Tuesday, 31 July 2012

the sun has got his hat on..

sandals: matalan // hat: marks and spencer (gift)
playsuit: clothing at tesco
cardigan: new look
I love this set of photos. I think it's partly down to the fact that I took them of one of my favourite camp outfits, following a frankly fantastic week of camping. The weather was amazing, (I was pleased to come back with a bit of a tan)as was the chance to have a week away from the normality - I don't tend to take a lot of time off, as I really like my job, but when I do, it can be nice to have a change.

I was rather busy all week, running back and forth to the flat to collect food before breakfast, and running round with a rather fancy (borrowed) camera for the week, taking photos for PR and to produce a daily newsletter. I think I really do want a DSLR camera now that I've spent most of the week using one, having not been too bothered about upgrading my camera in the past.

I picked up this playsuit in Tesco recently. I think it's actually supposed to be a beach cover-up as it's quite thin cotton, but not too see-through that I couldn't wear it for day-to-day. I really favoured playsuits and shorts this week, and seem to have fallen into the midst of a bit of a love affair with hats. Which is definitely a good thing, as I have such a collection of pretty hats which do not get worn enough. I really want to get into the habit of wearing them.

This one is one of my favourites ever. My lovely sister bought it for me on one of our sister-shopping-trips and I just couldn't get over how awesome it was. It's straw but overlayed with polka dot ribbon, and it just makes me smile. Here's hoping for some more sun so I get to wear it more. I'm supposed to be off to the beach at the weekend - sun, please!

In other news, I drew the winner of my Hunter Wellies giveaway today, and am pleased to announce that a pair will be on their way to Rebecca shortly. Thank you to all for entering and keep an eye out because I'm planning a blog swap in the near future if anyone fancies it..

Saturday, 28 July 2012

swimming against the tide..

shorts: laura ashley
swimmer print blouse: h! at henry holland
cardigan: new look
raincoat: h+m // cat bag: matalan

When I first saw the print of this H! Henry Holland blouse, I knew I would have to add it to my wardrobe before long, given my love of all things swim recently.

Well, actually, whilst I do love going swimming, there are a number of things about it which really get my goat. Hold on to your hats, I feel a bit of a rant coming on:

I get into the changing room sometimes and am greeted by (by which I mean I see, not that she speaks to me) a woman who is clearly very comfortable in her own skin. She's more often than not mid-conversation, which means that all thoughts of covering herself up have clearly gone out of the window. I mean, I'm all for body confidence, I'd love some more myself, but I would also love to be able to make my way to the cubicle without having to dodge out of the way of low-flying boobs, because she's making some animated arm gestures. Ack.

Then, once I've made it into the pool, past obstacles such as very small children (who for some reason all seem to be named Tarquin or Oscar), crawling in and out and underneath your cubicle partitions (whose mothers apparently can't read the sign which says "Please use the family changing room if you have young children with you."), or that annoying moment when you get into an apparently vacated cubicle to be greeted by the bombsite remains of someone else's clothing, even though said person can not easily be located, which would suggest they've just moved in to the cubicle and left their stuff in your way as a way of marking their territory, I finally make it into the pool.

There are several pools where I swim, one of which is predominantly used for swimming lessons at the kind of time I am there. Fair enough. There is another, which is the kids' pool, which leaves one for general swimming. If it's a lucky day, there will be plenty of space, people will be swimming in lengths, and there will be no kids trying to dive in at the end. More often than not, it's not a lucky day.

So, I've navigated my way into the pool, past the couple of women who are bobbing around in the shallow end chatting (um, get in the jacuzzi?! or the bar for that matter?!), and the kids who are having splashing contests (again, what's wrong with the childrens' pool?), I set about starting my lengths. I try to swim at least 100 each time I go, which can be sort of boring, so I sometimes change the way I count them, just to keep things exciting. (i.e. sometimes I'll count up to 50, then back down to zero - it seems to be the most effective way of tricking myself into getting them done quicker. The worst method has to be 4 lots of 25. That was a long day).

If it's a really lucky day, I'll manage to get past the 50-length mark before there's any sign of The Whale. I can be the only person in the pool (rare, but it sometimes happens) and yet The Whale will still get in and sidle up to an uncomfortable closeness and begin the splashiest swim I've ever known. He seems to put his feet together and use them as a tail fin, which I believe is probably dolphin stroke, but aesthetically, he's more of a whale. So that's annoying.

