Friday, 29 June 2012

Outfits: If Liberty Did Canal Boats

It would probably look something like this dress i imagine.  When i hung up the dress on the wall to decide if it really was worth a little splurge,  they were the two things that it made me think of:  Liberty fabrics, and somehow the decorative flowery designs you sometimes get on the side of canal boats.  Now if you don't know by now (and might i ask where have you been?!) i love Liberty with an unhealthy enthusiasm that i don't hide very easily.  And i have always rather fancied a little holiday jaunt on a canal boat.  And it was only half price too.  So i practically ran to the fittingroom with this little number.  Win!

This dress is number two in my Topshop sale splash out purchases from last week.  And while it is a big box ticker, 'technically' it is a bit of a crazy purchase too.  Firstly it is from the 'Tall' section. Which i am not.  I am from the 'Small-and-can-never-quite-reach' section. So it is very much more maxi than midi on me.  Secondly, it is a size fourteen and while Toppers sizes may be a little bit of a small fit…i am not a fourteen by any shrink or stretch of my far flung imagination.  But i loved the A-line shape, and the floatiness, and the beautiful print and also the fact that you can see the sides of my underwear (or bikini maybe one day in my dreams) too.  Plus i was itching to cycle home and tie my Liberty print scarf around the waist, or a skinny belt.  It had to be had.  And so it was. 

The End

Dress:  Topshop, £39 £15 in sale, Peacock Pendant, Accessorize SS11, Scarf worn in hair, Accessorize, £12, Charm bracelets, all Accessorize, £8 each.

Ps, Bunting pictured is actually ex-window display from work and so far the only place i can put it where the Mr hasn't complained and/ or noticed.  Largely assuming latter.  

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

There's No Such Word as Can't

If i had a penny for each time i heard my mum say that to me when i was little, i would be a millionaire.  Alright just a little exaggeration. She would often say this to me if i couldn't understand something in my homework, or if i couldn't remember something for a test or exam (i will never ever in my life forget that 7x8 is 56), or if i was trying to draw something and i couldn't get it right.  
I like to think that i have her to thank for my stubborness and sheer determination.  I dare say that sometimes the Mr is not so grateful for these qualities. But there is one thing that i just cannot get my head round; cannot understand the appeal and cannot do.  That is Shop Online.  

I feel like such an admission requires capital letters. 

I have tried tried tried so much, and, in typical 'me' style, it really frustrates me that it doesn't appeal to me!!  And why doesn't it? Every single high street shop i can think of has their own website where you can browse, back and forward through all their goodies and fill your 'basket' until your little hearts content and pay just a fiver in postage for the pleasure.  Whats more, you can buy and browse at 'any o'clock', twenty-four seven - wearing your pyjamas if you like.  You can go shopping if its pouring down outside!! If you are ill! Or hungover, or simply cannot be bothered to head town-wards.  There are 'online exclusives' on most sites -  things that mere high street trawlers like me cannot even hope to come across.  
You can shop all the things you may never have had the chance too.  The wonderful worldwide web reaches everywhere.  I live in Carlisle, and i like it, its a sweet little city but as lovely as it is, we don't have the best selection of shops.  Not say like your bigger cities - London, Edinburgh, Glasgow etc, so your choice is limited a little bit.  And the really good stuff is often worn by half the population.  Shopping online means you can cast your net so so much further.  

