30 Sep 2014

autumn stuff

1. Duffle coat - ASOS
2. Pea coat - ASOS
3. Green coat - Superdry
4. Chelsea boots - Office
5. Brogues - Office
6. Helsinki hat kit - Wool and the Gang
7. Kasey coat - Whistles
8. Geometric weaving wall hanging - Melissa Jenkins Dsgns
9. Military coat - Free People

I've not compiled a wish list in ages (it's been a busy couple of months) but today I read Michelle's excellent post about jackets. I then spent the next 45 minutes looking up winter coats and this autumnal wish list was born! As you can see it's mostly coats and I think this year I should treat myself to a new one. I love my parka but I've had it for the last three winters and this year I fancy something a little more...sleek. Also, if there's enough money left over from my coat spend (probably not that beautiful blue one from Whistles then) I might replace my Chelsea boots which have holes in the soles. Alternatively I could go for these brogues, currently on sale...v.tempting. The awesome helsinki hat knit kit might have to wait until xmas as will this perfect little wall hanging. Quite tempted to have a go at weaving myself, Artemis from Junkaholique has made some and they are v.cool. Despite all these glorious sunny days, it feels v.much like Autumn to me. Change is in the air and in more ways than one. I'm looking forward to cosy nights in, hearty soups and stews, wearing my infinity scarf and taking a trip down to cornwall for the Falmouth Beer Festival.

Are these increasingly dark evenings inspiring any autumnal wants/escapades pour vous?

28 Sep 2014

fun breakfast

 Ever since I've known Mitch (that's over 5 and a half years now) he has always had shift work jobs which inevitably meant that he worked weekends. Not all weekends but most of them, or most likely either the Saturday or the Sunday, a whole one was a rare and beautiful thing. But that's all about to change. He's switched departments and now he only works Mon-Fri! To celebrate this momentous and awesome change, I've decided that I want to make more effort with weekend breakfasts. It's quite possibly my favourite meal of the day - when done properly of course. And, in this day and age, there's so much choice I really don't have an excuse to not start the day right - be it healthly or indulgently. So here it is, a first of hopefully many: fun breakfast :)

toast (seeded loaf)
dash of olive oil
half a tomato
half an avocado
one soft-boiled egg
pinch of black pepper

V.simple, colourful and lush.

26 Sep 2014

experiments in dressmaking - self-drafted dartless dress

Started on Sunday and finished on Wednesday (probably one of the quickest turnarounds where dresses are concerned - really impressed with people who can complete them in one sitting), here's my self-drafted dress!

I think the main reason why I got it finished in good time is because it's dartless. I still really struggle with darts. I know they're important in creating shape but I just couldn't deal with the hassle on this. Yes, the top is a little shapeless but I bloody love me some loose - slightly kimono-esque - sleeves.

The material is ace - lightweight, kind of drapey, I want to use the word cheesecloth but it's not see-through at all. I got it from one of the fabulous fabric caverns on the Goldhawk road about 3 months ago and I really wish I'd made it earlier, this dress would've been perfect for summer.

I teamed it with a belt (to give a little shape and the impression that I actually have a waist) and tights for its first outing to visit my friend (and her gorgeous 4 month old son) in Essex. It works better with bare legs and sandals though I reckon.

Happy Friday all!

22 Sep 2014

weekend stuff

★  Eating: Taco soup (a mish mash of several different recipes found via pinterest - it tasted pretty lush, even if I do say so myself).

★  Drinking: Tribute pale ale down at The White Horse in Brixton for a friend's birthday on Saturday night.

★  Catching-up with: Moriarty. He'd been rather reclusive for the last week or so and no amount of walnut bribes would entice him out. However, this weekend he was v.sociable and he didn't seem to want to go back in his cage at all last night.

  Watching: Ted Talks, pretty much back to back. There's literally hundreds of awesome talks to listen to but three stood out for me in our most recent binge – this one about hard choices was cool, as was this one about amazing feats of memory and this one about the Good Country index.

★  Knitting: I'm about 3/4 of the way through my jumper. That'll be the second sleeve once it's finished and then there's just the incredibly confusing "neck shaping" bit before joining all the pieces together. I'm excited for the outcome but a little concerned it'll be lumpy....

★  Sewing: I woke up on Sunday and decided that I should make something with the fabric I bought from the goldhawk road in June, so, I started this dress. There's quite a bit still do but I am immensely poor till pay day so I hope to finish it during the evenings this week.

★  Avoiding: Applying for jobs even though I really need to get on with it. I even went for a run in order to put off writing yet another cover letter. This weekend has basically been an exercise in procrastination.

