April Favourites

Can you believe that the first quarter of the year is already over? Wow it really feels like time flew! It was just yesterday that I got engaged with a year to plan and now we’ve got six months left! But I digress, we’re here to discuss what gets me excited for the coming month.

So lets start with the most obvious – Easter! It might not be my favourite holiday (I find Easter quite depressing) but we do have chocolate to make up for it! And it will be the first weekend we spend in our first home!

Which brings me to my next point, we got the keys to our home last week! Although it is very small, we’ve been painting all week long (cuboards, walls and skirting boards – basically every surface where the paint will stick!). Finding the right grey paint for the walls is a whole new blog post (short version: there are a lot of blues and purples masquerading as grey).

I am really looking forward to just chilling in our new place althoug there is still a lot to do. We really need to get a new bathroom cabinet (as step one of the bathroom make-over) and I am completely lusting over this classic shaker-style cabinet.

Besides all the painting we’ve done, we’re also replacing the hardware on all the doors and for the bedrooms we’ve settled on a similar crystal style and it really does transform the space (not as much as painting the dark cuboards white, but it was well worth the money!)

All this hard work has me lusting for a holiday and all the lovely pictures on Pinterest just isn’t helping! It’s been nearly half a year since our Italy trip (I know-shut up already but I just can’t) and I feel like I’d give anything to go back, or somewhere new. There is so much of Europe that I want to explore still.

I look forward to some normal weekends which don’t require paint clothes – maybe I can even replicate this cute stripes outfit! Oh and I’ll paint my nails my favourite Essie shade, Fiji. It also happens to be great for Easter!

So on that bombshell (yes I watched Top Gear),

I hope you have a great April! Please share what you are looking forward to this month to help everyone stay positive and happy! Sometimes sacrifices are worth it when you keep the greater picture in mind!

Much love,

Astrid

P.S. You can find all the images on my Pinterest account.

 

Home Inspiration

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We are counting the days until we can move into our first home! With little less than a week to wait, I decided to create a style board of everything we want to include in our home. This is also a great way to see whether things works together without having to actually make the splurge. It is going to take us a while to get everything we want for our home, but this will help keep us focused.

Our house has an openplan living area with just enough room for a small dining room and living room. We’re going to start off by painting the room a light grey (something like Dulux’s Grey Steel) and investing in a good couch from Sofaworx (also in grey).

We have kind off prioritised the remaining items and feel that a dining table would be next on our list. We can make do with the mix and match chairs we already own until we can finally replace them with comfortable upholstered chairs with an armrest (also from Sofaworx). These are comfortable enough to act as extra seating in the living room and will look great in the dining room as well.

Storage will also play an important part in our living room as we have a lot of books between the two of us and I love few things more than a good built-in bookcase. These ones from Ikea are also a great option. We haven’t yet decided what size we want, but the large one creates a nice impact.

We’d like to add some warmth and create a cozy atmosphere with aesthetically pleasing lighting and a nice rug that we won’t feel to fussy about (I am clumsy at the best of times, so spills are a given).

One of the last and possibly most expensive things we want is a framed coffee table with a marble of Ceasarstone top. As this is something that we will have to have custom made and not really a necessity this will have to wait a while.

Finally we will accessorize with colourful art, books and loads of candles for atmosphere. I can’t wait to share our little home with you and hope you will come along on what would be a very long journey to decorating our home.

Spree #TrueStory Competition

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I have partnered with Spree.co.za for an awesome competition in which you can win a 25% Discount Voucher to use on ANYTHING* on their website. (Yup, time for the the item that has been in your cart forever. Still looking for ideas? See my winter style favourites here.)

