Friday, 30 October 2015

Signs You May've Hit Premature Middle Age

I've thought long and hard about the content of this post over the past week (in between searching for the perfect fruity spelt cake recipe, that is) and I've come to the conclusion that this intro, while completely honest, is absolutely not going to help my case. Oh how I wish I could interrupt with a "psych! I'm just messing!", but sadly this is neither a lie, nor a scene created for the audience's entertainment. It is my life.

It isn't exactly a huge shock to me, but the more I think about it, the more it slowly sinks in that I am indeed a middle aged woman stuck inside a twenty-one year old's body. Here is some evidence I've gathered that causes me to doubt my millennial heritage:

1. You have a budgeting app on your phone that you absolutely swear by
Look, it means I can sleep soundly at night knowing I have underspent on this month's petrol budget by a WHOLE ENTIRE two pounds fifty. If you're wondering (or in need of a trusty finance app yourself), I use OnTrees.

2. You're super into stocks and shares
Hells to the yeah do I own shares in a telecoms company and hells to the yeah am I now digging it. Admittedly, my stake in the company is minuscule but it's got me seriously thinking about future investments. AND I've now found a use for that annoying-as-eff Stocks app that comes with your iPhone.

3. You've vowed to become an ambassador for wildlife
I'm sorry, but there's only so many woodland creatures you can see dead on the side of the road before you decide you need to take action. Don't even talk to me about that time I saw a fallen fawn. And we all know about my teeny obsession with hedgehogs.

4. You want your out-of-work hobby to be flower arranging
Well, I've got to kick-start my train to Dutch-tulip-farm-ownership somewhere. (Also, every day I drive past a shop called 'Autumn Leaves Florist' and it fills me with joy).

5. You now drink tea after never touching the stuff before 
And your preferred choice is Darjeeling. Loose leaf Darjeeling. I just.

6. You shop at Gap
I bloomin' love Gap; their cotton shirts are so comfortable I could fall asleep in them, their jeans are the nokia of the denim world because they last an age and their colour palette is so gorge it makes my mouth water.

7. You have different candles for different times of the day
I own so many candles that I now have a sort of candle schedule. Morning is reserved for fresh, fruity and floraly scents, come afternoon we transition into warm shea butter and all things snuggly, until evening rolls around and we say hello to lavender (as this encourages restful sleep). I'm aware I need help.

8. You check the time on your watch, not your smartphone
I woke up one day and without realising, I became this. Lord have mercy on my iPhone.

9. You've started gravitating towards 'Ideal Homes' and 'Country Living' magazines
I do not own a home, nor do I live in the countryside, but these magazines are just so adorable and some of those DIYs are the things of Pinterest-filled dreams!

10. You're into gardening
I currently own a quadrant of cacti, a Wonderflower, two different types of mint herbs and five succulents. And no social life.

11. You start googling things like "when is plum season?" and "how to make rye bread rise"
In case you're wondering, plum season is May through October and you should probably mix normal wholemeal bread flour into your rye flour to help give it some oomph. You're welcome.

12. You have an uncontrollable desire to bake things even though you can't cook to save your life
I made my own spelt cake this weekend and flipping loved it! See also previous post where I blogged about making blackberry compote from home grown blackberries. I mean.

13. You see youths canoodling in the street and feel positively outraged
Excuse me but can you touch each others behind's on your own time?

*Gulp* Someone pass me a drink.
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Seasonal Scented Candle Wishlist

  1. Spiced Apple Compote - Pintail Candles, £7.99 (repurchase)
  2. Black Fig - Bahoma, £7.99
  3. Winter - Marks & Spencer, £15
  4. Christmas Eve - Yankee Candle, £19.99
  5. Forest - Melt Candles, £21.50
  6. Frankincense and Myrrh - Pintail Candles, £7.99 (repurchase)
  7. Santa's Little Melter - Bomb Cosmetics, £7.99
  8. Christmas - Kringle Candle, £18.99 (This is literally the smell of Christmas is a jar, I kid you not)
  9. First snowfall -  Wax Lyrical, £11
It doesn't take a genius to know that I am totally, completely, irrecoverably and unapologetically obsessed with candles. But I've watched enough Real Housewives episodes to know that I don't have to sit through an intervention if I own it. I have no regrets! It's like when someone at work was questioned about her jelly sweet addiction, she simply stated: "hey, at least it's not Crack". And you know what, I agree with her.

