MONOCHROME BRIGHTS :: REMIXING AN OLD FAVOURITE
First blossom, now rapeseed; are you tired of these spring cliches yet? I’m sure many spring seasons have passed that have been equally as scenic and picturesque, but I’ve yet to recall them. Suddenly the fields in our local area are awash with colour and colourful wildflowers are sprouting. It seems April showers really do bring May flowers. With any change of season, comes transitional dressing and shopping for key pieces.
For the girl who doesn’t wear trousers, the scattered showers transition between spring summer is especially difficult. Over the past few months, I’ve cleared over half of my wardrobe (if it didn’t fit or flatter, it was sold, donated or binned!) and now I’m left with a few key pieces.
This bright, yellow skirt and orange shoe combination first featured here in April 2014. Both, unsurprisingly, were sale buys (the skirt costing £4, the shoes £5). I’d almost forgotten about them both, until the great wardrobe clear out. With a handful of little gems left in my wardrobe, I’m trying to create new-to-me outfits with them.
This season, I love the sudden explosion of frills, flounces and ruffles on our high street. It’s so… romantic? I blame the #ArchivebyAlexa range and that Harry blouse for planting to idea in my head and making it BLOOM. Frills were top on my spring/summer update list so when Katie and I were invited to shop at Green Oaks Shopping Centre in Widnes, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. Gifted with vouchers for Peacocks, Select and Roman, we decided to devote the entire day to updating our spring/summer wardrobe.
So, what did I come away with? This monochrome cold shoulder striped top. Frills, monochrome and stripes, what more could I ask for? The perfect update, very much my style and a bargain at £10. Staying in Peacocks, I also picked up this hat at £8 to personalise and make it unique.
Next, we met Debbie and Andrew from The Fragrance Shop where we were very generously gifted (and surprised) with a large bottle of perfume, a twist and spritz (guess who’s now taking her perfume on holiday- 9kg of luggage here I come) and a very welcome, detailed Disney discussion where Katie and Andrew tried to decipher who the best Disney princess is. (Team Arial here, incase you were wondering.)
Browsing in Roman and Select, I found a handful of clothes that I liked but either didn’t fit or were out of stock. Roman’s sizes were just out of proportion for my petite (read: short) frame, I’d like to think I was just unlucky on the day with my size being out of stock in Select.
My list of essentials is still just as long. I’m desperate for cardigans, a well-fitting pair of jeans and a pair of comfortable trainers. All items feel like I’m trying to find the holy grail- no sooner do I find one, it sells out. Seriously, where are all the petite clothes and sleek, slim-fit trainers?
// Yellow skirt :: Peacocks // Orange shoes :: Topshop // Cold shoulder top :: c/o Peacocks // Hat :: c/o Peacocks // Leather satchel :: vintage //
*Post written in collaboration with brand, all opinions my own*
HOW TO MAKE A SLOGAN STRAW HAT
If, like me, you love whimsical fashion then a slogan straw hat must be one of your summer fashion staples. Recently, I considered buying an £18 straw hat stitched with the slogan, ‘I’m Busy’. It quickly sold out. Disappointed, I decided to make my own when I found this Peacocks hat on Saturday’s shopping trip to Green Oaks, Widnes. At £8, it was significantly cheaper and more my style with its polka dot trim.
Here’s how to make a slogan3 straw hat:
First things first, decide on the slogan you wish to add to your hat. Keep in mind the size of your hat’s brim, larger phrases need larger spaces. I chose a hat with a smaller brim. I spent some time on Pinterest pinning witty ideas (‘Here Comes the Fun’ was a personal favourite), but ultimately, I decided on something unique. Red, to complement the black and white polka dots, and of course to show my love of summer.
Create an outline by lightly drawing your slogan freehand. I used pencil at first then created a stronger line using felt tip. If your hat is similar to mine, I’d suggest using its woven lines as a guide. I have stereotypical teacher’s handwriting, if you’re not so neat you could use a computer to print out your lettering and then trace it.
Using a large eyed needle, thread your needle with your chosen embroidery thread and double knot the end. You may find you need to add considerably more knots depending on the weave of your hat. Starting from the left, move your needle up and place your first stitch.
Carefully stitch over your outline, leaving no gaps. I chose to make each stitch approximately 0.5mm and sometimes I doubled up if I felt the line looked too thin. To keep the stitches connected and to avoid any gaps, I placed my needle down into the middle of the previous stitch. Remember to secure threads neatly and securely when your thread runs out.
Once complete, admire your handy work and take a selfie!
Here’s the finished product, what do you think?