Every day of this week, Spree will have 25% off a selected category. For your chance to win all you have to do is tweet me the following:

  1. What category is on sale that day (will be anounced the day before on their website)
  2. Tag me (@ShopgirlCT)
  3. Tag Spree (@spreecoza)
  4. Use the hastag #TrueStory

Example tweet: “Today there is 25% off dresses @spreecoza! I want 25% off everything @ShopgirlCT #TrueStory”

Terms and Conditions:

  1. The competition runs from the 9th of March until 22h00 on the 15th of March 2015.
  2. Only open to South African and Namibian residents only.
  3. Each correct tweet will be considered a competition entry.
  4. Multiple entries are possible, limited to one a day.
  5. Only those who have followed all of the above requirements will be taken into consideration.
  6. Spree.co.za will reveal the category that will go on sale the previous night.
  7. Only one winner will be announced.
  8. The winner will be selected at random on the evening of the 15th of March 2015 and will be contacted via Twitter for further details.
  9. My decision is final although I have the right to select another winner should the initial winner not respond via social media within a reasonable amount of time.
  10. The 25% discount voucher (hereafter referred to as the prize) is non-transferable and can’t be exchanged for cash.
  11. The discount voucher can be used to get 25% off the total purchase price and is not limited to sale categories.
  12. The prize is only valid for use 7 days after the sale has ended (from the 16th of March 2015).
  13. *The prize can not be used for beauty products or promotional items.
  14. Spree.co.za’s terms and conditions apply.

Best of luck to everyone who enters!

Winter Style with Spree

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My winter closet is in desperate need of an overhaul. It is predominately dark and structured, but I’ve always veered towards classic pieces which sits kind of in the middle of masculine and feminine.

This season I hope to start introducing a few contrasting pieces, like this leather-inset coat from Spree. It has a great structure to it, but the faux leather collar adds a touch of edge and masculinity. I’ll contrast this with a pop of feminity in the form of a pleated shirt, peplum knit or even  pointed stilletos. In my opinion a basic pair of skinny blue jeans is the perfect foil for any statement piece and these from Next not only look great but they also fit the bill.

And who can resist a pair of suede over-the-knee boots? They can be very sexy but worn with a pair of black jean-leggings and an oversized knitted jacket it completes the perfect weekend look.

I am also a recent convert to gold hardware and love the how it adds a touch of luxe to any accessory yet remains understated. The messenger bag is perfect for weekend brunches and the tassle bag is perfect for toting around your weekday essentials. Now just for the final touch, the ultimate red lippie from Bourjois.

Shop these and other great winter essentials at Spree.co.za. I’ll be launching an exciting competition in partnership with Spree tomorrow, so you might want to save those items in your shopping basket before checkout to see what I have in store. Have a great Sunday and see you all tomorrow!

Orange Chicken Burger

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I’ve never been particularly health-conscious so when given the option between white or rye for instance, I’ve always gone with what I most crave. Lately however I’ve been hunting and curating more healthy-ish recipes as I try to be more conscious of what I put into my body. Whilst a burger would probably never be considered healthy, the orange chicken definitely is and eating it on a bun is just one of many ways you can enjoy it. So here follows one of my favourite recipes and it is definitely a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • 4-pack skinless chicken breasts
  • Ground pepper
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 2 Tbls Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 4 Ciabatta Buns
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Salad dressing or tangy mayonaisse

Steps:

  1. Combine the orange juice and chopped garlic in a large shallow bowl.
  2. Thinly slice the chicken breasts. This seemed impossible to me until I saw someone else do it, now it is one of the easiest things in the world. You’ll have to work with a sharp serrated knife and then simply apply pressure on each breast with the palm of your hand as you start slowly slicing into it. You should be able to slice each breast into three or four layers.
  3. Marinade the chicken breast in the orange and garlic and give it a good grinding of pepper.
  4. Wash and peel the cucmber into thin slices. A cheese slicer works well for this. Then marinade it in the balsamic and sugar dressing.
  5. Heat up a non-stick pan with a little oil and try to first drain all the orange marinade into the pan. As soon the mixture starts browning you can add the chicken. Remove from pan as soon as it has turned a delicious shade of caramel.
  6. Dress your bun with the mustard, mayo and cucumber before adding the chicken on top.
  7. Dig in!

