Friday, 31 May 2019

A sneak peek of what I opened on my birthday

Birthdays... always over in the blink of an eye, right? This year was no exception. I managed to drag celebrations out for a couple of weeks and thinking about it, this post allows me to draw things out a little longer #MilkingIt

I don't know if anyone else finds this, but as you get older, it becomes harder and harder to think of gift ideas or to ask for things in general (does anyone else find this increasingly awkward?). Which is such a contrast to the days of being knee high and writing long lists to Santa or circling ALL THE THINGS in the new Argos catalogue. Here are a few of the things I received this year.

Water bottle

Drinking water from old plastic water bottles reportedly carries health risks due to the sun reacting with the plastic and reportedly chemicals in plastic may be linked to causing cancer. I've known this but for whatever reason it still hadn't given me the kick up the arse I needed to bin said plastic bottle and replace with a non plastic offering. My sister gave me this pretty floral Chilly's bottle which is much nicer to look at than my manky old plastic bottle I've had since god knows when. Now I have no excuse!


Interiors magazines

My other sister knows how much I love poring over interiors magazines and usually treats me to an assortment of titles that I'm not able to afford on a regular basis. This year she found the prettiest Joules gift box and magazines focusing on kitchens and extensions which is pretty perfect timing what with our recent renovation plans!


Money / vouchers

I always feel really boring asking for money, but it's so useful - particularly when you're in the planning stages of an extension like I am! A bit of money here and there buys me a bar stool or two - every little helps!

Pink House Living

Emily I had the pleasure of meeting last summer here and her renowned hashtag #cheatingonfashionwithfurniture is something I find myself relating to more and more these days. Don't get me wrong, I still love fashion, but I have a new found appreciation for interiors and these days I prioritise any spare cash to the house fund rather than to myself. Emily's house is a vibrant pop of colour and joy which constantly inspires me to be braver in my decorating choices. Really excited to start reading Emily's debut book!


Earrings

One of my best friends took inspiration from my recent jaunt to the Maldives and found these beautiful Matthew Calvin earrings. I love all things rose gold and how beautifully are these presented? I love the message in a bottle vibes!


Rum

One of my colleagues surprised me with a big bottle of dark rum and I also had a lovely card and the mother of chocolate cakes from work


Concert tickets 

One of my best friends got tickets for Walking on Cars (one of our favourite bands) and also surprised me with a tee and signed CD of their latest album. I'm sure you'll have seen plenty of videos on IG by now. By the end of the night my back and legs ached (that's 4 hours of standing for you!) and my voice was husky and not all there from singing along, but I wouldn't swap it for anything in the world. An amazing night


So a pretty colourful assortment this year! 

What are your favourite items?

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Father's Day gift inspiration with I Just Love It

* Product received for review purposes but as ever, all opinions are my own!

My Dad has had a bit of a time of it lately, bless him. Last year he wasn't in the best of health and had two operations, and then only went and bloody got pneumonia after his second op, didn't he? Then fast forward to the other week where he went in for a third op. When I Just Love It got in touch offering to treat my Dad for Father's Day, I couldn't think of a better person to receive a gift!

I Just Love It is an online gift company who specialise in personalised gifts, making items that extra little bit special. Items range from BBQ tools, photo frames, tool boxes, beer caddies and DIY tools, most of which have personalisation options. They also have an extensive range of alcohol gift sets so no matter whether you're into wine, cider, prosecco or whisky, there's something for everybody.

Under normal circumstances I would have gone down the alcohol route as my Dad loves beer or a good bottle of red wine, however given his recent op, he needs to play it safe. Which is when Plan B came in.

My Dad is seriously into football and more specifically Spurs (North London and proud!) I Just Love It have an amazing range of personalised football books and guides for a wide variety of football teams, and also have bottles of cider, wine and champagne specific to your favourite team. The problem with buying the ultimate football fan a football related book is the age old question: "does he already have this one?!"

As luck may have it, I found a book very similar to my favourite One Line A Day book that I use, which instead would allow him to look back at past proud memories and achievements of his favourite team.


Sized at 12 x 19cm and embossed with gold lettering, this is a football book with a difference. They do stipulate on the website that the cover colour may be subject to change (it's white on the listing here) and to be completely honest, I was a little disappointed with the colour that I received. It's just my opinion, but I think the white and gold combination looks a lot more expensive and special. Whilst I have nothing against the colour blue, I just don't feel like the blue used is very 'Spurs' and it makes the product look quite cheap (it photographs better than it looks in person). I feel that a darker blue like a navy would look more striking against the gold lettering (but that's just my opinion). Saying that, my Dad likes ALL types of blue and will love it (and that's the most important thing!).


