Sunday, 29 December 2013

Peacock Strut

Well, Christmas is over, New Year is around the corner and the sales are GO GO GO! I'm not one for waking up at 3am on Boxing Day to get down to the Next sale,  but I do like getting my hands on a bargain. By the end of Boxing Day I'd already bought 4 dresses online...but there will be time for them later. The dress in this post was bought in store; in Peacocks, no less. I don't know how you feel about Peacocks, but I've always found them fairly hit and miss. A lot of the time the fabric is cheap and the items poor quality; then again, the prices are very reasonable so that makes me care less about that sort of thing. Anyway, I couldn't say no to this little gem and decided to wear it on a night out:






A close up of my Mr T necklace. This dress is VERY pink (for me).






Dress: Peacocks (Size 18, but my god I'm breathing in), £12 in the sale!
Necklace: H&M
Shoes: Evans


This dress is fairly out of my comfort zone. For a start it's bright pink and I never wear pink! It also has little sleeves which I'm not usually keen on as my arms are a source of despair to me (I tend to keep it covered up with a cardi). I also generally like to keep it bootylicious and this flares out from the waist- that said, I think I needed it after consuming 15 tonnes of Quality Street and the shape is really nice. If you do go for this dress you might want to think about trying a couple of sizes- for me the top and bottom halves of the dress were both fine, but it was super tight around the waist! I decided to breathe in, drink wine and not care about it. 

And now I'm off to have a snoop at other people's party dresses! 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Size Isn't Everything

The title of this post is, coincidentally, the title of the first Bee Gees album I ever owned (sigh), but, you may or not be pleased to find out, this post is not about the wonderful Bee Gees. It is, in fact, about tiny watches! I love watches and I hate having to look at my phone to tell the time. A watch can really make an outfit and I like to have a little selection for work, formal occasions and nights out. One type that has recently come to my attention is the mini watch- isn't that a great idea? A tiny watch! You can wear it like an accessory and layer it up with other bracelets to really make a statement.

Below I've chosen the Marc Jacobs Mini Henry Watch (available for £121 from The Watch Hut) and chosen some gorgeous gold bracelets from River Island to layer it up with. 




What do you think? Share your amazing watches with me!


Thursday, 26 December 2013

OOTD: Boxing Day

It's Boxing day, which means....slob fest. Checked shirt, stretchy leggings, slipper socks! 


I picked up the shirt from Tesco on Christmas Eve. It's Cherokee and is currently reduced to £12. I bought it in an 18, but as you can see I'm wearing a strappy top underneath and although I could button it up it would really gape. I just hate having to size up and it being all shapeless! Shirt rage.

I'm also wearing a black skirt and leggings from the H&M basics range and a gold chain courtesy of River Island.

Now for the close up...


I did my whole head in 10 minutes using Babyliss Perfect Curl (an amazing Christmas present!) It's a bit rough as it was my first attempt, but I'm really really impressed! I'm terrible with hair, but it seems like this has been made for people that aren't talented enough to do it properly with curlers or a wand. 

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. I don't think it's possible for me to fit any more food in my body, but I'll give it a good go. 

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

OOTD: Skirt for Santa

Merry Christmas! I wanted to be comfy, but pretty today; enter the Evans glove skirt that I love so much and featured only a few posts ago! This time I wore them with my lovely silver Evans shoes that are definitely going to get LOTS of wear. The lace top is an H&M basic and the cardi is an old favourite by Betty Jackson. 

Standard pose...


Additional pose...


Showing off my little heels...


My lovely new M&S watch that I was given today...


Shoes of dreams! Love the little wedgy heel and the silvery chrome colour.


Needless to say I am no longer in this outfit. I am now sitting here in a pair of leopard print, velour pyjamas covered in a pink leopard print slanket...yes I am turning into Pat Butcher and no, I don't care.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merrrrrrrrrrrry Christmas!

Hi everyone,

I couldn't think of a better title for this post, so I decided to stick with the standard Merry Christmas!

