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Friday, 30 November 2012

**xmas giveaway**

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 As I've mentioned before, I'm not really one for Christmas spirit - I'm not really feeling excited about the festive period yet. However, I know that most people are, and thought why not spread a little Christmas cheer by running a little giveaway for those lovely folks who take the time to stop by and read my ramblings, as giving presents is my favourite part of the whole Christmas thing.

There are six prizes in total:
  1.  Vintage poker print scarf, Montagne Jeunesse facemask and skull earrings by Annarack 
  2.  Bedtime reading : Sex in the City, The Younger Man, The Rise and Fall of a Domestic Diva, The Rising Tide and The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy
  3.  How To Walk in High Heels and a pretty pearl floral bracelet and daisy ring from Megan Jane jewellery
  4. The Body Shop candied ginger body butter and an orange double-finger floral ring
  5. Book shaped clutch bag from ASOS 
  6. A pair of fairisle slippers, from Barratt's, like the ones I reviewed here.
To be in with a chance of winning something, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post. You'll need to leave an email address in case you win, and if there is a prize you would prefer to be considered for, leave it in your comment. (If you don't specify anything in particular, you'll be in the running for all prize draws!)

For an extra entry you can tweet about the giveaway, something along the lines of "@dinoprincesschr is holding an Xmas giveaway, enter here: http://dinoprincesschar.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/xmas-giveaway.html "
Make sure to include my twitter handle so I can be sure to add you to the list. 

The giveaway is open in the UK only, and will close on 7th December 2012 at 1pm.

Everything pictured above has been purchased by me (with the exception of the slippers, which will be ordered by me in the winners' size, when the giveaway ends -my own pair has been photographed for posterity).
 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

and if you'd like to talk for hours, just go ahead now..

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skirt: primark // jumper: clothing at tesco
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dinosaur print blouse (!): H! by Henry Holland (@Debenhams)
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shoe boots: primark

Today's outfit photos aren't the best, but I've been so excited about the dinosaur blouse I couldn't wait to include it! I took Little Sis shopping a couple of weekends back and we popped into Debenhams in order that I could beeline towards the H! by Henry Holland selection. How glad I was I that I had, because otherwise I'd never have discovered this dinosaur print blouse - mog! - and taken advantage of the 20% off promotion they were running that weekend!

I'd been waiting for an opportunity to wear these boots, yet how disappointed I was with them! I picked them up in the sale in Harrogate's Primark store when I was holidaying in Yorkshire in October. I like that although they may be a different design, the colours match the dino blouse nicely. The only problem I had with them was that they fasten with a zip at the back, both of which spent the day coming unzipped just whilst I was walking around - so annoying.

I thought about gluing the zips closed, but I wouldn't be left with enough room to get my feet in and out of them, so sadly it looks as though they'll be heading for the shoe recycling bin next time I'm at the supermarket.

This is about the only jumper I own which is currently suitable for work, although I must admit I'm starting a bit of a knitwear "thing"..I may well have spent this morning ordering both of the ones from my winter wishlist post - oops.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

winter wishlist..

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Whilst I'm not exactly the world's biggest Christmas fan, I like a good wishlist as much as the next person, on the basis that it's nice to dream. So here are a few of the things I would love to find unde rmy Christmas tree (or at least I would do, if I had a Christmas tree at my house - I never spend any time there over the festive period so it doesn't really seem worth it...)

001: So perhaps this wouldn't fit under a tree exactly, or in a parcel, but being someone who finds it quite hard to relax and doesn't really give themselves enough 'downtime', I would definitely love a spa day experience. I'd love to repeat the kind of day I had a few years ago with my best friends; there is nothing nicer than spending a day in your dressing gowns or swimsuits and winding down in the pool or getting a nice massage.

002: As I'm always looking to improve my dressmaking skills (there is definitely room for improvement with them), I'd love to add an overlocker to my sewing corner. I've used one in my lessons and just think it would make finishing everything off a little tidier. This one looks nice and simple enough not to confuse me at the first threading!

003: I'm not sure what is with my knitwear obsession recently - I've never been one for jumpers really, but lately all these pretty knits are catching my eye. I particularly love this robin as I could wear him well into the new year as well..

004: These boots are just fab, I love the sparkles and the fact that the wedge is a nice chunky one. I have a thing against thin wedges, but as ever Kurt Geiger have come up trumps.

