Thursday, 29 October 2015

The colour of autumn

nomads shirt dress melhia rust organic fair trade navy tights office indiana shoes ankle boots tan

nomads clothing melhia shirt dress rust handknit cardigan chunky

Isn't this dress just perfectly...October?  I had high hopes for getting some pretty seasonal pictures of it outside, under the red-leaved trees, maybe with a dusky sunlight shining through the branches...  Yeah.  That didn't happen.  Cause October.  While it might mean pretty colours and soft light, it also means wind and drizzle and, as of last weekend, fewer daylight hours.  So I had to settle for my usual living room location pictures.  Meh, it still looks pretty.  

My fab new dress came to me courtesy of Nomads.  A rather awesome ethical clothing company with roots in India, it specialises in Fair Trade and organic garments that are right up my street.  Think cord skirts, richly coloured knits and delicately printed tunics.  I'm wearing the Melhia Shirt Dress here in Rust, which has two huge plus points - it's fully lined and it features that all important, often overlooked feature of women's clothing.  Pockets!  Fair warning though, it was a little snug across my chest so I went up a size for a more comfortable fit.  I had to pair it with my Mother-made cardigan and my new Office boots - I still haven't decided if I'm actually keeping the boots (yup, I totally have two other pairs on the way) but after seeing how great they look with basically everything I own, I may have to reconsider my options.

Nomads are offering a pretty generous 20% discount for bloggers when you enter code BLOG20 at the checkout so head over there now for some fall shopping!

cardigan - handmade

office shoes indiana tan ankle boots

*I received this dress from Nomads in exchange for an honest review*


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Yarn Along

knitting reading library books chunky wool scarf

Knitting - A very basic scarf
I found this picture a while ago and pinned it with the likely intention of forgetting all about it, as happens with most of the stuff on my Pinterest, if I'm honest.  For some reason though, it kept popping back into my head, so now my cousin will be getting a giant, garter stitch, pompom-ed scarf for Christmas.  I'm hoping teenagers wear scarves...  I'm using Robin Chunky in Silver and 8mm needles, so it's knitting up quickly.

Reading - Aurian by Maggie Furey
Yup, still on Aurian.  It's still fine.  I'll probably read the next one, although definitely with a break in between.  Luckily, the library timed my next reservation to help me out with that plan and I picked up Judy Blume's new book last night.  Who knew she was still around?  I think I actually found out about this one through Yarn Along so thanks to whoever was reading it recently!  Fingers crossed I get Aurian done in the next few days so I can move on to something lighter.

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along

*post contains an affiliate link*


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A trip to the National Museum of Scotland

nationa museum of scotland main hall fountain glass ceiling

lego VW campervan national museum scotland toy

victorian sensation photography national museum scotland exhibition

giant gator skull national museum scotland

whale animal skulls national museum scotland

We finally made it into Edinburgh on Saturday.  I'd been saying for months that I wanted to check out the Victorian photography exhibition at the National Museum but what with school holidays, then our holiday, then more school holidays, there never seemed to be a good time to go into the city.  Finally, we decided enough was enough and just went for it last weekend.  After a walk along to Leith for a look in the flea market and lunch at Gaia, we hopped on the bus and went up to the museum, where we arrived late enough that it was quiet and easy to look around, not an easy thing to time in that place!

There was no photography allowed inside the exhibition, aside from a couple of designated picture taking spaces.  The one with the costumes was especially fun...  I'm not sure I can pull off a top hat though?  The range of historical photographs on display was a bit overwhelming, but they were cleverly laid out so that each one could be studied more closely, and there were a few fun films that had been made with actors playing the inventors of photography.  Then there were the cameras at the end, where you could take your own selfie and be displayed on the wall next to Mr Daguerre et all.  Tam and I seriously sucked at that part, and after about five blurry attempts we called it a day, and left to have a seat in the main hall.  

Of course, after seeing all the amazing work on display, I was in a picture taking mood.  We ended the visit with a quick walk through the animal wing and a nosy at the toy cases before the museum closed.  I'll leave you with this picture of Tam that I ran through the Daguerreotype filter on Picmonkey, just for added authenticity of course.

