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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Climb every mountain, ford every stream..


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Frankly, it felt as though we really did climb every mountain we saw in Switzerland. It's been a good few weeks since my Switzerland trip, but life happens and I'm only just getting around to sharing some photos. The world doesn't end if things take a little longer than expected, I've found. 

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We stayed in a chalet at the top of a mountain just above the teeny town of Adelboden, for four days over the Easter weekend, and the weather was fairly decent and spring-like. Getting the train across the country from Zurich to our destination was rather nice as there was a visible change in the scenery as we headed further into the mountains. I was childishly excited that there was still snow on the tops of many of them. 

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The chalet was, like many of the others in the surrounding area, entirely wooden and our room was pretty cute. Naturally, I packed light - I managed to take just enough shoes for the four day stay. But forgot *any* t-shirts. Because I am a packing halfwit. 

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Many more photos to follow..



Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Tuesday Titles 132..

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Spandex and the City: Jenny T Colgan
I'm rather pleased to be part of the blog tour for this book. Spandex and the City is the book I took to Switzerland with me and read on the trains as we travelled to and from the airport. I was quickly drawn into the witty writing and quick-fire banter between the characters, here. 
Holly, described as being one of those unlucky in love people, is always being set up by best friend Gertie, but to no avail. One night, as they're out celebrating. the bar they're at is robbed and Holly throws herself in the way of the perps in order to stop her friend's ring from being stolen. This plan kind of backfires for Holly as she finds herself being tied up and dragged away. 

Luckily, local spandex-wearing superhero, Ultimate Man, isn't far behind to save Holly, and she becomes something of a media sensation when she gets back to work. The question on everyone's lips is whether she knows the real identity of their local hero. Holly doesn't. But,it's not long before their paths cross again and she's able to figure out who he really is.

Can she keep Ultimate Man's true identity a secret? Why does Holly always seem to end up stuck between the hero and his arch-nemesis, Frederick Cecil, who seems hell-bent on causing chaos wherever he goes? And what do they want with Holly...?

If you can keep up with the fast pace at which this story moves, it's certainly an enjoyable read for slightly-daft, escapism purposes. 

Follow the rest of the blog tour below.


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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sunday Shoes 136..

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A few little photos of one of the -many- pairs of shoes I've added to my collection, lately. I don't think I was even familiar with this style before seeing them pop up on a recent eBay auction, but they're called Stick of Rock, according to their box. 

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Very similar in shape and design to Trinkletina, which I have in a few different colours, I was already well aware of how they'd fit {i.e. pretty much perfectly}.The mixture of fabrics; red and white polka dots and also a pretty, ditsy floral print work really well together, in my opinion.

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Again, just like Trinkletina, they've got a bundle of three detachable charms; on Stick of Rock it's an ice cream, a panda and a bunch of grapes. I think these are a really cute touch but I'm also glad they can be detached, as I do find that they can bump around on things, which can sometimes be unwanted.

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And as for the fronts, they're adorned with a sequinned bow in red, gold and green and then finished off with a pretty heart and arrow charm. A lovely addition to my collection, which I know I'll get a lot of wear from. 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Friday Favourites 245..

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I really like how this week's wishlist picks seem to go rather nicely together in colour-scheme. They'd make a lovely outift, no? Here's what's been catching my eye this week, anyhow.

001: This amazing Little Moose necklace - have they ever made anything I haven't loved?! - would be the perfect addition to just about any dress, I think. Pretty little seahorses. 

002: Lindy Bop have been coming out with heaps of lovely new prints and I adore this bright yellow background colour, with it's lovely skyline border print. 

003: I first spied this Cath Kidston bag in the airport store, en route to Switzerland, but I decided my already overstashed holdall couldn't stretch to it. I love that although the print is large, it ends up being rather subtle. It's only when you look quite closely that you realise it's bananas, and so are the handles!

004: Another new discovery for me in the form of Isa Duval brooches. So many beautiful retro ladies to choose from. I love this air hostess, but there are loads of others too.

What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Found a demon in my safest haven..

