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Monday, 31 March 2014

Pinterest Fun




I was going through some looks on Pinterest and came across this one. I pinned it a little while back. Not the most inspired - a stripey top and a pair of jeans but this one is quite interesting to me because I actually have all the components to put this together.



  • Breton with mid blue stripes. Yup.
  • Black belt. Yup.
  • Boyfriend jeans. Yup.
  • Red pointy shoes. Yup.
  • Blonde hair. Err no.
  • Long legs. Err no.

Never mind the last two, let's plough on.

  • Tripod. Yup.
  • Camera. Yup.
  • Timer set. Yikes. 
  • Sprint, pose and dodgy fake smile. Phew!

Johnnie B top, Zara jeans, M&S belt, Jigsaw shoes, Own Garden Fence


Well that killed 20 mins this afternoon :o)


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Last Note :

  • The stripey top is my old Johnnie B Breton dress which I had chopped down in to a top because I couldn't leave well alone. Last seen here in it's full length glory!













Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hearts




Handmade by me!


I was feeling quite proud of myself last week that I seemed to have stepped up the old blogging a bit and then Mothers Day threw me a curve ball on Monday. A seemingly harmless chat in the school playground resulted in me spending the last few nights sewing 21 of these padded heart thingies to be sold at the Mother's Day afternoon tea which is being held tomorrow at school. The children can bring in £1 to buy their mums a present and they will also be serving us drinks and biscuits. So not much blogging going on chez Sue's but lots of sewing of padded hearts instead.

I confess, I've never made one of these things before and now look - I've made 21 of them! By the way, I didn't pick the colour scheme - I was handed purple and pink gingham fabric and a bag of stuffing and off I went. Didn't I do well? Feel free to clap.

A couple of things I learnt along the way - I can't machine stitch round a curve so I had to do a lot of hand sewing to get them just so. And another thing is - a chopstick is good after you've sewed up the hearts to prod out the edges. Not too sharp so it won't go through your seams - just incase you come over all Sewing Bee.

And because we had no lavender to put inside them, I popped them all in a bag overnight with a Jo Malone drawer liner sachet to fragrance them a little. Ingenious! I do hope the mums like Lime Basil & Mandarin! 

And because I've been pottering away at home, this is what I've been pottering around in ....



Tesco shell top, Uniqlo cashmere cardigan, Zara scarf, Zara jeans, Costco/Kirkland Uggy Boots


I broke out the Tesco ivory shell top today (first time) but I couldn't ditch the grey habit and went with the old faithful Uniqlo grey cardi. This cardi is a hardworking piece and credit to it, it doesn't pill. I pulled on a few other cardigans to try but somehow this one just feels right when I pull it on. And an old Zara scarf which is a bit of a favourite. I had my friend L2 come round the other day and offloaded about ten scarves on to her and she enquired about this one. Not on your nelly, mate. And did anyone notice anything about my Uggy slippers? The old grey ones have been officially ditched and binned. They gave me 18 months good service of pretty constant wear with a slight reprieve in the summer but I had to finally call time on them. But no fear - I had my backups ready and waiting in chocolate brown suede. 

School run time meant the slippers were swapped for black ballet pumps - can't beat a pair of ballet pumps for ease and quickness and the old Mango jacket was dug out.


Matalan Ballet Pumps, Mango Coat/Jacket


So just a quick post to keep me ticking over and to show you my lovely hearts - can you tell I'm rather proud of my efforts?

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Last Note :

  • The Jo Malone Scent sachets are currently Blackberry & Bay. Mine are circa 2012 which were Lime Basil and Mandarin. 




Monday, 24 March 2014

Je T'aime



Another garment with writing on it which you can't make out unless I flip the photo for you.



That's the problem with taking your own photos in the mirror but it's still better than a small person taking blurry headless shots shouting "how many more times mummeeeeee?" and me shouting back "Till you get it right son, till you get it right!" Anyway, I need to get that tripod out again and get to grips with the timer function on the camera. You get a 10 second delay during which you have to run to your designated spot, decrumple yourself and strike a pose. Thinking about it - from what I can remember, it was hard work and the success rate was verging on 0.5%. Let's stick with the mirror or I will never blog again.

