Friday, 25 January 2013

This week in numbers

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More mulled wine.  It didn't snow in Carlisle (until today!).  I was annoyed.  I was cold.  There is no other justification required.

  
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Me and reading.  I am really struggling to sit down and just read.  So i am thinking i may buy a book that isn't super reliant on reading (or i can read in sections) and that might teach me something new.  My top two are the above and Rachel Khoos 'Little Paris' cookbook.  


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Jumpers instead of cardigans.  This isn't a revelation (or groundbreaking) it is just something i had never considered before:  jumpers over dresses and skirts.  They are so much warmer and open up a whole new wardrobe of possibilities.  


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Valentines Day.  There is said it.  I know it's just another day like any other and also an evil ploy to get us to spend money on anything heart-shaped or remotely romantic.  But i like it. I have an unhealthy obsession with beautifully designed greeting cards/nice wrapping/novelty anythings and this just panders to that side of me.  Having said that, we don't normally do Vday.  So i shall probably buy/make/do/waste money on something for myself that is also a waste of time.

  
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Light that doesnt…light much.  I have always wanted one of these beautiful little lanterns.  I suspect it is intended to be hung outside in high Summer. In reality ours hangs from our attic window  in the bedroom and inside it, the pretty little tea-light doesn't really give off too much light.  But golly gosh it looks so pretty.  Especially when i have the fairy-lights switched on too.  Then you can see. 


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Lush baths.  A few days off work means an excuse to spend a few hours whiled away under a blanket of velvety, foamy, sweet smelling Lush bath bombs - with an obligatory cup of Lady Grey of course.  This one was called Snow Angel i think.  It was part of a christmas gift set.  I am still getting through my Snow Fairy, and enjoyed scrubbing away at my mop with Big shampoo too.  I wish i could afford to use everything Lush.  


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Flowering tea.  My first try.  This beautiful teapot was a very kind birthday gift and i have just got round to trying it this week.  So magical to watch!! It makes tea drinking something of an art.  A complete contrast to my usual sleepy fumble and throwing of a tea bag in a cup!!


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More tea drinking.  I don't think you can over-do that though can you?  I have drank lots of the good stuff this week.  I really notice a difference if i am not hydrated - both in my skin and my alertness.  It is hard to drink cold water in these arctic temperatures, and so i have been upping my herbal tea intake.  My current favourites are Camomile and honey tea; Cranberry and Elderflower and of course my trusty Lady Grey with lots of milk.  


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A good breakfast.  Days off mean time to sit and enjoy breakfast properly.  Rather than trying to apply mascara, drink tea and tame hair in a haphazard fashion!  This week each day has begun with a huge bowl of porridge made from scratch with a sprinkling of brown sugar and seeds and a massive helping of berries.  (I may or may not have also watched Peter Andre - My Life as accompaniment too).  


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Spring cleaning in…Winter.  One day off isn't enough to get stuck into my collection clothing which seems to have significantly multiplied without me noticing.  This week i have re-organised wardrobe number one and two; a set of four drawers and a big shelf above my wardrobe.  I have also filled a massive bag for our lovely charity shop round the corner.  I have also (somehow) accidentally bought two new dresses this week.  However, the cumulative value of said new dresses pre-sale is £149.  I paid £35.  For.  Both.  I don't even need to do the maths to tell you thats one fantastical saving right there.

  
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The Best Thing i Have Ever Bought.  (Number '10.5' as '11' felt like an odd number of pictures).  I love scrambled eggs.  Love them.  I hate microwaved scrambled eggs with a passion as they always seem to be raw, or murdered.  Try and try so so many times have i,  to make scrambled eggs, to perfection, in a saucepan on the stove.  Each time, said pan is out of use for several days to to stickage.  Until this week. I bought a brand new non-stick little milk pan instead of using our massive non-stick saucepan.  And a bright red silicone spatula. these two things have completely revolutionised my scrambled eggs in a life changing way.  Seriously.  Therefore this week, every day, i have enjoyed a hearty lunch of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and watercress with toasted flatbreads.  I feel like i will be enjoying this lunch for the rest of my life (exaggeration).   

I am now off to make some blueberry pancakes for breakfast tomorrow.  And to get more excited at the thought of macaroni cheese and green beans for tea.  I did just say that.

XxX

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tealight

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If there is one thing i like photographing more than clouds, its natural light.  Before i started this little blog space, i didn't know how important natural light was in photographs.  It is certainly one of the most magical things - when it's just right, in just the right place - it can be so beautiful.  The light alters a picture so very magically.  I sometimes can't resist snapping the sunrise en route to work, or stopping somewhere just because the light peeping through a certain spot is so beautiful, no matter how many odd looks i get. 

