Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Swim for your life..

Last week, my friend sent me a link to the Aspire Channel Swim challenge and it got me intrigued.

  Aspire Channel Swim
Basically, the challenge is to swim the distance of the channel (22 miles) between September and December, but you can do it in your local pool. As someone who loves swimming, I swim several hundred lengths per week as a matter of course, so I wasn't sure whether this would be challenging enough to be a challenge. I mentioned this to my Nan and she pointed out that the point of it is raising money and awareness for a good cause, so I should do it. 

Aspire work with people who have spinal cord injuries, adapting houses to be accessible for people to live in, and providing them with the equipment needed to keep them mobile, as well as giving them the support they need after an accident or trauma.

Needless to say, I signed up to the challenge the following day and began swimming my lengths yesterday morning. So far, I've completed 320. Since the pool at my gym is a 12.5 metre one, I've used the calculator tool on the site to figure out that I need to complete 2832 lengths to finish the challenge. That should be fine.

If you'd like to follow my journey, or donate to this cause, I've got a Justgiving page here.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tuesday Titles 062..

Life Class
Life Class : Pat Barker
So, this book isn't my usual choice. Amy passed this one on to me when we were away a couple of weekends ago and I got stuck straight in.

Paul is an art student in 1914. After bad feedback from his tutors, he's full of self-doubt, which no doubt makes it easier for him to walk away from his art, and his beloved Elinor, when war breaks out.

Although he isn't accepted into the army, due to previous illness, Paul has a dream to drive one of the trench ambulances and after some time spent assisting in the hospital, he is able to live his dream.

Letters between Paul and Elinor paint the picture (pun intended) of their experiences; first-hand in Paul's case, whilst Elinor tells him of the situation in London, where she has remained and continues to paint. Elinor comes across as a fairly selfish and unlikeable being, in my opinion, and despite the fact it's clear that as the reader, I'm supposed to be rooting for their love story, I really wasn't.

Let me know if you've read this and what you thought?

Monday, 28 September 2015

His boy Elroy..

Jetson Dress: Voodoo Vixen (similar here)
Luxury sandals: Topshop

I've mentioned before that I have recently become aware of Voodoo Vixen dresses and in the past couple of weeks I was very lucky to receive one! 
I really love the retro space pin-up girl print on this, the Jetson dress. In fact, I can't see that one still available on the VV website, although there's a skirt version here.

I used the pinks in the print and the belt to match my cardigan and these velvet sandals, which don't get worn as often as they should! I've also recently been sorting through my tights collection lately and have been trying to make the effort to wear more variety, hence these polka dots.

How would you style up this dress?


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sunday Shoes 083..


A little look into the future on today's Sunday Shoes post. I'll start by admitting that I've never seen any Star Wars films. No, really. Yes, I've heard they're classics, but still. 
So, now we've gotten that out of the way, onto these amazing shoes.
Irregular Choice are known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to their extensive range of character heels, but with these, they've taken it to a whole new galaxy far far away. They have teamed up with Star Wars to put together a collection of new designs which feature all of your favourite characters from the original trilogy, just in time for the new film to be released. 

I think these R2D2 heels are pretty cute. I'm not sure whether his eyes light up or not as I've not seen them in the flesh yet. 

Be aware there are lots of other exciting designs to be released - I'm just not allowed to talk about them yet! 

Are you a Star Wars fan? Would you recommend the films? (I've seen the Family Guy spoofs; does that count?!) 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Best in Show..


I'm not sure where this bag came from originally; I bought it from Emily's blog sale absolutely ages ago now, and I still love it. I couldn't resist this fabric from Elephant in my Handbag - isn't it awesome? I guess it's kind of weird that I think that, considering I'm really *not* a fan of dogs. At all. In the slightest. Particularly ones which allotment folk let run riot around the plots and run right up to you. Or when people are just wandering down the street with their dogs, which come running up to you, and they're all "oh, they're alright!". Um, they might be, but I'm not..
Dress: Handmade (Sew Over It Betty) // Shoes: Marks and Spencer

Anyway, I digress. Despite my dog-weirdness, I like the fabric. I particularly like this dress teamed with this hot pink petticoat, which I've matched to the cardigan and shoes. 

