Abs-olutely Fabulous! 30 Day Abs Challenge!

Happy Wednesday, blogosphere. Its an overcast day in London and I’m having a mini panic attack that the British Summer has actually been and gone already. But, with the weather, I am ever the optimist. It will be back!

Anyway, on Monday I stumbled across a little event page on Facebook called 30 Day Abs Challenge. Some of you may remember the 30 Day Squat Challenge that went viral a couple of years ago, but I’m not too ashamed to admit that after day 4, I struggled to sit down on my desk chair without wincing in pain, so, I gave up, and concluded I would continue exercising my leg muscles by running down the four flights of stairs in my building to greet the pizza guy. Or China man….or any other food bearing guest, for that matter. To anyone who succeeded, I salute you. The Abs Challenge works in a similar way, by starting very very small, to the point that even I can just about muster the energy to get through the first few days, but gradually builds up, so that by the end you are in triple figures of each of the exercises.

The Facebook event is set to start on June 1st, so we can all do it together, and be bikini ready by July, but I have started a tiny bit early, as the bf gets back in to London on July 1st, so I hardly want to be bed-ridden with muscle aches, being put to shame by a 90 year old’s fitness level as I crawl around my flat. Starting now will give me a few days to recover! That is, if I actually make it to the end, and without being negative, if the Squat Challenge is anything to go by, I’ll be sprawled out on the sofa eating a cheeseburger before week 1 is out. But, its worth a shot. And I want you all to do it with me!

Here’s how it works:

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I’ll be posting regular updates on how I’m coping! Day 1 was yesterday, and it was fine, but I am not being naiive. I’m anticipating suicidal thoughts will commence around day 7, when the plank reaches 30 seconds. It will be interesting to see how gradually increasing the targets helps you improve though. My plank currently resembles an elephant trying to sit down. You know, that bit before they collapse in a heap, when they’re sort of teetering on the edge of sitting/standing… that part, thats me!

I’m commencing day 2’s exercises shortly…wish me luck!

Coco xx

 

22 Harsh Realities of Rediscovering Your Bebo Page

Well, its Sunday night, but, its the best of Sunday nights, because its a public holiday tomorrow, so no work (hurrah!). This post is coming to you live from my bed, where I am currently nestled doing a terrible job of not smearing Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream all over my clean white bed sheets. Cry. Anyway, a week or so ago I stumbled on an embarrassingly hysterical time capsule of my mid teens, in the form of my Bebo page, and there were some eye-opening features that, I think, perfectly sum up how our generation (the golden generation!) shaped the beginnings of the social media era! Forget Facebook, Tumblr, SnapChat, Whatsapp and Instagram, this my friends is where it all began. Well, this and MySpace. Here’s 22 things that come flooding back to you when seeing your Bebo page after approximately 7 years. And yes, the pics are ALL from my own Bebo page. Just because I love to voluntarily humiliate myself.

Enjoy!

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1. An argument with your friend resulted in an instant rethink of the order of your friends on your page

2. The other half of me was pretty much the greatest honour you could be given

3. You remember the day when the share the love count went up to 3 per day and your sluttiness tripled. And on that day you were most probably at home, on your gigantic desktop PC, grooving along to the dialup internet tone, shouting at your mum to get off the pissing landline. *You may be intrigued to know that since we all migrated to Facebook, the “luv” count has increased to five per day!

4. You picked a cool indie song to play out when someone goes on your profile, to accurately reflect your amazing taste in music and emotional depth and complexity. I believe mine was Plain White Tees – Let Me Take You There.

5. Your profile had something like this on it, which was cleverly designed to appear as though you were filling in essential information, while subtly further enhancing your level or perceived “alternativeness” that was outlined by the aforementioned theme tune to your profile.