I started this blog in September as a reaction to being stuck in a life rut. I was eating, sleeping and breathing work 24/7 and I knew that I had to do something to stop myself going mad. And so this blog was born, I promised to put myself forward for more exciting things (hence the magazine article below and, er, climbing Mount Snowdon) and to follow my dreams (hence starting my own business!)

Everyone has been really welcoming and, in only a few months, I've found some really inspiring blogs and met (via the power of social media) some amazing people.

Here's to 2014!




Charlie x

Monday, 23 December 2013

Work it (I need a glass of water)

I have mentioned it before, but here we go again...I'm a librarian. The stereotype: cardigan, glasses, big fringe and odour of cat. The reality: black, black, black and OH MY GOD WHY AM I SO BORING. Oh, and some Vera Wang. 

The environment I work in requires me to look professional at all times. And I like having a line between my work and life wardrobes, but...I need to stop wearing so much black. I also have tattoos which I feel the need to cover. Obviously this isn't always possible, especially at the height of summer, but in the autumn/winter I generally will wear tights. I should add at this point that I don't think anyone should ever be discriminated against due to having tattoos, but the career path I have chosen (law/professional services) still has the kind of culture where it is difficult to be 'different'- I am not condoning this, but it is what it is. I am at the point at work where I have proved myself now, so I am less concerned about hiding my tattoos, but it's still a consideration when it comes to work wear. 

These photos are actually from a shoot I did for a magazine called Things & Ink with the wonderful Heather Shuker for a piece on librarians with tattoos. What?! Librarians have tattoos! Well, yes, actually. Some of us DON'T EVEN LIKE BOOKS (me, I'm afraid)- yeah, get over it! 




Actually you only see one of my tattoos in these photos- oh well, more to come I promise. 

Jumper and belt: Dorothy Perkins
Skirt: River Island
Heels: George at Asda (I have about 5 pairs of these trusty work shoes)

So, new promise: to be more adventurous with work wear. Maybe. And, as The Who said, 

'Welcome to my life, tattoo
We've a long time together, me and you
I expect I'll regret you
But the skin graft man won't get you
You'll be there when I die
Tattoo.'

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Subtly sparkly

Ho ho ho! Etc.

I am very excited about Christmas- food, drink, presents, SLEEP- what's not to like? However, there's one trend I just can't get into this year.....the Christmas Jumper. When did it become acceptable to leave the house looking like Bill Cosby? (Who am I kidding- I love Bill Cosby).




Anyway, let's forget about Bill for now. I may not be a fan of the Christmas jumper, but I do hate to be left out and I DO like a bit of glitz. Enter the Simply Be Jewel Trim Jumper:

A bit pricey at £45, but along came a sale at Marisota and it went straight into my basket!






I really love it- it's so warm and cosy, and I love the way the light shines off the little jewels- the photos on the Simply Be site don't do it justice really. I bought a 16/18 which is just about okay for me as I prefer it to be fitted. 

When I came into the house my mum said 'you look like an elf' so maybe I haven't avoided the dreaded Christmas jumper after all!


Friday, 13 December 2013

The next Michel Roux?

I am so sad. Why? Because I can't cook! I am just terrible. I am always, always trying to make things and they never come out right. Yes, they're edible, but that's where it ends. Mr FD is no better; he seems to think adding a pinch of mixed herbs to everything will suddenly make it taste like we're at Le Gavroche. 

So something I have been craving ever since we moved back down to London from Scotland is tattie scones. I LOVE tattie scones. A fry up just isn't the same without them. They are essentially little potato cakes which can be baked or fried and they go amazing well with eggs and beans and tomatoes and sausage and OM NOM NOM.



So I thought I'd give it a go:

Ingredients:

  • 1lb/500g potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 1 oz/30g butter, melted plus extra for greasing
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 oz/125g flour, plus a little extra for rolling out
  • 1tsp baking powder

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 395°F/200°C/Gas 6
  • Place the mashed potato in a large baking bowl and add all the other ingredients to form a sticky dough.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to approx ½ inch/1 cm thickness. Cut into saucer sized rounds then score a cross into the dough to mark 4 equal wedges.
  • Grease a baking sheet with butter and bake the scones for 15 minutes until golden brown and risen. The scones can also be cooked on the stove top on a griddle or heavy based frying pan. Cook the scones 5 minutes on either side until golden and risen
  • Eat while warm.
How hard could it be, right? You put it all together, you mix it up, you put it in the oven, you get it out and you eat it. WRONG.

