THE LITTLE THINGS :: CELEBRATING A YEAR OF THRIFT

THE LITTLE THINGS :: CELEBRATING A YEAR OF THRIFT

If there’s one thing I’m proud of in 2014, it’s the thrifty spending habits I’ve started to develop. As a personal style blogger, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I spend more than I should on clothes. I always have done. It’s not that I buy expensive clothes, I buy far too many clothes. With a wedding to plan for and a potential house move on the cards, well, I’d rather be saving for the future. When Freixenet asked ten bloggers to share the #LittleThings in life that are worth celebrating, a moment that gives you the secret yes feeling, I rated swapping, thrifting and borrowing my way to a new wardrobe, on a small budget, as something worth raising a glass to!

Over the course of 2014, not only have I started to spend more time in charity shops, but along with some blogging pals, I’ve swapped and traded my way to a new, more exciting wardrobe. Who could forget the 100 day spending ban? 2014 started with a total ban on the purchase of any clothes until the middle of April. Along with Rachel, I bought nothing and celebrated my freedom by going on a shopping spree…albeit, my spree was in a few charity shops. 


In the middle of the dreaded spending ban came Frock Swap to save my sanity and help me on my way. It was both exciting and challenging, but without doubt the most fun blogging campaign I’ve ever had the pleasure to take part in. Along with Erica, Rachel and Debbie, a parcel was swapped via the Royal Mail every 2 weeks (ish) in round-robin style until we’d had time to style each item. What started as a simple dress swap was helped along by supermarket clothing giants, F&F and George, kindly gifting us items of our choice to swap. You can see each item in full by searching ‘Frock Swap’. 


With Frock Swap, came Debbie. The owner and creator of Duck & Duffel. With cute collars and quirky prints, I instantly fell in love with each and every one of her dresses. At the time, Debbie was releasing her new range and I happily accepted her offer to feature the Sarah dress on Polkadot Pink. Whilst this dress had to be returned to its rightful owner, I was lucky enough to finally own a handmade dress by Debbie via a swap we made. The gingham Emery dress was hand sewn by Debbie and the dress of dreams. I’d wrote wishlists about it and had even been gifted a gingham dress by John as a way of getting it out of my mind. With the collar and longer sleeves, this remains one of my favourite dresses today. 
Of course, I’ve also bought clothes on the high street. Buying things that are reduced, preferably by 50% or more, definitely gives me that yes feeling especially when they become well-worn and well-loved. Until I started seeking pictures for this post, I didn’t realise just how much of my wardrobe are sale buys. From £4 tops to £7 skirts, the sale buys in this picture cost less than £50.
So, there you have it. A year in review with the little things that made the bigger things affordable. In 2014, John and I visited TEN cities and spent a grand total of six weeks travelling. With 2015 on the horizon, tonight I’ll be celebrating with a glass of bubbly and hoping for another 12 months of good clothes fortune. 
 
What are the #littlethings in your life?
How are you celebrating the end of 2014?
As always, much love,
*You might like to know, as part of this campaign Freixenet gifted me with Cava to celebrate the Little Things.*
ARCTIC HUSKY EXPERIENCE DAY

ARCTIC HUSKY EXPERIENCE DAY

Let me begin by stating one fact. I do not like dogs. I am allergic to them and quite frankly, bigger dogs scare me. Yes,  I know, I am a total girl. So, when Joe Blogs invited me along to the Lake District to experience a husky sledding courtesy of Transun, who knows what I must have been thinking when I agreed? Transun couldn’t take us to Lapland to truly undertake an arctic experience but they certainly did their best to bring a piece of the arctic to us. 

 

Along with Katie from LifeonVista, we travelled the 160 mile round trip to Low Wray campsite, located on the shores of Lake Windermere. On arrival, we were greeted by the team from Horse and Husky, lots of mud and plenty of husky dogs howling for our attention. The team promised to show us the ropes and teach us the commands to prepare us for a solo ride. 


First up, learning how to operate the rig (sleigh) without the huskies, by splashing and dashing through pot holes. It was just like riding a scooter, just with added mud! After a brief initiation, the dogs were hitched to the rig and we were off. Now, something that’s useful to know beforehand is that huskies have a strong hunting sense. So, I was fearful of Ice, my trusty lapdog, spotting chickens on the farmland and whisking us away to chase some feathers!

