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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Tuesday Titles 153..


Oh, I've been practically sitting on my hands since this book arrived on my doorstep, waiting until I was allowed to share it with you. I think I began reading it back in November; it seems like soooooo long ago. But finally, here we are! I'm so pleased to be part of this blog tour.

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The Fairvale Ladies Book Club is set in the Northern Territory of Australia in the 1970s. Sybil lives on a remote cattle ranch and when her son Ben brings his new bride over to live with them from England, she's reminded of how isolated this life can make people. 

As a distraction technique, Sybil arranges a book club, in the hope that the ladies can find some common ground and perhaps even form new friendships. 

The group is made up of Sibyl, her daughter-in-law Kate, and three others: 
Della: who works on a neighbouring cattle ranch, 
Rita: a nurse with the flying doctor service, and 
Sallyanne: local mother of three who is going through some troubles with her marriage.

The book club gives the women, who may otherwise not have crossed paths , a reason to come together and over time friendships form. As life goes on, they come to rely on one another through deaths, divorce, illness and through other troubling times. The characters are all well-written and relatable and the chapters follow each of their lives.

Despite the troublesome times which the ladies face, I'd say this is a feel-good book. As the years move on, each section begins with a list of the news reports from around the world in those years, which helps with grounding. A thoroughly enjoyable read, but don't just take my word for it - check out the other stops on the blog tour, too. 

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Sunday Shoes 150..



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Love is in the Air: Irregular Choice*
I could hardly wait for Valentine's day to come around when these little pretties turned up at my door. I've been a fan of Irregular Choice for a good number of years and love watching their designs evolve. They come up with amazing new concepts and ideas - think character heels - but something about some of the shoes in this season's collection has me more excited than usual because it feels like they are going back to their roots. 

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The base of the fabric is a white glitter, which is then covered in a print of these tiny pink love hearts. There's a pink trim all the way around the edge of the shoe and the main detail to the fronts is this huge bow, also in white glitter. They're so sparkly and certainly eye-catching as the light glimmers off them. 

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The heels is the same as Can Can from previous years; a little indented at the back and a fairly low heel. Slightly higher than one would consider a kitten? And there's a lovely strap to the front, which I think buttons, but I found that I didn't need to undo it to get the shoes on or off..

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Of course, I couldn't talk about new season without a mention of the new season box and sole designs. These match perfectly and are adorned with stripes of different patterns (polka dots, florals and some really cute cartoon scallops. It's a real mixture but somehow, in true IC fashion, it all comes together and looks.. right. 

Friday, 16 February 2018

#2018SVE

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For the past couple of years, I've taken part in the Secret Valentine Swap. Open globally, it's a parcel swap set up by Ute and Sanae, where makers sign up to make and send a present to their recipient. The idea is to use things you already have, and when you sign up you give a few details about favourite colours, patterns etc. 

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I have to admit, I always sign up to things like this with super enthusiasm, and then get The Fear. That I won't be able to make something which someone will like. I often worry about my makes - not so much if they're for me, but as soon as I start making a gift for someone else, I assume they're going to be super critical or expect something better. Wah!

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Nonetheless, I posted off the parcel for my swap recipient a couple of weeks back and looking at her IG, I know she happily received it. And...here's what I received. I picked up my parcel this morning from the sorting office and opened it up as soon as I got to my office. 

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Pecia, with the help of her twins - Pie and Pop - made me this amazing sling bag. The girls did a great job of the two zips (like, seriously, probably better than I could have managed!) and I love that the insides of the bag are secretly multi-coloured and amazing. Such a cheerful heart print. 

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The bag was filled with other goodies too - chocolate pennies and fish buttons. The twins also sent a card each, featuring dinosaurs and the parcel came wrapped in dinosaur paper, too! Thank you so much Pecia for such a lovely swap parcel!! 

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Tuesday Titles 152..

A little round-up of a few books which I've finished lately.

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Yesterday: Felicia Yap
I absolutely loved this dystopian set-up. Each person falls into the category of either Mono or Duo and their memory is affected by which of those they fall into. So a Mono would only remember one day's events. Duos memories are limited to two days and the world relies on keeping daily diaries to keep track of the facts. 
When Claire finds the police at her door, they tell her there has been a murder and her husband is their prime suspect. But, when  your memory is limited to just hours at a time, how can you help with their enquiries? And how can you be sure about who is telling the truth. 
This has been likened to Girl on the Train and Gone Girl (because, frankly, what book in this genre isn't, these days?!) but it's much more enjoyable than either of them, in my opinion. 

