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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Tuesday Titles 172: Kingsbane Blog Tour

Kingsbane




It's been such a while since I read something on schedule and took part in a book blog tour, but I'm getting back on track and this is an exciting tour to jump back onboard with.

Throw yourself into a world of queens, angels and kingdoms at war. Kingsbane is the long-awaiting sequel to Furyborn, the first in a trilogy of books billed as fiercely feminist fantasy. So, of course I was intrigued. 

Kingsbane intensifies the legacy of Furyborn, building on the threat and thrills, lust and romances, whilst reigniting Claire Legrand as a trailblazing voice in the fantasy genre.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist. Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity's long-awaited saviour. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana's power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted by embracing her mother's power or rejecting it forever.

The pace is fast and each chapter pinballs back and forth between the queens: Eliana and Rielle. We know that they are living hundreds of years apart and yet that there's a strong connection between the two of them, and the book unravels this connection neatly by the end. I'd hoped for a little more progression between their worlds, which seemed to jump between centuries and yet be described very similarly, but I think that's just me being a little picky. 

There's a lot of magic at force in this series and some incredibly strong characters - my only flaw is with Rielle, who we know has abundant magical power, and yet seems to turn to jelly when her beau, Prince Audric is around. Having said that, I love the dynamic between these two and Ludivine and the way that they played off one another. 

There are a couple of characters in here who I loved to hate as well (Simon, Corien) and some downright evil behaviour - it's funny how people's behaviour can be so driven by greed and their longing for power. 

But, time is running out and Rielle has some huge decisions to make which could change her life forever: the Gate which is holding back the Angels (not good) is beginning to fall and it's up to her to protect her kingdom.

If you can bear to fall deep into this world, Kingsbane is available today. 

Kingsbane Blog Tour Final

Monday, 20 May 2019

Dior: Designer of Dreams (part 1)

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A few weekends ago, we hopped on a train (well, several trains!) to London for an overnight trip. We had tickets to the Albert Hall to see a friend perform, and decided to try and make the most of a rare weekend "off" from working on the house and spend some time in the Big Smoke. 

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One of the things I was desperately hoping to go to was the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition. It's being shown in a separate wing of the V+A museum, and it's opening times are extended past that of the museum, but even so it's been sold out since tickets were released. However, I discovered that a few more tickets are released around the 15th of each month, for the following month so I stalked the website in mid-April and managed to nab us two. They sold out like hot cakes, so I think I was pretty lucky. I'd have ideally liked to get an earlier time slot, but we ended up with 17:15, which I was hoping would be enough time to see the exhibit, then make our way to the Royal Albert Hall for the 19:30 concert start time. 

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Arriving at the entrance to the queue at just after five, we were told to come back in ten minutes as we wouldn't be allowed access to the queue until our ticketed time. This filled me with a little panic, but we hovered around the courtyard for ten minutes and then were allowed to join the queue. Where we waited to be allowed down the stairs. At around 17:20 we were allowed through the rope to descend the staircase and...join another queue, where our tickets would be checked at a second desk. We were then informed that there would be a short wait before they let any more people in, as the rooms were getting crowded. Once in, there is free reign and the tour guide at the queue said that people often spend upwards of two hours in the exhibit. The other thing which wasn't helping numbers, was that although all tickets had been sold out, people who sign up to become V+A members, are able to access the exhibit on that day, so there was an extra queue for those which was being merged in with the timed tickets. There were a LOT of these people, so I guess they have a lot more visitors than ticket sales would suggest. 

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Fiiinally, at 17:35 our tickets were scanned and we were able to enter the first room, which gave us a potted history and timeline of Christian Dior's life and career. Thankfully, as this is something I'm fairly clued up on already, I opted not to spend too much time reading up on all of the information on the walls, although there was a lot. 

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Progressing to the first display-case filled room, you're met with several dresses, at eye level and ceiling height. In the central glass case, the dress designed for Princess Margaret's twenty-first birthday takes centre stage, and it's clear to see why the princess deemed it her "favourite dress of all". Such detail. This one is on loan from the Museum of London, so if you miss it at the Dior show, it will be visible there once again, come September. 

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Honestly, the level of detail was amazing on this, but the general staging of the room was also great -for the two rows of dresses on the far wall there were printed information cards at the side of the room which gave more detail on each of the garments, which was a nice touch. People took their time, but this room didn't feel crowded or slow to progress through. 

