Monday, 27 June 2011

City Girl Style

I am seriously loving this outfit. The colours are spot on, the pleats are there...still loving pleats, the platform shoes, and the skirt length is just perfect. Also, her fringe is really great, a big reminder to me that my fringe is long over due a serious chop. Love, love, love it.

I can get away with being fairly untrendy on a daily basis at the moment, with just occasional moments of brilliance. However, I'm thinking about my trip back home to the UK next month (yay! can't wait). I'm going to have to sort myself out, so maybe I'll try channelling something like this.

Image via Asos

Monday, 20 June 2011

Etsy lovelies - Travel Inspired

My wedding anniversary is coming on apace (next month), so it's got me thinking about travel and France and other romantic things! Buy these lovely French postcard cushions from Lisa Wine Studios.

This necklace will tell the world you're feeling a little French. Buy it from Exultation.

Saving up for a romantic trip away? I love the idea of scrawling your spending intentions on this chalkboard piggy bank. Available from Chalkoholics.

Here's a beautiful vintage wicker picnic basket for a romantic lunch. Buy it from Etsy seller GlassnMore.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

My Wardrobe Essentials - Nude Look Accessories

Here are some accessories that I either own, or would love to own. I think they fit in so well with the nude look right now.

Bumblebee Necklace by Alex Munroe

Gold Bangle Watch by French Connection

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Roof Gardens

Reading about city roof gardens is quite inspiring, and it's lovely to know that I have my own little burgeoning vegetable "patch", located on our flat roof space. Well it's a grand total of 4 pots of various veggies, but I'm proud of them, grown from seed and everything! My box of salad is looking pretty verdant, but most exciting of all I have little mini courgettes, currently about 5cm long. Nom, nom. I can't wait to eat them.

In the picture above, I like the idea of this herb garden. I thought it looked like a good idea for those who want to save their back, or perhaps don't have very much space for pots and things.

Ah growing vegetables, who would have thought it would be so enjoyable!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cats, Books, Writers

It is possible that some among us are bookish-cat type people, right? Ever worry about being a cat person? 

Well seriously, have no fear, because we are officially in excellent company. I came upon this little site, Writers and Kitties last week. Check it out, so cute! 

And you know what this all means don't you? You can treat yourself to taking a peek at the new Simon's Cat website, launched last month. The Box is my current favourite film.

Image 1 via urbanlegendTitle The bookseller's cat
Image 2 via Documentally

Friday, 10 June 2011

Expat Living - Cleaning Materials

Recently read this post over at the Haus Maus blog. My first thought was "only one thing she doesn't like about expat living"! If that is true, and dodgy German cleaning supplies really are the worst thing, then this lady is doing very well indeed.

I too have experienced the fickleness of foreign cleaning products. What about the difficulties of finding thin bleach...? Who would have thought? Or buying an antibacterial spray for a year, only for the supermarket to then mysteriously discontinue the line.

This happens to us a lot, when things we like go on sale we try and buy in bulk, too often have we had things disappear on us. Which can make me a little teary! Fortunately bicarbonate of soda is available in if only I could find some Marigolds!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

My Wardrobe Essentials - The Nude Look

I am really loving the nude look that seems to have captured imaginations this summer. On Pinterest for example, there is a frenzy of people are pinning delightful pieces in camel, beige, ivory, caramel, stone and so forth. These colours have such a light summer feel to them, I really enjoying wearing them regardless of whether I'm having some downtime, or dressing for work.

I have a pale "English Rose" complexion, (e.g. my foundation has names like "Porcelain" or "Ivory"; pink blush doesn't go amiss, and I have mid-brown/fair hair). Due to this I was initially very concerned that I wouldn't be able to work this look, despite loving it so much. I thought I would just look ill, washed-out etc. However, I now think that the nude look can work quite well for the 'pale and interesting' among us. Our skin tone may be lighter than some of the pieces we are wearing, but this can produce quite a nice, gentle effect.

With that in mind therefore, here are my personal wardrobe essentials for the Nude Look (or very similar to at least).

Stone Chino Trousers from Topshop. Chinos are having a real renaissance at the moment. I like to pretend I'm a little bit French, a little bit chic, when I pair them with ballet flats, and a stripey top.

I have a similar skirt to this Zara Button Skirt, and I wear it all the time. It's so comfortable, and I can wear it with almost every top I own, it's flattering and makes me feel a little bit "put-together", even when I've hardly put any effort in at all.