Living the Dream
Living the Dream: Lauren Berry 
Dubbed as the millennial Bridget Jones' Diary, I was intrigued by this one but was right not to set my expectations too high. With no real storyline, rather a self-indulgent look at the lives of two twenty-something Londoners. I think perhaps my disenjoyment was enhanced by the fact that I hate the term millennial. 

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After You: Jojo Moyes 


Yes, seriously. I know there's now a third book in this series but I've only just read this one. A continuation of Lou Clark's story from the moment Me Before You ended, we follow Lou as she picks up her life after Will and carries on, trying to follow the advice he gave to her. Very much readable, perhaps because the idea of a character who needs to be encouraged to live life to the fullest appeals to a lot of people, but I think that Moyes has a certain writing style which makes you hope that things are going to turn out well for Lou. 

Read anything you'd like to recommend? 

Monday, 12 February 2018

One stitch at a time..

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Since 2018 seems to have gotten off to such a quick start that I've not really had time to catch my breath, I'm trying to focus on the things I *have* managed to achieve, rather than that infernal to-do list which seems to hang over me like a grey cloud. 
Yes, we might be mid-way through February and no, I still don't seem to have put together the posts I've been planning on my dressmaking goals, challenges for the year ahead or the outfits I'd had in mind to share, but there we go. I've been slowly learning that sometimes it's okay that life gets in the way and other things take priority and whatever you can manage is enough. 

So, in lots of exciting announcements this year, it seems that lots of my friends and family are expecting babies this year, so I've been spending every spare minute knitting, it seems. Here are a few of the things I've finished and posted off to their new homes in the past few weeks. 

The gold short-sleeved shrug is not for a newborn, but for a second birthday present. I used the Entrechat pattern which was recommended to me by a friend who has made a lot of them and I really liked how it came together. I have another, slightly larger one in mind for another little girl who has a birthday coming up. 

The two newborn cardigans were made from this free pattern, which came together quite nicely. The whole blog is filled with newborn / preemie sized baby clothes, hats and boots and  I'm currently trying out another of her patterns. I've discovered that a newborn cardigan only uses approx. 50g of wool, so this has been the perfect way to use up some of my leftovers and odd balls of wool which I'd not been sure what to do with. I've also found that it's much easier lugging a baby-sized project around with you to the cinema, or to work on in your lunch hour, than dragging a part-finished blanket about with you, or even an adult sized jumper. 

So, even though I might be annoyed that I haven't managed to get some of my other projects finished, I'm resting safe in the knowledge that I'm at least making a some progress. 

Have you made anything lately? Anyone else come to the realisation that there's enough pressure on you without adding any more..? 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Friday Favourites 268..

I must admit, I'm still somewhat undecided about the future of my Friday Favourites posts. I've set myself a saving challenge this year which means no spending on clothes, shoes, etc. So the sensible part of my brain is saying don't look at websites as it will make this spending ban much easier. But I still love to browse, so we shall see..


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Of course my favourite thing to browse for is always shoes, so here's a little round-up of the Irregular Choice offerings which are currently topping my list.

001: These shark boots are kind of amazing. I have a real hatred of my toes, and tend to avoid anything with a peep toe where I can, but I'd almost be willing to overcome that to wear these. I've seen some fan photos on Instagram and they do look awesome on. 

002: One of my favourite new styles this season. The happy / sad clown faces are so cute and I love the mix of stripes and textures. 

003: These pumps would be perfect for Valentine's Day outings, and they're the same style as one of my most-worn pairs: Striped Mikey, so I know they'd be super comfortable. Rabbits and hearts and stripes, oh my!

004: These cherry boots have been on my radar for a while now and they're in the final reductions section of the sale so I'm seriously tempted. The perspex heel which has become such a common feature in IC looks great with a pink tinge and the cherry and blossom embroidery is cute. 

What are you wishing for this week? 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Tuesday Titles 151..

Garden of Small Beginnings ]
The Garden of Small Beginnings: Abbi Waxman
A light and heartwarming book to share this week, which is the kind of thing I always seem to turn to when the weather is rotten. (It's currently trying hard to snow outside of my window, making me a little more anxious than usual about tonight's travel plans). 

Our protagonist Lili, has spent the past three years getting back on her feet after the death of her husband. She's an illustrator and when her company receive a job to illustrate a gardening book, her boss thinks it would be a good idea for Lili to go to gardening classes. Enthusiasm levels for this aren't high between Lili and her two daughters.

Nevertheless, the family begin to go to the class and start to make plans for the produce they'd like to grow, along with the mixture of other characters in the group. The writing style is witty and interesting, without sacrificing ant detail or storyline for laughs.

Waxman writes the type of characters you wish you knew in real life; endearing and yet entirely relatable in their foibles. The whole book reads easily, and is perfect for an afternoon escape to the sunny Los Angeles weather.