31 October 2016

Autumn Additions


Necklaces from Johnny Loves Rosie*


The change in seasons seems to awaken the shopper in me. I just feel so inspired by all the new things online and in stores. Usually this happens towards the beginning of September, but it has been so unseasonably warm that I've resisted shopping until now. Today I took advantage of the ASOS 20% off code (MAJOR20 if it's still working!) and ordered myself a pair of black jeans and Adidas stan smiths. 

Jewellery isn't something I treat myself to usually, so when Johnny Loves Rosie got in touch I was so excited. I'm most looking forward to wearing the choker with the black necklace as I've never had one of these before. I think I'm going to pair it with a plain black t-shirt and jeans with some statement boots, a typical autumnal outfit for me.

As always, I'll try to post more often, but this week marks my first week in my new job so I can't promise anything while I'm settling in! Also the dark evenings are a bloggers worst enemy.

Tori


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12 October 2016

Book Review | The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Since my last recently read post I have managed to read all of the Harry Potter series which was amazing. I've decided not to review them as I think we've all heard enough reviews on them. But they were such a lovely and comforting read, I was having a bit of an anxious time on public transport and reading those really distracted me. 

I've decided to change up the format of my book reviews. I felt that reviewing up to five books in one post wasn't working for me. I tended to write the post after I'd read 4-5 books which meant I couldn't write the reviews in as much detail as you forget some of the finer points. I also didn't want the reviews to be that long as that would be an overwhelmingly long post. So from now on I'm going to review books individually, which means I might not review everything I read as some books I might not have much to say on!


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

TW : rape, murder, domestic abuse

Obviously this book is a bestseller and hugely popular. It has taken me longer than it should have to get around to reading it. On Goodreads it has a 4.1/5 rating so I knew I had to give it a read.

I'd managed to avoid the film, and all reviews somehow so I had no prior knowledge of the storyline before I read this book, which I was really grateful for as I didn't have any preconceptions.

Plot Summary (no spoilers)

This story follows financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist as he is convicted of libel against a business entrepeneur Wennerström. While he is lying low to recover from this case he is employed by Henrik Vanger (whose family own and run the large business Vanger Corporation) to investigate the disappearence of his 16 year old niece Harriet Vanger, Henrik believes she was murdered.

Blomkvist hires Lisbeth Salander, a genius computer hacker, to help him investigate Harriet's disappearence. Lisbeth has an extremely troubled past which is explored throughout. Together Blomkvist and Salander work together to discover the truth about both Harriet and Wennerström.

My Thoughts

The development of scenes and characters was one of my favourite things about this book. It's definitely a long book, around 600 pages I think. This gives Stieg Larsson a lot of time to really explore each character and their relationships with one another. The Vanger family is really large so I felt like this was necessary to get a proper understanding of how everyone intertwined.

Although Blomkvist is tasked with investigating a missing person who is thought to have been murdered, this is not purely a murder mystery. It explores the economical and political impacts of large corporations and this runs as an important parallel within the storyline.

Salander as a character is one that you're intrigued about from the moment she is introduced. Her story develops and keeps you completely enthralled. Her childhood plays an important role in this development and her relationship with Blomkvist is one I found really interesting and almost surprising.

I would really recommend this book, I found it gripping from start to finish. It says something that I have already bought the second in the Millenium series. Although it's worth noting if you're sensitive to graphic descriptions of abuse, particularly sexual abuse, then this won't be a book for you. I found some of the descriptions really uncomfortable to read and left me feeling quite emotional.

 I hope you enjoy these more detailed reviews, do let me know!

Tori
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11 October 2016

A Month on Class Pass | Project Fit & Orange60

Onto the final post for my mini series on my month on Class Pass with Project Fit and Orange60.

Image credit: Project Fit


Gym: ProjectFit
Location: Bank
Class: Project45


'PROJECT FIT is a fitness challenge like no other. It is a new, revolutionary and innovative interval training workout.'