I don't own this dress from H&M but I do love it. I've seen it in the shop, and it looks really, really great on. Will work with heels or flat, can be made to look dressy or casual. I own a similar type of dress in floaty material, but in a much lighter blush colour.

This crochet trim cardigan from Promod is a really useful addition to my wardrobe because it goes with everything I own pretty much, but has the interesting trim detail to stop it looking just too, too boring. But I don't know what it is with this website, every time. The picture manages to make this cardigan look disgusting. But I do vouch for it in real life.

Another skirt...what can I say, I wear a lot of them, I like them. I'd like something a bit like this pleated midi skirt from New Look. Beautiful, floaty material. Lovely colour. It would fit right in!

They can all be mixed and matched, but they also work well with brights, polka dots and breton tops, so it means I don't have to be completely flesh-toned 100% of the time!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Becoming Jane (Eyre)

A little while ago I read this post on Sugar City Journal and it really made me chuckle. I love the idea that some of us might want to "be more like Jane Eyre".

For large sections of society celebrities are our go-to guide, people we look to for fashion/life/style advice. I too have my moments of wanting to look like Alexa Chung and/or [insert edgy, yet chic celebrity crush here.] At other times perhaps we look to poets, authors, musicians.  Even characters from our favourite novels become our personality pin-ups. People we wish we could be more like.

In my early teens I must admit, I always wanted to be more like Catherine Earnshaw rather than Jane Eyre. Jane was just always a bit too sensible for me. I was already a bit too much like Jane Eyre! A little later some friends used to call me Lizzie Bennett. Probably mainly due to a very slight resemblance to Jennifer Ehle in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, coupled with a tendency to sarcastic wit. And of course Ophelia has always been my ultimate tragic heroine.

If I had to pick just one character however, the hands-down winner would have to be Dorothea Brooke. She for me is the ultimate mix of someone who lives by her principles, yet experiences the overwhelming strength of unconditional love. I love her!

However, it is true that no matter who we are or what we accomplish, as women we are always pestering ourselves. "Must do more, must try harder, must be more beautiful." Of course, there is always room for improvement, ways to become a nicer person and so forth, which is where I really appreciate the original blog post I mentioned. That idea of being motivated to study harder, learn a new language, be modest in our expectations. They certainly are excellent qualities that I should work on.

Image via Jezebel Charms
Buy the lovely Jane Eyre pendant from their Etsy shop.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Etsy lovelies - Red & Black

I'm always on the hunt for lovely stationary, greetings cards etc. I keep thinking one of these days I'll get around to designing my own. Anyway, I have seriously fallen for this little card, from Sapling Press. I think it would be a lovely one to give to hubbie on our wedding anniversary (next month! Already!)

This silk screen cushion is delightful. The description is Red Carp...but to my eyes it looks like a goldfish, anyone agree with me, or have I got this wrong? Anyway, I love goldfish and goldfish decorated items. So this is a winner. Created by Maite of Minimonos, who is a trained fashion designer, but has moved into home design items. I really like the little drawstring bags too.

This is an origami wall decal by 15tangerines. I love origami cranes (much like I love goldfish!), and I love black and white line drawn items, so this really caught my eye. Would look very beautiful on an otherwise blank wall.

 And then I also spotted these coasters which seemed to fit in very well with the red and black theme I have going on here. I have soooooo many coasters, but if I did need some more then these are very pretty. They come from Ruby Press who make some really cool stationary items too.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Making the iPad more useful - Sourcing a case

Ok, so I've posted before about my extreme good fortune in becoming an iPad owner. (I would have said proud owner, but unfortunately it's still not true.) I've now found its principle use in my life, that of running the Kindle app, reading eBooks and so forth.

However, I've decided it's time to move to the next level. My iPad needs to get a life, it spends far too much time moping around the house. It needs to get out more. And so for that, I come to my hunt for an iPad case. Currently iPad just stays at home, while I show my extreme preference for old laptop, carting that around with me on occasions where, if I'm completely honest iPad would function just fine.

I mentioned this predicament to the husband, he being the gateway to all things technical in our household. I thought he would instantly alight on something funky and lovely for stowing away the iPad machine. Unfortunately to my disappointment he suggested something like this, or this. Not exactly what I had in mind, so uuuuuugly. And look at the websites they come from! I mean, who does he think I am, a techie?

What about these lovelies from Etsy seller Tovi Sorga instead? Oooooh yummy, perhaps something like this could make me love my iPad! They are London-based outfit, producing really pretty leather goods for all your technological concerns. Check out their Etsy store.

