Monday, 31 August 2015

Hold on, Autumn.

Dress: Laura Lees x Topshop (swapped with Donna) // Blouse: Zara

Boots: Bata // Tights: New Look

Shrug: F+ F// Bag: Accessorize

I haven't many words to say really, other than who invited the Autumn weather in? I rather relished the opportunity to wear these pink boots, and to give the pinafore dress I swapped with Donna another outing, but it seems all too soon.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sunday Shoes 080: Irregular Choice Tiny Ted

IMG_6055 IMG_6056 

 Oh my. I was surprised by these Tiny Ted heels earlier in the week and can I just say, they've totally stolen my heart.

I'm a real fan of the new style of soles and shoeboxes, This season the theme seems to be leaves, acorns and woodland creatures, matching the fox and mouse on these Forest Pals flats

As for the heels themselves, the first thing I notice is of course the huge soft teddy adorning the front. I love the way he's mirrored on each shoe and looks as though he's waving. The rest of the shoe is covered in this pretty iridescent turquoise fabric, which seems to change colour as the light catches it. 

Of course, the ubiquitous perspex heels make an appearance, in a lovely shade of pale blue. And I love the attention to the little details. The bows on the backs of the shoes, the delicate scalloped edging around the ankle strap and the fronts of the shoes, just add to the cutesy nature of these. I can't wait to wear them.

Irregular Choice Tiny Ted heels*

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Polka dot cottage.

Dress: Handmade (Simplicity 2444) // Cardigan: M+S

Necklaces: Accessorize
Cottage Bag: Vendula London* // Shoes: Lola Ramona*

I really couldn't wait to create an outfit around my new cottage box bag from Vendula London, which I reviewed recently. I decided that the colours in the bag would go nicely with these Lola Ramona shoes, which were a lot more comfortable than I remember them being last time I wore them.

I went fairly basic with a monochrome dress and a cardigan which seemed to match one of the colours of the dots on the shoes. A fairly uninspiring outfit, perhaps, but I kinda liked it.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Friday Favourites 158..

001: Junebugs Squirrel Dress, PUG Clothing $132
Love Bones Tights
002: Pamela Mann Love Bones Tights, £9.99
We've had some really odd weather this week. Showers and gloomy skies which are reminding me that summer seems to be drawing to a close. What does that mean? Well, I'm thinking Autumn wardrobe thoughts.

001: This is my favourite PUG Clothing dress of all time. Some of my favourite retro style bloggers have teamed up with PUG to create their own line and frankly this is the only dress which really stands out to me, but boy does it stand out. Autumn colour palette and squirrel print, I need you in my life. (I might have tracked down somewhere which sells the fabric...)

002: Sarah's conversation on Twitter recently about the Funnybones books I used to enjoy as a kid had me thinking about Halloween outfit ideas, and then a few days later, completely by chance, I came across these awesome tights. How cute would they be with a plain(ish) dress to give a bit of a Halloween touch to an outfit in October? Want! 

What have you been lusting over this week? Do you think we've seen the last of the summer?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

I'd give you everything and more..

(Image credit: My Voucher Codes)

Every week, I meet my nan for a coffee and a catch up. And almost every week, without fail, she tells me of some new scam she's heard about. Either on the TV, where she's watched something about an old lady who has been tricked out of all of her savings, or she herself might have received an email from a South African prince, or taken a phone call from someone assuring her they can fix her computer which has stopped working.

Every week, I think how good it is that she doesn't fall for these things (she's finally started telling callers that she doesn't have a computer, or using the spam button for her email, but it did get me wondering how many other vulnerable people are out there and at risk of falling into these traps.

After a little research, one thing I've realised is that it's not just the older generation who are at risk of identity theft online. According to research done by My Voucher Codes, it sounds as though the younger generation, despite being considered the tech-savvy ones, are just as likely to have their online content stolen.

Actually, I guess that makes sense when you think about it. With the rise in popularity of blogging and social media over the past few years, some people are even making a career of it and more and more people are sharing more information online about themselves and their lives. With the general consensus amongst readers that they prefer to be able to relate to the person they are reading about, and that they want to read about "real life" as opposed to being fed a picture of perfection (this is something which I hear time and again about bloggers), it's easy to see why writers of blogs are eager to present a slice of their real life.

