Saturday, 7 July 2018

Benthall Hall

Benthall Hall
A few weeks ago, when this sunshine and high 20s weather was still a complete novelty, we were determined to make the most of it and be outside for just about as long as humanly possible. 


We headed for Benthall Hall. Relatively local to me, we got the chance to wander around the gardens and the hall (although it was soooo warm and I forgot to take any photos inside), and I'd certainly recommend it as one of the quieter National Trust venues around Shropshire.

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I had serious garden envy. The attention to detail was superb and there was even a little plant sale happening. I'm sad that I don't currently have anywhere to tend to plants. Cannot wait until I live with a garden again. 

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I had to look up what "trowman" was and can understand why only one would have been needed in a parish which was surrounded by land....

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Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends during the summer months and with free parking for NT members (there's a fairly big car park and although their machines haven't yet been upgraded to those which scan your membership cards, you can leave your card in the window if you're parking there and heading off for a walk first, like we did. Also note: sometimes the tea room closes earlier than advertised, depending on visitor numbers.


I'm always looking for new places to visit and explore, so if you have any (preferably Midlands, but I'm happy to travel..) suggestions, holler. 

Friday, 6 July 2018

Friday Favourites 282: Shoe Sale Picks

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Ahh, it's that time in the season when the summer shoe sales go live and frankly this is what I've been living for lately. With a little birthday money saved up especially for this purpose, I've been refreshing both Irregular Choice and Spartoo daily to see when they release their bargains. 

Finally, it's here and I've picked some of my favourites to share today:

001: So much glitter - I think this is a bit of a theme this week. I really like the floral ankle detail on these Sweet Melody heels as well. It gives them a bit of a tropical look. 

002: You can't go wrong with a pair of blue glitter heels, can you?! This is such a classic style with the bow on the front and the heel height looks a little shorter than I'd usually opt for, but I guess they'd be super comfy. 

003: Grey jacquard heels with a satin bow on the front. Another classic pair which would lend themselves to any number of outfits. I imagine they'd be perfect for a day at the races.

004: Bright pink. Hearts. A bow to the front. That classic perspex heel. A winning combination. 

Which is your favourite? Have you hit up the sales so far this summer? 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

A walk to Ironbridge and back..


A few weeks ago, I was at a bit of a loose end for plans and one of my friends suggested that we do some local(ish) exploring. We happened upon this walk route, which takes you from Benthall Hall to Ironbridge, from the National Trust website and decided that as the weather was set to be lovely, we'd give it a try. 



Our walk took us from National Trust property Benthall Hall, which has free car parking for members (win!) and past the power station, along the site of the old railway and through plenty of woodlands. It's a little muddy through the wood, even in the warm temperatures we were experiencing, but it's still really clear where the paths are and the instructions were super easy to follow with no risk of us going off-course or getting lost. 



Although my grasp on geography can be a little hopeless, I was surprised at how close the walk took us to the now decommissioned Ironbridge power station. This was used to generate power for the area right up until 2015, when they reached the limit for generation (20,000 hours) and there's been local outcry about the proposed demolition of the towers themselves. As far as I know, the site has now been sold and it's likely that they will be demolished soon, which I think is a bit of a shame. 



There are lots of little shops and cafes to have a look at once you get to Ironbridge. We arrived just in time for lunch and headed to this lovely cafe (called Truffles) which has a wonderfully tiled doorway and a fabulous menu. I had a piece of quiche with salad, which I promptly counteracted with the most amazing bubblegum flavoured milkshake I've ever tasted. 


Ironbridge isn't that far away from where I live and it's really pretty, but I have to admit I don't very often visit. I'm not sure why. Famously named after it's landmark, the bridge itself is currently undergoing restoration, so it's hidden from view behind screening. Having said that, it's open to visitors (for a small fee) who can see what's happening to the bridge up close and personal. It's likely to stay like this for the rest of the year whilst it's repaired and painted. 


The main benefit of being in the woodland for the majority of the walk was the cover of trees and leaves from the hot sun. There were also plenty of tunnels and parts of the old railway to explore. I understand that once the power station site is demolished and houses built, that the Telford Steam Railway hope to recommission the use of the tracks to add to their network, but I'm not sure about the timescale for these plans. 


Been exploring on your "doorstep" recently?

Friday, 29 June 2018

Friday Favourites 281..

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Obviously, what with saving up for legal fees, moving costs and furniture lately, there hasn't been a lot of room in my budget for any fripperies. In fact, it's been rather good to have a blanket spending ban, combined with an ongoing decluttering of my life (selling bits and piece all over the place lately. So much so that I'm fairly confident I'm keeping my local post office in business, single-handed). 