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As someone who makes dresses, I was super interested to see some of the construction details, as well as (of course!) the famous New Look shape. It's easy to see how much these designs have had an impact on today's fashion trends and I loved being able to take in so many of the details. In order for this post to not become photo-heavy and never-ending, I'll split the rooms up into several posts. 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Gin and tonic, endless cups of tea.

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A few weekends ago, I boarded a plane from Liverpool with the rest of my THFC crew and hopped across the Celtic Sea to spend the weekend in Belfast. Although the weather had some funny ideas, we refused to let it rain on our parade. 

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One of our stops on the itinerary was to visit the Botanical Gardens and we did this on Friday afternoon after we'd checked into our lovely city centre apartment. It was a short walk from there and we managed to locate and have a nose about in a couple of super indie bookshops as well (No Alibis and Books Paper Scissors were both great).

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We'd been told about the Tropical Ravine and had planned to visit that to see the banana plants, but it happened to be closed for repairs on the day we visited, so that was a shame. The palm house was open though, so we had a lovely explore around there.

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The palm house is one of the earliest examples of a curved iron-framed glasshouse: it was built in the 1830s, with the curved dome being added about two decades later and it's still used today to grow a range of plants. I'm unsure whether these are then used for the park around- there was a beautiful flower bed full of all kinds of blooms outside the front of the glasshouse when we visited: an absolute riot of colour.

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I find greenhouses and glasshouses a bit like libraries - they're generally pretty quiet and seem to be places where you can just go at your own pace and explore as you like, without being hassled. Everyone's in their own little world of appreciation and discovery, and generally people only tend to be there because they wish to, so they always seem like a happy and contented place to be.

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I'm not great at plants, although I'm trying my best with my annual veg-planting endeavours (and incidentally, this year it's going better than most, since I now have a greenhouse of my very own!), but I was pleased to see that many of the specimens in the glass house were labelled. I like to note down the name of things which I see in the hope I'll be able to find myself one for the garden next time I'm at the garden centre..

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We spent a very enjoyable hour or so exploring the glasshouse, avoiding the drizzle and generally taking in the planty goodness. I'd definitely recommend. Do you have any nice glasshouses nearby?

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Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Tuesday Titles 171..

Ask again, Yes
Ask Again, Yes: Mary Beth Keane 

One of the books I've most enjoyed recently: you know you've enjoyed a book when you're still thinking about it weeks after reading, right?

This one focuses on two families who move into a suburban New York neighbourhood in the 1970s to raise their families. Although both men are police officers, they don't really know each other to begin with and their lives slowly begin to overlap as they have kids in the same school and time passes.

Starting off with the fast passing of time, as things begin to settle into a slower pace, we learn more and more about some of the characters and witness a love story unfold, with some dramatic consequences. Suddenly on one night, everything changes and the families are left dealing with the fallout from this tragedy for the rest of their lives.

I don't know how much more I can share about this one as I don't want to give away the major event, so I'll just implore you to read it and leave it at that. Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Tuesday Titles 170..

I've been falling behind with my reading of late. Not that I have a schedule for reading exactly, bur I know that I used to devour more books than I seem to have been recently. I'm not sure why that is, other than this tiredness fog which seems to claim most of my evenings and spare moments at home, lately. But, here are my thoughts on a couple of books I've read over the past few weeks.

Tha Frank Business
The Frank Business

When Frank drops down dead suddenly at Heathrow airport on Christmas Eve, his estranged daughter Jem heads to France to try and understand exactly why Frank may have been travelling to London, with only his passport and wallet on him. She pieces together some of the clues and suddenly jumps to the conclusion that she may in fact have a brother which she didn't know about. To add a little more complication to the matter, she needs to track him down as Frank's cause of death was a heart condition which could be hereditary. So, it's only right that she finds the family and warns them....right? 

There are a few strange characters in this and I have to admit I didn't find any of them particularly relateable, but I enjoyed the parts of the story where the flashbacks pieced the backstory together of that fateful summer and we find out more about the mysterious Frank.

The Swimming Pool
The Swimming Pool

Another book which keeps you guessing. Natalie is intrigued when the local lido is reopened, and soon finds herself spending most of her spare time swimming there in the hope to meet the exotic Lara; local actress and philanthropist. Somehow, Natalie and Lara become friends and their families begin spending more and more time together. 