But, does this come at a cost? With the selfie-generation sharing more and more intimate details about their lives on their blogs and social profiles, surely they are just making it easier for those with an ulterior motive to capture details about them. In some instances, it looks as though these details have been used to apply for things in the blogger's name, or to create fake profiles across social media sites using their photos and information. Just because this is all happening online, it's still real life and it's still classed as fraud, but I guess it's something which it's important to be aware of.

I've always been quite careful to avoid posting *too much* information. Obviously, I like to share certain things on my blog, but there are areas of my life which are off limits, partly because I don't like the idea of posting anything which affects anyone else and partly because some of those things just aren't relevant or appropriate. I've also always been one of those people who doesn't turn on location settings - I've never really understood that 'checking in' thing.

How do you decide how much to share online? If you'd like to read the article I found, it's here on TechLounge.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Oh wait, you're fossilized..

Dress: Handmade (Sew Magazine Bette) // Cardigan: New Look
Brooch: Gift // Necklace: Primark
Shoes: Irregular Choice // Bag: Primark

Things are back to normal now, really. For the next week or so anyway. I have no spare time, but this is nothing new. Juggling far too many things as ever. 

Here's one of my recent makes - this dinosaur print fabric is yet another to add to my collection of homemade dinosaur dresses. I love the pastel colour scheme on this and decided it would make a great Betty dress, to which I added some little bows on the shoulders. 

Sticking with the pastels, I dug out some absolute favourite shoes, which I've had for many years and almost worn to death. They're certainly much more loose on my feet than they were ten years ago. I love this dinosaur brooch, which Sarah sent me for my birthday. She's a present buying genius, that one. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I'll dress this city in flames..

Dress: Handmade (see this post) // Shoes: New Look // Necklace: Accessorize
Midlands Mayhem 088 IMG_6012

On Friday morning, I boarded the coach along with 38 other guide and senior section members from my county. The day was finally here- the trip I've been stressing out about for the past few months. After a long journey, a calm ferry crossing and a couple of service station stops, we arrived at the hotel on the outskirts of Paris and the girls spent the evening planning their team strategy for Saturday's wide game around the city.

Saturday itself was a rather crazy, full day. My team were great, they'd put a plan together including which metro stations we'd need to head to in order to find the zones we'd find our clues in. The weather was more than great - it must've been 30C, which I suspect slowed us down a little. 


On Sunday, the girls were excited to have tickets to Disneyland and once I'd dropped them all off (leaving them with other responsible leaders, of course) I caught the train back into Paris for a day of sightseeing and exploring. 

One thing I hadn't really realised was that so much of Paris is closed on a Sunday. Not museums, which seem to be open as do most of the tourist attractions) but the shops - I'd hoped to find some fabric shops but no luck there. Instead, I wandered down the Champs-Élysées although none of the shops took my fancy and then walked around the Arc de Triomphe, before heading back towards the river to cross to the Eiffel Tower.

I walked up to the second floor for the second time in as many days, but the view is totally worth it. After a little souvenir shopping, the next wander was along the banks of the Seine, until I reached Pont de la Concorde and crossed so that I could head for the Louvre through le Jardin des Tuileries, which were just beautiful.

Finally, after spying a little grocery store and buying 40 brioche and 40 apples as snacks for the journey home, I was able to sit and watch the world pass at a pavement cafe and practice my terrible pigeon French with the poor unsuspecting dwellers of the next table. I tried my first macaron, which was OK. The fresh raspberries were the best thing about it, to be honest.

I grabbed the Metro back to Châtelet and hopped on the train, which as luck would have it arrived at the gates of Disney just as my group were leaving. A lovely day of nothing at all and yet lots of sights. The last time I was in Paris was about 15 years ago on an exchange trip and there was a lot I didn't see (there are still plenty of things I'd like to see or spend more time at) but maybe I'll go again. 

Midlands Mayhem 114

Monday, 24 August 2015

Tiny little robots..

Dress: Handmade (Sewoverit Betty) // Shoes: ASOS
Necklace: Accessorize
Tights: New Look // Cardigan: H+M
One of the fabrics I'd received for my birthday but have only just got around to making up into a dress. I love the fact that the robot print is so tiny on this fabric that from a distance it kind of just passes for polka dots or something. 

