Category: Uncategorized

When the going gets tough…

…the tough go shopping.

Or so the saying goes.

I think the actual saying is “the tough get going” (or at least that’s what Billy Ocean sang – if that makes no sense to you then ask an older person. One that isn’t me). My personal fave is “the tough have a drink”. But that’s just my own mantra and not immortalised anywhere. It also works for when the going is easy, or the going is neutral.

That’s besides the point.

I haven’t actually been shopping, I couldn’t think of anything worse at the moment, but I have been slightly cheered by a parcel I ordered last week, before life fell apart all over again. In fact it’s been sitting unopened since before the weekend, and I’d actually forgotten what was in it.

Cue some smiley happy shoes.

I love shoes. They always fit, they never make you look fat, and they have the power to transform an outfit from just ok to “wow”. Bags I don’t really get. But shoes? Oh yes!

These are two bargain beauties from H&M.

Multicoloured lace up roman sandals – £9.99 (reduced from £24.99)

Buying sandals at this juncture in summer may seem an odd move, but I get a lot of wear out of sandals and this style is right up my alley (in fact it’s pretty much the only style I’ve bought this year). I love the multi colours, and the versatility and I know I won’t tire of them so they’ll be great to wear into next year as well.

Yellow suedette heels – £12.49 (reduced from £24.99)

These are less versatile and I will get less wear out of them, but fuck it! They’re a lovely bright colour and, despite looking like they might have the same effect on your toes as cheesewire, they’re surprisingly comfortable, because the toe strap is soft and padded and the slight platform offsets the heel (which is already lower than many of the pairs I own). The buckle sits slightly awkwardly on my ankle bone, but I can handle it, I’m hardcore 😉 I’m going to pair them with all shades of denim, dressed up or down, and maybe with a dress too if the occasion arises.

Are you a shoe monster? Hit me up!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Some purchases from Peacocks

Back in the time before I had put myself on something of a spending ban (or at least severe limitation) while I get my finances back to where I would like them, I bought a few bits from Peacocks.

I actually bought them in store, and then got an email with a 20% discount offer so returned everything and rebought it (that’s just good economics, no?)

Printed viscose top

Peacocks paisley print sleeveless top

This is lovely and light and airy, looks and great with dark denim

Lace up sandals

Peacocks yellow lace up sandals

These are advertised as yellow, but they’re more of a neon acid chartreuse I think (ooh, get me!) I suddenly realised that most of my sandals were beige or black and that I (wanted) needed some bright summer shoes in my life, and these were the answer.

Beaded sandals

Peacocks beaded ethnic ankle strap sandals

“While buying one pair of sandals, I might as well chuck another in,” thinks I. So I did. These had me convinced that I had one ankle which is considerably bigger than the other as the right one felt tight, but they’re more comfortable as time goes on – which means either the leather has stretched or all that hopping on one foot has been paying off.

Dark denim shorts

Peacocks indigo denim shorts

Just because. I thought I’d wear them loads. I’ve worn them once. Must rectify.

All that for the princely sum of £41.60 – pretty good eh?

Oh, and then the sale started and I picked up this fringed black and white Aztec poncho kimono thing (a kimoncho?) for £7.

Peacocks aztec print kimono

Send me links to your latest buys; I’d love to have a nose!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Days out: Chester Zoo

On Saturday the husband and I drove up North to Chester Zoo!

I have mixed feelings about zoos, because of the captivity thing, but Chester Zoo is renowned for doing lots of conservation work with animals and looking after them really well, plus I’d heard that the animals have lots of space and anyway, I really wanted to see the giraffes!

It wasn’t cheap (£21 each and that was buying online in advance – it costs more on the gate) but it’s well worth the money. Parking is free and plentiful and there’s so much to see, it’s a full day out.

First stop was the elephants.

Followed by the one horned rhinos – these were fascinating. They look as close to prehistoric dinosaurs as you can imagine; their bodies look like armoured plates. The husband fancies himself as a bit of a Rhino Whisperer, because he beckoned it to come over from the other side of the paddock and it did!

We watched the giraffes for ages!

Just seeing how tall I am today!

Chester Zoo tall giraffe

This is an Okapi – part of the giraffe family. No-one even knew they existed until the beginning of the 1900s!

We saw penguins and flamingos.

A spectacled bear and zebra.