Chilling and creepy, I found this one rather mesmerising and it's easy to see how Natalie gets swept up in the hoi polloi of her new friends. Lines are blurred between wives, husbands, teachers and students and there's also a secret from the past thrown in for good measure, which Natalie thought she would never have to share with anyone. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

3 things I'm loving at the moment..


A little list of things my eyes, ears and brain have happily devoured lately...

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001: Things have been a little sparse for me lately in the podcast department, what with the addition of Netflix to my procrastination repertoire. But, with the addition of a new Fitbit which will store music or podcast files to listen to when I'm running, I've recently been on the lookout for something new.
And this is amazing. Alone: A Love Story is the brainchild of Michelle Parise, who talks about falling in love and then having the rug pulled out from underneath her happy Formica dining table, and how she begins to try and pick up the pieces. I love how she uses nicknames for everyone (I've always done this when talking about relationships) and her writing makes it easy to fall right into her story.


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002: I went to see the long-awaited Captain Marvel a couple of weeks ago and it did not disappoint. I'm currently so excited for Avengers: Endgame and despite the news that it's going to have a more than three hour run-time, I'm still kinda hoping they'll run them both as a double-bill. 

I loved this movie though: so much great back-story for Fury and some great character development. I'm excited to see how Carol can help in the next instalment. 



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003: One for the local folks: I went to the opening night preview of Frankenstein last night and it was so good. 
The Wightman theatre is a tiny venue which you'd easily miss (next to Carluccio's in the town square) but they have a great programme of theatre and jazz and it's such a versatile space. 
This adaptation of Shelley's gothic classic was performed by a relatively tiny cast, but that took nothing away from the show. If you're in the area, it's playing for the next week or so and you can find tickets here

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Tuesday Titles 169..





Tuesday again?! The one good thing about travelling is that I can use it as an excuse to read my way through just about as many books as possible. Here are a few which I managed to read en route to the chalet last week:

Hard PUshed

I'm not really sure what tempted me to agree to read this one, if I'm honest. As a non-parent, I can't say I've ever been super interested in midwifery or birth stories. Which is mostly what this is. Each chapter is broken down into an anecdotal account of Leah's interaction with a patient and their experience, with her continuing thoughts on all of the complicated feelings associated with her job as a mother and a midwife. 

Although there is of course some medical terminology, she does explain a lot of this with the addition of a helpful glossary and it's not off-putting. Naturally the sections about baby loss were pretty difficult reading for me, but if I'm looking for a silver lining, I'd say that it's almost refreshing to see a topic like that covered in a book whose main focus is the miracle of life and childbirth. 

Obviously, there were several references to the current crisis staffing levels of the NHS and it's failings, but the book didn't go into too much political territory, which I do think kept it more enjoyable than serious.


While you Sleep

I really liked the premise of this book. In typical psychological thriller style, a woman arrives at a tiny, lonely island in remote Scotland to get away from something. She isn't met with a very friendly reception from the locals, as it turns out the house she is renting has a rather unpretty history. So far, so textbook psych. thriller, right?! 

We have jumpy moments as weird things happen when she just wants some quiet time to focus on her art, and nosy locals who don't want to leave her alone. Throw into the mix some local legend, an old diary and some weirdly erroneous sex scenes, along with a wildly predictable twist and a largely improbable resolution, and there we have While You Sleep in a nutshell. I don't know what was lacking, but for some reason I found it hard to fully get into this book. I read to the last page and just kind of thought "oh, right". But, you might feel differently. 

Friends Like These

Friends Like These was definitely better. This one is a book which will have you always checking that you're sending that bitchy Facebook message to the intended recipient in the future. 
Lizzie, who has looked up her ex-colleague Becca online, fails to do just that and instead sends the message to Becca herself. 

Clearly I expected things to get interesting at this point, as Lizzie dealt with the consequences of her error. And interesting they were, to a point. I found that things got a little bit unrealistic at the point where the police got involved. Suddenly there seemed to be a bit of a shift from fairly plausible to rather improbable storyline, with a few little nuggets of information being thrown in to make the plot twists more believable. 

This definitely had promise, I just think it may have benefited from a little more research as it had all the feels of a debut novel. I was surprised to find that Sarah Alderson has a fairly extensive back catalogue, but will be looking up some previous titles in the hope that this was a one-off. 

