First the fluoro.  I was going to set myself the challenge of not wearing blue jeans for a week and it started well with the Mango dress and failed miserably the day after when I decided to wear the fluro stripe tee from Maison Scotch.  The tee simply works great with jeans so I just wore jeans.  Why make it difficult for yourself just to prove a point?


Falmer Heritage Skinny Boyfriend Jeans (old)

I like the tee. I guess it would be considered trendy for a village school playground in Yorkshire.  In London, I would simply disappear, engulfed by the sea of significantly trendier mums.  I'm thankful actually - it would stress me to feel that I needed to make any more effort than I do already.  There are many many days when no effort is made - believe me.  And the necklaces were fun but they lasted an hour round my neck before they started to annoy me. It would be different if I was working in an office but when wiping down the worktops, they just get in the way and besides they kept catching my hair.  You know when you get a hair caught in a necklace chain and then you yank it and pull out a hair by accident?  Hurts like hell.

Maison Scotch Camera Necklace (came with top)
Dorothy Perkins Knot Necklace (old)

Susie Ho Bracelet 

Another bracelet I made a few years back using leather and freshwater pearls.  

And good old Converse for running after the kids in.  I do like to do a good nosey at the other mums in the playground in the morning and though there are a handful of us who wear Converse, I'm the only one with this taupe shade.  It's very sad that I know that.

Converse All Star Ox


Anyway on to the Moro.  I made the chicken, bay and garlic recipe today which was taken from ... you guessed it ... the Moro cookbook.  It's not my cookbook - none of the cookbooks in this house are - they all belong to the Grumps who actually reads them page to page.  And then points out what he would like for his dinner.  He has learnt the rules though - all ingredients and instructions need to fit on 1 page.  Any more and it's not happening.  I still don't like cooking any more than the last time I blogged about not liking cooking but even I can follow this recipe and turn out a half decent meal.

  
Pollo al ajillo
Chicken cooked with bay, garlic and white wine to you and me


Recipe as follows (taken from Moro the Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark).

Serves 4
Ingredients:1 medium organic or free-range chicken, about 1.5kg, jointed into 8 pieces, skin on breast and wings, skin off legs and thighs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic bulbs, cloves separated, skins on
6 bay leaves, preferably fresh
200ml white wine or fino sherry
100ml water
sea salt and black pepper



MethodSeason the chicken with salt and pepper.
Place a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan with a lid over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and fry gently until slightly golden.
Remove with a spoon and set aside. Now add the chicken, in batches, and fry for 3 minutes on either side until golden brown all over.
Return the garlic to the pan along with the bay and pour in the wine, shaking the pan as you do so to help the wine emulsify with the oil.
Simmer for 2 minutes to evaporate some alcohol, while turning the chicken in the sauce.
Stir in the water, cover with a lid and simmer for 4 minutes.
Take out any breast meat (if cooked), and put to one side.
Continue to cook the brown meat for another 10 minutes.
Add the breast back to the pot, season and add more water to the sauce if required.
Taste for seasoning.


I love the bit where it says the "wine emulsifys with the oil" and I quote it to whoever will listen whenever I cook it as I think it makes me sound all knowledgeable and stuff about cooking.  Oh yes ... and serve with a dollop of buttery mash to make it super scrum.


And when I went in the M&S food hall for a flying visit, there were all these strawberries, raspberries, cream and meringues stacked at the bottom of the escalator where they knew I would pass by.  I gathered the whole lot up and decided I would have decadent fruit for puds.  Bear in mind, I had Eton Mess in mind when concocting the following.

Ben's Bang Tidy Version

My Not So Bang Tidy Version


Break up a meringue nest.  Throw fruit on. Dollop of extra thick single cream (I don't like whipped cream), and a squirt of M&S's raspberry sauce.  Deelish.  And the bonus is, it's got fruit in it so it's healthy, I swear!


Enjoy.



The weather wasn't that bad on Monday so I broke out the legs again and donned my Mango shirtdress.  I thought it looked okay until Ben said "what are you wearing mummy?" to which I replied "it's a dress Ben".  "Is it?" came the response.  "Yes, why, don't you like it?"  "It's a bit strange".  "How is it strange?"  "It's got holes all over it and it's a funny colour". "Oh".  Isn't it funny how a 6 year old can cast such doubt upon your sartorial choices?


