Monday, 21 December 2015

Cat Eyes and Duffel Coats

Eeeeeepp!  It's Christmas week, how exciting.  I have two days left at work this year which feels amazing to say.  I am ready to kick back and relax with my family and enjoy the festivities.  I really wanted to share a couple of my recent purchases with you, both of which I picked up in the sales.  I wanted a high wool count coat to keep me warm this winter and this one stood out to me, generally duffel coats are way too short for me to consider.  I really love Dickens and Jones, their stuff is always really nicely made and the insides look as good as the outside does.  It was originally £199 and I got it for £149 but the very next day (after the Black Friday sales had finished) it had been reduced to £119!  SOB.  I hadn't even had chance to wear it so I took it back and got my £30 refunded.  I just looked now to get the link and it is down to under £60.  Damn.  Snap it up, it's an awesome coat at an amazing price! 

I wanted to buy a back up pair of the black Orla Kiely Abigail heels when they got reduced in the sale but I wasn't quick enough.  I quickly decided to get a pair of the Audrey boots and am so glad I did, they are just as comfy as the shoes and are a great price at £80 - half price in the sale.  Most sizes are still available if you want to grab a pair.  Both the shoes and the boots are super comfy, the platform means you don't feel the height of the heel.  I successfully wandered round Birmingham for an afternoon without feeling them.  I recently received an awesome pair of Just Cavalli Cat Eye sunglasses from Sunglasses Shop and have been dying to wear them.  It's been so gloomy recently but we had some sunshine yesterday and I felt so glam wearing them.  The Cat Eye is my favourite style, I always feel like a 50's starlet when I slip on a pair.  There is still time for last minute gifts, Sunglasses Shop have put together an awesome gift guide and are offering 25% discount using code 25XMS by midnight 24th December.  I really like these Michael Kors frames

One last thing from me is to announce the winner of the Elephant in my Handbag fabric giveaway.  I have used to select a comment at random and the winner is comment number 13, unlucky for some, which is Hannah at Tips from my Nan, congratulations!  I will be in touch soon :)

Dress: Made by me using snow globe fabric by Cotton & Steel
Sunglasses: Sunglasses Shop*
Tights: Accessorize 


Monday, 14 December 2015

Getting Cosy

For a girl who only wears dresses I sure do have a lot of love for a good pair of PJs.  They are defo one of my favourite things to wear, I guess it's partly because once I have put them on I'm done for the day.  No going back out in the cold.   As much as I love them they are defo not for doing your supermarket shop in (yep I have seen it!)  In my humble opinion the only thing better than a pair of pyjamas is Christmas pyjamas and boy are these pretty special Christmas pyjamas - just look at those adorable snow globes.    

I have a lovely Christmas tradition of getting a new pair of pyjamas ready for Christmas and thankfully this year FatFace have taken any effort out of it and done it for me.  Along with the most awesome pair of PJ bottoms you ever did see I also received a pair of super cosy slippers and a co-coordinating long sleeved top.  I am in heaven.  Curled up in my chair, feet on the foot stool and blanket to hand watching Christmas films I have seen many times before with a good cup of tea.  Bliss.  All I need to do now is actually get round to putting the Christmas tree up and wrapping a few pressies.  It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

PJ bottoms: Fat Face*
Slippers: Fat Face*

FatFace have a great range of sleepwear and I am super impressed with the quality.  The fabric is a lovely weight and soft to the touch and the attention to detail and finish is second to none.  I really love the little lace embellishment around the pockets and the turn up hem and every last inch has been carefully crafted, just look at those insides!  FatFace have put together a gift guide that may help for any last minute purchases too, if you are looking for me I'll have another pair of PJ bottoms please!


Friday, 11 December 2015

Finishing Touches

The Christmas decorations are going up this weekend so I wanted to get a few snaps before the clutter of Christmas is in full force!  We have been spending a fair bit of time recently getting the house just how we want it.  It all started with the sewing room last Christmas, we also gave the spare bedroom a fresh look and recently we have redecorated both the living room and the kitchen.  We also tackled the garden but it's looking a bit sorry for itself now especially as we had to have a new fence fitted this week meaning lots of trampling over the flower beds :(  Will have to assess the damage come spring and give it a bit of TLC.  Next I want to repaint the en-suite and downstairs toilet and eventually fit a new bathroom but will need to save some pennies first. 

