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Monday, 30 September 2013

hard luck, you've been trying to tame..

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dress: anthropologie
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handbag: vintage
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brooch: craftevan
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shoes: irregular choice
With an unexpected visit from some of my lovely friends, and an unexpected blast of sunshine yesterday, I decided to give this new dress it's first outing. When the summer sales were on at the end of the season, I picked up a few day dresses, and I thought it was going to have to wait until next summer to get  a chance to wear them. I tend to stick to the likes of New Look, Primark and Topshop when I shop for dresses and don't usually browse the wares of what I'd consider the more designer end of the high street spectrum. I've got to admit that I don't own that many designer dresses, but I couldn't resist this Anthropologie one when I saw it in the sale for a fraction of it's original cost. I love it's bright egg yolk yellow colour, it's polka dot print and the crochet detail at the back.

I teamed it with my new Irregular Choice panda print Can't Touch This heels, as I knew they'd be nice and comfortable for the walk into town. I grabbed my new Craftevan brooch and a vintage handbag to throw my house keys and my purse into and off I trotted to meet them for a coffee.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon making the most of the sunshine, wandered around some of the shops to find my sister a birthday present, and then spent a couple of hours or so at the allotment, trying to get things in order before the weather turns with the change of season. Obviously I changed first.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

sunday shoes 023..

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001: Irregular Choice "Carpe Diem"
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002: Irregular Choice rock 'n' roll heels
I think I need to stop buying new shoes, at least until I've had the chance to wear some of the ones which have arrived recently. Or at the very least, until I've found homes for them all. Even my kitchen cupboards don't seem to be able to take many more! But I couldn't resist either of these pairs.

001: Carpe Diem are a pair I mentioned in a recent Friday Favourites post. I totally thought I'd missed out on them and that I was going to have to add them to my "Ebay List", but luckily the lovely folk at Irregular Choice's HQ managed to track me the last pair of my size down. (Thanks again, Emma!) I couldn't wait for them to arrive and wasn't disappointed by them when I opened them. The heel is nice and chunky, the sizing is spot on and they're really comfy. Plus, they're sharks!

002: These were a pair from the Ebay List. I've got this pair (and I'm not sure of the exact name of them) in a few different colours, collected via eBay over the years, but this pink version is one I've been trying to find for a looooooooong time. There was a later release of this print on the Rocko heels, which I have in a yellow colour, but I've always fancied the almond shaped toe in hot pink, so when I saw them come up on the site a few weeks back, I was not going to let them get away. I was quite happy when they arrived, as they don't even look to have been worn. I'll soon make up for that, though., I'm sure.

What do you think of this week's new additions? Cute, or a little to "out there"?

Saturday, 28 September 2013

I had watched you taking in the spring..

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necklace: vintage
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skirt: topshop
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heels: primark
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trench coat: primark
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blouse: zara
This week the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag, hasn't it? The other day, I was leaving the house about 6.30am (as usual) and it looked rather grey and rainy, so I thought I'd better throw the trench coat on, which I'd picked up in Leeds a couple of weekends ago. Thankfully it sort of matched my outfit.

It seems to be becoming quite the habit, staying for a weekend at a friend's house and then coming home with armfuls of their clothing cast-offs. Thank you to Rosie for the newest addition to my #WardrobeZoo; this horse print blouse.

I couldn't wait to wear it, and knew I had a mustard skirt somewhere. I wore it despite the fact it's definitely too big, so it's now been moved into the blog sale pile. If you haven't had a look, I have a LOT of items on there, and more going up most days. The clear out seems to be a gradual process, but I'm sure it's one of those "slow and steady" things.

Another thing I've been anxious to wear was this daisy necklace, picked up from a little vintage shop called Alice Found Treasure in the Corn Exchange in Leeds. I think it's colours worked quite well with the skirt and the blouse, which I also tried to match to my shoes. This being their second wear, I'm still not entirely convinced about them. The elasticated slingback straps seem to be pretty loose on the backs of my feet, which can lead to a lot of time spent re-adjusting them. I think it's because they're a little too big for my feet, which fall to the front of them and away from the strap at the back.

