Friday

A Question.

Last week began like any other.

An early morning train down to my office in London and a lot of emails.

I was due to be in that office until Wednesday then back up in the Manchester office for team meetings all Thursday and Friday. Or so I thought.

When I got in at 10pm on the Wednesday evening I was greeting by a somewhat flustered OH.

"Don't kill me," he began. "Ominous..." I thought.
"But you have about 6 hours to pack and we're off to the airport."
Ok...
"One problem though," he continued, "I booked this weeks ago and I've lost my passport in the house move."
Panic stations.
After almost every single box we'd packed had been torn open we eventually found it nestling in an inner box it most definitely should not have been in.

Hey-ho. We were back on. It was gone midnight, but we were back on.

At 4.30am my alarm went off and I just had to pray that I'd packed appropriately. That said I think we counted 12 pairs of shoes in my case when we got there so I was confident I'd covered all bases!

Once we'd checked in ("Don't tell her where we're going, she doesn't know yet.") OH told me that the holiday was to celebrate the end of the house renovation (which, typically, has run over deadline) and his birthday. Oh dear. In all the commotion I'd almost forgotten it was his birthday that day. Luckily I'd bought a card a few days before and it was nestled in my handbag somewhere. A gift would have to be purchased upon arrival at our mystery destination.

Then we were called to gate. There were several flights leaving at the same time as ours so I was still non the wiser. Candidates were: Paris, Rome, Barcelona and, worryingly, Warsaw.

As we approached our queue it became clear, "Gate 51: ROME"

Keen not to cause a commotion in an airport (never a good idea) I squealed internally and OH almost passed out with relief at my undeniable joy having learnt our destination.

Soon we were over The Alps.
 
 
When we landed we did a bit of sightseeing but OH informed me we were going for a nice meal for his birthday that eve so to get a nap in (I *love* naps) and have time to get ready.

Standard tourist selfie

That evening we arrived at one of the most beautiful restaurants I've ever been in. Lit solely by candles and seating a maximum of 14 people it was stunning. With Nina Simone's voice playing lazily in the background I was pretty convinced I was in heaven.

 
 

The meal was amazing - aubergine to start and sea bass main; far too much wine and lots of chatter. There were only two other couples in there at the time so it felt really intimate and as if we were almost the only people in Rome. The pictures aren't amazing as the light in there was so low but I would recommend The Library to anyone looking for a great restaurant off the beaten track with brilliant service and not insane prices.

Even from the outside it is stunning.


Then, after the meal and with out even the slightest sign of stress he dropped to one knee. I think I almost fainted. I'd always assumed I'd be a 'crier' if ever proposed to but I was quite the opposite - I got nervous laughter. Luckily OH knows me so well it didn't even make him blink and after I spluttered out, "YES!" he got back up and gave me the most beautiful ring his very talented Dad had made. (He's a jeweller by trade - he's a genius by nature.)


We spent the rest of the weekend floating around Rome smiling and enjoying all the coffee, food and wine we could get our hands on.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So now we have a wedding and a house to arrange. No biggy.
 
Keep up to date with my quest not to have a meltdown over it all on the blog!
 
And visit Rome. I did and now I'm in love.


Tuesday

I Found My Choo (ish)

For as long as I can remember shoes have really been my 'thing'. The thing I can't stop loving, the thing I can almost always justify, the thing that, even on a horrible day, can cheer me up. I don't dare count the number of pairs I own (although, ironically, I'm going to have to soon as I'm creating a shoe area in my new dressing room...) but, unlike some people who can buy and forget I think I give the majority of mine good airing; taking them for walks regularly and socialising them in local bars and restaurants.

But the pair I'm about to show you are not for just any outing. These are for only the best outings. And although I knew when I bought them that they're a twice-a-year kinda pair I still couldn't resist, having spent weeks looking for them.

Six weeks ago, during LFW, Topshop sent Instagram (and their website) into a frenzy by posting this phenomenal picture:


Of course within minutes they were nowhere to be found. The fashion elite had seen them, bought them and were already wearing them before I'd even had a chance to track them down.