I seem to be going through a bit of a phase with this necklace; I've been teaming it with everything, I've found I do often do that with jewellery. I'll wear a certain necklace or pair of earrings loads for a few weeks and then put them away and not wear them for an age.

This suitcase is actually a little metal one, which I'm going to use for storage. I just kind of thought it looked cute. Not so practical as an actual handbag, though. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

What's a picnic without ants?

Matryoshka ring: New Look
Shoes: Mel
Dress: Handmade (Love Sewing Magazine's Bardot pattern)
Heart Necklace: Accessorize
Cardigan: Topshop // Petticoat: Hell Bunny

Picnic Basket: BHS

I mentioned that I'd somehow managed to get out of my recent dressmaking rut. This is one of the dresses I whipped up last weekend. It made me think of picnics, so of course immediately dinner plans on Sunday night had to be altered.

This is the second time I've made this pattern up and after the first I made a couple of changes to the back of the sleeves in order to help them fit together without so much pointy excess, but I think some more work is still needed. The neckline is created with the addition of the sleeves, but I'm finding that it's a rather wide neckline and rather than sits on, it more falls off my shoulders. For this dress, I'll add a little elastic around the tops of the sleeves but in future I'll try and work on the shape of the sleeves to remove the excess*.

(*Or, more likely, I just won't choose to make this pattern again.)

I really like the fullness of the skirt, though. This Hell Bunny petticoat, dug out from the trunk under my bed, just has so much volume. I feel as though I should wear more petticoats. 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Creative Process

Recently, I had a little hiatus in sewing. I'm not really sure what brought it on, I didn't have any "throw my machine out of the window" moments of frustration, nothing went wrong, nothing didn't fit when it was finished. It was just all of a sudden about twelve weeks since I'd last made anything. 

Dresses Collage

Well, I sort of managed to break that this past week, I've made quite a few different dresses. In all different styles. I think I've changed a lot since I started really upping my game with making my own clothes. I mean, at one point I was just basically making the same dress (Simplicity 2444) in just about any fabric I could get my hands on.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with making the same pattern. I loved using it as my One Week, One Pattern start point, and as my #SewDollyClackett entry. And Sarah is inspiration to us all that there's something wonderful in finding what works for you and sticking to it. I didn't get bored of S2444 and it's still my favourite pattern. 

However, recently I've been thinking more about what I want to get from the fabric in my stash. Since the start of the spending ban, I've been taking my sewing inspiration from all kinds of places. When I see a dress I like these days, where in the past I'd have just ordered it, now I'm thinking about the best way of recreating it, or at the very least using the elements I love as a start point. Sometimes this can be as simple as making my own version of the Cath Kidston penguin dress (see here), or it can be something like wanting to recreate the mix of patterns and textures in a dress I've seen, like this pretty Coast dress.

Coast Lucianna Dress £195

I suppose this is a much smaller scale version of the type of thing high street stores do when they're planning their upcoming collections. I saw this video about the AW15 styles which Coast have got planned, and it was quite lovely to see that they seem to do the same kind of thing. Plans, sketches and embellishments to add detail. Very similar but on a larger scale: it's nice to see I'm not alone in the way I think lately. 

Where do you take your inspiration from? 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Friday Favourites 157..

001: Alessandra Dress, £49.99

002: Leona Dress, £49.99

Oh. My. Goodness. I found the Voodoo Vixen website the other day and I think I'm in love. Help me! I don't think either of these dresses has any excuse not to get in my wardrobe, stat. 

001: My love of all things nautical is well-documented, I know. So clearly a dress featuring a print of octopii, anchors and seahorses is going to be a winner with me. I also really like the neckline detailing, the trim and the buttons really stand out and add to the sailor chic feel. 

002: This dress is the stuff of dreams. 50s style? Check. Cutesy button and cut out detail to the neck? Check. Waist belt in matching fabric? Check. Oh, and freaking amazing diner / dance-off print? Check, check, check. 

Have you shopped with Voodoo Vixen before? I don't yet own any of their dresses, but I hope that my collection starts with these...

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Film Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.


