Tuesday, 29 January 2013

When it's gone it's gone

Oh hello there. Bit busy at the mo, and may not have much time for blogging this week. But what I am making time to think about is the fact that it is pay day on Thursday. And, because of moving house and having to find a new job, it is actually my first pay day in ages. So there hasn't been much shopping in my life of late, and during the sales, this has been a cause of much upset, because the sales are MY time. I excel at the sales.

However, there are some bargains still to be had out there, and all of these caught my eye.

Top row, left to right
Embellished jumper, £20 Warehouse; Box pleat dress, £20 Cos; Silky panel top, £25 Cos; Dotty dress, £75 Hobbs; Contrast jacket, £69.90 Uterque.

Middle row, left to right
Wittering shirt, £19 Aubin & Wills; Leather plate corner across body bag, £36 Asos; Cashmere jumper, £50 Warehouse.

Bottom row, left to right
Lucy contrast jumper, £53 Reiss;  NW3 Tapestry Cardigan, £30 Hobbs; Yulia centre split skirt, £33 Reiss; Sandwashed silk pocket shirt, £89 Jigsaw; Merino crew neck sweater, £59 Jigsaw.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The weekend(s)

The last two weekends have blurred into one. Here are some highlights.

I finally got round to visiting Aspex Gallery and was completely won over by the cafe and shop. I'm all for museums, stately homes and the like, but I have to admit that my main reasons for visiting are retail and food based. For such a small size, the shop at Aspex is brilliantly stocked, and good for buying a last minute present.

{cafe at Aspex Gallery}

Now that vouchers seem to be the wedding present of choice, I like to think of some original packaging or a vessel to put them in. These Russian dolls have been a brilliant option, and I got Popeye to bring a stash back on this last trip to Russia. This one's my favourite which I kept for myself,

{Russian doll}

{Sunday stroll}

I had heard so much about Pie & Vinyl, and so when friends came down to visit, I jumped at the chance to go there on a Sunday afternoon. They serve Pieminister Pies, which I've had a loyalty towards since living in Bristol, the company's HQ, and we even had them served at our wedding. They also serve Buckwell's pies, which are made by our local butcher in Southsea, which is something of an institution. You'll see queues outside the butchers on a Saturday, and have to get there early to be sure you'll get exactly what you're after. Pie & Vinyl is a haven of vintage chic, lovingly styled with an impressive collection of vintage china.

{Pie & Vinyl}

{Pieminister Pie}

{snow on the beach}

My mum has always been a fan of sending us little packages in the post, and it can be a real lottery when it comes to what's in that jiffy! This time I was treated to a pair of cosy grey socks for the snowy weather.

{wool pirate socks}

We were inspired by our visit to Pie & Vinyl, and used some leftover roast chicken and ham to make one of our own. Ignore the recipe instructions for making the pastry from scratch - I used the Just-Rol reduced fat puff pastry, and it was foolproof.

{chicken & ham pie}

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Razzle dazzle

I've only just got round to wrapping and sending the last of my Christmas presents for people - bad admin, I know. But I remembered I hadn't blogged about these earrings which I bought just before Christmas, from Next as a present. Next is a shop I hardly ever go into, but I was accompanying a friend on a lunchtime jaunt from the office, and spied these neon and diamante sparklers. I loved them from the moment I saw them, and when I had a little rifle through the jewellery section, I found a few other lovely and well priced items. And the quality seems good - much better than you'd find at H&M, for not a lot more money. Almost kept them for myself.

{neon and diamante earrings, £6 Next}

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow day admin

The weekend started early with an unexpected snow day. Such a treat. I decided to get ahead with some long planned organisation and admin.

We had just bought a bookcase on eBay, because Popeye will be getting a lot of extra study with his job soon, and we had run out of space for more books and folders. So the bookcase had just been installed and a little rearranging of our existing books and bits and bobs was required.

This new house has been a bit of a challenge, in that it's smaller than what we're used to, and also the decor is rather on the dated side. The house comes with Popeye's job, and there's no choice over what we get, so sometimes we luck in, and sometimes we luck out. Our last house was very much on the lucking in side, with wooden floors, neutral carpets, and huge kitchen with bi-fold doors and island, plus a whole guest floor in the loft with its own bathroom. This house is none of that. And the green carpets throughout are something of a challenge. However, we are getting there, and the third bedroom / study is now sorted.