Having said that, here are a few of the things which I'd love to be spending my pennies on this week.

001: OK, so this is not house-related at all, but it's my latest love from Joanie Clothing. Want.

002 + 004: I noticed these on my Etsy recommendations recently and wasted no time in adding them to my favourites. These little critters make these cups soooo cute, without being entirely tricky to drink from, like some dino-shaped mugs I've had in the past. A little family of them for our morning coffee needs would be perfect, I think. 

003: Every dining room table needs a salt and pepper set, right? And these are pretty cute. I'd leave them out on display all of the time, to be honest. 

What are your new home essentials? Do you have anything which immediately makes a new house feel more homely?

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Chaos rising..

Every time I've sat here thinking "I'll finally get one of the oodles of posts I've been drafting finished", something else comes along and scuppers me. It's been that sort of week month few months. Ah well.

Things have been a little chaotic lately. As well as the usual levels of trying-to-fit-too-much-in to each day, I'm also in the process of moving house, which is meaning a lot of waiting around, navigating my way around a flat full of boxes, not being able to get to the light switch because it's behind a wall of boxes and clearing out endless bags of clothes, shoes and accessories which I've decided not to take with me. It seems endless, but I'm hoping it won't be too long before we reach the other side.

There's a light-switch behind there, I'm sure..

For anyone who is in the same boat, uncertain and anxious about the whole process, I've found this little infographic by Spratt Endicott pretty helpful to refer to. Thankfully we've done all of the negotiating and only seem to be waiting for the final stages, but I'd really like to have a better idea of timescales in my mind. 

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I'm looking forward to getting into the new place and making it our own - does anyone have any tips on where to start? Or any great ideas for organisation. So far each box I've packed has a detailed list of every item inside, in the hope that if I need to find something, it won't take too long to figure out which box it's in. One thing I have realised (apart from the fact that I have a lot of stuff - who needs three whisks, and no less than six cakestands, FFS?!) is that it's hard to know what to keep out until the last minute. 

Anyhow, I guess what I was trying to say is, I'll be back on track soon with my posts. Hopefully. 

Friday, 22 June 2018

Friday Favourites 280..

Oh, this week feels as though it's absolutely zoomed by in a flash. A little like the whole of the year seems to have, as we've now passed Midsummer's Day and therefore halfway through 2018. It makes me feel a little giddy, to be honest.

In between chasing up things to do with moving house (why does this take so *long*?!) here are a couple of things which have taken my fancy in a recent browse online. 

001: This cardigan is the kind of thing I look at sometimes and think I could emulate. But, since I don't seem to have time to breathe lately, let alone crack on with craft projects, I think perhaps it's better admitting defeat and purchasing. Bottle green is a lovely wardrobe staple for me, and the thread it metallic, so that's a winner in my book.

002: This skirt. I'm sure I've mentioned it before. I don't know why but the combination of the buttons to the front, the vintage style pockets and the cute duckling border print, really appeal. 

What's catching your eye lately? Any sale bargains? 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Tuesday Titles 157..


A little while ago (I think it was the start of May), I took part in a book swap, arranged by Gwen and Alex. We got paired up and sent over books which we'd enjoyed to our fellow readers. Here's the parcel I received from my sender, Sarah, and a little confession... I'd planned to read all of these and then do a little post with a review of all three. But, lately things are getting rather hectic and so far I've only managed to read my first..


I have to admit, I was pleased when I unwrapped this title as it's one I've heard a lot about over recent months. Sooo many people seem to have read and raved about it and frankly, I was intrigued. 

Right from the start, Eleanor draws me in with her introverted personality and her overwhelming sense of loneliness. She's the misfit every office worker can picture - that one person nobody seems to know much about, who avoids social interactions wherever possible. Eleanor's home life consists of routine grocery shopping, two bottles of vodka per night and weekly phonecalls with Mummy. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: Gail Honeyman

Eleanor seems content with her life as it is, until one day she sees the object of her affections; a pop star. She imagines a life and a future with him, much different to how her current life goes and sets about making some changes - new clothes, hair and a makeover - in the hope that she will be noticed. 

Towards the end of the book, there's a twist which I felt was a little superfluous, but that seems to be the way of recent fiction. I'm not spoiling anything by saying that things change for Eleanor.

I, like Sarah's parcel tag says, also wasn't sure I was going to like this one- I just never seem to be on the same wavelength as those high-popularity award winning titles. But, enjoy it I did. I wouldn't rush out and a buy a copy for everyone I know, but I didn't hate it. I'd say it's somewhere in the middle, for me. 

Friday, 15 June 2018

Friday Favourites 279..

