HomeSense haul & a giveaway

I hate using the word ‘haul’. I’m not really a big shopper so it’s very rare that I’d have a ‘haul’ of anything but on this occasion, homeware-for-less store, HomeSense kindly gifted me a £50 voucher to celebrate the launch of their first ever TV advert so I had an excuse to go on a bit of a spree! (Keep reading to win a £50 gift card of your own!)

Homesense haul with Cath Kidston, Rob Ryan & Emma Bridgewater

If you haven’t heard of HomeSense then you’re really missing out! It’s basically the ‘home’ section of TK Maxx but a whole shop! I’m rather well acquainted with HomeSense as there’s quite a large one five minutes from my house so you’ll often find me rooting for unique treasures in there.

Furniture display at Homesense Poole

They sell everything from sofas to wardrobes to bathroom accessories to books to food and everything in between – even giant wooden mermaids if that’s what floats your boat!

Giant wooden mermaid at Homesense PooleCushions at Homesense PooleArtwork at Homesense Poole

One of my favourite things to browse at HomeSense is their book collection. They always have a really good selection of cookbooks, from the big names like Gordon Ramsay but also some of the more obscure cookbooks by people like Alice Waters and Jake Tilman. They also have an awesome section of ‘lifestyle’ books and I’ve seen some real corkers in there for a fraction of the cover price. On my latest visit I spotted the new Sartorialist book and they always have really good travel books too.

Cookbooks at Homesense, Poole

On this particular visit, I strayed away from my usual fare of books and picked up a random assortment of rather lovely things.

On this particular visit, I strayed away from my usual fare of books and picked up a random assortment of rather lovely things.

Firstly I got this beautiful Rob Ryan book. I’ve been a huge fan of Rob Ryan since he illustrated one of my children’s stories in Anorak magazine about 6 years ago. I’ve got a poster in the kitchen and I got his other book for Christmas last year so I was really excited when I spotted this on the shelf (and for the bargain price of £4.99 instead of £16.99 – even on Amazon it’s £11.55!)

Rob Ryan A Sky Full of Kindness from HomesenseRob Ryan book from Homesense

Secondly I bought this beautiful storage box for £3.99 (RRP £9). I found it tucked inside a larger box and it’s going to be perfect for me to store all my receipts in ready to file my tax return in April (what fun!)

Emma Bridgewater box from Homesense

Next I spotted these gorgeous thank you cards. Anything with a bird on and I’m sold – even the envelopes have a pretty spotted interior. These were £4.99 for a set of 8.

Molly & Rex thank you cards from HomesenseMolly & Rex bird print thank you cards from Homesense

Then I wandered around into the bathroom section via the beauty supplies. There were loads of bottles of big brand hair care products but what caught my eye was the selection of my favourite body butters for £5.99 (down from their usual price of £8.49). I had a hard time deciding whether to choose mango or coconut but coconut won out in the end. Perfect for my growing baby bump!

Nip + Fab body butter from Homesense

I don’t know what it is about mugs but I just can’t seem to walk past them without looking despite the fact that our mug cupboard is already bursting at the seams. This boat print mug caught my eye because of the tin it was in. All I could think was ‘wow, not only do I get a new mug but I also get a handy cookie container too’. The mug and tin were £4.99 (RRP £10)

Cath Kidston mug from HomesenseCath Kidston boat mug from Homesense

Being the loving wife that I am I decided to let Nick have a bit of fun too. He picked up a candle called ‘Mohave’ which cost us £14.99 and after a quick Google it appears these candles retail for about £50 so that was a great find!

Modern Alchemy Desert Essence Mojave candle from HomesenseNick was also very boring & sensible and bought a big fluffy bathmat for £9.99 to replace the one we’ve had for about 7 years. I didn’t think it would make a very good photo as it’s just a big dark square!

As you can see, your money goes a long way in HomeSense!

One of the other things they’re trying to do alongside their new TV advert is to arrange their products into categories around the shop so you can get a better idea of how certain items of the same theme fit together and might look in your home. My local store in Poole had a big display near the front door highlighting ‘Treasures from Thailand’.

Inside Homesense PooleTreasures from Thailand at Homesense PooleTo spread the HomeSense joy, they’ve kindly given me a £50 voucher for one lucky winner to spend in the Poole store.