A Victorian Sensation is showing at NMS until 22nd of November.

victorian sensation photography national museum scotland exhibition


Friday, 23 October 2015

Spots and leopard

seventies style polka dot blouse H&M denim button M&S skirt leopard shoes slippers

I'm still in love with this skirt.  I don't seem to wear skirts all that often these days, but I love finding something else I can pair with this one.  My old faithful polka dot shirt and favourite new shoes were the winners on Sunday, although I sense I might need some thicker layers before too long.

I wore this out for lunch at the weekend, where we had lukewarm pizza with a background noise of screaming toddler.  It wasn't the best part of my days off...  On the way home we stopped off for cake though, which helped turn the day around a bit!

polka dot shirt H&M denim button seventies skirt M&S leopard slippers shoes outfit

I've had another short week at work - I took yesterday off to tackle the teetering pile of clothes to be altered, which went more slowly than I had planned, but I was fairly productive when I got going.  Both of my recent dress purchases are now wearable (I still can't believe how well the check dress fitted straight from the hanger though, considering it was handmade) and I made a super cute Christmas pressie which, of course, I can't share on here quite yet!  My crafting plans are surprisingly on track at the moment, which I'm also pretty pleased about.

Today is set to be even better than sewing day, since I get to hang out with Mother all day then have dinner with Andrea!  I love when people come to visit me.  I think one of the 'new' dresses will have to get an outing...

shirt - H&M
skirt - M&S Limited Collection
shoes - M&S Autograph


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

FO - Knitted Dormouse Tea Cosy

dormouse tea cosy folk pattern

What's this?  Another mouse themed tea cosy?  Clearly there's a pattern developing here.  This tea cosy is all mine though!  Back in February, I made my first cosy for my friend A and she gave me a tiny teapot as a thank you.  Obviously, it also needed a cosy, but it wasn't until recently that I got around to making myself one.  When I got an email from Tea Cosy Folk asking if I'd like to test one of their patterns, saying yes was a no-brainer.  The hardest part wasn't even the knitting, but picking out which pattern to use.  There's so many to choose from!  Whether you're into Star Wars, narrow boats or farming, there's a tea cosy design out there for everyone.

I'd spotted the Dormouse pattern on Tea Cosy Folk's Twitter, so decided to go with that and make a twin for my earlier knit.  I didn't realise it was for the pint-sized cosy at first and was just going to make A another one, but I was delighted when I figured out it was made to fit my pot instead (A was not.  I had to take her a macaron to soften the blow.)

tea cosy folk dormouse pattern side views

Isn't this just the cutest thing you ever did see?  It even has a tiny berry in its paws!  It was delightfully quick in coming together - I started knitting on Sunday and finished on Monday night, despite all the different components.  The only change I made to the pattern was to sew on woolly eyes instead of using safety eyes.  I decided to just use up what I had in my stash and to be honest, I was impatient to be finished!  Everything is made in DK yarn (I used Stylecraft Special in Camel, Cream and Plum, and a random bit of green I found in my scraps jar), with the body using two strands and the other pieces a single one.

tea cosy folk dormouse pattern details berry ears

Check out the range of tea cosy knitting patterns online or, if you don't fancy making your own one, you can buy a ready made one instead.  I have my eye on the medieval castle next...  PLUS, any pattern purchase made during October comes with a free pattern for a Halloween egg cosy.  Any breakfast that involves novelty knitting can't be a bad thing, right?

It wouldn't be a Wednesday knitting post without linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along, although my book hasn't changed from last week.  I'm deep into my festive crafting schedule so reading has been pushed to the back of the queue slightly.  I'm still really liking Aurian, although I'm waiting for something exciting to happen, which I think I might be waiting a while for since this is the first book of four.  Maybe I'll have a break before I order the next one...

(My ace 'winter is coming' mug was a birthday pressie from my equally ace colleagues.  I also have a matching bag and needle case, all from the Kelly Connor Designs shop on Etsy.  It seemed appropriate for this project!)

