We're nearly 20 days into 2015 already; this post has been sitting in the notes app on my phone for more than five weeks. I guess that means I'm starting the year as I mean to go on - as a pretty lousy blogger... I always thought the idea of new years resolutions was kinda silly, but I made some last year and found the exercise surprisingly useful and gratifying. Some of the best things I did in 2014 came about as a direct result - I'd been thinking about them for a while, but turning them into set goals gave me that extra push. 

I have less specific things in mind for 2015, but at any rate, here's some stuff I'd like to accomplish this year:

Be the healthiest, happiest version of me
Overall, 2014 was a good year for me in terms of basic health and wellbeing. I went back to eating mostly vegetarian, started going to the gym (plus ballet and swimming) and stopped spending my evenings pointlessly browsing the internet. There were some setbacks - having asthma, putting on weight during the holidays, suffering with stress - but nothing worth dwelling on more than I have to. Actions:
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Start the day earlier
  • Do more exercise
  • Cook interesting vegan and vegetarian food (our repertoire is getting tired)
  • Only drink alcohol once a week
Indulge my hobbies & try new things
Somewhere along the line I made my hobby my job. This is 80% AWESOME, 20% frustrating. Once a hobby becomes work it tends to lose the relaxing qualities it once had, and leaves your spare time kind of lacking. I recently remembered how much I LOVE audio books; they're the perfect pastime for me as a) listening does not require the attention of my eyeballs (which have been working all day long) and, b) I can do other things at the same time. Actions:
  • Listen to more audio books (I just got an Audible subscription)
  • Try perfume making
  • Decorate our home
  • Write (whilst trying to resist the urge to edit everything to within an inch of its life)
Buy less, buy better
This was on the list last year, and I think it'll probably stay on the list for the rest of my life. I don't think it requires any explanation or reiteration (?). 2014 was just okay on the shopping front. I hope 2015 will be better. Actions:
  • Try project 333
  • Sell/donate the things that are still lurking - unworn - in my closet
  • Save money
  • Make sure existing beauty products are used up before re-purchasing
And that's it! Nothing revolutionary here. I'm feeling quite stressed out at the moment, so I wanted to look at gradual lifestyle changes rather than set goals like 'lose 10lbs' or 'only buy one thing a month' - I definitely don't want to set myself up for failure (and the anxiety that comes with it). I know this all seems a bit vague (it is!) but maybe I'll expand on some of these points at a later date. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Did you make any resolutions? :-)

Sunday Suppers / Eyeko 'Skinny Brush' mascara / lambswool blanket / KeepCup (8oz) /  Hotel Chocolat Christmas selection / Uniqlo cashmere beanie
Whistles 'Onslow' bucket bag / Clarisonic Mia 2 / Tesco DAB radio / Vivienne Westwood's autobiography / aloe vera plant

Can it really be November again? Where did you go, 2014? In a few weeks time I'll be another year older (25, eek) and a few more weeks after that it'll be that most wonderful time of the year again. There aren't many things I'm really lusting after right now, but if you're twisting my arm, Santa, I'd be pretty pleased to see any of the above under my tree...

What's on your wishlist this year? 

LOVING everything in this current collection from KowTow - I probably won't buy anything (not sure they ship to UK, anyway) but it provides major wardrobe inspirations all the same. I'm really into these slouchy/loose 'contemporary kimono' shapes. Also, the crazy red polka dot pattern against black and white stripes? It so works!

I kinda feel like Everlane exists mainly to taunt me; my perfect wardrobe, manufactured responsibly and transparently, and available at a fair (and attainable) price - but I can't get my hands on it. The day they start shipping to the UK will be a high point in my life (and also the day I go bankrupt).
I recently went on a whirlwind business trip which involved an insane schedule, several very late nights, a line up of poky conference rooms, and endless train journeys (you know the drill). By the time I got back I was exhausted and - after surviving on carby baked goods, crisps and cheese sandwiches for three days - malnourished. Being mainly vegetarian and a lover of raw food, I find it pretty depressing having to choose my sustenance from the sort of establishments common to stations and cheap hotels; even when there is fresh food, some form of cheese/pasta arrangement is often the only veggie offering. 

A few weeks ago, I was invited to visit the new ÜGOT café in Newcastle's Central Station, so Laura and I popped in one Friday afternoon. It was packed (good sign) so we dashed around and took a bunch of stuff back to our office for lunch... and WHAT a lunch, oh boy! ÜGOT sells my type of grub: fresh vegetables, BIG salads, interesting vegetarian and vegan options, fresh juice and smoothies, great coffee, fresh fruit, and nice but not-so-naughtly treats like chocolate and cinnamon nuts, dried fruit mixes and frozen yoghurt. Their offerings are seasonally directed, with an ever-changing menu that means that there's often something new to try.