To spread the HomeSense joy, they’ve kindly given me a £50 gift card for one lucky winner to spend in the Poole store.

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter form below. Each section will grant you one entry but for a bonus double entry, simply watch the TV advert below (it’s only 23 seconds) and let me know which of their lovely items catches your eye! (Personally I’m loving the deer head over the fireplace or the blue printed chair)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today I’m Wearing: Sam Edelman Gigi sandals

Way back in November I was given a voucher for Shopbop. Due to my extreme indecisiveness it’s taken me ages to spend it. The website is so full of lovely things that are hard to get hold of over here that I just couldn’t decide how it would be best spent.

I have to admit that I also had some reservations about using the site. I don’t understand how they can sell designer items so much cheaper than everywhere else. I was also worried about the customs charges as I’ve been stung buying stuff from America before. So I asked around on Twitter and the lovely Rosie from A Rosie Outlook said that she’d ordered from there before and had no issues.

Just when I thought I’d settled on this gorgeous crochet top from BB Dakota, I found out I was pregnant. Clearly no use buying a top now.

BB Dakota omni crochet topSo I thought it best to stick to shoes and finally settled on this gorgeous pair of Sam Edelman Gigi t-strap sandals in neon coral & natural. They’ve got these sandals in a million different colour ways on the website and it took ages for me to choose!

They were only £46.80 on the website and I’ve seen them for about double that over here! Luckily I already own a pair of Sam Edelman boots so I knew what size I needed to order. The checkout process is really quick and simple and they offer free worldwide delivery. There are several different options for paying your customs charges but I decided to prepay my customs charges of $16 so that they didn’t get held up at the depot.

Literally two or three days later I was surprised to get a knock at the door and be handed my new shoes! Considering they were coming all the way from America I really was not expecting them to turn up so quickly!

And they arrived just in time for all the lovely hot weather we’ve been having. I happily discovered that my white American Eagle Outfitters dress that I bought in San Francisco this time last year fits nicely over my bump so I popped on my new sandals and took them on their first outing.

So comfortable. And I got loads of compliments on them.

Chanel sunglasses, American Eagle Outfitters white sundress, Sam Edelman Gigi t strap flat sandalsChanel sunglasses, white American Eagle dress, Sam Edelman sandalsThe Style Box in a white dress and Sam Edelman Gigi sandals(There’s no hiding my bump in the side view shots!)

Sam Edelman Gigi t strap sandals in neon coral & natural from shopbopSam Edelman Gigi t strap sandals from Shopbop in neon coral and naturalSunglasses: Chanel | Dress: American Eagle Outfitters | Sandals: Sam Edelman

Did everyone have a lovely sunny bank holiday weekend? I had a wonderful weekend, in fact I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t even take that many photos.

On Friday Nick & I went shopping in Southampton and had the most awesome burrito at Tortilla (after the whole shopping centre had been evacuated!). On Saturday we caught up with bits and pieces of work and started decorating the nursery. On Sunday our friends Lauren and Ben came round with little Lexi and we went for a walk down the beach. On Monday we went to Neile’s house and Nick helped in the garden for a bit and then we all went to Nick’s mum’s for the afternoon to sun ourselves in their garden and try and coax Elsie into walking! And I had a bonus day off yesterday due to having my 16 week appointment with the midwife where we got to hear the heartbeat! I spent yesterday morning sat in the sunshine with my nan, we put a deposit down on a pram (we’ve gone for the iCandy Peach Jogger in gumdrop!) and then Lauren and Ben came over again and we treated them to an Indian takeaway as they are always doing stuff for us like our tax returns and fixing our boiler!

Tacos al pastorWe had homemade tacos al pastor with real corn tortillas for dinner – delicious!

Colourful treesView to the beachI’ll never get bored of being greeted by this view as we walk down the hill!

Branksome Chine beach, DorsetCanford Cliffs Beach, Poole, DorsetPink blossom

Today I’m Wearing: My new Zara parka

When we were in New York, after Hurricane Sandy had knocked the power out in half of the city, there wasn’t much left to do but shop. The shops in and around Times Square were open and functioning so we spent a bit more time in the shops than we’d planned to.

During this time it was pretty cold and I was on the hunt for a new coat. I’ve had my current (horrific) Bench coat for about 5 years now and I felt it was time for a much needed update.

