Friday, 31 May 2013

#BEDM Day 31: reflection

Ok, so we have made it to the end of the month. And whilst I embraced the #BEDM challenge at the start of the month to give me some of my blogging inspiration back, I did fall behind a little.

I've tried to cover all of the topics, albeit some of them a little briefly, and have caught up with the ones I've missed. And on some days, it was rather lovely to have a topic to base a post on; this meant I could still post when I couldn't think of anything myself.

I'm feeling a little better lately, so I'm hoping to go forth and get back to posting (pretty much) every day, as I have in the past, so this has been a great way to get me back into the routine.

Inspired by Gemma's posts and to serve as a bit of a reminder to myself, a bit of a round-up of good things which have happened this month:

  • Finishing my Queen's Guide award (this was such a big weight off my mind)
  • BBQ weather, be they filled with giant fish, chicken envy or the clockwise-rule. 
  • Shopping trip to Liverpool with two of the best friends; a lovely day filled with sun, laughter and lots of new clothes (so much for the shopping ban)
  • Winning some pretty new KG heels! 
  • Ice skating, walks through the woods and lots of fun things planned with my guides and rangers units
  • Some progress made at the allotment, plus I seem to have accepted that I probably can't do it all. (Which is a good thing, I need to try and put less pressure on myself!)
  • Getting my bike sorted out so that I can get some use out of it in the sunshine.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

#BEDM Day 29 and 30..

Oh the irony. I've managed to fall behind on the post which is supposed to be all about explaining how organised I am and what my routine is..!?

Well, I don't have a super-complicated beauty regime to stick to or anything; my morning routine is fairly simple. I get up and dressed, leave some food for the tortoise to eat during the day, then head off to the gym, where I swim about one hundred lengths, then shower, change and head to work. (I still tend to get there first).

And as for who inspires me? I'm not really sure there's someone I look up to for Inspiration with a capital I. I get my clothes inspiration from lots of places and often seeing a photo or a blog post of someone's outfit can make me think of wearing something I'd never thought of putting together before..

fox print shirt: primark
shoes: irregular choice
cardigan: matalan
skirt: h+m
This shirt was something I spotted on Claire's blog a little while ago now. Actually, going back to her blog now has just inspired me to wear it with the blazer I picked up at the weekend as well. I had to ask Alex to help me hunt for it, as my closest Primark store isn't very big and doesn't often get the same things in. But she managed to find it, and once I'd picked it up I couldn't wait to start experimenting with it. I figured it was totally fine to wear a shirt from the men's section with a particularly girly outfit..

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

#BEDM Day 28: bad advice..

satchel: brit-stitch* // shoes: office // dress: matalan // cardigan: primark
cardigan: h&m // skirt: matalan // shoes: irregular choice
blazer: george@asda // shirt: primark // skirt: new look // loafers: asos
I'm aware that some of my posts lately have been quite heavy and emotional. So instead of trying to think of a life lesson or something where I have been given bad life advice, I started thinking about the "wise words" I've come across over the years in relation to clothing choices.

 I've been told never to wear red and pink together, as they clash. And that sequins are for evening wear. Leather skirts are only for motorbikers or perhaps a professional dominatrix, and therefore probably not appropriate for the office. I've been told that it's weird to shop in the men's section (um, hello fox print shirt), and that apparently, Guide leaders only wear jeans with their uniform. Ahem.

Monday, 27 May 2013

#BEDM Day 27: secret talent

Do I have any secret talents? Ummm, I'm struggling. I can juggle, does that count? I suppose it's not a secret now that I've mentioned it.

I seem to have an amazing talent when it comes to imagining that some outfit will be good, and then put it on and realise I'm not keen. This happened here, but I think it's because the dress is too short for my liking.

The boots hadn't had a wear though and were perfect for the rain the other day, so I just wanted something slouchy-ish to go with it, for my walk into town.

How are you spending your Bank Holiday?

dress: primark
jumper: primark
boots: irregular choice

Sunday, 26 May 2013

#BEDM Day 26: dinner party..

dress: clothing at tesco
heels: carvela

 I know I've pondered the subject of my perfect dinner party in the past. It's one of those questions which seems to come up a lot, isn't it? Plus, I've always quite fancied throwing a Come Dine with Me style dinner party. I don't mind cooking now and then, I quite enjoy it if it's for a group of us or someone is coming over.

I guess I could take the easy way out here and say that I'd want to invite my best friends because I don't see them often and it's rare that we are all together and that makes me sad.

However, if we're going for the more exciting, "famous" option, I'm finding things a little more tricky.

I guess we'd want some live entertainment, so I'd ask Paloma Faith so that she could sing for us and we could play dress up together as I know she's a fellow IC fan!

