June budget bloggers link up

So it’s time for the June budget blogger link up where we look at what I have been buying this month? Honestly, I found it really hard to stick to my budget this month. It didn’t help that by the 7th of June I’d already spent over half of my allotted money – oopsy daisy! With that said I don’t think I did too badly, especially as Gap had a 20% off day and I’d been eyeing up some shorts and cropped trousers for what seems like forever. I have managed to stop myself buying them for now, but I’m 90% certain as soon as another voucher finds it’s way into my inbox and I’m into July I will be purchasing! As you can see I had a bit of a spree in H&M. Why do I always do that? Go into a shop and spend lots on nothing? I didn’t get anything that I actually needed and yet I spent almost £40, which is a third of my monthly budget. Next month I will try to do better and stop myself from doing this.

Budget Bloggers - June

 (1) Yellow jumper, – £12.99, (3) Grey speckled vest – £5.99, (4) Grey aztec patterned vest – £12.99 (5) White Long Vest – £3.99. So now we come to my H&M haul. The only thing I’m really happy with in this lot is the white vest as it’s a basic that I really needed. I do absolutely love the bright yellow jumper – I mean it’s a jumper, and it’s bright yellow. What’s not to love? The only problem is that it’s a bit too big. I went for the size small, but it’s still a bit baggy, I know that this is probably how it’s meant to look, but I think I’d prefer it if it was a bit more fitted. Again it’s another thing that I’m debating with myself about, it may well be on ebay soon too. The two grey tops – yes two – are both good, and needed, but they’re a bit blah. I keep finding myself choosing something else to wear rather than them.

(2) ASOS Skater Dress in Cheetah Print – £25.00 Okay, this dress I absolutely love. I’ve been looking for a patterned dress for quite some time, so once I spotted this on ASOS there wasn’t really a question about whether I should buy it or not. Plus my sister has a premium ASOS account so I was able to use her free next day delivery, which is definitely a great bonus.

(6) White and grey spotted long sleeved top, Zara via charity shop – £5.00 – I picked this top up in my local charity shop, it’s a bit of a bad picture, but there are tiny silver/grey stars all over it. I really love the pattern, but I’m not sure it’s exactly me. I’m not a huge fan or shirts, I find them uncomfortable, but I am hoping that this will be okay because it doesn’t have a full collar. We’ll have to wait and see, for now I’m keeping it, but it may just find itself on eBay in the not too distant future.

(7) Tote bag, Accessorize – £42.00 (similar) I found a new bag – yippee. I’m actually in love. I’ve been looking for a decent size bag for what seems like forever. The lining of my other favourite bag has completely ripped so I really do need this. I have to admit it was a completely unexpected purchase as I saw it and just had to buy it straight away. Also don’t you love the handy way I found to display it for the photo!

Leggings, Topshop – £12.00 (not pictures) – a bit boring, but definitely needed. I had a long argument discussion with my sister about whether leggings count towards the monthly spend, my view is that they’re in the underwear category along with tights and therefore they shouldn’t be included. She doesn’t agree so I’ve left them in.

I make that a total of £114.96 – so just under my £120 budget. Can you believe it? Hmm, maybe I should have gone to Gap after all!

For July I’ve got a couple of bits that I need to get as I’ll be off to Dublin in the first week of the month and then I’m headed to Wales for a week at the end.The plan is to fill a couple of holes in my closet and find shorts, cropped trousers and a new swimming costume of some kind. Currently the only one I have that isn’t too big is a basic speedo swimsuit. It would be nice to have something a bit more exciting just in case the Welsh sunshine makes an appearance and I can get onto the beach! Although I’m worried that i’m setting myself up to fail by thinking about what I want to get – hopefully not. Of course I will let you know how it all goes next month.

I’m linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers.

Lau xx

Divergent, shorts and Wimbledon – weekly obsessions

Is anyone else hugely excited about the Divergent the movie? I’ve been in love with this series of books from the start, and can’t wait for the final book, Allegiant to be released in October. So clearly i’m overjoyed that there’s going to be a film version. Check out some pics from Entertainment Weekly via Hypable. Bring on the film I say.

theo-james-four-divergent-665

Theo James as Four

 Check out these free meal planning printables collated by A Thrifty Mrs, aren’t they great? You may not know this but I love planning and making lists. I already try to plan meals each week so that we only buy what we actually need rather than just shopping the two for one offers and ending up with nothing to actually make meals from! Obviously when I saw her post I was totally in love. Anything that helps we make more lists is a total win in my book! I’m definitely putting number seven in a frame so that it’s easy to wipe off each week.

I’m a bit obsessed with a couple of things on the Gap website at the moment, and by that I mean SHORTS. I think it’s because British summertime has made an appearance and I am now realising exactly how minimal (i.e. nonexistent) my summer wardrobe is!

Sunkissed shorts / Boyfriend roll up shorts – both £19.99

I kinda want both pairs, surely with grey shorts and pink shorts i’ll be set for the summer?