{reading corner}

I bought the rocking chair from a flea market a few years ago for £10, and it's a good option for putting next to the bookcases to make a reading corner - an armchair would have been too bulky. I recovered the seat with this Laura Ashley fabric.

We needed to make sure that the study could also work as a fully functional third bedroom, and so given we were tight on space, the solution was to use a drop-leaf table as a desk, which gives lots of space to work on, whilst being able to fold the leaf under when we need to use the room as a bedroom and pull the sofa-bed out.

{sofa in disguise}

The sofa-bed is one we've had for years from Laura Ashley, and I've never been too fond of the checked print. So I thought the addition of a cushion I made in a bright, bold check with this left-over fabric might lift it a bit, and the addition of a grey throw from Zara Home would hide some of the sofa fabric.

{new picture frames, old Parisian flea market lamp}

I finally got round to framing my posters in these Habitat frames. I searched high and low for the best looking and best value frames, after being disappointed on my latest trip to IKEA to find that their larger frames only had plastic in them instead of glass. Habitat do a good range, and I had a 25% off code from a magazine, and they were doing free delivery, so all in all they were a bargain buy.

The lamp is a much-treasured Paris flea-market find, with a John Lewis shade. I lugged it back on the Eurostar, shade and all, but the shade got damaged in a recent house move. When we asked at the market if it still worked, the man from the stall plugged it into the nearest street lamp to test it - and voilà! 

{knitted and felted pen pot}

{admin trays - the wooden one for Popeye, the wire one for me}

{printer station and stationery supplies}

This wooden unit was rescued from the skip at an old job, and the printed neatly sits on top of it, out the way. These IKEA wooden drawers fit really well inside, and hold all of our stationery, ink cartridges and chargers. These drawers from John Lewis are similar.

We finished the day with a walk on the sea-front, to see the snow on the beach, and choppy Solent, and then headed home first swinging by Manna for some tea and slice of cappuccino cake.

{stormy sea-front}


Monday, 21 January 2013

Black jack(ets)

It struck me that I've not posted any of my charity shop finds for a while. I suppose it's taken me a while to get back back into chazzy shopping, now I've left the land of milk and honey in terms of charity shop finds* and I need to find some new territory in the Hampshire area - anyone got some suggestions for me?

But I was on a training course the other day, and took the opportunity of a long lunch break to explore the local charity shops. My already extensive collection of jackets has been well documented on this blog, but I couldn't resist this addition to the gang - Chanel-esque in style and fabric, which is wool boucle. It also has some well concealed side pockets, and I love the simple buttons and edging, which finish it off nicely.

{black boucle wool jacket}

{made by Mark Russell}

{simple faceted buttons}

{detailed edging}

My second black jacket I found just before Christmas. Having wanted a traditional tuxedo-style jacket for ages, complete with satin lapels, my stomach did a little flip when I saw this vintage Topshop jacket in a charity shop for £8.

{tuxedo style jacket}

{I only just about remember this old Topshop label}

*I'll be doing a post soon on my old charity shop hunting ground - it'll be focused in and around Buckinghamshire, and would make a great day trip for all Londoners, as it's just inside the Tube network - zone 9. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Liverpool Lou loves: Virago Modern Classics Designer Collection

If like me, one of your New Year's resolutions was to read more books (and less magazines!) then you'll be interested to hear Liverpool Lou's suggestions below, which also have the added advantage of making your bedside table look rather special. Coincidently, Lou is in good company with Hilary Mantel, who also recently gave a lowdown of her own favourite VMCs. And I was delighted to read that Printmaker Angie Lewin has designed one of these covers, who I've been a fan of ever since buying a set of her notecards a while back. I'll be buying The Enchanted April for that reason alone - at least I know it will be lovely to look at.


Whilst researching my last post (“A Novel Noel” - good books which also boast gorgeous covers), I came across this collection of 12 titles from the original feminist publishing house, Virago. I’ll be honest and tell you now, I have not read a single one of them - but I’d rather like to. The VMC Designer Collection was actually launched back in August 2011 but I’m pleased to say it wasn’t a flash in the pan thing; they are all still available from the company’s website at £12.99* each - for excellent literature ensconced within such beautiful textile covers, I feel that this is most reasonable!

