Sunday, November 30, 2014

This Week…

I have a teasmade. I know, I’m about 80 years old but I just love it. It was a gift from the young man’s aunt the winter before last and it’s just fabulous. You fill it with water before bed, put a tea bag in the pot and either set the alarm or flick it on when you wake up and less than five minutes later you have a pot of tea (according the instruction leaflet it makes that new-fangled coffee stuff or hot chocolate too). My cups aren’t as fancy as the ones pictured, but they do have shoes on them.

My grandparents had a teasmade when I was little and I always thought it was such a sensible idea. I can remember them drinking tea in bed on Christmas morning (we stayed at their house every Christmas when I was a child) whilst my sister and I got excited about whatever Santa had brought us (matching Sindy dolls is the one thing that stands out, mine with dark hair hers with blonde). And neither of them had had to go down to the cold kitchen to fetch the tea. When I say my grandparents’ house was cold, I mean it was COLD. It was a 1920s (I think) build and didn’t have any central heating. The main source of heat was the open fire in the front room which was fabulous, but leaving that room for the bitter cold of the hallway was something else. There were electric blankets on all the beds and you needed them.

But enough rambling about how cold my grandparents' house was.  All of this is to say that this week (and the past couple of weeks, it only gets used on a weekend) I have been enjoying using the teasmade and enjoying tea before I get out of bed.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Outfit: Red Vintage Dress and Knee High Boots




Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers!



What do you do when the weather forecast is for rain all? You pull out your trustworthy knee high boots and a cute little vintage dress. I’ve had these boots 11 years now and they’re still going strong (yes they’ve been reheeled and resoled in that time). Now I like a Primark bargain as much as the next girl but sometimes it pays to buy quality. These boots were bought at Century 21 on a trip to New York in 2003 and I’ve worn them every winter since. They are comfy to walk in despite the heel height and they are a classic shape that hasn’t dated in all that time. They cost about $99 I think, which was around £70 with the exchange rate at the time. For real leather boots (the soles were leather too, but have since been replaced after years of water and salt damage) that’s not a bad price at all and the cost per wear must be in the minus numbers by now.


Speaking of Primark bargains though, whoever invented the fleece lined tights that Primark is now famous for is a genius.

Red and cream dress – Sammy & Sid Vintage (Manly, Australia)
Red polo neck sweater – Long Tall Sally (sale)
Black Super Cosy tights – Primark
Black leather boots – Arturo Chiang (Century 21)
Cream necklace – New Look (sale)
Silver hoops – gifted

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Outfit: Burgundy and Brown



LK Bennett Shilo

I am obsessed with burgundy at the moment (I was last winter too) and was going to wear this top over my burgundy polo neck, but the shades were just a little off. So I subbed out for the brown sweater instead, which, in hindsight, was probably a good idea as it’s warmer and after a fairly mild weekend then temperatures have nose dived again.


I’ve been feeling a little bit festive this past weekend. It started Thursday night when I went into the city to do some Christmas shopping with my sister. The lights were all on and the decorations are up and the shops have started with the festive music. Then Sunday I gift wrapped everything I’d bought so far whilst watching another terrible Christmas movie on Channel 5. I don’t know where they are digging these films up from but they’re of the ‘so bad they’re actually kind of good’ variety – you know the ones, set in small town America, girl is down on her luck but then meets handsome guy just in time for the holidays. I watched one the previous weekend too.


Anyway, to me dark green and dark red are Christmassy colours so wearing burgundy just adds to the festive feeling a little bit.

Burgundy top – Amazon
Brown sweater – Long Tall Sally (eBay)
Brown cords – Long Tall Sally (sale)
Burgundy shoes – LK Bennett (c/o Sarenza)
Wood heart necklace – Scope
Silver hoops – gifted

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Our Handmade Collective in Leeds

Last week my sister and I went Christmas shopping one evening. “Let’s go to that nice place near the Grand Theatre that had all the handmade stuff” said my sister. She was talking about Handpicked Hall, a shop housing various independent shops in the Grand Arcade: we’d visited around this time last year and bought a few Christmas gifts there. When we got there we were sad to see that Handpicked Hall itself has closed down, but, looking around some of the units in the Grand Arcade looked familiar and one of these was Our Handmade Collective.