Despite the fact that Laura and I have quite different tastes, we both found a ton of things we liked at ÜGOT; a real testament to the variety on offer. To give a brief sense of what the menu is like, I had: a kale and falafel wrap, a banana and maple smoothie and tropical frozen yoghurt. Laura had: a chicken noodle pot and raspberry frozen yoghurt. We also shared some cinnamon almonds (although I gobbled most of them, sorry Laura!). Everything was insanely yummy, but the froyo was particularly amazing.

Healthy, interesting, nutritious, FRESH food from a station? Hallelujah! This is what I was craving on aforementioned business trip (and everyday, now I think about it). Have you been to ÜGOT yet? Please post menu recs below!

I can't wait for my next visit to ÜGOT - I'm particularly looking forward to tasting the new peanut butter hot chocolate :-)

Many thanks to the team at ÜGOT for inviting me to try their new menu. More info: visit ugotuk.com, follow ÜGOT on Twitter and Instagram, and like ÜGOT on Facebook

I know this collection has been kicking about for a while now but finally - now the breeze is cold and there's frost on the ground in the mornings and PSLs are back in Starbucks - I'm fully ready to appreciate it. I need grey, everything grey, in every woolly texture known to man. Man, those layers, those fringes, those popped collars! 

Jeans are my go-to item of clothing literally every single day. I wear them to work (thank you, creative industry, for making that possible), I wear them at the weekends and I even wear them to fancy dinners and on evenings out. In terms of cost-per-wear, I definitely get more value out of my jeans than from any other item that has ever graced my closet rail.

Despite loving jeans an awful lot, I find shopping for them difficult. I favour online shopping rather than 'real life' shopping, but not being able to try jeans on can be a big problem. That being said, jeans are one of the most frustrating things to try on in a cramped fitting room (especially if they're skinny, and require wiggling to put on and take off). I have quite a specific set of criteria when it comes to judging an acceptable pair:

  • Darkish denim, but not a 'flat' colour - I like some whispering and natural looking wear
  • Slim-legged but not ultra skinny
  • Mid to high waisted - needs to cover my love handles 
  • Must have some stretch, as I'll often be sitting in them all day and they need to be comfortable
  • I prefer the 'natural' coloured stitching (the slightly orangey coloured stuff) to the stitching that blends in with the denim colour

Whenever I'm in the market for new jeans I usually go through 10 or 20 pairs in various fitting rooms and online orders before finding some that are just right. I was slightly sceptical, then, when I got an email from JQ's PR people a couple of months ago, asking if I'd like to try some of theirs. Because: A) I'm so fussy about the style of jeans and B) I've never tried the brand before and wasn't sure what size I'd be, so I was really worried they wouldn't fit. But I'm not one to pass up the opportunity to try something new, so a month later, my chosen pair arrived from Italy. 

I'm well aware that this is going to sound like a gushy I-love-getting-free-blogger-stuff review, but bear with me, okay? The short version is: I bloody love these jeans. The slightly longer version is: I bloody love these jeans so much that they have not been off my backside since they arrived, because they're beautiful and they fit like a dream. Details? Okay: The waist is snug (but not tight) to my natural waistline, with none of that annoying gape at the back. The material is durable but also soft and flexible, with just the right amount of stretch. The style is the ideal slim leg jean; not too skinny, not too baggy. They're really comfortable, and they look equally as nice with sneakers and a sweater as they do with a shirt and pumps. Pretty darn perfect then, if you ask me.

And the most important question? Yep, they make my butt look awesome. 

Notes: These jeans are very true to size in my opinion, the size 10 is ideal for me. I'm 5 ft 4 and they're a great length - just grazing the ground, without a turn-up. Big thanks to the folks at JQ Jeans and Fabric PR for inviting me to review.

A few things I've been lusting after recently (loving those neutrals, as usual). I'm pleased to have said hello to Autumn; it's arrived in full force these past few weeks, with chilly breezes, golden leaves and too many pumpkin spice lattes... 

I may finally splurge on the Acne Canada scarf after many years of admiring from afar - although spending over £100 on a scarf still sounds faintly ridiculous. What's on your Autumn wishlist? 

Margaret Howell: what a babe. I've been hoicked right out of that fashion funk and plunged into new season bliss by way of burgundy corduroy and charcoal woolens. See that grey blazer top right? I have one just like that (a £20 ebay bargain, originally from Toast) and now I can't wait to dig it out. That's why I love you, MH. I say it every single year but my god, it's true; you make me fall in love with the clothes I already own, all over again. That's true talent (and kind on my bank balance).

Also, I am 100% on board with the inclusion of pyjamas in every collection ever.