Today i also discovered flowering tea, thanks to a very lovely birthday present.  It is the most magical thing!! I stood and watched for a good ten minutes and almost forgot that at the end i could actually drink it!!

It has been a tea and light sort of Tuesday afterall.  
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The rest of my day was lying bundled up in soft blankets; freshly washed and reading and tearing bits and pieces from new magazines.  It used to feel a bit like magazine murder, now it just makes sense. I almost bought a Liberty of London sewing book today.  Flicking through it the pictures were so beautiful that i just wanted to rip them all out and stick them down.  There's a reason i don't own many books….

XxX

Monday, 21 January 2013

Monday

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Monday doesn't feel so much of a Monday when you have a few days off.  I didnt get that dreaded 'Sunday-night-i-am-back-at-school-tommorrow' sort of feeling in the bottom of my tummy when i fought too many cushions and pillows to snuggle under the duvet last night after finishing the bottle of mulled wine we had started on Saturday evening.  Whoops.

Truth is, i am a bit grizzly that we haven't had any snow.  Last Sunday morning we had but a few flakes.  This was enough to make me run round the living-room, all hair askew and dizzy from jumping up too quick to exclaim 'it's snowing out the window its snowing out the window!!!'  Then it stopped.  Cumbria you haven't tried very hard.  A few times the sky has squeezed a measly sleety soggy flake from its little white deceptive clutches - but not enough to cover a thing.  

I did however have a very lovely weekend.  If i havent said it one million times before, i truly do love Sundays.  It is the only day where both of us have no work and can be lazy, sleep until we wake up and make delicious food, without having to dash off and be somewhere else.  We had lazy raisin pastries, tea and watched Rachel Khoos 'Little Paris Kitchen' and then headed to town to get coffee and supplies to make mince pies.  It is my only consellation to the lack of snow.  It is snow comfort food, plus it is still rather nippy all the same.  So i am allowed.  

Today i have mostly stayed in and tidied and tickled cobwebs away from our high slanty ceilings.  Therefore it has been a day for layers, messy hair, too many cups to count of camomile and honey tea, and for wearing socks and tights together.  
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I love this Topshop dress so so very much.  I have had it for years, and i can make it work in any instance.  Its floaty and floppy, and dip dyed to perfection with the prettiest ditsy-iest print there is.  I love to wear it with slouchy, soft over-sized knits and boots; or in summer with a huge floppy straw hat, brown leather flip flops and a straw satchel.  Golly just talking about flip flops has given me goosebumps!! Brrr.

Tonight the Mr is making noise in the Brickyard for a few hours which means i am going to have a Lush-shaped bath (Rose Jam bubbleroon in case you're wondering, oh and some leftover Snow Fairy) and then i am going to watch The Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief with some maple and raisin pancakes and Lady Grey.  It is quite sad how excited this makes me.  


Lots of love
XxX

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Just Visiting

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Aside from the usual this week, i was kindly asked to write a little something for the ever so lovely Caroline over at All About The Girl whilst she is away on her hols.  I have a little bit of a soft spot for her blog as she lives in the very same city as me and hers was also one of the very first blogs i read before i started this little space…go and say hello!

I have spent most of this week looking forward to next week when i shall be off and able to construct much more deep, meaningful and thoughtful posts on clouds current important issues.  It therefore has felt that the week is taking its time to get to its end.  Hurry up Saturday evening.  
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On my day off this week the internet broke.  i cleaned everywhere there is possible to clean in this little space - largely fuelled by an unhealthy amount of Loveheart sweets.  Then i read a lot and we had to talk more than usual.  It is fixed now.  It is quite sad how pleased that makes me.  I like to know what Gok Wan has for breakfast.

I am starting to stick Spring down whilst simultaneaously contemplating if i am allowed to use up leftover mincemeat to make some mince pies, or if its too far past the festive season.    I think it is this little cold snap that has got me re-excited.  Nobody likes waste do they?
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Pip from me for now
XxX

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Winter, you're late.

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What time do you call this?! I have been excited for Winter since October, between you and i, probably earlier.  Any excuse to heat up alcohol, put custard on every dessert and have mashed potato with every meal.  I got strange looks at work the other week when i said that i sometimes quite enjoy having a bit of a winter cold.  Don't laugh. I am not mad.  I like staying in my pyjamas until noon, being looked after, the taste of cherry halls soothers and beechams.  And for it to be okay to eat a Cadbury's caramel for lunch.  Because i am under the weather.  

