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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Step into my office, baby..

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Blouse: H+M // Skirt: Matalan
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Collar Clips: Flapper Doodle
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Heels: Primark
No shoes post this week, mostly because the days seem to have sped by and I didn't have time to take any photos - crazy, right?! Here's one of my more work-appropriate office outfits from the week. I had to deliver a training course all day for several people and also had a couple of horrible work-related issues to resolve.

A tough day, indeed. But I'd had this outfit in mind when I spotted this blouse in H+M last weekeend. I figured it would be perfect for these collar clips, which I love but don't wear a lot because I don't often wear collared shirts. And a leather pencil skirt, just because.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Six in the morning baby, I got a long day ahead of me..

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Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 2444)
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Beret: Primark
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Clutch Bag: ASOS
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Boots: Irregular Choice
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Trench Coat: F+F
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Earrings: Tackys
A quickly thrown-together outfit from last Saturday morning. I'd literally only just finished the dress and was for some reason determined to wear it right away. I really like this hedgehog print fabric, more so now it's a dress than I did when I bought it, which is sometimes how it goes.

I think the rest of the outfit all just kind of happened around the dress. I knew I'd need a mac as it was a little rainy, but not very cold. And the Irregular Choice shoes were a new-to-me purchase, which had just arrived,  and I didn't want to waste any time in wearing them, either.

The clutch bag was something I featured in a recent Friday Favourites post, and decided to order when I sold a few of the clothes I'd listed on my Instagram sale page. I love the 3D effect of it's flowers and sequins, but think it would be a much better design if it had a handle attached, as I'm worried that clutching onto it is going to dislodge some of the embellished detail.

Huge earrings, also new-to-me via a seller I found on Instagram, and a beret to hide the fact that my hair is always a mess, lately. It's all a bit mental, but I was told it was all very "me", which I'm just going to take as a compliment and move on.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday Favourites 110: Pepa Loves

Pepa Loves Rabbit Bag
001: Rabbit Handbag39,90€
Pepa Loves Gillian Dress
002: Gillian Eiffel Tower Print Dress69,90€ 
Pepa Loves Cat Alexis Top
003: Alexis Cat Print Top39,90€
Pepa Loves is a site which has been on my radar for a while now; with it's cute styles and quirky prints, it's right up my street. Here are some of my current favourites.

001: I love the colour of this bag, as well as of course, the rabbit charm on the front. It looks as though it would be the perfect size for keeping all of the essentials in and I think the tassel on the zip pull is super cute.

002: This Eiffel tower print dress is just fab. The print is really cute, as is the sailor style collar with the stripe details.

003: As with the other items, I think it's the details on this cat print top which make it for me. The scalloped edges on the sleeves and the cute Peter Pan collar. Combined with the bright and colourful cat print, I think it would be perfect with my red taffeta midi skirt.

Have you shopped with Pepa Loves before? I've just placed my first order, and can't wait to share what I've bought.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Don't take your love to town..

Spoiler alert: I'm talking about coats again.

Everyone's no doubt seen the photos of this season's stand out Primark must-have. This oversized check coat. Being the coat-obsessed fiend that I apparently am, it caught my eye and I'd planned to look for it next time I pass by a Primark store.

But then, I spotted this, which I think might be the perfect "dupe". Incidentally, I'm not a fan of that term, but I couldn't think of anything else which fitted the concept.

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Coat: unbranded (via eBay)
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Dress: People Tree
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Underwear Courtesan Heels: Irregular Choice
In another coat search on eBay, I came across this one, just listed as "checked coat". Looked as though it was relatively oversized, I liked the colours and it cost me all of £1.04. When it arrived, I was sort of reminded of the Primark one, and having looked at the photos, it looks more and more like THAT one, so I was rather pleased with the purchase!