Here are my favourites.

For the story

The Dud Avocado”, Elaine Dundy. Cover design by Lucienne Day:

The Diary of a Provincial Lady”, E. M. Delafield. Cover design by Cath Kidston:

For the cover 
OK, OK! I’m not all about appearances, honest. Only a little teeny bit... But I can assure you, this doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t actually read it. In fact, I will be all the more likely to, because of its Liberty-clad loveliness. Like Ms LP herself, I am a sucker for a bit of Liberty print. Publishers - take note!

The Enchanted April”, Elizabeth von Arnim. Cover design by Angie Lewin for Liberty:

For a bit of both

Valley of the Dolls”, Jacqueline Susann. Cover design by Barbara Hulanicki of Biba fame (ooh! Totally up my street):

My Cousin Rachel”, Daphne Du Maurier. Cover design by Neisha Crosland:

Collect them all!
Love Liverpool Lou x

*Note from the Editor: all books from the VMC Designer Collection are currently on offer at Waterstones for £10.39 each.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Golden Globe glory

Ah, I love a good reel of red carpet celebrity pics, and the Golden Globes on Sunday night were a real treat. Here's my top three. Well done ladies.

{Michelle Dockery in Alexandre Vauthier}

{Anne Hathaway in Chanel Haute Couture}

{Helen Mirren in Badgley Mishka}

Pictures via The Telegraph

Jewelery part II: paired back

I lovely wearing jewellery, statement necklaces and earrings being my most favoured items. But for everyday wear, I like to have a couple of simple items which can be worn with everything and add a subtle level of detail to an outfit. One pet peeve of mine is leaving my pierced ears without anything in them, as I hate seeing the piercing hole. Since finding a tiny pair of gold stud earrings at an antique market years go, they have become my neutral day earrings, for when I just need to fill the hole. I wouldn't be without them. Here's a good alternative to mine.

{tiny gold stud earrings}

And then for a necklace, I have a couple of simple options, but my most recent is the one below from Enelle, which was a present from my mum for Christmas. It's the Simple Cog Small Gold necklace and I also love the Bunting Gold necklace. Made by Nina Lamb, the design are striking and beautifully made. I first came across them in my local branch of Whistles, but see here for other stockists.

{simple cog small gold necklace by Enelle}

Other delicate but simple necklaces which have caught my eye recently have come from In God We Trust and Dogeared.

{pearls of love necklace, £40 Dogeared}

{cut out diamond necklace in gold, $140 In God We Trust }

Keep it simple.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Jewellery part I: under this moon

Every now and then, something will come along which is so simple and stunning you can't get it out of your head.

That's what happened when I read about these Under The Moon necklaces, which are personalised lunar phase charms, and can be based on the exact moon which was over you at a certain time and place, in the past, present or future.

This was dreamt up by Lorena from Gemagenta, who handcrafts each charm in her studio in Amsterdam. She engraves each charm so that it resembles the moon on the specific date you give her, and then she inscribes the date in question on the back of the charm. It will be threaded onto a red or black silk cord, or a silver chain. Read more about them on her blog.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Clarins girl

Over the past few months I have gradually become a Clarins girl. I'm not sure how it happened, as I've never really been interested in Clarins products, preferring the more scientific approach of other companies instead. Following on from yesterday's post with the scoop on the brilliant Clarins bargains at John Lewis, I realised I hadn't yet updated you all on my recent love for this brand.

{full size products plus gift set}

Liverpool Lou is a Clarins devotee*, and after staying over at hers a number of times, and raiding her toiletry stash, I've become more and more on-side. My skin type would be classed as oily and dehydrated and I found that the range of Clarins products I used suited me so well. My first foray saw me using Advanced Extra-Firming Eye Contour Serum, £36.50 John Lewis.

I loved it from the first moment, noticing that my fine lines almost disappeared and my under-eye concealer went on much smoother. The texture is like a gel and not greasy at all, and you can take the serum right up to the lash line beneath the eye.

