Lifestyle, fashion and beauty

Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Boxing Day party

Me looking angelic, with a Gok Wan gift set my sister got me. Smells gorgeous!

Christmas day around ours was just family, but on Boxing Day we had all our relatives around. The party was festive themed and the girls came dressed up as everything from angels, a Christmas tree, Christmas presents, elves, snowmen, Mrs Santa's and fairies.

The girls in my family all made a dish each, giving the mums a bit of a break. Everyone got creative and we had everything from goats cheese tarts, keema pastries, and cupcakes to biryani, shami kebabs, and spicy pasta. The food was so tasty and we had so much fun. Later on we had a party for just the girls, we did Secret Santa, pass the parcel, and the kids had LOADS of presents! After that we did dholki songs, OK this isn't festive, but as it my wedding coming up all the girls and mums were learning traditional Asian songs in preparation for my mehndi night - a traditional hen night - and it was great listening to them in action! We were singing until 4am then had a sleepover. Was a good night before I had to travel back to London in the morning. Here are a few pics from the party.

Our Christmas menus courtesy of Rhuks and Fozi

So many presents!

Some of the gorgeous food!

My cousin Rhuks with her prize for winning the best dish competition, and with her winning cupcake.

So impressed with her sugar design!

2011 - What a year!

2011 has been quite a year for me, and I thought it was quite fitting to do a round-up before going into 2012. It has been life-changing in more ways than one, and so many opportunities have come up for me.

At the beginning of the year, almost a year to the day, me and Asif got engaged. We had a lovely engagement party with our nearest and dearest. It was a really memorable day. We have enjoyed a lovely year together, both living in London, planning our year ahead and our wedding at Easter.

Also at the beginning of the year I started working where I am now and I am happier than ever! I think working with the right people and in a good environment can make the world of difference. My previous place - the first job I had in London - was probably the worst place I have worked in. I loved the work, and my fellow colleagues, but others made the job a living hell, and I dreaded going into work everyday because of them. I am blessed and happier that I am somewhere now where I am happy, and in a good environment.

I have now been living in London for 18 months, and it has been a whirlwind. There have been highs and lows, but the best bit has been living in a city I love, making amazing friends, having my cousin close by, and doing things I always wanted to do. It's not somewhere I plan to live forever, but I am making the most of it while I am here.

I set up my blog in May, forgot about it then started working on it properly in July. It has probably been one of the best things I have ever done. As I work as a reporter I get to do interesting things on a daily basis, but the blog opened up something entirely different. I have met the most interesting people, made some lovely friends, and am part of a great community. I was lucky enough to have some lovely opportunities as part of it, but the people I have met have far outweighed this.

2012 will see me getting married, and getting a place with Asif, which I am looking forward to. I am enjoying working on my blog, and have some interesting opportunities coming up which I am looking forward to exploring. But for now I am in a happy place and thankful for it.

Thank you to my lovely readers for reading my blog and making it worthwhile! Here's to an exciting 2012!!!!

Christmas at home

My Christmas post is a little late as I have not had access to a card reader to load up my pictures, but better late than never. We do like a Christmas dinner around ours and festive decorations. We had a gorgeous dinner - not turkey, as we prefer chicken at mine - cooked by my mum, and a good get together with my family. I will let the pictures do the talking here.

Hope you had a good Christmas! If you have done any festive posts leave the link below as I would love to see them. x

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! And Barry M Red Glitter nails

Hello lovelies! Hope you have had a great Christmas, eaten loads and got lots of presents. My best part about Christmas is watching all the Christmas movies and soap specials after eating Christmas dinner.

I thought I would share with you all my Christmas nails though. I managed to find this Barry M nail polish in colour 150 - Red Glitter - in Boots the other day. Most of the shops I went to were sold out, and I was in search of a festive nail polish, which I think fits the bill. What do you think?


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Desperate Scousewives, episode 4

This week on Desperate Scousewives there was more arguing between Chris and Mark about kids. The result was poor Debbie having her locks accidentally chopped off and then made into a graduating bob, which I actually thought looked gorgeous.

