Rucksack : Sandqvist Tony

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

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(honest - it's a rucksack)

I've been a bit obsessed with rucksacks lately. Yes I know I was gifted a lovely Gaston Luga one recently but the one I chose turned out too small for my daily commute as I decided that I wanted to fit in a drinks flask, a food flask, a 13" laptop, laptop charger, a phone charger and a kitchen sink. I didn't see that coming. I thought I was just going to take a flask and a Kindle to work at the most and that was it. So I ended up dragging out the old faithful Lowe Alpine rucksack that I've had for as long as the Grumps which is quite some time now and started carting that on the daily commute and  looking like I was going to tackle Everest. Even the neighbour asked if I was going on a trek when he saw me. So I felt I needed something a little less "outdoorsy" and a little bit lighter. The Lowe Alpine is a great rucksack (it's our holiday rucksack) but it's weighty even without everything I need to put in it which is why the hubs normally carries it. I narrowed the list down to Sandqvist, Fjallraven, Kipling and Eastpak. I considered an Eastpak as my friend Marlene has one which she takes everywhere and if it's good enough for Marlene, it's definitely good enough for me. I did order one before I decided I needed to fit my world in and though nice, it turned out to be smaller and cuter in real life than I wanted. I don't do cute.  Kipling got a look in as a gazillion Chinese people can't be wrong as they seem to love this brand with the gorilla keyring - my son was quite enamoured with the little gorilla - me not so much and like I said - I don't do cute. Fjallraven is a classic but I felt it also wasn't me unless it was going to be the expensive black one with the black leather handles and that felt a bit ouch for something I wasn't heart and soul in to. But Sandqvist - I loved their designs and that was cemented by the fact that I tried to keep up with a guy through York the other day to see if I could see the brand on the rather lovely rucksack he had on his back. It was a Sandqvist. Sold!

What was my criteria? I didn't want to look like I worked in the I.T. department with one of those big black industrial beasts - you know the ones that half the male working nation cart on their backs. I needed something more casual looking and I didn't want black though that was the most neutral colour to go with. I needed a pocket somewhere on the outside so i could pop my keys and phone in for easy access. I also didn't want fiddly buckles or magnetic catch straps and I didn't want a drawstring top inside as the drawstrings always get in the way and look messy. I wanted it to be super easy to open and not have a hidden zip which was recessed. I also wanted it to look good as a bag in general and not like a rucksack. And I needed to be able to carry it by it's handles without the straps or the bag dragging on the floor. That's all. But  all this did come about as a result of quite a bit of research and a few trips in to Mountain Warehouse, Sports Direct and The Hip Store to weigh up all their different rucksacks. I'm nothing if not thorough.

And I ended up with the .... Sandqvist Tony.

Told you it was a rucksack.

Don't go - eugh. I like it. I like that it's slightly utilitarian, simple, has a zip top straight across so I'm not fiddling with any hidden zips around funny bends and I can see straight in like a regular tote and you know how much I love my tote bags. Basically, the Sandqvist Tony IS a big strong tote bag with some straps on the back. Anyway, I'm happy and I know it's got that casual vibe about it so that when it comes to summer, it will look just as good being mugged round wearing a blue shirt and jeans and sandals as it does with a winter coat and boots.

Me and Basil's backside.

And before anyone has a pop at me for dissing the people who work in the I.T department - I actually have nothing against looking like I work in the I.T. department because .....

....... I used to work in the I.T. department.. 😄


Last Note :

  • For the eagle eyed - you may have spotted this rucksack in my last blogpost. 
  • The Sandqvist rucksack is made from 65% organic cotton and 35% recycled polyester. The canvas is unwashed and will fade and hopefully take on a lovely weathered appearance - that's different from dirty 😉. From their website, their sustainability and production methods seem commendable.
  • For anyone interested, the New Look coat was something I bought last year with a good discount but have only just got round to taking up the sleeves on it. I liked it as it reminded me of my old Mango jacket circa 2013 which finally went in to a charity bag after many years of service and the last time I tried it on, I actually thought - I don't look good in this at all - what was I thinking back then? It also reminds me of the current Sezane Monroe coat in terms of shape and style. But thankfully, not the price.

