Holiday Wishlist

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Hey everyone,

Although I'm not going on holiday until Autumn, I'm already starting my shopping!
Hopefully come October, Tokyo will still be cardigan/light-jacket weather:



1: KiteDesign (Etsy) Typewriter Brooch/Pendant - £9.00

2: OASAP Dotted Mouth Short Sleeve Tee - £8.26 

3: MAC Pink Nouveau lipsick - £15.00

4: ShopJeen - currently sold out, similar here and here

5: New Look White Floral Tube Skirt - £9.99

6: Rock N Rose Alexis Arrow Earrings - £17.00

7: River Island Multi Buckle Heeled Sandals - £38.00

8: Converse All Star Lavender Hi Shoes - aprox £40.00 - £50.00

9: Too Faced Sweethearts Blush - £14.50

10: Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook and Dictionary - £3.99


I've already bought the little phrase book along with my Lonely Planet guide and they've been really helpful.

Yes, I know the internet is full of resources but I like having a hard copy of something when I'm going travelling - especially as free wifi is scarce in Japan.

Although the owner of the apartment I'm renting via AirBnB provides a free pocket wifi device - just in case it's on the fritz and I'm in the middle of an unfamiliar city - I thought it would be best to bring along, as it's chock full of maps. 
(Saying that, when I was backpacking I left my Lonely Planet Australia guide behind in my Sydney hostel my very first week…)

So I've been whipping my phrase book out on my commute, and it's actually really useful.
I have absolutely no natural skill with languages, but it's great for learning a few key phrases here and there as well as handy cultural hints (no pointing with chopsticks, gift giving etiquette, no tipping etc.) for various situations. It's under a fiver too, so well worth the money!


Have any of you guys ever been to Japan?

I'm around for just under two-weeks, staying in the Koenji area (thank you Hayley for the tip!) - I'm already planning on having a few days in Kyoto, as well as having specific days visiting the Akihabara area (maid cafes, cat cafes and the Capcom Bar!), Jigokudani (monkeys!) and Mt. Koya (temples!).

But any specific tips would be wonderful!


Muchos love,
MessyCarla


Simply Be MetroCentre

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Hey everyone,

I was very kindly invited by Simply Be to visit their Gateshead store in the MetroCentre, to have a look at their current collections.

I was shown around by Melissa, who asked what sort of thing I was looking for.

As I'm currently into quite a tailored looked with separates, we had a quick look for those - however the shop was full of pretty, printed dresses (more on this later) so of course I reverted back to my old ways, and soon enough poor Melissa's arms were practically falling off with the weight of them all!


When I arriving in the changing rooms, my room already had my name on which was an adorable touch. 
As you can see behind me, there was a big plushy sofa with brochures featuring the latest collections to browse through. 

I also met sales manager Paul, who obviously knows the key to my heart as he came over with a cheeky glass of Prosecco. 
(It will come as absolutely no surprise to regular readers of my blog that one glass turned into two or was it three…?)

I tried on a lot. A LOT. 
However I've managed to narrow my favourites down to my top three:

Shoes: Catwalk Strappy Wedges - £40.00

Like most dresses with elasticated waists, I had to size down (this time to a 14), however that meant that the tan belt it came with sadly didn't fit me.

Thankfully I'd brought my gold ASOS Curve belt with me as this tends to happen quite a lot, and I almost always prefer to wear one of my own belts anyway so it's no big deal! 

However, I do already have a lot of floral skater dresses, so didn't go for this one.

Belt: Gold Stud Belt - £25.00
Shoes: Sole Diva Ballerina flats - £18.00

Now, I do love this outfit. 
It's super-cute, and very 90s - think Heathers meets Courtney Love meets Clueless. 

However being a shift dress, it is straight up and down and unfortunately I just didn't like the shape on myself. 
It's quite small to size, which was surprising - the 18 was very clingy and uncomfortable, and the 20 (which I'm wearing above) was completely shapeless.

I know some girls can really rock this look, but I just don't think it suits me personally. 

We did accessorise with a belt and I threw my jacket over the top, but I honestly wouldn't feel cute wearing it by itself. 
I do know that some people will really own this dress, though.

However this is my very favourite dress I tried on, and ended up taking away with me...

(WHERE R UR SHOEZ, CARLA?!)