I actually bought this Ganni sweatshirt a little while back and squirrelled it away. And dragged it out recently as the weather got progressively warmer. I don't know about you but even with a heattech underneath, cotton sweatshirts are not that warm and I am super nesh. A super nesh squirrel. That's me.

I wore it down to London for the bloggy meet and teamed it with black jeans and the Office Namesake boots. When in doubt, go black.

And I dragged it out again this week to see what else other than boyfriend jeans I might want to wear it with when the weather warms up a fraction. I settled on the old Maison Scotch chinos. I love Maison Scotch for their quirky detailing like dandelion buttons and embroidered stars on this pair that I have. I've not bought much of theirs in the last year or so but I do rate their chinos and their finishes. This pair is on that slightly darker side of beige which makes them more wearable than some of the lighter finishes around. 



Ganni Sweatshirt, Maison Scotch Chinos, M&S Shoes


They seem to go well with the leopard heels which I wore last week. I love how fun they are as they make me come over all girly which you just have to do every now and then. 

Then I tried the Topshop Newark sandals .....




These sandals can be a killer on the old legs when worn with a skirt or a dress - I am no Kate Bosworth who has a pair of these (seen here) but she also has killer pins. But with chinos like this, they look a whole lot better. This is one of those pairs of sandals where I love them and hate them in equal measure but I won't get rid of them. They edge up the look a little by about 1% in my eyes.

And then we have slobsville look. I had to put the Birkies in didn't I?



And that's what I'm probably going to end up doing the school run in when the weather warms up. Because real life dictates comfort and the ability to keep up with two sprintathon boys. And we can't do that in clippy cloppy leopard shoes with gold heels can we now?

Which just goes to prove the power behind a pair of shoes and what a difference they can make to your whole outfit, your whole experience and your whole day. 

I guess that explains my love for shoes then ..... and gives me licence to buy more :o)





Thursday, 20 March 2014

Birkenstock Arizonas



I said I wasn't going to go there with the old ugly fugly shoes. Or so I thought. Until I went to visit my sister at the weekend and she fished out a pair of Birkenstock Arizona lookalikes in lilac(!) and told me to try them on. How could I resist? I needed to see what ugly fugly shoes looked like on little old me.....

.... and they looked alright actually even if they were lilac. Besides, throw enough pictures of ugly shoes at me and eventually I will come round. 

So that got me going on the old Birks hunt then. I saw a few discussions going around and the general consensus is that the black ones are the ones to get. So I got the white.


Because I might be a sheep but I'm not a total sheep. Baaa! Besides, I'm still of the general impression that I don't get on with black shoes unless they're ballet pumps or courts.

They were on offer on ASOS this week and discounted so I put my order in for my regular UK Size 4, Eu 37. They haven't arrived yet but I did have my doubts that they would be too big as I know from previous experience when I've tried Birkenstocks before, they have always seemed too big in my usual size and the UK Size 3, tends to fit better. So I did some extra digging around and then found some on Sports Direct in the size 3 and ordered those the day after the ASOS order. They arrived today. And .... yay! I like them. I almost went so far as to say I love them but I think they need to be worn properly before I can say that. Ask me at the end of the summer to see if these have the been the footwear du jour or they were totally pants.

Now I have to say I got these for a bargain price of £19.99 compared to the £45.99 being asked by most places. These are not the leather ones but the Birko Flor which is their alternative to leather. If you are thinking of buying a pair, have a good look at the composition to see what you are buying. There's usually a £10 difference between the leather and the Birko Flor version - it's up to you - I know some people will only wear leather footwear. I'm not one of them.



Birko Flor upper

Can you see from the picture above that they are a leather look upper? They have a slight sheen - almost pearlescent. Almost. Plus point - they will be wipe clean at least.

I'm expecting it to take a few wears to break these in as it will take a little time to get used to the raised cross arch support. This is the bit which I've never taken to previously and dismissed the sandals as uncomfortable but I guess this is the bit where once you've worn them enough so they mould to your feet, they will turn out to the comfiest things you could hope to wear. Fingers crossed that I will get that far this time.


