Saturday, 12 April 2014

Car Boots and Career Breaks.

secondhand Red or Dead handbag, bought at the Classic Car Boot Sale

Evil Twin dress via ASOS, Vans trainers, Accessorize earrings, usual rings and bangles, vintage druzy bracelet from the Oxford Vintage Fair

I appear to be turning into one of those bloggers who posts a million billion pictures. Apologies, but I like to share when I do something vaguely exciting with my time rather than the usual of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for hours on end whilst spooning Nutella out of a jar. So, over the last month or so I have been to two lovely vintage fairs, one in London in gorgeous sunshine with Kathy and another with my friend Alexa in Oxford before going to a three hour dance workshop to learn the Shim-Sham (which I must admit, I'm not completely perfect at, but it's getting there!)

The Classic Car Boot Sale in London was on the Southbank, out in the sunshine with the red bus blasting out 60s music for us to dance along to as we browsed the makeshift racks. I must admit, I don't tend to buy a huge amount of vintage clothing, mostly because I am rather a warm person and the sweaty plastic fabrics don't tend to agree with me. I'm also very sensitive to smells and if I don't think fabric conditioner can get rid of the weird musty smell I tend to pass on the item. Instead I tend to buy accessories or jewellery. I ended up buying this rather fabulous Red or Dead bag which is surprisingly versatile, although sadly I have overfilled it already and I've made a hole next to the bag strap. It might need to be reserved for slightly lighter carrying days! Kathy and I then went and had a general wander along the Southbank, looking at this secondhand book stall before heading to Waterstones at Trafalgar Square for further book browsing.

I have been to Lou Lou's Vintage Fair in Oxford a fair few times now, but just haven't gotten around to blogging about it. Once again, most of my purchases tend to be jewellery, and there is a particular stall that has rewarded me with some gorgeous pieces which I shall endeavour to include in future outfit posts. I pounced upon this beautiful bracelet as soon as I saw it, what with the fact it matches my everyday rings.

I also knew it would look amazing with this sale purchase dress. This is actually the outfit I wore to the Classic Car Boot, but I forgot to ask Kathy to photograph it until the light was fading somewhat and they weren't the best pictures, so I put the outfit back on again last weekend to photograph. I absolutely adore this dress, it's not the most flattering thing I've ever worn but it is so damn comfy. I wasn't sure whether to keep it when I first got it through the post but I loved the print so much I couldn't send it back! I wanted to wear it with my new Docs but it was too warm to be wearing chunky leather boots so I put on my favourite Vans instead.

In other news, I did my last day at M&S yesterday. I am taking a career break for 3 months to go and do an internship- I won't say who with at the moment, just because I haven't checked with them. I suppose I can say though that it is a placement where I will get to try lots of things that I am interested in, so I will get to do some marketing, some fundraising, and some museum curator work. I am very excited to finally be doing something that will be using more of my skills, even if it means I will be somewhat poor for the foreseeable future! However, I will be able to do some more outfit posts again! It is rather sad how excited I am to be able to wear my own clothes after 3 years of a uniform 5 days a week. Whilst there won't any new purchases to show off (apart from the odd charity shop find I'd imagine!) I will get to rediscover all my pieces that have been rather unloved for the last 3 years. I've also got my sewing machine back recently so shall be providing myself with clothes! I'm not going to commit myself to my old university posting regularity of a few times a week, but hopefully I will be able to show you my outfits more often now.

I am also off home for the Easter week so have planned some good outfits to photograph next week. I am so looking forward to my first week off since October! It will be nice to just have a bit of a rest, watching telly with my cats on my lap, doing some cooking, and a few days out.

So, all in all, I am a pretty damn chuffed Hattie right now.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Dr. Martens, Dangly Earrings and Dinosaurs.

Monsoon embroidered jacket, dress by M&S Collection at Marks and Spencer, Dr. Martens boots, East scarf, Dr. Martens x Liberty satchel, Accessorize earrings, usual rings and bracelets

Apologies for so many photos, I thought I could maybe split this post into two, one of the outfit and one of the Museum, but I kind of like having them together, how the outfit fitted into the rest of my day. Also sorry for not posting in so long. I went home for a couple of days a few weekends ago, and was all excited to take lots of outfit photos, and then promptly left my camera at home. What a div. My next weekend off was taken up with plenty of dancing at the Oxford Swing Festival, which despite leaving me hobbling for a few days after, was absolutely amazing. This week, I had my first driving lesson in 2 years, which went surprisingly well, and danced my socks off yet again seeing We Are Scientists on Thursday night. I'm planning on travelling to London on a school  night to see them in a fortnight because they were so damn good.