I've been busy adding lots of little finishing touches, I love finding the perfect item to add a little interest and detail.  I'm getting to the point where I am having to put older stuff away to make room for shiny new things, I have run out of space for stuff!  That hasn't stopped me from finding some awesome new trinkets of course.  Katy, Rosie and I all picked up one of these frames in a recent trip to Primark.  It was only £6 I think and I decided it would look great next to my huge Ikea clock in the hallway.  It might have convinced Katy to redecorate a room so it fits!!

Print: Primark   /   Clock: Ikea

I have added greenery other than cacti to the living room and found a few fab pots to show them off in.  Our living room has quite a retro vibe so Orla Kiely is just perfect.  I also bought a diffuser after Rosie telling me about hers and I love it.  I'm not a massive fan of candles and this adds the perfect amount of scent to the room.  You can read Rosie's review here.

Orla Kiely Plant Pot: Flamingo Gifts*   /   Diffuser: Amazon   /  Plant Pot: H&M

I put this little area together when Gray moved his iMac out of my sewing room and I really love it.  I love how the colours all work together and I especially love the round wall vase I picked up from Tiger for a few pounds, it's perfect for holding my scissors.  

Round vase: Tiger

I mentioned earlier that I am not a big fan of candles, I guess I should clarify that I am not a big fan of actually burning candles.  Ones that look cute are obviously totally different, right?!  I love this Pyro Pet bird candle though I will defo never be burning it.  There is a bird skeleton inside the candle which gets revealed as you burn it.  I want the bunny one too, it's so cute!!

Candle: Flamingo Gifts*

We decided on a mid grey for the kitchen wall in the end with the rest of the kitchen going a lighter shade of grey.  Still need to paint above the units and sort some of the grouting done but I am really happy with it.  It feels like a totally different kitchen. 


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Wednesday Wants

I am well into my Christmas dress making and am loving feeling festive as I pick which dress to wear each day.  Some of them have been full on Christmas and shout hey its nearly Christmas at the top of their voices whereas others have been more subtle with just a little nod towards Christmas or even just a bit wintery.  I have had a look around at my favourite Christmassy dresses and have also picked an awesome jumper to share.  It's much better than my advent candle that refuses to burn down to the right day. Think it might get there in time for Christmas next year! 

I had a hard time deciding which Emily and Fin dress to include.  I love this snowflake dress and this snowfall spot dress but ended up plumping for the polar bear Lucy dress.  I mean, polar bears!  The colours are also pretty awesome.

How pretty is this Boden dress?!  I think it's perfect for wearing on Christmas day though I would defo opt for black tights over grey.  It comes in two colourways with the white and gold version getting the gold star from me.

Dress: Boden 

I love this jumper!  I am not an advent calendar kinda girl and my advent candle has been less than successful so this is the perfect alternative.

 Christmas Jumper: asos


Monday, 7 December 2015

Made By Me #103

I thought I would share one of my favourite Christmas dresses with you today, I made it last year but didn't have chance to feature it.  I have adjusted it so it fits me now and it was well worth the effort, the print is so adorable!  It is a lot of effort to adjust a dress, think it would have been quicker to make one from scratch!! I love the little Robin Redbreasts and the metallic gold trees, you can see the print a bit closer up here.  I have taken it up a good three inches too, the length I used to love is now too long.  The main reason I wanted to post this dress apart from the fact I am wearing it loads in the lead up to Christmas is to show off these ace tights!  How cute are they?!  You can get reindeer and snowman ones too but the trees are defo my favourite.  I made another Christmas dress last night, have another cut out ready for when I get more time to sew and have two waiting to be altered, lets hope I get chance to do them and wear them all before Christmas.

We haven't put our tree up yet, I don't really want to clutter up my newly decorated living room so have been holding off.  Think we are going to do it at the weekend though, Gray says it has to go up so I have delayed it as long as I can.  I love wearing Christmassy outfits but can give or take having an actual tree up.  Have you put yours up yet?  Thankfully we have nearly finished our Christmas shopping too, I don't like not having it done by early December.  No way I am going to wrap all the pressies myself this year, I enjoy doing the first couple but after that just want it over with.  Any tips for making it more fun?!  I am sure alcohol would help but as I don't drink anymore this isn't an option for me.

