Liebster Award

Well I hadn’t prepared my Foodie Friday post yet, it has been a manic week and I have not had a chance to take photos or cook up anything particularly enthralling and then I received a Liebster Award Nomination! I hadn’t heard about this before but I had a look at Maja’s blog and did a little googling. It basically is an award which is used as a tool to find out about other peoples blogs, perfect for new bloggers such as myself!

 

The rules are:

 

  1. Thank and link a person who nominated you.
  2. Write the rules and display the award.
  3. Answer 11 questions and write 11 of your own.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers (who have less than 200 followers on their blog) and don’t forget letting them known that they have been nominated.
  5. Write 11 facts about yourself.

 

So without further ado lets crack on!

  1. Thank you Maja of Artsy Shimmer! http://artsyshimmer.blogspot.co.uk/ I do like the name of your blog. A blog all about food, fashion, DIY, art and Design. Definitely on my reading list now!
  2. Well I’ve already done this! The rules are above.

3. My 11 questions are:

 

  1. If you had a chance to be one famous person for a day, who would you be and why?
  2. Your dream travel destination and why?
  3. Your best qualities are..
  4. What would you do on your last day in life?
  5. What is in your purse?
  6. Describe what you are wearing right now!
  7. Who do you admire the most and why?
  8. What is your beauty regime?
  9. What was the worst thing you think you did in life?
  10. What would you change about your life?
  11. Which life experience has though you something important you live by?

 

  1. If I were a famous person for a day I would actually like to be a) Alexander McCall Smith or b) An actress such as Doris Day from the 1950s. Alexander McCall Smith is a Scottish novelist who wrote the no.1 Ladies Detective agency Series books amongst many other wonderful books. I have been to a couple of his talks and he is a fascinating man who find amusement and interest in everything. A day in his head would probably be very entertaining as well as educational, he just seems very knowledgeable! An actress such as Doris Day because the ladies were just so beautiful and films such as Calamity Jane were great. I’d love to be a novelist myself but I just don’t have the imagination or the discipline and as for Doris, it would be like having a magical dream for the day!
  2. I have travelled to so many places and I have a wishlist as long as my arm for places I’d like to go. However my dream destination is somewhere I have been many times before. The Isle of Arran off the West Coast of Scotland will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m at peace whenever I am there. It is beautiful with so many things to do that it will always be my top spot.
  3. My best qualities? This is hard! My Boyo always says that I am a very kind person, I don’t know if I am but I do know that I try to be, another quality would probably be that I try to be positive and a physical quality? My multi-coloured eye! (Blue eyes, left eye has a streak of hazel).
  4. On the last day of my life I would give all my closest friends and family a hug then my Boyo and I would go for a wonderful walk that somehow would include the forests of Perthshire, rambling over Arran, a walk along the blustery North-East Scotland coast and also somewhere exotic and magnificent. We would then magically return to somewhere cosy with a peat fire (and our feet wouldn’t be tired or sore!) and have a wonderful meal with our favourite things and then a wee glass of Baileys.
  5. What is in my purse? I think that translates top handbag for us British girls! So in my handbag I usually have my diary – my memory is useless for remembering things so this is essential or I’ll forget to be somewhere!, a wallet with my cards and notes (the notes never last long!) in and also a little purse for coins, some tissues, some mints, a little make up bag with concealer, lipstick and eyeshadow in (just in case I get whisked out for dinner or something after work!), my kindle or a real book, these days more often my kindle, a pen, migraine tablets, keys for work and home, ID badge for work, spare tights, notepad, Kirby grip, hairbrush, hand gel and my ipod. My handbag always seems to end up with a random assortment of things in it as the week goes on.
  6. I am wearing a dress that has a dark blue background and has butterflies printed all over it in various shades of blue. It has a deep v neckline but has a black panel (phew). With it I’m wearing a black cardigan and black pump shoes and skin coloured tights as my real legs are so white people need sunglasses. I have a blue butterfly necklace on and little silver butterfly stud earrings, my red swatch watch and a silver celtic ring.
  7. I admire many people, I admire my parents for raising my sister and I, my grandparents for managing to start their own business which continues to this day nearly 50 years later, I admire my friends for being wonderful people, I admire my Boyo for his capacity to love, his discipline and focus with work, his enthusiasm and positivity and for just being an incredible person. Of course there are many famous people I admire too, from writers to scientists, to charity workers, to actors, to sports people. I can’t really choose a favourite out of them, I just hope I can learn from them all and makes myself a better person everyday.
  8. My beauty regime?! Hahaha! Ok well I am no good at this, what I can say is that I use a combination of Neutrogena, witch Hazel and the Body Shop seaweed range products. I vary it about but try to now use a mosituriser day and night but my skin is prone to blemishes, I work in a very dry atmosphere and my skin just isn’t in great shape so far that I need to get other peoples advice.
  9. The worst thing I ever did in my life was to lose my way and become ill with depression. It wasn’t something that was my fault but it was the worst time in my life and I know that it must have been hard fro the people I was around. I have had momentary blips but I try to stay healthy and positive and I am trying to do this both in mind and body.
  10. If I could change anything it would be to be granted an amount of money that would allow both the Boyo and I to pursue a work-life balance that would incorporate a truly enjoyable and fulfilling job (what exactly that is I am not 100% sure, I have ideas!) and allow us to spend a lot more of our time together wandering the wilds and exploring new places. We would also get a dog and start a family. If I could change anything realistically it would be to actually do more exercise and eat better – this is something that I am working on so stay tuned!
  11. Being ill with depression taught me to be very thankful for the life I have, my friends and family and to be positive and to just enjoy what I have and embrace the opportunities that come my way.