Cardigan: H+M

Friday, 25 September 2015

Friday Favourites 162..

001: Emily and Fin Polar Bear Dress, £59, Aspire Style
Violet enchanting Bird Print Dress Cutout (2)
002: Collectif Violet Bird Print Dress, £17 (!) 

003: Tatyana My Jam Dress, $30 (!)
Oh, so many pretty dresses, so many sales this week. Why must you be such a temptation, Internet?!

001: Okay, so the first dress isn't actually on sale, but it's here because it's fast become my favourite Emily and Fin print, ever. Available from Aspire, this polar bear print is amazing, combining lovely wintry blues and purples and making me think of adding silver tights and some purple boots to head out in the snow. Which we never get, but still. 

002: I fawned over this dress when I was in the Brighton Collectif store, but ended up with these cherries instead. However, the bird print is just beautiful and the dress iteself is so dainty - the perfect vintage shape, in my opinion. And, it's only £17! The Collectif sale is proving very difficult to resist. 

003: Another hard-to-resist sale bargain is this Tatyana jam print dress. In fact, I think the print is more little jars a pop art style chutneys but it's still pretty quirky and retro. Just my cup of tea. And, despite having to be shipped from the US, it's down to $30 in the sale, which I think would make it a bargain even *with* shipping. 

What's caught your eye this week in the sales? 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The naming of cats is a difficult matter.

Audrey Loves heels: Irregular Choice
Dress: Lindy Bop* // Petticoat: Hell Bunny
Shrug: H+M
Star Tights: Primark

Ooh, I do like this dress. I've had my eye on it for oh-so-long on the Lindy Bop website and when it came to spending an Amazon voucher (which I was sent in refund of my Fitbit, which I've had to have replaced three times since having one) I decided it was a bit of a no-brainer when it came to what to spend it on. 

I decided to stick with the stars and cats theme; star tights and my very favourite Irregular Choice heels. These Audrey Loves tiger heels were *the* pair of ICs I'd always hoped to track down when I first began to collect the brand. Many, many years ago, an old boyfriend who knew them to be The Stuff of Dreams, managed to track down a pair for me, and we had a long-running joke between us that I'd wear them for our wedding. Ironic, if you know anything about my views on marriage, but a cute gesture nonetheless.

The shoes have sort of remained my favourites ever since. I don't wear them very often, but they hold a lot of memories of happy times. And just look at their cheerful little faces!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies..


 When I was in my teens, I absolutely couldn't wait to learn to drive. Living in a rural place will do that to you. It was 10 miles to the nearest town, but the bus went through all of the surrounding villages, meaning that the journey time was an hour. Such a pain. 

Needless to say, as soon as I turned 17, lessons started and I passed my driving test a few months later. Since then I guess I've not really looked back. I really like driving and am happy to be the designated driver for nights out - not a chore as I don't drink anyway. 

In fact, I think it's rather great. In the past, when I've had fleeting thoughts about moving to a big city, I've pondered the option of living without a car, but I'm not really sure how one does it. It's like when friends who live in cities tell me that they've not bothered with learning to drive. It was such a fundamental "freedom" thing for me, that the concept doesn't really compute. How do they go places, whenever they feel like it? How do they get their shopping home after a particularly heavy burst of  spontaneous retail therapy?

After ten years or so of driving (mostly commuting, both whilst I was studying at university and since then to and from work, but also weekend excursions to see friends who are located all around the UK), I guess it's natural that sometimes you can get a bit lazy with it, and pick up all kinds of bad habits. Reading through this article researched by Simpson Millar however, filled me with confidence that I'm not doing *that* badly, although I do get a little road-ragey sometimes, so language inside the car can get a little, shall we say, colourful...?

Do you drive? If so, what would you say was your worst driving habit?

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Tuesday Titles 061..

Hangman : Stephan Talty

Another compelling book for your consideration, this week. I picked up Hangman, which has been in my to read pile since last year. Shameful, I know. I just don't read as quickly as I'd like, sometimes. Anyway, it's your typical crime book. 