Dress: Made by me using Christmas Tree fabric by Makower (old)
Tights: asos


Friday, 4 December 2015

Made By Me #169 & A Giveaway

It's my first post of December so I thought it's only right I share with you my first Christmas dress of the season!  I bloody love a Christmas dress.  I made a few last year, a couple of which have been altered so I can wear them again this year, and I have bought a couple of awesome Christmas fabrics which are patiently waiting their turn to get turned into a dress.  This beautiful bauble fabric is from the Tinsel collection by Cotton and Steel.  It comes in a couple of colour ways but the addition of the metallic gold in the teal colour way sold it.  I am a total magpie and will always go for the metallic option.  I made a few alterations to the bodice following my last post and it fits much better.  It's still a little big under the bust so I have made further alterations to my next dress mainly around the bust and waist darts and now it all fits like it used to and I am over the moon.  The dress on Violet is my latest make and I am really happy with the fit.  Two Christmas dresses made, two to go.

Elephant In My Handbag have kindly supplied the fabric for this Christmassy dress and have also offered up 2.5m of your choice of fabric for me to give away to one lucky reader.  The giveaway is open to UK residents only, to enter please leave a comment with your email address and let me know which fabric you would love the chance to win.  I have some of this awesome fabric on the way so that gets my vote.  This one is the opposite of a Christmas fabric but I adore it, it's just so fun and bright.  I also really love this fabric, it's too cute.  So many fabulous choices, the hardest bit will be just choosing one!  The giveaway will run until Midnight 18th December.  Don't forget you can still take advantage of my 10% discount code, details in the sidebar.


Monday, 30 November 2015

Made By Me #168

Oh boy do I love this little metallic number!  It feels awesome to wear and is perfect party attire though it will defo end up being worn during the day too, it's just too cute to save for special occasions.  There is a problem with it though, it's too big.  It doesn't look that bad in these photos but I have since taken the side seams in by 1" each side which has improved it greatly but I am still not happy.  I am getting some bagging under the bust, any suggestions on how to remove them?  I have already made the waist darts deeper but haven't yet tried shaping the darts as I am not sure if this will fix the issue.  This is the only downside to my fitness journey, I altered my bodice two weeks ago and it fit perfectly.  Bittersweet progress.  My dart points are also pretty obvious IRL, I have pressed and pressed and pressed them but they are still too obvious - any help is much appreciated.  I could really do with finding a fitting 101 class, I am finding it difficult to adjust my pattern to my new changing shape.

I've had to move indoors for photos, it's impossible to get photos where my skirt isn't around my ears with all this wind.  The recent wind has been making it feel oh so cold but I have treated myself to a beautiful new coat.  I was going to go for a warm parka as all I wanted is to be warm but it's really not my style and looked silly with my heels so I decided to go for something with a high wool percentage instead and ended up with this gorgeous Dickins and Jones duffle coat.  It's the perfect length, really warm and I feel great in it.  Will share it on here soon!  I don't like the cold and I don't like the wind, they have conspired and given me a cold sore.  Booooooooooo!!

Did you treat yourself to any Black Friday bargains?  I had a little look and apart from my coat nothing else took my fancy.  Gray and my parents did get my birthday pressies for the end of January though,  might actually be looking forward to my birthday now though still not wanting to turn 40. 


Friday, 27 November 2015

My Fitness Journey

I'm not really sure where to start with this post.  It's something I find really personal but at the same time I want to talk about my journey in the hope it helps or inspires anyone else who is feeling the way I felt.  I am fast approaching 40 and the realisation that I am going to be hitting this milestone soon made me step back and see a few things differently, one of which is my health.  As I have mentioned before I live in a three storey town house and it had got to the point where if I had to walk from the bottom floor straight up to the top I would be gasping for breath by the time I climbed to the top of the stairs.  This was quite scary and though I didn't want to admit to there being an issue at first, I finally came to terms that this was my reality and that I really needed to do something about it before it was too late. I wrote this post as I started my journey, I bought myself a bit of tech and I got moving.  When you make your own dresses it's easy to kid yourself and just add a few cms here and there to accommodate your growing waistline.

What I didn't say at the time is I also joined Weight Watchers.  I decided I needed to just get on and actually do it this time so didn't want to talk about it and I didn't want any added pressure.  Action speaks louder than words so I needed to buckle down and sort myself out.  I only told Gray and a couple of friends as I was staying with them and needed to make sure I wasn't faced with too many bad options.  Weight Watchers is essentially calorie counting and although that makes me miserable I knew I needed something easy and familiar that would kick start my journey.  I signed up online for three months with the intention to move to something better at the end of that period.  I wasn't sure what that would be I just knew it needed to be sustainable and allow me to eat more than 26 points worth of food per day.  I also went walking every single day.  I had a minimum goal of 10,000 steps per day but often managed around 150,000 steps per week.  My fitness improved rapidly and I really enjoyed the extra quality time walking around for a couple of hours with Gray.  I had a few of holidays and weekends away while on the plan but managed to lose 1.5 stone in the three months.  It was getting harder and harder to get any losses towards the end so I know I would have plateaued if I had continued.  I couldn't have eaten much less either, 26 points per day does not work out to a lot of calories.  For me it was a means to an end, it gave me back both a base level fitness and confidence and with this I was able to work up to something more life changing.  I wish I had have been brave enough to take measurements before I started but I wasn't.