This is a scimitar horned Oryx. Now I admit to being rather underwhelmed with these, until I got home and read that they’ve been completely extinct in the wild since 1999. Isn’t that sad? Also they can survive up to 10 months without any water! Say what?!

Chester Zoo scimitar horned Oryx

Part of the Zoo has been designed to resemble tropical islands and over here live the tigers, gibbons and orangutans. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any pics; they were all feeling a bit shy. But there is a charming lazy river boat ride which runs through the islands.

Chester Zoo feels more like a wildlife park than a traditional zoo; it’s very open and green, with lots of pretty flowers.

The animals, on the main, have lots of space and there isn’t the feeling of being overly caged in. The lions had a big area with lots of trees and rocks and there were lots of swinging ropes and things to climb on in the monkey houses. There was plenty of information about the animals, including their names and history, birth place, relationship to each other, which is nice.

Apparently there are over 20,000 animals! That’s a lot of meals to prepare!

I’d definitely recommend a visit if you ever get the opportunity, but be sure to wear comfy shoes, there’s a lot of walking involved to do it justice.

Have you ever been to Chester Zoo? Or any other UK zoos? I’d love to go to Edinburgh and see the pandas…

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

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Barbecue on the balcony

As soon as the sun comes out, Brits love to barbecue. It’s a like a rite of summer passage. If you have one planned and the weather forecast changes, tough. You grit your teeth and do it anyway.

Living in an apartment I don’t have a garden, which suits me most of the time. I have a perfect little space in the sky for a garden furniture set for two and plenty of flowers, with views of lovely gardens that I don’t have to do anything with (we have a gardener darling 😉 )

Of course we have to pay a monthly service charge for said gardener and are at the mercy of the dictatorship management company, who come up with all sorts of silly rules like you can’t leave your car parked in the same place for more than 48 hours and…more importantly…you can’t have a barbecue.

Now part of me understands the logic in this, because our balcony railings are made of wood and, if one flat goes up in flames, it’s likely to spread quickly. I also believe that, as a responsible adult (ahem) with a mortage and an insurance policy and a lack of desire to burn myself and all my possessions, I should be allowed to make decisions about my own property and what’s best for it. Unfortunately the gestapo management company obviously has spies everywhere, because last time we flouted the rules and cooked like cavemen, with fire, we received a letter in the post within two days reminding us that we have no power to live autonomously and they will send hungry wolves round to tear us limb from limb if we do it again (exaggeration may have been used here).

Undeterred, the husband has a plan B. An electric barbecue.

Now, the purists and pedants amongst you will spot this for what it is – a grill! But, in the face of adversity, it’s better than giving in to the despots management company and cooking all our meals indoors. Husband is already chomping at the bit for someone to report us so he can gleefully wave the plug at them and smugly return to sizzling his sausages. I think he secretly hopes that we get “busted” so he can go all gangsta and shout IN YOUR FACE. And I would secretly like it too because, although I really love where I live, it can get tiresome worrying if you’ll come back from holiday to a big fat telling off sticker on your car window because you didn’t put it in the garage (yes, that’s another thing, you tell the autocracy management company that your car will be parked for longer than 48 hours and they ask you why it isn’t in your garage? Bloody cheek!)

Now, said electric barbecue was ordered when we had that blink and you’ll miss it couple of days of sunshine earlier this month. By the time it arrived it was raining, and seemingly has done ever since. If it’s been raining where you are then just blame my husband and his silly Amazon ordering finger. Nothing like making summer plans to put a halt to summer, eh? We’d be better off sticking a pole in the lid and using it as an umbrella for all the use we’ve had from it so far. But we clung onto the fact that things can only get better, right? It can’t rain forever! And filing that, we’d just bring it inside and use it on the dining table. An indoor barbecue! You can’t do that with real flames….

Unbelievably, despite the fact I needed an ark rather than a car to get to work this morning, this afternoon tuned into a beautiful summer day which continued into evening, and were able to christen our new purchase. Hurrah!

Here it is all set up, and in cooking action!

You can find the Andrew James electric barbecue on Amazon.

Are you a barbecue fan?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Back to reality…

…except not.

The last week has been eventful in many ways. Download was muddy (oh so muddy), drunken (oh so drunken) and muddy again (did I mention the mud?)

