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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween..

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Skirt: Handmade // T-shirt: New Look
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Necklace: River Island // Tights: M+S // Brogues: F+F

It's Halloween so I figured it was time to dig out the skirt I only ever wear once a year. I love the retro American Halloween print of it though, so will totally hang onto it. (And this is why I'll never be a capsule wardrobe girl). 

Other than that, fairly  uninspiring for a dress-down Friday at work. Shiny shoes and an orange tee. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Friday Favourites 167..

Squirrel Collage
001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005 // 006 // 007 // 008 // 009

The other day, I was watching a movie on TV with adverts and within the few minutes of advert break, I counted not one, but three adverts which featured a squirrel. Which got me thinking about the number of squirrel things I've noticed over recent weeks (answer: a lot) and resulted in a squirrel-tastic wishlist.

I think my favourite item from the lot is the pair of ICED squirrel trainers (I know, who even am I?!). I can see them being perfect with a tutu skirt and coloured tights for Autumn walks through the leaves. 

I know that the bag (005) is supposed to be for kids, but I'd totally use this! 

Also how perfect would this pen be to brighten up any desk? SQUIRREL! 

What are you wishing for this week?

Thursday, 29 October 2015

You wear a crown but you're no king..

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Bag: Accessorize


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Dress: Handmade (Christine Haynes Emery) // Jumper: F+F
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Spatz ankle boots: Irregular Choice
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Tights: Primark // Crown headband: H+M (I think)
 
I wonder if I can get away with wearing a crown every day? This was added as something of a nod towards Halloween for an event I helped out at the other day, as I didn't really have any costume ideas and it was all a bit last minute.

Another of my dresses from the weekend. I don't recall from whence this dragon and knight print fabric came, but I pounced upon it in the fabric trolley on Sunday and decided it needed to be an Emery. I've mentioned before that I don't buy the majority of my fabric with a project in mind. Unless I'm making something specific, I'll get the fabric because I'm drawn to the design, then figure out what dress it will become at a later date. It's rare I find I've gone off a fabric I'd bought earlier, although if that does happen, I'll try to use it for something else (maybe a gift or something) or sell it on.

It rather feels as though this week has been going on for years; I can't believe it's only Thursday. Ho hum. Off to the ballet tomorrow, so that's something to look forward to. And I have an amazing cake recipe to have a go at this evening after the gym as I'm off to see friends at the weekend.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Technophobe Teddy

Sometimes I wonder if technology is taking over my life.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those early adopters of technology, at all. I don't have any desire to own the latest gadget and I resist technological advances as much as possible. So much so, in fact, that one of my friends seems to think I may as well live in a cave as I don't have TV or the internet at home.

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Dress: Handmade (Mortmain skirt and Bette bodice, in this fabric) // Bag: Primark
I was reading Kara's post this morning and a lot of her early morning routine resonated with me. I guess what I mean is, it got me thinking of all of the things which weren't around when I was growing up, but which I'd struggle to imagine trying to live without. Social media, and just generally being more connected to the world no matter where you might be. I still haven't really decided how much I like that part. 

I mean, sure it's great to be able to look up information at the touch of a button screen. Finding directions, catching up with someone you've not spoken to in a while whilst you're cooking dinner, tracking your run or cycle ride. All of that stuff is great; leaps and bounds in the quest of making our lives easier. But does being that connected have a lot to answer for in terms of adding to stress levels, too? I'm starting to think it is. Things like parents who can't cut the apron strings when it comes to allowing their kids to go to guide camp, and have to speak to them / text them every day to make sure they are okay? When I was a kid, my parents would wave me off with a "see you next week" and that would be the end of it. If it's not there, you don't miss it. Technology and kids is a whole other kettle of fish - I often say that I'd hate to be growing up with the social media we have nowadays. I've seen far too many school-aged kids who have been victims of cyber bullying and that's something which doesn't stop when you leave the school gates at 3pm. 

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Necklace: Accessorize // Blazer: George*
Another thing which drives me made is work emails. One of my friends mentioned that she'd been reprimanded at work today because she hadn't replied last night to an email she'd been sent. Outside of work hours. At 22:30pm in fact. Seriously? If you work a 9-5 office job, I'm surprised that anyone would have that expectation, but they definitely do. And trust me, owning a business makes these things even worse. I've lost count of the number of times I've had a day off and a work email has come through and caused me to either cancel my plans and go into the office, or at least let it ruin my enjoyment of the day as I'm too busy worrying. 

