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.

Monday, 17 November 2014


The reason I have abandoned this blog of late and haven't been posting, is because I have been spending all of my time looking for the perfect winter boot. This is almost not a joke. This year it has been a mission, and, one which I haven't cracked yet, so I have put it on hold for the time being. I have hauled myself out of the boot abyss. If any of you have had some better success than I then please do show and tell.

In the meantime, there has been some time for vintage shopping, and here are some of my finds.

{new glass-stand fruit bowl}
{strained - a new Norwegian tea strainer, found for just 75p}

{tricky to totter in, but the colour combination makes these a winner}
{a vintage Debenhams sun dress - this is sitting it out until next year…}
{this coat was donation to me by Bob, and is my new favourite thing}

This coat is a winner - and very of the moment, with its lack of any sort of fastening, which seems to be the thing going on for coats at the moment. Something of an oxymoron. Its's 100% wool and made by Hammels, and the black detailing on the shoulders and pockets is just brilliant.

The picture below documents my ongoing obsession with stripes, which is not only limited to my wardrobe but also to home furnishings. The stripe on the left my become a window blind at some point. The stripe in the middle has already been made into cushions, and the stripe on the right is my new duvet and pillowcase set. 

{all kinds of stripes}

A couple of weeks ago saw Popeye and I head out for a day trip down to Bruton in Somerset, for two reasons: to visit At The Chapel and also Hauser & Wirth. I'd read about Bruton and how it's earned its current moniker of "the new Notting Hill" and fortune in Vogue magazine, which reeled a long list of the great and the good who have moved to the area. And so we weren't surprised when we found ourselves jostling up against Rhys Ifans when we were waiting for our lunch table.

Hauser & Wirth is an amazing set-up of an art gallery in Somerset, located in an old farm setting, and now buzzing with cool-looking people and art which I have no idea what it's meant to be about. Amazing cafe though. And shop. And let's be honest, they're always the best bits anyway. My favourite part was the light installation below by Martin Creed, which was displayed alongside of the farmhouse, which I bought many, many postcards of.

{farmhouse, art by Martin Creed - pic via The Telegraph)
{the bar - pic via here}
{garden: pic via The Guardian}
{At The Chapel exterior}
{At The Chapel interior - pic via The Telegraph}
And the pizza - it was so VERY good I forgot to take a photo of it until I'd troughed half of it. Best pizza I've had in a long old time. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Z for Accessorize

I know this range isn't exactly hot off the press, but last weekend was the first time I'd seen it in its gold-plated flesh.

It's a well priced, beautifully designed range which looks and feel much more expensive than it actually is. All the items are gold plated and any embellishment is using crystals or semi-precious stones. For those of you thinking about starting your Christmas shopping (I know! How organised?) then this would be a great place to start. Use voucher code STUDENT4ACC for a 10% discount when you check out.

{Z for Accessorize jewellery range}

Top row, left to right
Crystal tab short drop earrings, £12; Aura precious stone ring, £15; Evil eye cord bracelet, £10.

Middle row, left to right
Azure bands stack set, £15; Cassius long coin pendant necklace, £17; Cut out hexagon stud earrings, £8.

Bottom row, left to right
Galaxy pave disc ring, £15; Simple triangle necklace, £12; Kiki hexagon long pendant necklace, £22.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Tonight we will online shop (with 20% discount)

20% discount codes are spreading like a rash at the moment, with Boden (promotion code J5Y8), Atterley Road (promotion code NEWSEASON20), My Wardrobe (promotion code WITMYW25, and actually it's 25%) and Hobbs (promotion code ATUMN) all offering the discount.

So, given that it's pay day tomorrow, you could save yourself some serious money by getting online and clickety-clicking that mouse. You could even get ahead with your Christmas shopping (less than 90 days to go, people!) - don't forget that Boden also sells menswear, for those essential socks / pants / knitwear based man-presents.

So I looked to my two favourite retailers out of the bunch, Atterley Road and Boden, to see what would tempt me from their new season edits (don't forget that these codes don't apply on sale items) and here are my top picks. And oops, I've just ordered the jewelled pumps from Boden, which I believe will not leave my feet for the whole of Christmas and New Year. They're festive greetings in shoe form.

All prices below are listed BEFORE discount, so you might want to get your calculator.

Top row, left to right
French Connection Emmeline wide leg trousers, £95; By Malene Birger Acalion chunky necklace, £109; Boden raglan sweatshirt, £49; People Tree Hallie stripe t-shirt, £38; People Tree, Stella fitted dress, £25.

Middle row, left to right
Boden flirty pencil skirt, £69; Boden slip-on trainer, £69; Selected Femme Kanna jumper, £45; Boden jewelled pump, £129.

Bottom row, left to right
Boden boho boot, £119; Boden woven front jumper, £79; Boden colour pop blouse, £119; Atterley Road Kelly Leopard clutch, £55.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Weekend away: Bridport

If you're trying to think of somewhere to go for a little weekend away, then you couldn't really go wrong with Bridport in Dorset. Dorset is always the county which we drive through on the way to Devon, never stopping to find out more about the area. So this time we dedicated a special trip to the area.

I'd heard great reports about The Bull Hotel, which also has a cider and pizza restaurant in the stable block out the back, as well as its own restaurant, bar and cocktail bar. It packs quite the punch. And the town has an enviable antiques market on a Saturday morning, as well as being packed with independent high street shops in its vintage quarter and a bustling arts centre. Oh and there's also a hefty dose of charity shops. All in all, it's quite the Lemonade Pockets sort of place.

