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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Mise en abyme..

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Dress: Yumi via House of Fraser*
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Bag: ASOS // Minoa heels: Irregular Choice
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Tights: Jonathan Aston via SockShop*
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Cardigan: Primark

This week's turning into one of those funny ones where I'm struggling to concentrate on anything for long enough. Total goldfish brain going on. I've even had to start writing myself a list of things to do each day on a post it note, so that I don't forget them. It's kind of working.

Anyhow, yesterday evening I had tickets for my mama and I to go to the theatre. Rehearsal for Murder; an Agatha Christie play, which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Although I've only just recently worn this dress, I liked the combination of it with my new Minoa heels, which I've already worn twice this week. As I said to my friend, I'm hoping to make the most of them now I've paid the customs charge on them! That said, they're still not in stock in the UK, so I think I made the right decision. I still love these tights. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Tuesday Titles 097..

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Martini Henry - Sara Crowe


Happily, I've been pleased with my reading pile of late. I'm not always finding that I have as much time to read at home as I'd like to, but the more running I've been doing at the gym, the more I've managed to get on with some books to keep working towards my reading goal for 2016. I don't seem to have picked up any duds in a while, either, which is great.

Martini Henry was thoroughly enjoyable once I got into it. I'd say it's one of those slow burners, but it's definitely worth persevering with.

Set in 1988, Sue Bowl is an aspiring writer and also our protagonist, and the book is told through her journal entries, which are eloquent and endearing. Immersed into Sue's world, we follow her through her writing course and also uncover snippets of information about her family history, which unravels as the book progresses.

Similar to Adrian Mole in it's style, I found this thoroughly enjoyable when I got into it, and it's the kind of book you can dip in and out of without losing the thread of the plot. Sue's safe little world is turned upside down at the arrival of a baby and the consequences of this are amusing.

Best enjoyed on a rainy afternoon with lots of cups of coffee, I found.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sunday Shoes 111..

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Minoa heels: Irregular Choice

I can tell you that I've been super excited about these particular shoes arriving with me, although at the same time I was for some reason convinced that there'd be some kind of problem and they'd sell out, or not arrive. I'm not sure why, but it did take me a few phone calls to the stores to establish that there just weren't any left in the UK, in blue, so I had to take my search a little further afield. 

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In the end, I managed to find a pair in America on Tilted Sole. Delivery was great, although I'd panicked a little when I got an email to say there was a delay as they'd have to find stock in a store, but they arrived with me in a little over a week from the US. All good. 

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I knew I wanted the blue colourway, which features the same metallic snakeskin effect leather on the uppers as my Can't Touch This heels. The fronts of these shoes feature a snake's head, complete with eyes and tongue, ready to pounce. 

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Minoa are a comparable height to the majority of my Irregular Choice courts - with a regular round stiletto heel the same as recent styles like Smartie Pants, which makes them super comfortable in my opinion. A wonderful day to day shoe with a kind of understated design (well, for IC anyway). I really love them and am glad I didn't *quite* miss out!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

On the buses..

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Dress: Cath Kidston // Hat: H+M
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Toodle Loo heels: Irregular Choice // Socks: ASOS
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Bag: LYDC // Cardigan: H+M

I'm not really sure about this outfit. I've been trying hard to wear some more of my hats, but I'm just not entirely convinced this one suits me. Maybe I need to try and figure out a more 20s hair style.

I've also been trying to wear my way through some of the things in my wardrobes which haven't seen the light of day in goodness knows how long. So I dug out this dress, which I last wore in London in 2014. Time for a re-wear I think. In theory I'm trying to be ruthless and find things I don't wear anymore which I can add to my wardrobe sale, but we all know that's unlikely to happen. Even though I need the space as I've finally had some time to do a little sewing, of late. 

This weekend is set to be another one of those manic ones, with a million and one errands to run, so I'm hoping that the weather plays fair. I'm sure it won't, but we'll make the most of it anyway.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Friday Favourites 201..

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001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005


A rotten day to end a relatively rotten week, it seems. Can't wait for today to end so that I can head out for a run to clear my head. I've been thinking more and more about new running shoes this week as my current ones don't seem to be doing my feet any favours, so I'm definitely going to find some time over the weekend to pop into the running shop in town for a gait analysis (hark at me and my use of technical words - someone else told me about this, you understand!)

So anyway, this naturally got me thinking about the other things I'd like to replace and / or add to in my gym kit. I swear the washing machine is on constantly of late, trying to keep up.