The location for Project Fit was really great for people working in the city, approx 5 minute walk from Bank. This is the only location they have and they only do 45 min classes. The class we did was 4 rounds with 2 on the treadmill and 2 strength. This class was really challenging for me, especially the treadmill sections. I definitely left feeling like I'd done a great workout and was aching for a few days afterwards! The instructor was really motivating and encouraging. She knew we were new to the class so made an extra effort to make sure we knew what we were doing.

The changing rooms were really small, so my friend and I actually ended up going to our usual gyms to shower and get ready as there wasn't many showers and we didn't have time to queue. Towels and lockers are provided for you. 

Overall I thought this was a great class but you need to bear in mind the changing room situation if you're in a rush to get somewhere afterwards.

Gym: David Lloyd
Location: Aldgate
Class: Orange60


'The aim is to take your heart rate to the ‘Orange’ zone for as much of the workout as possible. '


The final class I did on Class Pass was Orange60 at David Lloyd. Unfortunately this was also by far the worst class. Firstly the facilities; you needed cash for towels and locker deposit, of which I had neither. The changing room was the size of a cupboard with 2 showers despite the class taking up to 15 people. Imagine that queue!

Onto the class, I felt like the concept could have been good. It was similar to Project Fit in that it had a treadmill section and a strength section. However the gym was so big that the instructor was running back and forth trying to explain things to everyone. There was only 2 sections which meant you spent 30 mins on the treadmill in one go which was extremely dull! In a class environment I didn't expect to be on treadmill for that long. One of the 'unique' things about this class is that they track calories burnt on a big screen if you are wearing a heart rate monitor. On class pass you get one lent to you for your first class but after that you have to bring your own (or buy one there). However the ones they lent to myself and my friend didn't work so we weren't able to enjoy that aspect of the class.

Unfortunately this is the one class that I tried that I wouldn't recommend at all. I had high hopes as I had heard great things about David Lloyd as a gym, but the class was definitely not for me.

Catch up on my other Class Pass posts here and here.

Tori
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2 October 2016

Autumn is here


This weekend has felt like the first autumnal weekend. I've spent this Sunday in a knitted jumper and leggings with endless cups of tea. It has been perfect!


I know a lot of people will be missing summer but I'm really excited for the change in seasons. Here are a few reasons why I'm so excited for Autumn

1) Bonfire night
2) Cosy jumpers
3) Frosty mornings
4) Film nights
5) Dark nail polishes
6) Berry lipsticks

Summer is amazing but sometimes I find it really stressful. Pressure to socialise all the time, pressure to look great in a pair of denim shorts and a tiny vest top. So I'm secretly thrilled to be layering up and can't wait until it's coat and scarf weather. 

Tori
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1 October 2016

A Month on Class Pass | Ethos Spitalfields

Our second class on Class Pass was at Ethos in Spitalfields.

Tired of the divide between the yoga, fitness and science worlds, we created a space that brings them together for optimal MIND/BODY training. We believe there are people like us who love yoga and sports and no longer want to think of them as separate activities.


Gym: Ethos
Location: Spitalfields
Class: TRX45

Ethos was recommended by a friend at work so I was really keen to try it out. They are known for their yoga classes however I've never really enjoyed yoga that much so I tried one of their other offerings. The TRX class was 45 minutes long and was a real challenge for me. I'd never used the TRX ropes in the gym before so I felt like I was working muscles that I didn't even know existed! We did a mixture of arm, ab and leg moves so really worked the whole body. I ached for at least 2 days afterwards!

As with 1Rebel my only gripe was the lack of showers, another queuing situation. This was fine because I was in no rush but if you need to get to work early or something then it's worth bearing this in mind. Towels and lockers are provided which is great. There are cowshed products to use in the shower and there is deodorant, hairspray and even tampons for you to help yourself to! On the whole the changing rooms weren't quite as snazzy as 1Rebel but they were still lovely.

