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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

December will be magic again..


I'm sure I'm not the only person who is wondering how it's the end of 2014 already!?! December has been pretty rad, to be fair. Obviously the big excitement was Las Vegas; my first holiday in a lot of years (although work as well).

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Vegas, baby! 
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Unsure what the face was about here- possibly I didn't like this mocktail?
After Vegas I was pretty poorly and out of action with a kidney infection for a few days, which was pretty rotten. I'd put the pain down to jet lag to begin with but it got worse and I'm not sure I've ever known anything like it. I spent almost three days in bed and hated myself for how behind I was getting with festive preparations.

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Jumped on the bandwagon with this Asda bedding

I did manage to find time to sew a few Xmas dresses and to finish icing the Christmas cakes I made last month. 

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I also spent a lot of time catching up and socialising with friends. I met one of my best friends and we started a night out at our new favourite crepe cafe. 

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I went to visit Sarah and managed to take the wrong present, so ended up having to post it to her anyway in a last minute panic. I did get to see The Best Christmas Jumper Ever, though. 

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And I did a bit of shopping. Shocker. What is actually shocking is that I'm planning a shopping-free 2015. More on that soon. 

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How did your December go?

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Tuesday Titles 032..

Anna
Anna and the French Kiss (Anna & the French Kiss 1)
Lola
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna & the French Kiss 2)
Isla
Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna & the French Kiss 3)
Jumping on another book bandwagon, I picked these three up from Waterstone's when I found myself with a voucher to spend recently. I've heard a lot about them and was intrigued. I read them all when I was ill in bed with the kidney infection a couple of weeks ago and they kept me entertained. Well, OK, entertained might be a little strong.

Anna and the French Kiss is the first of the series (I'm not actually sure whether they're to be read as a series or not; the books stand alone nicely, but there is some overlap with some of the characters, so I guess it's best if they are read in the correct order.) and is set in Paris, where Anna starts at the boarding school she's sent to, by her parents. She mopes a little and misses her boyfriend, but soon gets distracted by new friends and a new potential love interest; Etienne St. Clair, who would be perfect was it not for the fact he already had a girlfriend (oh, and that one of their other mutual friends is quite obviously in love with him).

OK, so the characters are quite annoying, in that way that only upper-middle class entitled American teens can be. And the storyline is a little predictable. And Anna is rather annoying in her hypocritical ways. She falls out with her best friend from Atlanta over a boy, before doing the exact same thing in Paris and expecting her new friends to be fine with it. Hmm.

I carried on with the series, mostly because I didn't have any other books with me. Lola and the Boy Next Door was next. I liked Lola better as a protagonist, partly because of her crazy sense of style. I do like mad dressers, after all. I also had higher hopes for the storyline here, as Lola's fear when her old neighbours moved back in suggested something gritty had gone on in the past, so I was expecting drama.

Turns out that the drama was that Lola hadn't been invited to a party and held a lifelong grudge, so again the story fell a little short for me there. A little relationship drama, she's torn between her rockstar boyfriend who her parents hate and the almost-perfect boy next door, for a little while, but she makes her mind up and things resolve themselves. And I'm on to the third and final book.

Isla and the Happily Ever After takes us back to the Parisian boarding school where one of the group from the first book has been left behind when his friends from the year above have all moved on to college. It's OK, though as Isla has been in love with him "forever" and he finally notices her. Cue romance. Josh is also an aspiring cartoonist, so shows Isla the comic strip he's been working on of his life thus far. (This means that about a chapter is filled with a bit of a recap of the first book, in comic book format.) Another slightly odd love triangle here, with Isla being jealous of Josh's ex-girlfriend (even though this relationship actually did end before she was on the scene) and Josh being a little jealous of Isla's best friend, Kurt.

The third book ends as neatly and predictably as the first and second, and with all the ends tied up, it seems this is the end of the series. I'm not heartbroken about this, it has to be said. I've not read a lot of YA fiction for a while now, so I'm not sure whether this is representative of the genre at the moment. I'm still not entirely sure what all of the fuss was about with these, though.

Have you read this series? And would you agree?

Monday, 29 December 2014

Vegas: Venetian and Palazzo..

My second day of Las Vegas sightseeing began with a walk to The Venetian. I'd been recommended to visit this one by my grandparents as it's their favourite of the casinos. It's really lovely, with faux lakes and gondolas both inside and out. 


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Dress: Handmade // Bag: Grafea
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Having never actually visited Italy (I know, I know; it's on the list) I'm not sure how true to life it is, but it certainly didn't feel as though I was in the middle of Nevada when I was inside. I went back in an evening later in the week and loved the fact that the lights are turned down to replicate the outside light. 


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Walking through the Palazzo shopping arcade at The Venetian, everything just seems so decadent. Of course, as with everything else on The Strip, it's all huge. Even the ongoing building work is really nicely presented.

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Of course everything was decorated to the nines for Christmas. It was so hard to remember that it was only a couple of weeks before Christmas as the weather and the fact I was in the desert just didn't make me (the biggest Scrooge ever) feel Christmassy at all. 

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I think it was probably my favourite of all the casinos I visited. 
 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sunday Shoes 067..

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Since featuring them on my wishlist a month back, I've rather been stalking these Hamble Oak brogues on the Clarks site. I finally picked them up in Solihull last weekend as they were just a cute as I remembered in real life.

I love the ribbon tie laces, and the colourful tweed combined with the rich oxblood colour. I plan to wear a lot of them with thick winter tights and dresses maybe?

Have you snapped up any sales bargains?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Dashing through the snow..

