How to style an LBD with TU Clothing

I was recently asked to style an LBD (little black dress) by Sainsbury’s as part of my involvement in their TU Clothing Fashion Blogger Community. They sent me their black ribbed ponte dress (also available in red) along with £20 Sainsbury’s vouchers to get whatever other bits I needed to complete my look. (If you’ve watched my weekly vlog you’ll already have seen it!)

Anyone who knows me will know that I like to keep it simple and classic. With my £20 voucher I purchased some gorgeous emerald green and gold jewellery including some rings, a necklace and some beautiful dainty bracelets that I thought would complement the dress perfectly.

I am a complete disaster when it comes to doing my hair. You’d think that by the age of 27 I’d have a couple of quick, simple tricks up my sleeve to take my hair from drab to fab but unfortunately not. The seemingly easy ponytail that features in this outfit post took me an embarrassingly long time and half a can of hairspray to put together – and was only really an option after several failed attempts at a beehive. Oops! I was desperate to include my new red glitter bow from Beauxoxo though as it’s the perfect Christmas accessory! (Don’t believe me, ask Zoella!)

Styling LBD for TU Clothing SainsburysRed Glitter Bow from BeauxoxoSainsburys Tu Clothing NecklaceUK blogger little black dressSainsburys jewelleryBeauxoxo red glitter bowBritish blogger outfit postGoofballBritish fashion bloggerLittle black party dress Sainsburys

Wearing: LBD – c/o TU Clothing | Jewellery: c/o Sainsbury’s | Hair bow: Beauxoxo | Shoes: Christian Louboutin

As you can see, this dress would be suitable for any festive party occasion. It’s simple enough not to look too over-dressed if you’re just out for drinks with the girls but also classic enough to hold it’s own a work Christmas party. It wouldn’t even look out of place around the office. What more could you ask for from an LBD?

 

Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair

Eek! Happy December everyone! I love this time of year! One of my favourite things to do at Christmas is visit all the adorable local fairs and markets that pop up in the villages and for me, the most exciting of them all is definitely the Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair! I didn’t get to go last year and I was so gutted! It had been in my calendar for months and I’d been following the action on Facebook and counting down the days and then I had to go to London for work at the last minute and miss the whole thing! Nick went with Huxley and his mum and he raved about it and said I would have loved it so I’m even more excited about it this year now!

Just in case you’ve never heard of Etsy and have no idea what I’m rambling on about, Etsy is an online marketplace where independent sellers can make, sell and buy unique, handmade items. It’s like having a worldwide craft fair at your fingertips. You can find TONS of awesome stuff on Etsy, from lampshades to furniture to jewellery and everything in between! You can even buy my very own Curious Wolves baby vests & t-shirts that we had especially designed by Nicholas John Frith on there!

If you live in Dorset, the nearest Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair is happening in Wimborne but they are also happening all over the country too in 12 different locations from Glasgow to Cardiff and more – and they’re all happening THIS WEEKEND! It even happened in Australia! The Dorset Etsy Fair in Wimborne is on Saturday 5th December from 10am-4pm at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne. Make sure you check the date and time for your local fair as they all vary – some are open just Saturday, some are open just Sunday and some are open all weekend.

Dorset Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair Wimborne

So, in order to celebrate the start of the most wonderful time of the year and to showcase all the handmade loveliness that will be on show at the Etsy Dorset Christmas Fair, I thought I’d do a Christmas gift guide featuring all the local sellers that will be there on Saturday so you can start eyeing up your favourite things and scribbling lists of what you want to buy for yourself other people.

If you’re planning on going to an Etsy fair in a different location, then you can see which sellers will be attending and what they’ll be selling here.

 

Dorset Etsy Made Local Fair

 

1. Green & Bronze Wrap Bracelet – £29

Channel your inner boho chick with this beautiful bronze & green wrap bracelet from Wildkat Jewellery. This bracelet comes in lots of different colours and she makes some pretty cool necklaces too.

2. Istanbul Print – £11

I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting the lady behind Little Vagaries. We used to sell some of her beautiful art work in the cupcake shop I worked in. Her pictures are so intricate and always feature a little hidden fox somewhere! She had a beautiful one of a tea cabin (that I think was in Canada somewhere) that I always meant to buy but never got around to it so if I spot it on Saturday then I might snap it up! In fact, I’m a little bit obsessed with this print too actually – the border is so stunning!

3. Animal Print Rucksack – £45

OMG! This is one of those items that I immediately fell completely in love with. Huxley would totally agree with me as he’s obsessed with animals. I will definitely be hunting down Carara Designs stall on Saturday! If the animals don’t float your boat then check out her Etsy store as she has tons of different designs – she also makes pretty awesome teepees for kids too!

