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Monday, 30 June 2014

Why did the chicken cross the road?

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Dress: Handmade (Christine Haynes Emery bodice w/gathered skirt)
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Rocko heels: Irregular Choice
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I can't think of any good answers to that. I never really understood the point of that joke, in fact.

Changing the subject slightly, I finally wore my chicken print Emery dress. This is one which I finished off, and then decided needed something more, so I set about handstitching some sequin trim around the neckline and the cuffs, in a yellow to match the print of the chickens.

I think it worked quite well to give it that little extra something. I had to wait a little while for a chance to wear this as the weather had been so warm and whilst I didn't line it, I still find I can be too hot in sleeves when the weather is warm - it does get ridiculously warm in my office as well.

I will have more to say tomorrow, no doubt. I am feeling the effects of a relatively sleep-free weekend, and I'm getting ready for my last guide meeting this evening with the unit I've run for the past five years. Sad times.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sunday Shoes 051: Irregular Choice Abigail's Party..

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My other London pair of shoes. I'd definitely planned to get these boots at some point so I snapped them up when I got the chance a couple of weeks ago.

Abigail's Party are becoming quite the pillar of the Irregular Choice community. Rolled out in different colours every year, they're becoming the shoe which has had more comebacks than Kylie Minogue.
Despite all of that choice though, I only had one pair - a rather old blue floral one. I like those but none of the other colours have really floated by boat. Until this green pair, that is.

I think the combination of the green polka dots and muted floral print really won me over and I'm totally in love with the lipstick red ribbon ties. I love ribbon ties on just about anything, and these boots are no exception.

I know from my existing pair that these will be comfortable to wear for days at a time and the cute floral print lends itself to that tricky transitional dressing period between Autumn and right through to Spring, so I certainly think I'll get plenty of wear from them. Very pleased with these.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Blue Blood..

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Dress: Emily + Fin
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Bag: Irregular Choice Magic Pony
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Love this corsage detail!!
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Cardigan: H+M
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(Arm dressing: NHS Blood people after donating)
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Alphabite heels : Irregular Choice


Well it's certainly been one of those weeks which has sped by. I can't believe it's Saturday again already. I'm off to the seaside today but I'm worried that it's going to rain.

My outfit from Wednesday had to be suitable for work, then donating blood (so no tight sleeves) and then for an evening outdoor theatre performance. I figured that a quick change of shoes from the day to these heels would mean that I could add this orange cardigan for the evening to hide my blood donation dressing from the masses and make the orange and blue combination a little less odd.

I love this Emily + Fin dress. I already have this style - Norma - in another colourway, and I love it. Whilst I don't often plump for plain dresses, this bright blue colour caught my eye and I decided it would be perfect to wear with patterned cardigans or blazers, so I snapped it up in the recent sample sale we visited.

I still really like the style - the floral corsage detail is a winner - and the way it fits with the huge gathered skirt. A flipping bargain for £20, in my book.

How do you style a transitional outfit to take you from day to night?

And if you don't give blood already, I'd urge you to do so. I try to do it as often as possible but often can't due to medical issues - you can find more information here.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday Favourites 101: ASOS sale picks..

ASOS Bug Co Ord
001: ASOS Bug Print Co Ord, now £16
Gola Liberty Trainers
002: Gola Liberty Trainers, now £36
ASOS Sequin Clutch
003: ASOS Sequin Clutch, now £15
This week, despite their recent warehouse fire, the ASOS sale launched, which for me always means it's time for a browse. Here are the three things which will be making their way to me very soon indeed..

001: I seem to be behind the times with this trend. I've not yet succumbed to the "co-ord". In part, this is down to the fact that they look to have a tendency to show more flesh than I would ever be comfortable with. But that's where I think this one might be on to a winner - as well as the cute beetle print, this two piece comes with press studs so that you can attach the skirt to the top and make a dress. Cute, no?

002: Ermuhgod. I was so excited when I first saw these Gola / Liberty print trainers about. This fabric is the same as the one I used to make what is basically one of my favourite Emery dresses thus far. OK, so on the one hand I don't really wear trainers, like ever, but on the other...how cool would it be to match my trainers to my favourite dress? I'm so torn.

003: I love a bit of sequin and I love a good clutch bag, so I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I have my eye on this sequin clutch. Cute bright neon flowers - the perfect eye-catching finishing touch to any outfit, I think.

