Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Tuesday Titles 052..

The Vintage Girl
The Vintage Girl - Hester Browne

This was one of the books which Gemma sent to me as part of my last #bloggerbookswap. I got stuck right into it and found it thoroughly easy to read and enjoyable. 

When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie's passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered. But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix, and Evie's heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver...

The blurb probably says it all. Evie, interested in anything vintage and a hopeless romantic, heads off to Scotland to see what treasures she can unearth in Kettlesheer Castle. During her time there she manages to secure an invitation to the upcoming ball and begins dreaming about how that will go.

Like a lot of books in it's genre, some of the circumstances are a little coincidental, but it's an enjoyable read nonetheless.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Fever all through the night..

Mary Dress: Fever* // Jacket: Dorothy Perkins
Hat: Seeberger // Bag: Hey Sailor
Glasses: London Retro // Sandals: F+F
Happy Monday, all. Where did the weekend go? I feel as though I could have blinked and missed it.
But I did manage to find some time to catch up with two of my favourite Warwickshire pals, which is always good. They're probably my favourite thing about the county. My second best being the cute shops there.

One of my favourites to visit is Lilac Rose, which is based in Leamington Spa and always have such a great collection of pretty dresses, accessories and homewares. It's one of the shops I always try to make time to stop into when I'm in the area, but that sadly doesn't happen all that often. However, my problems are now solved, as Lilac Rose are now online. With a huge range of dresses including the likes of Emily and Fin, Fever and Trollied Dolly, and free delivery on orders of £65 or more, they're definitely one to add to your favourites bar.

Knowing how much I've been hankering after the Mary dress from Fever, Lilac Rose sent me one to wear to a garden party I have coming up. I think it's just about perfect and will be wearing it this coming weekend. The floral print is just perfect. The dress, although pale, is fully lined so you can wear it without fear of it being see-through. And it's a decent length, which is a refreshing change from a lot of the recent high-street dresses I've seen.

In short, I love it. I also love the attention to detail Lilac Rose put into delivering the dress, which arrived all packaged up in tissue paper. Little details like that are the kind of thing which make me more likely to shop with a site again in the future.

How would you style up the Mary dress? And what's your favourite item from the new Lilac Rose site?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

All aboard..

Train Clutch: Kate Spade
Assemble Courts: Carvela // Necklace: Topshop
Dress: H+M // Cardigan: Primark
I have made it to the end of the week and just about run out of words. But here's an outfit from earlier in the week, including some of my favourite things.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Puffin Island..

Puffin Island 2 Collage
Puffin Island Collage

What ho, readers all. (Yes, I've been watching Jeeves and Wooster this week.)

 This post has been something I've meant to catch up on for a few weeks now. My birthday started out as a pretty rotten-looking rainy day but I headed up to North Wales anyway to meet my sisters. We spent the day taking a boat trip around Puffin Island. The weather took a turn for the lovely bright sunshine by the time we'd picked up my sister and reached Beaumaris, where the boat set off from.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Friday Favourites 149..

Cripes, how is it the end of the week already? To combat the stress of the fact that my life is literally zipping by without leaving me time to even breathe, I'm going to shun all of the Mean Girls rules and wear pink. Yes, that's right. Pink on a Friday. Mostly because all of the things which are capturing my heart lately are pink, so I have it on the brain.

People Tree. Zandra Rhodes Cars Flared Dress. £85
Car Print Dress. £85 - People Tree

001: First up, I like pink and I love a conversational print, so what's not to love with this People Tree dress from their new Zandra Rhodes collection? I love the fact that the waist is nipped in and makes the skirt look so flippy and full - the perfect skater dress? Not that I do any skating these days. The "skater" dance move we have to do in Piloxing class doesn't count, does it? (Sort of like a grapevine move with the feet and also a punch in the opposite direction - not great for those with no sense of co-ordination. i.e, me).

George Pink Lace Dress
Lace Layer Dress, £35 - George
002: In contrast, a tulip skirt from George (I KNOW!), which has stolen my heart because it's almost exactly like a dress I once saw in a vintage shop and had no chance of ever fitted my darned hips into. I snuck a sneaky photo of it and saved it in the folder on my phone known as "dresses I need to make", and then here it is. All this needs is a little bow belt added to it and it would basically be the same dress. Perhaps that means that the folks at George are using inspiration from my brain. Eep. Could you make all of the other dresses I'm dreaming about, please? *hopeful face*

Fever Mary Dress
Mary Floral Prom Dress, £59.99 - Fever Designs
003: Okay, okay, I know this one is bending the rules slightly as it's not entirely pink, but it has pink flowers printed on it which means it can be in my Pink Dress Gang. This is the Mary dress from Fever, which I spied on Instagram recently and was like "ohmigod I need this now". I love the retro feel which Fever seem to manage to give to all of their dresses. This one does come with a bow belt (win), and a fabulous box pleated skirt. I'm in love. 