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There's definitely something to be said for taking the pressure off. Even just a little.
As someone who will tell you until I'm blue in the face that I work so much better under pressure, even I have come to realise that you can't be under pressure 100% of the time. It just doesn't work. So, I'm starting to try and be less hard on myself. In a number of different ways. This past weekend was a really good example, I think.

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I've been super behind with the allotment this year; so much so that the prospect of spending a lot of time there has been filling me with a kind of...guilty dread? But on Saturday morning, since there was no Parkrun to be done due to an event in the usual venue, I trundled down there and spent a few hours digging things over. I had a finite time, as I was being picked up later to go help out at the local campsite work day, and that probably helped. I just did....what I could. And what I could was enough, because actually, it is. I mean, no, it's never going to be the tidiest, or the best laid out, or the most award-winning allotment. But I enjoyed my time there, and feel enthused about doing a little more as and when I can and anything we can consume as a result of my efforts is a bonus. Less pressure: can be a good thing, right?

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Put it in the pantry with your cupcakes..

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Clutch Bag: Kate Spade
I'm still kind of feeling warm and fuzzy after a really lovely evening out yesterday. Yummy food at Porterhouse, before heading to the theatre to watch The Simon and Garfunkel Story. A pre-birthday treat from my best friend and it definitely didn't disappoint. 
Obviously. being the hilarious beings that we most definitely are, we amused ourselves people-watching (one of my favourite past-times, frankly..) and we most certainly lowered the average age of the audience by a good few decades. And then, the first few chords of the music began, and I was drawn into a heady wave of nostalgia. Funny how certain things can take you right back to certain times in your life, isn't it?! Simon and Garfunkel, although a duo which I know my dad listened to a little when I was a kid (I have vague memories of a greatest hits cassette tape forming the background noise of the late-night drives back from our family holidays to Scarborough) mostly take me back to my sixth form days. 

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Coat: Marks and Spencer
Unlike now, we all had PAYG phones (that's where you had to actually pay ten or maybe even 12p per text message sent. None of this unlimited data business. My boyfriend at the time had a phone plan which gave him four free messages per day, and my phone network came with five. Five texts. Per day. Can you even imagine? Anyway, since that wasn't really enough to have a whole conversation (and landline phone plans meant that you could call each other and talk for up to 59 minutes for absolutely nothing (Remember landlines? And the BT Friends + Family phone plan?!), we'd chat all of the sh*t we could think of then. Every night. And if it got close to an hour, we'd hang up and call back. Jeez. 


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Shoes: Irregular Choice
My point is, since we didn't have a lot to text about, we'd play a weird game where we'd send random song lyrics to one another, and have to reply with the next line of the song. But, instead of searching it up on Google (I didn't have a computer, or the Internet, or a smartphone, obv), we'd have to listen to the song - on an actual CD - and find it that way. Cute? Weird? Either way, it was mostly Simon + Garfunkel, as we were both a little obsessed. And last night took me right back there, which was nice in a lovely-kind-of-nostalgic way. 

As a tribute act, the duo were great, to be honest. They sounded pretty close to the original songs, and the show was a lovely whistle-stop tour of the career of two of the most famous names in folk-rock. LB and I tried hard to resist their attempts at audience participation, which is probably a good thing as the only time I did, I lost the rhythm within about four beats (I'm truly hopelessly tuneless), but we had such a good time nonetheless and I'd certainly recommend.

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Dress: Coast
Outfitwise, I went with a little more dressed up than a day in the office. This Coast dress was a 99p eBay bargain late last year but it's been sitting in my wardrobe ever since, so I felt as though it was it's time to shine. I kept the accessories pretty simple as it's kind of "prommy", but took the opportunity to use one of my Kate Spade bags, which I definitely don't use often enough. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Tuesday Titles 131..

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Did You See Melody? Sophie Hannah


Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can't afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied - by a man and a teenage girl.
A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist - but Cara's fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can't possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn't know what to trust: everything she's read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?


