Inspiration Mondays: Fashion Stylist - Megan Ellaby from ASOS

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Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a fashion stylist? Megan from ASOS tells us about her experience in my latest post.
Photo taken from Pages by Megan
Welcome to my new series of posts called Inspiration Mondays and they do exactly as the title suggests - inspire you to start a career which you've always wanted to pursue! From stylists to chefs, I will be interviewing a number of influential women in their industries and bring you a little insight into what their Mondays look like.

Let's kick off the series with Megan Ellaby who is a stylist for ASOS and is also a fashion blogger over on Pages by Megan. I have loved Megans blog and her sense of style for a number of years and I'm very excited to chat to her about how she became a stylist for one of the biggest online fashion retailers.

What made you decide to become a fashion stylist?
I've always been interested in Fashion and when I was younger really wanted to go into designing. A few years later I realised that avenue of the fashion industry wasn't for me and was introduced to styling whilst at college studying photography and I was sold.

What were the first steps you took to becoming a stylist?
At uni I worked with photography students to build upon my portfolio before setting out into the industry bagging myself internships and again, working to fill up my portfolio.

Have you faced any challenges so far? What were they?
Interning is super tough, you can read all about my interning drams right here (http://www.pagesbymegan.com/2015/01/how-to-get-into-fashion-industry-my.html)

Tell me what your Monday looks like:
My Monday looks like a mountain of emails before setting to work on creating tonnes of content for my ASOS_Megan social channels and styling up looks for photoshoots and videos for the week ahead. My Monday is usually an admin, research and prepping kinda day.

What does the future look like for you?
I hope to continue to inspire my followers and readers with my styling and to evolve with my styling, freelancing where I can.

What would your advice be to anyone who wants to get into fashion styling?
Intern, Intern, Intern!

You can follow ASOS Megan on her Twitter and Instagram, and Pages by Megan on Twitter and Instagram.

If you would like to hear from an influential woman in a specific industry, let me know and I will do my best to deliver an Inspiration Monday with them in mind!
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Christmas in July with notonthehighstreet.com

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Prepare for Christmas with unique and quirky gift ideas for the whole family from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com, lifestyle UK blog

Last week I got ridiculously excited for Christmas in the height of summer thanks to notonthehighstreet.com who invited me along to their Christmas press preview. I have used the quirky online store for two years in a row to buy Christmas presents (amongst many other occasions like birthdays and Valentines Day) because I love that you can personalise gifts and find something truly unique that your loved one will love. They also tend to have very 'fashionable' gifts, like beard grooming sets which we all know is currently all the rage for the young male population, and gin varieties of all kinds which I have been seeing a lot more of gin recently in hip bars and restaurants.

Brace yourselves as this is quite a long post and has plenty of photo inspiration, but there was just so much I got excited about that I wanted to share with you and hopefully inspire you with ideas for Christmas. And before you go that it's waaaaaay to early to start thinking about Christmas, this year I want to avoid the last minute rush and lack of funds by buying little bits over the space of a couple of months so I am truly and comfortably prepared for the festive season.

GIFTS FOR HER

Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
I fell in love with this t-shirt because I love the style and the slogan! Liam, take note when shopping for Christmas - or my upcoming birthday! - I need this top in my life. 
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
I absolutely love the idea that you can personalise a name or a message with these semi precious stones and the jewellery comes in a necklace or bracelet. It's the perfect gift for your girlfriend or best friend! Create your message here.
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
I have to give a special shout out to this locket which is very petite and classic - no one would ever actually know it's a locket until they opened it. This is a beautiful gift for any occasion and is perfect for all ages. 
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com
Thinking about special Christmas crackers? You can personalise these with a photo of your choice - I can just imagine our little Harvey in his Christmas scarf gracing the crackers on our Christmas dinner table! 
Christmas gift ideas for her from notonthehighstreet.com

GIFTS FOR HIM

Christmas gift ideas for him from notonthehighstreet.com
These cute little gold painted dinosaurs hold air plants which is perfect for low maintenance. They look cute around the house and it the perfect stocking filler for any age. The next best thing for a stocking filler is the set of chocolate robots - how cute! 
Christmas gift ideas for him from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for him from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for him from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for him from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for him from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for him from notonthehighstreet.com

GIFTS FOR FOODIES

Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com
Three words - chocolate cheese board. Whoever thought that creating a chocolate sculpture of a cheese board was a good idea, is a genius. I love cheese, I love chocolate and this is the perfect dessert centrepiece for any party - you don't even have to wait for Christmas to crack this guy out! 
Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com
I'd like to bring your attention to the Sloe Chutney in the left corner - this sounds amazing. Sloemotion produce some incredible sloe gin varieties and also this chutney of wonders which will taste just right with some turkey and roast potatoes. 
Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com
The teapot you see in this picture isn't your average teapot - it's made of chocolate. Yes, a teapot made of chocolate that actually functions! Of course, it will melt eventually and turn into a chocolate fondue, but what a fantastic idea for a winters night?! 
Spruce up your dinner party with some more edible varieties of sprouts - the chocolate variety. I personally love sprouts and always enjoy them at Christmas, but this is a way for all sprout haters to have one at Christmas dinner. 
Christmas gift ideas for foodies from notonthehighstreet.com

GIFTS FOR THE HOME

Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
Advent calendars are getting more creative year by year and this is going to be very popular with tea lovers - each day you get a different flavoured tea bag to indulge in. I really want this advent calendar as I can just imagine opening a bag on a cold winter morning, counting down to Christmas and sipping the hot tea in a chunky sweater and cable knit socks... 
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com

GIFTS FOR THE PETS

Christmas gift ideas for pets from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for pets from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for pets from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for pets from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for pets from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas for pets from notonthehighstreet.com
These are the pillows we simply must have. Although it's not very often that Harvey gets into bed with us anymore because he has his own bed, or actually two for that matter, but when he does he squeezes his way into the middle of us and takes over the bed. 

