Monday, 16 October 2017

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2017..

On Friday, Sarah and I put on our brave faces and headed to London for the day. We were a bit of a sorry pair, fighting off the after effects of a stomach bug and a migraine between us. But, armed with a lovely train breakfast we found our way up the biggest hill ever to Ally Pally and admired the view for a brief moment before heading in to the Knitting and Stitching Show.
Because I'm never going to be, nor would I ever profess to be a sewing expert, I've added a selection of the photos of the things which interested me, an enthusiastic amateur home sewer a the show.
One of the things which we were most excited about was that Stoff & Stil were going to have a stand; their first in the UK. Although I've not yet ordered from them, Sarah has used them for a while and is a big fan. They have some lovely fabrics, so were on our To Visit list, for sure.
I was super tempted by this cotton tube yarn, and really liked the fact that they offered free patterns for lots of projects, as well as having it set out so that you could pick up everything you needed for an entire project. I wimped out because I wasn't sure my crochet skills were up to this. Also, "stoffstiluk" will get you 15% off your purchases until November 30th 2017 if you're interested in ordering anything.

We visited our usual favourites (Fabrics Galore and Sew Me Something) and went for some trouble-shooting advice at Janome for Sarah's machine. I don't currently own a Janome machine and think I'd have to be doing a lot more sewing to make it worth me upgrading any of my machines...!
These mini fox print dungarees were one of the cutest things I saw, and I really want to make my own version. The fabric is available here from Eternal Maker, where I bought some other amazing ones (although had to order this online as they'd sold out in just a day!)
Absolutely love all of these little Toft figures, although (again) I'm not sure I could manage to tackle one. I'm not very good at crochet yet; only mastered the very basics last week..!
I have to admit, I really enjoyed my trip to the Knitting and Stitching show and Alexandra Palace was a lovely venue. They do run a shuttle bus service between Wood Green tube station and the Palace, which is a good idea if you don't fancy a 20min trek up a fairly sizeable hill.
I'm super excited to share what I came home with, and my plans for it all. But I think that will have to wait for another post.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Great big blobs of blood all around..

Cactus Bag: Zaful*
Another outfit from the novelty outfit challenge, although I'd been looking for an opportunity to wear this dress for a while. I usually team it with reds to pick out the little red details in the print of the fabric, but can't seem to find my red cardigan, so plum and berry shades it was, which led to the tights and the boots as well. It's nice to have a change.

Dress: Handmade // Cardigan: F+F
I don't think I'd worn this bag before, either. Actually a lot more useful than it may look; the zip goes all the way around and there's a lot of depth to it so you can fit in all of the essentials. I don't think I've worn these boots much, either, but I've no idea why as I adore them.

Boots: Irregular Choice

Saturday, 14 October 2017

A day at the seaside..


I don't know what it is about being by the sea, but it makes me calm. Last week, I headed up to North Wales to visit my sisters in a setting which used to be one of my favourite places to spend my weekends. It's funny how something can go from being a weekly routine, to something you barely remember, isn't it?

We stopped for ice cream, as is tradition, although this wasn't our usual place and it was a little disappointing, so I should have opted for coffee instead. Mint chocolate chip flavour can't be beaten, in my opinion, but this was a little grainy and I didn't really enjoy it.
A wander along the seafront in Beaumaris saw the weather take a turn for the much more sunny than I'd expected, and it was nice to wander with no real purpose. We pootled in and out of some of the shops around and snapped some photos and I think it's safe to say that I prefer seaside towns in the off-season.
Buck Brogues: Irregular Choice // Tights: ASOS // Skirt: Primark
I'm pretty lucky that I don't live that many hours away from the coast - an easy day trip for me. And I've no doubt I'll be there again before the year is out: nothing like a walk by the sea to clear the cobwebs from my brain.

Friday, 13 October 2017

What should we do next: Something good, something bad? Bit of both?