005: More knitwear love, for this jumper which is sort of screaming "secretary chic" to me. I want to wear it with my recent leather pencil skirt, and a pair of skyscraper heels- totally acceptable office wear, no?

006: I am totally planning on a new year's resolution of doing more home cooking, so this chicken measuring jug from Cath Kidston. My kitchen is full of pretty colours, but this is at least practical, also.

007: Given my apparent newfound love of all things knitted, I really ought to do something to keep the moths at bay..? I remember winters where we would get the blankets out of storage and find them all moth eaten. So when I was browsing the Goodstead site looking for some quirky gifts, I saw these moth hangers and decided I should really add them to my list - does anyone know how they work?
What are you wishing for this year?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

tuesday titles 008..

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weekend reading...
It's been months since my last Tuesday Titles post - I was amazed. I have still been reading, although definitely not as often as I used to. I thought I'd do a bit of a round-up of the books I've finished lately..

001: The Somnambulist, by Essie Fox. 
Unlike most of the books I pluck from the shelves of my local library, I'd actually heard quite a bit about this one. I heard good reviews, although then one of the girls I was holidaying with in October was not all that impressed and gave up on it, sparking the discussion as to whether or not it's OK to give up on a book halfway through. I'd always vote 'no' for this, but almost came to regret that decision a little with The Somnambulist.

I just found this really slow to get into. I read the first section, by which time it was becoming glaringly obvious what the "twist" was going to be. I'm fairly sure there isn't anyone who'd read and be shocked by that, although the writing would suggest it was to come as a surprise, to both characters and readers.

There were characters I didn't really like, which probably didn't help my enjoyment of the book, either. Maud, Pheobe's mother isn't someone I found particularly endearing, which probably had an effect on the way I wanted things to turn out for Pheobe.

In the end, I was glad I'd carried on with it and seen the book through to the end; Fox wrapped things up nicely and I'd say that the best things about the entire novel was it's Victorian setting and the author's clear attention to detail to make the setting the most realistic thing in it.

I must just point out that I have read so many good reviews of this, that I wonder if I missed something..
***
002: The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones
Set in a tiny Welsh village in the 1920s, Wilfred Price tells the reader the story of how he managed to get himself into quite a pickle when he accidentally proposes to Grace at a picnic, instead of telling her that he likes her dress.

Ok, you think, as the reader. A fairly simple premise, as well as a fairly simple protaganist. Wilfred is likeable in his naivety, which surprised me as I'd usually find that a frustrating trait. I was interested in Wilfred and his attempts to better himself as a person. I found it particularly endearing when he bought himself an encyclopedia. And I loved the way he seemed to change completely as he fell in love.

Without wanting to give anything away here, this book started out fairly simply and I thought it would be relatively staid and predictable. Unlike with The Somnambulist, I wasn't expecting the twist, but thought it really fitted into the story well and helped tie up some potentially loose ends. All in all, this was a charming read.

***
003: I Remember You, by Harriet Evans
Whilst I don't really want this whole post to be a bit 'meh', I will start by saying I don't think I Remember You is an example of Evans at her writing best. I've read and enjoyed some of her other titles, which is what kept me going through this, frankly dull offering. 

Tess and Adam, childhood friends until Tess moves to London for university and the death of Adam's mother means he stays behind, in their tiny, twee-sounding village. Adam seems to have srtayed put, working in the pub and hasn't much to show for himself, when Tess returns to her childhood home to take up a teaching position and escape her failed relationship.The premise therefore seems to be that the two of them may or may not be able to rekindle what was once a close friendship, and that we (as the lucky readers) get to hang on for the ride and find out if they can. 

I thought that there were a few too many plotlines which were picked up and dropped when it suited Evans to do so. The proposed water meadows' development, and Tess' relationship with her old flatmate to name a couple. Although Tess seemed to have a bit of  an emotinal wobble about whether or not her move was the right decision, this didn't seem to be followed up.

All of a sudden, it seemed, the plot changed and Tess was taking her new students on a trip to Rome. Cue far too much descriptive detail; pages and pages of directional information and an unlikely romance, before something dramatic which perhaps starts to add some potential excitement to the book. I felt it was a bit of a shame this took so long to get to. 

After a few flashbacks, which I'm sure were supposed to be poignant, but to me came across as lazy writing (copy and paste and change a few names to fill a few more pages!) the story continues, and I'm still sort of wondering how it's all going to fit together, and where the random family history details and revelations are going to become relevant. In most cases, I'm afraid, they don't. 