I’m pretty pleased with how this project turned out and can’t wait to feature it in an outfit post coming soon! Let’s hope the sun makes a return!
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH _ LINDY BOP AUDREY
If you’re as old as me, you’ll remember neighbourhood watch- a scheme that saw neighbours hold regular meetings and work in partnership with the police to make communities safer. The scheme is still going today, but it’s not what I’m referring to in my blog title. No, I’m talking about how it always catches me by surprise just how much a new season can transform the local area that I live in. So much so, I’ve decided to take you on a photographic tour to experience my local area, filled with blossom and of course, I decided to match by wearing my Lindy Bop Audrey dress.
Last autumn, I took a stroll where I live with a Pumpkin Spice Latte in one hand and John’s in the other. This spring, we’ve retraced our steps but decided to swap hot cups of Starbucks latte for pints in our local. Yes, you read that right- our local. John moved in!
We’ve both waited a long, long time to live together. When I resigned from teaching, I knew giving up a steady wage would impact on our future plans, especially our wedding. A year on, and months spent living between two different homes, John has a new job in a local library and we’re finally living together. With the sudden reappearance of warm weather, we decided to make the most of summer (ahem, I meant spring) by taking a stroll to our local pub.
First of all, I should say that my local area is not noted for being picturesque. I’m from a large, industrial town in the north west of England: a town that was significant during the industrial revolution. Whilst it mightn’t be about to win any awards soon, the parish that I live in is suddenly in bloom with blossom and magnolia.
Mobile phones away, we spent the short journey talking about our day whilst watching the final rays of sunshine fade to the golden hour. My day had consisted of driving for hours in the warm weather to visit a business in Alderley Edge, whilst John had been getting to grips with the new job. Very different days, but we were both glad to get some fresh air. Whilst walking, we noticed so many things things we’d never seen before, usually when passing in the car. Details that gave us clues to the age of buildings, reminding us that we won’t be the first couple to make this area our home.
With the weather being so changeable at the moment, I always feel so unprepared. Usually, I have a couple of outfits in mind but when the sun suddenly makes a reappearance it confuses me. I mean, tights or no tights? Coat, cardigan or jacket? Above the knee or below the knee? Too many choices!
Whilst I might have sold the majority of the Lindy Bop dresses I own, I kept hold of this floral Audrey dress simply because of the way it fits. Slightly below the knee and high necked, it’s a real ‘go anywhere’ dress. As you can see, I whipped out my hardy wardrobe staples of clogs, denim jacket and tan accessories and was good to go!
What does your local area look like at the moment?
// Tulip print dress :: Lindy Bop //
// Tan clogs :: Lotta from Stockholm //
// Lilac bag :: River Island //
// Denim jacket :: Topshop //
PORT SUNLIGHT _ WES ANDERSON STYLE
Port Sunlight. With a name so optimistically cheery, you’d be forgiven for expecting spring weather to match, however, mother nature has a great sense of humour. By Sunday, last week’s glimpse of summer had faded to wind and rain. Summer dresses back in hiding, it was time to appease my disappointment by bringing out the red, velvet trimmed coat. The one I’d spent years endlessly searching for in my size.
My first April purchase, thanks to a tip off from blogger pal, Kezzie. I’d kept my eyes peeled for this coat, ever since I wrote this post. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. Hurrah for Internet friends! Brand new with tags, my size and a buy it now price too good to be true- I bought it at £20, I’m not sorry.
Last Sunday, John and I headed to the model village of Port Sunlight. Located on the Wirral, it’s a short hop over (or under) the River Mersey. The late 19th century village was built by William Hesketh Lever, of Lever Brothers fame, to house his factory workers. Employing over 30 different architects, he created a garden village within which, most buildings are now Grade II listed.
We enjoyed a couple of hours strolling through the village, looking and taking photographs of the many different styles of house, musing about what it would be like to live there and generally, forgetting the world and its worries.
// Floral print dress :: Yumi //
// Red coat :: Topshop (via eBay) //
// Satchel :: Cambridge Satchel Company //
// Clogs :: Lotta from Stockholm //
Recently, I seem to have been inspired by colours from Wes Anderson films. I’ve had this Yumi number for a couple of months now, usually wearing it for work. However, with the weather being so bad, I decided to pair red with its tiny blue flowers. Trust me, it’s not a colour combination I’d naturally choose. What do you think?
I think I quite like it- especially when teamed with my DianaF+ lomography camera. Although, I think I was being a little too optimistic bringing it along especially as the weather didn’t improve enough for me to take just one shot! It felt like a real shame as the village was so picturesque! Never mind, if summer makes an appearance this year, it’ll definitely be on our list of places to picnic!