Although I could see they were sold out I checked again and again for days in case of a restock online but alas, it was not to be.

Then this happened...


One of my favourite fashion bloggers to follow (Emma Hill) posted this on her Instagram account a week ago.

Game back on.

I can't explain why I love marabou fur stilettos so much but I do. It may hark back to days of staring, dreamy-eyed at Disney princesses but I have a stronger suspicion that Carrie Bradshaw had my heart when she cried out those immortal words, "I LOST MY CHOO!"




Although the pale blush pink were the colour I was initially drawn to it has to be said the black are, by a millimetre, the more practical colour to opt for. I said the colour was practical...not the shoe.

So onward I pushed to Missguided and found my soul mates.

And yesterday they arrived.



They're a complete steal at only £29.99 (Topshop's were £58) so even if I wear them only a handful of times a year the price-per-wear will be through the floor in no time. You can get yours in black here and in blush here.

Now I just need to find the perfect dress to wear with them for the party season.

Should be simple enough, right?

Monday

(Farrow &) Ballin'

So it's happened. I am officially a house bore. I realised that the full transformation had taken place this weekend when, at 9.30pm on Saturday evening, I was in bed researching floor paints.

But not any old floor paints. Farrow & Ball floor paints. I have long been a fan of their range but never had any need to employ their beautiful products. However, all that has changed now I have my very own money pit* (*read: house)

This weekend's particular focus was on the floors of my dressing room and our master bedroom. We hired a set of industrial sanding machines and I spent hour upon hour battling with them until I was left with, actually, not too shabby a job (if I do say so myself). The floor boards are the originals from when the house was built in 1907 and they're in amazing condition so I wanted to use them where I could.

A quick couple of before and after sanding pictures:
 
 
 

That last picture isn't actually after it was fully finished but I forgot (as ever) to take more 'in progress' shots so it's the best I have.

Then came the joy of deciding on what colours we wanted in each room.

I know there is a huge attraction towards natural or white boards but neither myself or OH have ever really loved them. So after many hours on Pinterest I optioned grey to OH.

He nodded.

It was enough for me!

 
 
 
 
I never take much encouragement to get excited about grey as a colour so after a few tester pots had been purchased and some swatches had been painted we decided on these two:

Mole's Breath - Dressing Room

Manor House Gray - Master Bedroom
As with most house DIY projects the success is all in the preparation and after I'd finished sanding I spent several hours meticulously painting the sealant undercoat on the floors ready for first coats this evening.

Farrow & Ball sell a specific undercoat designed to sit with their paints - of course I was suckered into it. I just felt that if I ignored it and bought a cheaper one I may live to regret it when the paint chips or what have you. I've probably spent far too much and could have done it cheaper but after the hours of back-breaking prep I wasn't willing to risk it so handed my bank card over very willingly.

Currently they look like this - but not for long:
 
 
 
 
Right - best be off - they aren't going to paint themselves! Happy Monday!

Wednesday

Hats Off To You, Whistles.

So apparently we've not only had the driest September on record; we're about to have the mildest October too. While most people rejoice at this I find myself accepting this with a slightly heavy heart. My poor wardrobe is practically bursting at the hinges with beautiful, boardering on delectable, Autumn/Winter wonders and they are just not able to come out and play yet.

Most people have an affection for a time of year and link this to when their clothes are going to look most fabulous. Mine is Autumn. I love the cold weather allowing me to layer up in beautiful knits, leathers, scarves and all manner of brilliant overcoats. My personal favourite is my bargain Aquascutum but we'll come back to him one day.

However, the lack of colder weather hasn't stopped me craving beautiful things in preparation for it so this week I took advantage of a ridiculously good offer from Grazia and Whistles. 25% off at Whistles *if you bought last week's copy of Grazia. (*don't fret if you didn't get it - the offer is now online with the code you need etc. and on until 06.10.14)


I knew what I wanted as soon as I heard about the offer. Something I've ooh-ed and aah-ed over. Something I've almost-nearly-pratically purchased about five times already. Something that's completely useless for the weather as it stands now but when it does get cold (and it'd better) I will be ready and, probably, just a little-over excited to don this beauty from them.