I got overly drunk, which to some seems funny but, in retrospect, I’m pretty pissed about because:

a) I should know better

b) I’m too old

c) I missed out on stuff I would have liked to see

Still, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I haven’t hurt or upset anyone (quite the opposite, I’ve been a source of comedy it seems) plus how else was I supposed to deal with the mud? (I know, I mentioned that).

Reality has taken it’s time to join forces with me ever since, and I’m not sure we’ve quite connected yet.. The news of the Orlando shootings filtered through but seemed so very far away until the bands had finished and Monday’s hangover kicked in, and then the inevitable social media skim to see what we’d missed really hit home. I was especially angered by the Sky News reporters who refused to acknowledge a blatantly homophobic attack for what it was. Good for Owen Jones on walking out. I’d have lost my rag way before that.

The drive home, which should have taken an hour, took 2 and a half, due to someone who’d climbed up on a motorway gantry sign and been in situ for 18 hours. The worry was obviously for his mental health, but I’ve seen no conclusion as to why he was up there either way.

A bag of muddy clothes proved too much for my washing machine which then stubbornly jammed up to cause me even more headaches. Big thanks to my very understanding manager who granted me a last minute extra day off which I used to sleep in until I could face my domestic disaster (which now seems to be resolved, fingers crossed).

In truth my head is still not fully connected; the cataclysmic weather and humidity is playing havoc with my sleep and I feel somewhere quite detached between the muddy fields of Donington versus the expected nirvana of sun and all the bands; the disappointment of spending a lot and not seeing enough; the rabid disbelief of death and politics (seriously, between idiotic referendum speak and the very real threat of Donald Trump I worry for the future of the world) and my ongoing headache which may or not be a mix of stressed hangover with bad weather head pressure and cumulative three day lack of sleep. It’s not a hugely pleasant place to be, but is a very real result of my own excesses (combined with those awful awful real life events that we all seem so powerful to prevent).

On that note I’m feeling rather cross with myself and the dullness of this post, so I’m signing off with the promise of lighter heartedness to come!

Sweet dreams people, and thanks as always for reading! x

 

 

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Selfhosting

So, the buggers at WordPress have run out of storage (OK, I’ve used up all the storage I get on my free account because I like pictures. All the pictiures) and now people are talking to me about self hosting and it seems like something I should do for my blog to continue.

I have to be honest in that I don’t really understand it (even though I’ve worked in IT for many years! But I’m a wordsmith, not a technical person). I mean I kind of get it but only conceptually.

And it costs money! For something I can’t eat or wear!

Anyways, it’s all very exciting and nerve wracking (I don’t know why, it just is) so I’m looking into it and finding out more.

I’ve been recommended both BlueHost and NameCheap.

I also have a friend who says he can help me to host it on his server.

Anyone got any tips for me? Things to avoid?

All advice gratefully received!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Getting shirty

I don’t generally buy shirts, and the honest reason is because I hate ironing! Which means that, invariably, I’ll wear them and wash them once and then they sit in my wardrobe looking at me in an accusatory fashion.

But they’re so useful for this in betweeny time of year that I’ve found my eye being turned.

It started with these two from H&M. Great basics, these actually don’t need ironing (rejoice) and are great for layering underneath a jumper when it’s colder, or wearing on their own now the weather is improving. They were half price in the 50% flash sale a few weeks ago (where I also bought my current favourite dress) at just £7 each.

They don’t look anything exciting, but teamed with skinny jeans and some statement boots I’m really happy with them.

Then, in the most recent H&M sale (which of course I ordered loads from because, sale) I spotted these two.

My husband wears a lot of checked shirts, and when I showed him these he thought I’d bought them for him!

He was pretty disappointed that they’re for me. So far I’ve worn them with indigo straight leg jeans, but they’ll be good with denim cut offs in summer as well as battered pale blue jeans and sandals. Unfortunately these will need ironing (ick) but I really like them so will try and make an exception!

They’re lovely and soft and cost just £7 (top) and £5 (bottom).

Four new very versatile tops for just £26; how great is that?!

How do you dress for inbetweeny weather?

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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Squatting in heels

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m quite a faddy person when it comes to being healthy and exercising. A few weeks ago I started on a new fad.

30 day challenges.

I started a 30 day squat challenge, 30 day crunch challenge, and 30 day plank challenge simultaneously.

For anyone not familiar with these, you basically follow a program to do increased amount of each exercise each day. This was my “pre-bikini-betterdosomethingquick” plan.

