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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sunday Shoes 096..

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No new shoes per se, although in adding a fraction of my collection to my new shoe shelves, I've rediscovered so many pairs which I'd forgotten about. I dread to even think how many pairs there are in total and I've still not decided whether the ones I want out on display are all there or not. How to choose?! I still have a couple of kitchen cupboards stacked with boxes, as well as boxes full of shoes stacked on the tops of the wardrobes, and four large Ikea bags full of the unboxed pairs, under my bed. Argh. 

That said, I'm super pleased with the shelves and like the way they are looking. I just wish I had space for twice as many! 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

One more frozen orange juice..

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Coat: Yumi
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Bag: New Look // Wedges: Office
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Dress: Run and Fly // Blazer: George

One of the good things about having to clear out the Wardrobe Room prior to building my new shoe shelves in there was that it forced me to actually go through some of the bags and boxes of clothes I have stored in there. I've rediscovered so much.

This coat, for instance, which I don't think I've worn for a couple of years. I decided that I'd go for orange accessories with this fox print dress, which I've also not worn for ages. I'm trying to decide on how best to store my clutch bag collection - am wondering about using one of the living room shelves and moving my craft things. I have a new display case to make as well (loving the flat-pack furniture lately, not!) so the whole room might need to have a little rearrange anyway. When I next have some spare time.

I have weekend plans which all mostly involve catching up on all of the things I've not had time to do this week. I am opening my dress commission book again now that the New Year is underway, so I'll be sewing, no doubt.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Friday Favourites 180..

Friday Favourites 180
001 // 002 // 003 // 004

Oh this week has been a weird one. I'm glad it's Friday, as I'm off to the theatre this evening, which I'm rather looking forward to. 

001: As I was sifting through my bookmarks online the other day, I realised this dress has been on my wishlist for eons, but I've never featured it here. I love a good border print (I love the flamingo one I made last year and have plans to make a party print one for my birthday). But this fabric is just amazing and I'd happily make some wardrobe-space for it! 

002: I do like a good chunky sandal and am drawn to anything embellished, so naturally couldn't help but fall for these! 

003: I think this new Lola clutch bag would go wonderfully with the shoes above, but there's enough colour in it that you could pair it with just about anything.

004: Although the photo doesn't very well show it, these tights are covered in tiny coloured polka dots and I love them. I'm always trying to add more pretty tights to my collection - I seem to have such a talent for ruining them.

What are you wishing for this week? Am I the only one who is super glad it's the weekend?


Thursday, 28 January 2016

He's got a black heart..

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Dress: H+M // Cardigan: Laura Ashley
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Bag: Pepa Loves
 

 So, having been concerned yesterday about how far behind I seem to be falling with life, I came home happy after a really productive evening's meeting and spent a good few hours sorting out the first of the shoes for the new shelves. It's so hard to decide which ones I want to be on there, on display. But it's quite a fun job and I've rediscovered so many pairs I'd forgotten I had. Not sure when I'm next at home, next week I think, but I'll hopefully have them finished soon!

This outfit was one of those quickly-dug-out ones. I've not worn this dress for so long, and although it needs altering a little, wearing a cardigan over it protected my modesty a little at least. I remembered when I went to do up all the buttons at the back of it why it's been so long since I'd worn it - a little tricky to get on and off, particularly when my arms were aching from the previous day's gym session. 

I'd totally forgotten about this cardigan, which I haven't worn for years, but was having a little sort out of knitwear for this weekend's insta-sale and decided this was one to hang onto.



Wednesday, 27 January 2016

There's so much to dream about..

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Wednesday again? So soon, and yet in a way it seems to have been a while since the last one. At the moment, I'm feeling a little as though I'm treading water - so much to do that I am always trying to catch up. Finally, my shelves were delivered last week and they are up in the Wardrobe Room so now I have the fun task of deciding which shoes I want to display. That's hardly a chore, though.

I've managed to rule out the fridge as the cause of the electrical issues, but haven't quite managed to locate the actual cause, although I'm beginning to wonder if it could be my laptop cable, even though that's relatively new.