[x]..Celebrates on-9th june..[x]

[x]..Found in- My own lil world!. .[x]

[x]..Brushes- Redish Brownish hair!..[x]

[x]..Crys behind- Brown eyes..[x]

[x]..Stands at- 5ft 7..[x]

[x]..Walks in- Size 6..[x]

[x]..Hates- Goodbyes…[x]

[x]..Loves- shopping&WESTLIFE..[x]

[x]..Misses- France[x]

[x]..Hides- Emotion..[x]

6. YoU wRoTe YoUr EnTiRe PrOfIlE lIkE tHis. Because, well, why wouldn’t you

7. Everything started with xXx…xXx or xoxo (see my above display name for full details)

8. You created a quiz about yourself and judged your friends by how well they scored, and had subsequent arguements about their response to questions like “Who’s sexier? Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom”.

9. You then created a quiz about the aforementioned fitties, just to make sure your pals were as prepared for your imminent relationship as you were.

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10. You copied these smilies from some smart arse’s “notes” section.

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11. Profile pictures depict the era known as BI (Before Instagram), and followed the below criteria:

  • A black and white/sepia effect on your camera was used
  • Taken of yourself with your arm showing (the art that has now become known as the selfie. Don’t you noughties kids go thinking you invented this. We’ve been pulling this shit for years)
  • Preferably looking away from camera, occasionally using wind created by your hair dryer, because it was clearly plausible that you had a modelling career at one point or another
  • Often with a caption like “wtf am i doing lol XD”, so you don’t seem conceited, despite being 100% sure you look fit as

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12. You changed your profile “skin” almost daily

13. You replaced one of your info sections with a touching tribute to how much you “luv ur gurlz”

14. Your “happiest when” box most likely said something to this effect: “txtin m8s, lolin’ prank calls, wid ma gurls x, shoppin, ltm…” LTM meant listening to music. In case you had forgotten!

15. You find you wrote ‘scribble back’ or ‘wb’ after each wall post, because there was absolutely no shame in seeming keen back then

16. You explicitly wrote private jokes about your “crush” on your friend’s page, hoping he’ll see. Or better still, in a foreign language, because after a B grade GCSE you were obviously fluent. You left a highly crackable code for everyone to understand.

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17. On your friends’ whiteboards were drawings of phallic objects, because you were so 100% sexually experienced at age 13. Obviously.

18. You created a photo album of your friends with their profile pictures in it. Probably entitled “Girlies”. You would also have an album called something like “Moi”, “Piccys of meeeeee”….or similar…written in extremely coherent “text speak”.

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19. Your square of 16 top friends featured a few ‘arrow’ photos pointing to certain people, with delightful sentiments like “Luv dis gal” or “My fit boi xx”

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20. You wrote “shopping lol xx XD” under ‘sports’

21. You had a countdown timer to something significant in your life. Like Christmas Day, or the end of your tense and incredibly challenging SAT exams.

22. You were only cute and cool if your page was plastered with abstract artwork like this:

*•.¸(*•.¸♥¸•*´)¸.•*´

♥«´¨`•°x emma x°•´¨`»♥ ¸.•*

(¸.•*´♥`*•.¸)`*•.♥

or this:

——ρυτ——————-τнιѕ———— ——σи————— ——уσυя————- ——ραgє————- ——–ιƒ————- ——-yσυ————- ——τнιиκ———— ——ℓιиκιи-ραяκ—— ———яσςκ———-

22. You friendship group gradually migrated to Facebook. Some didn’t make the transition as well as others…

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…And then when you finally all caught on to facebook, you changed your bebo profile to say something to this effect:

“Dnt rly use Bebo nemre, tis shit, fb me xoxo”

(I haven’t named and shamed the friend who posted that message to me on 21/06/2008. I’m wondering if he knows who he is!)

So, there we go. While being intensely cringe worthy, its also a hilarious trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, the Bebo site itself has been disabled, but all links to profiles are still active, you just need to remember your screen name to be able to search it on Google. Helpful hint – it probably has xx_sexi_xx in it somewhere!

