A bangle for Autumn

September is here, kids are back to school and we’re now on our way to autumn.  Forever on the hunt for silver jewellery, I picked up this delicate sterling silver bangle from Jo On The Moon @ Etsy.   What’s not to love about this nutty treasure?

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I’m coveting nature-inspired gems at the moment.  Here are a select few of my recent wants:

 

Ring a Ring o’ Roses

Hey chicas! It has been a long time since I’ve blogged.  Since starting work full-time it has not been easy to keep up, especially as when I’m on my few days off I’m always ticking off things to do on my long list of chores, and I just never get around to writing a blog post.  I have so many ideas in the pipeline for my next few blog posts, including lovely things I’ve bought in the last few months, but for now I’d like to share this little gem that I’ve been wearing every day for the last month.

Some weeks ago I was staying in Angel for my hubby’s cousin’s wedding (and that was a blast!) and discovered a part of London I now really, really like.  As per usual I was on the lookout for new retail experiences, and Angel had lots to offer, not being the typical high street that we all know.   On the morning of the wedding, we took a left from our hotel for a leisurely stroll and came upon a wonderful treasure trove of a shop.

After Noah is a real curiosity.  It is equal parts retro toy shop, gift shop and vintage furniture seller, and manages to marry all these elements together successfully.  On entering one notices how much stuff there is in the shop, but unlike other antique shops I’ve been to, where I’ve struggled to focus on any one thing for all the clutter there is, the product collections here are beautifully curated and fascinating to look at.

There were so many things to covet.  There is a fantastic range of vintage and contemporary furniture, and I had my eye on this super-duper couch, which looks so cool yet comfortable!

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Whilst browsing the toy shop, I came across this cute origami fox lamp, intended as a night light for kids.  Who is to stop me from getting one though?

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I got my sister this dinky little walrus toy, which I knew would make her laugh.

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Whilst down in the basement, which was chock full of yet more cool furniture, I tried on an exquisite bowler hat for fun!  I actually think this could be a look for me, though you may disagree…

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Last but not least, After Noah sell a lovely range of jewellery, and being the magpie that I am, I could not resist this beautiful sterling silver ring with its rose of rose-gold.  I’m in love with delicate banded rings at the moment, especially those with a hammered effect, and this one with its faceted band fits the brief.  It is great on its own or stacked with other slim bands.  I’ve worn it every day since I got it.

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A Sunny Dress

Not so long ago it was my little sister’s 30th birthday do.  I was looking for an outfit that was impactful in every way except on my bank balance.  I found this lovely ray of sunshine dress at one of my fave go-to shops, Zara, for only £39.99.  Teamed with sky-blue bow heels from Zara, glitzy jewellery and floral sequinned clutch from Accessorize, and blazer from Sparkle and Fade at Urban Outfitters, it brought some sunlight to our fun night!

 

 

Let us get brollied! (and other fun weather things!)

Who would have known that this summer was to be another washout?  The last few weeks have been tropically wet – sticky and humid, with heavy downpours in the afternoon.  So I’ve had to rely on my trusty friend, the umbrella.

Except of course, my husband managed to lose my umbrella one Saturday, leaving the poor thing alone in a hotel bar to be swiped by some other umbrella-less chump.  Okay, so it was a little battered and broken, but my froufrou folding friend with its curved leather handle from Oliver Bonas had seen me through four years of rain and shine, and I was loathe to spend more money on replacing it.  Husband, you owe me…

However, once I got over my loss (I’m ashamed to say it was very quick), I found a better replacement.

Fulton are the go-to makers for umbrellas.  They make quality, solid umbrellas with a fashionable edge, developed the famous PVC Birdcage umbrella most beloved by the Queen for its increased protection in heavy downpours, and have collaborated with various designers such as Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely and Lulu Guinness.

I picked up the Fulton Bloomsbury Floral umbrella from John Lewis during their clearance sales.  Originally retailing at £25, it was knocked down to £17.50, a real bargain for this quality umbrella.  As well as fulfilling the spec for what the ideal umbrella should do – being light and sturdy, wind-resistant and protecting against rain – the umbrella has a beautiful floral-printed lining on the underside of the double canopy design, and a cool automatic opening mechanism, opening with control when I click the button above the handle.