For a start, the dough is SO sticky that it was almost impossible to roll, so in the end I just kind of...flattened it....with my hands.


As you an see, these are MUCH bigger than the ones in the above picture. Still, they look edible. But then I flipped them over....


They'd all sort of...burned on one side and stayed completely raw on the other. They also stuck to the foil. The reason the other one is still that way round is because it wouldn't come off. 

This is the final result:


Very sad times.

Can anyone make tattie scones successfully? If so, can you deliver them to my house?! 

I think I'm just going to give up the baking attempts. Michel Roux I am not. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Have yourself a Baroque Christmas...

It's getting dangerously (and excitingly) close to Christmas now, which means time off work, presents and, best of all, PARTIES. I've got a few coming up this month including a couple for work so of course I had to get some new bits and pieces...

This little gem came through the post the other day and I think I'll get it out for the work do this year. It's not actually for a couple of weeks, but of course I had to show it off to you first.




Dress: Simply Be via Fashion World, Size 18. Currently £42.50.


I tarted it up with these dangly chandeliers from H&M...


Leah also did a post in this dress (and looked faboosh), trying on different shape wear with it. I think the dress pulls you in on its own pretty well, but, if you are conscious of your bumpy bits (like I am) you might want to pop on some shape wear. I'm wearing some body shaping tights from Debenhams which do the job pretty well (still a bit lumpy), but so they should do for the struggle it is getting them on!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Is it a glove? Is it a shoe? No, it's a skirt!

When Evans recently had a 50% flash sale, I knew I had to go on and purchase this skirt and, to be honest, I don't wear skirts that often. I just loved the brightness, the pattern and the shape. And at £22.50 instead of £45 I would have been a fool not to! It arrived today and I shrieked, ran to the shop and picked it up. 




 Skirt: Clements Ribiero Swan Navy Glove Print Panel Skirt- Evans
Top: Black lace top- H&M
Necklace: Pearls- Accessorize
Shoes: Black wedges- Primark

Look at the beautiful print! It's gloves. GLOVES:


I got this in a size 18, but it has a lot of stretch so I'd recommend sizing down. It also comes with a matching top, but I'm not brave enough for that! 


TOTD

Tights of the Day is definitely a thing. Well, it is now. Today's Tights of the Day come to you courtesy of Marks & Spencer who have an excellent (and affordable) range in at the moment. It took all of my will power not to pick up about 6 pairs, but....obviously I will go back.



Look at that grey carpet! No wonder people find work depressing. Thank goodness we have crazy tights to brighten it up.

These are XL and fit my 18/20 bum pretty comfortably. I know they go up to an XXL, but do some bigger sizes y'all!

More M&S tights that I am lusting over include:

These leopard print beauties with a cushioned sole especially for high heels- love!




These sparkly sequin embellished tights, perfect for Christmas and definitely coming home with me next time. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

British Library: Inspired by...vinyl

I am lucky to live and work in one of the most exciting cities in the world (well, I think so anyway): London. You could spend your entire life here and never see everything. Mr FD comes from The North- no, not Milton Keynes, even further than that! Way way way up North. So, even though he's lived down here for a while, he does like to go exploring and we try to do interesting things frequently. 

Last night we went to the British Library for an event that combined both of our interests. Me: Libraries. Him: Design. The British Library really is fab for events- they have such a diverse programme. I've been there for exhibitions, to watch films and to attend talks; if you haven't been I'd really recommend checking out their Events page here

The British Library has around 240,000 records in its audio collection. That's just the vinyl and doesn't include CDs, cassettes or digital files. 


Just to get boring on you for a minute (and please skip if you are of the librarian ilk), the BL is one of six Legal Deposit libraries in the UK (the others being the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, Trinity College, Dublin and the National Library of Wales). What this means is that publishers (individual or otherwise) have a legal obligation to supply them with a copy of any published works including books, manuscripts (including music manuscripts) and maps. However, this doesn't apply to audio- isn't that strange? I suppose the reason for this is because the act originated in 1662, but I'm surprised it hasn't been amended to include audio in that time. Still, the BL do what they can to put agreements in place with record companies and other parties to ensure the collection is as complete as possible. 

