Friday, 28 February 2014

Friday Favourites 084..

Marks and Spencer SS14 Wishlist

Oh my. I think I could probably just let this week's image speak for itself, but Marks and Spencer are absolutely killing it with their new handbags this season. I struggled to narrow it down to my absolute favourites, but here goes:

001: Blue Envelope Clutch Bag, Limited Edition (£29.50). This one I saw on a post by Rachel The Hat, and is definitely top of the list of which I'd order first. I really like the bright cobalt blue and the way it contrasts with the monochrome of the other prints.

002: I'm sure I must already own a red handbag, but the detail on this Cutwork Cross-Body Bag (£35) is just beautiful, combined with the funky lock clasp detail at the front. I love it.

003: I saw this beautiful Top Handle Satchel Bag (£35) last week, and was rather tempted as it was in my local store at the weekend. It looked just as good in real life as it does on the website, and I was sorely tempted, but felt that three new bags in a day may have been a little excessive, so managed to refrain. For the time being, anyway.

004: The pretty Envelope Clutch Bag (£29.50) comes in pink as well. It's totally OK to start a collection, right? Once again, I love the contrast between the finishes here, and the colourful leopard print would match just about any other colour - you really could wear this with anything!

005: This Grid Frame Handbag (£39.50) is the perfect size to carry just about everything I need with me on a day-to-day basis. Also, monochrome goes with just about anything, right?

Have you spotted any of these handbags in store yet? Which is your favourite?

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ladbrokes Cheltenham Ladies Day Competition

Ladbrokes Cheltenham Ladies Day
It seems as though we have finally seen the end of that hideous weather, which can only be a good thing. Roll on Spring and the start of race season, don't you agree?

This year, Ladbrokes are running a style competition to win tickets for you and a friend to attend Cheltenham Ladies Day on 12th March. All you have to do, to be in with a chance of winning the tickets, is create your perfect Ladies Day outfit and upload it to their site, here. This would be my entry...

001: I've had my eye on this Phase Eight Amalfi Dress for a while now, waiting for an excuse to wear it. What occasion could be more perfect?

002: I don't think you'd get away without wearing some kind of hat or fascinator - this Monsoon bow fascinator is even named Cheltenham, so that's probably the perfect choice, right?

003: The neckline of the dress really needs a necklace of some kind, in my opinion. I'd go for this Laura Lee Horse Agate Cameo, just to win extra points for the irony.

004: Any excuse for shoe shopping. Ordinarily I wouldn't match my shoes to the rest of my outfit, but I think on Ladies Day you're probably expected to. These Kurt Geiger Bryony Heels would do the trick.

005: And finally, this Marks and Spencer Envelope Clutch would be the finishing touch. Because not everything has to be matchy-matchy.

Have you ever been to Ladies Day? What would you wear? I sometimes think that there's more interest in the fashion side of things than the racing. That said, if you know a little more about placing bets than I do, you might have some success with the Ladbrokes Gold Cup. Do let me know if you enter!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Country rose..

Coat: Louche
Necklace: Topshop
Dress: Cath Kidston
Shoes: Irregular Choice
Jumper: Primark
This jumper and dress combination is one which I've had in my mind for a long while, inspired by Jazmine a little while back, now. I'm not sure what took me so long to get around to it, other than the fact that the last time I tried to wear this jumper, I realised that the sleeves were cut so tight I could barely fit my arms into it.

I managed to ease my way into it - I certainly don't think that my arms have got any smaller, so that can't be it - and I do like it, on it's own and over the dress. The dress itself, I'm not so sure about. I've worn it a lot, by my standards, but even so, every time I wear it I feel as though it's a bit, I dunno, frumpy? Not that flattering. I'm not sure what it is.

I'm also not sure what these shoes are called, but they were my absolute favourite pair of Irregular Choice for a good couple of years. During uni, I would wear these a couple of times per week, with just about anything; skirts, jeans (yes, jeans!) etc. I still love them, but they don't really fit me that well anymore. I don't know if it's that my feet have shrunk, or that they've stretched with being worn so much. I will probably  keep an eye out for a replacement pair.

And the necklace? Doesn't seem to have left my neck all week! A lovely present from the weekend.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Around the world..

Dress: Handmade
Necklace: Topshop
Heels: Barratts*
Shrug: New Look
I guess a measure of whether or not I've done a good job of making a particular dress would be whether I actually wear it, rather than letting it languish in the depths of the wardrobe, right? If that's the test than my map print dress can certainly be considered a winner. I've already worn it three times since making it a few weekends ago at Sarah's house.

I recently rediscovered this necklace and since then have been wearing it a lot with this dress, and various others. I remember dismissing it when the gold of the heart started to get a little scratched, but these days I kind of think that adds to it's charm. Shabby chic and all that...?