Worse luck, and The Hippo gets in. Or more, flops her way in. This is a rather large lady, who seems to do a wallowing lazy backstroke, at rather a slow pace after the initial speed in which she gets in, and if there isn't any space, swims her way in front of you. Gaah.

Other regulars include: The Black Mollie, so-called because of her bug-eyes. She's one for getting in, speeding up and swimming right in front of you, even if you've been doing your lengths in the same place for the last 50 or so; The Walrus, named mainly as a result of his facial hair. He doesn't affect you much, but I make a mental note to try and avoid catching sight of his teeny-tiny trunks, almost invisible under his overhanging mid-secion, as that can put you off your counting; and The Penguin, a strange creature who brings his towel with him to the poolside as though in some kind of seaside resort, and flips his way to the edge of the pool in his flip-flops, so as to make sure his feet don't come into contact with the surrounding tiles.

The only good point about watching all of the regulars when I'm in the pool, I suppose, is that it gives me something to take my mind off all the boring counting.

Friday, 27 July 2012

friday favourites 017..

001: Squirrel print blouse, ASOS £35
002: Flower / Jewel earrings, £15 ASOS
For another week, my favourite things come from ASOS - they do seem to be my favourite place to shop at the moment!

001: I can never seem to resist a quirky animal print, so this blouse really needs to be part of the wardrobe zoo, and fast! 

002: I have got quite a collection of earrings, but I don't seem to wear enough of them - I always forget about them really. And yet I'm still really drawn to these flower and jewel ones.

What are you wishing for this week?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

sequin rose..

sequin top: matalan
skirt: h+m // shoes: primark
I picked this top up a few weeks ago now and had been wondering for a while what to wear it with. I'm a bit of a fan of daytime sequins, so was sort of pleased when I came across this skirt I'd forgotten about when I was clearing out a storage box.

Unfortunately, by the time I had got to work, one of the threads holding the sequins on had come undone, meaning I left a bit of a trail of them behind me all day. I was really disappointed considering it was it's first outing, and I wouldn't say it had had to put up with much hard wearing.

Luckily, when I took it back to the shop the following day they were happy to refund me for it, given that it isn't fit for purpose. I was kind of sad as I really like the colour, so perhaps that's something to look out for in the future.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

swans and dogs..

houndstooth skirt: river island
swan print top: next
heels: primark
I must admit, I very rarely shop at Next. But on this occasion I'd been given some vouchers and had been in a few times before seeing something which took my fancy. This swan top. I had to go in a couple of stores before I could find the size I wanted, but I'm glad I went for it. I like the cute print and the tie detail.

Not sure whether pairing it with this skirt was a grand idea or not; perhaps not the most flattering skirt in the world.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

tuesday titles 007..

Summertime, Rafaella Barker
I have this weird compulsion. I cannot stop reading a book halfway through, no matter how much I may not be enjoying it. Sometimes I wish I could, as it can take a while to get into a certain style of writing or subject matter. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I didn't expect this book to be one of the occasions where I wished I could give up. But for whatever reason, I found it a bit of a slog.

Summertime is written as the diary of put-upon mother-of-three, Venetia Summers. Her three children are Giles, Felix and The Beauty, and are also the only three characters I particularly liked. Their eccentricity and amusing outburts sort of made up for the fact that I found Venetia herself a bit annoying. She just didn't seem to do very much. I'm not expecting her to be a superwoman; I realise that being mother to three kids and trying to avoid having too much to do with an annoying ex-husband isn't going to leave you with a lot of spare time. But I felt that she spent most of her time throughout the book moping around after boyfriend, David, who was working away in the jungle.

Somehow, she seems to let her brother and his fiancee arrange to hold their (shambolic) wedding in her garden, as well as being proposed to by one of her neighbours. None of these characters particularly interested me either, if I'm honest.

Maybe I'm being unfair, but I kept expecting this book to go somewhere other than the school run. I understand that it's the sequel to another title, Hen's Dancing, so maybe having not read that one I've missed something. But I found it all a bit "meh" and wasn't really sad when I got to the end.

Monday, 23 July 2012


blouse: c/o Glamorous
belt: accessorize
shorts: clothing at tesco
I've been well and truly spoiled by those lovely folks at Glamorous recently. I love this blouse, for it's oversized shape and the muted orange stripes which make me feel all cosy because it reminds me of pyjamas.