★  Thinking: What am I doing with my life?

Good weekend?

19 Sep 2014

a weekend in pembrokeshire

Last weekend six of us drove to pembrokeshire for no other reason than to get away from London and be by the coast. And when I say by the coast I mean it. We stayed at the YHA Pwll Deri which is located right on the cliff edge. We arrived rather late on Friday night so the fabulous views from our windows weren't fully appreciated until Saturday morning. I'd recommend this hostel for the spectacular location and the facilities (it's all self catered which is cool) but I'd be lying if I said I had a good night's sleep there. The beds were unbelievably creaky and the 8 bed female dorm was waaaay too small for eight people. Also the sink was incredibly noisy and in the middle of the room which was a bit weird.

Accommodation niggles aside, it was a fantastic couple of days. On Saturday we embarked on a 7 and a half mile walk along the wiggly, and stunning, coastline from our hostel to Goodwick, making several little detours along the way - climbing rocks, exploring a narrow slate carved staircase that looked like something out of Lord of the Rings, attempting to skim stones on a tiny hidden pebbly beach, having a play on some random rope swings and, most importantly, seal spotting! We saw A LOT of seals but, alas, all from a distance, not that we couldn't hear them - seals are loud! It was still cool though, and the little white pups were sooooo cute :)

After 5 hours of walking (before you think we're all incredibly slow, the coastal terrain is super hilly) we were all knackered and starving so settled into a pub and stuffed out little faces with pale ale and good food. After a quick stop off at tesco for snacks and more booze, we took a cab back to the hostel - we'd originally thought about walking back, haha, silly people - then continued to chat, play games, booze into the night whilst also making friends with a couple of other hostel goers (one of whom turned out to live v.close to one of my friends in west london, it's a small world).

The next morning the boys cooked up a fabulous breakfast (with added crumpets) which we guzzled outside gazing out at that insane view. Bellies full, we packed up the cars and headed south to Freshwater West for a a day of lazy about on the beach and paddling in the sea. If you ever find yourself in the pembrokeshire I can't recommend it enough, it is one stunning place. Fun fact about Freshwater west: thanks to all the storms that happened last Christmas the beach lost - to the winds and the sea I'm guessing - tonnes of sand, exposing a lot of cool stuff long buried such as two shipwrecks and what may or may not be the remains of an ancient forest (last pic)!

As early evening started to settle in we begrudgingly dragged ourselves back to the cars to begin the long ass journey back to London. Seeing as I'm still a non-driver, I feel incredibly lucky that I have friends who can drive and are happy to go to all these places with me and Mitch in tow. There's at least one more weekend away on the cards for this year and I can't bloody wait.

16 Sep 2014

Our wedding :)

Just over 4 weeks ago I married the most awesome man on the planet and had the best weekend of my life. In case you're curious, here's how it all played out…

A few of us went down to Surrey the Friday before, mostly to decorate the hall but also to check into our hotels and do a rehearsal. Setting up took a lot longer than anticipated and I am hugely grateful to those who helped (especially mine and Mitch's parents, Mitch's best man and his wife and our long-time friend George), I honestly don't know how we'd have managed without them! After setting up we took a break in the local pub not 5 minutes walk away, where I consumed (a couple of pints and) a deep-fried mac'n'cheese burger. I know it sounds disgusting but oh my god, it was guuuuuud. Bellies full we returned to the hall for a rehearsal before I said goodbye to Mitch and we all went to our separate hotels.

I was awake at 5:30 the next day - part nerves, mostly excitement - and managed a piece of toast at breakfast. I cannot tell you how nice it was to have breakfast with everyone (there was a whole bunch of us staying at the same hotel), it totally chilled me out and I didn't feel worried or stressed at all by the time I went back to my room to get ready. My three beautiful bridesmaids joined me for champagne, make-up and hair (one of them actually did my hair for me!) before my mum arrived to help me into the dress.  Let me tell you: I felt fan-fucking-tastic in my dress. I want to wear it all. the. time. 

My dad's friend, Alan, drives a white rolls royce and v.kindly offered to drive me and my dad to the register office in Guildford and then, after the ceremony, take Mitch and I to the hall in Witley. He'd even decorated the car with ribbons and flowers AND left a bottle of champers for us on the way to the hall. I was and still am so very grateful to him - thank Alan!

I arrived at the register office to find that Mitch was already there (so many bonus points). The lovely people at the registry office had him hidden away so that he wouldn't see me before the little "ceremony". After some pictures in the cute garden at the front of the building and bit of admin stuff for the marriage certificates, it was all systems go! Everyone (I say everyone but it was really only 12 of us in total) went into the room to wait for my dad and I to make an entrance. (In case you're curious, we walked in to this piece of music from True Romance.)

