Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Little Steps

I've been noticing more and more lately that I have really let my fitness levels suffer.  I live in a three storey house and if I am on the ground floor need to fetch something from the top floor I am struggling for breath by the time I have climbed up the stairs.  I know this really isn't good and it's something I have been quietly ignoring for sometime.  It came to a head a couple of weeks ago when my car went in for service.  I was without it for two lunchtimes so walked the 15 minutes to the supermarket and back each day and found that when I woke up the morning after my hips were so stiff it was untrue.  From just an hour of walking.

I know how this has happened. Go back five and a half years ago and I walked everywhere.  I walked miles each day.  I couldn't drive and didn't have a car so didn't have much choice.  Even once I could drive it didn't have too much of an impact as every Saturday and Sunday I was stomping around the high street looking for my latest must have purchase.  Most lunchtimes too if I am honest!  Shopping kept me fit, it motivated me to move so when I stopped shopping around a year ago it meant I stopped moving too.  Shopping was literally my cardio.  Added to the fact that both of my main hobbies, blogging and sewing, mean I sit down on my bum wearing my favourite Esprit PJs for hours at a time it's not hard to see what an impact this could have.

I need to do something about it.  I bought a FitBit Flex and have made sure I have walked at least 10,000 steps a day since I got it on the 17th.  I have found it tough both physically and freeing up the time to go walking.  I am trying to fit as much of it in during the day as I can but the majority of my steps are walked in the evening which means I have less time for my hobbies.  I am having a bit of an internal battle over this as I really love my hobbies but know my health is way more important.  To help motivate me and keep me moving I treated myself to two bits of Cath Kidston that will do just that. I swooned over this navy backpack when it was first released but am not the kind over person who will spend over £200 on a bag no matter how beautiful it is.  It has gone in the sale and is now a way more reasonable £125 so I made it mine along with a pair of Cath Kidston x Gola trainers which will still look good with my dresses and mean I can walk more steps without my feet complaining.

I recently received a pair of earphones from Sudio so have been walking around listening to Taylor Swift, putting on some feel good music really does make it easier and the time passes so quickly.  The earphones are great, the studio quality sound makes you realise all the detail you miss listening to the album on the car stereo.  They are really stylish too, I love the leather pouch they come with meaning I can keep them in my bag without worrying they are going to tangle or get damaged as other headphones have before.  They work with iOS too so I can answer calls and change the volume using the controls on the headphones.  Sudio have kindly offered up a 15% discount code, Amilliondresses15.  They also offer free worldwide shipping.

Have you got any tips on how I can improve my fitness levels?  If you have had a similar experience, have had a word with yourself and sorted it out I would love to hear how.  I'm making sure when it's time to get into my comfy PJs and relax I have earned it!


Monday, 29 June 2015

Made By Me #153

I managed to find some time to sew up a couple of new dresses last week which meant I could make the most of the lovely weather this weekend to spend some time in our garden, go for a few walks and go out for dinner with two of my favourites. An all round lovely weekend!  Even if it did see me waste away an hour looking through a couple of comedy twitter accounts and Gray actually using the phrase 'get in the sea!'  I'm still laughing at some of the images now.

How awesome is this fabric?!  I really love Dear Stella Designs, a few of my most worn dresses have been sewed up in their fabrics and this one is just adorable.  It seems I have really developed a taste for navy, it is definitely the most prominent colour in my wardrobe and has snuck into my accessories too.  My most worn watch has a navy strap and I have recently bought myself a navy leather backpack.  Gray treated me to some cute navy shoes with the asos premier 30% presale discount code yesterday and I cannot wait for them to arrive.  Does that mean I should start looking for navy tights for autumn or will that be waaaayyy too much blue?!  haha.

Not sure if I should be thinking about tights seeing as we are due a heatwave this week though I am already swooning over Christmas fabrics! haha.  I stilll have a couple that I didn't sew up last year and have been eyeing up this one, this one and this one to add to the sewing list.  I need to keep repeating 'I must not get carried away.  I must not get carried away'  I absolutely loved wearing Christmas dresses last year but really do not need one for each day of December!  Or do I... ;)  Don't forget you can save 10% at Elephant In My Handbag, see my sidebar for further details.

Dress: Made by me using Sea Worthy Fabric by Dear Stella*
Shoes: Bershka


Friday, 26 June 2015

Made By Me #151

Happy Friday!  Always a good feeling when Friday rolls back around.  We've been making the most of the daylight and sunshine this week and as well as a bit of evening sewing, we have been racking up steps on my new FitBit.  I've written a post about what has motivated me to buy a FitBit Flex and get moving, will be up soon.  I'm finding if I spend a little less time sewing I can fit in going for a lovely long walk with Gray and I can still make a new dress over two evenings instead of one.  Maybe I have found the balance I need!

