Summer boho wish-lyst

If you’ve been here for a while you’ll know about my slight obsession with creating dream outfits. Well, I’ve just discovered a new outlet for my obsession. Lyst* recently got in contact and asked if I’d like to give them a go. Seriously, I daren’t tell Nick how much time I’ve spent on there this morning – especially as half the house still needs painting!

You know it’s going to be good when the sign-up form only has 3 boxes. User centric design at it’s very best. (I used to work in UX a bit so things like this still make me very happy). Once you’ve signed up it asks you a series of ‘yes/no’ questions about which brands you like to try and get a good idea of your style. You can skip this bit if you’d prefer to just enter your favourite brands manually. All the latest items from the brands you’ve ‘followed’ will then show up on your homepage.

The best thing about Lyst is that it will alert you if one of your favourite items go on sale. Amazing. It will also hunts the online world to find an item for you if what you want is out of stock. Also amazing. The amount of times I’ve seen stuff on Pinterest or wherever only to spend hours trying to find it in stock somewhere. This happened a few years ago when I saw an Australian fashion blogger wearing my dream watch but couldn’t find it in stock anywhere in the UK. I’m still on the hunt now!

Anyway, in my time playing around with Lyst I’ve created a ‘Boho Style‘ board and a ‘Surf/Skate Style‘ board – feel free to check them out! I’m definitely trying to lean towards those kinds of ‘style’ now as I feel they are much more ‘me’. I’m always knocking around in jeans and a t-shirt. Skirts, dresses and heels are lovely but I’m just not that kind of person. Besides, it’s summer now and that always puts me in a ‘boho’ mood! I’ve always been a big fan of Vans, RVCA, Volcom and the like anyway.

Boho Style LystSkater Style Lyst

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My Monsoon Summer Wishlist

Today I’ve teamed up with Monsoon* to bring you my ultimate summer wishlist. How could I refuse the perfect excuse to sit around browsing their website for hours without Nick badgering me to do some painting or strip some wallpaper?!?

Monsoon is one of the few highstreet shops whose windows always make me take a second glance when I walk by. I think it’s to do with my love of all things embroidered since living in Mexico and they are the true highstreet kings of beautiful embroidered things – not to mention that nearly everything comes in navy which is my favourite colour to wear!

The other lovely thing about Monsoon is their strong values as they have a real focus on ethical trading, sustainability and they run a charity which helps over 10,000 disadvantaged women and children in Asia.

I’m seriously lusting after that bikini. It seems a shame to buy it though as it’s unlikely we’ll be going on holiday anywhere this year so it would be totally wasted as I’m the only one who would see it in my garden! Also, how do high-waisted bikini bottoms work from a tanning perspective?

Also, I cannot wait for the weather to be warm enough to wear patterned trousers. Comfiest clothing ever. It’s pretty much equivalent to wearing pyjama trousers all day. I’m so grateful they are completely socially acceptable.

 

My Monsoon Summer wishlist

Bag | Bikini top | Bikini bottoms | Trousers | Dress | Scarf | Sandals | White dress | Necklace | Sunglasses | Maxi dress |

See what I mean about the embroidery? That little black dress is AMAZING. And don’t even get me started on that bikini. Especially teamed with those cateye sunglasses. Retro pin-up perfection. I urge you to go and check out the rest of their offering for this season. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Spring lust list

Hasn’t the weather just been absolutely glorious lately? It’s made me realise just how much I dislike winter. It’s okay when it first begins and you get all excited about Pinterest pictures of snow and snuggly jumpers and pumpkin-spiced everything but once Christmas is done and dusted I want it to be spring straight away.

Thank goodness we’re out the other side and the clocks have changed! The lighter evenings really make all the difference. It’s made doing the house up a little easier too as it would have been miserable to have been working in the dark so much and there’s no way I’d have been as enthusiastic at the prospect of gardening in the frost.

The one thing I’m missing out on a little bit this year is that because of the house we’ve got no spare money at all. This means that any thoughts of shopping have to be put to the very back of my mind and I’ve been trying to avoid flicking through magazines or going anywhere near the shops in order to avoid temptation.

On top of this, because our house is down an un-made road, we’ve started to consider how much of a beating our poor car is going to get and have started talking about investing in a sturdier vehicle. I don’t think we really count as having an ‘average family car‘* – we probably don’t get caught in traffic for that long as we both work from home and Nick would definitely protest to saying that we get lost twice a year in the car!

So, to keep my urges at bay, I’ve been doing some pretend shopping on Polyvore and have collated my favourites pieces from the high street this season. You never know, maybe I’ll be able to snap them up second-hand on eBay next year!