Have you read anything you'd recommend lately? 

Monday, 25 March 2019

The importance of being idle..



You can always tell a Monday morning from as the office background noise is peppered with small talk about your weekend goings on. Days trips, weddings, DIY; everyone's been up to something. So, what if you don't have a lot to share? I often feel guilty if my weekend hasn't been very productive on paper. I think it's something to do with my perpetual internal guilt; my brain is constantly telling me I should be doing more. Always more. 

This weekend was a bit of a weird one. I spent Saturday morning working on the garden - we've built some raised beds which needed putting in place so there was a lot of digging, shifting and tidying to be done around the greenhouse, and I'm super excited to be getting back to growing things once again after an allotment hiatus. The windowsills are gradually being taken over by seedlings.

Then, we spent the afternoon / evening at a wedding. Which basically translates to me drinking gin and tonic and fielding *many* questions from friends and relatives of the couple about if and when we'd be getting married. If you're not up to speed with my thoughts on this, I've rambled about it here..

In comparison, yesterday was a bit of a write-off. I was home alone and did start the day by making myself a little to-do list. And knitting a sleeve of the cardigan I'd been hoping would be finished by the time I got back from holiday. Ah, holiday - that's another reason why internally I'm feeling guilty for needing a day of downtime. People shouldn't feel run down or exhausted when they've recently been away for a week of holiday for the first time in years...right?! Well, even if it's not right, that's what my brain is telling me. 

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But, in the end, I sacked off the to-do list and just let myself have a day of doing....very little. I changed into fresh PJs, planted up some more seed trays, sorted out the shoe room shelves and muddled along with my knitting pattern, all with a little background noise in the form of various trashy Netflix movies for accompaniment. And, even if my brain didn't seem to be thanking me at the time, I'm fairly sure it was the best thing for it.

Ever find you need a day of just doing...nothing?

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Tuesday Titles 168..

A Little Life




I'm not sure what took me so long to get around to reading this. Probably everyone I know and ever talk books with over the past couple of years has recommended A Little Life to me. I was only reminded of this when I helped out at a guiding weekend away and the venue we stayed at had a second-hand bookshelf, with a copy of this sitting in the middle of the shelf. 

It took me a little while to get around to reading it, as I had a pile of festive fiction to get through over Christmas, but it was one of the first books I read in January, and turned out to be one of those books I just couldn't put down. I took it everywhere with me.

I don't know what it was but I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Discovering more and more about the group of four friends who'd met during their college years and stayed friends; the book follows Willem, Jude, JB and Malcolm right through to middle age.

I think that stories to do with long-lasting friendship groups always manage to reel me in because I've always had this sense of longing to be in one of those. The friendship groups which stick with you for the rest of your life and see you through every good and bad time. I mean, I'm not saying I don't have friends- I'm very lucky to have a lot of wonderful ones, but I do find that they come and go. Anyway, I digress.

A Little Life centres on our protagonist, Jude, who is clearly hiding some suppressed childhood traumas along with various neurological and movement related issues. Even his closest friends realise at one point that they have no idea about his background. But they stick by him nonetheless and once they've finished college, he and Willem share a tiny New York apartment, ensuring it has an elevator in order that Jude, when his immobility is at it's worst, can keep as much of his independence as possible.

Whilst I clearly wanted to uncover his secrets, I didn't find that A Little Life felt as forced as so many other books when it came to piecing together the back story. The gentle pace of the groups' lives progressing was strangely mesmerising like the slow and steady hum of a sleepy train carriage and I was in no rush for the grand reveal. Which is lucky, because as my OH pointed out at one point..."it's a really big book for being about such a little life...!"

Yes, there are some parts where I didn't want to read and yet wanted to discover what happened all at the same time (TW: graphic sexual abuse, violence, drug abuse, rape, self harm). But somehow every page was still compelling.

Honestly, I don't know how the balance was struck so perfectly, but I really think it is in this story. I longed for it not to end, even when it was forty years later and closure was imminent. I may have even shed some tears.

I know that there has been recent talk of film rights and the like, which makes me kind of want to cry a little. I think that when a book has such an effect on me, I don't want to see a adaptation of it, because it won't be as good as what went on in my head. But, the more people it reaches, the better, I guess.

Have you read A Little Life?



Saturday, 9 March 2019

Brooch Display Boards..