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Necklace: Miss Selfridge
In fact, I'm pleased with the rest of the outfit too. Feeling particularly uninspired, I spotted this People Tree dress on the rail and realised it was a while since I'd worn it. I then also discovered that I'd not yet worn these shoes for my #irregularchoicechallenge, which sort of made my day as they're one of my favourite pairs! They have tiny underwear print on them and I actually have an earlier, more round-fronted version as well, but I loved them so much that I couldn't resist a back up pair.

And as for the necklace? Well, someone at work reminded me of this the other day, so when I saw this pendant I knew I had to wear it.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

#bloggerbookswap update..

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Just a quick update as today is actually insane. I have sent out all of the #bloggerbookswap emails now, so if you haven't had one and expected one, let me know as soon as you can!

 Happy swapping and I'd love to see links to your posts if you do them.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

#irregularchoicechallenge Days 144-162..

ICC Days 145-153
ICC Days 154-162

Another round-up from the #irregularchoicechallenge. For previous pairs worn, see this post.

In this batch, I've finally worn Kim Bow - I think this was my favourite outfit of this set. I also managed to wear some of the pairs of flats I'd forgotten I had (Days 155 and 153) and my first (of three) pairs of Prom Princess (Day 161), which I can assure you is much more sturdy than it looks from the shape of the heel.

In this lot, I also wore a pair which is my favourite, by far. Audrey Loves, the knitted tiger heels I wore for Day 162 are my favourite pair of my whole collection. They have a lot of memories associated with them (so much so that for a while I was considering leaving them out of the challenge altogether) and I'd never worn them before, but I just decided wanted to. Weird. I love them and will probably wear them more now that I've got the first wear out of the way.

Day 147 is a new-to-me pair; Toodle Loo were a pair I'd been trying to find for a while, and recently secured via eBay. Day 156 was one of my first pairs of Irregular Choice and I was convinced I must have already worn them, but apparently not until now.

Any favourites here? I keep finding pairs which I'd forgotten about, and it's getting to the stage where I'm having to check each day to make sure I'd not worn these pairs yet.

Monday, 25 August 2014

So long sweet summer..

Whizzing towards the Autumn as we seem to be, it seemed the perfect time to reflect on the summer by filling in the Summer Tag post, which Hannah tagged me to take part in last week.

So, without further ado, my answers:

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1. What's your favourite thing about summer?
This is always going to be the sunshine. Being outside in the summer is awesome, be it by the sea, or just going about my usual things in a warmer state. The world just seems a lot happier when the sun is shining. As do all of the beautiful flowers and plants which are about, the bees buzzing around at the allotment. That smell of the rain, when it rains for the first time in ages.

2. Do you have a favourite summer drink?
Not really. I still live on coffee and water, I guess. 

3. Is there a location you prefer to go to in the summer?
Always the seaside, although that answer would be the same whatever the season. I just find there's something so relaxing about being by the sea.

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4. Favourite makeup look for summer?
I'm such a hopeless girl - it's been about ten years since I last wore any make up.


5. Dresses or skirts?
Always dresses, because then you have a whole outfit without having to worry about what top to wear. 
6. Sandals or ballet pumps?


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Always sandals; I hate it when my feet get too hot.
This summer, I was treated to my first pair of jelly sandals in twenty years - awesome, right?

7. Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for summer?
My hair pretty much does what it likes. I try to let it get on with it. 

8. Deep smoky eyes or bold lips?
(None. See 4.)

9. Favourite perfume for summer?
I don't seem to change my favourite perfume that often, so continue to wear all year round. Currently I wear JPG Classique every day.

10. Last but not least, favourite music for the summer?
Well, I listen to all of my music (and it's an eclectic mix), but artists which remind me of summer include Lana del Rey (Born To Die), Belle and Sebastian (Dear Catastrophe Waitress) and The Verve (Urban Hymns) because they all remind me of lovely summertime memories, at college, Uni or more recently, out in the sunshine. 

It's been a good'un, Summer. See you next year.

If anyone wants to join in with the tag, I'd love to see your answers. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sunday Shoes 058: Irregular Choice Speech Bubble Flats..