The phrase "never judge a book by its cover" has never been so apt. Once you get past the cover, it's a great little read. I can't possibly comment on the content as I know next to nothing about football(!), however the text is a good size and looks very readable (something very important to me whenever I choose out a new book!)

The personalisation aspect of the gift was what won me over the most. I often give my Dad books, but never before has he received a book with his name embossed on the front in big gold letters (note: I have given my Dad anonymity here)


I'm seeing my Dad next weekend and am really excited to present this book to him and see his reaction! I just know that it will be something he will treasure forever. If you need a last minute Father's Day gift, do check out I Just Love It's extensive Father's Day range here.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

The bargain marble fireplace that only cost £10 / $13

I love a fireplace, me. When house hunting, high on my wish list was a fireplace to cosy up to of an evening. However in the end, the perfect property (sans living room fireplace) prevailed. The character properties we viewed with fireplaces and high ceilings were narrow and needed A LOT of work. The house we put an offer on (and won - hooray!) had a generous foot print with good sized rooms but lacked character features (a fair enough compromise). There was a chimney breast, but it was in the back of the property (well, the kitchen) with no fireplace to speak of at the front of the house. Without a fireplace, our living room lacked a focal point. Which is when I broached the subject with the man of the house.

Mr Curiouser & Curiouser: "Why do we need a fireplace?"

Don't try and talk to men about focal points and how the TV shouldn't be THE focus of the room. Because men love their TVs and you uttering these words is blasphemous.

And men certainly don't understand the joy of decorating a mantel piece with foliage at Christmas, or the joy having a stone hearth so you can actually display your sizable candle collection and burn them safely rather than precariously balancing them on a fabric ottoman, trying not to set the house alight.

Source: as found here
Source: as found here
Source: as found here

Mr C & C: "You do realise it wouldn't be functional, don't you? And that we don't actually have a chimney breast there?"

Well yeah. 

Mr C & C: "where will the TV go?" (again with the precious TV)

Me: "maybe in the corner?" (we have a completely empty other side of the room which gets zero use and is wasted space)

Mr C & C: "isn't that a bit far away?"

Me: "what about by the window?"

Mr C & C: "it's too bright by the window"

Me: "your parents have their TV by a window"

Mr C & C: "it's still bright"

Me: "well, wall mounted above the fireplace then?"

Mr C & C: "isn't that a bit high up? Won't we be craning our necks?"

THE MORAL OF THE STORY?

Men don't get fireplaces. More so in this case, because it wouldn't be a functional fireplace. Instead it would be imitating the look of one.

Another challenge I had with trying to convince Mr Curiouser and Curiouser is down to the fact that fireplaces are bloody expensive. Brand new these can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds. Even when refining the search to just fireplace surrounds (the main frame and not the stone insert or hearth). Even when refining the search to used and unwanted models that have been ripped out of people's homes. 

THE DISCOVERY

Imagine my joy when one day I found the fireplace surround of dreams on eBay. It had a white surround (a must on my wishlist) with a soft grey marble hearth and wraparound which would match perfectly with my recent marble table DIY project


Expecting the worse, I clicked into the listing and found it was being listed for the surprising sum of £10 (approximately $13 with the current exchange rate). It was for collection only but the seller did have a van and said they would deliver for an additional fee. But even with said delivery fee, this was still peanuts. Excitedly I contacted Mr Curiouser and Curiouser with a link and all the details. Expecting a "not this bollocks again" type of response, he actually came back with the following: "Let's measure up later". SUCCESS.

PLAYING THE WAITING GAME

The fireplace listing had 5 days remaining and no watchers. I refrained from watching the item myself as I didn't want to draw attention to it or ramp up the price. I honestly expected it to rocket in price but when the big day came and it was still listed at £10, I couldn't get too excited, expecting a last minute bidding war.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

It was not meant to be. A last minute bidder got in there first (much to Mr Curiouser and Curiouser's relief). So the search for a fireplace continues.

If anyone knows of any secondhand or otherwise affordable fireplaces and fire surrounds that are willing to deliver, holler at your girl. Until then, you'll find me ogling pictures of enviable fireplaces:

Source: as found here
Source: as found here
Source: as found here

Recent research has got me thinking that maybe I could mock up my perfect fireplace surround. That instead of investing in an actual fireplace, I try and DIY my own using a piece of wood for the mantle and then wooden boards for the sides and hearth, covering these in tiles / tile stencils / tile stickers to make the fireplace more of a focal point in the room.