My 11 questions for other bloggers:

1.What would your perfect meal be?

2. Tell us about your shoes, do they have a story to tell?

3. Do you have a hobby, if so why that is your hobby and what do you enjoy about it? If not what hobby would you like to take up?

4. What is your exercise routine?

5. What us your favourite season of the year?

6. Name an artist/writer/painter/creative person that you admire.

7. What is your dream job?

8. Tell us about somewhere special to you.

9. What is your earliest memory?

10. Did you enjoy school?

11. What do you plan to do this weekend?

Ok number 4! The 11 bloggers I nominate are:

A little bit of WoWe:                       http://littlebitofwowe.blogspot.co.uk/

Scottish Mum:                                   http://scottishmum.com/

Sisterhood and All That:                sisterhoodandallthat.com

Play and Learn Everyday:              playlearneveryday.com

Terrible Tumbles:                             terribletumbles.co.uk

Scotland Eats Out:                           scotlandeatsout.blogspot.co.uk

Californian Mum in London:        californianmuminlondon.blogspot.co.uk

Bookworms in Dresses:                 bookwormsindresses.blogspot.com

Scottish Island Mum:                      scottishislandmum.com

Glasgow Mummy:                           glasgowmummy.blogspot.com

Cooking with a Wallflower:          cookingwithawallflower.wordpress.com

 

 

Happy Weekend Folks!

 

 

Merry

What I wore Wednesday

What I wore Wednesday

This week has been all about nice bright colours. I admit I am not very fashionable, I do think I have my own sense of what suits me and I try to just stay on the right side of the crazy-rainbow-lady line. I have certainly calmed down from my earlier years. My idea of a great outfit to wear on my first year of university Christmas meal out was a long denim skirt (but as I am tall it only went to mid calf), a bright pink t-shirt, stripy pink knee high socks and original Kickers boots. I LOVED those boots. I have a black patent pair now that I don’t wear very often but they are good in the winter. I also had quite long hair (my hair stayed long until early 2008 when it got chopped and has remained short-ish ever since!) and my idea of styling my long hair was to wear it in pigtails. I had just turned 18, I loved colour, stripes and frogs. I still love all of those things but in a more toned down way.

Anyway this week my pink floral Kath Kidston bag was out and about, well to my work and back, it is a lovely spring like bag with useful large pockets that was a present a few years ago. I wore it with a floral Ness skirt from last summer (I got it with a good bit of money off thanks to a promotion they ran when Andy Murray won Wimbledon, thanks to him for that!) a navy t-shirt and heels and a blue cardigan. The rest of the week has been dominated by the colour orange, and variations of the colour orange!

Ness and kath Florals Orange Blog

Today I have on black trousers and t-shirt and black heels– why all the black? Because my cardigan is a bright orange patterned affair. It is from La Redoute about 8 years ago now, I save it for the first signs of summer then I bring it out. I really like it, but it is bright and bold! Hence the rest of the outfit being boring black.

Cardigan Orange Blog

Two simple strings of orange seed beads and little hoops are all I need with this outfit. I certainly won’t be missed in a crowd!

Seed neckalce Orange Blog

I tend to use this bag when I am wearing orange or coral. It is about 8 years old as well from an Accessorize sale. The only problem I have with it is that the zip opening at the top is quite narrow. Not ideal for work diary, notepad etc., but I usually have another bag with my lunch and other bits and bobs in it on work days which solves that problem.