Hangman, Hangman, what do you see? Four little girls, as cute as can be. The eerie schoolyard chant still sends ripples of horror through North Buffalo. Not so long ago, serial killer Marcus Flynn preyed upon the community’s teenaged daughters—until he was cornered and shot in the head. But Flynn lived, carrying to prison the nickname “Hangman,” along with the secret of his last victim’s fate. Homicide cop Abbie Kearney wasn’t around during Hangman’s reign of terror. She hadn’t yet come home to wear her dad’s old badge in the tough Irish American stronghold known as “the County.” Abbie had never experienced firsthand the horror of Hangman. Until now.
Hangman, Hangman, where do they go? Down on the ground, where the daffodils grow. A corrections officer lies dead, a prison van stands empty . . . and somewhere out there, the monster who condemned innocents to death at the end of a rope watches and waits to strike again. Abbie leads a desperate manhunt through a city driven to its knees by fear, matching wits with a predator as brilliant as he is elusive. But as more victims are claimed, a rising tide of secrecy, paranoia, and politics forces her to realize that stepping beyond the law may be the only way to find justice. Because with each passing hour, the stakes grow higher—and Hangman’s noose gets tighter.

I found this easy to get drawn into from the start, despite not having read any earlier titles in the Abbie Kearny series (of which I think there is only one). This didn't have any detrimental effect on my enjoyment or understanding of the story and it wasn't long before I was coming up with my own theories about the Hangman as he hid from police and continued with his killing spree. 

A definite recommendation if you like suspense. Join the hunt for the Hangman before he claims any more bodies.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Tipsy Elephants..

Heidi Dress: PUG Clothing
Cardigan: Primark
I've been waiting for an opportunity to wear this dress since it arrived with me, several months ago now. I has first fallen for it on the PUG clothing website last year and placed an order in November, but due to some glitch it was cancelled. The next time I checked, this dress had sold out on the main site, but it does still seem to be available via Retro Glam. 

Anyhow, I really love the print, which reminds me of the elephant sequence in Disney movie Dumbo when he drinks the bubbles. 

I wore it a couple of weeks ago, of course with the trusty black petticoat which I don't need a lot of persuading to add to an outfit. for my mum's birthday party. I liked the way my panda shoes matched the colours of the print of the dress. A glittery bag, and my leopard print cardigan which seems to match just about anything (I can see it being one of those things which I wear over and over again until I get bored of it).

Bag: Kurt Geiger
Tian Tian heels: Irregular Choice

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Cactus Jack..

Dress: Emily + Fin* // Necklace: Topshop
This is one of those dresses I've worn heaps of times over the past few months, yet realised only recently that it's not yet been featured on the blog.

As ever lately, the quality of photos is just not very good. It's making me sad, but I hope to sort something out soon. I like the dress, though. I teamed it with these brown tights, to kind of pick out one of the colours in the cowboy print and finished it off with a horse necklace and my beloved Oz heels. 

Oz heels: Irregular Choice // Tights: Dorothy Perkins

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Polka Dots and Bunny Rabbits..

Sandy dress: Lindy Bop // Hat: Vintage
So, this weekend I'm off to hang out with #TeamUnicorn, which I'm rather excited about. Well, I've been told it will consist of plenty of coffee, sewing and exploring time, so I'm all set. No doubt I'll report back. 

I'm not entirely sure what my hands are doing in most of these photos but this week I've learnt that I really miss my camera, as taking photos on my iPhone is not the way forward. If anyone, y'know, wanted to commission me for a sewing project or something, to help with the new camera fund, that would be totally super. [Shameless plug over.]

Anyway, this outfit idea came to me because I noticed the belt and the cardigan next to each other in the wardrobe room the other day and it got me thinking about how they'd go quite nicely together. The wardrobe room is gradually getting more and more tidy; the charity shops in town are gradually acquiring more and more stock - direct correlation there, yes indeed.

I'm still really liking this beautiful cottage bag from Vendula, and the feathers on this hat make me smile. 

Bag: Vendula* // Cardigan: Peacocks
Octavius shoes: Irregular Choice // Tights: ASOS

Friday, 18 September 2015

Friday Favourites 161..

Book of Deer Collage
001 // 002 // 003 // 004

I've been a fan of Book of Deer for a few seasons now, although I only own a couple of their pretty pieces (my jam dress and the grizzly bear skirt). This season, they've come up with even more amazing designs - any and all of which I'd be thrilled to welcome into my wardrobe with open arms!

