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Monday, 15 September 2014

Challenge: Day 1/15

Tartan skirt outfit
Full tartan midi skirt
Tartan skirt with tights
Black Top: Primark
Grey Tights: M&S
Black Shoes: Matalan
This won't be a regular thing, posting proper photos of every outfit during this challenge, but I managed to snap some very quickly this evening before we ran out the door to Lidl (where I bought an awesome facial brush thingy on special offer!). Made up of the very basic black long sleeved top with my new tartan midi skirt, it was pretty simple, but I really liked it. I did end up wearing the ASOS cropped cardigan at some points during the day when I got chilly in the office, but wasn't wearing it at this point, so it didn't make into the photos. The skirt is new, a bit of a random splurge buy at ASOS along with a couple of other autumn items, but hopefully that should be most of my autumn clothes bought (we all know that's not going to be true...). It's gloriously full and swingy, so of course, I couldn't help but pose showing off its full glory. Unfortunately the spinning pictures didn't come out quite as planned, and as these were taken very quickly, you won't get to see those (unless I do another outtakes post, because those are hilarious). I do love this outfit though, very simple but it works. The tights were a new buy too - I went shopping with Charley and copied her on buying a pack of 3 pairs of tights from M&S in grey, purple and black, since she claimed the grey were awesome. As always, Charley was right, and the grey tights are awesome - I really like them with this outfit, adds something different that black tights would just bring down.
So first day went well, and I've got plenty of ideas for upcoming outfits, so I'm not worried about this challenge at the moment (she says hopefully...)! Tomorrow is a choir day, so I've got Charley, Fran and, I think, Frankie round for tea beforehand, so maybe I can persuade one of them to help me out with some pictures, so you know never, there might be some proper ones of tomorrow's outfit! Then onto Brownies on Wednesday, so that outfit is already planned out in my head with jeans. Also my hair has definitely reached that stage where it is starting to attack me, as you can probably tell in these photos - I literally ran in from a day at work and a journey home, got these pictures and left again, no chance to at least tidy it up a bit, so apologies for that! I acknowledge that I do look like I'm being swallowed by my hair, but there you go, these things happen.
Tartan skirt outfit
Black top and tartan skirt outfit

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Autumn Wear: 15 for 15

Recently Charlotte wrote about how she was thinking about doing another remix challenge, like we used to do back in the old days of blogging. Some of the first blogs I came across were ones like The Clothes Horse, Selective Potential and Delightfully Tacky - what I loved was that they were normal girls, wearing normal clothes everyday and often showing how they'd worn those clothes in various different ways. Back in my early blogging days, I used to do the same too, inspired by them - remixing my favourite pieces in as many ways as possible. Sometimes I think nowadays blogging is more about showing off new clothes rather than showing how to make the most of your wardrobe, which is really what I started out to do. So I decided to get in on it with Charlotte and do my own challenge, choosing only 15 items of clothing to wear over the course of 15 days.
A looong time ago, more than 3 years ago now, I did a 30 for 30, and that was pretty tough! It's funny to look back at those pictures now (see some of those if you dare here!) because they're quite different to what I'd wear now, but then again, I still wear a lot of those pieces - 3 of the tops and 5 of the jumpers/cardigans are still in rotation in my daily wardrobe!
So, what did I choose this time? I'd been waiting to break out my autumn stuff for a while, not wanting to wear my tartan and autumnal colours until it actually was cold, but I think the time has finally come. I picked out 5 tops, 5 bottoms, 2 dresses and 3 jumpers/cardigans. I'll explain more about my choices below, but I decided not to include shoes in the count since that would leave me with only 10 or 11 items of actual clothing for 15 days, and that's not many!
15 for 15 tops
F&F Tartan Blouse (last year) | Primark Black Long Sleeved Top (old) | ASOS Paisley Blouse (new) | People Tree Rollneck Top (new via ASOS) | Joules Striped Top
15 for 15 bottoms
New Look Denim Pencil Skirt | Tartan Mini Skirt (old -  vintage via eBay) | Topshop Joni Jeans | ASOS Tartan Midi Skirt | Zara Green Pencil Skirt (old)
15 for 15 dresses
Primark Paisley Dress (last year) | New Look Black Dress (old)
15 for 15 knits
ASOS Cropped Cardi (last year) | Warehouse White Jumper (last year - via ASOS) | Dorothy Perkins Berry Cardigan
As you can see, I like tartan and got a bit excited by being able to break those out - a tartan blouse and 2 skirts, one green based and mini, the other red based and midi. I had to bear a few things in mind when choosing, including the fact that I get easily cold and like to have my arms covered in the office to stop me getting chilly, so all my tops are long sleeved. I also needed a few warmer things for any colder days or to go with the dresses, so added a couple of cardigans, one cropped to suit my skirts and high waisted items better, the other new and cozy, and a jumper. The final thing I needed to bear in mind is that one evening a week I now take Brownies which involves a lot of moving around, getting on the floor etc. so comfortable and high waisted (so they don't fall down!) jeans were in order for that.
Basically, I went along the same lines for everything - tartan, paisley or plain. I didn't want to fall into the trap of choosing all plain clothes and being bored, and I think I've got a good balance. A good number of these items have been worn before multiple times, some of them even several times on the blog too and I'll probably link back to those outfits at some point during the challenge to show how I've worn them. I have a feeling I may recreate a blog outfit I've done in the past too as I've got all the items for that, but sshh! The only new autumn clothes I've bought so far this season are included here: the ASOS paisley blouse, People Tree rollneck jumper (from ASOS) and ASOS tartan midi skirt - hopefully I won't need to buy any more, but we'll see, I may be fed up of these after the challenge!
So, I very likely won't post every day, so may do phone photos and round ups on a few days - I have busy weeks at the moment, with choir on Tuesday, Brownies on Wednesday, supermarket one evening after work, plus last week I had an extra choir rehearsal for a wedding I'm singing in a couple of weeks, and I'll be having meetings for Brownies too at some point - crazy! But we'll see how it goes - I'm excited!
Do you have any ideas of outfits I can get out of these? I have some in mind already, for example, the black dress can very easily be layered over the blouses, the plain tops with the patterned skirts, and patterned tops with plain skirts/jeans, but any ideas are welcomed!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Classics