Dress: Lindy Bop // Tights: Gipsy*
I've been absolutely loving taking part in the #noveltyoutfitclub challenge which Lucy from Smile and Make is running this month over on Instagram. She's been giving us a weekly theme prompt from which we can base our outfits, accessories etc and there's absolutely no pressure on how much or how little you join in (which works for me!). Sometimes I start these challenges with the best intentions and then fail a little to keep up.

Groot brooch: Femme de Bloom
Last week's theme was *movies* and one of my favourite outfits from the week was this one. I went for a full-on Guiardians of the Galazy theme with my Baby Groot brooch, a space print Lindy Bop dress and rockets on my shoes. Green tights for Gamora and my cassette clutch bag to finish it off and I was kind of pleased with how it all came together.

Shoes: Irregular Choice
I absolultely love these shoes but I always forget that I have them. I have been trying to use my Dressed app more to remind me of the things I forget I own. Whilst some of my shoe collection is displayed on the shelves in my Wardrobe Room, it kind of means I forget about any other pairs which I have squirrelled away! But this challenge is definitely helping, too.

Clutch: F+F

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Life lately..

It feels like forever since I caught up with my thoughts here. As ever, I feel as though I'm treading water with a lot of things. I've spent most of this week feeling under the weather with some kind of stomach bug, so a lot of my week has looked like the photo above - curled up in bed with a bowl of soup, a box-set of Charmed and a temperature.
Before being ill, I think I managed to pick up the basics of adding to these Granny Squares. I've never before got the hang of crochet, so this is good. I've been making 6inch knitted squares for a worthy cause which a friend is supporting, so it's nice to have some more wool squares to add to the pile!
I've been baking - an Oreo birthday cake for my sister. I don't get the appeal of Oreos and when I whizzed some up in the blender to mix up some Oreo butter icing, I couldn't help thinking it looked a little more like cement than anything else, but I'm told she liked it.
Also, although I've only made this twice, it might be one of my favourite cakes to make - raspberry meringue brownie cake. I used this recipe from BBC food as a base, but I often tend to go a little rogue when baking.
I went to the haberdashery last weekend armed with a list of the things I needed purely for the coats I'm making this season. I bought two coat fabrics at my recent trip to the GBSB Show and I think it's kick-started my sewing inspiration as I'd been in a bit of a crafting lull. I also stuck to the list, which is unusual (in that particular shop, anyway!)
Things I came home with which were not on the list (and were a pain to carry home in the pouring rain) were these plants, which I wanted for the planters on my bedroom windowsill, and this vintage sewing box footstool. I have big plans to paint the wood and recover the lid, so based on my previous furniture project progress, that might be completed in, say...2027?
I think this sign from my best friend's house has a very good point. I concur. Although I'm feeling a lot better, I'm still soooooo tired all of the time. It's no fun.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

#bloggersecretsanta 2017


So, as usual, I'm running my annual #bloggersecretsanta parcel swap again this year. It's so weird because I'm such a non-fan of Christmas and yet the organising side of my brain really enjoys this little spreadsheeting and snail mailing task. 

So, if you'd like to take part this year, here's what you need to email or message me with. (Email address is in the sidebar):

  • Your name
  • Your blog / Twitter / Instragram (any or all)
  • Your postal address for a parcel
  • Any likes/ dislikes or things your sender should know about you (allergies etc)

That's all I need, really. Please sign up by 6th November, and I'll pair everyone up using the info you've sent. You won't be sending to the same person you receive a gift from (this works more like a chain) so it's up to you whether you want to reveal your identity to your recipient or not...

I'll send out your partner's details and you'll have a few weeks to take a look at their blogs / social media and put together a parcel. The spend limit for that is £10, not including postage. Then, post your parcel by 5th December, and let me know when you've posted and when you've received a parcel. Couldn't be simpler! 

