Friday, 30 November 2012

Foodie Friday #1 - Gone Bananas

I'm not sure how many of you will be interested in this, as this supposedly a fashion blog.  However, I have no plans to get dressed today as there are two unwritten essays with my name on that I need to tackle, and such activities require the comfiest pyjamas and chain drinking tea.  As you can imagine, this wouldn't make the most inspired outfit post.  In place of this, because I've already skipped a day of posting this week, I thought I'd give you my new favourite recipe.

I baked this banana cake last night because I had a few overripe bananas to use and because it was a wonderful way to procrastinate.  I would have taken pictures of the baking process but due to my under-equipt Swedish student kitchen, I had to whip this up in a large saucepan rather than a mixing bowl, so it was all a bit unsightly.  I knew the second I put this in the oven that it'd been worth it though - the smell was heavenly.  I'm not exaggerating.  I usually get impatient baking and just want it to hurry up and cook and already, but this smelt so good I wanted it to stay in the oven all day.  I would happily have this scent bottled and put in a candle.

The recipe based on one I found on Google and, in all honesty, I only picked it because it had cup measurements and I don't have any scales.  It doesn't involve many ingredients and is quite the budget bake.  There's also the potential to make it very healthy by swapping in wholemeal flour and halving the sugar.  Whatever you do though, please just go and bake this now, for the smell alone.

Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of sugar
1tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of plain flour
nuts and raisins to taste

Preheat oven to 175°C.

In any large vessel, mix the melted butter into the mashed bananas.  Add the sugar and beaten egg and mix thoroughly.  Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix further.  Add the flour and stir until fully combined.  Lastly, add any nuts and/or raisins (I used approximately one handful each of roughly chopped walnuts, roughly chopped almonds and raisins).  Mix until evenly distributed.  Pour mixture into a pre-prepared greased and lined tin.  Bake for one hour in the centre of the oven.

Inhale the intoxicating scent for sixty minutes.  Eat.

I quite enjoyed writing this post.  How would you feel about a regular 'Foodie Friday' feature?  Not only does it let me take advantage of a good opportunity for alliteration, but it would also stop me just conjuring up bowl after bowl of spaghetti each night out of laziness.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Daily Bread #14 - The Restorative Powers of Paisley

Jumper - Mango
Jeans - Topshop
Boots - Bianco
Belt - River Island
Necklace - Topshop

Today is not my day.  I overslept, remembered it was the week for my night class, then I took about thirty photos and only these two were even slightly acceptable.   However, on days like today, it always helps to wear something that makes you smile the second you look at it.  For me, that's these jeans.  After all, when in doubt, wear paisley.

As it's just a casual, dreary Thursday, I styled these statement jeans simply with my new jumper I picked up in the Mango sale and this necklace that got delivered yesterday.  The necklace, which you'll see in more detail soon, is a collar made of hands and did come with dangly moons, but one fell off this morning so I just unhooked them all and I prefer it now I think.  It was reduced to £4.50 so I don't feel too bad about dismantling it.

Anyway, I have an urgent appointment with the library to attend to so I shall leave you to your days and return more cheerily tomorrow.

For now,

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Loosened Purse Strings

Purse - Biba at House of Fraser

For eighteen months, I have been lugging around a tatty old purse and cringing slightly every time I put it into new bags or pull it out to pay in shops.  It was an olive green, matte leather, three quarter sized piece that I bought in Bruges after broken zip on my old Topshop number kept letting my coins slip away.  It was only meant to be a temporary purse yet it has persevered  since June 2011, embarrassingly.

Every time I found a suitable replacement, I was either experiencing a bout of poverty or I found myself second guessing the purchase.  I knew that I didn't want another run of the mill high street purse - I wanted something that would last, something shiny and exciting.  Yet, at the same time, I wasn't sure if it was a bit silly to spend such a lot on something essentially designed to hold your money - wouldn't I rather keep the money and simply let it inhabit something less shiny and exciting?

Throughout this angels and devils battle concerning a new purse, I'd had this Biba one at the back of my mind.  It's the Ruby zip around model and I kept returning to the Plymouth House of Fraser store to quietly lust over it.  I originally wanted it in green, then purple, then green, then purple.  I think not being able to make my mind up was the real reason it never got bought.  That, and the fact it was going to take a £99.00 sized chunk out of my  poor student budget.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was innocently browsing the House of Fraser website only to find my long-loved purse reduced down to £59.40.  It was now or never.  I spent a few days pondering the green vs. purple problems, including seeking, and receiving, advice direct from the HoF Twitter team.  They said green.  My mum thought purple.  