Have been a bit bogged down with work, guides stuff and some website stuff I agreed to do, so I've been rather failing on many of the things I'd much prefer to be doing.

And mostly, I'm just so tired lately. Not exactly sleepy-tired, but I just feel kind of worn out. I don't sleep any longer when I give myself an early night, but everything just feels like a dull ache of exhaustion. Ugh.

Perhaps I'm finally learning that it's not a terrible thing to make some time to relax. My favourite has been telling me that it's OK to let things slide sometimes, and that I should put myself first, We shall see.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Tuesday Titles 078..

Naked Slaughter
Naked Slaughter - Nigel Lampard
Isn't it most people's dream to move into a beautiful cottage in an idyllically quiet village. A friendly, welcoming place with a relaxed atmosphere? For Philip and Sarah, looking at Primrose Cottage, this could be just what their marriage needs. New surroundings and a fresh start will surely take the pressure off them in their efforts to have a baby.

Soon welcomed into village life, things seem to be going well once Sarah and Philip move to Upper Slaughter. Whilst they are considered "outsiders" by some, they form some very close friendships with another couple in the village and have no reason to think they might be being watched...

The writing style is so refreshingly accurate - Lampard manages to create such believable characters and it didn't take long for me to become pretty heavily invested in their lives and that of the person watching them.

When Sarah mysteriously disappears, her husband isn't sure what to think. Has she left him? Or has something more sinister happened? Surely not in such an idyllic little village.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Sunday Shoes 095..

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Something exciting is happening. A collaboration between Irregular Choice and Disney. This one has me on the edge of my seat.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Making more time..





OK, so that's impossible, I appreciate. But I was reading Cherry's post yesterday morning and it inspired me to have a little think about the things I would like to make more time for. I know I've already given some thought to goals and things I'd like to achieve during the year. But these things won't do themselves.

One of the goals I make every year which is the first to fall by the wayside is to spend more time at the allotment. Once I'm there, I'm happy pottering about, planting and such, but I think it's just that motivation to head to the plot and begin. I'm hoping that my monthly progress photos will at least help with that. 

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Other things I'd love to make time for include learning to crochet, clearing out my bookshelves and finishing the grand task of listing all of my wardrobe's contents in my virtual wardrobe app.

What would you most love to make more time for?

Friday, 22 January 2016

Friday Favourites 179..

Friday Favourites 179
001 // 002 // 003 // 004
Cripes, it's the end of another week. To be honest, this one felt a little as though it was never going to get there, but here we are.


001: Oh, such wonderfulness in the New Arrivals section on Lindy Bop this week. Top of my Lindy Bop lust list is this Venice print dress - I know that Donna ordered this this week and can't wait to see how she styles it.

002: Sarah sent me a link to this bag, which she knew I'd love. She was totally right - it's adorable.

003: Irregular Choice have been coming up with some pretty new styles for the start of the year. Although these are a little lower in the heel than I would usually plump for, I can't get over how pretty the front detail is.

004: Kate Spade. Bright pink. Bow. What's not to love?


Anything caught your eye this week?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Coffee and TV..



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Saphy dress: Lindy Bop // Cuckoo Clock Bag: Irregular Choice
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Smooch heels: Irregular Choice
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Cardigan: Dorothy Perkins // Glasses: Specspost*
Whilst I was super happy to be told I should be a "poster girl of dressmaking" recently (I am really *not* that, by the way: there are SO many much more successful and talented dressmakers out there), I seem to be having something of a Lindy Bop moment, of late.

This is the Saphy dress, mint green and covered in a cute print of retro TVs and projectors. The skirt is really full and the perfect length for me. I've worn it with my trusty Hell Bunny black petticoat underneath. I've been favouring my Christmas cuckoo clock bag lately, as it's such a great size to tote everything I need for the day around with me. 