I'd have to invite Mila Kunis, mostly because I have a giant crush on her. Plus she's hilarious. 

I'd want someone funny like Jeremy Clarkson (well, I find him funny, although I'm aware he's not to everyone's taste), to keep the conversation going.

Also, I have quite a lot of respect for Obama, so he'd get an invite. Definitely well ahead of any of our current political figures, anyway. Then I guess we'd need someone to ogle at, so George Clooney, Jon Hamm, Gerard Butler, sometimes Bradley Cooper, Robert Downey Jr...oooh, and Carmine Giovinazzo from CSI: NY. That's probably enough to be going on with.

I'll need to get the emergency chairs out!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

#BEDM Day 25: Music

This is going to be like the book post; I find it hard to pin down "favourites" in a definitive list, but I've given some thought to albums which bring back particular memories for me, although aren't necessarily my favourites.

Pink Missundaztood
001: P!ink: M!ssundaztood
002: Lostprophets : Liberation Transmission
003: Gabrielle Aplin : English Rain
004: Enrique : Escape
005: All-American Rejects : When The World Comes Down
001: I think this is the first album I remember listening to on pretty much repeat, all of the time, and thinking that I could totally associate with all of the lyrics and songs. I'd say I was probably 12 or 13?

002: I almost didn't put this one in the list, if I'm honest. I loved this album and for a long time it was the only thing I was playing in the car. I've been to quite a few of their gigs and really liked the band at one point, but I have mixed feelings about them these days, mostly disappointment and I haven't really listened to them in a long time, but this album still conjures up memories of summertime road trips to the beach.

003: This hasn't been on my iPod for that long, but the whole album has racked up a crazy number of plays already. I love Gabrielle Aplin and she was the absolute highlight of my trip to Bestival last year. At the moment English Rain is getting played more than most things, and I'm not getting tired of it at all.

 004: OK, you can laugh at this one. But it's this album which brings back all of the time I spent on family holidays in the villa in Spain. We would literally have it on repeat and stay in the pool all day and all I remember is sunshine and happy times when I hear any of the songs from it.

005: This, and any other AAR album would be on my list of favourites. I know it's not so cool not to let go of the bands you grew up loving, but All-American Rejects have been my favourite band for about ten years now, and I don't seem to be getting tired of them. All-American Rejects reminds me of college days spent in the local park playing football, whilst Move Along makes me think of uni, and weekend spent in Manchester. When The World Comes Down is the most emotional for me, but mostly reminds me of being so in love on the loveliest London trip and seeing them in the Empire. Shortly after that trip my world came down, so now when I listen to it, some of the songs are a little bittersweet.

There are actually lots more I could add, now that I've started thinking about music and nostaligia...

Friday, 24 May 2013

#BEDM Day 24: fridge..

Today's #BEDM topic is a bit of a non-starter for me. Usually, there is nothing in my fridge, other than butter, some jam and maybe some cheese.

There's a fairly simple explanation. I never go food shopping. It bores me, I can't get excited about it and so get easily distracted. Usually by the clothes section.

dress: clothing at tesco
shoes: primark
cardigan: clothing at tesco
This cardigan was a Clothing at Tesco sale bargain last year, when I had some time to kill waiting for the rangers to finish their kayaking lesson.

The dress is a much more recent Clothing at Tesco purchases - I took advantage of their recent summer clothes promotions and discount codes a couple of times at the end of April! Already, it's up there as a front-runner for my favourite dress of the year, so far. I love the shape and the fact that the bodice is shaped so that it's not gapey at the top, which is what I've found with so many dresses lately.

I can't be the only one who finds food shopping thoroughly dull, surely? 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

#BEDM Day 23 : compliments

dress: h&m
 patent heels : barratts*
cardigan: h&m
coat: primark

Sorry to be such a predictable bore, Becks.

 Compliments fluster me. I can talk about most things until the cows come home. Not that I share my home with a cow. (Or anyone anymore, thank goodness - I like my space). So I can often find myself merrily conversing away with someone, and then they'll say something like "your hair looks nice" and I'll suddenly lose all train of thought.

I seem to have an inability to accept that anyone would be saying anything nice because they actually think it; if I'm complimented on something I'll usually just say "no, I don't" or whatever. I shrug most things off like that, despite knowing that it's much more polite to say "thank you", graciously, then to engage your complimenter in the conversational equivalent of an alligator-wrestling contest until they retract whatever it is they'd said.

I'd like to compliment Barratts on these shoes, though. (See what I did there?!) I ordered them with a voucher they'd given me in my goody bag at the NW Bloggers meet up, which was waaay back in February. I chose these along with another pair but hadn't worn this pair until now. They were £10 in the sale, and I think they are fab. I don't think this exact pair are still on the site, but these are similar..