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Jumper: Oasap*
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Skirt: Vintage (bought in Leeds)
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Sandals: Topshop
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This jumper is one of those things I'm never quite sure about styling. I'm a fan of the oversized knit look on other people, but fear that on me it just looks frumpy and I usually cop out and wear it with a pair of shorts and some thick tights.

I figured I'd try to dress it up instead, with this leather skirt. It's a vintage one, which I assume has been refashioned as it's got a strange zip at the centre front which goes from the bottom to the top. Seems weird to me.

I added the heels as I think they're quite festive as well and they pick out some of the colours in the jumper. Plus I'd have still felt like a frump in anything flat.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Little house..

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Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 2444 in this fabric)
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Creepers: Irregular Choice
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Cardigan: New Look
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Christmas Pudding Bag: Tu
Somehow I managed to find time to make another couple of Christmas dresses before the big day itself, so here's one of them. Sarah and I both came home from the quilting show with this fabric. I just sort of packed my festive fabrics away and assumed I'd have plenty of time in December to make Christmas dresses. Pah.

Anyway, I love this little house print. I think this is the third house print dress I've made this year. And there's at least one more on my fabric wishlist. Obsessed much? I'm not usually a fan of white backgrounds but I think there are so many colours in the print that I can get around it by teaming with reds and greens and blacks.

I've been using my Christmas pudding bag as much as possible in the run up to Xmas itself as well. It's pretty cute and a good size to carry the essentials.

Today is kind of my actual Christmas as I'm off to spend it with family. My sister was working Christmas Day so we had to postpone.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Feliz Navidad..

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Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 2444 using Riley Blake fabric)
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Fur stole: Maggie Mae's Vintage
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Heels: Irregular Choice
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Parcel Bow Necklace: Charming Charlie

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Merry Christmas!

Actually not sure this will be my Christmas Day outfit, but I'm writing this in advance and it was a party outfit which I loved on Monday evening, so here it is. I'd been stressing at the weekend that whilst I'd finally finished my sewing for others, that I still have a heap of festive fabrics which I'd not yet made into dresses. But I found some time on Sunday night to make this one up, and made another one on Monday night when I couldn't sleep, so I have made a few at least. 

I picked this necklace up from a cute little jewelry store in Las Vegas. I'd been on the lookout for a new watch - it's been years since I last wore one but would like to start again. As with most things, though, I know what I want in my head, I just haven't seen that in the shops. Yet. 

The stole is new to me as well. I've been eyeing this one up for a while now in one of my local vintage stores and decided that Christmas was the time to finally get it, to finish off all of my Christmas outfits. Although it would help if the weather were a little colder. (Snow would be nice.)

Anyway, hopefully everyone is having a lovely day, filled with all of the things which make it wonderful for them. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Robot Christmas..

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Jumper: Matalan // Velvet Skirt: Primark

Last week I did something rather out of character for me and embraced the festive knitwear thing. I'm usually such a Scrooge, but I love this jumper so much that I was pleased for a chance to wear it again. It, same as the ski one did this year, came from the men's section at Matalan last year. So much cuter than the dreadful innuendo ones which seem to be marketed at women.

I even matched my glasses to my jumper for extra festive cheer! Are you feeling Christmassy yet? I never seem to find I get that excited about it; family occasions stress me out more than relax me.


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Glasses: Scout // Boots: Faith // Tights: H+M

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

So don't worry they tell me hell's the hippest place to be..

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Serenity dress: Tatyana Boutique
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Coat: Marks and Spencer
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Heels: New Look
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Bow Belt: Tatyana Boutique
I'm not often nervous about doing things but last week I had some second thoughts about going to a dinner I'd agreed to. I'm not sure why, because when I got there, I had a great night.

I'd already decided what to wear. I bought this dress from Tatyana's Boutique in the Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace, when I was in Vegas. I really love the overlay effect of the tulle, although when I tried it on when I got home, I wasn't sure if the underskirt maybe ought to be a little longer...

Anyway, I'd been given some spending money to treat myself with, so I put it towards this dress and one other as they had a buy one, get one half price promotion running on their dresses. I'd done a little research before I went and knew that this was what used to be Bettie Page, so had planned to visit, and I'm glad I did.

Not much more to say about this outfit. The shoes are old favourites, and this coat has been getting a lot of wear lately, but I'm still not bored of it. It's doing better than most things!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Vegas wardrobe..

This post should probably be entitled: how I coped with a capsule wardrobe. Because I kind of did.
This is what I packed for the week, including travelling:

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11 dresses, four pairs of shoes (1x trainers, 1x sandals, 1x wedges and 1x heels), 2 cardigans, 2 jumpers, 1 jacket and a small handbag for evenings. Accessories-wise I took 1 pair of sunglasses, 2x necklaces, 2x earrings and 1 bracelet. I also took my Grafea camera bag with me, as a daytime bag / hand luggage.


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Sunglasses: F+F* // Dress: Handmade // Jumper: F+F* // Trainers: Liberty x Gola

I didn't really thing about taking photos until a little while into the trip, but hey ho. 

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Dress: Handmade // Sequin Cardigan: H+M // Tights: ASOS

I didn't really know what the weather was going to be like at this time of year and it was a bit of a mixture. I wore everything I took with me; on some days I was glad of the long-sleeved jumper, whilst on some it was a good job I'd brought sunglasses. 

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Dress: Handmade // Heels: Irregular Choice // Belt: vintage
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Dress: Handmade // Leggings: Miss Selfridge

To be fair, there is nothing I took which I didn't wear, and yet I didn't wear any outfit twice. I got a lot of wear out of my Liberty trainers, which I wore most days with lace socks. I'm amazed at how well I coped but I don't think I'll be a capsule wardrobe convert anytime soon.