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Saturday, 25 March 2017

A touch of luxury..

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Recently, it's safe to say that things have been getting a little overwhelming. For lots of reasons, which we don't need to delve into. The main thing I've been learning over the past couple of months is that it's important to factor in some time for self-care. Spending some time doing things which make me smile or help me to relax, instead of rushing about all of the time trying to get everything done for everyone else, is not a bad thing. This is something I'm learning, albeit slowly.

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Apart from setting aside more time to do some of the crafty projects I've been longing to finish, I've been factoring in a little time for self-care things like going for a weekly sports massage (ow, but in a good way!), and have found a lovely new salon to go and get my nails done. Is it crazy to admit that I have never, ever had my nails done professionally before? I'm always in awe of how good Sarah's nails always look - I think that there's something so polished about having your nails done properly (no pun intended!)

I've been reading up on the trends, with the help of a little e-book produced by Ellisons, and think I'm inspired by pretty pastel shades for spring. That said, apparently the colour you pick for your nails can say a lot about your personality (anyone else remember those little quizzes you'd answer in magazines as a kid?). Apparently happiness, confidence, power and romance can be inspired by your choice of polish, whilst orange is a sociable shade. 

Do you follow trends when it comes to your nails? Any tips for a nail-care newbie?





Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday Favourites 237..

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A little springtime circus theme to today's selection of internet goodness. The weather's been getting so much nicer and I've been spending a fair amount of time enjoying the countryside over the past few days, which has been good as I've seen lots of the signs of spring arriving. 
Driving past the circus the other night may have has some subconscious bearing on this week's wishlist theme..

001: I've a feeling I've mentioned this lovely circus print skirt in the past, but I'm still really loving it. Lindy Bop have been coming out with so many superb border prints lately - my wardrobe can't cope!

002: New things have hit the Joanie Clothing website this week, and I for one could not be more excited. This blouse is so simple and yet so full of cute details that it would be the perfect Springtime wardrobe staple.

003: Perhaps more suited to summer than spring, these ice cream sandals from Miss L'Fire are just waiting for the warmer weather to come around. I love the cute motif detail on the fronts. 

004: Definitely the best handbag I've seen in a long while - bravo Vendula,who never fail to come up with something amazing. I'm such a fan of the retro cirque vibe, and this bag has a separate smaller section at the bottom (the polka dot part) as well as the main part of the bag. 

Anything caught your eye this week?


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Chaos Theory..

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 Actually, this has very little to do with chaos theory at all other than the fact that my Little Sis was recently trying to explain it to me and it's rather stuck in my head now as I wonder whether I can apply it to myself. I always joke that I work better under pressure and that my life is usually what one would call organised chaos, which seems to be the best way to ensure that I get things done..

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Brackenheath iSpot Blade*
Most of my corporate days are spent based at my desk in a fairly rural office. It can get pretty dark during the late afternoon if it's cloudy outside but I share the rooms with people who prefer a cave-like work environment than ever turning any lights on. I was pretty pleased, therefore, to be sent my saving grace, in the form of this desk lamp from Ormrod.

Frankly, it's made a huge difference to my desk area, even just over the past week. Made up of lots of LEDs, the Blade has several settings ranging from super-bright to more ambient (some of the LED bulbs are a more orangey glow than the usual white) and all of the controls are touch-based, which gives it such a slick, polished feeling.  It folds right away on itself and doesn't take up much room to begin with, so there's plenty of desk space for it. 

One of the most useful things about it is that there's a USB charging socket, which is perfect for charging my phone or my iPod from (there just aren't ever enough USB outlets on my PC; I'm forever doing battle with a tangle of cables, trying to find the right end to connect my camera or whatever, so this makes things much easier. 


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What are your workspace essentials? 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Tuesday Titles 124..

The Weight of Him
The Weight of Him : Ethel Rogan
Tuesday again, so soon! I've been reading like a demon lately but am hardly making a dent on the to-read pile. I clearly need to spend more time on the treadmill, as it's where I do a lot of my reading.. 

