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Extremely Green

Monday, 30 May 2011

Evening all! Have you had a splendid Bank Holiday weekend? It was work as normal for me today but I had a jolly fun weekend with probably more cake than is good for me. Char came round yesterday so that I could treat her to a lavish birthday indoor picnic (surprise, surprise, it was raining). I was far too busy eating all the food to bother taking pictures of it, but we did manage to sneak outside in a break in the rain for some quick outfit snaps.

my lovely, you requested full length pictures of the vintage frock featured in my last post, so here you are:

They might look mad, but they're surprisingly easy and comfy to walk in.

Dress - Vintage, via charity shop
Cardigan - Tesco sale
Shoes - Irregular Choice via ebay, birthday present
Clutch - Jacques Vert via charity shop. No idea what age it is, but I like it.

And what else should you do on a lazy Sunday afternoon but paint your nails to match your outfit? I am so cackhanded - the diagonal stripes are not straight at all, but the overall effect is kinda fun I think. The yellow is a Boots 17 one and the green is from Barry M. It was a blog giveaway win from the very lovely Annie and arrived in a fab parcel on Saturday morning. Can't wait to get cracking on the make-your-own washbag kit!

I may be a little quiet over the next few days. My friend's two month old baby has just been transferred to Great Ormond Street. We knew she had a serious heart problem that's going to mean a couple of big operations in the first six months of her life but now it turns out she has a very rare lung problem too (only 10 cases in the UK a year) and needs a complex, and very risky operation which should be taking place tomorrow. If you believe in prayer, or even just the power of positive thinking, please spare her a thought. I'm feeling horribly worried and quite frustrated that I can't do anything to help except feed their cat when they're in London.

Winners and Photos and Stuff..Oh My!

Friday, 27 May 2011

I do believe I have some winners to announce! After a little faffing around and some random number generating (always fun), selection of books number 1 goes to Sophie. Number 2 has been won by Vix, number 3 by Chloe and number 4 by Bex.

Please drop me an email and let me have your address. I should be able to squeeze in a trip to the Post Office tomorrow so if you can do it before then, that would be most useful! If not, it'll have to be on Tuesday.

And so onto the main point of today's post. It's time for the May Scavenger Hunt photo round-up. I've taken approximately 90 billion photos this month. Most of them are for work, as I'm currently deep in the process of rewriting the content for our webpages. It's surprisingly fun to do (mostly cos I can write interesting things and don't need to learn HTML or any of that sort of complicated stuff), but this initial stage involves a lot of photography, editing, uploading, tagging, captioning and so on. It probably shouldn't involve quite so much photography but I'm fussy and I want the perfect pictures to illustrate what I'm talking about, so that means taking them myself. Hopefully I'll have the bulk of it done soon and can then concentrate on writing fun articles and so on.

I'm not sure these are the perfect pictures to illustrate the scavenger hunt topics but crikey, this month's list was hard! If I wasn't trying and failing to photograph butterflies in the garden, I was lurking suspiciously near police cars.

Think vintage!

Vintage frock - check. Vintage jewellery - check. Newly purchased vintage bag - check.

A bicycle

I can't actually ride a bike. Luckily there is a cycle shop down the road with a rather snazzy sign in the window, so I didn't have to trek too far to find one.

An emergency vehicle

It's amazing how these scavenger hunt entries start making you notice things. I keep seeing police cars everywhere all of a sudden but it's awfully difficult to take photos of them without looking excessively shifty. Here's an ambulance off-roading it around Chatsworth.

A red door

I felt creepy enough lurking after emergency vehicles so I didn't really want to start loitering outside people's houses... A quick trip into the loft later and out came the windmill. Sylvanian Families FTW!

Something blue

Pots in the garden.

A cartoon character


A street light

This street light is surprisingly grand - all glossy black paint with shiny gold touches. It's also surprisingly hard to photograph in colour, hence the moody black and white picture.

A butterfly

A very old favourite of mine. I found it at Mr Smith's farmhouse on a holiday in the Lakes when I was about 3.


Some tree bark.

