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Sparkly Ideas

Monday, 30 September 2013

I know we’re not even in October yet so I will refrain from using the C word but there are certain things on the horizon that need planning. I was landed with organising the work festive shindig at very short notice last year. I tried ringing round local restaurants, hotels, casinos etc and everywhere was already full by that point. Quite frankly, some of the people I work with were annoying. They didn’t want to organise it themselves but they moaned about everything, didn’t offer any constructive suggestions and then dropped out with no notice. I managed to find somewhere that gave us a lovely meal and we went out for cocktails and a bit of a boogie at a bar afterwards. Everyone that went had a lovely time but despite this I was still in rage mode and vowed never to organise another one.

Self, dolled up for last year's work party

Except I appear to have been stuck with organising it again this year and I want it to be awesome so that people don’t get the chance to moan about it. I want to dress up in something glitzy and glam and have fun. We’re lucky in that we’re so close to Liverpool which isn’t short of places to go but I baulk at paying £40 a head for an average meal at a very average restaurant or hotel.

Well, a girl can dream...

I’m thinking something like a night out at the casino where we can all pretend like we’re Bond Girls and sparkle the evening away winning squillions of pounds on the roulette wheel or the blackjack table. I can count to 21 so I can definitely manage blackjack. I’m terrible at poker though and I don’t think they let you play rummy there, do they? Perhaps a more realistic casino ambition would be to hit the winning line on the slot machines. I wouldn’t need any skill for that, just luck, and the menfolk in my family are always regaling me with tales of how much they’ve won on fruit machines in pubs and on sites like JackpotCity. Surely it’s my turn to have the winning touch?

It’s not the only option though, just one that’s currently really appealing to the side of me that’s a bit deprived of sequins, cocktails, glam and the chance to win a fortune on the turn of a card or the spin of the roulette wheel.

So hit me up with ideas please. Where have you been on similar occasions that were really good fun (or alternatively really awful so that I know what to avoid?)

Cherry Red

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I like vintage frocks.

I like bonkers shoes.

I like even more bonkers prints.

I like jaunty coats.

I really like red. I feel so SASSY today that I don't even need to write anything else about this outfit. I'll just swish around the place in my amazing red shoes and be happy.

Dress - vintage fair
Coat - H&M via eBay
Shoes - Shellys

Going Solo

Monday, 23 September 2013

On the list of Things I Don't Understand, why people can't just do things by themselves is right up at the top. Admittedly, lots of things are better shared (conversations, for example, do not work quite so well if there's only one of you as you tend to look like a crazy person) but doing things by yourself is so liberating. There's no drama, no compromises, no fannying around waiting for other people to make their mind up.

People always react weirdly to me saying that I've gone to the cinema or for a meal/drink by myself. Why?? I genuinely don't get it. Is it because they think I'm a billy-no-mates and pity me? Or is it because they think it's some big, bold thing to do? Cos if it's the former I actually don't give a shit what they think and if it's the latter, they're just plain wrong.

One night last week I did the following:

Went to Yo Sushi by myself.

No laughing at my inability to use proper chopsticks, eh?

Went to Primark by myself. Quickest shopping trip ever. I saw this Kermit onesie in the window and it was so GLORIOUS I couldn't resist. Bish, bash, bosh: in and out in 5 minutes.

Went to see In A World by myself.

Had a glass of wine by myself and read a book.

(see the top photo. Marvel at my first-generation Kindle.)

Went to see Rush by myself.

I didn't do any of it because no-one would go with me or because I was being some kind of brave soldier. I did it cos I wanted to and that was the important thing that night. Pleasing me, not anyone else.

Plus, and I really can't stress this enough, especially for those of you who might be reluctant to try the going solo thing, no-one gives a flying fuck that you don't have a boyfriend/best friend/relative/random stranger with you. Why would they? Doing things by yourself is not weird. Especially not the cinema. You're sitting in the dark! No-one can see you!

Brilliant Blenheim

Thursday, 19 September 2013

As someone who works with over 350 volunteers, I know full well that people who volunteer have a whole range of motivations for doing it. So what on earth makes me take a precious holiday day off work, give up a whole weekend and drive a round trip of 350 miles to spend three days living in a tent and getting absolutely soaked?

Well, we got asked to volunteer at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials. Can't say no to an offer like that, can you? It's the third biggest event in the UK and only Badminton and Burghley are more important. We started out as British Eventing volunteers last February for flips sake! I honestly never expected to be rubbing shoulders with people who'd worked at the Olympics so soon, if at all. It just goes to show that being dedicated (and also chatty on social media!) gets you noticed. Not exactly a case of who you know, but more a case of making yourself known, if that makes sense?

What makes us want to do it? Well, we truly love the sport and this is an amazing chance to be a part of it (and let's be honest, the chance to exchange a few words with fitties like Oli Townend and Andrew Nicholson when they're walking the course doesn't hurt either!). Fence judging usually means a long day but it's always a lively one. We had an enormous amount of fun at Blenheim and as the teams were a little bigger than at one day events, it meant there was plenty of opportunity to mix with other volunteers. We spent most of Sunday having a fab time and roaring with laughter with the three other fence judges at our fence.

