Friday, 31 July 2015

Friday Favourites 154..

Once I actually allow myself to start looking, it seems there is no end to the number of pretty, retro-inspired items I would love to add to my wardrobe. Here are the two which are at the forefront of my mind this week: 

001: I've waxed lyrical about the beautiful dresses on the Lindy Bop site, recently. But here's one which has only just caught my eye and which I think is topping my list of favourite designs. I already have an Ophelia dress, so I know what a pretty shape it is, but this fabric choice is a total winner for me. I love prints which aren't so apparent until you get closer to them and that's exactly what these birds seem to do.

002: I've spent far too much of my free time on the Unique Vintage site lately. Whilst it's hard to choose just one favourite from a site which hosts most of my favourite US brands, this skirt is one of the things which effectively jumped out of the screen at me. The print, which is hand-printed by The Oblong Box Shop is puffer fish. I love them. I think they remind me of Sharky and George - a cartoon from the 80s. I really love how well the colours seem to match the yellow it's been paired with, too. I don't suppose I'd have thought of that. 

Anything caught your eye this week?

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Vouchers aren't real money, right?

So, a few weeks ago I signed up to take part in a market research opportunity for Tesco. I'm not sure why, other than the fact that it had been sent on by someone I know who works for them and I think they got a bonus for referrals. I did the task, and a couple of weeks later received a £25 F+F giftcard in the post. 

I thought long and hard about whether I should give it to someone else. Is spending a gift card the same as spending money? I figured not. I also made use of one of those Tesco vouchers which comes through the post every few months: "spend £25 on F+F and save £5". Which meant that the cost of these shoes and this cardigan (£30) was entirely covered by the giftcard. I don't feel bad about it. I don't feel as though I've cheated on my plans, as I guess it's no different to receiving a present. 

Plus, y'know....glitter! 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Butterick B6167..

IMG_5168 IMG_5167

This is a dress I finished a little while ago now - back in May to be exact. But I've not yet found the perfect outfit or time to wear it, and I wanted to talk about it anyway. Although I do tend to stick to the same little collection of dress patterns for my makes, every now and then I spy a pattern which I can't wait to try out, when I've found the perfect fabric for it. And this is where Donna came to my rescue.

She sent me this vintage sheet a few months ago, added into one of my #frockswap15 parcels and as soon as I saw it, I knew this would be my first Butterick B6167.

Another pattern from the Butterick Gertie range, which seems to comprise solely of pretty vintage-inspired patterns (incidentally, how pretty is this swimsuit - future project wishlist!) and this is my second dress pattern from the collection. 

This pattern was pretty simple in it's construction. I love the effect of the boned bodice to give some structure in between the ruched section of the bodice and the gathering at the top of the skirt. The straps are pretty simple to make and are one of the last things to add so I was able to try the dress on and figure out where they needed to be stitched, to get the right length.

Have you tried this pattern? I'm trying to decide on a pair of shoes to wear it with!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Tuesday Titles 056..

The Chateau
The Chateau - Irene Thomas

The Sinclair family, torn apart by tragedy, are exposed to media speculation. Mother Veronique is plunged into manic depression and daughter Caterine seems incapable of committing to the prospects of a brilliant academic career. Son, David, takes control, restoring family harmony and happiness. Caterine graduates with an outstanding degree, developing a ruthless ambition to atone for the guilt she feels for that family tragedy. In her subsequent business career Caterine travels extensively achieving many accolades but, in her personal life, love affairs end in sadness and disappointment. During this time, Caterine's sixth sense re-emerges to warn of danger, particularly regarding a close family friend whom she distrusts. Eventually, Caterine finds fulfillment in a loving marriage and happiness prevails. Suddenly as life prospers a mysterious danger confronts her but she fights to defend herself and finds a solution. This "solution" returns to haunt her, to threaten her marriage and her family, while the media wait in anticipation. The question: who can and cannot survive? In this dramatic tale of mystery and suspense set between Scotland and France, we find ourselves witnessing a titanic struggle between love and loyalty versus greed, jealousy and betrayal. The spellbinding conclusion excites the imagination of every reader

I'm not sure why, but my expectations were very different for this book than the reality when I actually read it. I don't know why but the mention of Veronique's mother suffering from manic depression was the part which had resonated with me to begin with. I'd been expecting much more focus on that, for some reason, although perhaps only because my personal circumstances make me hyper sensitive to mention of it.