Another thing to bear in mind - when you're ordering, some places offer two width fittings. The slim/narrow fit is for regular folks including myself despite the fact that I tend to think of myself as having fat feet. I think this is what most stores sell. Their "regular" fitting is for those who are sturdy of foot. Heiffer feet. For all the info you could possibly want on Birkenstock, just head here.

Anyway, here I am commune ready.

Gap sweatshirt, Zara jeans, Birkenstock Arizonas.


Anyone joining me? Or have you already got yours? And if you have - what do you think of them?

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Last Note :

  • ASOS still have the white Arizonas discounted as of 20/03/14. But not the black.
  • Sports Direct have the white ones in a limited number of sizes but no black. Just incase you were getting all excited. Because if they had the black, I would probably also be showing you a pair of black ones if I could get them for £19.99. Just to test them out and just to make sure that black really doesn't suit me.
  • Next are offering lookalikes for £20 which look really nice actually if you want the look but not the financial hit. These are a leather upper but the footbed is manmade (a sueded fabric).





Monday, 17 March 2014

Cobbler



I kept it you know. I said I was going to keep it and I did. My little Elinor half moon bag from Toast. And I listened to what you said about getting a cobbler to take a look at the overly long strap and I did. 


I did consider it in the first instance but I was worried that I wouldn't find anyone who would do the job as well as I would want it done (me fussy? YES), so I was a bit reluctant to go down that route but after you all said it, I thought - yep - that's the only way to go.

And I found a cobbler. A nice man. A polite man. A friendly man. A man who knows about good old fashioned customer service. And he did my bag for me. I knew I didn't want extra holes punching in the strap as that would still leave me with an overly long strap with extra holes - we definitely needed the strap cutting down. So we did - by 10 inches believe it or not. And didn't he do well? I did tell him that it was my birthday  present - so no pressure then ;o)


Before (smooth domed rivet)

After (different rivet)

After (front of strap)


Well actually he did pretty good but I made it better because I'm like that. I smoothed off the end of the straps with the obligatory nail file (yes that toolbox essential we all know so well) so they were a fraction neater and then touched up the raw leather with a little dark brown polish.

Looks good - yes? How much do you reckon this little job cost me? Go on - have a guess.

What a difference 10 inches make!

Jack Wills Breton (old)

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£3.50!


Whoop whoop! Guess who's a happy bunny?




Friday, 14 March 2014

A Change Will Do You Good



This morning, the sun shone and the world outside my window looked good. I went to the wardrobe and pulled out a grey jumper. And then I put it back. Instead I pulled out this ...


Grey Uniqlo Cardi, Marant Etoile Blouse, Hobbs NW3 Bag


The raspberry coloured Marant top that I was so happy scoring but somehow never got round to wearing. Would it surprise you awfully that this is the first time I wore it properly for a full day? Umm it's only been about 6 months since I got it. I've tried it on a few times with different things and had it on for about 30 mins and then changed out of it again. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe because I like it and I don't want to spoil it? Anyway, it's been officially christened now and is now a "normal" item i.e. worn. And then I pulled on the old faithful grey Uniqlo cardi as it was warm but not that warm!

I also instinctively reached for my Office Namesake boots and then put them back in the wardrobe and pulled out these leopard shoes instead. This is another one of those items which I have only worn once for 20 mins ... in the back garden.

M&S Leopard Shoes, New Look Jeans


And then I took a step back and thought "hmmm - quite girly, a little bit mismatched but too late to change now" and headed out of the door for the school run.





Anyway, it was quite interesting to lay off the old faithfuls and reach for something a little unexpected. I got two compliments about the gold heels which I know I wouldn't have got if I'd stuck to my regular boots. 

What was the last thing you wore which you got complimented on?


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Last Note :

  • The shoes hurt after 4 hours (I did a supermarket shop in them and some other errands). I put my Uggs on for the afternoon school run (I don't care what you think - my feet hurt and were cold).
  • The shirt was very comfortable but draughty. I was a bit ambitious laying off the old Heattech so soon.







Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Toast Elinor Half Moon Bag



Happy birthday to me ...
Happy birthday to me ...
Happy birthday to meeeeeeee ...
Happy birthday to me ...