I'd forgotten about these shoes until I was looking for something which would make the quirky map print meeting appropriate. I think that with the almost-neutral tones of the shoes and the shrug, it sort of is...? I was complimented on the dress itself at work, anyway. Which is always nice.

Only one day down so far this week and I'm already longing to seek refuge in the weekend. Which, incidentally, isn't even going to be a quiet one, with a guides camp-out on Friday night, a Ranger sleepover on Saturday and a cinema trip on Sunday night - crikey. 

Monday, 24 February 2014

All kinds of wonderful..

I have to admit, after starting the weekend off in so much pain on Friday night (it seems my mysterious stomach pains are back with a vengeance), I didn't have high hopes for the rest of the weekend. I planned to mostly curl up and cry my way through it - it's been known before.

But first, I had plans for coffee with my Nan on Saturday morning, and nothing would get in the way of that, so drugged up to the nines with painkillers I made my way into town, stopped at the library on the way to choose a new book, before meeting her at M+S for a filter coffee and a chocolate chip cookie.

Once we'd put the world to rights and parted ways, I wasn't feeling too bad so decided to make the most of the voucher I'd been handed at the till and book myself in for a bra fitting. While I waited, I picked up my Accessorize order - the Cara Camera bag from my wishlist post, and I already love it. I was pleased to see that with the "ready for collection" email from Accessorize, you're given a code for 10% off anything you buy in store when you go to collect your order, which is good to know!

I did a few other errands, making use of the 10 books for £10 offer on children's books in The Works for my friend's little boy's birthday later this week. Although I can't post a picture of the actual books, as I know my friend reads this blog, I was particularly excited by this one.

After meeting up with a certain someone, I was pretty spoiled for the rest of the day, which certainly worked to cheer me up. A pretty Topshop necklace, a Brit-Stitch satchel and a cute Nelly Jane pirate brooch later, and we went off for my fitting.

M&S had vouchers in store which were offered £5 off if you spent £30 on lingerie, so I ended up getting this pretty floral longline set, as well as this purple lace one. Even though actually being measured brought me close to tears, I guess it's good to know I'm wearing the right size for me.

After another coffee and chat, we headed home and got changed and ready for a party (I wasn't full of enthusiasm, but am glad I didn't just stay at home like a bore in the end). The next morning, I was due to meet a friend in town for her birthday breakfast, and I accompanied her on her errands afterwards. I really didn't mean to come home with these Marks and Spencer shoes, or a new DVD, but it did keep me occupied during an afternoon of sewing.

I don't often do these kinds of "haul" posts, but I wanted to do something to remind myself of a lovely weekend turning out better than expected, I suppose. And, you know, pretty new things..!


After a lovely, but very full weekend (when are they not?!) I am feeling ready to face this week head on. I have a rather exciting project to share with you, as well.

Sarah has arranged one of the most inspired wedding presents I've seen, for Roisin who is getting married this year.

The #sewdollyclackett sew along is going to be a chance for anyone who sews to join in and create a dress in the style of Dolly Clackett. Contestants will sew as many dresses as they like, in Roisin's style and she will pick the winners.Simples, right?

Sarah has arranged some excellent prizes, including gift vouchers from Berylune and Harts Fabrics, and patterns from Christine Haynes, Sewaholic, and Colette Patterns. She will be opening a Flickr group where people can post their entry (ies) and from which Roisin will pick the winner.

I'm trying to decide what my most Clacketty fabric is, and which style of dress to go for, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be joining in. I hope you will be, too!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunday Shoes 035: Dune Allegro Heels

Dune ALLEGRO Heels
I've linked to the Dune website for this week's pair, but I actually managed to pick this pair up for £27 from Selfridge's when I was in Birmingham recently for fabric shopping. I can't find them on their site, though.

I bought these mostly to replace a pair of bright blue Primark heels which have seen a huge amount of wear over the past few years and are really on their last legs. (Actually, although I wear them often, they haven't featured on the blog for a while; see here, here and here).

These Dune heels are a little higher, and leather uppers rather than the faux-suede of the Primark ones, but a good replacement nonetheless. I should think I'll get a lot of wear from them.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

What to do when the walls are built to crumble..

Dress: Handmade (Christine Haynes Emery w/gathered skirt)
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Oz'
Clutch bag: bought from a blog sale
What's this? Another handmade dress? Yep. This is number seven of 2014. With Sarah and Roisin so taken with it, I couldn't very well leave it much longer before jumping onto the bandwagon and making my first Christine Haynes Emery dress, could I?