This weekend alone I've had out-of-hours emails and calls about meetings with my bank manager, a change of deadline by a client and disciplinary issues to do with a recent theft at work. Crazy but true. Something I'd never really given a lot of consideration to before, as I'd always assumed it was larger businesses who suffered things like this, but apparently it's quite common, so now I'm looking into possible solutions and deterrents

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Tokyo shoe boots: ASOS // Tights: H+M

Ugh. In other, happier news, I wore one of my new dresses from the weekend. I had quite a productive time and got on top of my commissions and also managed to make three dresses for myself. This is a mash-up of the Mortmain skirt with the Sew Magazine Bette bodice, as I'm favouring sleeveless dresses at the moment and that's the best bodice shape and fit I've found. The Mortmain skirt is pleated which worked much better than my usual method of gathering the skirt, for this cotton/linen blend fabric. 

Yes, more patterned tights and some amazing bright pink boots which I received for Xmas a few years ago and haven't worn enough of! 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Tuesday Titles 066..

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The Nonsense Show : Eric Carle


Roll up, roll up. Something a new and a little different today and yet at the same time, refreshingly nostalgic and familiar. 

"But that's not possible", I hear you say.

My response is quite simple: Eric Carle. 

I'm sure, like me, you have fond memories of childhood storytimes involving that ubiquitous hungry caterpillar. I loved that book, with all of the holes through it's pages to show what had been eaten. So, imagine how excited I was when I heard there was a new Carle book in the world. 

The Nonsense Show is frankly wonderful. A colourful, enjoyable romp through lots of glossy rhyming pages. I took this with me to share with my friends' kids last week when I went to visit, and can confirm that it's a book which can be enjoyed by children and grown ups together.

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Which children's books hold fond memories for you?

Monday, 26 October 2015

#bloggersecretsanta reminder

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Just a quick klaxon to tell you there is one week left to sign up for this year's #bloggersecretsanta parcel swap. See my original post here

If you'd like to take part, please email me with the following information: 



  • your name
  • your blog address
  • your postal address
  • any likes / dislikes / allergies your sender should know about 


  • Please spread the word! 

    Sunday, 25 October 2015

    Looking forward..

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    Dress: Handmade // Cardigan: Primark // Bag: Vendula*
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    Love + Magic heels: Irregular Choice // Tights: Primark
    There's nothing particularly new or groundbreaking here, and I've shared all of these things before. These photos were taken when I was trying to test out the new (replacement) camera the other day. I've come to the conclusion that I really need to find myself a proper tripod to get outfit photos with. One for the Xmas list. Or maybe a photographer. 

    Finally, the end of the week is upon us and I'm pretty glad about it. It's been a tough one, to say the least. Here's hoping the next one is better. 

    Saturday, 24 October 2015

    Pour on water..

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    Dress: Handmade (Betty dress in Timeless Treasures fabric)
    Having had something of an impromptu break from sewing for a little while, I began making up for that last weekend. I still have a fairly sizeable stash of fabrics which I've got plans for, it's just a case of finding the time to make up everything I'd like to.

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    Coat, Tights: Primark
    This is probably one of my new favourite dresses; the fabric is a rather cute fireman print. I went for a rather matchy-matchy red theme for the rest of the outfit, with my Wiskers heels getting their first outing in a while. And of course, the dotty tights which are becoming ubiquitous.

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    Wiskers heels: Irregular Choice

    Friday, 23 October 2015

    Friday Favourites 166..

    Halloween FF Collage
    001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005 // 006

    Halloween is fast creeping up on us (see what I did there?!) so I've rounded up a few of my favourite items to get into the spirit of things.

    I realise that the petticoat may not be strictly Halloween-related but it would be perfect under this spiderweb print dress. The bat necklace would be the perfect finishing touch!

    In particular I think this shocked pumpkin has stolen my heart, plus any excuse to add to my patterned tights collection! 

    Have you bought into the Halloween thing? Do you dress up, or prefer to go for something a little more subtle?

    Thursday, 22 October 2015

    Busy bunny..

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    George necklace: Hello Dodo / Designosaur
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    Izzy Bear heels: Irregular Choice
    I was told that this outfit was very co-ordinated, by my standards. I basically started with the shoes and went from there, matching dark blues and greens and pinks. Plus, this amazing bunny bag, which I'd forgotten I owned until I saw that Irregular Choice seem to have released a new, backpack version (here). 

    This week, I think that burning the candle at both ends has begun to catch up with me. I've always been a bit rubbish at saying no to things, as I always figure I'll make the time! but yesterday, my exhaustion levels reached such a point that I had to have a lie down for half an hour when I got home, and I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. Ugh. I was better after that, though, and had a lovely evening out at the theatre with a friend to see Sarah Millican. How's your week been?

