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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

This funny little hedgehog's always around..

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Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 2444) // Corsage: H+M
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Orange Clutch Bag: New Look
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Cardigan: Matalan // Shoes: Miss Selfridge


At least this is only a four-day week as it's already turning into a crazy one. Also discovered this morning that my washing machine seems to be broken, which is frustrating. There's already just too much going on for my brain to focus on one thing, so I hope it's an easy fix.

I have a huge list of things I'd love to find time for, but it will involve being a little selfish, I guess. And that's just not something I'm very good at. For example, there's a pile of fabric I'd love to make up into dresses, but I've got sewing commissions which take precedence. Here's hoping for plenty of sewing and allotment time at the weekend.

Today's outfit isn't that exciting; sometimes outfits aren't, but are just as worthy of being recorded, I guess.

Monday, 30 March 2015

And relax.

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Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 2444) // Shoes: Miss KG
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Necklace: eBay
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Bag: Dorothy Perkins // Jumper + Headband: H+M
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Coat: Handmade (Vogue V8346)
Yet another weekend which seems to have flashed by in an instant. I spent my Saturday at the RAF museum, helping to run an event for almost 400 brownies and rainbows. It seemed to go really well, but I barely stopped dashing about all day. Then, I hotfooted it up to Liverpool, to meet Alex, Becks and Lucy, as L was running the half marathon the following day.

So, Sunday was spent cheering her on at the start, wandering off for brunch at nearby Moose Coffee, and then heading back in the pouring rain to cheer her on at the end of the race. How she managed it, I've no idea. But this is her race 3/13 in 2015. If you want to find out more, have a read of her page here.

Then, after an afternoon of loafing about on the sofas, we waved goodbye to Alex, I dropped the other two off at the station and headed home, where I was treated to a lovely tea of tapas and then home for a film before bed. I didn't manage to tick off any of the things I'd been meaning to do, but I'm actually kinda OK with that, because it was a great weekend, it gave me a chance to get away and to actually relax, which is something I have been definitely needing. As someone told me last night, I never let myself switch off. He has a point.

So, today's outfit. A fairly uninspiring combination, but I liked the idea of pink accessories with an otherwise not-so-pink outfit. This jumper has become something of a wardrobe staple since I received it in a clothes parcel from Jen, who I was paired up with for a recent clothes swap. This spending ban is certainly making me more inventive when it comes to stretching the capacity of my wardrobes, if nothing else!

I'm trying to tell myself that it's a good thing to let myself relax, sometimes. It seems to be.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Blogger Book Swap..

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It's been a little while since I did one of these swaps. I've built up quite a pile of books which need new homes, lately, so figured it was high time for another swap.

The rules: 

If you fancy taking part in my #bloggerbookswap, just either leave me a comment on this post with your name and email address, and anything your swapper should know (likes, dislikes, favourite authors) or send that info to me in an email (my email address is on my sidebar). Please send this over to me by Easter Monday (6th April) .

I'll match people up based on the information they give me, and send out emails with who you need to send to by the end of that week. Then, you'll need to contact your partner for their postal address, and put a parcel together for them. I'm not suggesting you go out and buy brand new books for them (unless you don't wish to part with any of your own books or particularly want to). I'd hope that your parcels would contain a couple of books, and maybe a little note to your partner about why you chose them, and anything else you'd like.

Then, send them on their way, by the posting deadline of Sunday 26th April. Let me know when you've posted your parcels so I can tick them off. Then, sit back and wait for your parcel to arrive, and get stuck in. It would be lovely to see some posts about the books you received; I love a good book review!

If you'd like to spread the word about the swap, feel free to do so and I'm more than happy for you to use this image, link to the post, etc. The more, the merrier! 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Versatile Blogger Award

What seems like a shamefully long time ago now, Sarah nominated me for this blog award. Having a few spare minutes this week means I've finally found time to get some of my draft posts finished. So, here goes:

The Versatile Blogger Award Tag
  • Display the award certificate on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Post 7 interesting facts about yourself and/or your blog.
  •  Nominate 15 bloggers of your own choice to pass the award on to, and tag them to let them know!
Um, I'm struggling to think of one interesting thing about me, let alone seven..!

