MONSTER

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Because I can't be grown up all the time...


Good weekends?

Mona.

OUTFIT (OF SORTS)

Friday, 27 January 2012

Today has, so far, been one of those days. I thought I was getting up, jumping in the shower, going to get my hair cut and then slobbing around the house (i.e. the dream). However, post hair cut I was picked up by my Ma and dragged out to run errands. Looking like a mental person.

Headscarf - thrifted; Sunnies - ASOS; Stole - Joules; Coat - UO (when I was fifteen!); Top - thrifted; Skirt - UO; Shoes - Russell and Bromley; Bag and Shearling Hobo Gloves - UO;
The saviour of the day is undoubtedly my ASOS sunnies, which take the look from slightly weird, bad clothes to a boho, 'I don't conform to conventional dress codes' type thing. A bit Helena Bonham Carter, but wearing matching shoes. Also because they mask the fact that I'm not wearing a scrap of makeup, I haven't moisturised, and I cannot remember the last time my eyebrows faced their nemesis - the tweezers. So go sunnies!


I am such an Urban Outfitters whore. It's pretty disgraceful.

Mona.

STROLL ON THE BEACH

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Growing up by the beach, I never had any sense of appreciation what a pleasure and a privilege it was being able to pop down for a mooch across the sand whenever I felt like it. That was, until I went to boarding school (lots of countryside, no beach) and then the wider world (lots of cities, no beach). Now whenever  I go home, I make an effort to pop down to the water's edge, and just breathe in that sea air and sigh with contentment. Heaven. 

With that being said, I spent yesterday (between furiously typing ranty blog posts) walking the poor legs off my tiny pooch Baloo. Miss Beeton, my wonderful pal Jake and I did about four miles, on the beach, up a hill, a quick stop into the pub, and then back to the car. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

My dog disagreed, and today on his walk resolutely turned around after ten minutes and insisted on coming home. Lazy shit...

I tried fiddling about with my new camera yesterday... It didn't go very well, luckily Renaissance Man Marc (who made my header), is showing me how it actually works next week. In the meantime, here are some of my classic rubbish snaps (Oh yeah, I know what you like...).

I wear: Hat - Oxfam; Coat - Barbour; Jeans - Topshop; Wellies - All Saints
Miss B wears: Tweed Hoody - Thomas Crown; Jeans - Topshop; Wellies - Hunter





I think we can all agree my photography skills have not increased leaps and bounds simply by purchasing a proper camera. Shame. 

Today was mostly spent studying Chinese, and dying my hands white shorts lavender purple... I really like this whole pastels thing that's meant to be happening when the sun comes out, but my funds prevented me buying too much so I thought I'd DIY it. I'll probably post the results tomorrow (if they're not too embarassing - it was my first dye job!)

Have you ever dyed your own clothes? Any clue on how to get the dye out from under your nails? 

Mona.


DEAR BLOGGERS

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dear Bloggers,

Although conventional wisdom suggests that in order to have a successful blog, one must always be friendly, cheerful, witty and engaging, today I am choosing to ignore conventional wisdom and air a grievance. A grievance about other Bloggers. 

And not all other Bloggers, just to clarify. The majority of you are genuinely wonderful girls, and if you were ever in Manchester would be top of my list for tea or cocktails. Maybe I'd even bake you a cake! This is only directed at a few Bloggers out there. So here we go.

I know I haven't been blogging for very long. I am by no means an authority on the subject, this is just something that has been pissing me off big-time for quite a while now. I am aware that my blog is not the biggest, shiniest, coolest blog out there. Hell, it's probably not the ten thousandth biggest, shiniest, coolest blog. But that's ok, because it's mine. I made it, I'm proud of it, and I currently have 84 people who give a shit what I have to say, what I've baked, or what I'm wearing. That's pretty darn cool, in my opinion.

What I'm sick of are the comments from bloggers saying things such as:

"Wow! This is such a great blog! Check out mine, and if you follow it I promise to follow yours back!"

I almost consider this spam.

