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Thursday, 29 November 2012

'A Simple Christmas' Idea Four.. Time to lounge

One of the key things when it comes to the 'simple things' at Christmas time is getting the opportunity to chill out. We all have very little time off throughout the year, so when you finally get some days off at Christmas most of us want to be able to relax and be with our loved ones, at home.

It's a real small pleasure for me to get to go home to see my parents in cold Devon and just spend some time being me. Relaxing, eating, drinking and to top it all, not worrying about I have to truss myself up in - this time of year is really all about feeling comfy and snuggly. Idea four is just that: the 'good' lounge wear.

First up is Beaufox. Instead of putting on your regular 'slouchies' Beaufox is a brand that has created and designed a whole collection of slouchy trouser. They are a little fun, most definitely fearless but most of all, they are super comfy. Perfect for the season where, if like me, you eat until you cant eat no more, Beaufox have just the trouser for exactly this.

Next is Dote London who I think I've fallen head over heels in love with. Their 'story' is pretty much music to my little ears: created solely for you and the art of relaxing. All items are created in muted tones that all blend well. Reasonably priced for what you're actually getting, Dote London have quickly moved to the top of my 'must-have' list

Hush is a rather appropriate name for lounge wear dont you think? and Hush manage to make loungewear look stylish to the point of where I'd wear them out, y'know, to the shops, to work or even to the pub and they are so versatile - think of layering under and over. I get a real sense of ease whenever I look at Hush's website, that and the fact my bank balance is quaking in its boots!

I've been a long standing fan of Uniqlo for a while. They really are my 'go-to' branding when I am looking for wardrobe staples. Their selection of lounge wear is oh so affordable and versatile. You really get your money's worth, so much so you can buy everything!

Would you like some lounge wear for Christmas?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

An ode to... The one with the family party

Family parties…. Oh yes, I don’t think I need to say anymore to that. They will always be a little bit awkward. Whether it’s choosing what to wear, who to invite, what food to serve and music to play, you can guarantee there will always be one person who will disagree with choices, comments or events – isn't that one for the joys to a good ol’ family party? Well no actually. This is my ode to you…

Oh you little’ family party rogue’ you, why do you tease me so. With the promise of fun galore, drinks ahoy and maybe even the bit of dancing and giggling. You promise so much and then let me down. Always at first thought I’m excited about you, I may even plan for you but in reality, when the time comes, it’s always a little bit of a mess.  Tell me something family party, how on earth do I chose something appropriate to wear? I guarantee if I wear a dress/skirt above my kneecaps the entire elder female generation will be shaking their heads, tutting their false teeth and calling me a ‘brazen harlot’ to themselves, but wearing something that covers the entire length of my short stumpy legs is guaranteed to make the fella think I've morphed into my mum (sorry mum) and that wasn't scheduled to happen for another 30 years or so. Don’t mention the cleavage baring tops either. I've never been told by quite so many people in one place, that I will ‘catch a cold’ I mean, cos obviously I will walk around outside, in the middle of Winter with no coat (?!) and not to mention, that the uncle that is five times removed, cannot take his eyes away from my boobage area, whilst sporadically spilling his beer over himself and drooling, telling me how much I have ‘grown up’

If it’s not clothes, it’s the dancing. I don’t know about you, but I will always pick the table in the corner, in the dark, hidden away and furthest from the dancefloor as possible. I somehow hold my breathe every time Abba’s ‘Dancing queen’ comes on and you see that one by one each member of yours or his family, makes their way to the dancefloor to show off their moves that they've been clearly keeping under wraps for the last twelve centuries. I will avoid any kind of eye contact with any of these ‘movers and shakers’ just in case it is some unwritten rule that this means I want to partake in this frenzy of arms and legs. When I am eventually tugged from my seat, kicking and screaming, to show off my moves like Jagger, there is this massive part of me that just doesn't know how to dance. Do I throw out the ol’ Christina Aguilera ‘Dirty’ moves? the one that I practised in my bedroom all those many moons ago, or do I make like them and simply ‘side step – clap’ my way through Grease Lightening? You can bet your bottom dollar that, somehow, I will eventually slip in to my ‘Just Dance’ routines that I continuously practice at home, confusing both myself and everyone else. Failing that, there will always be the ‘slow song’ that I can enjoy with the rather sweaty ‘friend of a friend’ who will think it a consistently good idea to hump my leg like a dog.