I sewed this dress up on Sunday and spent the time deciding what shoes I would wear with it first!  I had to go for these blue asos shoes, they compliment the blue in the fabric perfectly.  I have realised that I am somewhat lacking in the grey shoe area though, must put that colour on my must find list!  The fabric for this dress was kindly supplied by Plush Addict, an online fabric haven I have been shopping at since I first started sewing.  They have a great selection of fabrics, offer free shipping when you spend £40 and accept returns on cut fabric - really handy when something turns out not to be quite the colour you expected.  I have returned some fabric to them before and it was completely hassle free and the return postage is also free.  Win/win.  They also run a loyalty points scheme and have won loads of awards such as 'Best Online Retailer' in the Sew British Sewing Awards 2014.  I'm excited to be able to offer you all a 15% discount at Plush Addict.  The code is 15MILLION, is valid from 26th June - 3rd July site wide excluding gift vouchers.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I have found my favourite nude tights so when UK Tights contacted me and asked if I fancied trying out a few pairs I thought I would give some other nudes a go just to make sure.  I went for two pairs of the Gypsy shaper tights, one for everyday wear and one more for evening wear, they are slightly higher denier and have a satin sheen.  The everyday ones are lovely, the colour is great and they are really comfy and nicely high waisted so they stay put and you don't need to keep hiking them up.  I haven't washed them yet but have had other Gypsy tights and they have always washed well so fingers crossed.

Dress: Made by me using Paradiso fabric by Moda*
Shoes: asos
Tights: UK Tights*


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Wednesday Wants

Today's wishlist post is in collaboration with Lyst, a website dedicated to creating wishlists and keeping track of your must have items.  Perfect for someone like me who loves creating a wishlist or two.  Signing up is really easy, you just register and you're ready to get lysting!  I started browsing through the dresses until I came to the first one I wanted to lyst.  I clicked on the Untold Dress, then clicked the lyst it button and decided which lyst I wanted to add it to.  I opted to create a lyst of the perfect party dresses, my favourite kind of lyst!

When you sign up you get to choose which brands you like and then follow them. This populates a New For You page where you can see the new arrivals from all your favourites.  You can filter by item type, brand, size etc etc.  I really like this feature, it makes it easy to see all the pretty new dresses from numerous brands in one place.  Handy when you're trying to spend more time away from your laptop.

Once you have followed a brand you'll get notifications when an item you have lysted has been reduced, a feature I will get a lot of use from.  Gray has asked me to start thinking about what I want for my big birthday in January already (don't think he can deduct 10 years off my age, that's all I really want!) So I am going to start thinking about it and put together a birthday lyst which he can view independently without the need to be logged into my account like you do to see the saved items stored directly on brand websites.   

The homepage contains loads of inspiration and is beautifully put together.  The best read has to be The LongLyst, Lyst's very own blog full of interesting interviews.  I really enjoyed reading through the what I wore series which asks what were you wearing when your life changed, the Henry Holland one was a great read especially as my brother in law, Lee from NashWhite, recently assisted LabelM. creating the hair for the models at launch of the first Henry Holland men's collection.

You can see this week's wishlist items here, I've picked a few more items than normal including some bargain sale gems.

Have you tried Lyst yet?


Monday, 22 June 2015

Lurpak Freestyle Challenge

I do giggle when some campaigns drop into my mailbox, it's almost as if they have been designed with me in mind.  Now obviously I know that's not the case and with this one it seems I am far from alone in my love of routine!  In a recent study Lurpak looked into the lunchtime eating habits of 2000 office worker and found that three in ten of us have exactly the same lunch every day at work without fail.  I have mentioned before that I had the same sandwiches every day throughout school.  Whilst I am not quite as bad as that these days it's mostly because I have been lazy and relied on shop bought sandwiches where I can't get my beloved corned beef.  I could still easily eat those corned beef sandwiches daily though with added pickle to suit my more adult tastes!

Lurpak have challenged me to go freestyle this month and to move away from the comfort of my routine by shaking up lunchtimes with brave and bold creations.  They are using the hashtag #FreeStyleFood on both Instagram and Twitter where you can get loads of lunchtime inspiration for something a bit different.  They are also running a competition where you can win limited edition Lurpak hampers and other prizes by entering your creation, you can find out more details here.  That's not all, starting today the Lurpak freestyle food truck is hitting London and giving out free lunches!  They are serving up a range of freestyle combinations including bacon, kale and avocado sandwiches which sound YUM!  You can find the food truck here:

23rd June Broadgate Market  /  24th June Finsbury Avenue  /  30th June Paddington Central  /  1st July Observation Point (Southbank)  7th July Canary Wharf  /  8th July Regents Place  /  14th July Spitalfields Market  /  15th July One New Change  /  16th July  Potters Fields  /  17th July Chiswick Business Park