With a cry of HIKE we were off down the countryside roads. Further cries of HIKE, HIKE meant we were zooming quicker and quicker with the wind whooshing through my face. It was exhilarating…if not a little frightening. Although it’s said to be difficult to tip the rig, zooming round corners and bumping over pot holes certainly made for a white knuckle ride. 



I was surprised, but delighted, to discover that these dogs were rescue dogs. Lovingly trained by Sonia, the dogs now lead a fit and active life with the team at Horse and Husky. 

After our whirlwind ride through the countryside, it was time to head for a brew and a spot of blogger networking before the long journey home. After this taster, I’d definitely love to try husky sledding again…perhaps on real snow next time!

 
You can find out what Transun,and some of the bloggers who shared this experience had to say about the event by clicking the links, here:
Have you ever tried husky sledding? 
As always, much love,


WHAT I WORE :: VINTAGE CHRISTMAS DRESSING

WHAT I WORE :: VINTAGE CHRISTMAS DRESSING


 
Each any every year, I plan my Christmas day outfit usually by mid-November. Traditionally, I seek out a new dress then select Christmas themed accessories around it. This year has been totally different. This year, I bought nothing new. No new dress, no new shoes, nothing. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but my dress buying desire was suppressed by a new found ambition to save money. Although, it did start by selecting this vintage dress.
 
There’s always a story with a vintage dress. I purchased this dress from eBay, over five years ago, and had attempted to alter it. It was an American born maxi dress with longer length sleeves. Hacking the hem off and unpicking the stitching on the sleeve, I’d left this original maxi dress a shell of its former state. Way back in summer, I rediscovered it again and with a huge helping hand from Debbie, it was made wearable again. Debbie altered the hem length to fit my petite legs and removed the savaged sleeves. 
 
 
 

And then, I forgot about it. Shamefully, it sat on my dress rail in my dressing room nestled
between the other million (okay, slight exaggeration) dresses I own. What better day to breathe life into this vintage beauty than Christmas day? 

 
And then, I discovered this forgotten cropped jacket from Zara that I thrifted at the end of the spending ban (I know, I am shameful) and a Christmas outfit was born. Is there anything more festive than a dash of fur? I whipped out this fur shawl from the depths of my wardrobe and voila. Christmas!
 


Christmas was rather a splendid affair this year, busy as always, but lovely to see all of my family throughout the day. As always, it was a day centered around food, grazing on chocolate and sipping champagne. Boxing day is turning out to be much of the same. You’ll find no complaints here! Here’s hoping that your Christmas day turned out just as you dreamed!
Outfit Details
// Vintage black polka dot dress :: EBay//
// Red Cropped 60s Jacket :: Charity Shop (originally Zara)//
// Fur Stole :: EBay (via China) //
// Heeled brogues :: Peacocks //
 
To spare you of the dreaded ‘new year, new me’ talk that we see so frequently, all I will say is that 2015 has to be the year of thrift. Less waste, less spur of the moment buying, less buying…but, more fabulous outfits. I’m making a new rule: if it fits, it stays. I doubt I’ll ever embark on a 100 day spending ban, ever again, but I’ll definitely be buying less!
 
How’s your Christmas been?
What are your plans for 2015?
As always, much love,
Donna xxx
WHAT I WORE :: PAISLEY & MUSTARD

WHAT I WORE :: PAISLEY & MUSTARD

Christmas break is finally here! Hurrah! I say this at the end of each term, but I don’t think I’ve ever needed a rest more. It feels like I’ve been away from regular blogging for so long, thankfully I’ve now got time to rediscover what’s in my wardrobe and snap some outfit shots. 
 
Today was the baby shower of one of my closest friends. Sunday morning brunch at a local farm cafe. Well, if that’s an occasion that doesn’t call for a pretty dress, then what occasion does? You saw snippets of this paisley dress last week when I wore it for the Laura Ashley Christmas Crafts event, but today I styled it differently and fell in love with it all over again!