4. Yellow Harris Tweed Purse – £8.99

Sometimes it’s so hard to find a nice, plain purse that feels playful but grown-up without being overly girly and this one from Green Callow ticks all the boxes for me. Made with yellow Harris Tweed, it’s also got a really cute floral interior (so it’s secretly a bit girly!). There’s lots of different colours and designs and they also sell cushion covers too.

5. Alice in Wonderland cushion – £130

I have to admit that this Alice in Wonderland cushion caught my eye from the thumbnail but it wasn’t until I looked more closely at the larger images that I realised just how detailed and beautiful this cushion really is. It’s a real work of art. Jessali Handmade also stocks a wonderful range of personalised Christmas stockings so keep your eyes peeled for those on Saturday too!

6. Acrylic Painting of Bournemouth – £300

Wow. Your eyes are hit with an explosion of colour when you visit Art by Nkolika Anyabolu’s Etsy store but it was this adorable picture of Bournemouth that really stood out for me. The bright, vivid colours really captures the feeling of the playfulness of summer on the beach. She also has some stunning pictures of animals and flowers. I can’t imagine feeling anything but happy when looking at something so bright and colourful!

7. Red Glitter Hair Bow – £5

I’m so excited to include Beauxoxo in this list! Georgie is one of my best blogging buddies and it fills me with so much joy to see her doing so well as she works so hard. Georgie sells tons of beautiful hair accessories from flower crowns to bows in a whole rainbow of colours but I’ve chosen this one as it’s very Christmassy. It’s also a favourite of vlogging queen Zoella!

8. Felt Fox – £40

This little felt fox from Apulina is just so adorable I can’t bear it! He’d be the perfect companion for my office desk! There’s loads of other animals on her Etsy store if you aren’t a fan of foxes and she makes greetings cards too.

9. Unicorn costume – £55

Yes, you read that correctly. A UNICORN costume. It says it’s for kids, but really, you know you’re going to find me wearing this one. Isn’t it just perfect?? If you’re after something less girly, her Etsy store The Tired Bears also sells dragons, sharks, whales and dinosaur costumes too.

10. Plum Jam shea butter bath bomb – £2.95

Everyone loves a bath bomb don’t they? Soap and So UK have tons in lots of different flavours and cute little soaps so there’s bound to be something for the bath-addict in your life. I’m loving these adorable gingerbread man soaps too! Such good stocking fillers!

11. Fairy Door – £15

Eep! I may have let out a little wee in excitement at these amazing little fairy doors. My niece Elsie would LOVE one of these! It’s safe to say that I’d be more than happy with anything from Annie’s Farmhouse Craft. It’s all wooden and rustic looking – right up my street!

 

So, I hope you like my selection of gifts! Will you be going to an Etsy Made Local Christmas fair near you?

 

*This post has been written in collaboration with Etsy UK but all views are my own and I was planning on going already anyway!

 

Weekly Vlog #7

New weekly vlog is now live! Can’t believe I’ve been doing this for seven weeks now!

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

Monday: We went to Nick’s mum’s house to film a Udemy course

Tuesday: Huxley went to nursery and the health visitor came over for his 2 year check

Wednesday: I had a meeting in the morning and then Nick went climbing and I got a McDonalds

Thursday: We drove to the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham to go to the World Cheese Awards where Nick judged cheese and I did the social media. Nick’s mum came with us so she could watch Huxley while we were working and then we carried on driving up to Cleethorpes to see Nick’s family.

Friday: We woke up at Nick’s Grandma’s house and just spent the day chilling out and catching up. In the evening we went to Nick’s Aunty’s house for a big family meal.

Saturday: We had a chilled morning and then I drove 6 hours home!

Sunday: We spent the morning doing a bit of online Christmas shopping and then I walked through the woods to my mum’s house to pick up Huxley’s advent calendar.

If you enjoy watching my weekly vlogs then please subscribe to my channel!
 

Christmas Gift Guide with FlamingoGifts.co.uk

Hello! Welcome to my first Christmas Gift Guide of 2015 (I mean, come on, it’s still November, there’s BOUND to be more than one!).

This gift guide comes to you specifically from FlamingoGifts.co.uk who recently sent me an awesome bunch of stuff to kickstart my Christmas shopping. In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent some bits & bobs (pictured below) for free but they haven’t ask me to write a gift guide, I’m doing this purely because I had so much fun shopping around on their site. It really is a fantastic place to get all those quirky Secret Santa gifts & stocking fillers. And to make it even better, there’s free delivery on everything this weekend! Amazing!