Next up is the food. Man alive, half the time you would think that the 'chicken satay' on display was like offering most of them to take part in a bush-tucker trial. When the buffet is called, the room will be filled instantly, almost like the main reason why anyone came in the first place was really just to get fed and swiftly disappear. The older generation will mumble to one another 'what's wrong with good ol' egg and cress' whilst the kids will hog the sausage rolls. The selection of crisps in 'exotic' flavours such as 'Thai sweet chilli' will get left, and the birthday cake will never be quite as moist as what 'mum used to make'

Oh family party, you are a tough one to master, but yknow what? I probably wouldn't have you any other way.

The Wednesday Wanted... The Festive jumper edit

You may have seen I done a similar Wednesday Wanted about Winter knitwear previously, but I couldn't help but add another Festive theme woolly wanted list now that we're getting close to December, and well, I just cant resist the excuse to go all out crazy for Festive fun!

1. Fairisle Jumper £59 Monsoon
This jumper is bang on trend and really easy to wear – team with a corduroy skirt or jeans, this jumper is festive enough without screaming ‘I love Santa’

2. Xmas Holly Jumper £50 Topshop
This knitted Holly jumper is too cute for words! It’s all a bit Winter Wonderland – layer over with some leggings and some longer woolen socks and boots, complete with beret and gloves and you’re good to go!

3. Navy Yoke Fairisle jumper £24.99 New Look
This jumper is guaranteed to keep you warm and still look warm and cosy. With a flash of Festive red, wear this one to the local pub for drinks in front of the fire

4. Jacquard knit cardigan £15 H and M
With a shawl collar, this cardi is brilliant for layering over your thinner tops to keep the chill out. Reduced to only £15 this is perfect for your wardrobe.

5. Sequin collar Jumper £120 Jaeger
Understated Festive! This pure wool jumper is a little more on the expensive side but with a contrasting colour collar with cute little sequin holly detail, I would favour this one for work

6. Copenhagen knit sweater £89 French Connection
Classic Nordic style jumper would look awesome teamed with some soft leather trousers and statement boots. Slightly more expensive, but cute all the same.

7. Candy Cane Jumper £50 Topshop
Slouchy style jumper would look fab teamed with simple black leggings to wear around the dinner table come Christmas day!

8. Christmas Robin Jumper £50 Topshop
Topshop are coming up trumps this festive season with another adorable jumper that is perfect for wearing around the house on the festive holidays.

9. Ho! Ho! Ho! Knitted sweater £220 LOT78 at Net-a-Porter
I adore this jumper, just such a shame it’s a silly price! I want to wear this with some leather!

10. Black Candy cane Jumper 24.99 New Look
A romantic take on the candy cane theme, this jumper from New Look is as cute as it is wearable.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My week - My style...

'A scarf that hides a multitude of sins'
Flared sleeve dress - Matalan
Scarf - Seraphine
Black ring - Topshop
Black court shoes - Marks and Spencer

'The leaves are there for kicking'
Patent boots - Clarks
Skinny jeans - Sainsbury
Grey Marl duffle coat - Next

'No, these aren't a pair of curtains'
Silk dress - Matalan
Patent Belt - Primark
Ring - Topshop
Patent court shoes - Marks and Spencer

Pleated silk tee - Matalan
Leopard print pumps - Republic
Skinny jeans - Sainsbury

'Tonight, I shall be a girl'
Black lace and nude dress - La Redoute
Chunky heel sandal - Topshop
Silk blazer - Topshop
Patent chain bag - New Look
Ring - Primark

What have you been wearing?

Walking in the rain...with my Joules

I dont know about you, but things can get a little bit... 'meh' this time of year. The nights have well and truly drawn in, the dark mornings are a killer to wake up too and everyone is getting a little stressed with the run up to Christmas. I have been busy staring into space at my calender for what seems like the last couple of days: trying to work out what is going on when, when I can get some time off, what day do I travel to Devon for Christmas and trying to remain calm when I see no free time for the next couple of weeks. Oh and have I mentioned that to top it all, the weather has been just a whole load of crap!

