Friday, 30 March 2018

Friday Favourites 272..

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This week has been nothing but a speedy rush to get things done ahead of the weekend, but now it's here and it's long and I can finally relax, and I for one am excited about that. Here are some pretty things which are making me smile this week..

001: The latest statement heel offering from Irregular Choice was released last week and isn't it cute? Woodland vibes, with terranium style heels containing grass, flowers and mini animals. These ones have faux grass around the edges and bunny ears on the fronts. Cute, no? 

002: I, along with the rest of my Instagram feed it seems, love this Collectif dress, which has been teased for months but is now finally available. It's even cuter, in my opinion, than the watermelon one from last year (which they have available again this year as well!) and would lend itself to just about any cutesy pastel colour. Want. 

003: A contrasting mint green cardigan with an ice cream patch, you say? Yes please!

004: Hannah Hitchman creates all kinds of cute and wonderful things, but this axolotyl pin is my favourite and has been languishing in my Etsy hearts section for aaagggess. If Harry Potter house emblems are your thing, she's got you covered and she also has some rather cute Fantastic Beasts pins. 

What's caught your eye this week? 

Monday, 26 March 2018

Glitter in the air..

So, as I was scrolling through my IG stories today, I noticed this post title, which piqued my interest. Having read the post, this sums up pretty much exactly how I've been feeling about an ex friend who has randomly been in my thoughts more and more over the past few weeks.


These past few days have been a little bit..serendipitous, I think the word is. Perhaps it's a combination of the clocks changing, the springtime weather starting and the fact that lately I am happy and positive about new things and spring cleaning, but somehow I seem to be finding that things are just kind of...falling into place. 

Finding things I thought I'd lost, remembering things I'd forgotten to do, managing to get around to sending that little note or parcel, finding the perfect recipe for an upcoming meal. It's all just  been pretty good, of late. 

Since making the decisions to give some things up, and take a little of the pressure off the small amount of spare time I had, and this weekend has been really productive. I managed to problem-solve my way through some of the things I had to finish, made a cake which I'll share photos of,  and made decent progress with listing more and more of the contents of my wardrobes for sale (over here if you'd like to take a look). Baby steps. And, incidentally, baby blankets, after seeing something amazing online the other day and being inspired to make more presents.. I'm finding that knitting is quite relaxing, though, so I guess we can call that one "self care".

Anyone else finding that Spring is bringing with it a whole new wave of positivity?

Friday, 23 March 2018

Friday Favourites 271..

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Something new (to me) this week. I noticed one of the people I follow on Instagram posted a photo of her new Dogo Shoes order and knew I'd have to check them out. I think they're based in Turkey, but it looks as though they ship their products to the UK with no issues. 

So many different designs, many of which are available in several shapes and styles, too. From flat boots to kitten heels. I've picked out some of my favourite designs - I think the penguin boots look great with their little red straps and the red soles, too. 

My favourites have to be the Adventure Awaits design, which are advertised as a mens' style, but look quite a lot like the army style boots which I tend to steal from the OH when I want something comfortable for pottering about in the garden. 

What's your favourite design? 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The 30 day shed...


Or, alternatively titled: In Which Char Gives Up Various Extra-Curricular Activities to Improve  Life Enrichment...

I've talked before about working better under pressure and to be honest, I still maintain that I do. I have agreed to a few things which I'm going to probably be under a little pressure to get done in time (birthday cakes and the like), but in the past couple of months I've been getting better at letting things go and also saying no to some things. 

I think one of the best lessons I've learnt over the past few years is that when you stop enjoying doing something which is meant to be a past-time, it's time to leave it in the past. It came as something of a surprise to all of us that one of my voluntary roles came to an end in January and I was asked to continue with it for another year or so, whilst they looked for someone else. (I don't think any of us had realised how quickly five years had zoomed by!) After some consideration, I quashed my immediate reaction, which had been to just continue with an extension. Instead, I decided that it was time to pass it on to someone else, before it began feeling like a chore. I have to say that I already feel a lot better for this decision. 

I always try to shy away from talking about self-love, as I find the concept to be a bit wanky (in more ways than one), but I guess that this is a similar kinda of thing; making decisions based on what is best for your own mental and physical well-being. 

Whilst I'm not posting this to justify my choices exactly, I did find myself trying to justify why I'd decided to give up my allotment this year, for example, when I was talking about it the other day. (Incidentally, several reasons like not having enough time to devote to it, not being dedicated enough, the prospect of moving to a different town which would not be in walking distance, to a house which will have a garden, and wanting to have more weekend / holiday freedom).