Ladies and gentlemen...The Winter Hat.

 
Grey and I are currently in the midsts of a heady love affair and have been for some years now. I don't see it ending anytime soon either.

It's just a brilliant colour/tone/shade - whatever you class it as, I love it! And I know it's not as if I don't already own an array of wool hats but I don't have a grey one. So, you see, it was a complete necessity.



Just look at those fibres!

It would appear that several hundred other Whisltes fans had the same idea as me as, unfortunately, this colour is now sold out online but it is available in Navy and Black and the and the Grey is still available in selected stores. (I got mine from the Manchester City Centre store - you can find your closest store here.)
 
A funny thing has happened recently in my office and suddenly hats have started making an appearance on lots of people. We work in fashion so what we can wear into the office is pretty flexible which is brilliant. And a couple of weeks ago we had about 72 hours of genuine Autumn so the first thing I did was whip this old faithful out.

I don't even remember where I got it from - H&M maybe... Who knows. But it's done it's job, and very well. I'm not retiring any of my existing hats - merely adding to the tribe.
So, to badly mis-quote Bridget's Jones' Diary: "Come the f*ck on, Autumn!"

Tuesday

New Chapters.

Wow.

Well, hello again. It's been a while. But I needed a proper break; not a brief week or two, riddled with the guilty 'I need to blog' feeling. A full no-guilt-focus-on-work-and-personal-life-and-stop-doing-so-much break.

In fact, such was the magnitude of the break that it appears I decided I needed to pile more onto my personal life plate so... OH and I bought a house!

It's in our beloved town of Chorlton which isn't the cheapest place to buy so we knew we were never going to get a bargain but our friends and our much-loved lifestyle are based there and the thought of moving away from it was too much of a wrench for us so we sucked it up and bought up.

It's a 3 bedroom Victorian terrace which I know is most peoples idea of hell ("A terrace?! how small and, er, quaint!") but it's actually my idea of a dream home so I am beyond thrilled with it. Or rather...what it will be.

Right now it's a phenominal mess of a building site but it hasn't dampened our spirits. We are going at it full steam ahead and have 1 month from now to move in. Our evenings and weekends are taken over and we've become almost complete social recluses but we don't care. We need to put hours, days, weeks and months into our bricks and mortar so that's what we're doing.

Here are some pics of the house as it was when we bought it. I'll label them as what they are/will be:


Living Room

Dining room/bar

Kitchen

Our Bedroom

My Dressing Room

Yard
And the day we got the keys:



And here are a few pictures of it last week. I'll try to do it in the same order but if I don't succeed I'll label these too:


Living Room

Dining Room / Kitchen / Bar

Kitchen (knocked through to Dining Room)

Our Bedroom (mid-fireplace restoration)

My Dressing Room

I know - it's not nice. And it's not pretty. But it will be and we won't rest until we have it matching the vision in our minds. This was last week - we now have a lot of plastering done and even some initial paint work:


Our Bedroom

Our Bedroom

My Dressing Room

Stairs and Landing Plastering
As you can see, in our bedroom we've decided to restore the old fireplace which I cannot wait for. We've not taken a small amount on; we've had the house just over a month now and the progress we've made has been nothing short of back-breaking but we're seeing results every day. This weekend the french doors go in the back of the dining room to lead out to the yard and the floors upstairs are my project to sand and re-stain and varnish.

Pinterest is currently being an enormous help - if you want to see some of my inspiration pins follow me. I'm 2dyeiv - just click to see my boards and follow me.

So - that's where I've been. But I have been asked so many times about the build and the interior decoration side of things that it's given me the oomph I needed to get back on here and share it with you.

I hope you like it and will continue to follow my progress as we move forward with this gargantuan project.

Happy Tuesday!