This is the dress in question.  A purple grey (aka funny colour) broderie anglaise (aka holes) Mango shirtdress.  I was quite chuffed when I picked it up last year in the ASOS sale for the princely sum of £17.  Same price as a Chanel nail varnish.  But bigger.


Mango shirt dress (SS11)
Office Namesake Boots 
Russell Bromley Messenger Bag (Ancient)


Holey dress and tatty bag

I did originally don my Kurt Geiger boots but these were too dark so I stuck with the Office Namesake boots - these are proving their worth and my prophecy of being a perfect summer boot.  And then I rediscovered my Russell & Bromley messenger bag.  Yes - I did buy it that distressed looking but please don't tell my mother - she wouldn't understand why I would pay good money for something so tatty looking.


Please note that Russell & Bromley did not name it the tatty bag.  I did.


I had another return to do so I nipped out in to Leeds.  I decided this morning to make a point of visiting the Kooples store.  I've been past a couple of times and it's always empty apart from the scarily trendy looking sales assistants.  Today was no different but there was only 1 assistant and he was a man.  First of all I tried on the black wedge sneakers which I've been curious about.  I fancied black as I was thinking of the winter months ahead and a suitable shoe for the school run.  No harm in planning well in advance.  The sneakers were there and they had my size but they didn't work for me for some reason.  I think the front of them looked a little short on me and I like my shoes to look a little longer in the vain hope that they add an inch or so to the length of my legs. Warped reasoning I know.  




I found a number of tops I liked and I politely asked the young man if I could try them on and he showed me the changing cubicle.  Not room.  Cubicle.  Padded at that.  With no mirror inside.  Only outside. On the shop floor.  Not good.  I faffed around a bit with the loose hanging hook before I asked if they had any cubicles with mirrors in.  No they didn't. Bearing in mind, I had a dress on, there was no way I was going to come out of the changing cubicle with a dress wrapped round my knees to have a look at a top which might potentially look very silly on me.  So I said I'd leave it and handed him back the tops.  And for some reason, I couldn't resist pointing out that the hanging hook in the cubicle was loose and about to fall off.  Because I'm like that.  It just made me feel better.  




          Zip Slub T-shirt                  Vintage Broderie Anglaise Top
  
For anyone interested, the above were my chosen few if I'd been able to try on.


I have to say I do actually quite like the Kooples clothing , their advertising and their campaigns.  However, I dislike equally their changing rooms sited on the shop floor with no mirrors.  I think they lost some business yesterday - their clothes were affordable in the sale and I would have been tempted by the yellow sports tee had I been able to try on in the comfort and privacy of my own padded mirrored cubicle.  I thought we'd moved on from the days of changing room terrorism.

... that one or all of these items will magically appear in my wardrobe soon.






All these items also adhere to my special mantra :

Thou shalt not covet anything over £200. Unless it's a handbag and then I'm allowed up to £300.
Susie So So 2012

I've featured 3 of these items before on previous posts but the fact is, I still want them ... and it's good to know what you want. Right?  All this wishing and hoping can drive you a bit potty after a while though -  I just need to get on with it. 


The red Wilpshire cardigan has come back in stock.  I'm like a dog worrying a bone when I get it in my head that I want something and this cardigan is something I've been wanting for a while.   Even though I don't really do red.  Red screams at people.  I don't scream at people other than my children when they have pushed my overload button. I've said it before - I'm not sure even why I want this red cardigan.  I just do.


The Shadow Bag,  It's grey and grungy and big and holds a lot and has a messenger strap and it's very me. It's made of canvas so it should be light and it's a great shopping bag for smuggling your purchases through the door. Love it.  Strong contender here.


The MHL jumper by Margaret Howell would replace my bright yellow Topshop jumper which fits badly but I love the colour too much to stop wearing it.  Hopefully (why am I saying hopefully like I've ordered it and it's winging it's way to me?) this will fit better. And I like the fact that Net A Porter say it's "chartreuse".  Told you, I'm a sucker for a posh colour name and I love the fact that is actually affordable Margaret Howell.

The Sam Edelman black trina sandals.  I didn't know I wanted these till last week when I suddenly went mad trying to hunt down a pair in my size at the best price and because I couldn't find them...I'm now on a mission.  I missed the Mywardrobe.com sale which had them at £63.50 and it feels very wrong to pay full price now.  I've been hanging out over at the Chocolate cookies and candies blog where the lovely Marlene has been convincing me that these sandals will enhance my life and my feet no end.  She's also convinced me that I need a Longchamp Pliage messenger bag so I had to add the caveat to my mantra to include the bag which comes in at just under £300.