001: My Nike leggings have certainly been the best of all of the pairs I've had, and I currently wear them at least twice / week, so I'm getting good use from them. I'm therefore fairly tempted to replace a couple of the pairs of cheaper leggings with this one, as I know they'll be decent quality and totally suited to gym workouts and running.

002: F+F have been another place I've been really pleased with the quality of their leggings and this pair ticks all of the boxes for me - affordable, full-length, decent fabric. I don't ask for much!

003: Ah, trainers. I'm waiting to see what the dreaded analysis says, but having asked on Twitter earlier, I was recommended these Asics running shoes by several different people, so I'm quite interested in these. Plus, I've always found SportsShoes.com to be a great place for sports wear.

004: I've been "running naked" for a good while now (apparently that's the term for those who don't track their running endeavours using a smart watch. Although it's not really a huge concern for me, I'm beginning to wonder if a Garmin would be a good addition to my gym kit. I've had a play with one belonging to a pal, and he's full of good things to say about it, so maybe. The good points as I understand it about this particular model is that I can also swim with it, so that would be good as none of the Fitbit models I've tried have been able to do that.

005: Speaking of swimming, I swear I get through swimming costumes like there's no tomorrow. I guess the pool at my gym is particularly chemically, or something, as they just seem to wear out. So, this Adidas one is currently top of my list - I'm kinda fussy about swimsuits: they need to have proper straps and support - one of the only things in my wardrobe where I actually consider function over fashion!

Anything caught your eye this week...?

Thursday, 23 June 2016

She ain't no English rose..

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Dress: Tu Clothing // Shrug: New Look
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Cottage Bag: Vendula London
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Pearly Girly heels: Irregular Choice

Well, today's been a struggle to be honest. One of those days which is almost as dramatic as a Lynda Snell production (okay, nothing is quite that bad). There's a big part of me voting for sacking off the gym this evening and just going straight to bed. But I know I'll feel better after a run and a kettlebells class, so I won't. 

Anyhow, new things alert. I popped into Sainsbury's the other day on a mission to try and find a floral shirt and a stripey dress, neither of which were in my local store, nor on the website anymore. However, in a predictable turn of events, I did come away with something - this floral dress. They've got some pretty awesome clothes in their range at the moment. 

100% cotton and a lovely fresh rose print in blue and green, I was sold almost immediately and couldn't wait to wear it, so teamed it with my Pearly Girly heels and a pearly necklace which was a gift from a pal and my old favourite Vendula London cottage handbag.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Yarn Along {9}



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It's been a little while since I joined in with the Yarn Along, because if I'm honest, it's been a little while since I picked up my knitting. I've had too much to juggle lately and things like this are the ones which slide first. 

However, knowing I had a 24 hour race to watch at the weekend, I packed my current project to take with me and have made some progress. I'm currently making the Majestic Moose vest from Andi Satterlund and have little to report - it's all going well thus far. 
As for books. I seem to be between tomes once again (I tend to speed my way to the end of a book in readiness for a Tuesday Titles post), but I'm about to start this, which popped through my letterbox last week.

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Linking up with Ginny's #yarnalong

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Tuesday Titles 096..

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A Spool of Blue Thread : Anne Tyler
Every now and then a book comes along which really consumes me. Where I'll start reading one minute and all of a sudden I've been running for an hour, completely and utterly immersed in the world of the characters. In this case, the Whitshanks, who have lived in the house with the blue porch swing for the past three generations. Kind of.

Introduced first to the current generation - Abby and Red Whitshank bring up their four children as well as they can, with Abby's selfless and kind nature causing her to also open up her home to any number of people in need, referred to by her children as her "orphans". There was a particularly poignant moment in Abby's story for me, as she begins to feel that once she's retired from her profession as a social worker, and all of the people she's helped have moved on without her, no longer needing her input, perhaps she is reduced to nothing. I think this resonated with me mostly because Abby's traits remind me very much of someone I know.

Although there are family secrets which have been kept for years, which come out during the course of the story, it's quite a gentle book, about getting older and how family life has a habit of moving on, whether you expect it to or not. Everything changes, and those little decisions you make, about whether to introduce yourself to the family who have been renting the holiday cottage next to yours every year for as long as you can recall, or not, can have a lasting effect on things, even if it might not seem so at the time.

As Red and Abby get older, their children, with their own families, come together to try and figure out the best way to support their parents, and sibling rivalries have a way of coming back, as though time hasn't changed things at all. Their sons, Denny and Stem haven't quite managed to put the years behind them. 

Ad the idea of leaving the family home is thrown around, the next part of the book tells us all there is to know about Red's parents and how they came to live in their Baltimore house in the first place. Their love story perhaps not the most traditional, but did Red and Abby make up for that?