What better than to throw this on for a dress-down Friday outfit with my favourite shorts and an orange belt? Definitely cheered me up after my mid-week misery. Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

sunday shoes 005..


More Sunday shoes this week - they arrived last week actually, but I'd already posted three pairs.

These all came from Debenhams, the jelly sandals both Henry Holland, and at £3.60 each I deliberated over which colour for a little while before deciding to just go for both!

On first try they seem remarkably comfortable - i've not been a great wearer of jelly shoes since being, um, about 5yrs old maybe. I'm hoping to get some opportunity to wear them this week at camp, providing the weather stays relatively dry.

The wedges were from the Red Herring section of the sale; I'd seen them briefly in the Birmingham store, but hadn't had chance to have more than a brief gaze at them, but they stuck in my mind and as I was placing an order anyway, I added them to the basket too.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

hunter wellies giveaway..

As most of you know, I'm off camping this weekend. This is a camp which I've been on the planning committee for for over a year now; it's quite a large scale event I guess, with over 500 kids booked in. You'd be right to think I'm more than a little nervous.

I've spent the past few weeks watching the river level in the town gradually rising, hoping that it won't burst it's banks and flood the site we have booked. So far, so good, despite all of the flash-flooding in the county..

Last minute packer as I am, I've not really thought about what I am going to pack. Except for, of course, the wellies. I really love wellies and have quite a collection. And so when I was asked by Simply Hike, who specialise in camping equipment and Hunter wellies, if I would like to offer a pair up as a giveaway prize, I didn't have to think about it for long. (In fact, I almost said "no thanks, can I keep them for myself?" but I don't think that would have been very well-received). I thought it would be very fitting to run the giveaway whilst I was away at camp!

So here is your chance to win a pair of Hunter wellies, worth £79. If you want to be in with a chance, here are the rules:

1. The giveaway is open to all UK followers of my blog, who leave a comment on this post.
2. Your comment must include your shoe size, and a way to contact you if you should win.
3. One extra entry can be gained by tweeting a link to this blog post, and including my twitter handle (@dinoprincesschr) so that I can keep track.

Terms and conditions:
The giveaway will run until 10am on Tuesday 31st July 2012. The winner will be picked at random and will receive a pair of Hunter Original Tall Classic Wellies in Navy, in their chosen size, once they have provided their postal address via email. The product cannot be returned for a different size once ordered. The product cannot be exchanged for cash or an alternative product. No purchase necessary. 

Good luck ! 


Friday, 20 July 2012

friday favourites 016..

001: Daisy print shirt dress, £12, ASOS
002: home sweet home necklace, £12, ASOS
Today I'm feeling a little bit down in the dumps, if I'm honest. I've had a lot to organise and keep going recently, and sometimes I find that when I stop everything catches up with me and I get overwhelmed. Yesterday, I managed to let my emotions get the better of me and subsequently spent most of the evening doing nothing but cry, sleep and hide under a blanket. Meh.

 So, no outfit post today, but I'm cheering myself up by creating a little shopping list. I really love ASOS recently, both of today's wants are from there.

001: This daisy print dress seems really cheerful and I've been watching this with the intention of adding it to my wardrobe soon enough. I think I will do now that it's down to just £12 in the sale!

002: I've really wanted a dolls house necklace like this since seeing the one Charlene posted on her blog here - and that was an absoluta AGE ago, so this one is definitely making it into my online basket!

What have you been ordering this week?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

movie screens, magazines and boogie scenes..

checked blouse: c/o glamorous
cardigan: topshop
pencil skirt: matalan
belt and heels: primark

Once in what seems like about a hundred or so blog posts, I find that a set of outfit photos that I don't find endless faults with. I sort of like the way this outfit came together, which given the confidence knock I've been trying to work through recently, is quite remarkable.

I started with this cute checked blouse which the lovely ladies at Glamorous sent to me to review. It stood out to me and I chose it due to the print, the length and the fact that it's sleeveless. I wasn't disappointed at all when it turned up on my doorstep a few days later! It's sheer, but not so much that it causes any concern over modesty. And the collar, sleeves and length come together to make what I felt was a fabulous shape.

I paired it with this bright pencil skirt and added the waist belt to try and define my waist a little. I went for a trusty old black cardigan and heels in order to let the print of the blouse and the birght colour of the skirt speak for themselves.