Spring lust list

Jeans: New Look | Dress: Zara | Striped top: Warehouse | Red vest: Fat Face | White dress: Oasap | Floral dress: Boden | Bag: Accessorize | Skirt: Oasis

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Time to relax

To say we’ve been busy lately is a massive understatement. Thanks to the delays with our house purchase it means that our renovations have clashed with Nick having to drive to Gillingham four days a week to judge the Great Taste Awards. It’s so frustrating because we had bags of spare time in February and early March that could have been put to good use but now we’re trying to juggle it all at once and we’re running around like headless chickens half the time. We’re working until 10pm most nights (and on the days when Huxley hasn’t slept through the night we’re both ready to kill someone!)

I don’t want to be a sad-times Sally about it because we’ve got an awful lot done to the house given the time restrictions we’ve had but juggling Huxley, renovation work, actual money-making ‘billed’ work as we’re both self-employed and now Nick’s lack of time has been a pretty massive strain on us all.

To remedy this, we’ve been trying to maximise our relaxation time whenever possible. It really makes a difference to your state of mind if you can just sit quietly for even just 10 minutes a day.

I’ve been making Nick take time out to do yoga whenever possible as I know that as well as stretching his back out and helping his muscles, it also helps him to stay calm and focused mentally. I’ve also been making him listen to music while he’s working at the house as I think this lifts his spirits and takes the tension and seriousness out of the situation a little bit.

I’ve been trying to curl up with a cup of tea and a book for 20 minutes each day to give myself a rest but to be honest, a lot of the time I’m too tired to read and I find it just as relaxing to look out over the garden and do a bit of mental ‘filing’ where I can try and put all my thoughts in order. I’m having to decide what kind of bathroom and kitchen to buy and how I want our bedroom laid out while it’s still all a pile of rubble and it’s making my brain hurt!

Rob Ryan & Party Ring cushion from Flamingo GiftsTop: Miss Selfridge (old) | Jeans: Gap | Slippers: Next | Rob Ryan cushion & party ring cushion: c/o Flamingo Gifts (currently with 10% off everything and 1p delivery!)

Here’s some before and after shots of the house so you can see what a complete mess it is right now!

This is the kitchen. We’ve knocked the wall through to the dining room to make a big kitchen/diner. Check out the wallpaper!

Kitchen before

Kitchen afterThe bedrooms had to have all the plasterboard removed as they need insulating properly so we currently have no walls upstairs!

Bedroom before

Bedroom after

As you can see, we’ve got a long way to go yet!

 

Holiday planning – India

As well as planning a trip to Orlando in December this year, we’re also thinking of going away to India. I know they seem like two very extravagant holidays for someone who has just moved into a new house that needs completely renovating but we’ve both been saving hard for these trips for a few years now. The trip to India would be to celebrate Nick’s 30th which was in January but at the time we just went to London for a few days because we were waiting to exchange on our new house so we decided to put off the trip until later in the year when we were all more settled.

I’ve been to India before about 10 years ago and it was so fabulous. I was lucky enough to trek around the Himalayas, get lost in Delhi and marvel at the Taj Mahal. (Cue cringey photo…)

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This time around it will be slightly different because we’ll have Huxley with us. This is the main reason I’ve been searching for more luxurious holiday ideas and hotels in India* rather than the usual cheap-and-cheerful style of holiday that Nick & I usually go on! As lovely as India is, due to the noise & dustiness, it would be nice to be able to escape back into a clean, quiet hotel when the day is over. Once Huxley gets older I’m more than happy for him to experience India a bit differently but while he’s still so young, safety is my main priority.

There’s so many things I’m excited about that I don’t even know where to begin! The wildlife is definitely a big draw for us, especially after seeing how excited Huxley was at the zoo recently. When I was in India, I saw elephants just walking down the street and to see Huxley’s little face watch an elephant stroll past while he’s eating lunch would be worth it’s weight in gold. I’d also like to visit a tiger sanctuary, although I’ll be doing lots of research into which ones treat the animals properly and aren’t just dreadful, inhumane tourist attractions.

elephant

indian-tiger

Nick is always really keen to visit cities and ‘tick them off his list’ so as well as visiting Delhi, I think we’d travel around a little bit and try and see some other places around the country. Jaipur is only 4.5 hours drive so maybe we’d try and get the train down there or something. As well as seeing the Hawa Mahal, it would be great to try out some of Rajahstan’s regional street food to see how it differs from that in Delhi.