Red blazer, striped top and jeans
Red Blazer: Sirens (Canada)
Jeans: Hollister
Heeled Sandals: New Look
Look at this, I must be getting back into blogging again - an outfit post on the same day I wore it! It's actually a fairly simple outfit from me for once too. It was just something I wore for work on today made up of pieces I've had for a while and wear over and over again. The blazer came from a shop in Canada called Sirens when I visited with my family two years ago - I don't wear it as often as I should, considering it goes with quite a lot of things, but it's a little bit tight across the shoulders so I don't have much movement in my arms when I wear it! I have actually worn it once on the blog before, here back when I was a teacher and talking about my first experience of evening/night duty at school (and there were several more to come, all as stressful and tiring as the first!). The jeans have also shown up in the past on the blog before, unsurprisingly since I wear these about once a week or every couple of weeks - one more dressy outfit and one dressed down. The stripes with red is a classic look that I've recreated time and time again - I'm not going to search for all of the examples of that now, but here's what I thought of as my most "fashionable" outfit when I was at uni, before this blog even existed! I received the top a couple of months ago from Joules and have worn it several times, but have only just managed to photograph it. It's great for dressing down comfortably as it's nice and loose but a thick material too, so it's comfortable and warmer than most other tops I own. Weirdly, I had to get this in a size or two smaller than I'd usually go - this is a size 6, and as you can tell, it's still baggier than I'd usually wear. I think it's supposed to be slightly oversized, but after I'd seen them in store, I decided to size down as far as I could as oversized tops don't generally work well on my figure since my waist is my smallest point by far and not accentuating it can make me look a bit swamped.
I decided this should be a "transition" outfit, something you're probably fed up with hearing about already at this time of year! I thought wearing jeans with a blazer to cover up from the chill, but paired with summer sandals for the last time before it gets too cold, would work well. I'm not entirely convinced by transitional outfits - for me they usually just consist of my usual wear but with tights or a warmer jacket over the top.
Outfit with red blazer and jeans
Jeans with heeled sandals
So, what's been going on lately? Not a lot too exciting really to be honest! Lots of work as usual, but also a few things outside work too. I met up with a local lady on Friday evening to talk about signing up for Brownies - yes, I know I'm too old for that, I mean becoming involved in Brownies! I'd registered my interest in volunteering online, so went to chat to her about it. And tomorrow night I'm going to be going along to the first meet of the term to see what goes on and how I might be able to get involved. I'm excited to go along and see what I can do. As some of you know, I taught for nearly a year, over a year ago now, and did actually really enjoy working with the kids. But due to my health and deciding that teaching wasn't ultimately what I wanted to do as a career, I gave it up to work in Digital Media. I do miss working with children though, and I've always especially loved being with the younger ones, so I thought it would be fun to give it a go.
September is also exciting because it's the month of my biiiirthday! I've been making wishlists for months, although I kind of had to go back through them and make them actually affordable since they were mostly comprised of corsets and expensive lingerie, oops. And I've been thinking about more interesting things to do too. In the past I've been given gifts such as tickets to the ballet in York, and I've bought tickets for my sister and I to see the pantomime too for Christmas, so I've been looking at what's on at theatres for ideas. I love the idea of seeing The Marriage of Figaro, but it's a bit far for me to travel - fun story, at school I used to be part of the Opera Society! It meant that every couple of months we were taken on trips (usually to Leeds) to see an opera that was on at the time. We also got a nice meal and the occasional quick stop at the shops too, but my group of friends also in the society all actually loved the opera too, so it was always fun. I would also never say no to a musical (but you have to bear in mind that I'll be singing whatever it is for weeks afterwards!) or a local play. Ben has made some suggestions to me, so we'll see what happens when it reaches my birthday! But I think I'll be going out with my family to a local pub or restaurant as we always do, so I've been trying to decide which one as I've got lots of ideas! Anyway, it's not until the end of the month yet, and I should probably stop talking about myself now!
Breton striped top with jeans