Get in touch if you have any questions. Open to international senders, as always!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Tuesday Titles 143..

download (3)
The Roanoke Girls: Amy Engel

I've been longing to read this book for a while now, having heard so much hype about it. Frankly I'm always intrigued when I hear a lot about a book from lots of different sources, so I was keen to track a copy down and when I downloaded it onto my Kindle last week I couldn't wait to start it.
I'll start with a trigger warning: I think it's fairly obvious, but whilst it doesn't go into any graphic detail, this book is centred on sexual abuse.
Lane is our central character. Finding herself at Roanoke to live with her grandparents after her mother's suicide, she spends a summer with her grandparents and her cousin, Allegra. Allegra fills her in on the family history when she arrives: "Roanoke girls either run or die". And we discover that this family seems to have had more than it's fair share of tragedy.
The summer is hot and the girls bond over local boys and their time helping out their grandparents on the farm. There is a creepy undertone to everything and the central theme is alluded to but never explicitly uncovered.
We follow Lane's story as she is called back to Roanoke eleven years after that summer by her grandfather when her Allegra goes missing in strange circumstances.
The narrative splits between THEN and NOW and is peppered with accounts from some of the other past Roanoke Girls, too. Whilst I know this is a fairly standard method of eking out critical information, it all seems to work nicely and flows together to keep the reader interested.
When it came to the big "reveal", I have to say I was a little disappointed. There's no real twist, and as I say, the book had really been alluding to the truth all the way through. My suspicions were confirmed about the hideousness of the grandmother character, but not of the truth came as a surprise, so things felt a little...flat in the last couple of chapters. That said, I was fairly hooked and read the book in just a couple of hours, so it was well-written in that respect and I don't know how else it really could have ended, so there you are.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sunday Shoes 146..

Fuzzy Peg: Irregular Choice
It feels like such a while since I properly posted on here and I feel bad because I have so much I want to share, but feel as though I never have any time. Anyhow, these beauties arrived with me recently in a Spartoo-shpaed parcel and I adore them.
They're called Fuzzy Peg and they have a much shorter, much chunkier heel than I'm used to, but they're comfortable. I don't usually like the way that lower heels seem to make my legs look so I've often avoided that funny middle-of-the-road heel in the past. The embroidery on these swung it for me, though.
Also available in purple, blue and orange, these shoes have cats and mice and balls of wool embroidered across the fronts and sides. I love the fact that they give a bit of a nod to the current embroidered shoes trend which seems to be absolutely unavoidable, but rather than just playing it safe with florals, does it in it's own IC way. I can see these getting a LOT of wear over the coming months.

Friday, 6 October 2017

When moving from your home town is a good decision..

There is nothing like being in your hometown, with all the comfort and familiarity that comes along with it. I especially love knowing exactly which coffee shop I want to go to and which one to go to if that one is closed. There is just something about having a security blanket and knowing where you are like the back of your hand. However, there is also something to be said for new challenges, new adventures and even a new city.
 There is a part of me that does like the idea of making a new city feel like home. After all, when its the right time for a change and the opportunity presents itself, it could be just what is needed, without even knowing it! Everybody is different, of course, so the right opportunity will be different for everyone. Perhaps a 6-month internship could give you the right amount of time to check out a new place, or maybe going to university in another region is more your style.
The thought of moving away is a bit intimidating, yes. But it is also a fun way to dream up a new lifestyle and get a fresh start. Often times, I wonder: what would I do if my dream job came up in a different town? Or what if a family member or a dear friend moved to a city I love? What would you do?
 Moving can open so many doors, make you grow much stronger and offer you with the opportunity to create your new ‘norm’. For example, it can offer great benefits for your career. Maybe there are not enough job vacancies in your hometown and a job opportunity in another city is the perfect fit. Or perhaps there is a specific company or industry that is particularly vivid elsewhere that could be your driving force to move.
For me, a city that I have always been interested in is Liverpool. It’s only 50 miles away from my hometown, so I feel like it is close enough to where I can come home on the weekends, but far enough so I feel like I would really need to create my own home. There are plenty of jobs available in Liverpool, the Internet makes it easy to check out new possibilities as well as rents and the best coffee shops I could check out on a visit!
 Your hometown will always be comfortable, sure, but if the timing is right, why not mix in another adventure? After all, you can always come back! Your hometown isn’t going anywhere…

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Tuesday Titles 142..

download (1)
Minding Frankie: Maeve Binchy

It's been a while since I last read any Maeve Binchy, but when I was at my Nan's house last week she'd just finished this one and passed it on to me. So, I took it with me on the train the next day and it entertained me en route to Leamington Spa.