Bag Orange Blog

My selection of orange scarves, these are from many varied places, a Hong Kong market, M&Co, with a t-shirt from Next and a couple were gifts from my Mum who shares my little weakness for scarves.

Scarves Orange Blog

I bought this coral top in Next 2 weeks ago. I mean to keep it for my holiday but I have worn it at least half a dozen times already. For work I’ve been wearing it with a navy vest and blue trousers but on holiday I’ll likely wear it with a white vest and shorts. (32C in Hong Kong just now!) I can’t find this exact top on the Next website but they definitely have it in the shops. I’m sure it was £16 and their vest tops are two for £12 just now.

Coral Top Orange Blog

I have a few pretty bits of orange and coral jewellery. The first is this blue necklace. It really is quite ‘chunky’ for me but very nice and I have never seen anyone else wear it even though I’m sure it was from Accessorize 5-6 years ago. It was a gift from my Mum. Pictured with it is a lovely coral necklace I remember buying in a sale about 3 years ago but I just can’t remember where. I like wearing this one with a t-shirt and my pale grey blazer, it jazzes up the outfit. I don’t wear it for work really as a) it can be ab bit heavy for my neck which gets a bit ache-y anyway sitting at a computer all day, and, b) it gets in my way by sitting on my desk and swishing when I am typing, but when out for summer evening drinks, perfect!

Blue chunky and long coral Orange Blog

This coral and gold necklace came from Ollie and Nic in 2009. I used to have earring to match (little gold hearts) and a bracelet but both have gone wandering. I’m sure they will turn up eventually. I wear this necklace a lot, I like the double chain the wee touch of gold. I usually wear silver but I like the wee splash of gold for a change.

Ollie and Nic Orange Blog

Today I am wearing black heels but usually with my orange/coral outfits I wear the following selection of shoes, I am afraid that they are all old though, I do buy new things but I like to wear most of my things until they fall apart:

Shoes Orange Blog

Stripy pumps: New Look

Cream pumps: possibly Brantano

Coral Pumps: Dorothy Perkins (I used to have them in black as well but they fell to bits after a lot of wear)
Coral wedges: Monsoon

So that is my week so far. I plan to wear a bright green dress tomorrow so things aren’t getting any less bright as the week goes on! I’m off to Glasgow for the day with my Mum on Saturday, a trip to the theatre and a nice restaurant will be involved, not sure what the weather forecast is at the moment. Hopefully nice so I can wear a nice blazer instead of a waterproof coat! Maybe it will be an outfit that will incorporate this lovely bright necklace that was actually bought on the ferry over to Belfast a few years ago.

Bright Necklace

Is everyone else feeling the pull towards bright clothes now we are starting to get (almost) summery weather? Even on the rainy May days I still feel the tug, maybe I’ll tempt the sun to come out with my all the orange?

 

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Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings

I was working on Sunday for the first time in two years, this has made me realise just how much working Monday-Friday suits me so I am glad this will likely only be a yearly occurrence.

So our wanderings this weekend had to be on Saturday, because I have been so busy recently and because I knew that I was going to be spending the whole of Sunday chatting to people I fancied a walk somewhere a bit more wild and off the beaten track. We decided therefore to not go to the Dunkeld area in Perthshire (we’ll likely be there in 2 weeks anyway) but to another part called Glendevon.
Upper Glendevon

We’d never been there before and we did see a few people out and about but not nearly as many as you do in some of the other more popular parts of Perthshire. It was a walk that involved walking up to two reservoirs which were quite impressive. The first one was very popular with people fishing, it was a bit of a surprise to see around 20 cars parked in what seems like the middle of nowhere! As they were fishing though it was very quiet. It was a nice easy walk. The weather wasn’t hot but it wasn’t cold either and it stayed dry. It was just good to be out in the fresh air. The little hut for the fishing also sells hot and cold drinks so we had had a wee refreshing drink of fanta on the way back.
Lower Glendevon

Click on this link to get walks around the area from Walk Highlands: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/perthshire/frandy-reservoirs.shtml

Glendevon Lambs>

We stopped at The Tormaukin Hotel for a coffee on our way back. We resisted the very tasty looking scones as we had already decided that we would be a little bit naughty and try out our local Chinese takeway at the new village. I think we’ll need to come back though and sample the food at this hotel sometime though as it looked like it was going to be really good.

http://www.tormaukinhotel.co.uk/

Our new local Chinese turned out to be very good, which is probably dangerous. Very good portion sizes (enough for me to have for 2 meals) and tasty without being stodgy.
We have a few more local places to try out including a Mexican restaurant and a Farm Cafe. We will certainly not be deprived for eating places in our new location.

