Tuesday, 12 May 2015

For the love of leather

I have a bad shopping habit for lovely leather goods. I will NOT EVER buy something which can be described as "faux". One of the reasons I love leather is for its longevity - properly looked after, it will last and last and is easily repaired, in the right hands. Once you've found a good leather repair shop, you'll never look back. Mine is Brodequin Shoemakers in Teignmouth in Devon, which has now repaired several handbag straps for me, and also expertly patched a bag I managed to smear with wet paint. I popped in there at the weekend and a bargain basket in the corner proved a good hunting ground - I came away with the orange leather glasses case below and the blue coin purse, for a fiver each. I always have a good browse through the masses and masses of leather skins hanging up on the wall from which you can pick your favourite for them to make something up for you - I've just commissioned a leather comb case, and am looking forward to picking it up soon. And the keyring I bought from my favourite shop in Totnes, Inspired Buys, from amongst a whole stash of vintage initialled leather key rings, for just £1.50, in a whole range of colours.

{lovely new leather goods}

There are loads of lovely leather goods out there on the high street at the moment. & Other Stories have another collaboration with Clare Vivier this year, full of some great pieces, and there are some gems from GAP (sign up for their emails to get discount codes), Zara and more surprisingly Clark's. Here are my top picks.

{my favourites: Zara's braided leather bag or & Other Stories' blue snap hook bag}

Top row, left to right
Clare Vivier leather wallet, £25 & Other Stories; Snake-effect sunglasses case, £19 & Other Stories; Dusky pink leather bag, £65 Clarks; Clare Vivier luggage tag, £10 & Other Stories.

2nd row, left to right
Leather drawstring bucket bag, £59.95 GAP; Braided leather bag, £69.99 Zara; Clare Vivier leather pouch, £29 & Other Stories; Perforated leather clutch, £24.95 GAP.

3rd row, left to right
Black leather clutch bag, £65 Clarks; Folded leather card holder, £19 Cos; Metallic leather clutch, £29 & Other Stories.

Bottom row, left to right
Snap hook leather bag, £79 & Other Stories; Leather saddle bag, £59.99 GAP; Leather messenger bag, £119.99 Zara.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Birthday wish list

It's astonishing how quickly birthdays come around, although I don't know how considering the annual event is no surprise to any of us.
Anyway, another year, another birthday. Popeye and I have just bough our first house together, so the list showcases some of the beauty products I'll no longer be splashing out on, once the eye-watering mortgage re-payments start to kick in. I've also included a couple of things which I think would fit into the new house rather well (good that I'm thinking about these things when there's not even a kitchen or bathroom to speak of yet...) plus a couple of more fashion-led items which I've had my eye on recently.

Top row, left to right
Straw hat, £7.99 H&M - my current straw hat was an emergency airport purchase and has never really fitted the bill. I love the extra wide brim on this one for max sun protection.
Pineapple pot, £19.50 Holly's House - because my pineapple obsession is still strong.
Open teardrop stud earrings, £12 Orelia - classic and stylish design.
Philosophy The Great Mystery One-minute Daily Facial, £22 Boots - I steal a bit of this every time I stay at my mum's house. Gives good results in super quick time.
River Cottage "Veg Every Day" cookbook, £11.41 Abe Books - I want to eat less meat and fish, but I am lacking inspiration for new meal ideas, especially for our evening meal.

2nd row, left to right
DAY Gweneth bag, £35, Day Birger et Mikkelsen - for the masses of stuff I seem to carry around with me.
Brick Beech Click Clock, £42.99 Ginko Electronics - I want to stop relying on my phone as an alarm, and need something which has ABSOLUTELY NO ticking noise. This one is both stylish and clever.
Kiehl's Creme de Corps, from £16 John Lewis - this body cream is great, leaves a lovely sheen on the skin but is a little pricey for my everyday use. A little luxury.
Fig lace-up sandals, £39 Topshop - glad gladiator sandals are right back in, I love this look.
REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm, £20 Look Fantastic (with free delivery) - gives great results at both exfoliation and moisturising.

3rd (little) row, left to right
Evey cage-effect mid heel shoes, £175 Reiss - is this the most perfect heel height ever? I think so. And the way they are completely secured to your trotters make them such a comfortable wear.
Square marble tray, £45 Holly's House - the marble kitchen worktop is a little out of our price range, so this tray is a lovely (and much cheaper) way of adding a splash of luxury.