I really enjoyed this, even if I can't quite put my finger on a precise reason why. I could have read twice as much about the Whitshanks again, without any bother: quietly enjoyable. 


Monday, 20 June 2016

I've got two left feet and I'm starting to cheat.

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Clio dress: Lindy Bop // Cardigan: New Look
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Tights: Meadham Kirchhoff x Topshop //  Bowtiful heels: Irregular Choice
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Picnic Basket Bag: Accessorize

Monday lunchtime and already I'm exhausted. Partly my own fault, as I've not had enough sleep this weekend what with having to stay awake all night at a guides sleepover at the prison on Friday evening and then staying up to watch as much of the 24 hours Le Mans live coverage as possible. 

Feeling less than inspired by the weather on the first official day of summer (yes, really), I decided to give my new Lindy Bop Clio dress a wear, along with these tights, which arrived to me via a blogsale this weekend. I totally missed the Meadham Kirchhoff x Topshop collection when it hit the shops (I'm never quick enough off the mark for these kinds of things) but these tights are superb so I'm glad I managed to find a pair eventually (thanks, Clare!).

As for the Clio dress, I'm also really glad I held out for this one rather than the Christie, which I'd considered when it hit the site. I really like the ric rac detail on this one. The cotton material is pretty thick - no need for a petticoat underneath as it keeps it's shape nicely - and the Venice print is super cute (I'm a sucker for a scenic print).

Also, my picnic basket bag definitely needed an outing, sunshine or no sunshine, along with some well-loved Irregular Choice heels. Happy Summer Solstice!



Sunday, 19 June 2016

Sunday Shoes 110..

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ASOS Player heels
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These lovely shoes were one of my birthday presents from Alex this year and I'm thrilled with them. So many wonderful things - perfect heel height, bright colour, floral embellishments which are firmly fixed onto the fronts of the shoes - all awesome and the exact thing I'd look for in a pair of shoes. She knows me well. 

They're super comfortable, although I've only tried them on so far; not walked any great distance in them as yet, but I think they'll go perfectly with this handbag and will have a lot of wear.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Flowers in the window..

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Dress: Dorothy Perkins // Cardigan: H+M
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Shoes: Irregular Choice // Tights: H+M
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Bag: Pylones // Necklace: Punky Pins

Lately I've been trying so hard to be ruthless with my wardrobes. I've been digging out dresses which I haven't worn for years, telling myself that I'll get rid as I clearly no longer need them. And then, I'll get to the part where I've identified some which haven't seen the light of day for years and I'll get a wave of nostalgia. Like actually I do still want this. Well, that's what happened here anyway.

It's been a while since I last wore this dress and it needed a little altering on the bodice to make it somewhat less indecent, but I'm pretty happy with how this outfit came together. A watering can bag, and some flat shoes because my feet are getting gradually ruined by running, I think I need some new running trainers. Or feet. 

The beautiful dinosaur necklace was a wonderfully perfect birthday present from Sarah and I've been eager for an excuse to give it it's first wear. 

Rediscovered anything lately?

Friday, 17 June 2016

Friday Favourites 200..

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001 // 002 // 003 // 004

Is anyone else fed up of this rainy weather? It's been crazy - too hot for the raincoat which you definitely need because of torrential downpours. Hopefully it will sort itself out soon. 

001: I've basically had to sit on my hands to stop my from ordering just about everything in the Kate Spade sale this week, but I might have to allow myself this cute belt which looks like ticket stubs - want. 

002: More Lindy Bop loveliness in their new arrivals section this week with this Venice print on their Bailee dress. The bow at the top of the bodice is swinging it for me, I think..

003: House of Fraser have a wonderful selection of tote bags at the moment and this Radley one is really jumping out at me, to go with the rest of the items I've already chosen - wouldn't this make the perfect outfit.

004: To be fair, I think these dreamy shoes would turn just about anything into the perfect outfit. Need.

What are you wishing for this week? To be honest, top of my list is an extra day as I just have too much to do and not enough time for it all..

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Whozits and whatzits galore..

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Dolores dress: Collectif
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Tights: Pamela Mann
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Sequin Bag: Miso
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Carling heels: Faith
This week has been a busy one so far and I was running out of enthusiasm, so decided that the only way to combat that and keep things cheerful was with the addition of glitter. And a new dress. 

Well, this dress arrived a little while ago now, but for some reason I just hung it on the new dress rail (the one which fell apart just wasn't fixable, even for the person who claims he can fix everything), and there it stayed. Overlooked. 