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Oh, this one throws you right in at the deep end. We, the reader, arrive at a holiday resort in the midst of the Arizona desert, with Cara, who is running away from her life in England.

But why? What does she need to get away from so urgently? And how is she supposed to relax in a luxurious holiday complex when the other guests, and even some of the staff are slowly getting caught up in conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of a young girl, seven years ago?

There have been sightings reported of Melody Chapa, and here the book flickers between present day events and interviews, TV shows and reports from the time of Melody's disappearance. 

Is Cara's over-stressed brain making far too much out of seemingly innocent events? Or could the suspicious behaviour of her fellow guests be because they really are hiding something? How long will she herself be able to hide, before her family have enough and try to track her down?

This definitely took a different turn to that which I'd expected, but it was fast-paced and engaging; I was desperate to find out what had happened to Melody.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Whatever breathes life into your bones..

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Recently, life and things have been getting rather chaotic. Feeling as though I've been treading water -both at home and at work- for the past few months, I've been trying hard to be more organised. 

I've been trying out different ways of attempting to manage my time better and thought I would share some of the things which have been working for me. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I'm quite a disorganised (and forgetful) person, who also definitely takes too much on, so every little helps for me.

  • My diary is the one thing I'd be totally lost without. I'm really, really fussy about diaries and have an annual search for a suitable one - it must be lined and A5 size, with a day per page. I take it absolutely everywhere with me, all appointments (work and otherwise), meeting notes and a daily to-do-list go in there, and I basically can't commit to anything, ever, without first consulting it.
  • Having in / out trays which I try to clear each day helps me. I like to have a clear desk to start and end the day. I also try to remember to do different things each day; setting aside half a hour for, say, invoicing, then making sure I move onto something else. It seems to stop me from getting too distracted.
  • Essential items such as lip balm and hand cream stay on my desk at all times because if they're sitting in front of me, I feel as though I'm more likely to remember to use them.
  • I always forget my glasses, so keeping a pair at home and one at work means I am more likely to actually have them when I need them (mostly for close-up computer screen work, or sewing or reading). My current work glasses are these, which arrived last week and I'm definitely getting more used to. I'd been a little worried the frames were too big, but I think I really am beginning to like them. I always try to opt for colourful glasses frames and these are a mix of pink and purple, slightly translucent. Currently, GlassesShop.com are offerering 50% off all eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses on their site with the code: GSHOT50.
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    GrandPrairie Wayfarer  Eyeglasses: GlassesShop*
  • I often have to make myself notes, shopping lists and little reminders of things I have to remember. I use washi tape to stick my "things I need to take with me" list to my front door, as it seems to be a surefire way not to forget my lunch, or gym kit, or the things I need to take to guides etc. I leave the house before 6am each morning and don't often get home before 10pm, so there's often quite a bit to remember.

Do you have any tips for staying organised, or remembering all of the things you need to?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sunday Shoes 135..

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I'm fairly sure that when the first Clarks x Orla Kiely collaboration happened, I was mildly interested, but didn't really *fall for* any of the styles. I'm not sure what's happened since then, but recently I'm desperate to try and track down a few of the pairs which I missed out on. I guess that goes to show how your tastes can change over time..?

So, in my attempt to tick off some of my Clarks x Orla wishlist (and add significantly to my current collection of one pair), these arrived last week. Enter: Orla Marianne.

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These are just lovely; mustard and cream patent platform sandals, giving them a super retro 60s vibe. Then, at the front, they're adorned with the archetypal Orla flowers. And big round buckles on the ankle straps. Super cute, and also super high. Which is the best way to wear your heels, in my opinion. 

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Friday, 12 May 2017

Friday Favourites 244..

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Well, the weather isn't playing ball but all I can seem to think about lately is holidays. And I'm seeing holiday wardrobe must-haves just about everywhere I look, at the moment!

Bright colours, beach huts and ice creams are giving off definite summer holiday vibes..

001: This striped Joanie dress is amazing; it would go with just about everything and is so bright and cheeful. 