Night all,

Coco

Chinese Dumplings Cook Off From One Side of the World to the Other

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely obsessed with oriental food. Moving from my small home town to the bright lights of London, one of the first things I learned was, there’s more to life than Wagamama. London is packed with loads of authentic chinese and japanese restaurants that are much better than main stream chains, and my go-to choice of entrees are ALWAYS dumplings. Or gyoza, for the intellectual linguists amongst us. When I was in Australia, the suburbs are actually packed with restaurants specialising in dumplings, so I was in food heaven! Only problem is, I’ve been harbouring a severe allergy to shellfish, which eliminates a high proportion of restaurants, as they don’t offer plain chicken, beef or pork on their own. After finally tracking down some plainer ones, my boyfriend and I vowed that we would learn to master them at home ourselves. We decided we would make them together over Skype, in the evening his time (which was sadly 10.30am for me, but by the time we had finished it was like an early lunch). They actually turned out really well, and they’re super easy to make, really cheap, and actually pretty healthy (about 30-40 calories per dumpling, depending on fillings). A great treat for a down day!

Anyway, I snapped some pics of our progress, and how they turned out! Thought I would share it with everyone! I based mine on an online recipe for help with the dough, but the filling and cooking was all our own!

1. Create the dough (yes, we made this from scratch!). Its simply plain flour and water. I used 140g of flour and 150ml of very very hot water. This dough makes enough for about 15 dumplings. Mix the two together in a bowl until it makes a ball of dough.

2. Kneed the dough for about 6-8 minutes until its smooth and stretchy.

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3. Put in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave while you make your fillings. (I’m unsure exactly what this is for, but a few recipes I had looked at online told me to do it, so I did.)

4. Chop up chives, four spring onions, two chilli peppers, two cloves of garlic, and one chicken breast into the smallest pieces you can. If you have a food processor, mince it and mix it together. I pre-cooked my chicken, but the bf used his raw. Neither of us died so its up to you. I’m just a serious raw chicken germophobe, so I pre-cooked mine. Just remember to make sure its cooked through at the final stage, particularly if you’ve used raw chicken. You’ll need to cook them a little longer if you have.

5. With your mixed up filling, add a bit of soy sauce (as much as you feel you need to get the ingredients to stick together), and some chilli oil if you like it spicy.

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6. Take out your dough, and roll it into a long, thin sausage shape, about the circumference or your thumb and forefinger when you make a circle. Cut the sausage shape into equal pieces. Usually about 15.

7. Roll each one into a circle shape, put a bit of filling in the middle (only a little bit – you don’t want to over stuff them), and fold the dough over like a pasty. Dab water onto the edges to make them stick, and press together with your fingers to make the edges flat. It looks a bit like the back of a stegosaurus.

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8. Once you’ve used all your dough and filling (the above proportions should make it just about exact), you can either fry or steam your dumplings. For frying, use a shallow pan, heat some oil until its hot, and place the dumpling in. Let it sizzle in the oil (use more chilli oil for more flavour if you like), and flip it onto both sides until they brown off. (Leave them for longer if you’re waiting for the chicken inside to cook). Also try and get the base side to flatten and let it stand up like that for a while too. For steaming, I tried various options as I didn’t have my steamer here with me, but the easiest and most effective method was just plop the dumplings into a pan of boiling water and leave for a few minutes until the dough becomes, somewhat, chewy. You’ll be able to tell by watching the colour and texture change. Remove with a draining spoon and serve!

9. For dipping sauce, use either soy sauce on its own, or add chilli oil or fresh chillies, and some chinese rice wine/vinegar. Serve as an entree, or on a bed of egg/chicken fried rice as a main course!

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Easy and SO delicious!

Have a great bank holiday weekend, all!

Love always

Coco xx

Want one? Of KORS you do! Michael Kors New Collection.

