Friday, June 29, 2012

Best of the rest...

Who doesn't like to browse the internet and if you're a blogger there's nothing nicer than having time to trawl the virtual hemisphere looking for inspiring writers and sites.  In fact, it can become quite compulsively addictive!  I impose a time limit on my browsing or I'd never get any work done and it's usually at the weekend that I have time to sit and appreciate all the hard work my fellow bloggers have put in during the week.  Here are some of my favourite sites at the moment - they showcase creativity at its best and always give me something to go away and think about or put into practise, so if you've time to kill, take a quick peek...
1. Camille Styles a fabulous blog from Camille and her team; featuring fashion, DIY projects, food and interior decor.  She's been seen in Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge, both great sites for decor inspiration. 
*credit: Chris Perez for Apartment Therapy
2.  The Life Styled by Catherine Shepherd.  I've only just discovered this one and I LOVE it!  Based in LA Catherine is a stylist and her blog covers beauty, fashion and other inspirational things from her daily life.  Beautifully put together and great photos too.  What's not to love!
*credit: Catherine Shepherd for The Life Styled
3. Three Beautiful Things by Claire from Tunbridge Wells.  It's the simplicity of this blog that makes it so attractive.  Everyday Claire journals three things about her day that have been noteworthy.  It's a sort of meditation on mindfulness right there in front of you; a reminder to be in the moment and that even on a bad day, there are good things!
"When I have a cold, to make up hot apple juice and honey, to take another paracetamol and have some breakfast. It's amazing how much better everything seems" *credit: TBT

4. Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily.  Another LA blogger who is just about to release a book of the same name.   A good go-to for fashion inspiration as she mostly chronicles her daily outfits, with other bits of inspiration for variety.  She's also an ambassador for Estee Lauder and you can check out her beauty tips here.

*credit: Cupcakes and Cashmere
5.  Pure Vegetarian by Lakshmi a gorgeously simple food blog with exquisite photographs.  She is a follower of Krishna and her recipes are all about healthy wholesome food cooked with love.  She lives in Finland and not only can she cook, but her food styling is beautiful.
*Credit: Pure Vegetarian
I hope you find something inspirational to take away, enjoy your reading and have a wonderful weekend...x

Thursday, June 28, 2012

15 minute DIY projects

Every so often I get the urge to 'make' something; it could be a delicious meal that I've spent more time and love preparing than normal, a homemade card for a special occasion or just giftwrapping a present with a bit more creativity.  The thing is, I'm also quite an impatient person and like to see results fast, so longer projects often fall by the wayside.  These DIY projects can be done in 15 minutes or less and look great...have a go and let me know what you think!
It's tennis season around me - Wimbledon is taking place just five minutes away, and the queues are snaking their way around Wimbledon Park; all the public tennis courts are full of Sharapova and Federer wannabes and I can hear the cheers of the crowd from my garden.  This cute little guy made me smile and seemed totally apt to boot.  It's so easy to do: cut a mouth with a sharp blade and add stick-on eyes, or rivets.  To attach to a wall just pierce through the back of the head and stick on a nail OR stick on a magnet and attach to your fridge.
My next project is a mini-succulent garden; I don't know about you but I have too many corks lying around my kitchen and this little makeover will help use them up.
You will need: corks, succulent cuttings, compost, magnet, strong glue.  Take a sharp knife and hollow out an inner section of the cork before filling with some soil.  Place your cutting in the hole and pack a little more soil around the base of the plant.  Glue your magnet to the back and et voila.  You can make several of these and display them as a miniature garden on your fridge.  They look amazing!

Tweet me @sazpaz1 if you get round to making any of these...

Photo sources: Apartment Therapy; Alissa Rose

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just words

Torquato Tasso, Italian Poet 1544-1595 "Perduto e tutto il tempo che in amor non si spende"
~Lost is all the time that you don't spend in love~

It's true, love does exist!   Sending love to all my readers, thank you for your support...Xx

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fake it, don't bake it

It's that time of year when we take a peek at our milk-white limbs and start to panic about airing them for all to see. As I'm so fair I really shouldn't sit in the sun.  I know it's not good for me...BUT...I do get in some sneaky sun sessions from time to time despite that.  My dermatologist told me that fifteen minutes wearing a good SPF, as long as it wasn't when the sun was at it's hottest, was fine!  Even good for me - my mood, and of course my vitamin D!  A sunbathing session, however, is out of bounds, so what's a girl to do?  Well of course there's the 'spray tan' as shown here but these days the products that are available for a DIY tan are so brilliant, less streaky and some even have a pleasant smell! Here's how to get the body beautiful and  my top buys for a DIY tan...

  • Choose a light or medium-toned product, for a more natural looking result.
  • Before using the product, wash and exfoliate your skin with a wash cloth or sponge to remove excess dead skin cells and avoid a streaky or patchy result.
  • It is recommended that legs are shaved 12 hours prior to application for an even result.

