Strawberry Picking

Tuesday 30 July 2013

So the strawberry season came storming along and we waited till the last week to make the most of it. Well if the truth be told - I didn't know where the nearest PYO (Pick Your Own) strawberry patch was till last week and then there was the matter that it was far too hot (for me) to stand in the middle of a field picking strawberries anyway. But I got there eventually.

Zara linen tee (old), Gap mini skimmers, Zara belt (n/a), Tatty Bag (old)

Nothing new on the clothes front except for my red belt which I picked up in the Zara sale. Infact that was the only thing I picked up in the Zara sale and now I could slap myself for missing out on a pair of silver leather espadrilles and two pairs of black sandals which I didn't buy when they had my sizes online. Slap slap. Now I'm hunting them down on Ebay. Wish me luck.

Strawberry picking - perfect summer pastime with kids. With Ben - yes. With George - no. He picked two strawberries, ran up and down the field like a loon and noshed his bodyweight in strawbs. Well to be honest, Ben probably ate his weight in strawbs as well but he did manage to let a few make it in to the boxes.

Ben - the grafter. He actually managed to get some in the box.

Don't be fooled by the picture of strawberry picking innocence.

Caught in the act and red-handed!

Strawberry? What strawberry?

Excuse the manic grin. And the sun was in my eyes!

I actually took my sister and her hubs along. I no longer think this is strange but can imagine how "overkill" this may seem to some people - they brought a bottle of water along to wash the strawberries they were eating on the job. 

I've dubbed this "wash then nosh". Anybody else do this? Or just my family? Frayed Denim Shorts

Thursday 25 July 2013

The warm weather seems to have caught everyone on the hop and people are freaking out because they have "nothing to wear" for this hot spell. And what they have to wear ... is all in the wash because the hot spell has lasted more than 2 days (almost unheard of in the UK). But looking around the blogs, it seems that everyone has taken their scissors to hand and made themselves a little pair of denim cut off shorts. So I did too.

Now I already have a pair of denim shorts which I purchased last year from H&M and wore on my Greece holiday and these are what I classify as "shorter"shorts. But I fancied some slightly longer shorts for those days when you feel like you need a little more coverage. Like when you don't want to scare the neighbours when bending over to cut the front hedges.  I have to say, this wasn't one of those easy peasy just came together clothes hacks - there was quite a lot of to'ing and fro'ing.

Basically, I cut the legs off a pair of old Jack Wills jeans to a suitable length and left enough for cuffing/turning up. I cuffed them and nearly "cuffed" off my circulation. Oh I crack myself up sometimes! It's just one of those things which happens when you start turning up the legs, they get narrower and narrower and then you get thigh muffin spewing forth. So not good. And I looked a bit dorky and mumsy with my longer length shorts.

So I cut an inch off ... and then another inch ... and then another inch till I thought they were about the right length.

If at first you don't succeed .....

I have to say I was rather carefree and slapdash in my technique in that I did not draw any lines to cut along or anything - I just went for it. One of my sisters would be freaking out now as she would have told me to pin the legs together, measure correctly, mark in chalk etc etc ... but then again I am not my sister.

And bearing in mind that cuffing was not working for me, I went with fraying. Which is where a cotton picker comes in handy.

Strangely satisfying on the first leg, very tedious and boring by the end of the second leg.

Slowly getting there.

Trim off the threads ... or leave if you please. I trimmed as they tickled.

Use thumbnail to run along the edges to rough them up.

Use a lint roller to tidy up the denim dust and debris left behind on ironing board.

Ta dah - finished!

I think they'll do for when the hot spell comes back again. I spoke too soon about turning down the temperature dial didn't I? I made these whilst it was raining outside.

Ta dah! Frayed shorts! (Before wash).

Please note that when you put them in the wash, they will fray a little more again. Trim as you so please! I trimmed them again so they looked a little neater and a little less fringey.

So who's done this one then?