You can shop all the stores you love, worldwide, from your sofa.  And apart from the fact that you can 'visit' all the places your feet can't, whether you live in Carlisle or not; you can reach even further than that.  There are specialist websites set up to house exclusive collections, hard to find designers, designer collections at fab reductions, or even just all your favourite labels in one place - Net-a-porter, Asos, Boohoo, The Outnet .  You can buy vintage - handmade even.  Once only found in quirky little vintage shops in small villages, or second hand markets, or Cancer Research shops; sites like Etsy and Ebay make this kind of shopping available to the masses too.  Chances are you have them all book marked.  
Not me.  I would like to say that i don't know what it is.  But i think that i cant do online for many reasons.  For a start, i feel overwhelmed - you are all trying to throw all the clothes and accessories in the whole world at me.  It swamps me.  I have never been a shopper who thinks 'right today i need some new jeans and a skirt, and some new boots.' My shopping 'method' is very much an emotional and heart felt one.  I very rarely need anything.  Christ knows the Mr can vouch for that one a million times over. 
I work in retail, so i regularly buy Monsoon and Accessorize bits for work, at least once or twice a month as part of my job is representing the brand i work for and their product (its a hard life).  For this reason i don't think i ever have the 'urge to splurge' on clothes at the end of the month.  Because i have worked where i am for over five years now, i really do not ever need anything.  Trust me.  I have enough clothes, shoes and paraphernalia to clothe the whole of Carlisle twice over. With spares. 
For that reason my shopping is never really intentional or planned and is often spur of the moment.  I just go a wandering and come across something.  But i cannot 'wander' online.  Browsing is not the same.  I don't need somebody to merchandise something together for me to know how to wear something, or what to do with it, but i become inspired when i wander around shops on the high street.  
Maybe working in retail for most of my life makes me more susceptible to this, but there is so, so much work and thought that goes into making a store look the way it does.  From the outside, your windows play such an integral part in the succession of the rest of what's hidden inside. Each garment is thoughtfully picked.  Each accessory selected to perfectly compliment what it is dressed with.  Even the way the mannequins are positioned in the window is carefully thought out.  And then there are window props - put there to catch the eye, to entice the shopper inside, to compliment the outfits and to fit the brand.  You don't get that online - the clothes are laid out alphabetically, or by type or by 'New In' or 'Best Sellers' etc.

Once you enter a shop, the entire layout has been carefully considered not only to help make your experience a pleasurable one, but again to reflect the brand and their customer.  Merchandising is done with you in mind.  Outfits are built  with accessories easily reachable for those that can't match a top and trousers, or think that a fascinator was a close friend of Terminator.   Nobody tells you that online.  On top of that, often in the store you can see staff wearing the clothes - real people wearing it - which is a million times better than seeing a 7ft giraffe model it who has never eaten anything in her life but ryvitas.  
Don't get me wrong, i know what i like and what suits me and it is not because i need someone to show me what to do with everything; i just miss that whole experience from online shopping.  I like to feel what i am buying; to see the colour in daylight, to try it on there and there; and to be immersed and inspired by all the things around me that go into making me fall in love with something so very much.  I like to consider.  To try it on, to think and imagine, maybe have a cappucino…..then make an informed decision - not fill my virtual basket with something that isn't yellow and actually turns out to be more of a green and that looks nothing like i envisaged.  

Maybe i am an online shopping prude,  if there is such a thing.  Maybe one day i'll wake up and just get it.  And the thing is, i know i am missing out, big style, but i just cant do it.

Sorry Mum. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Here's To...

I tend to not normally co-ordinate my outfits to the road but sometimes this happens.
Sunday not being anything like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Today.

One can only hope!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Do You Recognise Me?

Ironically i am sat at home tip-typing out this little post wearing my new lovely Topshop sale sundress (with the tags still on - i am road testing you see.  In a kind of 'have a really bought this/ will we really have anymore sunshine' kind of way). I got changed as soon as i got home, namely because i was soaked through to the bone, despite wearing 90 denier black tights, a vest, a blouse and tweed shorts.  Oh no my friends it is not Winter, it is infact bloody June.  

I am not going to rain-rant again, i fear my last three posts have mentioned rain!!
Today was my lovely day off, and so after a little lie in and some crumpets with ginger preserve and a big mug of Lady Grey, oh and a little bit of One Tree Hill (don't you love E4?!), i decided i would brave the elements as i needed boring bits from town. 