This week, I went to the cinema for the first time in a few months. In fact, I can't recall what the last film I saw was. I don't pay a lot of attention to online ads, I don't read magazines and I don't own a television, so I've got to admit that a lot of film releases totally pass me by.

I'll admit that I'd not heard anything about this film before we decided to go and watch. That said, once I was told it was a Guy Ritchie film, I was pretty much convinced. I've watched and enjoyed his films in the past (OK, so my enjoyment of Sherlock Holmes was more to do with the existence of RDJ and nothing to do with the direction, but still).

So, we went, we watched and I have to admit I enjoyed it more than I expected to. Henry Cavill, one of those who I've never really understood the hype about, was great in his role as bad-guy-turned-good American spy. His Russian counterpart, who begins as an enemy before it's dropped on them both that they're going to have to work together, was also really well played by Armie Hammer. (Is it really bad to admit that having never heard of Mr. Hammer, I actually googled to see whether this was a real person's name or not? Spoiler alert: it is.)

So, the two spies are given a mission to protect pretty mechanic girl, whose father disappeared in suspicious circumstances around the war. The two have to use the girl as bait to track down her uncle in the hope this will lead them to her father.

There's a lot of amazing 60s styling, fashions and crazy-rich racetrack parties, villains with their own islands. So far, so James Bond, right? Well, I guess a little bit. But I'll go out on a limb and say that I enjoyed it a lot more than any Bond film I've seen. I guess that's because it seemed just less...arrogant (?) than any of those. Like it doesn't take itself so seriosly? There are funny moments in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and they're just allowed to be funny, before moving on.

Anyhow, have you seen this? If not, I'd thoroughly recommend it. If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Honey put on that party dress..

Dress: Zaful*
Gabriella Sandals: Miss KG* (purchased with vouchers from John Lewis)
Do you ever find that sometimes you're off to a party or an event and decide there is nothing wrong with dressing as though you're a six year old, off to a birthday party? 

When my sister and I were little, our nan used to buy us a new dress for just about every occasion (I guess that's where I get *that* from) and it would always be that we'd have dresses which were ever so slightly different, but pretty much the same (BHS, Marks and Spencer and Debenhams had a lot to answer for in the 90s). There was 2yrs between us, but we spent out formative years being asked if we were twins. Being dressed like that for family occasions or whatever. probably didn't help. I digress.

My point was, this dress with it's shiny, fruit print fabric, V-shaped back, full skirt and *huge* bow to tie at the waist, is basically a grown up version of exactly the type of thing I would have worn to parties as a kid. And for that nostalgic little feeling, I love it. 

So, what's the perfect thing to finish off your party outfit? I couldn't resist a pair of sparkly shoes and a matching, impractically-sized bag. I was pretty pleased with these shoes when I spent some John Lewis vouchers on them a little while back, but even more pleased when I realised I had enough points saved up on one of my online survey sites to cash in for some House of Fraser vouchers, and that they sold the matching glittery bag. Which is pretty awesome. I felt a smidgen guilty that I might be cheating on my spending ban, but I think I'm happy that vouchers don't count as a proper spend.

Tara Bag: Miss KG* (purchased with vouchers from House of Fraser)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Tuesday Titles 057..

Maddigan's Fatasia
Maddigan's Fantasia - Margaret Mahy
I've not been sleeping a lot lately, and the only real benefit about that fact is that I've managed to watch six seasons of Sons of Anarchy in about two weeks, and I've got a little reading done.

I'm not sure what it is about circuses in books lately, but I seem to be drawn to them like a moth to a flame (speaking of which, a moth was one of the reasons I could not sleep last night - irrational fear alert!).

Maddigan's Fantasia is a travelling circus. In a world which seems almost dystopian after near-destruction, the travelling fantasia moves around the world trying to bring joy and laughter back to the world. Before long, it becomes apparent that the circus is being followed, not only by gangs of Road Rats who are intent on causing trouble, but also by three children who have travelled back in time from the future to put things right.

Garland, our heroine, is wary of the new recruits, but takes pity on them and hides them from those who are chasing them. This book becomes so much more than a tale of a circus. Time travel, other worlds, adventure and romance come together and the book is so fast-paced it's almost tricky to keep up. Definitely worth a read, though.