Anyway, what I actually found was that I had no reason to be wary and the book mostly follows the life of Caterine, for whom things turn out mostly OK. In fact, her life in the wonderful French chateau surroundings is borderline perfect until one fateful night. Something dreadful happens to Caterine and afterwards nothing can ever be the same. Unless, she could keep it a secret. Can she?

The book is wonderfully written with Taylor's fabulous descriptions throwing the reader right into the Scottish and French surroundings. It reminded me of a historical novel, although was actually only set in recent years. And frankly, I was in suspense waiting to find out how Caterine's secret would be discovered.

Have you read anything great, lately?

Monday, 27 July 2015

To market, to market..

Dress: Joules
Cardigan, Satchel: F+F
Sandals: Timeless
Pom Pom Necklace: Gift

This wardrobe clearout has been great for reminding me of some of the things which are still hanging on the rails, not yet worn. This dress, depicting cutesy little French market scenes, is one of those things. Bought in the sale when the Joules store opened in my town, I vaguely remember squirreling it away in one of the wardrobes and there it stayed, until recently where the rail fell out and I had to go through every item one by one to establish whether it was still worthy of a place in there.

Another thing I haven't worn in far too long: this wonderful pom pom necklace, which Alex made for me absolutely beards ago. In fact, here's her tutorial post. I think I like the contrast between the summery pastel print of the dress and the cardigan, and the fact that the woolly nature of pom poms makes me associate them with the colder, winter months. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sunday Shoes 078..


IMG_5092 IMG_5093 

I have a secret wishlist, which only a couple of people know about. Since spying them on Amber's blog, these shoes have been on there. And when I was presented with them a couple of weeks ago, I discovered they are even more perfect in real life than I'd expected! (Thanks, Mama.)

The bow on the front of the shoe is well-structured and solid and I'm really taken by the beautiful polka dot print. Multi-coloured means endless outfit options, right?

Help me - how would you style these ASOS Poppy heels?

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Write me a letter..

IMG_5089 IMG_5091

I know I've mentioned my love of letter-writing in the past. I don't really ever throw my received letters away - it seems a little wrong to disregard the words which someone has taken the time to write down and send to you. 

This year alone I've sent out 65 letters so far. And received much the same.

So, as you can see, my storage is getting rather full. I'm wondering what any of my fellow letter-writers do with their old correspondence. Do you throw them out? Recycle them? I know that I once saw a post by Alice about turning them into a feature. Which is a wonderful idea, but perhaps not totally practical for me. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Friday Favourites 153..

CK Penguins
001: Cath Kidston Penguins Dress
002: Cath Kidston Sausage Dog Brooch

An entirely Cath Kidston wishlist this week. I've found that over the past season, there haven't really been any stand-out pieces for me. Or, I've not liked a feature (like the odd positioning of some ruching or whatever).

However, I take that statement back this season and have reverted to my old CK-loving self.

001: I don't think I can find the words to describe just how much I'd love to have this penguin dress in my life. I'ts my favourite dress of their making, ever. Plus, it's that fabulous bartcloth.

002: I've not really bought into that plastic animal brooch trend which seems to have been taking the world by storm recently (Erstwilder, I'm looking at you) but even so, I'm rather drawn to this little guy. I think his floral coat is a rather cute touch.

What are you wishing for this week?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

What have I forgotten?

Dress: Handmade (Sew Over It Betty pattern) // Shoes: Marks and Spencer
Blazer, Handbag: George* 
Tights: New Look // Necklace, Corsage: H+M

So. A fairly standard work outfit. I kind of feel as though this blazer makes any outfit more work-appropriate. Because otherwise, a dress with teapots on wouldn't be 'totes appropes' for the office? Nor would cat ears. But as soon as you add this magic blazer, I feel suddenly neater. 

