Saturday, 30 November 2013

Flowers in the rain..

Jacqui Rose Print Dress: Louche @ Joy

Shoe Boots: Topshop

I know that the quality of these photos is appalling. I reeeeally need to sort a new camera out, quick-sharp. But I really wanted to get some photos of this dress up, as I really liked it when I wore it last week. I'm not sure you can tell from the photos, but it's made from a lovely thick fabric, reminiscent of the barcloth which the Cath Kidston mushroom and bird dresses are. Perfect for the colder weather. And the bows on the waistline, I really love, as well.

I also love the fact that the colours are more Autumnal and the print more cartoony than you'd traditionally expect from a floral print. All in all, it's safe to say I love it, so well done Joy. I know that others haven't received very good service from them, but I have to admit that I've always been quite impressed by the level of service I've received.

A couple of Christmasses ago, they managed to track me down a jumper I had to get for my little sister, but couldn't find anywhere. And then, when I was in the store a couple of weeks ago, the sales assistant was wearing a woodland animal print t-shirt which had sold out in store and online, but a quick exchange with their Twitter team and they managed to track me one down at a different store and get it sent out to me that afternoon, which I thought was also pretty good of them!

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the dress, and any chance to wear my favourite Topshop shoe boots is always a winner, in my book.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Friday Favourites 071..

Oh, the shame. I actually had to ask someone what Black  Friday was, this morning. I guess that's because I do my shopping most days, rather than a specific one. This week, I've mostly been shopping for party dresses - I could do with something for a works' do and still haven't yet found what I want:

001: Sleeveless Spangle Dress, The Whitepepper, £58
002: Embellished Tabard Mini Dress, ASOS, £120
003: Charlotte Prom Dress, Monsoon, £99
004: Starlight Prom Dress, Fever Designs, £99.99

001: I first saw this dress on Sarah's wishlist this week. I have shied away from The Whitepepper thus far, as I don't think that smock dresses are that flattering on my shape, but the combination of the sparkles and the peter pan collar may have won me over with this one.

002: Bright red always says Christmas to me and I really like the dainty beaded layer of tulle on this dress. It looks so pretty and intricate, and reminds me a little nit of something Lady Mary might wear. (Although probably not in red).

003: Monsoon seem to have a bit of a promotion on party dresses, and this Charlotte prom dress caught my eye, not just because it shares my name. I love the fabric and the fact that the print is different to anything else I've seen about. It's a strong contender.

004: This Starlight prom dress from Fever has been on my pretty dress radar for quite a while now. It's so sparkly, making it the perfect choice for a party, and yet I think with black tights and a blazer I could dress it down quite easily for a day in the office..

Which would you go for? Or do you have any other suggestions?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

And you glitter and you glimmer and you bark..

Oversized Reindeer Sweater : OASAP*
Leather shorts, boots: Primark
Sequin Beret: New Look
As we all know by now, I'm a total Scrooge. I know everyone else can't stop talking about it, but I am really struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, same as every other year. I tried to make an effort for a Christmas fair we had a stall at last night, though, by wearing my new reindeer print jumper.

I'd been worried about the "one size" thing, as usual, and I totally didn't need to be. This is more "one-size-fits-everyone-you've-ever-met,-all-at-the-same-time". It's ridiculously oversized, but I like the slouchy effect of it over my leather shorts and a scruffy old pair of flat boots, perfect for running stock up and down the street from the shop to the venue.

I also sort of thought "sequins: festive!" with the hat. It was just an added bonus that it worked to hide the fact that my hair was a total mess, of course.

The fair was a great success, and I was pleased to have the chance to get a little more of my Xmas shopping done, as there were numerous local artists showcasing their work. I pretty much want everything from Matt Sewell's website. He draws the most amazing birds.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Direct me to my dinner..

Dress: Clothing at Tesco
Heels: Primark
Velvet Coat: Warehouse
Brooch: Topshop
Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav

 After spotting this dress on the New Arrivals section of the Clothing at Tesco site, I have to admit, despite the fact I was actually looking for presents for other people, it made it into my basket and I picked it up from the store the following day.

I couldn't wait to wear it, and got an opportunity last night when we decided to go for dinner at a nearby restaurant. I must admit, however much I may complain about small-town life, the one area where we do seem to be spoilt for choice is with places to eat. I have a little list of the ones I want to try, and we picked one in a village about ten miles away, which neither of us had tried before, but we'd both heard good things. Sadly, it seemed the one we had in mind is no longer open.

 So, back to the drawing board, as it were. We decided to give Saracens a try, as that's somewhere I've driven past many times but never actually been to. I opted for the chestnut wellington and was very impressed (and full) by the end of it. I forgot to take my phone with me so I totally failed on the "Instagram-ing my dinner" front, but can assure you it was lovely and I'd go back there.