Finally I’m completely hooked on Wimbledon again this year. I can’t believe that Rafa is out, or that the sun is still shining. What’s going on?

Happy Thursday Lau xxx

Sightseeing the Evans way – Part 2

Here begins the conclusion of the UK sightseeing tour for the Aussie family. Early Saturday morning we set off in two cars to Bath. We decided to head straight to the Roman Baths as this was the main thing that we all wanted to do while in Bath. The Baths is another place where you get given an audio guide to tell you all the site. As you can probably tell by know I love audio guides, it means you can see everything at your own pace, so much better, plus you don’t fight with other people over space in front of the exhibit boards. Another great thing about the Roman Baths is that you can take pictures everywhere, and we all know how much I love taking pictures! It was a bit rainy, but luckily I still managed to get some good photos of the baths. The green water is so weird isn’t it.

From the Baths we wandered around the outside of Bath Abbey and then pootled around Bath popping into shops and sampling fudge along the way. Then we stopped off at the Royal Crescent for some pictures – you sort of have to don’t you. Next stop was our hotel, a beautiful Best Western in Limpley Stoke. Fi and I had a room with a gorgeous view. Plus we had a lovely bathroom with a ginormous bath, I made the most of this and had a lovely long dip with my book while others were napping and recovering from the busy days we’d been having. We all met up again in time for dinner, we decided to walk to a nearby pub as there was a wedding going on in our hotel. On the way we found a Book Box, which I’ve heard about before but never actually seen. It’s such a lovely idea, I can’t help thinking that some of the old phone boxes in London should be converted in this way. After a lovely dinner we settled in our room for a couple of board games – yes board games. You should know by now that it’s a Evans family thing!

The next morning we set off quite early, after a hotel breakfast of course! We turned up at Stonehenge literally as soon as the heavens opened – typical. Oh well we weren’t going to let a little bit of rain stop us. So again we picked up our audio guides and set off around the monument. It’s so remarkable that these are still standing, and also so impressive that these were built without machinery – mind blowing. AFter Stonehenge we set off back to London, stopping off at Marborough, a quaint little village with old buildings and a Sunday market – we stocked up on cakes and local cheeses – perfect for an up and coming evening with friends.

Lau xxx

Food Glorious Food – my week

So according to my pictures all I’ve done this week is eat. Clearly lunch and dinner has been the highlight of my week. It’s been a pretty quiet one which I have completely loved as I was totally exhausted after all the tourist fun for the second half of last week.

As well as all the food I have managed to walk into work twice (Tuesday and Thursday) as well as get to the Gym – a run and spinning on Monday night. So hopefully any damage from all the eating has been halted! Tuesday night I headed to Cobham for a farewell dinner with the Aussie visitors. We found ourselves at Carluccio’s where I went for a tomato & mozzarella salad, Spaghetti Carbonara and a rhubarb tart. All were so delicious, I forgot how good the food was. It’s also another restaurant that has a great GF menu – aren’t I the font of all knowledge? Whilst we were there my cousins imparted the Evans family with some gifts. Not only did I receive a Bundaberg rum stubby holder – the perfect thing for an ice cold can or beer (or diet coke) and a lovely new keyring, but they also gifted us a pile of Tim Tams – only the greatest Australian chocolates of all time. Plus there were new flavours that we hadn’t tried yet. Take it from me the Double Chocolate Vanilla ones are delicious.

Thursday night was all about the baking – fresh bread and eton mess – ready for Friday night’s Guilty Pleasures evening -basically a night of good food and films with friends. As I’ve already mentioned the theme was guilty pleasures – pretty self explanatory – we watched Jerry Maguire and Step Up and gorged ourselves on bread, crackers, cheese, pringles, sausage rolls, pesto pastries, salad, dutch apple cake, strawberries, eton mess and lemon and poppy seed cake – a perfect Friday night time if you ask me.

This weekend I actually managed to have a lie in until 10:15 on Saturday. We all know how miraculous this is for me, it was amazing. After this perfect lie in I decided to make the most of the extra energy and head out for a run. I managed 4.92 miles in 53 mins. I know right, I was totally impressed with myself too! Saturday night it was cinema time. I finally got around to watching Man of Steel, the Superman film. As a huge Superman, Kevin Costner and Russel Crowe fan I knew I was going to like the film, but it wasn’t as amazing as I was expecting. I think it was the flicking between the past and present, plus I think there should have been more of a background for each characters, rather than jumping straight into the action. Talking of action, there was a bit too much (can’t believe I just said that) and it was all too similar. I mean let’s be honest there’s only so many times a superhero can get thrown through a building. Sunday was another lazy morning, doing productive admin bits and blog stuff of course. Plus I meant my Mum for some lunch at Del’Aziz, a place in Clapham Old Town that I’ve been wanting to try for ages. My parma ham and parmesan sandwich was delicious. Then it was a cozy evening out of the wind watching Miss Marple and Big Bang Theory.

I hope your week has been good.