The Mark and Chris arguments are getting a little old. I wish Chris would back off. He is so pushy constantly on Mark’s back about having kids. And although Mark is good with children, as he has demonstrated this week, he admits he is not ready for kids. A valid point, probably valid enough to drive them apart as next week’s trailer suggests.

The crux of the storyline this week was Chloe’s footballer cousin Sean throwing a fancy party at his plush pad. The aim was to have lots of his footballer mates and fit girls. Chloe was on hand to make sure that happened by inviting all her mates.

Amanda was on a photoshoot and spots a blog by Jaiden posting bitchy comments about her while she was out training. She laughs it off in good spirits, but then confronts him later at Sean’s party asking him who invited him. He shrugs it off and says he gets invites to all the best invites. Still not convinced she asks him again ‘no really, who invited you?!’ to which he reluctantly admits he was Elissa’s plus-one. She replies it’s terrible being a plus-one, but looks like the cat whose got the cream. Ouch!

Jodie admits she has a thing for Sean, and she seems to be genuinely taken with him, until she learns he has a girlfriend. Feel sorry for her and feel Chloe could have warned her about that one.

Elissa is on a photoshoot wearing a dress made entirely of human hair. I find this a tad on the gross side, but she thought it was amazing. Layla is desperate to speak to her, and after numerously having her calls blanked she turns up at the shoot. Elissa is not best pleased, but agrees to meet her later to discuss Joe.

The girls, the unlikeliest of friends on the show are hostile towards each other first, but then bond over drinks and a formulated plan to expose Joe and his lies. Elissa suspects Joe cheated on her with Layla years ago when they were together. Layla isn’t so forthcoming about when they were actually together and says she didn’t know he was still with Elissa at the time. Elissa says she will give her the benefit of the doubt if she is telling the truth, but will have serious words with her if she finds out she knew about it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crafty Minx

I used to be very crafty when I was younger. I mean crafty in a DIY way. I think it started in primary school when we all had to make a model of a scene and people. I made a playground, complete with swings, a slide, dolls and even made their clothes. I was seven.

I then started making clothes for my Barbie dolls and mum even bought me a hand-held sewing machine. I loved that machine to death and made so many miniature outfits with it.

I went on to make friendship bracelets, and hair braids. Do you remember those?! And mum taught me to make shoe bags, which I made a little business out of selling to other kids at school. I was 10.

By the time I reached high school I was making my own clothes, customising bags, and making handbags from scratch. I spent hours making intricate jewellery. I would get lost in my own thoughts while making things.

In college I developed my own style by making my own jeans, trousers, dresses, anything really. I bought the material and would think of ways to make new outfits, customising them with fabric paints, beads and buttons. On a trip to Pakistan mum bought a button machine that allowed me to make my own buttons using any material I wanted and she got me the most beautiful fabric paints and beads that I still have to this day. And on my 18th birthday I made myself a beautiful salwar kameez outfit - a traditional Asian outfit - as my mum was away in Pakistan at the time and usually made all my birthday outfits.

Why am I remembering all this? Well I have been reading blogs and craft websites and remembered my crafty childhood and wondered why I let it go. I want to take up knitting again! I remember knitting a purse in primary school, which I treasured, but would like to advance to something like a snood and then jumpers, which are perfect for this cold weather.

So tell me, are you crafty minxes too? Can you knit? If you can I would love to see some of your creations. Link me to your designs below and let me know if you have any tips on knitting - especially ribbing, which I so need to learn!

And here's to a year of homemade next year and even a homemade Christmas! Hopefully I can inspire others to take up handicrafts to save money and make more hand-made items!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Glam Rock event

Last Wednesday I went to the Glam Rock event at the boutique. Goldsmiths store in Westfield Stratford. Lauren Pope from The Only Way Is Essex was the special guest and DJ for the night. It's probably not the ideal place for a party, but it seemed to fit as the setting for Glam Rock to launch their new watches.

Lauren was wearing a gorgeous red dress and showed off her DJing skills to the packed shop, festive shoppers and excited TOWIE fans.