The Weight of Him is a melancholy story: Billy is dealing with the recent suicide of one of his sons. He and his wife seem to be being forced further and further away from one another in the aftermath and his professional life is taking a turn for the worse, too, with a supervisor asking some suspicious questions of him.

Billy wonders what he can do - can one man, even one as big as Billy - really make a difference? He decides on a personal challenge and it's rather lovely to watch his progress. I found myself willing him to find a little more strength and succeed in a few chapters. 


Monday, 20 March 2017

Here's to the ones who dream..

Soooo, I feel as though I've been rather neglecting my little corner of the internet of late. I don't think this is an apology exactly (I'm sure that nobody's really noticed) and I'm putting it down to being so crazy busy of late that I just don't have the time to get all of the things I'd like to written about etc etc. Ad infinitum. 



So here's a little round-up of the past weekend, which seems to have skipped by in a total flash. 


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I spent Friday night at my best friend's house - I love the fact that I'm treated like part of the family and that they're full of good advice and happy to share that whenever I need it. We spent the evening having a lovely dinner, walking this little bundle of excitement across the nearby fields and in the local pub, putting the world to rights and I felt a billion times better for it. 

I've started a new project - cross stitch is a new one on me, but having seen something *amazing* which I really want to make as a present for someone, I decided I'd start off with something smaller, to ensure that I got the hang of it and could actually cope with a bigger, scarier project. It's taking shape...

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Saturday was filled with errands, charity shop drop-offs and frantic tidying, before the arrival of Becks, who was staying over in order to take part in the 10K on Sunday (more about that later). For some reason, in my infinite wisdom I'd signed up to do a Night Run on the Saturday evening, which she dutifully accompanied me to. As I've mentioned so many times before, I'm not a runner, but aside from a bit of marshalling-confusion, it was okay. I wasn't very happy with my time, but hey ho. 

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Photo by Shippers
So, Sunday morning was an early start as we headed into town to the start of the race. I met up with a friend and we spent the morning cycling about the town to see our running pals and shout helpful words of encouragement to them as often as possible. Becks is running for a really good cause and she made it look easy - please follow her link here to find out more about why this was just one tenth of the races that she's challenged herself to this year. (Please donate if you can!)

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Sunday afternoons seem to be all about the climbing lately, so I met the gang at the new climbing centre and we spent a good few hours bouldering on the new routes which were laid this week, heading home only when our arms felt as though they might fall off. 
All in all, a lovely weekend, but oh how I wish it was a little longer. There's so much more I'd like to have fitted in...
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What did your weekend look like?

Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday Favourites 236..

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Hooray for Friday after such a silly, draggy week. I'm all excited about these pretty Springtime picks at the moment and I'm fairly sure that they'll all be winging their way to me before too long.. 

001: This Collectif dress has been on my radar for a while now, since seeing the SS17 lookbook months ago and it certainly doesn't disappoint now that it's hit the website. I love those straps, similar to the ones on my Janie dress from last year. Plus, it's a border print and we all know how I lose my sh*t for those on a regular basis. 

002: Little Moose, creators of cute jewellery have come up with some lovely woodland folk pieces in pretty springtime colours. I really like the idea of a set of two complementing brooches, giving you all kinds of potential collar adornment possibilities. 

003: Ah, Joanie Clothing have brought out what they've dubbed their wedding collection, but there are some pieces in there which I would love to wear for just about any special occasion. This pretty beaded capelet is one of those - perfect for wearing over a party dress, no?

004: Have you seen the new Ruby Shoo collection? These heels are called Polly and this lovely lemon colour looks perfect for spring. 

What's caught your eye this week? Is it officially Spring yet?

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thought you said that you would always be in love..