Friday Five : 17th January 2020

Saturday, 18 January 2020

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I know it's Saturday and not Friday so it's not really a Friday Five but it would have been if my wifi had been playing ball yesterday. Round about 8pm each evening this week, it goes kaput so I can't do anything online. Which is good as it means you're not on your phone and bad as you can't get online to get your Friday Five done on time and for once, I could have got it out on time. So I'm putting it out now on a Saturday as a two fingered salute at BT. #wherestheupyoursemoji

Friday Five : (1 of 5) Greggs

Prettier than a Greggs Steak Bake.
Though not as tasty.

Greggs are doing alright aren't they? Got to love a steak bake (me) or a sausage roll which has kept many a small child quiet for a while going around town - I tried but my boys don't like sausage rolls. Things I do know - a steak bake has 20 syns on Slimming World which stopped me for a bit whenever I had a moment of weakness charging around Leeds needing nourishment - that's your whole day's syn allowance used up in one pasty and some. And my sis-in-law made the observation a year ago as we drove past a Greggs, that they were bucking the trend and business was up since they started these sit down cafes. But do you know what is annoying? You can't really get a normal triangle packet sarnie in them. I did manage to find one high up on the fridge shelf but there were only about three to choose from and the rest were all done in crusty bap things and rolls.  Me - I just want a sarnie in two slices of bread with the filling clamped in because it's a nice tidy way to eat. I don't want a messy roll where everything looks like it's going to fall out of the bottom when I pick it up. It's not that much to ask is it? Except it is apparently. But I am really pleased  to hear on the morning news that because they were doing well ,the staff all got a little bonus recently.

Friday Five (2 of 5) H&M Cream Cardi

That one above looks quite nice doesn't it? A bit like the Arket ones which are a fraction more expensive. The H&M one is actually 100% wool though and it looks like one you can de-pill or shave when it needs a bit of user maintenance.

I have to say when I make these little collages, they are based around what I would like to wear and what I already have so quite often you won't see major current trends here and there's always a pair of jeans in there as I spend 99% of my life in them till May.

1. The M&S Lily jeans - these are a great non skinny jean and not too tight on the calves. These are my winter go to and I have these as my full length jeans for winter.

2. The Whistles Kew Trainers. Simply, because I like a good neutral trainer. The nicest thing about this pair - I like the cushy looking sole - there's good bouncing to be done in those.

3. The M&S Padded Coat - what a lush colour! Eye catching for all the right reasons. I have a green padded coat from Primark which I picked up a few months ago (may still be in store) and I bought that partly for the colour and also because it was the perfect coat for sticking a big jumper under. The M&S one would be a fab alternative for those who don't go in Primark like my hubs.

4. Uniqlo Cashmere Stole. This is not a heavy scarf. This is the thin lightweight kind which are a joy to wrap round your neck. Sometimes the heavier wool varieties can be a bit of a mare to tie them just how you like. These stoles have just started to come down in price so I might need to nab that pale grey one before it sells out. Or I could play pale grey cashmere stole chicken and wait it out.

5. & Other Stories Neck Scarf - I have this thing with neck scarves at the moment. I featured one in my last post and here's another in a perfect neutral non fussy pattern. To go with my perfect neutral non fussy wardrobe - who am I kidding?

6. That H&M Cardi. Looks good from here but I've not seen it in real life but it is 100% wool at least. And de-bobble-ble.

7. Toast Heavy Jersey Top. I saw, I tried, I fell in love. I bought. The End. True story.

8. Sandqvist Backpack Tote. A rucksack for people who don't want their rucksack to look too worky.

9. M&S Crop Jeans. I have a similar wide legged pair and they're just great when you're transitioning between seasons (with socks or without).

10. Converse. Come on - look at that colour! And the renew canvas they're made from is 100% recycled polyester so you can feel good about your new kicks.