Have you seen anything in the ASOS sale which has caught your eye?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

#floordrobe

One of my main requirements for the ongoing house hunt is that there is enough space for a walk-in wardrobe. At the moment, it seems as though I have a bit of a "floordrobe" situation going on, due to owning too many clothes lack of space.

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That said, it seems I am not alone. According to some research done by UK Flooring Direct, more than half of Briton use their bedroom floors to store clothes, even though most of these people have plenty of wardrobe space. Those polled were asked ‘Are there currently clothes on your bedroom floor?’ to which 43% said no, with 57% admitting that there were. When those who did have clothes on the floor were asked how many of these garments were clean and how many were dirty, the average answer was revealed to be 40% clean and 60% dirty. Grim.

Now, I don't think I'm quite as bad as some of these people. Whilst I do use some storage bags on the floor of my wardrobe room (spare room) to store out-of-season clothes, I don't store any dirty clothes on the floor. Also, I am gradually tackling the lack of storage space as I've been clearing out the clothes which no longer fit me or which I no longer wear, and listing them up for sale on my Instagram sale page for a couple of weeks or so, before donating whatever I have left to charity on a regular basis. 


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Dress: Eucalyptus // Cardigan: Primark

I do accept that I still have a way to go, though. I plan to seriously reduce the amount of clothes and shoes I have to take with me when I move house. (hopefully soon). I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that in searching for today's outfit, I actually discovered that I had this dress twice. One from a few years ago, which is now a few sizes too big and I must have re-bought it. I have vague memories of tracking it down on eBay in my now size a while ago but clearly hadn't got around to getting rid of the old one. Oops. I have now.

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Necklace: vintage
 This necklace was something I came home with from my favourite charity shop after dropping last week's big bag of clothes off to them. They have learnt to expect me every week with something or other for them and often save me the things they think I may like, which is lovely. Like these vintage beads.

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So, do you have a "floordrobe"? And if you do, are you brave enough to share it?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Get on the bus..

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Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Wiskers'
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Bus Print Dress: Cath Kidston
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Cardigan: Matalan
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Necklace: Gift (H&M)
I couldn't wait for a chance to wear my new Cath Kidston bus print dress after picking it up in the capital the other week. I'm pleased by their decision to use the same barkcloth fabric which their mushroom and bird print dresses were made from last year. I find that a much nicer, more structured fabric than the flimsy cotton of some of their dresses.

I'm considering wearing it next month when I take the rangers to London. But I'm wondering if that's a bit geeky. For work last week I teamed it with a sparkly red necklace I'd received from a friend for Christmas, along with my Irregular Choice Wiskers heels. Hardly groundbreaking stuff, but I liked it.

I know that dressmaking has made me reconsider some of my clothes purchasing habits, but I don't think that just because I make my own dresses I will completely stop buying any high street offerings. I'll still shop with my favourites but I think I'll be a little more choosy when it comes to the lower end of the quality scale as I've found that with places like Topshop, prices have gone up over the years whilst the quality of their items has gone down. I now find I take back almost everything I buy from there when it falls apart, usually after one wear.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Tuesday Titles 017: The Troop by Nick Cutter..

The Troop
The Troop by Nick Cutter
He felt something touch his hand... which is when he looked down... 
For the scouts of Troop 52, three days of camping, hiking and survival lessons on the remote shores of Falstaff Island will be the closest thing they'll get to a proper holiday this year. 
Which was when he saw it... 
But when an emaciated figure unexpectedly stumbles into their camp begging for food, the trip takes a horrifying turn. The man is not just hungry, he's sick. Sick in a way they have never seen before. 
Which was when he screamed... 
Cut off from the mainland, the scouts of Troop 52 face a nightmare far worse than anything they could have made up around a campfire. To survive they will have to fight their fears, the elements... and eventually each other. 
****

I'm quite the fan of the horror genre, so when I saw that this book described as horror centred around a troop of Scouts on an island, I figured it would be right up my street, imagining a slightly more gruesome version of Lord of The Flies.

Five fourteen-year-old scouts, along with their ineffective but well-meaning leader, Scoutmaster Tim, head to Falstaff Island to explore and gain merit badges on a camping trip. Shortly after they arrive, a dying man arrives and the scoutmaster has to decide how best to help him. But where has he come from? And what is wrong with him?