Who knew I could ramble on for so long about shoes?

Friday, 27 September 2013

friday favourites 062..

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001: Paper Dolls Syrah dress, Little Mistress, £60.64
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002: Printed glass bowls, Belle and Blue, £12.95
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003: Girlfriend Coat, Tara Starlet, £155
This week my brain seems to have been all over the place, to be honest. Work has been busier than I've known it for a long while, which I'm definitely not complaining about, but coupled with the fact that feeling so rotten has been giving me a severe case of the goldfish brain, I've sometimes felt a little as though I've been drowning in all there is to do. I've still had time for a wishlist, though.

001: I love love love this dress. Have you seen the bow on the front? So cute, and yet so totally work appropriate, in my opinion. I don't do pinstripes, or boring suits, I just don't feel like me in them, but a pretty, plain coloured dress could be just what I need for my upcoming conference, right? And by a, I mean this one from Paper Dolls..!

002: I can't remember how I found the Belle and Blue site, but I really like these bowls; the pattern on them reminds me of this one amazing pyrex plate we had in the plate cupboard when I was little, and I love the fact that they have cutely-coloured lids and are stackable.  I really need to have a bit of a sort out of my plates cupboard, as everything does seem to be a bit precarious at the moment, all stacked up like Tupperware-Tetris.

003: I've added this coat to the list, but that's a bit of a cheat as I have to admit that it's actually already on it's way to me. I saw it months ago on Tara Starlet's twitter feed and knew I'd have to have it, so I've been following it's progress rather closely. And lucky I did, as it sold out almost as soon as it went on the site. I hope it looks as cute on me as it does on that model. (I know, it's not a magic coat so I shouldn't expect miracles).

Thursday, 26 September 2013

what's new, pussycat?

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shoes: primark
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top: dorothy perkins
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skirt: topshop
I think my sad little camera is on it's last legs. DSLR suggestions would be greatly received, as I'm finally going to bite the bullet and order one.

I really like the texture of this top, I made a bit of a beeline for it when I popped into Dorothy Perkins a few weeks back. I love this sort of thick, boucle fabric but all too often the tops it features on seem to have a peplum waist, which do not suit me at all.

This cat print skirt is an old favourite. So old, in fact, that I had to safety pin the wait quite a lot to stop it from falling off me. I'll be sad to part with it, but I'm not sure how to alter it without affecting the shape of it, so it'll be in the blog sale pretty soon. Waah.

Speaking of old, so are these shoes. Well and truly on their way out, which makes me sad. I've been searching high and low on every site I can think of for the perfect pair of ideally black, ideally Mary Jane heels to replace these ones, but I think it might be one of those impossible tasks.

This week has been pretty busy and everything seems to be taking it's toll. I'm feeling really sick and dizzy, once again. I'm getting rather fed up of this by now. I have still got no idea what's causing it, but I also don't really have time for it either.                                   

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

you feel it running through your bones..

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My gym essentials
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Nike Free running shoes: sportsshoes.com*
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Here's an outfit post I never thought I'd do. Although you'd be forgiven for thinking it doesn't look like it at the moment, I spend quite a good deal of time at the gym. I alternate my time between swimming (which I try to do every morning before work, purely because it's quieter - see my post on pool rage, here), spinning classes, and a gym program which has been developed by one of the PTs there. What it didn't include, until very recently, was any running, as that's something I've always wanted to get into, but struggle with the motivation for if I'm on my own. Previous attempts have seen me dig out my running shoes, get to the end of the road and then think I'll just walk for a bit, which ends up being "until I get home". Fail.

I'm really not a traditional gymwear person, either. I agree with Chloe, that the most important thing is to do the exercise, not what you wear to do it in. [Incidentally, I don't know who Katherine Jenkins is, but if she wants to look good whilst running a marathon, good for her - why not focus on the running a marathon for charity part, not the lipgloss!] I don't often notice what other people are wearing, I'm usually too busy thinking about what I'm doing next, or whether I can fit in another set of reps or something.