In a surprising turn of events, I ordered black.

As I mentioned in last Monday's post, I'm a recent convert to black.  I just didn't used to understand it, but now I really appreciate its classic connotations and its understated elegance.  Pair it with some gold, such as the logo and zipper on this purse, and I'm sold.  It clicked that I would probably get bored with either of the novelty colours (also, as my Dad always says, "where there's doubt, there is no doubt" - wise words) yet black would never go out of favour.  It just felt right.

As you can see, the purse has twelve card slots, plus two pockets behind them where you can keep extra, less used cards - you know, the Cafe Nero loyalty cards and the library cards for towns you no longer live in.  There's also the zippered coin purse and lots of room for receipts, notes, bus passes... you name it, there's a hiding place for it in this purse.

I had this ordered to the UK and made my mum bring it with her at the weekend.  She was flying with just hand luggage, a meagre 10kg allowance from Ryan Air, and complained about how heavy it was.  For the £60 it cost me, I should think so - if it'd been light as air, what exactly was I paying for?  I must say though, parting with a little extra money was definitely worth it.  It might not be the most cutting edge purse you've ever seen, but I know I'll use it for as long as it's alive and, at this stage in my life, if I'm going to splash out on something, I have to know I'll be getting my money's worth.  I'm pretty sure I will this time.

If you like what you see, this little number and its coloured siblings are still on sale.  Find them here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Daily Bread #14 - Gigging Hell

Top - Topshop
Cardigan - Vintage Engelhorn
Jeans - Cubus
Belt - Topman
Brogues - Swedish, Unknown
Necklace - Ethiopian airport

I'm not sure how many of you will be familiar with Northampton, UK, but I assume not a great deal.  Growing up there was interesting experience.  The town itself is bleak, and I'm not just saying that in a 'woe is me, curse my hometown' kind of way - visitors regularly comment on just how dreary it is.  Yet the utter misery of the town meant that its youth seemed to rally together in a bid to have some fun.  Whereas other places seemed to have more cliquey divides, Northampton seemed to have that less, in my experience at least.  You were simply in on the attempt to make some fun, or you were out, and that was that.

A key source of entertainment was live music.  I guess it was because it was something that people could do without much help - you could buy a guitar, you could coerce a grotty pub into letting you play, and there you had it, a night out for all your friends.  As I can't even clap in time, I participated in this scene purely as an audience member - but what's a band without their audience?  For a pretty nondescript Midlands town, we also got a surprising amount of bigger artists coming to play.  The best gigs were at the Soundhaus but that unfortunately closed down due to noise complaints (a cause of uproar in the glory days of 2008) but the bands kept coming to the Roadmender.  

Given that my social life revolved around sweaty gigs - from the good to the bad, the famous to the hopeless - I was pretty familiar with gig clothes.  I find they fall into an awkward category; they need to hit a certain level of nighttime dressiness, yet incorporate the comfort and practicality of day wear whilst also being almost indestructible.  It wasn't until yesterday, when I remembered I had tickets to see The XX tonight, that I realised I no longer had any idea how to dress for gigs.  Do I even have the materials for it anymore?

This morning I raided my wardrobe and cobbled together this outfit, which I think tonight's look will be based around.  I think the black jeans and the breton style stripes are a classic combination which, to me, gives an air of chic yet looks simultaneously carefree.  I will probably swap the cardigan for a denim shirt or leather jacket later and add some more edgy jewellery, I'm thinking chains and spikes.  I chose these brogues because they seem pretty indestructible and I don't care too much about them.  If I had some Converse here in Sweden with me, then I'd probably throw those on instead, but sadly I do not. 

I think part of my problem with gig dressing is that I get a little protective over my clothes and find it hard to be relaxed if I know I'm going to be stood on and crushed.  Do you have this problem, or is it just me?

Merry Monday,

Sunday, 25 November 2012

God Jul (that's Merry Christmas, to you and me)

It might not even be December yet but, in my life at least, Christmas is in full swing.  I think I've been quite patient on the festive front this year, to be honest.  Usually the first day of September comes around and I've already got a queue of Noel reblogs waiting on Tumblr, my Christmas jumper is freshly washed (and I don't mean one of these attractive little Topshop fair isle numbers; this is bright, this is boxy, this is old) and a dozen mince pies are bubbling in the oven.  Amongst my friends and family, I'm notorious for my overwhelming quantities of festive spirit (an awkward side effect being that ex boyfriends regularly contact me in December because "it just reminded them of me" but that's a story for another time) but, this year - 2012, the year the world's meant to end - I just haven't felt my usual festive pazazz.  