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Here are some other umbrellas that I’m currently coveting:

  1. Lulu Guinness

As I mentioned before, Fulton has collaborated with Lulu Guinness, and her poppy, quirky designs are so covetable, that I want, not one, not two, but three of her fabulous umbrellas!

The Lips Grid Umbrella has the double canopy design that I so love, lined with a luscious red lip print.  Perfect for sweet kisses with the one you love, reminiscent of a rain-drenched romantic ending a la Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Lulu Guinness has also created the Birdcage of Birdcages, with this vintage-inspired birdcage, complete with its own bird.

Or if you want to be showered with kisses, then her Raining Lips Birdcage Umbrella is just the thing, with a cute handle covered with lips.

2. Heart Umbrella by Splash Love

I *heart* this heart-shaped umbrella by Splash Love, and as well as looking so heart-warmingly beautiful, it comes in all the colours of the rainbow!

splash-love-heart-shaped-umbrella-in-bright-cerise-pink-p273-1291_image3. Swaine Adeney Brigg

For the ultimate in luxury, and if I had more than a spare buck, I’d go for an elegant Brigg umbrella from Swaine Adeney Brigg.  With the handle and shaft made of bark ash wood and sterling silver and a canopy in a variety of colours and in silk, it is an umbrella certainly fit for a lady; although at starting prices of £315 and upwards, I doubt I am ever going to be that lady…

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I’ve got some other covetable weather-inspired accessories that I have my beady magpie eye on:

  1. The Small Patent Cloud Bag by Cambridge Satchel Company

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I’d be on cloud nine with this dinky little cloud bag.  And at only £50 in the sales, who wouldn’t be?

2. Little Ray of Sunshine travel card holder by Radley

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This cute little travelling companion will light up any handbag, with its happy happy versions in dusky blue, mustard and orange.  Makes me smile!

3. HYMN Ascot Cloud Sun Print Shirt, exclusive to John Lewis

Okay, I know this is a man’s shirt, but who could really stop me from wearing it as an oversized shirt over a tee?  And why wouldn’t I, with its ditsy cloud and sun motif, just like the ones on BBC weather maps!

4. Long Seafolly Jacket by Seasalt

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Last but not least, this is one coat I have wanted since forever.  Inspired by the Cornish coast, with roomy hood, stripey lining and toggle buttons, it will bring sunshine to many a rainy day – especially in mustard, my favourite version.

Shoes to Dazzle Your Day

On bright, shiny summer days there is nothing better than a metallic accessory to rev up an outfit.

I’ve wanted a metallic accessory for ages.  I’ve coveted gold and silver satchels from the Cambridge Satchel Company, and one of their more recent creations is this gold nugget of a bag, currently at a sale price of £51!

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I’ve also wanted a pair of low-top Converse in molten silver but until now I’ve been too chicken to go for it, but in the future I will pluck up the courage…

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A time-piece in gold would be just the thing – like this snippet of sunshine from Kate Spade, or this rose-gold bee watch by Olivia Burton.

I instantly fell in love with these silver lace-ups from Clarks, and when they were in the sale at half price from £50, I could not resist!

They are so comfortable, and are great quality, things that Clarks are well known for.   I wear them with my rolled-up Levi’s, checked flannel shirt and tee for a rockabilly look.  I’d love to wear them with a floral dress or skirt to edge things up a bit.

If you want a more luxurious version, then Clarks have a beautiful pair of silver brogues made of real Italian leather, retailing at £295.

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So go on, inject some precious metal into your lives! I leave you with this quote from Charles Perrault:

Her godmother simply touched her with her wand, and, at the same moment, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all decked with jewels. 

My New Orleans Shopping Haul

It has been two months since I came back from New Orleans, and, having done a huge shop there, I’ve been itching to write about the goodies I picked up.  I’ve been so busy though, what with family birthdays, a trip to Ireland and starting a new full-time job! So now, without further ado, let me share my lovely haul with you…

 

Mika Rose Skirt

First up is this ditsy little skirt by Mika Rose, from the National World War II Museum store in New Orleans.  The great thing about this cute number is that it is so easy to wear and has tons of retro appeal with its mini floral print.  I paired it with this coral top by Darling, from Cambridge boutique Lilac Rose.

 

Sterling silver bellflower pendant and earring set

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I couldn’t leave NOLA without satisfying my passion for sterling silver jewellery.  This bellflower necklace and earring set from Sterling Silvia, was designed by Silvia herself and is bang on trend with the current vogue for botanicals.  I was so tempted to buy the bellflower ring too, but it was all getting a bit matchy-matchy.  I love this set and have worn it almost every day!