The Troop relies on intermittent reports, interviews and news articles between the events on Falstaff Island to provide the reader with important information about the reasons for the outbreak and the reactions to the events off the island. Although some of the lab reports made for difficult reading, I thought it was a very successful way of sharing some of the things which remain unknown to the boys but are crucial to the storyline.

By the time the boys know what is happening, it could be too late. The infection is spreading fast and to be honest, a little predictably. Whilst I enjoyed most of the gory elements of this book, it did seem very formulaic.

One of my main issues was the lack of likeable characters. Our five scouts seemed like they were borrowed from just about any American coming-of-age story, ever. A jock, a weirdo, a tubby nerd and
the regular all-rounder. Cliché central. For this reason I had very little interest in what happened to any of the boys. Particularly the one who has a history of killing innocent creatures. Those scenes were perhaps the hardest to read of the book and they really did make me hope that something horrid happened to the perpetrator.

I don't know that enjoyable is the right word for a gory book like this. At times, there were scenes where I had to physically *make* myself continue reading and the storyline was a little predictable. However, for gruesome detail and the ability to make the reader squirm, it gets a thumbs up. I just wouldn't advise you to read it with your dinner.




Monday, 23 June 2014

Here comes the sun..

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Sunglasses: H+M
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Necklace: Dorothy Perkins
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Top: Primark
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Sandals: Matalan
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Shorts: MinkPink*
What perfect timing. These shorts arrived from Logonstyle on Saturday just in time for me to put together a beach outfit yesterday, which gave me the perfect opportunity to review them. I've mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of the coast. I find being by the sea so relaxing, so I take every opportunity I can to spend my time there when the sun comes out (and sometimes when it doesn't).

I do love to wear shorts for trips to the beach because I find them so much more versatile for all of your general beach-related tasks. Paddling in the sea, climbing sand-dunes, playing frisbee and building castles are all much better done with your full concentration, rather than having to stop every few minutes to do battle with your hemline. 

As well as boasting this lovely bright floral print, these Mink Pink shorts were perfect for keeping cool in the sun due to their light crepe fabric and lovely wide pleated shape.I also rather liked how well their floral print matched this huge necklace. I bought this years ago but it very rarely gets to see the light of day as it's so heavy that wearing it makes quite a workout for your neck. I powered through and managed to keep it on for the day, though, despite ditching the long sleeves for a lighter vest top when the rays were beating down.

I teamed them with a pair of gladiator style sandals which are quite old now and relegated to camping and beach wear. They're still going strong. I also made sure not to forget my sunglasses, which is what usually happens when I go anywhere sunny. I usually end up having to come home with another pair as I've forgotten to pack any.

What do you wear to the seaside?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday Shoes 050: Irregular Choice Little Tipple

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This is the first of the two pairs of Irregular Choice I bought on my recent trip to the Carnaby Street store in London. I'd seen Little Tipple on the website but I think maybe the angle of the photos or something had made me think that their heel was a lot lower than it is. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them in the flesh and tried them on.

The pink is lovely and bright, with a pale pink edging to the laser cut scalloped edges which I think make them look so delicate and summery. The heel is what I'd consider the "courtesan standard" type, and this mottled pink heel reminds me of the heels on my Mrs Beasley green scottie dog pair. (Which I might have forgotten I owned until I typed that).

On the front, a two-tone pink fabric bow, finished with floral sprigs. I think the fact that they are mostly one colour makes them eye-catching enough without being overwhelmingly covered in all of the insane charms and suchlike which some pairs are. Not that I'm not a fan of those designs as well; it's just that there's a time and a place for different types of shoe.

What do you think? Subtle by Irregular Choice standards, but I still can't wait to wear them.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Review: Irregular Choice Magic Pony

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Irregular Choice Magic Pony bag
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I wanted to share some more photos of my Magic Pony bag from Irregular Choice as I've been really impressed with it.

Whilst I have quite a huge collection of the shoes, I've not been so crazy mental about the bags, and whilst I have some, most of them date back a few years.I think the reason I've not bought so many lately is that it's quite hard to tell things like sizes from the photos online and none of the styles have really been my cup of tea. I have my robot shopper bag which is up there with my favourite bags but since then, there's not been as much that I like.

