Tuesday, August 22

My Current Reading List - Volume 1

At the beginning of the year I set myself 17 goals - one of these being to read for half an hour everyday. Reading is one of my favourite hobbies although it's definitely one that I don't make enough time for. Although I haven't managed to read every single day, I've definitely fallen back in love with snuggling down on the sofa for the night with a good book. I recently just finished Girl on the Train which reignited my love for reading. I picked it up late one Friday night and within 2 days I had read cover to cover. This psychological thriller will have you on your edge of your seat. I couldn't have been more wrong with the theories I came up with and I loved all the twists that unfolded especially towards the end. This gripping tale is a must read for everyone. 

One of my favourite monthly rituals is to spend an hour or two snooping the shelves of the local Oxfam bookstore searching for my next novel. I always donate back what I am finished reading whilst picking up some more titles that take my fancy. What I especially love is that you can shop online if you`re after a particular title that they don't have in store. Now that I have fallen back in love with reading I thought I would share with you what's on my current reading list. 

Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews - I actually read the first book in the Dollanganger series years ago but I never got around to finishing the rest of the series. Recently I picked up Flowers in the Attic and Petals in the Wind to give them another go. This dark, gothic novel is not for the faint hearted and its scary to think this is based on a true story. 

Stasiland by Anna Funder - On our most recent trip to Berlin we visited the former Stasi prison the Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen memorial. This memorial is my top recommendation for the city, with guided tours taking you around the deserted prison and its grounds. It is a chilling reminder of the fate of the countless people who fell victim here to the Stasi - Communist East Germany`s sinister secret police. Anna Funder tells the tales of those who lived in the former East Germany with real life accounts from former Stasi officials. Berlin has ignited a thirst for knowledge I've never had before with this novel offering an insight that I am yet to explore. 

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - What girl can rests a good old-fashion love story? Although I am not the biggest fan of your typical chic lit, this is based on a extraordinary love story offering a unique and magical twist on the classic tear-jerking love story. From what I can remember of the film, I am sure this is going to leave me absolutely heartbroken, but the enchanting journey their will be worth it I am sure. 

A Game of Thrones by George R Martin - Game of Thrones is everywhere you look at the moment with Season 7 drawing to a close. We've decided to re-watch from the beginning as Gavin had never seen any of the series before so we are currently only up to the beginning of series 5 (no spoilers please). In the meantime I wanted to start reading the books as I've heard mixed reviews from people that have read them and then watched the series and I am intrigued to see what I am missing out on. 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - I remember trawling through twitter one day and I saw someone mention this as the new Gossip Girl. Now let's be real, NOTHING is ever going to compare to the likes of Serena Van Der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf but after reading the blurb I have to say this did take my fancy. A thriller about the dangerous littles lies we tell ourselves just to survive. Described as staggeringly brilliant and now a hit HBO series, I'm expecting big things from this number one bestseller. 

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight - I've always been interested in self help books but I rarely make it past the second chapter. Sarah Knight's anti-self-help self-help approach is right up my street and I picked up this and her first book to give myself a very much needed kick up the bum. When it comes to self-help I need a no sh*t, not sugar coated approach and I think I have found exactly that. 

What's on your current reading list? 

Thursday, August 10

Vospers Woolston

Known as the cruise capital of the world, Southampton has been booming with new restaurants since the opening of the new extension of Westquay Watermark. The city centre is alive with the hustle and bustle of this new complex. But, theres a new development in the city that is on the rise - Centenary Plaza at the Woolston Waterside. First saw the arrival of the beloved Mettricks which has now opened its fifth location in the City and has come a long way since it first opened in 2013. Vospers* was the next to arrive and saw the introduction of a new venture for the Mettricks family. Offering a simple burger menu inspired by local produce and complimented with a delicious selection of cocktails and craft beers. On a late rainy afternoon, myself and several other bloggers headed down to the waterside to check out the new space and sample the menu and a cocktail masterclass firsthand.

