Netflix Picks for A Spooky Halloween!

If you’re hoping for a spooky weekend of frights, you could either head out for a ghost hunting session at your local haunted house, or stay inside and watch Netflix instead. If you’ve decided to go for the latter, then check out my top picks! I’m a bit of a horror aficionado, and all of these titles are ones I’ve enjoyed and enthusiastically recommended in the past! I have two categories here – TV shows and movies. Let me know if you have recommendations of your own in the comments!

(All of these are live on UK Netflix at the time of writing.)

TV shows

There’s one huge, high-profile show that everyone’s going to be talking about this Halloween, and that’s Stranger Things 2. It’s so huge that it even has its own Topshop collaboration. Set in ’80s America, it’s a huge nostalgia trip for anyone who grew up on a diet of movies like Stand By Me, ET, and The Goonies. It takes those ingredients and adds a major creep factor with a parallel world inhabited by monsters, ala Silent Hill, and even throws in some real world conspiracy theories that turned out to be true… That’s right, MK Ultra was a real thing, and so was the US government experimenting with psychics for use in warfare. If that doesn’t creep you out I don’t know what will…

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September: A Few Of My Favourite Things!

It’s been a busy month here – as always – but I’m so glad it’s finally autumn! I feel like I’m coming home when the leaves start to turn and the air gets crisp.

I recently went to Pickwell Farm with my family to grab some late-season strawberries, early pumpkins, and sweetcorn. I hadn’t ever picked corn before but it was great fun – my best tip is to peel back some of the outer leaves just to check the cob first, because some of the ones we picked were rotten or overripened. You can leave the leaves on to keep the corn fresher for longer in the fridge! Continue reading

April’s End: Round-up

April has been an insanely busy month for me, with a massive birthday celebration at Centre Parcs for a friend, plus a holiday to Manchester, a visit to London with my parents, and ongoing kitchen renovation. It’s been stressful but fun!

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10,000 Reasons You Should Download Pokémon Go

Okay, so I’m officially behind the times here in posting about Pokemon Go, but sometimes you have a great idea for a post, and you just don’t get around to posting it at the exact, right moment…

But if you’ve not downloaded Pokemon Go quite yet, I’d definitely urge you to download it and have a go! If you don’t know what it’s all about, it’s basically a map-based game that sees you walking around the real world, collecting Pokemon, and visiting PokeStops to grab items, or PokeGyms to challenge other players.

Really, though, for me, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to spend the summer out and about, exploring new areas in my local vicinity, and rediscovering places I already know and love all over again.

Having recently started the Louise Parker Lean for Life plan (don’t call it a diet – she’ll come and beat you up), I was eager to find a way to fit in my required 10,000 steps a day somehow. 10,000 steps a day is a definite challenge for me. I work from home and I live in a fairly small place (no stairs!), so building up steps without going out and doing it purposefully is nearly impossible.

Luckily, having Pokemon Go as an excuse has genuinely helped me to check out a load of nearby places, racking up tens of thousands of steps every week in the pursuit of virtual monsters. I’ve visited beaches, abbeys, city centres, wharfs, parks and graveyards, and along the way, over the past couple of months, I’ve walked 460km – around 7-8km a day!

Truth be told, the Pokemon Go craze has started to wane, even for me – but using it as an excuse to start a healthy habit has been a fantastic way to trick my brain into getting on my trainers every day and heading out the door.

You can see from the chart below just how sedentary I’ve been for the last few months. My daily average walking distance is now 4 miles for the past month, compared to a dismal 1-2 miles previously.

Getting outside, enjoying nature, enjoying healthy activity – this is definitely exactly what I’ve been needing. Without going into too many details, I have to confess I’ve been feeling incredibly low and self-destructive for most of the year following a death in the family – something which I haven’t been quick to share on the blog. Weight-gain has been an embarrassing side-effect of my struggles, but I’ve reached a point now where I’m taking a long, hard look at my life, and making sure I make my health and my happiness a priority.

I don’t expect you thought you’d be going quite so deep in a blog post about Pokemon Go, did you…?

You can follow me for more updates on my journey on the blog, interspersed with plenty of fun, food and fashion, of course!

Scorchio! Summer Happiness Part One

Summer is definitely here… at the moment… don’t hold your breath, just enjoy it! In order to celebrate the heat-wave, I thought I’d share some of the things that are making me happy this month!

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Summer trips to London: it takes me a couple of hours to get to central London from my house, and although it’s not as though I’m a local, I’m still a fairly regular visitor. No matter how many times I go, I love every bit of it, from the cheesy tourist sights to the upscale department stores.

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There’s never a bad time to visit London, but when the sun is shining and there are flowers and bunting everywhere, it’s just that extra bit special.

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I’ve also recently taken up the challenge of walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, and since I started two and a half weeks ago, I’ve walked over 90 miles all in all (yes, really!). It gets boring going on the same old walks, so I’ve started going out in the evenings with my husband, taking advantage of the great weather to visit some places I rarely go (and playing Pokemon Go of course! Do I get hipster points for saying I used to play Ingress as well?)

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Living on the coast, and in between two beautiful national parks (New Forest and South Downs), there are loads of local places to visit – but even closer by we have some pretty views, and Southampton Common is one of my favourite places to go (especially since I worked out several routes depending on how far I want to walk or run!).

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I’ve also been enjoying going on family trips, most recently to Bath – including an awesome, super spooky ghost walk through some of the most haunted areas of the city centre!

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I also had to snap this shot of this canopy of colourful umbrellas in the town – a reminder that even when the sun isn’t shining, you can still bring a bit of brightness into your life!

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A trip to Lordington Lavender Farm allowed me to break out my new Ray-Ban aviators (been lusting after a pair for ages and finally snapped some up in the Next sale!), and dream of ambitions of opening my own lavender farm – or at least, planning a trip to Provence again!