The below is a wax cylinder. The sort of thing you'd pop into a phonograph to play. This is the earliest form of a record. 



The next stage, at least in terms of how it looked, is familiar to the record we know today. However, those records could only hold 2 or 3 minutes of music on each side, so if people wanted to hear a lot of songs by the same musician they had to quite literally buy an album's worth- which is why we say album today (love that fact). 

Andy, the Curator of Pop Music (which has to be the coolest job title ever) took us through the way vinyl and design had evolved together over time. In the thirties, sleeves were plain, but by the next decade record companies had wised up to the fact that they could splash their names and logos in BIG PRINT across the front. Fast forward to musicians using record sleeves as a way of showing the customer what they could expect from the inside; and so began the collaboration between musicians and designers which continues today.  We were shown several sleeves with unsigned art on the front by Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol then became very famous and designed the, also famous, Velvet Underground cover below:


For the first run of these sleeves you could peel off the banana as a sticker and there was another one underneath it:


One story I really liked (but didn't get a photo of) was the Blue Monday record sleeve. It was die cut and made to look like a floppy disc, the colours on the edge being a code you could use to crack another code on the album. It was so expensive to make that they soon realised they were making a loss on EVERY record and started issuing a plain sleeve! 

I also really liked some of the bootleg albums. Can you guess which one it is from the below?!


Of course vinyl wasn't always about music. There was a 'teach your parrot to speak Malaysian' record, a 'learn to drive' record (!) and, my favourite, a learn to touch type record below:


It even came with its own pretend type writer! 


What a great night! If fashion, design or media is your thing then you should check out the Inspired By... BL Creative blog here.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Shopping fail....win.

So you know when you pop down the shops for some face wipes and come back with a jacket, a skirt and a new pair of boots? No? Yes. Yes you do.

Look, I needed them. What do you want me to wear? Rags? (This is the sort of thing I said on my return.)

First up, beautiful BEAUTIFUL Evans boots (shown in my last OOTD post). Look at them all studded and fabulous. 



I also tried on these beauties, but the store didn't have them in the size I needed- I'd usually wear an 8, but in a wider fitting shoe I can size down. Needless to say I went straight online to get a pair which, by the way, you should do immediately as Evans currently have a bit of a sale on!


So the second purchase was this jacket, available from Principles




Do Principles still have actual shops? I only ever see them in Debenhams now. I bought this to go over a dress so that I could keep warm and stay looking smart at a wedding the other weekend. However, this is also going to be great for work. I really love the zipped up pockets (and the pockets are REAL) and the quality is good (nothing worse than a shiny suit jacket).

Finally I bought this skirt from Dorothy Perkins. If it's red and it's leopard print then I'm getting it- that's how it goes down. I've seen this on Rachel's blog too and Leah has a very similar one from Asda (I did actually go to buy that one but it was out in my size).


Outfit post with them soon. Actually, I think they'd all go together pretty well for work- bring on Monday! 


Friday, 22 November 2013

OOTD: Lady in Red

Another day at work, another banging dress. I think because I spent the first half of the week looking corpse like I've decided to make up for it now.

I first bought this dress after seeing it on Cass from Plump Parsnip . I saw the photo of her, went straight online and within minutes the transaction was complete. I think it's super scrummy; smart enough for work, but you can also pop leggings and boots on with it, like I have.


Couldn't get the light to stop bouncing off my noggin, so we moved to the garden...



 And here are my lovely Evans ankle boots that go with everything...



Dress: Barbara Hulanicki from Asda
Leggings: H&M
Boots: Evans

Only issue I have with this dress is the front- it is v low so could do with a couple of stitches or a vest top underneath. Oh the woes of being a pear! I also feel like, for me at least, the sizing is on the big size. I'm not sure if I'd ever dare to size down to a 16, but this really does have a lot of stretch to it.