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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I suffer from Small Wardrobe Syndrome.  The effects of this furniture based problem are that you have to keep half your clothes in the ironing pile and the half that do live in the wardrobe are crammed so closely together that you can't see what you own.  I don't own anywhere near as many frocks as Sarah, Sarah or Char but it's still a battle to get into my wardrobe. 

I'd completely forgotten about this frock, and with good reason.  The wardrobe is not only small, it's very dark (the lighting in my house is weird - there's one light in the bedroom and it's right over the other side of the room, right by the window) and I mostly rely on the brighter colours and patterns leaping out at me when I'm browsing.  I found this lurking between a maxi dress and a sequinned party frock and went "Aha! Cute frock alert!"

It's also the perfect match for my amazing new pair of shoes.

They're not too big - I was just leaning forward to press the camera buttons.

Aren't they fab? They also come in red or grey, but both of those shades have a pinkish heel and you know my dislike for pink.  So I went for the black pair and I love them.  The vamp is a really interesting shape and although they're on the high side for a pair of daytime court shoes for me, the heel is chunky enough to make them quite comfortable.

If you want to see the red pair then hop over to Char or Rai - they've both got them on today!  Spooky.

Dress - Primark
Cardi - Topshop, present

I shake my fist at January's poor light levels. When I was taking these photos it was a choice between cranking down the settings on the camera to make it not appear pitch black, or whacking the flash on and looking like a startled bunny. I went with the former and have just ended up with slightly blurry photos where I look moon faced and super stern. And I looked pretty(ish) for once in real life. Honest I did!

Damn you weather.

A Sunday Jaunt

Sunday, 27 January 2013

"What? No brick wall?" I hear you cry.

That's right.  I actually took photos in public for once.  Hark at me.

I don't know how the rest of you do it.  The shame!  This was a nice quiet road but I was still mortified when someone appeared out of his front door a few houses down.  Well, it's his own fault for living in such a lovely house.

Dress - Closet @ Dorothy Perkins
Jacket - c/o French Connection
Shoes - ASOS
Rings - Matalan sale (black) & Dorothy Perkins sale (silver)
Clutch - H&M

When I grew too mortified to have my photo taken any more, I wrestled back control of the camera and we went a-wandering around the Georgian Quarter.  It's by far my favourite part of Liverpool city centre.  Let's face it, all of it is pretty fantastic - Liverpool One has all the big shops and restaurants, Bold Street has all the interesting shops and restaurants, the waterfront is rather spectacular and everywhere and everything else you discover has something to recommend it.

I adore Georgian buildings though and we have an awful lot of them.  Not as many as we had 30 or 40 years ago due to some extremely dodgy planning decisions, but enough to mean that the streets feature quite often in films and tv programmes.  Definitely worth taking a detour through when on the way to Sunday lunch!

And it was a damn good lunch.  We went to Host, which I've walked past about a million times but have never been to before.  I was super impressed - they've actually taken the effort to create gluten and dairy free menus which made life a lot easier for us!  Eating out for me is usually accompanied by involved and lengthy discussions with waiters about ingredients and substitutions and frankly, it's a pain in the arse.  This wasn't.  And it tasted amazing: the biggest and best onion bhajis I've ever had, followed by duck and lychee red curry.

So yes, come and visit Liverpool.  It's ace.  Full of beautiful buildings and fun things to do.  Although often quite windy...

God, I'm such a nerd. You'd never find the cool bloggers hitting publish on a post that included a daft photo like that one.

Here, having a soothing, arty shot of one of Liverpool's two cathedrals instead. Biggest Anglican cathedral in the world don't you know?

Work Wear

Thursday, 24 January 2013

It's not my usual style, I'm the first to admit that.  We have no dress code at work, thank god, so I can and do wear pretty much whatever I want. If you've seen an outfit post of mine with a brick wall background, that means I've worn it to work.  So that can range from 6 inch tapestry wedge boots to vintage cherry print dresses to almost anything #wardrobezoo related.