Autumn/winter scents bring me so much joy it's almost silly. I look forward to this time of the year because it means I can pack away my much loved Seashore and Chamomile & Violet candles and wack out everything spiced and all things nice. For this time of year, I love scents that are really warming and cosy, or something quite subtle yet crisp. I'm not huge on strong cinnamon tones, but throw in some apple I am sold.

Time to put on a seasonal film, run a bubbly bath and make some Whittard hot chocolate... and light one of these many candles, obvs.
~ Eleanor xo

Friday, 23 October 2015

Link Love #8

So, Tesla unveiled their self-driving car, hover-boards were banned on the streets of Britain and Google were seen testing out a drone to rival Amazon; perhaps this really is the 2015 Marty McFly envisioned. Sometimes I worry technology is moving too fast for even me, but then I look down at my iPhone and carry on with my life...

  1. Thirteen alternatives for the phrase "walk of shame". Don't tell me you aren't tempted to use these {via Self}

  2. Seven cooking myths that need to get lost. I found these strangely pleasing {via PureWow}

  3. What your morning routine says about you. Are you a 'snooze button hitter' or an 'eager to rise and shiner'? {via Levo}

  4. Eighty baby names inspired by Harry Potter. Because I may be twenty-one, but it's never too early to start brainstorming {via Brit + Co}

  5. Ten things you may not know about Vitamin D. According to this, (if you read between the lines, that is) the sun quite literally shines out of us all {via Get the Gloss}

  6. The low-down on every kind of egg dish you can make. #HowDoYouLiiiiiiike #YourEggsInTheMornin' {via PureWow}

  7. A profound quote that pretty much sums up my feelings about coffee {via SheFinds}

  8. All the stages of a break-up according to the goddess that is, Summer Roberts (a la, The OC) {via Bustle}

  9. An insightful and thoroughly interesting article looking into life after The Hills for Speidi {via Complex}

  10. A guide to the most popular coffee shops in Paris, according to Instagram (because obvs) {via Refinery29}
Keep it real, amigos
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Things To Do Now it's Autumn

The clocks are mere days from "falling back", meaning it's no longer BST (that's 'British Summer Time' for those of you who aren't down with clock lingo), and we're barrelling head first into long evenings, seasonal movie marathons and heated versions of every kind of beverage (warm Ribena drinkers, I'm looking at you). So wrap up cosy and venture with me...

1. Buy an entire new wardrobe
Autumn fashion is hands down the best of the year. Flannel shirts, knitted scarfs and boots galore - it's enough to make your mouth water, am I right? A girl's gotta keep on trend, after all.

2. Eat all the food
It's the season of layering and if you're not fully embracing it by allowing puffer jackets to cover your expanding waistline then WHO ARE YOU?! Remember what Aristotle once said, "we only regret the snacks we didn't eat". (he never actually said that).

3. Take long hot baths
The kind of ones where you don't realise quite how BOILING HOT the water is until you attempt to get up and very nearly pass out (while your heart tries not to explode). Still, if you use your fanciest Jo Malone goodies, at least if someone finds you overheated and spread eagle on the bathroom floor, you'll smell DIVINE. Priorities, I am right?.

4. Start planning for Christmas
I've started using my lunch breaks to browse the Christmas sections of various high street stores. So far Marks and Spencer is my favourite, but attempting to resist the chocolate coins is only getting more difficult... (See point 2)

5. Bake all the things
(Or at least, tell yourself you're going to bake things). Embrace the pumpkin obsession that's seemingly cropped out of nowhere and get spicy! Or alternatively, try my blackberry compote recipe. *shameless self promotion*

6. Consider possible 2016 New Years resolutions and vow you will absolutely stick to them. Like, totally seriously this time.
Come January first I'll be waking up at 5am and heading to the gym. (Ha! Just another cracker from a game I like to call: #ThingsEleanorWillNeverDo)

7. Spice up your beverage order (ha! Get it? #SeasonalHumour)
I mean, hot chocolates are an OBVIOUS addition but I hear Starbucks are introducing mulled drinks (oh the perks of being a Rewards member). Why not give them a try? Sure, they may end up being gross, but at least you'll have embraced the merriment.