My head is pretty full at the moment and I think I'm getting a cold, which is rather poor timing. I hope it doesn't get much worse over the weekend as I'm gearing up for the camp we've been planning for the past couple of years. I'm in that "what have I forgotten?" stage at the moment. But I can't think what I've forgotten.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Dinosaurs are coming back again..

Dress: Chicwish*
Roarsum heels: Irregular Choice
Clutch Bag: Marks and Spencer

Basicially, I think this outfit is the thing I had in mind when I was first shown the preview pictures of these shoes. Because they are so fierce, I really loved the idea of teaming them with something floral and feminine. And then I promptly parked that idea because I couldn't think of anything which quite fitted the bill.

So, when this dress arrived from Chicwish, I decided it was high time to dig out my dinosaur heels for their first outing. I wore this combination to a party at the weekend. I found the shoes got a lot of comments (not many good, but that doesn't bother me as I really like them) and discovered that it's quite tricky to walk in them without catching the inner dinosaur arms on each other. I'm going to have to be careful with these in the future as I don't want to do any damage to the arms.

As for the dress? Well, it was my first item from Chicwish - a site which I've seen mentioned on other blogs. The quality isn't bad for one of *those* cheap overseas sites, and the measurements provided on the website were pretty accurate, which is always a pleasant surprise. The fabric has a kind of satin feel to it, and is nice and thick so it's got a decent quality feel to it, and it seems well made. Overall, although it wasn't my first choice of item, I'm quite impressed.

Ever shopped with Chicwish before? And how would you style up these heels?

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Tuesday Titles 055..

The Bones of You
The Bones of You - Debbie Howells

You know sometimes you read a book and just think everyone in life is so messed up. This is definitely one of those books. 

Rosie, a local girl from the village goes missing. Kate, who has gotten to know Rosie recently through their mutual love of horses, thinks that there is something suspicious about the circumstances and promptly makes a start on trying to find out what has happened. As time passes, Kate's obsession with finding out the truth just grows and grows.

Kate befriends Rosie's family, and in doing so uncovers a plethora of family secrets which had been so well hidden. I found that this book really forced me to question the assumptions I'd made about some of the characters and there were some fairly satisfying plot twists which I'd not been expecting.

Creepy, yes. Dramatic, yes. But very compelling.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Pom pom sequin party..

Dress: Laura Ashley (vintage)
Sequin Cardigan: H+M

Shoes: Red Herring

Bag: Irregular Choice // Necklace: George

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty full, as usual. Beginning a Monday morning feeling absolutely exhausted is beginning to be the norm. I did manage to have a chance to catch up with one of my best friends though, we sat in the hot tub for hours putting the world to rights, and that was the highlight of my weekend. I just wish she lived closer!

Things to do this week include getting ready for a week of guide / scout camp and trying to figure out my latest dressmaking project, which had me confused for a while last night. It's been so long since I made something for myself and looks as though it'll be a little while before I get the chance, so I'm making a little list of projects I want to make once camp is out of the way and I have some spare time.

I really liked this outfit. Worn on Friday as I had a party to go to in the evening and knew I wouldn't have time to go home and change. I really like the colours and these new sandals are fantastically comfortable to wear. And a chance for this Irregular Choice bag to see the light of day again.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sunday Shoes 077..

050010409006_3 IMG_4977[1]

New shoes get me in such a good mood. I remember seeing something similar to these from Topshop, maybe last year or maybe a little longer ago and I think they were called Rabbit or something. I guess because the pom pom looked like a rabbit tail. Not (as my friend asked when she saw these the other day, because the pom pom is made from rabbit fur. It isn't.). 

Anyway, these were a gift this week and I could not be more excited about them. Sandals, but chunky enough that I don't have too much of the gross parts of my feet on show. Pretty pale pink with an ombre heel and a fabulous fluffy pom pom on the front. 

