Emily & Fin Summer! Wimbledon is here!
For me, it truly feels like summer’s arrived when Wimbledon begins, even though it usually rains! Did you know it’s the oldest tennis tournament in the world and the only major one played on grass? It’s not surprising that a tournament started in 1877 is steeped in tradition: players must adhere to an all-white uniform, players are referred to by title and a member of the Royal family has attended since 1907. I look forward to Wimbledon and of course, consuming Pimms and strawberries and cream! This year, I thought I’d take my love of Wimbledon a step further with an Emily and Fin summer dress, the ‘Anyone for Tennis?’ dress to be specific.
As you know, I’ve always loved dresses adorned with fun prints, but I think this dress may now be my favourite. Made from 100% cotton, it has a looser fit on the bodice and is perfect for hot days. I first wore this dress in Berlin with my sparkly Superga pumps, but I wanted to style it with a Wimbledon theme. Would you expect anything less from me when the dress is adorned in tennis rackets?
// Anyone for Tennis? dress :: c/o Emily and Fin //
// Rain clouds necklace :: Kayleigh O’Mara //
// Camera bag :: Accessorize //
// Clogs :: Lotta from Stockholm //
As we Brits know, it always rains at Wimbledon (so much so, they famously installed a roof to stop rain interrupting play.) Even in June, I find I won’t leave the house without an umbrella. This strawberry print umbrella belongs to my mother-in-law, we think it once belonged to John’s granddad who was a greengrocer. I think it’s perfect for Wimbledon. My necklace was purchased from the talented illustrator and crafter, Kayleigh O’Mara, on Instagram. A yellow belt to represent tennis balls and a camera bag, because any spectator would need their camera, no?
Are you excited for the start of Wimbledon? Strawberries and cream?
Linking up with Not Dressed As Lamb. This week’s theme is summer dresses, why don’t you join me?
THE POWER OF SAYING YES at MOTTRAM HALL
As a blogger, different offers and opportunities will occasionally land in my inbox- usually during the day when I’m hurrying between appointments. Being honest, I decline most event invitations (when I’m lucky enough to receive them) because they’re usually in London, with short notice or aren’t relevant to the fashion and lifestyle ethos of Polkadot Pink. So when I received an event invitation to visit Mottram Hall a luxury spa hotel, I was pleased to discover it was located close by and had an action packed itinerary which, of course, included fashion.
Despite this, I almost declined their offer. Why? Well, you know how shy I can be… what if I didn’t know anyone? What if no one spoke to me? What if I became so anxious I couldn’t speak? ‘What if, what if, what if!’ I thought until my brain grew tired, had a word with itself and said, ‘You’re going!’ in a tone that sounded just like my dad. And, that’s exactly what I did, I said yes!
Arriving right on time, the day started with a glass of Bucks Fizz with the ethereal pink-haired beauty, Kerri-Ann from Life As Our Little Family (a blog I’ve enjoyed reading for some time now.) Even though we hadn’t met in real life, it was great to meet in ‘real time’ for a day of spoiling thanks to Spa Seekers. When Chyaz, Emma, Fikki and Keeley arrived shortly after, we knew we were in good company.
Colour Me Beautiful with Maria Moyles
Introductions made, proverbial ice broken, we were invited to discover our colour personality by taking part in a colour consultation workshop with Maria Moyles, from Colour Me Beautiful. Maria placed different swatches of colour across our shoulders to help us see the colours that flattered us and more importantly, those that don’t. With this knowledge, Colour Me Beautiful believe women can add vitality to their skin, eyes and teeth, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and appear slimmer. With my pale skin and deep brown hair colour, I discovered rich and bright colours flatter me; like emerald green, marine blue, amethyst or teal, which isn’t surprising given my love of colour.
The second part of the session taught us how to highlight our favourite feature by incorporating colour into our make up. It’s been many years since I wore make up of any noticeable colour, apart from red lipstick. As my I’d like to highlight my eyes, I’m going to try switching my black eyeliner to an amethyst, granite, marine or teal colour and my lipstick to rose or plum (although, not all at once.)
Afternoon Tea at Mottram Hall
We were treated to classic British afternoon tea at the Carrington Grill, Mottram Hall’s elegant and stylish restaurant. On arrival, we were served with a glass of Prosecco to whet our appetites whilst we awaited the arrival of our tower of treats. Talk turned to the inspiration behind our blog names and I found it really interesting to discover the story behind their blogs, especially the blogs I read regularly.
When our platters of afternoon tea started to arrive, we photographed our delicious lunch with speed (check out Chyaz’s look of glee) and helped ourselves to a selection of sandwiches: smoked salmon and chive cream cheese, free range egg and cress, roast beef and horseradish, ham and mustard. With a freshly made scone came a side of debate: cream or jam first? We couldn’t decide. Finally, to finish, we took our pick from hand crafted cakes.
Tour of Mottram Hall
Mottram Hall is situated in the idyllic Cheshire countryside and is surrounded by parkland which makes it the ideal location for a relaxing getaway. Hotel manager, Steve Ewing, was on hand to give us a tour. They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here’s what my camera spied.
|Steve describing the history of Mottram Hall
|A bride and groom’s gorgeous reception room, awaiting their guests’ arrival. Interviews and filming usually takes place here.
|I loved how this room felt like a manor house snug. This room is soon to be converted to a champagne bar- yes please!
|The impressive entrance to Mottram Hall, the red carpet had clearly been rolled out for us…okay, maybe not.
|Looking out onto the terrace and oriental gardens.
|Anyone for golf?
