Friday

Don't Push Me Push A...Sleeve.

It was in the middle of a phone conversation this morning - describing my latest, beautful summer trench coat from VILA - that I realised it. Something that has come as second nature to me* actually isn't 2nd nature to many people at all but is such a great, basic fashion tip that I had to share it.

*(the 'me' I'm referring to is the 'me' that is surrounded by beautiful fashions most days of the week. Of course, as far as I'm concerned, there are many versions of 'me'.)

Ladies (and gents) get shoving those sleeves up.


It instantly updates an outfit; turning even the plainest of plain tops into an edgier version of itself. Not to mention the beautiful platform it creates upon which your various wrist accessories are free to shine to their maximum potential.


Over the past few weeks, as the weather's heated up and my sleeves have been pushed up, I have been inundated with compliments about my watch. It's not a new accessory. I have worn it day-in-day-out for about 5 years now but the fact people are suddenly noticing it, my rings, my nail colour etc shows that a simple tweak to an outfit can create a whole new focal point on your silhouette. And it's a goody.


And that's that really. No long, in depth post from me today. A helpful hint is all.
 
Me today.
 

Now...shove off!

Thursday

Sk8er Gurl

Skaters. Trainers. Pumps. Espandrilles.

We can no longer deny it. Flats have flooded the highstreet and are having their fashion 'moment' this Spring/Summer.

Usually this would perplex me - a 'heels' girl through and through. Espadrilles remind me of uncomfortable childhood shoes worn on holidays where sand got in between your toes and rubbed. Pumps put me in mind of awkward primary school gym classes where the boys and girls kept as far apart as physically possible, each group thoroughly disgusted by the opposite sex. And while I have enjoyed the trainer trend of late at an average price of £80 for a new pair of Airmax/Free Run/Flex it's a bit too much like hard work for my bank account to get into all that.

But skaters. Now skaters are something I can very much get on board with. And boy, have I?

I started small with a cheap and cheerful pair from H&M in leopard print canvas. At £12.99 I thought they were a simple enough way to dabble in this trend and see if it was for me. Within hours I was hooked. I put them on Instagram and got at least 10 'likes' before I could even click off the app.

So loved, were they, that when a friend went to buy them online and they'd sold out I was enlisted to go and get her a pair from my local store and post them to her. (I did, of course - share the joy!)

Amazingly a few pairs are back in stock but move quickly if you want some - only sizes 5,6 and 6.5 left....HERE.

 

After this my appetite was whetted and I had to have more. Cue ASOS.



When my mother saw these she was a little taken-aback. I asked for her feedback. Bracing myself (I could feel the confusion radiating from her) she said, "Well, you certainly can't wear a skirt with them. You'll see straight up it!" Good thing I'm more of a trousers and shirt girl then, eh?

These were a pinch more than the H&M pair at £20 but I still think this is very reasonable. I've barely had them off my feet and they are giving me a lot of joy every time I wear them. Plus they're the perfect dancing shoes; last night I went to see Janelle MonaĆ© in concert and wanted to dress up but with comfortable shoes that would see me in good stead for a boogy. These fit the bill perfectly. Some glitzy earrings, a bejewelled top and Red Stripe in hand (it was a gig after all) I felt a million dollars. Get yours HERE.

And now we come to my latest pair...

These bad boys have been on my wish list from pretty much the day they were released online. They sold out almost instantaneously but I am a believer in replenishing so kept checking back, almost daily at times, and today my determination was rewarded.

Let me introduce my baby blues from Topshop - another £20 wonder purchase. (OH, if you're reading this then...um...sorry?) 


I am over the (blue) moon to have them in my life - they are so pretty. The Topshop website reviews say they come up a bit small but the 6 (39) fit me perfectly. In fact, if anything, in comparison, the ASOS space shoes were a bit more snug than these at first but have now broken in beautifully. These Topshop perfections are available HERE.

Here's to a summer full of sunshine and skaters.

How about you? Got yours yet?

Tuesday

Met Blah-la 2014

Well, well... I have to say, for the first time ever, I am disappointed. Disappointed in, of all things, the women who attended last night's Met Gala.