Lana Shirt ... and Monty

Tuesday 23 July 2013

I thought I'd treat myself to a little top whilst the Matches sale was on. Nothing very happening, nothing very in your face. So no skyscraper heels and no bling bling handbags - just a little top that will take me from year to year without dating too much. 

So I went for the Isabel Marant Etoile Lana shirt. Honestly, I feel a bit sheepish after the palaver about the Matches box as this is quite an unexciting little shirt in quite a lot of people's eyes but it just so happens to be the kind of shirt I feel happy in. Quiet and unassuming. Infact it's so quiet and unassuming, I can't find a pic of anyone wearing it except for store models. No one seems to like it. Except me.

Isabel Marant Lana Shirt (still available here)

And the other thing is you could probably find something similar in dare I say it ... Gap, Fat Face, White Stuff or even good old Marks & Sparks. Bang! Arrghghg. I've been shot down by Marant lovers everywhere. But honestly, look at it - you could, couldn't you? Come on, even I can say that and I like Marant designs very much. But I'm under no illusion that this is quite a regular little top.

New Look Jeans (old), River Island espadrilles (old), Monty (old)

Spot the tag still attached to the blouse. Yes I will be taking it off. This one is not on the list of returns. 

By the way, have you met Monts? Aka Monty the cat? He's an old geezer. He's about 16 years old now and I rescued him from the RSPCA when he was about 1 and before the Grumps took me on. He was the skinniest cat there and the one that ignored me so I thought I'd take him home, feed him up and make him love me. The day I got him, I nearly returned him as (1) he took a swipe at me every time I walked past him and (2) as he brushed past my dark coloured sofa, I nearly had a heart attack at the mass of white hairs left behind. I also nearly lost him on the first day I got him as I fell asleep with the back door open and thought he'd legged it out of the door. Thankfully, he realised I was his new food provider and decided to stay put. Phew - try explaining that to the RSPCA "yes the cat that I've had for two hours has disappeared, yes I know I signed a document saying I am a trustworthy responsible person and that I will be loving and loyal to the cat, tend to it's needs and and look after it but the fact is .... I've lost him ... after 2 hours".

Anyway, back to the Lana shirt. It's a cheesecloth type fabric - not that thin despite looking light and airy from where you read. But it is versatile and it's one of the shirts which looks great with boyfriend jeans as seen above. Or with a pair of denim shorts seen below ....

H&M Boyfriend Shorts, Russell & Bromley Bag, Monty (old)

Or with a denim skirt.

French Connection skirt (old), River Island Espadrilles (old), Monty (old)

Monty "I'm not moving"

Can you see the theme? Basically, this shirt goes great with denim. I'm sure it goes with other things too but I don't like how they styled it weird on the websites with funny patterned trews and stuff. But that's just me being boring.

Anyway how do you shop in the sales?

  • Go for something you've had your eye on for ages which was too expensive but is now affordable?
  • Buy something because you were seduced by the 70% off but you never knew you needed or thought about previously? 
  • Give yourself licence to browse the more expensive sites to see what is now affordable? 
  • Buy something practical but better than usual?
  • Buy something just for the helluva of it?

Guess what? I do all of the above :o)


Last Note :

  • The vet says Monty's gammy eyes are part of his old age. Poor old thing.  
  • He's still a tough cookie though - he will take on any passing dog. Mad Cat Monty.


Monday 22 July 2013

Last Friday was the last day of term and having had a few days in shorts and skirts and strappy tops, I was bored and wanting to wear pants again and cover up. Jeans would have been the death of me so I decided loose linen pants were the way to go. I confess to these not being terribly fashionable in some peoples eyes but guess what - they are comfy and in my world, on a very hot day, they are light and airy bliss.

I covered up further with the Whistles Freya shirt as I figured I was brown enough already. I am one of those people who actively try not to tan because I go mucky coloured. Not golden brown like my boys. Just mucky brown. And the WOC is good for house keys and tissues for those hay fever nose drippy moments. Fess up - you've been there.