Yeah yeah - only a week late. It took a bit of doing but I got there. I finally found myself a birthday present! I didn't spot anything in London town when I was there on my birthday weekend but to be honest, I wasn't really looking. I was busy meeting people and shopping really wasn't on the agenda though everyone did their best to coax my credit card out. The thing is, I'm a lone shopper. I don't like to be influenced by anybody else. It's easy to get swayed (yup I nearly bought some Chanel sunglasses) but there was nothing that floated my boat enough. I didn't know what I was looking for but I knew I hadn't found it that weekend and I also didn't want to buy something for the sake of it. And then it just so happened, that I came across the Elinor Half Moon Bag from Toast. And not a moment too soon either as the Grumps said he was just about to go and choose something for me if I didn't pull my finger out. Argh! 

It's a cute little bag. Not big by any stretch of the imagination but it fits a small camera, purse and a phone in. Maybe some pocket tissues, a pen and a lip balm as well. And that's it. Like I said, it's not big. I was eyeing up the APC half moon bag which TK was carrying when I met her and this is a similar shape.




Uniqlo Shirt, H&M Jeans, M&S Brogues


I also like the black and dark tan contrasts - the tan strap adds interest to what would otherwise be a plain black bag. But it is ridiculously long - even though it's on it's shortest setting. I can't see a way to shorten it so it doesn't flap too much so I've decided to treat it as a "feature" and let it just hang. If it starts to annoy me, I think it will have to get jiggy with some double sided sellotape or a glue dot.




It's a thick grainy leather - not beautifully finished like some high end bags I've seen and touched recently and it even strikes me a little rough and ready (rustic for a more charming description) around the edges but I don't mind - it's a little like me :o)  And according to the notes on it on the website, the leather should age well with use and will adopt a nice patina.



So considering that it has a verging on too long strap, and it's not the best finished bag I've ever had, I have two good reasons for returning it but guess what - I'm not going to! I'm keeping this one, yes I am!

Besides, it goes a treat with my Uniqlo shirt. See - finally my shopping luck is changing!



Sunday, 9 March 2014

Uniqlo Cotton Lawn Check Shirt



I have had the most appalling time trying to shop just lately. Nothing is going right and nothing that I like fits as it should. Look at my rate of returns. Even the things that I thought were wonderful and keepers didn't turn out to be.

Remember the lilac v neck jumper? I thought that was going to be a real keeper. Something nice and different for me for the summer. Returned.

Why? Because I went and tried on the navy version and realised there was a whole two inch difference in the length of the jumpers. The navy was two inches shorter and didn't need me to do any kind of invisible tucking in to my jeans and sat at the perfect length on me. Not too long, not too short. After trying the navy, I didn't want the lilac - it wasn't perfect enough. And yes, I went in to the store and tried on all the lilac jumpers they had in my size just to make sure that what I had was the freak of nature one, but no, they were all long. Hmm. The irony is if I'd never tried on the navy, I would have been happy with the lilac and my wardrobe would be a much more colourful world. As it is, there is no lilac jumper for me this summer. But there is a navy one instead :o) .... I think. Or I could still change my mind again and go buy the lilac one again and return it ... and buy it ... and return it and repeat the process many times over till I'm absolutely positively sure I don't want it or I find one which is two inches shorter.

But look! I have actually taken delivery of something which is a keeper. I have even taken the tags off ! It's another one of those classic "not exactly going to set the world on fire" items that I like to buy. Meet my Uniqlo cotton lawn check shirt.



It's one I spotted a little while back but didn't go for straightaway. I needed to see what other offerings the High Street were throwing out for this spring/summer first.

This is a cotton lawn shirt - a fine woven cotton - soft and easy to wear. Cotton lawn to me is something I mainly associate with Liberty - their most famous and popular fabric being their Tana lawn. The Tana part of it is associated with Lake Tana where the cotton was originally sourced from. Just call me Sue Wiki So So :o) Anyway, I digress - what I wanted to say was - cotton lawn? Lovely. Or at least in my books. Smooth, light, soft and not too creasy.