I made the decision to join The Bodycoach 90 day SSS Plan, at £147 for the three months it's not cheap so it's not something I did without thought.  I was inspired by the transformations I had seen on their instagram page and after reading more about the plan on their website it seemed just what I was looking for.  While I wanted to lose weight in the process my main goal was to improve my fitness and start looking after myself by eating better food.  Those 26 points can be made up of whatever food you fancy after all - Weight Watchers is not about healthy eating just eating less.  I had done my research so I knew what I was getting myself into.  The first 30 days are low carb meals with carbs only as a refuel after a workout.  Think lots of vegetables and lean proteins, not a spoon of sugar in sight.  You workout 4-5 times a week for 25 minutes choosing whatever HIIT workout you fancy.  I lack co-ordination so decided to do my HIIT on a treadmill, the progress I made in the first 30 days in terms of both speed and how it made me feel was unexpected.  I couldn't believe how much my fitness had improved.  I ended the first 30 days much fitter than when I started and with a loss of 7" and 7lbs bringing my total weight loss to 2 stone.  I didn't cheat at all and even more surprisingly I didn't miss sugar.  I was eating a bar of chocolate a day on Weight Watchers so this was a concern before I started.  Another thing that has surprised me is how my body has changed shape.  I am pear shaped and usually as I lose weight I lose more from my upper body resulting in me becoming more pear shaped.  This time I actually only lost half an inch from my chest compared with two inches from my hips - it's a miracle!! 

The second 30 days is all about building lean muscle with the addition of weights and eating carbs with every meal on a training day.  You train 4 times a week and each session takes around 40-50 minutes.  From what I have seen some people dread this cycle as your weight can go up and you can also suffer from carb bloat but I have enjoyed it so far, more freedom with the food and the weights add some welcome variety to the training. I'm over three weeks in and am looking forward to seeing how this cycle changes my body.  The final 30 days is similar in structure to the first 30 with carbs only as refuel after a workout but the workouts also include weights.  And they sound brutal! On this cycle you strip back any water weight from the carbs in the previous cycle and continue to build muscle.

I'm not sure what I am going to do once I graduate from the plan, this for me needs to be a lifestyle change that I maintain going forward.  I need to continue to eat good wholesome foods with the occasional treat thrown in and as much as I still hate it I need to continue to work out 4 times per week.  I am hoping I wake up one day and suddenly love exercise but it hasn't happened yet.  I've been sent some awesome Nike Trainers which certainly make working out more fun.  I can't help but stay brand loyal to Nike, their clothing and footwear is of such high quality and makes exercising that much more bearable.  I definitely feel more motivated when I am wearing nice clothes, wearing something that makes you feel good makes everything seem that bit better.  I have purchased a few pairs of their tights recently and they are just so comfortable.  I've even been wearing them outside of the gym, they are great for lounging around in too. 

Tights: Nike
T-Shirt: Nike
If you've got any questions about the plans let me know and likewise if you have any suggestions as to what I should look at going forward I would love to hear them.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wednesday Wants

Evening!  A late little wishlist for you tonight, I have been browsing pretty dresses for my upcoming work Christmas party and wanted to share some of the beautiful jacquard numbers I am currently swooning over.  Having an internal debate as to whether I'm going to go for jacquard or sequins.  Yep that's right, I have decided against making something for a change!  I can't find the beautiful jacquard fabrics the high street use and I wouldn't bother sewing with sequins for fear of either damaging my sewing machine or dying of boredom removing sequins from the seams. 

I am in love with this Ted Baker beauty, it's seriously gorgeous and pretty sophisticated for me.  I would defo team it with a pair of gold heels and would add a pair of polka dot tights to mix it up.  Shame about the price tag, it's simply stunning!

 Dress: Ted Baker

I'm not a massive fan of florals but the colours of this asos dress are leaving me weak at the knees.  It would look awesome with my Clarks x Orla heels and a little fluffy cardigan.

 Dress: asos

Okay so I am not sure I could rock this camo number at my Christmas party but how awesome is it?!  I love that they have taken a print that is so casual and printed it on a luxe fabric.  I really like how they have styled it too, it looks great with the ankle boots.