Whistles Freya shirt, Hobbs NW3 bag, Matalan linen trousers, Primark sneakers, Dahon bike.

By the way, have you seen my new bike? Okay, okay, have you seen my sister's new bike which she has lent me and which she said I could borrow ... which probably means it will come to live with me for a goodly amount of time before it gets returned. To be fair, I did at least return her Chanel. Me good :o)

I rode it on the Thursday and Friday and it has changed my whole school run. No more red faced frantic legging it down the road - I can now casually keep pace with the boys. And I have had lots of ooh's and aah's from the mums over it. This is a Dahon fold up bike. And also the design is what I refer to as a "sit up and beg" bike. Not a racer, not a mountain bike but a good old sit up and beg bike which my dad would be proud of. Did I ever tell you my dad didn't speak to me for 3 months after I refused to have a girls bike and wanted a boys racer when I was about 10? Stubborness runs in the family obviously. Oh and it also says "bullet" on the cross bar thingy which appeals to my inner child.

Err, I was going to recommend one of these bikes (small trips/school runs) to you till I did some research and found out they are not cheap. Like starting price £350 not cheap. They are cheaper if you buy them in Hong Kong and bring them across like my mad sister did (luggage allowance - what's that??) but somewhat more pricey over here in the UK. But have a shop around, there are cheaper alternatives here. I can't vouch for them, two days on a bike does not make a cycling expert make me!

Anyway, here's how to re-create the look if you like. Tissues optional :o)


Wednesday 17 July 2013

Two more days. Two more days and that's it. And then? And then the six week holidays begin. Aaarghghghg!

Actually George got early release and finished today. Which meant a frenzied trip to the supermarket for a quick search of suitable thank you presents for his teachers ... for putting up with him for the last year. The Sweet Williams caught my eye as soon as I walked in. Two bunches later and a roll of brown paper and ta dah! Posh blooms.

Here's two I made earlier :o)

H&M tee (old), French Connection skirt (ancient), River Island Espadrilles (old)

The skirt I said I only wore when I was abroad is now being worn over here - the heatwave shows no signs of abating. If they could just turn down the dial a couple of degrees or five, it would be lovely 

Instead, I have a bright pink face which matches my tee and these blooms.


Another Busy Day

Monday 15 July 2013

It started off with a bouncy castle delivery (which went to the wrong house and came back again).

Followed by the emptying of the paddling pool from the weekend (about 50 buckets worth).

Followed by the refilling of said paddling pool (by hose - phew)

Followed by the blowing up of far too many balloons  (feeling rather faint).

Followed by manic pass the parcel wrapping (slapdash but how many 3 to 4 year olds are likely to complain?).

Followed by mini supermarket shop (loved the air con).

In far too hot temperatures of 29 degrees (melt)

Because today was George's 4th Birthday party (though his birthday is not till tomorrow).

And by the time I'd done all that in the blistering heat, I didn't give two hoots what I looked like so I gave in to wearing shorts and flip flops and a vest top for the school run - for the first time ever .... in my life .... outside of the garden ... in the UK. I felt a little self conscious and found myself apologising to a fellow mum for my attire who then asked me where my shorts were from. See! Like I said - no one's really looking at you. Stop being so hard on yourself! And the shorts were from Tesco's circa 2005.

Primark vest, Tesco shorts, Havaianas, Balloons (Poundland)

Anyway, the balloons remind me of the Grump's uncle - a gentleman and scholar with a naughty sense of humour. Whenever he saw a lady of ample busom, he always commented that she had the most beautiful big ..... blue eyes. 

We knew what he meant :o)

Hot Busy Day

Saturday 13 July 2013

Phew - day nearly over. It's been a hot one hasn't it? The temperature gauge in the car racked 32 degrees - that's positively Mediterranean! 

Hot day = light and airy dress. Like this one from Zara circa 2011. 