Classes at Ethos are £20 per class but there is an intro offer for 2 classes for £20 at the moment! I would really recommend this class so take advantage of the offer here.

Tori



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28 September 2016

A Month on Class Pass | 1Rebel Ride

My friend Ani found out that Class Pass was available on offer for £1 for a months membership. ONE POUND. Bear in mind that for 5 classes the membership is usually £55 or for unlimited classes it's £120. So this was a real bargain and I signed up immediately.

In this blog series I will take you through the classes I did during my month on Class Pass. Some great, some okay and one I definitely wouldn't recommend. But lets start with the great!


Gym: 1Rebel
Location: St Mary Axe (near Liverpool Street)
Class: Ride
Instructor: Melissa

#KINGOFGYMS. Ride, Reshape and Rumble. 3 concepts. 2 venues. 1 Rebel Army.

1Rebel was one of the classes I was most excited to try, I'd heard so much about it and I also knew it was pretty expensive (£20 per class) so getting to do it for a fraction of the price was great! We did the Ride class, which is essentially a spin class on steroids. There is loud, club music with strobe lights, the works. Our instructor was called Melissa and she was so full of energy that you couldn't help but get into it. There was also a section of the workout where we used hand weights to get some arm exercises in so I definitely felt like I'd done a full body workout.

The changing rooms were beautiful, with copper lockers and cowshed products dotted around everywhere. My one criticism was the lack of showers, we had to queue for quite a while to shower. Some of the perks, other than the class of course, were a fridge full of chilled towels, the potential to get your hair blow dried and braided and the smoothie bar in the reception. Also if you do this class on a Friday evening then you get a free glass of prosecco afterwards. If that's not going to motivate you then I don't know what will! 

I found Class Pass to be really good in keep my motivation high and giving my fitness routine a bit of variety. I'm excited to share the other classes with you and then give an overview of my thoughts and whether it's worth the money.

Hope you enjoy this mini series!

Tori



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26 September 2016

It has been a while...



It has been almost a month since my last post. Truth be told, I have really fallen out of love with blogging. It's so competitive. How many followers do you have? Did you get sent those new products? Were you invited to that event?

I literally don't care.

I started my blog to write, I liked creating content I enjoyed. Sure, I enjoyed the freebies I occasionally got sent. I took on some dodgy casino based sponsored posts (judge away lol). But really I just liked spontaneously writing posts about life and nice beauty products.


In the past few months it feels like there is an unbelievable amount of pressure to have the perfect photos, the best writing style and the prettiest face. So I just gave up a bit. I know I won't be the kind of person to spend weekends asking my boyfriend to take my photo. I'm too self concious and it puts me in a bad mood to see that many photos of myself.

This post has no purpose, just my thoughts on the blogging world. I am so in awe of everyone killing it in their careers, it's so inspiring. But, honestly, it makes me feel like there's no point in keeping going. Who is going to read my random posts when there are so many amazingly curated blogs out there?

Tori
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30 August 2016

SW4 Festival




Crop top - ASOS (similar)
Shorts - Topshop
Shoes - Converse
Shirt - Topshop (similar)




A couple of months ago at work a group of us decided to spontaneously book tickets to SW4 festival in Clapham. And it was the best decision ever!! We decided to only book one day, partly for cost and also because we expected to have a pretty intense hangover the next day.

I haven't been to a festival since Parklife in Manchester when I was a student. I am so happy we decided to go to a day festival where there is no camping as that doesn't appeal to me at all! I had the best day with some of my favourite girls.

Highlights for me were Rudimental, Dizzee Rascal and Subfocus. But to be honest just sitting around drinking and laughing with my friends was the best part. We were so lucky with the weather, it rained for about 5 mins and the rest of the day was lovely!  We started the day with bottomless prosecco brunch which was such a good way to start off the day, made sure our stomachs were lined ready for the alcohol! I definitely spent more money then I meant to but for me it was totally worth it as it was one of the best days I've had in ages.