I'm not going to lie - I walked right past this instore. 

When Melissa held it up and told me it was a bestseller I was very surprised as on the hanger (and also on the website) it looks quite dowdy and frumpy. 
However this was completely not the case when I tried it on, and it fit like a glove. It skims my bust, nips my waist and flares out beautifully. 

This dress is very lightweight, being 98% cotton and 2% elastane for a little stretch - and it's going to be absolutely perfect for my holiday to Japan.

I always tend to think of Joe Brown's clothes as quite 'fussy' - not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but what always comes to mind is lots of clashing, patchwork-y prints. 

But their summer collection has some beautiful, feminine dresses - other favourites are here, here, here and here, all of which would be perfect for a summer garden party sipping a cheeky Pimms. 


Overall, I had an absolutely great experience. 

I very rarely go 'in-store' shopping these days, making the majority of my purchases online simply due to a lack of availability in larger sizes. 
Even with big high street names like New Look and Dorothy Perkins, I tend to find myself using their click and collect services more and more. 

So it was a real treat to be able to go into a store where my size is carried 99% of the time (Simply Be's sizes range from 14 - 32), with beautiful changing rooms and friendly, positive, passionate staff. 

It's obviously showing, with there now being nine stores open in the UK, and more planned to open over the coming months - the first being Belfast in August, reportedly followed by Cardiff, Dudley, Edinburgh, Norwich, Exeter and a flagship store in Oxford Street, London. 

After I'd made my purchase I was about ready to leave, but Paul poured me another glass of bubbly (whoops!) and we had a natter about the stores which was very interesting. 

I had no idea that Simply Be stores were able to choose what they individually sold - he said that party dresses fly off the shelves in Newcastle, whereas higher priced pieces (such as bloggers' favourite: the pink biker jacker) don't sell as well in our neck of the woods. 

It was refreshing to talk to staff who were obviously passionate about that they were selling, and I can't thank Paul and Melissa enough for taking good care of me!


Muchos love,
MessyCarla


DISCLAIMER: 
I was invited by Simply Be to take a look around their store. I was given a voucher to be put towards an item of clothing should I like anything. I was not paid by them to make this blog post, and all opinions are - as ever - my own!

The Last Five Months

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Hey everyone,

Wow. Long hiatus was long.

You may have noticed my hiatus from the internet for the last five months - most notably my blog, and Twitter.
There was no big reason - certainly nothing dramatic - just perhaps lots of little things.

I'm doing a lot more hours at work recently - I've now worked in the travel industry since October 2013, and it's currently peak season.

Having a job that requires responsibility for the first time is not only challenging me, but has also given me a confidence boost.
(My self esteem dropped to an all-time low last year, mostly due to being unemployed for most of it.) 

I do miss the creative side of blogging, so will be taking baby steps in my glitter Converse to try blogging more regularly again.

However, in my meantime - I thought I'd post a bit of a catch-up in the last five months, as I have still been quite active on Instagram.
This is quite picture-heavy so ye have been warned!

 
I bought an awesome/fugly shirt.
However when we are together, we order too many Long Island ice teas and get loud.

 
Affirmation that I am old before my time - nana dates with Marie and Lauren!
Left is The Old Vestry Tea Rooms; the right is Serendipity - both are in Sunderland.

Me and Hayley exchanged belated Christmas parcels and she sent the cutest, pinkest package ever.

I actually made a video below of me opening everything (which I've completely forgot to send to Hayley) if you'd like to see what was inside:

This was filmed on my iPhone back in early Spring which is why I'm wearing a wooly jumper.
Also, count how many times I say "cute". Clue: a lot. 


 
One of my favourite things about this year is that I've reconnected with my old friend, Claire.

We met the first day of college when we were 16, and were pretty much inseparable for three years.
Sadly, life got in the way, and we eventually lost touch. 

However we now meet every other Saturday to drink copious amounts of wine, order takeaway, watch videos of cats on YouTube and gossip. 
Good times!

 
I ticked one of my ultimates off my bucket list: I cosplayed at a convention!
I went as Isabelle from Animal Crossing: New Leaf at the Newcastle Comic Con.


In a rushing-around-in-cosplay-induced brain fart, I actually forgot my pre-purchased ticket on the day, had to buy a new one, but luckily I only queued for about twenty minutes.

