Friday Five : April 24th 2020

Friday, 24 April 2020

Hi. I thought I'd bang out a Friday Five. Nothing fashion related - just things and tings off the top off my head. I've not done one since we started lockdown and I've not even been sure what to talk about but I just felt that now we're a month in, I can do my thing again. So not many pretty photos apart from one of some tulips and my usual lot of gibberish.

Friday Five (1 of 5) Tulips

Pretty ... but I prefer white ones.

I normally buy white tulips but they didn't have any white ones in Aldi when I did my weekly shop so I decided to opt for a super cheery coloured bunch as there was a little something in me that said "we need a little happy colour". I stared at them for a few days till they did my head in and moved them somewhere out of sight.

Friday Five (2 of 5) Fruit Flies

I spotted an online discussion about fruit flies and how there seems to be an increase in them of late and more importantly - how to deal with them. Have you noticed how apart from fruit, they seem to land in your red wine if you drink red wine that is? They seem to be drawn to the vinegary note. So put a little dish out with some red wine vinegar (if you want to hang on to your precious wine) and cover it with some cling film. Pop a few holes big enough for the flies to get in. They get drawn in by the smell, pop in through the holes and then get addled and can't find their way out. I caught about 20 today! #SuetheFruitFlySlayer

Friday Five (3 of 5) Rich Tea Biscuits

That's my biscuit of choice currently. Oreos are George's choice. Custard Creams are Ben's. And Ginger Parkin biscuits are the hubby's. What's your biscuit of choice?

Friday Five (4 of 5) Spaghetti 

That hole in the spoon actually has a purpose.

Do you have one of those spaghetti spoon things? One of those funny shaped utensils which help with ladling out spaghetti? Well have you noticed they have a hole in the middle of the spoon? Did you know the size of that hole is exactly one portion of spaghetti?

Friday Five (5 of 5) Banoffee Pie

I'm bored of banana loaf so I thought I'd make banoffee pie. I'm not sure why as I don't even like bananas that much. So I bought a tin of Caramel Condensed Milk - this is the shortcut if you don't want to boil a tin of condensed milk for hours to make it caramelise. Shortcuts all the way for me! However, you need a loose bottom flan tin to make it easy to lift out your "pie". I don't have one of those. Back to banana loaf then.


Last Note :

  • It goes without saying. Thank you to all the people out there still working and trying to keep this world of ours ticking over during Covid 19. I'm not great with words but just "Thank you".

Get Crafty : Bandana Sandals

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Ignore the title - there's not a bandana in sight but the original bandana sandals from Arizona Love were what my fabric wrapped sandals were based on and "Fabric wrapped trekking sandals" doesn't have quite the same ring to it does it? Anyway, it's been a while since I've done a crafty post but I had a couple of queries asking how I made my little fabric wrapped trekking sandals on Instagram when I posted them on there so I thought for those of you up for the challenge, I'd give you some tips on how to make your own. This is not an out and out tutorial - it's just the basics and some of it you will have to fiddle with and work out - like how you like to tie the bows at the joining points.

What you will need.
  • Pair of black Teva like walking sandals / Teva Sandals
  • 0.25 to 0.5m of cotton fabric of your choice.
  • Needle and matching thread.

First of all, credit where it's due - I actually stumbled across this blog post at the beginning of the year when I decided I wanted a pair of Arizona Love sandals and then realised it was someone doing a tutorial on how to make their own version of them. I took the tips that I wanted from it and changed them to suit how I wanted my sandals to look and work.

The most fun bit is creating the fabric strips which you will be using to wrap around the straps of your sandals. These look best with the edges a little roughed up and to do this you need to tear the strips which is roughly the width of the sandal bands. I find the finished edge of the fabric and make a small cut.

The cardboard strip is the width of the sandal straps.

Then I hold the fabric either side of the cut and rip. You know like when you go to the fabric counter and you tell the lady how much you want and she measures out and then does a snip with the scissors and then she tears the fabric along the rip and your heart stops for a moment and you hold your breath? That's basically what you do. It is so so satisfying. If the strips are a little rumpled, just give them a little iron to make them a little easier to work with.

Don't be scared. Let rip(!)

Next adjust your bottom sandal strap near your toes to make sure they fit comfortably and velcro in to place. I've chosen to make this a fixed strap on my sandals rather than an adjustable one - you can keep it an adjustable strap - just see the instructions for how I sew the upper sandal strap.