So what did I go with for my creation?  I am not a massive bread fan, for me it is defo just something to stop the filling from getting all over your fingers.  I really like sandwich thins and had to go for the cat shaped ones that are new from Warburtons!  Lunch has got to be more fun if it is cat shaped.  I really love the heat and flavour of piri piri so decided to use my favourite salad dressing along with some juicy sliced chicken breast.  I layered baby spinach leaves, chicken covered in the dressing, thinly sliced cucumber, some crinkle cut beetroot slices all topped off with some chunky chopped coriander and a dash more piri piri dressing.  It was absolutely delicious!  I'm going to continue mixing up my lunches and going freestyle this month, I've just got to make sure it makes it to lunch time ;)



*Post in collaboration with brand

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Summer Fashion Challenge

I was asked recently to take part in thinkmoney's summer fashion challenge, we were challenged to see if we could put together a complete summer outfit for £50 or under and have been provided with a voucher to buy the outfit in question.  They did their homework first and put together five looks for different summer occasions, you can see what they came up with here.  As I already make my own dresses I decided to go for the option I most resent spending money on, beach wear.  It's not that I don't like pretty swimsuits and bikinis, it's that it doesn't actually get much wear.  Two weeks a year tops in my case and you never want to dig out that swimsuit you wore last year for next years holiday do you - you want something shiny and new!  I decided to buy my entire outfit from one shop, Matalan.  Their beachwear is supercute plus I think I got a lot for my £50 budget.  We are holidaying in the New Forest this year and I am now ready for both the beach and the hot tub with this little lot.  As I went for beachwear I won't be sharing any photos of me in the outfit, that's not something I would want to share on the internet.

Kimono   |    Bikini Top   |   Bikini Bottoms   |   Straw Hat   |   Sunglasses   |   Clutch Bag  |   Sliders

I spent every penny of my budget and I managed to squeeze in the most adorable clutch bag which will be perfect for taking the bare essentials to the beach with me.  You only need sunscreen, a bit of pocket money and your phone after all!  So how does it all add up?

What do you think of the outfit I have put together?  You'll be able to see the outfits other bloggers have put together here soon.


Friday, 12 June 2015

Made By Me #148

Friday has come around quickly this week and I am excited about the prospect of some sewing time.  I haven't sewn since I made this dress just over a week ago as I have been having trouble deciding on the right fabric for dress 150.  It feels like a landmark number that deserves something special and I couldn't make my mind up between several fabrics.  That was solved when a new order arrived!  If in doubt, order more!! Haha.  I am going to sew up number 149 tonight now that weight has been lifted...

I have had my locks chopped off, I was getting fed up with my hair always being so flat to my head and looking like it needed a good brush so had a good 5-6" cut off which should get rid of a bit of weight.  I have also gone a bit darker as my hair was almost blonde in some parts.  I do want to get to a peachy colour still but needed to get those roots sorted out.  I have bought one of the Bleach London wash out colours to try, can any one recommend a peachy colour that will be more long lasting?

I try to balance out cute prints with a few more sensible choices every now and then.  You can't always get away with umbrellas, pineapples and the like.  I love the simplicity of this geometric print and the addition of the cute pink detail.  It is definitely one of those fabrics that looks better IRL, it kinda hurts your eyes in photographs.  I have a new pair of sunglasses that I knew would be perfect with this outfit and I finished it with a new to me Tatty Devine dolphin brooch.  Just because the print is more sensible doesn't mean the accessories need to be!

Dress: Made by me using Quilting Treasures fabric
Pattern: Emery by Christine Haynes 
Sunglasses: Radley*
Brooch: Tatty Devine


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Wednesday Wants

I'm quite liking dresses that look like separates at the moment even if I don't think they would be that flattering on me.  I like things that masquerade as something else unless it is a skort. No explanation needed for that!  What I really like about this dress is the back detail, it is pretty special!

 Dress: asos

I love a good plaid pattern and this is a really good plaid pattern!! What you can't see that clearly in the photo is the detail, Modcloth have named it the Confetti Confections dress and it is covered in sprinkles and cute little hearts.  It is absolutely darling!  It's made by Spanish brand Kling who I hadn't heard of before but if you look at all this amazingness you'll wonder how I managed to pick just one dress and don't even get me started on the bags! I die.

 Dress: Modcloth

Pretty in pink?  You certainly will be in this little chiffon number.  Lovingly handmade in London I can always rely on Mod Dolly to create the perfect dress.  They have just relaunched their website and blog, well worth a look at their new collection, some of it is almost as pretty as this dress!