It was ridiculously crowded, and there needs to be a lot of improvement with the organisation next year.
Saying that, I did have a lot of fun - and quite a few people asked to take my photo which was fun!

It was my birthday in May, and I turned 25! Officially a quarter-of-a-centry old, guys...
I went to the local pub with my family, for Japanese food at Nudo with the schoolies and also Las Iguanas with Claire. 

 
My style has evolved a lot this year - I'm now wearing separates 99% of the time and have rediscovered my love for skinny jeans. (Yes, really.)

 
I've had two cheeky jaunts to Scotland.
I went to Edinburgh with work, and visited my sister again in Glasgow.

 
I do love me some acrylic jewellery - I bought these with my birthday money.

The solar system necklace has been on my wish-list ever since it came out, and is by Sugar & Vice. 
Their pieces are a little more expensive than other acrylic brands on Etsy (still nowhere near Tatty Devine's price tag!) but the quality is absolutely outstanding. 
The attention to detail really is amazing, and everything is packaged and presented very professionally.

The teeth necklace and panda collar clips are by I'm Your Present. 

While I do love the pieces (the gold tooth cracks me up!), and the prices are very reasonable for acrylic - I asked for the length of chain to be extended on the notes and this didn't happen. 

They were nice enough to send me some extra chain and I'm going to ask my uncle to attach this on for me as he has a soldering gun - but just something to bear in mind. 

 
Moar food? OK!
My dad made tapas, and out for a bento at St Sushi with Nadia.

 
Fun with Georgina at The Late Shows in Newcastle.

While Newcastle's after dark scene is pretty much orange people wearing very little and dancing to music I don't know, sometimes you have a really random night that involves a petting zoo, riding in Cinderella's carriage and being read childrens' stories by a Mackem lass dressed as Peter Pan.

 
Geekery!
At the con, David Prowse signed my A Clockwork Orange book.
(I also have Malcolm McDowell (Alex) and Michael Tarn's (Pete) autographs in there from a con back in 2007.)

I also received the cutest invitation to my friend Hattie's upcoming nuptials. 
It's a Zelda heart!
(Yes, Hattie's real name is Rachel. It's only really me and a few other college friends who call her Hattie...)

I went to my first StreetPass Newcastle meet with lots of other local fangirls and fanboys. 

Everyone I spoke to was super-friendly, but I wish I'd spoken to more people - I'm just super socially awkward, especially when they've all known each other quite a while!
(Spot me with my pink 3DS?)

 
Annnnnd finally - last night I saw my bestie Sam for the first time in six months, as she works in TV and doesn't get a lot of time to come home. 
Many pints, much gin.


Right, so I think that's you all caught up.

I've booked my holiday for this year - I'm finally going to Japan in October, and just booked my accommodation today in Koenji, on Hayley's recommendation! 

I'm staying in Tokyo for just under two weeks and plan on having a few nights in Kyoto too. 

I'm so ridiculously excited! 
Look out for a Tokyo holiday-inspired wish list post coming soon!

For now I'll leave you with my favourite photo from The Late Shows when I suddenly became teeny tiny:


God, I do love a photo op.

I've missed you all!

Muchos love,
MessyCarla. 

Independent Newcastle: Nudo

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Hey everyone,

As part of the campaign for Barclaycard's Freedom Rewards Card (a card that lets you earn points no matter where you spend!), I was very kindly offered £50 to spend at the independent boutique or eatery of my choice in Newcastle, as this card can be used in any independent retailer from a favourite shop to the local pub!

Now I was very tempted to ask for a voucher for a retail outlet, as I really needed some new clothes - however this was the week my sister, Nadia was going back to uni, and our favourite thing to do together is go out for Japanese food.
So since she hadn't been before, I took her to my favourite resteraunt in Newcastle - Nudo!

Nudo now has three outlets in Newcastle - Nudo Sushi Box which as the name suggests specialises in bento boxes. One is at the top of Northumberland Street, near Haymarket and another on Acorrn Road in Jesmond.

But my favourite is Nudo Noodles on Low Friar Street which offer hot options but still has a plethora of sushi on the menu, so as I work right next to Central Station we decided to go there.