So, a typical gym outfit? Well, I'm struggling with my body shape and image so much at the moment as it is, that it took a HUGE amount of effort to even wear these cycling shorts to the gym, let alone for pictures, but I did need something a little cooler than jogging bottoms when the weather was hot as the spinning studio tends to get to tropical temperatures when it's warm outside.

I tend to just team them with an oversized band tee, as I have lots of those, I don't wear them for anything else and it means I don't have to spend much of my clothing budget on gym clothes. Those big sportswear shops overwhelm me. I never know what kind of anything I need. The only "proper" sports thing I try and buy are sports bras, although I've found that my recent ones haven't lasted very well, so if you have any suggestions of brands to try, let me know! Also, of course, I'd be lost without my iPod. Yes, it's ancient and out of date, but it still works nicely.

I'd heard good things about the Nike Free range, and anything had to be better than my ancient pair of Kangaroos which I used to wear for college, back in the days when I wore jeans on a regular basis. (Yes, THAT happened). So, when Sports Shoes asked me if I'd like to review a pair of their running shoes, of course I said yes, and after some advice from a friend at the gym, I went for this pair.

The first thing I noticed was how light and flexible the sole is. It feels almost like you're not wearing any trainers, which is supposed to be the best for running. I've been using them for a week or so now, and I really like this about them. It makes it so much easier to run on the treadmill, and it may just be my imagination, but I feel much lighter on my feet when I'm wearing them. Plus I managed to run more than 1k on the treadmill the other day, which I reckon must mean they're magic. I won't put in for any marathons yet, but it's a start. That's the thing about exercise I suppose; there's always room to progress.

Does anyone have any running tips? I do think it's something which would give me a new focus, and I do like to change my routine a bit every now and then. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

wild horses, we'll ride them someday..

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I was too lazy to go and take a photo of the deer, so I took a photo of Rosie taking a photo of the deer. Does your head hurt yet?
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A picture of my feet - Instagram, I have arrived.
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Lavender Ice? Um, no.
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What I didn't manage to catch was the HILARIOUS moment where everything almost fell off the table and into my lap.
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These donkeys would not stop peacocking around the place!

Last weekend I closed the office nice and early and headed on over to Sarah's house to pick her up for our road trip to the South Coast to stay with our lovely friend Rosie. After ever such a slight detour (I'm still not quite sure what happened as we got near Southampton, but the Maps App may have  taken us round in a circle) we arrived to plenty of snacks and an evening of gossip. Sarah and I may still have been chatting at 3am that evening.

Saturday started off with brunch (Rosie had mentioned that Cheese and Alfie's was THE place for eggs florentine, which I love, so I ordered that without hesitation!) and I spent the morning (well, the whole day really) trying to get to grips with how to work Instagram. (My username is dinoprincesschar, of course). Hence all the pictures of food. We had a drive around the New Forest and spotted lots of wild horses, before stopping for a little wander around Burley where we saw deer, geese and a few goats in the car park, bought severe quantities of fudge and then stopped for HUGE hot chocolates in a nearby cafe. It was such a big drink that I definitely did not want anything else!

That evening we went for a yummy pub tea (I had a rather good goat's cheese salad) and got I glared at by the next door table for trying to take some photos of The Lamb, up above us. When we got back to the house we had an evening of sugar-induced hilarity and I did my usual trick of falling asleep during a movie and having to Google for the plot the following day to see what I'd missed.

Sunday was spent mostly eating once again. After yummy croissants and passion-fruit curd (which I have to admit I'd been unsure about, but really liked once I tried it), we took Bodhi out for a walk and then dodged horses and marathon runners on our way to a huge afternoon tea at Rosie Lea's, which even between the three of us (and Bodhi, and the donkeys) we couldn't finish.

I'll be back to the gym this week to make up for all of the cake, but it was totally worth it to spend such a lovely weekend with two of the nicest people I've ever met through my little blog. <3 

Monday, 23 September 2013

think it's gonna rain rain down..

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After all the cake I'd both made and eaten last week I couldn't resist dragging this blouse out of the wardrobe for an outfit post. I thought it would work quite nicely under the black cord pinafore dress I'd picked up in Primark last weekend.