002: Sugarhill have some lovely summery pieces in at the moment. I'm a sucker for flamingos on anything, so this tee would be the perfect beach cover-up for me, or teamed with shorts for a day of sight-seeing.

003: Joanie have also this week launched their new swimwear collection and I'm all heart-eyes about it. I'm constantly in dire need of new swimsuits, so I'm trying hard to decide which design to order first, as they're all just perfect vintage shapes.

004: I've only just discovered I Am Acrylic - like, how is that even possible!? I spent far too long on their website last night, drooling over just about everything. I really love how colourful and quirky everything is!

005: Sunshine means new sandals, and these Lulu Hun ones are soooooo summery. Pineapples - what could be better?!

006: Last but definitely not least, another amazing bag from Yoshi. I love the beach huts and the little kite detail on this so much, so think perhaps it's time to add to my Yoshi collection. 

What have you been lusting over this week...?

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Shake out the trees, change the scene..



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Somehow, we've already passed midweek and it feels as though we've barely begun. Sometimes I feel as though I'm doing okay, whereas other times it's as though I'm constantly treading water. A lot of this is down to taking too much on, so I end up being under more pressure than is perhaps ideal. Maybe this is something I'll grow out of in time, but it hasn't happened yet.I'm beginning to learn that it's not always possible to do everything, or at least that if things take longer than anticipated, that can be okay.

Finding myself at home last weekend for the best part of a day with no fixed plans, I took the opportunity to try to restore some order to the organised chaos which surrounds me. Trying to be as ruthless as possible, I worked my way through bookshelves, kitchen cupboards and homeware things and out-sorted things which I no longer needed, or could part with. I listed a bundle of things onto my sale page, and also trundled off to a local charity shop with some of the others.

With the lovely weather we've been having recently, it almost feels too late to call this a spring clean exactly, but it definitely feels good to have a thorough sort out. The obvious next step was my wardrobes, but I'm working through them a little bit at a time as it's just a mammoth task. How do you decide what to keep and what to let go of?

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This one was deemed a keeper.

I figured that the best place to start was my underwear drawer (it's the smallest drawer) and using these hints and tips from Thirdlove, set about trying just about everything on and clearing out everything which no longer fits properly, and anything which was beginning to seem a little past it's best. Anything which is in full working order but just the wrong size for me (my lingerie drawer seemed to be full of a range of sizes - can you tell that my bust is - annoyingly - where I lose / put on weight first?!) was sent off to the Smalls for All charity.


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I find that my worst hoarding happens as a result of nostalgia. I'm way too sentimental when it comes to outfits I've worn which have memories attached to them, and I'm not so good at getting rid of some things even when I 100% know that I'll never want to wear them again. I should be better at that but frankly, nostalgia is my downfall.

Are you a hoarder like me? Do you have any tips on how to be more ruthless when it comes to Spring Cleaning? Along with this helpful infographic, ThirdLove are trying to help out by offering free trials of all of their bras. You can wear them for 30 days and if they're not right, send them right back for a refund. They're also offering 10% discout at the moment with the code TLSPRING10, if that helps.




Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Tuesday Titles 130..

Holiday in the Hamptons
Holiday In The Hamptons - Sarah Morgan

As the weather eventually begins gathering momentum and summer approaches, I find that I like to switch up what I'm reading, Suddenly, books about spending the summer months in sunnier climes. I can't even begin to think of how many shows I've seen and books I've read where New Yorkers head to The Hamptons for their summer holidays. It's clearly the done thing (and yes, I'm a little jealous!)

Fliss has her own reasons for escaping New York. She's avoiding someone, and her past. And the best way to do that? To get out of town and back to her childhood home, at least for a little while. Moving back to help her grandmother out, Fliss is hopeful that she can avoid her demons for a while, at least until she decides what to do next.

Of course, that's not how the best laid plans seem to go, so no sooner has she landed on the island, she runs into the last person she wants to see. Seth. A split-second decision to pretend to in fact be her twin sister, and Fliss thinks she's got away with this. But has she? 

