Topshop T-shirt Look Book

30 July 2017

A while ago I saw Tanya Burr sporting a rather cool looking Gucci t-shirt online. Now I'm not of the monthly earnings to fork out £285 for a t-shirt so when I saw a similar version in Topshop for a mere £15 I knew my wardrobe was beaconing it to join it.

Funnily enough I recall looking at my wardrobe earlier this year, when I began to rejoice that the weather was warming up and I didn't need to wear jumpers all the time, that I didn't have hardly any t-shirts to wear. Now I feel I have three very versatile tops to wear with a multitude of items :)

The first t-shirt I brought is such great value. The material is quite thick cotton but is really soft. After doing a bit of Googling I found it has become a bit of an iconic top and is doing the rounds on Instagram.
So I decided to do a post showing how I style this t-shirt plus two other recent Topshop t-shirts I have brought.

The Mon Cheri Topshop t-shirt has sold out online in Topshop, surprise, surprise! So I did a Google search to try and find a similar style. And whilst no exactly the same, I found this on at Motel.

Being a t-shirt it's so versatile to wear. This look I have teamed with a pair of black Primark trousers, Marks and Spencers mules and my Primark denim jacket. A casual evening look that's also transcends to a day time look by swapping the mules for a pair of Vans or Converses.

Find this on Topshop £12

This I call my awkward pout look! This t-shirt has the saying 'Never have I ever...' embroided on the chest. The cotton material of this t-shirt isn't as thick as the previous t-shirt but nonetheless it is still a great quality t-shirt for £12.
This is another casual look which I have teamed the top with a Primark denim skirt and Primark Van dupes.

You can find this t-shirt on Topshop £8

This final t-shirt is a sale bargain at £8! This is a longer length t-shirt again in a thick cotton material. It's great for tucking loosely in a pair of jeans.
I styled this with my Topshop jeans and a pair of Converses. Ideal for an off duty look.

I think t-shirt's are having a moment as they can be dressed up or down, suit most body types and normally are in expensive. I'd love to know what you think of these t-shirts, are they your cup of tea or do you prefer a more tailored look?

Thanks for reading and I hope I've given you some style inspiration!

Lot's of love,

P.S. This is a non-sponsored post. All items are my own :)

Should I stay or should I go? | A life update

23 July 2017

Sit down and grab a cup of tea as this is going to be a long one...

Way back when, in the early days of our relansionship, Dan and myself discovered Bournemouth in Dorset on the south coast of England. I had previously been there once before at night to a Smash Hits Tour Party concert (for those unfamiliar- it was a pop concert back in the late 90's by the classic Smash Hits magazine- anyway I digress).

                                                     Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

Bournemouth in Bloom

I can't remember how Dan and myself a number of years later came to be in Bournemouth, but all I know is we really liked it. The beach was a delight to discover as it has no stones! Unlike the beach we lived right by at the time, which had too many stones. There was pretty gardens to walk through and for me, lot's of fab shops (even if Zara, H&M and Primark were in the process of being built!). What we also loved was the chilled out vibe that Bournemouth offers.
Yes there are regular stag and hen do's. And yes there are lot's of holiday makes, much like ourselves. But despite that Bournemouth felt liked it had a relaxed pace about it.

I recall one weekend Dan and myself went to London as we were invited to a launch party of one of Playstation's Singstar games (we love!) and we stayed in London for the night and did a bit of mooching around whilst we were there. And it was so busy. All the commotion of so many people was something I personally did not fell comfortable with.
We had then planned to head to Bournemouth for the remainder of the weekend and I can recall vividly being on the train down towards the coast and an air of calmness and a sense of weight came of my shoulders as we edged closer to Bournemouth. We were heading away from the hive of activity that is the capital city and towards where I felt was quietness, space and a slower more comfortable setting.

