Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Blooming Lovely

I could live in Bloomsbury land. Lock me in any Bloomsbury store and just give me food every now and then and let me loose among the beautiful bits and bobs and I would be quite happy. Busy bookshelves and surfaces piled high with everything from Paul Smith bags to Pantone mugs I feel quite at home - I love clutter. Just as long as it's pretty clutter.

Bloomsbury is a fail-safe destination for pretty gifts. The only problem is I can't help but be tempted by gifts for myself too....

Have the sweetest of dreams in these pink polka dot pjs, £55
Baby pink Pantone mugs, from £5.95
Baby pink Pantone tin £12.95
If you didn't know already, I love baking. (Actually, if you didn't know that you must be an alien who has just landed on this planet and somehow managed to glance at my blog.) Therefore I adore the Hummingbird cookbook, and this cute set complete with cupcake cases. (£12.99)

This is a glorious, hard-back illustrated book all about London. Featuring the best shops, restaurants and hotels it really is a fabulous celebration of a fabulous city.

Bonjour t-shirt £29.95
Button teapot from £29.95
This is a book all about my favourite subject: love. Featuring poems, anecdotes and extracts from novels this book explores love throughout the ages and around the world. And with a cover designed by my favourite artist Rob Ryan, this is definitely one for my bookshelf.


A rosy day in Bath, and a craving for some Toast

You don't usually expect to see lions on a day trip to Bath. However on a sunny Tuesday visit this week the city was full of them. These patriotic and colourful animals are part of the 2010 'Pride in our City' project, in which 100 decorated lions have been placed around the city of Bath. Each 6 foot lion is sponsored by a local business and is raising money for charity. The lion project was inspired by 2008's King Bladud's Pig event, which saw brightly decorated pigs making homes of famous spots throughout Bath.

Wandering throughout the beautiful city these lions make for an unusual flash of colour brightening up the streets. The lions will be roaming the city until mid September, however to catch the whole pride in their rainbow-coloured, fabulous, feline glory, head to the Royal Crescent on the weekend of the 9th and 10th of October where the lions will all be roaring goodbye.
This pink lion was standing guard outside Bath's fashion museum, where I had come to see the 'Diana Dresses' exhibition, a showcase of 10 famous dresses worn by Princess Diana. The lion was called 'Manely in the Pink', painted by Louette Eagles and sponsored by the Shepperton Group.

The 'Diana Dresses' exhibition is well worth a visit. Showcasing a limited range of 10 dresses it is small enough to really take everything in, and to provide a much more intimate museum experience. Although the exhibition was small each dress was displayed beautifully and accompanied by fascinating information, as well as a film roll showing clips of the late princess.

Not only was it interesting, but I found it a very moving experience. On one wall a pin board had been assembled for people to attach their memories of Diana. Reading through the loving and kind words of everyone from 7o year old ladies to young children who were babies when she died yet who remember her legacy with fondness, was an apt and moving tribute. Next to this wall were children's drawings of their favourite 'Diana' dresses, many accompanied by carefully written phrases such as "I love fashion", or "When I'm grown up I want to be a fashion designer". This hint towards future and the innocence of children made a heartwarming and hopeful contrast to the tragic memories of death on the adjacent wall.

No trip to Bath would be complete without a bit of shopping. This time, however, it was not so much the fail-safe usuals that drew me (Jolly's, mainly for it's beautiful make-up department, Waterstone's and Vinegar Hill) but a shop I had never seen before.

I love the exquisitely styled photographs in Toast's catalogue, but had never seen one of their stores before. Therefore stumbling across a gorgeous window display, full of paint splattered accessories, brushes and colourfully dressed mannequins, and seeing TOAST emblazoned above the door, came as a pleasant surprised.

Inside, the store embodied the Toast aesthetic just as much as the catalogue, however in the flesh the clothes themselves appeared suddenly far more appealing. In the bright, breezy shop the rich, rusty colours stood out and wooed the eye, whilst the fabrics cried to be stroked. Everything from the friendly and stylishly dressed shop assistants to the quirkily decorated interior made me view Toast in a refreshing new light, and left me desperate to buy. I could have quite easily parted with my cash in exchange for some burnt red patent pumps, or a bright orange mac, however seeing as I'm starting university in a few weeks I decided (sadly) that books might be a more sensible investment.

Nontheless I left very much craving some Toast, and I'm sure I will be back.


Friday, 20 August 2010

Pink Celebration

At my book launch last year I was given several bottles of pink champagne, however I have resisted opening them because they were so special and reminded me of that amazing day. A worthy occasion arrived on Thursday, however, when I collected my long anticipated A-level results. It was time for the pink Piper-Heidsieck to come down from my shelf.