Friday Five (3 of 5) Princess Ting Ting

Mutters to herself. "I must not go in, I must not go in, I must not go in ..." - yup you read right! My email usually elicits a little chuckle when I mumble it to the shop assistants when they ask if they can send me an email receipt. It is quite memorable and I've had it so long, I can't change it now. Even George's old cricket coach used to say "Ahh Princess TingTing! How are you?" and smile indulgently at me. And now the ladies in the York Toast store are getting acquainted with me and my email address since I've been in a few times recently to do a couple of returns (and purchases). And our relationship is only one month old. #embarrassing

Friday Five (4 of 5) Alexa

Alexa in my bedroom is on the blink which means I have no Lewis Capaldi seranading me as I iron currently. Hard times.

Friday Five (5 of 5) How to break up with Fast Fashion

Breaking Up with Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo

* Be more Chloe. She's happy wearing the same thing every day.

I've just started reading this. I ordered it after having a bit of sales splurge this year. I'm normally quite good but this year, I went a little cray cray but consequently, I do now have a few useful bits for spring/summer 2020 to work in with my existing wardrobe. With all the talk about sustainability and how we should be buying less clothes and wearing more of what we have, I ordered the book to see if it could stop me in my tracks. Well slow me down a little.


Last Note : 

  • For anyone who is not familiar with my Friday Fives - it's just a load of gumph which comes off the top of my head or things which have caught my attention this week. Deep it is not. Shallow and random it is.
  • I tried Slimming World two years ago and lost half a stone which is all I wanted to do. I've put it all back on since and I had a jam doughnut for breakfast this morning. I enjoyed it very much - thank you.
  • Anyway, drop me a line any time you want on that fab email address of mine.

Monday Musings : 13th January 2020

Monday, 13 January 2020

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Hello there! Friday Five time. No, no, sorry, it's Monday - that makes it a Monday Musings. I do like my little Monday Musings get out clause. I actually got home on Friday and could only muster up a Friday Four and Friday Four just doesn't sound right does it? So I've left it to Monday - that's how I roll.

Friday Five (1 of 5) MiH

I have a soft spot for MiH. I think my MiH Paris jeans were my first foray in to designer denim - I'm ignoring the pair of black Versace jeans I was persuaded to buy by my sisters in the early nineties. So along the way, I've built up a little collection of MiH's as I kind of feel safe with the sizing for this brand. And so I always like to have a look at their site when it comes to sale time. I've had my eye on the orange (they call it tangerine on the website) Jackson jumper since last Feb and I thought I'd nosey along to see how it was doing i.e. had it finally gone in to the sale? And lo and behold, it had and for a good price too along with a couple of others which caught my eye. That Cream Beauford sweater has shades of Sezane about it with the puff sleeve detail and edging around the neckline and the Celia sweater is the most delightful shade of pink. It's called skittle pink! Gosh I'm a marketer's dream! Anyway, I didn't buy the orange Jackson sweater based on the fact that I have a lovely Wyse orange and blue striped number. But if you're looking for some reasonably well priced knitwear (better than M&S and H&M Premium prices) with a good percentage of natural fibres you could do worse than look at these and MiH have a good sustainability manifesto. Sometimes you can afford a little better.

Friday Five (2 of 5) Nice & Clean

Now that's a clean burn!

I chased a man and woman down the street last week. I forgot to give them a candle care card after they'd purchased a candle. This might seem a bit extreme but I had a reason. Basically for once in my life, I read the instructions on my own new Midwinter candle box and it said, you need to give the first burn a good few hours. That sounds a bit extreme but the reason for this, is so that the candle wax can melt evenly across the surface. What I used to do was light a candle and blow it out after half an hour after I'd got rid of what ever cooking smells were plaguing me that day. That's not the way to do it. If you do that, you only melt so much wax and create a tunnel effect going down and you get an uneven burn. Keep repeating that process and you burn straight down the candle. So I've been letting my candle at home burn for a goodly amount of time and it's burning lovely and clean. Which is why I ran after the couple to give them a care card and to tell them that that's what they need to do. #nutter

Friday Five (3 of 5) How Much?

Untitled, 1967 by Mark Rothko

I was watching the BBC news last Friday morning as I do every morning and they were talking about the growth of the ath leisure industry and how the demand for fashion trainers has grown about 20% since 2014. That's round about the time I started getting in to trainers too. Anyway, they interviewed members of the public and asked them what was the most they had ever spent on a pair of trainers. What are the chances that you pick the guy who answers £8000? £8000 people!!!! I heard Naga Munchetty mutter something about them being alligator skin or something so guess what? I googled them and I think they're these Berluti Trainers. I didn't like them so I didn't put a picture of them on here. 😂 I like that Mark Rothko print though so I thought I'd put that on here instead - I've been trying to track it down for years.