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Dress: M+S via Polka Dot Pink
I'm not really sure I have a lot to say today; I seem to have spent most of the past couple of days in a weird cloud of sadness. I need to figure out how to shift it, but in the meantime I've been throwing myself into work and other projects.

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Cardigan: Primark
This was actually an outfit from yesterday; the dress is new to me from a recent Instagram sale which Donna was hosting. I've been quite ruthless lately, getting rid of lots of my infrequently worn clothes that I allowed myself to get this dress - I'd seen it in my local M+S store last year but hadn't taken the plunge then. I do really like it though - the colour and the collar detail (of course!).

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Coat: Miss Selfridge
This Miss Selfridge coat seems to be the one I'm reaching for all the time of late, although I think I'm almost ready to pass it on to it's new home as I know one of my favourite people has her heart set on it.

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Bag + tights: ASOS
Primark knitwear seems to have come on in leaps and bounds, lately. I'm really enjoying their little printed cardigans, and restocked my cardigan collection after throwing out anything which had been looking a little tatty or past it's best, with a couple of these printed ones. Bees, anchors and polka dots seem to make a perfect finishing touch to most outfits, lately.

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Willow heels: Ruby Shoo*
It seems far too long since I last wore these shoes, but the blue in the floral print seemed a good match and I love those tassel ties on the front. Plus, dinosaur tights...just because I thought they might cheer me up. They're not, but it was worth a shot. 


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Tuesday Titles 123..

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Summary Justice : John Fairfax

Another stop on a blog tour today and I'm really excited about this book. When it popped through the letterbox one Saturday morning, I got stuck right in and had it finished by teatime! As someone with a legal background, I loved the attention to detail which one would expect, considering the writer is in the legal profession himself. 

I've added the summary below and am also excited to share that the TV rights to this series have already been snapped up, so you can look forward to seeing it on the small screen soon.

The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He'd said he was innocent. She'd believed him.
Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger's in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson's life. The price of his rehabilitation - and access to the Bar - is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He's an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he's subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It's a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson's first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she's innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.
True to life, fast-paced and absolutely compelling, Summary Justice introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost.


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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Sunday Shoes 132..

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These little guys are the latest additions to my shoe collection. They're called Fangtastic and I realised when they arrived that they're part of the Dan Sullivan collection, but I hadn't known this before. 

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With a combination of stripes, polka dots, metallics and grumpy faces, they're just awesome in my opinion. I even love the little stubby heel and they're crazy comfortable. 

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What do you think?

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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Had my first kiss on a Friday night..

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Dress: Lindy Bop // Tights: Primark 
Gosh, it feels like a long time since I posted my last outfit pictures. Also kind of feels like a long time since I was at home to take any. 

It's been a funny week. Some things of note:

  • Things you think won't take very long, always end up being less simple than you expect. 
  • An evening spent chatting with friends until past 2am is better than staying at home. Even if they live miiiiiles away. 
  • Putting less pressure on yourself can be so liberating. 
  • Clearing out and decluttering is a good feeling.
  • Catching up on my letters made me smile - apologies to those who have been waiting for post for a while; I'm getting there. 
  • My best friends really are awesome. 
What's made you smile this week? 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Friday Favourites 235..

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I've been so tired this week (candle: both ends), but finally it's Friday again, so here's a round up of the things which are catching my eye.

001: Frankly this is the star of the show. The new La Vidriola collection is heavily inspired by animals and jungle themes and this is their most amazing piece, in my opinion. Limited to a run of 10, it's super exclusive, but oh-so-amazing. 

002: I'm so in love with border print designs and Lindy Bop seem to be coming out with new ones almost constantly. This is the Carnaby design, featuring cityscape and London buses. I love the mix of colours on the navy background. 

003: Oh hai, new Irregular Choice styles. I have a wishlist as long as my arm. Seriously. How superb are these sandals, complete with embroidered bunnies and embellished flowers? I'd wear them with some pink tights until the weather picked up a little. 