Grant and I had a fantastic day yesterday at the Oxford Natural History Museum, and then went to see the Lego Movie in the evening, which looked incredible but was also really funny and clever. I got a little snap happy in the Museum and ended up taking around 150 photos, so I had to limit myself somewhat to only post 6 here! Not being a massive fan of science, I didn't expect to love it that much, but it was so inspiring. My favourite bits were the rocks and minerals gallery, and the section where they had all kinds of insects on display, from tiny beetles and fleas to huge exotic butterflies. I also loved these shells which somehow reminded me of the poor unfortunate souls in Ursula's cave in The Little Mermaid. My mind was buzzing with all kind of ideas when I was in there, from intricate shapes that would be beautiful as jewellery to strange creatures you could conjure from the bizarre specimens they had on display. I want to go back in the week sometime on a quieter day to do some sketching. How many other places could you sketch a full size dinosaur skeleton?! Living in Oxford sometimes is a massive pain, but moments like that totally make up for it.

So, I guess I should probably talk about the outfit now shouldn't I? I bought this gorgeous embroidered jacket from Monsoon when I was at home the other weekend, for the bargain price of £27, instead of £90. I'm kind of obsessed with it. I didn't want to wear anything too distracting underneath so just wore this plain empire line dress from work, which is actually meant to be a top, but because I'm so short... it comes to halfway down my thighs. These Doc's aren't actually the ones I originally ordered that I mentioned a few weeks ago. Several failed delivery attempts resulted in a very grumpy me with no boots, but I'm actually pretty chuffed because I then found these for an ridiculously good price on Amazon and they were delivered the next day. These are actually the exact style that Helen wears, which are nicer than the bog standard ones because the leather is that much softer and it has a nice sheen to it. Saying that, they still cut my feet to shreds, even with plasters applied beforehand. I'm really chuffed with them though and can't wait for them to be bearable to wear! I just realised whilst looking at these photos that this outfit has a definite air of my 13 year old hippy punk look, but hopefully now it looks slightly more sophisticated and less comical!

I better get off to sleep now since I once again have a rather busy week ahead of me, as I'm sure you all do. Apologies for the length of this post, but as always, when I haven't posted for a while I tend to then bombard you with a huge stream of me jabbering on. Anyway, sleepytimes. I hope everyone's had a lovely weekend enjoying the sunshine.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Common Sentiments.

H&M dress, Limited Collection at M&S cardi, M&S shoes

I went on a little trip last weekend to Banbury to take my sewing machine to a repair centre and so got to visit a H&M for the first time in absolutely ages. I used to buy a lot from H&M back in the day, and was really excited to go to get some bits, but nothing really appealed to me until I was heading out of the shop and happened to glance upon this floral number. It looked so comfy and easy to wear and I imagine it will be great in the summer because its nice and thin with decent three-quarter length sleeves. Irritatingly as soon as I got it home to try it on I noticed it had a hole in the armpit, but since we don't go over to Banbury very often, I decided to keep it and just do a little repair on it myself. Whilst its a little long to wear with tights now (I look a bit mumsy!) its just the right length for covering my pudgy knees in the summer. Coupled with my trusty old comfy cardigan it was a perfect Sunday outfit for mooching around the flat.

I've just ordered myself a pair of cherry red Doc Martens after being undecided for a few months... I have a pair of black patent 1460s that you'll have seen a few times if you've been reading for a while, but I wear them very rarely. I'm not sure what it is- I worry about them being unflattering on my chunky legs, and that they make me look like a 15 year old emo, what with the black patent. But after being inspired by this lady in particular, I decided that a pair of Oxblood ones might be that little bit more wearable. I think they would look lovely with this dress, even though the longer length combined with the boots might make me look about two feet tall.