Well, after my mini-melt down about life taking over, I decided to get myself together and get outside to embrace 'nature*' (*read as: the miserable UK) I'm a bit of a outdoor-sy type girl, my parents live in th wilds of Devon and there is nothing better than exploring the fields out there, and I certainly don't mind getting wet and a little bit muddy (you try cycling the 10 mile commute in pouring rain!) It has to be said mind you, that not always does my choice of clothing suit the environment (what do you mean ballet flats with no socks aren't good for snow?) but along with my love of everything outdoors comes my new love for Joules

Joules to me is a brand that deserves it's place in my wardrobe. We all know that practical and 'outdoor-sy' clothes arent very renowned for being full of style, style that doesn't look like you're about to clean out the stables! The trouble comes when you go out for that country walk and lo and behold you want to stop off at that country pub for a swift half and you look like the next big mud wrestler - this is why Joules suits me. Managing to combine that practical outdoors look , with suitable fabrics and style Joules adds a certain spark. Using colourful prints and textures, all of Joules clothes bring the outside and nature to your clothes so you can then go outside and look at one with nature or in the pub... in style...

I've been lucky enough to get myself outside with the Joules Moredale lightweight quilted jacket. Me and my jacket decided to go for a evening stroll after work, letting the stresses of the day well and truly disappear. The lightweight quilted nature of the jacket kept me toasty warm without that dreaded 'snowman' feeling you can get waddling around. The navy colour is great to be teamed with most (all) of my wardrobe and was fitted enough to be smart.

Me and the jacket bonded on our walk, we dodged the puddles, kicked a few leaves and managed to stay dry but what I loved about the Moredale is the crazy, fun print on the inside - you can never stay sombre when you're wearing something like this. Joules re-cements itself into good quality, stylish wear. These are the sort of clothes that were made for me. Oh and did I mention that Joules symbol is a hare?!?! yeah... CUTE!

To finish, you'll be pleased to hear that the Moredale is going to become a staple in my wardrobe - jeans, trousers, dresses or skirts - I have a feeling that we are going to go on many a different journey together.

As well as the gorgeous Moredale, there is plenty of other gorgeous Women's coats (found HERE) Oh, and Santa, if you're reading this? Please can you get me this next... I have been a very good good girl...

*please note: I was gifted this jacket but all thoughts and views of Joules are my own. I am a true believer of the brand and all opinions are my own*

Monday, 26 November 2012

'A Simple Christmas' Idea Three...the warm feet one

Onto idea three for your Simple Christmas.

This one is a little more expensive than I would normally think about putting on the blog, but I couldn't resist showcasing some good ol' traditional treats for the feet, with a slight difference. Me and slippers are a match made in heaven, I am the slipper queen and dare I say it, throughout the day I will look forward to going home just so I can slip me feet into something a little more comfy, such a simple and sublime thing. I have 4 pairs of slippers at home and countless slipper socks, but I cant help but feel my standard slippers are lacking a certain something.

My Slippers offer a bespoke service to create a slipper that is worthy to be seen. All My Slippers are hand-made solely in the UK , with their embroidery made with lots of love and care. There are three different options to chose from: create a Bespoke pair of slippers: Choosing either a motif, monogram or initial, you can choose the style, colour and colours or choose a Ready to Wear pair available for delivery straight away. And if that still doesn't fit the Christmas wishlist then how about a Special commission? Normally giving slippers on Christmas isn't really the 'done' thing to do, normally reserved for our elders but if someone decided to treat my feet with these, I'd be one happy girl!

Design you're own Bespoke Slippers...

Or opt for a ready-made pair..

Granted, these are alot of money but I love this idea and such a special gift to give to someone. If I had my own way, those leopard print slippers would be mine! Slippers are no longer dull!

Go check out their website HERE and folllow on twitter: @myslippersldn 

What would you have on yours?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

And the winner is...

Massive congrats to Vicky from Lady Bug Says (@ladybugsays) for winning the DIY Fashionista book in my Sunday Reading Giveaway! Hope you enjoy getting your DIY-on!

Friday, 23 November 2012

What's in my bag? Cycle-style...