  • Apply the tanning product lightly and evenly. Use less product on dry or thickened skin, such as over your ankles, knees and elbows as these areas tend to absorb more product.
  • Five to ten minutes after applying the self-tan, rub areas such as your elbows and knees with a little lotion to ensure there are no patchy areas.
Rub lotion around wrists and the backs of your hands blending evenly up to your arms. Rub lotion around your ankles and the tops of your feet, blending evenly up to your legs.


  • After applying the product to your face and body, wash your hands with soap and water to avoid colouring your palms and use a wet wipe for the soles of your feet. Be sure to remove any product from under your fingernails. Then use a cotton ball to apply the product to the top of each hand.
  • To prevent staining your clothes, wait until the product dries completely, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Most tanning products don't contain a sunscreen and therefore don't protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun's rays. If you spend time outdoors, be sure to apply a sun protection cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 before going outside.
Apply moisturiser to your "tan" every day.

Body scrub
1. Origins body scrub  - a skin-scouring Dead Sea salt and warming Ginger Zest buffered in emollient-rich Macadamia Oil, Soybean Oil, Kukui Nut Oil and Sweet Almond Oil helps to remove all traces of roughness to buff every bit of you before you start applying your cream. I love this because it smells amazing.
2. Xen Tan - If you like a darker tan, or you're naturally olive skinned, this is the lotion for you.  Used by stars all over the globe, it creates a deep olive colour and a flawless finish.

3. L'Oreal Sublime Bronze for fair skins.  This gives a natural looking tan without the self-tan smell.The ultra-wide micro-diffusion spray allows the product to dry instantly, for a radiant result with no need to rub in.

4. Lancaster Ultra natural bronzer for the face.  This gentle emulsion for face and décolleté glides on smoothly, evenly, keeps skin soft as it develops a gradual, natural-looking Lancaster golden glow. Moisturizes and contains an antioxidant RPF anti-ageing cover. Colour results are subtle, so reapply daily to increase colour intensity.
5. To help keep my tan in tip-top condition, I use Clarins After Sun Moisturiser which guards your skin against signs of premature wrinkles and aging.  This hydrating cream is uniquely formulated with moisture-replenishing Watermelon Extract and self tanning properties to keep skin soft and smooth while maintaining and deepening your tan.

What are your favourite sunning products?

Monday, June 25, 2012

The weekend - in brief

It's been a full and busy weekend...lots of socialising, champagne and pimms, finger sandwiches, homemade cakes, sunshine and rain but crammed with fun and high spirits...

Homebaked raison whirls - SOOOOOO good, and filled with creme patisserie

Hickstead Derby in all it's glory:  I've never been to a showjumping arena before and it was SUCH fun.  Our box looked straight out onto the arena, and although I'm not a horsey person, even I had to admit they are beautiful creatures.  I totally got into it and had a little flutter (very little!), ate and drank way too much and even the rain held off.

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend and are ready for the week ahead..let's hope for sunshine and all good things... x

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ten things to do...this summer

I make lists all the time; lists for meal plans, lists for shopping, lists for calls to make, things to buy, books to read, I've got a list for just about everything.  Why is that?  I think it helps me to be more productive, it helps me remember! I think it's also because it gives me focus and direction and helps me to feel that I have a 'plan'...I like plans!!!  So, my long summer break is now in sight, six weeks with no school, no six am get-ups and ten hour days; no marking, assessments,assemblies, staff-meetings - what on earth will I do with my time....out comes 'the list'.

I need some structure for my time off...I've booked a holiday with the girls and a spa mini-break with my daughter but I love the thought of having time to do things that normally get pushed to the wayside, to try some new things and challenge myself a little.
So, what's on my to do list for the summer:
1)  Take a trip alone - broaden my horizons and not have to be thinking about everyone else..sounds good to me!
2) Redesign my blog header - my site is going to have a bit of a makeover!  I'm very excited about this and have already got the ball-rolling on this one and will share about this another time...Watch this space...
3) Find time to listen to music I wouldn't normally give airtime to - I'm not very up on the music scene at the moment - there never seems to be time!  I'm going to listen to some different genres and give my ears something else to tune into - any suggestions?
4) A 2-year career plan...Mnnn. Well, that's because I'm coming to a place where I need to make some decisions about what I do...move on, stay put? What to do?  I need mental space to make these decisions so the summer is the perfect time.
5) Fall in love all over again - with life, things and people I haven't seen for ages, rediscover what I loved about them and appreciate them anew
6)Remember to live 'in the moment' - I forget to do this, am always one step ahead of myself whatever I'm doing - thinking about what's next.  This means I miss out on the current experience and it also adds massively to my stress and makes me feel constantly 'time poor'.
7)Read some books with 'real' paper pages - I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but when I'm busy I don't go to the bookshop, just the virtual one and I miss browsing, picking up the books, turning the pages, not to mention reading in the bath, something I don't recommend with a kindle!!!
8)Make time for silence.  Get back into my meditating and shut out the clatter of the world, even if just for a few minutes of the day.  It makes such a difference to the quality of my day.
9)  Do something nice for someone else everyday - a 'random act of kindness'.  I've always loved the idea of this - paying for someone's coffee in the queue behind you, or leaving your parking ticket with time on it for another, there's always something I can do for someone...what random acts of kindness have you had done for you, or carried out?
10)Plan in writing time everyday.  As a blogger, I do tend to write pretty much everyday anyway, but it's snatched time usually and I have bigger plans, so need to put aside a little extra time to get things done.