What's on your wishlist this week?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

How does your garden grow..

Fantasy Flower heels: Irregular Choice
Giraffe Dress: Fever London
Handbag: Pylones
Cardigan: Laura Ashley

One of those mornings where I looked at my wardrobes in despair, as I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to wear. Then I saw this giraffe print dress poking out of a pile of dresses I sorted through the other day and deemed "keepers". 

A little while since I wore this dress last. Last time I did, I remember teaming it with orange to pick out the print, which I've sort of tried to do again this time around, but this time with this rather terrific orange watering can bag from Pylones. 

Continuing with the garden theme, shoes with flowers on were a must. As was a cardigan with a gardening print. I picked this up in the Laura Ashley sale last year in Leamington using a voucher I'd won and hadn't even realised until I got it home that it was the one I'd mentioned in this wishlist. Duh.

Fever have come up with some covetable designs for this season, too. In fact, there's one in particular which I'm really loving. More on that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Here comes Midweek..

Dress: Handmade // Cardigan: H+M

It's been a couple of weeks of rediscovering old favourites from my dress rails. This might not have been worn since this time last year. In contrast, this was the first outing for this pair of shoes, which I wrote about here

Hearts on the Line heels: Irregular Choice
Somehow it's already midweek. (Now singing the John Shuttleworth song in my head). I have no idea where the time is going this week, but I'm barely keeping up. Plus, fielding one dilemma after another from guides and allotment folk is taking it's toll on my tolerance levels. I haven't much to say.

Penguin Bag: Next // Glasses: London Retro

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Tuesday Titles 051..

The Wish List
The Wish List : Jane Costello

I read this on the train to London on Saturday. I hadn't expected to be on the last chapter by the time I got there; perhaps I should have taken a longer book. 

Has anyone ever done one of those "30 before 30" lists? I know I've set myself challenges in the past, like 52 books in 52 weeks, or 12 garments in 12 months. One of those challenges is just the sort of thing which our heroine, Emma, sets herself. When (just six months before her 30th birthday) she finds a list which she and her school friends made, aged 15, she decides that she is going to have a go at ticking all of her wishes off the list. 

Emma's goals range from being the perfect size 10, to seeing the Northern Lights and jumping out of an aeroplane. Oh of course, and one she decides to tick off right away - have a one-night stand. 

In true chick-lit style, obviously this isn't as simple as it seems and circumstances come back to haunt her. A bit of will-they, won't-they and a little love triangle and you have all of the main ingredients for a typical chick-lit novel, right? 

Well, it ticks all the boxes. I read it without much interest in Emma or any of the supporting characters. Which was totally fine for what I needed: something to take my mind off the train journey. It kept me suitably entertained, but there's nothing new or groundbreaking here. 

Monday, 22 June 2015

London, baby..


So, on Saturday I cursed my ill-informed wardrobe choices as I took my seat on the first train to London and hoped it wouldn't be raining so much there. After a morning in Goldhawk Road, fabric shopping (kind of, in that the others bought fabric but I left empty-handed) I made the longest tube journey I have ever known and met up with Goo and Erica by the Shard. We had a hashtag and everything: #charandericadayoffun


First up, brunch. With a detour past a memorial site for sex workers which I found really poignant. As well as photogenic.

Brunch was a giant plate of avocado, eggs and bacon on sourdough, at The Table. A mixed review from me: the food was unequivocally great. The fact that we didn't have to queue when we thought we would, also good. The service, on the other hand, could have been better. 

But, we couldn't let that hinder our enjoyment of the day. Next up, we hotfooted it to the South Bank, and found the departure point for our London Duck Tour. Now, I've done touristy things in London in the past. I've been on the Eye, and I've been on a boat trip down the Thames. Erica lives in London. And yet, something about the idea of this tour made us shout YES when it was suggested to us.

Once our bus had made it to us through the crazy traffic (various marches and demonstrations were happening) we embarked and began a tour of the streets of London. I learned lots of new facts and we were fairly impressed by the tour guide's ability to tell us interesting things about the places we were driving through, despite the fact that the tour wasn't going on it's usual route because of various road closures.

London Duck Bus Collage

All of a sudden we were at our jetty, just as the rain began to fall. A quick change of drivers and the bus was steered down into the river. This was completely expected and yet felt like one of the weirdest things ever. Apparently the wheels on the bus continue to turn when under the water, and we were 2.5m below the water level. 