Although the register ceremony was short and concise, I caught myself by surprise and had my first (of many) happy crying sessions of the day during the declaration. I honestly hadn't expected to cry but I think it just dawned on me what we were doing (I know that sounds ridiculous but it's true). We took a few pictures fake signing the registrar's book (you can't have pictures signing the real one for some reason) and then we went outside, took a few more pictures and got into the cars to drive to the hall. Having only a handful of people at this official bit was perfect, it sort of eased us into the rest of the day. It also meant that the party could really start. The drive to the hall in that beautiful car gave Mitch and me a chance to catch-up with each other, it was immensely calming and chilled.

We'd set up the hall so that we could perform another ceremony, that way all our 85 guests could witness what had happened at the registrar's. Of course we were already married but this ceremony was much more personal. This time I walked down the aisle to Eels. Our friend George, who we'd lived with in Surbiton gave a wonderful opening speech and then lead the ceremony before Mitch and I read our own-written vows to each other. It all got pretty emotional :)

We led all the guests outside, with Karen O blasting out in the background. After the ceremony we all hung out on the green next to the hall so that our caterers could set up the tables. Thankfully it was a beautifully sunny and warm day, the local cricket team were even out playing on the lawn. A couple hours of milling about and A LOT of photographs later, it was time to head inside but not to eat. The caterers were running a little behind and I was just wondering whether we should ask them how long they were going to be when two of the wait staff burst into song! Turns out they weren't wait staff but professional singers who Mitch had hired - unbeknownst to anyone - to entertain us! It took me a couple of songs to get into it (and over the shock) but after that I thoroughly enjoyed it. They did a few from Les Mis (pretty relevant as that's what Mitch and I saw on Jan 1st in NYC the morning after he proposed) - I can't deny that my husband is seriously bloody romantic :)

Next, food! Although it was late, it was worth waiting for. Mitch and I had our heart set on a v.causal sit down meal so that's exactly what we did - spicy pulled pork buns with coleslaw and salads, along with veggie and fish options. It felt pretty ace to be sitting there in my beautiful dress, stuffing my face with a messy pork bun! After the chow down the caterers gave out little tubs of ice cream and we settled in for the speeches - my dad first, then the best man and then Mitch. All three were v.different but equally awesome, emotional and funny (thanks guys). Afterwards Mitch and I attempted to go around all the tables to say hello to everyone. We didn't quite manage this as there were just so many people to talk to - a common theme of the day - also, we had one more bit of entertainment to roll out before the evening: Movie Bingo. As massive fans of Jess Indeedy's Musical Bingo nights we though it'd be fun to have a go at a film music one. Mitch created a playlist of movie songs (along with some dialogue from each film to make it a bit easier) and the guests crossed them off on their bingo cards in order to win one of three prizes. Each table got a big bowl of popcorn too!

By the time the bingo had finished the band had arrived so all that was left to do was cut the cake (we had a lot of choice as friends and family had contributed a fair few) and take our places for our first dance. Mitch and I, as may be obvious now, are big film fans and one of our ultimate favourites is Back to the Future so what with having a live band, specialising in 50s and 60s tunes, our first dance couldn't have been anything but Earth Angel from the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. It was perfect.

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur but involved LOTS of dancing (the music was sooooo good - I think nearly everyone had a dance), trips to the photobooth (completely set up by Mitch and his best man - fabulous IT geniuses that they are), chatting to people and generally having the best time ever. The last of us locked up the hall at about 1ish and headed back to our hotels.

The next day a core group of family and friends stayed to dismantle/clean the hall. I am eternally grateful to these awesome people, I don't know what we'd have done without them, they did such a good job that we were home by about 2pm. That afternoon, once we'd got home, Mitch and I opened everyone's cards which turned out to be an emotional task. Everyone's lovely comments and honeymoon contributions were rather overwhelming. All I can say is that Mitch and I are unbelievably lucky to be surrounded by such a bloody amazing set of family and friends - they, along with Mitch, really made that weekend the best one I've ever had. Fittingly, I think that's what's most important about a wedding, you don't need all that "traditional" stuff or a fancy bar (BYOB went down fairly well at ours I think) or even a stunning location, and it doesn't matter if the chairs aren't the ones you ordered or that the food is late because all that really matters is that you're marrying that ultimate person who you want to spend the rest of your life with, and that all those you love and who love you are there to celebrate and share in that almost euphoric joy.

Mush fest over :) X
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