I also decided that I'd post this outfit today, as when I wore it last week I was told I looked lovely in it, by the man in the sorting office. I didn't say anything.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

BEDM Day 22: 13 year old self..

dress : laura ashley (vintage)
waistcoat: miss selfridge
heels : chinese laundry

 Given how emotional this week has already been, I don't need any excuse to tap into my emotions to write this.

Dear 13 year-old Char:

When you are nearly double the age you are now, you'll look back and think that things weren't so bad back then. Yes, it may have felt like the end of the world when you fell out with your best friend, and although the particular friend may have changed over the years, that feeling as though it's the end of the world is always the same when you fall out. If you thought you'd had your heart broken then, think again. That was nothing. You'd do well to control your temper better; driving through someone's garden gate in a fit of rage was never going to be the best idea.

You do (finally) lose some of the weight you'd always dreamed of losing. It doesn't solve all of your self-confidence issues. If anything, it makes them a lot worse. I'm not sure how best to advise you on that one as it's a battle you're only just beginning as I write this.

You still don't know what you want to do in life but that hasn't held you back. Your career has opened up a lot of possibilities and taught you valuable lessons. It's been tough, but you'll come out on top. Most people still don't know, so don't let the Career Advice lady give you any crap next year.

The vow you've made to never speak to your father again doesn't last forever. Things get worse before they get better, but one day you may look back and think he isn't so bad. Something happens to make you realise that things aren't always as black and white as they seem when you're in school, looking up at the adult world.

The friends you make when you're in school might not last. People say that the friends you make in Uni are the ones who stick, and they're sort of right. It's fine if not all of your friends are the same age as you. Most of them won't be. You meet the person who will become your best friend when you're walking back to Uni one morning from the train station.

Ah yes, you went to University. Against your better judgement. It will teach you to see things through, if nothing else. You'll rebel in the most unbelievable way. And it's fine not to want to go backpacking around the world on a 'Gap-Yah'.

Enjoy those few perfect months, because they lead to the most pain you will ever experience (I hope, anyway) and something happens which still haunts you to this day. You might never get over it, but in a few years you will have learnt to accept it for it's not something you could have predicted or ever changed.

Learn that it's OK to let go of things. Learn that you will (and do) make yourself ill if you try to say yes to everything. Learn that you can't fix things by trying to relive what used to happen. People change, and it's part of growing up. Please don't let yourself get dragged in to that cycle of sadness again and again.

Most of all, learn that it's not OK to change who you are to suit someone else, and that it's OK to like different things to everyone else. Your best friends will (and do) accept you for that, not despite that.

(almost)26 year-old Char.

p.s Stop leaving everything to the last minute. And your collection of shoes has grown.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

#BEDM: Day 21 (and a catch up..)

dress: laura ashley (vintage)
heels : Spartoo
(Iron Fist Women's Black Sheep Peep Platform Open Toe )
I've fallen a little behind with just about everything over the last few days. I've missed out a few of the #BEDM topics as a result but here's a little round-up.

And an outfit post, because I seem to be building up quite a few sets of photos which haven't been posted yet.and I wanted to show off these shoes (similar here).. I know that Iron Fist can be a little too goth-y for my liking, but these had lambs printed on them. And polka dot bows. So I kind of clashed them with this dress, which I'm rather pleased about, because the last time I wore it I could hardly get the zip done up.

In fact, the last time I wore it was for a BBQ with my very best friends (see how nicely that linked in with the topic for #BEDM Day 18!) where one of them told us she was pregnant. Eep. I've said it before, but I don't get to see my best friends as often as I'd like to. I think I need to start managing my time differently, so that the things which *should* be more important, get the time and focus they deserve, instead of being crossed out and postponed in order that the things I feel*obliged* to do get space.

I miss these girls all the time.

Picture 040

As far as the other days go, I don't have a lot to say.. I could just about walk to work, but I never do because I swim at the gym which is about 10miles away, before heading to the office every morning, and usually rush off to whatever meeting or spinning class I have on that evening - I don't very often get to go straight home from work.

I don't have any complaints about my job, I enjoy going to work every day and think that the last few years, although tough, have provided me with some very valuable experiences. If we are talking pie-in-the-sky dreams, I might like to start a dress shop one day and sell some of my designs, but to be honest, I firmly believe that you should keep your work and hobbies separate; I actually wouldn't want to have to make a living from something I like to do for fun.

I don't have many traditions, if I'm honest. I keep a diary, which I write in every day, which is something I used to resolve to do every New Year's Day, but never managed to get more than a couple of months into the year. The past few years have been a lot better, though. It seems firmly part of my routine, these days.

And finally, I haven't had a lot of time to catch up with the news, although know there's been a rather sad story this week which has affected some local friends.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

#BEDM Day 16 - pampering..