If you watch my weekly vlogs then you’ll already have seen the lovely things they sent over, if not, then check out the photo below.

Christmas-Gift-Guide-from-FlamingoGifts.co.uk

They sent me an adorable Sass & Belle Bear cushion, some Toy Story pyjamas that Huxley is OVER THE MOON with, some gorgeous tea towels, some beautiful Moroccan tile coasters and a Happy Jackson Christmas bag to keep all my stuff in (which unfortunately isn’t online anymore).

So for my Christmas gift guide, I’ve split it up based on personality-type so you can choose from techie, foodie, adventurer, girly-girl and I’ve done one for kids too. You have no idea how long I spent trying to convince Nick that we NEED an inflatable dinosaur….

 

Christmas ideas for Adventurers from Flamingogifts.co.uk

Fire dust | Hip Flask | Cushion | Chalkboard | Flask | Coasters | Storage Bag | Decoration | Suitcase

Christmas ideas for Techies from Flamingogifts.co.uk

iPad sleeve | Phone splitter | Screen cleaner | Laptop sleeve | Earbuds | Cyber clean

 

 

Christmas ideas for Girly Girls from Flamingogifts.co.uk

Beanbag | Lunch box | Mug | Hand warmers | Suitcases | Candle | Jewellery Dish | Bag

 

 

Christmas ideas for Foodies from Flamingogifts.co.uk

Lunch box | Coasters | Storage tin | Espresso set (featuring illustrations by my friend Nicholas John Frith!) | Baking set | Lunch bag | iPad sleeve | Make-up bag

 

Christmas ideas for Kids from Flamingogifts.co.uk

Gingerbread Man Cushion (not online!) | Gruffalo Plate | Microwavable Fox | Blocks | Inflatable Dinosaur | Chalk | Book ends | Gummy Bear Lamp

Autumn Forest Walk

Yesterday was one of those perfect Autumn days. It wasn’t raining and it wasn’t cold so we decided to go on an Autumn forest walk. We didn’t plan a route, we just walked out into the forest and took whichever pathways looked the most interesting.

Dorset woodland

Although I loved living by the sea, I definitely feel more relaxed when I’m in the forest. I love that the scenery changes every couple of steps, and sometimes even when you haven’t moved at all. It was quite windy yesterday so the clouds were flying past overhead meaning that one second it was grey and dull and the next second, the trees were dashed with ever changing dappled sunlight. It was so beautiful.

Autumn forest walk

The area of forest that we explored is called Stephen’s Castle (if you’ve been watching my weekly vlogs, you’ll have seen me mention this before!). I spent A LOT of time in those woods growing up. We’d just walk for miles and miles or we’d try and build a treehouse or we’d blow-up an inflatable boat and float out into the middle of the lake. It was the best playground a kid could ask for.

Even so, there are still hundreds of little pathways that I’ve never been down and have no idea where they go to! Nick & I are SO excited to explore it all a bit more. We’re going to buy some bikes over the next few months as there were loads of hills that looked like a lot of fun to ride down.

This time we took Huxley on his little bike as he much prefers sitting in that to his pushchair. Our walk ended up taking 3 hours and we got quite lost! I worked it out on a map afterwards and we’d only actually walked 4.5 miles but it felt like much more having to push the bike up hills and carry it through enormous puddles! Needless to say that we hungrily devoured some bacon sandwiches and mugs of strong tea on our arrival home!

 

Huxley running

Stephens Castle Verwood

UK blogger The Style Box

Autumn woodland walk

slug

British lifestyle blogger Joules wellies

Forest adventures

English Autumn woodland Verwood

Also, how do you guys like my new blog logo & template? It was all a bit of a last-minute panic decision on Tuesday and it was the kind of thing that I thought would take 10 minutes and ended up taking more like 4 panicked hours to sort out! I’m pretty happy with it though. It’s easy to be scared of change, especially when you’ve stuck with the same thing for years and years but I’m glad I made the leap and I hope you guys like it too!

Firepit s’mores

I cannot tell you how long I have dreamed of being able to sit in my own garden and make s’mores! I know it sounds really silly but having a little fire burning and crackling away in front of you while you watch the sky change from blue to pink to lavender is one of life’s biggest pleasures and one of my favourite winter outdoor activities. We weren’t allowed barbecues or anything on our balcony in the flat and dragging a barbecue or firepit down to the beach always seemed far too much effort so to be able to do this right outside my back door is total bliss.