A sign of the zodiac

The email conversation I had with Char about what to choose for this was a lot more interesting than the actual photo:

"What's Virgo?"
"A virgin holding sheafs of wheat"
"Where on earth am I going to find one of those around here?!"
"You'd have more luck finding a lion."

Scales it is then. I love our scales - none of the retro looking new stuff in our kitchen. These are OLD.

An interesting local building

Work. I feel like the West Range doesn't get as much love as the other 3 sides of the house but I rather like the Victorian weatherboarding over the Tudor brick. And the Moat Garden is always lovely. Wish we had a proper moat though.

A portrait in black and white

Can you tell I've only just worked out how to use the black and white setting on my camera? It's one of those fancy schmancy settings with all kinds of techy exposure numbers which I really don't understand, and so the photos don't seem to be as easy to get in focus as usual. I decided to go with the blurriness and make it more so, with a little help from Picnik.

Alex Has Left The Building

Thursday, 26 May 2011

I call this my Sailor Elvis outfit. Cos, you know, I have blue suede shoes on. Ho, ho, ho.

It is perhaps not as exciting as the red shorts outfit featured earlier in the week but woman cannot live by red shorts alone. I love my jeans and I shudder to think what would happen if I worked in a place that had a dress code that banned them. Black trousers are just so dull. I haven't bought a pair for years and they won't be on my shopping list any time soon.

Equally I don't feel as if I should shy away from posting my slightly more mundane outfits. I sometimes feel under this unspoken pressure to bust out a new item of clothing or something a bit daring in my outfit posts. Realistically though, I wear a variation of jeans and jumper/shirt at least twice a week so why not blog it occasionally?

I'm rather pleased with this shirt all of a sudden. It was a charity shop whim purchase - it's from Zara and looks practically brand new, plus it was only about £2 or so. I've never been quite happy with it though. I think it's cut for someone a bit taller than me as I tend to feel slightly swamped by the collar and the sleeves are definitely too long. Today it just sort of worked though. Maybe it's the extra button undone? I even like the way it looks under the jacket and I really wasn't convinced it would work with the short sleeves on that.

Shirt - Zara, via charity shop
Jeans - Dorothy Perkins
Shoes - Next clearance store (how cute are the heels please?)
Necklace - Sunday Girl Accessories
Jacket - H&M sale

Subtle As A Brick

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

My natural inclination was to put on a big black jumper or a baggy tshirt today. I still don't feel entirely comfortable with tucking tops in. But really, I've got bright red shorts on. What is the point of trying to tone them down? They're never going to look subtle so I might as well embrace it, shove on some red lippy and just let them stand out.

No-one has told me I look a show yet, despite the fact the top is quite sheer at the back and I have a bright red bra on. Told you I wasn't doing subtle today.

One of the blokes I work with came in the office and said "You look very red today. You're like something out of a video about..." He then got totally sidetracked by a greenhouses catalogue and never did finish his sentence. I'm intrigued to know what type of video he was thinking of. Answers on a postcard please.

Blouse & shoes - Dorothy Perkins
Shorts - H&M
Ring - Primark
Disc necklace - Next clearance
Oddsocks necklace - Tatty Devine, a present from a lovely pal

Library Longings

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Spare bedrooms tend to reflect the interests of the house owner. If you're the sociable type, it's probably set up as an actual bedroom. If you're a gym fan then it might have an exercise bike in it. If you've got a lot of clothes it will probably have an overflow wardrobe in it.

So what does mine say about me? That I am horribly messy and have too many books? I think that's fair.

In an ideal world it'd be a proper library but alas this world is not ideal. The house is rented and nice as the landlord is, I don't think he'd take too kindly to me entirely covering the walls with shelves or installing a spiral staircase:

Much as I admire the stylish looking bookshelves in the last two photos, I don't think they're for me either. The organisation required! You'd either have to have total OCD or be a complete book snob and insist on matching covers for every edition. My bookshelves are a higgledy piggledy mish-mash of books of all sizes, shapes and colours. They're double and triple stacked everywhere. Neatness does not come into it. What I really need is more shelf space.

Bookcase shopping will have to wait till another weekend and when I've got the shelves in better order I may do a couple of recommendation posts by genre. In the meantime, I've made a decent start on the room generally. Look, you can even see the carpet! The blanket chest may not be the proper window seat that I dream of, but it's surprisingly comfy to sit on and enjoy a good book.