Lau xxx

Lau xxx

Sightseeing the Evans way – Part 1

As previously mentioned in my latest weekly update I spent a few days playing at being a tourist last week. My cousin and his wife were in the UK (they’ve just left) for three weeks and they needed tour guides for their London section. Of course my sisters and I were more than happy to oblige, especially as there’s lots in London that I haven’t done since I was a child. The plan was to spend two days in London and then two days in Somerset and Wiltshire, and man did we manage to cram a helluva lot in. I’ll try not to bore you with too many pictures or words (okay that one’s a lie!) but here’s what we managed to do…

London Day 1 

Once the other half of the tourist party arrived in London we headed straight to the Tower of London, stopping for lunch at Zizzi’s – they have an excellent Gluten Free menu FYI – before heading into the Tower. It’s been years since I’ve been to this London landmark, I’ve ice skated outside a couple of times but actually going inside the tower? Not for ages. In fact we worked out I was around 10 or 11 the last time when my Grampy and Nanna took the Evans sisters for a family outing there when they were over from Australia. The only thing I could remember from previous visits was the travelator at the Crown Jewels and the artist outside the tower where I got some pencil drawings of London landmarks. So basically it was all new to me to. We headed first to the Crown Jewels exhibit which were spectacular, you step onto a travelator to go past all the crowns and they are so sparkly and regal. I especially loved Queen Victoria’s mourning crown. Unfortunately there are no pics as you’re not allowed photography inside, so you’ll all have to go there to see all the sparkles! Next we headed into the White Tower to see the power house exhibit. It’s a collection of everything that can be found at the Tower of London; the Storehouse, The Mint, The Ordnance Survey, The Prison and more. Plus there’s a dragon made up of lots of things relating to these national institutions. Also around the Tower there are sculptures of various animals, all of which have been at the tower at some point in time, my favourites were the monkeys, but there was also a polar bear hiding near the raven houses. I’d completely forgotten how amazing the Tower of London is, I have to admit my inner history geek surfaced as soon as we walked through the walls! We spent a good couple of hours there before dragging ourselves away to the next stop on our magical mystery sightseeing tour.

After the Tower we hopped onto a river bus to the Tate Modern, The river buses are a great way to go on the river without having to pay out for a full cruise, plus the rocking of the waves is just so relaxing. After a stroll around the museum – my favourites there are always the Kandinsky’s – we wandered across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s tube station to make our way to Harrods. Of course no tourist trip is complete without a trip to this shopping Mecca. We made sure we travelled on the Egyptian escalators and then somehow we found ourselves in the Toy Kingdom – completely by accident of course! After loosing ourselves in Harrods for an hour or so we schooched around the corner to the nearest Pizza Express (another great GF option) for a quick bite to eat before jumping in a cab for home. All the sightseeing is utterly exhausting! Although we did manage to fit in a quick board game – The Best of British, if you were wondering.

London Day 2

Friday started bright and early we were at St Paul’s (via Starbucks) by 10am. At St Paul’s an audio guide is included in the admission price, which is totally awesome as you learn so much, plus the cathedral isn’t ruined by big signs all over the place. Once inside our first stop was the trek up the many, many stairs to the Whispering Gallery. After a few whispered conversations from across the gallery, four of our party headed up even further while Fi made her way back to the Cathedral floor – she’s not one for heights you see, so the fact that she even got to the Whispering Gallery is impressive in itself. Above the Whispering Gallery there are two outside levels to explore; the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery. Believe me it’s totally worth making the trek if you can handle the heights. To get to the very very top you have to go up five spiral staircases so I was quite dizzy by the end of it. But once we fought our way through the German school party we were enjoying a stunning 360 degrees view of the streets of London. After making our way back down we wandered around exploring all the other sights on the Cathedral floor and down in the crypt. There’s a stunning mosaic of the creation story on the ceiling near the altar which even includes kangaroos!

Our next stop was somewhere for lunch so we headed to Hyde Park and found a bench with our name on it at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen. After filling up on delicious sandwiches (and cake) we set of on a bit of a walk. Friday was lovely weather-wise so we ambled our way through Hyde Park and Green Park towards Buckingham Palace – clearly a must see for any visitor to London. Then we managed to catch the changing of the guards at Horse Guards Parade, before catching the 87 bus home past Parliament Square and Downing Street.

A quick nap and we set off for a night of theatre. As soon as we knew the Aussies were coming to see us we started thinking about theatre shows. We finally settled on a trip to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as it’s something that none of us have watched – it’s still so new so we haven’t had a chance really. It’s a fantastic show and I can’t recommend it enough. I swear the three hours flew by with smiles, faces of awe and peels of laughter. I don’t want to say too much but as a big fan of this book (and the film) I was definitely not dissapointed! In fact everyone in our party from the 19 year old up to the 58 year old simply loved the show.

Wow, this has been a lot longer post than I realised so I’m going to leave the Bath part of our sightseeing for another day. Lucky you to have something to look forward to hey?!

Lau xxx