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Fancy another project where I made things up as I went along? My wardrobe room is one of the rooms which I've probably done the most too, installing the shoe shelves and replacing the curtains with a blind into the recess of the window. I have plans for some shelves across the window space, too. I'll try to take some more photos of the room itself, soon.

One of the things I've noticed since I moved and gained *so* much more storage space, is just how useful it can be to be able to see some of the things I have. If I can see more of my jewellery collection, chances are I'm more likely to wear a little more of it. 

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After putting some hooks up around the dressing table mirror for some of my necklaces, I decided I needed to think of a way of storing some of my larger brooches. After a little time on Pinterest, I decided to have a go at making some brooch display boards. 

I bought three basic white photo frames from the sale shelf in Asda, and recycled the glass from them. I guess if I were a little more DIY orientated, I should have just made some frames, but it was helpful for me to have the backing and fixings for them, too. 

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I cut up an old pillowcase, which I'd outsorted because it had a hole in it, and cut out rectangles of fabric a little larger than the backs of the frames. I then cut several layers of quilt batting out as well, to the size of the frame, and layered them up, with the fabric over the top. 

I used a hot glue gun to secure the fabric at the back of the frame and also used a staple gun on the corners where the fabric folds overlapped. It was a slow process as I had to make sure that the fabric was being pulled tight over the stuffing. 

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Once I'd left it to dry for a while, I put the frames back on and the boards were ready to hang on the wall. (Let's ignore the small hiatus where I dropped one and had to glue the corner back together). 

Once on the wall, I added my brooches to them, which also gave me a good opportunity to have a bit of a clearout of the ones I no longer wear or don't think I'd wear again. 

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Friday, 8 March 2019

Friday Favourites 298..

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001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005

I know it's been a really long time since I did one of these wishlist posts, but this week it's as if all of the new things are arriving all at once. O. M. G. 

Lately, there have been so many amazing boots catching my eye. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I'm off for a week in the snow and thinking warm outfit thoughts. Not that the first pair of boots are particularly snow-friendly, but I guess I'd happily make an exception. The only thing which puts me off is that the zip is at the back of the boot, and I have weird issues with that.

I mentioned recently that it's the 20th anniversary of Irregular Choice this year and that they have big things in the pipeline. These unicorn boots (001) are one of the releases I've been waiting to drop for *so* long. They're incredible, with the mix of pastels, glitter and of course the unicorn.

002: I have some boots in this style already, so I know that probably makes them unnecessary, but again...unicorns and glitter! I also know already just how comfortable they will be. 

003: I love this bear design, although I think I'd be a little bit wary of wearing them out in the wild if there was a chance of rain. 

004: Another high top design to add to my growing collection ( I seem to have snapped up so many of the past ICED collection lately for pennies on eBay that I have quite the collection these days!) which is kinda daft when I'm really a heels girl through and though, but I just love the green and pink contrast with the clouds. 

005: These remind me a lot of a cross between my ICED Secret Garden trainers and a pair of platform snow boots. Again, more glitter and the selection of floral embellishments has me drooling all over these. Figuratively speaking, of course. 

Any favourites here, or in the new IC collection? There are soooo many new styles coming out at the moment that there definitely seems to be something for everyone. 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

#365DaysofIC February round-up..

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At the start of February, I decided to make a list of some of the shoes in my collection which have hearts on them, or some kind of heart or love related theme or reference in the name etc. I figured I could probably do a week or so of "love" theme shoes around Valentine's Day. 

In the end, it turned out that with a few little exceptions (like, when my Hero boots arrived and I wanted to wear them right away, although I guess they do have a heart on them, or wanting to wear my super-comfy God Mama boots for a hospital visit, I mostly managed to stick to heart themed shoes for the whole month. 

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Oh, another exception was the Locky dragon heels, which I wore for Chinese New Year. 
Other tenuous links may have been my winged rucksacks - I do love these and kinda wish I hadn't worn them both in the same month, but there we go. It's likely that I'll use them again when wearing other pairs in the future anyway. 

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Unlike when I got to the end of January, I didn't have a huge pile of shoes to get rid of at the end of February. I think that's probably because by sticking to the theme, I also stuck to quite a lot of my tried and tested favourites. Hearts on the Line, Clara Bow and Bessie Love are pairs I wear a lot anyway, and Blind Love (the silver flat brogues with the blue laces and red hearts) would be a pair I'd often choose if I was wanting a casual flat style as they're infinitely comfortable. 