Well, I guess it's a half Emery - the bodice half. For the skirt I just made a gathered skirt, the width of my fabric (which was 45in) and gathered it to fit my waist / bodice.

This fabric was one of my finds on a recent trip to Birmingham, from Fancy Silk Store, which I'd been unaware of before but was a veritable treasure trove of decently-priced fabrics. My eye was drawn to the print and I ignored the fact that the background was white. Luckily, I have quite the stash of cotton sheets which I am recycling into linings, so I chose a nice thick one and lined the skirt as well as the bodice. The only slight issue with this was that when it came to gathering the skirt, I worried that the waist ended up being rather thick and that it makes me look larger around the waist than usual.

I wondered about which shoes to team with this dress, but the green in the print sort of lent itself to a pair of bright green shoes, so I dug out these Oz heels. And this cute puppy dog clutch bag was something I'd not taken out with me at all since buying it from Emily's blog sale a few months ago.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Friday Favourites 083..

Accessorize Cara Camera Bag
001: Accessorize Cara Camera Bag, £25
002: George Heart Print Cardigan, £12
This week has been better than the last one, in many respects. I feel as though I've made progress with lots of things. I've not had a lot of time for shopping and I am mostly but a couple of things have caught my eye.

001: This one I'm blaming She and Hem for. Those girls and I seem to share very similar fashion tastes - if only I were blonde and pretty enough to be a third member! After seeing their LFW outfits, I have to order myself one of these, pronto!

002: I don't venture into my local Asda all that often, mostly because it's the most tricky to get to of all of my local supermarkets. But, having ordered this wonderful bedding, I couldn't help but notice this fab heart print cardigan when I went to collect it. Want!

What are you lusting after this week?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The day they paved the parking lot..

Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 2444 w/ waist tie)
'Crocade' heels: Faith
Cardigan: H+M

This is such a simple outfit for me, but I do really like the way this dress turned out. I've worn it a couple of times already, which considering I only made it on New Year's Day, is pretty good going for me. I'm often guilty of wearing things once and then forgetting about them.

These heels are a pair I've had for years - in fact, the receipt is still in the box with them, and apparently I bough them in 2006. They've seen a lot of wear over that time, so I guess that means they're up there with the best value pairs of shoes I've ever owned.

I'm trying to make an effort to improve my photos and to find a better photo location, hence all the different locations. I'd thought that this screen would be a cute background, but I'm not sure it's tall enough.  Hopefully, I'll manage to find time for camera-shopping this weekend, I think I have my heart sent on a Canon 1100D, which seems to be one which a lot of people have recommended to me.

In giveaway news, thank you so much to everyone who entered the Bonne Chance giveaway. That's now ended and I can announce that the lucky winner is: Hannah (@cutesandfruits). I've got another giveaway idea; I'm just waiting for the prize to be delivered to me, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Samsung "Launching People" Project..

So, everyone's heard of Samsung, right? Those technofolks are always coming up with new and exciting products to launch. People are using their products on a daily basis to come up with new and exciting idea - you might even be one of those people.

If so, I have information about a new project which may interest you. 'Launching People' is a search for new and undiscovered talent. Samsung have joined forces with some of the UK's hottest talent to give people with a passion for food, film, music and photography, the opportunity of a lifetime.

The ‘Launching People’ project will see pop-up chef and Sunday Times cook Gizzi Erskine, award-winning actor and producer Idris Elba, singer-songwriter Paloma Faith and portrait and fashion photographer Rankin, search for undiscovered British and Irish talent. They will act as mentors as they help food lovers, budding film makers, musical game changers and picture takers launch their brilliant ideas.
The mentors, together with Samsung will be looking to find people with extraordinary potential and original ideas. The chosen candidates will work with one of the four inspirational mentors to collaborate on a unique project. Their journey, from meeting the mentors to the launch of their project, will be captured in a television series, LAUNCHING PEOPLE (w/t), produced by Fresh One, part of the Jamie Oliver Media Group, for Sky 1 HD and will air in the spring.


So, are you interested? Do you have a talent for photography which could impress Rankin himself?
If you think you do, here's how you can get involved:

To apply, you'll need to make a 2 minute video all about you and your ambition. This is your chance to show off your passion, personality and your project idea, to get the attention of one of the mentors. Then, you need an image and a bit of copy, and you're ready to upload your submission. More information can be found here:

What can you win?

1. The mentors will select four candidates with whom they’ll work one-to-one. The chosen protégés will spend 2-3 weeks together, working closely with their mentors in a house fully furnished with Samsung’s latest technology on their personal projects, building towards a grand launch event and making their ideas and ambitions a reality.

2. And the public will get to vote for one winner in each category to receive £500 for personal tuition and Samsung technology up to the value of £2000.