I start wrapping from the big toe side working towards the triangle fastening. At the start, I like to secure the material with a few stitches.

Wrap the ribbon strips around the band but to avoid the strips moving with friction as you wear them, I add a few extra stitches under neath to secure the ribbon to the sandal strap. This is the simple way.

Or alternatively, you can sew the ribbon to the strap carefully disguising your stitching as you go along if you have time and patience. I've made a few pairs and have tried both methods and both work.

Leave a good amount of fabric when you get to the triangles as you will be using this to create the knotted ties. You basically need to repeat similar for the other strap bands on the sandals apart from the top velcro fastening one. Where the long pieces meet at the triangles, these are where you will be tying to create the "bows". Trim to required length after tying securely and make sure you wrap around the triangle fastenings for extra security.

Now the top band - you need to be able to use the velcro fastening but you want to keep the "wrapped fabric" appearance. To do this, create yourself a length of cardboard the length and width of the top strap. Wrap the fabric round on a slant as such.

Iron the wrapped fabric on the cardboard strip and then unravel from the cardboard.

And then reassemble it again (I used a running stitch along the length just to hold it in place) and you will lay this across the top strap. Pin to the strap to help you as stitch.

Now if you're a dab hand with the sewing machine, you can sew it to the strap but I didn't fancy my chances so I just handstitched it in to place, again hiding my stitches in amongst the pattern. I used black thread and my stitches hit where there was a black bit of pattern so they were camouflaged. Finish off neatly and make sure that everything is secured in to place.

If you look close up, you can see where the tiny stitches are.
I've finetuned this since I first did this.

That's essentially it. I also stared at a lot of Arizona Love images of their sandals to work out where they tied everything to recreate as close to their design as possible. In this case, I took the old saying of "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" to it's limit.

Additional Notes.

  • I used a Rose and Hubble print cotton for the leopard ones - this is the most easy to find online if you google Rose Hubble Leopard Fabric. I found mine on Ebay.
  • The floral fabrics I used for my sandals was a Liberty London remnant and I also used some recycled pink silk sari ribbon from eBay but changed my mind about using that (too girly for me) - hence why the sandals in the very first few pics are slightly different to the ones pictured going through the post.
  • The Teva style sandals were bought from Amazon. The ones I used were Riemot. There is another brand called Fitory who do very similar ones but the sizing on theirs was a bit hit and miss - I could have just been unlucky but I think they come up small.
  • Just work it out as you go - that's all I did. It took a few times and stitching and resewing till I was really happy with the finished result but then again ... I'm a perfectionist. 
  • Apologies for the quality of the photos, they were done on the fly on a dull February afternoon where I was racing against the light going.
  • Have fun!

Friday Five : 28th February 2020

Friday, 28 February 2020

Sorry, I haven't put out a Friday Five for the last couple of weeks or anything at that. I guess I wasn't in blog mode. It happens but hey, I'm here again so let's go.

Friday Five (1 of 5) The long and Winding Road to Fashion Consciousness and Sustainability.

Kate in one of her own creations. @art_fashion_life

"I talk frequently about the impact fast fashion has on the environment & the people involved with it's production. I tried for a long time to only buy ethically but the truth is that tracing supply chains for any brand can be problematic. We think about the garment construction workers, but what about the weavers, dyers, cotton pickers, cotton & flax farmers? The transportation workers? So the approach I finally settled on was to significantly reduce my consumption, no more mindless or panicked last-minute shopping, to buy handmade, vintage & secondhand where possible & to only buy & keep items that I really & truly loved ... not just "wanted". It isn't a perfect model by any stretch but it's a start. ........ Every journey begins with a single step: what steps are you taking to a more earth-friendly wardrobe? 😊 .. "

I read Kate's IG post a little while back and thought, she's said what I want to say but couldn't quite voice. It's more the path I can tread rather than the one I should follow. I can't find everything secondhand and fit and quality is still paramount to me because of my size and how I want to present myself. And ultimately, I do love fashion and shopping. So all I can do is hopefully concentrate my purchases more around things I really like and I want to wear and keep and enjoy for longer than an Instagram post. I'm not stopping buying, but I hope to buy a little less and buy a little wiser. That's my step.

Friday Five (2 of 5) Wellness

Pyjamas in store.

Following on .... have you seen the Wellness collection in Primark? I spotted it this week when I went in. You can't miss it because it looks totally different from the rest of the displays in the store.