That’s when I stumbled across this beauty in Zara. (Good old Zara, you can always count on them to have exactly what you’re looking for). I tried it on and ummed and ahhed in front of the mirror for about 10 minutes before deciding to shop around a bit first. While we were in Urban Outfitters, I used their free wi-fi to google the Zara coat and found that I could buy it for about £10 less in England.

So I didn’t buy it. When I arrived home, I visited my local Zara to find that they didn’t have it. That wasn’t too much of an issue because I’d seen it online so I knew I could order it there.

Then life got in the way and about 3 weeks had passed. After checking online again and finding it gone, panic started to set in. What had I done? The first coat I’d liked in 5 years and I’d passed it up in order to save £10. What a fool!

Luckily, this story has a happy ending as I had to go to London for a meeting on Monday and just happened to park at Westfield and their wonderful big Zara had it in stock. Hurrah!

So I tried it out yesterday on the beach in the wind and the rain and it’s perfect. I don’t know if you can see in the pictures but it’s totally fur lined! So cosy!

Zara parka, Mother Denim The Looker jeans, black ConverseZara parka coat, Forever21 scarf, Mother The Looker jeans, Converse on Branksome BeachZara coat, Forever21 scarf, Mother The Looker skinny jeans, ConverseZara coat on the beach

Zara coat, Mother jeans, Converse on Branksome beachWearing:

Coat – Zara (similar)

Scarf – Forever 21 (similar)

Top – Joseph (similar)

Jeans – Mother ‘The Looker’ in Here Kitty Kitty

Shoes – Converse

Saturday & Sunday – Christchurch Priory & banoffee pie

Friday night I went to see my Dad, Stepmum & little sisters as I hadn’t seen them since Christmas. It was really nice. We had chippy tea.

On Saturday we went shopping in Bournemouth and I bought some MAC concealer, some Converse trainers and my first ever Chanel nail polish. Saturday afternoon I got my craft-on. Can’t wait to show you what I’ve been making. I love my sewing machine. Nick is judging the Guild of Food Writers ‘Food & Travel’ award this year so we’ve been sent a load of cookbooks recently and this one is my favourite so far (obviously I can’t tell you what Nick’s preference is!). It’s called Tasting India by Christine Manfield. It’s a cookbook but also a travel book and the photos are gorgeous. I’ll always have a soft-spot for India as it’s the country that kicked off my wanderlust. The Himalayas are unreal.

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Polish April 523

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Polish April 523

Black Converse All Stars from Office

Tasting India by Christine Manfield

Tasting India by Christine Manfield

Tasting India by Christine Manfield

Tasting India by Christine Manfield

Tasting India by Christine Manfield

Tasting India by Christine Manfield

Tasting India by Christine Manfield

Robert Clergerie Niscou black glitter boots

Black H&M dress, Robert Clergerie black glitter boots

Top, dress & leggings – H&M

Boots – Robert Clergerie

Today we went for a wander around Christchurch. I’ve been wanting to go for months as I love the priory – it’s absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately it doesn’t open it’s doors until 2.15pm on a Sunday and we were there at like 12pm and didn’t want to hang around for 2 hours. But we’ll go back another day. Then we came home, had amazing tacos for lunch with real corn tortillas and I made a banoffee pie for dessert and Nick’s sister and her fiancee came over for a little chat which was nice.



Christchurch priory

Christchurch, Dorset

Boats in Christchurch, Dorset

Christchurch priory

Christchurch priory
Abercrombie & Fitch hoody, San Francisco t-shirt, Kate Spade Essex Scout Satchel, Hollister jeans, black Converse All Stars

Hoody – Abercrombie & Fitch

T-shirt – N/A (from Golden Gate Bridge gift shop, San Francisco)

Jeans – Hollister

Shoes – Converse All Stars from Office

Bag – Kate Spade Essex Scout Satchel

 Tomato, avocado, onion, corn tortilla mexican tacoBanoffee pie

Banoffee pie

Banoffee pie

Friday – Sam Edelman & Temporary Secretary

Thank you all for your kind words on my last post. I’ve had a pretty hectic week. On top of all the family stuff, I’ve left my job of 4 years and been dealing with the anxiety that comes with starting a new job and the TOWIB event that I’m attending tomorrow. I had a nightmare the other day that nobody would talk to me which has made me stress out a bit.