Friday Five ( 4 of 5) Nice Cuppa Tea

My Baz.

I haven't used my proper camera to take any photos since last year. I haven't charged the battery up or got the tripod out to take any outfits of the day. It's been quite liberating not thinking about what I'm wearing and whether I can factor a photo in of it that day. It's kind of nice just to go with the flow but the problem is, the longer you don't do it, the harder it is to take up the mantle again. I just need a little bit more daylight and a little more motivation because when I get in each day, I just want a sit down and a cuppa rather than whipping a tripod out and starting up a photo shoot. I'll get there but this was the best I could do last week with Basil.

Friday Five (5 of 5) Gold 

Always believe in your soul
You've got the power to know
You're indestructible, always believe in, 'cos you are Gold!

In year 3 of Primary, George's class used to sing that Spandau Ballet number whenever someone got a gold star that day. I just thought I'd share that. And it also provides me with a gratuitous link to mention gold loafers. Last year, I was all over a pair of gold Primark sandals which were dupes for an expensive Rouje pair and this year, I'm all over a pair of gold loafers which are not dupes for anything remotely expensive. I just like them. I had them in my saved area of ASOS for ages and then I spotted they were in the sale so I finally ordered them. And I totally loved the look of them except they were a bit snug and for some reason, the right shoe kept squeaking when I walked. I took it on the chin and declared them not to be. But if they had been, I had high hopes of styling them as per the collage below which is based on loosely on similar things I already have in my wardrobe.

For early spring when it's ankle baring time again - I love the look of the gold loafers with a pair of ankle length jeans. I've already got the grey jumper, a little orange H&M bag but I've linked a similar one to what I have which is in the sale currently at John Lewis and a similar little neck scarf. If I'm wearing a high necked jumper, I'm more likely to tie the little scarf to the bag for a little embellishment to jazz up an outfit a little but if you're wearing a crew neck, wear it round your neck air hostess style. Err sorry, I mean like the little French mademoiselles. And Margaret Howell.

Moving on to the summer months, time for my beloved blues! I put that Zara teal pleated skirt up there as the dress equivalent I bought is now sold out in the sale but the colour and effect is pretty much the same and shows how I intend to wear the dress - looking like separates. The blue linen shirt I nabbed in the current sale but it keeps disappearing on and off the site. I managed to nab the link when I last saw it in stock so it's there if you're interested - I always think you can't go wrong with a classic shirt like this and I for one love my blue shirts so it is a totally justifiable purchase for me. It is a bargain now if you can get it and it is the most beautiful summer blue (I sized up to a L for a relaxed fit). And I have the same basket bag from The Future Kept which I bought a couple of years back except mine has a yellow band around the top instead of the brown/grey. I would say - there is nothing too trend led with any of these items - they're pretty much items which go from year to year quietly and efficiently. Strange word to use that "efficiently" but they are what I would deem work horse items which just keep going year in year out. And that's exactly what our wardrobes need these days.


Last Note :

  • Bog it. I might just order another pair of size 4 gold loafers to get them out of my system once and for all. The next pair might not squeak. #fingerscrossed

Just Start ....

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

I'm a procrastinator. I'm a really good procrastinator.  I'm procrastinating now - I'm tapping on here instead of doing something. Told you I was good at it.

But I am getting better at not putting off things. I bought a book. I'm not sure if it was the title which grabbed me and I had a bit of time on my hands but I downloaded a sample of it and it kind of got me. It's called Unf*ck Your Habitat. Catchy title eh?

Basically I need to do a bit of decluttering. I need to do this to make everyday more manageable. I need less in the cupboards and I need less in my wardrobes. I hang on to too many things and it all piles up and I keep saying I will get rid of it all but I don't. And then I tackle things which don't really need doing and leave other stuff which does.