They came from Red Herring at Debenhams and are currently on sale for £24.50, here. I think they might be my new favourite summer shoe.What do you think?

Saturday, 18 July 2015

My heart is on my sleeve..

Dress: Handmade ('Bette' pattern from Sew Magazine)
Necklace: Matalan
Bag: George* // Sandals: Marks + Spencer // Cardigan: Tu

Well, no hearts but something about wearing my feelings anyway. These sloths were the perfect choice for one of my outfits this week, as I am just feeling pretty sloth-like. I don't seem to be able to get enough sleep lately so seem to just be existing, in a kind of sleepy fug. It really sucks.

But, this dress doesn't. I have used the free 'Bette' dress pattern from Sew Magazine so many times now. It's been pretty much perfect on most of my makes, although the soft double gauze of this sloth fabric doesn't seem to work very well with the fact that I finished the neckline with bias binding (I'm a lazy seamstress, what can I say?!) so the neckline seems wider than it should be and wider than it is on other Bette dresses I've made. Waah.

A pretty pale blue handbag from George, and some very low (for me) black sandals which I'd forgotten I had until recently. Very comfortable but perhaps not the most flattering.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Friday Favourites 152..

001: Kate Spade Elephant Bag, £268
Floozie Cat
002: Floozie Cat Ears Headband, £20

So many pretty and cute accessories have caught my eye lately. The recent sunshine must have got into everyone's skin as I suddenly have a lot of parties and evening gatherings to go to, which is great. It's just meaning that I'm looking at things like hats and bags as finishing touches to garden party dresses etc.

001: This elephant bag is the next item on my wishlist from Kate Spade. Yes, it's small. Yes, it's crazy expensive. Yes, it's probably totally impractical. But my goodness, it's cute. And really, how much do you need to carry around for a party?

002: I'm not sure I could pull this headpiece off, but I love the idea of it. Floozie used to be a brand I'd beeline towards in Debenhams for their quirky underwear range but it seems that these days they have even more to offer - shoes, bags and cute accessories. Wouldn't this be the perfect finishing touch for a floral dress and sandals at the races or a wedding?

What's been catching your eye this week?

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Sweet Shop Stripes..

Necklace: Asda // Glasses: London Retro

Dress: Poppy England

Bag: Matalan // Shoes: ASOS

Nothing particularly new or groundbreaking with this outfit. I rediscovered the dress in my wardrobe clearout the other day and realised how long it had been since I last wore it. I've been clearing things out in readiness for a car boot sale on Sunday morning.

I'm still feeling too tired and struggling to focus on getting things done when I want to. I'm not sure how to handle it, really. I guess something has to give, but the obvious thing to give up isn't going to be that easy to disentangle myself from, as I've committed to do certain things for at least the next year and I don't like to let anyone down.

This bag is something I picked up about ten years ago in Matalan. I don't remember ever using it, but rearranging my handbag storage recently meant I found it again and decided it was a keeper, and then that it would go well with the colours in this dress.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


I love a fun little challenge every now and then, so when I was asked if I'd like to take part in the Into The Blue blogger scavenger hunt, I was definitely happy to give it a go.

Each team of bloggers (the other members of mine are Laura, Kel and Ami) gets a different clue sent to them; something which can be found on the Into The Blue website and then we have to take the first letter of each of our four answers and form a word from them. The team who tweets their word correctly first will win an experience day.

So, here goes:

Team 1 Question 2
Here is my clue, and this is the picture I believe is hidden above, so my answer is "Intro toWestern Riding".


Better head over to the other blogs and find out what they've got......! 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Tuesday Titles 054..

The Other Side of the Story
The Other Side of the Story - Marian Keyes
It's a while since I read a Marian Keyes book. I don't know where this one came from, but it appeared in my reading pile a while ago. I think it was part of a book swap parcel.

Unlike some of the other Keyes books I've read in the past, I rather enjoyed this. Yes, the storyline was a little predictable, but the characters had a little more about them than other books I've read.