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Even though I definitely should not in any way be shopping. At all. But, naturally, I haven't let this stop me. These things are just calling to me from the depths of the internets.

001: This Yoshi bag has been one of my favourites for sooooo many years. I LOVE jammy dodgers, although I haven't had one for years. I'd definitely share my love for them by wearing my heart on my sleeve as it were. 

002: These clowns are just amazing. I'm sure I must have mentioned them before. I love that there's one happy and one sad and how good they look against the black and white stripes. 

003: This Joanie dress is the stuff of dreams. Seriously. Jam jar print dress and a jammy dodger bag - what could be better?! 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Tuesday Titles 156..

Ali McNamara
Daisy's Vintage Cornish Camper Van: Ali McNamara
If you're looking for the perfect feel-good holiday read, you need look no further. You've found it.
I've read a few Ali McNamara books before and they certainly fall into the comfortable chick-lit category. Easy to curl up with and read on a park bench or a sun-lounger by the pool.

Welcome to the gorgeous Cornish town of St Felix, where there's magic in the air...
When Ana inherits a broken-down camper van from her best friend, she takes the chance for a quick trip to Cornwall - some sea air and fish and chips on the beach is just the tonic she needs.
But St Felix has bigger plans for Ana. She discovers a series of unsent postcards, dating back to the 1950s, hidden in the upholstery of the van. Ana knows that it's a sign: she'll make sure that the messages reach the person that they were meant for. And as the broken-down van is restored to gleaming health, so Ana begins to find her way back to happiness.

I adored how easy it was to get transported to St Felix through the pages of this book. As a reader we follow Ana and her grief process as she comes to terms with what her dearest friend has left for her. Slowly, it becomes clear that life doesn't always turn out as you'd planned, but perhaps that's OK.
As ever, thank you to Little Brown for providing me with a copy to review. This title is available from 14th June 2018. 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Sunday Shoes 152: Shoely Not..


Oof, it's been rather a while since my last Sunday Shoes post, hasn't it?!
One of the latest pairs to join my collection - I've been saving up some rewards points for a while now, and managed to reach enough to cash them in for a new pair of shoes. This pair of Shoely Not has been top of my wishlist for a while now, so I didn't have to hesitate before I made my decision. 


Arriving a few days later in their bright yellow box, I eagerly unwrapped the tissue paper and took all of the details in. I don't know if these are considered one of the "concept heels", but the shape of the heart heel is one of the things which most drew me to this pair. Something completely different from anything else in my collection. 


The fronts of the sandals are adorned with fabric hearts, embroidered with the text "Love Me...", which is pretty cute and also reminds me of a pair from a long long time ago, which had "Kiss Me" on the fronts. (And also their sister pair which I've never been able to track down which said something else: "F*** Me"). 


The shoes themselves are mostly a metallic pink glitter PVC, with the fronts being made from a navy chiffon-look fabric with gold metallic polka dots. Obviously the hearts on the fronts draw attention, but so do the lovely ankle straps, which fasten with a buckle and are adorned with pearls all the way round. 


A peep toe front, but thankfully not enough of one to make me wary (I'm just not a fan of the way some peep toe shoes look - on me - ), and then the main feature...the heel. 


The heels on Shoely Not are a solid heart shape, in metallic pink to match the platforms. The heel tip is a regular round stiletto one, and the heel height measures a very reasonable (and comfortable!) 4 inches. 


As with so many of the new Irregular Choice designs, there is just SO much to catch the eye and the attention to detail is really high. They're definite head-turners. Also pretty low in comparison to a lot of my collection. Speaking of which, I'm undertaking another "wear all my IC collection" challenge - over on Instagram if you'd like to follow my progress. I'm aiming to post a pair each day. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

Friday Favourites 278..

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Oh, this weather has been crazy this week, but I've been turning my thoughts to holidaying. I've got a couple of city breaks to look forward to this summer and I've been turning my attentions to pretty and yet functional footwear for sightseeing and exploring. Comfortable shoes are a must when you've got lots of ground to cover, I think. 

Here's a little round-up of some of my current favourites. Which would you pick?

001: What could be better than a pair of trainers which look like ice creams? There's so much going on here and yet it all seems to work so well together, just like a knickerbocker glory!

002: These Cath Kidston seagull espadrilles are currently on sale and would make the perfect pair of shoes for the beach.

003: I love these cute floral pumps. Anything with a Liberty print is always a winner for me.

004: I didn't think I was a fan of rose gold until I saw these Ted Baker trainers. I really like how the muted metallic works across the whole of the shoe.

.005: I think these might be my favourite - sharks, fishes and glitter - oh my! If that wasn't enough, the soles of these actually light up as you walk. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Friday Favourites 277..