The good thing about living in the middle of nowhere, I suppose, is that at least it gave me a chance to truly try out and review this Garmin Nuvi sat-nav from those helpful folks at Tesco Compare car insurance. I found it very easy indeed to set up and program a journey into using the touchscreen; it fixes securely to the windscreen without restricting the visibility and the directions were great. It got us to both of the restaurants we tried, without any problems. Having grown up and learnt to drive on country lanes in a rural area, it doesn't bother me at all that the "fastest route" option has a tendency to use these kind of lanes, but I'm sure that's something which can be changed in the settings if you're not so comfortable with the idea.

Being a quiet weekday evening, combined with the fact that we were travelling mostly on little country lanes meant that I didn't get chance to see how it fared with avoiding traffic jams, but I'm off to Newcastle for another meeting this week, so I've no doubt that function will come in useful then.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A long night spent with your most obvious weakness..

Boots: Faith
Sparkle Shorts: Matalan
Blouse: New Look
Do you ever find something when you're shopping and think "oh, that would look great if I wore it with...." ? Well, that's what I was thinking when I practically pounced on these sparkly shorts in Matalan on a recent trip there.

Do you ever get home and put that outfit together, which looked so good in your head, and think "oh no, what was I thinking?" Because that's what happened to me, here.

I love the sparkles and I didn't want to just wear them with boring black tights, but I'm not sure they really suit me. Gaah.

Monday, 25 November 2013

They think they're from the 60s, but they were born in 1991..

dress: ASOS
belt: h&m
glitter boots: Faith (charity shop)
It's Monday morning and I'm already tired. This can't be a good thing, can it? Also I have to get a train to London at 5am tomorrow, which is going to be a long day and which I'm not looking forward to. Yuck.

 It's been a nice weekend, though. I was actually not away for the first weekend in what seems like forever. I got lots of things ticked off my list in my efforts to be organised for Christmas, as well as some lovely indulgent things including meeting my Nan for coffee and present-choosing (actually that isn't Xmas-related at all, she's just been wanting to buy me something to celebrate achieving my QG award, which is very sweet of her).

I had a rare few hours of organising and baking in readiness for some of the Xmas events I have coming up, on Saturday evening. I'm so glad I've recently gone through the process of deciding which dishwasher to replace my old one with. I'd not really been using for a long while as it's been on it's last legs since I moved in, if I'm honest. I can hardly believe the difference the new one has made with things like saving the time it takes to clear up and wash up after baking mince pies and beginning the Christmas cake. I've not had a lot of luck with making my own Christmas cake in past years, but I was determined to try again this year, and followed Liz's recipe. I'll post about the results soon!

As for this outfit. I actually wore this to work, not over the weekend, but I quite like it - more than I thought I would when it finally arrived. I had to reorder this after whatever terrible delivery service ASOS use managed to lose my parcel the first time around, and then it took a while for there to be another in my size, but I'm sort of glad I waited because I also found the best hat and snood I've ever seen, and added those to my order..

The dress itself is thankfully not as huge and unflattering as the fox one I've recently ordered, but I did size down a couple of sizes nonetheless, and wear it with a belt at the waist, which helped the shape, in my opinion. It also gave me a chance to wear these bargain glittery Faith boots. 

What did you get up to this weekend?

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Shoes 027: Topshop Samba Heels

Topshop SAMBA heels

These are one of my best buys of the month, by a long way. I paid a whole £2.20 for these Topshop Samba heels, which were in stores a while ago priced at £65 and have been on my internal wishlist for a long time.

I often find I search for the same things over and over again on eBay, perhaps using slightly different keywords, and then after a little while I seem to forget about them. When I saw the listing for these, I'd actually been looking for a totally different pair altogether, but I couldn't bring myself to pass these ones up; particularly as they were a bit of a bargain.

They look almost new, with hardly any wear to the soles, but I bet I can change that before too long.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo..

jumper, shorts: Primark
boots: Irregular Choice
sequin beret:New Look

This was my little outfit from a day trip to meet up with Alex last Sunday. She's been holidaying nearby, so it made sense to meet up and do some exploring. We went to explore Sunnycroft, a Victorian villa, which was home most recently to an embroiderer who worked on the dress which the Queen wore for her coronation.

I was most impressed by the conservatory outside as well - oh, how I'd love something like that in my garden one day. We stopped for cake in the tearooms, of course - no National Trust visit would be complete without a cake stop - and it was nice to go somewhere which is quite close for me, but I'd never visited before.