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IC Speech Bubble

So, these are not a new pair of shoes, but that's OK. In fact, I wore them recently and was asked what some of the speech bubbles say, so I thought what better way to share them, then to dedicate a shoe post to them.

Called Speech Bubble and with the infamous mushroom-shaped toe detail, these Irregular Choice flats were released in 2004. I bought them a long while after that, on eBay though. I don't think I'd actually worn them until I got to them in the challenge.

They're super comfortable and easy to wear, so there's no real reason for them to sit neglected, except for the fact that I just don't wear flats that often.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Laura Ashley Latest..

LA AW14 Floral
Floral Print Dress: Laura Ashley
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that when I was in Stratford, I couldn't resist picking up a new Laura Ashley dress. This is by far their standout dress for the AW14 season, for me, and I definitely couldn't leave the store without it. Any excuse to feed my Laura Ashley obsession!

Irregular Choice Kim Bow
Kim Bow heels: Irregular Choice
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Cardigan: Matalan
Although the cotton sateen is nice and light, meaning there's nothing wrong with wearing it when it's sunny, there's something about the mixture of colours that had me save it for a chillier day.

I paired it with my Kim Bow heels. They struck me as the perfect match for this, so I was glad that I'd not worn them already for the #irregularchoicechallenge. The octopus necklace was a present which my sister brought back from China for me, a few years ago, and I finished the whole lot off with my trusty grey-ish cardigan. It basically reminds me of a school cardigan, and I wear it with just about anything to make it "work-appropriate". (In my mind, anyway).

Octopus Necklace
Octopus Necklace: Gift
Laura Ashley AW14 Floral

Are you getting excited about the new A/W collections hitting the stores? It's almost coat(buying) season!!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Friday Favourites 109..

H+M Coat
001: Bell-Shaped Coat, £69.99, H+M
Ricky Raccoon
002: Ricky Racoon Bag, £25, Accessorize
Sod it, I'm jumping on that "IT'S AUTUMN!" bandwagon which everyone seems to be on this week. It doesn't take an awful lot to get me shopping for coats, being the world's biggest self-confessed coataholic, so a little miserable weather will do and here we are.

001: This coat is not only a cute shape for wearing over dresses (important when dresses are one of your wardrobe staples, like me) but is also made from some rather super-cute fabric. I think I'm in love. Plus, I don't even own any other coats in this colour, which I probably ought to take as a sign that I need it, right?
I actually had a dream about getting a rail for my coat collection, so that I could display them all better. I'm odd.

002: Always a fan of a quirky handbag, this racoon from Accessorize would be a welcome addition to my collection for Autumn. He's got an across-body strap and enough space for all of the essentials. And he's only little, so it'd be mean to leave him out in the big wide world to fend for himself.

Have you started embracing Autumn / Winter trends yet? Got your eye on anything?



Thursday, 21 August 2014

Recipe: Pilgrim's Choice Crumbles..

I take it you've all been outside this week? So, you'll be with me when I say the approach of Autumn seems to be inevitable. I don't know about you, but for me the A/W decline means comfort food. And when I think of comfort food, I think of mashed potatoes, stews, or my best of all..cauliflower cheese.

So, with cauliflower cheese on the brain, I found it pretty easy to decide what to make when Pilgrim's Choice challenged me to put their new Crumbles range to the test.

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Crumbles Challenge Collage2

Easy as pie, and perfect as a side dish, here's what I did:

  • After putting my cauliflower in a pan of boiling water to cook, I melted 2oz of butter with 2oz flour over a low heat. 
  • Once that was all combined, I added about a pint of milk and stirred it in. Bring this up to the boil and allow to simmer gently. 
  • I then measured out 6oz of the cheese and added that in to the white sauce, stirring in until it was fully melted.
  • Once that was done, I drained the cauliflower and combined the two in a serving bowl and we had it with our Sunday dinner. 
So, my verdict on the cheese? Well, Pilgrim's Choice say that Crumbles are 4mm diced cubes. I'd say that they were more like bags of grated cheese, to be honest (although it's possible that that happened in transit!). They melted easily and have the regular mature taste you'd expect from Pilgrim's Choice cheddar.