I think many of you have read or seen previous posts from many different blogger's about 'What's in their handbag' well mine? well, its a little different. Y'see I cycle to work everyday. I no longer have the opportunity to carry one of my very attractive handbags (swinging it from my handlebars is not an option) and nor do I get to stuff it with all kinds of beautiful, feminine things like cute notebooks etc. However, I do get the joy of cycling 5 miles to work each morning and then the same in the evenings - it really is loads of fun.

I've cycled to work for a while now and after over six months off cycling due to hand problems and consequently, surgery, I am now back to it. Now, don't get me wrong, the dark evenings and very early mornings are a little hard to stomach at times, but let it be known, the feeling of being on the bike, free, is a feeling even I cant explain (that'd be a whole different blog post) Now, with my many random tweets about cycling, namely the ones where I am being attacked by squirrels, chased by red kites or getting my hair tangled in my helmet, people have been asking me a number of questions about where I cycle, what do I do for a err, wash, and what do I carry. For any of you that are looking to take up cycling here it goes, this is what I carry in my bag (rucksack)

  • Ladies and gents, this is my wonderful rucksack. See its delectable high-vis cover? It is so. in. All jokes aside, this isn't the most attractive thing to be carrying on your back I know (but then what is?!) but this high-vis cover not only lets all the cars/people/dog/horses see me but it keeps my rucksack all dry when it does decide to rain on me, which is does. Alot. 
  • There it is, it's pink I know, pink. Regardless of that, this bag cost me all of about £20 and well I've had it for about 4 years. The truth is, I don't believe in spending alot of money for a rucksack. My top tip for buying one? Padding straps are advisable with straps that wrap round your stomach area and chest area keeps it fixed to your body when your cycling, especially required when going over all the bumps in the road. 
  • Hello and welcome to the insides of my bag. As you can see, everything fits in nicely and yes, that is my packed lunch on the top there (most important thing first obv!) Normally my bag is full with little room to squeeze more in, but it depends on whether the clothes I pick are bulky, whether I pick more accessories to wear or whether I decide to eat lots of food.
  • And here is what the insides consist of. We have:
    - Lunch
    - Hairbrush
    - Hair Straighteners
    - Clothes (undies too)
    - Make up bag
    - Face cream
    - Wet Wipes
    - Batiste
    - Deodorant
    - Hair protection spray
    That is really all I carry. I try to keep everything to the bare minimum. The wet wipes are an essential - often I shower at work, but you never know if I'm going to run out of time. If so, then it's wet wipe time! The Batiste and Hair protection spray is a luxury but essential if like me, you get serious 'helmet hair' - same goes for the hair straighteners too! As for clothing, I try to pick dresses more than anything . They are slimline to pack - go for un-creasable items. As you can see there are no shoes, that is purely because I keep a stash underneath my desk at work. Sometimes I will have room to fit in other shoes though. You really don't need much else than this!
  • The make-up bag. I don't really wear much make-up at the best of times so in reality this is what I would wear normally. I don't use foundation so I don't have to add that to equation. All I have is:
    - Face cream
    - Blusher Brush
    - Bronzer
    - Blusher
    - Eyeliner
    - Mascara
    - Travel shower gel
    This is obviously the bare minimum. The only absolute necessity is face cream. Please invest in some as when you're out cycling in the cold/wind/rain your skin can become really dry. Other than that, it's free will to add what you like!
Well, there ya have it cycle fans! I literally carry my life on my back (my life is my hair straighteners) sometimes I'll add in my kindle/book and obviously my phone and keys fit in the front pocket. It's all about being frugal with your space and concentrating on the 'necessities' rather than the luxuries, and if you didn't guess I really kick ass at packing suitcases.

Are you tempted by cycling? What do you carry in your bag?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Recipe: The easiest home-made Sausage Roll

Not only does Christmas time mean pressies galore from the fat man in the red suit (yes, that's Santa to most of you) but Christmas means food. Oh yes, I cant help myself, as soon as December hits I'm popping open the pringles, chowing down on the mince pies and relishing the opportunity to eat everything in miniature (you cant beat a teeny tiny burger)

Whilst I love the epic-ness of the Christmas Dinner (my mum's Xmas dinner is well n truly EPIC) I love the fact my Mum does an equally awesome buffet in the evenings over Christmas, there really is nothing more lovely than snacking/picking on food, going up to fill your plate once more and rubbing your portly belly afters... ah..... Christmas! And so, if like me you cannot wait until it's officially December and deemed 'acceptable' to eat Festive food, here's my recipe for the easiest ever home-made (but not), sausage roll.