As with just about everything I buy from Primark, I'd just grabbed my usual size and hadn't tried it on before buying. If I had, I think it's possible I may have been put off by it's length. It's so short!

Maybe it would have been a bit better with black shoes but I couldn't resist matching my new Shelly's wedges up with the colours in the shirt.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

sunday shoes 022..

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001: Poetic Licence 'Petal Pusher'
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002: Irregular Choice 'Can't Touch This'
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003: Shelly's 'Belle' wedges
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This week's new additions to the shoe collection were the result of some rather odd changes which seem to be happening to the stock levels on the Spartoo site as they move their warehouse over to the UK from France. It's meant that instead of the 700+ brands they had, they're currently down to 120ish, but is also means that all of a sudden they have some pairs on there which went had been shown to have gone out of stock months ago. So I wasted little time in snapping these three pairs up.

001: Poetic Licence are the sister brand of Irregular Choice, and I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the majority of their pairs. The main reason for this is that their heel height tends to be a lot shorter and usually too short for my liking. I do have a couple of pairs of quite old styles, mainly shoe boots which I plan to dig out when the weather gets a little colder, but when I saw these wedges I couldn't resist them. I think I was mostly drawn to the flowers - they remind me of a little raffia handbag with flowers on it, which I had when I was little and used to play dressing up with. I like the contrast, even though they are both neutral colours, between the wedge heel and the upper. I think these might have to wait for the sun to make a reappearance.

002: I know what you're thinking. ANOTHER pair of Can't Touch This? Another boring floral pair? Well, that's what I'd thought when I first saw them. But upon a closer look, what you think is just floral print is in fact....floral and PANDA print. Once I'd realised this, just how could I resist them? I already know I love the style, and the green buckle is the perfect finishing touch, I think. Plus, pandas!

003: These wedges were a pair I'd had halfheartedly saved in my favourites list for a while, until they sold out and I realised how much I'd actually liked them. I was therefore really glad to see them back on the site again (I assume this restock business is down to the UK returns warehouse not tying up with the stock levels on the French site or something. These were even more pretty than I'd anticipated when they arrived; love the shaped front.

What do you think of this week's choices?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Simplicity / Project Runway 2248..

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dress: handmade // cardigan: new look // shoes: primark

I'm very much falling behind on the challenge I set myself to make one item per month in 2013. But, every now and then, I'm managing to find a little time to do some stitching. This is my latest creation. I don't really remember picking up the pattern - Simplicity 2248 - but I suspect it came from a trip to Abakhan, as so many of my pattern collection have. The fabric was a purchase from the sale in my local fabric shop, which has since closed down to focus on selling online.

I think I started cutting out the pieces at the start of August, but I know that I ran into a slight issue and left them half cut for a little while. I'd originally planned to make the version with the wrap-over front section, but those pieces are long and I didn't have enough fabric left to cut them out, hence the decision to make the bow instead.

As with all of the Project Runway/Simplicity patterns I've tried, the construction of the dress was pretty straightforward and the instructions nice and simple. The bodice and pockets and side seams were constructed in much the same way as one of my favourite patterns, 2444, which I've made on numerous occasions now, so I didn't really have any problems there.

I'd not made "mock piping" before, so that was something new. It's used for the edging of the sleeves and yoke of the dress and I realised once I started attaching it that on this dress, it probably would have looked much more effective if I'd cut it out of a plain red cotton, to finish the edges off. That's something I'd probably bear in mind for future makes, depending on the fabric / print I was using.

I really like the way the bow sits over the pleats at the waistline, and when I wear the dress it's nicely cinched in by the bow. which looks good. I need to do some little alterations to the top of the bodice as it's a bit big for me, but other than that I liked how it turned out and I'd make it again without any hesitation. I just need to practice my zip stitching, as it's not turned out very neatly.

Although I didn't finish until September, I suppose this one should be my August make, and I'll have to ignore the fact that I didn't make anything in July. And maybe June. I have started on the next make already - well, the pattern cutting. I'm going to try out the Tania culottes, so let's hope I can get those done this month.