Or - I hadn't.  Past tense.

Then my cousin and my mother hopped on a plane and, in a bid to give them a trip that was actually worth coming for, we trawled around every Christmas market, light display and shop window that Gothenburg has to offer.  And oh my, was it wonderful.  We were tired and we were cold and really, I think by the 1000th fairy light anybody would be able to say they'd seen enough, yet pretty quickly I realised that the air was full of that Christmas fizz, that atmospheric excitement, and I was off.  

Many mugs of restorative Glögg, several hours spent trying to choose a favourite bauble and a lot of attempted renditions of Mistletoe and Wine later (a bit of a fail, in all honesty, as only one of the three of us has any musical talent at all) and it feels like Christmas. Not only does it feel like Christmas though; it feels like family too, and that's saying something, given that I'm alone in bed in Sweden, miles away from home.  The two just go arm in arm. As I stood in the middle of a department store trying on a rather fetching Santa Claus dressing gown (ahem...) my Dad text me to say that him and my Grandma had made a wish in the Christmas pudding for me.  That confirmed it. 

God Jul, if you hadn't gathered, is Swedish for Merry Christmas.  My Mum's name is Julie, occasionally shortened to Jules or Jule, so we really jumped onto the God Jul bandwagon, saying it all weekend long with a range of intonations that gave it no end of meanings.  It didn't really quite occur to us until last night that anybody listening in would just think we were the most festive (correction: strangest) trio they'd ever encountered, shouting Merry Christmas all over the place and dropping it casually into conversation.  There are worse things to be though, I guess.

I'll leave you with some more pictures from the weekend. They all come with a heavy dose of comforting, home-from-home, Christmas magic. You'll just have to take my word for that. God Jul and good tidings to all.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Daily Bread #13 - Call The Midwife, Apparently

Dress - ASOS
Jumper - Lindex
Brogues - Unknown Swedish 

Today, my mother and cousin arrived for a weekend of festive fun in Sweden and since their arrival, they have done little except mock me for looking like an extra from recent BBC drama Call The Midwife.  Pssht.  Apparently it was the combination of jumper/collar, swingy mac and very sensible black brogues.  I'm not going to lie - I don't really find any of this particularly insulting.  Take me back to the fifties any day.

I must admit though, the shoes do look slightly like they were acquired via an orthopaedic prescription.  I bought them yesterday on a desperate hunt for anything flat-ish and lace up, after the contents of Big Foot's shoe collection was delivered on Wednesday.  I couldn't find anything that I loved and I wasn't really willing to part money for mediocre (either my student brain or my middle aged one finally engaging) so when I saw these reduced to 99sek, about £9, I thought they'd do as a filler shoe, until I fell in love again.  It got even better when I took them to the till and the sales assistant informed me that it was buy one, get one half price, and off I trotted to find a second pair.  I found a pair of quite nice black heels, also in the sale, so ended up with 698sek worth of shoes for 148sek which I'm not complaining about at all, even if they are more suited to the doctor's office...

I must stop rambling about the embarrassments of today's outfit though and please let's discuss the dress instead.  Jeez.  It came in the Big Foot parcel from ASOS and probably made up for my footwear disappointments.  I ordered it on a whim, as I saw it was reduced to £20 and I'm a big fan of toile style prints (as you can tell by duvet set featured here).  I was pretty chuffed when it came.  Whilst it's more of a summer dress, with a really exciting shape to the shoulder area, I also love it styled for autumn with a jumper like this, and I think the monochrome colouring stop it being too unseasonal.  It won extra brownie points because dresses never fit me properly - disproportionate boob:hip ratio, with the former coming out on top - but this does up all the way to the top without a single gape and also fits perfectly on my waist.  Bravo ASOS, bravo.

As predicted, today has been full of festive fun already.  We browsed the Christmas sections of pretty much every store in Gothenburg, wandered until dark in order to appreciate the lights and then had Glogg, a Swedish mulled wine type affair, with our risotto.  Beth and my mum have both fallen asleep now (they blame the early flight for this antisocial bedtime; I blame the Glogg) so I thought I'd type a little post for you.

Talking of Christmas, something which I won't stop doing until January, I received an email from Vicki (A Life of Geekery) this week containing details for bloggers Secret Santa which is VERY exciting.  Christmas really is a-coming, hoorah!