Worth a look.

To quote Primark, "Created using organic cotton, recycled and sustainable materials, the Primark Wellness range has been designed with an environmentally friendly focus as part of our commitment as a responsible retailer." The most interesting thing was they did take on the issue of reducing plastic goods by utilising cardboard hangers - so I applaud them for this one step. You can dis them for everything else but one step is still one step and also helps to assuage my guilt for shopping there. Anyway, they did do those lovely seersucker pyjamas which I brought home with me but sadly I'm not keeping as they are designed for tall people. I settled on one of their plain cream organic cotton sweatshirts instead (first pic).

Friday Five (3 of 5) Keeping Warm

To misquote Adam Ant "I don't drink, I don't smoke, what do I do?" I do "fashion" that's what I do and it's the main focus of this blog at the end of the day. Without the fashion, I don't think I have that much to wax silly about. However, I don't do fashion in hey there "look at me in the latest and fanciest", I like to think I do fashion in I like something nice and put together and works for my lifestyle. And with that introduction, I lead you on to my latest consideration. A fleece. Yep, I did say "fleece". "Fleece, fleece, fleece". There I said it three times so you know I'm serious. Basically, when I get home, I change out of the socially acceptable clothes and don a fleece. Not a good looking fleece even, just a fleece which I'm comfortable in and keeps me warm. And now I want to take that fleece thing outside of the home and into the big outdoors. It will be cricket season soon and I always like to have something warm on stand by when it gets a bit nippy after a couple of hours outside standing or sitting around.  And this year, I'm thinking a nice cosy fleece which I can throw over a dress or my usual uniform of jeans and jumper.

4. Topshop Pink Bag (it's tiny but cute)

I tried the H&M dark grey fleece on in store in the XS and you can go a size down or take your normal size depending on the look you want. It's definitely more a jacket weight rather than a lighter throw on one which the camel coloured one is. Both have their merits and the camel coloured one does have that nice dipped back detail which makes it feel like it's more fashion rather than ready to tackle the Dales. The green nylon bag and the pink one - I just like these little bags to throw on cross body -  I find they can really lift an outfit and look, don't they go well with those Adidas Tempur Run trainers? The colours on those are just fabulous and I love how it feels a little "dragon" with the side decal details. It's probably just my imagination but I see what I see and I see dragon. For a slightly less sporty vibe, try something like the Whistles leopard bag (seen on Insta friends Kathy and Melissa) with your trainers of choice. I've included Golden Goose here because they are my weakness and the one thing I can say is they are the one expensive item I have absolutely no regrets over as I have worn mine so much - I've had one pair re-heeled before they wore down to make sure they last. They're definitely my go to trainer and the Ball Star style is my favourite style out of them all. Last but not least - the H&M Vintage straight jeans - these are a new love affair item. I rarely see the interesting denim styles in H&M stores but for once they actually had the vintage straight ones so I had to try. And I'm so glad I did. I think they are true to size with proper hold you in properties but I do think they have just enough give so they will relax a little but still retain enough shape. I would have preferred them in a mid-rise being short but I can forgive the high rise as the leg shape is flattering and you're more likely to look at those than my tum which I will be hiding away anyway. They're also a conscious cotton but feel good and firm - not overly stretchy and are a thicker denim than some of the thin overly lycra'ed stretchy denim out there. If you haven't worked it out yet, I really like them. They give a nice skimming fit over the calves rather than the wider straight fits - very French. 😉

Friday Five (4 of 5) All White.

Navy spot shirt old but similar here from M&S

I'm all white. You all white? My loafers are all white. I tried some gold ones a while back, lusted after the Jonak ones and I finally settled on these white Grenson Clara dupes from ASOS. I liked the not overly chunky platform sole - I need to balance those legs of mine with slightly chunky shoes with a flash of ankle which somehow makes me feel a little more feminine and dainty. I've tried them on with jeans and even a couple of skirts and I'm liking the freshness they give to my outfits. They're just a nice alternative to my usual white trainer look. And the outfit is mainly old. I follow Martha Ward on IG and on one of her stories, she was at the airport in a simple navy and white spot shirt and jeans. She looked fabulous and put together and not in your face. I have that very combo in my wardrobe and it was lovely to pull it out and try it on again with the loafers which freshened up the look no end. You can still find the Grenson's here but I'm very impressed with the ASOS leather ones.

Friday Five (5 of 5) Weirdo

George (10) came home from school and I noticed that he only had one sock on.