*I was sent a pattern from Tea Cosy Folk free of charge to try out in exchange for feedback, so here it is!*


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Photo an Hour Day - October

bedcover floral check wool blanket knitted faux fur

09:11 - I woke up about an hour later than planned, despite the alarm going off at 7.45 - apparently I can hit snooze in my sleep.  Not sure that's a good skill to have!  I got up and wandered around zombie-like for a while before making breakfast.  I've been living in my favourite Mother-made cardigan for the past week so it gets flung on the bottom of the bed every night before lights out.

winter wardrobe knits dresses checks stripes

10:08 - I switched my wardrobe over this week, putting all the summer clothes into the chest and dragging out the winter ones that didn't stay in the wardrobe all year.  I've kept a few things out that might still be packed away when it gets super cold (some dresses and blouses) but it's nice to have some different stuff to look at.  I love how all those pretty colours mingle together!  I was trying to decide what to wear but didn't actually get dressed til a while later...

storage baskets wicker

11:32 - Getting some chores done.  I picked up some wicker baskets at the car boot sale last week that I'm going to decorate and sell at the craft fair next month, so I gave them a quick scrub out since they smelled a bit musty.  I also dusted, cleaned the bathroom and changed the bedding.  Super exciting stuff.

floral bedcover pillows throws bed

12:16 - The bed is made!'t happen often enough.

outfit weekend charity shop m&S blouse long tall sally jacket jeans glasses

12:47 - Bonus picture alert!  I like to document what I wear on these days - Saturday was a charity shopped blouse (originally M&S), Long Tall Sally jeans and jacket, and Converse.  Also I wore lipstick!  Having time to faff on a weekend sure makes me a million times more presentable.

kelvingrove park sheepdogs glasgow

13:18 - Walking into town through Kelvingrove Park, where there was a man training sheepdogs.  They were a bit more obedient than Jake, although one was getting yelled at a bit, which made me want to run up and hug him.

feet stickers glasgow queen street train station

14:08 - Waiting for Tam at the train station, where the ground was covered in these fun stickers.

underpass anderston glasgow

14:57 - Walking home via Anderston, apparently.  I'm still not great at Glasgow geography sometimes - we were trying to get to Finnieston but we ended up going a different way than on my previous walks.  We still got there, it was just more...rough and underpass-y...

kelvingrove park gates glasgow

15:57 - We stopped at Pickled Ginger for lunch, which I'd only vaguely heard of before but it turned out to be freaking fabulous.  I had vegetable tempura and avocado sushi and Tam had a tofu teriyaki bento box.  I'm pretty sure avocado sushi has earned a place in my Top Ten Foods Of All Time list, it's SO GOOD.  After lunch I decided I had to have a cake from Cottonrake Bakery but it was nearly closing time and we were on the other side of the park.  Did we make it?

cottonrake bakery cake box

17:01 - Of course we did!  God wouldn't have given us those long legs if he didn't want us to use them to rush for cake.  If anyone's interested in what we had, check out my Instagram.  And no, it's not the cake picture I posted yesterday.  That was Sunday cake.  I'm starting to realise why my Christmas party dress doesn't fit...

knitted yellow ducks beaks

18:27 - Back home and firmly stationed on the couch, I made Tam hold my duck collection while I sorted out the rest of my yarn.  Time to make scarves for them all!

knitting ducks supplies

19:43 - Still scarf making.  I may have got distracted by Parks and Recreation and making fish finger/veggie sausage sandwiches for dinner.

movie night cant buy me love 80s laptop

20:34 - Movie time, and this week we went for 80s rom-com Can't Buy Me Love.  It was as cheesetastic as it sounds.  Meaning it was utter garbage, yet somehow we made it to the end.  Spoiler alert - Partick Dempsey ain't so McDreamy in this one.

The next two hours would have produced identical knitting/loafing around pictures so I decided to spare you all the trauma.  Speaking of trauma, who caught Downton on Sunday?  I may be scarred for life after the dramatic turn that took!  Still, not many episodes to go...

Check out Louisa's blog to see who else participated, and thanks to Jane for choosing the day!  How was everyone's weekend?