With good tidings and weekend wishes,

P.S. After many occasions of having problems with no light, I took my pictures really early today and found there was too much.  Oops!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Daily Bread #12 - Friday Feeling, on a Thursday

Shirt - Glamorous 
Jeans - Cubus
Cardigan - Warehouse
Belt - River Island
Wedges - River Island
Socks - Topshop
Necklace - Miss Selfridge

Do you have any of those items that sit in your wardrobe for months, you wonder why they don't get worn, then you put them on and you remember exactly why they don't come out to play very often?  That is exactly the case with these jeans.  My only other leg denim is navy and black, and sometimes it's just a blue jeans kinda day, so on come these Cubus jeans.  Usually, when I first put them on, they've been newly tumble dried (they seem to get washed more frequently than they get worn) so they cling and fit like a perfectly skinny glove.  As the day goes on, however, they begin to go a strange and baggy.  Looking at these pictures, I see why they don't get worn.  The denim just isn't thick enough to suit having any room for manoeuvre, yet that's exactly what there is.

The rest of my outfit consists, once again, of some favourites that have stood the test of time.  The belt, necklace and socks all date back to 2008.  The shirt, cardigan and wedges are slightly newer additions but have still been knocking around for over a year now.  I quite like combining older clothes in new ways though to update them slightly.  Whilst there's admittedly nothing groundbreaking about this outfit, I know for a fact that these items wouldn't have been put together like this last year and then I feel a little less recycled.  I also get a smug kind of 'I told you so' satisfaction in reaction to my mother's endless "but you won't wear it enough, will you?" complaints.  Yes, yes, I know that's not really very nice, but that's where we're at.

I think I may have mentioned that I placed a naughty ASOS order a few weeks ago.  Well, after much anticipation, it finally arrived yesterday and I was over the moon because it meant I finally had some flat brogue-style shoes back in my life, which I was desperate for.  I eagerly tore open the parcel, took the lid off the box and pulled a shoe from inside... and kept pulling, and kept pulling.  It just didn't stop coming.  Eventually, when the whole length of this monster was before me, I couldn't help but laugh: it was simply enormous.  I've checked I didn't accidentally order men's shoes, but nope, these are all woman, and supposedly a UK7.  They are not.  I will treat you to a size comparison picture before I send them back.  By jove.

Big-footed tales aside, tomorrow, my mum and cousin are visiting for a festive weekend of perusing the Christmas markets and other seasonal offerings of Gothenburg.  You can expect a lot of pictures from this adventure as I really love Christmas, if you hadn't gathered that already. I'm not sure I'll get much chance to post but I'm going to try and have an organised Thursday evening and set some posts up for over the weekend (oo-er, I feel like a proper blogger now!).  Have a lovely weekend last weekend of November; this time next week it's officially time to be excited for the big 2-5.

With pre-mature Friday feeling,

P.S. Do you like my wine bottle candle creations?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Prickig Katt #2 - The Beauty is in the Wrapping

Ring - Prickig Katt
Nails -  Topshop in 'Sketch'

I wrote a post last week, which can be found here, about a wonderful shop called Prickig Katt that I discovered tucked away in a corner of Gothenburg.  However, I was so wrapped up in my utter delight at having uncovered such a gem, that I didn't get around to showing you what I actually bought, which was this ring.  There were so many to choose from and I honestly wanted to bring them all home.  What caught my eye about this one was the ovular shape, which I love in rings in general, and the combination of metal detailing and statement stone.  It only cost me 98sek, the same price as the majority of their rings, and at around £9.00 I thought it was a pretty good buy.

As usual though, the story does not stop here.  What actually excited me more than my purchase, or at least equally so, was the beautiful wrapping of it.  Just as I get a lot of joy by clothes wrapped in tissue paper and shoes which come with dust bags, the attention to detail just blew my mind.  Before I bore you with another declaration of love for Prickig Katt, I'll let some pictures do the talking.

As the lady at the counter was putting together this ensemble, I was too busy gushing about how much I loved her shop to pay much attention to what she was doing, and it wasn't until I came home that I really noticed the tiny heart-print package I had been given.  I carefully pulled opened the sealed cone and out popped the daintiest shredded pink paper, which I thought looked just beautiful against the brown paper.  