001: The Stormur Elf skirt features little tiny houses - always a winner with me - embroidered at random across the otherwise demure skirt. I really like the button detail to the front as well.

002: I love the ombre effect of the colour on the Birna Blue Lagoon blouse, and what's more, the tiny little people embroidered around the bottom, who are all swimming in the lagoon. How cute is that?! Plus, y'know, plenty of collar clip potential on that fabulous collar.

003: Just in case the gorgeous pastel house print wasn't enough cuteness on the Reykjavic blouse, there's more. The pretty bow tie to the front is adorned with an embroidered puffin or two - the perfect finishing touch! This is so feminine and lovely. 

004: The Fimm Dress might not be the kind of shape I'd usually go for, but I love the print, and the loose, relaxed and flowing shape of the dress. I can just imagine it looking perfect with a pair of opaque tights and some flat ankle boots.

Have you seen Book of Deer's latest collection? Which is your favourite piece?

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Imitation Game..

Dress: Handmade (Sew Over It Betty)
Belt: Taken from another dress
Cardigan: Primark
Love and Magic Heels: Irregular Choice
So here's my new favourite dress for rather a long while. I made it over the last couple of weeks. Yes, it might look familiar, because I was very heavily inspired by a dress which I recently featured on one of my wishlists. 

I was pretty stoked when I managed to track down the exact same fabric for about £30 including shipping from the US. A damn sight cheaper than the crazy PUG clothing prices, plus fabric spending isn't quite ruled out during my spending ban. Basically, I'm pleased with and and consider it a bargain.

However, I was thinking about the idea of making your own versions of high street clothing. Whenever I consider this, a certain post of Roisin's sticks in my head. Well, more to the point, the comments she received (one in particular) about how she should be careful "copying" another company's work. Is this something other home-sewers ever consider, when making clothes?

Stockings: Tightsplease

Part of the beauty of dressmaking, for me, is that I can take just about any idea and make it my own. Putting my own stamp on something is, I guess, something which really appeals to me. I love the idea of being able to pop into a haberdasher (like the one in Leeds last weekend - more on that later) and choose something with an idea forming in my head of what I'll use it for. Of course, that doesn't happen with every fabric I buy, or acquire, but often I'll have an idea of what I'll make with it. 

I've made my own version of various dresses in the past, as well, so I'm not sure why this has been playing on my mind so much with this one. I guess on others, like my Townhouse Dress, I have changed things, like the sleeve length, but with this one I've kept all of the details pretty much the same, even down to the collar and the belt.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Cherry Red..

Dress: Collectif // Cardigan: H+M // Petticoat: Hell Bunny
Hearts on the Line heels: Irregular Choice* // Bag: LYDC

This was my outfit on Saturday for my annual little jaunt to Leeds to watch the Northern Ballet matinee. This year, we saw their adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, which was fabulous despite being perhaps an odd choice to adapt as a ballet. It's been a long time since I read the book - I remember choosing it from the library van when I was about 14.

My dress, complete with a full petticoat underneath, made me feel all swishy all day, although it was always in the way when I got in the car or had to shuffle through the row to my seat at the theatre. A small price to pay, though. The dress is the wonderful Dolores in cherry print from Collectif - a present from Brighton, where I felt like a kid in a sweet shop in the Collectif store, particularly when we realised there was a whole section of sale items upstairs! 

Tapping up the wardrobe room for some red accessories, I decided it was definitely time for the bus bag to have another outing. I love that this is big enough to tote a book around with me - an essential in my opinion! 

A pair of Irregular Choice heels (last worn here) and a red cardigan and I was all set. If I were more brave I'd have maybe attempted some red lipstick, but I think that's a step too far for me.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Tuesday Titles 060..

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
OK, I did it. I left my current book at home when I stayed at Alex's last weekend so I picked up Fangirl from her bookshelf. I wasn't so sure about reading this, as I didn't seem to enjoy the previous Rainbow Rowell books as much as other people have (I guess I didn't really *get* Eleanor and Park).

I'm not sure whether I was just feeling more as though I needed a fairly light and fluffy read, or what, but once I got going with Fangirl I finished it within the day. I enjoyed it more than I recall enjoying my previous Rowell reads.