1. I have a pet tortoise.
2. I have two sisters.
3. I dream of living by the sea. One day.
4. I think I'm becoming allergic to coffee. This is not cool.
5. I have planted tomato plants and raspberries thus far this year at the allotment, but aside from that it's all getting a bit behind. Already.
6. I have sent 17 letters out this month to penpals.
7. I can't stand cucumber. Or melon.

I'm fairly sure that I've seen this on many blogs, so rather than nominate anyone, I'm going to leave it open - if you've not had a go at it and want to, let me know as I'm super nosy and love to find out facts like this. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Friday Favourites 137..

Phase Eight Loretta
001: Phase Eight Loretta Dress, £169
Phase Eight Loni
002: Phase Eight Loni Dress, £160
Phase Eight Adele
003: Phase Eight Adele Dress, £140

As I was walking to the cinema on Wednesday evening, I passed the window of our Phase Eight store and realised it had been a while since I'd checked out their latest offerings. Having done a little more research on the website, and with wedding season approaching (I have a couple to go to this Spring), I am now coveting at least three of their beautiful dresses.

001: How pretty is the embroidery detail on this dress- it reminds me of a William Morris print and would definitely be the perfect wedding guest dress.

002: I love the gathered detail to the neckline of this dress, as well as the beautiful floral print.

003: This was the one which stole my heart as I passed the window display.The shape of the bodice is just beautiful, enhanced by the crossover detail to the bust. Plus, another winning floral print.

Now all I need is some sunshine (and infinite dress funds).

What would you wear to a Spring wedding?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf..

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Dress: Handmade (Gather Kits Mortmain)

It's been a while since I made this wolf print fabric up into a Mortmain dress. I've worn it a couple of times since finishing it, but I'm not sure I'm that keen on it. I just can't put my finger on why. 

I didn't quite have enough of this wolf fabric for the waistband so I chose a scrap of fabric I had in similar colours to make a contrasting waistband. I think it matches quite nicely. 


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I decided to wear it with my ASOS embellished clutch bag, and this pair of Red Herring leopard print shoe boots, before the Spring transformation means I have to hide them away for colder weather again. I always feel a bit weird wearing ankle boots when it gets past Autumn / Winter. Am I the only one? 

It's been another of those weeks where I feel as though I'm just treading water. But I took some time out last night and went to the cinema to watch Foxcatcher. Which was pretty dark, but not altogether unenjoyable. 


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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

My new hair heroes..

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Wella Enrich Volumising Shampoo // Wella Enrich Volumising Conditioner
Lately, the daily swim and gym sessions have been having a detrimental effect on my hair. I suppose, when most of the information you read tells you to wash your hair less often than most people were brought up doing, it's no wonder that sometimes being forced to wash mine more than once per day (when I swim before work and then go back for a gym session or a class in the evening) is sort of ruining mine.

I am always on the lookout for shampoos and conditioners I can use to try and protect my hair. It gets so dry, as a result of the chlorine and the over-washing, I suppose. So when I asked for product recommendations recently, The Hut told me they could probably help.

A few days later I received a parcel with this shampoo and conditioner from the Wella Enrich range. I have now been using these for a couple of weeks, in place of my usual shampoo and I can genuinely say I've noticed a difference in the feel and look of my hair.

Both products have a lovely, thick consistency to them, with a pleasant scent which isn't overpowering. My hair has been a lot less dry since beginning to use the Wella Enrich products and I've certainly found it more manageable as well. It seems much stronger and overall looks a lot healthier, which I'm very happy about.

Have you found any products you'd consider to be your hair heroes?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

What does the fox say..

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Dress: Joe Browns
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Fox tights: ASOS
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Cardigan: Primark // Shoes: Schuh
I know we're drawing towards the end of March, which means a quarter of the way through my 2015 spending ban. I'm getting a little bored of it now, if I'm honest. Not that I have the opportunity to spend anyway, lately. But it would be nice to have the option.

 That said, I've been looking for ways in which to get new items into my wardrobes without spending and one of my favourite ways to do this is by clothes swaps. I received a parcel from Sian last week which was pretty exciting.

