Sunday, 29 June 2014

Week in pics: a big scoop and a new diet

This week has been pretty incredible as far as my career (and diet!) goes.

*Shameless brag alert* If you have been following the Primark sweatshop labels story, then I highly suggest you read this article. Working as a web journalist, my articles very rarely make it into actual, physical paper print - let alone onto the front page. So I've been feeling pretty smug the last few days, after I managed to scoop a national story, and helped Primark conclude their investigation. Y'know, all in a day's work(!)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Midweek treat: Quorn spanish sausage casserole

I live off Quorn. Seriously, can't get enough of the stuff. I only eat fish - and the odd bit of chicken - and find that it's the tastiest way to get my protein fix.

If you've never tried Quorn before, it's a healthy substitute for meat made from mycoprotein - and no, you don't have to be a vegetarian to eat it! It is high in fibre and low in saturated fat, and I know a lot of non-veggies who substitute it for meat occasionally, to create healthier versions of their favourite meals (like spag bol or spicy curries - yum).

My mouth is watering just looking at this picture!
I guess it comes as no surprise then that when the guys at Quorn got in touch recently, asking me to try one of the recipes on their website, I jumped at the chance.

The Spanish sausage casserole in the photo above is so delicious. I just wolfed down a bowl for my dinner and already have a hankering for seconds. Even though it doesn't seem like casserole weather at the moment, this is hardly the stodgy stuff of winter time. It's deliciously sweet, with a spicy kick perfectly complimented by some chunky sausage pieces.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Festival fashion: accessories and essentials

Peter Pilotto for Kipling backpack and Joules seafarer wellies
I saw a certain retailer's festival fashion edit the other day, which included a pair of £700 jeans. Now don't get me wrong, I'd love to be swanning around the VIP section at Glastonbury in those bad boys, but the fact of the matter is that your average British festival is guaranteed only one thing: mud.

So I thought I'd put together my absolute essentials for festival fashion. None of this layered jewellery and flowing skirts business: it should be all about chic practicality.

Red seafarer Welly, on sale for £25, c/o
Top of my list are these stunning red Joules seafarer wellies from Let's be honest, you can't survive a festival without a sturdy pair of rubber boots. These ones will go with practically anything and, better yet, are super easy to clean so you won't be taking half the field home with you!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Week in pics: celebrating the summer solstice

It's been a bit of a quiet one for me this week, with a trip to IKEA and a little bit of sale shopping (more on that in the week) fitted in around work. Nothing too exciting, but I did manage to make some time to head up the mountains for a pretty spectacular sunset yesterday evening.

I'm so lucky to live in a place where this is just on my doorstep. It's only a few miles away from civilisation but you would swear you had travelled for days to get there.

Other than that, I've been very boring - although I did manage to fit in a few little website tweaks. I'd love to hear what you think of the stuff I publish on here, and the style of the website too. So if you have a few moments to spare, please leave a comment below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

7 of the best: pretty pineapples for home and wardrobe

Pineapples seem to be the fruit of the moment and I'm really not complaining. There are a lot of quite garish prints out there at the moment but some really chic styles too - especially when it comes to homeware.

1. Estella Bartlett pineapple pendant, £18, John Lewis; 2. Pineapple pot, £26, Debenhams; 3. Tray, £15.99, ZARA; 4. Pink tube skirt, £9.99, New Look; 5. Poppy Lux blouse, £30, Debenhams; 6. Silver pineapple dish, £12, Debenhams; 7. Kiehl's pineapple and papaya facial scrub 100ml, £24, John Lewis

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Midweek treat: summer scents from Roger & Gallet

I can't say figs are a fruit that have ever really appealed to me in a perfume before, but this Roger & Gallet fragrant water is just beautiful.

June Glossybox: Teeez Trend cosmetics flat stiff brush; So Susan Cosmetics concealer quad; Embelleze Novex Brazilian keratin; NailGirls 3-in-1 base, topcoat and nail strengthener; Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Eau Frache Fragrance.

This and Korres' guava shower gel and body butter (although maybe not all together) are just perfect summer scents. The perfume is light but still has some lovely, deep fruity tones. Apparently it's like a walk through a Mediterranean garden - or, if you're more like me, it's like a fresh fruit breakfast on a sunny balcony. Yum.

Some of my handbag essentials: Yves Rocher lipstick; Real Techniques powder brush; Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Eau Frache Fragrance; L'Oreal illuminating powder.
This perfume is a bit of a bargain too: it's only £32 for 100ml. And if you buy from Marks and Spencer before 2 July, you can get an extra 20% off all of the lovely Roger & Gallet products by entering RGOFFER20 at the checkout.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Primark and H&M haul: greys, whites and yellows

There's a very definite colour scheme going on with my wardrobe at the moment - but lucky for my bank balance, Primark has been more than obliging.

Primark: Grey marl boyfriend tee £4; Gold coloured triangles necklace, £1.50.
Primark do the best boyfriend t-shirts and, as it turns out, the best bargain jewellery too. I picked up a matching bracelet (also £1.50) the same time as this bunting necklace (*ahem* and a few more bits and pieces too...).