hawa mahal

street-food-at-sojati-gate-images-photos-52417dcbe4b0a843462ece9d

While in Delhi, we’d be silly not to make the trip to the Taj Mahal. Although I’ve been before I certainly wouldn’t mind going again as it was so serene and peaceful there. It was quite funny actually because we were one of the few groups of western tourists there. I expected the place to be packed with western backpackers but it was mostly full of locals or Indian tourists. In fact, we stuck out so much that several of us got collared by groups of Indians asking to have their pictures taken with us, which led to several embarrassing situations of being partnered up with other people from my group and asked to hold babies while photos were taken! It was so bizarre!

india-taj-mahalWhile Nick is always keen to see the hustle and bustle of cities, I’m always badgering him to get out into the countryside a bit more. When we went to Japan, we only visited Tokyo and I wish we’d made the trip out into the hills as I think it would have been much more relaxing. I’d love to travel around the countryside in India a bit more as it’s such a huge and diverse country that I feel we’d be missing out if we just stuck to the cities. I’d love to visit a tea plantation.

India-sceneryHave you ever been to India? Where do you want to visit on your next ‘big’ birthday?

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Holiday planning – Orlando

In December, Nick’s cousin is getting married at Disney World in Florida. I’ve been saving up for it for about 2 years now and it’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited about it. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that Nick & I are obsessed with America and have been to 17 states so far. Neither of us have visited Florida before so we’re excited to have the opportunity to explore somewhere new.

As it’s drawing closer I’ve been glued to my computer searching for florida flights to see how the price fluctuates throughout the year. I keep reading things about ‘last-minute’ flights not being cheaper anymore but I’m yet to see any evidence of that. From what I can gather, it’s about £500 cheaper to fly into Orlando*’s lesser known airport of Sanford (and it’s direct!) than the main airport that most people fly into. It’s a little further away but I think it’s worth it when you’re saving that much!

Here’s the top 5 things I’m most excited about:

harryBeing a huge Harry Potter fan, this is obviously top of my list for a trip to Orlando. I’ve visited the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London and it’s awesome but it doesn’t have rollercoasters.

cuban sandwich

I’m a little ashamed to admit that this very nearly beat Harry Potter to the number one spot as the main reason that Nick & I travel is to eat. How much do you want a cuban sandwich right now? Look at that picture! We’re desperate to eat one of these, especially after watching the film Chef not so long ago.

typhoon lagoon

Huxley is only going to be two years old when we go so he’ll be a bit young for a lot of the rollercoasters in the parks. One thing we will be able to all enjoy together is the water parks. I’m particularly excited about Typhoon Lagoon and the lazy river ride. Doesn’t that just look like the pinnacle of relaxation.

Kissimmee airboat rides

Not technically in Orlando, but only a 30-minute drive away is Kissimmee where you can take an airboat ride over the Everglades. This just looks like so much fun and I can just imagine Huxley with a little helmet and life jacket on squealing his head off with excitement as the wind blasts him as we speed around!

Blue Springs State Park Again, not technically Orlando but only a 40-minute drive is Blue Springs State Park where you can swim in the natural pools or watch the manatees. Unfortunately swimming with the manatees is not permitted. You can also go fishing, camping, hiking and canoeing here or take a boat tour.

Have you been to Orlando? What activities would you recommend?

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Garden decorating

So I have some pretty exciting news! We FINALLY exchanged on our new house this morning! Our offer was accepted in November and we thought we’d be moving in before Christmas but there was delay after delay, Christmas came and went and we moved out of the flat and into my in-laws in January thinking we’d only be there for a couple of weeks. Fast forward to March and we’ve finally exchanged! Phewph! It’s been a long time coming but it’s definitely been worth the wait.

The main reason we moved out of the flat is that we wanted a garden for Huxley to play in. It was so frustrating in the summer to not be able to open the doors in the lounge because we were three floors up and if we wanted to go outside it was a massive rigmarole because we’d have to pack a massive bag full of everything we’d need just to go and play outside. Now, we’ll be able to chuck Huxley out in the garden while we sit on the patio with a cup of tea. We’re going to be outside so much more often now. Also, I love the beach and the sea and we’ll definitely still go but cleaning up sand can get a bit tiresome so grass will make a nice change. Our garden is super private and not overlooked at all too so we’re very lucky.

So yeah, sorry if things get a little interior-focused over here for a little while as that’s going to be my main focus for the next few months as I get square eyes from browsing Pinterest for garden decorating for hours on end. The house is a massive project and is a bit of a mess at the moment so I will of course be taking before-and-after shots for you to keep up to date with how we’re getting on and it’ll be nice for us to keep inspired by tracking our progress and seeing how far we’ve come.