On Tuesday, the Selfridges email hit my inbox. I opened it up and plastered across the screen of my iPhone was one of the most beautiful handbags I’ve ever seen. The new Michael Kors collection. I had seen it about but was yet to fully check it out, as I’m on a complete spending ban, but I just had to have a look when the email came through. Michael has only gone and done it again, with a to-die-for range of his Selma and Jet Set tote bags. I have a black staple Jet Set and a tan Dressy Tote (which is quite hard to track down now as its been replaced by the Saffiano Leather Tote, but mine is soft leather. I like the contrast of having the Jet Set in Saffiano and the Dressy in softer leather). I actually earmarked MK several years ago, but in the past couple of years everyone seems to have gone mad for the label, which makes me so happy. Its so nice that a more affordable brand (well, in comparison to Mulberry’s price point) has gotten so popular, and I think the more well known the brand has got, the better and better the collections are getting.

Anyway, the new collection sees these classic designs released in a combination of black, tan and white (yes, all in one bag). Now, I know there’s that age old rule that you don’t mix black and brown, but I’m sorry, you totally can. These new prints are perfect for summer, and have the perfect balance of subtle elegance combined with a summery nautical feel. ABSOLUTELY DIVINE.

1. Jet Set Saffiano Leather Tote £310

2. Jet Set Tote £260

3. Selma Leather Tote £260

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Well thats my next save-up purchase decided!

Toodle pip

Coco x

That Weirdo With Five Colours In Her Hair

Oh hey! Hope everyone has survived the random storm that hit the UK earlier this afternoon! In classic British style we have gone from waking up in muggy, greenhouse-like conditions, to welcoming a thick black cloud of doom, which soon erupted in some of the most violent thunder, lightening and hailstones I have seen in quite some time. Now, like I said, we did this in our classic British way, so you can imagine what the weather is doing now two hours later? Yep, you got it. Glorious sunshine. What are you gonna do! Its a nightmare for fashion, this weather, I tell you. I left for work yesterday at 4pm, in a tshirt, jeans and runners. After a gruelling 7 hours I emerged just before midnight to be greeted by what first appeared to be the Grand Canyon. But it was in fact, Oxford Street after a rain storm. Considering my options on how to get home, canoe being a legitimate contender, I opted to paddle to the tube, my white tshirt now soaked through, and I looked like I belonged on Daytona Beach partaking in the yank tradition of “Spring Break woohoo”. Anyway, the point of that was just a weather moan. Its so temperamental this time of year!

But hey, enough of that. We have certainly had a very decent chunk of sun so far this year, so I really shouldn’t be complaining. It has prompted the high street to stack its shelves high with floral headbands and adorable accessories. I went into Topshop yesterday (though I had my head firmly in a no-spending mood, as my finances are still dealing with the post-Australia hangover), and came across their range of amazing flower garlands. You know the ones, that sort of sit on your head so you have to not move too much when wearing one. I tried one on, with a very sheepish look on my face as I felt I was being judged by onlookers (I have a confidence complex with things like that. I don’t dare to be daring all that often!), but I actually fell in love with it! Now, i’m not saying they’re ideal for every day wear, but with a maxi dress, or loose tee and denim hot pants on the beach or on holiday, they’re amazing! Yes, they’re hideously over the top, and probably too big for some people’s liking, but I’m seriously hoping these take off in the fashion stakes, and I want one BADLY! My birthday is coming up so, fingers crossed! (yes, my TWENTY THIRD birthday. Don’t. Just. Don’t.)

Here are some of my favourites!

1. Rose and Lily Garland, £16

2. Lilac Garland, £16

3. Daisy Garland, £14

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I’m hoping I don’t get weird looks when I step out wearing mine! Reactions to follow 😉

Ciao

Coco xx

 

Bond Girl

Hey guys, hope everybody is enjoying the sunshine as much as I am! Life is just that little bit brighter when the sun is shining. The endless summer evenings make the days seem far longer, rather than waking up in darkness and leaving work in darkness, trudging home losing yourself in the sofa cushions until the end of time, aka the British winter.

