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Going to the Races

Thursday, 27 February 2014

February has mostly seen me idly whiling away my time online window shopping and dreaming wildly about having lots of money to spend on buying beautiful clothes and doing interesting things. March will be more of the same, bah. My daydreams are currently all about galloping horses and the glamour of Cheltenham.

I adore jump racing and I've always wanted to go there. It's very handy for me living so close to Aintree, home of the Grand National. I usually go to two or three meetings a year there with Papa Odd Socks as we are both rather fond of a flutter. But much as I love the place, Cheltenham in March is the dream destination for anyone who likes their racing.

If you're going, you take Zara Phillips as your style inspiration, not a WAG. Smart, country, heritage brands are the order of the day. Tottering around in skyscraper heels and a floaty floral dress is for Ascot Ladies Day in the summer, not the Cheltenham Gold Cup in early March.

This is England. Even if the sun is shining, it won't be hot. It's far more likely to be like this:

If you're in summer clothing you may actually die of hypothermia.

Plus, jump racing is not the same as flat racing.  It's still very much a social occasion but for a slightly different crowd.  Lashings of tweed are needed, along with good shoes, an extremely classy coat and, if you're that way inclined, a hat. Not for me though: I can't pull them off. Sad face. Sad, hatless face.

If money were no object and I was heading down to Gloucestershire in a couple of weeks, this is what I'd be wearing. Imaginary shopping involves an imaginary bank balance, so I haven't let price hold me back!

I've been lusting after this Dubarry coat for so long. It would be perfect for everything.

Equally perfect are this pair of Duo boots. People who are better in heels than me might go for something higher but you're on your feet for hours at the races so this pair would be a much better idea. I'd rather be comfy than limping! Smart and flattish, that's the winning combo.

The coat and boots are easy enough to pick: I'm desperate to buy them both anyway! The problem part of the outfit is the dress. Being realistic, it won't be warm enough to take the coat off anyway so you're not going to get more than a peek of whatever is underneath it. A dress that manages to be smart, a bit sassy and that's suitable to wear a) under that style of coat and b) with knee high boots is not that easy to find! This Burberry dress is divine though and meets all those requirements.

Alas the bag in that photo is not divine. Bleurgh. I'd rather have something a lot more colourful like this Brit Stitch beauty.

If you need me, I'll be dreaming of a 66-1 winner of the Gold Cup earning me a fortune...


Twinkle Toes

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Oh dear.

I really did not realise this dress was so short. Inappropriate workwear effort by moi!

From eBay it came and to eBay it shall return. I don't think it'll be made any more decent by wearing it with leggings instead of tights and it's too long to look good layered up over jeans or a skirt. Ah well.

At least I have twinkly shoes to cheer me up! Check out the sparkle:

And the velvet:

And the cosy lining:

Dress - Topshop via ebay
Sparkly tights - Marks & Spencer
Sparkly shoes - Rocketdog

I did originally buy these as a Christmas present for someone and then decided they were far too pretty and promptly bought her something else instead! Hehe. I wasn't going to let them go once I'd got my sticky mitts on them. Sparkly shoes are the best.

Launching People

Monday, 24 February 2014

Photography fascinates me. I have no great skill at it and am still very much a point and click sort of person, despite the fancy(ish) SLR I own, but that doesn't stop me greatly admiring people who can do it properly. Tim Hetherington is a bit of a hero of mine and if you get a chance to watch Restrepo or Which Way Is the Front Line from Here?, I strongly recommend them both.

I went to see Rankin's Alive: In The Face Of Death exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery last year and it blew me away. I suppose he's best known as a fashion photographer which probably explains why I didn't know that much about him before that point - I had a passing knowledge but I don't do fashion magazines so hadn't seen a lot of his more famous images.  His portrait work is so captivating though. The exhibition was, as the name suggests, all about death - people with terminal illnesses (such as Sandra in the photo above), people who had fought off death, people who worked with death every day. It wasn't as depressing as that description would suggest though - I left the room feeling really inspired rather than really gloomy.

That's the man behind the camera. Nice to see him, isn't it? I think photographers can often get overlooked as artists and unless they're massively into self-portraits, you don't often see them on camera themselves.

Samsung are running a Launching People competition which is an amazing opportunity to pick up your camera and work with Rankin as your mentor on a project. If your skill set lies in another creative sphere than photography, there are also chances to work with Gizzi Erskine (food), Idris Elba (film) and Paloma Faith (music). Rather fab bunch of mentors, eh?!

