Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Littlest Hobo

Having just moved house for the ninth time in the last six years, I had been planning a little guide on what I've learnt to make the process easier. And then one of the other blogs I follow, Decorator's Notebook, did this post and took the words right out of my mouth.

{Decorator's Notebook: how to move house without losing your mind}

She's hit the nail on the head, and I really want to underline the point about the Kilrock cleaner: it works, and when we move house is the only time I use it - it's back to Ecover the rest of the time. And the oven liner - a real hero.

I'd just add a couple of other points:

- if you can, pay a professional to clean your oven. I've booked ours, and it's £25, which to my mind is worth every last penny.

- our windows get inspected when we move - so again, book a window cleaner - they have all the right kit and can do it in minutes, probably for not much more than a tenner.

- food. Because you're most probably emptying and defrosting your fridge-freezer, plan to eat out the night before you move, and have a plan for where to go for your breakfast too. You'll need something to look forward to, and then you won't have food and washing up lying around whilst you're meant to be trying to pack it away.

- the night before the move, if you can, go and stay at a friend's house, or with family, or even try to get a cheap deal on a nearby hotel. That way, you can wash and dry your towels, strip your bed, dismantle it, take down your curtains, and clean your bathroom, which is lots of ticks on your list done, the day before it all kicks off.

- and lastly, make sure you have enough coffee, team sugar and the good biscuits for your removal men. We always get caught out with not having enough sugar or any instant coffee. You could also use disposable coffee cups too, so you don't have mugs and washing up lying around once everything else has been packed.


It's been ages since we've been out for a proper Sunday Roast so Popeye planned a trip out into the countryside, to the pretty village of Chiddingfold, where we went for lunch at The Mulberry (owned by Chris Evans - radio DJ and pub landlord). The roast was excellent, and I started it off with an Aperol Spritz, mainly because I'd never tried one before, and since then, I've seen it popping up on menus everywhere. Seems it's having quite the moment, and I can see why, being refreshing but not too sweet, perfect for this summery weather.

{drink of the summer - the Aperol Spritz}

I wore this Topshop t-shirt below, which has almost never been off my back (allowing for the occasional wash) since I bought it. I enjoy the "slightly smarter than a t-shirt, whilst still very much being a t-shirt" feel of it, which the seamed neckline and sleeves give it. 

{striped t-shirt, £16 Topshop}

I've been pairing it with my latest lipstick acquisition, recommended by my friend Caro, who names it as her all time favourite: Rimmel's Coral Queen. I was on a trip to Liverpool, lipstick-less (it's amazing the number of times I find myself unarmed with a lipstick, considering how many of the things I have) and remembered Caro' s favourite, and dived into Boots to pick one up. And it is lovely, especially if you like a little shine from your lippy.

{Moisture Renew Lipstick in Coral Queen, £6.49 Superdrug}

Then at the weekend, we got round to visiting Portchester Castle, which the Time Team fan in Popeye had been longing to see for a while. It had three of my favourite elements: a tea shop in the church hall, a sea view and a walled garden (or just really walled grass in this case). The weather was beautiful and joyfully there weren't many people around. I even enjoyed the usually geeky audio tour.

{view from the top of Portchester Castle}

And there's something I've been meaning to tell you all about for ages - for those of you in the Portsmouth area anyway. No. 6 Cinema in the Dockyard is the biggest screen on the south coast, and whoever programmes the films does an amazing job. We went to see The Lives Of Others - a great film, so catch it if you can. Their September programme is listed here.

{film watching at No. 6 Cinema}

Thursday, 8 August 2013

White stilettos

Do you remember the Kate Moss inspired trend in the early Noughties, for white stilettos? I do, because I loved it and bought these horrors below. They've been doing time, safely wrapped in tissue and stored for the last decade, and when the white stiletto trend resurfaced, I skipped off gleefully to the wardrobe to unearth them, knowing that I was already armed for this story. 

However, what greeted me was one of the ugliest pair of shoes I'd ever seen. I used to wear these? Ugh. So it seems that there are white heels, and then there are white heels, and my old ones aren't going to cut it.