So after staying in Bournemouth and being pleasantly surprised at how it suited both myself and Dan's needs, we took to visiting and staying there at least once or twice every year over the last decade or so. I will add I do not have rose tinted spectacles on. Just for Dan and myself who both (for different reasons) do not like places too busy, frantic and noisy, we felt we found somewhere we could enjoy visiting time and time again.
We are also so accustomed to living by the beach. I have lived my life so far only being a maximum of 6 miles from the coast. Dan is pretty much the same. I couldn't imagine living any further inland personally.
Even when I lived in Bognor Regis and I used to get frustrated with the lack of innovation and development of the town it's self, it's saving grace (stones or no stones) is the beach.
When I lived right opposite the beach I used to be so thankful that I could step out and visit it any time I liked when I was home. I would often muse that only a small proportion of the country could do that too.

Anyway Dan and myself have often spoken about wanting to move to Bournemouth. Why not? It's got the lifestyle and amenities that suit us so well. And the cost of living is slightly cheaper than Chichester (the rent is not cheap- Chichester is renown for it's expensive properties).
Bournemouth offers more affordable renting costs and the buses are much more cheaper and regular that in our current place in the world.
My dream would be a house overlooking the sea, but short of coming into some money that is way off for us. A house in Sandbanks? I wouldn't say no!

So that brings us back to present times. Dan and myself sign a 6 monthly renting contract with our current letting agents to stay on in our current flat for the next 6 months. If we decide to leave before the current 6 month contract expires than we have to continue paying the rent on this flat until a new tenant moves in or pay till the end of the 6 month contract. Crazy! Don't get me started on Letting Agents, that's a whole another post in itself!
With that it mind, we got to thinking recently. What if we moved to Bournemouth to time in with the end of our current rental contract? Yes, I'd be making a big step for me, moving away from my comfort zone of what I know and moving further away from my family. But it's somewhere we want to end up.
Dan was well up for it as was I. A new place to get to make my own with my love of homeware and have a great city to live in that we love. To do this though I needed a job. Dan is self employed and works from home, mostly online with courses, writing books and doing YouTube. So he can easily relocate his job to wherever there is internet.
Me- I don't have that luxury yet so I need to find a job to bring home the bacon as it were! Luckily enough there is another branch of the company I work for near Bournemouth. Unfortunately they do not do branch transfers, so I had to apply for a position a level lower than the one I am currently in, as there was no vacancies to match my current one.

Dan and myself went over to Bournemouth one weekday earlier in July and I attended an interview and assessment. I then found out a few days later to expect an offer to come through. Result! Job secured, now just need to find a place to live!
If only live was that simple! The job offered to me was not in the department that was discussed in the interview, but another department that I didn't feel so ofay with. Then the pay was not suitable either. Basically doing my sums on the hours and pay offered meant that we would have to down size to a one bedroom flat. (Hardly any houses for rent in the area- at least in our price bracket anyway). We really do need two bedrooms at least so Dan can have a home office.
So it was a real deciding moment for me. Take the job that isn't ideal, spend a few thousand pounds of Dan's savings to move and pay for all the rental checks to move into a smaller property? Though at least we would be in the area we want to be in. Or stay out for now, save our pennies and move when it would be more suitable?

Some would say do the former- jump in and take the opportunity as it's there. I have a habit of playing it safe and comfortable and not seizing the day as it were. So after much deliberation and changing my mind often, I finally decided it didn't feel right taking a job offer that wasn't what I really wanted (I am aware that I am grateful I had the luxury to decline it as it could be that is the best I'm going to get!) and to hang fire and move when it would hopefully be a better opportunity.
I'm not naïve and I know that there may not ever be a better time to move. Life is never really that convenient. But for me I felt we were rushing into it, taking the only option that as available to us and I didn't want to do something I might later regret. (Equally could be said the same as I haven't taken it- time will tell!).

Decision made to stay put when then got to thinking that as we plan on staying in Chichester for the foreseeable future (until we can make a move to Bournemouth more suitable) why don't we look at finding somewhere to live that suits our current needs more?
Like a house, with a garden (perhaps event a cat!), maybe an additional room, so I can have an office space as can Dan. That set us scouring Right Move and Zoopla to hunt out what is available in our local area.