I also seem to be wearing the same few pairs of shoes on rotation at the moment. There's good reason for this, as most of my shoes are currently stacked up out of the way, to make room for the new shelves to be delivered at the end of the week. Thankfully I won't have to put them together - one of my absolute greatest pet hates is flat-pack furniture. I'm ridiculously excited by the prospect of being able to choose a pair of shoes in the morning without risk of several boxes falling on my head. 

Also, how cute are these tights? I received them for Christmas and they've got tiny cats on them, crawling up the backs of the legs. 


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Tights: Pamela Mann

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Calling all cars..

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Dress: Emily + Fin // Cardigan: H+M
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Trinkletina heels and Cuckoo Clock Bag: Irregular Choice
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Tights: Pamela Mann 
 
 It's been a trying week already and we're only on Wednesday. The dodgy electrics have made a comeback, meaning I've been without power for the past couple of days. I can only think this is being caused by the fridge. Ugh. It's mighty annoying not to be able to boil the kettle because the electrics trip before it has chance to boil.

Anyhow, a rather simple, too-tired-to-really-think kind of an outfit. These tights are pretty busy, so I went with a plain dress and polka dot cardigan, with my Trinkletina heels. And permanent bags under my eyes. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Tuesday Titles 077..

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Miranda's Big Mistake - Jill Mansell


 I've mentioned many times before that Jill Mansell is one of my favourite writers. I find her books just so easy to settle down with, so after a particularly gruelling New Year's Day, the next day I knew I needed to curl up in front of the fire with a good book and I read this from start to finish. 

Miranda is a hopeless romantic and also a bit of a ditz. But she's kind-hearted, sharing her lunch every day with a homeless man on the street of the salon where she works. So, I'm pretty happy when her love prospects go from zero to several in no time at all. Just like waiting for a bus..! 

Of course there's a little far-fetched coincidental plot-twisting, resulting in Miranda's landlord taking in another tenant who just so happens to be connected to her in some way, but it's rather enjoyable to discover how they deal with the potential fall-out of this situation, which they do in a very entertaining way.

There's sadness of course, as well as happiness, but I really like the ending to this book (and in my opinion, all of the characters end up with the people they ought to), Definitely a great book to curl up with.

Monday, 18 January 2016

What's that coming over the hill..?

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Coat: Oasis // Jumper: H+M
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Shoes: Irregular Choice // Bag: Aldo
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Dress: Handmade // Necklace: Vintage

I can barely believe it's the start of another week - where did the weekend go?! I feel as though I've had no sleep at all, which isn't far from the truth. It's been one of those crazy ones where I've had far too much to do and not enough time. Ah well, there's another one in a few days time, at least.

How cute is this little monster? I was the happy recipient of this little critter at Christmas; a super present from Alex

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Sunday Shoes 094..

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Misty Reins shoes: Irregular Choice
Another pair of shoes I received for Christmas. Although most of the time it's true to say I feel most at home in a pair of heels, there are certain occasions which call for flatter, slightly more sensible shoes. 


Well, sensible in terms that they are flat and comfortable. Perhaps the fact they are covered in glitter and unicorns doesn't make them quite so "sensible", but for me they're practical shoes for a day of site-seeing, or cycling into town to run some errands.


Saturday, 16 January 2016

Sincerely Louise Badger Scarf..

 Normal service certainly seems to have resumed in my life. I feel a little bit as though I've been juggling all of the things this week, not *quite* managing to get anything finished. So, rather than show you any of the non-progress I've been making on current projects, I'm rewinding to something I made as a Christmas gift.


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Unwisely, I decided about a month before Christmas that I would make a badger scarf for Alex, using the Sincerely Louise pattern. This is the second of her patterns I've successfully managed to complete - the first being the pterodactyl bag which I used to get back into knitting earlier in the year. I find them very easy to follow, as well as having such a range of lovely designs. I'd love to knit a tiger rug, but with nowhere to put it, I'll have to make do with living vicariously through Amy.

It took me a little time to get to grips with intarsia knitting - having seven different balls of wool attached to the project when I was working on the face section meant that it wasn't a very portable project, but thankfully the last 400 rows or so were just the one colour, so I was able to take it with me on the train to London and on various car journeys, as well as endless evenings of knitting in front of the fire. 

