Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wednesday Wants

Happy Wednesday!  I'm having a really good week this week so it hasn't been a struggle to get to hump day.  I'm feeling really bright and am not quite at the bouncing out of bed each morning stage but it is not the struggle it usually is.  I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come otherwise I will be investing a SAD lamp this winter.  I love the crisp days but do not enjoy the dark mornings and do not want to allow the gloom to set in this year.  Helping keep the gloom away this week is Asos, lots of beautiful dresses have just landed and it is love!

I am a massive fan of People Tree, any company that makes ethical clothing as gorgeous as their range is a winner in my books.  I guess since dressmaking I have been way more aware of the effort that goes into making clothing and although I guess they will have manufacturing techniques that helps speed up the process if the end result is selling for a bargain price you can guarantee the person making it isn't earning a living wage.  I really love this navy and white checked dress, People Tree dresses are lovely quality so I know it will hang beautifully and be a pleasure to wear.

 Dress: People Tree

This dress is a total showstopper!  It is made from a bonded scuba fabric so the full skirt will be pretty dramatic.  I love how it is pretty demure but creates a silhouette with such impact. 

 Dress: Asos

I think this might be one of the prettiest dresses I have ever laid eyes on.  It is truly stunning.  You wouldn't need to worry about jewellery with beauty, less is most definitely more.  It would look awesome with these shoes.  The best shoes I own!

Dress: Asos


Monday, 28 September 2015

Made By Me #165

Happy Monday.  The weather turned out to be beautiful this weekend which rather annoyed me as I wanted to wear my yellow coat!!  I had to make do with my yellow shoes but it's not quite the same.  I am so looking forward to the colder weather, I need to purchase a pair of cute gloves but otherwise I am ready.  I really loved these gloves I had a couple of years ago but am thinking that these ones will look so much better with my yellow coat and black snood.  I am a sucker for anything cutesy but they are so good as well as being cute, touch screen gloves that actually work and mean you don't end up with cold hands.  It seems all of my glove and pyjama needs are met by Esprit, haha.

I haven't had much time for sewing recently, I whipped up my last dress just over three weeks ago.  I really love the colours of the print and the retro shaped trees which Gray has decided look more like lollipops.  I can kinda see what he means though they defo look like trees to me still.  I am hoping to fit in some sewing time this week, I no longer have the sofa bed in my sewing room and it feels so much lighter and brighter.  I have had a little dance around in all the new space, it feels awesome!

I am really liking my hair in these photos, not often I get a good hair day.  I had it cut into a graduated bob a few weeks ago and a colour refresh last week.  Though what you cannot see is I really suck at curling the back under, it usually curls a bit under, a bit out and a bit straight.  Anyone got any tips for someone who is useless with hair?  I can't even use a round brush cos I get it tangled in my hair (have had to cut one out more than once so no more!)

Dress: Made by me using First Light Glade fabric by Cloud 9
Shoes: Clarks x Orla Kiely

I'm trying to share my new eyeshadow with you all here, not the best attempt but you get the gist.  Paige was wearing it when we went to Betty's Tea Party and I really loved the way it looked on her and wanted to try it myself.  I have hardly worn eyeshadow for the past 5 years so this is a big deal for me.  It's the pinky copper colour in the Make Up Revolution Iconic 3 palette.  I picked it up from Superdrug for a whole £4.  The colour payoff is pretty good, only thing I am not keen on is the fact it is in a palette.  I don't really wear eyeshadow that often and it is a lot of bulk to my make up bag when I only use one colour - anyone recommend something similar that I can buy individually?


Friday, 25 September 2015

I've Got Sunshine

To celebrate their latest TV ad, Freemans got in touch recently wanting to send out a pamper pack and asking how I spend my free time.  One of the things I am not very good at is pampering myself, I prefer a shower to a bath and my skincare regime is very basic.  I set aside one evening to put the pamper pack to work, I ran a bath, smeared my face in the mud mask and finished off giving my toes a coat of OPI Miami Beet which is a really lovely colour.  Even though I get my fingernails done
professionally I always paint my own toenails as I can't bear people touching my feet!  I did feel nice and relaxed but I still don't think it is something I would commit to doing on a regular basis.  