Monday, 17 August 2015

And her eyes can light the sky..

Dress: Handmade (Butterick B6167 in Michael Miller fabric)

Feather Hat: Vintage
Bag: Gift // Shoes: New Look

Somewhere in the midst of the darkest couple of days I remember experiencing for a while, I managed to take my mind off things by getting reacquainted with my sewing machine. I mentioned after making this pattern for the first time that I had another fabric in mind for it. This flamingo border print fabric has been sitting patiently in my fabric trolley for about a year now. Inspired by Zoe's wonderful flamingo S2444 and of course my Mean Girl Roisin's Nora dress, I decided it was high time I stopped faffing about and got on with it.

So there you have it - my flamingo B6167. Once done, it reminded me of my flamingo bag - a gift last year which I've barely used, as I need to figure out a way of flattening out the neck and the tail. I love the fact it has chain legs, though, with feet on the ends.

Also, the dress is The Perfect Colour to match this vintage feather hat, and my new giant-toddler-style (apparently) sandals. I like them, though. In fact, I think this might be one of the outfits I pack to take to Paris this weekend.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

When life gives you lemons..

Dress: ? // Bag, tights: New Look // Necklace: Accessorize

I've felt a little numb this week. For a lot of the week. I know that bloggers get a bad press for always showing only the "perfect" side of their lives but I don't think I've ever done that. Yes, this week has been pretty shitty. Yes, I am regretting the decision to make a change in my medication. But there are still things to do and however much I've struggled to do so, I've had to get up and get on with things. For the week anyway. This weekend, all bets are off and I have a date with my tear-stained pillow.

Fantasy Flower heels: Irregular Choice // Cardigan: F+F

Anyway. I tried to dress to cheer myself up (it didn't work) the other day. I can't recall where this lemon print dress came from originally, it's never had any tags on it. I took the opportunity to use my new (a gift from last weekend's shopping trip) lemon clutch bag, some old shoes and a pair of footless tights, which I've not worn for years!

What do you do to get you back on track when things are rubbish?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

My little thatched cottage..

Thatched Cottage Bag: Vendula London*
Vendula Collage

When I mentioned last week that I'd discovered a pretty wonderful new site for cute handbags, I didn't dream for one second that I'd be unwrapping my very own the following week!

I'm absolutely smitten with this thatched cottage box bag. The level of detail on the bag is amazing. Just look at the flowers around the door, the engraving around the hardware, the stitched textured leather "thatching" above the door, and what I think is my favourite aspect..the tiny picket fence and blades of grass, which are cut so as to give a three-dimensional effect.

Inside, the story continues. The bag is lined with a lovely soft cotton in the signature London print which you'll find in all of the Vendula London bags. The box bags are plenty big enough for all of the things I carry around with me daily. Plus, it arrived in it's own pretty little dust-bag, which I love as it means I can keep it on the shelf and be sure it will stay in pristine condition.

I cannot wait to use this bag to finish off infinite outfits. What would you wear this with? Are you tempted by any of the Vendula London funky bags. I can honestly say I'd wholeheartedly recommend them.


Friday, 14 August 2015

Friday Favourites 156..

F+F Trench
001: F+F Trench, £39
Blue Bag
002: Le Tanneur Handbag, £252.39

It's almost as though something in my head has made the season switch and I'm thinking about the autumn leaves and cooling days. It certainly seems that way with this week's wishlist anyway.

001: This mustard colour is always a winner with me; a shade I continue to be drawn to every year. Naturally, this trench coat caught my eye when I saw it on one of F+F's press shots. It looks perfect to add over the top of an outfit when the weather is taking a turn for the worse, but hasn't yet reached the totally grim depths of winter - transitional dressing at it's best?

002: I'm not usually one for designer, or high-end handbags. I always say that I get bored so easily that a cheap-and-cheeful bag will usually fit the bill. Now and again, however, I'll spot something a little bit perfect and I think this Le Tanneur beauty might be one of those things. I love the colour, size and shape of this bag. In fact, I can't see one aspect which makes it less than perfect. (Except maybe the price tag). Ah well, it will stay firmly in my dreams for now.

Anyone else having Autumn thoughts yet?