And my Jigsaw poppy boots.  I just love these but they're the most expensive so it makes it that little harder to pay up. I know I will have them - when, where and how much is the question.  They're going to be my Winter going out evening boot - I'm not into all these spindly heeled shoes which you have to kick off as soon as you get your feet under a table or in the car.  I'm just wishing and hoping and waiting to see if they pop into the sale at any point ... I'm just biding my time.

Currently, I feel like I am being pushed to that "now or never" point because 3 of the items have just come up in the sale and some of them are already starting to sell out in some of the sizes ....  if I don't strike now, I lose!  Decisions, decisions?  What would you choose?

Gosh - did anyone notice that last line rhymed?

I wanted this but when I rang Aubin & Wills and they told me the length, I decided it was too short ......




Then I found this in Gap where the length was good but for some reason made me look like I had hips the size of Everest .....



And somehow I managed to end up with this from H&M which fitted perfectly .......



.And the bonus is whilst I was looking around the Net a Porter website, I spotted this .....





And if Ms Marant is doing plaited waistbands then this can only mean my skirt is cool!

.... in my dreams.




Pink Alix Freshwater Pearl Bracelet

...... no not a cake or some fabulous foodie creation - just a delicate little pearl bracelet.  And this is my attempt at arty photos.  I'm probably standing in the light as usual but I know nothing about picture taking apart from point and click with my little Canon Ixus. For those who don't know, I make jewellery which I sometimes sell at the odd little village fayre and I think Grump Meister is hoping I will turn this into a money making venture at some point so I can contribute to the family income. The picture taking is fun but frustrating - I take one half decent shot for every 50 bad ones. In another 5 years, I might have enough good pictures to start using on my own website after all the website domain has been secured for me by the Grumps for the next couple of years ... it's just waiting for me to do something apart from shopping, cooking, ironing, entertaining and looking after small people ..... and writing blog posts.  Or I could just set up on Etsy.


And this is my view for the next few days ....

Dining room cum workshop

I'm supposed to be getting ready for a village fayre so I've set up shop in the dining room.. Underneath the dotty oilcloth is a beautiful old hardwood dining table but with my two terrors - there is no way we can leave that exposed for them to etch their initials upon.  I can't complain about the working conditions much - the hours are flexible, the surroundings are clean and comfortable and there are cups of tea aplenty.  Hopefully, when the boys are in full time education, I can concentrate on this little venture and become a WAHM* instead of going back to work in an office.  


Fingers crossed and wish me luck please.  

  • WAHM* -  (Work At Home Mum).  Acronym borrowed from Chocolate cookies and candies 
  • Anyone wanting to know more about Susie Ho jewellery please feel free to contact me at princesstingting1@hotmail.com.  I don't bite. Honest.
  • Anyone just wanting to contact me for any reason at all - feel free. It makes the day go faster than ... cooking, ironing, entertaining and looking after small people.
I'm getting my knees out.  I'm putting a dress on.  I'm gonna live a little and flash the toes.


Uniqlo 2009 White Linen Cardigan 
H&M Tshirt Dress
Primark Tan Wedge Sandals

Fine stripes today

Red, white and blue, the boys love you ....


Because it's forecasted rain tomorrow .... again.

But today the sun is shining and my little H&M t-shirt dress which I picked up a few months back, when I thought summer was coming, gets it first outing today.  On shorties, it's a dress.  On giants (over 5ft 4), it's a tunic.  Either way, it's a bargain.  I don't mind spending £7.99 on a dress which I won't get that much opportunity to wear given the temperament of the British weather this year. It's quite thin, very plain and looks like nothing on a hanger but I liked it so it came home to live with me.  And despite being thin, teamed with a longer length cardigan, my wobbly bum does not offend anyone from behind.  Sorry, there are no links but the Cardigan was a 2009 buy from Uniqlo but there are lots of white boyfriend cardigans out there at the moment in the shops.  The H&M dress is not on the website though it was in store last time I looked a few weeks back and the Primark sandals - well I think they've well and truly sold out.  I think they came out briefly in March and disappeared just like that (a bit like the sun). 


Anyone else giving their legs an airing today?  Before going back to the jeans tomorrow?

.... it's all getting a little out of hand.  I can't resist stripy clothing.  I have striped jumpers, striped tops, striped dresses, striped kids.  See!