Although i am brave and unfazed by getting a little bit soggy as i normally look like a bit of a scruff bag anyway; today was definitely not a day to brave the park with lovely little Willow.
The one plus about our British Summer is that it is making me think a lot more about what i am wearing and be a little bit more imaginative.   

I love this outfit.  It is really comfortable, practical and very weather proof!! I have been really getting into the whole androgyny/geeky chic  vibe that is about at the minute, but with my own spin.  I love little blouses with collars tucked into shorts or skirts, tights and my brogues and my satchel.  And the great thing is on the odd day that we do have bit of sun, i can bob some little ankle socks with them instead!  

Those who know me will know i am a very girly girl.  Not in a 'fake tan, glittery, lipgloss' sort of way, but i love my clothes, my prints, my accessories etc, and my newest, most favourite addition is my little Monsoon Childrens pink bow hair clip, which i have been loving wearing as a little bow tie with all my little printed blouses. 

Here i popped i with a really old Topshop printed blouse and my little Monsoon tweed cropped jacket, and my D.I.Y little tweed shorts.  I bought the trousers many many years ago from Gap, lovely little black tweed with sweet little pockets.  And while i loved them, i hardly ever wore them.  Then when i was stuck for a Halloween costume to wear to work a few years ago, i decided i was going to be a clown (bear with me, it worked honestly!).  So i chopped them into little shorts, and i have worn them so so much since! 

Incase you haven't twigged yet the post title is actually an Emelie Sande lyric in celebration of the fact that, accompanied with my very lovely Mum, and for her Birthday which was last Sunday, we shall be going to see the lovely lady in November this year. 

We went on a little expedition to see Moby for my 18th birthday (his '18' tour) and to see Muse a few years later but we haven't been on a musical adventure since so it will be super special!!!!


Sunday, 17 June 2012


 So today it rained.  Again.  Albeit not completely all of the time, just fits and spurts and random showers, combined with angry wispy wind.  When you are trying to get out on a bike this can be most annoying.  Unlike Saturdays saturating 'soaks you to the skin' type rain, today was at least manageable, in a 'as quick as you got a bit wet you got a bit dry' due to the    wind. 

I did however make an exciting discovery in the shape of a lovely vintage print shower cap.   It works perfectly to cover the lovely leather saddle on Willow, and makes sure my behind is kept warm and dry too…even if my plaits aren't.

Every Cloud!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Meet Me in Marrakech

For me, clothes are many many things.  To speak a thousand words without uttering a single one; to escape to a different place a million miles away, or simply a way to be crazy and creative and always always, colourful.

My find last week ticks every single box there is.  

Contrary to what most would believe i am not a big shopper.  I have my haunts - the places i like to wander regularly and of course i need to wear current Monsoon and Accessorize stock for work, but i don't buy from elsewhere very often at all.  When i do, it is only when i fall truly madly deeply for everything about a something:  when i can imagine it working with many other items in my wardrobe, wearing it lots of different ways and for lots of different things, and lastly but by no means leastly, if its very unlikely i will see someone else wearing it.  

I know that sounds silly.  But there is some triumphant feeling in the admiring glances and compliments you get when you are wearing something nobody has seen before, or isn't very available.  My biggest hate hate hate where clothes are concerned is seeing ten people wearing exactly the same thing the same way with no imagination.  Fashion is about celebrating individuality and taking something you have fallen in love with and making it your own.  

I digress.  Last week i stumbled upon the most beautiful dress in TK Maxx.  This is no real surprise to me as i find most of my favourite bits and pieces in there.  I never understand people who dont like the place.  I think this is largely down to the fact that its not merchandised, or laid out in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye or in a way that helps you build an outfit.  But i could spend hours there! Days even!

May i introduce you….

Oh how i love this lovely dress.  I always thought i would have to be middle-aged to wear a wrap dress.  I remember all the fuss, frolics and excitement around Diane Von Furstenberg's iconic wrap dresses and always thinking they were not only far far too expensive for little me, but also a little bit old fashioned too.  