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Language of Love

La Redoute recently got in touch with me to let me know about the Language of Love campaign they're currently running and shared a sneak preview of the above video with me - of course, being the hopeless Disney romantic that I am, I can't really say no to a campaign entitled the "Language of Love", can I?! They sent over some stats too, including the sad fact that while 52% of people say that hearing the words "I love you" makes them feel special, 22% confessed that they hadn't expressed their feelings in over a year, some had never even done so. La Redoute is a French brand, and we all know that Paris is renowned as being the city of romance, so it's no surprise that people think those 3 words sound far better in a different European language, whether that's "Je t'aime" or "Ti amo". I used to love the La Redoute catalogues when I was younger - every season, we would get a Next and a La Redoute catalogue in the post, and I would spend the next day sticking post it notes on pages of things I liked, with sizes, just in case my mum decided she wanted to treat me! I was occasionally treated, if my mum happened to be putting in an order, so around my young teenage years, I had several pieces of clothing from La Redoute, and true to themselves, they were all that simple French style that could be worn over and over again.
La Redoute have asked us to share some words for our loved ones, to make them feel special, and I think I'm probably ruining the point of this post because I don't want to be too soppy and literally write them down, but that's mostly because I'd prefer to share those words with those people in person, rather than across the internet with who knows how many people able to read them.
And to be honest, I'm not one of those people that finds it hard to say. Maybe it's because I was brought up with a love of Disney in my heart, but I never finish a phone call to my family without at least saying "Love you" before I go, and despite being nearly 24, if I'm staying overnight with my family, they still each get a hug before bed. And while Ben and I aren't particularly "romantic" with each other any more (it has been more than 6 years now, can't keep that up every day!), I never go a day without making sure that he knows I love him.
So, seeing as this post is to do with the language of love, can I please be ultra geeky and post something in a language I love?! Since I should probably keep it on topic, let's go for one of Ovid's love poems from the Amores. I've studied these sets of poems twice now, and actually Ovid's one of my favourite Classical authors anyway - while they are technically love poems, they also have a humor to them that I didn't quite get the first time I read them, such as one being addressed to the door that he can't get past to his lover - yep, those Romans! So anyway, they did ask me to be unique, and I think I'm doing that! This is Ovid's first Amores poem, talking about how he was about to start being a "man" and writing about war, but then Cupid laughed at him, shot him with an arrow, and he fell in love - not the most romantic poem ever, but it's definitely an original one and is really quite clever. I could go on about it and analyse it all day for you, but then you'd hate me (in fact, I can tell that those who know me in real life will now be uttering the phrase they usually say as soon as I start spouting anything to do with Latin: "Shut up, Sian!"), so here is the poem, in all its Latin glory (with a pretty good translation here if you want it):

Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
     Edere, materia conveniente modis.
Par erat inferior versus: risisse Cupido
     Dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?
     Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
Quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,
     Ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
Quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
     Lege pharetratae virginis arva coli? 
Crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
     Instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
Sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
     Cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
An, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?
     Vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
Cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
     Attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
Nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
     Aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'
Questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
     Legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
Lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
     'Quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.
     Uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
Sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat:
     Ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
Cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto,
     Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Day Trip to Bakewell