Although I've seen them in stores, I've never bought into the "pre-grated" cheese phenomenon before, but I guess it's a definite time-saver. For this recipe I used the "mature" flavour, but the range also includes Mature with Black Pepper, and Mature with Breadcrumbs and Herbs, which I have plans to use for this recipe.

What's your favourite cheese-based recipe? Is this weather making you think of comfort food, too?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Butterfly swan song..

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Dress: Handmade (SewOverIt 'Betty' bodice w/gathered skirt)
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Necklace: eBay
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Paisley Swan Heels: Irregular Choice
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OK, so this might not be the most exciting or inspiring of outfits. And yet, I really liked it when I wore it on Saturday.

This beautiful butterfly fabric was on my Frumble wishlist, but I was treated to it by Peugeot as part of the #RandomActsofJoy campaign they've been running on twitter. I made this dress up as soon as the fabric arrived.

I chose to use the Betty bodice, but to add a gathered skirt instead of the circle from the pattern, mostly because of the amount of fabric I had to work with. I really like how it's turned out, though. I also love the way that the colours in the print make it easy to wear with just about anything.

I was astounded when I looked back through the photos and realised I'd not yet worn these swan heels. I guess because I wore the boot version very early into the whole thing that I'd been thinking I'd worn these. I hadn't, until Saturday. They're one of the first pairs of Irregular Choice heels I bought and every time I take them for new heel tips (like, maybe twice, but "every time" sounds better), my hilarious shoemaker is always like "Oh, aren't these heels crazy". He clearly doesn't know me, as I'd class these as pretty staid.

The necklace, similar to things I've seen in just about any high street store in the past few months, was about £4 from eBay and although it was a little longer than anticipated, I really like it. Tacky flower jewellery isn't going to go out of fashion with me anytime soon, that's for sure.

I keep losing track of the days this week. I think because I was feeling poorly yesterday and skipped out on my spinning class, it's thrown me all off-kilter. I did go back this morning, for Metafit, as my gym guilt got the better of me, but that may not have been the wisest of decisions. I came pretty close to fainting a couple of times. Yuck.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

New #GuideUniform and why we should be backing this..

Last week, as one of the PRAs for my county, I received a press release from Girlguiding about the release of the new Guide uniform. As with all of their press release info, it was super helpful and contained ideas for things to tweet about, and answers for FAQs we may have to deal with.

(As an aside, I'm not entirely sure my county really *gets* Twitter, as barely anyone seems to interact with us on it, but it's good to be prepared.)

New #GuideUniform
As for the uniform itself, I knew it was coming, but this was the first time I'd see the pictures. Whilst I don't think that the media picked the best shots, by far, once some of the more "official" photos were released, I was somewhat pacified. Yes, it's different to what we have at the moment, but change can be a good thing, right?

There are many pieces, but I've chosen this photo because it's remarkably similar to the kind of thing my guides have been wearing to our meetings for the past year or so. A uniform top and/or zipped top, with a skirt and tights / sandals / leggings etc. The only difference here is that the skirt is also a(n optional) uniform piece. I know that those girls, who were not consulted in the new uniform idea process at all, have asked in the past about a skirt, so that suggests to me that Girlguiding have got it right. I'm also sure that some of the other pieces will appeal to other girls in other units, and it's nice that there is a wide range in order that girls can pick and choose what they want to wear, but still be wearing uniform.

Sadly, it seems that not all leaders feel the same. I refuse to link to the DM article, but it was published at the weekend to highlight some of the negative response which members, leaders and commenters have been sharing about the uniform changes. If you do read it, also read this: This is a wonderful response. I think all the negativity is really sad, firstly because: if you're a leader, it's not meant for you. No, you weren't part of the consultation, but you also won't be expected to wear it, so why would you expect to be asked? Secondly, if your girls haven't yet seen the new uniform, it's not fair to push your opinions on them. Negative public comment like this reflects badly on the organisation as a whole.