Image via Tovicorrie

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Commentary on Kate Middleton's Wardrobe

I'm not in any way a royalist, although I'll put my hand up and admit that I did see a little of the Royal Wedding. As I've explained countless times, it was only because I wanted to see the dress. And of course it was beautiful. I loved it's Grace Kelly-esque quality. So yes, and that was the end of that....

Until I saw the pictures of Will and Kate along with the Obamas at Buckingham Palace last week. Kate, (I should really call her the Duchess of Cambridge shouldn't I?) was wearing that beautiful nude-coloured Shola dress from Reiss. She looked stunning. Michelle Obama, had up to that point looked fairly good. In my opinion though next to Kate she just didn't look very polished or streamlined. In these pictures it is Kate who has the gravitas.

So, why am I so obsessed with these pictures. I suppose it has something to do with the notion that Kate still shops on the High Street? And I think I find that reaffirming. I feel that by choosing Zara, Reiss, Whistles and Jigsaw she is affirming a decision I myself made a long, long time ago. The decision that the high street was enough, and I don't need to feel pressurized to shop beyond my means. I don't think I'm alone in this decision. This article in The Telegraph quotes Tina Gaudoin from the Wall Street Journal saying "Britain has the best high street in the world." 

In the Shola, Reiss have produced a dress in a very similar vein to the Galaxy dress by Roland Mouret. I'm sure that Kate could quite easily afford a couple of those bad boys if she wanted to. But no, she wears the Shola instead and looks as beautiful in it as Victoria Beckham ever looked in her RM numbers.

Now of course my version of the high street is quite different to Kate's! In fact the high street I frequent most regularly is actually segregated. Topshop, New Look, River Island and H&M at one end. Karen Millen, LK Bennett, All Saints and Reiss at the other. I look (of course I look!), but if I'm honest Zara (in the sale) is really my cut-off point. But Topshop and New Look, Zara and H&M, with a sprinkling of Urban Outfitters and carefully cared-for really can make for a good wardrobe.

So, we'll have to see if Kate stays true to the British high street and continues to make such shops the backbone of her wardrobe. I may just keep half an eye on the press for that!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Written Word As Art (and Jewellery)

I have always been very partial to a bit of written word as art, or in the case of these lovely silver bangles, the way the words contribute to the jewellery.

I've just come across this delightful jewellery made by Stella and Stokes. Diane Stewart is the person behind the name. She does all the work apparently! She's based in Glasgow (extra points from me for being my place of birth!) and creates these handmade items from sterling silver.

I think the bangles pictured are beyond wonderful, I really love the edgy, unfinished quality they have. She also has some wonderful charm necklaces which would be ideal engraved with a special name or date. If. however, the decorative properties of the written word leave you cold, she has loads of lovely pieces that need no writing at all! For example, her caterpillar earrings featured in a shoot last month by Rock My Wedding. And the blokes aren't left out either, I really like those thistle cufflinks.

But for now, I'm going to while some time away wondering to myself what I would have engraved on these bangles were I to be purchasing one any time soon. I really think that with a well-chosen word these could be statement pieces. A line or two of poetry perhaps?

"Five years have passed; five summers, with the length
    Of five long winters! and again I hear
    These waters"
William Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey (Too long I know!)

Or a song lyric:
"You are worth hundreds of sparrows" (as per the engraving on my iPod gifted from a friend.)
Sparklehorse, Hundreds of Sparrows

I'm being lazy, just writing down the first quotes that instantly come to mind. This is a decision that would need to be agonised over of course! What would you have engraved on yours?

Update 4th June 2011:

I recently received a reply from Diane, and she truly sounds like a lovely person, pouring her energy and love into this business. She started silver-smithing as a hobby 4 years ago, and then a year later set up Stella & Stokes.  Her success so far relies on word-of-mouth recommendations, so if you like her jewellery do tell your friends about it! 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Notebooks I Met and Liked

Oh my goodness, aren't these gorgeous! I'm a total sucker for notebooks, and indeed stationary of all kinds.  As soon as I saw these beautiful notepads (care of this post on Black Eiffel) my brain was sent into a spin. Which book would I buy for whom:

Wives I Met and Liked - The Husband obvs
Celebrities I Met and Liked - Tash
Doctors I Met and Liked - Mum
Equestrians I Met and Liked - Jas
Travellers I Met and Liked - Josh
Communists I Met and Liked - Lou W
Estate Agents I Met and Liked - MIL

It's a great game. You should try it!

Image via Archie Grand
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