One of the things I’m most excited about is getting to take the garden back to it’s bare bones and spend some time planting the flowers and trees that I love. Decorating our outside space to include seasonal plants, an allotment as well as modern factors like lighting, means we’ll be spending plenty of time out there. I’ve got some ideas from Lampcommerce* and the local gardening centre to optimise the area to its fullest, for Huxley and us too!

One of the first things we’re ordering is a Weber Smokey Mountain BBQ so we can get some ribs going in the morning and by the time we finish working at the end of the day, we’ll be able to stuff our faces with awesome food.

camellia2

I can’t wait to plant a ton of pretty trees. I’m desperate for a camellia tree/bush. They are just so beautiful. A magnolia would also be rather lovely, as would an acer for the autumn. I just want the whole garden to be absolutely bursting with colour.

garden globe string lightsLighting is going to be really important in our garden as there aren’t any street lights so it’s going to be super dark. It’ll probably be one of the first things I buy as I love seeing trees lit up in fairy lights and I see so many lovely pictures on Pinterest of American backyards with string lights, not to mention patio lamps and wall lights perfect for entertaining on warm summer evenings with the aroma of ribs in the air.

garden playhouse

How cool is that playhouse??? I can’t wait to get/build something like this for Huxley. We wanted a treehouse but haven’t really got any suitable trees in the garden but if we keep a little corner overgrown and bushy then it will feel like a little secret den.

garden bar

You would not believe how excited Nick was when I showed him this picture! I can’t imagine we’ll ever have a bar this elaborate in the garden but it would be cool to try and recreate something similar for special occasions.

veg garden

This isn’t technically ‘decorating’ but we’ve always wanted a vegetable garden. We’re desperate to grow some herbs because they’re so expensive to buy in the shops! We’re hoping things will grow quite well as it’s a south-facing garden so it should get a lot of sunlight.

Do you have any future ideas? What would be in your dream garden?

(This post contains a collaborative link)

What to wear to the races

One of my favourite things about the beginning of the year is that you get to plot out all of the upcoming events and start planning what to wear. I’ve been thinking about going to one of the biggest race events of the year* and have been furiously Googling for inspiration to make sure I don’t stand out like a sore thumb!

It’s proving a little tricky as it’s in March so you can’t just whack on a pretty little floral number and walk out the door like you can in the summer. You’ve got to think about layers.

I’ve put together a couple of options, all of varying colour schemes to see what takes my fancy. I’ve also got a wedding to attend in April so maybe I’ll be able to recycle whatever I wear at that too. #thrifty

 

Cheltenham Festival

Dress: Coast | Bag: New Look | Coat: Oasis | Shoes: Topshop | Watch: Net a Porter

I love this look. Mainly because I love the effortless simplicity of black. And the fact that I know I could easily stick on a pair of really thick black tights with this and it would still look awesome.

 

Cheltenham Festival - Perfectly pale

Dress: Coast | Hat: Accessorize | Coat: Wallis | Bag: Michael Kors | Shoes: Office

I love the different shades of nude and pink in this outfit but I’d definitely have to be feeling pretty brave to wear this. There’s something about having kids that makes you naturally weary of anything white or paler than black.

 

Cheltenham Festival - Tweed classics

Shirt: Mango | Scarf: Joules | Jacket: Joules | Skirt: Joules | Wellies: Joules

My third option is to raid Joules and go for a classic tweed look like Kate Middleton. There’s nothing like a good bit of tweed to make you instantly feel upper class. This one is clearly the most comfortable option and although I’m not sure I’d be able to wear a tweed skirt suit anywhere other than to the races, the pieces make good separates. I did own a Joules tweed skirt once and I loved it!

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Getting romantic with La Redoute (& a competition!)

Last week I was contacted by La Redoute who asked if I’d like to get involved in their Valentine’s Day campaign with them & monthly subscription service, My Little Box. They’ve asked me to talk about the most romantic thing that has ever happened to me.

I’ve been with my husband for 10 years this summer and he is very romantic so I had a whole heap of stories to tell! The one that always stands out in my mind the most is our first (proper) date. It was like something out of a movie.

We’d driven to Kimmeridge on a beautiful summer’s evening to watch the sunset. The sky was clear and it was beautifully warm. We laid down on the cliff edge and looked out over the ocean as the long grass blew in the wind. He’d bought a packet of my favourite biscuits for us to eat as we watched the sun go down over the sea and we shared our first kiss. Once the sun had set we drove back to Bournemouth to watch the fireworks on the beach. We climbed onto the roof of a beach hut and watched the fireworks exploding over the pier. When it ended we lay looking at the sky for a little while and saw several shooting stars. It was literally perfect.