We went in and realised it was indeed one of the businesses that had been part of Handpicked Hall. I spoke to the lady running the shop and asked what had happened to Handpicked Hall. She explained that the parent company had gone into administration, but that many of the independent retailers were able to secure leases of units within the Grand Arcade. The vintage tea room is there, several of the other cafes and another shop selling handmade home ware.

If you’ve never visited the Grand Arcade (and part of its problem is that it’s just a little out of the city centre and people (myself included) tend to forget it’s there) it’s well worth a trip, if for no other reason than to see the fabulous clock with figure that rotate out of it on the hour (although the cakes in the vintage tea room looked pretty delicious too).

Our Handmade Collective is having a Mistletoe, Mince Pies and Mulled Wine event on 4th December from 4pm to 8pm, including 10% off everything in the shop, a raffle and free mulled wine and mince pies. The shop’s regular opening hours are 10.30am-6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 10.30am-4.30pm on Sundays.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

This Week…

It’s not quite time to break out the Christmas tunes just yet, but around this time every year I like to pull out Enya’s And Winter Came album and play it in the house and in my car. I say this every year, but it’s wintery without being overly Christmassy (OK, a few of the tracks are Christmassy – O Come O Come Emmanuel for example, but that’s mostly in Latin so I can totally forgive it). Think snow, candles and firelight rather than Santa, sleigh bells and reindeer and you’ll be on the right lines. Plus, you know, Enya. She’s relaxing at the best of times.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Outfit: All Black (With Pops of Blue)




Georgia Rose Venette blue suede ankle boot

It's not often that I wear an all black outfit, and it's not often that I wear black jeans, but for some reason whenever I do wear black jeans I tend to pair them with a black sweater. I don't know why that is, perhaps it's that I don't wear them often enough so don't know what else to put with them.


Anyway, the blue boots added e perfect pop of colour to Wednesday's outfit, and I was told at least three times that they really are as bright as they look here.

I love to receive emails from my readers, so here's a little shout out to Anne, Emma and Louise when they catch up on Shoegal on Friday! Thanks for reading ladies!



This look can be switched up for a more casual vibe too,  A quick change of boots and the addition of a favourite scarf easily takes it to weekend or evening territory.

Black jeans - Next Tall (eBay)
Black sweater - New Look Tall
Blue suede boots - Georgia Rose (c/o Sarenza)
Blue necklace - New Look (sale)
Silver hoops - gifted
Tan boots - Steve Madden (c/o Sarenza)
Leopard print scarf - H&M

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Outfit: Red and Camel




LK Bennett Bruton nude toe caps

I may pretend like I’m a heels girl (and much of the time I am) but lately, give me a choice of comfy, cosy boots and shoes that look great but perhaps aren’t quite so comfy, and I will take the slippers every time. Today, however, I decided that heels were the way forward as I feel like I’ve not worn them much recently.




Red and camel is a great colour combination for late fall/early winter (sorry, but it will be winter in just a few short weeks). I want to pair this sweater with my burgundy pants too, for a slightly different take on the colour match.

Camel sweater – New Look Tall
Red jeans – New Look Tall (eBay)
Leopard print scarf – H&M
Black and beige shoes – LK Bennett (c/o Sarenza)
Silver hoops - gifted

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

This Week…

To the north side of Leeds lies Yeadon Tarn. It is a body of water, like a lake. I just Googled the difference between a tarn and a lake and, according to Wikipedia, a tarn is a lake formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. I’m not sure that is true of Yeadon, but it’s a nice place to visit anyway. I go there predominantly to walk around it – three laps is almost 2.5 miles which is good exercise. My niece likes it up there because she can feed the resident ducks and play on the play area swings and slides. (She will also have a good go at climbing up the climbing frames etc. that are still far too big for her.) The tarn is right next to the airport so avid aircraft enthusiasts can enjoy the views of aeroplanes taking off and landing. It’s just a nice spot though, particularly right before sunset as I captured it the other afternoon.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Specsavers Collaboration and New Glasses!