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Yarn Along

knitted ducks aurian book library

Knitting - The ducks are coming along nicely!  I've been on quite a knitting bender the past few days - so much so that my hand is starting to turn claw-like after a few hours.  Maybe I'll switch to crochet today.  I couldn't find a copy of the pattern that I used for making my last duck so I went a slightly different way and adapted another one.  I'm debating whether or not to add some colourful scarves to each one.  Might make them more interesting?  I've already had requests from people at work for their own ducks so I may lose a few before I get to the craft fair...

Reading - Aurian by Maggie Furey
This was the book that appeared in double quick time after I ordered it at the library.  I saw the sequel books in a charity shop and figured they sounded interesting, but obviously they were no use without the first one.  I'm enjoying Aurian so far - I imagined it might be a little like Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series, but the writing is nowhere near as good, although it's too early to say whether the story will live up to that one.  Still, it's nice to get absorbed in a series again after the disappointment that was Outlander.

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along


Thursday, 8 October 2015

A trip to Blairgowrie

book sign paper cut out

secondhand fishing books bridge of cally

vintage gate sign shillings

airlie garage old building

alyth river town

photo display interactive museum

So, we went on another holiday.  Sort of.  Apparently Tam and I just can't stay home for long these days!  This one was a mini break up the country thanks to a voucher Tam received for his birthday, which got us a couple of nights stay, breakfast and dinner at the Bridge of Cally Hotel near Blairgowrie.  It was one of the nicest hotels we've stayed in, with its remote location, cosy lounge bar and lovely staff.  We didn't even eat there the second night but still went back for dessert and whisky after our meal out.  The apple and blackberry pie is to die for, and that's coming from someone who'd rather go hungry than eat fruit.

On the drive up we stopped at Perth and had what was most likely our last outside meal of the year, as well as a nosy in the charity shops.  Of course we did.  Standard Elise/Tam holiday behaviour right there.

plants flowers

signpost wooden forest blairgowrie

conkers brown inside

conkers in shell

bridge blairgowrie falls river wooden forest

tree trunk logs forest wood

Another half hour of driving and we were in Blairgowrie.  Aside from a very brief stop there on the way to Loch Rannoch last year (We got lost.  Also pretty standard.) we'd never explored here before, so the next day involved a wander round town and a brisk walk through the woods.  I got distracted by a cluster of trees that were literally dropping conkers at my feet as I walked below them.  The soft thunking sound of them falling on the bed of leaves amused me somewhat.  We had a merry time prising (ok, stomping) them open to see who could find the biggest one.  I don't remember who won that but we got through a fair few of them anyway...

Somehow we also fit in a drive to Alyth, a small town with a cool museum - they have an exhibition on right now showing photographs from a local studio that operated from the 1930s to 1990s.  There's a fun interactive machine that has themed selections.  We've been doing something similar with films at work so it was interesting to see the comparison!

On the way home we found what I suspect was the world's biggest car boot sale between Dundee and Perth.  Two hours we were there!  I kinda want to go back this week...


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Yarn Along - October plans

knitted booties rainbow collection

This is about to become a very busy crafting month... I have many projects demanding my attention in October.  At the moment I'm knitting up booties to sell at the craft fair that Mother and I have a stall at next month, although I've actually finished the knitting part with them.  There's just a few pairs waiting to be sewn up then I'll have many, many pompoms to make and sew onto the toes.  That little rainbow of baby shoes makes me happy though.

knitted duck yarn wool

I also want to make up some knitted ducks and a few crochet ornaments with the bangle stash.  I made this duck for the farm shop Mother works in - her boss loved it so she suggested I make some for the fair.  That wee face is pretty cute, right enough...  Then there's a couple of other projects to be completed - a girl I used to be neighbours with asked if I could crochet a hat for her baby, which should be an easy make but I'll likely have to make time to really get my tension right, since a lot of my crochet projects turn out on the small side.  And, you know, I can't really expect the baby to squish its head down to size...

