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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Just because I write a blog..

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This list is something which has been swirling around in my head for a little while now, after a conversation with a non-blogger friend of mine. She reads blogs (mine and others) and was surprised to find that I didn't fit into the pigeonhole which seems to be the "fashion blogger norm".

This list is by no means exhaustive and is meant purely as a bit of fun (none of my points are aimed at anyone in particular).

Just because I write a fashion blog:

  • Doesn't mean that I want to be a professional blogger. I can't think of much worse than turning your hobbies (things you choose to do in your spare time because you enjoy doing them) into a career. The pressure would ruin it for me. 
  • Doesn't mean that I spend my time wandering round looking for places to take photos. I wish I had the time to do that, but I barely have time to do all of the other things in my life.
  • Does not mean that I want a pug. I don't even like dogs.
  • Doesn't mean I will buy into all of the latest fashion trends. I love to shop and find new things, but I know what I like. Just because everyone else might be wearing those boots with the bits cut out of the leather, doesn't mean I'll be getting a pair. Same goes for co-ords. Not for me. 
  • I couldn't care less about blogger awards. 
  • Doesn't mean I spend all of my days eating cake. In fact, I've never even tried a macaron. Nor am I exactly dying to do so. OK, so sometimes I eat cake and sometimes I even take a photo of it. (Above was taken in Stratford last weekend with the other Mean Girls.)
  • I won't stop making my own clothes. As above, dressmaking is a hobby to me as well: I don't aspire to make it my profession. I like to make clothes which I can wear, and I like to wear them. I don't give two figs if my seams are a little tatty on the inside, or about machine stitching my hems. That said, I also don't think that just because I make my own, I won't buy RTW clothes. I still do.
  • Does not mean I'm fussed about being invited to all the press days and events which happen (invariably on a Thursdays afternoon in London, with a day's notice) . I'd much rather hang out with my blogger pals and do something fun, like a vintage clothes workshop or one of the other Into The Blue experience days, than join the blogger bunfight for some crappy lipgloss sample in a goody bag.
  • Doesn't mean I have a fashion-photographer BF. In fact, the OH utterly hates the concept of outfit blogging and certainly will not take any photos for me. 
  • Does not mean I "dress up" for my photos. My outfit photos are always what I've actually worn that day. I'm not a model (you can see that from my size / shape) and I don't see why else anyone would dress up just for photos. 
  • I am not driven by statistics. I don't care what the numbers say. I write about the things I want to write about, when I want to write about them. 
How about you? Do you have any more things to add to my list? 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

#irregularchoicechallenge Days 118-126

ICC Days 118-126

So, are we ready for another update on the #irregularchoicechallenge? I keep feeling as though I'm coming to the end and then realising that I actually have a lot more pairs to wear. Including my favourite pair, ever, which I think I'm going to save for last. I'm still not sure how many pairs I've got, though.

Days 120 and 124 were recent eBay wins - both pairs were ones I've been hoping to find for a while now. I think that I have all of the colours of the Scotty Dog heels now, and wearing the red pair made me remember about the green and pink ones I wore on Day 122.

Day 119 was a pair I've had for at least a year but never worn. I really liked them, though - particularly with the lace tights. I need to wear more of my tights collection (although perhaps not until the weather gets a little less tropical!).

Day 118 and 126 were new pairs as well. I've not had a pair of ICED before, but these Secret Garden were so comfortable for a day wandering around London. Maybe I'll wear trainers more often.

Strawberry Fields, worn on Day 125 made for the perfect pair of sightseeing shoes as well; they are so stable and comfortable for walking around all day - I still love them just as much as I did last summer!

Do you have any favourites?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tuesday Titles 021: The House of Memories

The House of Memories
The House of Memories by Monica McInerney
Once in a while, I find I pick up a book I have little or no knowledge of and then wonder why I'd not read it before. I was sent this book by Beth in the Summer Book Swap she organised a little while ago and I picked it up last week. I'd finished a book and although I have a huge pile of books I *need* to read, I wasn't sure what I wanted to read next.