Even after Rome, Tess becomes no more likeable as a character. There's a quick change of flatmate character, completely different to the last one, yet whom she still finds fault with, and her relationship with Adam is no less complicated. As a reader, you're kept hanging on until the ending wraps up nice and neatly in the last couple of pages, exactly how you knew it would do from the first chapter? Probably.

In summary, it's not the Evans book I'd recommend anyone start with, lest it put you off reading any others. I've enjoyed the others I've read. 
***

What have you been reading?

Monday, 26 November 2012

sweet sixteen and we had arrived..

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pencil skirt: primark
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necklace: oasis // top: forever21
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shoe boots: topshop
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cardigan: h+m
A bit of a thrown-together affair, today. I wanted to stay in bed for that extra ten minutes this morning in order to finish the book I was reading. I hadn't worn this pencil skirt before, it was a fairly cheap Primark purchase, when I was in Yorkshire last month.

These shoes are one of the only (two) pairs I've ever bought duplicates of. The originals were a rather fabulously romantic gesture from someone I used to know. I wore them (literally) to death, killing them on the cobbles in my town. After years and years of stalking ebay for them, I managed to find a pair to replace them. And I still love them as much as the first time I saw them on the website..

Is it crazy to replace things when they wear out? Do you buy something new and different instead, or stay with something you know you love?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

stronger than yesterday..

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dress: monsoon (as worn here)
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shoes: irregular choice "Lucite Lovely"
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coat: matalan
This was a hastily thrown-together outfit from earlier in the week, which needed to be work-appropriate but pretty enough for lunch out with some lovely people.

I hadn't worn these Irregular Choice heels before, so started with them and figured this dress and coat would work well enough together and with them. I love the colour of the coat, and the bow at the neck, but wonder if it looks a little silly now as it's quite oversized. Honest opinions, please?

Saturday, 24 November 2012

in your denim jeans and leather..

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heels: primark
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pencil skirt: matalan
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blouse: new look
I was left with about half an hour to fill after work the other day, before I could pick up some keys, so I spent it having a quick wander around Matalan (one of the only shops which stays open past 5pm in my town - the woes of being a little-town dweller!) and when I spotted this pleather pencil skirt, I was immediately drawn to it, even over the sequin one which I'd been planning to track down.

 I tried it on and decided that I could probably (hopefully) wear it as acceptable workwear (acceptable being that I wouldn't look like a dominatrix who'd gotten lost on the way to work..!)

I couldn't wait to wear it the next day, and tried to contrast the sharp leather look with a nice floaty bird print blouse, matching my trusty  black heels to it. Do you think it works ok?

Friday, 23 November 2012

friday favourites 030..

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001: Ravel nude/glitter heels, £59.99
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002: Mustard Yellow bodycon dress, £200
Another week, another wishlist. What with saving for Christmas shopping, I'm being forced to bookmark all of the things which take my fancy instead of ordering them.

001: Clearly a Friday Favourites post wouldn't be complete without at least one pair of shoes. I noticed these after Laura's recent blog post got me thinking about sparkling in the daytime. I think the fact that these are only a little bit glittery makes them totally appropriate for work..

002: I've been on a bit of a workwear kick, of late. This week has seen me add to my pencil skirt collection, with a slightly risky leather one. The next thing I fancy is this mustard coloured (oh autumn, how you draw me towards all things orange and mustard pencil dress from  Box Clothing. There'd be no qualms about whether or not it was work-appropriate!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

slip inside the eye of your mind..

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fairisle knit slippers: barratts*
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Yes, that's my dinosaur onesie. No, nobody needs to see a full-length picture of that.

Most of the time, my days are pretty full. What with running a business, swimming every morning, evenings filled up with guides, rangers, spinning classes and dressmaking lessons, and trying to control the allotment at the weekends, I don't end up spending a lot of spare time at home. And even if I do, I find it pretty hard to relax, as I'm one of those people who always feels like they *should* be doing something constructive. Not that I'm complaining; I'm definitely someone who works better under pressure and thrive on being busy. I'm not much of a relaxer, but sometimes everybody needs to take a bit of time out..

My favourite way to relax? Curl up on the sofa with a cup of coffee, a good book and a nice pair of slippers on. I'm easily pleased. Does it make me a total Granny if I admit that I always wear slippers when I'm at home? I hate wandering around in bare feet, and I don't really ever wear socks, so a cosy pair of slippers  to keep my toes warm are an essential.