P.S. I also really enjoy this as a salad. Just add some rocket and avocado.

March Favourites

Hi everyone!

March marks the end of summer here in the southern hemisphere (yet tomorrow is set to be nearly 40 degrees celsius!) so I think this month will settle down. We’ve been so busy the first few months of the year with Ryno starting his new job, house hunting and wedding planning. Whilst it is all very exciting, I do look forward to some later starts to my weekend mornings.

This is also the last month before we officially move into our first home! So load of (cheap) DIY’s to come, like these awesome side tables. I’ve already picked up a piece of trunk from the small forest near our new home. Now I just have to decide on the colour. I’m also researching the best climbing roses for a slightly shady spot in our garden. I’m hoping for something with lots of green foilage (preferably for most the year) with big pink buds.

Along those lines, I’m also sorting the flowers for our wedding this month. It is something I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while and I really hope we can incorporate a few peonies into our budget-friendly arrangements.

Beauty wise I’ve been loving the look from the Micheal Kors show. It’s kind off my everyday look done professionally (and NOT in less than 4 minutes). As Ryno is planning a work trip to the US in the middle of the year, I’ve been compiling a list of want-haves for him to look out for. So any suggestions of absolute beauty must-haves for the natural look-lover that is only available in the US would be welcome. Wow that is a mouthful!

I’ve also finally found some gorgeous golden pave bar studs which will be on heavy rotation this month! I am hoping to pair it with a simple and classic look geared towards the cooler weather I’m expecting at the end of March.

I just think it so great to start the month on a positive note than to just reminisce about the great month past. And so I’m off to go snack on a batch of chocolate bark (my latest addiction) whilst staring at everything that’s yet to make its way into boxes. I hope you all have a great month and please let me know what you’re looking forward to this month!

Much love,

Astrid

DIY Tassle Garland

DSC_9537textI had been admiring gorgeous tassle garlands on Etsy and Pinterest for quite a while before something clicked and I realised that I can easily recreate it on my own. It took me a while to hunt down the tissue paper colours I wanted (or something relatively close) and I eventually found it at my local grocery store. Although it was quite time-consuming, I wouldn’t describe it as a difficult process and I really like the end result. So I highly recommend you make one for yourself as it is a much more affordable option and you can customize the colours.

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You’ll need:

  • 2,5m plain twine
  • 2 sheets of each colour tissue paper, minimum three colours
  • a pair of scissors
  • clear tape
  • Bostic

Steps:

  1. Start by folding each sheet in three (across the width) and cut along those lines leaving three sheets of approximately 20 cm wide sheets.
  2. Fold each sheet in half (across the length) and start cutting the fringe leaving about 5 cm uncut at the top fold. Repeat this on all the pieces of paper. This is what took me the longest and seeing Martha Stewart’s solution (a simple slicing machine) did not help!
  3. Once I was done with this you’ll have to unfold all the pieces and lay the coloured side of the paper down on your surface. You’ll then start rolling down the centre of your fold. I found it best to pause every now and again just to comb through the fringe and rearrange it otherwise you risk tearing pieces off. Try to roll this as tight as possible, but don’t worry if all the pieces don’t look the same.
  4. Once you’ve finished rolling you can twist that section and fold in half to create a loop. Secure it with a small piece of tape.
  5. I decided to alternate my pieces according to colour and arranged them onto the twine. Lay it out on a table and add a little bit of glue to each tassle so that it stays in place.
  6. Once dry you can hang it anywhere from a party table or wedding car and even above the bed. The possibilities are endless!

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Best Dressed: Oscars 2015

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Last night was the Oscars (yup it is already that time of the year) and damn did it present some of the best looking dresses along with some of the most talented actresses and actors of course. I think this could be officially called the year of the sleek dress. With nary a fairytale dress in sight (bar JLo off-course), 2015 saw most actresses reaching for the fitted or sheath dress. And it really worked!