We were thrilled to hear the bus being told about Erica's lions - one of the facts she'd shared when we were heading down South Bank. And we spent a fair amount of time willing the selfie stick of the woman in front to fall in the water as she waved it about in front of us. (It didn't). 

The water was a lot more choppy than I'd expected. I don't know what I was expecting, really. We chugged up to the Houses of Parliament, where we turned back and made our way back to the jetty. 

London Duck 2 Collage

After the duck bus, Tourguide Erica showed me some more wondrous things - the graffiti tunnel, for one. She's written about this, here. I sort of love the idea that the art always changes as there's always something new to see, but what if it was something amazing. We took in the spray paint fumes then took refuge in a nearby cafe, which was pretty cute and had a little garden outside with canopy covering. I'd have taken photos of the armchair-y haven, but was too busy skanking power to charge up my phone. And despite lugging my actual camera to London with me, I didn't get it out of the bag once (blogger fail).


Recharged (us, and the phones), we made our way from one street art to another to Shoreditch Yard and tried to locate Dinerama, which is a pop-up street feast. Apparently the We met up with Mike and some of his pals from Leeds and proceeded to try All. Of. The. Foods. A plethora of street eateries, all in one place, there was so much to try. 


Suitably refuelled for my journey homewards after a pulled pork burger and some ribs, I found my way back to the tube station and headed for the last train home, sleepy and full. 
Basically an amazing day and a big thanks to Erica for being such a gem and showing me some of the sights which London has to offer. 


...? You should be.

Sunday, 21 June 2015


Tian Tian heels and Aunt Sally bag: Irregular Choice
Dress: Matalan
Cardigan: Primark 
A first outing for my new Tian Tian panda heels, which are incredibly comfortable. I love them. I also love this Matalan dress, which I rediscovered as part of the Grand Wardrobe Clearout last week.

This week really does seem to have passed by in a flash. But I'm feeling a lot less stressed about some of the projects which I've unexpectedly been landed with, which can only be a good thing. And I've made some progress with the allotment and with my never-ending list of sewing projects. So that's all good.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

But I still love to wash in your old bathwater..


Do you judge other people's houses on the state of their bathroom? I have to admit, I sometimes do. This is dreadful in a way because if people judged me on the state of mine, they would think I must lead a cluttered and chaotic life. Oh, wait...

According to this recent study by UK Bathrooms, over a third of people said they clean their bathroom more than any other room in the house, for fear of being judged on the state of it. I think I'm one of those.

My bathroom is far from salubrious. I have a bath, which I don't really fill that often as I really hate baths. I have a rather pathetic shower over the bath, but more water leaks out of the bottom of it than the actual showerhead when you try to use it. I prefer the showers at my gym, which works OK most of the time as I go there at least once (often twice) per day.

Other than that, I have a policy of trying to use up what I have in the medicine cabinet before buying anything new, to try and avoid clutter, as it's quite a poky little room. I don't have any space for things I won't use. I'm always on the lookout for any space-saving or decluttering tips, though.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Friday Favourites 148: Lindy Bop

Lindy Bop Collage

So, where do I even start?! Lindy Bop are fast becoming one of my favourite sites to browse for pretty dresses. I only own a couple but they're both lovely - I have a Lana and an Ophelia and have been really impressed by the quality, fit and design on both of them.

Every time I visit their site I end up with another dress or colourway to add to my Lindy Bop wishlist, so here is a little round up of my current favourites.

001: Midnight blue and polka dots? Yes please! I love the slightly sheer effect at the top of this Eve dress. Classy and demure and perfect for just about any function.

002: I often can't get along with shirt dresses. I don't know why, I don't have giant boobs, at all. And yet, it's as if shirt dresses conspire against me to pop open at the least appropriate button. What is that about?! However, this one - the Charlotte dress - is just so perfect that I'd happily make an exception (or wear a strategically placed safety pin). I just love it.

003: I know not everyone shares my love of waistband belts, but I really love them. And the fact that the Audrey dress has one from the matching fabric. I love this cute little cocktail glass print, too. Drinks party, anyone?!

004: I already own a Lana so I'm confident that I love the shape. And this print is just so cheerful - perfect for summer days with a flower in my hair and a pair of bright pink sandals??

005: This huge botanical print isn't one I'd usually plump for it. If I'm fabric shopping, I tend to be drawn to smaller, more repeated prints. And yet , somehow here it really works with the contrasting yellow of the bodice detail.

Have you discovered Lindy Bop? Which is your favourite style?

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Hillary's High Tea Clutch..


A little while ago now, I was given a heads up about a craft competition being run by Hillary's Blinds. They're challenging people to take a metre of fabric from their new Roman blinds collection and produce something with it. They're pinning the entries here if you'd like to see what else has been produced. 