It didn’t quite go according to plan. Most of my fads don’t. I did the first three days – all good. Then you have one day of rest. The trouble is I forgot to restart after my day of rest. So I took 2 days of rest. Then I got back on it. Then I forgot again the next day.

What can I say, I’m easily distracted.

So I’ve now introduced a new alternative “routine”. When I heat my lunch in the microwave at work at lunchtime, I’ve calculated I can do 60 squats in 2 minutes. So that’s what I’m doing. Regardless of footwear.

Squats in heels

I’m mainly wearing chunky boots at the moment, with a maximum 2 inch block heel. I’m not sure if the fact I’m slightly elevated makes a difference to the effectiveness. As much as anything it’s a mental thing; not only that I’m doing something, but that I’m sticking to it.

Obviously this is only 5 days a week.

And of course there’s the chance that someone might walk in on me, and I’m not sure who can see me through the window, but I haven’t been busted yet!

Do you have any funny exercise habits?

Thanks, as always for reading! x

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How has the Zara sale passed me by?

Zara is one of those shops I never think to look at. I’m not sure why. Probably because it’s more expensive than I like to pay (cheapskate!)

Zara

A few weeks ago I was in Oxford shopping and my sister went in to Zara, so I followed her for a nosy. I was amazed at how good their sale prices are – very heavily discounted with loads of items at £9.99 or less!

I couldn’t be bothered to try anything on in store (too much hassle to derobe the layers of winter clothes) so I checked out the online sale when I got home.

I was obviously late to the party, as the sales had been on for 3-4 weeks already, so many items will have already been out of stock or limited in sizes, but I did snaffle a couple of bargains that I’m very pleased with.

Multi coloured tunic dress – £9.99

First thing the husband said when I tried this on was “that’s an eating dress”. Which it is (hurrah!) but not the reason I bought it. I spotted this in store and loved the colours, it has an oriental feel with the pattern and the kimono sleeves and I think it’s a good year round item which I could wear now with boots or in summer with sandals. It will be ideal to take on holiday to wear towards the end of a trip when all the cocktails and yummy cuisine have taken their toll on my waistline!

Ditsy print floral top – £7.99

Towards the end of last summer I bought a couple of pairs of flares that I intend to wear a lot when spring arrives, and I’ve been on the look out for tops that will work with them for that hippy 70s vibe. This one is perfect. I don’t have much yellow in my wardrobe but it will look great with blue denim, and (importantly) it won’t need ironing!

I could have bought lots more if they had my size – not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing!

I’ll definitely be first in line at sale time in future.

Are you a Zara shopper?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

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Ear inspo

On my birthday in December I had two new ear piercings – tragus and conch in my right ear (for the uninitiated, your tragus is the buttony bit in the middle, connected to your head, and the conch is in the middle of your ear cavity, like where bud headphones would sit).

Me getting pierced at The Oasis

Lots of people had told me that the tragus was quite painful to heal and awkward to sleep on, but I’ve had awkward and uncomfortable piercings in the past and always managed to persevere.

So the husband kindly paid and I had them done at The Oasis in Birmingham, who I trust implicitly because there has been a piercing place there for as long as I can remember.

The piercer told me that I’d be able to change the jewellery after 6 weeks, and if I went back they’d be happy to do it for me.

It’s now been 8 weeks and I don’t think either of them are healed enough to be changed. Most probably because I’m one of life’s natural born pickers (I know!) and I do find myself inadvertently twizzling and poking them. I really ought to bathe them more, but I kind of gave up after about 3 weeks when they seemed to be healing so well.

I’m my own worst enemy and don’t deserve nice things!

20160218_165229-1

Both of them have keloid bumps on and the conch still bleeds occasionally. It’s in a funny position for healing and also my hair gets wrapped around it sometimes.

Anyway, whilst waiting for them to stop itching/bleeding/oozing and being bumpy (nice, no?)  I’ve been looking at what kind of jewellery I want to go for. I definitely want a hoop in the conch piercing (I actually wanted it pierced with a hoop, but the piercer, he say no).

Love this jewellery – opals are so beautiful

Screenshot_2016-02-16-12-55-55-1-1

Quite fancy something ornate in my tragus.

Screenshot_2016-02-16-13-03-35-1

How pretty are all these earring combos? Definitely inspiring me to get some more done once these have healed.

Screenshot_2016-02-16-12-59-16-1

You can read about my other piercings here.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

 

 

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