The new watches themselves are a range of interchangeable designs, and Lauren was wearing one herself. They are not cheap, hers cost a whopping £2,995.

The brand is pretty new in the UK, but already has a celebrity following in the form of Britney Spears, Fergie and 50 Cent.

Party drinks!

Winter Wonderland

Last week I went to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland with some friends. I have never been before, but loved it! It had everything from gifts stalls to rides, an ice-skating rink and even an indoor bar.

The stalls had some fab hand-made gifts, from sweets, Italian maquerade masks, trinkets, puppets, dolls, and hats. Ideal for last minute Christmas gifts or souvenirs. We tried on some hats, and there were some cute ones with gloves attached.

We then had a wander around some of the rides, and games. It was very cold, and drizzly but we still had fun. There were all kinds of food stalls, and we opted for pie, chips and mushy peas, which was yum. We then had a drink, and hot chocolates in one of the indoor bars.

The Winter Wonderland will be at Hyde Park until January 3. Have you been yet?

Review: Radio 1Xtra live gig

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Radio 1Xtra gig featuring an all-female line-up at Brixton's O2 Academy. The London night was the last of four gigs around the country. I had been to the original live gig two years ago in Sheffield, which was amazing, so this one had a lot to live up to.

The gig started with Jessie J performing all her most well known songs Price Tag, Do It Like A Dude, Nobody's Perfect, and a couple of new ones. The previous week she had performed live on X Factor and received criticism for being too pitchy and out of tune. She told the audience that she took all the comments on board and admitted that her performance on the X Factor had been a bit pitchy, but she was proud that she never mimed.

She then sang Who You Are in her words - the way it was meant to be sang - in tune - and it was faultless. Although Jessie J is a little bit wacky in person she did have a good banter with the crowd and was quite playful, especially with the haters who she highlighted in the crowd who she singled out until they were won over.

Another highlight of the gig was an exclusive performance by six British female rappers - the Female MC All Stars. Mz Bratt was the first one out performing her hit Tear It All Down. This was followed by Lady Leshurr who blasted out Lego. The two were joined by A. Dot, Roxxane, Lioness and Baby Blue for a live performance together, which was amazing and impressive.

But the highlight for me was Kelly Rowland, who was the true star of the night. She came out looking glam, with her all-male back-up dancers busting some moves which answers why she has an amazing figure.  She performed a medley of her hits including Like This, and every member of the audience was rooting for her. It became obvious these fans were here for Kelly and remembered her from her Destiny's Child days, and wanted to see her shine in her own right.

She sang her 2002 hit with Nelly - Dilemma and the room sang it along with her. She then performed a medley of hits from Destiny's Child including Independent Woman, Say My Name, Jumpin Jumpin, Soldier and Survivor.

Kelly then performed her more recent dance hits When Love Takes Over and Commander, performed with singer Luc James All Of The Night, and then sang Lay It On Me with Big Sean.

But she truly shocased her vocals in Down For Whatever for the finale, which, dancing aside, was the highlight of her performance for me.

Did you go to the gig? If you did, what was your favourite performance?


Sunday round-up

I hope you have all had a lovely week. For me it has been festive and busy, lovely in the run up to Christmas!

1 - On Monday I met up with a couple of friends from uni and went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. I will do a full post on this later with photos, but it was lovely! OK the weather was drizzly and cold, but we made the most of it browsing the stalls, having pie, chips and mushy peas, and drinks. I was too cold to go on any rides, and I am not an ice skater, but there was still plenty to see. It is at Hyde Park until January 3, so if you haven't been definitely check it out.

2 - Wednesday I went shopping to Westfield in Stratford and Lauren Pope off of Towie was DJing at Goldsmiths. She was looking glam as ever and wasn't half bad at DJing.

3 - Friday was my work Christmas party. We went to the Approach Tavern in Bethnal Green, which turned out to be really nice and festive. Loved the food, and it was probably the best veg I have ever had with a Christmas meal. They melted in the mouth! Gorgeous. Would defintely go back there again.