I am veering off subject.  Christmas and most of December has been relatively mild over here in Blighty.  I would like to say that this has meant i haven't put custard on most desserts, had mulled wine most evenings (or green and black maya gold melted into warm milk with a large glug of the Mr's whisky) or mashed postato with most meals….i have.  Just as i was getting back to normal with eating and sleeping post Christmas….along pops a little cold spell.  

Today is Sunday.  We slept until lunchtime. Then i made some toasted apple bread and we had tea and watched the snow fall from under the big purple throw on the sofa.  At 3pm i decided i should probably move and so took little Willow for a cycle round the park.  Then i two-oed and frowed in Marks and Spencer's foodhall over if i should get Christmas puddings for after tea.  I didnt.  Damn you cold snowy weather now.  Now you are here!! 

It isnt sticking.  Except it stuck quite badly to the Mr's eyebrows walking home.  It made me laugh so very much.  I really need to stop laughing at him.  

I am angry at the snow and yet i am not.  So very glad i can wear many layers and bundle myself up in yet another cossack hat...
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This week was also the week i made The Best tea ever:  A Chorizo and chickpea stew from Red Magazine.  So easy and so so very delicious.  I also discovered i have an addiction to walnut whips and got laughed at because i carry a little tin of nuts around in my bag.  For emergencies. I think its quite sensible.  
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Tonight we are making cod with new potatoes and dill, and fresh peas with a squeeze of lemon.  See, not a mashed potato or spoonful of custard in sight.

Wrap your lovely ears around my latest musical love if you will too…


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Best Out of Three

What a funny old week.  I am finally starting to feel back in a normal routine.  My sleeping patterns are returning to normal and i don't want warm alcohol at every opportunity.  I am craving fruit and vegetables like there is no tomorrow and enjoying not eating chocolate.  Well except for my daily walnut whip.  But that doesn't count as it has a nut on top - for energy. 
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Normal is being able to sit, cross legged and finish every last drop of Lady Grey in the mornings.  Of eating breakfast at home - two pieces of toast, not one.  And a big bowl of granola with blueberries in.  Not burning my little tongue on instant porridge in an effort to put tights on, blusher and dry shampoo my hair, all whilst eating breakfast at silly'o clock. 
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Sun.  The first glimpses of sun at the end of the day, after what feels like an endless grey December of…grey.  It fills me with Spring-shaped hope.  If we can work on sun throughout the day then i would quite like that too please.  Thanks.  
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More sun.  Same day.  Different view.  There's always room for a 'half' where clouds, sun and sky are concerned.  

Me:  I have decided my ideal job would be a job where i could wrap presents, cloud watch and get paid to look at houses on property websites. And wear nice clothes.

Him:  So basically you want to be Kirsty Allsop?

The above is true, that would be a heavenly job if it existed.  I consider Miss Allsop a very lucky duck.  The conversation stemmed from us spending over and hour looking at two bedroomed flats in London and Edinburgh - despite having no money or plan to move there.  Or anywhere come to think of it.  This often happens when there is nothing to watch or read nearby.  
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This week i also turned my hair a funny shade of purple - with an overly purple shampoo with amazing reviews.  Clearly amazing for everyone in the world who doesn't have hair like mine.  I rang my mother for her wise words and hairdressing experience.  Her advice - don't use it again and don't dye your hair 'whatever you do'.  I dyed it the day after.  (sorry mum) It went, luckily.  Then i went to get my hair cut - telling my hairdresser the funny tale.  Then he turned my hair purple.  Not as purple as before but there was a tinge.  I didn't have the heart to tell him.  I am alarmed he did not notice.  I don't know how i feel about rocking a purple rinse at my age.  

I received a belated Christmas present from my lovely sister:  Hair pastels.  I am excited yet terrified incase my whole hair goes rainbow like - given its current colour mood.  I am excited to try the minty green through a messy fishtail plait.  I am however a bit worried incase a minty satchel, minty hair and minty bike might all be too….minty.  

I shall keep you posted no doubt.  

XxX

Saturday, 5 January 2013

2012: Twelve Months - Twelve Jolly Get Ups

If you have visited me here a few times, you will know how much i love my clothes, scarves et all.  For me there is nothing better than being able to spend a little while in the morning with a mug of earl grey and a sneaky crumpet, rifling through wardrobes, drawers and cupboards and deciding what to wear.  I love print, colour and texture and if i can incorporate all three of this things in one outfit, then i feel all the more happy for it.

