ASOS haul: February 2015

I'm heading to Morocco in April to celebrate my birthday, which brings up the issue of what to wear whilst I'm there. I don't own any shorts, skirts or dresses that sit at or below knee-length, and I don't want to spend a fortune on buying new clothes, but I do need to stay cool and look respectable. Some suggest that women cover from wrist to ankle, but as we'll be in Marrakech - a city used to tourists - I'll be sticking to covering up my knees, shoulders and chest.

First up, I ordered this ASOS pleated midi skirt in mint (£14 in the sale, down from £35), and this floral printed scuba midi skirt by New Look (£22.99); both would work well for a day and evening look. But, then I needed to order the mint skirt in a smaller size, and I ended up ordering a further five skirts as I'd somehow missed the full sale section!

I'm definitely keeping this midi skirt in floral rose print (£12, down from £30; bottom left), and the River Island tropical print full skirt (£8, reduced from £28; bottom right). I really loved the New Look skirt, but this way I can get two lovely skirts for less than the price of the New Look one - sold!

I probably won't take this skirt to Morocco, but the ASOS full midi skirt in scuba with pockets (£12, down from £30; bottom left) was too pretty to send back. Isn't cobalt blue a gorgeous colour? I *nearly* kept the cream midi skater skirt with lace insert hem by Love (£10.50, down from £35) but in the flesh it looks like the sort of thing that you'd wear once, and then it'd disintegrate in the washing machine!

The final skirt I ordered, which is also going back, was another mint-coloured midi skirt (£10, down from £38) - I'm not convinced that mint is my colour!

I also snapped up this Little Mistress maxi dress (£58). It had sold out in my size when I spotted it, but I kept checking back in the hope that someone had returned it... someone eventually did!

When it arrived, things didn't add up. The model's height is listed as my height, yet she has a gap between the dress hem and the floor: I had about six inches of material dragging along the floor. I don't want to wear sky high heels, so this has sadly gone back.

All-in-all, I picked up three skirts for the bargain total of £32. You've got to love a sale! I still need to find a dress to wear for my birthday, but I've got a while. Have you picked up any bargains recently? x

2015 LBL: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street

10. Discover a new spot to see London from up high

Olly and I are a fan of looking at London from up high, which is why this particular item is on our 2015 London bucket list. On our first official date - Olly's second first date with me as I didn't think our first date was a date, just two people going to the cinema(!) - he took me to Paramount at Centre Point, a place that sadly closed down at the start of this year.

At the weekend we visited 20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the Walkie Talkie. It's the building to the right of the Gherkin, and it's the one that melted some cars the other year by reflecting light. (The Gherkin, by the way, is the fictional home of the New News group in Geli Voyante's Hot or Not, which is where Geli works.) To the left of the Walkie Talkie is 122 Leadenhall Street, aka the Cheesegrater. (That's the one that bolts keep falling from.)

By booking a free visit to the Sky Garden at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street, you can visit without having to order an expensive meal or drink. (Beers start from £4.75, cocktails from £11.50, and a Coke will set you back £3.75 at the Sky Pod bar. Mains at the Darwin brasserie range between £14.50 to £28; prices are much higher at the Fenchurch seafood bar and grill.)

As you can see, the Sky Garden isn't exactly Kew Gardens. If you're visiting for a lush garden experience, there are better places to go to.

However, if you're visiting to get a view of London from high up and don't want to pay £25-30 to see The View from The Shard, then the Sky Garden is a good call. You're still high enough to be able to spot famous London landmarks, though the set-up of the building does limit you slightly in snapping awesome photos.

They also can't guarantee weather conditions, obviously. A massive cloud was smack bang over the sun when we were there, which stopped us from seeing a sunset over London - at least we can visit again whenever we want for free though. It's definitely worth a mooch upwards, but you can't just rock up so you do need to book in advance.

Which is your favourite place to view London from up high? x

Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BY
Open Monday to Friday, 10am - 6pm; weekends 11am - 9pm. Book here.

2015 LBL: Maltby Street Market

11. Eat at Maltby Street Market

Borough Market is where foodies flock to, but a mere stone's throw away - OK, a fifteen minute walk - is Maltby Street Market. Open at the weekends, it's what you'd come to expect from a London market: it's full of so much tasty food and drink that you have a difficult time choosing which stalls you're going to eat from. We may have ticked this off our 2015 London bucket list, but we'll definitely be returning!