All you need:
Any Sausages of your choice x8. I opted for a 98% meat with some lovely herbs!
450g of ready-rolled puff pastry (reaaaaaaally home made!)
A little sunflower or groundnut oil

and yes that is really it!

And here's what you need to with it:

  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees/gas mark 4 and lightly grease or line your baking tray

  • Using a pair of kitchen scissors, carefully remove the skins from the sausages but try to keep their shape whilst doing it. This bit is a little icky (in a rude, 'I'm childish' way) 

  • Pop into the preheated oven for 10 minutes until they are partially cooked, leave to cool.
  • Roll the puff pastry onto a work surface until it is thin (about a £1 coin thickness) 
  • Once the sausages are cool, wrap each whole sausage in one layer of the puff pastry and pinch together at the ends - sealing with the oil or a little egg wash.
  • Once all sausages have been wrapped in their pastry blankets, brush over the tops with a little oil/egg wash and pop into your oven for about 20 mins. Keep checking on them and remove when they are nicely golden brown in colour. 
  • Either serve hot or allow to cool.

Now granted, these are not the most 'pretty' looking sausage rolls but they sure as hell taste good and they took literally no time at all to cook, and to eat. If you're feeling extra flush you could add Marmite or a spread onto the pastry before wrapping! Mmmmmm! A perfect sausage roll to me!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Wednesday Wanted... The Cups 'n' Saucer edit

One for the interior/tea/coffee addicts amongst us, today's Wednesday Wanted is all about your humble tea cup, saucer and mug. Such a simple thing, but I have a little bit of a fetish for mugs, I have a cupboard full, and in fact I match my drink to the type of mug or cup I use, I know, I am new lows of sad - they literally come in all shapes and designs and well, you really can never have too many. 

I love the shaping of this mug - it looks almost like its been home-made especially with the intricate handle. Priced at £45, maybe I wont be filling my cupboards with it, but its still very beautiful all the same.

You can't really fault Ikea for pretty much anything, including their jelly, but aside from that, their mugs are pretty darn cool. This see-through mug is nice, fresh, modern take on the classic mug, oh and for £2, I'll buy enough for you all.

I know Movember is coming to an end now, but seriously, you cannot go wrong with a moustache, and least of all a collection of them on a mug. The fact this mug has a brief synopsis of 'types' of moustache means its gone straight to the top of my Christmas list.

This word features heavily in my life, and what is life without a bit of a LOL and a mug of tea huh? Priced at only £1.50 that will give you plenty to laugh about *cringe*

I have aired my views about this amazing artist previously, and so forth my love for Rob Ryan grows. This delicate mug with intricate words "Everything that is supposed to be in Heaven is already here on Earth." just makes me go a little weak at the knees. Amazing.

We all recognise this famous print by Cath Kidston. These familiar floral designs are timeless and just a little bit cute and chintzy - I love it.

Am pretty sure that most things in life are better with a pug. As I cant own one of these adorable little creatures I will just have to plaster it over my morning coffee then. Too adorable.

I'm a massive massive fan of KBJ and well, I picked this mug out of all of them simply because it made me giggle... alot.

The blokes fave and it's pretty self explanatory why. Feel like a right bad-ass with this baby!

I couldn't really do a mug list without featuring the classic Wedgwood  I'm pretty sure I remember my mum harping on about Wedgwood when I was a nipper and here I am... how time flies, but in reality this is truly beautiful.

How do you drink your tea? 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

'A Simple Christmas' Idea Two...a DIY one

Onto idea number two for your 'Simple Christmas'

This simple Christmas Muffin Mix idea would make a fab little treat to give to neighbours, family members or even work colleagues, or for anyone who likes muffins (who doesnt?) It also mans you can be a little creative and use your own ideas and favourite flavours. If that doesn't sway you, it takes about 10mins to prepare with no baking involved! The perfect pressie for those of us who have limited time!