It was equally hard to just pick out twelve outfits for these last twelve months..but i have done it.  With each one, i have stuck in a trusty page from my moodboards, so you can see where my thoughts are with each one. I would like to point out that i don't make a moodboard for every outfit, i just create them as and when i gather up bits and pieces that i find inspirational.  Somewhere along the lines they get a bit more of a theme, and i like to use them for inspiration.  
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Tweed shorts, printed blouse and chanel-esque little jacket. This is me at my most put together.  I am not very often described as 'put together.'  I love the idea of male tailoring on a female form, this is a very slight nod to that. The shorts used to be very unflattering tweed trousers that had sat in my little drawer for a long time.  My style is always evolving and so it's nice wen you can make use of something that's not really 'you' anymore.  

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Sixties slouchy loveliness.  I love this jumper.  The picture doesnt really show but it is three sizes to big, has been washed, stretched and loved for many years and i love to wear it in the house with leggings and my tied up on top of my head.  It is a little bit Mary Quant, a little bit Twiggy.  You can fit both knees up inside when its cold too which i love.

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Print.  Well where do we begin with print? This is me rather toned down.  I adore anything with a beautiful print and have always had a long love affair with any kind of liberty print.  My dream is to one day upholster something in a beautiful liberty fabric.  

This is a detachable collar, handmade for me by my dear friend Katie.  It is also reversible too.  

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Mixing it up.  Although i am not a matchy matchy sort of dresser, i do like to think my print mixing looks as of some thought has gone into it!  This is a Topshop dress with a sweatshirt over.  This year was my first dalliances with faux fur - i have worn to death my trusty black asos cossack hat and H&M fur collared jacket this autumn/winter.  

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Tying a scarf in my hair this year has been a hair lifesaver on many occasions; another way to use my whopping collection of silk scarves from liberty and Accessorize and, i think, has become my favourite way to wear my hair.  If 2011 was the year of the plait, 2012 was most certainly the year of the head scarf for me.  

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Maxis and midis.  Being very small i always thought i couldn't handle a maxi dress.  Now i know i just have to make sure i am not swamped!! This sleeved number has been one of my favourite pieces this year.  It works well worn in summer with bare legs and jewelled flip flops.  Or layered up with a chunky knit over and chelsea boots and thick tights under.    

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Sweet shirts and bow ties.  I had a little bit of a moment with wearing pretty bowtie this year. There is something a little bit Charlie Chaplin about it, which i really like.  Don't get me started on this pretty printed shirt. We have been looking for each other a long time! You can read the fairytale here.  It is actually a man's extra small shirt that isnt, but could very easily pass as a Liberty print i think.  
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A maxi and a crop top. Now there are two things i never thought i would wear.  The maxi skirt love affair came from my realisation that if i could wear a maxi dress (being small) i could probably have a go at a maxi skirt.  I am no super skinny minnie, but wearing a maxi skirt with a lot of fabric, finding tops was a bit tricky.  This is an an old t shirt chopped in half (i used the off cut as a headband).  Somehow the extra fabric on the bottom half makes it okay to show my tummy a little bit.  
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Liberty and fur.  This is my favourite scarf in the world - my Meg Matthews for Liberty scarf.  Worn in my hair for the first time ever this year.  Loved how it picked out the orange in my Topshop dress.  The little faux fur collar i pulled off an old jacket which has been worn to death and was falling apart! 
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The Ducks! The ducks.  I longed for the skirt in this print from Topshop for what felt like forever.  When i could afford it, i hopped skipped and jumped to try it on, only to find it looked horrid.  I had never seen the dress until an odd one turned up in our little Topshop sale.  This little dress has featured quite heavily this year!
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Bobble hat lipstick.  This year was the very first time i have dabbled in lipstick. We are now firm friends.  This is my all time favourite bobble hat.  And i have a lot.  Somehow it is just the right shade of pink for my cheeks.  I love it with the pink.  I must admit little miss pink bobble hat has taken a little bit of a back seat this year due to my fur cossack hat obsession.  
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Another man's jumper.  Not that i make a habit of stealing lots of men's jumpers.  This is from the men's section in TK Maxx.  A festive men's jumper worn as a little mini dress with thick tights and…yep my cossack hat.  This jumper instantly makes me happy - red and white just epitomise the festive season.  It works beautifully with red lips, black brogues and a little black peacoat.  
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Who knows what 2013 will bring? I have spent 2012 mostly wearing men's clothes, red lipstick and tying all manner of things to my little blonde barnet.  I love the start of a new year, of buying new Elle, Red and Vogue and starting a new page in my mood board for Spring.

I cannot wait for Spring! For blossom, daffodils, lambs, Easter and hot cross buns warm with marmalade.  And sun! But i shall save that for another day. 


XxX

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