Zara Dress (old), Primark Gold Flip Flops (old)

Yes I like my plain little dresses but every now and then I try a print. And this one appealed because of the crisp colours on it and the fact that the small print didn't overwhelm me. This was originally a halterneck with ties which started in the middle but I cut them off and turned them in to straps as I like a more traditional look. It's also a little see through - stand me with the sun behind me and hey ho - classic Princess Di moment.

Anyway, this was worn to a kid's party first thing (oh joy) and it's always nice when someone asks you about your dress and is it current? Means they like it and they want one :o)

And then up to friends in the next village for the the annual beer festival which meant the kids were palmed off with the pub barbecue for dinner (because the mums don't want to cook) whilst the dads were drinking "dirty beer". "Dirty beer" is a term the mums use to try and make the dads feel bad about drinking beer. Doesn't work.

Luurveerleeey. All sort of hot doggy.

And somehow a takeaway got factored in for the adults. But now I'm home with my cup of Earl Grey and for the first time today, my nose isn't streaming because my hayfever has been DOING MY HEAD IN!!!! Hope you're not suffering wherever you are and if you have any good remedies - spill!

A Lovely Box

Friday 12 July 2013

White Ranger : Guys, guys! Over here! There's a strange box that's just arrived!

Good Spiderman : Wonder what it is? Shall I take a nosey?

Elmo : Yeah! Elmo keep watch incase Her Royal Shoppingness comes back.

Bad Spiderman : Hurry up Spidey, these turrets are hurting my bum!

Good Spiderman opening the box : Sob. Sob. It's something from Matches - not Toys R Us! I was rather hoping for .... BARBIE.

The nice DHL man (previously mentioned) dropped off a large brown box, inside which was another large box. The inner large box is awesome. I have never bought anything from Matches before but if you get boxes like this, I might make this more of a habit ;o) I'm a high street shopper - you get a plastic bag normally and some of the "posher" ones give you a nice paper one so you can feel a little bit more special. 

I think ... this beats the Net a Porter black boxes. What do you think? Or are there better boxes out there to be had? Which shops do the best packaging in your opinion and how much does this count as part of the shopping experience? These things matter you know. Or maybe just to me.

All the D's. Double Denim, the Devil, DHL & Drugs

Wednesday 10 July 2013

I was having a chat with the nice DHL man today. He was coming to pick up an item I was returning (Zoe Karssen bat sweatshirt - absolutely teeny weeny - don't believe what they say on the website - relaxed fit my backside! No vanity sizing here whatsoever - yeah - I'm going off on one) and delivering something else (skim over that bit).

If you've bought from NAP before and you're doing a return, you know that the DHL man turns up, has a peek in the box which you have to leave open for them to inspect before they sign some papers, seal the box and wave bye bye. Normally it's a cursory glance but today, the DHL man actually took the sweatshirt out of the tissue paper and had a damned good rummage through the mounds of tissue paper lining the box. It turns out that he was checking for drugs. DRUGS. Apparently, they found drugs in a parcel (not NAP related) not so long ago so all the couriers have to do major checking of parcels now. Well that was my interesting bit of news for the day. I live in suburbia so that's major.

Anyway, the hot weather has brought out the devil in me. I wore a skirt more than 1 inch above the knee. I've been taking in the fashion show in the school playground - yes there were lots of maxi dresses, some shorts but there were also some mini skirts and little dresses ... on ladies of all ages and sizes. And no one was fussed. It was too hot for anyone to care. So I dug out my little denim mini'ish skirt which came at a mini price of £3.70 from Matalan last year. Surprised me too when it rang up at the tills at that price.

And the sun must have gone to my head over the last couple of days because I did double denim too.

Zara shirt, Matalan skirt (old), Converse (old), Russell & Bromley bag (old), Susie Ho bracelet (not on shop .. yet).

And do you know what? No one batted an eyelid in the school playground or muttered anything about chubby knees and short skirts. Just remember - all those bits we don't like about ourselves - no one else can see the problems - it's all in your own head. And besides, I'm too hot to care.