My favourite was also the biggest surprise of the night – Rita Ora in Marchesa. She managed the perfect balance between dramatic and glamorous. Everything from the fit (nothing overtly sexy) to the accessories and beauty look was perfection. I think this is the first time I’ve chosen a mermaid look over the ball gown!

Black and white was clearly also a theme of the night with many of my favourite dresses falling into this category. Jenna Tatum deserves special mention however as she turned what was just another boring white dress (with a cape) into something awesome! Another triumph of accessories (that belt) and beautiful draping.

Jennifer Lopez’s dreamy Elie Saab dress was everything I dream of, but I felt like her cleavage sort of distracts from the overall prettiness of the dress. Love her lip colour though!

In the final two spots are America Ferreira and Emma Stone, both in different shades of green surprisingly! I only wish Emma’s was closer in tone to America’s dress.

Which were your favourite looks of the night?

Valentine’s Day Style

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I actually shot this look a few days ago without giving a single thought to Valentine’s Day and only realised that it is the perfect Valentine’s look today! Shocking I know, but given that my Valentine’s Day consists of coffee in bed and couch shopping you have to forgive me.

I love this flowing chiffon dress as it is the perfect blush shade and is super comfy. It also happens to be great for hiding food babies! I know paring it with a pair of nude heels is the chic way to wear it but since I was just taking a walk in the forest on a Friday afternoon you’ll have to excuse my flats.

This dress calls for a romantic hairstyle and natural make-up to complete the super feminine look. This rope braid is super easy to make and it would look great with soft waves. For my natural make-up look I started with favourite LÓreal Magique Lumi foundation which gives a natural, medium coverage and is slightly illuminating (I use the shade N1).

As I’m leaving my lids bare I kind of go to town with the blush. I suggest you use a warm pink tone which best matches your skin tone. For me that is a Clinique sample I got ages ago in a light pink.

To add some definition to my eyes I use a brown eye liner (Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Brown) at the outer corner of my lower and upper lash line and finish with lashings of lengthening Clinique’s High Lengths Mascara in black. I am currently on the hunt for a new eyebrow product, so any suggestions are welcome!

I then add the finishing touch which is a Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie- a kind of my-lips-but-better, pinky shade. This is the only colour I can add to my lips that won’t have Ryno running in the other direction. Red lips are completely out of the question here. I’m also currently wearing my favourite nude pinky nail polish, Essie in Fiji.

So there you have it, my favourite Valentine’s look whether you’ve got a hot date or just one with your couch. Hope you have a great one either way!

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February Favourites

Hi everyone,

So I am a bit behind on the whole monthly favourites but this year literally just kicked off with a bang and hasn’t left me with much breathing space. I hope you’ve all had a great start to the year. I almost can’t believe that we’re already a week into February – a.k.a. the month of lurrrve!

So to start things off, as I’ve mentioned before R and I don’t really celebrate Valentines’ Day in the traditional sense but I do appreciate all the cute heart shaped items. My favourites of these are balloons or edible. :)

Last month was Paris Fashion Week (read couture) and I just fell in love over and over again as the models walked down the runway. I think the Elie Saab show was once again my favourite, but it feels a bit unfair to choose as they were all so great. You can find more of my favourite runway looks here.

This past weekend we also had our engagement shoot and I literally can’t wait to see the end results. Part of me is worried about how I will look as I’m not the most photogenic but on the other side it was so much fun and we did hire a professional so it should be fine. Whilst we were in the city I also picked up some beautiful vintage roses but unfortunately they drooped as they were out of water for too long. Any idea how I can revive them?

This month has also seen me reach for pink nailpolishes on repeat with about 4 in permanent rotation. Whilst on the subject of weddings, isn’t this wedding dress just the most dreamy thing you’ve ever seen? A girl can dream…

My favourite Valentine’s treat is breakfast in bed – because what says love more than getting out of bed for someone else! These pancakes will be great, whether you’re at the receiving end or in the kitchen. I also love this DIY tote which is a great alternative to my own sequin one.

I hope you all have a great month filled with lots of love and laughter!

Love,

Astrid x