By chance, I began The House of Memories and very soon found myself feeling like part of Ella's blended family. I must admit, that's a term I'd not come across before but I can see myself using in the future. The first few chapters take us through Ella's childhood, where she gets a step-brother and eventually a half-sister and receives plenty of advice from her Uncle Lucas in London, whenever she needs it, via fax to Australia.

The book is written from various family members' viewpoints, which I found helped me to feel even more like part of their family - receiving Charlie's weekly emails to find out what they had been up to and reading intimate entries into Jess' diary all helped me to get a better insight into what Ella might be feeling.

Naturally when Ella finds her life collapsing around her, she feels that the one place she can seek sanctuary is in London. Uncle Lucas will know what to do.

Frankly, I really loved Lucas. I think he was my favourite character and I find myself wishing I had a kind uncle who could help me through my trials and tribulations. I felt fiercely protective of him and hated Henrietta, his longstanding girlfriend. Lucas' house in London is home to several PHD students at a time, who also work as personal tutors to the children of the London rich and famous. This in itself brings issues which Ella is tasked with addressing, with the hope that it will take her mind off the reason for her visit.

Without wanting to say a lot more, for fear of spoiling the plot, I would urge you to read The House of Memories. McInerney is an author I will definitely search out again in the future and hopefully find that I can't put her other books down until I've finished them, like I found with this one.

Have you read anything you'd recommend lately?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Here be giants..

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Photo from Alex
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Yesterday, I navigated plenty of roadworks en route to Liverpool to try and catch sight of some giants in the city. I didn't manage to see the giants when they came to Liverpool in 2012 so I was really excited when I heard that The Giant Spectacular was coming back this year to commemorate the centenary of WW1.

As Sunday was the last day of the giants' tour, they were due to head back through the streets and to the Albert Dock, where they would get onto a boat and sail back to France. We followed the crowds and headed to the docks, trying to secure a decent space to see them on the boat as they left.

After a little while of waiting and listening to the various grumbles of The Grumpiest Man in the World, who happened to be standing behind us, we finally saw to boat head past us, with Grandmother and Little Girl Giant in their beds. I don't think you can really tell from my photo how huge these giants are, but Alex sent me the above photo of Little Girl Giant which she'd taken on Saturday, and which I think gives a better idea.

I really hope these giants come back again in the future as they were quite an amazing sight. I'd love to see them walking through the streets. I also made the most of being in Liverpool and met up with one of my best friends, who I've not seen in far too long!

Other highlights of the day included a whistle-stop tour of ALL of the cafes on Bold Street, all of which were super busy; finding some rather fabulous vintage pieces to add to the wardrobe, yummy ice lollies in the garden and buying far too much from the Monsoon sale.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday Shoes 055: Irregular Choice Frog Princess

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I suppose that with any collection, there are things which a collector may be more or less interested in, depending on their point of view or their likes / dislikes at the time. I think that sometimes, those initial biews can change. I know this is the case with me, anyway.

Often, with each new season of releases, I will have a look at the new Irregular Choice offerings and decide which of the new styles I really like and would therefore like to add to my collection. Frog Princess were released in the SS09 collection and at the time, due to the pointed front and the shorter-than-average heel, I sort of overlooked them.

Since then, however, my view of them had changed and they were one of those pairs which I decided I would like to get my hands on, after all. I was pretty lucky to find a pair in blue, which is probably my favourite of the colourways. I paid £12.50 for these on eBay and am totally thrilled with them.

These are in rather fab condition and I really like the fact that the colourful frogs seem to be wearing goggles and flippers. Awesome.

Now, if anyone sees the parrot boots from the same season in the pink....

Saturday, 26 July 2014

And now I fall in love with somebody everyday..