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It did really help me to have a theme for this month, and to make a list beforehand of the pairs I would wear throughout the month. Although I didn't put days to them, and I still therefore had some freedom to choose what I felt like wearing that morning, or for the following day when I was getting my outfit sorted the night before, the choice felt less overwhelming having to choose from a list of twenty, than having more than 400 pairs to choose from. So, I'd definitely have another theme month (or week) in the future, but I haven't set one for March. Not yet anyway, as it's been nice to wear some of the pairs I felt like wearing in Feb but which wouldn't fit with the theme. 

Any favourites? Here's the list:

Day 32: Red Polka Dot Blythe
Day 33: Angel Wings Backpack (gold)
Day 34: Making Moves
Day 35: Love You
Day 36: Flopsy in Love
Day 37: Locky
Day 38: Bessie Love
Day 39: Love is all Around
Day 40: Lady Bee (red)
Day 41: Magic Bunny bag
Day 42: Love is in the Air
Day 43: Clara Bow
Day 44: Rada Tilly (pink)
Day 45: Love Me Not
Day 46: Love + Magic
Day 47: Hero
Day 48: Valentina clutch
Day 49: Can Can (hearts)
Day 50: Blind Love
Day 51: Toodle Loo
Day 52: God Mama
Day 53: Summer of Love
Day 54: Thermidor
Day 55: Dotty Love
Day 56: Hearts on the Line
Day 57: Angel Wings backpack (silver)
Day 58: Featherstone
Day 59: New York Skyline 

Friday, 1 March 2019

Hibernating..

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Do you ever feel a little bit like there's something not right, but you can't put your finger on it?

Quite aside from the fact that I can't remember a time before this current headache, lately I've been feeling awful. A combination of the unexplained stomach pains which have been plaguing my life for the past ten years or so, combined with joint pain when I wake up in the morning, particularly in my elbows and knees, and just a general feeling of exhaustion. I know that it's become something of a competitive sport these days to bang on and on about how tired one is, but I mean I often feel as though it physically hurts to keep my eyes open.

And I'm tired of it. Tired of having to retire to bed before 9pm in an evening; tired of telling my friends that I can't meet up, or missing the gym, or admitting to M that I don't want to do something because I feel too poorly. It's crappy, and it's a sign of weakness and it's making me sad. Which can only be making the whole thing worse, right?

And really, I don't know what the point in sharing this is, other than to try and let the thoughts escape from my head. I have become something of a regular at my doctor's and every time the latest test comes back inconclusive, I feel as though I'm a terrible waste of everyone's time and resources. So I now also have this overwhelming sense of guilt hanging over it all, too.

So, I guess if anyone needs me I'll be hibernating until further notice. Or until the next lot of painkillers kicks in, at least.

 

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Adventures in chalk paint..

Since I moved I have become a regular in the chalk paint aisle at my local DIY store. Here's one of the things I worked on over the Christmas break and which turned out pretty well. 


We were given a trailer-load of pine furniture by a relative shortly after we moved and it's all lovely stuff but not entirely to our taste, so once I'd furnished one of the bedrooms, I decided that I could use a set of drawers in the sewing room, for storage of notions and smaller items.

I headed to Pinterest for some inspiration and was almost settled on painting the drawers in an ombre or a rainbow effect, when suddenly I remembered how much wallpaper I had left over in off-cuts (I'd originally planned to paper two walls but ended up just doing one). 


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After a little googling, I had a vague plan of how to go about this. I used pink chalk paint and grey chalk paint to paint the sections of the chest which I was not going to cover with paper - the tops, sides and edges of the drawers themselves. Since I'm lazy and didn't sand the chest before I started, it needed three coats to stop the paint looking patchy and give it a decent coverage, but you might get away with fewer coats if you were more into preparing the piece..

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Once the paint was dry I mixed up a watered-down PVA glue and painted the drawer fronts with this, leaving it for a few minutes to go tacky whilst cutting out the papers to fit the fronts. Cue a lot of measuring, craft knife action (and assistance). I painted those with the glue mix as well before fitting them into place. I left the glue to dry overnight and then painted the whole thing with this furniture lacquer. Again, I needed to use several coats of this to get a finish I was happy with and to ensure I covered the paper plenty of times, too. The final touch was to add these pink crystal drawer knobs to the front, which seem to be such a good colour match to the paper that they blend right in.