I got a couple of treats from the preview event and I was so excited to try some of the fantastic products which I have seen during the day. 
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
One of them was this adorable dino with a low maintenance air plant - as someone who can easily kill a cactus, I'm always on the lookout for cute green plants which won't need a lot of looking after. These plants don't actually have roots and all you have to do is spray them with water once or twice a week! Perfect and adorable. 
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
Smith & Sinclair Cocktail Pastilles - magical. I saw these sweets at the event and wondered what they actually tasted like because they are 6% volume of alcohol and with varieties like Gin & Tonic, Whisky Sour and Spiced Rum sound just delicious. I tried one of the pastilles whilst taking these photos which was 10am on a Sunday morning and I have to say they were all and more than expected - delicious, squidgy and alcoholic. Enjoy these pastilles responsibly any time of year, and make someone very happy (and perhaps slightly tipsy) with a stocking filler surprise. 
Christmas gift ideas from notonthehighstreet.com
To finish this mega write up, I wanted to end on a sweet note and Honeywell Bakes cookies are the perfect way to do that. Their cookies come in all shapes and sizes, but what makes them extra special is the absolutely incredibly taste which is very sweet but just perfect with a cup of tea or hot milk.

I know where I'm going to be stocking up on all my Christmas necessities for the third year in a row now - did you see anything you liked? Have you started thinking about Christmas already?
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Jim Beam Original Bourbon Sauce Review

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Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

I received a very exciting email last week asking if I would be interested in reviewing the new Jim Beam Bourbon Sauce which has just launched in Sainsburys - of course, as I love bourbon and recently I have been obsessed with cooking pulled pork slathered in rich and delicious sauces. 
I was very intrigued by the statement that unlike some other bourbon sauces, Jim Beam add 9% bourbon into every batch (which then comes out at about 3% after it's been cooked and vaporized).

The sauce comes in a bottle which is shaped like a flask - I absolutely love that! My kitchen is my pride and joy, so when a condiment comes around and it tastes great as well as looks great it earns its position on my sideboard. 

Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!
Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

As I mentioned, I love bourbon whiskey and for years it was my drink of choice so now that it's been translated into sauce for meat - dream come true. I have tried other bourbon sauces in the past, so I was interested to see how Jim Beam Bourbon Sauce compared - naturally I had to have a taste of the sauce on its own. The sauce is smoky and rich, with a hint of bourbon that ever so slightly hits your palette which is totally perfect for BBQd Southern style food.
I decided this sauce would be an ideal ingredient in my pulled pork burgers - a dinner party favourite as you can really get stuck into your food!

What you'll need:

  • pork shoulder joint (I used one on the bone as I think it adds to the flavour)
  • jug of beef stock to fill an ovenproof dish
  • Jim Beam Bourbon Sauce
  • tinned tomatoes
  • handful of sage leaves
  • sliced onion
  • spring onion
  • corn
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • cheese (I picked cheddar and blue cheese)
  • sliced gherkins
  • chillies
  • buns
Serve with coleslaw and chips, and add anything you like to your burger 'bar'!

Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

Place the pork shoulder in a deep ovenproof dish and fill it up with stock to the meat is covered. Add tinned tomatoes and stir it around. 

Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

Add in three tablespoons of Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce and stir the mixture around until all the ingredients are mixed and the pork is well covered.

Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

Sprinkle in the sage and if you want to you can add salt and pepper. Cover the dish with a lid, or if the pork is well covered you can leave the lid out and place in the over on 200c for 4 hours. Now, I actually cook this meat for a lot longer usually as the longer you cook it, the more 'pulled' it becomes - but 4 hours will be plenty for the meat to be soft and mouth watering.

Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

Just before you take the meat out, use a large dish or serving slab to build a little burger bar. You can add anything you want so that your guests can help themselves and build their own burgers. I love a classic selection of gherkins, tomatoes and onions with little twists like blue cheese, chilli and spring onion, I also love corn so it's always on the menu when BBQs or Southern style dishes are on the go.

Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!
Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

Carefully take the pulled pork out of the oven and start pulling it apart with two forks. The meat will fall off the bone, it will melt under the utensils and be extra juicy - perfect! The sauce that is left over is what I use to pour on top of the pulled pork to keep it juicy - use a cup of the sauce from the pulled pork and add in two table spoons (or more if you fancy!) of Jum Beams Original Bourbon Sauce, mix it up and then pour over the pulled pork - it's just delicious.

Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!
Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!
Jim Beams Original Bourbon Sauce review and a recipe for the perfect pulled pork!

Serve up your 'build a pulled pork burger' station with some chips and have an amazing time! Your guests will really get stuck in to this, it has never failed to impress. As you can see there really isn't that much time or preparation but just amazingly good food with plenty of personality.

Jim Beam Original Bourbon Sauce is now available in your local Sainsburys supermarket.
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