I decided to give it a go. I love a good competition and having not been feeling too inspired with all of the sewing projects I've got queued up lately, I thought that having a deadline to work to might help me get back on track. So, I dug out a clutch bag pattern I'd not tried before and set to work. Having used upholstery fabrics for clothing items before (my Cath Kidston Townhouse dress springs to mind as the best example), I have no aversion to stitching garments with fabric which has a tendency to fray like a bugger. I just fancied something I'd not tried before.


The pattern I used is The High Tea Clutch by Charlie's Aunt. I bought the pattern from Etsy last year with a birthday present in mind, but then went with something else, so this is the first time I'd attempted it. It's a fabulous pattern. The instructions are simple and it worked really well with this Daisy Pistachio fabric. 

For the lining, I chose to use some scraps of fabric I have leftover from this dress. I had more than enough of the outer shell fabric left and had considered lining it with the same fabric but inside out, so that there was a contrast, but I decided that this would make the layers of the bag too thick, as it's quite a heavy weight, plus the interfacing I used is quite thick, too. So, a contrasting lightweight cotton it was, with a plain scrap of fabric for the inner pocket. 


I also began making the bow which comes with the pattern to adorn the front of the bag, but decided against adding it in the end, because I didn't like how it looked. I think the detail of the pleats and the tucked front section are rather lost with it, and perhaps the bow would work better in a green, to match the centres of the flowers and again in a lighter weight fabric. So I might add to it at a later date. For now, though, I rather like how it turned out.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Apatosaurus Dreams..

Dress: Handmade (Sew Over It Betty Dress)
I've been very lucky to receive some rather exciting post this week. One of the most awesome things I've received for a while is here. This isn't the first time I've raved on about Little Moose (and I'm sure it won't be the last) but their Jurassica collection is rather incredible. And what perfect timing with the latest Jurassic Park film coming out. Unbelievably I've not yet seen it (not so unbelievably that's because I've not had any free time), but I will. Hopefully soon. 

Apatosaurus Necklace: Little Moose*
Just how awesome is he, though? So. Shiny.

Shrug: H+M
Somewhat less awesome is the fact that I didn't realise how badly my shoes were broken until lunchtime. And walking into town to run some unsuccessful errands did not help. Has anyone had any luck gluing soles back on to cheapo Topshop shoes, or should I just pop them into the next shoe bin I see?

Shoes: Topshop

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Tuesday Titles 050..

The Night Circus
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

It's been a while since I began reading a book and really didn't want to put it down. I remember this being one of Alex's picks when she went to the reading spa at Mr B's and ever since then I'd been meaning to ask if I could borrow it. Finally, I got around to it and I'm glad that I did.

The Night Circus is exactly what it says it is. A circus, made up of spiralling tunnels linking a maze of tents, each housing a different wonder. It opens at nightfall and closes at dawn, according to the sign which arrives with the circus.

Little do the visitors know that there is a war going on between two of the most powerful enchanters in the history of the magical world. The night circus provides the perfect war zone for the game to be played, although it is never made clear exactly what this game involves. Only one of the players is aware they are even playing a game, and she doesn't know who her competitor is. 

Nevertheless, amidst the confusion, the magical world draws you in with great success and the book kept me enthralled right up to the end. 

Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think? Reading anything great at the moment?

Monday, 15 June 2015

Hearts and Apples..

Dress: H+M // Cardigan: Primark
Apple Bag: Ollie and Nic

Continuing with last week's theme of wearing my way through dresses I'd fgorgotten I owned. This heart print H+M number used to be one of my favourite dresses a few years ago. I quite often shy away from the really pale colours, but the tiny heart print and the pintuck detail to the bodice sway my opinion on this one. 

This nude cardigan with the pearl collar detail seems to match the dress quite nicely and I decided to use my apple bag to match the colour of the hearts. I have recently been given a new set of shelves which I'm using in my wardrobe room to store and display a lot of my novelty handbags and being able to see them all out in front of me when I'm picking an outfit is making it easier to find the perfect thing (and also to remember what I have).

How was the weekend? Mine was pretty full and lacking in sleep. I'm definitely not entering another week feeling refreshed.

Can't Touch This heels: Irregular Choice

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday Shoes 076: Irregular Choice Tian Tian


Another pair of character heels, I hear you say. Yep. I'm predictable, what can I say? 

Back when Irregular Choice released their panda heels, I wasn't that taken with any of the designs. Like, sure I liked the panda heel, but none of the actual uppers. However, things changed when I saw this colourway.

I really love that the colour is relatively plain, so the heel really stands out. I also love the fact that the shape makes them insanely comfortable. The pretty organza ribbon, like on my Hearts on the Line heels, features again here, and I sort of think it works on this pair. As does the scalloped edging. 

Really loving these - what do you think?