Primark: White jacket, £19
I have to thank Kate from Ghost Parties for tipping me off on this one. Yesterday I popped up to the new five-floor high heaven that is Primark in Cardiff. Seriously, it was so big it had a section of just white clothes and accessories. Ohmygod, it was amazing.

Anyway, I made a beeline for this jacket as soon as I saw it. There's a matching full knee length skirt too which is really pretty but just not for me.

H&M: Black and white shirt, £14.99
This longline shirt from H&M is absolutely effortless. It looks great with shorts, capris, mini skirts, pretty much everything. It's made of a really light, soft material which is just what you need in this weather!

Primark: Yellow mini satchel, £6
I am so impressed with this little bag. It's a really lovely shade of lemon yellow and is just the right size to fit all the daily essentials in.

Primark: Sheer and flower lace top, £10
After teasing you with this little pic on the weekend, I completely forgot to retake a styled snap this morning in the daylight. *Hopefully* you can see how pretty it is though. It's sort of like a short-sleeved sweat top with a sheer panel to the front and back and daisy lace sleeves. I'll definitely need to wear a white cami underneath it but that's not a problem!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Week in pics: a castle adventure and World Cup confusion

This weekend has been rubbish, I've been stuck in work trying to comprehend what is going on in the World Cup. If you know nothing about football (and I mean really nothing - I only found out today how many players are in a team...) then trying to write about it is a really easy way to make yourself feel stupid.

June Birchbox: Silk + Honey Shea butter hair mask; Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre; Yves Rocher Sheer Botanical Lipstick; OPI Nail Lacquer - The Brazil Collection; Naobay Body Radiance Lotion
Luckily though my Brazil-themed Birchbox came in the post on Friday so I've had some little treats to pamper myself with!

But I can't complain, I had a very sunny day off in the week for my boyfriend's birthday, so we went for a little adventure in Carmarthenshire, to Llansteffan Castle. One of the perks of living out in the sticks is that you are never too far away from a bit of peace and quiet - but I've never been anywhere quiet as relaxing as Llansteffan. We wandered around the ruins and then had a lovely picnic within the grounds. The views were so beautiful, even for Wales!

And finally, I treated myself to a few new bargain tops this week, although I seem to be sticking to a very definite white/grey colour scheme at the moment. Here's a sneak peek at what I've been buying for now - I'm planning a full shopping haul post for Tuesday!

What have you been up to this week? 

P.S. don't forget to enter the competition to win a Truffle Shuffle tee!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

WIN: a Truffle Shuffle t-shirt from Diet Coke

You know, for someone who's been wearing the same white tee and jeans for twenty years, the Diet Coke hunk doesn't look half bad.

A few weeks back, when Katy Perry was playing at the O2, Diet Coke set up a special vending machine to celebrate twenty years of the hunk. All you had to do was flirt with this gorgeous model to get a free can of the drink (although I think it's safe to say that more than a few of us wouldn't have stopped at one...).

Cutely crumpled tee? Check. All you need now are some killer jeans and a hunk on your arm.
Anyway, I didn't actually manage to make it up to the O2 to practice my shameless skills so, to celebrate, Diet Coke have sent over an artfully crumpled Truffle Shuffle tee for you to win! All you have to do is enter the giveaway below and like the Chic & Cheerful page on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter. Simples. The winner will be contacted directly once the competition ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Lanzarote holiday market haul

I do love a good holiday market. So much style, so little suitcase space. A few weeks back we went on a little trip to Lanzarote, so of course I made sure to scoure the markets for some treats. I visited the chic Marina Rubicon and the bustling Teguise markets, both of which are well worth a visit if you're popping over to the island any time soon.

The cute kitten above is actually a ring holder, which I picked up for just €1.50. I'd been eyeing a couple up in the shops over here but even the most basic ones are £8 or £9. This bright little kitty cat is doing the job just fine though, and for only about £1.20 too!

My market mission was to invest in some new jewellery. There can be a lot of cheap, sparkly stuff in holiday markets but Lanzarote has some of the best silver designers selling their wares. The double shell ring at the top (€18) is just big enough to make a statement but still looks great in the day too. The earrings (€14) showcase two gorgeous, opal-esque moonstones, and the amethyst ring (€16) is a dainty little addition to my jewellery box.

This bag of natural palm-oil free soaps was only €11 and they. are. amazing. Full of vegetable oils and lovely natural scents, I've only sampled a few so far but each one has left my skin feeling great. They are infused with flavours such as coconut milk, aloe vera, spearmint and argan, and strawberry (yum yum yum).

These little buddies are just the kind of adorable tat you would expect to buy at a market. My boyfriend and I really wanted some novelty salt and pepper shakers for our new dining room table (no idea why, clearly reading too many home style blogs!) and these hugging cows were just the ticket.

Monday, 9 June 2014

BotW: Free US and UK fashion magazines!