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    Dress: Red Herring // Jumper: F+F
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    Bunny Bag: Irregular Choice // Tights: Primark


    Wednesday, 21 October 2015

    Joules Design a Welly competition..






    design competition lock up
    It's no secret that I'm a bit of a welly fan. I get through a lot of them, what with living in the countryside and the allotment and all of the time I spend camping in my guiding life. When I found out that one of my favourite welly-sellers, Joules, are running a competition to design your own, I couldn't wait to share the details!

    The winner of their Design a Welly competition will see their design put into production (with all proceeds going to CHARITABLY JOULES) as well as winning a luxury Forest Holiday worth £5000.

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    Competition Details

    Win a luxury break worth £5,000 3 nights in a golden oak treehouse cabin plus lots more.
    10 runners-up will each receive a £250 Joules gift card.
    The winning welly design will go on sale at joules.com.
     Submit a design and enter the competition here
    All proceeds from the sale of the limited edition winning welly will be donated to our charity partners via CHARITABLY JOULES.

    Tuesday, 20 October 2015

    Tuesday Titles 065..

    Shopaholic to the Rescue
    Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella

    It's been quite a while since the last book I read in the Shopaholic series, which meant that I was quite excited when I heard there was to be a new one released (this Thursday in fact!).

    I got stuck straight in, even more intrigued when I found out that it was set in Las Vegas. Nostalgia from last year's trip has well and truly set in. So, I started out with plenty of enthusiasm...and then remembered how annoying I find Becky Bloomwood as a protagonist. I rolled my eyes inwardly at her idea of becoming a bounty hunter, and how "cute" her business cards would look.

    The book, as with the others, is peppered with correspondence between Becky and her bank manager, as well as various other bodies and those are quite amusing, at least.

    The story itself? Well, it's a a kind of wild goose chase, where Becky and family follow Graham and Tarquin to the United States. The plotline became quite predictable, quite early on and it seems a little as though this is just paving the way for another future title.

    Yes, there are some quite amusing jokes and things, but there's a big part of me which wonders how long this series is going to be strung out. That said, if you're a great fan of the Shopaholic series, that's probably what you're wondering, too. Just in a more hopeful way than me.

    Monday, 19 October 2015

    Comic Sans..

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    London Taxi Bag: Boden
    I'm pretty pleased with this dress. One nice thing to come from the weekend, at least. I've spent most of it feeling rotten and in pain, but at least managed to clear my dressmaking commissions order book, so I'm able to make for myself once again. Don't get me wrong, I love taking on the challenge of making for others, but it's also nice to be able to make yourself something new to wear to work the next day.

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    Dress: Handmade (Betty in MM "Dysfunctional Family" fabric) // Blazer: George* // Brooch: Handmade
    This fabric made me exclaim in delight in one of the fabric shops I visited in Brighton recently. I used to have a skirt in this print by Get Cutie, which I got rid of in a blog sale as it no longer fitted me, but I'd always hoped to track the fabric down to make myself a dress with. It just seemed that it was sold out everywhere when I looked. So I rather pounced on it when we spotted it in a heap in one of the most cluttered fabric shops I've been to.

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    Tights: Charnos // Can't Touch This heels: Irregular Choice

    Sunday, 18 October 2015

    Sunday Shoes 085..

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    Another pair of one of my favourite Irregular Choice styles arrived for my collection recently. I have Scottie Dog in several other colourways, but they were relaunched last season with new polka dot backgrounds and I think it's the perfect refresh for them, whilst still retaining all of the wonderful features which have made Scottie Dog one of the archetypal IC classics.

    So, what's changed? Well, the background fabric is no longer the felt of previous styles and is now a pretty black satin with embroidered polka dots - the attention to detail is wonderful. The little black scottie dog is still losing his lead across the front of the shoes, and is finished off with the blanket stitch edging and the little polka dot bow. 

    I do wonder if it's a little tricky to lose the dog on the front of the busy polka dot background, but they're rather cute nonetheless. 

    Thoughts?


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    Saturday, 17 October 2015

    Spots and Stripes..

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    Dress: Handmade (NL6223)
    I'm not sure what happened here other than an attempt at some kind of monochrome stripes and spots (and tiny hearts) record. I've not worn this zebra dress for ages, and I like how this necklace (which seems to have had a phase of being almost permanently attached to my neck lately) seems to work with it. 