What is she so desperate to hide from? Will her secrets catch up with her? I rather liked Fliss, emotional and impulsive though she could be. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Imperfect boys, with their perfect ploys..

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Teddy Brooch: Handmade // Rainbow Brooch: H+M
No, I'm not really sure what's going on with my hair today either - it's doing it's very best lion's mane impression, I think. Whilst I'm not entirely fussed that it's Monday once again, I am a little perturbed at how quickly time seems to be zipping by of late. But, I can't really complain. I had a lovely, productive and enjoyable weekend - spent with one of my favourites, ate burgers and had a trip to the theatre to watch the ballet. 



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Bag: Gift  //  Parisian Tights: Jonathan Aston*
I've not worn this dress in a while, but spotted it when I was tidying up my wardrobes, and decided it was high time it got out. I loved this fabric ever since I bought a skirt in the same print, years ago from a local boutique which used to stock some awesome stuff (including Punky Pins, Lazy Oaf and Get Cutie) back in the days when it wasn't quite so easy to buy everything online...Although the skirt was no longer my size, I managed to track down the fabric on a weekend away a couple of years ago, and have loved the dress ever since.

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Cardigan, Necklace: Primark 
I decided the bright colours lent themselves to just about anything, so this bag and a pair of sandals which I've also not worn in an age. Also, some new tights - the first of a couple of pairs from the new Jonathan Aston collection. These are Parisian, which are a lovely floral black lace design and I have to say, as with all of my JA hosiery, I'm rather impressed. Despite being a delicate lace pattern, they're thick enough not to catch on things, which is a real benefit for clumsy folk like me. Absolutely love these and think they'll be worn with everything..I'll be packing them for Paris at the end of the month! 



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Dress: Handmade .. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday Favourites 243..

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Honestly, I'm -trying- to do less, to free up some time, but still the weeks are flying by and I'm doing that annoying thing where I push a lot of the stuff from one day's to-do list to the following day. And again. One day perhaps I'll realise that it's impossible to do everything.

001: I've been waiting somewhat impatiently for this lovely mustard cardigan to be released. I love the colour - good old Joanie are really coming out with some summer staples lately!

002: Sugar and Vice released their new collection this week and I for one am super excited about it. I'm really loving the taxidermy vibes, my favourite pieces being these butterfly necklaces - I'm just torn over which colour to go for. 

003: The recent sunshine has had me checking out the new arrivals on the Spartoo site, as I'm desperately in need of some new flat, but cute sandals before I go on holiday. These cactus ones from Miss L'Fire would be a decent pick, I think... 

004: Oh, Collectif have always been one of my favourite places for cute and retro prints, and this season seems to be no exception. The Maddison dress is already a lovely style, with the cute Peter Pan collar detail, but it's even better in this retro car print. 

What have you been shopping for this week?

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Magic, madness, heaven, sin..

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I sometimes feel as though I ought to start a series called Char tries to make something which doesn't turn out like it did in her head, as it would pretty much apply to everything I ever make. Here's the latest which would fall into that category. My friend's daughter asked if I'd make her a birthday cake for her birthday party at the weekend and being firmly of the opinion that time is an elastic concept, I assured her I would.

She didn't give me a lot to go on, tbh, just that her favourite cake is chocolate and the party was due to have a girly theme. So, I came up with a shortlist of ideas, mostly using google image search, then dismissed the ones I reckoned I wouldn't be able to emulate. In the end, I decided that a unicorn would be relatively simple. Um. 

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After a little bit of panic, I ended up with three layers of chocolate sponge, put together with layers of chocolate buttercream and seedless strawberry jam. And then kind of went crazy with some minty green butter icing and as many different edible sparkles as I could find for the mane. 

I shaped some primitive ears and a unicorn horn from fondant icing, and built up some layers of gold icing spray for the colour of the inner ears and horn. Attached them with some more butter icing, and piped on some eyelashes and was good to go. Hopefully it was clear that it was supposed to be a unicorn.

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Monday, 1 May 2017

You go for a walk in the park..



