Standen - an English country garden

As mentioned in my last post, I spent bank holiday Monday exploring Standen, a beautiful house in Sussex looked after by the National Trust. Hopefully you will be able to see from my pictures that the gardens are stunning, filled with flowers, secret corners and plenty of places to sit and admire the views. The house itself is styled with William Morris wallpapers and an array of beautiful patterned textiles. It’s just the kind of place I could imagine living (well, a girl can dream) and in fact as you go round the house you can follow the story of some guests staying for the weekend through a series of letters and diary entries. It was all so interesting that I was too distracted to take any pictures inside, but I did pick up a great quote from William Morris himself...

 ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’
Now that’s just crying out to be hung on a wall or embroidered onto something.


Daisy nails

I spent today looking around a gorgeous English country garden, complete with vegetable plot, orchard and croquet lawn (but more on that in another post). So it was only fitting that my nails sported a few flowers and greenery in the form of daisies and my favourite pastel green polish - perfect for wandering amongst the flowers. Hopefully these will cheer me up at work tomorrow too... if only every weekend was a bank holiday.

Collection 2000 Manicure in French White / Barry M in Lemon / Topshop in Gone Fishing

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day!


Handmade floral skirt

Back in February I made my first ever skirt and posted a few top tips learned from the experience. After that, I fully intended to put away the sewing machine and try some other things... until of course I spotted some amazing fabric in a shop in Brighton. It was floral and it was on SALE.

Obviously I then realised I needed a spring/summer skirt as well as the autumn/winter skirt I had just finished, so skirt number two began. It took me slightly less time to complete and was only marginally easier second time around - it’s safe to say dressmaking takes practise, practise and then even more practise. I still made the same mistake with the waistband and had to ask for help a fair few times.
However, despite the often frustrating moments it’s all worth it when you have the finished item! I love the skirt (even if the zip is slightly wonky), it has been great for summer and, as I made it myself, it’s the perfect length (I’m quite tall so most high street skirts end up as a rather unflattering length).

I love it so much that I sneakily wore it last week before finishing the seams as I couldn't wait!

I might even try a dress next time...


Floral bow from The Vintage Set

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to win a twitter competition for a gorgeous oversized bow from The Vintage Set. As you can see it’s blue and floral – a match made in heaven! It came in a gorgeous package (I’m sure I can use that pearl bead string for something!) and obviously, once it arrived on Wednesday I couldn’t wait to wear it. As it comes with elastic headband it’s perfect to wear in your hair, but that’s a bit too casual for the office and I had couldn’t wait until the weekend now could I? So, in order to make it more work appropriate I had a go at styling it different ways...

The package

I do love anything floral

On Wednesday I tied it to my favourite vintage style bag – and received lots of compliments at work

Then on Friday it brightened up a plain black top with the help of a safety pin

I’ve had several more ideas too – it could be used wrapped around a pony tail/bun and used as a hair tie rather than a hair band, or worn as a cute collar/bow tie with a buttoned up shirt... the possibilities are endless!

How would you wear it?


What’s in my knitting bag?

There have been a lot of ‘what’s in my handbag’ posts at the moment and I love a good nose in someone else’s handbag, especially when the bag is as pretty as this. Unfortunately, if I were to do one of these posts I would feel obligated to include the receipt, 1p and pen lid graveyard that lies in the bottom of my bag and I’m sure none of you want to see pictures of that! So instead I thought I’d reveal the contents of my much loved knitting bag.

You can probably tell from the image that the short answer to ‘what’s in my knitting bag?’ is A LOT of Cath Kidston. But to go into slightly more detail...
1.       Knitting needles – the majority were given to me by my Nan as she no longer knits much. They’re mostly normal needles but there are a few funny shaped ones that I have no idea about!

2.       Wool and receipts - I know I just commented on the forgotten receipts that live in my handbag, but it’s actually a good idea to keep wool receipts so you can return any spare balls at the end of a pattern, genius.

3.       Maoam – I love these sweets and end up with packs everywhere.

4.       Current knitting pattern – find out more about the pattern here. I’ve also got a photocopy of the page I’m using, as the booklet won’t balance on the arm of my sofa without constantly sliding off. Irritating beyond belief, trust me.

5.       Tape measure – it matches the bag. I love it.

6.       Scissors – see answer to tape measure!

7.       Pins and pencil – The ‘book of pins’ is also from Cath Kidston, I was worried it wouldn’t stay shut to start with but it does the job perfectly. I did consider keeping on my bookshelf but it’s really much easier to keep in the knitting bag.

8.       Knitting – I finally had time to start my next project, a summer cardigan. Although I’ve already gone wrong several times and am only a few rows in so I highly doubt it will be finished in time for this summer!

What’s in your knitting bag?


Summer scarves are a girl’s best friend

I've noticed that in the office at work that we (and by 'we' I mean the women) each have our own style, there’s the one who wears bright colours, the one who wears neutral colours, the one with a heritage style, the one with a preppy style and me – the one who wears scarves. Somehow I always seem to have one somewhere about my person and with the unchangeable weather this year (apart from that one week of summer, now a distant memory...) I’ve been working the summer scarf A LOT.

Today I discovered that many colleagues have already given up and packed away their summer clothes in preparation for autumn! But, if like me you’re not ready to give up on the sunshine just yet, here are three must have summer scarves to hold off the winter wear a little bit longer...
1.       White and lightweight. It goes with absolutely everything and has pretty embroidery, what’s not to love. You could totally buy a plain white scarf and do some simple stitching as a DIY.

River Island

2.       Pastel green , this one always helps to brighten up a grey day. Plus it's the colour of mint ice cream!

3.       Vintage AND patriotic, anyone else hooked on the Olympic Games?


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