All you need for the packing is:
  • Old clean jam jars - try to pick the most attractive ones. You can always buy empty jars from most supermarkets or online
  • Cheap wooden spoons - normally you can pick these up for no more than a £1 from Wilkinsons. Only a simple spoon is necessary
  • Raffia ribbon - for decoration use around the jars and tying on the label with the instructions.
  • Anything else you wish to use to decorate the jars with to make festive, try some tinsel!
For the Ingredients you will need (This makes one portion but 12 muffins)
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 100g pecans or walnuts
  • 140g tropical dried fruits medley
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
What to do:

All you have to do is simply layer all the ingredients in a 1 litre glass or plastic preserving jar in the order the ingredients are listed, one by one. Yep, that is literally it - no faffing, just simply layer the ingredients in - done.

In order to give as gifts, Make sure your have your best writing to hand and write the following method on a gift label:

'Tip the contents of the jar into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add 2 beaten eggs, 300ml milk and 100g melted butter. Mix quickly and lightly to a soft batter. Divide between 12 muffin cases. Bake at 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 for 18-20 mins. Use within 4 weeks.' 

Once finished, attach the label and one of the wooden spoons to the top of the jar with the raffia.

Remember this is your chance to have free reign on the spices and mixed fruit - go crazy or adapt to the individual's fave taste

Sometimes the 'will' disappears...

I've always tried to be a bit 'glass half full', I've always looked at the world and all the tasks it entails as a 'I will' kinda girl. I think you can't go through life without a bit 'will' to carry on, to succeed,  to create feelings and happiness. It's always  been something I think I've managed quite well, even in the face of hardship, like when I was suffering from depression.

Despite the dark days, when life really is hard: when even getting up was hard, when thinking about making that cup of tea seemed so ruddy hard, but I still had the 'will' to try, to keep going, to give it my best effort. When Monday morning comes, and you rub your sleepy eyes and you just know you cant bear to get up for work, but you show 'will' and you get on with it. When I was picked to start running, and my journey began: when life suddenly started to sort itself out 'will' played a massive part. I showed 'will' every time I put the trainers on, showed 'will' every time I set foot outside despite not wanting to. 'Will' is something I've looked after in my life, I've always made sure I 'kept' it, looked after it, because even when things are hard this is all I have.

I have latched onto this 'will' to carry on running. I love running, but I still find it hard every time I run, but it's the 'will' that keeps me going. I have been quite vocal about me and running, how far I've got, what I've achieved  and dont get me wrong I am proud of myself for all of those things, but lately, I am finding that' will'  to get out there, to do well, to improve just isn't there, or it's proving much harder to find. Y'see, I dont see myself improving at all: I'm not getting any faster, nor am I finding it easier. Do I find myself inspired to get out there still? no. Does 'Will' end up getting me out there? no. People tell me not to worry about my speed or the times that I pull in races, but isn't it hard when everyone else is improving but you?

What I wonder is when did the fun stop in running. Why has it all gotten about proving times etc. You could say this is the jealous side of me talking, that it is me and my body not improving, that my practices in life are causing me to not improve. This is true, I know: I will always be a little bit fat for running, I will always be a little bit uncoordinated at running but before, me and 'Will', it never bothered us. Am I missing the point? should I still get out there and run? I dont know. Either way, what I do know is that the 'will' has left me, gone on holiday, gone off sick. I have no 'will' left to fight for speed, no 'will' to fight to get out there.

If you hear me 'will', I'd like to get back to running.....

Monday, 19 November 2012

'A Simple Christmas' Idea One...

Sometimes simplicity is best, and in a world where not everything is all that simple (work, life, love, money) it's nice to try and maybe include some simplicity into life - whether it's a simple but delicious meal, or wearing your 'go-to' LBD to an event and still feeling like a million dollars  sometimes the simple, basic things are all we have: I love nothing more than coming home after a hard days work, to sit in absolute silence with a mug of hot chocolate, no tv, no phone, nothing. Simple but effective.