Paloma is so deliciously bonkers. Music really doesn't play that big a part in my life but she's one of the few artists that I listen to a lot. She's a flipping joy to see live - just imagine the fun you'd have hanging around with her in real life!

Alas I don't have enough ability in any of the four disciplines for it to be worth my while entering the competition but I know you readers are a fabulously creative bunch! Why not give it a try? You just need to make a 2 minute video and upload it onto the Launching People site. Deadline isn't until 6th March so you've got plenty of time to get cracking! Check out the video below for a bit more info about it:


If I Can't Shop, I Can Dream...The Green Edition

Saturday, 22 February 2014

I really need to stop looking at homeware things until I've bought a flipping house but I can't help it. It's going to be a vision of green gorgeousness with books everywhere.

I would quite happily take everything from the new Botanical range at Matalan. Cushions galore!

This Fabrikor metal cabinet from Ikea wouldn't usually be my cup of tea but I rather loved it when I saw it in store and I'm sure I could find something nice to fill it with.

Definitely want the fab toaster and kettle set from Morphy Richards though. So cute!  I was very tempted by a similar DeLonghi toaster but alas the matching kettle is a bit minging and we can't have that, can we?

If I were a rich girl, na na na na na... I'd buy this really expensive tweed sofa from But I'm not, so it looks like I'll be buying a cheapo one from Ikea and dyeing the slip covers to make them a nicer colour.Why are sofas so flipping expensive? Do nice, cheap ones even exist? Answers on a postcard please.

My thoughts are not entirely occupied with homeware though. As always, there's one colour that catches my eye when I'm doing a spot of online window shopping.

Pretty coat is pretty and would look lovely slung over my coat rack (also comes in pink, orange and camel for those of you not of the green persuasion).

I don't actually own that many green frocks. Shock horror. I would therefore be perfectly justified in buying this lovely Lindybop number, wouldn't I?

Further Tales From The Mending Pile

Thursday, 20 February 2014

This dress officially marks me out as the Queen of Procrastination. Bow before my excessively lazy ways!

I bought this during an ASOS sale years ago. Can't remember quite how long ago it was but it was definitely at least two years and more probably three. I was so lazy that I forgot to try it on before the return period ended and when it turned out to have a dodgy zip, it was too late to send it back. Can you still return defective things after the normal returns period? Probably, but investigating that would have required effort.

Said frock went straight in the mending pile and lingered there until I bought a red zip about six months later. Which I promptly lost. I rediscovered the dress about three months ago but it took me until last week to track down the zip.

As per usual, I am now kicking myself for not fixing it sooner. Such a cute frock! I am a big fan of the pinafore and I really like the elastic straps on this one as it means they don't fall down all the flipping time. Plus it has an amusingly billowy skirt when the wind picks up.

Dress & shirt - both ASOS
Heels - Dorothy Perkins

Better Than Red Roses

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day can bore off.

 Let's all look at completely unattainable but ridiculously hot men instead!

Oh Henry. You bulked up far too much for Superman, didn't you? And now you're all mainstream and everyone loves you. I saw you first though.

I only discovered Max Martini this year. Another one for the Fit Ginger collection!

Another newbie: Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Mmmmmmm.

Could I love Gene Kelly any more? No. No, I couldn't.

Possibly over-influenced here by glomming through two series of The Newsroom in about a week but John Gallagher Jr is cute.

Me and Romain Duris would make a lovely couple. Both so fond of looking at the floor. He dresses better than I do though.

Why do I keep finding myself attracted to men who look like potatoes? Sexy potatoes with ridiculously good arms, but still...

You can keep Cumberbatch. I like these three Sherlock boys much better.

My boy, Danny Agger.

Josh Hutcherson = tiny but adorable.

Considering I don't like long hair or beards, why do I find Tom Mison so ridiculously hot in Sleepy Hollow? Must be his voice.

Jake G as Detective Loki in Prisoners was a high point of 2013. Speaking of Loki...

I have finally seen Tom Hiddleston in real life and he is mesmerising. Is it weird that I find him sexy covered in blood? It is, isn't it? Oh well.

And if this doesn't cheer your life up, I don't understand you.