I pack my slippers to go everywhere with me - even to a recent Guides holiday weekend, which was fine except my old pair were so close to falling apart that one of the other leaders decided to throw them out to 'do me a favour'. How lucky was I when Barratts saved the day with a replacement?

I tend to favour boot styles, like these, partly because they are usually really comfortable - these ones have a cushioned sole which makes it feel a little as though I'm walking on sponge - or moon boots, does anyone remember those?! - and partly because it means I don't have to look at my horrid feet. Weirdly, whilst I'm a bit obsessed with shoes, Ican't stand feet, and find my own the absolute worst of all.

What's your favourite way to relax? I can't be the only slipper fan out there..can I?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

poodle..

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poodle print blazer: h&m
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black pinafore dress: h&m
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studed boots: matalan
Just a really quick outfit post, as worn Monday and purely because I rediscovered these boots at the bottom of one of my wardrobes, whilst actually looking for something else. I haven't worn the poodle blazer anywhere near enough, since Alex managed to track it down for me, back in summer 2010! I kept the rest of the outfit fairly basic as I wanted that to be the focus.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

panda comes to stay..

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shorts: clothing at tesco
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panda jumper: blue inc*
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leaopard boots: primark
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dress: john zack // shoes: matalan
Does anyone else remember a cartoon called 'Spider'?  I was browsing the Blue Inc website, and when I saw this panda jumper, I couldn't help but think of the episode where the giant panda came to stay..

So, that little nostalgic nugget was what caused me to pick this jumper, and I wasn't disappointed when it arrived at my door. I've got to be honest and say that I hadn't been on the site before, but there seems to be a huge range of clothing,; you can get everything from printed dresses to palazzo trousers!

I love the bright colour of the jumper - something about autumn makes me turn to orange, and it's really thick so I was definitely nice and cosy in it for a wander around the Christmas market at the weekend. Although I played it safe for it's first outing, with shorts, tights and my trusty leopard print boots, I'm planning a more dressed up outfit with this polka dot dress and some matching heels for a meal out at the weekend - what do you think? Is it ok to dress up 'The Novelty Knit'?

Monday, 19 November 2012

i'm a party and party and p-p-party..

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^sparkly collar detail!
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dress: matalan*
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clutch: accessories direct*
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heels: primark
I've mentioned in the past that I'm not the greatest fan of Christmas. Parties in the festive season leading up to the aforementioned dreaded C-word, however? Count me in!

I must admit that my party wardrobe has been looking a little sparse lately - sparkly dresses are all well and good, but haven't quite made it to the top of the shopping list since losing a few dress sizes. So when those friendly folks at Matalan contacted me asking if I could style up one of the party dresses from their new collection, obviously I jumped at the chance.

The first thing you may notice about the dress I went for? It's black, which isn't a colour I often go for. But I thought this would be a good opportunity to push some boundaries. Well, that and the fact that the magpie in me couldn't resist that embellished peter pan collar...I'd been a little worried about the length to begin with, fearing it would be too short, but I think the fact that it's long-sleeved draws attention away from that a little? I'd be comfortable enough with the length to leave the house like this, which given my confidence levels lately is saying something!

In terms of actually "styling it up", I didn't have to do a lot. The collar draws enough attention to itself, without the need for any extra jewels, so I threw on some sparkly shoes suitable for dancing all night and grabbed a black clutch bag (plenty big enough to hold all of the essentials) in an attempt at the matchy-matchy.

This is the sort of thing I'd wear to the office Xmas do. For a night out with the girls, I'm wondering about adding some colourful shoes and a contrasting bag instead - what do you think? How would you style this dress?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

autumn days when the grass is jewelled..

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dress: river island
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tights: jonathan aston via tights please
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heels: matalan
OK, so I totally copycatted the lovely Ella by ordering these tights. I saw them on one of her outfit posts a few weeks ago and broke my own rule about only buying cheap tights because of being such a tights-breaker!

I was impressed, as ever, with the speed of delivery from TightsPlease, who I've used before. Also, although I'd expected to get one wear from them and then get a ladder or something, I wore these for a day and they are still fine - they're a little thicker than I expected them to be, which is great for me. I also really like the fact they are on a nude background, not that horrid barely black, which I personally can't stand.