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If you think my blog is so great, then just follow it. I actually already check out everyone who follows me (because I'm nosy) and if I like their blog, I do follow it back, because I want my dashboard to be full of interesting posts that I want to read. I have never followed someone just to get a follow back, and I honestly find it a little insulting when I receive these kind of comments. I like finding new blogs, and if I like yours, you can be sure I will follow it, without having to be asked... And if you have asked, I'm probably a little less inclined to follow it. Because I think that you're rude. 

Don't get me wrong, by all means ask me to take a look, and leave your address. Every blog needs to get itself publicised somehow, I understand that, and we all do it from time to time. I think that's fine as long as you're leaving an insightful comment, which makes it networking, instead of blatant self-publicisation. And if you have followed me, please comment and introduce yourself and your blog, I always appreciate that! 

I understand that we all blog for different reasons. Some people are hoping it will be a means into the journalism or fashion industry. Some people want free stuff. Some people just want as many followers as possible. I, personally, don't care so much about the size of my audience, what matters to me is that they're engaged with me, and I with them. That's what I find rewarding. And if people are following me in some kind of "you-follow-mine, I'll-follow-yours" cheap exchange, I'm pretty sure the only time they would ever return to my blog is if the word GIVEAWAY popped up in their newsfeeds.  

I will not be responding to any more of these kinds of comments.  If you would like to network with me, by all means get in touch, but if the full extent of your contribution is to be "cute blog!" or "great pictures!", then please refrain from commenting on my blog. 

Have any of you had problems with these kind of Bloggers? How did you respond? Independent Fashion Bloggers wrote an interesting article on the matter, which you may find helpful.

I promise there will be a return to mindless chit-chat and pretty pictures, as opposed to horrible rants, soon,

Mona.

ROAD TRIP

Monday, 23 January 2012

Exams are finished!!! I'm now embarking on a road trip with Miss Beeton - heading back to the sunny South for a few days, as the new semester doesn't start for a week.

I'm an absolutely awful road trip companion as I keep failing my driving test, so poor Miss B has been left to do all the work. 

Miss Beeton - my chauffer
I have, however, provided water, cigarettes, cupcakes, and a playlist containing more karaoke classics than you can shake a stick at, so I'm not entirely useless...

Silk scarf and sunnies - ASOS; Earrings - UO; Top - H & M
Also, despite the fact that it's January, there's a huge sun in the sky, providing me with the perfect excuse to crack out my new ASOS sunnies. Aren't they wizard? My reasoning is that it would be a huge Health and Safety violation if the sat-nav/iTrip operator's vision became impaired. Or something alone those lines.

Mona.

SUNDAY SHARE - COFFEE CUPCAKES

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Exam season. Nightmare. There is literally nothing like it. My lovely, sweet, caring flatmates become snappy and irritable, and I morph into a fully-fledged crabby, selfish, sleep-deprived monster. The kettle  hardly gets a moment to itself (caffeinated drinks appear to be the order of the day), and fresh produce such as fruit or vegetables become something you can only briefly recall, as if from another life. 

Sound familiar?

I have the perfect cure for what's ailing you... Coffee cupcakes. Although I could ill-afford the time off studying to bake, these were worth it, as I'm quite convinced that they alone stopped us going all "Lord of the Flies" on each other in the flat due to stress.

INGREDIENTS:


For cake:
80g salted butter, room temperature
20g instant coffee granules
240ml full-fat milk
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
2 eggs

For icing:
50ml full-fat milk
15g instant coffee granules
160g salted butter, room temperature
500g icing sugar 

I recommend using a high-quality instant coffee for a tastier, more caffeine-packed cupcake. My flatmate swears by Clipper, she wouldn't drink anything else (I wouldn't know, I only drink ground coffee, darling).
INSTRUCTIONS:

(1) Preheat oven to 190 degrees centigrade.

(2) Gently warm the milk over the hob and stir in the coffee granules.


(3) Stir the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder together until the consistency is sandy.


(4) Add the eggs to the milk and coffee, and stir into the dry mixture until smooth.


(5) SNEAKY TRICK! Transfer cake mix to a measuring jug and pour into twelve large paper cases in a cupcake tray until cases are two-thirds full - this is so much easier than spooning the mixture out, cutting down on both time and spillages.


(6) Put tray in lower shelf of oven for 18-20 minutes. When done, cakes should be spongey to the touch and skewers should come out clean. Leave to cool in tray for several minutes, and then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.


