Saturday, 31 May 2014

Oh Figaro, he's a Romeo..

Jessica Dress: Duck and Duffel
Coat: Primark
Clock handbag: Choies*
Buns n' Roses wedges: Iron Fist*

Do you ever put on an outfit and wish that you could just wear that forever? Kinda what I was thinking when I tried this dress on. I'd fallen head over heels for it when I saw a pic on Instagram and could not wait to add it to my Duck and Duffel camera print dress collection! (I already have the Audrey and the Betty, but I'm afraid Jessica beats them both hands down in a fight for my affections).

I know it's silly but when it arrived I decided to save this dress for something special - I generally have no distinction between day-to-day wear and special-occasion wear, which means that I'm overdressed for things approximately 99% of the time, but this dress seemed as though it needed to be saved for something special.

So, when it came to dressing up for a trip out for dinner and then to the theatre - is it just me who is traditional and sees the theatre as an opportunity to get my glad rags on? - I knew exactly what I wanted to wear.

I'd wondered about these shoes with the dress, purely because (as is often the way with my outfit combinations) they'd arrived on the same day. I really can't fault the comfort of these Iron Fist wedges, and decided that adding a monochrome print coat to go with the black in the shoes, and to tackle the silly weather we'd been having, might just bring it all together.

My clock clutch bag seemed to attract many compliments, as well as being plenty big enough to keep all of the essentials in, so that went down well! All in all, I rather liked how this turned out and felt like a princess in my pretty dress and petticoat layers..

Do you have fail-safe outfits which make you feel good?

Friday, 30 May 2014

Friday Favourites 097..

Fruit Wishlist Collage

A rather fruity themed wishlist this week. It's no secret that I'm a fan of a quirky print and the recent fruit print trend is no exception. Here's what I'd like to be adding to my, um...#wardrobefruitbowl?

001: This fab apple print skirt was something I first spotted on Sarah's blog. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with skirts. I just find dresses so much easier to wear, to style etc as you don't have to worry about where the waistband sits, what length it is, what top to pair it with, etc etc etc. That said, the length of this skirt is fab and I think it would work nicely with red or green, or obviously black. Or, y'know, with the matching apple print blazer..?

002: I don't even wear trainers unless I'm in the gym, and yet there are currently two pairs on my wishlist. These pineapple print ones are one of those. I'm thinking that I could overlook the fact that they're trainers because of their amazing print.

003: I can't think of one reason not to order this orange slice clutch bag, right this second. I really can't. It's so cute and would fit so well with the rest of the novelty bag collection! Plus, I think it's a total bargain at £9.99!

004: I think this orange print blouse might be my favourite thing on this week's list. I just love the print, and have visions of pairing it with shorts and a pair of brogues for work, or layering under a pinafore dress. If I was a little braver I could even use it as a jacket over a crop top or bikini top. (I'll never be that brave!)

Have you embraced the fruit print trend? I'm really not sure the #wardrobefruitbowl is going to have the same success as my #wardrobezoo hashtag.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

**birthday giveaway**


I've been planning a bit of a giveaway for a while now as a little thank you for sticking with me through another year, and decided to time it so that it could be a birthday celebration, too. I've been collecting things for it for a while and was quite surprised with how much I'd managed to add to the pile when I came to get it all together.

I decided to split the prizes up into five bundles, some of which are vaguely themed based on some of the things I like best (sewing, letter-writing, reading and a couple of general cute accessory ones). Each prize bundle has been grouped together with a colour below - if one of them takes your fancy over the rest then let me know in a comment on this post!

It's open to all followers of my blog (if you don't already, you can follow here on bloglovin') and there are five prize bundles to be won. All of these things have been bought by me, and a lot of them came from my favourite little local shop, Urban Folk. You can enter using the rafflecopter entry below - good luck!

Birthday Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Calico cats and calico dreams..

Dress: Handmade (NL6223)
Necklace: Primark
Shoes: Irregular Choice

I'd been saving this cat print dress for #MMMay14 and was quite pleased when it's turn rolled around. I made this a little while back from some fabric I'd purchased from Plush Addict and it's another 6223. I've just tried to look for a link to the fabric but it looks as though it must be sold out.

I retrieved it from the wardrobe and began the hunt for some suitable shoes to go with it. This would be another pair which I've never worn, despite buying them maybe seven years ago now. They've sat around in their box in storage for that time and although I've noticed them now and again, I'd never quite got around to wearing them. I figured they were a perfect match for this dress, though.