The narrative flicks between the three main characters: JoJo, Gemm and Lily and although you know that at some point the three worlds will collide, for a while they are satisfyingly separate.

Gemma, who has decided to write a book about her father leaving her mother contacts JoJo, a London-based literary agent who already represents Lily. Lily, who stole Gemma's boyfriend years ago and has already written one bestseller. Surely this can't end well.

There are some other fairly decent supporting characters (as well as a couple of unrealistic sappy ones) and it all wraps up quite nicely towards the end.

The kind of book which kept me occupied whilst on the cross-trainer at the gym last week. but which I wouldn't hold my breath to read again.

Read anything good, lately?

Monday, 13 July 2015

Cowboys and Hearts..

Shoes: Mel // Dress: ? // Cardigan: H+M

So, another week begins after one of those weekends which you could swear had never happened at all, as it didn't think to stick around long enough for you to notice it. 

Mine was mostly filled with Guiding things; I helped out with the BP weekend which a friend was running, and then had a craft stall at a local fete yesterday, in the hope of raising some money towards next year's trip. It wasn't the greatest success, so now I have a boxful of homemade teddy bear brooches, hair bows and strings of bunting and no idea where to try and sell them next.

Clothes swapping has been keeping me sane, lately. This dress arrived in a swap parcel from a penpal the other day and I love it. It's a cowboy print similar to a Michael Miller print I'd had my eye on for a while and reminds me of a Get Cutie skirt I parted ways with a couple of years ago. It's quite a short but full skirt and I decided as it was rainy when I left for work, I'd wear some shoes which are made of rubber and therefore totally waterproof. Genius.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

I feel like I have lost myself and I don't know where I'm hiding..

Lace Dress: George*

Balletomane shoe boots: Irregular Choice
Clutch Bag: River Island

Having a rather important evening out planned this weekend, that common question reared it's ugly head once again. 
What on Earth will I wear?

I'm struggling so much at the moment with my body image and my confidence. I spend most of my days wishing that I looked different, wanting to change things about my appearance and where I used to love putting an outfit together, it's lost all of it's enjoyment factor, of late and I frankly would rather be wearing a paper bag over my head to hide from the world. Reading Maria's post about body confidence really helped me to realise just how bad this situation is getting to me. 

Anyhow. This didn't change the fact that I had to find an outfit for a work-related event. Something which I'd need to go to work first, then travel to, for an evening of networking (blah).  Whilst I don't have a dress code as such at work, I wondered if a homemade dinosaur dress was really the thing. Perhaps not fancy enough for an evening of dinner and whatnot?

Step in George, whose selection of evening dresses really saved the day. They really do have some #GeorgeousDresses lately. When I first saw this one I knew it would be the perfect thing. Well, actually, in reality when I first saw this I wondered when I could have an Audrey Hepburn fancy dress party as it reminded me of this, but the perfect outfit for this event was a close second in the thoughts race.

The bright pink colour of this one is perfect and although close-fitting pencil dresses make me feel a little wary and anxious about my shape, I think the top layer effect helps a little. I also decided to add a fairly simple belt to make the waist more defined and then...let my shoes do most of the talking here. 

Yep, these are the Balletomane heels which I had so many problems with. I ended up being talked into keeping them but as yet hadn't taken the opportunity to actually wear them. So this was their first outing and I think they work quite well with the plain pink of the dress. I had to be pretty careful in them, as walking too hard on the ground makes the musical mechanisms in the heels ping a little, which I'm sure can't be good. 

For the record, I'm still saddened a little by the hassles I had with these shoes. I've received more Irregular Choice shoes as gifts since this episode, but haven't purchased myself so don't have a lot of update as to what the customer service is like these days. Once the year is out and the spending ban has come to an end, it would probably take a lot to get me shopping with them again, but I'm planning to continue to enjoy wearing my existing collection as I do love the shoes I own.

How would you style this dress? Do you think it works OK as a day-to-night outfit? And if you have any tips on gaining some body confidence, please share them!