Magic Pony drew me in with the combination of textures and the background fabric, as well as the unicorn detail to the front of course. I really like the metallic blue base and strap detail which match the blue in the unicorns and to be honest, the fabric is what helped me decide to go for this one rather than the other colourways available, which I cant' find on the website anymore but were more of a paint splatter effect. Gem has some fab photos of her blue version here.

Anyway, I finally decided on this one as I'm having a bit of a jacquard moment lately - I seem to be drawn to cute textures and prints so this fabric was a winner. Plus, I do think that the mix of colours will make it suitable for just about every outfit, so I have no excuse not to get plenty of wear from it!

It's a great size and fits plenty of the essentials in; I can even fit my Kindle in which makes it perfect for travelling just about anywhere. I like that the matching strap is easily detachable as sometimes I want a large clutch to finish an outfit off rather than a shoulder strap.

I'm really pleased with it, can you tell?

Friday, 20 June 2014

Friday Favourites 100..

People Tree Heron Tee
001: People Tree Heron Tee, £19.60
F+F Flamingo Shopper
002: F+F Flamingo Straw Shopper, £19

This week it's all inadvertently about the birds. I've not had much time to browse the shops, either online or in person this week what with work, house hunting and various guiding activities to be getting on with. Plus, I bought a lot of the things which had been on my radar in London last week.

That said, there are a couple of items which have taken my fancy..

001: This People Tree tee appeals to me purely because the heron print reminds me of Whistler from The Animals of Farthing Wood. Does anyone else remember that TV show from the 90s? I used to tune in after school despite the fact it was heart-breaking in some episodes. I don't think it ever made it onto DVD but I plan to dig out my childhood VHS tapes at some point and marathon it. Perhaps whilst wearing this tshirt.

002: My thoughts have recently been turning to holidays and sunshine. I've been scouring last minute deals and the like in the hope of finding us a bargain set of flights and taking the opportunity to go on holiday for the first time in 7 (!!) years. This bag is bookmarked because I think it would be perfect to accompany me to the beach - the flamingos are so cheerful.

What have you been wishing for this week?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Pencil Picnic Pony..

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Dress: Emily + Fin
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"Magic Pony" Bag: Irregular Choice
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Gingham heels: Irregular Choice
This dress was the one which caught my eye first and which I think I was most excited about at the Emily and Fin sample sale last week. I just love the cute pencil print.I'm not usually drawn to button fronts but I think that the chunky nature of the buttons here works in it's favour and helped sway my decision.

I wore it with a pair of old yellow gingham Irregular Choice heels and my brand new Magic Pony bag. I just love that the mix of colours in the bag's fabric lends itself to being worn with just about any colour - I can definitely see it getting a lot of wear in the future.

I often find that I fall into the trap of wearing things together which I bought at the same time. I think that my mind associates them together when I am trying to think up an outfit. Does anyone else do this?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

London purchases..

So, I promised a separate post to show the things I'd bought in London last week and here they are. I knew I wanted to pop into the Cath Kidston store on Piccadilly as the sale had started. I planned to pick up the bus print dress from the new collection, and also to finally get my hands on the safari print playsuit and jumper. There wasn't a jumper in stock in my size but I managed to get the playsuit and wasted no time in wearing it for my Alton Towers trip this weekend.

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Cath Kidston Bus print dress and Safari Playsuit
In Goldhawk Road I apparently purchased a "ridiculous amount" of fabric. A girl who was with us seemed to be hugely interested in how much I'd bought and spent that day. I actually think I did really well, given that I've used almost all of my stash recently and the prices of fabric per metre in these shops averaged about a third of the cost of buying in my local haberdasher, which has nowhere close to the variety. I'm particularly excited to use the shiny fabrics. I know what I have in mind in the way of party dresses, now I just need to find the right pattern.

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Goldhawk Road fabric purchases
I'll admit, I was mildly interested but not hugely excited about the Emily and Fin sample sale. Whilst I do like their dresses, I seem to be  a fan of only a few of their styles, whilst I find that some of them don't really flatter me. I'd also already purchased the three dresses which I'd set my heart on from the current season after seeing them at Pure back in February, so I really didn't think there would be anything to take my fancy.

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Emily + Fin sample sale dresses
Well, how wrong I was. With dresses priced at £20 (they usually retail for around £70) and some prints and styles I'd never seen before, there was a huge amount of stock and before long I was whittling down an armful of eight dresses to decide which ones to bring home with me. I settled on these three. A pencil print Charlie dress which has a button front, a polka dot Lucy Long, and a Norma dress in a beautiful shade of blue. Expect to see them in outfit posts soon.