Twins Cath and Wren are off to college. Having spent most of their lives thus far doing everything together, Wren wants to put some space between them. She'd rather not share rooms, and Cath feels as though she's being left behind.

The premise is quite relateable to just about anyone off to face university or college for the first time, I think. You're not necessarily going to grow up and find your place at the same speed or in the same was as everyone else, and I guess Fangirl works to remind people that this is OK.

Throughout the book there are references to a Simon Snow series (similar to Harry Potter, I think) which the twins have spent years writing fan fiction for. I've heard that one of Rowell's upcoming books is to be a Simon Snow one. Unsure about that one.

Have you read Fangirl? If so, I'd love to know what you thought.

Monday, 14 September 2015

t*rexes and tiaras giveaway


It's high time we had another giveaway around these parts. Just because. I know it's been fairly obvious that lately I've been losing my way with my blog a little, and I guess I'm running this as a little thank you for sticking around. 

I've collected together a few little things (I made the bag and the hair bows) and it's not much, but I'm sure I'll add to the pile by the time the winner is picked out. This reminds me of the good old days, when blogs ran things like this quite often, and didn't have to be sponsored by anything.

Open to all who follow the blog, and runs until next Tuesday (22nd Sept) when a winner will be chosen at random.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunday Shoes 082: Irregular Choice Throw a Six

Throw A Six heels: Irregular Choice
Irregular Choice are becoming seriously known for their iconic quirky heels (with an upcoming collection of Star Wars heels to celebrate the new film out soon being their next big thing).

These dice heels almost totally passed me by. I think the marketing info were circulated when I was away and I'd almost not realised they were even happening. And yet, shortly after release day, there they were. Upon unwrapping them, I was soon convinced that I liked them a lot more in person than I thought I did in theory, and here's why.. 

Throw A Six is the shoe version of the dice heels range and come in either red/white or black/white. The black and white colourway appealed to me more, because it meant that the stacked dice heels were black and white rather than red and white, which just seemed more "proper" to me. Weird, I know. 

The heel is made up of what looks like many dice, stacked up on top of one another to create a kind of blocky heel which manages to be completely sturdy and yet look incredibly precarious at the same time.
The rest of the shoes might be monochrome, but they're in no way boring. I love that here are polka dots adorning the fronts and backs of the shoes and the scalloped edges around the edges add another lovely detail to it.
Unbelievably, for one of the IC "statement" heels, it's a couple of weeks since their release and all of the styles still seem to be available, so you can still get your hands on some. There's a boot version, too. 

What do you think? I wish I'd had these before my trip to Vegas! 



Saturday, 12 September 2015

To the top..



I can't remember how long ago it was that I booked these tickets, but on a recent rainy Bank Holiday, I finally got the chance to climb to the top of the Lord Hill's Column and look out over the town. 

When I was little, we didn't live in town, and I remember the column being the thing to look out for on car journeys to indicate that we were almost at my grandparents house, so it holds fond memories for me. My dad told me that you used to be able to pay 50p to hire the key and walk up to the top, but these days it's only opened on rare occasions. 

The view was pretty good, although the grey weather made it a little tricky to see things like The Wrekin, which aren't too far. We were able to look out over the town, though and point out things we recognised, or figure out what the things we didn't were, which was a rather enjoyable exercise and much more personal than just being up at the top of the Eiffel Tower, or on top of York Minster etc, as I have a lot more local knowledge about my own town, I guess. 

Not very exciting for people who don't live locally, I guess, but I enjoyed it. 
114 119

Friday, 11 September 2015

Friday Favourites 160..

Poppy Bunny
001: Rabbit Print Dress, £129
Poppy Sardines
002: Sardine Print Dress, £129

This week's wishlist is just entirely from Poppy England, of everything, please! I really love the way Poppy use hand drawn prints for their pretty dresses, which are just like adult versions of the perfect kid's party dresses. 

Both of my current favourites are the same style - the Elsie dress. I tend to prefer either short or no sleeves on my dresses and these look to be the perfect length. Plus, a waist tie. A bow at the waist is always a winner for me on any dress. Added to that, the amazing prints - rabbits? And sardines?! Awesome. I'd love to welcome these into my wardrobe. 

What do you think of the new Poppy prints?