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And speaking of accessories, all this summer heat makes me long for the days of cool nights, long strings of pearls, and sweet perfumes like La Vie Est Belle from Lancome. But you know, just because safari prints and neon accessories are in, doesn’t mean I can’t indulge myself from time to time, even if I look a little weird hunched over the BBQ wearing Chanel pearl earrings… I bought these from Harrods with some money my grandmother left me – my mother-in-law always told me to use inheritance to purchase at least one good keepsake to remind you of someone, and I think that’s great advice.

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I’ve also been making a ridiculous amount of smoothies thanks to Natural Blender, the smoothie delivery service, and my brand new Nutribullet, which I bought after yet another blender broke on me at the beginning of the month. I wish I’d bought one sooner – this baby is seriously good, and blends everything to a perfectly smooth consistency!

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And finally, where would I be without my favourite summer flower – the hydrangea – and my favourite ballet flats, from French Sole?

Let me know what’s making you happy this summer in the comments!

#SNAPPYFEET competition

Just a quick update – I’ve been selected as a nominee for the #SNAPPYFEET competition being run by Vestiaire Co on Facebook. If you’d like to vote for me, you can do so by clicking on this link: Vote for FFF. Here is my entry:

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You might recognise it from this post back in Halloween!

I’ve also posted this at https://www.facebook.com/WhatKateWore, and in honour of my love for the community, I will be donating £50 to one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s charities, Place2Be (http://www.place2be.org.uk/) whether I win or not! So get clicking on this link to give me a boost, if you’d like! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151816367356073&set=a.10151816367026073.1073741832.115867246072&type=1 Of course, if you don’t like, there’s no need to do anything – I will literally NEVER KNOW. But if you do, many thanks!

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Gold for Christmas

It seems as though gold is definitely in this year, and in honour of the season (and in order to satisfy my window shopping habit) I’ve put together a collection of some of the hottest items in this season’s most festive colour! I was inspired by Burberry’s beautiful gold beauty collection – and when I saw Mulberry’s new Metallic Mushroom range, I knew there was no hope for resisting…

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Living in the ’80s!

If there’s one thing I’m famous for amongst my friends, it’s wanting to dress up at the drop of a hat, and planning elaborate parties in order to justify some ridiculous outfit I’ve dreamed up. So I thought I’d share these photos from our ’80s party last year, which we organised as part of the joint 30th birthday celebration between me and my friends, who were all born within a couple of months of each other. What better way to celebrate a landmark birthday than with a throwback party to the decade when you were born?!

Of course, Ray-bans were the big thing during the ’80s (have they ever really gone out of fashion since?!), so the first job was grabbing a pair of replicas from eBay.

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Next, comes the big hair…

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Polka dots and bright accessories:

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I was channeling a pre-blonde Madonna here, of course…

I actually had two outfits for the weekend, but first was the small matter of hair and makeup:

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I thought I’d go subtle for the first day, so as not to scare people too badly…

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This is an authentic ’80s jumpsuit, complete with amazing power shoulder pads. The honest truth is I loved wearing this – it was comfy as heck and I thought it looked fantastic. Sadly, I don’t think the world is ready for a real ’80s revival just yet… I also bought these great electric blue snakeskin heels from New Look to complete the outfit. Unfortunately, at times, there was something slightly Michael Jackson-ish about my appearance:

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Day two was when I unleashed the full force of Madonna:

IMG_2377The Material Girl was in full swing!

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My husband wore a tracksuit – he loves it so much he’s worn it multiple times since then, because as all children of the ’80s, he feels the lure of the tracksuit like a Siren’s call.

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I had on a tutu, but you can only really see it in this incredibly unflattering side view of me singing along to Blondie:

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But wait! What about the catering? Well, of course, that was a major aspect of the fun! Where would an ’80s party be without a trifle?

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And a pineapple and cheese hedgehog?

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And a really awful photo of a Viennetta?!

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(When I was a kid, you knew it was a serious and important landmark event if there was Viennetta on the table!)

There also had to be quiche and vol au vents:

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And pink wafers, savoury mini eggs, and party rings!

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And, because why not, jello shots in the shape of lemon wedges!

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Sunday morning could only be cartoons and Pop Tarts time!

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It was great fun to relive our childhood days from a slightly different perspective, but I have to say my Pop Tart sugar rush was pretty intense…! I still can’t decide which ’80s outfit I liked the best, but it was definitely fun to research them and put them together. The first time round for me, the ’80s were all knee high socks, flowery skirts, and matching cardigans!

Fake flowers for your hair

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have noticed my massive English Country Garden board, full of flower garlands, lacey shoes, 50s prom dresses and pretty floral fabrics. This is the mood board for my Ascot outfit this year (you know I love Ascot!) and the idea (at the moment, anyway) is to make floral headdresses. And so, because when I decide to do anything, it must be done immediately, when I was in London last month, I decided to do a bit of research into floral headdresses by checking out the range of artificial flowers on offer.

Artificial flowers are like anything else – you can pay pennies or pounds (hundreds of pounds, to be exact), and in general, you get what you pay for. In a high-end shop (in a secret location, as they ‘don’t do social media’… Good luck to ’em!) I found some beautiful blooms that would end up setting you back about £100 for a headdress. Generally, artificial flowers cost the same price as eight weeks of fresh – which makes sense when you’re buying for somewhere like a hotel or restaurant. Not so much when you’re buying them for what amounts to a hat!

This bundle below, for example, cost £49 (ouch!).
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If you want to go the other end of the scale, Ikea do a range of flowers that start from 65p!

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I guess it all depends on how closely people will be looking at your head, right?!