Next weekend I may not be out wandering the wilds, instead I am heading to Glasgow for a day and then on the Sunday the Boyo and I are hoping to get our poor neglected bicycles out for a wee turn, fingers crossed for some sunshine.

Earrings and Friendship (an edited old post)

Earrings and Friendship…

The other day I discovered I had lost an earring. I love my jewellery and I try to take care of my bits and bobs. I especially try to take care of the bits and bobs that nice people have given to me as gifts.

The earrings that I am now missing one of were given to be by a really lovely person. Losing the earring has made me reflect on friendship (and also jewellery tastes).

Alas I have kind of lost touch with the lovely girl who gave me the earring on which this story is based. It does at times make me sad but I also think that like the earring the friendship will also turn up one day.

Life takes us on all sorts of twists and turns and some friendships stay the whole course, others are wonderful friendships but only last a specific moment, time and place (a bit like some earrings I own, still safe in my jewellery box but not worn since the last year of school!), others may drift away for years at a time but then we re-connect when we are in another place.

There is one particular friendship that I have lost that I was reminded of yesterday. This person is truly remarkable and I care for him deeply, but I have not seen him for many years. I found contact details and tried to contact him only for the door to be shut. I understand he has no contact with anyone from the past, not friends or family. Maybe for him to be happy he needs that door to be closed? And when you care about someone mostly you just want them to be happy. So I’ll let that door stay closed but if he ever wants to open it I’ll be on the other side waiting with a smile and it will seem like seconds, not years have passed.

I am not an easy person, I dearly care about all my friends and family, but I am human I have my flaws and I have been known to let people down. I’m grateful for everything that I have and the people I have around me. Friendship is a blessing. Like my earrings I shall try to take care of the friendships in my life, but when one goes missing I truly hope that one day it turns up again.

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Foodie Friday

Foodie Friday

Another fishy Friday – sorry to those who aren’t fans of fish! I am trying as I have mentioned before to become a healthier person and one of the things I am trying to do is to eat more fish. As a child the only fish I ever ate was haddock in breadcrumbs or ‘yellow fish’ made by my Granny. Yellow fish is smoked haddock baked in milk and butter – hence the name yellow – and the fillet was served with the wonderful buttery sauce and a slice of bread and butter. Delicious! So I really feel that I need to expand my menu where fish is concerned. So today’s meal is Smoked River Cobbler with roasted herby potatoes and courgettes with a herby white sauce.

On another note regarding my food eating I am embarking on a whole new daunting challenge. I am what is known as a ‘picky eater’. Over the past few years I have become much more adventurous (I only tried curry when studying for my postgrad. Thank you to my friend from Bristol for introducing me to this wonder, I will forever be thankful). Living in China and Hong Kong forced me to try some new and exotic foods and developing a serious cooking hobby over the past two years (and having a boyo who is willing to try EVERYTHING) has meant that slowly but surely I am eating a much wider variety of food.

But I have a major stumbling block-

I don’t eat vegetables or fruit.

(I am Scottish so I do love potatoes, does that count as a vegetable?… I’m joking)

I’ve had a major problem with fruit & veg for as long as I can remember. I am happy to eat a wide variety of vegetables in soup format as long as they are blended. I will cook with vegetables and enjoy the flavour they give to my meals – but I pick all the actual vegetables out. I literally gag and can’t swallow when I feel the texture of vegetables in my mouth. As for fruit, I don’t even go near it. The closest I will get is a puff pastry apple puff thing where the apple inside is basically pureed and the whole thing is covered in custard. This my friends (if anyone reads my ramblings) is ridiculous.

I enjoy cooking, I love looking at all the wonderful variety of food, I want to be able to cook and eat away to my hearts content. I want to give up my sugar crazy tendencies. In the past I didn’t mind so much but now that I enjoy cooking so much I am seeing so many tasty things that I am missing out on. Another big factor is my Boyo. I’m not just responsible for myself now – don’t worry he can look after himself- Boyo and I decided to live together, one day we hope to start a family together and we intend to spend our lives together (we aren’t married but the same objectives really!). I worry about him and want to look after him and he does the same for me. Although I am trying to improve my health I can’t really claim to be healthy unless I eat a balanced diet. I am 30 later this year. The question of us starting a family gets closer and bigger all the time, how can I grow a little person if I am not properly nourished and how can I raise a child if I do not try to be healthy and show good behaviours to them? It is important to me and it is important to the Boyo.