We soon realised that most, if not all houses are higher than our current rent (which is quite high as it is), but if there was a house that was worth the rent increase we would want to go for it.
We looked at the photo's of the houses that matched our requirements online and Dan then set up some viewings for the day just been.
We had three properties at the top of the city to view. From the photo's we had ranked them as the good, the bad and the ugly!

Dan had decided to scope out the houses before hand to have a look at what they are like on the outside. There was one three bed property that we thought, despite looking a bit basic in the photo's had potential. So Dan went and checked out the house and one evening after work I went and had a look too.
There is an old stone wall running around the perimeter of Chichester, which you can walk along most of it. The northern part of the wall has a raised footpath on top of an embankment, which allows you views into the houses and gardens that also run along the perimeter of the city walls.
This gave us the perfect view into this properties garden. And most the gardens to the houses are well kept and used, but this was the one garden that was completely overgrown and as such in accessible as a garden. Great start!
The house is terraced and the front of the house has a pavement outside. The building has bay windows which I like, but there was a big crack in the front ground window, with weather beaten and chipped paint on the window seals. Overall the house had zero curb appeal. I don't want to come across as a house snob, as a house is a house and there are those would see a roof over their head as nothing to be sniffed at. But when you are spending a fare amount on rent, you want your monies worth and this appeared to be vastly over priced for the state it was in.

The other two properties from the photo's looked like they had better potential. Only two bedrooms, but we hoped they might be big enough to make it work for us.
We viewed all three properties (in the pouring rain) and long and short of it, none were suitable.
The first property was nice enough, but too small. Dan with his books, amassing well over 1,500 I would imagine, really need a room of their own. And this property just did not offer us space for them, or much of our furniture.
The second property was the house of disrepair and after speaking to one of the tenants who was not aware we were visiting, we had a very brief look around. There was damp under the window sill in the middle ground floor room, a rotting bottom of a shower and a dank and not homely feel to the property. We didn't stay in the property for long. I just hope the current tenants are moving to a better place and landlord sorts out the house. It needs some much needed TLC.
The final property I had higher hopes for as the pictures online made it look quite smart and modern.
This house was only a few houses along and from the front door you walk into a small but adequate kitchen, following on into a similar size lounge. The benefit to this property is it had a conservatory. Dan loves the idea of sitting in a conservatory whilst it's raining and chilling out in there. He certainty got to put his theory into practise what with all the rain. There was also a narrow but useable court yard/garden.
Upstairs was small bathroom and two small bedrooms. Whilst the house was inherently in good order, the photo's online made it look more upmarket than it was.
Again this house was too small so we asked the letting agent to keep us posted with any other properties that come on the market.

So after a wet afternoon house hunting, we went home and had another look online for any other properties that might be suitable. And that is where we are up to at the moment. We hope to view some more houses on my next day off this week. But failing that we may have to stay put for now as we can't look for too long because we will be expected to sign a new contract for our current flat I'm sure within the next few weeks.

The last few weeks have been a bit manic with this going on. Didn't quite know if I was coming or going. It's also a bit of a come down as I was so excited at the thought of being able to move to Bournemouth so soon. But hopefully we will at some point!

If you take anything away from this post I'd like the morals of it to be:
Be grateful for what you have, life isn't always greener on the other side.
Life rarely goes the way you expect it- 'The best things are never arrived at in haste', a quote I like.
And never trust the photo's of properties you see for sale/rent, seeing is believing!

Thank you for reading this rather long post and I'll be sure to keep you updated with the house hunt!

Love and hugs,

Blogger Interview | In the Bloglight

19 July 2017

Hello and welcome to this new series of monthly posts I am calling 'In the Bloglight'. Catchy title eh!
The aim of these forth coming posts are to introduce a fellow blogger each month and get to know them a bit better by asking them to answer a series of questions.

Nothing too evasive, but some questions to find out what make's each blogger tick and learn more about what blogging means to them.

So to start things off I thought I would answer the 15 questions I have posed and then I will tag another blogger to answer the questions on their blog.

Let's get started and here is question 1:

1. Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?