Finally, I was able to cast off, sew up and add the eyes and the nose. Perpetual queen of last-minute, I may have wrapped this the morning that I was off to see her.

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Did you handmake any Christmas gifts this year?

Friday, 15 January 2016

Friday Favourites 178..

Friday Favourites 178..
001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005 // 006 // 007
I'm really feeling inspired at the gym of late. I know that's what everyone seems to be saying in January with the new year, new me things, but it doesn't seem to matter what month of the year it is for me. I'm always happy to be working out or partaking in one of the gym classes and I'm constantly setting myself new goals. 

At the moment I've just started the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide and so I'm fitting a couple of her workout routines around the other things I tend to do anyway. As part of my New Year clearing out, I outsorted any items of gym wear which looked a little past their best or had lost their stretch, and have been browsing online for things to replace them with. 

001: I never thought I'd be brave enough to wear a pair of leggings in the gym, in public. I always used to favour baggy track suit trousers, as I'm so self-conscious about the size and shape of my legs, hips and bum. However, one of the things one of my gym buddies made me realise recently is that everyone is so busy focussing on what they're doing, they don't even notice. So I braved a pair of Nike leggings, which I really like and I'm looking to add another pair to my gym bag. These leggings are from F+F and I love the mix of colours. 

002: After having such a bad experience with three Fitbit Flex last year, I'm not sure how I feel about the activity tracker market. But if I were to go for one, I'd plump for the Polar Loop. I already own a Polar heart rate monitor which would be compatible with this, so that would make things easier. 

003: Another pair of gym trousers, this time from George. As you can see, I'd go for prints over plain any day (just like my regular wardrobe, then). 

004: A girl can never have enough sports bras, right? 

005: I really like the idea of this water bottle. It's got a hidden space for keeping money or a bank card in, meaning you don't have to take anything else out with you when you run. Now, I'm not a huge fan of running outside, but it's something I'm trying hard to make myself like, or at the very least tolerate it. Watch this space.

006: I like this Tu Clothing top, as it has a mesh back, which has got to be good for keeping cool in spin class!

007: Swimming every day takes it's toll not only on my hair but also the state of my swimsuits. I am always on the lookout for a decent, proper (i.e not a halter or tie neck) one-piece swimsuit, and I've found that Seafolly are up there with the best. 

What are your gym essentials?

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The fourth drink instinct is taking over..

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Trinkletina heels and Cuckoo Bag: Irregular Choice
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Coat, tights: Primark // Jumper: Handmade
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Dress: Lindy Bop // Necklace: Topshop


 Have you seen the Lindy Bop sale?! I was rather lucky to not only receive some of their pretty dresses for Christmas, but also to receive one of their gift vouchers as well. One of the dresses which was topping my list was this cocktail print Audrey. I really like the Audrey shape; so simple and yet ever so flattering, with a huge full skirt, which of course I love. Plenty of space for a petticoat. 

I had wanted to wear this sooner, but when I opened my order from Lindy Bop there were a couple of issues - the belt which came with this dress was broken, and one of the other dresses I ordered had been sent in the wrong size, but a quick phone call to the team and the replacements were with me the following day. I certainly can't fault their customer service, and there are still some mega bargains to be had on the site. 

 I've really been feeling the cold this week, so layering up has been the only way to go. This jumper was knitted for me by my Nan last year and it's so cosy. I really like that the print on this dress incorporates so many colours that I can team it with most things. Green wool tights and a red coat, and then my red Trinkletina shoes (I got as far as the gym in the morning before removing the charms, as their bashing around was irritating me so much!). Also, red lips making me feel super self-conscious. Eep. 

It's been a funny week and seems to me we should be further along than Thursday. But I guess it's almost the weekend, at least. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

I capture the castle..