I have been enjoying my long and relaxing summer, however results day has been a constant shadow at the back of my mind. Luckily I had done well at my AS levels so already had enough points to get into university, therefore the wait wasn't filled with the same kind of nail-biting nerves that many of my friends experienced. Instead it was more about personal achievement, about all my hard work paying off and about proving that although I'm not going down the Oxbridge / Russell Group University route that I am nonetheless capable of working hard and reaching my goals.

10:00am Thursday the 19th of August and the results were available to collect from my school. However, I wasn't there. Instead I got a phone call from my mum: "I have your results in my hands, are you sure you want to wait until you get home or do you want me to open them?". At this point I was at my friend's house in France, about to head home after a week of sun and distracting myself from the prospect of opening my exam results. I decided to wait until I was back later that afternoon. In fact, as soon as I stepped off the plane I was greeted by the open arms of my mum, and a brown envelope. I opened them there and then at the airport.

Inside was a piece of piece of paper - no piece of paper has ever made me quite as happy - because this piece of paper told me I had got an A and 2 A*s. My mum quickly presented me with this beautiful pink card - she said she had bought it ages ago because she just knew I would do well. I think knowing my mum has such unwavering faith in me was in fact just as lovely as getting the results I wanted (but would never have expected).

Throughout the day news from my friends kept coming through, and although I was obviously over the moon about my own results, it was news from my friends whose places at university depended upon their grades that really made my day. When my best friend told me she had got into her first choice university after a morning of worries that she hadn't quite got the grades she needed, I cried. Then another friend told me she had got her place at Cambridge (the same college as my sister) and the floodgates opened again. In the evening it was down to the pub where nearly my entire year group had come to celebrate. The more friends I met, the more hugs we exchanged as the good news kept coming. Looking around at my friends, smiling and excited about their futures, I felt so proud and overcome by emotion that I had to sit down - I could feel myself close to exploding / collapsing. These results marked the end, but also the beginning. And it is for my beginning, and all the exciting beginnings of my friends, that I am so happy and excited for.


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A successful shopping trip...

It's funny how you can go shopping somewhere huge (like my visit to Cabot Circus in Bristol a few weeks ago) and come away with nothing, and go somewhere small (Salisbury - my local town) and have a much more successful trip. I have little patience for TK Maxx (all those jumbled clothes and rails and rails of track suits) but look carefully on the right day and you can find some real gems. Today was such a day. First was a grey A-line dress which fits like a glove, accentuates my waist (for me the mark of a good dress) and will no doubt become a well-loved and much worn member of my wardrobe. My real find, however, was this Moschino silk scarf that I glimpsed as I was queuing to pay. The love-heart pattern caught my eye, and I simply couldn't resist.
Shopping in Marks and Spencer's can often be disappointing to say the least. You see something surprisingly appealing in a magazine and decide to venture in, only to be met by a sea of jersey and zimoframes. The lingerie department, however, never disappoints. I think you would be at a push to find any female member of this country who doesn't own at least one pair of M&S undies. If you look in the knicker drawer of many people I know you will find purely M&S. I couldn't say no to this pink and lime silk set. On a rainy day such as today the colour lifts my mood and I know that every time I open my underwear drawer and see these I will smile. And after all as I've said before... there is no excuse for boring underwear, especially when you can get knickers this lovely from good old M&S.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Give us a tune...

I have a strange aversion to guitars. Yes, I know that's strange. I just don't feel cool enough to pull one off. If someone makes me hold one I sit their awkwardly feeling embarrassed by not only my 'uncool'ness but my extreme lack of musical talent. However, I could possibly be converted if I had a case as cool as this floral one from Pedlars. Perhaps it might not help improve my musical abilities, but at least I would look the part... And surely that's half the battle. :)


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Lovely Lingerie

If there's one thing I hate it is bad underwear. Personally I can find no excuse for grey cotton knickers. That's why I love 'Ell and Cee's lovely lingerie. With styles in the softest of shades and fabrics they manage to be both sweet and sexy. Better yet, there is a sale on at the moment. Snap up a bra for £29 (usually £67) or £35 (usually £70). When there's lingerie as beautiful as this, those grey cotton knickers just can't compete.
After all, it's what's underneath that counts.


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Today's love...

I have always dreamt of owning a pink laptop. Therefore there is no question about this pink laptop cover - it is a must-have. I could argue its practical benefits, (the cover would protect my Macbook from scratches and marks) but let's face it - I just want my laptop to be hot pink. Simple.


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A fifties dress gets a 21st century outing...

This week my vintage dress got its first outing. I wore the turquoise, rose-print dress to my Grandpa's 83rd birthday and smiled the whole day. My Grandpa loved my dress, and over lunch I saw him turn, misty-eyed, to my mum saying, "She's all grown-up." I don't feel it, but its nice to think I'm on my way. Although I am also glad I'm not as old as my lovely dress just yet.