I think, what I'm finding is, that part of this year's spring cleaning is happening in my very own brain. I'm learning that it's okay to find time to do the things which I want to do. And that I don't have to justify or account for every moment of my spare time with "worthy" causes. Apologies if none of that made any sense. 

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Top 10: Orla Kiely..

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My 2018 spending ban is going well so far, but it hasn't stopped me from window-shopping to excess. I stumbled upon the Orla Kiely website for the first time in absolutely ages, and fell for all of the above. In particular, the preppy checks of this baby pink skirt and all of the bugs which seem to be adorning most of the SS18 collection. That embroidered bugs bag is amazing (002). 

Friday, 16 March 2018

Friday Favourites 270..

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Well hello! It seems as though it's been a little while since I felt as though I was back in the swing of things with my regular features. But here's a little list of the things I've been lusting over this week. Collectif are gradually releasing all of their SS18 clothing and I would like it all, to be honest. But I've narrowed it down to a pretty pastel spring-time outfit...

001: The Dolores top is a classic style and seems to flatter everyone who wears it. Seriously, I've never known any other design (I have several Dolores dresses and always feel good in them) to be so flattering. One in every colour, please!

002: Not Collectif, but Irregular Choice have released new colourways of their Bunny Hop shoes and I'm smitten with the lavender shade. I *know* I already have a pair of the yellow ones...

003: Not only is this handbag the most perfect retro shape, but it's also the same Jessica floral print as this dress, which I've worn so much since it arrived. 

004: This skirt just screams 50s at me and I love the colour. How good would this look with a full petticoat underneath? 

What have you been loving this week? 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Sweet seduction in the magazine..

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Whilst I've been cutting back hard in order to stick to my spending ban, one of my exceptions this year was always going to be film and theatre tickets. One of my Christmas presents from a friend has been annual membership to the local theatre, which also includes our lovely little indie cinema. 

I absolutely love taking myself off for a solo cinema date, and have been to most of the above by myself. The benefits of a little friendly cinema like ours is that nobody seems to judge you for this, with the only downside being that screenings aren't on for long (only one screen, you see), and tickets can sell out very fast, so you need to book in advance. 

Here's what I've watched so far this year: 

The Party: Set in London over the course of one evening, as Janet hosts a party to celebrate her new promotion, an unlikely gathering of acquaintances reveal snippets of their history and current lives, with a fairly surprising ending. I enjoyed this, but if you're expecting action and adventure it's not for you. It has Cillian Murphy, though, in case that swings it.. 

The Shape of Water: Oh man, this was adorable. Winner of Best Picture at The Oscars, I couldn't wait to watch this and had high expectations, although I didn't know much about the plot before I went in. I absolutely loved the styling, of everything. Even the laboratory was portrayed with the level of whimsical aesthetic which was applied to everything else. Yes, the plot is a little predictable, but it's certainly worth watching: a love story between two unlikely romantics, peppered with old movie references and key lime pie. 

The Post: I couldn't pass up a chance to watch my main man Hanks in his latest offering, could I?!I really wanted to like this, but I think I made it to about halfway through before I started checking my watch. Yes, an underdog story is great, but I guess there's not a lot you can do with something which is so well-rooted in history that you already know how things are going to turn out. 

Suburbicon: Again, the styling and general 50s kitsch-ness of this film made it more enjoyable for me. I know it was horrible and full of racism and judgement, but the purpose-built town was cute af. The storyline was a little odd, but I liked the ending. 

The Greatest Showman: I must admit, when I booked the tickets for this I had absolutely no idea what this was about, other than Hugh Jackman in a circus setting, which had me sold. I think this one is a movie which you have to watch with a pinch of salt, as whilst it's message seems on first look to be about inclusivity and a celebration of diversity, you'd be naive to think this was a true reflection of a 19th century man who made his name by exploiting those outside the normal constraints of society. Theatrically, I liked it and it had a certain level of whimsy and romance to keep me happy, aesthetically. I'm going to put my tin hat on here and say that whilst I enjoyed the soundtrack during the movie, none of them made enough of an impression on me to have listened to them since. (In contrast, when I watched La La Land, I wasterd little time in downloading the OST when I got home, as the music was in my head for days, and whilst my expectation was for a similar experience, this one for me, kinda fell short.) 