Settle down with a cuppa and your favourite magazine
If you're living in Wales at the moment then, boy, do I have the best news for you! If you're a Welsh library card holder you can get some of the best magazines on your tablet or phone for free. There's no catch, and no sneaky trial subscriptions, all you have to do is download the Zinio app, follow these instructions and away you go! More than 260 titles are available including, Elle US, Elle Decor, Cosmopolitan US, Marie Claire US and UK, and Nylon.

But if you don't have a Welsh library card then never fear - there are some amazing free fashion emags for you too read too:

It goes without saying that the ASOS magazine is one you can't miss. I could talk all day about how they're breaking the publishing mould by launch a print title after creating a successful ecommerce brand, but that's a conversation for another time and place. So for now I'll just say this: you need to read this magazine. Not only does it make for brilliant basket inspiration but it is also unlike any other title out there. First of all it's not overloaded with ads, and secondly it's ahead of all the trends that you're going to realistically be rocking this season. And that's not limited to fashion either: music, films, events, you name it they know about it.

ASOS magazine is published 10 times a year and delivered in print to premiere subscribers. You can read each issue in a very funky web format here.

2. Stylist
I am so glad Stylist finally went digital. As much as I do love the mad scramble to get an issue every time I'm in London, this has made my little rural life so much easier (and better read too). It's not just about fashion and beauty either, this is a thinking woman's magazine, full of brilliant features on things like travel, literature and women's rights too.

Stylist is a weekly title, available free of charge through the app store.

3. The Edit by Net-A-Porter
The Edit is Porter's little weekly sister, and a recent discovery for me. Everything is pretty much out of my price range but it's still an essential read in my book. It's the perfect read for a quick coffee break in work, combining high fashion styles with strong features (have a read of this week's piece from Arianna Huffington) in a really easy to read format.

Read The Edit weekly on the Net-A-Porter website.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Weekend in pics: domestic bliss and Cher Horowitz

This weekend I finally worked out that I've become a bit of a domestic nutcase. I was watching this infomercial this morning about a stretchy hose and actually amazed myself by how much I wanted it. I mean seriously, first it was the Karcher window vac (which genuinely looks incredible by the way) and now this. I clearly need to get out more.

I made a pilgrimage up to B&M Bargains yesterday and picked up - amongst a pile of other things - these neat little vintage sandwich tins for the kitchen, and filled them up with some sweet treats. The diet is slowly but surely starting again but it's the boyfriend's birthday this week so there is a lot of delicious food in the house (sorry not sorry).

And on that note, I've been hunting high and low and finally found the most perfect birthday cake recipe to celebrate: Nigella Lawson's Nutella cake. It's actually going to be the most decadent thing I have ever made - I mean it's got a WHOLE 400g jar of chocolate spread in it.

Outside of my domestic bliss, I finally got around to modelling this Clueless-esque necklace from Regal Rose this weekend. There's been so much tempting Cher Horowitz style around the last few seasons but this one really clinched it for me and I just couldn't not add it to my collection.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Monday, 2 June 2014

BotW: Charlotte Olympia PVC lemon fruit clutch lookalikes at New Look and Monki

1. Charlotte Olympia fruit PVC clutch, £395, Net-a-Porter; 2. Lemon fruit slice clutch, £9.99, New Look;  3. Monki lemon clutch, £15, ASOS

If I had all the money in the world, it's a pretty safe bet to say I would be stocking up on all my shoes and bags at Charlotte Olympia. I've already gone through a couple of pairs of bargain lookalikes of her kitty flats and now these fruity style steals are about to enter my world.

Charlotte's original is a big PVC wedge, but the Monki and New Look versions are more kind of flat clutches. Whichever one you opt for, however, it'll be sure to add a bit of zing to any summer outfit.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Weekend in pics: Scarlett O'Hara, Elsa and Anna

I've had one of those blissful weekends where I haven't really done anything at all - and it's been fantastic. Moving house, going away, starting a new job has made my life so busy (first world problems, amiright?!) that I haven't had much time to just sit back and relax.

On Saturday, I *finally* introduced the bestie to Frozen, and she brought those beautiful pale pink roses over as a thank you for dinner. They're currently sitting on my dining room table, brightening up the room, while I've been unashamedly belting out Let it Go.

Southern Comfort sent over a little sample of their tipple to try earlier in the week so I thought I'd try my had at cocktail making. The pinky liquid pictured above is a Scarlett O'Hara, created to celebrate the release of Gone with the Wind. It's made of 50ml SoCo, 50ml cranberry juice and 25ml lime juice. Served on the rocks, it's a lovely sweet treat for a pre-dinner drink.

If you ever go to Wales, don't bother with Ben and Jerry's. It's delish obviously, but head for a Joe's ice cream. It's practically an institution in my home town. If you don't have a Joe's on a sunny day, you're not Welsh.

Southern Comfort are currently holding their own cocktail making competition, take a look here at how you can get involved, and make sure to share your creation before 1 July.

Southern Comfort was created in the 1800s by Martin Wilkes Heron, an Irish man who emigrated to the US as a child with his parents. In 1874, Wilkes started working as a barman in New Orleans. The customers at McCauley's Saloon were looking for something a little smoother than straight bourbon, so Heron started to add fruits and spices, and so Southern Comfort was born.
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