In the more extreme cases, I've even seen leaders threatening to leave Girlguiding altogether, because they don't like the uniform. Frankly, I think that's a childish reaction. We've seen it before, with the Promise and not one of the leaders I know of personally who made that comment with the introduction of the new Promise has actually left their role. What exactly is a comment like that supposed to achieve?

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I love the fact that, given all of the recent work which Girlguiding have been doing to promote body confidence, that was one thing which was in the forefront of the designers' minds when they were working on the new uniform. The design team had input from 150 guide units and used their ideas as the basis for their inspiration, which is great - girl-led guiding, at it's best!

I guess my main point is that if you're a member of an organisation like Girlguiding, you need to embrace and move with it's changes. Things can't stay the same forever, and we are all embracing all of the changes we've made in the past 100 years when looking at the #BigBrownieBirthday. I think we, as leaders, should be proud of the fact that we are taking what our girls are saying and turning it into something with tangible results, be that with the new uniform, or seeing a trip or activity they want to do come together.

Let's set a good example for the girls in our organisation by presenting a united front with this. We need to teach them that change happens, but it can be a good thing.

Have you seen the media hype? What do you think of the new #GuideUniform? How would you react?

Monday, 18 August 2014

I'm so far down, away from the sun again..

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Inca 4 Stripe Tee: SUNDRiED*
When SUNDRiED challenged me to style up their Inca 4 Stripe Tee, I have to admit I felt a little panicked. The tee takes inspiration from patterns of the ancient Inca Empire, an empire which encouraged the worship of the sun and I mean, yes, I love the sun. Like, can't get enough of it, so surely this is the perfect tee for me. But, I'm no surfer and I don't wear jeans. So how was I going to do this justice?

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Camera Bag + Bowler Hat: Accessorize
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Rose Textured Jacket: Dorothy Perkins

After some thought, I decided to layer it up under a pinafore dress (which I may have nabbed from AMillionDresses' wardrobe) for a breakfast date in town. As it was a super cloudy morning, I embraced tights (and was rather glad I did when the wind tried to compromise my modesty!) with some trusty brogues.

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Pinafore Dress + Socks: Topshop

I picked up this bowler hat from Accessorize on Saturday morning for a very reasonable £6 and really love the sequin trim. And the fact that it actually stays on my giant head. And I couldn't resist another opportunity to take out my camera bag.

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Lace Tights: Primark

And another outing for this rose jacket, which I picked up in the Dorothy Perkins sale and posted last week. Recent purchases certainly seem to suggest that I'm all about the textures, lately.
After my initial fear, I was quite pleased with how this outfit came together - even if the skirt is a lot shorter than anticipated.

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Would you like your own SUNDRiED tee? If so, you'll be pleased to know that those lovely folks have created a discount code just for you - be sure to use "INCA" to get 25% off your purchase. Valid until 30 September 2014.

How would you style yours?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday Shoes 057: Irregular Choice Cherry Deer

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Cherry Deer Heels: Irregular Choice
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Last week saw the release of one of the new styles of "character" heels from Irregular Choice. Cherry Deer. I have to admit I saw an unofficial photo of these quite a while ago and had been waiting for their release to be announced, so I was excited when I saw that there would be a choice of a couple of colours.

I got treated to a pair of these, and after some thought went for the black pair as I thought that the pale blue may have been a little too similar to my Flopsy heels.

They arrived a few days later and I was excited to see a new box style as well. The heels themselves are made from the same resin (I think) as the other character heels and they're plenty sturdy, with a large base section. The front of the shoe is covered in a deer print fabric which is edged with ric rac and on the front are bows and cherries.

I think they look rather festive with their colour-scheme, but I already have plans to wear them next month for a day trip as part of my ongoing #irregularchoicechallenge.

I know that the character heels seem to get a rather mixed response, so over to you. Do you love them or hate them?