My colleagues got me an awesome leaving present – I can’t wait to show you it – but you’ll have to wait until Sunday or Monday I’m afraid.

This is just a quick post to show you some of the things that I’ve bought recently.

Firstly, these are my new Sam Edelman flats that I got from Brand Alley. The RRP is £185 but I got them for £41.50 – bargain! I’ve only tried them on once very quickly at the moment and they were worryingly tight. I’m going to wear them around the house with socks on over the next week to see if they stretch a bit, but if not, then I might have to eBay them (which I will be seriously gutted about!)

Sam Edelman studded leopard print flats from Brand Alley

Sam Edelman studded leopard print flats from Brand Alley

Sam Edelman studded leopard print flats from Brand Alley

Secondly, I finally got around to buying a typewriter ring from the lovely, gorgeous Sarah at Temporary Secretary. I’ve wanted one of these for ages and I’d like to try and support bloggers shops a bit more this year and thought that this was the perfect way to start. I absolutely love it! And it came in such a nice box, that I left it on the side for a whole day before opening it because I wanted to make sure I had some blog photos before opening it 🙂 Sarah also wrote me a lovely postcard to say thanks 🙂

Typewriter rings are £10 (plus postage) and can be purchased from Temporary Secretary

Typewriter ring from Sarah at Temporary Secretary

Typewriter ring from Sarah at Temporary Secretary

Typewriter ring from Sarah at Temporary Secretary

So my plans for the weekend involve spending this evening totally stressing out about what to wear all weekend. Then I’m up early tomorrow morning to drive to London to go to TOWIB (eek!) and then I’m going for dinner and staying at my lovely auntie’s house. And then on Sunday I’m getting the train back into London to attend Scoop International Fashion Show with work.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Monday – Sam Edelman Petty boots & getting out of your fashion comfort zone

As some of you will know, it was my birthday yesterday. I went to London and had a fantastic time but didn’t take any photos as I was far too busy enjoying myself wandering around Selfridges and Liberty. We also popped in to see the guys from Pitt Cue Co ahead of their grand opening of their American-style barbecue restaurant tonight. They were very nice chaps and I hope it all goes well for them.

I wanted to show you all my new Sam Edelman petty boots.

This year I’ve decided that I need to get out of my fashion comfort zone a bit more. When I go travelling, me & Nick go down all the back streets and our holidays are about as far from dull package holidays you can get. This is because I love being out of my comfort zone. I think it’s important to challenge yourself and to feel a bit uneasy and unsure sometimes (I would never put myself in any obvious danger though). So I thought it was about time that I did the same with my clothes.

I’ve been a plain-Jane ‘jeans-and-tshirt’ type girl for as long as I can remember and I was getting fed up reading all these fashion blogs with super cool, amazingly dressed girls and thinking ‘why can’t I be like that?’ and this is my first step towards that. I’m not totally deluded and I don’t think that this one pair of boots has instantly turned me into Chiara Ferragni or Rumi Neely, but I think I’m heading in the right direction.

I was a bit worried about wearing them to work as I thought I’d get a load of sarcastic comments but actually, nobody said a thing (not to my face anyway!)

Navy H&M skater dress, black skinny belt, leopard print Sam Edelman petty boots

Leopard print Sam Edelman petty boots

Leopard print Sam Edelman petty boots

Leopard print Sam Edelman petty boots

Leopard print Sam Edelman petty boots

Leopard print Sam Edelman petty boots

Boots – Sam Edelman 

Thursday – Geox boots & Sarenza

My new boots arrived yesterday! I’m so excited! I’ve never owned a pair of nice black boots and the search for the perfect pair has taken me years!

Black Geox boots

I originally spotted these Geox boots in TK Maxx months ago. I tried them on in several sizes on several occasions but never took the plunge.

Then, a few months later, after many attempts at buying other boots that weren’t quite right (like these Timberland ones), I saw another woman buying these boots in TK Maxx and it made me realise how much I liked them. So I rushed round to the shoe section and to my dismay, they only had really small sizes left. I then hunted around 3 other local branches of TK Maxx but they had all sold out. I was gutted. My foolish fear of spending money had yet again stopped me from buying something I not only really wanted, but really needed. (The only boots I currently own are Celtic Sheepskin Ugg-style boots). So I turned to the good old internet and Sarenza came to the rescue.