Ok, great place to start! I'm Abbie and I am 33 years old and I currently live in Chichester, West Sussex which is on the south coast of England. I live in a rented flat near the centre of Chichester with my husband Dan. I have been blogging for nearly two years and I blog about fashion, beauty, but mostly lifestyle and homeware.
Blogger's desk

2. Describe how did you first get into blogging?

I stumbled across Zoella's blog just over two years ago and really liked what she had created. I'm not one for being on YouTube, so I thought this was much more my medium. I have had a passion for writing ever since I can remember so I thought a blog would be the perfect way to indulge my passion for the written word and let my creative streak run free!

3. How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
That is an on going battle! Working full time means I don't have as much free time as I would like. I tend to use my days off to blog. I also use my free evenings to blog as well. I don't have a very active social life so I can use my down time to blog which has become my hobby for the last two years.
I endeavour to post twice a week and will normally have one post ready to go live, whilst I then work on the next post.

4. What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
From blogging, I would say not working on the logistics of my blog. And with that I mean the SEO, meta tags, my DA score etc. I imagine if I managed to get those performing better my blog would have more exposure, but to me my blog is about the content and the connection to the reader, not the nuts and bolts. But as the question asks, I do think not paying that enough attention is a failure on my part!

5. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
Might sound a bit cheesy but getting married! I dreamed as a young girl that I would love to get married one day and to make it a reality is amazing. To find someone who I wanted to married is better than winning the lottery!
I'm not someone who takes many risks, I tend to err on the side of caution so I don't have many other achievements. Perhaps I need to live a little?!

6. What do you do in your spare time?
Um, blog! I also love reading. Chick lit is my fav genre of book. I find that if I'm feeling anxious then lying on my bed with a chick lit book, which tends to be a relaxing read helps me feel calmer.
I also love getting lost in a great story and wanting to keep reading and not wanting to stop.
Aside from reading I also like to do a bit of retail therapy when and where I can. And weather pending I like to go on scenic walks in West Sussex as there are some very picturesque areas to enjoy.

7. Can you name some of your favourite bloggers and explain why they are your favourites?
Oooh tough one without leaving someone out! If I had to narrow it down I would include the Queen of Blogging Jemma at Dorkface. She is awesome as she is so down to earth and so encouraging of other bloggers. I would also include Abbey Louisa Rose who is a blogger who I have seen flourish in the last year or so. She makes a great blogger to collab with and has brains as well as beauty!
There is also Victoria from In The Frow. I love Victoria's blog as her layout is slick and unlike any I've seen elsewhere. And she always looks amazing in her blog photo's. She has given me so much inspiration in her blog photo's. Something I try to emulate (but never quite achieve!).

Blogger desk
8. What’s the best thing a blogger can give to their readers?
Honesty. Being truthful is so important. If I found out a blogger had been untruthful (for their own personal gain) I would go off them straight away. I like to know what I am reading and seeing is not twisted to gain followers inorganically.
I have recently discovered the Youtuber Patricia Bright (I know I'm always behind the trend!) and what I love about her is that she is honest in her product reviews. If something isn't good quality she will say and not as it were suck up to the brand to give glowing reviews even if it is rubbish.
I think when you get to my age, you become a little bit cynical and see through the BS and just want people to be honest.

9. What’s your favourite film/holiday destination/item of clothing and book?
Ok fav film is Moulin Rouge. And it has been since it first came out! Fav holiday destination is in the UK Bournemouth and outside the UK is Dubai. Fav item of clothing is a biker jacket. I have 10 of them in various colours and designs! My fav book is Letters from Lighthouse Cottage by Ali McNamara, a must have read!

10. If you could have one superpower for the day what would it be and why?
To rid the world of injustice. Those who are corrupt would get a good dose of karma and those who are generally good hearted would not suffer. Sounds reasonable?

11. If you could collaborate on your blog with any other social media personality, who would it be and why?
Well the dream would be Zoella as I think her and myself would get on so well, I feel we are quite alike. I already collab with Abbey Louisa Rose, so that's one social media person I enjoy collabbing with, so anyone else would be a bonus!