Matalan asked me to take part in their January Style Project and obviously I said yes please. I love looking at their monthly challenges and seeing how varied the four outfits manage to be.  If you haven't seen the project series before, it's fairly simple: they arm four bloggers with £50 and a theme, then set them loose.  This month's theme was Work Wear and that meant quite a challenge for me. As I've already said, it's not what I usually choose.  I have a morbid fear of black polyester and I just don't suit pencil skirts and fitted dresses.  But work wear doesn't have to be any of those things.  I think as long as it's smart and appropriate, you're fine.  Why not let a bit of personality shine through in terms of colour and pattern?

I had a whale of a time zooming round my local Matalan store and trying armfuls of things on.  Eventually I narrowed it down to this:

I was already out of my comfort zone so thought I'd go the whole hog and pick a colour I don't usually wear either.  It was too cold when I took the photos to dare taking off the blazer so you can't really see the full effect of the sleeves or back of the dress but it's purple all over, with the exception of a black panel down the middle (a gorgeous aqua and black version is available online) and is both super comfy and rather smart.

Add a pair of shoes that look like my sadly now-departed ballet pumps but with heels and I was good to go!

Love the purple stitching against the black panel!
Dress, blazer, shoes, ring and bag - c/o Matalan (and well under the £50 limit!)

I love everything, but especially the fab doctor's bag. Such a nice shape and it holds all my general handbag rubbish very nicely indeed. Plus it has a strap and a handle. Perfect!

So if you approve of my choices, I'd be much obliged if you'd hop over to the Matalan blog and vote for me!

Terrifically (un)tidy

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I've been looking at a lot of lifestyle blogs today. Marvellous as some of them are, they do have a tendency to depress me. Everything is so stylish it hurts. I read through them and end up whimpering gently to myself about the lack of wooden floorboards, big cosy chairs and cute cushions in my life. Not only are they stylish, they're always depressingly tidy.

I live in a rented house so unfortunately there's nothing I can do about the wallpaper/carpets/weird fitted wardrobes but I can work on my own inability to throw things away.  It started towards the end of last year with epic amount of books and trinkets being hauled off to the charity shop but I'm still generally surrounded by towering piles of stuff. My bookcases don't have three artfully placed Penguin Classics and a quirky retro tin full of spring flowers on them. They're full of actual books. Double stacked and sometimes triple stacked. And they're a bit dusty. Shock horror! 

I have no wish to get rid of any of my good books but in the general spirit of decluttering, I'm chipping away at the other things bit by bit and I've made at least one tiny corner of my room tidier.  My smaller bookcase holds my most treasured children's books - the entire Chalet School series and a wide assortment of Roald Dahl, Trebizon, Drina, Borrowers and Mary Poppins books amongst others.  It's also a very useful height for putting stuff on, so the top is generally buried in dead receipts and spare pairs of glasses and various phone/mp3/camera chargers.   Not any more it's not!

It now holds earrings and necklaces, neatly stored on some wooden stands:

My diary, writing notebook and an assortment of books that have risen magically to the top of the to-read pile:

An old, but very pretty Ikea lamp:

And occasionally a candle.  In my continued efforts to get rid of crap I'm on a 2013 mission to burn all the candles that have been sitting in my room for, in some cases, years.  Unsurprisingly, the scented ones that have been there that long haven't exactly retained their scent but I like fire and I love the smell of burnt out matches so I'm merrily working my way through them anyway.  Four down, two to go...

It's on a vintage saucer and there's a Penguin paperback behind it.  I'm getting there!

ps - check out CROCHET CAT.  He's an adornment to any room.

He's also very disapproving and "MOTHER! For god's sake! Why are you putting a BLANKET on me?"

Fun and Games

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

If anyone ever asks me, "Alex, do you want to play Bananagrams?" , the answer is both simple and obvious:

Because I love word games, and especially board games. Bananagrams doesn't technically have a board but it's basically a more fun version of Scrabble, so I count it as one. I love board games. I don't care if that makes me sound like a complete granny.