(7) Repeat stage two, and then allow the milk and coffee to cool completely.

(8) Mix the butter and icing sugar.

(9) Add the milk and coffee mix and stir until smooth.


(10) Ice cupcakes generously and decorate with chocolate flakes, sprinkles or chips. 


These are the perfect cocktail of sugar-rush and caffeine hit to get you through stressful situations. Although that said, I plan on eating many, many more of them when exams are finished because they're just delicious. The whole "exam" thing is just an excuse. Actually, I'm just a glut. Honestly, they were such a hit in my flat, this was the second batch in twenty four hours. Om nom nom. 

Anyone have any fail-safe exam survival tips for me? The situation is getting a bit desperate...

I hope you're all having wonderful weekends, free from revision and that horrible feeling of waking up every morning, and thinking "Was it today? Have I slept through an exam? What day is it? WHO AM I? OHMYGODOHMYGODNOOOOOO."

Oh dear, it would appear that I've totally lost my marbles.

Mona.

BAD BLOGGER

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Hey cool cats,

How sorry, you may ask? So sorry that I wrote the sign BACKWARDS as I couldn't figure out how to flip the image. If that's not a penance, I don't know what is...

A thousand, thousand apologies for my extended absence from the Blogosphere. My only excuse is that exams have been whipping my touche big time, but fear not, I'm finished on Monday and will be back with a vengeance. I'll be posting a recipe tomorrow, so check in if you fancy whipping up some cupcakes, and from then on I'll be back, and possibly better than before, for I have finally purchased a fancy pants camera and tripod! Which means I just have to learn to use it, and then I never have to have this conversation again:

ME: "Hello, would you mind taking a picture of me on my iPhone please?"
FRIEND: "Um... WHY?"
ME: "Er... Never mind." Aside: "Looks like it's just you and me again, sideyways laptop and photobooth..."

I've also stress purchased enough new clothes (Hello, student loan - Goodbye, student loan) for outfit posts from here to Kingdom Come. 

Thank you to Hazel, BDP, Kathryn, Scarlett and Katie for bestowing such lovely awards upon me... I will get on that soon, I promise. 

Thanks to you all for sticking with me, I promise not to be so dreadful again in the future. I'm also very much looking forward to exams being over so I can have a nose and see what you've all been up to, and also to have a peek at my new followers' blogs! I adore reading them, so if you're new, please leave me a link in the comment box!

Forgive me?

Love from a very shame-faced blogger...

Mona.

KATRINA PHILLIPS

Saturday, 7 January 2012

There is nothing on this Earth that I enjoy like a good mooch down Portobello Road on a Saturday. It is market day, and you will need to keep your possessions clutched tightly to your side, whilst elbowing your way through crowds of chattering tourists, but still... Worth it.

In Summer, I like to go to style-perv on the leggy blonde girls, ever present, in their sun-dresses and Raybans. In Winter, when there's a bit of a nip in the air, I like to drink mulled wine from a street vendor and pretend that I'm Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, or pop into Charlie's Cafe for amazing hot chocolate or the best eggs benedict I've ever had. 




Whatever the weather, I always make sure to pop into Katrina Phillips, located at 99 Portobello Road, next to the Portobello Gold (which serves incredible oysters, by the way). Katrina's shop holds a lot of sentimental value for me; I had my first real job there when I was fourteen, and it was Katrina who really introduced me to my love of all things beautiful. She also sold us all of our Christmas tree decorations. I continue to work their for the odd holiday period even now, eight years later, and I love the shop dearly.


Everything sold in Katrina Phillips is either antique, by an artist, or ethically sourced, so you don't have to be concerned about the origins of anything that you purchase, should you be so inclined as a shopper. 

Today I was totally bowled over by the jewellery currently on offer at Katrina's. The stock is constantly changing so it's always an absolute treat to see what's going on in the shop.





All stunningly beautiful, all ethically sourced. Katrina informs me that statement chokers are going to be massive for summer, which is always good to know! I may save up for one which matches the bracelet in the top photo...

Katrina gave me this Big Cat ring as a late Christmas present. I am over. The. Moon. She is an absurdly generous woman.