Source: as found here
Source: as found here
Source: as found here

Please tell me that epic fireplaces excite you as much as they do me???!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

How to style an oversized blazer

* I received a complimentary item for review purposes but opinions and love of blazers all my own!

There's something about a blazer that always makes you feel a little more put together, don't you think? I can wear a simple white tee with black skinny jeans and look all plain Jane, but add a blazer and you feel like you can conquer the world.

And what's better than a blazer? A military style blazer (gold buttons really satisfy my magpie tendencies!)

White military blazer* (currently in the sale!)

As much as I love an oversized blazer, it does require careful styling so that it looks less scientist's lab coat, more borrowed from your boyfriend / fiancĂ© / husband (hence why you may sometimes hear it fondly referred to as a boyfriend blazer!)

The key to styling an oversized blazer is to keep your body as slimline as possible to provide that contrast between a loose-fitting top layer and more closely fitting under layers.

AVOID
  • baggy culottes
  • wearing the same colour on your lower half
  • big knitted jumpers
  • wearing too many layers

The moral of the story? If you go for shapeless items under a less structured jacket, you are just adding bulk.

OPT FOR
  • Slim fit trousers / jeans / leggings to balance the weight of the top of your frame (i.e the blazer)
  • A little skirt / shorts would also do the trick here
  • Draw attention to your waist with high waited trousers, paper bag waist styles and / or a waist belt to highlight your slimmest point.
  • Lace and girly details -  counterbalance a masculine fit jacket with feminine details underneath (think lacy camisoles)
  • Bare legs for a contrast between nakedness and non nakedness. Tread with caution as very oversized styles can make you look naked underneath!


In my case, I styled my blazer with high waisted military style shorts which ticked the following boxes:

  • High waisted to draw attention to my waist
  • Colour contrast between the jacket and shorts so it doesn't look too samey
  • Contrast of showing some skin on my lower half and being covered up on my top half
  • Matching a miltary style jacket with miltary style shorts
  • A strapless bandeau top underneath gives the look a little more femininity than a regular tee
  • The fitted strapless top and shorts combo resembles a playsuit and creates a slimline silhouette


Do you like a good blazer?
A huge thank you to Fashion World for providing me with the blazer of dreams!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

The saffron skirt that radiates sunshine even when the sun isn't out

* I received a complimentary item for review purposes but opinions and love of pleated skirts are all my own!

"Lucy, do you need another black top?" one of my best friends asks despairingly.

Later that day I rummage through my wardrobe - which admittedly is filled with whites, blacks and greys - and I start to see her point.

It's not that I hate colour. On the contrary. It's just that I have never felt confident enough to wear bold colours. Black has always been fail proof for me in that it's classic, flattering and works for all occasions. As are whites and greys. Hence the predominantly black, white and grey wardrobe that I have accumulated over the years.

But times are a-changing people.

Ignoring the fact that I painted my bedroom grey (let's let that one slide), I am being much braver with colour around the house. I painted my lounge a beautiful deep teal colour (a far cry from its previous magnolia state), and have picked out a beautifully rich shade of aubergine for the home office. Not only that, but my wardrobe is coming along leaps and bounds too.

Introducing the saffron pleated maxi skirt of dreams.



And just some of the 1,456,745 reasons why I am loving this skirt:

  • It radiates sunshine even when the sun isn't out (which is like, 90% of the time here in the UK)
  • It's also a great autumnal colour - meaning it will still get plenty of wear post spring / summer
  • It has a elasticated waistband - rendering it perfect for the sheer amount I eat
  • It doesn't give you a bulbous waist / hips like some pleated skirts do 
  • It's velvet and silky smooth - not that scratchy horrible feeling kind
  • It's lightweight and has been the perfect thickness for the hot snap we've had here in the UK lately


I know what you're thinking. It's from that notoriously sought after online fashion brand where all the swoon worthy pleated skirts seem to come from. WRONG.

Introducing Fashion World. An online fashion retailer (a trading style of JD Williams) which stocks UK sizes 10-32, meaning there really is something for everyone. I have always had the greatest respect for fashion retailers who refuse to put a label / size limit on fashion, and who make fashion accessible to all.

I have had so many compliments on this skirt and people naturally (and wrongly!) assume that it is from that renowned online fashion brand that I alluded to earlier. Which is the greatest compliment to Fashion World as the skirt both looks and feels a lot more expensive than its £30 asking price.



And know this: this skirt comes in two colours. 
And I opted for the saffron over the black.
My friend would be so proud.