I look super sleepy in these photos - likely because on the day I took them I'd decided that in order to fit everything in I'd have to get up an hour or so earlier than usual, so about 5.15am. Gah. It worked though and I managed to find time for a 45min swim before work, which made me happy. Need to get back into that habit in a big way. Do you have any tips for fitting things in to your schedule?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

#irregularchoicechallenge Days 37-63

ICC Days 37-45
ICC Days 46-54
ICC Days 55-63

The #irregularchoicechallenge rolls on and here is my latest round-up post.
(You can see a round up of the first 36 days of the challenge here.)

I have been rather enjoying rediscovering some of the pairs which I'd totally forgotten I'd owned, digging out some of the boxes which have been stashed away since I'd bought them and particularly through May, finding pairs which will go with the dresses I've made for my #MMMay14 challenge.

I've found that I'm still not very good with many of the names of the styles, but that the folks on IG are pretty helpful and generally more knowledgable than me.

I've worn my first pair of Poetic Licence since starting the challenge (Day 44) and have had to get rid of two pairs due to the fact they've totally worn out (Days 58 and 51). I've found that an old favourite (Day 59) are almost totally too big for me now, but I love them too much to part with them so will be looking for some insoles. It's been nice to give some pairs their very first outings (Day 60, 54, 49 and 42 had never been worn before this challenge) and I still seem to be the only person in the world who doesn't hate the alphabet boots from Day 37.

Any favourites in this round up? Carpe Diem seemed to get a lot of love when I posted them (Day 38).

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Grapefruit Gang..

Dress: Handmade
First Prom Heels: Irregular Choice x Blythe
Grapefruit Necklace: Rockafrilly

Lately, I've been eating nothing but grapefruit for breakfast, so when we saw this grapefruit necklace at the weekend, I knew it would have to be mine! I love the fact that the pink sections are glittery. It arrived really quickly - was with me on Wednesday (along with another couple of things) and everything was really nicely wrapped up.

I'm still not entirely sure about this dress. I think it's the length which I'm not quite sure of, I think. I made my way around to it in the #MMMay14 challenge and wasn't quite sure what shoes to wear it with. When I saw these Blythe First Prom heels languishing away in the cupboard, I decided to give them their wear for the #irregularchoicechallenge. These are Day 70, which seems crazy. What seems even more crazy is that I have so many more to go.

One thing I have noticed about #MMMay14 is that I don't really miss a lot of my "RTW" clothes. There have been a couple of dresses which I've bought recently and have quite fancied wearing, and I'd have liked a playsuit or maybe more shorts. I've worn my Megan Nielsen culottes for the first time, when the weather was hot at the weekend, and that made me realise that some more of those would be good. I've also never really made any tops, so perhaps that's something I could consider.

I don't suppose I'll ever have an entirely me-made wardrobe, but I think it's nice to see where the gaps are, at least.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sunday Shoes 047: Irregular Choice x Blythe


As I've not bought any new shoes recently, (Not through lack of trying; I've been waiting weeks for an eBay win which seems to have gone missing) I decided that this week's post would showcase some of my little-worn (in some cases never worn!) existing shoe collection.

I've never had a Blythe doll; I was more of a Barbie kid myself, although having seen Selina's one I think I would rather like to have one one day.

These are my  Irregular Choice x Blythe collection. The collection was released in 2006/7 I think and I have to admit, all of mine were picked up after that. My most recent addition was the black and white polka dot pair, which I've been told are called Akemi. I posted about them here.

My first Blythe pair purchase were First Prom - the pink and black polka dot low heels, which I bought from eBay several years ago. I've worn them a few times, mostly for day trips shopping to London etc, as they are ridiculously comfortable.

The green courts, which I'm not sure of the name of, are also ridiculously comfortable, despite being heels. I've worn those quite often over the years since picking them up from eBay.

When I was in the Irregular Choice shop in London a few years ago there was this pair of white and red polka dot Blythes (I'm not sure of the name of this style, as the box just had a code number on) and I snapped them up as they were the only pair there / really cute / in my size. I don't think I've ever worn these, but no doubt they'll be worn soon as part of my ongoing #irregularchoicechallenge.