Most events look after their volunteers really well but the team at Blenheim were exceptionally good to us. We got free entry and camping passes for all four days, programme vouchers, a cross-country course walk with the course designer, all sorts of brilliant special offers from their clothing partners, a fab goody bag (honestly, the way to my heart lies through pens and post it notes), as much coffee and cake as we could manage without bursting, branded clothing for the weekend and a lovely hog roast on the Saturday night. Who wouldn't want to volunteer?! It was worth every second of that extremely tedious drive down the M6 and M40 to get there.

Let me shower you with photos:

Our fence on the Saturday. Choo choo!
Our fence on the Sunday. A water jump!

Horses, horses everywhere. I was too busy fence judging to take cross-country photos so these were snapped on the Friday whilst we were wandering around.

Shopping happened. Behold my lovely new hat. A) it fits (this is rare when it comes to my enormous head), B) it suits me (also rare) and C) it's waterproof. As it rained pretty much all weekend, this was kinda important.

I did also wear the trusty badger hat though. It was cold as well as rainy. Stupid autumn weather.

The Mothership modelling her official rugby shirt and fab new boots.

Brekkie in the Odd Socks tent, accompanied by about 7 pairs of soggy walking shoes. Did I mention it was a wet weekend?

Well, one has to keep up one's standards, even when camping.

What's (Really) In My Bag

Sunday, 15 September 2013

I'm a bit bored of those "what's in my bag" blog posts where everything is brand new and it's all cutesy-pie notebooks with matching pens and keyrings and there's nary a manky tissue or old receipt to be seen. If you're actually that tidy then more power to you. I'm not.

Here's what's really in the bag of a messy, disorganised person. Short answer: a lot of crap.

Long answer (and this doesn't even include my makeup bag):

The essentials - purse, keys, book. Where the hell is my phone though? It's part of the holy trinity. No matter how tiny the bag, it must fit purse, phone & keys in it.

All the spares - spare shoes, tights, socks, belt and brolly

The stuff I can never ever find. I swear my diary has one of those Harry Potter enchantments on it so it shrinks and hides at the bottom of the bag.

Yeah, hmm.

A whole load of paper-based crap. This picture doesn't do justice to the amount of stuff there is.

If further proof were needed...

Disappointment and Dungaree Dreams

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Hello world. Yes that's me, wearing dungarees.

Remember when I moaned at length about how much I wanted to relive my youth by wearing some dungarees and how it turned out that they would never suit me? Well, it turns out that denim Primark ones definitely don't. As for green ASOS ones, decide for yourself:

I'd given up looking until Char sent me a link to a few ASOS pairs that she was considering. My green radar went "BRONG!" at the sight of this pair and I bought them on a total whim, despite being fairly certain that I was setting myself up for yet more dungaree disappointment.

If I'm being super harsh on myself, they probably still don't suit me - I definitely own more flattering items of clothing - but fuck it and fuck anyone that wants to judge me for my awful stomach and chunky thighs. I'm working on them but they won't ever disappear. I'm a great believer in buying and wearing what the hell you like and I like these dungarees. Who gives a toss if they'd look better on a taller, thinner person?

I've been frolicking around with my hands in my pockets all day and admiring myself in any mirror I pass. Isn't this shirt GREAT? Not that I like golf in any way, shape or form but I do enjoy vintage shirts an awful lot. The pattern reminds me of Frankie in Why Didn't They Ask Evans? - all jaunty 30s lady golfer.

Told you about the mirror thing.

Dungarees - ASOS
Shirt - vintage, via charity shop
Heels & ring - Dorothy Perkins sale

Happy Days

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

I feel like the White Rabbit at the moment. I'm constantly running round going "no time, no time! Hello, good bye, I'm late, I'm late!"

Anyone who's ever met me in real life will already know that I'm very rarely punctual anyway but the lack of time thing is just getting ridiculous recently. I'm always dashing round and I'm never getting anything done. It's a struggle to find decent clothes and fling them on in the morning, let alone try and blog about them.

I'm therefore very pleased with this outfit. It took no thought whatsoever and, even if I do say so myself, it looks cute! Pretty new frock, bright cardi and super comfy cute ballet pumps. What's not to like?

I rather love this dress. It's blatantly a size too small (much as I'm trying to lose weight, I'm still not a size 12) but what you can't see is that it's got a mostly open back, so the zip only has to fasten up a short way and then my cardi can cover up all the back flab. Ace!

I love the neckline. I'm always a fan of something a bit different.

I'm also a complete convert to rubber shoes. Who'd have thought it? I imagined they'd be all squeaky and leave me with sweaty feet but I'm pleased to report that it's a no on both counts. They might be cheap but they're well made, so comfy and, after having walked round a rainy Dublin in them for three days, I'm pleased to report that I've found the magical thing: waterproof ballet pumps!

Dress - present from lovely Sarah
Cardi - Matalan, ancient
Flats - Mel Pop Heart