"George - where's your other sock - you've only been home one minute and you've taken one sock off!"
"There wasn't another sock in the sock ball when I undid it this morning".
"So are you saying you went to school with only one sock?"

Couldn't make it up if you tried.


Last Note :

  • I read and finished Lauren Bravo's book "How to break up with Fast Fashion" and I have to say she pitched it at exactly the right level for someone who doesn't like the hard facts in your face. It's not patronising, it's relatable and I found myself nodding many a time and finding sensible reasoning on lots of different issues. One of the things I remember is her mentioning that some of the more expensive elitist brands are less accountable than the big ones which have the media spotlight on them a whole lot more on sustainability issues and consequently are doing more of the right things. Food for thought. Food for thought.

Friday Five : 7th February 2020

Friday, 7 February 2020

[AD : Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links]

Friday Five (1 of 5) Frugal February

Last week, I ended my Friday Five wondering whether I could manage a Frugal February. Err that will be a no and we're only in the first week of February. I didn't mean to fail so soon and to be honest I was going poo, poo pah at everything on line and feeling mighty pleased with myself and then the dresses came flying in. Bam, bam, KAPOW!

I was browsing Topshop online which I know I shouldn't do and somehow ended up ordering two dresses. The smaller ditsy brown print which I preferred was available in a 10 which is my usual size and the second in a the black print was available in an 8. In general, dresses of this style, I tend to look better in when I size down - as long as the shoulders fit, the rest generally falls in to place. And I was right, the 8 was good and the 10 made me look like a quarterback (you might not be able to tell from the pics but the Topshop dresses have gathered detailing on the top of the shoulders). Possibly I'm swaying to the black print because it looks better on because of the sizing but it does feel like a much sharper print and has a touch of William Morris about it from a distance - work that justification girl! However, at time of writing this - the brown has come back in the 8 and now I need to do a contrast and compare to decide properly. You know how it is.

And last week I ordered this H&M dress as my last purchase before Frugal February started but then it popped up this week in the floral print so I had to order it to see which one I would prefer. I think I already know which one is the winner  - the green blue black combination are just really easy colours to work in to my existing wardrobe and shoedrobe. Both the Topshop and the H&M dresses are similar shapes to a couple of my M&S dresses which I bought a couple of years ago and which I'm looking forward to wearing again when it warms up. So why don't I just keep on wearing those ones? Because I still like variety. And I do like a good chuck on dress. If I look back to last summer, I lived in good chuck on dresses. They were just much nicer to me than my ridiculously truthful jeans.

Friday Five (2 of 5) Cheeky Girl

A jumper I bought a while back in H&M went in the sale online but it was sold out in my size. I was going to return my unworn one and buy it again at the sale price so I went off in search off it in store and found it but at full price. So at the till, I asked the girl if she knew when it was going in the sale as it was half price online and she mentioned something about the online business being a whole separate entity but would honour the online price and let me have my jumper at the sale price. Fabulous. Sometimes, it's worth being a little cheeky and asking even if you already know the online business and stores operate separately to each other. You might get your jumper at half price.

Friday Five (3 of 5) Next in Fashion.

I'm currently binge watching Next in Fashion on Netflix. I got through a lot of ironing this week in three episodes. It's a bit like Project Catwalk but with Tan France (Queer Eye) and Alexa Chung so it's worth watching just to see what Alexa's wearing. I haven't watched them all yet but I know who's won (dead cert anyway) and if you subscribe to Net-a-Porter emails, you can already see the winning designer's collection - the print and colours are lovely. And there's even a bonus romance from the show. Awwww.

Friday Five (4 of 5) Ebay

Sezane Leopold Jumper up for grabs here.

About seven years ago, I started decluttering and sorting out my clothes. I would go through what (1) I wanted to keep, (2) what I wanted to give to charity and (3) what I wanted to sell on eBay. So I'd put away what I wanted to keep, I'd bag up what I wanted to give up to charity and leave it outside when the collection vans were coming round and so far so good, job's a good un but then you get to (3) those bits that you were going to eBay? Seven years on, it would appear I have amassed quite a lot to eBay as I didn't seem to get on with doing that bit. But not this year. This year, I am aiming to eBay ten items a month minimum. If you break it down in to 2-3 items per week, it's not a lot and totally doable. So I'm not aiming high, just ten things a month. I've missed January (Queen of Procrastinators here so I have to do double in February) and I started this week. If you're interested to see what's leaving my wardrobe - you can find me here or look for me on eBay under Princessting.