So I hear you ask what am I doing about it? Well I am trying to improve what I eat all the time – sneaking spinach into curry, using more wholesome ingredients, varying our carbs – cous cous, rice, pasta, potatoes and limiting our portion size of carbs and instead of having massive meals I am trying to just use sensible portions. I am also trying to reduce my dairy intake by eating less cheese, just the equivalent of 1 glass of milk a day and a yoghurt, I try to eat no more than 2 slices of bread a day and I make my own bread (I try to make nearly everything from scratch) and I only drink fizzy drinks if we are out for a meal or at the weekend and still not a crazy amount. I’m trying to up my peppermint tea consumption, experiment with green tea and drink more water.

But this isn’t enough – so time for the major step. Next week I will attend my first hypnotherapy session. I am actually quite nervous about it. I have a lot of questions but the two main questions are:

What if it doesn’t work?

And

What if it does?

I’ll update you on my healthy eating quest soon.

So back to Foodie Friday

Smoked River Cobbler with herby roasted potatoes & courgettes with a herby white sauce

IMG-20140523-01383

Ingredients

    Fish

2 x skinless and boneless smoked River Cobbler fillets
Dash of Olive Oil
Seasoning – I used a lemon pepper seasoning mix

    Potatoes & Courgettes

Glug of Olive oil
White everyday potatoes peeled & cut into small chunks (A great way to use up old potatoes that need cooked quickly)
Half a Courgette sliced.
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Seasoning – again I used the lemon Pepper mixture

    White Sauce

About 150ml-200ml of Milk (I used semi-skimmed)
Knob of Butter
300ml of Crème Fraiche (I would usually use half fat)
Knorr mixed herb flavour pot
Black pepper
Garlic (I used a pinch of garlic granules instead of fresh this time)
Tablespoon of Philadelphia
2 teaspoons of grated Parmesan

    Method

1. Put your oven on to warm up, I had mine at 200c. Put a good glug of the olive oil into a large roasting dish. I used a large oval le creuset one but I also have a big glass one that is ideal for roasting the potatoes. Place the dish with the olive oil into the oven to warm up whilst you peel & chop the potatoes and slice up the courgettes.

2. On the chopping board mix up your courgettes and potatoes using your hands then cover in the seasoning and a good sprinkle of sea salt and a little black pepper. Mix up again so all the potatoes and veg are covered in the herbs and spices.

3. Lift the now hot dish out the oven and put your potato and veg mix in. Give a good mix then put in the oven. Depending on the size of your potatoes and how well spread out they are in the dish it could take between 30 – 40 minutes for them to cook. Every so often you want to lift them out and give them a good mix so all the sides turn golden and a little crispy.

4. Now to prepare the fish. Place them in another roasting dish. Sprinkle your seasoning over them and gently rub it in. Sprinkle a little dash of olive oil over the fillets and cover in tin foil. The fillets will cook in the oven in 20 minutes so time putting them in on how your potatoes are looking.

5. The sauce isn’t necessary but adds a little more flavour to the dish. Put the milk and butter in a pot and place over a medium heat on the hob. When the butter has melted add the flavour pot and mix thoroughly. Add the crème fraiche and Philadelphia. Keep mixing until it starts to resemble a nice consistency, add the garlic, parmesan and a little black pepper. If you have the sauce ready before the rest of the meal just leave it off the heat to warm up again when you are ready to serve. If it is a little thick then just add splashes of milk whilst stirring until the desired consistency is reached.

6. Check to see if your potatoes are cooked through by cutting one in half and eating it! If they are cooked then you are all ready to go and serve it up. Enjoy!

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Wanderings & Would Likes

    Wanderings and Would Likes

Dearie me, it has been so long sine I did a post. I have lots of ideas but I’ve had a rough few days and not much energy for work or anything. I have a history of chronic headaches and migraines that I am working on improving, but some dental treatment last week has led to a week of headaches.

The first week in the new house was great. All the unpacking is done and everything seems to be working out really well. We’ve had issues with our internet provider and are switching in the next couple of weeks and I have seen a couple more spiders than I would like (resulting in some scary dreams!) but overall the move has gone very smoothly and the Boyo and I are very happy with our new location.

Wanderings
Our wanderings over the weekend involved a wander around Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy and then getting lost in the woods above Raith Loch behind the park. http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/atoz/index.cfm?fuseaction=facility.display&facid=ACD495D9-2942-423E-A89B2874D1E99F3A
It was fun and thankfully the weather was pleasant, getting lost and having to navigate bushes, bogs and burns in the rain would not have been so much fun. I was quite impressed with the park – looked like there was a lot to do so we’ll be back at some point. Kirkcaldy is only 20 minutes from our new house so it is a convenient place to go if I need to nip to some bigger shops (eg boots, M&S) that our new rural locality doesn’t offer.