I thought I'd embrace autumnal colours by pairing them with these bargain Matalan heels and the Paris print River Island dress which I'm still a little in love with, but really need to take in.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

i dunno where i went wrong, but i can write a song..

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skirt: matalan
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t-shirt, necklace: h+m
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blazer, heels: primark
This was a bit of a "running late, throw something together" outfit when I almost overslept on Thursday morning. I need to be more motivated in the mornings, sometimes it's a total challenge to get myself up and out of bed and en route to the swimming pool, because I am the world's greatest faffer. I'll wake up, read for a bit, mess about on twitter, check ebay, emails, blog etc before I even get up and start my daily routine. If I cut all that out, maybe it would be easier to get up -perhaps I should start leaving my phone in the living room at night.

Anyway, this skirt is great - Matalan really do make some fab pencil skirts, I've built up quite the collection over the past twelve months or so. I love the colour of this one and figured it would be the perfect thing to wear this duck print blazer with, which I picked up from Primark's sale rail when I was in Harrogate but hadn't removed the tags from until this week.

I threw what is these days one of my oldest, tattiest tshirts, wondering whether I could get away with it as workwear. This used to be one of my  best ever tees during my uni days and was almost worn to death. Crazily, I was told I looked smart in this outfit! 

Has anyone else started thinking about the dreaded Xmas shopping yet? I seem to be having a total mind-blank this year. I spent a significant amount of my day browsing the web, trying to convince myself that a certain tricky-to-buy-for man would totally wear a plum cashmere sweater. (He has since confirmed that, no, he will not, so I've had to keep looking, but luckily there is plenty of choice here..)

Friday, 16 November 2012

friday favourites 029..

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001: Love Me Now platform, £62.99
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002:Jacotte heels, £90.39
I'm starting to wonder if my obsession with Spartoo may be getting a little out of hand. But that hasn't stopped me adding just a couple more pairs to my wishlist.

001: I was so pleased with my first pair that I can hardly wait to add to my Iron Fist collection. I've always been a fan of pink and red together, even though my mother always used to tell me they clashed. I really like the clashy colours here and the tattoo style rose prints.

002: Flitting about online, I came across a brand I'd not heard of before, Edith & Ella. Some of their styles (this one in particular) are making me reconsider my thoughts on loafers being too dull to fit in with my collection. I particularly like the mix of colours here- that green is a favourite, as well as the fact they are a yummy patent finish.

Is it just me who has a borderline shoe obsession?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

and i can never make you love me again..

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skirt: h&m
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heels: kurt geiger 'bella'
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tshirt: new look
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cardigan: topshop
This outfit is from a few days ago. I'm only posting it because of the shoes, as looking at the rest of the outfit photos I hate them more and more with every look. Ugh. Seriously not happy with the way I look at the moment, and everytime I look at myself in the mirror I'm more and more critical and find something else to hate.Well and truly have the 'body blues' at the moment.

The shoes are good, though. I bought them from ASOS a few months ago now, I always forget that ASOS sell KG shoes, but was lucky enough to find a pair of these in my size. I've been after the purple Bella heels for a while. They also did them in a black, with yellow edging, which I would love to track down as they looked great, reminding me a little of bumblebees.

See, when all else fails, talk about shoes. Meh.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

move along, move along like i know you do..

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heels: carvela (via ebay)
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jumper: clothing at tesco
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skirt: primark
I feel a bit like one of those policemen you see at the scene of some incident or other: "Move along, nothing to see here." because I've definitely posted this skirt and jumper together before.

But if you moved along, you wouldn't be able to see my pretty new shoes, would you? I couldn't wait for a chance to wear them. And you've got to hand it to Carvela, they sure know how to create a beautiful pair of sandals, in a lovely colour, with super high heels, and still manage to make them comfortable for day-to-day wear.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

i used to be an empty space, a photograph without a face..

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dress, tights: h&m
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cat hat, cardigan: clothing at tesco
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shoes: faith
Just a quick outfit post from the weekend, I'm pleased to report that what I thought was a cold or something didn't seem to get any worse, so all is well. There's just the small matter of an irritating day trying to get responses from annoying clients.

But I shouldn't grumble, I'm on my way to my first spinning class in a sec (a bit nervous!) and then off with a friend for a giant pizza and a catch up at some place I've been to before, and hope I can remember where it is...wish me luck!


PS. Motel have 30% off today, in case you are more organised than me and want to start Xmas shopping..