George Dude & Ben Meister


And even the Grump Meister is finally conceding to the whole stripes thing.  He pointed at a stripy top the other day and said "Do you think that will suit me?" which has come on leaps and bounds from the days when he used to declare "stripes make me look fat". Infact the only living thing in my house not doing the stripes thing is the cat.


For some reason I really like buying stripes but that's not to say I want to wear them all the time - once or twice a week is okay otherwise stripes everyday would a dull girl make me.  Even if it is a classic. Anyway, I was going to say, as it's summer and everyone is blogging about their stripes - I thought I might as well join in.  I decided to have a nosey through my wardrobe (and the overflow boxes) to see how many garments of stripy clothing I actually own and the results are as follows... brace yourselves.


  • 6 x jersey long sleeve tops
  • 2 x t-shirts
  • 9 x jumpers
  • 3 x cardigans
  • 3 x dresses

Excuse 1.  Can I mention at this point that this collection has been amassed over a number of years before anyone starts wagging their fingers at me. I am 41 - I have time behind me.
Excuse 2.  I do look after my clothes so they tend to last quite well hence the fact they don't seem to wear out and why I have so many.  Even though 5 of the 6 jersey tops were (erm cough cough) bought this year, at least 3 of them were under £8 each.  So it's not that bad.
Excuse 3. The 9 jumpers.  I feel the cold ... a lot.


I did think about photographing them all but then decided I would be sectioned under the mental health act by Grump Meister for even considering such a thing and also the mere thought of having to get 23 items out, ironed and photographed - it all felt too much like an Ebay session about to happen.  But I did decide to photograph 5 jersey tops as they were obliging and folded quite neatly for my purpose. 


All nice and neat

All fall down (been round the kids too long)


And model 1 of them.


I forgot I was wearing the 6th one

So I really should stop buying stripes now shouldn't I?  Because there is no more room in my overfull wardrobe for any more stripes apart from any reddish/raspberry hued stripes and I don't know how I managed to make such an omission.  But don't worry, I'm on the case and these three are rather nice ....







So, any preferences any one? 



............actually, we're just going to Grandma's house.  


Parrot 1 & Cat 1

Dog 1 and Chicken 1 & Chicken 2 of 10

Parrot 2 and Cat 2

..... but it sometimes feels like we're going to the zoo.  

And do you know how scary and difficult it is to take pictures of a huge big beaked parrot?

Parrot Out Takes

Especially when it flies at you?



..... oh and did I mention Dog 2 and Dog 3 were a bit camera shy today?  So once again, we're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo, how about you? you? you? ......

.... when you have one of your fab sales!  And then I can finally justify buying a couple of your eclectic and highly covetable and quirky items of clothing.


The Anthropologie sale kicked off this week.  I was very good and very restrained. I had previously held off buying various bits as I was waiting to see if anything I had my eye on was going to come up in the sale and lo and behold,  for once, the things I wanted were in the sale and in my size (as well as much more) but I was good'ish - I only went for the items I'd marked out previously.  One can get a bit basket happy when online - it's okay as long as you don't click the pay now button before doing a final edit!  It's probably even better if you don't click the pay button at all but that is not the way to happiness and new clothes.


So I have 2 dresses winging their way to me and both were half price and under £30 each so that's pretty reasonable even for those on a budget.  The intention is that only one dress will fit and then I won't have to keep both and spend more money than I need to.  But as luck will have it - I will probably love them both.  I need to get ebaying again!    






And here are some other goodies I also spotted whilst browsing  .....


  
Reverberation Tank  £39.95                              Tussie Tank £49.95

  
Not Your Boyfriends Cardigan £49.95                        Oversized Stripe Tee £39.95

  
Electric Vines Skirt £49.95                              Cascading Waves Dress £99.95

See - I do like bright colours - I just like grey hues more!

The other good thing about Anthropologie is that they have a continuous Sale section and my first stop off on this site is the tab labelled 'fresh cuts' where anything they have just reduced gets dropped in here - seriously, I have seen £90 cardigans going for £5.  I'm also the first to admit I have more expensive tastes than my budget allows (who doesn't) so any discounts and promotions I can find are very welcome.  I still think I have a working salary when in fact I don't so I've had to tailor the way I shop over the last few years.  Kids have this strange effect on bank balances - they bleed you dry and the high street has indeed been my saviour (thank you Primark and New Look) for every day wear but every now and then I like a little something different and when Anthro have a sale - I can indulge in a little something different and fabby at a pretty reasonable price.