I did a wee bit of shelf tidying today too, and discovered that I have quite a few duplicate copies of books. As there's already a big bag full of stuff set aside for the charity shop, I thought I'd offer these up as a mini giveaway.

We've got:

1) I think Harriet Evans is one of the better authors in her genre at the moment. I've given up on most chick-lit authors because their books are utter bilge but this is pretty decent. The other book, Class, is described as Malory Towers for grown-ups - can't go wrong with that!

2) I'm on a one woman mission to spread the word about the genius that is James Lees-Milne. This book is a fab intro to his writing. The Charles II book is really interesting too.

3) Anyone for a bit of 30s/40s detective fiction? I do think that Georgette Heyer's best work is her historical fiction but her detective stories are good fun too. If that doesn't float your boat then how about:

4) I can't resist buying these whenever I see them in charity shops, even if it means I end up with, for example, 4 copies of Devil's Cub. If you're not familiar with her books then repeat after me, they are nothing like Barbara Cartland. Heyer is a truly wonderful writer.

Just mention which (or all) of the options you'd like in your comment and I'll pick some winners on Wednesday. Don't want to make life too complicated by imposing all sorts of terms and conditions.

Oh Mojo, Where Art Thou?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

I feel a bit sort of lost at the moment. I seem to be retreating within myself. I'm not feeling very well, texts aren't getting answered, plans aren't being sorted out. It's easier to sink into a book than it is to do anything practical.

Inspiration is sorely lacking too. I seem to go in waves with blogging - at times it flows really nicely and I'm full of posts to write. Other times it's a bit of a stretch to think of things to talk about. I'm in the latter stage at the moment. I dunno, I'm just not feeling very interesting. I think it's coming across too - comments are a bit down recently so I must be doing something wrong. I hope it's just a blip because I don't want to think that I'm boring people but I don't know how else you judge the success/interest of a blog other than by comments.

I'd just like something nice to happen. Until such time as it does, I shall aim to cheer myself up by wearing impractical shoes and lots of green things.

Pussybow blouse - present from Vix

Jeans - Dorothy Perkins (incidentally, I'm sure their short length jeans are a couple of inches longer than they used to be)

Heels - Irregular Choice via ebay, birthday present.

Ring - Dorothy Perkins sale

Camping & Chatsworth

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

With hindsight, I don't think I picked the best weekend to go camping in the wilds of Derbyshire. Why couldn't I have gone in April when it was pushing 30 degrees and glorious? Instead I went in May when there were gale force winds, lashing rain and it was about 9 degrees during the daytime. Not very clever. It's such a beautiful place when the weather isn't awful - look:

Unsurprisingly, my poor tent didn't cope too well with all this terrible weather. A particularly evil spell of gusty winds meant that one of the porch poles cracked and the front of the tent collapsed on top of my head whilst I was chopping mushrooms for lunch. Ouch. That meant Saturday was spent racing round camping shops in Bakewell failing to find a replacement pole and eventually fixing the tent with a whole roll of tape and about 47 extra guy ropes.

Sunday was much more fun though. We went to watch the horse trials at Chatsworth and didn't get wet once, hurrah!

I think before I go again I need to get one of the following: a) some Dubarry boots, b) a dog, c) an expensive all terrain pushchair type thing with a posh baby inside, d) lots of tweed or e) a Land Rover. All are very much de rigeur in horsey circles. Sadly a) they cost a fortune, b) I don't like them, c) I don't like them either, d) I do like but feel a bit of a fraud wearing it and e) I can barely afford to run a Renault Clio.

I'll just have to continue as I am - hoody, jeans and walking boots kept me warm and cosy all day and that's the main thing. I do want a great big new lens for my camera though. I'm really happy with how some my photos turned out but it would be fab to be able to get really good closeups.

ps - Blogger doesn't seem to like me very much at the moment. I was already really behind on comments before the big meltdown last week and it's taken me until today to be able to get in and actually post. I'll do my best to catch up over the next few days - I'm not ignoring you! Oh and it's eaten half the comments left on my last post. Grrrr!