And, it was just that really. The kind of book I'd recommend for a mildly entertaining read when you need to kill some time. Probably not one I'd go back to (I do sometimes re-read books which I've really enjoyed, although I seem to have such a long to-read list that I don't do it very often).

Noel has made it to thirty years of age without really having much of a plan for his life. (I empathise.) He spends his days trying to get through his dead-end job without anyone finding out how much he drinks to keep going.

Things change when someone he hasn't seen for a while looks him up and tells him a secret. In fact, at that moment everything in Noel's life changes and suddenly he's being given a lifeline. With an amusing and supportive merry gang of friends and family rooting for him, Noel is determined to turn things around and prove himself to Frankie.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Blog Tour: Death in the Stars..

This week, I'm super excited to be a stop on the blog tour for Death in the Stars, by Frances Brody. I've read and enjoyed some of the Kate Shackleton mysteries series before, and have even been part of the blog tour for Death at the Seaside in the past, so I was excited to be asked to take part again, as I think these books are great fun.
download (2)
Death in the Stars : Frances Brody

As I've come to expect, the book set the scene from page one. Ms Shackleton receives a letter containing a warning of things to come and keeps this in mind when she meets Selina Fellini and is asked to arrange an outing to see the lunar eclipse. Something terrible happens on that fateful night whilst everyone is busy watching for the eclipse and Kate is certain that she will find out the facts.
I loved the gentle nature of the book; it builds up into a charming story which I've found is the case with others in the series, too. I was off the mark with my initial inclination as to whom was responsible for the murders, too. I think that the mark of a decent murder mystery is the ability to throw some plausible red herrings into the mix and this is most certainly what we have here.
Dressing room lights, theatre performances and the roaring twenties setting make this a lovely book to escape into. Stop by the other blogs in the tour for some more thoughts..
Blog Tour Poster

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Sunday Shoes 145..

I'm not sure what's come over me lately, but I seem to be branching out a little bit. Instead of sticking solely to high heels, I've been favouring flats. In fact, in the last Irregular Choice sale, I ordered three pairs of shoes....and two of those were flats. One of them was these.
These Buck Brogues are just adorable and so chock full of detail. The uppers are a candy stripe pleather with pastel coloured bunnies printed on them and the soles are thick pink rubber, with matching rabbit print, and a gold trim.
Inside the shoe is the embroidered IC logo we've come to expect lately, on a floral metallic print leather and fabric combination. So shiny, and so comfortable. The brogues are also trimmed with a row of little pink bobbles and the tongues are shaped to look like ears.
These are not only true to size (I took my regular size in these and was right to do so - can be a bit of a gamble), but also so incredibly comfortable to wear. I'm off for a weekend away soon and plan to pack these as I know I have a lot of walking to do and these will be perfect.

The shoes fasten with laces made from pink organza, which is laced through beautiful iridescent eyelets which match the colours of the bunny print. So cute.
I'm certainly back on the bandwagon with IC. This season they seem to be bringing out sooooo many absolute gems and I have a wishlist as long as my arm.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The mean reds are horrible..

Jacket: H+M // Shoes: Topshop // Skirt: Warehouse

This week, I'm not sure why but I've been struggling to find my usual inspiration. For outfit planning, for organising things or for writing down my thoughts into blog posts. Hence why it's been a little quiet around here. I think it also doesn't help that I've got a lot on my plate when it comes to work and various other commitments, so I'm finding myself with less spare time than I'd like, whilst also trying to fit more into it than usual / than is physically possible.
On-going things such as making headway with some of my dressmaking projects, house-hunting and clearing out my wardrobes of some of the things I will just never wear again have not been going amazingly, but there we are. I've also been feeling as though I'm more tired than usual, and suffering from pretty regular headaches, which is hindering my inspiration.