My favourite pair is the gold one, which after some googling I've discovered are called Chi Chi. I've not really worn these either, but I like the Blythe doll on this pair best of all of them. I'm quite looking forward to putting an outfit together for this pair for the challenge. These ones came from a TK Maxx store a few years ago and were SUCH a find.

Which is your favourite? Do the Blythe dolls put you off? I know that most people I've spoken to about this collaboration really don't like them.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Handbags and Gladrags..


I've been meaning to post this for a while but it took me a little time to get a good number of my 'novelty' bags together for photos. Here are some of the ones I've picked up over the years.

New Look Clutch // Ollie + Nic Apple Bag
Pocorn Bag // Dog Bag // Irregular Choice Record Bag // ASOS cupcake bag
Heart-shaped bags: All from Topshop in various years
Accessorize Paris postacrd bag // Irregular Choice Teddy bag // Matalan cat bag // Superman bag (unsure).
Faith Cat Bag // Clock Bag // Kookai Watermelon Clutch
Accessorize Camera Bag // LYDC London Owl Bag // Vintage clutch
The pop art clutch in the first photo is my newest addition; picked up from Sera's blog sale. I can't wait to use it as it seems a fab size. Relatively recent purchases have included the Accessorize camera bag, the clock print clutch and the popcorn and owl bags, as well as the apple bag of course.

The watermelon clutch is one I picked up about 5 years ago from Kookai and used a lot at the time - so much so that I had to repair it. It's been in storage since then but I can see it coming out to play a lot more.

I think the white cat bag was one of the very first quirky handbags I spotted. I have fond memories of going into the Faith store most weeks, just to see if it was still there. One day, when I'd saved up enough pocket money, of course it was no longer there, so I bought the Superman bag instead from a boutique in town which has since closed down. I picked the cat bag up a few years later from eBay and loved it as much as I'd thought I would.

I remember being totally excited by the Alice in Wonderland feel of the heart bags when they came out in Topshop. I used to be a total sucker for Topshop handbags, although these days I just think they're too expensive and not as interesting as they used to be.

I was thrilled when my sister managed to track me down the cupcake bag from ASOS. I'd seen it in a magazine I think, but not until it was sold out on the website and I looked everywhere for one. I think it must have come back into stock on there- and she has more patience than I do.

The sausage dog, I'm not sure of the brand, was something I bought from Emily's blog sale. I've used it quite a few times since then which is good going. I'm not sure I've ever used some of the others - the funny vintage Chinese scene one, for example. That's really old and I'm never quite sure how strong it would be.

Are quirky handbags your cup of tea or do you prefer more traditional designs?

Friday, 23 May 2014

Friday Favourites 096..

It's not often that I make a whole wishlist based on the same thing, but I often pop in to M+S to meet my Nan for a coffee at the weekend and last week was no exception. On my way out and on to run some errands, I wandered through the shoe section and have to say, I was pretty impressed!
Marks and Spencer Shoe Collage

I spotted no less than six pairs I would have loved to take home with me, despite the fact that some of them aren't my usual thing at all..

001: I'm not usually a fan of lip prints, but the combination of the cutesy print and the chunky gold heel on what look to be the most comfortable shoes ever, won me over. These lip print pumps are definitely top of my list. 

002: Pretty sensible by my standards, but these silver ankle strap pumps would work with so many outfits. They'd be a great basic to add to my shoe wardrobe.

003: From the front, a fairly standard pair of pretty mint sandals, right? But from the back...take a look at that heel detail. I so wouldn't have expected these from M+S!

004 and 006: I can't decide which colour I like these quirky slingback sandals in best. Again, I'm not sure why I'm so drawn to lip prints, again. I love the contrast between the printed section and the patent toes, and the floral version would be perfect for summer.

005: Another pair I wouldn't have expected to be from M+S. Combining a cute heel shape and lots of colour, these chunky platform heels would be perfect for summer BBQ parties!

Have M+S surprised you recently as well?

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Sew my head against the wall..

Dress: Handmade (NL6223, View A)
Handbag: Moony Mood
Alphabite Heels: Irregular Choice

Another day, another New Look 6223. I definitely went through a spate of making this pattern over any other. This one was my first attempt at the pattern and I went for View A with the thought that it would be something a little different to the Simplicity 2444's I'd been making at the time. (View C of NL6223 and the sleeveless version of Simplicity 2444 can look very similar, as shown here).