Any Questions Answered

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sarah tagged me in on the Liebster blog tag recently and I haven't done one for a very long time, so here are my answers:

1. What was the last song you listened to?

Creep by Radiohead

2. When was the last time you laughed, and why?

I cried laughing after getting out of an interview with a colleague. I'd written the questions: she hadn't had a chance to read through them till we got in the room. Got to the last one which was something along the lines of "summarise working pattern, start date etc. Any questions?" and she, god love her, didn't realise and read it out deadpan, a la Ron Burgundy reading the autocue. We kept straight faces during the interview, god knows how, and then nearly fell down the stairs laughing afterwards.

3. What did you do for your last birthday?

I turned 30 but not in wild style or anything. Took the day off work, rolled round in bed surrounded by wrapping paper, went for sushi and a film with my dad, then out for dinner with mum, brother and sister in law. All very relaxed and lovely. Then Char whisked me off to Bath the next day for a truly wonderful weekend of books and bonnets!

4. If you could spend an afternoon with any two people, one male and one female, dead or alive, fictional or real, who would they be and what would you do?

*gnashes teeth* I can't decide! I had a hard enough time narrowing it down to 5 fictional characters for my dream dinner party. May I have one of each?

Fictional, probably Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina from the Falco books. They would be great fun. I could help them solve a mystery and then sit around quaffing the finest Roman wine with them. (I would also be very tempted to hang out with Chrestomanci or Sam Vimes or Dominic & Mary Alistair but I think Falco & Helena are the best match for the requirements given)

Real, I would love another afternoon with my grandparents but how do I choose between the four of them? Impossible. So I'll go for the real but dead option and head back to the glamour of Hollywood to lounge in a director's chair and watch Gene Kelly and Katharine Hepburn do their thing.

5. What's your most visited website, except your blog?

I do spend a lot of time on Twitter and browsing blogs but my most visited website is probably a horsey forum. It's a busy one so there's always something new and interesting to read. Plus the people on it understand this.

6. What are you currently coveting?

Not an awful lot. My tastes are pretty frugal and I'm mentally reining them in even more recently. I would very much appreciate a new Kindle though as mine is just about readable but has developed lots of horizontal lines on the screen which won't go away.

7. Which genre do you most like to read?

I honestly do read pretty much everything except misery memoirs. I quite often glom a particular genre so the one I like best varies depending on what I'm reading at the time. Romance novels are probably my favourite though as there's such scope within the genre - contemporary, historical, suspense etc. Basically I love a happy ending.

8. State three words that describe you best

Stubborn, bookish and shy.

9. Do you have a tattoo, and if yes what is it? If no, why not?

Nope. I'm not anti-tattoo or anything: I love them on other people but I've never found a design that I want permanently etched onto my body. If I did have one it'd probably be some form of literary quote. Too many to choose from though! I could quite fancy this one somewhere a little more discreet...

10. Sweet or savoury?

SWEET. I am very fond of bread and chips but SWEETSSWEETSSWEETS

11. What's one superstition or conspiracy theory that you believe in, or that you think has some merit?

Must admit I'm not much of a one for conspiracy theories. As for superstitions, I have to click my fingers three times if I say "thank you" after someone has said "bless you" once I've sneezed. Why? No idea! It's muddled up in my brain with a vaguely Peter Pan thing about fairies dying if I don't do it.

So, my 11 questions are:

1. What scares you?
2. What is your favourite word?
3. Who was the last famous person you saw in real life?
4. What was the last film you went to see and why did you choose that one?
5. How much cash is in your purse right now?
6. Which piece of clothing do you most regret buying?
7. What's the oddest compliment you've ever been paid?
8. Which book do you love so much that you want to buy a million copies and thrust them at people?
9. What's your karaoke song?
10. Were you named after anyone?
11. If I gave you £1000 right now, what would you spend it on?

I won't do the whole tag-11-people-thing cos by the time this has done the rounds for a couple of weeks, everyone has already been tagged! But if you fancy answering my questions, please feel free. I'd love to see your answers!

Paddington...version 2

Monday, 10 February 2014

Nope, I haven't made another Paddington item of clothing. I probably should...I'm sure there was a decent amount of fabric left over after I made this skirt. Where on earth I've put it though, I don't know. Probably in the same place the missing red zip is stashed. They'll turn up eventually, they always do.

What I have done is teamed it up with lots of black things. Let's face it, the skirt is fairly bold. Although I paired it up with red last time to pick up some of the pattern colours, it really doesn't need that to help it look awesome. Basic black is a nice backdrop to make it stand out even more.

Any chance to wear my fave ridiculous black heels is welcome!

Skirt - handmade
Cardi - Gap
Jewellery -MerCurios
Shoes - Shelly's