Living life on a budget

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Restaurant Review | Jamies Italian





A couple of weeks ago James and I decided to treat ourselves to a meal and a few cocktails at Jamie's Italian. I am so so glad we did. 

I have been to Jamie's Italian before and have loved it, but have never had a full 3 course meal and cocktails. I thought I would take the opportunity to blog about it and share my experience with all of you lovely people. 

For the starter we decided on Jamie's ultimate plank which was delicious, just thinking about it is making me hungry (even after a huge BBQ, so that's saying something). I loved everything that came on it, especially the meat and pork scratchings. It was definitely the perfect way to begin a lovely meal. 

I'm not sure what my main course was called, but it was basically chicken on bruschetta with a creamy mushroom sauce and some rocket. Even though it's a pretty simple dish (I think anyway, sorry if I'm wrong Jamie), it was so so so tasty. 

The Amalfi lemon cheesecake for dessert was huge and, again, delicious. I am literally getting so hungry thinking about all of this and will definitely be heading over for another meal once I'm back in London. 

We then went on to have some cocktails, I would tell you exactly what we had but I can't remember them all (especially the last few). I can definitely remember them all tasting amazing and I know I'll definitely be heading back again soon. 

So basically, if you haven't already gathered, I had an amazing meal and think everyone should go to a Jamies restaurant, whether that's Italian or any of his other restaurants. 


Do you have any current favourite restaurants?

Fake Tan or Natural Tan?



I love being tanned, I think there's nothing better in summer than to have a glowing tan. I think it makes you look so much healthier and better in general. 

I've tried a range of fake tans over the past few years, including instant, gradual and spray,  and have had good and bad (or orange and blotchy) experiences. These are just 3 recents I have tried out and actually quite like. 

Out of the Garnier and St. Moriz gradual self tanning moisturisers, I definitely prefer the St Moriz one. It's a much more natural colour, is easier to blend in and therefore doesn't go as streaky/blotchy.

The Origins self tanner is also really good. It rubs in well and the colour starts to show after an hour or two. The colour is very natural and it's shimmery, which creates kind of creates a glowing, just-come-back-from-holiday look. I usually use this before going out, definitely not on an everyday basis. 

After saying that, recently I have almost given up on any fake tan and have just tried a bit harder to get a natural tan. Naturally my skin is very pale and gets freckly in the sun, but if I try hard enough and spend a lot of time outside, I do get a pretty good tan. I'm hoping to build up the tan more whilst on holiday, I'll keep you posted!


Do you use fake tan or do you prefer a natural tan?

OOTD | The Perfect Combination










I have a serious obsession with stripes, I love bardot tops and could live in playsuits, so when I saw this playsuit on the Missguided website it was 100% a must buy. 

Today I dressed this playsuit up a bit by wearing it with healed boots, but it can easily be worn during the daytime for more casual occasions with a pair of sandals. 

Even though it's unusual to have long sleeves on such a summery outfit, I really like them on this playsuit. The sleeves look good and they're perfect for this mixed up English weather. I know I'm going to be wearing this a lot during summer and on holiday. 

Playsuit- Missguided
Boots- TopShop

Interrailing | Essentials


Ask any of my friends/family about me and packing and they'll tell you that I never pack light and will practically take my wardrobe for even a weekend away. However, I had to overcome this problem when James and I packed for our 3 week interrailing trip around Europe (see previous post). 

I never thought I would have to or could possibly pack 3 weeks worth of stuff into one (pretty big and pretty ugly) backpack, but I have had to and have somehow managed it. So I thought I'd share with you some of the essentials I packed, which might help those of you who are like me when it comes to packing. 
  • Sunglasses- these are a must for any holiday and if you don't have enough room in your bag, you can always wear them! 
  • Bikini- we're only going to different cities whilst interrailing and no beaches, but it's still a holiday essential (plus we're going to Budapest which apparently has a load of spas-yes please!) I found this one in h&m reduced to £5! 
  • Book- I'm really bad at reading and haven't read a book since last summer, but it's always a good idea to take a book on holiday wherever you're going 
  • Comfy shoes- as James and I are going interrailing for 3 weeks it's going to be essential for us to have comfy shoes, so I pushed the boat out and bought some b-e-a-utiful Nike Roches in black 
  • Camera-who doesn't go on holiday with a camera anyway? It's a definite must have for all holidays 
  • Selfie-stick- I've never owned a selfie-stick up until now but I'm already loving it (much to James' disgust). It's perfect for getting holiday snaps and selfies 
  • Mini wash stuff- the cutest and what I find the most exciting thing to buy (not sure why, but oh well) l opted to go for the 3 for £3 in superdrug 
  • Travel journal- I'm pretty excited about this, I've never had a travel journal before, but it'll be perfect for travelling around Europe and writing down memories and experiences. I picked up our one from Paperchase  

The Body Shop | Seaweed Skincare


I have always been really lucky with my skin and have never been prone to getting outbreaks of spots. Up until recently my facial routine was either wash my face with water, use the Garnier Micellar water before bed or do nothing and wash it in the shower the next morning, so I was pretty lazy really (don't judge).