4 - Saturday morning I went back to Wales and met up with my friends for lunch at Frankie and Benny's. I had a lovely goat's cheese calzone, and had a gorgeous fudge cake. We had a good catch up, gossip and swapped Christmas and birthday presents.

5 - Saturday night we had a big family meal at my parents' house with all our relatives in honour of my cousin who got married in Canada and his wife. It was a lovely evening, with lots of yum food cooked by my mum and sisters.

In other news I am very much looking forward to Christmas. I am very skint at the minute, but trying to make the most of it. And I am having my blog redesigned by the lovely Faye from All These Pretty Things. I am very excited about it as I do think my blog needs a bit of an overhaul.

How has your week been?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Get the look - Elissa Corrigan lipstick

Ever since Desperate Scousewives started I have been lusting after Elissa Corrigan's lipstick. I love it! It is just the right shade of red, and looks so glossy.

Well I asked Elissa herself and she said it is shade Russian Red from MAC, with a YSL gloss over it.

Click on the picture to be taken to the MAC Cosmetics page
 So there you go. Don't say I never treat you!

Desperate Scousewives, episode 3

Another week another Scousewives episode, and the cast didn’t disappoint as this show was packed with drama.The highlight of this week was seeing Chloe and Amanda, at a bar, run away from two men who bought them drinks and offering them dinner, to which Chloe replied she would rather go down the chippy.
Chloe is fast becoming the comic character of the show. Sweet and likeable, she has an innocent naivety about her and always seems to say what we at home are thinking. 

And Amanda is becoming more likeable too. I like that she is a mother and is more than just a model. It’s interesting when she opens up about her home life and what it is like being a mother.This week she told the Liverpool Echo not only are her and Chloe a double act on the show, they only recently found out they were also cousins. Small world eh? And can definitely see the resemblance. 

Elsewhere rejected Danny is trying to mend his broken heart. He is probably my favourite character on the show, purely for comedy, but also for his unashamed way with the girls. Last week he kissed Sam outside a club, and Debbie saw him, which he didn’t realise at the time. This week he asked Sam to go out with him, and she laughed in his face saying she knew about him serenading Debbie, and she would not be his rebound girl. Ouch.Then when he tries to convince Debbie to go on a date with him she says he is like every other man she can’t trust. I guess that’s a no then. 

Sister Gill celebrated her 30th birthday complete with tears about how she is on the shelf now, and has no man and no kids. While the two men in her life – married couple Mark and Chris – have a full blown fight in front of their friends about their differences of opinion about why they are not yet having kids. Awkward. 

And journo Elissa agrees to give player Joe a chance to talk over dinner. I have to say he does seem like a totally different person with Elissa than he is with Layla. He claims he has changed, but says it as it is when he says he goes with Layla because she is there and it’s easy. Fair enough. My thoughts? I would say to Elissa to take it slowly and give him another chance, but only if he proves he has changed, and make him work for it. 

Revelation of the week – Jaiden isn’t that bad. I think he has been given the caricature ‘bitchy blogger’ and tries to live up to it. He bumps into Joe and Danny and tells them he needs new outfits to wear when he is bitching about others. The title ‘bitchy blogger’ comes up in every episode numerous times, and it is like the producers are trying to shape him into Perez Hilton. But I have read his blog, and it is not half as bad as they are making him out to be. His softer side showed when Joe asked him to put in a good word to Elissa for him, and Jaiden said he had to prove to him too that he had changed, not just Elissa. Personally I think Jaiden is alright, and would be more likeable if he wasn’t so defensive all the time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Days of Christmas challenge

Do you like a make-up challenge? Of course you do! Well the lovely people at MUA cosmetics have set bloggers and our readers a daily challenge in the run up to Christmas for the chance to win some prizes from today.

Make-up artist Karla Powell will be posting a look every day on the MUA blog site and outlining how to recreate it. And every day you have the chance to win all the items featured in that day's post. All the posts will be inspired by the traditional 12 Days of Christmas.

Picture from MUA cosmetics blog
The first look has been posted on the site today and is inspired by a partridge in a pear tree. You can find the look here or by clicking on the MUA logo in the top left sidebar, and if you recreate it be sure to post a link below so I can check it out too!