And there, nestled amongst this wondrous wrapping, was my ring.  Is it over the top to say I felt a little emotional as I worked it out of the tightly packed paper? It's true, anyway.  There was just something about the detailing of the presentation that made the whole experience so much more satisfying than paying £20 for a Topshop sales assistant to fling you a plastic bag with a ring rattling around inside on a plastic tag.  I know that some people shop simply as a means to an end, but I enjoy the activity itself, and it's details like this that make me that much more willing to part with my money.  It was almost worth my 98sek simply to spend the best part of an afternoon devouring that tiny shop and then to get the pleasure of unwrapping my little parcel when I got home.  Of course though, it was a  great bonus that this beauty was inside the package, and that I get to adore it on my hand on many occasions in the future.  So let's just have a few moments of appreciation, for Prickig Katt and for all their treasures...

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Daily Bread #11 - A Double Denim Dilemma

Shirt - Vintage Gap
Jeans - Cubus
Boots - Bianco

I find that with almost every outfit I post, on a day to day basis at least, I'm constantly making "sorry this is so casual/simple" apologies.  It has occurred to me though that maybe my style just is rather simple, and when I'm getting dressed at 5.45am (yes, that happened this morning) I'm not sure that I would want it to be anything else.  Equally, whilst I do really admire others who have those gloriously bold styles, it's the beautifully simplistic looks that I find myself lusting after most.  I just think there is something so wonderful in a few key components that compliment each other well and I envy when somebody manages to make a statement through clever combinations of texture, shape and shades, rather than merely by default through outlandish choices.

I am not, however, pretending that today's outfit is one such 'beautifully simplistic' outfit though.  It perhaps does just sit firmly in the realm of the simplistic, yet I like it a surprising amount.  As I think I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of the tight bottoms/loose tops silhouette.  Yet, with my figure, I have to be careful how I wear this look as I can end up looking a bit boxy/generally enormous, something that it took me a good few years of trying to pull off baggy t shirts and leggings to realise.  I've established that I can either wear it with sheer shirts which expose a shape underneath or with heavier materials - such as the denim of this shirt - which clearly hold a shape of their own accord.

I must admit that I used to be the biggest enemy of any double denim trends, yet here I am advocating it like there's no tomorrow, and I have been doing so since jumping on the pastel denim bandwagon last summer.  In my defence... oh God, I have none.  I'm a loud and proud double denimer and that's just something you're going to have to deal with.

I also used to be unable to fathom why anybody would choose anything in black when you could have it in navy.  Given that navy is a very classic denim colour, jeans certainly fitted into that bracket.  This season though, I'm starting to appreciate black as a staple.  I still love navy as an actual colour, but I no longer see it as such a fundamental basic shade.  Strange things have been happening.  

Today, as I said, started far too early because I was silly and left my presentation work until this morning.  I'm feeling quite accomplished after the early start though and  I now have a day of green tea drinking, dress returning and reading ahead of me, which I'm not going to complain about at all.  

Tired, but alive,

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Leibster/Versatile Bloggers Awards

It's a sunday and, in my world, Sundays either involve a cute outing or they are pyjama days, through and through.  Given that I'm on a complete spending ban at the moment and have a tonne of work to do, I'm opting for the latter today.  This means that there won't be an outfit post as I think it's best for everyone if my sweat shirt and plaid pyjamas trousers don't make their way onto the internet.  It is, however, the perfect opportunity to finally do my Leibster & Versatile Blogger award post, having been nominated by the fabulous Elizabeth from Shopaholic on a Shoestring.  

From what I can gather, the idea of these awards is to spread the word about lesser known blogs which, in the words of Elizabeth, "have fantastic content but may not be discovered yet".  Given that this description came from the lady herself, I was obviously super happy to be nominated for this award - so thank you!

Now, the rules:

The Leibster Award:
Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
Answer the questions that the nominator set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer.
Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
Go to their page and tell them.
No tag backs!

The Versatile Blogger Award:
Every blogger nominated has been awarded this award.
You must thank the blogger that nominated you and include a link to their blog.
Select 15 bloggers to nominate and post links to their blog.
You must post 7 things about yourself.

From having a nosy at other people's award posts, they seem to just do the 11 things and let that count for both, so I'll follow suit.