Next summer I definitely want to go to SW4 again and hopefully some other day festivals too. Still not quite ready to camp yet! Hopefully next year I won't lose my sunglasses..

Hope you're having a good week!

Tori


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27 August 2016

Recently Read #3


There's nothing better than curling up in bed with a new book, especially on a summer morning when the sun is streaming through the window with a steaming cup of coffee. So relaxing.

I was sent some flavours by Beanies coffee to try. They have such a variety of flavours on their site so there will surely be one you like! My tip would be to use slightly more than you would for a usual coffee as I found they are quite weak. I also had to add some sugar to sweeten them, but I definitely have a sweet tooth and would put 2 sugars in a normal coffee. So that may be just me.



Now, back to the books, it had been years since I'd bought a hardback book and then suddenly three came along at once. There's something about hardback books that I really love, I know they are a bit heavier and bigger to carry around but I just really enjoy reading them. I also love how they look on my book shelf!


LOVED this. This book is so beautifully written. It explores how and why Evie Boyd is drawn into a cult in 60s America. I particularly love how it focuses on the girls and their thoughts, rather than the leader of the cult who they are drawn to. As soon as I finished reading this I knew it would become the novel of the summer and I've since seen it almost daily on the tube! This is one of my favourite books I've read in a long time. I'll leave you with one of my favourite quotes.

“I should have known that when men warn you to be careful, often they are warning you of the dark movie playing across their own brains.”

This book was really enjoyable, it's just unfortunate the it followed The Girls as for me, it couldn't really compare. The story follows four friends from university, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie and Lucien, from their graduation throughout their lives. It explores friendship, work and relationships and all the ups and downs that go along with this. The characters were really beautifully written. Invincible Summer was definitely an enjoyable read and I would recommend.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

I am a true Harry Potter fan girl, I am obsessed. So it was obvious that I was going to buy this as soon as it came out. I read it in one evening which is a record for me even as a fast reader! I was concerned I would find this difficult to read as it is a screen play but after a couple of pages it was really easy to read. I won't give any spoilers as I would have been so annoyed if I'd read any before I'd finished. But it lives up to everything I wanted, there are new characters alongside old favourites that we know and love. If you love Harry Potter I would really recommend this screenplay. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that I will get tickets to see it on stage!

I hope you'll find a new book to read :)

Tori 
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21 August 2016

Sunday Outfit



Jeans - Topshop
Boots - New Look
T-shirt - Cheap Monday (similar)
Shirt - Topshop (similar)

This weekend has been a weird one for me. It started off going home to bury my grandad's ashes which was obviously extremely emotional. It was something that we have left almost a year to do and it brought back some very raw emotions. It has meant that the rest of my weekend has been a bit of a blur.

We decided to come back to London on Saturday afternoon so we would miss the really long trains on Sundays. Tom and I have been round to our friend Sophie's house this afternoon who cooked us a delicious roast. It was lovely to relax outside in her garden and I was in a new part of London I haven't explored before. 

I'm still feeling a little emotionally delicate so we headed back to our flat and I'm watching Harry Potter with a nice cup of tea. Tomorrow is a new day and I'm hopeful that next week will bring some happier days.

Hope you had a good weekend!

Tori
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8 August 2016

Wedding Season


On Saturday I headed back home to go to the wedding of one of my oldest friends. Our group of school friends have known each other for 20 years!! It was so surreal being back with everyone, in a church, watching one of us get married. Gabriel is the first of us all to get married so safe to say it was an emotional day! Faye looked absolutely STUNNING in her dress and the whole wedding was gorgeous. Pinterest perfection.





Dress - ASOS
Shoes - New Look




The dinner was in a marquee and was beautiful. If I was dreaming about what a wedding venue would be like, this is it. It also reminded me of the wedding in Harry Potter which is definitely a massive bonus. The food was gorgeous and there was plenty of wine and champagne going around! My head did not thank me for taking advantage of that..



This is one of my favourite photos ever - all of our school friends back together in one photo :) All in all we had the best time celebrating with our friends. I can't wait for the next wedding! 