8. Spend time with your family 
In summer you're too busy parading around in skimpy clothes to pay your relatives too many visits, but don't you find autumnal days are the perfect time to see family, drink copious amounts of tea and chit-chat about life since your last encounter? Of course, this is usually where you find out your aunt's cousin's brother-in-law popped his clogs and you aren't sure how to react because you can't recall if you ever met them... But hey, the elderly always have their heating set to five-thousand-degrees so at least you'll be toasty warm for a few hours.

And of course, don't forget to Instagram the entire thing. It's all about the #aesthetic.
~ Eleanor xo

(Don't forget to set your clocks back by one hour on Sunday 25th!)

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Gratituesday // 20.10.15

Adulthood is taking serious effect these days and sometimes it's hard to keep positive when not everything goes the way you hope it will. I had a sort of epiphany while stuck in traffic last week and realised that it might be time to focus on the good stuff that's happening; and so I present to you: #Gratituesday. A list of things that've made me happy or grateful recently (pretty much exactly what it says on the tin):
  1. Falling in love with sunflowers again after having a beautiful bouquet on my bedside table all week (and then buying some gigantic sunflower seeds ready to grow my own next year. I am the next Martha Stewart, after all).
  2. Getting home to a warm slow-cooked casserole and an even warmer shower after being rescued from the side of the motorway by the RAC after our tire blew out.
  3. Planning Graduation Ball festivities with my pals. I can't believe how close it is now!
  4. Watching a beautiful orange sunset while driving through Windsor Great Park one evening. I wish a photo would do it justice.
  5. Waking up toasty warm because we've officially turned the heating on in our house.
  6. Realising it's 100% 'Christmas films showing on weekend afternoon television' season and reveling in the joy while hunting online for seasonal scented candles.
  7. One Direction's new song being more perfect than I could ever have imagined (see what I did there?). And then, someone created a mashup of Perfect and T Swift's Style - it's magical!
  8. Rediscovering my love for toasted pitta bread and guacamole thanks to some recent work drinks which (to my delight) ended up including a charcuterie platter, beef chilli nachos, fries and all manner of tasty bites... as well as civilised alcoholic beverage consumption.
  9. You know that hedgehog I wrote about in my July Favourites? Well, last weekend I got to watch him snooping around bird feeders gobbling all the fallen seed, which according the V reliable source that is Wikipedia, means he is preparing for hibernation. What a smart guy.
  10. Finding the perfect weekday afternoon pick-me-up in the form of the juiciest and downright tastiest organic plums from my local farm shop (yup, that one I wrote about).  
Merry Gratituesday to all, and to all a good night!
~ Eleanor xo

Friday, 16 October 2015

Blackberry Compote

I know what you're thinking, "Eleanor, you're twenty-one, at the height of your youth, what are you doing making compote?" Well, I'll tell you what, my amigos. After learning how crazy expensive blackberries are during my perilous years as a student, I was adamant I wouldn't let our homegrown blackberries go to waste.

I wasn't exactly sure how to go about making a compote, so obviously, I did what any twenty-first century native does, I googled it. Only, I couldn't find a recipe I was 100% sure about, so then I did what any new baker does, and decided to wing it. By combining the ingredients and methods of a few recipes, I became a self-proclaimed compote extraordinaire.

All you'll need are these four snazzy ingredients, some kind of food processor (or a smoothie maker) and about fifteen minutes.
200g Blackberries
33g Caster Sugar
2tbsp Lemon juice (or, if you're feeling fancy, you can use a fresh lemon)
A pinch of cinnamon (honestly just a pinch) ~ optional
*These measurements can be altered to your taste
1. Wash and chop your blackberries in half (or at least, into smaller pieces)
2. Measure and combine caster sugar, lemon juice and cinammon
3. Pour all ingredients into a food processor (or in my case, a smoothie maker) and whizz up until smooth
4. Serve straight away or store in a jar in your fridge

Make sure you use your compote within two days, or freeze it ready to enjoy at a later date!

Now, I'm off to buy some ice cream so I can enjoy my new found skill.
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 15 October 2015

My Kind of Weekend

Everyone has their ideal weekend, right? Well, I certainly do, and it goes a little something like this...