11 Things About Myself:

1) I currently study in Gothenburg, Sweden.  It's a modest yet incredibly interesting city full of hidden gems and if you get the chance, GO.
2) I'm studying English Lit, which is somewhat ironic given that I'm doing so in Sweden.  
3) I always thought I wanted to be a professor, stuffed into a library somewhere losing hair and sleep over how many apostrophes there are in Jane Eyre.  I was wrong;  I actually want to write about clothes all day long.
4) I keep having dreams (/nightmares?) about my blog that 41 people have blocked me (can you even do that?) and my follower count has dropped to 3.  I probably shouldn't be admitting this.
5) On August 6th 2012 I gave up hair dye after 5 years and it having been every single natural colour possible and pink.  It's tough going.  I'm root central at the moment and it's not pretty.
6) Last February I participated in a paid medical trial to try and resolve my diabolic financial situation, much to the amusement of all my friends, one of whom awarded it the 'best sober story of 2012' prize.  Moral of the story: don't get a credit card, kids.
7) I have an irrational fear of ketchup.  At V Festival last year, there was an unfortunate incident with a catering bottle of ketchup, being chased around a field and a broken lid.  I cried and stripped in front of a lot of people.
8) I have absolutely no rhythm and can't even clap in time.  This is genuinely a real hindrance in my life.  If life were a musical, I would be severely disabled. 
9) I regularly turn down/leave social events because I can't stop thinking about whatever knitting project is waiting for me at home.  I am aware how unhealthy this is.  I am going to be a great Grandma one day though.
10) I'm also going to be a great wife: I cook, I clean and I always wear matching underwear. Always.
11) I spend an unhealthy amount of time trying to solve fictitious dilemmas, e.g. in an ideal world would I choose to be Dusty Springfield or Beyonce?  They are both fabulous but I think I've finally settled on Dusty.

Questions from Elizabeth:

1) What made you start blogging?
For a really long time, and I mean years, I've followed and lusted over certain blogs and wished I was the face behind them.  It just kind of clicked one day that I actually could be, and there was nobody stopping me except myself.  I also definitely want to go into fashion/journalism and seeing all the opportunities people get is so exciting.  I know that comes after a lot of a time and hard work though and at the moment I'm ecstatic about days I make my camera work and getting even one comment on a post.

2) What blogs are you always stalking?
The blogs I check most religiously are, What I Heart TodayMedia Marmalade and What Olivia Did.  The reason for this is these are the ones I've been addicted to for the longest and I know they all post really regularly.  There are a lot of others I check via bloglovin' on a daily basis too, these are just the ones I'll actually go straight to the URLs of in the morning.

3) Favourite clothing store?
This is HARD.  I'm going to go for realistic ones I actually shop in, rather than 'in a fantasy world' options.  I think at the moment it's probably Mango but at home I'd have to say Topshop.  Zara is a strong contender though and, despite only discovering it this week, Monki has to have a mention for how wonderful the actual store is.

4) Lots of cheaper clothes or one expensive item?
Up until about a year ago, I would have said lots of cheaper clothes, but nowadays its definitely the latter.  I would rather have one thing and wear it a lot that I am completely in love with with than a selection of things I just like.  I want to be head over heels excited about something when I buy it these days, and I probably save money because I never buy questionable items just because they're cheap, which inevitably hanging in my wardrobe to never be worn.  However, my favourite past time is hunting down expensive clothes for cheap prices, and I am a bit of a sale fiend.  

5) Five things that make you happy?
A new knitting project, wearing heels, sea salt dark chocolate, stumbling upon a great bargain (namely my Mini Market shoes marked down from £284 to £92 - yes, I am bragging here) and breakfast.

6) Favourite piece of clothing you own?
At the moment, it's probably my new winter coat, which I found half price in French Connection and I love it.  I haven't featured it yet so I won't link it but you can expect to see it very soon.  

7) Favourite thing to do on a rainy day?
I either like to counteract the misery of rainy days by dressing up a bit and going out for lunch, or I like to surgically attach myself to my sweatshirt, eat boiled egg and soldiers and watch reruns of Gossip Girl. At home, my favourite rainy day activity is definitely going to my Grandma's house, indulging in ten varieties of cake and watching Poirot.

8) Describe yourself in 5 words?
Festive, impatient, enthusiastic, realistic, indecisive. 

9) What advice would you give now to yourself when you started blogging?
This is tricky because I've not even been blogging for two weeks yet but definitely learn how to use your bloody camera!  I'm desperate to take these amazing shots but keep being busy and settling for mediocre because that's the standard I've set now.  My mission for this week is some dedicated DIY camera tutorials.

10) What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
EVERYTHING.  I've been pretty restrained this year but I bloody love Christmas.  I love the lights and buying presents and novelty knitwear and santa hats and the Christmas CD and the smell of the tree and baking mince pies and oh God I love it all.  I loved Christmas before loving Christmas was the thing to do, before Christmas jumpers were fashionable.  I just love it.  Hey - maybe this has kick started my lack lustre festive spirit this year.  Thanks Elizabeth!