Bakewell signpost
Vintage sign Bakewell
A couple of weeks ago, Ben and I went on a little long weekend away down to the Peak District with our friends Charley and Frankie. We've been a few times down there and stay in Frankie's family's holiday cottage, so it's always nice that we've got somewhere that we know as a base. We headed down over the August Bank Holiday, driving down after work on the Thursday evening and travelling back up on the Tuesday. It's only about 2 and a half hours away from where we live, so it's far enough away to be a break, but close enough that we can easily do it for the weekend. Usually we do a trip to Alton Towers which is only a little way from the cottage, but we decided to make this holiday a more "cultural" one and do some proper touristy stuff.
One place we'd never visited before was Bakewell, famed for its Bakewell Puddings and Bakewell Tarts. Apparently I'd been was I was about 3, but obviously have absolutely no memory of that! As Bakewell Puddings are a well known thing around the UK, we thought it would be nice to go and visit the place they originate from, and it turned out to be just down the road and one of the nicest towns I've been to! I'd also never actually had a Bakewell Pudding, and stupidly didn't really even know what it was! Obviously I've had Bakewell tarts and pies, which are usually in a pastry casing with jam in the bottom, white fondant icing and a glace cherry on top, so I expected the pudding to be along the same lines, just more pudding-y. I was surprised to find out it was actually entirely different - see the picture below! The base was the familiar pastry with jam, but the top is made from eggs and almonds and baked so it has a caramalised taste, and served with both custard and cream (we're greedy...), it was so yummy. We actually accidentally managed to choose the right place to get it too! We'd noticed several shops claiming to sell the "original" Bakewell along the main street as well as down the pedestrian back area, and we picked one with an outdoor seating area that had a good price for a large pudding to share (I think about £9) - the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. After researching it when we got home, I found out the original pudding was made by accident at a local inn in 1860. The woman who lived in the house, which is now the shop we visited and had our pudding at, saw the opportunity to commercialise this mistake, got hold of the recipe and started selling it. So technically, none of the places are the "original", but the one we chose is where the first real "commercial" ones started being sold.
Bakewell pudding cafe
Bakewell pudding
Bakewell original pudding shop
Bakewell pudding with custard
As I said, Bakewell has a main street which is very busy with traffic constantly moving up and down it, but some interesting small shops, including a few typical tourist ones and a couple of high street names like Fat Face and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. There was also the pedestrianised area where we sat to have our pudding which had a few more shops, and a brand new market area with a larger Co-op, then a smaller area up towards the church with another few independent shops, including a second hand bookshop where Charley found 3 books by an author she'd searched everywhere for (even in Hay on Wye during the festival!) and a pottery painting studio.
To our surprise, we spotted a sign for a vintage shop through a small archway, hidden away. We followed the sign and were pleased to find the amazing shop that is Mister Bee Vintage. Charley and I spent a long time in there, exploring all the goods to be bought at some truly amazing prices and talking to the owner who explained his method of acquiring vintage pieces (almost anything you can imagine including clothing, crockery, tin signs, typewriters, books, furniture and more) from locals and selling it on at prices reflecting what he paid rather than the prices they're "worth". He said he had more coming in over the weekend, so we agreed to call back on Monday to see what was in. Over the two days we visited, we ended up buying various things between us - for me that meant a pink hat, a silk dressing gown (I got the two for £20!) and a dress pattern (anyone heard of Style Prints before?! Can't find anything about them!) as you can see in the picture below, and Charley got some dainty glasses, sunflower tea cups, an anchor shaped bottle opener, and I'm sure more, but can't quite remember!
We were reluctant to leave several things behind, but the owner very kindly knocked down prices for us so everything was even more affordable! As we paid for our pieces and left, the owner handed us a small envelope and told us to open it outside - we weren't sure what we were expecting, but we definitely weren't expecting it to be the £20 voucher it was!! Considering we'd probably only spent £40 between us over 4 days there and collected a few bags worth of stuff, £20 was extremely generous! We're definitely going to be back on our next trip and would recommend a trip to Bakewell even if you just went there! We found him on Twitter when we got home too, and he frequently posts pictures of what he's just got in, so if you're nearby, keep up with him on Twitter.
Mister Bee Vintage Bakewell
mister bee vintage
So all in all, Bakewell is lovely. It has a river running through and is a busy little town. We couldn't believe we'd never visited before and we'll definitely be back soon. We also explored the church and had a wander up a hill to the museum (which we didn't end up visiting in the end). Later in the day we headed to a tiny, beautiful village (which I cannot remember the name of!), but we got the following picture of the whole "team" there, so thought I'd include that too.
Bakewell


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