 

Sterling silver water meter ring

One of Sterling Silvia’s bestsellers is the ubiquitous water meter ring, which I featured in my last blog post.  Every time I wear this, I just can’t take my eyes off its detailed art deco design.

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Gold seashell necklace

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She sells seashells on the seashore… Golden sands and blue skies is what this beautiful seashell necklace embodies.  It made a great present for my sister, who loves gold jewellery.  Made of gold-plated brass on a delicate chain, I found this treasure at Zele, an indoor artisans market on Magazine Street, which also sells other lovely things such as…

 

Turquoise pottery bowl

…this handmade pottery bowl in deep turquoise, a good gift choice for my mum.  It’s so soothing to look at, especially when its filled with still water and pink rose floating candles.

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Sea urchin trinket box

This aqua sea urchin-shaped trinket box from Magazine Street boutique Peony, complete with a gold coral-shaped handle, was an impulse buy.   It’d be great in the bathroom for holding cotton wool balls, although right now I’m using it to store all my spare clothes buttons!

 

 

Ruby Slipper tee shirt

I collect tee shirts like badges, and I couldn’t resist this retro tee from New Orleans eaterie Ruby Slipper Café.  It is dark grey and printed with a glitzy red stiletto, that’s so tantalizingly hot right now that the Wicked Witch of the West is dying to get her hands on it!  Plus, it has got an egg frying on it.

 

Peaches Records tee shirt

On the subject of retro tees, I plumped for this juicy number from NOLA record store Peaches Records.  What a peach – so nicely snug and soft!

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Emerson Lake and Palmer record

Of course I didn’t just go into a record store to buy a tee shirt, I had to get a record too! I got my prog rock fix with an American 1971 pressing of Emerson Lake and Palmer’s self-titled first album.  Despite the prices being so cheap, the record was in such good nick.   Plus the Peaches Record store is so damn cool, based on the facts that: a) the staff are so welcoming and friendly; b) they give you a free root beer whilst you browse the store; and c) I got a free Peaches Record sticker after buying my goodies.

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Yes Fragile Record

I got not one but two records on my NOLA trip, this second one from Frenchmen street music store, Louisiana Music Factory .  Because I’m currently obsessed with prog rock giants Yes, I got their Fragile album (US 1972 pressing) for a very good price, and in such great condition too.

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So there you have it, my NOLA shopping haul!

The New Orleans Crescent Meter Box

You will realise the appeal of a lowly water meter cover when you visit New Orleans.  Yes, it is just a water cover at the end of the day, but this beautiful lid is unlike any other water cover.  Adorned with the crescent moon and a burst of stars, it has become a historical and cultural symbol of New Orleans.

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The crescent meter cover was made by the Ford Meter Box Company, hailing from Wabash, Indiana.  Edwin Ford filed a patent application for the Ford Meter Box in 1898, a method of preventing customers from wasting water in Hartford City, Indiana.  The meter box is essentially a pit containing the water meter, outside the house, and is covered with a metal lid.  Ford gradually began supplying meters for other cities, including New Orleans, and after visiting the Crescent City, came up with the famous crescent moon and stars design for the lid covering the meter in 1921.

Traditionally found covering water box meters in the ground throughout New Orleans, the Crescent Meter Cover gradually became rarer as they were coveted and then stolen by many people.  Over time, due to the extensive and notorious theft of these beautiful lids, the New Orleans Water Board replaced these covers with plain ones, so that now it is quite a feat to find any of the original covers within the city.

Today the design is used in other forms – in jewellery, art and ceramics.  I was very much taken with this unique design and bought this design in various souvenir types.

This cute sterling silver ring from Sterling Silvia is just so cool and unique.

This lovely ceramic clock from Derby Pottery will be great for the kitchen or the bathroom due to its deep aqua tones and watery associations!DSC_0018

We got two trivets – one for my dad from Sterling Silvia on French Market and one for my brother-in-law from the Roux Royale shop.  They have a hook in the back so can be hung on the wall, as well as being used for hot things in the kitchen.

I was fortunate enough to find and photograph these water covers in situ – the photo at the start of this post as well as this one near the Lafayette Cemetery.