{ooo, ugly - those toes go on for ever...}

But luckily here are some pictures of some ladies who wear the look well. And a selection of shoes which might help you achieve it. This look has been around for a while, and doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. But as the outfits below with their autumn/winter slant, white heels would be a good investment.

{Laura Bailey wears them with style}

{with animal print}

{with a green coat}

{with khaki trousers}

{with leather trousers}

{with ankle straps}

{classic shape}

Top row, left to right
Gizmo ankle strap court shoes, £48 TopshopWhite pointed sling back court shoes, £50 River IslandDarling do high heels, £60 Schuh.

Middle row, left to right
Alvino pointed toe court shoe, £79 DuneWhite two part pointed court shoes, £45 River Island.

Bottom row, left to right
Flora leather point toe court shoe, £185 L.K. Bennett; Bastien heels, £110 Kurt Geiger.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Sale shopping

I loved this fashion story that Hobbs did I while back, and the good news is that the Niamh dress, featured below, is still available in blue on the Aterley Road website, for just £55 with an extra 10% off if you enter the code EXTRA10 when ordering. The sale ends at midnight tonight so get in there!

{Hobbs animal print + blue ad campaign}

I've indulged in a smattering of sale shopping this year, and come home with the following - some of these were things I'd had my eye on for a long ol' time, and other were impulse purchases. Whatever the reason, I'm very happy with my new haul.

{red leather bag from & Other Stories}

{buckle detail}

You may recognise this bag from my birthday list post so I'd long loved this red little number. It had sold out long ago so I was surprised when it popped up in the sale, for just £33. There are still a few available here.

{leopard print Topshop clutch and new statement necklace}

The leopard print clutch just caught my eye as I was queuing at the till to pay for the neon necklace (not in the sale, but I fell for it anyway). The bag was in the sale though, half price, and I've already used it countless times. I felt that this purchase was particularly wise after my mum's comment that it's a bag I'd use for the rest of my life.Wise words from JP.

{from Cos: leather clutch, skirt and gold ring}

I ordered hundreds of things from the Cos sale, and ended up just keeping two. The clutch bag is a present for a friend's birthday, and the navy-blue a-line skirt in the background is just the perfect sort of knee-length school uniform style skirt I tend to favour for my work uniform. It's made from lightweight wool and was a find at £20. The gold ring wasn't in the sale, but I'd had my eye on since this post. The £6 delivery charge never seemed justifiable until I was putting in an order for other items too.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Diptyque's new kids on the block

I am a loyal fan of Diptyque and have been wearing their fragrances for years now, ever since, as part of yet another random job, many moons ago, I went on a Diptyque training course. My love for the company has been a subject on this blog before

I find it difficult to find a scent that I love - lots of them often give me a headache, or make me feel a little nauseous. But I have been a long-term user of their Philosykos and Tam Dao fragrances, and on my last trip to Liberty, I discovered another scent, Vetyverio, which they've been making for years and is of their classics, plus a new perfume they've launched, called Eau Mohéli.

They're both subtle fragrances, so if you favour a heady, knock-out scent then these aren't for you. Eau Mohéli is described as a floral fragrance, but it appealed to me as someone who doesn't usually go for overly floral scent. If definitely smells nicely unusual, and I was told this is down to the Ylang Ylang, which until now has been too volatile to accurately pin down into a perfume. So Eau Mohéli celebrates years of work and study into how to use Ylang Ylang as a stable perfume ingredient. It's also available as a roll-on (20ml) which is a format I love for carrying around in my handbag.

Vetyverio is a much more unisex fragrance, and I often gravitate to something which is more unisex in style. It's categorised as a woody fragrance, although it has both fruity and grassy undertones. I found it fresh, without fading out to a soapy smell, which so many perfumes seem to do now. 

And in terms of my two long-term perfume pals, Tam Dao and Philosykos, Diptyque have now launched a travel spray holder with perfume re-fills for their most popular scents, so you can travel in style. And with less luggage.