I’m rather ashamed to admit that this is the first time I’ve wore this coat since last winter. I’ve owned it for years, a Topshop sale purchase I bought on a whim and never once regretted. If there’s one thing I revel in, it’s buying things that stand the test of time. I’ve never felt comfortable buying into fashion, but then I’ve never called myself fashionable. Ever. Quite simply, because I’m not. This mustard wonder has been hanging on the wardrobe in my dressing room acting as wallpaper for the previous few months. In this dress, I think it’s found the perfect partner. 
 
So, the dress. This £12 bargain was from the Dorothy Perkins sale. I suspect it was part of their summer stock, but as you know, I believe in clothes that transcend the seasons. Within minutes, I’d snapped it up! Another sale buy you might have spotted are these burgundy loafers. I am a sucker for a F&F at Tesco sale. Their shoes are unbeatable, especially when combined with a sensitive sole. 
 
 
Outfit Details
// Paisley dress :: Billie & Blossom at Dorothy Perkins//
// Burgundy loafers :: F&F at Tesco//
// Mustard coat :: Topshop (old)//
//Aubergine Satchel :: Cambridge Satchel Company //
In the new year, I’m bidding goodbye to my impulsive ways. I’ve decided to try and become even thriftier in the hope that I’ll have pennies to decorate my home and pay for a wedding! It’s all very well owning pretty dresses, but in my grand old age I’ll be clearing some of my pretties out to save. I’m considering a blog sale, but may resort to eBay again! Let’s just say, shopping in the sales is going to become a regular occurrence!
 
Have you bought anything in the sales recently?
As always, much love, 
CRAFTERNOON TEA AT ROSYLEE

CRAFTERNOON TEA AT ROSYLEE

It’s taken a while for me to feel that first burst of festive flutters. You know the feeling. One minute it’s November, then the next moment you realise how close Christmas is and boomChristmas flutters. My tree is decorated, the pile of wrapped presents is growing and yet, still, no Christmas flutters… until this weekend! 

Thanks to the team at the Joe Blogs network, a fabulous afternoon of crafting in Northern Quarter soon changed that. Invited by Laura Ashley, twenty five of Manchester’s finest bloggers gathered on Sunday to attend a Christmas crafts workshop ran by the fabulous ‘Ministry of Craft.’ 
 
Arriving early, ahead of the Christmas traffic, I met up with Christine from The Fabulous Times for a pre-event brew. Meeting at Sugar Junction, a pot of English Breakfast tea and a catch up was the perfect way to start proceedings. At the rather sociable time of 1.45pm, we battled the Manchester rain to make it to the Rosylee tea rooms, a relatively new place on Stephenson Square. Entering the tea rooms, we were greeted by the ladies from The Ministry of Craft, a team of passionate crafters ready to teach us how to make present sacks, gift boxes and luxe bows from Laura Ashley wallpaper and fabric. 

Splitting into two groups, I chose to tackle my fears and approach the sewing task first. Seated at a sewing machine, Sam Sterke, our instructor, explained the process to help up make a present sack. After I pinned the bunting pieces onto the canvas material and attached the ribbon, I conquered my fears and was surprised to find out… I can sew! Within an hour, a present sack was born. 

After a short break for a delicious selection of mouthwatering canapés,it was back to crafting. Secretly, I’d been looking forward to making an origami gift box after seeing the gorgeous samples of Laura Ashley wallpaper on offer. I chose the Summer Palace Crimson Wallpaper to make my gift box. As always, on hand were the Ministry of Craft team to guide us through each step. Within half an hour, we’d each created a gift box to be proud of. It was so easy to accomplish but looked so pretty. Look at my proud face! 






In less than three hours, we’d picked up some serious skills to add that personalised touch to Christmas. If you’re interesting in making an origami gift box or a luxe bow, just click each here and here to download the easy to follow tutorials and give them a whirl! You can also read what the Laura Ashley team had to say by finding their blog, here.

Whilst all Joe Blogs events I’ve attended have been fun, this one certainly topped them all. A huge thanks to the team behind the scenes and to Laura Ashley for arranging such a fabulous day and treating us to goody bags too!


Are you a crafter? 
Will you be making an origami gift box or lux bow?
As always, much love,