And, to wear a pair of boots I'm not convinced I'd worn before. I picked this style (I'm afraid I have no clue what they're called) up from eBay a while ago. They're pretty shiny and waterproof which made them the perfect alternative to wellies for traipsing around the gardens, and I teamed them with my trusty tartan shorts and tights.

I'd totally forgotten about this jumper as well, I'd been searching for a totally different one but the colours in this one worked quite well with the animal print of the boots, I thought. I really do need to stop buying ALL of the jumpers, it would seem, as I have quite the collection already!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Friday Favourites 070..

I don't know what's come over me this past week or so, but I, self-confessed Scrooge of our time, have started thinking more and more about Christmas: I guess I can't really escape it. Presents for others, outfits for myself, I'm even thinking about baking a Christmas cake this weekend!

So far, I've been doing pretty well with the present-buying. I've got the majority of people crossed off the list, which is pretty good for me. Usually I haven't started buying by the end of November. I've been doing a little of the shopping online, which helps, although I'm getting more and more infuriated at finding the perfect thing and then finding it's out of stock. Why put it on your site in the first place?! (Gifted Penguin, I'm looking at you!)

001: New Look Sequin Body, £17.99
001: I basically want this sequin body for all Christmas party outfits. I tried on this dress in Anthropologie recently and want to create something similar, but with a more flattering skirt. Sadly, I haven't managed to see the S/M size in stock online yet and none of the local stores have it in stock, so if you see one anywhere, let me know?

002: Cath Kidston Deer Glasses, £12
002: The other thing I'm getting rather excited about is all of the little gatherings and parties I've got planned for the festive season. In order to be the perfect hostess, I'm thinking it would be rather cute to get some of these deer print glasses - Christmassy, without being OTT, right?

To be fair, I'd be pretty happy to find anything from Cath Kidston under the tree this year. Or to find anything at all, in fact. I would hate to come across as anything like the write of this post, which is possibly the most ungrateful thing I've read for a long time. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

These walking blues..

blazer: primark
necklace, blouse: matalan
leather skirt: matalan
heels: irregular choice

I feel as though Matalan ought to start sponsoring me; this outfit it almost entirely them (although not all recent), which seems to be quite common over the last few days. The leather skirt and the necklace were a couple of the things I picked up on a little trip there last week, which was basically a knitwear mission. I'd seen a Christmas jumper on their site, which is basically The Best Christmas Jumper in The World. I'm sure I'll post about it soon. And also a jumper which would be perfect for my Mum as one of her Christmas presents.

This is pretty much exactly what I had in mind for this necklace when I picked it up. I's almost forgotten I owned this blouse, but the colours in both the blouse and the necklace matched the leather skirt and this Primark blazer pretty well, I thought. I can't seem to find either of them on the website, but they were both in the 'New In' sections in the store.

This skirt is a bit of a mystery. In the shop and in these photos, it seems to look the lovely aubergine colour I thought it was, but when I got it out of the wardrobe to put it on, it looked distinctly brown and I genuinely thought I'd been confused or picked up the wrong thing in the shop. Odd. Hopefully it looked OK for a meeting, anyway. I did feel rather colourful compared with the other people there. Ah well.

I feel as though it's been a long week, but it's almost the weekend. I'm really not someone who copes too well with "doing nothing" but I haven't really got many firm plans this weekend and I'm glad. I have a few errands to run on Saturday, cinema tickets for Sunday and other than that? I'm looking forward to some times at home for the first time in what seems like months. After I get these flipping walls cleaned, this evening, that is. Gggrrrr.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Don't wanna fall into the sea alone..

Dress: Tara Starlet "Marina"
Necklace: Matalan
Coat: vintage // Clutch Bag: primark
Heels: New Look
I went to watch The Nutcracker last weekend at the local theatre. I can't believe I'd not known it was going to be on; I obviously haven't checked the listings in a little while, but as soon as I realised I managed to secure myself one of the last tickets. I've only seen a couple of ballets so far, but The Nutcracker is one I'd always hoped to see.

I do like to dress up for the theatre, and this gave me an opportunity to wear my new Tara Starlet Marina dress. Sarah and I both decided we couldn't resist this dress and ordered it at the same time (sadly we missed the opportunity of taking a dress-twins photo, oops). This dress is really low cut at the back (so much so that I had to go with one of those pesky stick-on-cup bra things, which are always a nightmare. Sarah had hers shortened and used some of the excess fabric to fill in the gap at the back, but I quite like the contrast between the long sleeves and the low back, though.

I also couldn't resist an opportunity to wear one of my new Matalan necklaces, which I thought went with the colours in the dress quite nicely.