Until today, that is, when I layered it over a huge tulle petticoat (my trusty Hell Bunny one) and discovered these glitter shoes which seemed to work well. They reminded me of this sequin clutch bag, which I found packed away in a box, where it may well have been since I moved in. I really do have gadgets and gizmos a-plenty or so the song goes.

Anyhow, the mermaid print dress is a new version of my much-loved cherry print Dolores dress, which I bought from the Brighton sale last year. The fit is superb, the sizing is spot on and the length is perfect for this petticoat with heels. A thumbs up from me, for sure.




Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Help me up, let's keep on running..

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I fear this post might be a bit of a jumble, because it's something of an outpouring of the jumble of thoughts in my head. So, apologies in advance for that.

Sparked by a conversation I had with one of my favourite gym buddies this morning as we were stretching after our workout, I was thinking (when am I not?!) about my ongoing weight loss battle, my size and my shape. 

I don't remember a time when I've ever felt happy with the way I looked. I can't recall looking into a mirror or at any photo of myself and having any thought which did not begin "oh, I hate...". I sometimes feel as though this isn't quite right, but I also know that people say that they also have concerns about their bodies and so I just pass it off as normal. But I'm not sure that it is.

I go to the gym probably twelve times per week. I swim, run, lift weights and go to a number of different exercise classes. But it's never enough. I said this to M this morning and he asked me "what would be enough for you?" And aside from the obvious, which is that I would like to lose weight, be skinny, feel confident about myself, the truth is that I don't know. Nor am I quite sure how or where to start figuring that out.

It almost feels a little like treading water. Wading through treacle. All of those inexplicable ways in which they explain those things you struggle to progress with. It's like there's a little demon inside my brain eating away at everything that I should be entitled to feel proud about, because it isn't enough. It's been living in there for at least the last fifteen years and has become part of the furniture.

The little victories, the tiny steps forward I take towards the ultimate goal? They get lost in the treacle. Instead of being celebrated, they're shrugged off and dismissed without time to even properly process. In the past I've told myself I want to progress to do a chin-up, to squat 100KG, to run a Parkrun, to lose an inch from my waist. I've done all of these and yet, I still feel lost and fail to accept that actually, I'm doing okay. This morning I stepped on the scales to find I'd lost a kilo and instead of being pleased, just thought "well, it's not enough". And I kind of hate myself for thinking like that.

I don't think this is necessarily an issue which is confined to fitness stuff, either. I'm hopeless at taking compliments (I just get embarrassed and shrug things off) and fail to recognise things in myself which I'd see as achievements if done by others. Weird, no? 

I've had a lot of comments in the past (both online in response to posts I've written) and in person, from people saying it's hard to believe that I have such lack of confidence in my body image, when I wear such colourful outfits and post photos of myself. There's a little part of me which at one point hoped that in doing that, I'd feel better about myself in the long run, at least by getting more used to it (this is the same approach I take towards running, which I detest). I'm not sure it works, but maybe one day it will. My outfit posts have always been just that to me - records of my outfits; nothing more. 

I don't know what the answer is. Or rather, I do but I don't know how to get there. M tells me that he's spent a long time feeling the same in terms of body confidence, before he realised that he just had to accept his lot and make the most of it. He tells me that he looks at other people of his age and that helps to serve as a reminder to him that he's doing okay in the gym, and at least he's doing something. Which I guess is a good point. But, we're not sure how to get to that lightbulb moment.

Is that how it works? One day I might just wake up and feel okay with myself? Feel as though I've made it to that mirage of a finish line which has been evading me for so long? I'm not sure I'm convinced. But I'm not sure how else to go about it, either. I don't think there's an answer - I have no happy ending paragraph for this post other than the whisper of hope that maybe one day I'll get there and things will be I will be enough.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Tuesday Titles 095..

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The Following Girls : Louise Levene
Amanda Baker is our protagonist in The Following Girls. She's a student at Mildred Fawcett, a public school where the students and teachers seem to have a rather tempestuous relationship to say the least.

Baker makes up one quarter of "The Mandies", as there are four girls of the same first name in her year and one of my favourite things about the book is the way in which the author describes the way in which the group's friendship ebbs and flows. I'm fairly sure this is the kind of thing that just about anyone can remember happening from their school days.

In many ways, the book is a rather mundane trip back into 1970s nostalgia and it takes a little while (almost 50%) before anything "major" really happens. I mean, sometimes that's okay, and I'd describe it as an edgier Malory Towers, I guess. Just don't crack this spine expecting it to be a very dramatic or engaging storyline, or I fear you could be a little disappointed.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Of mermaids and snails..

