Ever since I was a kid, I've always had a fascination with the macabre. And Halloween is certainly no exception. There's nothing I love more than a creepy tale about the unexplained. 

But while I've got a love for all things Halloween related - the parties, the stories, the candies, the films - there's one bit I'm not so keen on now I've got a bit older: the costumes. I don't know why I've got this about fancy dress. I hate the effort I have to go to thinking of what to wear. I hate then having to buy my costume. Despite growing up with the biggest dressing up box of all my pals, somehow as an adult, I've got no interest.

Since this year I have plans to head to Screenage Kicksfor their Halloween double bill AND Lane 7's Halloween party, I thought I should put a little more effort into things. Rather than just opting for my fluffy black jumper a pair of hotpants and drawing whiskers on my face. So I've been looking on Pinterest for some inspiration for the spooky season. And whether you're spending Halloween at parties, or binging on Netflix all weekend hopefully these will give you some ideas too...
Creepy Vintage Halloween Costumes (16)

images from various sources via pinterest
With the weather getting colder, usually I find that I start craving naughty food. I don't want salads or fresh fruit. Usually I want hot chocolates with cream and extra marshmallows, and stodgy food that will keep me warm. For some reason, that doesn't seem to have happened yet this year and instead I've been craving quinoa and all the good stuff! So when I was invited to sample Garden Kitchen's new menu, I couldn't resist trying their healthy mezze. It's been a while since my last review, and I was pleased to see that along with their delicious picnics, they had plenty of new dishes to offer! Since it's been a while since I'd seen one of my good friends and she'd just had a baby, I thought it was the perfect place for a girly catch up.

I'm not going to lie, as soon as I'd started looking at the menu, the sound of chicken, Israeli Couscous Salad, Taboulleh, Quinoa Salad, Baba Ganoush, Avocado and Five Seeds, was too tempting for me to look at anything else. Helen on the other hand was a little more indecisive and eventually went for their fish finger sandwich and we shared a side of sweet potato fries. I'm not sure whether she was expecting such a posh fish finger sandwich but when the fresh white fish goujons in their soft ciabatta was sit enough, she seemed pretty happy with her choice!
What I love about Garden Kitchen is that food is always such good quality. Whether it's cakes and coffees or a full meal, I've always felt like everything tasted super fresh! And my healthy mezze was certainly no exception. The combination of the pomegranate's sweetness and the nutty taste of the quinoa and taboulleh was perfect. I wasn't quite sure how I'd find the baba ganoush but it went really well with the avocado, so definitely no complaints. Although I'm definitely not the one to usually opt for a salad, since my first trip to Naked Deli a few weeks back, I have had a proper craving for health food. And it always seem so filling.

After working my through (and helping Helen out with the fries), we ordered a couple of coffees and settled back to catch up on gossip. I always think Garden Kitchen is sort of in a strange place for a restaurant. But being in Eldon Gardens, rather than the main part of the shopping centre, it has a sort of peaceful feel to it. You don't get too many shoppers bustling past and it's a quiet place to sit and catch up with friends.
A/W has always been my favourite season. The sun might be gone but I'm happy to make do with Les Beiges to keep the colour on my cheeks, and a clean, crisp fragrance like Jo Malone's wood, sage and sea salt perfume. From the first crunchy leaves to the cold, biting air that comes right before the snow starts to fall, there's nothing I love more than when the time comes to dig out my cosy winter clothes. And since last year I had such a big cull (and I'm pleased to say a lot of it made it down to Crisis to support their Winter Coat Amnesty), I've been starting to look at the gaps in my wardrobe.. what's missing, what new pieces I want to add, and of course what needs replacing.

From old favourites like my vintage sheepskin coat, to new favourites like the black thigh high boots I invested in last year, I've got a handful of pieces I know I'll be dragging back out for the next few years. But then there's nothing I love more than treating myself to new additions for my winter wardrobe.. Like an extravagant cashmere scarf. Or a statement print skirt? Well you know those moments when you know you should've bought something weeks ago? That leopard print skirt is right at the top of my list. I've been carefully avoiding Topshop for the last few weeks in the vain attempt to not just spend all my money on clothes (and to try and keep my purchases to occasional investments that are made to last), and look how well that pays off.. Now I've tried pretty much every Topshop in the North East to get my hands on an 8 or a 10. So far, no good. And I resent paying any more than RRP for it on eBay. Which just proves to myself that my impulse purchasing instinct should always be followed. I mean, I've usually got at least two weeks to justify it to myself.

In the mean time though and by avoiding Topshop, I've become completely addicted to TK Maxx. Between their Gold Label treasures (like the See by Chloe cardigan above), you never know what you might find. And with more and more popping up all over the North East (like our most recent addition in Bishop Aukland), I've had the perfect excuse to visit different stores and see what goodies they each have to offer. It's definitely hit or miss. But after finding the most perfect winter coat (photos to come soon), I'm convinced it's completely worth taking the time to rummage!
Anyone who's known me for longer than about five minutes, knows that I've got this thing about gingham. Winter or summer, despite my best efforts, it manages to creep into my wardrobe. This Topshop dress has seen me pretty well through summer, and now the days are starting to chill, I can already tell that coupled coupled with the lovely grey wool biker jacket I was sent c/o Great Plains, and some black ankle boots, I feel like it'll work well all the way through.
As the days are getting crisper, I've been starting to think more about putting together my winter wardrobe. Sure, I've got old staples that make up most of it, and plenty of pieces from last year that I'll bring out. But it's always nice to get something new... And you can already guess I've got my eye on plenty! I'm trying not to go too mad though and just invest in a few key pieces. And you can't really go wrong with a classically shaped, grey wool jacket, can you? For some reason, I've never been much of a jacket or coat person. And one thing I never seem to have are 'night out friendly' jackets that you can shove on over a nice dress.. other than my leather jacket, I pretty much have no small jackets that I think are smart enough to wear to go out. So this grey wool number fits happily into my wardrobe. It's structured shape means that it's fitted enough to not swamp me, but it's still a little on the baggy side, so I'd happily be able to be able to wear a cosy jumper underneath. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I find the sizing in Great Plains tends to run a little larger, so I tend to size down from what I'd usually go for. Especially for their coats and jackets, which are usually pretty generously sized. I'm pretty much always a S or a size 8-10, but this is an XS and still has plenty of room!
I can't wait to try styling this with more pieces. I don't know about you, but I always find that I add things to my wardrobe in twos.. I can never just get one dress, or one skirt. So shortly after I was gifted this gorgeous jacket, I stumbled on an amazing herringbone See by Chloe coat in TK Maxx. More to follow on that soon though!