 Offering a streamlined menu of around eight different burgers with a variety of different sides including sweet potato fries, slaw, wings and mac'n'cheese, the burgers are priced at a modest £8 with sides extra. For a decent burger I think this is quite fairly priced. I opted for the 1966 burger which included maple cured bacon, oak smoked cheese, beer soaked onions and smokey bbq ketchup! Burgers are something you'll find in pretty much every restaurant you go to, although this doesn't mean that they will be done well. With a focus on offering a unique dining experience, you can tell how much thought and attention has gone into every single item on the menu. There are two vegetarian options, a buttermilk chicken option and the choice of adding on additional toppings to any burger from the menu. All the beef burgers are served pink which just adds to the flavour but if you prefer yours more on the well done side, all you need do is ask. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the decor - often you find burger joints are based on American diners but this place has a real unique character not dissimilar to its successful brother Mettricks. With a strong nautical theme, the menu and decor are steeped in maritime history. There is a clear attention to detail in every single aspect and I especially love the porthole style window on the bathroom door.  

Our mixologist Roger was on hand to answer any questions we had whilst guiding us through the process and making of three different cocktails. We had a real variety of drinks to sample starting with a gin based cocktail, followed by a rum filled delight and finished with a classic Margarita. These were most definitely not for the faint hearted, packing a punch and a whole load of alcohol. Roger's passion and talent really shone through during the class and his enthusiasm really carried through the entire evening. All in all it was such a lovely evening full of friendly staff, tasty cocktails and even tastier food. If you find yourself in this neck of the woods be sure to check out Vospers and keep an eye out for Mettrick's next venture due to open early August... Submarine! 

As always a big thank you to Alice at SotonBloggers and all the guys at Vospers for inviting me and organising such a wonderful evening! 
Complimentary meal with no obligation to review. No affiliation with Vospers. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 8

How I Style The Embroidery Shirt Two Ways

Finding your own personal style can be quite daunting and it can be years before you realise what works for you, what suits your body type and most importantly what you feel confident in! I've always been a lover of fashion, although my personal style is something I'm still working on and developing. In a world of consumerism we are surrounded by influences and bloggers who are constantly showcasing their latest hauls and what they are loving at the moment but in reality how many of these items actually get worn? I have bags of unworn clothes which I look at now and it sickens me to think how much money I've spent on fast fashion which has never seen the light of day.

Now I have to be a lot more conscious of my outgoings and a lot more selective with what I splurge my money on. I tend to only invest in wardrobe staples that will last season after season and I focus on pieces which I can style several different ways. It's all about making the most of what you already have rather than splurging hundreds of pounds on different outfits every single month. If you are looking to splurge then hit the high-street and check out what they have to offer as most of the time you can find some insane designer dupes for a fraction of the price. 


When it comes to fast fashion Primark is my absolute go to. They nail it on the head season after season and this year especially they have been absolutely smashing it out the park. My local store relocated to the high street late last year and the new branch is bigger, better and bursting with their latest drops. I find myself browsing the store at least once a week for inspiration and ideas on how I can incorporate the latest trends into my own wardrobe without spending a small fortune. With this in mind I've decided to start a series of posts on how I style different trends and pieces in several ways to get more wear out of my current wardrobe. 


The first piece I am going to style is a simple white embroidered shirt which I picked up from Primark for about £12. This did actually come with sleeves which I removed as I wanted more of a distressed finish. The first style is a more casual, daytime look. I paired it with a simple pair of jeans and espadrilles and tied the shirt in a knot around the waist. My favourite thing about this look is it can be dressed up with a pair of heels to take you from day to evening. For the second look I wanted something smarter and more work appropriate. A lot of offices don't let you wear jeans so I paired the shirt with a smart pair of bootcut trousers and a monochrome pair of heels to finish the look. You could even style with a belt around the waist and a knee high pair of boots which I would've loved to have done but unfortunately being 5ft 9 this wasn't really an option for me! Considering how affordable this shirt is and how easy it is to style I've definitely got my money's worth!

Look 1:
Shirt, Bag, Trousers & Jacket - Primark
Shoes & Sunglasses - Missguided

Look 2:
Shirt & Espadrilles - Primark
Jeans - New Look
Bag - SheIn 
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