Friday Five (5 of 5) New Life

Oh, that's my son's Marigold which he grew from seed in autumn half term when he went to a little workshop stall in Anglesey. Me and the hubs think it looks like a weed. Admit it, it does, doesn't it? 😂


Last Note :
  • The lighter days. Feels lovely doesn't it?  

Friday Five : 31st January 2020

Friday, 31 January 2020

[AD : Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links]

Friday Five (1 of 5) How Green is My Inspo?

A little bit green or is it aqua? Or both? I really loved that pic that dropped in to my Pinterest browsing area this week. The colours just felt really fresh. And the important thing is you don't have to embrace that look whole heartedly - just take something from the pics (like the colour) and see what you have already. I've taken the idea up there and chosen to make it more wearable for everyday and half the things in the pic below, I have or something similar.

For people who can't wear wool fibres next to their skin, the M&S Cashmillion jumpers are probably a bit of a godsend. They come in a rainbow of colours and they do seem to have the perfect soft aqua shade in their collection this spring. I've started sizing up on some of my basic jumpers for a nice relaxed fit or should I say ... a forgiving fit. If you can afford a little more and suit a stronger shade, Woolovers have a cashmere and merino mix crew neck in the shade Mojito here. I've also stuck with a simple crew neck style (no fancy details) as this such an easy addition to wear if you need that little spring injection - this is the style of jumper I wear the most and am most comfortable with. And just looking at that jean outfit combo - anyone who has one of those black oversized avaiator jackets - that would look fab over with a hint of that aqua popping through.

The Allsaints Siddons jumper I can vouch for and is in the current sale. This is a classic style and has some cute detailing in the actual knit which lifts it above the average black and white stripe jumper. It's quite a dense knit and does feel a bit luxe. Things you won't spot from the pic is that it has a little holey knit pattern between the stripes. I wear a Uniqlo cream coloured heattech underneath so you can see the pattern more. It is the perfect cool but warm jumper - you know what I mean.

And I couldn't resist popping in the chequerboard Vans and the vinyl bag (both of which I have from last year) as they really lift a basic outfit and give a little interest. I'm hoping the vinyl bag says you're still down with the Topshop girlies rather than an aging raging dominatrix.

And lastly, lastly, lastly. The Zara green tweed skirt - that just looks "fashun" doesn't it? So I stuck it in. And someone somewhere will buy it and be all "fashun". Wish it was me but I'm not tall enough to carry it off, I don't have the lifestyle and I don't wear that many skirts but I know some of you do.

Friday Five (2 of 5) Scented Italian Broom

This is my new favourite scented floral thing.

I was browsing the flower stall at the start of the Shambles Market in York and was oohing and aahing over the lovely roses, proud tulips and the uptight hyacinths and then I found this mass of stuff with tiny flowers on and leant in further to read the label. Scented Italian Broom. This is the stuff that was on the Italian Hills where the hubs and I honeymooned and I cried at the top of one of the hills saying "I don't want to do any more walking and I understand if you might want to divorce me now". He didn't divorce me but he did suggest that we don't try and do any more walking holidays. I agreed wholeheartedly. And the Scented Italian Broom - I bought a bunch of it and popped it in a vase and it has filled my living room with the most delightful fragrance like the most gorgeous jasmine tea. I can also look fondly back on that memory now up on that hill but at the time I was praying for Mountain Rescue.

Friday Five (3 of 5) Socks

I'm quite enjoying dressing really simply. Black jumper or grey? Black jeans or blue? And then a coat different from the day before and repeat daily. I am finding that socks are still needed though and the regular black ankle socks are not cutting it especially if I'm wearing cropped slightly wider leg style jeans. Sometimes the socks slide down a little and then there's a little bit of skin showing which I don't like as it looks like my jeans are too short so I've bought myself some argyle knee high socks from H&M this week - the subtle argyle pattern on these make them just funky enough. However for my longer length jeans, my current favourite ones are those above from COS. I like that little peak of yellow.

Friday Five (4 of 5) Gold Spotted Skate Pumps

Catchy title eh. But that's what they are and that's what I'm loving this week. They're white ponyhair and gold spotted skate pumps1! Squee! Are they a big blingy? They would look fab with a gold Jerome Dreyfuss Bobi bag which I will never own. But a girl can dream and play the lottery!