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    Necklace: H+M
    This was also the first outing for my Throw A Six heels, which I wrote about here. I'm still having a bit of a patterned tights renaissance, it seems, and love the way these heart ones look with the monochrome-ness of the shoes. Well, with just about anything I wear lately, really. Anyone else go through phases when they wear the hell out of something?

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    Cardigan, tights: Primark // Throw A Six heels: Irregular Choice
     

    Friday, 16 October 2015

    Friday Favourites 165..

    Friday Favourites Collage

    Pretty little things to take my mind of being confused by balancing accounts any longer. This colour scheme always makes me think of Snow Queen-y Narnia winter times as well, which is where the weather seems to think we are headed this week!

    001: This bag caught my eye for purely nostalgic reasons. I'm sure that my Nana used to have almost this exact style and colour when I was little. 

    002: I seem to be all about the cosy lately, and this Poppy Lux sweater would be just perfect to cosy up in on the sofa in front of the fire with a good book. 

    003: Oh my. This Becky coat by Sugarhill Boutique. What can I say, it's a beautiful colour and the furry collar is such a winner with me. I *know* that there's no way on Earth that I need another coat (I have far too many), but it's sooo pretty. Maybe I could make an exception.

    004: It would seem that the House of Fraser sale is not to be sniffed at! Ever a fan of finishing off an outfit with a statement necklace, this one by Coast is not only rather perfect, but also in the sale. 

    What's catching your eye this week? 

    Thursday, 15 October 2015

    You can't sit with us..

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    Shirt: Zara (inherited from Rosie) // Necklace: Vintage // Blazer: Tu // Brooch: Claire's
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    Shorts: H+M // Brogues: F+F
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    Magic Pony bag: Irregular Choice

    It's been an odd week so far, like a little cloud has been hanging over my head, tainting the days. I've been running some things around in my head for the past few days, but four days on, I'm still pretty livid. 

    When I was in the first few years of secondary school, I used to get hung up on friendships and it really used to bother me when people fell out with one another. This seemed to be a common occurrence with 12 year olds; one week you'd be best friends with X and the next nobody would be speaking to her because she'd worn the wrong hair bow, or used the wrong colour gel pen, or something equally trivial.

    By the time I'd got to the fourth and fifth year of school, I'd grown truly sick and tired of this kind of Mean Girls attitude, where someone would decree "oh, we're not speaking to so-and-so" and everyone was expected to oblige. I flicked between groups of friends, which was fine as I get bored easily. That's something I still do now to some extent. 

    I expected to leave that type of playground behaviour behind me when I left school, but it seems this isn't quite the case. 12 years on, I received a message from a university friend basically telling me that she no longer wanted to be friends. She, a few years ago, fell out with a mutual friend of ours and expected everyone to take sides. At the time, I refused to, and I've stuck to my guns there as I have a great relationship with the person and see her often. 

    This, apparently ended friendship, has been a little more tricky of late. Despite making efforts to see and catch up, to invite and include her to things, it's been a long time since we saw one another. I've sent letters and cards so that she knows I'm thinking of her and tried to stop in when passing (she doesn't live nearby) only to be told that she had moved and not told me. At this point, I wondered if I was trying to hold on to something which was no longer there. 

    Unfortunately, waking up in crippling pain at the weekend (again) meant that I wasn't able to drive to see her when she expected me to. Apparently, this combined with the fact that she knows I've recently seen the friend she doesn't speak to, means that we can no longer be friends. 

    And y'know what? I am just going to let that one go. Life's too short and I'm not in the playground anymore. 

    Wednesday, 14 October 2015

    Yarn Along {1}

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    The {1} in the title is very presumptuous, I suppose. I have been inspired by the likes of Hazel, Elise and Alex to get on with the knitting project I've been wanting to tackle for a while. I mentioned it briefly here.

    I'm pretty slow at knitting but it holds fond memories for me. We used to learn when we were little and stayed at our Nan's for a week in the summer holidays. My sister and I would crack on with our wonky teddy-bear sized scarves, invariably drop stitches or put it down halfway through a row and come back to it later but go back the wrong way. Then, when we were in bed, Nana would take it all out and pick up the stitch, and re-knit it, so that it was probably longer the next morning than it had been when we went to bed.

    Enlisting the help of Amy when we were at Seven Springs (who did the first head section for me) and then my Nan who helped me with the casting on, I've got cracking with this pterodactyl bag. It's a pattern by Sincerely Louise and I'm so excited for it to be done. 20 more rows to go and then I'll just have to sew it up and add the lining. So, that's my very first Yarn Along link up.