Saturday morning was spent at my favourite place in the world: our local garden centre (Right, because you didn't know I've already hit middle age). After a mix up with table numbers and my dad ordering almost every item on the breakfast menu, we settled down with our lattes and breakfast plates (I went for scrambled eggs and salmon because OBVS) and gossiped about life. We then decided it would probably be a good idea to attempt to walk off the consequent food coma and went for a stroll through the outdoor plant area (I was internally squealing at all the gorgeous colours) until we found ourselves in literal heaven. And when I say heaven I obviously mean: THE CHRISTMAS SECTION. Sure, it may only be a couple of days into October, but if a garden centre deems it Christmas season, then who am I to argue?

After nearly losing myself in the seasonal euphoria and picking out a new reed diffuser for my bedroom, we headed to the farm shop and picked up some tasty local (& organic) produce, including: chocolate, cheese, plums, rye flour, carrots, duck breasts, pork & marmite sausages, loose leaf tea and a few other goodies (including beautiful sunflowers). I couldn't resist spending the remaining hours of Saturday curled up on the sofa, reading blogs and munching on these suuuper delish chocolate buttons.

Sunday was an exciting day for the minuscule sports fan inside me. I am a lover of American Football and October 4th saw the Dolphins and the Jets cross the ocean to face off at Wembley Stadium in London. While it was technically the Miami Dolphins' home game, something told me to root for the New York Jets; and it ended up being a good call because they won! #Balling. The Dolphins' put on a great show though, with fireworks, bubble machines AND water cannons firing all over the place while their team raced onto the field. I enjoyed sitting in the warm Autumn sun, snapchatting the entire Dolphins team lunging (what a view, am I right), vowing never to eat carbs again in the hope of becoming NFL cheerleader material, all while waving my flag and pretending to know anything about the game.

And in amongst all the fun, I still managed to find time to catch up on the latest episode of Once Upon A Time. #DarkSwan is goals.
~ Eleanor xo

Friday, 9 October 2015

Link Love #7

These links are a little more fashion focused than usual because Fashion Weeks have taken over the entire world and grabbed all media attention. And actually, this season's looks (and more importantly, the shows) were really kind of cool. I mean, did you see #ChanelAirlines? Forget finding water on Mars, this is the most newsworthy of stuff... Well, sort of...
  1. Thirteen super tasty recipes for homemade bread. Can I get a hollaaaaaaa {via Brit + Co}

  2. Six hair mistakes you need to stop making pretty much right away. This would probably explain why I have a zillion split ends {via Self}

  3. What autumn looks like in small towns across America. Oh, it's the stuff of dreams! {via Town and Country}

  4. Seven myths about sleep that actually aren't true. Simply listen to your body and try to avoid hitting the snooze button {via PureWow}

  5. My mouth is watering over the thought of this coffee granola bowl with yogurt, oranges and avocado {via Finger, Fork and Knife}

  6. A fashion editor gives a run-down of everything she ate during London Fashion Week {via The Debrief}

  7. Ten autumnal flavours that rival the pumpkin spice. Yes to everything apple! {via Bustle}

  8. The most valuable career advice from six people at the top {via Forbes}

  9. A look into the life of Ralph Lauren; an inspiring rags to riches story {via Business Insider}

  10. Dior totally WON Paris Fashion Week with this utterly breathtaking creation. I'd have sold a limb to have been there {via New York Times Style}
Keep it real, homies.
~ Eleanor xo

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Photo Diary: The September Round Up

My sick new wheels ~ driving her is like driving a white fluffy cloud
Salmon, scrambled eggs and a latte. Just yes. Yes everything. @ Secretts Rendezvous, Milford
My intro piece to my new colleagues in the work e-newsletter. What a fab first impression... 
Couldn't resist snapping this crystal blue sky @ Royal Windsor Shopping, Windsor
A chicken burger with bacon and avocado and the best cheesy fries *drools* @ Flaming Cow, Eton
Extended family catch up in a countryside Inn @ Coppleridge Inn, Motcombe
Harvesting our homegrown blackberries because I'm basically Martha Stewart
These Autumn cups are saaaaa cute! @ Starbucks, Windsor
I love these pastel buildings ~ Never forget to look up! @ High Street, Windsor
I may've turned twenty-one in August, but adulthood really began this month. That is, if we don't count the number of Saturday afternoons I spent holed up on my sofa watching Disney Channel, and totally loving it (has anyone else seen 'Liv and Maddie'? #GameChanger).