Well this is going to be a short post. I might have approximately one trillion shoes and more handbags than I know what to do with, but when it comes to anything else you'd usually expect girls to be into (make-up, hair styles, pampering, etc) I'm a bit of a lost cause.

I think I own two lipsticks (both cheap, one pink, one red and neither worn very often), and a long bubble bath is my idea of Hell.

I suppose the best way to relax, other than in spinning classed or at the gym, is to spend some time with my family or friends, get dressed up and go out for a meal or a drink and a catch-up..if I'm spending my time with someone else, at least I'm not beating myself up or feeling guilty about all of the things I haven't yet done and should be doing.

dress: dickins and jones
owl brooch: vintage street fair, manchester // cardigan: matalan
clutch: dorothy perkins // coat: vintage fair
scarf: charity shop
shoes: Betty London

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

#BEDM Day 15: lessons to learn

What's the best lesson you ever learnt? That's a pretty difficult one, so I'm going to instead make a list of all of the things I know I should have learnt by now, but fail to...

  •  You can't change someone. You change, other people change, but it's impossible to make someone else change. And it would be unfair to expect them to. 
  • Sometimes the thought of letting someone go is scarier than actually doing it. 
  • Love, like Becks said, really isn't the only thing you need to make a relationship work.
  • Losing weight doesn't actually solve all of your body image problems.
  • Apparently you can't do everything. However much you think you should be able to. 
  • Trying to keep everyone else happy usually results in everyone being happy, except you. 
  • I should be less hard on myself. 
  • There is nothing wrong with doing nothing. Once in a while, anyway. 
  • This dress creases like there is no tomorrow. 
  • These boots ruin tights.
boots : Coolway @ spartoo
dress: henry holland @debenhams
cardigan : tu clothing @ sainsbury's

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

#BEDM Day 14: Food

chocolate orange fairy cakes
I'm really not someone who could be described as a "foodie". I do like to go for a meal out now and again, but I can't very often eat the whole of one course, let alone three or four, so I do most of my cooking at home.

I don't ever eat ready meals, and try to shy away from processed foods, purely because I like to know what I'm eating. (I have had problems for the past few years with chronic stomach pains, which despite numerous tests and procedures, the doctors are unable to attribute to anything, but since there is a chance it could be food-related, I try to keep tabs on what I've eaten before the pain strikes.)

I also bake, when I'm going somewhere (I was definitely brought up to believe it's rude to go to a party / event without taking something, and I tend to apply the same rule to all of the meetings I fill my evenings with).

One of my fail-safe recipes is just a basic Victoria sponge one, which I use as the basis for fairy cakes and normal sandwich cakes. Instead of consistent measurements, I tend to weigh three eggs, and whatever they weigh, add the same of sugar and butter and cream together. Then add the eggs, with the same weight of flour (I use plain flour for everything and add baking powder to it, about 1.5tsp to this mix, sifted into the flour), add 1tsp of vanilla essence and a splash of milk if I have it in the fridge (not often).

Or, if making a flavoured sponge, omit the vanilla essence and add whatever your flavour is going to be. For the choc-orange cakes above, I threw in 2tbsp of cocoa powder and squeezed the juice of one orange into the mix. I finished them off with some chocolate butter icing (same parts cocoa / icing sugar mixed with butter until you have a decent consistency for spreading) and some orange flavoured Aero bubble (?) things.

Last weekend I made the same base mix, but threw in some fresh raspberries I had in the fridge and saved some to pop on the top of the butter icing - it's a really easy, versatile mix.

Monday, 13 May 2013

#BEDM Day 13: Go Green..

Copy of DSC09559
dress: clothing at tesco // heels: primark
Copy of DSC09560
dog print cardigan: laura ashley
I'm struggling a little with today's topic. I'm not sure how "green" I am.
I do recycle as much as I can, re-use bags, packing materials, scrap paper etc and the usual things. I either sell on or donate my old clothes when I'm getting rid of them, or if they're really past their best I chop the fabric up and turn it into something else. In fact, talking of selling on clothes, I've just updated the blog sale page with 54 items of clothing so far...

And I suppose I am attempting to "grow my own", with my allotment. The next task on my list is to get the compost heaps built, when I've sourced some old pallets, so that I can turn all of the weeds and food waste into compost to be used on next year's veggies.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

#BEDM Day 12: sunday shoes..

yes, this is where most people would keep the vacuum cleaner..
Day 12 of #BEDM is quite an easy one, and how fitting for it to fall on a Sunday - the day I like to dedicate to shoes! I think I'm definitely one of life's hoarders, but my shoe collection is my biggest by far. I dread to think how many pairs I own these days, although I should probably count because I'm often being asked! This is where I keep a small selection of the Irregular Choice - flat shoes live in a different room altogether!