Last Thing :

  • It was a touch cooler today hence the shirt and Cons, Yesterday? No way José!
  • I finally worked out on the keyboard how to get those funny symbols up.  Look è é ê ë ē ė ę !!!!
  • Small things make me happy. What makes you happy?


Friday 5 July 2013

I hear it's going to be a scorcher today. And tomorrow. Yippee! Well sort of yippee - I don't like being too hot actually just like I don't like being to cold. No pleasing some is there? Anyway, quicky post. School run outfit today ....

White H&M Organic Cotton Cardi, Gap Dress, Converse, Monsoon Belt, Susie Ho Bracelet, Hobbs NW3 Bag

A simple grey jersey dress for light easy wearing. Dress it up, dress it down, don't dress it at all - it's your perogative.But for me today when it hots up - lose all the accessories, swap Converse for sandals and I'm ready for the heat. Briiinngg it on!

Comfy rules!

Hope you have a scorching weekend wherever you are!

A Retro Kind of Skirt & Eep Crood

Tuesday 2 July 2013

I found this old snap of my sis from the seventies. Cracking outfit. Guffaw guffaw. Titter titter.

Sister So So circa 1977

Just joking! Not really fooling anyone am I?

I'm just having a trying on session with my Massimo Dutti skirt which I managed to get in the sale. I'd seen it months back and ummed and ahhed and when I finally went in for the kill, lo and behold it disappeared off the site. Drat. I thought it was all sold out but no, on the first day of the Massimo Dutti sale - it turned up half price in all sizes. So where did it go for two months when I was looking for it? Why was it taken off the website? Did they do it intentionally to wind me up? Because they knew I would check every few days for two months to see if it would come back? Most entertaining answer will be announced some time soon.

Anyway, the above picture is how I am not going to wear a seventies styled skirt, styled à la seventies Pollyanna style ... just incase anyone genuinely thought I was going there with this one. Some people will look lovely styled slightly vintage and retro like this - I look a little bit weird and a whole lot of Stepford.

However, I might wear it as seen below as the change of blouse helps to alleviate the Pollyana look and keeps it a bit fresher.

Primark blouse (old), Massimo Dutti Skirt, Kurt Geiger Krimble Sandals (old)

Still has that whiff of the seventies about it but hopefully in a much better way. Oh no - I'm also getting a hint of safari (stop! stop! stop!). And I'm not going to pretend it's the easiest skirt to work with - it's not. It sits right on my waist which feels rather strange as I am used to everything sitting a little lower. This means you have to either (1) find a top which stops on the waistline allowing the skirt to flow out nicely or (2) find something which tucks in without bulking you out too much. Or go for option (3) which is to find a top which is short enough to allow the skirt to flow out nicely and which you don't have to tuck in so you can be mega comfy. It's all about proportions with this skirt. You definitely need to think about how to wear it. But all said, it's a lovely retro looking skirt in a nice heavy linen. And it has pockets. I LOVE pockets!!! Have you seen Eep Crood from the Croods when she discovers shoes for the first time. Same amount of heartfelt emotion here.

And here's with a little black fitted jumper to give you that slight fifties feel and more of a shape.

Muji Jumper (old), Massimo Dutti Skirt, Russell Bromley Pumps (Ebay)

Both different looks. Chalk and cheese. Black and white (literally). Which look do you prefer? And is this skirt a keeper? I keep thinking I need to branch out more. But are skirts the way to go for me? Or would a better investment be a pair of Gap skinny mini skimmer khakis in flint grey? Hmmm. Old habits die hard - I do like to keep the legs under wraps.


Last Note :

  • Why do Massimo Dutti take so long to get an order out to the customer. This skirt took nearly ten days from ordering at which point I was thinking of cancelling because I was bored waiting. I don't blame you Belinda (AllWornOut) for hitting the shops to get what you want instead of waiting for the snail mail delivery. I just wish I could do that but there are no shops north of London.
  • You need to wear big knickers with this skirt as the likelihood of it blowing up is very likely.
  • Eep Crood. Enjoy.

Susie So So