I'm having rather a strange time at the moment. The realisation that it will be 3 years since my graduation in July has terrified me somewhat. In many ways I feel like I have done so little in that 3 years, in terms of job prospects and 'graduate-level' work. At the same time, I know I have accomplished a lot, maintaining a long distance relationship for a year under pretty stressful circumstances, moving to a completely new city, and furnishing our first real home (even if it is kind of tiny with no room for a cat or tumbledryer). I feel like I've been in some kind of limbo for the last 3 years, whilst I wait for my 'real life' to begin. I'm really hoping that this will be the year that things finally start to feel like they're falling into place. In the mean time, I'll just listen to this song over and over to remind me that things will eventually get better. I'm just hoping its soon.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Creative Initiative #1, 2, 3.

The Creative Initiative #1
Theme: Free Sketch

The Creative Initiative #2
Theme: What did you do today?

The Creative Initiative #3
Theme: Get Outdoors!

Apologies for my absence the last few weeks. I must admit, the rapidly fading light caught me out several times; coupled with Christmas fever kicking in at work resulted in me missing a few weeks. Anyway, I am back now with somewhat of a dumping catch-up post for the Creative Initiative!

If you remember my '23 before 24' post, one of my goals was to do some kind of drawing every day. Now, that hasn't really happened. However, when I read about the Creative Initiative it seemed like the perfect thing to get me back in the swing of drawing more regularly, and also something to post about every week. Now, I did only find out about it in the second week, and ever since have been playing catch-up to try and get the drawings done in the first place but also take the pictures to post! I am off this Thursday however, so, fingers crossed, if I get the 3 remaining weeks done by then I will have caught up. The basic idea is that you create some piece of 'art' each week (whether that be a drawing, photo, painting etc) on a set theme, and then share your work with with the others taking part.

For the first week, the theme was 'Free Sketch', so I drew what was directly in front of me: the end of my bed. For some reason I've always found drawing before bed a really relaxing past-time, and often my best drawing seems to be done whilst I'm a little sleepy!

Week 2's theme was 'What have you today?', so I chose a few elements of one Sunday to sketch. My boyfriend and I went to a Farm Centre outside Oxford for a little afternoon trip, partly because he is a little obsessed with birds of prey and they have a Falconry Centre there. Hence the flying owl; I didn't do the drawing whilst watching the flying display but did it at home from a picture later. We also went to their Farm Shop and bought some of the most delicious pork pies, which were so good I felt they needed to be recorded! I was pretty chuffed with my owl drawing even if he did turn out a little squint-eyed.

The theme of 'Get Outdoors!' proved a little more difficult since by the time I remembered I needed to draw it was normally dark outside! Instead I decided to take inspiration from the sky instead. I wanted to try and draw Orion in a moody dark night sky but unfortunately my watercolour pencils didn't quite give the right effect. Need to get my inks out again methinks!

I'll do my best to catch up and give you all an up to date post on Thursday! Is anyone else taking part in the Creative Initiative or trying to reignite their artistic passions some other way?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Headington Haul.

One of the goals on my 23 before 24 list was to do more charity shopping. When I was at university, nearly all my purchases were from my local charity shops. However, since moving to Oxford I've been completely unable to suss out where all the gems were hiding! There aren't many charity shops in the centre of Oxford and so I had to venture a little further afield to find them. I was informed by some Oxfam friends that Headington had a huge selection and so I trekked off on a bus to the other side of town.

I am really pleased with all these purchases and have worn them all already apart from the scarf! My favourite is the shift dress which is originally a Peacocks piece. Whilst its not going to last forever, I just adored the print. I've got rather a paisley obsession at the moment! I wouldn't have looked at it before I dyed my hair because the colours wouldn't have suited me, but it looks quite nice now.

I have possibly one of the world's biggest collections of scarves but when I saw this East one in Oxfam I had to buy it. It's one of my absolute favourite colours, a deep fuchsia, and is so incredibly soft. I also love how big it is- I hate it when you don't have enough scarf in which to bury your face when the winds are howling. The cardigan was also bought because of the colour- I've got a couple of cardis in this shade which really need to be thrown out, but I can't bear to because they're so useful! Hopefully this will be a worthy substitute. The striped top was brand new with the tags still attached, and whilst being very similar to this one I already own, looked comfy and slouchy enough to allow me to spend the grand total of £4.25 on it.