Year upon year I wake up excited to trawl the plethora of websites featuring the red carpet pictures and all the fairytale gowns I can only dream of wearing. I even receive texts from friends - "Today's the day!", "Gowns! Gowns! Gowns!", "Time to get motivated to only eat dust for a year!" and the like.


I like to settle in with a cup of tea and fruit and be ready for a good mooch but today my tea was cold before I felt anything resembling envy towards anyone.

At first I thought it was perhaps that I had happened upon a couple of sites that just weren't featuring the best dressed ladies but after a few (hundred) clicks it became clear that, for the first year ever, the hype had taken over the outfits. And by this I mean so many of the guests were more motivated to out-do each other in the outlandish stakes that they appeared to have completely missed the point of dressing well.

Out of the many, many dresses I looked at there has only really been one that I would forgo chocolate for a year for and that was Leighton Meester's eye-wateringly beautiful Emilio Pucci floor length thriller.



I would have loved to have lusted after many more but was unable to so instead have decided to abuse your retinas with some of the horrors mine have had to endure this very day.

Enjoy!








 
I mean....C'MOOOON!

Thursday

Candlest(u)ck On You

A few weeks ago I was browsing through my *favourite* daily email - Emerald Street - and they featured some candlesticks from Oliver Bonas that can really only be described as spectacular.

I'm not usually one for candlesticks but I put on my consumer head and asked myself the age old question I always do when I purchase anything for my home, "If I saw this in someone else's house would I want to steal it?" and with these 'sticks the answer was undeniable - those bad boys would be in my handbag before you could say 'matches.' I jest, of course, I'm not a kleptomaniac - but you get the point; if I think I would covet something  then I generally have to have it.

Neon has been popping up in interior design blogs/magazines/online image boards for a long time now but things like this can take their time to trickle onto the high street which is frustrating but makes sense in a commercial way, I guess.

There are so many exciting ways to introduce the neon trend to your home - some more permanent than others. Here are a few examples I've found floating around The Net recently that have inspired me.









    
What I like about this selection is that they demonstrate two levels of commitment to this trend - full commitment, and half-assed commitment. I most definitely fall in the latter of these two which is where my wonderful 'sticks come into play so beautifully.

Here they are on the OB website:


Available here



Available here



And here they are all over my house as I try and decide where they will live (for now - I'm nothing if not a fan of the 're-jig' after a few weeks of the same set-up.) At approx £16 a pop they aren't exactly a throw-away decision foray but they are a cheerful addition to come home to and have certai UK enhanced my week.






They have ended up on the mantelpiece with white candles in them but I have come up against a real issue with them. I can't use them - they have to be purely ornamental. Why?
Because there is nowhere for the hot wax to drip except onto the neon paintwork and I've a feeling that once cooled, picking the wax will destroy the paint underneath it.

So - I end with a tip. If you do buy these lovely, lovely things (and you should) be aware they are for looking at only!

Oh, and a quick garden update - it's coming along nicely.



Tuesday

Gold Fingers.

I am someone who relies heavily on technology every day of my working life. Be it emails, photoshop, my phone or excel, it is safe to say I need technology at some point every few minutes of my 9-5 post. (Technically 8.30-5 post but it didn't scan as well.) Which can leave me exhausted and my eyes weary from constant focus.

Don't get me wrong. I *love* my job but by the time I get home the last thing I want to look at is pixels. So I have turned to DIY as a sort of 'departure therapy' from a stressful day in the office.

And it's working quite well. On any given night of the week it is not un-common find me, needle/paint brush/wallpaper paster in hand, some sort of radio podcast blaring out and a huge grin on my face. I love DIY/craft/upcycling - whatever you want to call it. And one website has fuelled this love like no other - Pinterest.



Now that Spring appears to have arrived my design aspirations have turned to my tiny back yard. OH and I don't own the house we're in so any 'improvements' (IMO) I make have to be removable when we leave which is frustrating but it's also become a fantastic time to focus on building a beautiful base of decorations for our home that we are going to love when it is our bricks and mortar surrounding us. Anyway... I digress.

With the Bank Holiday looming (last week) I took to my beloved Pinterest to get my creative juices flowing and within minutes a new board had been created and I was off on my next project.