Outfit details:
jacket: c/o Great Plains, dress: Topshop, boots: Kurt Geiger, necklace: vintage
So catching up on blogging and making content plans sort of fell by the wayside a little... Promise I'm trying to get into better habits (and I've already enlisted Bosson's help for later in the week), but I'm still not quite there. I blame not having anyone to help out with photos at the minute.. I do want to get a couple of posts in this week though, and with the weekend fast approaching (ha! I wish..), it seems only right that I give Screenage Kicks a well-deserved mention!

Returning on Saturday night to show Breakfast Club at Northumbria Uni, it's safe to say I'm pretty excited! As Newcastle's favourite pop-up cinema, for those of you who haven't been to an event yet, Screenage Kicks is about becoming completely immersed in your favourite cult classics. I've not been able to attend the last couple, but from having been to the Reservoir Dog Screenage Kicks back in May, I'm pretty sure this weekend won't disappoint. And I'm pretty excited to see how they bring Breakfast Club to life. The real question is to fancy dress or not? I could be tempted to go in for oversized slouchy denim and crimped hair.. we'll see though. Now, gimme the popcorn.

If you want to get yourself down for detention in Northumbria Uni, there's still a few tickets for Breakfast Club left.. but be quick snapping them up!
Two weeks with no blogging and I've practically forgotten what to do. Or what to write about. No matter how many things I've had on my list of 'stuff to blog about', I've not been able to motivate myself this week. There's just been other stuff in my head. And no one here to take outfit photos, so you'll need to bear with me while I get caught up. I have been pretty productive with sorting out my room (pics to follow since it's not quite sorted, yet).. and I've got a couple of little DIY projects to come.. so hopefully they'll help me get back into my blogging. Maybe.
Like most bloggers (or social media addicts I know), I think I might be a little obsessed with taking photos. It's not that I'm try to purposefully document my every move. It's just I've fallen into the habit of not being able to resist snapping something I think looks good. Whether it's food, fashion, or just a nice view! My iPhone is pretty much attached to my hand all the time, and while it takes nice photos, it's not the highest resolution camera ever for a blogger on the move. So a few weeks back when I was sent the new Nokia Lumia 930 to play around with, I was excited to see how its 20mp camera would perform. Since I'm a bit too much of an iPhone addict to give mine up, I decided the best way of trying out the feature I was most interested in was by using it as a camera.. And the best way to test out a camera? Food photos, obviously. So on my latest trip down to Leeds, I decided to give it a whirl in Byron.
Ok so first things first: burgers. As one of my main clients, I'm pretty committed to Fat Hippo burgers. But in the interest of client research, I decided it high time I tried Byron out. One thing I really like about the brand (beside it's simplistic ethos and excellent copy thanks to We All Need Words), is the distinct buildings it chooses for its premises. They're always pretty iconic and resonate well with the city they're in. So naturally, I was pretty excited to sink my teeth into one of their 'proper hamburgers'. After a lot of mulling over the menu, I settled on the Chilli burger complete with Green chilli, American cheese, shredded iceberg and chipotle mayonnaise. While Kate opted for the Smoky burger served with smoked Cheddar, streaky bacon, crispy fried onions, shredded iceberg, pickles and smoked chilli BBQ sauce. Since we were both pretty famished we greedily ordered the skin on chips and a side of macaroni.
Once it had all arrived, I set away snapping with my Nokia Lumia 930. One thing I noticed straight away was the crisp focus of the lens. It felt almost like I was taking pictures with a digital camera.. not just a phone! The colours looked great and the Nokia's 5inch Full HD OLED display made it really easy to check through my snaps after I'd took them so I could see what shots were coming out nicely. While it was a little awkward getting used to the system (having been an iPhone user for so long), once I had the knack for it, the Nokia handled like a dream. So back to burgers...
After they arrived and I'd managed to take a few quick photos, we dug in! Served pink in the middle, I had pretty high expectations for Byron's proper hamburgers. Sadly, I felt they fell a little short of the mark. Since I'd opted for the chilli, I expected the juicy flavours of the meat to be accompanied with a bit of a kick. Instead, the meat felt a bit dry and even the chipotle mayo failed to completely perk it up. Kate agreed that despite the size and impressive appearance, her Smoky kinda fell a little short of expectations. The macaroni cheese on the other hand was brilliant. Although, not really what I expected to rate from the experience. Still at least the burgers photographed pretty well.

Verdict? While it's a little hard to get the hang of at first, the Nokia Lumia 930 is definitely one of the best camera phones on the market for bloggers! And the burgers? Dryer than expected and sadly somewhat lacking in flavour. Since it was my first experience of Byron, it left me a little disappointed and I hope it was just a bad experience. That being said, I'm not sure I'd bother next time. And I think if Byron do make their way up North with their empire, Fat Hippo certainly don't need to be quaking in their boots just yet.