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Cardigan: Primark // Brooch: Gift
Ohh, it's been one of those weeks which has gone too fast because I've tried to do too many things, and have ended up running out of time for them all. Standard. I sort of managed to find time to take some photos this week, so here's another outfit post - they're like buses at the moment, no?

This is one of my most recent additions to my Lindy Bop wardrobe - I couldn't resist the Amelie dress when I saw this lovely dogs in the park print, but the dress itself isn't wildly flattering on me. I like the colour, but might need to shorten the hem a little for it to sit a little better on me, maybe.
I kind of liked the matchy matchy effect of these boots - pale green with a touch of red, which seemed just right for spring. 

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Amelie Dress: Lindy Bop 
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Abigail's Party boots: Irregular Choice // Tights: Lindy Bop

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sunday Shoes 134..

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I was a little unsure about adding this particular new pair to my shoe collection, if I'm honest. I'm not sure where my reluctance came from now that they've arrived as they're absolutely lovely in the flesh. I think I was just a little worried that they're sort of similar to a pair of red metallic IC courtesans that I've had for yeeeears (and almost worn to death). They're these ones, FYI.


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Anyway, my friend Goo had a good point, in that I should probably have a back-up pair. Enter Peach Melba, which are the wonderful usual IC court shoe shape, finished in a mix of glitter, lace overlay and well....more glitter..! Oh. and a rather huge satin floral corsage on the front. 

There's not a lot else to say about these other than they're perfectly proportioned, and ridiculously comfortable to wear. My favourite shape of shoe, I guess. 

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Friday, 28 April 2017

Friday Favourites 242..

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Whilst I'm trying to keep dry in my tent this weekend, here are a few of the things which have caught my eye this week.

001: This Joules dress is their latest version of the Amelie, which they bring back in a new print each year and I *have* to add to my collection. Love the pale grey background with it's floral print. 


002: Love this kawaii deer brooch - one of many awesome designs on the LuxCups Etsy store. They also have some uber cute enamel pins as well. I'll definitely be ordering some.

003: I love that Joanie Clothing have named this cute novelty bag Michelle - it reminds me of that joke about the fancy dress party! Love the glittery shell bag as well - the perfect holiday bag, no?

004: Loving the cutesy rabbit print on the new season Irregular Choice things at the moment - the current season boxes are covered in this print, too. I really like these pink bunny print brogues with their tulle laces.

Spied anything amazing this week?


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Long live the pioneers, rebels and mutineers..

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Isabelle Dress: Zoe Vine
This dress was waiting for me when I got back from my travels last week and I'm completely smitten. Having spied it on the utterly adorable Kayla, and recognising the Isabelle dress from one of my recent favourites post (I featured the green polka dot version here), I decided that the time had come to place my order....only to receive a refund shortly afterwards, as they'd just sold the last one. 

Dejected, I had a little look around but couldn't find it online anywhere else, so had almost given up hope when someone got in touch via Instagram to tell me they'd seen one on sale in The Whiting Post shop, so perhaps I should give them a call. I did, and they were suuuuper lovely - I was able to buy it over the phone and it was sent out to me that very day! A big thank you to them. 

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Shoes: M+S Limited Collection
These shoes, too, are new to me. I was definitely only popping into one of the local charity shops to drop off a bag of donations, but they happened to catch my eye as I turned to leave, and happened to be in my size. What's more, they were brand new M+S Limited Collection and were just £4,99. I couldn't reeeeally leave without them, could I?! 

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Bag: Ollie and Nic
I've not used this bag for a while now. I'd thought I should really pick something a little more nautique, but this one always makes me think of cheerful spring days. Finishing things off with a really neutral cardigan, and some bright red lipstick (argh - there's something *so* self-conscious about lipstick), I was ready to face the day.

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Cardigan: Primark 
I'm definitely overcoming some demons this week, but I'm being thankful that I have some lovely people to help me out with this - special shout outs to those who'll put up with late night "talk some sense into me" phone calls, and those who've arranged lovely plans to look forward to. Think positive thoughts, and positive things will happen, a wise man told me today. We'll see.