Now, a little know fact about me is that I adore bees. And butterflies. Not in a cutesy way - Lord knows I would never have anything 'themed' in my garden based on them but there have been a lot of reports recently about the decline of both these beautiful creatures in the UK so after reading into bee and butterfly friendly plants I got shifting towards my local garden centre, armed with my list of ideal plants to help the local animals thrive. (Not you, cats, you can stay out of my yard!)

I also knew I wanted an explosion of colour so picked a bright palette and got purchasing.

OH and I appear to have inherited a heck of a lot of terracotta pots, which are fantastic but I'm not really a terracotta kinda gal so the first garden DIY I am going to share is my new plant pots. (I know, brace yourselves, it's a lot of excitement for a Tuesday.)

Deciding on my old faithful - gold spray paint - I set to work scrubbing the pots clean with normal washing up liquid.



And gathered my resources.




I used PlastiKote spray in 'brass' as I think it's more of a 'true' gold - their golds seem a bit yellow-y to me and I prefer a bronzed tone. I've used this spray for indoor DIY jobs before but not in the great outdoors and I didn't fancy its chances up against the famous Manchester rain so I erred on the side of caution and also fished out my clear lacquer enamel from Wilkos (this is a matte spray so won't leave a shiny finish.)



Now, if you've never spray painted before here are a few tips:

- Make sure you have a large(ish) area to do it in. And cover it in newspaper. A lot of newspaper.
- Preferrably do it outside as the fumes are somewhat extreme after only a few short minutes.
- Do it on a windless day - nobody likes back spray, especially when it's gold and permanently damaging to clothes and shoes.
- Hold the can about 20cm away from what your spraying - this helps keep the coverage even. (I learnt this the hard way - by ruining two mirrors. Rookie.)

I gave my pots 2 coats of gold and finished it with 1 coat of the clear laquer to keep them water proof and, after today's rain I can confirm this has worked a treat.



Another tip - spray the inside of the pot 2/3 inches deep - this means when planted the top section that isn't covered in soil will still be a golden dream.

And here's my first completed, potted plant.


I have a lot more but we'll get further into the makeover in time. After this I was rudely interupted by a summons to the pub so that's where my DIY-ing halted and the Sauvignon Blanc started. Whoops!

And look, it must be working because I found his guy tonight when I went out to check up on things... Not quite a bee or butterfly but we're getting there. More soon!


Thursday

Damsel In Distress(ed jeans)

Well, yesterday's relaunch went pretty nicely; even if I do say so myself. I was worried that after my 3 month hiatus I'd have lost my blogging mojo entirely but looking at the number of page hits I received yesterday it would appear not. Whether this is down to the new look, the new interior twist or just general re-launch hype one thing is for sure, I'm happy to be back!

But just before I am pigeon-holed as an interiors blogger I want to make it clear - I am still very much into my fashion! So while this page may be somewhere you can read about my new bathroom make-over it will also be the place I tell you about some excellent new additions to my wardrobe.

And what better time to start than now? Introducing...my new boyfriend jeans.


When this trend first made itself known to me it was via the pages of Look Magazine et al and honestly, it struck The Fear into me. I'm quite a small framed gal (as you'll remember from this blog post) so the idea of emphasising my lower half in over-sized trousers didn't seem like something I'd want to invest much time in.

Then a pair landed (almost literally) in my lap at work and, as the brand agent, it's important I'm the one championing new styles. So after a couple of days debating whether my wearing them would enhance or actually damage sales I decided to take the plunge. And honesty? I've barely looked back!

I won't lie, they're a tricky style to wear, I think, but I seem to have discovered a few ways to make them more easily accessible to all.

Firstly, always, and I mean always, wear heels with them. Yes, I may dash from my car to my office in running trainers but if I'm not driving I'm in sky-scrapers. These jeans need height!

Secondly, get the top right. A plain colour is best to emphasise the fact you're aware the trend is on your legs (nobody thinks that girl wearing every trend all at once looks cool) so I generally opt for a boxy black tshirt/top hybrid. I've also used white shirts tucked in to enhance my waist which has worked pretty well, proportion wise.  Although, today I also have a boxy black jumper as per the 'This Week's Inspiration' image in the side bar on the right of my page.