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I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out and have recently taken in another unwanted chest of drawers, which I'm trying to decide on a plan for so that it fits our living room, which is next on the schedule to be decorated. I might do something similar.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

An irregular opportunity..


Irregular Raffle

For those of you who are also fans of Irregular Choice, it might not be news to you that the brand are celebrating their twentieth anniversary in 2019. How exciting is that?! 
As you'd expect, there are lots of new and exciting things planned to celebrate this. New styles, as well as old design elements creeping back into some of the new releases. There's bound to be something for everyone over the course of the year. 

One of the exciting things in the pipeline is Irregular Day, which is going to be on 9th March 2019. On this day, Dan and the brand have asked people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, whatever that might mean to them. It could be a new sport, going somewhere new to them or trying a new food; something that wouldn't happen in your "regular" life. 

One of my fellow IC-collecting friends has decided to step outside of her comfort zone and organise a fundraiser for two charities which mean a lot to her, and I'm very excited to share the information about it here...so, over to Tomi. 

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What is this about?
For Irregular Day I am getting out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there to raise money for two charities through an IC raffle.

How?
The raffles are being hosted on these two pages.

Unofficial Irregular Choice Wiki - https://www.facebook.com/groups/685609068211540/


Each ticket is £1 per ticket. You can buy as many tickets as you like.

Payments can be made via Paypal (snarfybooboo@yahoo.com) which has been specifically set up for this fundraiser. Please pay via Paypal and make sure you add your Paypal name as a reference (so we can contact you if you win!)

When?
There will be two live raffle draws on Saturday 9 March; one at Lottie’s Atik in Lincolnshire and the other at a soon to be confirmed location!

How can we help?
By buying tickets to raise money for two charities:

Teenage Cancer Trust - they create world-class cancer services for young people in the UK, providing life-changing care and support so young people don’t have to face cancer alone.

Chestnut Tree House - The children’s hospice for East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South East Hampshire.

What are the prizes?
There are currently two lots of prizes. Lot one will be hosted on the Wiki Page and Lot 2 on the Irregular Choice Party People page.

Lot 1
£25 Lotties Atik vouchers
IC scarf
Just Dandy necklace
IC Heel grips
Madame Crystal sole protectors
Kitten mirror
1 jewellery pouch
Kids patches
IC stickers
IC postcard
IC display card box box (small)
IC perspex display stand
IC gold tote medium bag
IC gold tote large bag
Classic IC pink tote bag

Lot 2
£25 Lotties Atik vouchers
IC scarf
Macaroon tights
Lamb print tights
IC Heel grips
Carousel mirror
Bunny mirror
IC stationary set -pencil case, pen and pencils
IC Necklace
1 jewellery pouch
IC Sticker
IC postcard
IC 210 shoes calendar
IC gold tote medium bag
IC gold tote large bag
Classic IC robot tote bag


If you'd like more information, Tomi can be found on Instagram here where you'll be able to see this video, and the Facebook groups which are hosting the lots can be found here and here.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tuesday Titles 167..

9781635765885-cov.indd
Passion in the Bones: Elaine Howard
I have to admit, this book arrived at a very appropriate time for me. It's not really a secret that I've been struggling lately with a lot of things. I would never usually opt for a self-help or a motivational book, but something about this one, combined with the time I was approached about it, made me agree to try something new.

Like me, Elaine was feeling a little lost in her life. Unfulfilled, and concerning herself with the things which she felt were missing from her existence, she admits that she was feeling hopeless. Passion in the Bones is part-memoir and I think this made the concept a lot more accessible to me. Elaine explains how she found a new passion entirely by chance, and for her this was palaeontology.

Using her experiences as a guide, this book helps readers to understand how a positive focus on something they are passionate about can make a huge difference tot heir outlook on life. I mean, all of this makes sense and seems accessible to me, so I've already started making some positive changes to the way I think about things. I've found that by shifting the focus of my thoughts to the good things in my life, or even breaking it down into the good things about my day, it quickly creates a more positive way of thinking about life. Much better to be thankful for the things which are great than sad about the things which you feel are missing from your life, right?!

Honestly, I'd recommend reading Passion in the Bones, even if you think you're a self-help sceptic, like me.