I know that there are only seven people on this list, but I promise I'm not cheating too much.  I made my list of 11 then realised the other 4 had already done it so it seemed a bit pointless.  I was going to replace them but as the idea is lesser known blogs, I was sticking to ones with under 100 followers and actually, being quite new to this, I don't seem to follow that many of them.  Sorry!

My Questions:

1) How long, if at all, did you spend planning your blog before you started it?
2) Which blogger's style/wardrobe would you most like to have?
3) Do your family and friends read your blog?
4) Where is your favourite place to shop? (Town, country, mall etc)
5) Statement lips or statement eyes?
6) In a burning building, which fashion or beauty item would you save?
7) Which item in your wardrobe serves as an instant pick me up when you put it on?
8) If money were no object, what one thing would you buy right now, fashion/beauty wise?
9) What's your favourite season to dress for?
10) What's your claim to fame?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Daily Bread #10 - Lovestruck Saturdays

Dress -  Lovestruck
Jumper -  H&M
Shoes - Topshop
Scarf - Vintage
Belt - River Island

And once again, I forgot to take pictures until the light was fading.  My resolution for next week is to be a bit more organised on this front.

I decided to utilise a few older pieces today.  I had this dress as for last New Year's Eve but it's just been sitting in my wardrobe since as I've gone off the style of it for nights out.  However, I do still love the colour and material so thought it could be used as a skirt for a Saturday daytime look.  If you haven't come across Lovestruck before I'd really recommend a look at their website.  I found this dress in the small selection sold in Wardrobe, Northampton, but they have a much larger range of beautiful pieces on the website. The jumper was an H&M bargain last winter and has been worn to death.  It's so useful for going over dresses because the cropped style avoids the strange shape I seem to become when I use longer jumpers.

Just a short post because I'm off for some more festive fun now.  Is November too early to be saying such things?  Ah well.

With some jingle bell rock,

Inspired By... My Pap

Today is, or would have been, my Pap's 79th birthday.  Whilst I'm not at all into the whole furore of Facebook RIPs, and I'm pretty sure he would have been equally as appalled by them, I thought I'd pay tribute with a post of style inspired by him.  This isn't meant to be dreary in the slightest, so I'll apologise in advance if this serves as a miserable start to your Saturday.

My Pap was very particular with his dressing.  He couldn't abide a hair out of place, spending a great portion of his time picking fluff from our shoulders, offering to shine our shoes and smoothing our hair.  I remember appearing on my 18th birthday in a new cardigan, a multi-coloured oversized affair from Miss Selfridge, and him telling me, "I like that cardigan but I don't like that fluff" as it clung to every dark surface in the room.  

I think it's fair to say that my Pap didn't beat around the bush to preserve your feelings.  If you looked a mess, he'd tell you, and if you acted like a mess, he'd tell you even more.  When you did something well though, or you looked 'smart' (his word of choice for aesthetic compliments) he would be the first to tell you, and I think praise like that is worth a thousand times more than when it's coming at you for no good reason.

Grandad Shirts

Outfit #1:
Trousers - Monki; Jumper - Mango; Shoes - ASOS; Belt - Topshop
For this outfit, I have embraced androgyny in its fullest and went for something my Pap would have actually worn.  He always brought out a new pair of corduroys for special occasions and this pair I scouted out in Monki a few days ago sprung to mind straight away.  He also would have really embraced the fact that the colours of both the jumper and the trousers are seen in the check detailing on the shoes, always being one for a bit of cohesion.  I added the belt in because I rarely leave the house without a belt and neither did he, but it's just occurred to me what uproar the different shades of leather of the shoes and belt would have caused.  Crikey.  I generally really like the 'Grandad' feeling of this whole outfit and I think it'd be perfect for a crisp winter day, paired with a Mac and a home knitted scarf.