Dress: Mod Dolly


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Glamping Survival Kit

Last weekend was so idyllic it has made me crave even more down time.  Since I started sewing I haven't felt the urge to spend each weekend traipsing round the shops on the hunt for my next must have item so have had way more time to just relax and spend time doing nothing much and it has been wonderful.  Get the Label got in touch recently offering to send out a fab glamping survival kit which also sounded perfect for lazy weekends in the garden.  I haven't ever actually been glamping but I must admit unlike camping it really does appeal, there's something magical about sleeping in a wigwam.  Plus sleeping in an actual bed means I would actually be able to function the next day!  My days of lying on the ground have long passed.  This weekend we decided to make use of the goodies in the kit and pretend that we have been glamping by having breakfast out in the garden.  Sunday was so glorious, absolutely perfect outdoor weather.

The kit contains a selfie stick, bluetooth speaker, a pair of havaianas and a Brita filter portable water bottle amongst other goodies.  We put Taylor Swift on the speaker and got busy with the selfie stick before tucking into breakfast and soaking up a few rays. Get the Look are currently running a competition where you can win your very own glamping survival kit along with an actual glamping weekend for four at one of 35 WigWam sites around the UK PLUS £75 to spend at Get the Label by entering the competition here.  To be in with a chance to win all you need to do is click on the link and enter your details by the 14th June 2015.  Doesn't that sound amazing?! 

I couldn't resist sharing a few photos of our garden, I am so happy with it and plan to spend many hours taking in it's beauty this summer!  Full post to come!


Monday, 8 June 2015

Made By Me #147

I have had a lovely and relaxing weekend spent mostly in my garden with great company, time spent with friends really is great for the soul.  I feel blessed that I have met the most amazing bunch of like minded people on the internet.  It's not full of weirdos.  It's full of great, genuine people who go out of their way to make your life that little bit brighter.  Gosh I am getting all soppy aren't I?!  But my internet friends are incredibly dear to me, I just wish they didn't live so far away!

I may have made sounds only audible to dogs when I first saw this fabric on Instagram.  It is part of Cotton and Steel's Halloween collection called Spellbound but it is just too beautiful to save for Halloween.  It is called Elixir and has little potion bottles, various flowers and a few spiders lurking in the design.  I absolutely adore the colours too, it really doesn't feel obviously themed and it so beautifully done.  As you can see I am not waiting til Halloween to wear it!  I have also bought the mummy print and that's also totally adorable, I can't see that one waiting til Halloween either.  Mummies are every day wear, right?!

I am wearing some relatively flat shoes for me, I was sent a pair of FF2 by FitFlop shoes to see how I get on with them.  They are not totally flat and are incredibly light - it's like wearing your slippers!  I have worn them a couple of times so far and they are instantly comfortable and don't hurt my feet like most flats do.  They feel pretty supportive and you don't have to undo the strap to get them on and off so they are fast becoming my go to shoes when I am in a hurry. 


Friday, 5 June 2015

Made By Me #142

We've been spending whatever time the British weather will allow out in the garden making it look as pretty as possible so we can enjoy sitting in it this summer.  This must be rubbing off on my fabric choices too as I have started to introduce more floral than usual in my wardrobe.  I usually shy away from run of the mill florals as they are just not my thing but could not resist this pretty Michael Miller fabric.  I really love the colours and of course the vases filled with pretty blooms.  Now that it is light til at least 9pm I like to sit in my sewing room with my curtains open soaking up the last of the light whilst stealing a few glances at our handiwork.

I was lucky to receive a beautiful Jord wood watch recently, it's as if  I have gone back to nature with all this gardening talk and now a wooden watch.  It's surprisingly light and really comfortable to wear though I don't think I will get to wear it much as Gray has taken rather a shine to it deciding it will look better on his wrist!  Maybe if he makes me cups of tea every night for a few weeks...  I went for the Dover watch as I loved that you could see the mechanism, there is something really therapeutic in watching the movements.  I chose the zebrawood and cream colourway as I like how different colours of wood have been used to create the two tone strap and the contrast the cream face provides alongside the wood.  The Dover watch is automatic which I have always found fascinating, my first watch as a child was automatic and I can remember being amazed at how it keeps time just based on your movements (and the occasional winding!).   The full range of watches are stunning, I had a really hard choice deciding on the model for me.

I pulled together the accessories for this outfit before deciding on the dress, I think they all complement each other beautifully.  I bought the Bershka shoes as I was pulling together my weekly wishlist and was really excited for them to arrive.   They are the perfect height and mix of chunky but not clumpy I have been looking for.  They are really comfy too and the fact they go so well with my favourite Accessorize bag makes me love them even more.  I have been using this bag so much recently and it gets so many compliments it's untrue!  It is currently out of stock online but hopefully you can still find it instore.  I've taken a few more photos than usual, Gray thought it would be funny to take photos of me gardening so you can see me deadheading my beautiful violas and checking the progress on our strawberries! haha.  Thank goodness I had done all the planting by then!

Shoes: Bershka

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