I also got my hair chopped (very expensive getting colour re-done but now back to natural hair colour with highlghts, hooray) and a very quick (5 minutes!) wander around Fife Farmers Market – enough time to get some Isle of Arran Cracked Black Peppercorn Cheese (so good) and some lavender syrup and lavender sugar for experimentation in the kitchen. An update on these experiments will follow shortly.

Would LikesI thought I’d have a little look online at some of the shops I often buy from to see if there was anything I’d like. I am going on holiday next month to Hong Kong and throughout the summer months my workwear policy is relaxed but I usually try to stick to smart casual. I am unlikely to actually go and buy any of these things before the holiday as I’d like to save my pennies for Hong Kong. I bought a pair of navy chino shorts, a new white vest top and another coral top and that will have to do in next. I am wearing the coral top for a fourth time today so it is already a success. I have a lot of wonderful clothes but I don’t fit into many of them at the moment so finding a complete selection of holiday clothes without buying anything else will be a challenge but if I keep buying clothes that are bigger I’ll never lose the pesky weight that I need to lose in order to fit into my pretty dresses again and improve my health.

Marks & Spencers – M&S dresses can sometimes be great, sometimes not, this is mostly due to my size. Slightly on the bigger up top and tall means that dresses often are not quite proportioned right for my body but the following are definitely ones that I would like to try on!

I thought this dress was very pretty. It would be nice on my holiday but also for work throughout the summer months and it would be a nice one to dress up for a summer party. http://www.marksandspencer.com/floral-prom-dress/p/p22293911

I really like this dress, it is a real classic that could be worn throughout the year for various things.
http://www.marksandspencer.com/pure-cotton-cut-out-prom-dress/p/p22293806

This may be one that I’ll end up trying on after holiday time. I can just see it being very useful.
A very simple summer dress that would have been perfect for wandering around Hong Kong. http://www.marksandspencer.com/tile-print-chrochet-trim-fit-and-flare-dress/p/p22295610

Oooh and a very unusual multi-way dress, I’d definitely like to try this on but no doubt it will just not work with my shape at all. Still nice though. A bit fancier, good for a night out or an evening do at a wedding. http://www.marksandspencer.com/multiway-lace-print-ombre-skater-dress/p/p22288132

And finally, this is one I am going to have to try on. It would be perfect for work jazzed up with jewellery and scarves. http://www.marksandspencer.com/broderie-striped-skater-dress/p/p22274073

BHS – I hadn’t been in a BHS in years but over the last year I’ve managed to pick up a few dresses for work in there. A black dress with cobalt blue and white polka dots has been my most frequently worn item of clothing over the last few months (http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/chiffon-belted-dress-2522736?bi=201&ps=200 ). I also think BHS do fantastic tights. Marks & Spencers used to be the best but then they seemed to adjust their sizes and in order to find tights long enough for my lanky legs I have to get them way too big and they just seemed to ladder so easily. BHS are cheaper, their tights are long enough (hooray) and I think that they are fairly good quality. My winter black ones have lasted 3 years and I wear skirts and dresses and therefore tights nearly everyday for work.

I love this dress. I think it would be lovely for a summer wedding. I can just see myself wearing it with lovely dark blue accessories (or cream/white having found the shoes mentioned below). I have one wedding to go to this summer but I already have so many really lovely dresses. The wedding isn’t until August so I do hope I manage to fit back into my dresses before then, otherwise I may have to investigate this one further. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/organza-check-prom-dress-2831857?bi=1&ps=200

This dress makes me think of the 50s and pretty ladies out enjoying the sunshine… however it is linen and as much as I think it will be so cool and comfortable I know that linen and I just don’t seem to get along too well. Example: I buy lovely linen trousers, think oh these are so smart and comfortable, great, and put them on in morning, all happy with outfit then by lunchtime feel like I am wearing extremely crumpled pyjamas and feel a bit of a mess. Alas. However I do see that this dress is a linen mix so perhaps it would hold its shape a little better. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/blue-linen-fit-n-flare-dress-2763828?bi=1&ps=200

I actually have a dress that is basically the same shape and material as tis from BHS except my one is blue and is covered by butterflies. Extremely comfy. Again one that I can see me thinking about until I actually do go and try it on. Luckily I do not live close to these shops. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/spot-tea-dress-2885567?bi=1&ps=200

Now onto Debenhams and some skirts. Generally I prefer my skirts to be sort of A-line and on or just above the knee. I have a couple of longer and midi skirts which I am experimenting with as although I’ve got the height my librarian-y fashion tendencies (I am actually a librarian not just stereotyping) mean that if I am not careful I can look a bit frumpy. Or mad. Or both.