Lastly, I have a tea cosy pattern to try out, sent to me by the awesome Susan at Tea Cosy Folk.  I'll keep you all in suspense for now over which one I chose, but be sure to check out the vast range of patterns on her site.  I had the hardest time picking out a favourite!

rogues book hardback library george rr martin game of thrones

As for what I've been reading lately, I just finished Rogues, a collection of short stories by various (mainly fantasy) authors, which includes a prequel tale of the Targaryen clan from George RR Martin's Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series.  I say finished, but what actually happened was that I read a handful of stories and skipped over most of the ones that were heavily fantasy-based.  It always takes me a few chapters to get settled into a book so adding a quickfire plot to a make believe world is more than my brain can cope with.  I really liked Gillian Flynn's offering since it had one of her mad, trademark plot twists, and Lisa Tuttle's story with a male/female Sherlock and Watson was an interesting mystery, although it reminded me a lot of an episode of Criminal Minds...

What's everyone's plans for autumn crafting?  Has anyone read more of this book than me?  Which wouldn't be hard, let's face it.

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along.

(p.s. apologies for the odd lighting in the pictures - apparently when I was messing with the camera settings a few weeks ago I hit something that makes them look dreadful and I can't quite figure out what I've done!  More messing is clearly needed to fix it.)


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Buyer's Archive - September

Last year, I started keeping a note of the clothes I was buying.  My spending habits had decreased in recent times and I was craving more space and less stuff.  Being mindful about what my money went on with regards to non-necessities seemed like the logical place to start.  I had an idea to compare my purchases from this time last year to the ones I've made this year and see if there's any change, and if I wasted my money on stuff that didn't last, or that I changed my mind about.

Here's my purchases from last September, all neat looking in a fancy collage.  As Michael Scott says, keep it simple, stupid.

sweaters jumpers wool goofy handknit disney la redoute tunic dress charity shop thrifted

Chunky handknit sweater - charity shop - £3.49
This was a semi-practical impulse buy from a charity shop in Moffat, the weekend of our last camping trip of the year.  It was pretty cold when we woke up that morning and I just wanted something cosy to wear - no idea why I hadn't packed something cosy, since I'm usually a pretty overprepared camper.  Anyway, we found a charity shop open on the Sunday and had a good old rummage around, and I emerged wearing this jumper.  It fulfills the desire for cosiness perfectly but I don't really suit the high neckline, so it wasn't worn an awful lot, but I like it a lot anyway and I'm thinking it might be time to dig it out of storage...

Wool sweater - Edinburgh Woolen Mill via charity shop - £3.95
One of two Blackpool charity shop purchases, this jumper got a lot of outings last winter.  I'm not really sure why I put it away for the summer months because I've been wearing my other knits non-stop this year, but safe to say it'll be on my body again soon.

Goofy jumper - Topman via charity shop - £3.50
My other Blackpool purchase, and one I wore a few times before I felt a bit uncomfortable in it.  I feel like I just got to the point where I didn't feel right wearing cartoon clothes!  I still like the design but it's now in the eBay pile.

Jersey tunic dress - La Redoute via charity shop - £3.29
I love this so much!  I wear it over leggings year round and it's great for layering up.  I noticed a tiny hole in the hem the other day that needs to be mended but other than that, it should be in rotation for a long time to come.  Gotta love those versatile pieces that you can reach for when 'proper' clothes just feel like too much effort.  I also got this on the Blackpool trip, although it was found the day we went along to Fleetwood - those charity shops were fantastic (plentiful and reasonably priced) so I'm surprised that was the only purchase made there.

Total spend for last September was... £14.23.  Not a bad month, considering the amount of new charity shops we visited!  I like that it was all secondhand purchases too.

On to this September's buys...

M&S blouse pattern black white people print red sebago loafers deck shoes meriden kiltie

People print blouse - M&S via charity shop - £2
Once again, all my clothes this month were from charity shops we found on holiday - I guess I have a typical September shopping pattern!  I don't remember this blouse from when M&S stocked it but if I'd seen it then, it would have been in my wardrobe a lot earlier.  As with a lot of my purchases, it's far too big but I couldn't resist it.  I may have lost my chance to wear it this year since it's definitely knitwear season now, but maybe I'll find an excuse yet.