Last week I was invited to go along to the Specsavers store in Leeds to pick out some new glasses and to try out the service they offer. I have worn glasses since I was 8 years old, but Specsavers is not somewhere I have ever gone for an eye test so I was excited to give them a try. Plus, I’ve had my present glasses for almost two years now so it was about time for an update.

I was greeted at the store by several friendly staff members and was treated to a very thorough eye test, which included an eye health check. The optician, Chandra, took photos of my eyeballs and then I was able to view them on her computer screen. Pictures of my eyeballs are not something I have ever seen, and I’m not sure I would be in a hurry to see them again frankly, but Chandra explained that they take the pictures so that next time you have an eye exam they can compare those pictures to the previous set and check for any changes.

Once my prescription had been confirmed it was on to the fun part: picking out some frames! Specsavers have specialist frames stylists on hand to help and advise you and a lovely lady called Annette was assigned to me. I learnt something I didn’t know before: the numbers on the arms of glasses frames are to do with the size of frames and, as my measurements had been taken, Annette was able to ascertain whether a particular frame was the right width for my face. I was keen to try on lots of styles and was hoping to pick out something a little different from what I’ve had in the past. As you can see, there were a lot of options to choose from!

They have a tablet type device on the wall that takes photos of your so you can compare your shortlisted pairs side by side and see which you like the best.

Eventually I selected two pairs I was happy with and, after checking with the on-site lab that they would work with my super complex prescription (being so short sighted is bane I tell you) Annette took down the details and placed the order.

The frames I chose were both from the £99 designer range. First up is these fabulous turquoisey-teal pair by Firetrap. I love the retro inspired cat eye shape and the colour, well, the colour is just amazing and unlike any glasses I’ve ever had before.

For the second pair, I went with a similar shape but slightly larger lenses in a burgundy-pink colour. This pair is by Gok Wan who should know a thing or two about wearing glasses as he wears them himself.

Two days later I got a call to say my new glasses were ready for collection: that is a very impressive turnaround time! I went to the store to pick up my glasses and a staff member in the designated fitting area checked the fit of the frames and provided me with cases. I was a little enthusiastic when asking for adjustments to the arms though, and found that they were digging into my head behind my ears. This isn’t a problem though as Specsavers will provide free aftercare for the life of your spectacles. I was able to pop along to a store near work the following day and have further adjustments made so that the fit is more comfortable.

The Leeds store staff are very friendly and I met the Retail Director Louise Harvey too who chatted to me about my blog.

If you are looking for new glasses Specsavers currently have a range of offers available including 2 for 1 on their £99 designer range and the £69 range. Check out their website for more details.

Disclaimer: I was provided with vouchers by Specsavers to cover the cost of two pairs of glasses. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Outfit: Cowboy Boots



Sancho Elvis Femme cowboy boots

Wednesday’s outfit started with the boots. I’ve not worn these cowboy boots in the longest time and, according to the label that came with the boots they are supposed to wear in to become really comfortable. I don’t think I’ve worn them enough for that yet so I’m going to try to get them properly broken in over the next few weeks.



I opted for a simple knit dress and a few accessories to go with the boots, and also to complement my new glasses. A full post about these glasses and my other new pair is coming shortly.


Beige knit dress – Bay Trading (sale)
Brown ribbed tights – Ann Taylor (TK Maxx)
Brown leather cowboy boots – Sancho (c/o Sarenza)
Leopard print belt – charity shop
Teal scarf – Long Tall Sally (sale)
Silver hoops – gifted

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Outfit: Mixing Black and Brown




Jana Rahbini black ankle boot

Black and brown is a combination I like to wear every autumn and winter. No longer a taboo mixture, I think the shades play off each other well. However, if you’re nervous about trying it yourself a good way to bring your items together is by adding something in leopard print, which mixes black and brown naturally. I added my scarf to illustrate this, but also because it’s one of my favourite accessories.




Black sweater – New Look Tall
Brown cords – Long Tall Sally (sale)
Black boots – c/o Sarenza
Silver necklace – New Look (sale)
Leopard print scarf – H& M
Leopard print hoop earrings – gifted

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