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Dress: Handmade // Cardigan: Marks + Spencer
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Coat: Marks and Spencer // Bag: F+F

This dress is another of my recent makes; it just made it into the count for 2015. I can't remember where this bright green ric rac came from, but I decided it was the perfect finishing touch to this dress, since the fabric is such a mix of greens and blues anyway. The print seems to encompass just about everything - castles, knights, owls, horses, witches and cowboys.

I paired the dress with a plain cardigan, which I picked up a couple of years ago in a charity shop to go with a dress I'd been wearing that day, as the weather had taken such a turn for the worse since I'd left the house.

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Bison Brooch: Sugar and Vice
My new bison brooch and penguin bag were Christmas gifts and I couldn't wait to wear them. I decided that more glitter was required (5.30am alarms always seem to require more glitter to get me through), so went with these glittery tights and my Smooch heels. 

This morning seemed to be my coldest start for a while. I had to defrost the car for the first time this winter. Hopefully this means snow might be on the way...?

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Tights: New Look // Smooch heels: Irregular Choice

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Tuesday Titles 076..

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This Is The Water - Yannick Murphy

This is a book about a swim team. And a murder. But mostly, the main character (Annie, referred to throughout as "you") and her relationship with her husband.

The entire book is written in the second person narrative, with sentences most often beginning "This is...". I found this annoying by the second page, but ploughed on to the end, in case things picked up.

We meet the murderer. ("This is the murderer.") And understand a little more about things which have happened in the past, particularly as Annie's relationship with one of the other swim team mother's husbands grows.

The majority of the story focuses on the swim team; training, swimsuits, timing and technique. There is great detail given to the water and how it feels. Even once one of the swimmers is murdered, it's almost as if the whole investigation is an afterthought. I guess I struggled not only with the sentence structure and writing style throughout, but with the way in which the writer was so hell-bent on turning the reader's expectations on it's head.

I also found it a little difficult to believe that nobody in an expensive and fairly exclusive swimming pool complex would fail to notice someone (the killer) creeping about, regularly watching the swimmers and using the pool. Particularly considering the lengths to which parents like Dinah go to in order to know all of the gossip.

I think this is one of those books which is a little like Marmite. I'm afraid to say, it wasn't for me.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo..

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Fabric: Lewis + Irene


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Swan heels : Irregular Choice

In a fit of productivity between Christmas and New Year, I managed to make up a few dresses from some of the fabric I had sitting in my fabric trolley. I am making some headway with this year's task of using up or getting rid of what fabric I have as well, and have listed a few fabrics, patterns and off-cuts for sale on my Insta-sale page. I'm hoping that by shifting some of the fabrics I know I'm not going to be likely to use, I'll shift my focus to deciding on the projects I want to complete with the fabrics I have left. So far, I've begun a list which is more organised than usual. I tend to just pick up the next fabric and make whatever pops into my head. 

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Coat: F+F // Scarf, tights: Primark
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Jumper: F+F // Dress: Handmade 

So this fabric was a Lewis and Irene one which I picked up on impulse when I popped into my local haberdasher to buy some interfacing. I couldn't resist the cute zoo animal print. Lewis and Irene do some lovely designs and I'm super excited for some of their new 2016 fabrics to arrive, so I'd better get working my way through my fabric stash!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sunday Shoes 093..

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Truly Magical heels: Irregular Choice
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Truly Magical were one of the pairs of Irregular Choice shoes I received for Christmas. They'd been on my radar for a while; I fawned over them when I was in the Brighton store. 

Although I'd been slightly torn between the gold and red colourways, I finally decided that the gold were probably my favourites. I think that's partly down to the pretty contrast between gold and pale pink. Plus: ALL THE BOWS. I sort of love the fact that there are so many colours of bow as that will mean I can totally justify wearing them with pretty much any colour. 

I'm already considering coloured tights combinations. The scalloped edges and T-bar ankle strap make it a really cute opportunity to pair with all kinds of colours and designs. Well, I think so anyway..

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Saturday, 9 January 2016

Give me ten, that's the move I give you five..

Just about everything about our lives is online these days. I've talked about it before, I know, but we share so much these days. It's becoming the norm. And I constantly wonder where the line is.