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Gilded Gold and Green

I am a total magpie for sterling silver rings, and I don’t believe you can have too many!  When Shop Dixi had a sale on recently, I just couldn’t resist!

I’m falling in love with sterling silver jewellery with gold accents.  The Golden Hour Feather Ring has a beautifully detailed gold-plated feather set on a thin silver band. It will be a great ‘layering’ component in stacks of rings.

I’ve not got any green-stoned rings in my jewellery collection, so the Siren Peridot Ring was just what I was looking for.  Green is fast becoming a favourite colour of mine, and the lime tint of this ring is refreshing and ready for spring.  The marquise-cut peridot is set on a slim silver band, which is adjustable – allowing me to wear this on any of my fingers.

Here is my lovely haul:

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Sixties Sweetheart

Yet another hectic few days!  It feels like an age since I posted last, even though it was only six days ago.  I guess six days in the blogging world is the equivalent of six years in real time!  I have been itching to write about this particular vintage find.

A few weeks ago I bought two lovely pieces of clothing from vintage store Raggie Doll Vintage on Etsy.com.  The first piece can be found on my post Vintage Folk.  This second piece is a 1960s floral pink polyester shirtdress.

This is such a hopelessly romantic dress, with its pastel colours, abstract daisy print, flouncy fabric and dainty blue flower buttons.  Perfect for a country stroll on a spring day and having afternoon tea with the ladies!  It is a little big for me at the waist, so I’ve used a thin belt to cinch it in and provide definition.

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I’ve accessorised it in two slightly different ways.

On a recent trip to the V&A, I wore this dress with a delicate silk haze wool knitted top over it, which had the added bonus of holding the top half of the dress in and giving it more shape.  The fuchsia top is a one-of-a-kind made by my talented mother.  With a long green coat and a leather satchel to channel my inner geek and silver shoes for a bit of retro space age, I was ready for some serious cultural immersion.

In my second variation, I’ve used a coral pink heart belt for the waist, and paired these with low-heeled leather Mary-Janes and sugar-sweet gold heart jewellery.

In between all these recent thunderstorms, I’m hoping for some warm spring days to wear this sweet dress!

My Easter Weekend Update

Hi folks! Hope you’ve all had a great Easter weekend amid all the stormy weather and managed to get in some lovely choccies and quality time with friends and family.  Mine has been really hectic, hence why I haven’t had a chance to write anything until now.

The big event of the weekend was my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, held at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at Heathrow Airport.  It was a blast.  Plenty of food, drinks and dancing, and catching up with relatives and friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.  The civil ceremony was lovely, with poignant literary references and readings, cheesy Vitamin String quartet arrangements of rock songs and pretty-in-pink floral arrangements.   The drinks reception was held in the tropically themed Sky Garden, a central courtyard with palm fronds and a swimming pool, and the Indian wedding breakfast was held in the International Suite.  We stayed over at the hotel so all we had to do was crawl into bed after a heavy night at the open bar!

Here are some snaps of me in my wedding outfit, a lotus-themed Kanchipuram silk sari from Aishvarya Sarees, plus my accessories, all in tones of blue.

In between all this my husband and I had our lovely friends over for an Easter meal.  We opted for tradition with a feast of roast leg of lamb and veggies, which my husband had proudly prepared, and a creamy tiramisu that I’d made following a recipe from BBC Good Food.

I also got a hair cut – this happens once in a blue moon so it was much needed!  I have very, very thick hair, so I don’t normally trust many people with it as it is a challenge to deal with. My regular salon is the Japanese-run Malishi near London Bridge who always do a fantastic job because they know how to work with my hair type.  Unfortunately they were booked out this time round, and I didn’t really fancy the trek across London, so I booked in with Scruffs in Cambridge.  I was quite nervous about trying out a new place and I didn’t know what to expect.  However I had a luxurious experience at Scruffs from the moment I arrived to the moment I left.  From my much-needed cup of tea to my head massage, and the great job that my stylist did, I couldn’t have asked for more.  I had a conditioning treatment during my hair wash which has left my hair looking and feeling glossier and healthier.  Plus they throw in a loyalty scheme for regular customers with points that add up to discounts, so I’ll definitely be booking with them again!

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My new haircut!

Last but not least, to round off this rather random and disjointed post, I took some pics of Easter and Spring-themed shop window displays around Cambridge.