UK blogger Autumn hot chocolate in the garden

The lovely people at Ocean Finance* recently sent me this firepit as part of their #AutumnGarden campaign and they also kindly sent me some money to spend to make my garden even cosier. I knew immediately that I was going to buy some outdoor fairy lights for our apple tree. I browsed the local garden centres for a while but finally found my dream set on Cox & Cox. I wanted the big bulb kind like they have in America, not the tiny twinkly fairy lights we usually get over here and these fit the bill perfectly.

Fire & festoon lights

If you haven’t heard of s’mores before then you haven’t lived! They are an American thing which I don’t think you can accurately recreate over here in the UK (correct me if I’m wrong!). They are traditionally made by toasting a marshmallow over a fire and then squishing the melted marshmallow with a chunk of chocolate between two graham crackers. Despite how much time I’ve spent in America, I haven’t actually ever had a graham cracker but I’ve been told that the closest UK equivalent is a digestive. So, for a UK cheat’s version of s’mores I used chocolate digestives.

Firepit s'mores outdoor winter activitiesGarden firepit and fairylightsBack garden firepit smoresToasting marshmallows over the fire

One of the great side effects of eating s’mores is that it makes you look super attractive…

AttractiveOutdoor fairy lights from Cox and CoxAutumn garden firepit smoresAutumn garden firepit smores UKWinter outdoor activitiesIf you haven’t watched my latest weekly vlog, you might not have seen my new fringe! I was pretty scared about getting it cut in as it adds so much extra work in the mornings. It’s been very strange getting used to it but I think I’m getting there!

*This is a collaborative post

Weekly Vlog #4

Hello!

Just a quick post to let you know that my latest weekly vlog is live!

Here’s a quick recap of what happened this week:

Monday – I made s’mores in the garden using my new firepit (see blog post here),

Tuesday – Huxley went to nursery and Nick & I worked from home in the morning and in the afternoon we went to Poole so Nick could meet a local backpack designer and order a new bag from him. I ended up getting stuck in the car watching InTheFrow & Brogan on YouTube a lot.

Wednesday – Nick fixed the guttering (fun!) while Huxley and I made some butterfly cakes (River Cottage recipes are THE BEST!),  Nick’s mum came over with an old family friend and then we put our wellies on and splashed in the puddles.

Thursday – Huxley went to nursery and we worked from home in the morning again and then in the afternoon we went to Nick’s parents house so Nick could go for a beer and make some bacon with his dad while Huxley played with his cousins Elsie & Hadley. In the evening I went to the fireworks on Poole Quay and had a 3-course meal at the Thistle Hotel with Rosie, Amy & Georgie which was really fun.

Friday – My mum had the day off and we all went swimming at SandyBalls (hehe!). We didn’t really do much in the afternoon so I didn’t get round to filming any more – sorry!

Saturday – Nick went to London to visit Beavertown Brewery with his friend Nick and I went to see my friends Jim & Soph and we went to the park on the beach.

Sunday – We went to Nick’s mum & dad’s for Sunday dinner followed by a lovely autumny walk in the woods with Huxley and Harry the dog.

Thanks for watching my weekly vlog – hope you enjoy!

Fireworks for Halloween

This year we went to the local fireworks for Halloween with Nick’s family. Their garden backs onto the heathland and there’s a path that leads all the way to the local playing field so we wrapped up, grabbed our torches and headed out into the dark (and slightly spooky) forest.

Nick-&-I-fireworks

Huxley absolutely loved it. He walked through the woods holding Elsie’s hand and carrying the torch as we told them to keep their eyes peeled for the Gruffalo. When we arrived at the end of the path, Huxley’s little eyes lit up at the rainbow of flashing lights before him.

We had about an hour to kill before the fireworks display was on so the kids went on a couple of rides. Huxley had never really been on anything like that before but he got to sit next to Elsie and was in his element! His day got even better when the next ride allowed him to fly on a pink elephant!

Huxley-on-rideNeile-&-LukeHadley-&-ElsieNicks-family

They also had a ‘spooky woodland walk’ set up which was a little trail around the woods lit up with fairylights where kids dressed up as monsters jumped out at you. It was pretty funny and the kids all coped surprisingly well! At one point a teenager walked right up to Huxley and screamed in his face. Huxley looked at me and said ‘scared’ but I told him to say ‘boo’ back and he did. I can’t believe he didn’t cry! (You can watch us at the fireworks in my weekly vlog!)