Over the Xmas break, I had to spend some time trying to explain to my grandparents why sending their password for their online banking back in a reply to an email they'd received from someone purporting to be their bank, had been a really bad idea.

This infographic from Data-Label seemed to be the best way to break it down most simply, although I'm still not entirely sure they get it. 


Have you ever been the victim of an online scam? I've recently had issues with some fraudulent attempts on some of my accounts and it has made me a little more aware that it probably would be a really good idea to change my passwords more often / make them more complicated. 

Do you have any tried and tested ways of staying safe online?

Friday, 8 January 2016

Friday Favourites 177..

FF 177 Collage
001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005
This week has been odd, as I'm officially allowed to buy things, but I totally haven't. I'm not sure why. 
Well, I've bought myself a new pair of leggings for the gym, and then have ordered some things for upcoming birthday presents. And actually I'm quite excited by the leggings. But I wouldn't put them in the same category of frivolous purchases as I would this week's wishlist..

001: The Dotty dress from Voodoo Vixen is currently topping my dress wishlist. I think this is mixture of mint green and red ladybirds and detailing is just perfect for spring. If it ever happens. 

002: Vendula London never seem to miss when it comes to creating cute bag designs. Their new range is based on sushi stores and features these cute kittens!

003: These Irregular Choice Yankee Doodle shoes are currently in the sale, Temptation. 

004: I'm enjoying all of the colourful pieces in the Whitepepper sale as well. I've always been a great fan of dungarees and this jumpsuit is just perfect with it's cute pocket detail.

005: I'm currently on the hunt for a new boxset series to watch whilst sewing and Pushing Daisies is one which has been recommended to me time and again, as apparently I'll like the outfits... 

What are you wishing for this week?


Thursday, 7 January 2016

My goals for 2016..



Not a very snappy title, but I suppose it does what it says on the tin.
I've seen so much disquiet about the whole concept of new year's goals and resolutions, but I've always liked them. I find it so helpful to have a goal in mind, so my list is as follows:

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  • Reading - I plan to repeat my goal for the past few years, which has been to read 52 books over the course of the year. So far, I'm on my fourth of 2016, so I think this should be achievable without issue. I did consider making this more onerous, but decided that I'd rather read for pleasure rather than try to force myself to read more books.
  • Allotment - this is something which has seen improvement each year, but there is still a way to go. I think to keep me focused, I'm going to do a monthly round-up post.
  • Fitness - Although I'd like to lose weight, I don't think I'm quite there when it comes to putting any numbers to that. Instead, I am going to work through the Kayla Itsines BBG programme. I've also got a few gym goals, like improving my pull-ups and leg raises to do more reps etc. I'm back to swimming 5 mornings per week, which I love, and doing at least one class per week of each of the following - Metafit, piloxing, kettlebells and spinning. 
  • Dressmaking / general crafting - I posted my #2016makenine list on Instagram the other day. It's a list of things I want to make this year, although isn't just dressmaking projects. I have also decided that whilst I'm not going to repeat my spending ban this year, I'm going to try my best to use up the fabric I have in my stash before I buy anything new. Again, I think that monthly blog updates might be the way to do this, to keep my focus - a round-up of what I've used and what I plan to make with what remains, perhaps?
  • Letter-writing. I'm a great fan of snail mail. My local post office lady tells me each time she sees me how she thinks I probably keep them going(!) and I want to try and make sure that I am better at replying this year. I found that I was falling behind last year so for 2016 I'm going to set myself a target to send at least 10 letters per month.
  • Carrying on from that, I'm going to pledge to do one random act of kindness per month. 
  • Music - One of the things I missed last year during the spending ban was buying new music. I have quite the wishlist of albums and songs I wish to add to my ancient iPod, so I'm going to try and remember to update my music collection each month, using some of my monthly vouchers. 
  • Drink more water - pretty self-explanatory. I've downloaded some cute app which is reminding me to do this, and it seems to be working so far.
  • Take more photos. Another fairly self-explanatory goal, I think.

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What are your goals for 2016?