So how do I spend my free time?  Obviously quite a large chunk of it is set aside for dress making.  I make the same pattern each time so it is really relaxing and I know at the end of it I will have a pretty little dress to wear.  I also really enjoy watching TV, I like to watch soaps like Eastenders and Holby City along with any Marvel series.  I cannot wait for Agents of Shield to return! One thing I really love is going for a walk with Gray after work.  I especially love it now Autumn is here, it gives me an excuse to wrap up warm and lets face it who needs actual sunshine when you are wearing sunshine in coat form?!  Walking has improved my fitness dramatically, it gets me off my bum and out in the fresh air and it means Gray and I get 45 minutes quality time every single day.  Okay maybe make that 40 minutes, I do still have occasional glances at my phone but for the majority of it we are free from other distractions.

Freemans kindly sent me this absolutely amazing yellow coat and a snuggly black French Connection snood to help me wrap up warm while I'm out walking.  Another benefit of the yellow coat is as the nights draw in I won't need to worry about being spotted in the dark! I have decided everyone needs a yellow coat by the way, look how awesome it is.  It's going to be bringing the sunshine even on the dullest day.  I have managed to wear it on a couple of evenings so far, it's not quite cold enough during the day yet.  It's lovely quality and I love the way it works with the knitted snood. 

Coat: Freemans*

The tag line for the campaign is 'the best things in life are Freemans' and you can view the ad over on their homepage now.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Wednesday Wants

I'm not really a big fan of the 70's trends currently being regurgitated though I do love a few of the coats from that era.  This dress is about as 70's as I would get, a slight nod in the 70's direction is enough for me.  I love the sleeves, gives it a real laid back vibe.

 Dress: Oasis

This is one of those dresses that I look at and wish I could pull off, it would look absolutely awful on me yet I still love it.  I love the not quite polka dot print, the cute little turtle neck, the length and the three quarter length sleeves.  The one bit I couldn't pull off is the drop waist.  But for all you babes who can this is the perfect rainy day dress, it's made from organic cotton so is lovely and snuggly to wear.

 Dress: People Tree

The one thing I love more than Emily and Fin dresses is reduced Emily and Fin dresses!  Asos have a selection of oldies but goodies in their Outlet at the moment including this beautiful ballerina print Lucy dress.  I absolutely love this print though I have to confess to it taking a while for me to work out they were little ballerinas prancing around in their tutus! 

Dress: Emily & Fin


Monday, 21 September 2015

Made By Me #160

Brrrrr!  After the sunshine over the weekend it is feeling positively Autumnal today.  I can't say I mind much though as it means I get to wear my lovely new coat from Sugarhill Boutique.  While I wish the rain would do one I really look forward to when it is cold enough to wear a coat though not that cold that you have to wear a coat if that makes any sense!  I had been hunting around for a full skirted navy mac when in swooped Sugarhill Boutique with the goods.  I actually squealed with delight when I saw it in their lookbook, it's perfect.  It is a lovely weight and I really like the navy and white striped lining and the rectangular plastic buckle, it is always the little details that make an item really special.  It's really nice to wear and because of the full skirt it doesn't crumple my dress underneath, one straighter raincoat I have likes to make my skirt ride up and I am forever trying to pull it back down before it gets above my underwear!  Not such a good look.

I am wearing it with dress number 160 which features one of my current favourite fabrics, I just love that angry thunder throwing cloud!  I also adore the shade of teal and that the little lightening bolt means I can totally finish off my outfit with my yellow Orla's.  Not that I need any excuse to wear my sunshine shoes but I do like to be a bit matchy matchy.  I didn't bother to take photos without the mac, if you want to see the in all it's glory you can do so here.

Dress: Made by me using Gale by Cotton & Steel


Friday, 18 September 2015

Review - Tefal Garment Steamer

The thing I like least about sewing is the ironing (sorry, pressing!) involved.  I absolutely hate ironing though when sewing it is more therapeutic than it is come laundry day.  Taking your time to press each seam and dart really does make a big difference to the resulting dress.  I invested in an awesome Tefal steam generator iron about a year ago which has almost made it enjoyable.   Plus I get a free steam facial on most sewing days!  I use mostly 100% cotton for my dresses, it is lovely to work with and nice to wear but boy does it like to crease and crumple.  I find it difficult to get the same ironed look once a finished dress has been worn and washed, some bits are impossible to iron without ironing in a crease on the other side - it's a constant battle to get both bits of fabric crease free.   Some fabrics just crumple way too much for me to be willing to wear them again which is really annoying when you have spent several hours making the dress.  As much as I hate ironing I can't bear creased clothing.