Make up workshop hosted by Chloe Johnston
After our tour, we were seated for a make up masterclass lead by Chloe Johnston . She promised to teach us her tips and tricks for creating the perfect smokey eye. Keeley volunteered to be Chloe’s model as she was heading straight to work after the session. I listened attentively as Chloe advised us how to create the smokey eyed look, and my attention was piqued when she told us it was possible to transform a 90s brow to a more natural brow simply by holding an angled brush right at the end. This creates a lighter, delicate and more precise application which enables you to build up the product.
To end the day, we were given time to relax in the spa and gym facilities. Chyaz and Fikki chose to squeeze in a workout, but Kerri-Ann, Emma and I headed for the Stonebath. As an asthmatic, I can sometimes find saunas and steam rooms overwhelming. During the tour, Steven had explained how mineral stones are heated in the Stonebath oven until they are dipped into a basin of water, releasing minerals into the room. Apparently, this keeps the humidity low and I had to agree. Although it did give us a fright when it lurched into action!
Even though Mottram Hall, a luxury spa, boasts an outdoor hot tub, we didn’t get chance to experience it on the day due to its popularity. Instead, we settled for the indoor hot tub and talked until we pruned and reluctantly, we each decided it was time to set off home back to our real lives.
Driving home, I couldn’t help think: had I not said yes, I would have missed out on meeting
a fantastic group of people, a day of relaxation at Mottram Hall, enjoyed an amazing afternoon tea and of course, I wouldn’t have discoverd that emerald green is the colour for me to be seen in. It’s given me the confidence to go to more events solo and in future, I’ll be a firm yes. Thanks to Sammy for all of her hard work and inviting me on behalf of Spa Seekers.
FOR THE LOVE OF THRIFT
As I write this post, I’m taking refuge from the rain which is hammering against my window against a thundery soundtrack. It seems there’s no better time to write this post, not only because it will let me reminisce about brighter days in Berlin (predictable), but because I’ve been meaning to talk about thrift, making sustainable fashion choices and my current feelings towards buying second-hand clothing for some time.
In recent months, I’ve bought fewer clothes second hand and increasingly more clothes from new. Whilst I’ve browsed in charity shops, my heart just hasn’t been in it and I’ve found myself passing up opportunities for a quick browse. Naturally, I’ve found very little. Of course, I felt guilty about buying the majority of my clothes brand new but finding this handmade dress in Berlin has helped me to see things a little clearer.
First and foremost, I’ve always tried to make sustainable fashion choices, avoiding fast fashion by buying clothes that I loved and wore until there was very little life left in them. But, thrift is different and my love of wearing second hand started a year ago when I resigned from teaching and accepted an internship in social media. Even though it was a paid position, the difference in pay from my teaching wage was around £21,000. Unsurprisingly, I had no disposable income. I found myself selling the contents of my wardrobe to make money to reinvest in second hand, living on a bland but cheap diet and constantly dreaming up ways to make extra money.
As an aside, no one really talks about the effects of having a low income. At the time, I had a group of friends who were also teachers. They would invite me on nights out and to celebratory events but because I had no money, I would always decline their offers with excuses. It was either that, or end up in serious debt. It was equally embarrassing to live hand to mouth but liberating to live simply: being stress free with a work/life balance. I lost this group of friends, slowly they stopped inviting me to places and deleted me from their lives. I remember feeling quite lonely at the time, but now I realise it’s all part of life. You drift away from people. Thankfully, I had two very close friends who saw through my excuses and would shout me the occasional coffee, or arrange days out that cost nothing but time.
A year on, I’m earning a regular wage and can afford to buy things brand new: I’d forgotten that old, familiar thrill of returning home to find a delivery of brand new clothes until I started to buy clothes for Berlin. You see, when you thrift, it’s hard to find specific basics. For my trip, I purchased what my summer wardrobe was lacking: Saltwater sandals, Superga pumps, two midi skirts and a handful of cotton t-shirts. As you’ve seen on Instagram, I wore them all during the trip and have continued to do so since my return. I’m likely to wear them until they wear out- hence, why I don’t feel guilty about buying them first hand.
We were lucky enough to visit Berlin over the weekend period and because of this, we chanced upon a number of flea markets. We went to the well-loved Mauerpark flea market, then took a tram to Boxhagener Platz market before stumbling upon Revaler Strasse’s ‘RAW Flohmarkt’ and that is where I found this handmade, gingham dress for 7 Euros.
Okay, I do love gingham. A lot. I have lots of gingham dresses but none with a skull lining. I was almost ready to part with 10 Euros, until the stallholder offered it to me for 7 Euros. When I tried it on and realised it was the perfect fit, I was smitten with it. I love its combination of sweet gingham with badass skulls! God bless Airbnb apartments because after a quick spin in the washer it was good to go. A slick of hastily applied lip gloss, a quick hair brush and I was ready for our evening in Mitte- feeling great. Ah, the power of a good dress!
Finding this dress reminded me of my thrifting days and the genuine glee at finding a piece of clothing to love. Is there greater pleasure than buying something that lasts for years for a couple of quid? It’s made me realise:
It doesn’t matter whether something is first hand or second hand, as long as it’s worn and loved, or donated to a good cause if not.
Since I’ve been back, I’m vowing to increase my thrifting once again and kickstart it by planning a day of thrifting in my favourite charity shops. For now, I’m holding fire on the online shopping and hoping I’ll reignite my love of thrift once again.
What are your feelings towards thrift?