Anyway, I digress. September saw me start to properly settle into my job (including a whirlwind day trip to London for the unveiling of our new company branding); I bought my very own car - a Fiat 500 Lounge named Felicity, but I call her Flick for short (just like the Ant from A Bug's Life); I purchased car insurance, road tax and all of that other legal mumbo-jumbo; I signed up for Nectar and Tesco Clubcards; was super pleased to discover that the shares I hold in a certain telecoms company are doing better than I expected; and was enrolled into a pension scheme. I mean, talk about keen.

Still, with every passing day it feels more and more strange to not be heading back to my university town; preparing for another year of hardcore studying and super fun nights on the town. Instead, I wake up at 6:30am and head out for a full day of work, looking forward to when I can crawl back into bed again at about 9pm later that day. Life post-university is wild.

But I have to say, I am enjoying this whole "monthly salary" thing. Yes, this is something I can definitely get used to. Especially when I work in a town where Jo Malone, L'Occitane and Neal's Yard are within walking distance... *forces self to leave bank card at home*.

Now, let's all close our eyes and wish for a Pinterest worthy October!
~ Eleanor xo

Apple announced the Apple Pencil... basically just a glorified stylus; The Queen became the longest reigning monarch in British history (LOVE her); and the #PSL made its even-pumpkinier comeback.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Day in the Life: Client Monthly Meeting & Top Secret Projects

Very few people seem to know what my job as an Account Executive within a digital marketing agency entails, so I figured I'd break down a typical day to give you an idea of what I get up to. Obvs, I'm contractually obliged to keep the majority of what happens inside the agency to myself, so I can't reveal too many deets. But this day included the end of month meeting with the marketing team of the account I work on, so it seemed like a good day to pick...

6:30am Wake up. Double check it's not the weekend. It's not. Grimace. Check emails. Force self to get up. Make a little more effort than usual as don't want client to think I'm sloppy. Which I am, but they can't know that.

7:05am Head downstairs for breakfast of Shredded Wheat and homegrown blackberries. Feel certain Martha Stewart would be proud.

7:25am Leave house and start commute. Remember why I never wear this shirt, so uncomfortable. Witness two ponies grooming each other. So moved, feel a bit teary. Consider if sleep deprivation is affecting me. Decide that's a ludicrous thought. #WhyDontHumansGroomEachOther.

8am Get cut up by Volvo. Lose my shit and deem it a horn-worthy offence. Sound horn. Feel slightly better. Make mental note to hate all Volvo drivers.

9am Working day starts. Down some coffee. Answer urgent emails ahead of meeting. Print every kind of document known to man. Run up and down stairs. Feel awful that I've almost certainly just destroyed half the rain forest. More concerned with whether all this stair climbing counts as working out. Decide it does.

12pm Client team arrives and meeting begins. Agency is supplying buffet lunch of Marks and Spencer sandwiches, crisps, beverages and chocolately snacks. Realise this must be what it's like to be a dog in a dining room who's not allowed to eat food. Wonder if nail polish is a bit slutty. This shirt is really sodding uncomfortable. Agency and client chat about the weekly status update of account, (lots of stuff going down); review the success of the last quarter, (everyone seems pleased); chat about stats and stuff, (feel chuffed as eff that I totally get what's being said because I covered it in a unit at university); mention of other digital web based type things regarding the client and their partners (and us potentially poaching their business). Pay close attention. Strange pieces of furniture arrive for another client's event. Bit awks. Finance is discussed. Hooray for money! #DoesThisMeanMyJobIsSafe. After faffing about with temperamental wifi, client shows some top secret upcoming digital and web based thangs they're working on and planning to release within the next few years*. All very impressive. Lots of head nodding and complimentary remarks. Feel super important. Want to tweet about it but contractually obliged to keep my gob shut.

4:30pm Meeting draws to a close. Make mental note to work on my handshake. Bit out of practice. Feel a bit flushed. Four and a half hours in the boardroom does not fly by. Scoff some of the leftover snacks. Hate self a bit. Back to desk to sort through emails and pretend I'm V important.