Call Me By Your Name: Um, I'll start by saying that my thoughts on this one have definitely mellowed since I saw it. I wasn't entirely taken by it when I saw it, but the story and holiday vibe of it has kind of stuck with me and I'm looking back with more fondness than I know I felt at the time. A smorgasbord of teenage angst, childhood boredom and sexual exploration, I guess there's a nostalgic charm to this coming of age film. Plus, it was worth watching it at the cinema in order to enjoy the reaction of my fellow viewers at *that* peach scene. Also, I have a newfound love for Armie Hammer following this winning response to a criticism of the nature of this film. 

Been to the movies, lately? 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tuesday Titles 155..

The Lido
The Lido: Libby Page

If you're looking for a happy book, which you'll just enjoy from start to finish, can I suggest that you dive right in to The Lido? (pun intended). 

Meet Kate, who moved to London to become a journalist, but now writes local interest pieces for the Brixton Chronicle about lost cats and dogs. She shares a flat with four other people she barely knows, and tries to avoid both her housemates, and her regular attacks of The Panic. She's drifting.

A new article introduces Kate to Rosemary; an 86 year old dreamer who has lived in Brixton for her whole life, and is dismayed to see the future of her home in jeopardy. She's never known anything else; has never swum outside of the lane.

The potential closure of the local lido brings Kate and Rosemary and a bundle of other local people together in their united aims to change the minds of the developers. Whilst they might not have anything else in common, the lido brings together the old and the young; students, school-children and working people. 

This uplifting debut will have you feeling that community spirit is alive and kicking, and is available from 19th April 2018.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Second star to the right..

I do seem to be getting very lax at this whole blogging thing. I'll have all these ideas, then when I turn around it's been a week and I haven't posted anything at all. I'd apologise, but that seems to be something which happens in every area of my life right now. I suppose the answer is to try and manage my time more wisely.


I don't feel as though I managed my time very wisely this past weekend: I spent most of it in bed with a sickness bug, which put paid to all of my weekend plans (sorry, Parkrun!). I'm feeling a little brighter now and in between naps I managed a sum total of six chapters to finish the book I'd been reading (see tomorrow's post!), four rows of knitting and the finishing touches of this dress. Not as productive a weekend as hoped, but what can you do?

I'm back in the throes of a love affair with my trusty Simplicity 2444. At one point in dressmaking I felt as though that particular pattern was almost something of a cuss-word, it was so so common. But, I love the shape and have been reaching for my older versions of these dresses lately, so it seemed right to make some more. I finished a polar bear print one a couple of weeks back, too.

I've been on a fabric ban so far this year (actually, an everything ban - no new anything until after we move. Not that there's a date for that yet, but still..) but I have *so*much to work my way through, even after sending a big package off to my friends' Brownie unit to use, and another big bag of scraps off to my sister. The stash looks a little tidier, but there still doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to make everything I'd like to. 

Fabric: Riley Blake Neverland collection.

Anyhow, this particular fabric arrived back in November. Despite not being one of those Disney-obsessed people, I was reeeally drawn to both the background colour and the cartoonish, pastel hues of this Peter Pan print. Since I spend most of my Mondays and Wednesdays answering to being called Tinkerbell, it only seemed right that this should become a dress. 

Settling on 2444 was the easy part, I guess, and I cut the pieces out a while ago. I've been stalling over what to do about the collar. I'd wanted to do some kind of Peter Pan collar, because I thought that would be kinda cute, but having already decided it was going to have pockets, the off-cuts I had left didn't have the best parts of the print on them, and although I could have just about managed a couple of collar pieces from them, I didn't like how they'd sit. 

In the end, I raided a jar of trims which I've collected over the past few years and came up with these purple sequins which seemed to match the print rather perfectly. I hand-stitched a collar outline to the top of the bodice (I know the photo might not look like it, but they're even and I did use a template piece), and also had enough left to go around the hem. Hand-stitching sequins turned out to be a relatively gentle activity, which I was able to  manage between naps on Saturday morning and endless episodes of The Animals of Farthing Wood. 

The only thing left to do was decide what shoes / bag to wear with it...


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Tuesday Titles 154..

The Ice Cream Girls
The Ice Cream Girls: Dorothy Koomson

In a desperate attempt to assist with the current spring clean of my bookshelf at home, I've been reading my way through some of the books which have been on my "to read" shelf, in order that I can liberate them to new homes. This week, amongst other things, I read The Ice Cream Girls. 

If you'd not heard of this, you might be mistaken for thinking it's a teenage-y chick lit romance, but you kinda couldn't be further from the truth. This one should probably come with a trigger warning, as it's two main characters, Poppy and Selina are linked not in friendship, but rather by a man they are both in love with. A man who happens to be much older than them, when they first meet him as teens.