Bottom row, left to right
Nike Internationalist trainers in black, £67 & Other Stories - I'm slow to buy into the "trainers paired with anything but sporty clothing" trend, but I'm on board now and these are the ones.
Acetate D-frame sunglasses, £45 & Other Stories - I know, these are ludicrously massive, but I saw them, loved them, tried them on and was smitten.
Linen cotton-blend blazer, £29.99 Mango - 8 years on, I have finally got rid of the greatest yellow jacket which I ruined by stashing it in the corner of a nightclub instead of paying the measly £1 to put it in the cloakroom. This would perfectly fill that void.
Lambswool "Lineas" blanket, £75 Decorator's Notebook - it's grey, it's striped, it's lambswool, it's perfect.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A few of my favourite things

Oh hello, it's been a while. I suppose blogging is a bit of a habit and before I knew it, days had become weeks, and weeks had become months, and now it's been a fair old while since I last logged in. Someone asked me if I'd "lost my blogging mojo" and I think I had, or at least it was on sabbatical. Popeye was away with work for 3 months and so I've been filling my weekends with lots of fun, visiting friends up and down the country. But I've been drawn back to the blog, and here's a little update on some goings on over the last few months.

{gold stud earrings from & Other Stories}
the pancakes at Riding House Cafe}
{Valentino skirt - the skirt that dreams are made of, but pay packets fall short of}
{cheese straws with aioli dip from Cafe Ode}
{new purse and other carefully chosen items bought from Luiban in Berlin, most stylish stationery shop ever}
{ring from Accessorize}
{chocolate wafers from Vienna}
 I can't tell you just how nice these chocolate wafers are - they come in litre wrapped packets, inside that gorgeous shoe-box style tin, and each packet is wrapped up a bit like a cigarette packet, which I must confess I have always loved the packaging of - such dinky little boxes, especially the gold of those Benson & Hedges boxes, with their gold foil linings. Still, these biscuits make much better contents! And here's a UK supplier too.

And seeing as it's National Stationery Week this week (honestly, this is a real thing) I had to mention the very beautiful Luiban which I discovered on a trip to Berlin, and the lovely owner will explain to you the provenance of every single item, most of which are made in Germany. I splurged on the yellow leather purse, which has been receiving many admiring comments recently.

{lose all your holiday spends to Luiban, you won't regret it}
So, that's it from me for now, but more updates to come this week - it's good to be back!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Sale stalking

I haven't bought many new clothes in the last couple of months - a combination of not really seeing anything I liked in the shops, or the fact that what I did like costed more than I wanted to pay.

However, what I have been excelling at in these last few days is sale stalking, keeping an eye on those items which have caught my eye, which I'm hoping will be reduced further in the sale. There have been some heart-wrenching moments, when items I was hoping would go down in price in fact sold out instead - but most of them miraculously came back in stock, and when they did I pounced.

There's one strange thing I noticed though in Reiss - the prices on their website didn't match their prices in store. The prices in store were cheaper - my black leather and suede skirt below was £195 on the website but £95 in the shop. Also the Londra trousers in navy were £49 online, but £39 in the shop. So it's worth calling in to your nearest branch.

{sale bargains}

Top row, left to right
Leather bag with rigid handle, £69.99 Zara; Marmaduke crew-neck jumper, £80 Gerard Darel; Tortoiseshell resin necklace, £39 Jaeger; Cotton shirt by Kin, £19 John Lewis - I could only find the full price white one on their website, but there are plenty available still in blue in store in the sale. I found mine in Reading.

Middle row, left to right
Tribal Linton tweed jacket, £45 Jigsaw; Londra black straight legged trousers, £49 Reiss; An alternative to the blue Kin shirt - this one in the sale is available with a gold sequin side panel - swoon! £44 J Crew; Hayden textured leather skirt, £95 (in store) Reiss.

Bottom row, left to right
Snake skin effect ballerinas with leopard print, £54.90 Uterque; Cat flat point leopard print Chelsea boot, £36 Office.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My wish list: Christmas list 2014

Everyone around me is an a panic, clutching lists of gifts that they still need to buy. I am feeling remarkably calm and zen about the whole thing, feeling very smugly organised.

If you're still looking for ideas for someone this year who is female, with excellent taste (sure), then here's what's on my wish list in case it's of any help.