Uniqlo shirt, Zara jeans, M&S belt, Converse, Susie Ho bracelet.


It's also a good length on me for wearing untucked even though I'm short - 5ft 2 at a push. Some shirts are just that couple of inches too long and elongate my body too much which makes the old short legs look even shorter. It is very gently fitted - flattering yet quite accommodating of a poochy tum and a good layering shirt if you like to top off with a jumper as it's not too bulky or stiff. It's a good basic. Actually thinking about this, having bought 3 shirts from Uniqlo in total - they fit me quite well in a size small. Granted the sleeves are a cuff too long but that's par for the course and I can't possibly hold that against them - I am short - I would look ridiculous with baboon arms.

So just a little shirt to start me back on track. Black gingham instead of a traditional navy to give it a little edge. Simple and easy to wear. 

A winner. And a keeper. Like I said - I took the tags off :o)





Tuesday, 4 March 2014

All Worn Out



Whoa - that was some weekend I had just there. I can't cut it these days - I'm usually found happily snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of Earl Grey (yup that's how I roll) and a laptop on my knee and instead I went out two nights in a row partaking of alcoholic beverages in London. Phew. I'm all worn out ... speaking of which .... 

.... can I introduce you to some of the Allwornout girls?

Gina, Ann, Belinda, Eve


For those of you who know the Allwornout girls, you will know the majority of them blog anonymously, So no grand exposé from me then for those who are a little curious. Blogging is a weird thing - I started out keeping my face out of it totally and honestly it was so much easier. Sometimes I wish I'd stayed that way but I know that people like to put a face to the voice so I pop my face up now and then again like the proverbial Jack in the Box. Anyway, I had a lovely evening meeting up with  the girls on Friday along with Joanna from Poppys Style who had flown over from Atlanta. We both felt very priviliged to be allowed in to their inner sanctum. 

Saturday started off with meeting the lovely Marlene from Chocolate Cookies and Candies as I was dragged (just joking) around some lovely quieter parts of London - away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street.






And then to meet with some more lovely blogging ladies which some of you may or may not be familiar with - Avril, Helen, Kat, Natalie, Fiona and Joanna. We met last year and this year there were a few new additons - lovely to meet you Michelle, Frances and Donna! Marlene was our very own Ella von Unwerth for the day and was kind enough to take our photos - not many of us ever get the opportunity to have a photo taken of us which is not done via a tripod and a timer, a mirror or a spare child so this was a wonderful experience for us all. Marlene barked orders and papped away like a pro. Thank you Marlene. Your patience is endless as were all our neuroses.

Marlene with her big camera


Lots of Prosecco was consumed - apparently it's good for not giving you hangovers, lots of gossip was exchanged and a lovely time was had by all. And then Marlene and I had to say our farewells and move on to the next little bloggy meet with the lovely Amanda from Assembled Hazardly and TK (formerly Dead Fleurette) who both happened to be in London that day! The funniest thing was Marlene pre-checking the table for good lighting so we could get the best Instagram food shots and there was much chuckling as we photographed our food to death before we ate it. Come on - admit it - you all do it these days! There are more shots of the evening here.

Noodles at Cocoro


The morning was meant to be spent at Columbia Road Flower market but instead, Marlene and I thought it would be more fun to properly catch up with Avril over a late breakfast before she boarded a plane back to Ireland. It was the perfect relaxed ending to a fabulous weekend.

Avril & I



And home for me too to my boys. I have to admit, I came over all emotional as they met me off my train.

It's good to go away .... but it's good to come home.

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Last Note :

  • Thank you to Fiona for making the arrangements for the Saturday meet up.
  • Thank you Marlene for organising our hotel and our meet up with Amanda and TK.
  • Thank you all for my surprise birthday pudding! I was genuinely surprised! I even looked around to see whose birthday it was!
  • Thank you Helen for my Earl Grey tea which I forgot and I believe Kat is now consuming on my behalf.
  • Thank you for all the people who put me in the right direction, the right taxi and so on, so I wouldn't get lost.
  • Thank you all for reading my little blog. 
  • Thank you, thank you and once again I thank you. (Can you tell I've been watching the Oscars?).