When it comes to buying gifts I sometimes like to think the same applies: simple is effective, makes for a better gift surely. I'm pretty sure the youngsters of today with their Xbox etc will disagree, but I like the idea of buying a gift for someone that really does mean something to them, that they will treasure. In the run-up to Christmas I will be showing you some simple but effective pressie ideas: whether it be buying something online, going to the nearest high street or even make it yourself, I hope these ideas will help.

First up is Barbara Coupe. A luxury interior designer who produces some of the most sublime hand-embroidered fabrics, cushions and accessories using various materials such as old flags, vintage fabrics and antique textiles. What I love most about Barbara's designs is how simple they really are but they are well thought of. She talks with some passion about where her inspiration comes from: nature, living in the countryside and old fashioned used fabrics and paintings. Here are my selection of must-haves for Christmas pressie buying

Perfect for anyone who happens to live in these areas, or if like me, would love to live there. Chic and classy I think these are an ideal present idea for friend or family.

The ultimate for any cat or dog people... Now if only they did a 'rabbit' one for me!

Yeah, I couldnt really resist these tbh - I mean look at them!

Words cannot express my love for this scarf. So beautifully classic and simple, this pure silk scarf has to be one of life's little pleasures. Team it round your hair on the 'bad hair' days or threaded through a belt loop. Either way, this Map scarf is as quirky as it is simple, and practical if you get lost.

Iconic! After this years 2012 Olympics this pocket square scarf is perfect for either the men or ladies out there. A really cute addition to anyone's wardrobe, and priced affordable for a good stocking filler.

I couldnt resist this cute Love Bird cushion. Hand embroidered, this cushion is perfect for the vintage feel friends or anyone that likes love birds... who doesn't hey?

All of Barbara's designs can be purchased online at here website HERE, Or alternatively
Liberty, London
Selfridges, London
Fortnum & Mason
Rockett St George online shop
Graham & Green
John Lewis
Huttons - Battersea
Red Direct
The Handpicked Collection
Also, follow Barbara Coupe on Twitter @BarbaraCoupe

What do you think of Barbara Coupe and my 'Simple Christmas' ideas?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

'Sunday Reading' Giveaway: A little bit of DIY for you...

I thought it was time, especially to celebrate my Sunday feature, 'Sunday Reading' to host a giveaway. Not only do I want to get more people reading books and thinking of reading books, but I also want to say thank you to you all for still reading this blog.

I haven't really rewarded you all for still doing so, and I do consider myself so so lucky to have anyone reading this, at all. At times my blog posts have been few and far between and a little sporadic to say the least, but I hope those of you that did stick around, still like what I  do?

Back to the giveaway! What's on offer I hear you ask? Well, I have a copy of a fabulous book that was featured on last weeks Sunday Reading: 'DIY Fashionista' by Geneva Vanderzeil' For those of you who don't know much about this book to put it bluntly it's for the more frugal fashion lovers amongst us. Geneva, of A Pair and A Spare blog fame, has created this book to share her 'How-To's' in creating the latest looks for little to no money and getting involved in some serious DIY... I loved it!

To win this copy of DIY Fashionista, all you have to do is:
  • Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what your fave piece of DIY (fashion or non) has been or what you wish to do, with your either your contact email or twitter handle
  • Be a follower of the blog
  • For an extra entry tweet the following: "I just entered @sarahs_scribble Sunday Reading book giveaway" with a link to this post

Giveaway closes on Friday 23rd November so go go go!

Sunday Reading: A Merry Little Christmas by Julia Williams

This week's Sunday Reading post is going to be a little, err, how shall we say, Festive? I am a big fan of easy reading books, despite hating the term 'Chick Lit' this is essentially my fave type of book.

Around this time of year there is normally a massive influx of new romance fiction based around, you guessed it, Christmas. I know this is terribly 'predictable' but I have to be honest, I do rather love it (it's the elf in me) what can I say! I have been downloading a little too many in the run up to Christmas so I thought I'd share the first one. ' A Merry Little Christmas' by Julia Williams is actually a sequel to a previous book that she had written ('Last Christmas') a book I hadn't actually read.

Essentially this is a book about family and pretty much the hardships that occur in everyday life and especially around this time of year. Focused on the main female leads: Cat, Pippa, and Marianne the book catches up several years after the last book, but there is no real need for you to of read the first book, as it goes into great detail about where and what the families have been up to in the time since. 