The girls are victims of abuse, and it's fairly heavy-going, so I wouldn't recommend this if you were looking for that easy-going chick lit. Things come to a head one fateful night and the lives of the girls are linked forever, as they'll never be able to escape what happened. Or will they? 

Skip forward twenty years or so, and we see how Poppy and Selina have moved on with their lives, their families and how they've hidden the truth from the people they love the most. Whilst I liked the way in which the narrative skips between girls and back and forth through time; it was still easy to follow the story, I did wonder why there were several threads of intrigue which just got left behind. (e.g. I wanted to know what happened with Mez' marriage after her heartfelt confession). 

Naturally, things are wrapped up in the final few pages of the book and I have to admit, not exactly how I'd expected, which was promising - I like a book which keeps me guessing. 
In finding the photo, I realise this must have been adapted for television, which I can see being quite successful. Have you read / watching The Ice Cream Girls? 

Monday, 5 March 2018

Lake Vyrnwy..

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Snow caused pretty much all of our plans to be cancelled this weekend, so by about Friday evening I was beginning to go a little stir crazy. So, when Liam and Hana suggested that we went on a road trip on Saturday, I jumped at the chance and we racked our brains for somewhere to go. 

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We headed to Lake Vyrnwy, seeing several cars which had been abandoned in the snow drifts - some of which were crazy high! (As a side note, how do people get home when they've abandoned their car; this was a great concern for us...). 

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We explored, got the car out where it got temporarily stuck in the snow, and took plenty of eerie, misty photographs. I can't believe I've never been before and definitely have plans to come back and do a proper walk around the lake (apparently it's more than 20km around the road path), when the seasons change. 

For much better photos and more coherent chat, head over to Hana's post here

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Sunday Shoes 151..

Windsor heels: Irregular Choice*
I love New Shoes Day. This week, the new additions to my shelves* are one of my favourite styles, brought back this season in a new colour and pattern. Windsor has been one of those IC styles with a really classic shape, my perfect heel and finished off with a big bow on the front - amazing.  (*I wish, I've long run out of shelf space in the shoe room). 


These are just perfect and I couldn't wait to wear them - the green and pink fabric on the upper is a lovely jacquard with a luxe feel. The heel is a beautiful pink glitter, whilst the bow is sparkly snakeskin print fabric. Oh man, they're so fancy! 


Also, pink and green are one of those colour combinations which I'd never really given that much consideration to before. But I love how well it seems to work. I wore them with black tights here, but have also worn them with some red ones, which I kinda liked just as much (see here). 


What do you think? Frankly, I'm just excited that IC seem to be revamping a bunch of their tried and tested old favourites, this season. 

Friday, 2 March 2018

Friday Favourites 269..

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I know that it only seems like two minutes since I was banging on about my latest Vendula London beauty - my birdhouse backpack, which I have to say I still absolutely adore (despite being referred to as "Dora" for a weekend when I wore it out with friends). If you missed it, there are plenty of photos here.. 

But, the rest of this season's Vendula offerings are just as fabulous, so this week's wishlist comes exclusively from their new collection. Here's what has stolen my heart of late...

I mean, could there *be* anything more appropriate for me than a coffee truck bag, or perhaps the coffee cup - the perfect size for nights out with a zip all around the top. 

The famous grab bag - probably the archetypal Vendula shape - is back in lots of new designs including a toy shop (the back of which is pictured) and a music box, amongst plenty of others. 

And, perhaps cutest of all, a prosecco truck!

Which is your favourite?

Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Knitting and Stitching Show..

I hate to be all British and bang on about the weather, but all being well with trains and transport, I should be off to Olympia for The Knitting and Stitching Show tomorrow.

If you're not familiar with it, here's a little video about the show and what it has to offer: 

Last October, Sarah and I visited the previous show, which was held at Alexandra Palace. Here's what I saw on the day and my review of that show - it was a lovely day so I was happy to accept an invite to the next one. I keep checking the weather reports and at the time of writing (11am on Thursday) it's all open and plans to be full steam ahead for the duration. 

In terms of my plans for the day, I have a really tiny list of projects which I want to try and achieve during the year (all presents), and the materials and quantities I need for each of those. If I find suitable supplies at a decent price, I'll get them from the show. If not, I'm not too worried - I seem to receive offers and discount codes daily from various online retailers and have plenty of time to be picky. In terms of buying for projects for myself, I'm still on a spending ban so I'll refrain. I'm getting rather used to this spending ban malarkey. 

If you're venturing to the show tomorrow too, we might see you there!