If I were a more organised person, I'd probably plan my next day's outfit in advance, using my trusty Dressed app, and I'd locate what I needed, which would avoid the daily forage into the wardrobe room, taking my life into my hands to avoid being crushed by coats or a shoebox avalanche. Very real possibilities. I'll then find that if I don't like what I've chosen, I'm not sure how to proceed. Since I'm feeling less and less inspired or happy with the way I look lately, I'm more likely to pick fault with an outfit. I don't remember the last time I felt "happy" with something I wore, which is a big reason for not buying a lot of new clothes lately - I'm not sure if this unsure feeling will extend to those too, which I figured means I'm probably better off trying to work with what I already have..?
I'm not sure how to combat these feelings. I'm no bigger in dress size than I was in the past, although my frame is more muscular and whilst I love the working out part, I hate this fact. I feel as though I fight a life-long losing battle with my body shape as just when I think I'm finding something which will make me more confident about it, my brain will plot-twist it's way into finding another flaw to focus on instead.

When I try to explain these thoughts, I tend to get comments saying how proud I should be that my body can do various things, and I how grateful I should be to be in my position and whilst I do appreciate that, I'm struggling to re-programme my thoughts, as it were.
So, above outfit became a kind of "safe" fall-back outfit for a meeting I had to go to recently. This black skirt is a little high-waisted, which I know should do flattering things to my shape, and I wore it with heels and some opaque printed stockings to hide my legs a little. I wasn't particularly pleased with it, and I could have spent hours changing things up, but I don't think I would have been any happier. I find that when I feel this way, I spend more time than usual comparing myself to other body shapes and types in the room, in the street, on TV, wherever. And whatever it is, I always find myself lacking.
Here's hoping that this shall pass. I'm going to try and focus on taking part in Smile and Make's October novelty outfit challenge over on Instagram, which might be a way to find some of that outfit inspiration.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Friday Favourites 263..

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005
I think there is something about the change of season which makes me both a little restless and keen to change things up a little. A new season, a new homeware style. I like nothing better than fresh bedsheets (I get teased all the time about how often I change my bedding) and I think that a change of colour-scheme can make all of the difference.
Here are some of the items I think would be perfect to give my bedroom a bit of a style overhaul.
001: I love this little blue folding table. It would be perfect with a lamp or maybe a candle on it, but gives the option to fold it out of the way when the space is needed.
002: Because storage is the thing  I just never have enough of - these metal baskets would be perfect for keeping all kinds of bits and bobs, whilst looking stylish.
003: I love the mix of colours in this wool throw - perfect for someone who can't sleep with the windows closed but sometimes gets cold..
004: I love these wooden lamps. They come in a range of sizes, and can stand on the bedside table or the floor.
005: I love the mix of colours in this duvet cover and in fact the way the bed has been styled in this photo is giving me all kinds of d├ęcor inspiration. Rooi has a lovely selection of bedding.
Does anyone else get the urge to change things around a little when the seasons change?

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sunday Shoes 144..

Doesn't it seem like summer was a long time ago, now? Well, it's been a while since my favourite enabler (that would be Sarah) persuaded me to take these super sandals home with me from the Bullring. I'd had my eye on them for a while and there was a little sale on, so into the Irregular Choice store we went and out I came with these..
In fact, it must've been so long ago that Snappy Feet no longer seem to be on their website, but that link will take you to some in stock on Amazon.
What can I say about these other than they're super comfortable and just about every inch of them sparkles like crazy. A mix of glitter, shiny metallic leather and pretty mirrored patent sections, with a cut-out above the toes to look like the monster's mouth.
They fasten with a buckle rather than being slip-on, which I find preferable when it comes to sandals, as it means I can run around, paddle in the sea and climb trees without fear of losing a shoe. (It's been known).