Cat's has a top class career in TV, but her career is not the only thing she has to concentrate on. With a sickly mother,a hormone raging teen daughter Mel, and two other children to look after, Cat is slowly on the road to ruin: can she hold it all together and why is her daughter so moody more than normal? Cat is a really likeable character  and for once this is character that isn't afraid to show that running all these things in her life isn't easy. A strong woman, Cat can barely find time for herself let alone her husband.

The steadfast Pippa has always been unflappable and someone her friends can always rely on, but a terrible accident changes everything, soon Pippa is finding herself at breaking point and having to reach out to the friends she normally supports, all the while whilst trying to care for her disabled daughter and campaign for her rights.

Marianne is the new mum, to twins too. Married to Gabe and also step-mum to Gabe's son from a previous marraige, she is now trying to be everything and more: the perfect (new) wife and a perfect farmers wife at that, great mum (and stepmum) and dealing with the dreaded Ex-wife. Juggling to keep part of her old life, she continues to try and work at the local school. Can she really manage to keep everything perfect and everyone happy?

The story unfolds nicely with each of the characters  normally I lose track of who is who but I didn't seem to notice the change around throughout the chapters. The story is helped along nicely by the descriptions of every event and Julia manages to tackle some tricky subjects like respite care, brain injuries and dementia - she manages to handle each subject really well, adding a real life-like reaction to them all, helping to add to the feeling. What I enjoyed mostly was the friendship between these ladies - they are all strong characters but Williams isn't afraid to show their flaws. For me, this book was hugely uplifting and laugh out loud at times too. I felt really involved in each of the characters lives - yes, it's light and a little fluffy, but it also tackles some really hard issues with not always a fluffy ending. Upon finishing I did feel somewhat lucky to have the life I have.

A good read that, believe it or not isn't all about Christmas, more about friendship and how people tackle the more harder issues in life.

Snap this book up via Amazon HERE available in book format or Kindle.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Your home, The Osprey Home...

With a house that resembled that of a building site/pig sty and living amongst rubble for the best part of a year it is only now that both myself and Mark can look at our house and think it looks more, err, house-y. I thought I'd be happy but alas I'm not. Why you ask? Now all the dirty stuff has finished it is now the time to decide what theme/looks to go for in the house.

Big mistake.

I take long enough deciding what pants to put on in the morning, let alone come up within a definitive answer as to what my dear ol' house is going to look like. However, one vision that never seems to float too far from my mind is the natural country chic look. Let me get this straight, I live in a 2 bedroom house in Berkshire that in fact is nowhere near a wood or a field, and the closest we get to woodland animals is my dear Scruffy living in the house, but I still yearn for that country palace: think the cottage from the film The Holiday, you know it right? Well, I want that, but more, err, modern. I am one of those people that goes into W H Smith and ideally flicks through the 'House' magazines and mentally takes note of every look, changing my mind with every page turn. With my love of all things 'homely' and traditional I have been known to look on certain Fashion or even accessory brands for inspiration that I can put towards my house, but none give me more ideas than Osprey London.

The British Leather accessories company Osprey London, founded in 1980 is just full of history and class - exactly what I wish my house to be and now they have welcomed a new addition: Osprey Home. Set in deepest, leafy Hertforshire countryside Osprey Home is a real 'home from home' of goodies that are just screaming for me to place in my house. Every item has been carefully and personally selected by designer Graeme Ellisdon and his wife: think stunning ancient oak tables, leather furniture, hand knitted rugs and cushions.

What is even better with Osprey Home is the modern take on the traditional techniques. Still using natural materials the shop is a total haven of crafted items that have thought and love behind them, everything I could ever want in my home. I have limited space in my home and only want to fill it with items that tell stories. I want my visitors to ask questions, to get involved with my house and this is the feeling I get from the Osprey Home shop. This is the ideal place to go visiting and seeking inspiration when working on a blank canvas of a house, it’s a treasure trove, somewhere to soak up the feeling and the looks.

Coming away from there you can bet your bottom dollar the interior design goddess within you, will be spending that imaginary money. I might just pack my bags and move in.

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