inspires: Empowering Women event

Last month I was invited to attend the Hearst Inspires: Empowering Women panel debate at the Arnolfini in Bristol. It was a fascinating night, filled with stories, advice and encouragement.

The debate was chaired by Carol Vorderman, who talked a bit about her own experiences in the workplace (before a TV career came calling) as well as delving into the struggles many women face in the workplace today, including the pay gap, making a business case for promotion, and juggling motherhood with a career.

The event was the brainchild of Anna Jones, who was appointed CEO of Hearst Magazines UK this year. One of her first big initiatives after taking on the role was to start the Hearst Empowering Women project, which aims to encourage women to be ambitious, and speak out for themselves as well as each other.

Personally, I felt that the event really did live up to its name. I came out of it inspired and fired up. I’ve just started my own business, so it was great to speak to other women who had been in the same boat and made a success of it. It also made me realise the importance of supporting young women coming into the workplace after me – things won’t change for women unless we nurture and support each other. I’ve been lucky enough to have some inspiring women blazing the trail ahead of me. I just hope that I can pay that forward to the girls who come after me.

Watch the video below to see the debate in full…

Mmm doughnuts…

…but not just any doughnuts. These are salted caramel doughnuts!

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I often get inspiration from other people’s blogs and this week, lovely Lyzi at Being Little posted something that really tickled my tastebuds.

This gorgeous salted caramel doughnuts recipe originally came from Baking Mad and, while mine didn’t turn out quite as cute as Lyzi’s, I was quite pleased with them as I’m not a natural baker and they actually tasted pretty great!

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I ended up having to use a pineapple ring cutter to create my doughnuts as I didn’t have the correct equipment in my kitchen, but it seemed to work quite well.  I’ve now officially got the doughnut bug and have been researching all kinds of different recipes to try next week!

Relaxation…Georgian style

This week I’ve got spas in my eyes after a blissful visit to the beautiful Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath.

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There are some tweets that just make your day sing and one of them chirped into my feed a few weeks ago. It was from the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath, saying they had just refurbished their spa and asking if I’d like to come along and check it out. Does Elizabeth love Mr Darcy?! Bloody right!

The Spa interior

Set within the hotel’s stunning Georgian architecture, it really is a little gem in the heart of the city. The new spa boasts a fabulous heated pool, hot and cool tubs, a steam room and sauna. The building itself reminded me of an old church, made from Bath stone with huge windows and high ceilings. The spa interior is decked out with natural woods and bamboo, which gives it a really tranquil atmosphere – not to mention a lovely woody smell. We visited on a Saturday and were the only guests there, so we had the whole place to ourselves, which is exactly how I like it.

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The products they use are by ESPA and there were candles burning with a lovely sweet scent of Palmarosa, Sweet Orange and Lavender. The thing I loved the most was their shower gel and hair products, which smelled like bergamot. It’s much more natural smelling than what I would usually go for (I tend to prefer sweet, floral smells) but actually I think it might be the start of a new olfactory journey for me. It’s a much more grown up scent and uses all-natural ingredients.

The spa is currently offering membership packages, which include special discounts for the hotel and restaurant. Membership starts from £65 a month, which is pricey, but my goodness it’s really luxurious and such a treat! Visit http://www.royalcrescent.co.uk/spa/

Disclosure: I was treated to a free spa day, but I wasn’t paid for this piece and all views in this blog are definitely my own. So there.

Gina shoes: Made for me

Like many girls, I have a shoe obsession, but there’s one shoemaker in particular that floats my boat and, like me, it’s called Gina!

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Above: pastel and floral hues from the new Jemma range

What I love about Gina shoes (apart from the fact that each and every pair have my name printed inside them), is the fact that they’re glamorous, girly and super sexy. I don’t care that they’re quite loud and brash – in fact, that’s what I love about them. It’s also pretty cool that my style icon Kylie is a fan. The only thing I’m not so in love with is the price…the ones above RRP for about £650, which is way beyond my reach at the moment – what with all the mortgage, bills and cat food I need to pay for. One day though, they will be mine. Oh yes, they will be mine…

Gina hasn’t given me anything to write this post or been in touch. But you know where I am, guys – right? Help a Gina out?!

M&S leading ladies

I’m a bit late to the party, but just wanted to say how much I adore the leading ladies M&S has chosen to front their latest campaign…

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This season’s ladies are: Emma Thompson Actress, Screenwriter & Author, Annie Lennox OBE Singer/Songwriter & Human Rights Campaigner, Rita Ora Singer/Songwriter, Alek Wek Supermodel, Activist & Artist, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE Campaigner & Life Peer, Lulu Kennedy Designer & Fashion Guru, Rachel Khoo Chef, Writer and Broadcaster, Roma Agrawal Structural Engineer and Advocate for Technical Careers.

It’s brilliant that they’ve picked such a diverse bunch of women with different talents and looks – and also a variety of ages. We’re not all 21 anymore, so it’s great to see that reflected in their ads.

I’ve already written in the past about my immense style crush on Rachel Khoo – but I was also super excited to see Annie Lennox included. I’ve always thought she was fabulous – my mum had one of the Eurythmics albums back in the 80s and I was inspired by her super fly androgynous 80s look. I also remember being told off for ruining my mum’s feather duster whilst trying to recreate her Diva album cover. Here it is again, just as a reminder…

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Simply gorgeous, don’t you agree?