Friday Five (5 of 5) Fatface

We had a powercut the other week and after about forty minutes of sitting in the dark I decided I'd treat the boys and take them out for something to eat. We headed out to one of those out of town places and pulled up in the car park.

"Is that where we're eating?" asked Ben pointing at the Fatface store. "It sounds like somewhere you would eat and come out with a fat face".

He has a point.


Last Note :

  • I'm giving myself a pat on the back for myself for not missing a Friday Five yet this year. Pat pat.
  • February tomorrow. I'm just wondering if I can make it a Frugal February?

Friday Five 24th January 2020

Saturday, 25 January 2020

[AD : Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links]

Friday Five (1 of 5) Loafers and Scarves

Loafers (old)
H&M Scarf (spotted still in store)

Grazia popped through my letterbox and it mentioned all the fashion game changers like coloured leather, power puff sleeves, animal print etc and I went nope, nope, nope, nope.Then I went yes. I'd got to the page about scarves and loafers - a nice easy trend. I must have a sixth sense as I was already on the loafer train having tried the gold ASOS ones a couple of weeks back. I didn't re-order them by the way and that's because my first loafer crush belongs to the Jonak Fripouille loafers which I first spotted on Francesca Saffari. I do love a good nanna loafer with a block heel and these have a cool sixties vibe to them which I can imagine with lots of cute little outfits with straight crop jeans. A little bit A.P.C. crossed with a touch of Rouje to give them a bit of va va voom. I have stalked them coming down 30%, 40% and they're now at 50%. Sit on those hands girl!

But whilst I was browsing for something else this week, I also spotted some Vans Style 53 leopard shoes. These are a cool reissue style from way back and are also the easiest way to get on board the loafer trend if you're actually a trainer girl! They did them in a plain nude suede at one point which I would have snapped up if I had known about them at the time and which were very similar to a Loewe espadrille pair I couldn't afford a few years back. I still can't afford them but that's not the point. Lordy, I love shoes.

7. Jonak Fripouille Loafers

Yes the Love Stories shirt is a pyjama top but if people can sell you shirts pyjama style, you might as well just buy a really nice pyjama top. And I've always liked a rever collar anyway - shows off your clavicles nicely.

Friday Five (2 of 5) Lazyitis

I have a choice of two trains in the morning. One at 09.48am which gets me in at 10.01am and one at 09.49am which gets me in 09.59am. I get the earlier train even though it gets in later. Why? Because I'm lazy and it stops on platform 1 which is nearer the train station exit than the later train which arrives on platform 7 and I have to navigate additional stairs and the concourse.

Friday Five (3 of 5) James Brown

They have the print in the book! Whoop whoop!

Not the Sex Machine one. I'm talking about the illustrator/artist who has his work stocked by the Keep Calm Gallery or that's where I used to find his prints. I popped in to Costco and had a nosey in the books section and found these beautiful books which he collaborated with Richard Platt in 2016. I picked up the World of Information one and was delighted to see a lot of his previous prints/illustrations were in the book including the The Phases of the Moon print which I have in my family/kitchen room. They are full of interesting facts but the best thing is you could tear out the illustrations and frame them. I don't usually advocate ripping pages out of books but I'll make an exception in this case. There seems to be a whole series of these and if you're in to beautiful books - they make a wonderful birthday present for children (which their parents can steal for their own selfish purposes - I'm sure they won't miss a page or two).

A selection from Amazon here.

Friday Five (4 of 5) Take the Inspo and Run

Last year's Sezane Wanda blouse.

Right, you know how I like a little bit of Sezane every now and then? Well I think I fall in love with the imagery more than anything. And if you strip it all back, it's full of prim little knits worn with an extra button or two undone and a whole host of prim and proper blouses worn with a twinkle in a French girl's eye. Anyway, have a nosey through what you have - it's usually a frame of mind and an attitude which makes things extra but if you don't think you have anything suitable, I spotted the following from the La Redoute sale - I think they took the inspo and ran with it. They're definitely worth a look.

Friday Five (5 of 5) Happy Chinese New Year

Well it's kind of Chinese isn't it?

Wishing you all health, wealth and happiness. Do what floats your boat and if it doesn't, don't do it. 


Last Note :

  • Yes I know my Friday Five is late and it's Saturday - I'm rubbish.

Rucksack : Sandqvist Tony

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

[AD : Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links]

(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

[AD : Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links]

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.

Susie So So