Hope you had a great weekend :)

Tori
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24 July 2016

Recently Read #2


I meant to make this recently read series a monthly thing, but I have been pretty rubbish! I do really enjoy writing about books as reading is something I have gotten back into in the last 12 months. I have set myself a reading challenge on Goodreads to read 40 books this year. On my two week holiday I read 12 books which is crazy! I decided that reviewing each of these in one post would be slightly too much. So I decided to go through the 5 physical books I read as the others are on my kindle which is not as photogenic ;). 

This book has been consistently compared the The Fault in Our Stars, and I agree the themes are extremely similar. Exploring important issues (in this case suicide) within a young teenage environment. I've read really mixed reviews about this book but I really enjoyed it, I think it's important to write about important topics like mental health in an accessible and relatable way. The plot focus on Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, both are struggling with mental health issues and the story focuses on their blossoming friendship and relationship. The book has its flaws but it's an enjoyable read. Definitely a tearjerker, so you've been warned!

As soon as I found out what this book was about I instantly knew I wanted to read it. A girl is kidnapped when she is 17 years old and kept captive in one single room where she eventually gives birth to a child. After a couple of chapters I felt so invested in the story and it's definitely an emotional one! Usually I don't like film adaptations of books as I don't think they quite live up to the book, however the film Room is one of the best adaptations I've seen. It captured every aspect of the book that I felt was important, even though I knew what was going to happen I still cried like a baby!

This story follows Etta as she starts to fulfil her one wish, to see the sea. At 82 years old she sets out on a journey to the sea, her husband Otto waits at home. Russell is their neighbour who has been in love with Etta since her first met her and James is a coyote she meets on her journey. This book alternates been present day and flashbacks to how they all met. The characters are so beautifully written and I was hooked from the first few chapters. Although the plot seems pretty unrealistic, I genuinely loved this book.

Her by Harriet Lane
It's been a long time since I've been really disappointed with a book as I usually read a lot of reviews before buying. I think this was a gift and from the blurb I thought this was something I would really enjoy. Unfortunately this book was not for me. This book is about two girls, Nina remembers Emma from her past but Emma doesn't remember her. It builds up as if Emma has done something bad to Nina. It kept me reading because I wanted to find out why Nina felt so strongly about Emma. But it was a huge anti climax and the ending just really annoyed me! So, as I'm sure you can tell, this is a book I would not recommend.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Another emotional book! Mia is in a car accident with her family and she is watching from above as her and her family are taken to hospital. As she is watching the events unfold and her family and friends reactions she has to decide if she can stay after everything has changed. I definitely cried a lot reading this book. I'm excited to watch the film and I hope it lives up to the book!

I hope you enjoyed these short reviews. Do leave any book suggestions in the comments, I'm always on the lookout for new reads!

Hope you've had a great weekend.

Tori
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17 July 2016

Stripes and Sandals



Dress - ASOS (now in the sale!)
Bag - Topshop
Shoes - ASOS



Hallelujah, I think summer has finally arrived in the UK. I don't want to jinx it but this weekend has been gorgeous and the forecast is looking fine.

This weekend has been so productive for once! Tom and I started clearing our garden on Saturday which we had let grow into a mini jungle. Once we've done some more I will be sharing some before and after pics on Twitter. Then on Sunday we cleaned our flat together (domestic bliss over here) and went out for a lovely meal at Chimichangas which was delicious. Churros are my new fave thing!

Now it's Sunday evening and we're relaxing with the windows wide open and reading our books. It's been nice to have a weekend off the booze and doing some home-y things instead.

Hope you've had a great weekend!

Tori
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11 July 2016

Summer Holiday Evening Outfits

A couple of weeks ago I was in Spain with Tom for two glorious weeks. It was so relaxing, we spent most of our time reading books by the pool. I took so many photos while we were out there and wanted to share some on my blog. Summer evenings abroad are my absolute favourite, the sunsets are also so gorgeous and I love getting to wear all my summer dresses.