How lovely is this skirt? I even have a lovely daisy necklace that would be perfect with it, and oooh it is reduced! I am on dangerous territory here! http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_028020234460_-1

A long skirt, something I rarely wear. The Boyo is not a fan of long dresses or skirts on me, no idea why he is just odd. He actually thinks I look best in my knee length a-line dresses and skirts, which is my natural comfort zone so I am not complaining. It would be annoying if he was the type of boy who liked me all dressed up in short skirts and nails and hair all perfect because that really isn’t me! Anyway this skirt just looks comfy and easy-breezy for a hot day. Probably not one I’ll actually buy though. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_038010221343_-1

This is actually a Joe Browns Skirt I found through the Debenhams website, I keep meaning to get something from Joes Browns. I basically love 98% of everything they have but I’ve never actually bought anything. Maybe this year.. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_61068+LS258A_-1

Ok Shoes…. I have shoes from all sorts of places. My feet have been the same size since I was 16 so I have some fairly old pairs of shoes as well as some new. I have skinny feet whereas the rest of me is not skinny and I also have dodgy knees. This means I tend to go for shoes with straps and low heels. I already have my sandals looked out for the summer – a black low wedge pair from Clarks – no idea how old, a gold strappy pair of flats from New Look and another green pair I got for a wedding couple of years ago that are nearly but not quite flat. I also have several pairs of pumps that fit my special insoles for those dodgy knees, these have been bought over the years in M&S, Clarks, New Look, and just wherever I find them, very rarely do I ever find shoes in TK Maxx or H&M – they just do not really go big enough. The low heels I wear for work mostly come from M&S and Monsoon. And I have 3 pairs of espadrilles in sunny coral, useful black and green because I like green things. I like most colours really. I’m not picky where I get my shoes from, just that they are comfy and practical and usually are colourful – shoes are a great way to finish off an outfit. My sister says that they don’t finish an outfit, that they start an outfit. So when choosing what she will wear she always thinks about the shoes that she would like to wear that day first.

I just bought these Cobalt Blue pumps in BHS, £10 = bargain and I will get lots of wear out of them this summer! http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/flat-shoes-2841030/cobalt-ballerina-shoe-2652278?bi=1&ps=40

I can’t wear sandals with the toe post thingy – just makes me feel squeamish! (The thought of toe socks positively give me the heebie-jeebies so I must just be odd about toes!) I like these ones from Accessorize. The colours mean they would go with a lot of outfits and would be great with shorts, dresses, skirts or jeans. I’m unlikely to actually get these as they really don’t offer much support, I did have a pair of Acessorize sandals that I wore to death when I lived in China, they were really super so if you don’t have knee issues like me I’d suggest having a look at these. http://uk.accessorize.com/view/product/uk_catalog/acc_3/5950689939

I love these heels from Monsoon, they much more expensive than my normal shoe budget so it would have to be for a very special occasion. They actually would be nice with that pinky-coral dress from BHS I mentioned above. Or be lovely for a bride who was going for a more 50s tea length style dress (I am not getting married, this is not a hint or a clue!) Anyway they are pretty and play to my love of vintage style things. http://uk.monsoon.co.uk/view/product/uk_catalog/mon_4,mon_4.22/5430134642

I think these shoes are FAB! I’ve not bought anything from Schuh in a while, but I’m so tempted by these. I’d actually wear them for work (tiny bit quirky/mad I know), they are also available in a floral colourway. http://www.schuh.co.uk/womens-navy-and-white-schuh-tap-dance/1223575970/

Okay I think that is probably quite enough. I’m now very tempted and everyone reading this is probably bored! What do you plan on wearing this summer? Any fabulous holiday plans?

Hoping I’m now getting back into the swing of things, a thought for Thursday post and Foodie Friday should be on the way over the next few days! We haven’t yet planned our weekend wanderings for next weekend. I’m working on the Sunday but Perthshire is definitely beckoning on the Saturday… and my favourite tearoom – Spill The Beans in Dunkeld is long overdue a visit! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spill-The-Beans-At-MacPhails-of-Dunkeld/285674418153297

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Tuesday Thoughts – A busy week!

Apologies for my social media silence – although I’m sure no-one really noticed- I have this week moved house, hooray!!!