Maybe this post is actually a sign I am middle-aged, not that i found a beautiful dress?!

As you may have guessed if you nosey about here, i love my print and colour and this was what first drew me to the dress - it reminds me of Morocco; of warm evenings drinking Rose tea with lots of candles and tealights…there would be a strong smell of incense, maybe frankincense, something warm and heady….sounds of a market in the distance…oh i just escape by even looking at it.
Morroccan-ey moodboarding


Just a bit more….

In reality i am in a very rainy Carlisle drinking Twinings Lady Grey and nibbling Green and Blacks Almond-ey chocolate in my pyjamas.  But i can dream.  

And that is my very favourite part about this dress.     

Dress, Clements Ribeiro Portobello, £29.99 (RRP apparently £189.99);  Bag, French Connection, £75 many many years ago.  Skull ring, Topshop, £2 (sale price).  Peacock earrings, £5, H&M a long long time ago.  Charm bracelets (just seen) £8 each, Accessorize.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Swept Away

When i met the Mr, i knew he played guitar, aherm bass guitar.  I must make sure i get that part right before we even go on any further.  

But then i found out that he taught guitar.  And made guitars too - bass guitars.  And so it shouldn't i suppose be any surprise that he doesn't very often bring a guitar anywhere near our little somewhere.  Which is why it feels like such a lovely treat to be able to watch him play, or just twiddle twoddle about a bit with a guitar.  This is a very very rare treat. Makes me feel all funny inside.  

Funny insides apart, i was also lucky enough to see him twiddle about a bit more last week, thanks to Carlisle Music City - a non-profit making organisation designed to showcase and celebrate new and up and coming local talent.  

Last week a different band played each day on the the city's humble little bandstand (normally only ever used for squawky brass band playing, even more squawky tribute acts, and sometimes carol singers at Christmas time)  So real bands, playing real music and also being local, was a real treat to the ears!!  

The Mr played on tuesday.  I unfortunately was working but managed to sneak out at lunchtime and hide and watch.  With a huge smile across my cheeks.  
'mylittlebrother' Tuesday 6th June, Carlisle City Centre as part of Carlisle Music City.  


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

I Run Around Town...

I feel a little bad as my lovely day yesterday was not very royal, regal or jubilee-ey at all!! I caught a quarter of the Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace, then watched the Made in Chelsea season finale instead, then fell asleep! Don't judge me too harshly!!

I did however have the loveliest little bike jaunt with Willow, it being so lovely and sunny and all.  And i suppose we did ride under some bunting.  But i also got a little snap happy at all the summery-ness too and so i thought id share a bit…

Beautiful lovely blue skies!  Really had to concentrate on remaining on said bike and stop looking upwards. Too pretty!!

Bitts Park in Carlisle city centre is my usual stomping ground for all things bike shaped - these pictures do not do justice to how lovely it is, any time of year, but at the minute it feels particularly pretty now all the summery blooms have come out to play!

When i got my Pashley Penny a little bit ago, well just a touch after Christmas, i couldn't get enough of scooting about everywhere in my mittens and bobble hat, even if it was -3 outside.  For me this was big news.  I have never been into exercising.  I tried to run (this sounds daft, but turns out there is a wrong way to run) and injured some funny leg muscles which meant i had to go down the stairs on my bum for over a week.  Then, i proudly taught myself to swim. This took about three months! And although i didn't mind it; there was the whole raspberry pavalova of getting changed/showering etc.  

I am a fairly slim-ish sort of size 8-10, now.  And i eat quite healthy, give or take the odd splurge.  But i have the sort of composition which means i must exercise to be the size i am.  Plus i feel like i am grumpy and a bit bleurgh if i have no exercise and breathe no fresh air.  

But i have found my thang. I love love love whizzing and whirring about on little Willow, and i am really loving summer-y whizzing around even more!!!  

Yesterday wasn't all about whizzing, i did stumble upon The Most Amazing Dress in the world…can't wait to show you.  Don't move!!!!!



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