6:12pm Time to head home. Wonder why woman in Honda behind me wants to get in my boot. Yell at her to learn to drive. Bust out to T Swift, almost deafen self.

6:57pm Arrive home at last. Very nearly put nail polish remover on cotton pad instead of micellar water. Vow to live each day like it's my last. And to move micellar water away from nail polish remover. Jump in the shower. Wrap up in pjs. Scoff some dinner. #GBBO. Rant about how much I dislike Flora. Rejoice when she gets cut. Wonder if acted a little too insensitively before falling asleep approx twenty minutes after show ends. <End Scene>

Spoiler alert: M&S buffet food is the bomb. But you already knew that.
~ Eleanor xo

*Client emails two days later to say that what was shown at the meeting is super secret and not to be shared... Privacy concerns ON FLEEK.

Friday, 2 October 2015

September Favourites

I'll tell you what's not been a favourite this month, this cold I'm currently battling. Nothing makes you feel like the absolute epitome of health quite like blowing your nose in a room full of people and being so congested that when you pick up the phone and say "hello", the person at the end (who should recognise your voice) goes "Oh, sorry is Eleanor there?". Yes, yes she is. She's just having difficulty breathing properly right now...

But I digress; with Beechams and Innocent orange juice in hand, lemme tell you a thing (about what I actually have been loving this month):
  1. Downton Abbey
    I know, I too am appalled that it took me this long to jump on the Downton train. Please, forgive me. I've been meaning to watch it for ages but it always seemed like too much of a commitment, what with the episodes being five hours long. Slight exaggeration there, but my desire to squeeze in as many episodes as possible means staying up late on school work nights is now proving impossible to resist! Period dramas honestly give me life. *gush, gush, gush*.

  2. Felicity the Fiat
    Driving a different car after four years is a very surreal experience (if we don't count the day in 2013 where I drove a Porsche, a Ferrari and a Lamborghini...) but Felicity has made me feel right at home behind the wheel. She is a 1.2 Fiat 500 Lounge and an absolute dream to drive, handle and maneuver. I also love the feeling of knowing she's 100% mine; not a gift or a loan, I am paying for her myself, out of my own salary. Like a real grown up. I can't wait to see where our adventures take us! (As you can tell, I'm ridiculously attached to her).

  3. Shea Butter Yankee Candle
    A candle that when lit makes the air around you smell like a bubble bath?! Hells to the yeah, my friends! This scent is absolutely perfect for this time of year; when you're curling up on a dreary Sunday afternoon, watching some Downton, with your fairy lights on, some dark chocolate in hand and a fluffy blanket keeping you warm. Yes, this'll do nicely.

  4. Essie 'no chips ahead' Top Coat [here]
    I will be honest with you, I never believed a product like this could exist. I always saw nail polish as inevitably chippable and any top coat that claimed to feel otherwise was just a good marketing ploy. But Essie, oh how you've proved me wrong. THIS STUFF WORKS. My nail varnish stays completely and totally in tact for days. I don't know what kind of fairy dust they've put in this but my golly it works (soz, that's the incessant Downton watching leaping out of me). Seriously, I'm so impressed with this stuff, and it's an absolute steal.

  5. Lindt Creation Pistachio Delight
    This year has changed me. Before, the thought of dark chocolate was almost too much to bear, and nuts? In chocolate!? The stuff of insanity! But now I can't seem to get enough of it. If I'm in the mood to pick out chocolate I'm heading straight to the dark chocolate section and picking out bars with all kinds of things in them. This pistachio and almond flavour is a dream; it's like a party's happening in my mouth and I'm the only one invited! (So far I've only found them on sale in Waitrose, so head there if I've got you in the mood)

  6. Zara Blanket Scarf
    I believe it was Aristotle who was once quoted saying "scarf weather is better weather". Obviously, that's a lie. But I'd like to think that given the chance, Aristotle would've totally said that. Right now, there's nothing better than leaving my house in the morning with my hair in a top knot and my cozy blanket scarf around my neck. It's so comfy and warm that I've barely taken it off; the print also makes it perfect for this time of year.
Time to drink pumpkin spiced lattes and dance on the table!
~ Eleanor xo