Outfit #2:
Dress - Love at Topshop; Coat - River Island; Boots - Missguided; Hat - French Connection
I chose here the kind of outfit my Pap would always have something nice to say about -  prim, put together, smart.  I'd turn up to a family meal in something like this, hair in a bun and shoes shined, and you know he'd say something nice.  I specifically chose this dress not only because I've been lusting after it for a while now, but because it's by Love and I think his favourite thing I ever owned was a floral dress from Love.  I've paired it with this coat because, well, warmth first and the hat because he always loved me in a hat.  I've gained this reputation amongst my family as being the one who does hats, and that's not a label I'm going to shirk because I bloody love them.  Whilst I do like this outfit anyway, for me the thing that made it particularly Pap-esque was the colour coordination between the floral design, hat and coat and the black dress background with the black boots.  Of course, opaque black tights will also feature in this outfit, but I didn't think you need to see a picture of those.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe this post is a bit weird but I just woke up this morning with some inspiration for it.  One of my favourite things about fashion is how we draw inspiration from everywhere, from the strangest of people and the unlikeliest of locations.  All the things my lovely old Pap loved in terms of how we dressed, I steered clear of for so long, turning my nose up at any kind of colour coordination, at polished shoes, at neat hair.  Yet now, I love it all.  If only he had lived to see the day I stepped away from grunge for good.  And if he knew I was finally growing out my natural hair colour?  Well, the excitement would have been overwhelming.

God bless,

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Daily Bread #9 - Favourites New, Favourites Old

 Jeans - Topshop
Top - River Island
Coat - Topshop
Boots - Bianco
Bag - Oasis
Hat - Vintage
Scarf - Paris, unknown

Last night, I was forced to face every girl's worst fear - or, at least, every disorganised shopaholic's worst fear - when I had to log into my online banking to pay my rent.  It was every bit as unsightly as I had imagined as I saw the reality of the astronomical amounts of money I've spent lately laid before me in black and white.  I'm not yet at the medical trials stage of poverty (yes, that happened) but my summer 2013 funds are dwindling rapidly so I'm on a complete non-essentials spending ban (and it's taken a lot of self-persuasion to accept that lipstick and shoes aren't essentials).  Therefore, you will be seeing a lot of the same items mixed and matched until Christmas which hopefully won't get too boring for you.  To get through these tough times, I'm going to refer to Prickig Katt's advice and "dare a little more, stretch you extra" in order to appreciate the fruits of my wardrobe that already exist.

I'm never sure whether I should take outfit pictures of simply the outfit or once it has been adorned with outerwear.  Given that today involved a pretty boring top (a sheer navy blouse I bought last year and have worn too many times) I thought I'd take the opportunity to add in the coat, bag etc which made the oufit, I think.  I found this mac in a Topshop sale here in Sweden a few weeks ago down from 1400sek to just 400sek (around £40) and, as I'd been looking for a good mac for a while, I found myself at the till straight away.  When it's done up, it has a lovely swingy shape which I love because it adds a bit of a feature to an otherwise very classic choice.

I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with these jeans.  I've loved them always - of course I have: paisley, my favourite Leigh style, great autumnal colours - but there was a time when I'd eaten a few too many pies and they didn't seem to want to cooperate with the whole 'doing up' activity.  One day though, I woke up and decided that enough was enough and they were being worn.  It was a struggle, let me tell you that, but they did up and have fitted perfectly ever since.  I did make the mistake of going on a plane journey the day of the battle though and they did actually bruise me... once again, no pain, no gain?  They also have them in quite a few UK Topshop stores marked down to £20 now, or they did last week, if you're interested in adding a little paisley cheer to your legs.

Both the hat and scarf are old favourites.  I bought the hat from a vintage stall in Camden, back in the glory days of 2008, and it's been much loved ever since.  Somewhere along the way it became known as my 'Russian hat' and I'm pretty sure my best friend would disown me if I ever got rid of it, although it's starting to look a little tatty.  The scarf was purchased in Paris at the very beginning of a 6 week inter-railing trip.  It was cold, it was raining, we were sad and we only had shorts.  I think I've mentioned before about needing a bit of a comfort blanket on hangover days and the same goes for any kind of bad mood.  We wandered into a shop, came out with these scarves - mine in olive green, Georgia's baby blue - and became very attached to them thereafter.  Mine's not really left my person for any long stretches since.  Am I the only one who relies on various items of clothing to care for my emotional wellbeing?

The colour quality of these pictures is atrocious, I'm sorry.  When I went to take pictures at midday I discovered that my camera batteries were dead and, being me, I of course did not have any spares so had to wait until after my class.  The details of all the pieces I'm wearing have been lost a little due to this but I can assure you, if it's any consolation, that they will all be featuring many more times, so if you want to see them in detail you'll just have to tune back in (wink wink nudge nudge).

The Christmas lights are being switched on in Gothenburg this evening so we're going for a festive evening in the city centre then back here for a dinner party which I'm looking forward to.  Have any of you embarked on festive activities already?