At the bottom of Karla's blog post there will be a competition where you can win everything involved, and this is open to everyone who follows their MUA blog via Google Friends Connect. So click the badge or link and follow for a chance to win!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Little Mix make X Factor history

Little Mix have made X Factor history to be the first group to win the show.

This morning Jesy Nelson's mum Janis said she was still getting over the shock of her daughter winning the competition.

The group was put together by mentor Tulisa Contostavlos during the auditions. They were relative underdogs in the beginning, but became the bookies favourite in the last few weeks.

In the final they performed a rendition of En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go, followed by a festive Silent Night. They beat Marcus Collins after the public voted them the winners after hearing their version of Damien Rice’s Cannonball, which was released this week.

Mum Janis said: “They have done absolutely amazing and it is so well deserved because they worked so hard for it.

“They are all pinching themselves about winning because they were the underdogs from the off and now they have made X Factor history.

“All the way through they said they didn’t believe in their wildest dreams they could get this far.
“I think they have done incredibly well and have come into their own.”

During the competition Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh dubbed Little Mix as the show’s best ever girl band and said a massive future was ahead of them.

Jesy used to dance at The Liberty fashion shows, and The Liberty Shopping Centre’s marketing and PR manager Susan Williamson said she always stood out from the crown and had something special about her.

She added: “The Liberty wish Jesy and Little Mix every success, we know from the their homecoming held at The Liberty that Little Mix have support and a massive fan base within the community and across the nation.
Jesy’s former headteacher at Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College Glenn Mayoh said: “We are thrilled that a former student is doing so well.

“She was already talented, but we hope being an arts college we sparked an interest in her. It is great to see her doing so well.”

(This story was taken from my article for Romford Recorder here)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday round-up

I have had a bit of a hectic week at work, so was glad when the weekend finally came. Yesterday me and Asif went shopping in Green Street to look for some wedding stuff. In the evening I made chicken biryani, which I must say was gorgeous because I have been perfecting it. Unfortunately I sliced my finger while chopping onions, which wasn't too much fun. I have never seen so much blood. Wasn't sure how to stop the blood actually so kept it under cold running water, but I'm sure that's if you have burnt yourself, and then stuck a plaster on it to help glue it together. I know that's not technical but it seemed to do the job.

Earlier this week it was Asif's birthday. We went to Maedah Grill in Whitechapel for some authentic Turkish food with some friends. I have never been to the restaurant before, so it was all new to me. Usually we go to Tayyabs across the road, which I must highly recommend. Apparently it is difficult to get reservations there, but we have managed to get a table a few times, and the food is amazing.

Over in Maedah Grill I loved it because the food was gorgeous and it has a good atmosphere. We had a lamachun starter, with a grilled lamb (Asif had chicken), and rice main. It had the most gorgeous salad with it too, and I had a mango lassi with it instead of a dessert as I was too full. Not strictly Turkish, but still nice. If you are ever in Whitechapel and looking for somewhere to eat definitely scout this place out.

Today I am having another wedding related day. My mum and sister are travelling down from north Wales and my cousin from London is coming with me to meet them. The plan for today is to do serious wedding shopping. I hope to have my wedding outfit sorted by the end of today, no excuses. I have seen a couple that I like, and it is a matter of choosing, getting fitted and negotiating prices. I really want my mum there to help me decide. I think I don't really feel that much in the wedding spirit as I haven't got my outfit yet, and I have had to do a lot of it in my own time, since I live in London and my family lives up north. It is difficult to cram it into a Saturday afternoon when I go to visit, and I have no holidays remaining at work, so can't take any time off, boo.

So hopefully I will have some good news to tell you tonight. Elsewhere me and Asif have been discussing where we want to live after we are married. He works in central London, and I work in east London. I have family in east London, and we both have friends around that area, so I think I would like to stay around there. I guess it will become clearer when we start looking at properties and the areas.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Review: Label.M Sea Salt Spray

I miss the summer. I miss wearing my hair natural and curly and having the beach hair look. But just because it's winter doesn't mean I can't still get the same look.

