Monday, 31 May 2010

Today's love...

This marshmallow pink Pashley bicycle nearly makes me want to take up cycling. I have dreams of cycling down Parisien streets or along the Seine on this bike, the breeze ruffling the gingham headscarf in my hair and a baguette poking out from my leather rucksack. Unfortunately in reality me plus cycling equals a much less carefree combination. I'm a very capable cyclist if the route is flat, there are no cars and I don't need to signal at any point. Take one arm off the handlebars and I will fall off (past experiences have somewhat painfully proven this).

When I told my art teacher I would be studying in London from September, she excitedly told me I could save a fortune by buying a bike and cycling everywhere instead of selling all my worldly possessions in order to afford a year's Oyster card. "I would die," I told her. "Oh no there's a website where you can plan routes that avoid main roads..." "I wouldn't cycle in Gillingham, (the tiny town where I live)" was my response.

"Yes, you would die."

So perhaps this beautiful bike may not brighten my doorstep, and I may not be cycling stylishly around London on the bike of my dreams. But it was a nice thought.


Libby

Picnic Pretty

A few days ago the Joules Catalogue / Magazine (which they oh so cleverly call a Catazine) fell through my letter box. I like to have something to read whilst munching my cereal in the morning, so I decided to have a flick through. That is when I saw this picnic hamper (£65). It was love at first sight. With its multi-coloured, stripey lining, pink handle and traditional wicker basket shape it has to be the ultimate picnic hamper.

For me summer wouldn't be summer, and England wouldn't be England, without picnics. This Joules basket got me thinking, and planning the dream picnic...
£3.95 (John Lewis)

These must be just about the prettiest disposable picnic plates you could find, so pretty in fact that it would seem a crime to throw them away. Perfect for sandwiches cut into dainty triangles, or a thick slice of cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
£15 With its pretty, summery pattern this plastic Cath Kidston jug cries out for homemade lemonade, or (even better) ice cold Pimm's.

I love these polka dotty tumblers and can just imagine light hearted disputes over who gets which colour (I shotgun the pink one).
£4 (John Lewis)

A picnic wouldn't be complete, quite frankly, without a raspberry pink acrylic cocktail shaker. John Lewis really do have it all covered.

For sticky fingers and catching cake crumbs: these polka dot Emma Bridgewater napkins.
£12.99 (Cloth-ears)

For keeping tea warm, or iced drinks chilly, this vintage look flask is perfect.

£27 (Emma Bridgewater)

Go patriotic and keep your sandwiches, cupcakes and iced buns fresh in this set of 3 union jack tins.
£19.99 (Cloth-ears)

But one of the questions is, where do you have your picnic? If you choose a clearing in the woods, then string some bunting between the trees for ultimate picnic chic. Why not these, handmade and with a cute ice cream print that will get your mouth watering...

£19.99 (Cloth-ears)

...Or dream of floating up, up and away with this hot air balloon print.

£8.99 (Brollies galore)

If you're picnicing on the beach, then indulge ladylike fantasies with a sun parasol to keep you cool.
£8.50 (Brollies galore)

Opt for either a traditional paper version like the two above...


£29.99 (Brollies galore)

...Or a glamorous fabric version. I love the sumptuous frills on this one, and its sophisticated cream shade.
£129.99 (Brollies galore)

This broderie anglais parasol, with its vintage colour and sturdy wooden handle, is perhaps my favourite (although unforutunately also the most expensive).
£15 (Accesorize)

A light weight scarf like this one if great for slinging over shoulders to keep off the sun.
£20 (New Look)

This basket is the perfect size for piling everything in that you need for your picnic. And with a gingham lining and handles it is just as pretty as the things going in.
£45 (John Lewis)

If you (like me) have secret dreams of skipping through the grass in a gingham or floral dress with a picnic basket hanging from your arm, then this basket is the perfect embodiment of that dream. Just add florals and floppy sunhat.
£18 (Cath Kidston)

Eating (particularly in the sunshine) always makes me sleepy. Make sure to bring a good book with you on your picnic, and a cushion as pretty as this one, and after filling yourself up on lemonade, scotch eggs and cocktail sausages proceed to fall asleep in the shade.
£30 (Cath Kidston)

Back to the 'skipping through the grass' dream... in that dream this is how I imagine a picnic blanket would look. Pastel, check, and nice and soft against bare feet.
£12 (John Lewis)

I also love this union jack picnic blanket, that comes conveniently in its own bag.
£25 (John Lewis)

If sitting on the floor isn't your style, then this matching folding chair makes the coolest picnic throne.
£16 (John Lewis)

Pretty yet practical: this polka dot cool bag is cute yet great for keeping all your food cool.
£20 (Emma Bridgewater)

But for the perfect British picnic, you really do need the perfect British cool bag.
£35 (Rare at Topshop)

Now for what to wear... to the perfect English summer picnic I would say embrace perfect English summer style. Cute, quirky and (of course), pretty.