The second product to win me over was the Everlasting Foundation, £26 Boots. I apply it with a brush, it has SPF 15 and gives a shine-free finish without looking too matte. I've never found a better shade which matches my skin tone so accurately.

Since then, I've also become hooked on the Multi-active Day Cream, £39 Boots, and a free gift with purchase got me on to the Double Serum Generation 6, £56 Selfridges, which gives your skin a glow other products in this price range don't manage to achieve.

The last product of Lou's on my wish list is the Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil, £29 House of Fraser, which rescued my skin the morning after a hen-do, clearing all trace of dry, flaky skin.

Talking of gift with purchase sets, the one from Clarins is the best I've ever received, with a wide range of good-sized products, perfect for your travel wash bag.

{healthy-sized freebies}

And I'm still on the hunt for the perfect everyday cleanser, so maybe there could be something in this range to fill this hole. I have some John Lewis vouchers from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket so I'll keep you posted.

*One reason for Liverpool Lou's brand loyalty is Clarins' impressive record of standing against any kind of animal testing or cruelty. If you share her point of view, then Clarins could be worth a look at.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Get in amongst it - John Lewis clearance

My favoured way of browsing the sales in from the sofa, one eye on the iPad, one eye on the TV. It makes me feel smug in the knowledge that I am doing such great bargain hunting from the comfort of my own home. So I was surprised when I visited my local branch of John Lewis to find so many sale items which weren't online - loads of them! I then spent some considerable time in the beauty hall, finding hundreds of sale gift sets from Christmas which, even when full-price, passed on some good savings. Those at Clarins and Lancome were the best, and I succumbed to a Clarins Vital Light gift set for just under £40.

{Clarins multi-active gift set}

{Clarins extra-firming gift set}

{Lancome Genifique gift set}

Other bargains were on fragrance, L'Occitane gift sets and Mavala nail varnish gift sets. There were also some lovely knitwear accessories in the menswear department with a very unisex slant - the cashmere cable knit beanies were down from £40 to £15 and I must say, the cream one suited me rather well.

The womenswear department also had some tempting offers - particularly this cream silk shirt and the black above-the-knee silk dress by Temperley. Just shows that sometimes getting outside your comfort-zone can bring some real results!

{silk shirt, £29 John Lewis Collection}

{black silk dress, £80 Temperley for John Lewis}

Monday, 7 January 2013

Christmas & New Year: my snapshots

Christmas and New Year flew  by in a blur of family, friends and food. I've arrived in 2012 in a new city, new house and new job, and after a lovely festive break, I'm looking forward to getting back to regular blogging on Lemonade Pockets. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

{pre-Christmas dinner at Riding House Cafe}

{Christmas wrapping}

{For Christmas we were Devon-bound, and found time for lunch at ODE cafe in Shaldon - great sea view}

{stocking fillers}

{perfectly divine make-up check opportunity}

{blustery Boxing Day walk}

{cafe at the Topsam ferry - sadly closed on Boxing Day}

{festive foliage}

We spent a few days away over the New Year with friends at a house just outside the pretty village of Presteigne, which we found on Alastair Sawday's. A day trip to Ludlow was in order, as we'd heard good things about the town, with its castle, vintage, charity and home shops. The charity shops didn't deliver many good finds, but other shops we loved were Pepper Lane Vintage, Bodenhams for the boys, 55 Mill Street, Black Bough and Dickinson's Period House Shop. We also wanted to stop by Ludlow Food Centre on the way home, but alas time had run away with us, and as it was New Year's Eve, we had to dash home to doll up.

{55 Mill Street - a selection of vintage home wares}

{gold necklace from Ludlow charity shop}

{lovely lunch at The Olive Branch}

A stop on the way home in the market town of Ledbury, which in my student days was a favourite stomping ground for their excellent charity shops, led us to find the new Ledbury Design Quarter and the beautiful shop Hus & Hem. A current obsession with the series The Killing has led to an obsession with all things Scandinavian, and so a browse in this shop was heaven, and almost killed me with its choice of stylish offerings. I am hankering after this cushion by Abigail Borg, which has just gone into the sale.

{from Hus & Hem in Ledbury;s Design Quarter}

{drip free, smoke free, soot free candles - large choice of colours}