The Middle Sister

The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Pet peeve: Judgement

Am a little narked.

Last week I was advised ‘in many ways you are very much like ‘name of someone I am nothing like', an innocent enough remark made by someone who I'm quite certain didn't mean to offend.  But it got me thinking, 

It’s not the comparison I object to (though I dispute that as well, obviously) it’s the fact that someone I barely know feels they've got a handle on who I am.  It’s especially annoying, as this person and I have had little interaction. Which means they’ve made this observation from the smallest degree of superficial information gauged from overheard discussions. 

Like I said, Narked... Also

I’m not a fan of being boxed, least of all by people that have known me for all of 7 seconds.  I’ve had friends that have been in my life for 10 years not get the gist of who I am, so how the AF this person thinks they have my number is beyond me.  And I'm not trying to be all 'look at me I’m so complex’ because the truth of it is EVERYONE is more complex then we imagine and it takes more then a few second to work us all out. 

If  you need to define someone in the simplest of terms and the most convenient of definitions, well that makes you as enlightened as a bad principle in a 1980’s high school movie. 

Seriously people, Aren't we’re better than this yet?

Friday, 10 June 2016

Review: Rachel Balfour Jewellery

I get more jewellery sent to me than anything else.  Yeah yeah I know poor blogger, your heart bleeds I'm sure.  This isn’t a complaint more an observation that it takes something with an angle to spark my interest. However when I heard about Rachel Balfour a quick search through her Instagram was all I needed to see I could get on with this brand, especially the ear cuffs, looooove those! So I delved a little deeper and Rachel herself was only to happy to help.

The official spiel!
Rachel Balfour Jewellery was created on the understanding that jewellery is much more than an accessory; it has magic and meaning and is an outward expression of love, loyalty and inner strength.

The good stuff i.e. my opinion
They’re so cute, I mean seriously cute-as-a-button-if-buttons-were-gold-and-silver-and-shiny* that cute. The hummingbird pendent with its tiny row of diamonds manages to be both incredibly dainty yet make a statement at the same time. The rings which stack perfectly have an elegance and appeal that I think most people can appreciate.  I realise I’m gushing a bit here but look how pretty!

The Price:
The diamonds:  Hatten Garden and certified conflict free
The material: Solid gold or sterling silver 
The work: Handmade by Rachel in her studio here in the UK 
Can you guess where I’m going here?

Yeah, tricky this one.  £30 for a simple stacking ring isn’t too bad however with gold bangles starting at £120 (going upwards) and the gold Animal necklace range starting at £295 they’re not what I would call wildly affordable.  These are definitely special occasion items.  When you’re in need a bit of gumption to get through a particularly important and gruelling exam, or celebrating a truly awesome result in said exam, or it’s your wedding day, or you just won the lottery**.  

They’re designed for women with albeit fairly hefty budgets, but its sisterhood that is Rachel’s focus.  As she says herself “At the heart of my brand is a celebration of women: their strength, beauty and intelligence” This statement is echoed in the fact that 10% of profits from every item is given to Rosa a charitable fund set up to support initiatives that benefit women and girls in the UK.

So no it’s not cheap but they don’t say ‘you get what you pay for’ for nothing.   I believe there are big things in store for Rachel and it seems I’m not the only one.  She’s has already been approached by at least one rather well known high end high street store*** that wants to stock her jewellery. 

Rachel Balfour - One to watch out for****

What do you think?

Images used by kind permission of Rachel Balfour

* Damn I really want a button like that now
**Or sold a kidney.
***Not saying who I know how to keep a secret!
****Poet – know it!


Monday, 30 May 2016

It's just a Phoneless Day

So the other week I left something at home that, when carrying it enables me to breathe freely and without which I feel a bit lopsided.   My phone.

Yep all day at work without my Android.  I’ll wait while you all check yours are within reach thereby allowing you to bypass the feelings of panic and woe I suffered…. Got it? Good.  My first thought after realizing what I had done was Balls! FOMO* full on attack-hugged me as I pondered all the things I couldn't do or be involved in for a whole Eight. Hours!  

My predicament made worse by the fact that the I.T. guy that sets up my temp girl laptop was late so I couldn’t even check my social media sites on a p.c.  I hung around the empty office (no one else gets in as early as me) acting all twitchy like I had just chased a 10oz latte with a couple of espresso Martinis**

After what was realistically about 5 minutes but felt eye strainingly*** longer I decided to go to Hot Numbers, a well-known coffee shop hang out for freelancers and students with MACs and laptops.   Walking in was odd – my coffee consumed without first appearing on Instagram I sat for a full 45 minutes with nothing to pay attention to but the people around me. 

I’ll admit 10 of those were a little ‘dreamt I turned up to work naked’ uncomfortable, but sooner then I expected I settled into just watching the world go by.  I saw commuters and tourists alike enjoying the sunny morning.  I laughed as I saw two women cycle past, their bicycle bells shaped like a ladybird and a hamburger (when did the novelty bell become a thing?) I was really and truly just present.  It felt kind of magical.