12. What are your aspirations for your future? House, kids, marriage and or travel for example?
Currently my aspiration is to move to Bournemouth. With my husband and my finances we can not afford to get a mortgage so we would have to rent. But to live in Bournemouth, renting or brought house or not, as long as we are there would be fab.
Beyond that just to be healthy and happy is good enough for me! I'd love to get a cat and live in a lovely home with the hubby but beyond that I'm not fussy!

13. What is your family life set up? Do you live with family, other half, alone?
So I live with my hubby. Just me and him. Anyone else and I would feel uncomfortable. I need my personal space.

14. What has been your favourite purchased item this year?
This is a tough one! I wish I could say a car or holiday or something lavish like that, but I can't. But I do love my dressing table which I got from a second hand charity furniture shop. Practical as well as aesthetically pleasing!

15. And finally what does blogging mean to you?
To be able to share all the things I love in words and photos and to be able to engage with other like minded people. Getting to know others who love the things I do is fab as with off line I wouldn't know how to do this!

It's all Zara
Zara- It's all Zara
So now you know a little bit more about it's another bloggers turn! August's blogger In the Bloglight is Zara from It's All Zara. Zara is a lovely blogger and I'm excited for you to read her answers to the above questions at the beginning of August. Be sure to check out my Twitter to look out for links to when it goes live.

Thanks also to all the bloggers who contacted me to be involved in this post series. I have your Twitter handles logged, so I will be contacting those who are selected in due course.

Thanks for reading!

Love and hugs,

Fundreds and Thousands Cupcakes

16 July 2017

Who doesn't love cake? Well maybe there's some, but for those who do, here is a easy peasy cupcake recipe for you!
If you have seen any of my other baking posts, you'll know I'm not a great baker. Whenever I make cakes they never quite turn out to be the finished article I'm hoping for!

But one way for fool proof baking is to use a pre made cake mixture, from someone like Betty Crocker (#notspons). I find for someone like me who is a tad impatient and not overly confident with getting the recipe correct, this method is a saviour.

So for this recipe (which is actually very simple) I purchased the below items:

As per the instructions on the cake mixture packet I placed the eggs, oil and cake mixture into a bowl as pictured below:

Once the ingredients in the bowl were all combined I scooped (hint- use an ice cream scoop) the mixture into cupcake cases. I purchased these one's from the brand Wilton in Hobby Craft.

Place the filled cupcake cases into the oven and wait for it to do it's magic!

Hopefully your cakes will come out the oven looking something like this. I was pleasantly surprised in how well these came out as normally my cupcakes come out rather lop sided!

I then proceeded to make butter cream icing to decorate my cakes. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food.

With my buttercream icing I wanted to try something a bit different, so I also purchased from Hobby Craft a trio icing bag set from Wilton's. This basically has three separate icing bags and you fill each bag with a different colour of icing. You then pipe the three colours together to get a rainbow of icing!
Below I evenly separated the buttercream into cups to then add one colour of food colouring to each cup.
(Background note- when I took a look inside my baking cupboard, I found my food colourings where out of date. So my lovely hubby walked the 30 min round trip to the supermarket to get me some more! Thanks Dan!)

Below are the three colours mixed into the butter cream ready to go in the icing bags!

And here are the finished cakes. I also used some shimmery edible fine glitter and hundreds and thousands to decorate the cakes.

I'm proud to say these came out quite well (for me anyway!). A simple but effective cake recipe that can be used for any occasion (even if it's just for yourself!).

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Love and hugs,

Ulimate Summer Playlist | An Ab Fab Collab

12 July 2017

I'm a summer loving kinda girl. You can forget the cold, dark months of winter. I'd happily trade them for the light evenings and sunny days of summer. And whilst the odd Christmas tune can get me in the festive mood, there's nothing better than a lazy summers day with a good tune to put a smile on my face.

So with that in mind, Abbey Louisa Rose and myself have created our Ultimate Summer Playlist.
Check out Abbey's collab post here.
I've picked songs that remind me of long summer holidays as a child/teenager, songs that put a smile on my face and make me feel the summer vibes. (Sorry for the over use of the word summer but what else would you call it?!).