Red loafers - Sebago via TK Maxx - £44.99
These shoes were bought out of necessity in London, since my favourite loafers burst on the inside back and were scraping my heel.  TK Maxx has been kind to me with shoes lately so I headed in there to find a replacement pair.  I really didn't need any more additions to the footwear shelves, and I was annoyed at my unpreparedness, but these shoes might have been worth every penny.  They're so soft!  Like, slipper soft.  They were also comfortable from the minute I put them on to taking them off hours later, which is unheard of where my feet are concerned.  I'd not heard of the brand before but a quick search of Sebago loafers on Google images later revealed far too many beautiful styles.  I need them all.  Damn.  (Mine seem to be on sale in various colours here, which is awfully tempting.)

aztec check plaid tartan vintage dress charity shop thrifted

Aztec dress - St Michael via charity shop - £2
We passed a charity shop in Brighton one night that was advertising a clothes sale - all items were £2.   That's just my kind of deal, so you better believe I was in there early the next morning!  I found these two dresses after a quick rummage through the rails.  The aztec one isn't my usual style but there was just something I liked about it.  I'm planning to take it in at the side seams and shorten it slightly so it can be worn in the winter.  I can't be the only one who makes long dresses look frumpy with tights, right?  The fabric is fairly thin but I have a few slips that'll work underneath, and there's no need to mention my knitwear again...

Handmade tartan dress - charity shop - £2
I've been loving the check dresses I keep seeing online lately, and this one is all kinds of perfect.  My favourite colour, great length and pockets.  Pockets!  Oddly enough, I suit it better with the lower neckline to the front, which seems to have been the back originally, judging by the pocket positioning, so it's also on the mending pile (which explains the wrinkles, sorry!) so they can be moved around slightly.

This September's spend was a slightly-larger-than-planned £50.99.  On one hand, I'm annoyed I travelled light enough to have to replace my back up shoes, but on the other hand, these new ones are so excellent that I really can't begrudge the spend.  I'll definitely be poking around TK Maxx for more Sebagos in future.  The dresses should be altered this month at some point since I'm planning a day off to get some sewing done, and they'll be top of the list. 

Janet joined in again this month - she got the most swoon-worthy ankle boots so be sure to go admire them!


Thursday, 1 October 2015

A trip to Brighton

bandstand brighton sunshine beach vintage

old pier fire brighton structure water beach

brighton fishing museum sign building beach

fish and chips sign board brighton beach

amusements children stand brighton vintage

Brighton was really rather awesome.  I'm partial to a trip to the seaside anyway, but after the bustle and busy-ness of London, it was nice to get back to a smaller place to explore.  It wasn't particularly quiet - in fact it was rammed with tourists, my timing wasn't so great this year - but it was the perfect place to wander in the sunshine.

We arrived on the Wednesday for three nights.  Unsurprisingly, we made a beeline to the beach from the train station, stopping only to buy some sushi from Itsu to eat by the sea.  Side note, Itsu is awesome and I want one in Glasgow - avocado sushi is my new obsession and not enough places sell it near me!  After lunch we checked into our hotel then had a wander along to the pier and the charity shops in that direction.

lanes bandstand sunset brighton beach

big wheel street brighton

fountain square park brighton

brighton pier sushi seafood bar

brighton pier lights

We caught the sunset on the first evening and it was very beautiful, if hard to photograph.  Each night involved fish and chips for dinner, which got steadily better every day, although I'm still baffled by the lack of HP sauce in England.  Tartare sauce did the job though!

seagull bike vintage seaside promenade

row white buildings flats brighton

brighton pavillion exterior

angel statue brighton

The pavillion was the fanciest place I've ever been.  Gold ornaments hanging from the ceiling, dragon shaped chandelier holders and richly coloured wallpaper are just a few of the highlights inside.  And look at the exterior!  So grand.  I loved it.  The museum building was similarly styled, although on a far smaller scale, and the gardens were perfect for a stroll on such a warm day.

Obviously all our favourite seaside activities were crossed off the list too - we played 2p machines, won a minion, walked along the pier and paddled in the sea, which was not as mild as I was expecting.  It was bloody freezing in fact, and we got out again pretty quickly.  Still, I don't mind too much, since I've now been the furthest north and the furthest south in the UK I've ever been, all in the space of a few months.  Not a bad year of holidays!

Who's been to Brighton?  Any favourite places?

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