This got me pondering other aspects of my life that took me out of just being, like TV.  Anyone that knows me, knows my addict status when it comes to my two dimensional friends.  So when I first met Emma a blogger who goes by 100DaysNoTV I was in awe/confused at the concept.

But now I’m wondering if being constantly tuned in might be distracting us from our own undiscovered creativity.  

Would JK Rowling have gotten around to writing the adventures of Mr Potter had she a smart phone that buzzed every 30 seconds?
Would updates on twitter have distracted Stephen Hawking from learning about the everything?  
Would Dave Grohl have joined Nirvana or formed Foo Fighters if he'd been instagramming his guitars and drum kit instead of playing them?

This isn't a ground breaking concept, nor does it mean I'm signing out of social media and selling my telly.  I still need to know how Rick is going to handle Neegan and when dragon lady is going to kick evereone’s arse and get to the God dammed iron throne

But I am trying to find a better balance between technology and creativity.  If I get it right I'm hoping more magical moments will occur.
*Fear Of Missing Out, seriously where’ve you been?!
** something I unfortunately have first-hand experience of.  
** what? It's a word!


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

#CambsMeetUp - Catesbys Event

What happens when a couple of fabulous gentlemen who love the Provence way of life want to bring that dash of French chic design to a store in Cambridge?  Well you get Catesby's on Green Street, that's what.  One of those 'I'll just transplant my salary directly into your account' shops that beckon you in with dark wood panelling and gorgeous little trinkets at every turn.  Which, coincidentally enough, is exactly where I found myself last Sunday morning... this stuff isn't just thrown together you know! 

The lovely Clashing Time invited me and a tribe of bloggers (is that right? I've no idea if we have been given a collective noun or not yet?) to this independent treasure for the latest #CambMeetUp event which I had been looking forward to for ages!

Neil and Jonathon, the owners of the store welcomed us in with joyful abandon, talking about why they love interior design, France and Cambridge. They got me totally on side when describing themselves as 'the anti Primark' of the high street.  Insisting upon a 'buy less love it longer' mantra I was won over by this unusual yet refreshing sales pitch.  Luckily for them the store is besieged with the cutest bits and bobs for you to find and love for longer in your home, many of the girls picked up a bargain or two before they left.   

When we were done with shopping we headed upstairs to the cafe where we had been provided an instagram friendly breakfast over which we could catch up or introduce ourselves.  Blogger friends like Lifesacatwalk and ClaireBellaMakes were around and I even hung out with some new faces (hello FashionistaBarbie, SuitcaseandSandals and The Trove) as well.  It's here we got to meet the lovely Julie from Cambridge Satchel CompanyJulie is is a big fan of Catesby's and seemed only to pleased to chat away to us, proudly showing her latest bag and pictures of her gorgeous dogs in equal proportion.

All of which now means I'm left with a dilemma.   Do I save up to redesign my home, buy a new satchel or get a boxer puppy!?

Friday, 15 April 2016

Neal's Yard Remedies - Cambridge Event

Having suffered with crappy health for the past month including tonsillitis, a kidney infection (FFS!) and a hacking cough I took a sort of unscheduled hiatus from blogging.  But I'm back now and what better topic to start with then discovering the apothecary wonders of Neal's Yard at their blogger event in Cambridge.

I've always liked Neal's Yard hand cream and thought of them as 'fairly pc' but had no idea quite how proud they are of being one of the most holistic stores on the high street, the website is awash with details of their transparency and integrity.  So confident are the Cambridge team that when I questioned them on the supposed imminent arrival of Origins and their competition they exclaimed 'we have no competition! No one does what we do'.

Arriving at the event I was given a glass of prosecco and some canap├ęs, good start guys, while the ever enthusiastic staff talk me through the lotions and potions that surrounded us.  It's here I discovered a substance called Spirulina, a vibrant teal blue powder that gives you a boost of Vitamin B as well as being a powerful detoxifier.  I was advised 1 shot a day in smoothies would have you feeling a difference in your well being after only a few weeks. 

The skin care range is perhaps what they are most well known for and a wonderful hand and arm massage with Wild Rose Beauty Balm was perfect for the tired limbs of bloggers and photographers always on the go. This product is reported to have 10 uses including a moisture boost (perfect for long haul flights!) lip balm and facial mask.  It's quite an intense scent and isn't for everyone but having used it for a few days I can tell you even my 'dead leaf' hands and feet are feeling the smoothing effects.

The small but perfectly formed store opened in Rose Crescent over 15 years ago, being one of the most popular and ever changing streets in Cambridge it really has stood the test of time.  Talking of small but perfectly formed a nod has to be given to the goodie bag I left with.  While others fill your boots with leaflets, samples and random bumpf Neal's Yard took the high road.  A full size product and 30 minute therapy taster session.  

I can't wait to book mine (though the near constant engaged tone or answering machine in the Cambridge phone may well hinder this a tad!) 

Have you used Neal's Yard products or therapies? 
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