Let me know if you enter - I'd love to see your videos! 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

La Vie En Rose..

Dress: Rosegal
GLOW Heels: Topshop
Jacket: F+F

One of the most frustrating (but not really) things about having talented sewing friends is that sometimes they make things which you really, really want to add to your wardrobe, but of course you can't.

When Roisin made herself the Nana dress, inspired by a Bernie Dexter beauty, I totally fell for it. However, after buying one Bernie Dexter dress before Xmas, I wasn't overly impressed with the quality for the price (they seem to retail for about £120 if you can get one in this country!) so I was definitely sure I would prefer to make one than buy the Parisian Cafe dress. So much so that I'd got the Michael Miller Paris Ville fabric bookmarked and was in the process of looking for a pattern which would suit it, and then sort of...forgot about it for a little while (I do this often).

Fast forward a few weeks and I'm sent a link to a website I'd not heard of, and lo and behold there is the almost-exact-same dress on there. For what works out to be about £30, after a first-order discount. I ummed and ahhed because there was only a size L available. However, thinking about it a little longer, I decided that since I wouldn't be able to buy the fabric for £30, let alone the pattern as well, this would be a good deal even with the fact that I'd have to alter it.

It arrived rather quickly, really and although I've altered it, I probably need to take the bodice in a little more. Hence the jacket, which is something I picked up in the sale in F+F a while back, drawn to the mix of colour in the fabric and the asymmetric zip.

Having been neglected for a while after I'd bought them, these Topshop Glow heels have seen a lot of wear, lately. I ought to give another pair a chance, now.

Sewing update: another dress finished last night, which makes a total of 8 for me this year (and one for Little Sis, which I forgot to photograph). I'll just count my own, though.

What are your thoughts on cheaper versions of something? Would you still have made your own if you'd found something which would work out cheaper to buy?

Monday, 17 February 2014

I wanna chill on sugar hill..

Bike Stripe Dress: Sugarhill Boutique
Necklace: Topshop (years ago!)
Sequin Cardigan: H+M
Shoes: Oasis
I'm feeling a little under the weather today. I've not really eaten much this weekend, as I'd been in quite a bit of pain. I had a busy weekend catching up on work, as we lost power for a couple of days last week, which had me worrying about falling behind with a new project. I also managed to have a romantic Valentine's evening on Friday and was spoiled with pretty presents, as well as meeting my best friend on Saturday for a catch up and a wander. I managed a little more sewing; getting dress number 6 finished and making a start on number 7. Not a bad weekend in all, when you look at it like that. I've also been doing a little soul searching to try and find the answer to a friendship dilemma, but I think that deserves a post of it's own.

This dress has become something of a weekend staple over past weeks. It's actually the first Sugarhill Boutique item I've ever bought and actually kept. I had been a little wary of the smock shape, as I've had issues recently with some of the smock shapes I've bought. (ASOS fox smock, I'm glaring at you), but actually this isn't too oversized. I wouldn't suggest sizing down like I've had to with others. The fabric is nice, as well, although I have found that after a few wears it's starting to bobble a little.

I've taken to pairing it with these shoes, which I remember buying when I was in my first year of Uni, and then putting them away and never actually wearing them. I do a lot of that. I found them recently and decided they'd go nicely with this sequin cardigan. The heart necklace is an old favourite, recently rediscovered so you'll no doubt be seeing a lot of it in future posts.

You still have just over a day to enter my Bonne Chance giveaway, if you haven't already.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday Shoes 034: Paris Hilton Gail Shoe Boots

Paris Hilton GAIL shoes, $108
OK, so before I start, the following sentence is not something I ever thought I would write: I bought some Paris Hilton shoes and I really like them.

I'll admit, although they looked lovely on the website, I assumed this was down to good lighting and photography - I've fallen into that trap before - and expected them to be quite tacky when they arrived. I was pleasantly surprised.

The box itself is rather nice and compact, with pink ribbon handles. The shoes are a lovely shiny patent, with pink coloured soles and they lace up at the front to fasten. I think they're going to be a wardrobe staple before long...!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Take a look outside, it's all a bit crazy..

Dress: Poppy England // Shoes: Irregular Choice
Coat: Oasis // Mittens: F+F // Snood: H+M
Cardigan: Matalan
I mentioned last time I wore this dress that I wasn't all that impressed with it.I don't expect to have to replace a zip in a brand new dress which retails at more than £100!!

However, I have replaced it, and decided to give it another wear before deciding whether or not I'm going to keep it. I decided to keep the cardigan fairly basic, and layer up with coat, snood and mittens to combat the chilly weather. I added my Abigail's Party boots thinking that the colours would sort of draw the whole outfit together.

I'm still not quite sure on it.