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A few colourful things which have caught my eye this week, as I've been asked for birthday ideas etc lately. Here are some of the things I'd be most thrilled to receive. 

001: This Collectif cardigan is beautiful and yet so simple with it's pointelle finish. I love wrap-around cardigans; they're so flattering, and I think it would be the perfect summer wardrobe staple.

002: This Seasalt print is everywhere lately and rightly so. Tiny village fete shenanigans. Could this be any more summery? 

003: Topping my endless IC wishlist of late is this pair. The floral background, the cockatiel on the front, the ankle strap; they're pretty much perfect, in my opinion. 

004: I noticed this lovely embellished clutch bag on Instagram lately and could barely believe it was from M+S. What a gem!

What's on your wishlist this week?

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Blog Tour: Curse of the Nomed

Curse of the Nomed
Curse of the Nomed: B.B Taylor

Something a little different today. As part of Mental Health Awareness week, what could be better than taking part in a blog tour about a book aimed at children, written using the ideas of a group of year eight students, and which supports a charity which works for children's mental health..?

Here's a brief summary: 

Ancient Gods, a cursed Librarian and a battle to save their souls. How hard could the first day of school really be? Welcome to Nomed Academy! An epic adventure for three unsuspecting year seven students as they embark on their first day of school. One they will never forget. But can they really defeat an ancient Egyptian God with nothing but revenge on his mind? All net profits from the sale of this book go to Partnership for Children, a mental health charity supporting the positive mental health of children.

Although this is a fairly short read, this certainly doesn't stand in the way of it being an engaging read. Drawn into the adventure right away, the reader will follow Nora, Stefan and Jacob as they get to know one another whilst attempting to save their new school from a perilous end. As the three students, with the help of their school librarian, navigate their way through challenging situations, they begin to forma bond which will no doubt stay strong for years to come. 

I feel as though this would be the perfect book to read as a group in a classroom setting, perhaps as part of an Ancient Egypt theme topic, even though under the surface it's so much more than that. 

Keep up with the rest of the tour here: 

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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Blog Tour: Granite Grit

Granite Grit
Granite Grit: Lee Cooper

Every now and again I love to get stuck into reading something a little different for me. I can't say that I've read a lot of novels centred around the underground boxing scene, but nevertheless when I heard about Granite Grit, I was rather intrigued and wanted to read it. I'm really glad I did. 

Young family man Joe is haunted by demons from a childhood blighted by his father, a notorious criminal and brutal street fighter. When he beat up Joe's mother, she killed herself, then the bully abandoned him. When Joe loses his job and spirals into debt, he turns to what he knows: Boxing. He's forced into the clutches of criminal Mr Dean, and the brutal world of unlicensed bare knuckle fighting, relishing his bloody victories...until he realises he's becoming like his father he despises. Joe is desperate to confront his father...and kill him. The only way is to defeat The Reaper, a psychopathic fighter and killer, to gain the notoriety to enter his father's murky world. Bur first, Joe must overcome his demons. Will he Win?

Right from the first page, I was hooked by the gritty writing of this book. Sympathising with Joe, who is going through his own emotional fight with himself alongside the boxing matches he takes part in, I found his story very believable and did not want to put it down until I reached the end. Which, after a dramatic twist, which I didn't see coming at all, left me reeling. 

Honestly, I'd recommend this one even if you're not particularly into boxing. It will appeal to anyone who has ever felt that they need to do something to prove themselves to their family.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

I do like to be beside the seaside..


Why are the weeks whizzing by so quickly, of late? Already a week ago, here are some photos from my recent trip to the mid-Wales coast. A weekend in Cardigan with nothing planned seemed like just what we needed after a few stressful weeks, so we took to the road on Friday evening and kept our fingers crossed for some sunshine...


I believe there *was* some sunshine, but when we got to the beach at Mwnt, there seemed to be a big cloud of mist between us and it. That said, it was still warm enough to sunbathe, so armed with ice creams we scaled the cliff and found somewhere to nap for a few hours in the warmth.


A little exploring during the course of the weekend lead us to discover the bird hides and boardwalks around the marshland at the Welsh Wildlife Centre, which was lovely to explore in the sunny early evening, as well as a wander around the back streets of the town to spy gems such as these super doors (which I assume is a furniture store). 

Dress: Lady Skater made with Katia Fabrics jersey 

We ate at Pizza Tipi both evenings, mostly because it was a stone's throw from where we were staying, and also because it's amazing and they serve my current favourite tipple...seaweed gin


Being by the seaside has always brought me calm and I feel as though something has been reset. There's something so relaxing about watching the waves and combing the beach for washed up treasures than I didn't even mind jumping back into the reality of another hellish-busy week.