    Plus, what I'm currently reading? Well, it's the new book in the Shopaholic series, which comes out this week. A proper review will be up next week. 

    Tuesday, 13 October 2015

    Tuesday Titles 064..

    Before She Was Mine
    Before She Was Mine - Kate Long

    This book, I think, was one I received in a swap parcel. I picked it up a couple of weekends ago when I was waiting for some cakes to bake. Despite knowing nothing about the story beforehand, I fell straight into it and didn't put it down (aside from getting cakes out of the oven!) until I'd finished it.

    Although not particularly dramatic or anything, the storyline drew me in. Freya has two mothers. Her kooky, childlike birth mother Melody. And earthy, nature-loving Liv, her adoptive mother who has raised Freya in the house which has been her home for more than twenty years.

    Unlike books I've read with similar themes, this is not a story of an adopted girl tracking her mother down. There are flashbacks to the time Melody was deciding whether or not to put her unborn child up for adoption, and case reports from the social worker giving us small insights into what the early years were like.

    Freya splits her time between her two mothers and they in turn seem to be parking the awkwardness which comes with being indeterminate parts of her life and at least tolerating the existence of one another, event if they can't seem to figure out how to be part of each other's lives.

    When a tragic event occurs, it affects all three of them and their bonds are really tested. Although a fairly gentle narrative, I liked how this book touched upon some really heavy themes and deals with them very well. A definite heart-warming read for an Autumn afternoon.

    Monday, 12 October 2015

    #bloggersecretsanta 2015

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      So, it's that time of year again, where even the greatest Scrooge (me!) gets on that tinselly-bandwagon and arranges the annual Secret Santa swap. Are you in? 



    The rules will be much the same as last year. Sign up by 2nd November 2015 by emailing me with:

    • your name
    • your blog address
    • your postal address
    • any likes / dislikes and things your sender should know about (allergies etc)

    Once sign ups close, you'll receive an email with details of who you will be sending to. As this is a SECRET swap, this won't be the same person who is sending to you, but it's up to you whether you'd like to let your recipient know who their gift is from when you send it.

    In terms of spend limit, after last year's success, this is set at £10.

    For overseas people, you're more than welcome to take part - drop me an email and be sure to let me know if you're OK with sending to another country - last year we had folks from the US, South Africa, France and Germany! 

    Then, you need to take a look at your recipient's blog, find a gift you think they'll love and post it off to them. The posting deadline will be 7th December 2015. Please be sure to let me know when you have posted and when you have received your parcel, so I can tick things off and chase up any lost parcels.

    This swap is always such fun to run and seems to get bigger every year, so please spread the word! 

    Sunday, 11 October 2015

    Sunday Shoes 084..

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    Izzy Bear heels: Irregular Choice*

    Irregular Choice just keep on coming up with wonderful new styles, lately. This season has been particularly exciting as they've brought back the rather iconic inverted heel, as previously seen on Prom Princess and various others of earlier years.

    I'm a real fan of the shape of the heel and can confirm that despite what people may think, it's really comfortable and sturdy. 

    And what about the design? Well. Where do I start? I guess the most obvious and eye-catching part is the teddy bear embellishment to the sides of the shoes. Sturdily attached in cheerful colours. But what about all of the other, slightly more subtle details? Like the tiny red polka dots on the background material, and the cute pink scalloped leather trim around the top. 

    More of the organza ribbon from recent styles finishes off the fronts of these shoes, but again this is a pair where I think it works nicely. In fact, the only part I'm not entirely convinced about is the little white pom pom on the back of each shoe. It reminds me of a little rabbit tail and just, to me, doesn't seem to fit with the rest. 

    What do you think of Izzy Bear? Any of the other Irregular Choice heels catching your eye lately?



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    Saturday, 10 October 2015

    Busy busy busy..

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    Smartie Pants heels: Irregular Choice // Tights: H+M
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    Dress: Warehouse // Cardigan: Matalan

    I've not worn this dress in a really long time but for some reason, something made me think of it the other day and the next thing I knew, I absolutely *had* to dig it out and wear it at the very next possible opportunity. So here it is. 

    I'm wearing the Topshop rabbit necklace from this post (my neck has some strange heat rash thing going on at the moment, hence no close up photos). 

    And, of course, my new favourite thing: patterned tights. Clashed with a pair of Irregular Choice heels. One of my friends told me the other day that I'm so unlike most people in the way I dress, as most people would just wear one "busy" thing and keep the rest plain. And I never do. Um. Way to state the obvious?!