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

Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas Competition - Post 2 of 3 - Susie Watson Designs.

While in my head I'm a natural, in reality interior design is not something I'm all that.... weeeell good at.  Put bluntly a monkey would probably do a better job at refurbishing your lounge than I would.  However Susie Watson Designs appeared in Cambridge a few months ago and while it does include a great deal of pastel, the intricate designs and individuality of the items available intrigued me.  As did where they were made and how those that made the products were treated. 

Luckily I got to meet Susie Watson and any fears I had of  a 'bangladash-style' situation was alleviated.  Hearing how she won't compromise on quality or the treatment of her workers was refreshing to say the least.  She visits the factories in Sri Lanka and India regularly and was present at one of the recent 'lunch parties' they had - a gathering of workers under a tree outside the factory in the Indian summer heat.  Seeing also the hand painting on the kitchen wear peaked my interest in what else might be available and luckily a Pinterest competition win meant I got to see more of these goodies up close.  

A runner decorated with angels, Christmas trees and hearts was the centre piece and really gave a touch of class to my festive table.  The heavy glass candle stick holders were proper cluedo types, good for whacking someone - should you be so inclined and the taper candles burn silky smooth while the wick stays nice and long.  The sign of a good quality I think.  

The tea light holders with their glitter edging and finally the small table candle with it's cute bird motif were the perfect finishing touches.  I also received a calendar showing what's to be available throughout the year.  All in all it's really made me think about what I bring into my home, which I am sure both my husband and our bank balance will be glad of!

PS. though currently there's a sale so really I'm saving money, right?
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Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Competition - Post 1 of 3 - Tom Smith Crackers


You know you wait years to win a competition then three come along in one month.  I've been insanely lucky these past few weeks and so I've decided to blog on the winnings to show what generous companies are giving away.  First come, first blogged therefore today it's Tom Smith Christmas Crackers.

This year we are hosting our second ever Christmas dinner and I'd never really given much thought to the crackers, they were always the bit that made the table all messy at the end.  This year it'll be different.

Tom Smith are the Mac Daddy of cracker makers, they used to make them for Queen Vic. There's something uber cool about holding a cracker made by the original maker, like I have a direct link to Victorian times - without having to endure the child labour and syphilis that was rife at the time. 

It goes that Tom saw some fancy sweets in Paris and thought 'whatever the french can do I can do better' thus cementing our international relations!  He then added the bang (which he thought of when he heard a log crackle in a fireplace) and further embellished with poems, which became jokes and presents. 
 
But over the years these presents became somewhat naff and the humble cracker something of joke itself.  Cheap paper and the sort of presents you wouldn't give someone you dislike let alone a friend became commonplace. Tom Smith however still make crackers worth writing home about. 
On right Tom Smith, On left Tesco, quite the difference eh?
The first thing you notice is the size in comparison to the average cracker.  Like I said Mac. Daddy.  Next it's the quality of the material, more a fine cotton than paper.  The design is traditional and the gifts! Well I haven't actually looked inside yet, but I think it's safe to say there won't be any plastic fish flopping around my family's palms this year.  

No this year they'll be spoilt rotten.  These crackers have set the bar rather high for whoever hosts next year. 

Merry Christmas Everyone. xxx
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Friday, 12 December 2014

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Report

The show that answers the question 'what happens when a really hot gazelle mates with a Disney princess' is back.  The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is an annual event that's eagerly anticipated in this household, though I'm sure my husband and I are looking at it from rather different perspectives.

One of the things I like about this show is we always get background from the models, a little of their personality and interests.   I also love watching the fittings and seeing all the normal looking people busying themselves creating wings for those that won the gene pool lottery to wear.

Now, I've been in the London Victoria's Secret store many times but not once have I seen any of the more 'interesting' outfit choices from the show available for the average Josephine.  While the actual bras are enviably gorgeous, some of the other items were a tad bizarre.

I guess that's what happens when you give your designers a lobotomy, 12 grams of coke and then shove them in a room full of pom poms, coloured plastic, scantily clad supermodels and say 'go create and don't come out until you've proved yourself do-lally!' 

With Ellie Goulding watching Ed Sheeran (she's reportedly who 'Don't' is about) and one of the One Directioners sat watching his bandmate's ex Taylor Swift there were plenty of Made in Chelsea style awkward possibilities.  Were this a contrived reality show I'm sure the directors would have taken advantage of the situation.  Luckily previous model Anne Vyalitsyna has been noticeably missing these past couple of years since her ex-boyfriend Adam Levine, hooked up with current model Behati Prinslow.  Thereby continuing the illusion that all the models think each other are just smashing...


The Fairy Tale scene was definitely my favourite, however the black and white section also killed it.  The whole atmosphere, music, lights, vibe and the background camera sneak peaks makes this look like the most fun you can have at a fashion show ever!   

As if to prove the point here's Ed Sheeran looking to be having the kind of day suicide bombers expect to have after they've martyred themselves.

Happy Christmas to Angels and Muggles alike!

All Images taken by me from my telly whilst watching the show on 4Music
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Monday, 8 December 2014

It's Totally Fair - Mill Road and Judy's Vintage Fairs


Two fairs in two days and the weather gods behaved perfectly!  














Mill Road in Cambridge has long been where to go for unusual nik naks and all the world and his wife came out to play for the annual Winter Fair.  If you're into antiques and crafts, which incidentally aren't just for lavender smelling ladies you'd love it here.  Better yet if you like countless stands with hot chocolate, mulled wines and ciders (personally I prefer a warmed cider to wine these days but I wouldn't disparage you for feeling otherwise) you'd definitely love it here. 