Olly went to the infamous Monty's Deli for a Reuben Special. £10 gets you a massive salt beef and pastrami sandwich on rye bread, with melted cheese, a Russian dressing and sauerkraut, served with coleslaw and a pickle. I didn't think it was possible, but it filled him up for the rest of the day and he skipped dinner! His verdict? Disgustingly awesome.

His choice wasn't my cup of tea, but waffles with bacon, egg and maple syrup from Waffle On was. Costing £6, the buttermilk waffle was deliciously sweet and the egg was wonderfully dippy. They also do a slow roasted duck waffle with plum sauce and egg for £7 that I was very tempted by... Maybe next time, though I also had my eye on a Bockwurst from Herman ze German. Too much yummy food!

Have you eaten at Maltby Steet Market? x

Maltby Street Market, London, SE1 3PA
Open Saturday 9am - 4pm; Sunday 11am - 4pm.

The month that was: January

How is it February already? January has flown by, although it was a pretty quiet month for me. I've not really done anything exciting, though I have bashed out a lot of words and confirmed the publication date for my third book, Lost... OK, that's exciting!

In 2015 I'm going to be doing a new feature on the blog, looking back at some of the things I got up to each month. So, without further ado, this is what I got up to in January.

What happened:
I mostly hibernated in our broken flat, if I'm honest! I say broken because last week our fridge freezer broke, yet another issue to add to the growing list of flat problems - don't ask - and our landlady has yet to sort a replacement/get it fixed. Annoyingly we had a freezer and fridge full of yummy food... that food is now in the bin. The sooner we can find a new flat to rent, the better; also, the sooner the rental market is regulated, the better!

I bashed out lots of words in January - 25,788 words, in fact - and organised the tour for Lost, the follow-up to KeptLost will be published on April 7th, 2015, and the tour kicks off the next day. I'm so excited to share Arielle's next adventure, and also a bit scared as Lost is the tricky middle book in the Arielle Lockley series; Found, the third book, will be out towards the end of the year.

We also headed to Yorkshire to visit my family last month. I didn't make par on crazy golf, though I did get a hole-in-one, and it was lovely to catch up with my family and see Olly's face when he got charged £2.85 for a pint and £8 for a bottle of wine! Toto, I have a feeling we're not in London any more!

What I ate:
Before the fridge freezer broke and we had to start buying one meal at a time, storing the food we'd usually keep in the fridge outside (thank goodness it's not got above 4°C), we did cook lots of tasty meals. I baked some amazing garlic dough balls (recipe taken from Jamie's Comfort Food book), and also made Pho from scratch. 

Eating out, I gave fish! a go at Borough Market, but sadly it was disappointing. The Japanese Canteen in Holborn was a much better choice, though I still prefer Wasabi's chicken katsu curry - Wasabi definitely has the best katsu curry! I also picked up the Wahaca cookbook for a fiver, so I can't wait to try out some dishes from that. 

There was definitely more yummy food than that in January - I'm going to have to take notes for next month's TMTW!

What I watched:
Pretty Little Liars made it on to Netflix in January, so I started catching up with all the episodes I'd missed; I'm now halfway through season 4. We're searching for new TV box-sets to watch, so watched a few episodes of Chuck, The WireFortitude and Wolf Hall - we'll definitely be watching Fortitude, at some point, and we'll dip in and out of Chuck.

Film-wise, I watched, and can recommend, Maleficent and Robot & Frank. I also watched The Matrix for the first time ever, which I agreed to do as long as Olly watched Mean Girls, which he'd never seen - Mean Girls wins, hands down!

What I read:
I read 13 books in January, including Around the World in Eight Days for the 2015 classics challenge, which I really liked. Other fiction favourites this month include Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, and A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson.

I've also been reading about local history - local to where I grew up in Yorkshire, that is - and I thoroughly enjoyed The Hollow Crown by Dan Jones. It astounds me that so many important battles and events in Tudor England happened in my home town and a stone's throw away from my (childhood) doorstep, yet not once we were taught this important local history in school! I'm rectifying this gap in my knowledge now.

How was your January? x


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