 If you haven't been on the Glamorous website, do go and have a look - they have some lovely chunky cardigans at the momemt which I have my eye on. One can never have enough knitwear, right?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

hello new shoes, bye bye blues..

If someone mentions Barratts Shoes, I'm instantly reminded me of shopping in the school holidays for new school shoes, every year. Since then, though, I can't say I've been to one of their stores, so when I was asked if I would pick some of my favourite shoes from their website and had a good look around, I was pleasantly surprised!

First up, my pick of their heels:
floral peep toe platforms: £25
dogtooth concealed platform courts: £35
tartan concealed platform courts: £35
I'd love to add any of the above pairs to my shoe collection. Probably all of them if I'm honest. 

And of course, what list of mine would be complete without a new pair of wellies. I seem to use them for everything recently and imagine they will be worn all week at guide camp next week, if the weather doesn't dramatically improve.These ones are cute, as well as being a total bargain!
flower print wellington boots: £15

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

tuesday titles 006..

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman
Now I know it's been rather a while since my last Tuesday Titles post, but I've been finding that I'm reading at a snail's pace recently. I think I've been struggling with my concentration since my recent head injury, which probably hasn't helped.

However I decided I'd post a review of something I finished recently and enjoyed.

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

Perhaps as a result of the terrible concentration levels recently, the way this book was split up really appealed to me. The story revolves around three language tutors, who as well as working for the same school are sort of connected in a bit of a love triangle. After setting the scene with their situation, the rest of the book is split into a section for each pair (tutor and student).

The first student, Josie, who is already a language teacher takes her lesson because, I think, she is feeling lost and wants a way to find her way back on track with her life after some dramatic events. Caring and sensitive Nico seems to guide her back.

Jeremy's story is also about finding who he is rather than continuing to live in his wife's shadow; he and Chantelle spend a day of romantic promise together, which causes him to re-evaluate his relationship with his wife and try to decide who he wants to be and find that person once more.

Riley; who moved to Paris to follow her husband, also feels lost. Staying at home with her young children whilst her husband works seems even worse in a country she isn't familiar with, so she too is feeling lost. I think I liked her and Philippe's story least of the three, but enjoyed that all three students were using their lessons as a way to find something they were missing in their lives.

I liked that the entire book covered the events of just one day. My only slight criticism would be that as I was reading, I'd expected the events to overlap a little more than they did, as readers have come to expect from settings like this. To be fair though, the three pairs did all end up at the same location towards the end of their days together and perhaps the less coincidence the book is filled with probably makes the whole thing a bit more realistic, as it seems to me it only tends to be in films and novels that everyone comes together at the end for a big crescendo of coincidence.

I'd certainly recommend French Lessons to anyone wanting a light read. It's an enjoyable book, but probably not one I'd read more than once. There isn't a lot of character building for the students, although some back story comes out during the course of their conversations, but the nature of the story, where everything happens in one day, means that it's not easy for the reader to connect with any one character massively, so the story probably isn't going to stick with you for long once you've finished it. That isn't really a criticism, just a statement of fact. I really liked it, and that kind of set-up was just what I was looking for. {Thank you to Emily at Constable and Robin for asking me to review this.}

Monday, 16 July 2012

can't have your cake and eat it too..

skirt: forever 21
cake print blouse: ASOS
heels: primark
Directions for today's outfit:
Take an old favourite pair of shoes, and a new favourite blouse. Add a not-really-sure-about-it skirt. Mix together, take some photos and leave the house.

I really really like this blouse. I have been tempted by it for quite a while and completely fell for it last weekend in Bham when I saw Sarah wearing it. The print is so cheerful, and it was a total bargain in the ASOS sale.

 Still suffering with my cold, and not sure there is enough time in the week to even write out the list of things I need to do before I go to camp at the weekend, let alone finding the time to actually get them all done, but somehow I'll manage. I always seem to panic and then find that everything gets done in the end.

In happier news, I dug up the first of my new potatoes at the allotment on Saturday morning (take that, annoying woman who was trying to get me to give my plot up!) and I spent most of yesterday teaching kids how to use a sewing machine to make plate bags for camp, which was rather rewarding, as well as supervising them putting up one of the tents I've acquired recently for the Rangers and being super pleased at what fabulouse condition it seems to be in!