Please head down to visit Katrina Phillips if you're ever in the area. She's a lovely woman who's always up for a chat - tell her that Mona sent you! Her shop is just truly, truly full of beautiful objects as well... It honestly is one of my favourite places in London.

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I hope you're all having wonderful weekends... And hello new followers!

Mona.

Katrina Phillips

LONDON

Friday, 6 January 2012

I've come to my second home, London, for a few days.


Expect a couple of posts that are heavy on the food porn over the next few days. And some more really bad self-taken outfit posts. I could ask my friends to take the pictures, but that would involve divulging to them that I blog, and I'm somehow just not quite ready to do that.

Any of you know of anything crazy going on here over the next couple of days? Leave a comment or shoot me an email, I can't spend all my time revising...

Mona.

And the Oyster card is covering my face not in an attempt to look cool and arty, but because Mount Vesuvius erupted today. On my shnozz.

CREATIVE USE OF PHOTOBOOTH

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

I wanted to do an outfit post today, as I was kinda diggin' what I was wearing. However, as you may have fathomed, I have no camera, no tripod, and no blank background to take photos on at home - my house is a riot of colour. Little brother is also on strike as my iPhone photographer (he knows I want to blog, but "Skyrim takes priority") so I was reduced to using the shameful backup of photography - Photobooth - in the kitchen. 

Here we go...

Headscarf - ASOS; Faux Fur - Joules; Bolero - Banana Republic; Shirt - Topman (thanks Big Bro!); Trousers - Zara

The main event of the outfit is actually the boots - my favourites - which I've had for years. They're from Stuart Weitzman, and they're so perfect and versatile I'm genuinely considering investing in a second pair.

Here are my shameful attempts to show you my booties:



Then I thought they'd probably look better from front on, at which stage the pup decided to get involved.




There is never a peaceful moment in this house. But you can kind of see the boots, so it wasn't a  total fail I suppose. 

Between revision, I whipped up these Slutty Brownies today with a pal, which I'm eating tonight with my three best friends, whilst drinking BBMs and playing board games. Yup, I am The Londoner's biggest fan-girl.

I hope your 2012's have started wonderfully. Apart from the exams looming in the near horizon, everything's going swimmingly for me!

Mona.

SUNDAY SHARE - HAPPY NEW YEAR

Sunday, 1 January 2012

image from weheartit

Happy New Year, darlings. I hope that you all enjoyed yourselves yesterday? I'd like to tell you that I spent last night smothered in couture and quaffing champagne, but I wouldn't lie to you like that. I spent it dancing my face off to cheesy 80's music, covered in foam, and wearing my Kigu. I think I'm going to end up as one of those cautionary tales you read about on MSN News - "Girls who loved their onesies too much".

Not that I'm complaining. I was surrounded by friends and loved ones, and had lots and lots of fun. And I was very warm on the way home, unlike all the girls who dressed up as those weird, slutty animals in corsets and mouse ears - you may have gotten all the male attention last night, but I don't have hypothermia this morning, so boom, I win!

Traditionally, New Year is a time of reflection and self-improvement, so here goes...

I will always remember 2011 as the year that I:
  • Kept a resolution ALL YEAR (not to leave the house in loungewear i.e. trackies, hoodies etc.).
  • Had my first real encounter of the heart (unsuccessful, but I'd like to think a valuable learning experience).
  • Discovered blogging!
  • Accidentally got all my hair cut off by a Chinese hairdresser / discovered that my Mandarin is not good enough to get a hair cut, resulting in this:

Ouch

My resolutions for 2012 include:
  • Get contacts and/or wear glasses. Stop stumbling around like a blind kitten, bumping to things.
  • Pass my driving test (fifth time lucky!).
  • Treat studying like a job in term time i.e. 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. 
  • Value family time more - Big Brother has graduated and has a real job now, so the moments when we're all together are rarer and must be cherished.
Are you making resolutions this year? I normally make loads and never follow through with any of them, I'm hoping that blogging will act as an incentive - now I have actually documented my plans publicly, there's more pressure to see them through.

I'd like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2012 is, for all of you wonderful readers, filled with love, health, wealth, success, and most importantly, lots of lovely clothes and shoes. Thank you for all of your encouragement, for following me, and for all of your wonderful comments and emails in 2011. You guys are the best.

Mona.
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