... last minute update ... the dresses arrived!  One is a possible but not instant love.  One is a not in a million years.  Methinks a trip to the Post Office is on the cards in the next couple of day!  I don't need another summer dress when we don't even have a summer here.  I'm going to save my pennies!



Don't you just love the sound of the doorbell which says the postman has arrived with presents! 

Me and the postman are like that.  Thick as thieves.  Not really.  My postman is really quite grumpy and doesn't smile much.  I don't actually think he even likes me. When I open the door to him, I put on my biggest smile and say in my cheeriest voice "Good morning!" and he always looks a little taken back and then returns the greeting most begrudgingly.  Whatever happened to the old adage about smiling and the whole world smiles with you?  Not in the case of my postman.  I have to say he's getting a little better because he knows I will grin manically at him till he grimaces back at me.  I do it also because I'm a bit that way out.  It has taken four years to get this far in our relationship.  Grump Meister says I should leave him be.


Anyway, ding dong, forced smiling and and the handing over of a parcel happens.  Now this is a strange parcel today - it's a Boden parcel. 


I have never ordered anything from Boden before till now.  Why?  Err .... just haven't. Maybe because I've always regarded Boden as being the fashion equivalent of a Volvo Estate?  Loads of people are probably up in arms right now but just remember - there's a lot of fashion out there and what is right for one is not right for another.  Anyway you can't hate me - I now have some Boden items of clothing in my possession!

It started with me seeing a lovely grey jumper on a blogger and finding out it was from Boden.  Jaw drop.  The blogger is cool and hip and wearing a Boden jumper.  I had to check it out.  Besides I love grey jumpers.  The jumper looked nice and looked even better with a discount of 20% off and free delivery.

It's a really nice jumper - I'm keeping it.  It's not exciting and it's not high fashion - it's just a good jumper.  You know when you just know something is right.  The fit is perfect. It's a nice summer weight.  Doesn't cling over the bagel belly and doesn't look like it will pill like a crazy thing.  It has some nice but not naff button detailing.  And I love the pistachio contrast colour details.  Boden named it most appropriately as the "must have" jumper.


Plain, simple, versatile and wearable.  What more do you want?


Pistachio Ribbon Trim

Grey & Pistachio Margaret Howell Striped Jumper


Reminded me of a Margaret Howell striped jumper I already own with grey and pistachio tones.  After all I am a creature of habits.  Oh and I should get loads of wear out of this - it's grey after all.  My favourite colour.

And because I was browsing the Boden site, I had a look in the Johnnie B section for teeny boppers and this Breton dress caught my eye.  Being a titch means I can raid the children's section every now and then.  There has to be some benefits to being vertically challenged (VAT free clothes springs to mind).



I'd been eyeing up a couple of similar dresses in Whistles but the fit was a little bit off for me and if you are paying in the region of £80 for a jersey summer dress - you want it to be right.  I ordered this Johnnie B dress in a size large (for reference, I'm a size 10) and I don't think it's too bad for overall fit and length though this is one of those dresses where I have to remember to curtsey rather than bend over.  The dress is £21 which is pretty good value.  Thinking of holiday abroad, shopping along cobbled streets, straw trilby, basket tote, donkey braying in the background?  Oh yes and I think I can even live with the little embroidered dog emblem on the hem - he's almost cute.


At least he's not pink.


I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by Boden - they really are on the ball with their customer service and constant promotions.  In my parcel, they included a welcome card with an extra 15% off the next purchase as a thank you.  How canny is that?  So I ordered the navy colour way of the dress too.  Now I can't decide!  The navy stripe is very traditional and classic but the ivory and blue is fun and summery.  Which way should I go?  I have a year to make up my mind - now that is some return policy!!


Decisions, decisions!


So what does this mean?  Am I a Boden convert?  Not yet.  My choices this time are quite basic and do not scream Boden all over them.  I hear they are upping their game for Autumn/Winter 2012 and getting a little more "edgey".  This remains to be seen.  However, my first time shopping with Boden has not been unpleasant.  We may cross paths again some day.  What I have learnt though is that sometimes we get stuck in a mindset about certain brands.  In my case I just needed to take the blinkers off and look beyond all the prints and the oh so happy clappy models because sometimes, just sometimes .....there might just be the odd little gem in there waiting to be found.

Hi there!


Hi, I'm Sue.

Mum to Ben & George, married to the Grumps, living in suburbia, somewhere in the north of England.

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