My nickname for my sister is 'Nooboo' - so Nooboo at Nudo!
(Hello, edamame!)

A few cheeky beers to start!

 
Sakura Futomaki Rolls (Salmon and Roe)
Tuna Maki Rolls

 
Salmon Hand Roll (mine) and California Hand Roll (crab and avocado - Nadia's!)
Chicken dumplings

And to finish - my favourite Taro ice cream.
It's so funny as last time I was here with Claire and Bryden, we commented on how it tastes like malted milk biscuits - and now it comes with a malted milk biscuit!

So for two rounds of beers, all the above and some spicy edamame (which we polished off before I remembered to get a pictures) as well as the tip came to around £50 which isn't bad at all!

Everything was absolutely delicious - as always -  and we had a very friendly waiter (I didn't catch his name but he was a youngish guy with thick-framed glasses) who could not do enough for us.

I'm not going to lie though, it was hard choosing just one independent retailer!
This would have been trickier a few years ago, but lately there seems to be a bit of a boom in town for independent companies to get their foot in the door! 

So just a shout-out to some of my other favourites:


EATERIES: 

Quilliam Brothers: Purveyors of the Finest Teas (Open til 1am Monday-Saturday!) 
Barras Bridge, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 7RG 

Unit 165, The Grainger Market, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5QW

Fat Buddah 
55 Degrees North, 55 Pilgrim St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6BG

Scrumpy Willow & The Singing Kettle 
89 Clayton St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 5HS

Ninety-Nine
99 Grey Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6EG

Heaton Perk (Yes really, Friends fans!)
103-105 Heaton Park Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE6 5NR

St Sushi 
114 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4AQ

Blackfriars 
Friars St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4XN

Zapatista Burrito Bar 
28 Ridley Pl, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8JW


FASHION:

Boutique Clearance Outlet (See blog post here)
Unit 8 Tundry Way, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE21 SSJ

Attica Vintage 
2 Old George Yard, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1EZ

Kathman2 (Goth/Cyber/Alt)
7 Eldon Ln, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7JG


Thank you again to Barclaycard for treating us to a lovely night out - it was just what we needed!

Muchos love,
MessyCarla


Little Black Party Dress

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Hey everyone,

As my favourite LBD is looking a bit worse for wear these days after being thrown in a backpack and worn on pretty much every night out in Sydney for five months, I was on the lookout for a new staple piece for the party season.

VoucherCodes were kind enough to send me some vouchers and I picked out this cute dress from the Pippa Dee concession in Dorothy Perkins (also available in Debenhams) with a pink and gold glitter clutch I've had my eye on for a while.
I love that there is a an extra zip in the front to keep my phone!

I was so tempted to get these peep-toe heels as well, as they're such a perfect match for the bag - however I decided to wear them with my Poetic Licence heels, which really don't get worn as much as they should!

I used a 20% off code from VoucherCodes to get a further discount, which is no longer in use - however you can currently get 15% off using the code XMAS15 and free delivery with FREEDEL!


DRESS: Pippa Dee
BELT: ASOS
CLUTCH: Dorothy Perkins
NECKLACE: O Necklace
EARRINGS: River Island
SHOES: Poetic Licence 


I love my new 'Carrie-style' name necklace from ONecklace!


SHOP THE POST:


I think you could definitely dress this look up or down. It would look great with a blazer for some after work drinks, or grunged down a little with Dr Martens and a (p)leather jacket!

I was planning on showing you guys some different looks - however I was feeling a little awkward as I haven't done an outfit post in so long. 

Also the weather was around 1*C and windy so I was absolutely freezing!
(I'm a rubbish Geordie, I wear coats…)


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! 

I've pretty much been playing my new pink Nintendo 3DS XL non-stop since I got it on Christmas Day, and drinking the festive brew from Quilliam Brothers my parents got me in my new Bodum cup-and-infuser:


Also for any 3DS users, you are very welcome to add me as a friend. 
Please find my code below - tweet me with yours and I'll be sure to add you back!



Anddddd I thinks that's me signing off until the new year.
I'm not going to lie, 2013 has been a testy one. However onwards and upwards!

I'll leave you with my favourite song from this year by Scottish synth pop band, CHVRCHES - I'm hopefully going to see them in March, eee! 



Muchos love,
MessyCarla