004: Oh, Yoshi. I adore their new designs; these tessellating triangles are so cute and eye-catching and the mix of colours would mean they'd go with just about any outfit. 

What's been catching your eye this week?

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Blog Tour: Dead Embers..

Dead Embers




 An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…


When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses - one of whom is a senior police officer.


Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out.


But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…


Trust no one.

****

Although this is the third book in the series, I'm a newcomer to Matt Brolly's work and I have to say it worked perfectly well as a stand-alone title, too. I thoroughly enjoyed Matt's writing style and the twists and turns of the case as DCI Lambert races to solve the case. 

From the first moment, we know that things aren't going to be smooth-sailing for Lambert. His personal life, as seems to be the norm with police heroes, is fairly chaotic at the moment, so he has a lot to juggle if he's to stay on top of his game. 

As ever, there's so much I don't want to say for fear of giving the plot away, which is something I really don't want to do. I struggled to guess the "whodunnit" and I always love when that happens as I prefer to be surprised at the reveal. I'm sure that the others taking part in the tour will give more clues.

 Hop along to the other blogs taking part in the tour to see what they thought...

  Dead Embers blog tour 1

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Yarn Along {12}

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I can hardly believe how quickly the days seem to be speeding by at the moment. I can't decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing: purely an observation, really. 

Yes, this is a new knitting project, but that doesn't mean that I've finished the Hetty cardigan. I'm a little stuck on the shoulder section and wanted something a little simpler to do a bit of mindless knitting, so I'm having a go at a pair of long socks, the pattern for which I found in this book which Lucy passed on to me.

The wool was passed on to me too; I'm not sure exactly where it came from but a guiding friend had a lot of these cones to rehome and although I'm not sure how much I have, I'm confident it will be plenty for this. 

Linking up with this week's Yarn Along, hosted by Ginny. What's on your needles this week?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Tuesday Titles 122..

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Getting off on Frank Sinatra (A Copper Black Mystery) : Megan Edwards

I think I must start off by saying that I really enjoyed this book. We're introduced to Copper Black; our aspiring journalist, just as her boyfriend announces that he is leaving her. Not only does Copper need to find a news story if she has any hope of securing the news column job she so desperately craves, but now she's newly single and trying to piece everything back together in her life..

A house-sitting opportunity offers Copper the perfect escape. A change of scene would do her good and as luck would have it, things seem to slot into place with her work too. A spotlight piece on a local school could be just what she needs, but when she sets up a visit, she ends up getting more than she'd bargained for. Suddenly thrown into the midst of a murder enquiry wasn't quite what Copper had bargained for, but at least it might make a good story...

As someone who has visited Las Vegas and kind of loved it, I enjoyed the references to things I'd seen on my visit, such as the Neon Boneyard, and the Old Hollywood glamour which is woven into the story.

The book is fast-paced and written in an amusing way and was right up my street in terms of the level of humour, so I'll be searching out more Copper Black mysteries for sure.


Friday, 3 March 2017

Friday Favourites 234: Springtime Pastels..

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Despite the fact that the weather might have other ideas, this week my thoughts have been drifting towards springtime. I've been browsing the Spartoo website as they've had so many lovely new arrivals lately and I'm excited by all of the spring-y goodness. Here are the shoes which are currently topping my wishlist: 

001: I've never had any clogs before, but Roisin makes Swedish Hasbeens look so good that I'm tempted to try a pair and I love this colour.

002: Chie Mihara has a lovely selection of classic styles and I think these sandals look so elegant with their scalloped uppers. 

003: It's no secret that I'm a glitter fiend, so these Irregular Choice sandals are clearly a winner with me. 

004: I really like the paint splatter effect on these Doc Marten shoes. 

005: Another pretty spring pastel shade, with a fabulous gold strap detail across the foot.

006: Because a girl can never have enough trainers, so why not make them glittery ones?

What's topping your wishlist at the moment?