Thirdly, have fun! After all, it's only a pair of trousers, and if you want to try this look out go for it. We're not solving world peace here.

Here's a few beauties I found online:

1: Rag & Bone - £122
2: NSF - £322
3: H&M - £29.99

I'll leave you with a couple more shots of my attire today. I love these red heels and they seem to look their best with jeans so I'm always happy when I have an excuse to exercise them, the beauties.



And that's my garms today, hope you like them!


Wednesday

How A Stapler Became My Friend.

So... It's been quite a while since I've been on here. My life has been somewhat hectic these past few months and my poor blog felt like the straw that was breaking the camel's back so I decided it had to take a back seat until I could create more of a work/life balance for myself.

Honestly, I've still not really worked that part out yet but what happened a few months ago helped. OH and I moved in together! We're just renting right now which is great but frustrating since we're in my dream home and all I want to do is tear walls down, change layouts and generally put my stamp on it. But, alas, these ain't my bricks and mortar to manipulate so I've had to find another outlet. And boy, have I?

This is the story about how this guy...



...became my new best friend.


I've wanted to start upholstery for some time now and looked into several courses; but at a few hundred £'s each they seemed a little unreasonable so I decided there had to be a better way. And there is - Youtube. After watching a couple of videos I decided that it couldn't be that hard and promptly found myself weighing up upholstery guns in my local B&Q.

I opted for a mid-range model for just over £20 - same one here - bought the accompanying staples for around £5(the back of the packaging on the gun explains these to you) and hot-footed it to my local fabric shop.

OH accompanied me since my first project was one of our dining chairs. We bought mis-matching chairs some time ago from various flea markets, vintage shops, old warehouse sales, etc. and they've been sitting with cushions and throws on them ever since because my fear of a guest being bitten on the behind by a creepy crawly lurking in the age old fabric on them has haunted me. Well, no longer!

Now, please don't be expecting some sort of technical explanation here as I am very much a 'job's a good'un' kind of DIY-er at the moment so this is a guide for those people who, like me, take a more relaxed approach to upcycling (buzzword alert!) and actually view it as something to enjoy rather than endure to the nth degree of accuracy.


This is how the offending article originally looked. I'm sorry for the useless quality of photo - the lighting in our new place isn't too amazing at night and flash wasn't working out well for me either.

First I unscrewed the 'cushion' area from the chair frame.


It wasn't the easiest of jobs as the chair is very old so it took some elbow grease and patience with a large screwdriver but the plus side of things like this is that you know the quality is so much better than anything you could pick up for £10 at IKEA, Home Sense, or any of the other budget interior stores these days.

 
Next I laid the gross cushion/seat on top of the fabric I'd chosen and roughly cut its shape out of the fabric, leaving enough (probably a bit more than enough) to staple to the underneath.


Once cut out I pinned it all in place and got my staple on. It only took about 5 minutes to staple it all but be sure to keep a constant eye on the tightness of the fabric so that it is kept taut and you don't discover any saggy bits when you've finished.

The corners were a bit difficult but some tricks learnt when wrapping presents over the years helped me - a basic corner fold and a staple sorted them quite well.

Then I remembered I had to re-screw the cushion area back onto the chair frame - hence the hacked out corner sections. They were just to allow me to get a clear run at the original holes; next time I'd take this into acount and maybe just snip small holes in the fabric itself to keep the finish looking a bit smoother. That said, nobody will probably look at the underside of this chair for some time now so I'm not too fussed about its appearance as long as the top looks good...


Which it did!

We chose a really silly elephant print fabric that I think was more angled towards childrens rooms but we want our chairs to look traditional with a twist and both fell in love with this print as soon as we saw it. OH actually found it so I do need to give him the credit for this one. I totally adore it.


And here's the finished article. We decided not to treat the wood at all because we actually quite like the worn quality of it contrasted with a fresh fabric cushion and I hope you agree that it looks quite good.

For my fist upholstery project with just some loose Youtube based training I have to say, I'm very pleased with my efforts!