So take a listen to my Spotify playlist, grab a cool drink and lie back and enjoy the sunshine with these tunes!

I'd love to know what songs get you in the summer mood- leave a comment below and I'll shout out my fav on Twitter!

Love and hugs,

This is not a sponsored post. All content is my own (except for the Spotify player, which is theirs on the free account mode).

Author Interview with Ali McNamara

9 July 2017

I am a self confessed book worm. I have a reasonable collection of 'chick lit' books and always like to have a book on the go.
I have books by authors such as Paige Toon, Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Lindsay Kelk to name a few. And one author I do love is the wonderful Ali McNamara.

I have read all Ali's books with much delight, including A Step Back in Time, With Love from Notting Hill, Actually and my fav book ever; Letters from Lighthouse Cottage (you can see my review of it here).
If you haven't had the pleasure of reading one of Ali's books, then I highly recommend you do! Her books always have really interesting and unique story lines, with loveable characters and I feel like I have been on a real journey of a story with each book by Ali. Her books are total page turners!

And on the 13th July, Ali's latest book 'The Summer of Serendipity' is released. As Ali is one of my favourite authors I approached her to see if you would answer some questions for you lovely lot and she only went and said yes!

So below is an exclusive interview with Ali:

How to grow my Instagram followers?

2 July 2017

Instagram is now ranked as only second behind Facebook in total users in the world. With 700 million monthly users as of April this year. That's a whole lot of photos!

When I first started using Instagram back in 2010/11 it was very mediocre in it's content. Photo's were generally of lower quality and in concept than in recent times. A lot more undone and rough round the edges but some would equally argue more real.

I've had a handful of profiles on Instagram since I first signed up, with one account I amassed 1.5k followers (a small following compared to some of the big players). This was before my blog was came to be and I did it just for fun (and still do).
My photo's have never had a theme or style. I just take photo's of what I think looks great and share.
There's no strategy or talent to my photo's. I come with no photography experience other than learning from the school of life.

My current active profile Loved by Abbie is hovering around the 200 followers mark since I launched it on the 1st of May this year.
I've not been active in trying to gain followers, just following back those who are kind enough to follow me (and hoping they don't do the dreaded unfollow routine).

But recently I have watched a BBC documentary featuring Dev from Radio 1. He set himself the challenge to go from zero to hero in one month on Instagram. Put simply he wanted to see if he could gain 10,000 followers on Instagram in 30 days. What followed was Dev learning from the pro's on how to get his A game on and with some celeb endorsement thrown in he managed to get to 10k followers in just under a month.

So this got me thinking. I know I have no BBC or famous friends to vouch for me, but can I go from my small but perfectly formed followers of 200 and get to at least 1000 followers over the next few weeks?

Now I know I'm probably getting ahead of myself. 1000 sounds like a steep increase but I think I need to aim for something tangible that sounds like a great milestone.
Now the magic is how I do this. Which is what I can't answer right now. I think if I knew the answer I would write it in a book and make a best seller!
But my initial thoughts are:
  • Look for images that reflect my tastes and use these as inspiration
  • Keep my eye out for anything and everything that I think would make a great Instagrammable photo
  • Share what I'm loving as I want to keep my photos true to me
  • Be savvy with my use of #'s
  • Lighting is key- work on the actual structure of the photo- imagine I know what I'm doing!
This is something that I'm doing for nothing more that as a little experiment and to indulge my creative streak and for some fun!

I hope I'm not coming across egotistical as I am self aware enough this could easily come to nothing as there are soooo many photo's to pitch myself against, (and would anyone actually follow me?!) but hey I like to think I've got nothing to lose! (I also want to add that I will NOT be buying any followers, I want any that I have to be organic).

So I'll keep you posted how I get on. And tips or advice you have learnt on growing your Instagram account I'd love to hear!

And oh if you are kind enough to follow me, I promise to follow back and not be one of those pesky follow-unfollow accounts!

Love and happy snapping,

Latest Instagrams

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