So on Wednesday for our last meal in the wee town which was our home we went to our favourite Indian restaurant, it was very delicious and we left with very full tummies. The last bits & bobs took longer to pack than anticipated but we had my Mum up to help us with the move and by midnight we were all packed and ready for bed. I did not sleep well at all that night, the house felt strange with all the boxes and I was very anxious about the actual process of moving and how things were going to work out in our new location. It didn’t help that there was a MASSIVE spider in our bedroom that the boyo had to squish (yes cruel but my irrational fear is huge & irrational).

On Thursday the removal people arrived on time at 8.30am. Mum & I stayed to see them begin to load up the big lorry then we headed off to Dunelm Mill and The Range for a couple of bits and pieces. This was a dangerous move on our part as suddenly when you have a new house everything in homeware shops look tempting. We made a couple of purchases that were necessary (a new mop) and a couple that weren’t (new lamp & tablecloth). Then we headed over to the new house to get ready for the removal lorry. We had a bed that Mum had brought up to build and a wee bit cleaning etc.

The removal lorry arrived and I directed where all the boxes were to go. The removal boys were very happy that the mountain of boxes of books were staying in the lounge and they didn’t have to heave them upstairs. Everything was unloaded by 4pm. The only casualties of the move were 1 glass lampshade and a bookcase. Not bad!

So we’ve been in the new house for 6 days and the boyo and I are really happy. The couple of purchases such as the tablecloth have really finished off a couple of the rooms. The nearest train station is closer than we originally thought, everyone in the new village is friendly and we both already feel much more relaxed and happy. I only have 1 box left to unpack and my clothes to put away. We still have a lot of pictures to hang but are awaiting a visit from someone with a drill. I feel this is really not bad going – I thought it would take much longer to unpack and get sorted but the new house has accommodated all our belongings very nicely. We have a list of things we’d like to get to finish off the house but nothing urgent. The only thing we deemed was immediately necessary was blackout curtains for our very lovely and bright bedroom. I’m finding waking up with the sun actually beneficial but it is driving the poor boyo demented. They should arrive by Friday.

Anything I would do differently?

Organise – Be slightly more organised prior to moving day – packing up those last bit and pieces the night before really added to my anxiety, it would have been better to have it done and had a properly relaxed evening as no doubt I would have been anxious anyway.

Structure – Pack the rooms in a more systematic way – I started out packing one room at a time then got side-tracked and my lounge became a huge mess of stuff half packed and piles of random stuff.

Purge – this move happened fairly quickly and it was easier to just pack more or less everything than go through and properly sort out stuff to go out/ recycle etc. I’m going to be a bit more ruthless and try to minimise stuff in the future. We did throw out some stuff but the trips to the recycling centre were rushed due to our short timescale.

Measure – I judged where our furniture and belongings would go in the new house just by looking, I was lucky everything fitted apart from one bookcase. If I had actually measured I would have known that the bookcase was far too tall and actually it was done anyway. So we needlessly brought it to the new house and then had to break it up and take it to the recycling centre. I could have saved ourselves and my parents who were helping us a bit of work.

And things I would do again…

Label – Label all your boxes clearly with what is in the box and where it is to go. This helped us and the removal people so much on moving day and it has really helped to do the unpacking in a speedy and efficient way. It also helped the removal people that I wrote in big red letters ‘FRAGILE’ or ‘HEAVY’ on those boxes that were – it meant they were able to take a look and plan quickly how they were loading the lorry. It means if you have people helping you then they are not asking every couple minutes where something is to go. Everyone can just get on with it.

Removal – Getting a removals company was pricey but it was worth it. We have a lot of furniture and we could have mustered up help and hired a van but the stress levels would have been pretty high and it wouldn’t have been nearly as efficient. The removal people knew how to handle everything and how to move our bulky items with minimal hassle and no injuries. So we would definitely pay for their service again.

Eat – eat out the night before you move – enjoy a little relaxing time in a favourite place. You will likely have all your kitchen stuff packed up anyway. Eating a take-away amongst the boxes means (if you are like me) you’ll be looking at all the boxes and your mind will be doing overtime thinking about the next day. So just put aside a little money and have a wee meal with good company – for us it was a fitting way to say good-bye to the town we lived in and our favourite restaurant had 35% off promotion running as well = happy!

Help – Accept help, I had my parents up helping and they really were a huge help, there were a few wee jobs that arose and it would have been very difficult without them around.

So just a few wee hints from our own experiences. We are (so far) really happy with our move and are really enjoying getting to know our new home and village.

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