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Dress: Handmade (New Look 6223 using 'Cocoland' fabric)
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Necklace: George@Asda
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Shoes: Irregular Choice
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I was on a sewing roll on Sunday. I managed to get two dresses made before 2pm, when I headed out to tackle some weeds at the allotment. It was my first weekend home with "nothing" to do for a while. I am pretty hopeless when it comes to spending time relaxing, as I find it impossible to do nothing but I think that sewing worked as my relax time last weekend, and I was pleased with the dresses I made.

Almost every dress I've made lately has been with a gathered skirt. What can I say - I'm lazy and they're incredibly easy to do. But not this one. This Cocoland fabric, (which I bought from Frumble) was a little heavier than my usual cottons, so I wasn't sure how well it would gather, and therefore went with the regular skirt from NL6223. I lined it with some yellow gingham which I had left over from making the guides some neckers for one of our recent camps.

I really like the way the colours in this print give me so many matching options. I am starting to have to really think about what shoes I have left to wear in my #irregularchoicechallenge and when I realised I was yet to wear these yellow gingham heels, I thought this would be the perfect match. I also love the way the necklace goes with this fabric.

I hope I have time soon to use up some more of the fabric I've recently purchased - I seem to be stashing quite a lot at the moment and am telling myself no more fabric purchases until I've used it. Fat chance! I did take advantage of the Jaycotts promotion on zips the other day and order myself about 40, making sure I have the right colours for the fabrics I've been buying of late, so I hope they turn up soon. I find them the best price for zips of anywhere I've found anyway, so when they were offering 20% off all zips, it was a bit of a no-brainer.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Friday Favourites 105..

ASOS Botanical Trench
001: ASOS Salon Botanical Print Coat, £75(with current promo)

CK Autumn Bloom Dress
002: Cath Kidston Autumn Bloom Dress, £70
Quiz Floral Chunky Heels
003: Quiz Floral Chunky Heel Sandals, £19.99
ASOS Embellished Clutch
004, ASOS Flower Embellished Clutch, £35
I seem to be all about the florals this week. All of the fabric I've been browsing has been floral print, which is unlike me. But these things have most definitely been bookmarked in my "buy these on payday!" folder.

001: I love coats. I love floral prints. So when I found this floral print trench coat, I fell head over heels for it. I so need a floral trench coat. Well, another floral trench coat. (Let's ignore this one and this one and this one). OK, OK, I probably don't need another floral trench coat at all. But isn't it pretty?!

002: I don't really want to think about Autumn just yet. I'm a bit of a Summer fangirl, truth be told. I'm very tempted by this new print from Cath Kidston, though and plan to add it to my CK collection just as soon as I next visit one of their stores. I also can't wait for the Townhouse print to come out, which I'm told is going to be the second drop of their AW14 collection.

003: These floral sandals caught my eye on Twitter this week. I love the fact that even though they have a lovely floral print on the platform, they're still quite understated (well, they are for me anyway). I'd wear these to work during the summer weather, for sure. I have to admit, I'd not visited the Quiz Clothing site before, but they seem to have some nice items.

004: I'm sure I don't need another floral clutch bag either, but this ASOS bag has a fairly large chance of becoming mine in the not-too-distant future. I really like the 3D embellishments about at the moment, and think this would work perfectly to spruce up just about any outfit. I hardly ever find time to go home and change before heading out in the evenings, so I love to take something like this bag and a different pair of heels to make me feel a little more dressed up at least.

What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Jump for my love..

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I couldn't resist this jumpsuit when I was in Primark last week. The combination of the floral print and the asymmetric zip detail had me tempted, although once I actually put it on, I'm not sure how flattering it is on me. I used to love jumpsuits, but now I'm not sure if I'm the right shape for them. Am I getting even more self-conscious as time goes on?

When the weather was a bit iffy on Saturday and I had to head into town to run some errands, I decided it would work with this pair of Irregular Choice boots, though. They were definitely puddle-proof, which was a good thing as we had plenty of heavy rain showers to contend with, although you wouldn't think it now.