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Irregular Choice store purchases
And finally, my Irregular Choice "haul". I spent well over an hour in the shop, chatting to the staff and trying on a few different styles. I'd not gone with a list in mind, but there were a few styles which I was interested in seeing "in the flesh" and trying on. I'd hoped for Why Not but they weren't in my size. I've been planning to get Abigail's Party in this green rose print colourway for a while now so I was pleased when they had those. Little Tipple were a pair I'd sort of dismissed when I saw them online, but in real life I really liked them and the bright pink colour is fab.

I was also really taken by the Magic Pony bag, which the whole world seems to have gone a bit crazy for lately. I have a small collection of Irregular Choice handbags but nothing from their recent collections. I like them though and know that they're well-made. I was pleasantly surprised with the finish and quality of this one and liked this colourway more than the other two by far.

So there you have it. My London purchases. I'm very happy with them all, particularly now that I've cleared a lot of wardrobe space recently with my recent IG sale.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Tuesday Titles 016..

The good thing about long train journeys is that they give me the chance to read without those guilty feelings that I should probably be doing something else. After my trip to London suddenly my 52 book target seems all the more attainable. So, here's what I've been reading this week.


Tremor
Tremor by Ryan Mark
I'd first heard about this book through Britain's Next Bestseller, who offer publishing deals to new writers based on the number of preorders their work receives. I was intrigued by the story.

William lives in a world that has been ravaged by a devastating war, a conflict caused by the depletion of Earth’s oil resources. Along with the physical devastation, society as a whole is collapsing, with few laws, and starvation and corruption in abundance. Abductions have become commonplace, and when William's mother eventually falls victim, he sets out on a dangerous journey to find her, fraught with cannibalism, human sacrifice and the daily threat of starvation. As his journey progresses, William finds himself questioning science, religion, his courage, and his alliances, as he sets out on a journey to find his mother, find the people responsible for killing his father, and finally, find a sense of belonging. 

William seemed to me to be your typical YA hero; a troubled youth, strong and determined with an axe to grind. The oppressed and dying society they existed in reminded me somewhat of the Panem. William is on the hunt for his mother who he believes has been taken by the same people who killed his father, whose journals he has been reading over and over again since his death. 

My main concern with new authors is that they will fail to come up with something new and different. It's clear that Tremor is building up for a second book or maybe more. I don't mind this, so long as enough happens that the books will stand alone as well. Tremor is easy to read as a book on it's own, although it does retain my interest well enough that I'd be interested to discover what happens to William next.
A Sixpenny Song
A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston

Not every death is a tragedy. Not every silver lining is intact. Annie's father is dead. She isn't sorry. A rich and domineering man, he was always more passionate about money than the happiness of his wife and child. And when his lovely, fragile wife Jude died in mysterious circumstances when Annie was still very young, her father sent her to school in England, and tried to ensure that Jude was never mentioned again. Now, at last, his days of tyranny are over. And so Annie leaves London and goes back to Dublin, to the house in which he lived and her mother died, where she makes the first of several startling discoveries: he has left her the house she hated. Now, just when she thought she was free of him, she is expected to make a new life in Ireland, and live as he would have wished. Does she dare to defy him one more time? And who will be able to tell her the truth about her mother's life, and death, before she has to decide?

Another new-to-me author. Having read the description I was interested to find out what family secrets would be revealed when Annie heads back to Ireland after her father's death, taking with her her dreams to open her own bookshop. I was looking forward to seeing how this turned out for her.

Instead, I found that Annie spent the rest of the book learning about her father's life, by reading through his journals, which she inherits along with his house. With the house seems to come the odd-job man, Kevin who extends an offer of friendship to Annie and convinces her to spend time with him and his aunt so that they can tell her more about her mother, Jude, who died when Annie was young.

Family secrets are revealed to Annie which change her plans and her opinions of her parents. And then the book ends. Just like that and rather to abruptly to give Johnston chance to develop any of these new storylines. Overall, I found the one-liner ending ("I don't expect I shall see you again.") rather disappointing and yet at the same time I felt relieved as I wasn't interested in what happened to these rather dull and unconvincing characters at all. Unlikely to be an author I'll search out again in the future.

Have you had more luck than me with books this week?