Our balcony had a gorgeous view over the hotel pool and out to sea. Obviously there were palm trees everywhere which makes for a great instagram ;)


 Dress : H&M 
Shoes : Birkenstocks
Bag : Topshop


Dress : Next
Shoes : ASOS


Dress : ASOS
Shoes : ASOS

I hope you like seeing some snippets from my holiday! We're hoping to book a city break for September time because I have such bad holiday blues. Let me know any good cities you've visited in Europe :)

Tori
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13 June 2016

Healthy Lifestyle | Seven Weeks On




Turns out the secret to making myself stick to a fitness regime is a workout buddy.

Yep, apparently that's all I've needed. Since partnering up with my friend Fliss we have been to the gym 3 times a week consistently for SEVEN WEEKS. SEVEN?! I've never made it past three weeks before, it's a miracle!!

When Virgin Active got in touch and invited me to a workout organised by blogger Robert Nixon from Over Dressed and Under Prepared, my first question was please can I bring a friend! As it was held at one of the amazing Virgin Collection clubs I knew the spa would be the perfect way to celebrate our commitment. So luckily Virgin said yes and Fliss and I went to the event a few weeks ago.

The event was organised with the tag #myworkoutfor, in this case, Robert was working in for his 'single life'. I love the concept of thinking about what you're actually working towards. For Fliss and I, it started out because we were both going on holiday and wanted to feel great in our bikinis. But for me it has turned into so much more, I feel so much healthier, my anxiety levels have reduced massively and sure my jeans are looser, but that's definitely not the only positive. I think working out purely for weight loss is why so many people (myself included) quit! Seeing the other benefits of working out have made me feel more committed and it shows because this is the longest I've consistently been to the gym!


Fliss working hard ;)

The workout itself was a circuit made up of four stations and each station had 3-4 exercises. It was a tough work out and I definitely learned some new moves; plank rows with dumb bells are a killer!

Thanks so much to Virgin Active and Robert for inviting us to the event, we had such a great time! And we especially loved relaxing in the spa afterwards :)

Hope you all have a great week

Tori

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27 May 2016

A pop of colour




Blazer - River Island (similar)
Top - H&M
Skirt - ASOS
Shoes - Topshop (similar)
Bag - Topshop
Sunglasses - Folli Follie*



Having another blogger in the office means impromptu outfit shoots at lunch time! 

I wanted to wear my new skirt from ASOS, I know everyone has this style - button down denim mini, but I love it. I think the a-line shape is flattering and denim is so easy to style. I am a bad blogger because everything else in my outfit is old, so sorry about that! I love this River Island jacket, I've had it for over 3 years, I like pairing it with this orange vest top which gives my whole outfit a bit of a summery feel. The shoes and bag are both Topshop. My mum tried to steal these shoes for a while after I left them at home, but I've managed to steal them back and I'm so glad!!  

I have been a terrible blogger the past few weeks. fingers crossed my motivation resurfaces again soon.

Hope you have an amazing bank holiday weekend!

Tori 
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3 May 2016

Cropped Jumper & Trainers


Cropped Jumper - Topshop (similar)
Backpack - Urban Outfitters
Jeans - Topshop
Shoes - Adidas



Photos - Sarah Choa

The weather in the UK has been so unpredictable lately, which is not helpful when choosing what to wear in the mornings. Last week was freezing but this week is meant to get up to 24 degrees?! I mean, I'm not complaining - gimme the sunshine.

I wanted to show you this jumper from Topshop which is absolutely perfect for this weather. It's cropped and three quarter length sleeves which makes it Spring appropriate, but it is also knitted so it will keep you nice and warm.

It was my birthday last week and I managed to extend my celebrations through the long weekend. I was spoilt by all my family and friends and I drank a lot of prosecco. Tom bought me some gorgeous bits of clothing that I can't wait to share with you all next week! 

Hope you had a great bank holiday weekend

Tori 
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