Skirt: asos


Monday, 23 November 2015

Kitchen Refresh - Part Two

I am so excited that this work has finally been done!  I’ve been wanting to replace the worktop since we moved in two and a half years ago but really struggled to find what we were looking for without spending a crazy amount of money.  I did fall in love with a solid grey coloured worktop but am not crazy enough to want to spend over £3000 putting in a new worktop on old units!  I really like the units we currently have, after all they are part of the reason I agreed to move in the first place, and they still look pretty new.  We finally stumbled on the new worktop in Homebase, it was displayed on a kitchen with white units with a grey trim and I loved how it all worked together.  Best part we got to knock a zero off the price of the expensive alternative!

I spent a fair bit of time browsing kitchen designs online looking for inspiration as I wanted to love it for the long term, this is not something I want to have to revisit in the next few years because I have grown tired of my choice.  I wanted something that’s both current and classic and that won’t date quickly which isn’t always an easy balance.  I am of course going to be keeping my pastel theme going but just tone it down a little.  White and grey are pretty neutral anyway so I think whichever way we went with dressing the room it would still work.

I loved the look of both of these kitchens and they helped me finally decide on white subway style tiles with grey grouting.  Unfortunately they have made me yearn for a pastel Smeg fridge again… one day!  I also have major floor tile envy, aren’t they glorious!  I’m not sure our kitchen/diner could handle that much print but it’s something to think about in the future.  Anyways enough chatting time to let the kitchen do the talking and share some photos.  If you want to know where anything is from just shout, most of it is a couple of years old now.  A reminder how it looked before with the old worktop and tiles can be seen here.

One thing that doesn’t really work for me now is the wall colour.  I am thinking that grey would balance it out and give it a sleeker finish.  Haven’t decided if grey is the final choice or thought about the shade of grey yet, what do you guys think?


Friday, 20 November 2015

Made By Me #167

Happy Friday!  I am so ready for the weekend especially when I have a fun packed one ahead of me.  Not even the predicted cold spell can put a downer on it, I'm excited!  I mentioned in my previous post that I have been making a few pattern alterations to fit to my new shape and size.  I have increased the waist darts on this one and also redrafted the sleeves and arm holes to get rid of some of the gathering on the bodice where it meets my arms.  It's not yet perfect but it's getting there and fits me a damn sight better than any ready to wear dress ever has.   I need to say a big thank you to Hannah for her help over twitter and my Mum for not sticking pins in me.  I am sure it was tempting when she was helping me late last Saturday!

Reducing the size of the sleeve so that it fits the redrafted arm holes meant I wasn't left with much fabric for gathers where it meets the shoulders which I really love so the sleeve head has been elongated from the notches upwards which has sorted it out a treat.  Thanks for the tip Mum.  It seems Mum's do really know best, ha.  I think the length of the skirt is better on this dress so am going to go with this length on my next make, still trying to decide which fabric that will be! 

Dress: Made by me using Lotta Jansdotter fabric


Monday, 16 November 2015

Made By Me #166

Hey guys, hope you are all well.  I am back to sewing and wanted to share my first make in a while with you.  I haven't been sewing for the last couple of months as I needed some time to sort my health and fitness out and as a result I have lost a couple of stone so didn't want to be making dresses that wouldn't fit well going forward.  I am at the point where I need to make a few new dresses to tide me over as my journey isn't yet complete.  Rather than go back to the original pattern and make the required shoulder and gaping adjustments I fixed when I first started I decided to wing it and increase the seam allowance and darts where required.  It seems to have worked well though I still need to sort out where the bodice meets the sleeve as I have a bit of excess fabric gathering there and it is still too big around the waist so I am going to increase the waist darts on my next make to compensate.   I also made the skirt a bit shorter but maybe a little too short for my tastes.

I really love this fabric, it's pretty simple in design but the mix of colours against the black really make it pop, it's more vibrant in real life than is shown in the photos.  I have been enjoying wearing patterned tights recently and am keen to add more to my tights drawer, any recommendations?  I have looked everywhere I can think of and have been buying various spots and heart print ones but would like more variety.  Not sure what I am looking for though!  I've been wearing my Clarks Orla's loads since I bought them, they are as comfy as the previous season and look great with just about everything.  I am sad that it's the last collaboration, they have made some pretty perfect shoes.  I'm keeping an eye out for these ones to go in the sale so I can snap up a back up pair!

Dress: Made by me using Endless Summer Pop Dots by Kanvas
Pattern: Emery by Christine Haynes
Tights: Gypsy 


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