Wandering around with a warmed sausage roll that rivals my own - big headed I know but you really should try one before you judge me - and watching a band play a funky version of 'Just Dance' while dodging people with freebie mince pies and coffee, it's only the 8th but I may have overdosed a tad,  was a perfect way to spend a day.
Crafts available at one of the stands

I got to have a chat with the Romsey Town Rollerbillies, Cambridge's Roller derby team who were featured here in my blog a couple of months ago and see how the girl that broke her ankle is doing.  She's fine, wasn't dancing around or anything but that's to be expected.  And we all got to taste some warming Dr J's Gin, a bottle of which came home with us. 

Judy's Vintage Fair
Next is the at least tri-annual clothes fair that has in the past failed to impress. Sometimes the clothes there are as vintage as Kendall Jenner's fashion career and there are always a few jumpers available which make me wish the jumper had never been invented.  However, this time the Sue Ryder Vintage shop had some genuine 1960's jewellery available for a frickin steal and other stalls included countless genuinely vintage dresses and accessories.  













It's always a good place find a really unique Christmas present and somewhere to practise your haggling skills too (esp. if you spend as much as some friends of mine).  It also just happens to be a great place to discover local jewellery designers and then to have a spot of tea when you're all tapped out. Quaint huh? 


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Friday, 5 December 2014

Time to Say Goodbye to Made In Chelsea

I've written several blogs on MIC, you can find them here, here and the first ever one here but this is likely to be my last.  Much like a heroin addict reaching rock bottom last weeks episode made me decide to go cold turkey and stop watching for good.

I thought the first series was utter tripe and swore it wouldn't get picked up (how wrong was I?) but then something, or rather someone happened, Mark Francis Vandelli.  I know were we ever to meet he would probably ask me to calet his car or fetch him a glass of champagne but his comic timing and witticisms gave the show a dimension it hadn't had before, likability.  He made the show watchable but even he can't save it now and here's why:
Taken from http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/

The Arguments never end!
Every time you think these kids can get along for two minutes either they f*ck it all up or the directors  insist the storyline needs another row and someone does something shit to someone else they are meant to care about.  While it has always been scripted and therefore not surprising, its like watching the same episode 137 times and I'm finally bored.

Sexual Amnesia.
Hypocrisy is rife in 'Chelsea'.  They may as well just come out and say "What X (insert name, usually Spencer) did by sleeping with Y was so out of order however in about 2 or 3 episodes I will do the exact same thing and insist it's different". And they'll get away with it as they all still want to be in the show so will forgive X just in time for the end of the series/Christmas Special.  We're building a repugnant generation by giving this sort of behaviour rewards of money and notoriety.

© Twitter / Binky Felstead

Binky's Lost it.
She used to be the nice, kind, normal one but since the whole Alex debacle she's turned into a dramatic harpy playing up to the camera for argument time. It's depressing to see her fall from grace.

Victoria.
The only bad thing about Marc Francis.  This woman has not a good word to say about anyone and has even fallen out with the only friend she had, other than MF.  Seeing her face most weeks and hearing the bile that comes out of her mouth is all too much.

Proudlock isn't as cool as I thought.
I thought he was different, more fool me eh? After the Lucy on/off/on again thing I've decided that while he's still the most sexually decent guy there - with the exception of MF -  he's a chicken.  Too scared to be in a shomance, but playing along to get time on screen.

Rosie.


Twitter. Spencer Matthews

Spencer is back.
I was talking with some friends a while back about who we would sleep with on the show and I claimed never with Spence.  "Oh you would.  You'd hate yourself afterwards but you would" I was advised.  I still hold I'd rather have all my hair pulled out with a pair of blunt spoons than go to bed with him, his persona is the poster boy for repulsion.  Three weeks with him gone have been lovely but all the adverts for next week claim he's back, and with a new idiot that has agreed to go out with him (had to go outside the SW3 area to find her though eh?).  I just can't look at that smug face anymore.

So I'm going cold turkey and its off the planner!  For the moment I feel good, strong even.  I just hope it holds on Monday at 9pm...
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Monday, 1 December 2014

Give me Liberty or give me Death! - Liberty of London post

 
Working part time has more than a few perks.  Traveling to our capital city when everyone else is encased in their offices and visiting Liberty of London during this time is one of them. While this famous store is well known for prints and designer gear, if you're at all into architecture it's well worth a walk around the building without the hustle and bustle of the Saturday crowds.  Taking in the ornate carvings of the door frames and beams next to the latest offerings of McQueen and McCartney is a cool juxtaposition of tradition and trend.

I love the staircases that takes you from designer handbags to the Christmas store as it's dripping with history.  The creak of wood that's been trampled by countless shoppers since 1875 conjures up positively Narnian images and the scent of oak and entitlement oozes out of every corner.  The whole building has otherworldly aspects, you can almost see the hands of ghost customers reaching out to touch the scarves in the hall.
I found Liberty's display walls to have a quality which beckons you towards objects you wouldn't normally go for.  You could find yourself 'remembering' how much you need that ribbon or tapestry cushion that's in front of you. Or after a wander through the intoxicating home-ware section all of a sudden you may be thinking "yes actually I do want a tea tray with a portrait of a monkey dressed up like a Lord on it" although a look at the price tag may sober you up somewhat.
or maybe not.
The haberdashery floor can make even the most creatively challenged among us - i.e. me - consider re-buttoning and thereby reinventing their coats.  British Designers and Vintage wear seems to be Liberty's lifeline and the fact that they have their own separate rooms show how proud it is of our British Heritage.

Purple has long been my favourite colour and I've worn it for years.  True, I over did it the first year I went ski-ing by wearing nothing but the colour all week and resembled a slow moving Ribenna berry for the entire holiday.  However from now on, as it's Liberty's colour it will no longer be reminiscent of my fashion faux-pas.  It will be a call to arms, to spend more time in Liberty.

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