I wasn’t sure what Huxley would make of the fireworks either as he’s never seen any before but he wasn’t phased by the loud noises at all and was just pointing at them with the biggest smile on his face as he told us what all the different colours were.

fireworks-for-Halloween

Sainsbury’s TU Fashion Blogger Community

I have some very exciting news to tell you all! As you may have guessed from the title of this blog post, I’ve been asked to be a part of the new Sainsbury’s Tu Clothing Fashion Blogger Community. I’m seriously so flattered to have been asked and super excited about it.

Alongside Gap, Sainsbury’s has always been my absolute favourite place to buy new clothes for Huxley. The quality is fantastic, it washes really well and the prices are amazing – especially when there’s 25% off (like there is until Monday!). We bought LOADS of packs of vests and sleepsuits from Sainsbury’s when Hux was a baby and it’s still my favourite place to buy him pyjamas now.

I also love their collections for women as it’s always full of classic basics and is a really ‘safe’ way to test the waters of a new trend. Their collections by Gok are always amazing and if I still worked in an office I can imagine that my wardrobe would be full to the brim with Sainsbury’s workwear.

We used to live quite close to a HUGE Sainsbury’s with a MASSIVE clothing department which was amazing but now our local Sainsbury’s only has a small portion of what they have available. Luckily, they’ve just launched their e-commerce site so now you can buy it all online – HOORAH!

To welcome me to the fashion blogger community, Sainsbury’s kindly gifted me £100 to try out their autumn/winter range. For this, I picked up a new coat, a jumper, a jumper dress, a top and two tops for Huxley – and that was before they launched their 25% off! So as you can see, your money goes a long way at Sainsbury’s. Unfortunately the top I ordered was out of stock so I didn’t receive it but it was this one and it’s SO beautiful.

I went and had my hair cut today and I have a fringe now! So it’s funny to look back at these pictures that were only taken this morning knowing that I now look completely different! I wore my new orange jumper and coat out today. You can see the rest of what I was sent in my vlog on Monday and I’ll be featuring it all on the blog shortly.

Sainsbury's Fashion Blogger Community

Sainsbury's TU Clothing Orange Pointelle Bobble JumperSainsburys Tu Clothing Red Fur Collar Dolly CoatSainsburys Red Fur Collar CoatCoat: TU Clothing* | Jumper: TU Clothing* | Jeans: Abercrombie | Boots: Primark

Nails: Essie ‘Bobbing for Baubles’ & ‘Set in Stones’

As I said, it’s 25% off until Monday so everything is such a bargain right now. This coat is £30 down from £40 and the jumper is an insane £13.50 down from £18.

House update: The lounge

Hurrah! Our lounge is finally finished! Originally we weren’t in a massive rush to get the lounge done but we’ve had a bit more work on than normal lately and therefore had a bit more spare cash so we decided to splash out and get it finished before Christmas.

Now that’s it’s finished I’m really glad we pushed ourselves to get it done. We spend a lot of time in the living room and it just looks so big and lovely now that it’s all painted white and I feel so much better now that it’s all clean and nice! No matter how many times we used the carpet cleaner I just couldn’t get that horrible old musty smell out.

The first thing we wanted to get sorted was the heating. Our lounge opens out onto our south-facing back garden so we assumed that it would be lovely and warm. Man were we wrong. It was literally like an igloo even in the height of summer.

We looked at several solutions, including electric radiators from Verismart Heating as they’re 100% efficient and have a bunch of handy features like auto time adjust and open window detection but in the end we opted for more traditional gas radiators as we needed a gas supply bought to the house for the oven anyway. We also had a wood burner installed which I think is Nick’s new favourite thing ever. He’s built a fire every night so far regardless of the temperature so we’ve been sat sweating most evenings! He’s pretty excited about winter now just so he can use it more!

Although the lounge is ‘finished’ in terms of painting and floor-laying, we haven’t quite caught up with putting art on the walls and things yet. We really want a series of those old-fashioned style travel posters for some of the big National Parks in America. I’ve found some on AllPosters and now we’ve just got to decide which ones to get! We’re also on the search for the perfect rug at the moment. We want one of those classic red and blue patterny ones, you know what I mean, the ones that look like they could be in Downton Abbey. I’m not sure what you call them!

Living Room beforeLiving Room renovation duringWhite lounge wood floors with wood burnerLounge beforeLiving Room with Dean Forge wood burnerLounge renovation beforeLand of Nod teepee play tentLounge renovation duringLounge renovation afterDean Forge wood burner

If you’d like to see the rest of my house renovation, check out the links below:

Bathroom renovation | Kitchen renovation | Bedroom renovation

*This post is in collaboration with Lasse Pedersen