Sian included this pretty rose print Joe Brown's dress in my parcel and I couldn't wait to wear it. I dug out this pair of fox tights, which I'd not worn before either. They were nice and thick, which meant they made it through the day in one piece - which is quite a big deal for me!

A cardigan with chain detail and some floral print heels which I'd not worn for goodness-knows-how-long. So all in all, it kind of felt as though I was wearing a totally new outfit. Thanks Sian!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Unicorn blues..

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Dress: Lindy Bop
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Cardigan: H+M
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Trixy Heels: Irregular Choice
A quick outfit post from the weekend. A birthday party gave me the opportunity to wear the Lindy Bop dress I'd picked up from eBay just before Xmas. I figured they would match these shoes quite nicely.

I've mentioned these Trixy heels but this is the first time I've worn them and managed to get some photos of it. Just like my Flopsy heels, I find them really comfortable to wear, and the character heels are pretty sturdy.

This week already looks as though it's going to be batshit crazy. Wonderful.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Spring Picnic..

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Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 6587)
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Jumper: Primark 
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Smartie Pants heels: Irregular Choice*

I mentioned earlier in the week that I'd tried out this Simplicity pattern (I reviewed it here). Even though I'd said I would be adding another button to the top of the neckline, I ended up wearing it anyway this week.

As it was still quite cold outside, and it's possible that the bodice could do to be taken in a little bit at the seams, I decided to layer the dress over a thin jumper. I think it works quite well as a pinafore, although I'll make the alterations anyway as I think I'd be more likely to wear it as a regular dress if the fit was a little more snug. The print makes me long for Spring days, which can't be far away.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Grizzly bear..

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Grizzly Bear Skirt: Book of Deer // Shoes: F+F
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Cardigan: River Island // Lamp print top: Therapy
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Tights + Necklace: H+M // Glasses: London Retro
Oh, hello weekend. How glad am I to see you?! It's been another of those weeks where I feel as though I've not had chance to breathe. With so much to do this weekend, I don't suppose I'll get a lot of opportunity to relax before Monday comes around again, but hey ho.

I was treated to this skirt recently, along with my jam print dress. I absolutely love the luxurious feel of the fabric - the tiny little grizzly bears are embroidered and their detail is incredible. Although it's a mini skirt, it felt long enough for me and is fairly swishy. I decided to go for a complete pattern clash and wear it with my lamp print top, which I matched to the tights.

Today I'm off to a training day, teaching people about social media and showing off the new website I've been working on. Then I have a birthday cake and a couple of sewing projects to finish for tomorrow. Eep.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Friday Favourites 136..

L A Giraffe Trousers
001: Laura Ashley Giraffe Print Trousers, £31.50

F+F Stripe
002: F+F Striped Tapered Trousers. £20
No, I don't know what's happened to me this week, either. I don't remember the last time I wore trousers. Aside from my gym clothes, I don't really own any. And yet, this week, I've been seeing pairs which I'd love to be able to wear. Damn my unfortunately-shaped lower half.

001: I love these cute giraffe print trousers from Laura Ashley. They look to be a nice, relazed fit. Perfect for holidays, or for dressing down with a plain t-shirt and loafers or brogues?

002: Tailoring usually scares me, but these F+F striped trews have me imagining pairing them with high heels and red lipstick. Another thing which I am usually too scared to wear.

I wonder if the spending ban is making me a little loony, or if I'm actually ready to step out of my comfort zone. What are your thoughts on trousers?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

#DressUpWithGeorge..

I love a good challenge, particularly when it involves putting outfits together. So I was definitely up for the #DressUpWithGeorge challenge, choosing one of their dresses and styling it up in three different ways. Figuring out how to wear things in different ways is something I've been embracing recently as a way to help with my spending ban. 

I chose this floral bardot dress and couldn't wait to get started. 


Outfit One:
For my casual outfit, I went with the type of thing I'd wear to run some errands on a weekend morning. I seem to be layering jumpers over dresses a lot lately to combat the recent weather and I finished off the look with tights and brogues. These silver ones are still a favourite at the moment. And any excuse to wear my milk carton bag.