All in all, I was pretty chuffed with the results of my afternoon, and I am glad I now know where to head for some bargains. Hopefully I will get back into charity shopping more regularly, and with this plunder just from one trip, I think I'd be a fool not to go again soon!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Hint of Hanna Barbera

Limited Edition at Marks and Spencer coat, 'We've Got Some Work To Do Now' tee-shirt by Threadless, Pins and Needles skirt from Urban Outfitters, United Colors of Benetton cardigan, Vans trainers from Schuh, Claire's Accessories earrings

Oh my word, I like having uniform width pictures, but I have been faffing around all afternoon on GIMP to get these images sorted out! Now I have a banging headache *sighs* Oh well, I will get this post done, and then get myself some dinner on and settle down to watch Strictly and Downton.

I'm not sure where to start with this outfit because it has so many things I love! Right, tee-shirt first. I'd seen this design a while ago but unfortunately it sold out before I could buy it. It recently came back into stock so I placed an order straight away, whilst also getting this rather amazing hoodie. It's a little annoying because they have to ship from America, but my boyfriend loves their tee-shirts anyway, so we just did a joint order to spread the postage cost. I've always had this massive thing about Velma from Scooby Doo, and this print of her as a kick-ass zombie killer was just too good to pass up. (I think some of Grant's zombie obsession may have rubbed off on me a little too.) It's a really nice fit, with a flattering scoop neck and decent sleeves, rather than those flimsy cap ones they tend to put on most 'girl fit' tee-shirts. Basic point here, I'm obsessed, and so obsessed I've ordered myself another because I know I will wear this to death.

I got this skirt a few weeks ago when I went home at the weekend, and I've barely taken it off since. I'd seen a girl wearing a similar skirt/tee-shirt combo a while back, and I realised I needed a high-waisted skirt that actually covered my bum, unlike this other beautiful Urban Outfitters one, which I love but am just too terrified to wear. It's really comfy and hides a multitude of sins, although I must say in this picture it does seem to make me look a little pregnant! Oh well.

The cardigan is one I picked up when I was in France. I really loved the darker trim and elbow patches, and it's a lovely soft knit as well. I can't ever have too many cardigans!

These new Vans are just a replacement for my other brogue-style ones which are almost dead and gone (I should throw them out really but I can't bear to.) I must admit I prefer the slimmer style of my old ones, because they were more flattering on both my massive feet and also the calves! I don't seem to be able to get hold of the slimmer ones though, so these will have to do I suppose.

And finally, the coat. When I first saw this at work a few weeks ago, I had to talk myself out of buying it straight away, since I had already bought myself a winter coat! However, when I noticed it was flying off the rail rather quickly, I gave in and bought it. I just absolutely adore it. The amazing 60s cut, the boucle tweed fabric, the pockets... and obviously, the amazing orange colour teamed with the leopard print collar. The combination reminds me somewhat of the Flintstones! It's not one for everyone, but in my eyes a coat that makes you look like you belong in Bedrock can only be a good thing. Unfortunately its now sold out online, but there might be one or two left in store if you're lucky.

Wow, so this is a ridiculously long post. In other news, I've had a rather exhausting week at work but I had an amazing time at my Lindyhopper class on Thursday. I also went to Headington in Oxford yesterday to do some charity shopping, and came away with a dress, top, scarf and cardi all for £23! Well chuffed. I'm planning on doing a little haul post later this week. Anyway, better go and get some dinner on and get snuggled on the sofa ready for Downton. Hope you've all had a lovely weekend and that the storms don't cause too much havoc, unlike the wind earlier which resulted in my skirt and hair blowing everywhere!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

23 before 24.

So I know I've been gone for months again. What's the point of making apologies anymore? To be fair, the summer did involve a holiday, my birthday and a new job role at work... and then it got to that point where I felt awkward about blogging at all. So, I'm just leaping back in with this 23 before 24 post, despite my birthday being back in August... I just hope I can actually stick to some of these goals for the next year which will hopefully improve this little corner of the internet.

My goals for last year I realise now were all far too vague and wishy-washy, and so this time round I've tried to come up with much more specific achievable targets. And in the spirit of it being less vague, I chose not to do it in pretty handwriting and not provide any explanation, but to instead give some information to make myself more accountable!

1. Go to Lindyhopper dance classes.

2. Cycle into work on a daily basis. 

These two are obviously both ones to improve my fitness, but the dance classes are also to do something I think I'd enjoy and to meet some new people! I went to my first one last week, but then did chicken out this week, so need to bully myself into going regularly. As for the cycling, let's just say I did a practice run and nearly died, but I need to break through the initial horrendously unfit barrier and then hopefully it will improve. Turning up at work a sweaty mess is never a good look.

