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 


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Wednesday Wants

Happy hump day guys!  Halloween has been and gone and now everything is screaming Christmas at us.  I'm half 'yay, Christmas' and half 'oh my, is it that time already?!'  I am loving all of the pretty dresses though, there are some absolute stunners this season.  One of my favourite things about this time of the year has to be all of the pretty party dresses, I am swooning over new arrivals most days.  Asos have really come up with the goods this season with so many beautiful dresses I had a hard time deciding which to include.

I do love a bit of pleather especially when it's all wrapped up in such a beautiful midi dress.  I love oxblood and always seem to hunt it out come Autumn.  I love the high neckline, the fitted waist and the length, making it demure enough for day wear with a pair of boots but stick on a pair of heels and it gives it a totally different feel.

 Dress: asos

Who doesn't want to look like a Christmas tree?!  I adore the colour and the cut of this dress plus it's sparkly and anything sparkly is always a winner.

 Dress: asos

This dress is a total Sarah dress if ever there was one!  From the sleeves to the full skirt, sitting here wondering if it has pockets too.  Looking for the hattrick!  It's so pretty.

Dress: asos

Asos have started getting their Christmas jumpers in ready for the festive season which excites me muchly!  Especially as I spotted this little beaut, looking forward to getting my Christmas dresses out again... best get cracking with the Christmas shopping.


Monday, 2 November 2015

Living Room Refresh

Eeeeep!! I am so excited to share our little living room update with you guys.  I have been plotting this for the last couple of months and it's finally come to fruition after a bit of hard work by Gray repainting the grey walls.  The colour we had used was a flat matte and showed every single mark and sticky nephew finger print.  We opted for Valspar Premium walls and ceiling paint in 'Elephant in the Room', it's the perfect shade of grey and hopefully those sticky finger prints will just wipe off.  The main reason for the refresh is I needed rid of the black gloss furniture.  It has become the bane of my life, forever collecting dust even after it had just been dusted and showing every single scratch and even more sticky finger prints.  It worked well in our flat but I had quickly grown tired of it in our house so it needed to go.

I fell in love with a beautiful sideboard in John Lewis, I hunted high and low to try and find and find a cheaper alternative to no avail.  We decided it was worth saving for and it's finally sitting proud in our living room!  Gray was very anti wood coloured wood when we first met so I thought I might have a bit of persuading to do but thankfully he loves our new furniture as much as I do.  I think I might have the clock I bought at Christmas to thank, it proved that oak looks awesome against grey.  Along
with getting rid of the black gloss furniture we have also removed the shelves and opted for some ladder shelving instead, I think it looks cleaner housing all our little bits and plants this way.  I have added a bit more copper into the room as I love the way it works with the grey and orange but have tried not to add too much, hopefully it has the retro vibe I was going for and won't date quickly.  I have tried to list where the most recent purchases are from, if something isn't detailed just ask and I will let you know if it's still available. 

 Cushions: Primark  |   Lamp: Homebase

 Side Table:   |   Lamp: George at Asda

Fur Throw: George at Asda   |   Ladder Shelving: John Lewis
 Sideboard: John Lewis   |   Vase: George at Asda   |   Clock: George at Asda

Mirrors: Various   |   Cushions: George at Home & H&M

Picture Shelf & Frames: Ikea   |   Prints: Etsy  

 Lamp Shade: Ikea

We are finally replacing the kitchen worktop and tiling this month too, can't wait for that to be done and to share it. 


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