I think I have just found my saviour!  Tefal have kindly sent me their Access Steam garment steamer to test and boy do I love it.  It heats up in just 45 seconds and generates 22g/min of steam, there is a lot of power in this little hand held device.  Just hang up your dress and you're away and it doesn't only get rid of creases it also refreshes and sanitises too.  It comes with a brush attachment which helps open up the weave and allow the steam to penetrate, it's fun watching the creases disappear with just a little brush of steam.  To turn on the steam you push a button which you can then slide to lock meaning you don't have to keep your finger on the trigger whilst steaming.  Little things make it a joy to use, having had to try and dry my hair with a hotel hairdryer that demanded I kept my finger on the button I know how much difference this feature makes.  It's small enough to take away with you too, I use dress carriers rather than fold my dresses into a suitcase and risk creases and now I don't need to worry.

It won't replace my iron and ironing board but it will make things much easier, the bits that are impossible to iron can now be steamed whilst hanging - no more ironing in creases.  Bits of the bodice which get a bit crumpled after washing but not actually creased now look freshly pressed, some bits are so hard to iron without ironing in creases at the same time.  Plus I can easily remove the creases out of the back of skirts from sitting on them all day without having to wait over 5 minutes for my steam generator to heat up.  It is so simple yet really effective.

The first photo shows the back of my dress all crumpled after wearing

In this photo I have quickly steamed the left hand side leaving about a quarter of the skirt untouched so you can see the difference.  This took only a few seconds, you just brush the garment steamer down the fabric and the creases disappear, like magic only more fun!


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Wednesday Wants

This seems really odd to admit, especially when just a couple of years ago it was the first thing I would do every morning upon waking - I haven't been on the Topshop website in ages.  I have had a wander round my local store a few times and found it totally uninspiring.  I'm not sure if Topshop was just having a rough patch or if my taste has changed as I have been sewing my own wardrobe but it feels a bit weird.  I used to buy about 75% of my clothes from Topshop and I struggled to find a single thing I would want to wear.  This changed when I clicked on one of their emails recently and saw an absolutely gorgeous dress.  I did nearly choke on my tea when I saw the attached price tag but it really is beautiful.  It has a 90's vibe to it with the thigh high split but in a good way.  In a way that would make me want to wear 90's fashion again.  I certainly didn't think I would ever say that!

 Dress: Topshop

I stayed a while to have a good browse of the current offering and found this dress by Sister Jane.  I would have preferred it without the flower motif but it's still a pretty special dress.  I love the mix of colours and the metallic polka dots.  Who doesn't love metallic polka dots?!

 Dress: Sister Jane

My final pick for this week also has a bit of a 90's vibe with the plunge neckline and star print.  I had a star print dress and I wore it to death.  I like how it feels a bit goth gone glamourous and could see this looking awesome at a Halloween party, very witching hour!  I'm all for pretty Halloween by the way, I don't go for all that blood and gore.

Dress: asos


Monday, 14 September 2015

Betty's Tea Party

I cannot tell you how excited I was when Betty's got in touch to invite me to their first ever bloggers tea party. As you well know I am a huge fan of both cake and tea and am never one to turn down either.  Plus it meant I got to spend some time chatting with some favourites as well as meeting some lovely new folk to add to that list.  I really love Betty's, Gray and I spent some time in the one in York recently and the one in Harrogate a couple of years ago.  Plus their sister company is Taylor's of Harrogate and they make the best tea ever.  Their Yorkshire Tea is my brew of choice and they also make my favourite green tea which I used to have to travel to Birmingham to buy.  You can now order teas and various sweet treats, including many of cakes, online.  Perfect to create your own tea party which is exactly what we did at the event.  The venue was laid out beautifully on arrival, we were greeted with champagne and had time to catch up before we were thrown in the deep end and our piping skills were well and truly tested.

We watched an expert demo which made it look oh so easy but believe me it's not.  It didn't help that we were using teeny piping bags without nozzles and I am still pretty happy with the result even if I did have to go over my name twice.  Didn't make the cake taste any less awesome though.  Speaking of which I have a confession to make, I thought I didn't like fondant fancies and wasn't planning on eating them.  Hungry on the train home I decided to tuck in and boy was I wrong.  They are delicious! Turns out I just don't like mass produced fondant fancies.  I know exactly what I am going to be ordering from Betty's.  YUMMY.

After laughing at our piping skills we were put into teams and given a box of goodies to create our own tea party with.  We were Team Cupcake though the box didn't actually contain any cupcakes. 

We decided to go for a cutesy set up and helped ourselves to a variety of pastel coloured props provided by Betty's.  The props table was a delight to look at.