What do you wear when you need something casual and functional?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sale bargains..

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What have you been buying lately? Aside from fabric, and a new mixer for the kitchen, I've picked up a few bargains in the past week or so.

Obviously a trip to London would be incomplete without a trip to Oxford Street. I only had one thing in my sights, which was this Sophia Sequin Jacket from Monsoon. Luckily, the Monsoon sale began last Thursday and the Oxford Street store had the jacket in stock, as the website was sold out. I'm looking forward to finishing off just about all party outfits with this, as I think it's beautiful.

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From Harrod's I picked up a new shopper bag, which I'm going to try hard to remember to take with me when I go grocery shopping in an attempt to use less plastic carrier bags. I have a couple of shopper bags now, so should be able to leave at least one in the car and one with my bike, which should cover just about any eventuality.

From New Look, this orange clutch bag to add to my growing collection of cutesy fruit bags. I already have an apple handbag and a watermelon clutch, but it's so cute.

We did pop into Primark, which was ludicrously busy. I found this gingham dress, which I've been keeping an eye out for since about March, reduced in the sale to £7. We also bought matching minion t-shirts, as we're just that cool.

I love this floral belt, as well. I'm planning to dress up some of my handmade dresses with this at the waistline, to add a bit of detail.


Then, on Saturday I went to drop off a couple of things at the charity shop in town, and came out with this vintage Laura Ashley dress - a steal at £9, in my opinion. I do find charity shop pricing can be so hit and miss. It's not easy to tell from the photo but the bodice has a lovely scalloped edge.

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I picked up even more books to add to my to-read pile. The Casual Vacancy by Rowling. J.K. ( 2013 ) Paperback has been on my radar for a while now, but I've not read it yet and I've vaguely heard of The Vintage Teacup Club .

New underwear from M+S because I've recently had a clear-out to get rid of all the things which are now the wrong size, and when I was at the cafe on Saturday morning, they were giving out £5 vouchers for the lingerie section.

Have you found any good sale bargains lately?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tuesday Titles 020: Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer..

Nantucket Sisters
Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer

A much more enjoyable book this week. Nantucket Sisters follows the friendship of Maggie and Emily through the years. An unlikely pair; Emily is a typical rich-girl New-Yorker whose family spend their holidays in their palacial Nantucket beach house, and disapprove of her time spent with Maggie, whose family live on the island full-time and struggle to make ends meet.

The girls' friendship flourishes regardless and they grow up together during the summertimes they spend exploring, reading and beginning work on a novel. Whatever changes may occur during the rest of the year, they seem to come back and be able to pick things up wherever they left off, which I think is the sign of a true friendship.

As the girls get older and make that transition into young women, romance flourishes and inevitably causes some less happy moments. One man in particular puts a huge strain on Maggie and Emily's friendship, but the book follows both of their lives and I found myself willing them to come back to each other.

I don't want to say too much, other than I really enjoyed reading this, particularly in the recent sunshine, which probably enhanced my enjoyment. Nothing like reading a book set on an island, on the beach. Give it a try and escape into the Nantucket sunshine!


Monday, 21 July 2014

It's you and me on the Monopoly board..

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Bus Print Dress: Cath Kidston

Last Wednesday I met some of my Rangers at the train station and we headed to London for a little overnight trip. The girls have spent most of the last term planning this, and I prepared them a Monopoly board with places to visit in central London, with points for visiting, taking photos and answering various questions. What else to wear for sight-seeing than my bus print dress from Cath Kidston?!

Armed with these boards, their maps and tube maps, each team spent the train journey planning their route. They had four hours in which to score as many points as they could, with strict instructions to keep me posted about their whereabouts via text and to be back at Covent Garden to meet at 3.30pm.