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Dress: George* // Ladybird Jumper: George* // Bag: Gift
Brogues: F+F* // Tights: New Look
Outfit Two:
My next outfit is one I'm going to wear to the theatre next week. I am wearing more petticoats lately and having found a box of tulle skirts hidden away under my bed recently, I've dug a couple out which are the perfect length to wear under dresses as petticoat layers. I really like the way that adding another swooshy layer underneath this dress can totally change the shape of the silhouette. I finished this off with my sequin jacket, some sparkly Irregular Choice heels and another novelty bag.

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Dress: George // Shoes: Irregular Choice // Skirt, Headband: H+M
Camera Bag: Accessorize // Sequin Jacket: Monsoon
Outfit Three:
A typical work day outift for me. Printed dress, plain cardigan or shrug, heels and a decent-sized handbag. I always think I'm dressing fairly low key when I wear something like this to work, as it's not as "out there" as some of my outfits can be, but apparently it's still pretty dressed up. I'd hate to have a work dress code where I had to wear a suit every day.
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Dress, Necklace, Shrug, Bracelets: George*
Bag: Gift // Boots: New Look

I know which outfit is my favourite, but was really pleased with this dress and how versatile it is. Styling it up has been really fun and I'm looking forward to wearing this sparkly outfit to the theatre next week. 

Which is your favourite outfit?


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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Simplicity 6587..

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Lately I've seen a number of cute shirt dresses being made across the blogging and sewing community, Roisin's being a particular favourite. When I later saw and completely fell in love the Voodoo Vixen Tilly dress, I realised that I had some similar fabric and that I could probably have a go at making my own version. 

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Cue the Simplicity 6587, which gives plenty of options in terms of collars, sleeves, waist ties etc. I had planned to make the collared, sleeveless view (B), but didn't quite have enough fabric, so something had to give. I guess that is the problem with buying your fabric first and deciding on a project later. I had plenty to cut out the sleeveless view, though. 

Following the instructions was simple enough - I don't think I've ever tried a Simplicity pattern not to be straightforward, so that didn't really come as a surprise. the dress came together quickly and easily and in a couple of hours.


Next up, I had to decide on buttons. I used the buttonhole guide to establish placement, but having now tried the finished dress on, I think I'm going to add another one, right at the top of the neckline, to avoid gaping. 


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I was kindly sent this pattern to review, but would have said the same things about it if I hadn't been. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, but as with all of the Simplicity patterns I've made, I'd suggest sizing down as their sizing comes up quite large. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Tuesday Titles 041: Mother, Mother..

Mother, Mother
Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

I'll jump right in with this one and say that I found it both haunting and compelling. I received it in my parcel for the #bloggerbookswap I organised a while ago now and have only just picked it out of the To Read pile. 

Mother, Mother throws us into the lives of the Hurst family. Mother, Josephine Hurst, loves her three children more than anything, right? Well, we'll come back to that. 

Let's focus on her children.

  •  Meet Violet Hurst -16 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others? 
  • Meet her brother Will Hurst – the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around. But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take? 
  •  Meet oldest sister Rose – the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again. 
So, add to these three an alcoholic father and a mother who is perhaps the most narcissistic creature I've ever encountered in a book, and you have the Hurst family. Josephine doesn't seem to love anything but herself and the way in which she takes up every opportunity to exploit her family using their weaknesses is sort of sickening. 

I couldn't stop reading this book once I'd started it, but I don't think that was down to the writing, or an affinity with any of the characters as quite frankly, I disliked them all intently. There was just something about it, like watching a terrible horror film, which meant that I was hooked and couldn't back away from it. 

OK, so there are some twists, some (probably most) of which are predictable. I certainly knew where the book was going before the Hursts figured it out. And after The Twist, I felt a little disappointed. Had it been me writing, I'd have quite there, whilst I was ahead, rather than try to tie every little loose end up. I felt that the last couple of chapters weakened the ending.

I was also slightly disappointed that the author didn't go that little bit further with Josephine's character. I felt like it could have been pushed that little bit more, kept expecting something truly shocking, but she never quite made it to the level I would have believed she was capable of. 