These are my three favourites.  Articulate generally results in extreme fits of laughter, Echelon isn't very well known but it's about BOOKS and therefore awesome and 221b Baker Street is like Cluedo but with added Sherlock Holmes.  If I'm in close proximity to one of these games I can generally be found making pleading faces at people until they give in and play with me.

I kinda gave up on board games for a while in my youth, probably because of the trauma caused by my mum throwing away Hungry Hippos because we played it so much it gave her a migraine.  Not that I still hold a grudge or anything... 

Card games took over. My Grandad Jim, who was in the Merchant Navy, tried to teach me cribbage but all I remember is moving matchsticks around the board and him saying bizarre things like "Fifteen-two, fifteen-three, fifteen-four, one's a jack and two for his nibs" (I may not recall this entirely correctly).  I was a veritable whiz at Rummy and Spit (sort of a cross between Solitaire and Snap) in my early teens but I haven't opened a pack of cards for ages now. Poker games of all varieties were the in thing when I was at uni but I don't really have a gambling temperament.

Neither do I have the temperament for proper computer games.  I get too tense when it comes to jumping ledges and killing baddies.  Honestly, you'll understand how limited my abilities are when I tell you that the four games I've been best at are Valhalla, Mad Professor Mariarti, Simon the Sorceror and Theme Hospital.

And this may tell you something about how old Valhalla is.

I can't cope with hacky slashy killing games, unless they happen to be cartoony and fun and more strategy than murder-based. I was jammy enough to get an iPad for Christmas and rapidly became obsessed with Kingdom Rush. So. Much. Fun. Except I've nearly completed it now and I need something new to play.  Any suggestions?

Cheering Myself Up

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

D'you know what's quite fun, especially when you're not feeling particularly svelte? Wearing clothes that used to be too tight but are now lovely and big. Now I'm not talking about comedy jeans , although I have kept the pair in that photo, just for posterity.  I mean those everso useful frocks and jumpers that I used to wear when I was a lot bigger and that still work now I'm a lot smaller.  Most of my old wardrobe is long gone but a few versatile things still remain.

I'm very fond of this dress. When I first bought it, many moons ago, we were both a size 18. I wore it when I was at my very fattest and a size 24. I still wear it now that I'm a size 14, with the addition of a belt and a tweak of the fabric. It's ace. And it might be about 8 years old now but I still adore it and haven't conquered the urge to shout "IT WAS ONLY A POUND. ONE ENGLISH POUND!" whenever people compliment me on it. The label may mark it out as a piece of plus size clothing but I don't care what the label says.  It looks nice and I like it and that's all that matters.

Oh and it has pockets. J'adore pockets.

No time for fancy shoes today, I've got mud to walk through!
Dress & belt - Primark
Cardi - Gap
Scarf - Dorothy Perkins
Earrings - River Island

I also accessorised with these fetching things:

We're unlikely to get snow this close to the coast but it's far from warm today!

Feeling Eccentric

Friday, 11 January 2013

I am feeling extremely flubbery at the moment.  Particularly after checking back through the blog to look at the last time I wore this shirt and realising just how much weight I've put on since then.  Doom.  It's not as if I've suddenly put on nine stone over Christmas or anything - that other post is from about 18 months ago and was right at the end of my hardcore diet phase - but work needs to be done now!  I'm not getting fat again.  It's not going to happen.

There are two solutions when feeling like this.  Either hide behind jeans and a hoody or dress yourself like a complete eccentric and hope people are too busy laughing at admiring your hair/massive lapels/incredibly orange jumper to notice the extra rolls of flab.  I went for the latter option.  Mainly because I've thrown all my jeans away and I'm not buying any more until I can get to a Levi's shop.

I can always rely on shoes though. These amazing boots were a present from my brother and his fiancee at Christmas. And I think he was responsible for choosing them, not her!  Good work, big bro!  I love them.

Fancy heel!
Coat - Kookai via car boot sale
Jumper - H&M
Shirt & skirt - vintage fairs
Boots - Irregular Choice, present
Earrings - Wolf and Moon