If you went to London Fashion Week and picked up a goody bag you would have got this little bottle of magic like me.

I tried it for the first time today to see what it would be like. The bottle says you can use it on damp or dry hair. I straightened my hair yesterday and decided to spray it on my dry hair and see what effect it had.

My first thoughts were it really smells like sea salt! But my hair didn't smell like the sea once it dried, thankfully. And secondly, it really does work. I have naturally curly hair, and even though it had been straightened yesterday I sprayed this on liberally and it brought back a wavy look. It dried quickly and I pinned half my hair up to show off the effect. Asif noticed and loved it, so I guess it was a winner.

Have you tried it on damp hair? And what did you think of it if you have?

My Chamilia bracelet

My lovely sister and brother-in-law got this Chamilia bracelet for me for my birthday. I love Chamilia and the gorgeous jewellery they have, so I was pleased to get this little beauty.

It included a pink Swarovski gem, a coloured bead, a happy birthday and a sister gem.

I love the packaging, it made me feel so excited opening it. And I love my bracelet!

Do you have any jewellery from Chamilia?


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Voice lineup

Now The X Factor is almost drawing to a close we need another show to keep us occupied for another few months, and BBC have kindly helped out by providing use withThe Voice. The official lineup was announced this week and we can expect all kind of musical madness from Jessie J, Will.I.Am, Danny O'Donoghue and Tom Jones. Yes Mr Jones himself.

I was surprised myself about that one. He isn't exactly at the forefront of new and current music, but he knows a thing or two about music, so who knows he might be a good one.

The format of the show will be similar to its American counterpart where judges judge singers on their voice alone.

I am quite excited that Reggie Yates and Holly Willoughby will be fronting the show! I like them both and think they will be the perfect comedy duo.

Tell me what you think of the lineup and the presenters, and will you be tuning into this show?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: Burt's Bees lip shimmer

I thought I would post a mini review of a product I picked up while I was in Toronto. What I noticed while in Canada was how much they love Burt’s Bees and natural products. They were everywhere!

Since I was there for a wedding I didn’t have much time to shop, but I did pick up this little lip shimmer in Cocoa.

It comes out a nice light brown colour for a neutral daytime look, is very hydrating, which is perfect for this winter weather, and smells almost chocolately. Not sure, I can’t put my finger on the exact smell.

Have you tried this one? If you have let me know what you think of it.

My wedding dress nightmare

For the last few weekends I have been going wedding dress shopping and I hate it. If there is one thing in the world I am hating right now it is wedding talk, and shopping for it? I wish I could do it online and forget about it. Unfortunately the reality of it is that all eyes will be on me on the wedding day so I have to make some effort to wear something that I will be happy to look back at in years to come. 

I guess part of my frustration is I know exactly what I want but I just can’t find it. I want a traditional Asian outfit, but can’t find one that I like enough to wear on my wedding day. I have tried West London, I have been to East London, and last weekend I also went to Manchester. I don’t have time to go to Birmingham, which I would have liked to hit also, because I need my outfit sorted in the next couple of weeks.

You see I choose the design and it will be made in India within three months and I need time for fittings, etc when it arrives. And the wedding is four months away today. Yes, scary I know.

So far my shopping experience has consisted of massively overpriced outfits for very little work, work done on hideous fabrics, shop owners talking to me like I am thick and belittling me – I walked out of two shops in Southall for this reason alone, and bad designs.

I think I have found somewhere to get my outfit made, but don’t want to give details of it away. I must say, the colour I originally wanted to go for doesn’t look how I thought it would unless I choose a certain fabric, which I don’t really want to go for. So I am having to compromise on the colour. But the rest of it I am pretty much sorted on. In my head. Now the question is if the designers will make it the way I envisage it.

Anyway if you are married and have any tips on how to go wedding shopping they would be gladly appreciated. Meanwhile I am adding pictures of various outfits I saw on my travels, not necessarily my taste, so you can see the trouble I have been having while shopping.
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