I love the combination of the breton stripe top and Minnie Mouse skirt on this dress, and the cherry red colour seems fittingly patriotic for an English picnic.
£40 (Asos)

There is such an ease to a maxi dress - just chuck it on and you have an outfit that makes a statement but keeps you cool and comfortable at the same time. Wear to a picnic and enjoy the feel of the fabric billowing and brushing against your legs as you walk to find the perfect spot to set up camp. You will feel like a hippy princess.
£35 (Asos)

These short floral dungarees are fun, fabulous and would add the finishing touch to the dream summer picnic.
£50 (Topshop)

This smock dress is in the lightest fabric, great for keeping you cool, whilst the long sleeves keep arms safe from burning.
£10 (New Look)

And to add the final touch to your picnic - a summer hat. I love this one from New Look with its pink band and floral corsage, however you could always decorate a plain trilby yourself. Just tie a silk scarf around the band, or a piece of ribbon, and clip on a corsage if you're feeling floral.

I can now feel my stomach rumbling, crying for sandwiches, cake and strawberries. I don't know about you, but I'm in the mood for a picnic...

Libby

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Happy Birthday Harriet!

May seems to be a popular month for birthdays; today it is one of my best friend's 18th. Naturally, out came the heart shaped cake tin. Because sometimes there is no other way to say it than with a heart shaped cake, this time covered in pink and orange icing, smarties, chocolate buttons and dolly mixtures. I felt Harriet deserved a very colourful cake, as she is a very colourful person. A talented bag designer, I have many of her creations brightening the row of hooks where I hang my handbags, and one of them graces the pages of 'Love Pink'. When I am the editor of Vogue (I wish) I can imagine myself writing about the latest collections of H.R.H - Harriet Rose Handbags (although Her Royal Highness is fitting too).

Happy Birthday Harriet xx
Libby

Thursday, 27 May 2010

I love Octopus

Octopus, home to wonderfully wacky accessories and homeware, is one of my favourite shops. Walk in to one of their stores and you are met by an array of rainbow coloured goodies, from floral toasters to jewellery made from zips, and umbrellas too pretty to inflict rain upon. Every trip to Bath (one of my nearest cities) or Cambridge (to visit my sister) demands a visit to the Octopus shop, one which usually ends with me leaving with one of their bright blue bags, the famous octopus logo emblazoned on the side.

My favourite thing from Octopus was given to me by my sister, knowing how much I love the shop. This patent pink bag in the shape of a watering can always receives compliments, giggles or bemused looks. Because that's the thing with Octopus - it's a little bit crazy, but then what's wrong with a little pink dose of crazy?
I love the bag's hot pink colour that matches perfectly with my new watch from New Look. I have long pined over the neon bright, sporty style of ToyWatches. They are very much in vogue, gracing the pages of nearly every magazine. However at £165 I had to accept that I was never going to be able to afford the real thing. So instead of sulking, I opted for New Look's pretty much identical version for £15. Lovely.

A tad on the mini side, this bag is just big enough to fit a purse, pink lipstick, phone, and a rolled copy of Vogue poking out. Just big enough in my opinion.

I dream of buying pretty much everything from Octopus, and decking my life in multicoloured fabulousness. Below are a pick of some of my pink favourites from the Octopus website:


£24 This is a bag that is shaped like a car. Like the watering can bag, this is probably a love or hate number, but I don't care because I LOVE it.
£7.50 I love this cute acrylic ring, with the blushing cheeks, blonde bob and flower headband. I want to be the girl on this ring.
£35 Who said clocks were all about telling the time? This wall clock may not have any numbers, but the flowers that surround it are so pretty and colourful. Who needs to know the exact time of day when you have a timepiece this beautiful brightening your wall?
Large £12.00 Small £9.50 I think getting ready in the morning should be an enjoyable process. Perhaps I'm just strange, but I go to bed looking forward to deciding what to wear in the morning. I love getting dressed and putting my make up on, but think the whole thing would be enhanced if I had a hairbrush this pretty to use.
£8.50 I'm not sure if this pretty pair of tweezers would make plucking my eyebrows any less painful, but they are very cute anyway.
£14 Oh what an urge I would have to cut things out if I owned a pair of these bird scissors.
£16 Washing up doesn't have to be all soap suds, grease and fluorescent marigolds. Wash up in style with these beautiful gloves and the whole thing will become a much more glamourous task altogether. Promise.
£14 This cheese grater is pretty silly, but pretty it is nonetheless. And kitchen utensils should always be pretty in my opinion (see my 18th birthday post below).

Libby

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Pink to the max

Apologies in advance - I am about to cite maxi dresses as perfect for the current sunny weather, which will of course mean it is raining tomorrow. Anyway... Maxi dresses are an unstoppable force this summer and perfect for the current sunny spell we have been enjoying (sorry). If you aren't confident enough for some of the all over crazy-print dresses on the market, if you feel leopard print (one of the hottest prints right now) is just too OTT, or if you find the plummeting necklines and iddy biddy straps of some styles a bit too revealing (I can't believe I just called a MAXI dress revealing...) then this is a style for you. The little floaty sleeves are perfect for covering your upper arms if you're feeling self conscious, but instead of 'practical' they say 'sophisticated fairy'. I love the shade of pink too, it has just enough coral in it to stop the whole thing being a bit too much.


Libby

A very pink 18th

A few weeks ago it was my 18th birthday, and it is safe to say it was a very pink affair.

My mum baked me this fabulous pink, heart shaped cake complete with pink candles and dolly mixtures (my favourite - they are after all the prettiest of sweets). Once cut (at first I didn't want to as it was so pretty, but in the end my hunger and the sugary smell got the better of me) it was even pink inside too. This was my second heart shaped cake of the day; at school my friend had baked me one laden with butter icing. My birthday turned out to be more of a birthday festival. When I went to my dad's at the weekend I was presented with another cake, this time sandwiched with strawberries and cream. A girl can really never have too much cake.

My friends and family know me well, as was shown in the kind and lovely presents they gave me. One honourary aunt set me up with a pink tea set, pink 'LOVE' cushion and union jack bag that will fit right at home in my university room come September. I have heard you are very popular in university halls if you have a kettle in your room - well I will have enough cups and saucers to make my room the tea party destination of choice.
And to prepare me fully for university... my present from my mum: pink cooking utensils. Think fluorescent pink tin opener, pink handled wooden spoons, a pink apron covered in cupcakes, and a pink vegetable knife that even has a PINK blade. Cooking has never seemed so appealing.
And as pasta will be the staple ingredient of my apres september diet (being one of the only things I as yet know how to cook) this hot pink collander will come in handy.
And all of this came packed up in this gorgeous pink union jack basket.
No birthday would be complete without a meal with my girlfriends. This time it was Wagamama, and once we had finished eating they presented me with a cake completely covered in dolly mixtures and pink candles.

My best birthday present was that my best friend came over from France for my birthday weekend. And I nearly screamed when she gave me a fluorescent pink fold up Longchamp weekend bag for the next time I go to visit her. I absolutely love it, and can't wait until I get a chance to use it and visit her.

And if all that wasn't pink enough, I partied into the night in this blush pink Topshop dress!
Despite how lovely my birthday celebrations were, I unfortunately had to do an exam during the day of my birthday. It was the last day of my 3 day art exam, which meant 5 hours of my 18th were spent in silence. However, by the end of the day it meant it was all over, my art course was finished and that I never have to go to a textile art lesson again! The week after my birthday I had 3 Italian exams, but on Wednesday after I had spent an hour writing a thrilling account of losing my handbag in Italian, it meant I had finished all bar one of my exams (which isn't until the end of June). To celebrate, my mum took me to a beautiful tea room in a walled garden. We sat in the sunshine and ate cake, and as we left she bought me this beautiful mini cake, all wrapped up and decorated with fresh flowers.

The cake was delicious, and made by The Utterly Sexy Cafe, a catering company that make exquisite wedding cakes - the same company that made the teapot cake that I cut with David Cameron.
My birthday festival was perfect, and all in all I felt the luckiest, happiest, PINKEST 18 year old alive.

Libby