Anyway, there's a lot of decluttering books out there but this one seemed to strike a chord. And possibly the sample that I downloaded probably told me what I needed to do but I bought it and read it. And I took one main thing from it. Just do it. No matter how small. Just do it. See it, do it. Simples.

Those three bags of laundry that you've washed and dried. Take one. Sort that one bag out. Don't set out to tackle all three. Three bags is tough. One bag is manageable. Do the one bag and feel good that you did something. It's all baby steps and if you're happy with baby steps, stick with your baby steps. And things WILL gradually start to look better. Those cups on the side table, take them in the kitchen. It's one step closer to where they're supposed  to be at least. Take the win.

And don't expect miracles - they don't exist. You won't change overnight and you won't declutter your world over night. I know that but clearing out the kitchen drawer the other day made me feel tons better. Tackling the understairs cupboard didn't take long but it made me feel better. And then I sat back and had a cuppa. Not too over faced. And that's the important thing - don't cut off more than you can chew.

Anyway, what was I saying, yep, see it, do it. Next time you see it, there will be less. Feels good eh?

Friday Five : 3rd January 2020

Friday, 3 January 2020

What's this? A Friday Five? First one of 2020 and hopefully not the last. We're only in January.

Friday Five (1 of 5) Posh Caramac

Yes, I like this. A lot.

Hands up who got a load of chocolate in the house this Christmas? Hands up those who got a load of "nice" chocolate in the house? By that I mean Hotel Chocolat standard as opposed to a box of Roses or Quality Street. Hands up those who shunned said posh'ish chocolate for a packet of Aldi's finest Caramel Dore chocolate with Mexican & American Pecans & Himalayan Pink Salt? Me, me me! Basically, I'm addicted to this stuff - yes, it's another one of my fads and this one has been going since last summer when I first discovered it and shared it with everyone watching U11 cricket with me on the sidelines. It basically tastes like posh Caramac and I did like Caramac as a child. Anyway, they stocked it for about two weeks and then disaster ... it disappeared off the shelves. My chocolate world crumbled around me and I had to temporarily move on to White fudge flavoured Flipz pretzels. I combed the chocolate aisle week in week out hoping that they would bring it back out and then one day, there it was again. I nabbed five packs as a starter but they now seem to stock it as part of their core range. Anyway, it's yum and it also the reason why my jeans with no lycra don't fit.

Friday Five (2 of 5) You Have To Suffer To Look Good.

Youtube Video Here

Which leads me on to the following. I watched this Youtube video in October of Alexa Chung interviewing Camille Charriere, French blogger/instagrammer with long legs and slimmer thighs than me. Camille obviously doesn't buy five packs of Caramel Dore chocolate with Mexican & American Pecans & Himalayan Pink Salt at a time and scoff them with a cuppa. Anyway, they were talking about jeans and were saying how the best ones were the ones which were rigid denim with no stretch. They hurt to wear but they make your butt look real good. I remember going upstairs and dragging out my most rigid jeans (by that I mean, the least stretchy and with the least lycra) which I couldn't bring myself to wear all summer because they cut my circulation off. I put them on and huffed and puffed my way though the day. By the end of it, I declared that I really wasn't made of very strong fashion stuff and I really wasn't cut out for rigid denim. Basically - pass me the chocolate and give me all the lycra.

Friday Five (3 of 5) Colours 2020

Picture Source : Pinterest

This is not official by the way and has not been endorsed by Dulux, Pantone or any of the other colour bigwigs but I was browsing my Pinterest feed and was stopped dead by the above image. Oh my lordy, it's like someone ran the Year of Colour app on my Christmas presents and my most recent purchases. Spooky!

Those are like the shades I am currently most drawn to - I've always liked fairly muted but strong colours. Do you know what I mean by that? I like a strong yellow but I also like it a muted mustard rather than sunny side up yellow. I like green but veer towards a deeper shade rather than a vibrant leaf green (ignore the fact that I have a bright green COS cardigan squirreled away somewhere). I like burnt orange/rust shades rather than jaffa. You get the gist. Basically I do like colour but not colour which screams look at me. I like colours which wouldn't look out of place in a Toast shop basically. Not stuff that looks like it came out of the CBeebies dressing room.