Monday, 16 March 2015

Stripes and Dots..

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Dress: Cath Kidston // Cardigan: H+M
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Striped Mikey flats: ICED by Irregular Choice
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Necklace, Tights: New Look
I did something a little silly last week and managed to drop a weight on my foot whilst in the gym. It's pretty swollen up and the bruise has been working it's way through a rainbow of colours. It's a lot better than it was, but still hurts a bit to wear heels, so today I decided to give these ICED pumps an outing.

I'd forgotten about this dress until I was moving some things around in my Wardrobe Room at the weekend. I figured it was the perfect opportunity to wear it, and matched striped shoes with striped popcorn bag, adding the dotty tights for a little added interest.

How do you dress for comfort?

Sunday, 15 March 2015

It's only an hour a week..

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Leather Shift Dress: F+F // Uniform: Girlguiding
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Heels: Iron Fist*
I wonder how many people I know through Girlguiding were told that before they took on a role. I don't think I was, as I sort of knew what I was letting myself in for when I stayed on at guides to become a Young Leader with the unit. But it's a phrase most leaders laugh at, because it seems like guiding is one of those things which once you're volunteering and on someone's radar, it's likely you'll be asked to do something else.

I mentioned that I stepped down from running my guide unit last year and I was sad to do so. Since then, I can't say I've had all of that time spare. I still run my Senior Section unit, who meet fortnightly and tend to go on one outing per term (we went ice skating before Xmas and have a day trip to the seaside in the Easter holidays). Most of them will also be attending the county camp in the summer. Which I'm on the organising committee for, meaning meetings every month or so to plan logistics and activities, and drumming up interest with flyers, websites and social media for it.

I've also taken on a more in-depth county role this year, covering PR and Marketing. This is sort of an extension of the type of thing I've been involved with before, but now I'm heading the team. I feel as though I'm full of ideas, but also as though I've been thrown in at the deep end and I'm not sure where to run with them all.

Luckily, our new County Commissioner is super supportive and I get on with her really well. I love that we both seem to be from the same school of organised chaos. Our latest project has been our new website, which has just gone live, so a lot of my recent evening and weekend time has been spent creating content for this, writing up events and visiting units across the county, armed with my camera to take some promotional photos.

Over the next few weeks, I've got to run a training session on social media to leaders who I'm not convinced are going to be very receptive to it, I've got a Rainbow and Brownie event at the RAF museum in Cosford happening, and there are plenty of things still to plan for the camp in the summer. We're also off to Paris in August for a region event. As well as this, I'm trying to think of some PR stunts we can arrange to get ourselves known, and to secure some display space in local libraries and shopping centres across the county.

This week, I've spent my time finalising the website, starting our social media pages again after a bit of a glitch, and helping out at my friend's Guide unit and another friend's Senior Section unit.

So, for me, the "only an hour a week" myth doesn't quite ring true. That said, I know people for whom it has been. One of the parents from my guide unit used to spend less than an hour per week sorting out our accounts. She was a lifesaver as I hate things like that, so it would have taken me much longer.

I guess that guiding is one of those things which can be as much or as little as you want it to be. For now, I'm pretty happy with it as it gives me an excuse to use my brain for something other than worrying about inevitable things happening in my work life.

I've been trying to best find the words to explain it to someone who asked me why I gave up so much of my time for it the other day, and figured that here was the best place to do that.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Cowboy Pie

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Dress: Handmade (Sew Over It Betty pattern)
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Jacket: Marks and Spencer Limited Collection
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Why Not? wedges: Irregular Choice
This is a fairly typical weekend outfit for me. Fairly flat sensible shoes, as my Saturday mornings often involve a walk into town to run errands such as returning library books, collecting and posting parcels and a coffee date with my Nan. 

This was last weekend's outfit. I've been embracing the petticoats with full skirts look, lately. I just like the extra volume and where once I felt they looked ridiculously huge and overdressed for everyday wear, something in me no longer seems to think this. 

What do your typical weekends look like?

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Bag: LYDC London
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Leggings: Primark // Sequin Beret: Topshop