We unwrapped the contents of our box and set about making it all pretty before tucking into the various treats.  There were lots of mmmm's coming from our table!  Everything tasted as good as it looks, especially the chocolate mice.

I'm not sure which team created this display but I love how understated and elegant it is, the total opposite to our girly feast.

We came home with happy tummys and a box of goodies so I got to recreate it on Sunday for Gray, I promise I did share!

Thank you so much for having me Betty's, it was awesome.


Friday, 4 September 2015

Tropical Paradise

It has been ages since I said I would share my little update to our guest bedroom.  I had grown tired of the monochrome with splashes of red and wanted to make it feel sunny, bright and frankly a bit tropical.  My pineapple obsession was getting out of hand too and I really needed somewhere to put them all so why not create my own little tropical paradise, hey.  I have kept some of the monochrome as I couldn't bear to take down the fabulous striped curtains but I think it works really well together especially when this duvet cover is on the bed.  It's amazing how much difference just changing the duvet cover and adding a few finishing touches can make to the feel of the whole room.  It now feels so much brighter and catching a glimpse as I walk by certainly cheers me up.

I tracked down the gorgeous Rifle Paper Co print first and then went colour crazy ordering co-ordinating soft furnishings mostly from H&M, I also picked up a few greetings cards to frame and ordered some awesome prints from Etsy.  Etsy is so good for artwork, I usually buy PDF artwork which I can either print off myself or get done at a local printers, saves waiting on shipping.  The cacti one was actually a pressie from Katy and fits in perfectly along with the flamingo cushion which was a pressie from Rosie, my friends have good taste.  I have to say though the best thing in the room has to be the velvet flocked pineapple lamp from George at Asda.  It is just amazing!  Unfortunately the lamp sold out almost as soon as it landed on site otherwise I would be telling you all to go buy one.

The next step is to ditch the current double bed which with the protruding foot and head-rest feels too big for the room and go for a day bed instead.  I have been looking at them on Bedstar trying to figure out which one would both look good and still be comfy for guests. So many options!  It is a shame that the double bed needs to go as it really is so comfy but it will also give us more space and mean I can move Gray's iMac in there too and in doing so create a bit more space for me in my sewing room!  Just need to figure out where I am going to store the clothes currently hiding under the bed... hehe.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Wednesday Wants

I have been really busy this past week or so sewing up a storm in an attempt to make the dresses I want to take on my holiday.  My summer holiday I may add though it certainly doesn't feel like it right now, brrrrr.  Thankfully the forecast for next week looks so much better and if it stays that way we might even see the sun!  Looks like I am going to need to pack my sunglasses after all, will still be taking my new raincoat just in case though!  I asked for waterproof coat recommendations on twitter and the majority said Seasalt.  I checked and saw a shop in Leamington stocked them so paid them a visit and managed to snap up a bargain, I got this coat for half price!! I ended up buying a warmer one too and both of them together cost me a total of £140, I feel like a winner with that bargain.  Got to test them both out the last couple of days and I can vouch that they are very thankfully waterproof.

This week I have just been eyeballing all the pretty party dresses and boy are there some stunners.  I am absolutely loving the offerings from Chi Chi at the moment and couldn't decide between the next two dresses so went with both.   I love that they have so much choice for a knee length hem again this season and the silhouettes are just perfect.

Dress: Chi Chi

Dress: Chi Chi

This Oasis number reminds me of a Liberty fabric I will eventually make mine.  I haven't been able to find it discounted yet and am off to London on the 12th so may have to part with my pennies and buy it in actual Liberty.  If you're going to be paying over £20 a metre you may as well get it from the actual store.  Needless to say I love the print of this Oasis dress and especially love the little lacy neckline.

Dress: Oasis

I don't usually like dresses that look like two separates but have made an exception for this Ted Baker dress mostly because I am swooning over the skirt fabric.  I would much prefer the dress was all made of this fabric especially when you see how much it is.  Seriously?!

Dress: Ted Baker

The Clarks x Orla collection launches tomorrow!!  I have already managed to get my hands on this pair and this pair from alternative retailers who got their stock two weeks early and I am totally in love.  The gold and navy pair are not glitter, they are a super sparkly leather - really hard to describe but totally lovely.  I have my eye on a couple of the Amelia colourways but will have to wait and see if I can pick them up in the sale.  I really want the gold pair of these leopard print shoes which should be available in the next month or so, and yep want the leopard print ones too - thankfully I can get both pairs for less than one pair of the Orlas so it is not quite as painful!


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