{my wish list: Christmas 2014}

Top row, left to right
+ REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil, £23 John Lewis - because everyone's skin needs a little extra something this time of year
+ Red leather Finkle Street handbag, £165 Blanket Row - handmade in the UK, and to replace a much loved similar version which I got wet paint on, and then tried to get it off with nail varnish remover (NEVER do this) so all the dye came off. I blame Popeye - that was his bright idea
+ Blue & black check city coat, £139 Planet - I know! Planet! Who knew? And read that fabric content and rejoice (so much wool!)
+ Cashmere round neck sweater, £49.90 Uniqlo - a classic you'll wear for years
+ Broad brass cuff, £39 & Other Stories - a little She-Ra chic for those who idolised her in your youth

Middle row, left to right
+ Marin ring by Gorjana, £44.98 Shopbop - my gold ring obsession continues
+ Superga 2750s in white leather, £55 Office - to take you right through from winter to summer (in winter I'll wear them with the sheepskin insoles from my stocking filler list)
+ Cecily charcoal grey suede boots, £135 Atterley Road - perfect flat heel and just the right length on the ankle
+ Metal mashup pearl necklace, £39.50 Banana Republic - am thinking this will work a treat with the cashmere crew neck
+ Knit your own Vivienne cardigan, £85 Wool And The Gang - no, not for me to knit silly, I'd ask my mum to do it (hi mum)

Bottom row, left to right
+ Anglepoise Type 75 lamp, £120 John Lewis - because I've loved these lamps since forever
+ Meridien red jersey top, £55 Saint James from Atterley Road - because you can never have enough stripes
+ Triangles cotton bedspread, £59.99 Zara Home - I couldn't resist the colour
+ Santal 26 candle, £47 Liberty - eugh, an insane amount of money to spend on a candle, but I like it so much, and well, this is a WISH list
+ Piped flannel pyjama, £75 Toast - flannel for warmth, in such a great colour

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Stocking Fillers: Christmas 2014

How far have you got ticking of your list of presents to buy for people by now? I've tried to think of a few more unusual presents this year, to give you a few new ideas from the lists in 2013 and 2012, although there's always the usual pampering gifts and outfit accessories that made the grade every year. I hope this gives you some good ideas of what to buy for friends and family. And I've tried to get in there just in time for you to take advantage of some of the Black Friday discount codes too. Good luck!

{stocking fillers: Christmas 2014}

Top row, left to right
+ Carnaby tray in yellow, £7 Wilko's - always useful, and a nice bold splash of colour
+ Pony effect leather clutch, £30 ASOS (20% off with code CYBERWKND20) - a classic shape and great colour
+ Organic jojoba oil, £10 Fushi (free delivery until Monday) - because of its molecular structure, this oil mimics skin sebum and is a good alternative to eye cream, and highly moisturising
+ Sheepskin insoles, £10 Celtic & Co  (use code RW14RF for free delivery) - to winter-proof your trusty converse
+ Soft amaretti biscuits, £8 John Lewis - a perfect bite-sized treat with a cup of tea

Middle row, left to right
+ Remodelista interiors book, £22.09 Waterstones - I flicked through this book in an art gallery shop and have been hankering after it ever since
+ Kneipp Juniper Mineral Bath Salts, £8.95 Bath & Unwind - I've bought these for all my friends this year, they make a great present
+ Blood orange liqueur, £18.99 The Wiltshire Liqueur Company - easy peasy cocktails: perfect with prosecco, and you can create your own bespoke label
+ Bobble water bottle, £9.99 John Lewis - because we all need to get in the habit of drinking more water
+ Leather camping slippers, £29.99 Zara Home - I have these and love them - easy to slip on and off
Porter magazine, £5 Unique Magazines - I like to keep up our family tradition of getting a magazine in your Christmas stocking

Bottom row, left to right
Copper utensils, £10 (offer price) M&S - I'm really on board the copper trend that's around at the moment, and love the whole range of these utensils
+ Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, £19 Space NK (currently valid for free delivery) - my all time favourite hand cream
+ L'Oreal Extraordinary Facial Oil, £13.31 Feel Unique - I tried a sachet of this and really saw an improvement in my skin
+ Living The Good Long Life by Martha Stewart, £18 Waterstones - I read an article about Martha Stewart and the interviewer billed this book as "essential reading for anyone over 21"
+ Sachajuan hair repair, £22 Net-a-Porter - I found this hair range on holiday in Sweden about 5 years ago, and am delighted that it's now available in the UK (albeit at more than twice the price)
+ Neroli Lime & Basil Pineapple Scented Filled Candle, £15.60 M&S - possibly the most glamorous candle I've ever seen

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Probably the best advent calendar in the world...

From who other than Liberty - it's now sold out online but I'm told there are still some available in store. Top treats include a voucher for a Sisley facial, and mini Diptyque candle. And although it's expensive at £149, there are £420 worth of products inside those beautifully decorated, Liberty print drawers.

{Liberty's 2014 beauty advent calendar}

For more info on the best of the rest of beauty advent calendars available this year, check out this article, but be quick, these Christmassy treats are selling like hot mince pies.