3. Use up at least 5 lipsticks.

4. Use up a notebook.

5. Don't buy a new magazine until I've finished reading the last one....

Let's just say I have a bit of a problem... with lipsticks and notebooks. I have to stop buying more and focus on using up the ones I already have! Also, magazines are a similar kind of thing, but they're a little harder to hide from my boyfriend what with Grazia and Mollie Makes littered all over the sofa...

6. Blog once a week.

7. Make 3 blog comments a day.

I need to set myself some kind of initial goal/timetable to get myself back into the swing of things, and then hopefully once I'm more in a routine of blogging regularly again, I can slip in a few extra posts. But once a week seems an achievable initial target. Also, in line with that, I must get involved in the community again. I still read blogs but I've gotten very lazy with commenting, which means I feel rather disconnected. I need to sort that out, since comments and doing your own posts go somewhat hand-in-hand.

8. Read one book a month.

9. Do one hour's sewing a week.

10. Do one new recipe a week.

11. Try and do some kind of drawing every day, even if it's only a tiny doodle, or work on a larger piece.

12. Discover one new band/artist a month.

Now, these might be hard to stick to... Actually bothering to do something creative is something I struggle with. I really enjoy sewing, drawing and reading, but I can be quite naturally lazy and have to force myself to do things. I tend to spend more time thinking about doing things than actually doing them... It is hard to get my arse into gear to do anything when working a full time job, but at the same time I need to keep doing creative things to give me a sense of achievement, since my retail job isn't exactly using all of my skills. The music bit is more because I tend to listen to the same bands I've been listening to for the last 8 years, and I really should try to branch out! Abby has really similar taste in music to me, and is like a mine of information, so I really must take some action and act on her recommendations! Recipes... I have an absolute ton of cookbooks but much more of a reliance on tasty M&S prepared food than my wallet (and scales) would like, so I need to make more an effort to cook from scratch.

Ooh, and I also thought I could make a good monthly round-up post of these bits and pieces.

13. Have at least one 'No High Street' month.

14. Get some kind of regular saving going.

These two are obviously linked- I have actually this month set myself up a regular standing order to a savings account, but I'm still failing miserably at charity shopping. I need to locate the good shops in Oxford and find those hidden gems!

15. Finally pass my driving test....

I'm 23 now. That's all I need to say really.

16. Use my diary properly!

I bought myself a really tiny Moleskin one this year with a day to a page, but it actually just turned out to be too small to write in properly. Is it sad that I'm already checking out the ones in the shops for next year??!!

17. One more boring one... keep on top of my washing.

Yep. Let's just say a combined washer-dryer and a uniform that can't be tumble-dried equates to a CONSTANT huge pile of washing. One day I would love for it all to just be done and folded away in the draws... Saying that, part of this problem is that I desperately need to do a clear-out.

18. Get the flat 'finished'.

There's lots of little bits that we still haven't got done, like painting the skirting boards in some rooms, hanging up pictures, managing to find some nice light fittings that don't cost the absolute earth... just those things that would make it seem more like our home.

19. Go to Brighton.

I still haven't managed to make it, because it's actually quite a long journey- I think a weekend away might be in order!

20. Make more of an effort to get to know Oxford.

Despite living here for nearly a year now, I'm still not massively familiar with the city. There's simply so much here that it's difficult to know where to start! I also live in the quieter side of the city so there is a bit less going on here, but I must try to discover the good bits!

21. Carry on seeing the friends I do have relatively near. 

Self-explanatory really.

22. Find myself a church.

And that will hopefully help with making some more friends actually in Oxford!

23. Don't be scared to apply for jobs. 

I don't have enough experience for most jobs I'd like to go for, but it shouldn't stop me applying. It's quite hard for me after being rejected for that job back in May, because in many ways it seemed so perfect and it did really knock my confidence. I tend to not apply for jobs at all because of the fear of rejection, but if I don't try, I won't have any hope at all! Ah, living the graduate dream guys *sighs*

Anyway, that's all of my aims for this year. Hopefully I'll do better than last year! Saying that, would anyone like me to do a round-up of what I did manage to do? (It's not a lot I'll tell you that now!) I meant to sort of incorporate that into this post, but I've wittered on for more than long enough now. Apologies if this is quite rambley and a little incoherent, it's been a long time since I've made an attempt to organise my shambolic thoughts into cogent sentences.

See you next Sunday kids.