The second story that always springs to mind is when I went to India for a month about a year after meeting my husband. It was a World Challenge thing that I’d signed up for a year before I’d met Nick and I was going round Delhi & the Himalayas for a month with a bunch of people from school. As well as making me a t-shirt to wear while I was away, he also packed a chunky envelope into my bag. The chunky envelope contained 30 little envelopes each containing a handwritten letter about how much he loved me. He’d even found a copy of our itinerary so each letter corresponded with the destination I was going to be in on that day.

To celebrate this Valentine’s Day, La Redoute kindly provided me with an outfit to wear on my dream date (a walk in the woods) and sent me a ‘My Little Box’. Unfortunately my ‘My Little Box’ hasn’t arrived yet but I’ll be sure to share it with you when it does!

My Little Box is a monthly gift box subscription with a different theme each month. They are super cute and previous themes have included ‘Diane Von Furstenburg’, ‘cosy‘, ‘colour’, ‘couture’ and even a ‘Fleur de Force‘ one. The boxes contain all kinds of lovely things like Essie nail polish, Kerastase & Cowshed goodies, as well as little lifestyle things like notebooks, mugs, stickers and magazines. At £14.95 per month they are such a beautiful little bargain!

If you’d like a chance to win an annual subscription to My Little Box, then scroll to the bottom of this post for more details!

Rene Derhy boho dress from La Redoute

British fashion blogger in floppy hat boho dressHuxley-in-the-woodsUK fashion blogger in Rene Derhy boho winter dress

Hat: c/o La Redoute | Dress: Rene Derhy c/o La Redoute | Tights: Primark | Boots: Clarks

To win your very own annual subscription to ‘My Little Box’ hop onto Twitter or Facebook and tell La Redoute the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you, using the hashtag #LaRomance.

The three best entries (chosen by a La Redoute representative) will win an annual subscription to My Little Box.

T&Cs

- The competition is open to UK residents

- Entrants must be over the age of 18

- The competition will run from 9th – 23rd February

- Winners will be announced on Wednesday 25th February and will be contacted by the social media channel they entered through

You can find more information and the full T&Cs on the La Redoute blog and Facebook page – good luck!

2015 Spring Trends

Is anyone else celebrating the imminent arrival of Spring? It’s not long now until the clocks go back and I’m already really enjoying the longer days and lighter mornings. There’s nothing like a bit of prolonged sunshine to put a smile on my face.

One of my favourite things about this time of year is the torrent of spring/summer catalogues that come sprawling through my letterbox. I get so excited flicking through all the gorgeous bright pictures of people licking ice-creams on the beach. Honestly, the Boden catalogue made me so happy that I almost cut out some of the pictures to stick on my wall.

For this post I’ve picked out some of my favourite trends for spring 2015 (although I might be buying it all through credit catalogues* at this rate as we save furiously to have enough money to renovate our new house!)

Seventies - Spring Trends 2015

Dress: New Look | Hat: Dorothy Perkins | Jeans: MiH Jeans | Dress: Zara | Camel skirt: Miss Selfridge | Trousers: Etro | Bag: Yves Saint Laurent | Skirt: Zara | Wedges: Topshop

One of my all-time favourite trends no matter the season is the seventies trend. It’s just so cool and I wish I could pull it off successfully. Two bloggers who always get this trend spot on are Olivia and Amy. Effortlessly cool.

 

Gingham - Spring Trends 2015

Skirt: Tesco | Dress: New Look | Shirt: Boden | Top: Miss Selfridge | Hat: Debenhams | Trousers: Zara | Dress: MSGM | Top: Warehouse | Dress: SimplyBe

I love gingham. I can understand why people hate gingham because it’s easy to associate it with primary school summer dresses (which is probably why a lot of gingham is in black and white!) but it makes me feel nostalgic. I love being able to give it an adult twist. For example, those Zara trousers with a plain black top and some heels is going to look so good.

Here’s some bloggers all looking awesome in gingham: Sarah, Amy, Sarah, Kristabel & Kileen.

Statement shoulders - Spring Trends 2015

Black top: Zara | Patterned top: Motel | White top: Topshop Unique | Black dress: Next | Striped top: SimplyBe | Orange top: Topshop | Black dress: New Look | Grey top: Dorothy Perkins | Jacket: Faith Connexion

This trend is great because it’s so subtly sexy (and in a more practical way, great for letting in a nice spring breeze to cool you down on warmer days!)

Here’s some bloggers rocking the look: Emily, Steph, Miss Pouty, Mafalda & Jennifer.

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