In the interests of disclosure. I may have purchased both of the above dresses in the Zara sale and both break my usual rule of no sleeveless dresses but I have every intention of wearing both of these layered with something over. Not under. Over. And both look fabulous with black and grey. Sorted.

Friday Five (4 of 5) Slippy Straps

I got myself a black vinyl bag last year. Do you think it looks a bit kinky? In a bit of a sheep wearing vinyl dominatrix kind of way. Or am I just being super weird? I had a little debate with myself at the time on whether to keep the bag or not as the strap was a little slippy and prone to slipping off my shoulders but I played with it every day and didn't pack it up to send back so that obviously meant I liked it. So I did what all sensible people do these days - I googled how to stop bag straps slipping and found this Prym Non Slip Tape which you stick to the underneath of your strap. And do you know what? It works!

Friday Five (5 of 5) Graham St

This has been my favourite blog for the past few months. Beautiful photography. Lovely styling. Hannah Macleod (30s) and her mum (60s) showing us how to look fashionable whatever our age and also how to translate a trend to suit. I want their wardrobes! 


Last Note :

  • Hope the new year is treating you kind so far.

Jumper & Jeans Uniform

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

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Oh hi there!

I've said it before, I love a good grey jumper. Or a black one at that. This is good because I now have a loose dress code for work which comprises of black, white and grey upper half and similar coloured bottoms including blue or black jeans. Hallelujah! And a fancy apron from The Stitch Society which has lovely nubuck leather straps (I'm all about the details). I pretty much landed on my feet uniform wise as I'm literally wearing what I normally wear anyway. I'm also a creature of comfort and ease. I don't do tugging up and tugging down and readjusting continuously just to make sure things are just so. No, I like the ease and comfort of a good neutral coloured jumper worn slightly slouchy over a pair of jeans and somehow, this always makes me feel put together. It's not like I don't like colour, I do but I like it in short sharp doses. Once a fortnight I might get the urge to go  all colourful and then for the next thirteen days, I want to don my dark materials yet again. That's me.

My two absolute favourites are just plain grey wool crew neck jumpers. One is a Gap grey cashmere jumper which is worn all year round and is probably on it's fifth year or thereabouts. I sized up to a medium when I bought it and I'm glad I did because I do throw it in the washing machine when it needs a spruce up and I think it has shrunk a touch over the years. Or I've got bigger. Or more likely - a combination of both. The other grey jumper is from COS and joined the wardrobe about two years back. It's a rough wool - almost like a donegal but I found the cut extremely flattering and I like the flecks running through it. Both are the perfect size and shape for fitting under coats and jackets without too much fuss. I constantly browse eBay to see if any of these turn up as I'd like backups for both as they are getting more than their fair share of wear in the jumper stakes now that I've incorporated them in to my uniform.

Me most days.

Grey Topshop Jumper (old)
Gap Girlfriend Jeans (old)
Primark Coat (maybe still in store)

I also have a black cashmere crew neck from M&S. I bought this with one of their twenty percent off family and friends discount codes the other year and I sized up not one but two sizes for the perfect slouchy comfort fit. I do really like a black jumper but I'm so picky about fluff that I have to lint roller them every time before I wear it which is why I favour grey more because you don't see the fluff. 

Anyway the below two jumpers are the most recent additions to my monochrome grey and black jumper brigade. Both are oversized knits from H&M. The pale grey one I've had for a while and have already worn quite a lot but the darker one is fairly new in to store and to me. My main requirement when I buy any jumper is that it looks like I can de-pill it or shave it to bring it back to new. I get that all knits be it pure wool or acrylic will pill to some degree but some are easier to maintain than others. In my experience, a flat stocking stitch are the best candidates for a round with a razor or my electric clothes shaver. And did you spot that the "black" jumper is actually a black marl? See how I got round the fluff situation? Clever eh?


Last Note :

  • On my online travels, I spotted that the latest Grenson Nanettes in the leopard print hair hide have 20% off here.
  • Can I also take this opportunity to thank everyone who has stuck with me and my blog all these years. Thank you for reading - it means a lot.
  • And a Happy 2020 to you all - I'm hoping it will be a good one! 

Susie So So