After finally realising just how important regular skincare was, I decided to take a trip to the BodyShop to see what they had on offer. I chose the right day as there was loads of discounts and I managed to get some free gifts as well! 

After having my skin tested and being told I have combination skin, I was informed that the Seaweed Skincare collection was the best choice for me. At almost half of the price it was all meant to be, I decided to get the full collection (apart from the face mask which I recently treated myself to). 

Even though, like I said, I've never had many problems with my skin, I can definitely notice a difference since using this collection and have hardly had one spot since using it. My skin is much clearer in general and looks healthier and softer. I treat myself to a face mask every now and then, and I love the way it leaves my skin feeling so fresh. 

I have now got into the habit of using the different products before bed every night and every morning (which I never thought I would do- again being lazy). 

DIY | Desk Transformation








Now I have finished university for the summer, I finally have more time to actually do things without feeling guilty for not doing work. So one afternoon last week I decided to upgrade my ugly orange coloured pine desk, by sanding it down and re-painting it (I'd been meaning to do this ever since I bought it last year)

I am so so glad I did, because I absolutely love how it's turned out and I can't wait to find time to do the same to other pieces of furniture in my room. 

It only took a few hours and the worst part was definitely sanding it down (I mainly left this part to James), but painting it was so satisfying and it only took an hour or two. 

I used Rust-Oleum furniture paint in the colour 'Duck Egg' for the bottom half of the desk and then just waxed the top with Rust-Oleum finishing wax. The paint was really easy to apply and even though it said it would take 4 hours to dry and be ready for another layer, by the time we'd finished painting the desk and the drawers it was already completely dry and ready for another coat. We ended up applying 2 coats as there was no need for anymore. The paint has a matte and chalky finish, which I love and I think it looks so good. 

We changed the knobs to these pretty turquoise patterned ones, which improve the overall look of the desk. 


Have you got any summer projects waiting to be done?

OOTD | Short Hair and Short Shorts









First of all I'd like to apologise for my burnt shoulders/chest, apparently my pale skin burns even on cloudy days. Pluss do you like my hair? I spontaneously had it all chopped off the other day and currently have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. 

Right let's talk about cute floaty tops and cheap shorts.. 
I'm absolutely loving bardot tops and dresses at the moment. After only spending £5 on a black bardot top from Primark (see previous OOTD) I decided to treat myself to a cute Topshop one (which was 4x the price, but 100% worth it). I absolutely love the shape and the light, floaty material. Paired with some denim shorts it makes the perfect summer outfit. 

I bought these Levi shorts for only £5 from a market stall on Brick Lane (inner student goes crazy). After completely guessing the size and somehow getting it right, I've been wearing them a lot and they're so so comfy.  After hunting for some new sandals, I found these simple, black leather sandals from Gap and have been practically living in them ever since. They are so comfortable and go with everything, I am totally in love. 

Levi Shorts- Brick Lane
Top- Topshop
Sandals- Gap
Sunglasses- Topshop

Interrailing | Planning


Sometime last year James and I decided we would like to spend a few weeks this summer traveling around Europe. This will be the last summer where we both have several weeks off university together, so we didn't want to miss what might be our last opportunity.  

For the past few months, we have spent several evenings planning and booking trains, hostels and flights ready for our 3 week interrailing trip around Europe. We have decided to spend 3/4 days in each of the 7 cities (which are in 7 different countries), including: 
  • Paris (France)
  • Berlin (Germany)
  • Amsterdam (Holland)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Zagreb (Croatia)
  • Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Budapest (Hungary)
We will be staying in hostels in every city apart from Zagreb, where we've treated ourselves to a really nice hotel. The hotel and all the hostels are very central and therefore near the main attractions. Whilst staying in hostels, we will be sharing a room with 6-10 other people, which will definitely be an experience! 

Before we started I don't think we realised how much planning and organising would be involved. Booking the trains at the right times and the hostels for the right nights and in the right places was pretty confusing (although I do get confused pretty easily- I blame the blonde hair). But after making a couple of changes to bookings, I think everything is booked and sorted now. 

Here's a few things we found useful to stay organised:
  • Having a notebook where we have written everything we booked, all the money we spent and planned out where we'll be when, has helped us remain organised. We will be taking this around Europe, so we know all the timings and bookings. (Who doesn't love an excuse to buy a cute Muji notebook anyway?) 
  • Gradually booking everything over several evenings, instead of trying to book everything together. We booked all the travel (including flights, trains and eurostar) before we even looked at accommodation, so we knew exactly what nights we needed to book and when we would arrive. 
  • Keeping track of all the money we have spent, so we know exactly how much it has costed. This includes the money we still need to pay at the hostels, so we have been able to set that money aside.
  • Making lists of everything we need to do/book, including things like sorting out insurance, getting a travel money card and other things which could easily be forgotten. 
One thing we haven't done is book any of the attractions we are hoping to go to. We were planning on booking things like going up the Eiffel Tower and going to the Anne Frank museum, however we never got round to it. After talking to others who have been interrailing, I am now quite happy that we haven't booked anything, as we won't be tied to doing anything at particular times, instead we can go anywhere we fancy, whenever we fancy going.

Have you got anything exciting planned for this summer?


© KATIE PRIMROSE.

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