When I first looked they were the original full price of £153 which was about £75 more than they were in TK Maxx. I was deterred again. However, when sale season came around, I took another look and lo-and-behold, there they were, in my size, in the sale at the same price that TK Maxx had them for. I ordered them quicker than I can now put them on and zip them up.

(I have just looked on the Sarenza website and to my sheer disbelief I’ve been ousted by the sales yet again! I paid £76.50 for them last week and now they are £61! Grrrr!!! I hate the sales!!!!)

But, that said, I do love them.

But most of all, I love the Sarenza customer service. Particularly, Eleanor. After waiting rather a long while for these boots to arrive, I checked the delivery tracking online and it said that they had already been delivered the previous afternoon. I tweeted at Sarenza to say that I thought my boots were lost and they replied within 15 minutes asking me to email them. So I did, and they replied in about half an hour saying that they would liaise with the delivery company to try and find out what happened to them. I then got an email every morning and every afternoon explaining what they had been doing and how far along they were with finding my boots. I was never once made to feel like I was causing them any inconvenience and they were absolutely lovely the entire time.

Turns out my neighbour had taken the boots in but hadn’t bothered to tell us for 4 days!

(Today’s look is very much inspired by my lovely colleague and friend, Terri – we pretty much looked identical today….oops….)

Navy George Waterfall Cardigan, White New Look top, River Island jeans, Black Geox boots

Wednesday – Cath Kidston laptop case & The Soapy Cauldron

Just a quick post from me this evening as Brownies starts again tonight.

I bought this laptop case in the Cath Kidston sale last week. I’ve wanted one for ages and it was down from £26 to £16. (Although I’ve just looked again now to get the link and it’s down to £8! Not impressed! This is why I hate the sales!)

Cath Kidston star print laptop case

Also, I won an adorable basket of bath goodies from The Soapy Cauldron last week. It’s all handmade and smells divine! The cupcake soaps are far too pretty to use!

The Soapy Cauldron

Friday – Astley Clarke & The Independent

I bought this ring about a week ago from Astley Clarke but haven’t blogged about it yet because it’s been at the jewellers getting resized.

I’ve been lusting after this ring for months and months. It was £90 originally but went down to £30 in the sale. A lot of my rings are huge and plastic and garish and so this really makes a nice change for me. I had to pay a bit more than I wanted to get it resized (£25) because it’s gold-plated silver but I don’t mind too much because I’ll wear it all the time. It still makes it £35 cheaper than it originally was.

Astley Clarke ring boxAstley Clarke Marcato Amethyst RingAstley Clarke Marcato Amethyst RingAstley Clarke Marcato Amethyst Ring

My husband Nick was in The Independent today! :)

It was a feature about working from home with 3 or 4 other people and his photo was the biggest of them all (which I totally took by the way so I’m technically now a published photographer haha!)

Nick Baines Food Writer Blogger Lost in the Larder in The Independent

Astley Clarke Ltd Generic 468x60

Wednesday – The Body Shop & Street Princess

I had to dash into town on my lunch break to get a ring resized today and popped into The Body Shop on the way back as I desperately needed a brush to tame my unruly mane once I’d got back to work and the wind and rain had had its way with it. Obviously I couldn’t walk past the sale without having a little nosey and after sniffing every single product available I opted for a ‘spiced vanilla’ lip balm reduced to £2.50. It smells like vanillary hot cross buns. Yum! I also got a teeny weeny hairbrush to stick in my handbag for emergencies.

The Body Shop Spiced Vanilla Lip Balm & Mini Hairbrush

On the jewellery front, just before Christmas I purchased some necklaces from Street Princess. I’ve seen lots of bloggers wearing these types of necklaces and have wanted something similar for ages.  I opted for a one with a camera on and one with a pair of glasses on (to match my own geek-chic glasses).

They arrived very quickly and wonderfully presented in little bags. The necklaces are £6 each but if you’re a blogger then get 50% discount so be sure to get in touch with Naheeda! Plus there’s free postage to UK! Both of these are currently sold out but there’s plenty of other lovely stuff on there! 🙂

Street Princess camera necklace & geek glasses necklace

Street Princess camera necklace & geek glasses necklace

Navy breton French Connection dress, red J Brand 811 jeans, leopard print Stylist Pick shoes