I felt all dressed up like a little kid going to a birthday party; I'm sure I had something similar to this dress with it's big poofy skirt and party fabric. I am pleased with it, and the measurements on this one are true to size. I'm not impressed by the fact that they seem to send all of their orders out by 2nd class post. Maybe it's just me, but if your dress costs more than £100, surely you'd be posting it using a slightly better service?

It's possible that this is just last night's really grumpy mood continuing. I wasn't very happy to get a phone call last night asking me to do something about the chalk marks which the guides had left on the walls and playground of the hut we'd stayed at several weekends ago (before I came home to the flooded flat), and to do it before Friday. Someone had mentioned them, but saying that "they'd taken a while to get rid of, so could you ask them not to do it again", which had made me think they'd been cleaned off. I'm not sure when I'm going to have time to do this as this is already a more-busy-than-usual week.

Roll on the weekend, hey?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I got soul but i'm not a soldier..

soldier jumper: choies*
skirt: new look // boots: office
I've officially given up on the silly notion that I have too many jumpers. I have embraced my ever-expanding collection of jumpers - hell, according to some, we are set to have the worst winter since the 1940s, so jumpers are probably a good thing to start collecting. Here's the latest addition to my collection, as I couldn't resist these soldiers. In fact, shortly after I'd ordered it, I saw the same jumper in Topshop and was quite amused. (It cost considerably more, there, of course).

But how to style a jumper? Well, I usually turn to shorts to go with my jumpers for a dress-down weekend outfit, but I am trying to step outside of my comfort zone now and again so I wondered about matching it with my red boots and a sequin mini skirt. I'm definitely a fan of sequins as daytime wear and I think the jumper is just oversized enough and the boots just flat enough to make the sequins fall on the right side of casual. Do you think it works?

Too much to wear it with this skirt, do you think?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Somewhere only we know..

Dress: Louche "Julita-Country Dress"// Shoes: New Look
Coat: vintage
Earrings: OASAP
Cardigan: Matalan
After posting about the most recent additions to my wardrobe, I couldn't wait to get wearing some of them and wasted no time in teaming this Louche dress with a grey cardigan which seemed to tone down the quirky print for a few worky meetings, but also add these gold glitter heels which took me happily from the office to a meal out on Friday evening with my friend and some of the girls from her ranger unit. Yes, I've finally dug the fur coats out of their hiding place - the weather is supposed to be taking a turn for the worse this week, and I really needed it on Friday evening as it was freezing!

I thought I'd try and make an effort to finish off my outfit properly by adding these earrings. I seem to have built up quite the collection of earrings over the years and yet looking back at my outfit posts over the past few months it's clear that I've been forgetting about them, so I'm trying a little harder to remember to add them to an outfit. No point having them if I'm not going to actually wear them, is there?

Speaking of sensible attitudes to wearing the things I already have, I seem to have been completely favouring sensible purchases over the past few days as well. (Probably a good thing considering how many new clothes I've bought recently). Forget pretty dresses, all I've been interested in is finishing off my Christmas shopping. I have managed to replace some of the things which I'd bought but which later got ruined in the flood, and for those things which were one-offs or vintage and therefore not possible to replace, I've been trying to think of something else.

I'm wondering about getting my sister one of these Diana F+ cameras. There seems to be quite a few on this site, but I love the Adam and Eve one. Have you tried them? Are they good? She's a nightmare to buy for, if I'm honest, so I'm always looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday Shoes 026: Irregular Choice Kirby..

Irregular Choice 'Kirby' heels

As I mentioned earlier in the week, no trip to London would be complete without a trip to the Irregular Choice store. As someone who spends a fair amount of time on the Irregular Choice site and considers themself a fan of the brand, I wasn't expecting to find anything I hadn't already seen (and probably, based on my opinion on their recent releases, dismissed) but how wrong was I?

Meet Kirby.  For whatever reason, I had never noticed these online before. I made a beeline towards these as soon as I saw them on the shelf. The brown colour had a gold-coloured, chunky heel, whereas the black version seemed to have a clear perspex heel. I'd already decided I preferred the brown bear. The contrast between the fluffy outer of the shoe and the heel / nose suede just seems much nicer, in my opinion. But the gold heels, they may have swung it a little.

I tried them on just for show, really. I already knew I'd be taking them home with me, and I have enough Irregular Choice heels in this style to keep a small country in shoes for a while, so I knew which size I'd need and they were true to size and very comfortable.

So, off to the till they went, to be packaged into their snazzy, gold bag and traipse around London with me for the rest of the day. I've still not decided on their first proper outfit outing, but I can't wait to wear them. I feel as though with my Flopsy, Got The Hump, Carpe Diem, Audrey LovesBurmese, and now Kirby heels, I should be starting a new hashtag: #shoezoo