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Dress: Handmade (Sew Over It "Betty" pattern)
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Bedroom Antics heels: Office // Snail bag: Kate Spade
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Coat: Monsoon // Necklace: H+M

A rather hastily thrown-together outfit for a meal out on Friday evening. I haven't worn these shoes for years (partly because they take the best part of a year to lace up), but I was reminded of this dress and scoured the shelves looking for a pair of shoes which would go with it. 

Any excuse to wear this pretty Monsoon coat goes, so the fact it was a fairly mild evening swung it for me. And the snail clutch bag is still one of my favourite things ever, even if my phone is now too big to fit in it and zip it closed. Bah. 

It's been one of those weekends where you fit soooo much in and it's over in a flash, so I'm now thoroughly wrecked but it was totally worth it. 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The clouds are falling around me..

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Dress: Handmade using Bette pattern and Cotton and Steel 'Gale' fabric.
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Tiny Ted heels: Irregular Choice
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Cloud bag: ASOS // Cardigan: Primark

I made this dress about a month ago now, and I'm not sure why it's taken me this long to get around to wearing it, but there you are. Another fail-safe Bette pattern - a free download from Sew Magazine which is probably rivalling my beloved 2444 for first place in my most-used dress patterns.

The fabric, too, had been one it's taken me a long while to get around to, which is weird because I knew which dress I would be making with it. Sometimes that seems to be the way it goes and I've had so little time for sewing lately that things are waiting even longer. I figured it seemed right to dig out my cloud clutch bag for this dress, what could be more perfect?

Another outing for my Tiny Ted heels, which I'm still loving - I can't decide whether these or Pretty Poodle are my favourite, to be honest. They're both so cute and so comfortable, which is a winning combination for me (I'm easily pleased!) 

A busy weekend again (frankly, when are they not?) but it's all fairly nice things, like two birthday parties and a trip to the safari park. I might even squeeze a Parkrun in there as well. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

Friday Favourites 199..

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001 // 002 // 003

Well, this week's been a bit of a funny one, all things told. I kind of can't believe it's Friday already and yet somehow the hours seem to have dragged on occasion. It's been one of those calm before the storm weeks at work with the imminent arrival of a fairly huge project, so now should be the time for getting on top of all of the other things before it starts.

001: These tights are pretty dreamy, and as the grey skies seem to be coming back to haunt us, maybe they're not a bad idea. Plus, anything with a unicorn on it is a winner in my book! 

002: This Sugar and Vice necklace has been tempting me for a while now as I'd love to wear it with just about any of my handmade dresses - perfect, no? I'd also love some spare time to actually make some more dresses - still working my way slowly through this little lot.

003: I fear that these Minoa snake heels are going to be one of those pairs I wasn't quick enough off the mark to add to my collection. They were sold out on the Irregular Choice website in the blue colourway pretty sharpish and although I've got stock notifications set up just in case they come back, I'm not so hopeful. I thought I'd found a pair on a US site, but they refunded my order saying they were actually out of stock too. Boo.

What's on your wishlist this week?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

You're a throwback to forever.

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Throwback Thursday - this photo was taken in South Africa in August 2008, and I feel as though one the one hand, so much has happened since then, and yet also that it feels about five minutes ago. Funny how time plays tricks on you. And how your style can evolve - this was probably one of the very last occasions I wore trousers of any kind! 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Campfire's burning..

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Dress: Emily + Fin 
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Bag: Accessorize
Well, it's already Midweek (cue the Shuttleworth - twelve points to anyone who gets that reference!) and it's been a fairly good one so far. I'm falling behind in this week's allotment goals, and need to fit some baking in somewhere before a party at the weekend, but otherwise it's all going fine. 

I've been tidying more and more of the Wardrobe Room, which has meant I've come across more dresses I'd forgotten about -this stripey Emily and Fin one being one of those. Gifted to me by Roisin, yonks ago, it never fails to get me excited about summer, with it's bright deckchair stripes, so it seemed fitting to wear it on a sunny day. 

I also couldn't wait to wear my new collar, a birthday gift and made by Fairytale Collars, who I've mentioned before. Emma's designs are amazing. and I've a wishlist as long as my arm. I love them and frankly, this camping design is my favourite one, so my awesome friend (another) Emma, knows me well! 

Speaking of camp, I'm late to head over to Rangers to crack on with planning our next one. Laters!

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Featherstone shoes: Irregular Choice
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Collar: Fairytale Collars