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I spent my day with one of the groups and we started out by getting the tube from Euston to Green Park, where we caught the Changing of the Guard, which was a nice bonus. It was also lovely to see so much pretty green space around, which is obviously not something I associate with the capital. Next, we headed towards Westminster Abbey, Downing Street and walked up to Trafalgar Square, where we couldn't resist some touristy lion poses.

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Necklace: Topshop
After a little panic about how high it was when we wanted to get back down, we continued with our challenge, through Piccadilly, Regent Street, to St Paul's and across the river to the Tate and the Globe and towards Southwark. We tried to fit in a trip to Platform 9+3/4 but the queue was huuuuuge so we snapped a photo from afar and hot-footed it back to Covent Garden to meet the others. Everyone turned up on time, which was great - they're a good bunch.

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After a little wander around the shops, we had dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant which I'd found using the Tastecard website, and my free trial card gave us 50% off our bill, although the cheeky restaurant then added a 20% service charge, which they apparently only do when people use this card!

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Robot Shopper Bag + Strawberry Fields wedges: Irregular Choice
Next, we headed on over to the Cambridge Theatre, to see Matilda. I'd been quite looking forward to this because I've heard nothing but how great it is from everyone I'd spoken to. It certainly didn't disappoint. The set was amazing, the show was great and the songs were still in my head a few days later. The only downside was that we were in the upper circle and the theatre was so hot up there that I thought I was going to faint.
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After the show, we got the tube up to Belsize Park to stay at Pax Lodge, which is one of Girlguiding's World Centres. We had a nice breakfast the next morning, before heading out to South Kensington for the mueseums. Most of the girls wanted the V+A but I couldn't resist a quick tour of the dinosaurs - of course!

After a trip to Harrod's, a stop for lunch and the afternoon in Oxford Street so that they (and I) could do some shopping, we headed back to Euston for our train home. Funny how tiring a little trip like this can be, but I guess we did manage to fit a lot in.

Linking this post up:
The Good Things

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday Shoes 054: Irregular Choice ICED Secret Garden..

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A first for me. I've never had a pair of the Irregular Choice ICED range before, but when I saw that this pair of Secret Garden were being sold off cheaply due to the fact they'd been on display, I decided to give them a go and snapped them up.

The fit of these is true to size, as now seems to be the norm with Irregular Choice, who have been making a special effort to sort out their sizing issues. I know that this is something which has been revisited three times this year, but going by recent purchases, I do think that their irregular sizing issues may be a thing of the past!

Secret Garden is basically a high top trainer. I got the black pair which features a sort of grey pattern which has an almost jacquard look to it. The sides are covered in an assortment of faux flowers, which are nice and bright and I think add a bit of interest.

The "display" scuffs were absolutely minimal, but I wasn't overly impressed with the grey marks on the backs and side of the soles, where the rubber seems to have been sealed. They don't look as though they should be there, so maybe that's why this pair was being sold as "ex-display". I'm sure that once I wear them in a few times these will not be so noticeable, as no doubt I'll cause other scuffs and marks on the white sections of the soles.

What do you think of the ICED range from Irregular Choice? Super street, or should they stick to party shoes?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

#Irregularchoicechallenge Days 109-117..

ICC Days 109-117

Time for another round up of my recent wears in my #irregularchoicechallenge. I keep thinking that I must be running out, but I had a speedy count up lately and there are still quite a few more to go. I have certain pairs earmarked for particular outfits, as since I'm getting closer to the end I feel as though I am thinking more about what to wear the pairs with.

So, in this batch we have one of my very first bought pairs of Irregular Choice - the bikini kitten heels which I wore on Day 115. I have hardly worn them, but have fond memories of their first wear on a first date with my college boyfriend. (About 10 years ago).

Days 116 (Pixie Dust) and 117 (Little Tipple) are relatively new additions to the collection, although I have been quite lucky on eBay in the recent week or so and have a couple more pairs en route.