Today I am hounding you with yet another plug of an Aussie brand that I fell in love with, called BONDS (and I expect you’re now nodding your head as you now understand the pun embedded in the title of this post). I was introduced to it for the first time when I saw the name sprawled across the waistline of my boyfriend’s boxers, and concluded that it was the laid back, Aussie surfer equivalent of having Calvin Klein peeping out the back of your jeans, rather than an advert for Australia’s investment yield prospects (the finance geeks reading this will appreciate). This was until my visit to Australia, when I spotted an entire store filled with underwear, sleepwear and sportswear, for men AND women. It has a Nike/Sweaty Betty/Victoria’s Secret Sports feel to it, and has uplifting summer prints and bright colours available, as well as more plain options. Cool workout gear is hot for 2014, and this brand is packed with ideas. I grabbed a bra (with the bonds logo not-so-subtly plastered around the underbust, an adorable palm print bandeau also sporting the logo, and some grey sweatpants that are so comfy I have had to actually talk myself into letting them go in the wash as I’ve been living in them. I’m already having withdrawals.

Anyway, as always, I’ve chosen some of my favourite bits from the site, and even better, they now deliver to the UK, AND its free deliver over $100AUD (thats only about £50, so go nuts!).

1. Wide waistband jungle line print briefs, $17.95AUD

2. Low rise shorts, $16.95AUD

3. Logo Sweatpants, $49.95AUD

4. Active leggings, $49.95AUD (I wanted these SO badly to wear with my pink Nike Free Runs…cry!)

5. Tube Bra, $39.95AUD

6. Neon print g-string, $14.95AUD

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Enjoy, Bond Girls!

As always,

Coco xx

 

Sabo Skirt

Hey all,

For those who read my recent post, you’ll know I recently returned from Australia. (Yes I still have post holiday blues, so I’m using this time to blog about it!) Now, as a true Brit, as much as I love travelling and seeing other countries, there are very few places in the world that can keep up with us in the fashion stakes. Even my favourite cities in the world, Barcelona and New York, just, to me, don’t quite do fashion the same as us. It always seems a bit dated or under staged, so visiting the land downunder, I had very low expectations in terms of what I would find in terms of new threads.

Now, in fairness, with their season being opposite to ours, it was coming into Autumn when I arrived, so their stores were laden with chunky scarves, boots and parkas (for the weather that they supposedly classify as ‘cold’. *laughs*). It was hardly the right thing I was looking for since I was returning to the UK in May, and looking at the prospect of lighter evenings, summer BBQs, beach days, flip flops and shorts. However, I was introduced to a site called Sabo Skirt << follow the link. At first I was sceptical, but I have fallen in love with just about every item on there. To be totally fair, the Aussies know their summers, and I think had I visited at peak season, I might have been woo’d more by their styles. Sabo Skirt has the most gorgeous range of summer clothes you’ve ever seen, and its all a bit different and unique – quite different to what you’d come across here in the UK. They do offer international shipping, so I’m torn between forking out for that or ordering it to my boyfriend’s house and having him bring it over to me when he visits in the summer!

I’ve selected a few of my real favourite pieces, but definitely check the site out yourself, or follow them on Instagram – their stuff is to die for! I think its actually quite reasonably priced too, once you calculate the AUD exchange rate, which I have kindly done for you, for a bit of perspective 😉 Happy drooling!

1. Floral shorts, $42 AUD (about £21)

2. Bubblegum shorts, $45 AUD (about £22.50)

3. Crochet Dress, $68 AUD (about £34)

4. Sunflower Waistcoat, $29 AUD (about £14.50 – bargain!)

5. Pastel Bralet, $21 AUD (about £10.50)

6. Denim Dungarees, $62 (about £31)

7. White Maxi, $62 AUD (about £31)

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Its $10 for international shipping that takes 5-15 business days, which equates to about £5, so its really quite decent compared to UK shipping costs, but in my experience, give the Australian post extra time. If you thought Royal Mail was bad, you aint seen nothing, so don’t hold your breath for your parcel to arrive in an instant!

Hope you love the site as much as I do! Let me know if you snap anything up!

Love always,

Coco