The main element of view A of this pattern is the ruched detail to the front of the bodice and one shoulder. It was a technique I'd not tried before but the instructions made it very simple. I do wonder if a plain fabric would have been better than a print to make the draping more obvious. This fabric was some which I'd picked up a few years back in my local haberdashery, which I decided to use for my first try. I finished off the neckline and sleeve cuffs with some vintage orange bias binding and the zip was a random vintage orange one.Very much a "using things up" dress as this was before I'd purchased all of my recent fabrics and I even used an old pair of PJs for the lining and pockets, as I didn't have enough lining fabric.

Considering it was a bit of a "wearable muslin" to begin with, I actually do quite like the way this dress turned out. The sleeves are a little bit gathered as well, which I think creates a nice effect. For it's #MMMay14 outing, I paired it with these Irregular Choice Alphabite heels and a bright orange handbag.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Vampires will never hurt you..

Dress: Handmade (NL6223)
Popcorn Bag: Choies*
Shoes: Irregular Choice
Necklace: New Look

As soon as I spotted this fabric online I knew I'd have to make a dress with it to wear with my popcorn bag. I love this bag - it's plenty big enough for the essentials (particularly now that I have made the leap to downsize my purse) and it's no secret that I love a quirky handbag. In fact, I'm planning a post about my collection as I do rather seem to have added to it lately. I'm seriously considering this owl print clutch as well - not quite "novelty", but I love it nonetheless.I've just realised that the popcorn bag also comes in black and gold, if that's more your cup of tea..!

The fabric itself was a nice surprise when it arrived - brighter purple than I'd expected and I really love all the little details on the vampires. Now I really want to go watch a movie - I can't think how long it's been since I ate cinema popcorn. I've got a bit of a love for it, despite knowing how disgusting it really is. My usual cinema doesn't seem to sell popcorn, although you can take all kinds of other fancy snacks in with you - I guess it's a little more upmarket than the local multiplex and that is certainly reflected in the clientele. No noisy teens throwing popcorn, here. (Presumably because they don't sell it).

Are there even any good movies out at the moment?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tuesday Titles 013: Dead Girls Walking Blog Tour..

Dead Girls Walking
Dead Girls Walking : Suzy Cox
Lorna has been dead long enough to know the Rules. But that doesn’t stop her showing up at her little sister’s high school production of Hipster Hamlet. But when she arrives, a lighting rig comes crashing down on the lead cast member mid-performance. All fingers point to Lorna’s little sister, Emma, and it’s up to The Dead Girl’s Detective Agency to find the real culprit. Unless Em’s not as innocent as she looks? Charlotte wants to help Lorna prove her sister’s innocence, but she’s completely distracted. Not only is her ghostly-self suspended in this New York-limbo hotel, she is having to deal with the fact that the very alive love of her life has moved on. And then there’s the cute dead boy, Edison, who seems to be acting nice all of a sudden. But is Charlotte ready for a new boyfriend, and one with such a murky past?

Dead Girls Walking is the second book in The Dead Girls' Detective Agency; a new YA series written by award-winning journalist and author Suzy Cox. At the end of the first book, we leave Charlotte, a New York teen who was killed when she was pushed in front of a subway train, stuck in Attessa (the teen equivalent of Limbo), perhaps indefinitely. There is enough recap in the second book that you don't have to have read the first to understand what is going on.

I did read the first, for the purposes of research, and think that Dead Girls Walking would stand alone just as well on it's own. In fact, I found the pace a lot better in this one, whereas book one, The Dead Girls Detective Agency, seemed a bit more focussed on scene-setting than engaging.

In true YA style, there are a lot of references to popular culture in the book; particularly with references to fashion and TV and film characters, which would no doubt appeal to young readers, giving them the chance to connect with the characters. I was pleased to see that this book spends more time on the murder mystery element than the partially-undead love triangle which seems to haunt the first book. There was doubt in my mind until the last few pages as to who was responsible for the murder and when the end was revealed, it became clear that this detective agency have a lot more work to do - in future books, of course.

I'd recommend this if you have a fondness for YA series' such as Geek Girl, Spy Series and maybe even Twilight. My review is part of the blog tour for this release - you can check out the posts which have been up so far in the tour here: Book Worm Ink // NYX Book Reviews // Fiction Fascination // Book Angel Booktopia // Much Loved Books