Day 113 was Burmese, the cat heels, which I bought more than a year ago, but hadn't got around to wearing. I've discovered a few more pairs in storage under the bed, which I'd forgotten about as well!

An aside, but I also like that looking back on these outfits, 5 days out of 9 were wearing handmade dresses, so I think I've definitely managed to incorporate me-made into my wardrobe.

If you want to see previous round-ups, the links are below:


Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday Favourites 104..

Shock Absorber Active Zipped Plunge £25
001: Shock Absorber  Active Zipped Plunge, £25
Nike Zoom Structure+
002: Nike Zoom Structure+ Running Shoes, £84.99
This week, I've started a new gym programme. After using the same routine for the past few months, I was starting to get a bit fed up of it, as well as wondering whether it was actually having any effect anymore. I'm a firm believer in changing things up when it comes to exercise so that my body doesn't get complacent.

The new one is proving tough so far, but I quite like being able to feel that it must be working, if I ache a couple of days later. I'm trying to focus on my legs and stomach as those are parts which I'm not happy with, so my PT has given me a list of exercises to work through. The plan is to do this workout three times per week, and on the days I'm not doing that, I'll have either a Metafit or a spin class instead.

I've taken my measurements as I wonder if that's a better indicator of change than my weight (plus, the thought of standing on the scales makes me cry). I decided that for a new workout I need some new additions to my gym kit - these are what I have my eye on.

001: This sports bra from Shock Absorber has been on my wishlist for a rather long time, now. I really like the idea of having a zip at the front, because I do sometimes find that when I'm doing crunches on the mats on the floor, bra clasps dig in and hurt my back. I've only read good things about this brand (and a great review on Where Are My Knees? of this very bra, in fact) so I'm confident that this will be worth the money!

002: I read conflicting articles all the time, it seems, about how often you should change your trainers. I don't seem to have any problems with my current pair, although they are looking a little scuffed, but I've had them for about 18months now and I'm wondering if it might be time for a new pair. There's just so much choice out there! I'd pick a pair of these Nike Zoom Structure shoes, as I've had no problems with my previous pairs of Nikes and I think they'd be well structured which is imperative for all of the different things I do at the gym.

What are you wishing for this week?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Party frocks and Pixie Dust..

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Jacquard Midi Dress: ASOS
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Pixie Dust Heels: Irregular Choice
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Last weekend I needed an outfit for a little party gathering I was hosting. I'd had my eye on this dress on the ASOS site for who-knows-how-long and I couldn't wait to wear it once I'd finally taken the plunge and ordered it, so it seemed to be the perfect choice.

Whilst I'm not sure I would call this fabric "jacquard", it's a lovely, floaty dress and the colours are really nice. The shiny finish reminds me of birthday party dresses from being a kid.

Some speedy outfit photos taken shortly before folks began to arrive. I zoomed around to tidy up a little heap of disgarded party dress options before that happened!

I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to give my Pixie Dust heels another wear, after their debut last week when they made it into the #irregularchoicechallege, which is still going strong.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Posh Frocks and Wellies..

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Dress: ASOS Salon

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Wellies: Topshop

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Last week we had a leaving party for a girl who helps with my friend's guide unit. The theme she chose was a "Posh Frocks and Wellies" garden party, so we brought cakes aplenty, set up the croquet and big lawn games such as chess and connect 4 up on the lawn outside the hall.

We also had a bit of crafting (we are guiders after all) as all units have been asked to produce rosebud brooches to be given out to visitors to our stand at the Flower Show next month. All to do with the fact that Brownies used to be called "Rosebuds" and this year marks 100 years of Brownies. I think it's a cute PR stunt; I just hope we make enough across the county.

Here was my attempt at "posh frock and wellies". I picked up this ASOS Salon dress for next to nothing on eBay, after being sad that I'd missed out on it when it was first online. It's got a pretty, cut out section at the back, which I rather like, as well as the obvious features I'm general drawn to: bright floral print, full skirt, etc.

How do you dress for a theme?