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.

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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. 

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!