Lyme Regis is nearby for a visit, but be warned it is jammed full of tourists in summer, although Popeye and I managed to get ourselves a session on the outdoor table tennis tables complete with sea view for a competitively fought game.

The best local beach is Burton Bradstock, only about a ten minute drive away, for some stunning Jurassic Coast sea views and marvellous food from the Hive Beach Cafe.

{The Bull Hotel}

{table tennis comes with a view of the famous Cobb}

{sea views from the Hix Oyster & Fish House, Lyme Regis}

{The Stables in Bridport - anyone for cider?}

{cider with a side of pizza}

{cocktails in the Venner Bar}

{new toothbrush mug from the vintage market}

{my favourite stall at the market - Jenny Sibthorp - that's her!}

{my lobster pot zipped purse - similar here although I'm loving the dry stone wall print too}

{Girl's Own Store, Bridport}

{huge array of flowers at the market}

{Burton Bradstock beach with the famous Hive Beach Cafe}

{the biggest pork scratchings at The Bull restaurant}

{er, more cocktails}

Friday, 19 September 2014

Basket case

I like a browse of the ferm LIVING website occasionally, loving all the contemporary Danish products they sell and their beautifully styled photos.

I've long been a fan of these wire baskets, which are sold in several sizes to store blankets, cushions, magazine, knitting… anything which needs to be amalgamated into one place to stop the place from looking untidy.

{baskets come in a range of sizes}

{available in four different colours}

{wooden tops for the baskets are also available}

{prices from EUR 58.00}

When I found this dusty, misshapen wire basket in the attic of an old building I decided to attack it with the spray paint to try and create my own (admittedly more rustic) version of a ferm LIVING wire basket. And also we needed a bin in the study so this was a cheap solution. But it's strictly for paper only - no apple cores allowed.

{the original version - a bit misshapen}

{choose your paint colour and spray away}

{the finished version, with a little bending back into shape}

And for something a bit more purse-friendly, H&M have got a range of wire storage items online at the moment, starting from £6.99.

{wire storage available from H&M}

Friday, 12 September 2014

Holiday shopping

Je suis en vacances! Having a little break in the south of France for a couple of weeks, enjoying the sunshine and mainly spending a lot of time sitting around the pool, surrounded by vineyards. Nice. I did a little bit of holiday shopping before I came, and here's what was on my wish list. As per usual, I've packed for two weeks, but have so far only worn about 20% of my wardrobe. Wishing I'd saved the suitcase space to bring back some wine...

Top row, left to right
Stripe drawstring dress, £32.99 GAP (not the exact one I bought - I found mine for £11 in the GAP sale, but this one is similar); Pleated dress, £74.95 GAP (love this dress, and they also do it in a floral chambray); Leather satchel, £74.95 GAP; Toiletries: travel sized Bumble & Bumble Surf SprayThickening Lotion and Caudalie Beauty Elixir.

Middle row, left to right
Patti patterned front jumper, £59 Reiss; Barry M Lipstick in Coral Blush, £4.49 Superdrug; Poplin sleep set, £29.95 GAP.

Bottom row, left to right
Hush cross strap leather sandals, £40 Office; Foster leather flat sandals, £22 ASOS; Essie Clam Bake nail polish, £10.95 Look Fantastic.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Making & baking

So, I took an unscheduled blogging break - what started as a few days whilst we moved house (yes, again) turned into a week, then a month and then before I knew it I'd had two months off. And this blog post is partly the reason - sometimes a post will seem to be much harder then the rest, and this one became my nemesis, so I'm just going to go ahead and publish it so that I can purge myself and move beyond it.

I have had a huge amount of crafty projects on the go recently, but been particularly bad about blogging any of them. I think by the time I finish one (I am a laboured crafter, having more enthusiasm than talent for any of it) I am so relieved that the prospect of re-living it online doesn't appeal. However, they say time is a healer so here's a little glimpse at some of what I've been doing.  

{finished map hoops}

I wanted to make something for Bob's wedding, as well as giving the traditional vouchers, that would be a bit more personal and unique. After coming across a stash of old maps for £1 each at the charity shop,  I managed to find three different maps: one of where she lived when she met her husband, one of their first date location, and one of where they live together now. They also make good new baby presents with the map location as the birthplace.

{raw materials - embroidery hoop and map - both from charity shops}

{choose your area}

{assemble your hoop}

{crafting supplies - new scissors from favourite shop M.A.D.E in Cirencester - tricky to use but such a great colour!}

{putting stamp and sticker colelction to good use creating gift tags}

{my new favourite gold glitter alphabet stickers from Waterstones, but can be found online here}

And I've been trying out some new recipes. Tabbouleh was a big success but only after a few attempts and realising I needed to ignore the instructions on the packet which involved too much water and resulted in porridge. For some reason I became fixated with cakes which contained both desiccated coconut and cherries, and have finally settled on the recipe below as my favourite. And the Nigel Slater sausage recipe right at the bottom of this post has already spread like wildfire amongst friends and family, and I have to credit my mum for starting this craze - all aboard!

{first foray into Tabbouleh}

{banana coconut loaf cake}

{ta da!} 

{I kept half for eating, and froze the other half}

{summer in a glass}

{inspiration from Yotton Ottolenghi - N is for new potatoes}

{Nigel Slater's sausages with summer vegetables}