So that's it!  Just a few plans...what about you?  Do you make lists to keep yourself on track?  Is it helpful, or do they make you feel stressed?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Topshop Shoe Porn

A recent shopping trip saw me killing time in Topshop in Westfield, London.  It's been getting a whole lot more attention recently with the launch of Chloe Green's new range of  shoes.  Vertiginously high, with a green sole (hmmm, wonder who did this first!!!!) they have a prominent position in the stores.  However, it wasn't the green bottoms that attracted me, but the glitzy gilt and glitter of some of their latest lines.  I have to confess to a weakness for both heels and glitter and when they're combined, I'm in heaven...these are some of my favs..what do you think?

Full on reflective foot porn

Jazz hands glitter peep shoes £60

I love this pink neon mural in the changing rooms...

Reim skinny strap sandals
What's your take on shoe addiction - pleasure and pain, or functional and fulsome?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Seasonal Interiors

There are some interior books that I come back to over and over;  they're not just books 'of the moment', but contain nuggets of design inspiration that stand the test of time and The Seasonal Home by Kristin Perers one such book.  Just so you's been re-released as A Home for all Seasons by the publishers Ryland Peters & Small.

I don't know about you, but I like to change my home around (much to the despair of those I live with!)on a regular basis and especially at the change of the seasons.  I have lighter curtains for the summer months, and heavier ones with stars for the winter months.  I create open rooms in the summer, but in the winter I use partitions and furniture to create cosier spaces.  This book, then was made for me and I do revisit it often for inspiration.
Split into sections for easy reference

Gorgeous photographs by James Merrell

Ideas for colour palattes

and practical instructions for DIY projects

"If you have two loaves of bread sell one and buy a hyacinth, for it will feed
your soul'  Persian poem

and making things
 Which books do you go to for inspiration?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Glimpses of the Weekend

Well, it didn't rain until last night so that was a bonus!  I hope you've all had a wonderful relaxing weekend and are ready for the week ahead?  My weekend was spent catching up with family and friends with a bit of shopping for my daughter's graduation dress... we went here and managed to spend 5 hours trying on dresses and just having a great time nice!  We also managed to bag ourselves a freebie courtesy of St Tropez's Spraycation campaign.  I have to admit to being a spray tan virgin but it was a very simple process (albeit in a fake beachhut in the middle of Westfield) and I'm absolutely delighted with the result - a very natural looking golden tan. Thank you St Tropez.  Spraycation is currently doing a tour of the UK so check it out and fake it, don't bake it!
I did something else new this weekend too...a g&t made with Hendrick's gin!  I quite like a g&t and was persuaded by a friend to buy a bottle of Hendrick's but hadn't got round to trying it until this weekend.  I'm sold!  It's distilled in very small batches in a distillery in Scotland and infused with rose and cucumber.  I mixed mine with tonic spritzed with a lemon, lots of ice and a slice of cucumber.  Delicious and refreshing.  If you haven't tried it yet I recommend it.

G&T Hendrick's style
Whilst out shopping we popped into Boots as I'd read that they are now stocking essie nail polish.  Previously I'd had to trek around trying to find this brand and hurrah, hurrah, it's true.  Boots came up trumps with a large selection of polishes, all with wonderful sounding names like 'bikini so teeny', 'cascade cool' 'mojito madness' and 'all tied up'. I bought a popping coral called 'cute as a button' - what do think?
'cute as a button' essie polish
'off the shoulder'

'bikini so teeny'
Image source:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hot Caprese Dip

I LOVE Italian food; the flavours, colours and the lifestyle it invokes, draw me in every time.  I have to confess tho', that I'm not particularly into fussy cuisine, the fine dining stuff leaves me a bit cold.  I'm definitely more of a peasant food person - robust flavours, simple ingredients and no fuss presentation.  One of my favourite things to eat is the Caprese Salad - creamy buffalo mozarella, tomatoes and basil - it can't get any simpler or delicious.  I drizzle mine with lemon oil which isn't strictly the Italian way, but it works for me.  So, when I came across a recipe for a hot Caprese dip, it was always going to be a winner.

Here's how to do it:

Take the best quality mozarella you can afford, some gorgeous ripe tomatoes and fresh basil.

Chop/dice your ingredients, tear your bazil leaves into smaller bits.  I would recommend removing the seeds from the tomatoes.  This prevents the finished dish being watery.

Place into an oven proof dish, making sure that your ingredients are well mixed up.  Then place in a hot oven for about half an hour, or until the top is browning and bubbly. 

You can serve this with mixed crudites, crispbreads, or some crusty bread.

Enjoy and have a great weekend x