PS. The winner of my Simply Beach giveaway is 'The Girl'. Please contact me by Wednesday so I can get the prize to you, as I don't have a way to reach you. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

sunday shoes 004..

Carvela 'Assemble' heels, Primark striped heels, Primark leopard lace ups
So, these are the newest additions to my shoe collection. This beautiful pair of Carvela Assemble heels were first brought to my attention by the lovely Roisin from Dolly Clackett. I spent the majority of Sunday morning in Bham trying to track them down in House of Fraser and I was thrilled when there was one pair left in my size and they fitted!

The yellow pair were originally Primark (I have a red striped version which I bought a while back) but I picked them up for £2.99 from Newllife.

 And the leopard print flat boots? Something which have been on my wishlist for an absolute age, after regretting not picking up the pair I'd seen in River Island before it was too late. Also from Primark.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

all of your love, was all that i needed..

shorts: clothing at tesco
owl print shirt: zara (gift)
brogues: henry holland

If you'd looked at my outfits from a year ago, you'd probably have been right in thinking that I was never really a shorts wearer. Or a blouses wearer for that matter.

How things change, as today's outfit is now fairly typical of the kind of thing I would wear for a normal day.

Anyone else find themselves wearing something they never thought they would?

Friday, 13 July 2012

trains and boats and planes..

cat bag: matalan // bunting necklace: dorothy perkins (gift from someone lovely!)
cardsigan: new look
boats and whales print dress: bay trading

A sunny day outfit from a little while ago now. (Clearly not this week!!). I was so excited by the cute little cat handbag I'd found in Matalan that I couldn't wait to take it around everywhere with me.

This dress has a bit of a funny story behind it. I saw it in the shop window of Bay Trading in Llandudno when I was there with a friend. However, we had only popped out for coffee or something and didn't have much money with us, so resolved to go back the next day to get it. When we did, we found the shop was empty and closed up and a sign on the door to say they'd gone into administration and had shut that store down - I was gutted!

Thankfully, I called around the local stores when I got back and they did have one, were still open and held onto it for me, so I did manage to get my hands on it after all alhough I had to settle for a size too big. Then a month or so ago, I came across one in my current size on ebay, won it and then sold on my original one. Which saved any bother of trying to re-size it to fit. I'm glad I ended up with one anyway as I do really like the boats / whales print (should have done a close-up!) but it's definitely sunny weather attire.

Hope everyone has nice weekend plans. I'm off for a sewing lesson this evening, which will be good, but I'm filled with an overwhelming sadness and feeling of self-loathing due to the way someone I cared about has been treating me lately. Going to try hard not to let it affect my weekend as I have a lot to do.

I saw some of the allotment people last night and one of them asked me if I would be happy to consider giving up my plot because I've not done much with it, and they are therefore assuming I don't want it. Which made me feel like crap as well. I took it on because I wanted to do something enjoyable, not to get "told off" for not being there often enough.                     

Thursday, 12 July 2012

the bees knees..

shoes: primark
bee dress: dorothy perkins
cardigan: primark
I really liked this dress when I first saw it online, but had a meeting to go to when my mouse was just hovering over the "place order" button so I didn't order it then. I went back to it the next morning and was glad that had happened as it had been reduced by 50% overnight. I snapped it up and was really pleased with the length and the quality when it arrived - I've not tried any dresses from the Doll&Frog range before. I really like the bows on the shoulders.

My cold doesn't seem to be getting any better, but I used the fact that I was up and about insanely early this morning to my advantage and wrote a couple of letters, packed a parcel for my sister and wrapped up my old phone for recycling.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

chanson d'amour..

shoes: New Life (originally Primark)
dress: H! by Henry Holland

Today's outfit is one of the dresses I picked up at the weekend, from the Henry Holland range at Debenhams. I'm not really sure what the print is supposed to be, but I like it.

The shoes were a weekend bargain as well, £2.99 from the New Life charity clothes outlet, which we stopped at on our way. I like the concept, although it can be a bit like sifting through a jumble sale. I've been a few times now and have managed to come away with some bargains, including Irregular Choice shoes and dresses which I know have been from Monsoon, Warehouse and River Island originally, but you do have to really search.

Suffering with a cold today and rather glad it's midweek. Rangers this evening after a swim and hopefully buying a second hand shed for the allotment. If I can figure out a way of transporting it, that is.