Tuesday, 4 August 2015

top ten mid-season sale bargains

I go through phases with clothes; I'm either not bothered at all, and just pick out the first thing I come to, or I get overexcited and want to BUY ALL THE THINGS. At the moment I've been spending loads of time browsing the mid-season sale bargains, so I thought I'd make up a nice little collage of all my favourite finds. They're mostly from (relatively) eco-friendly places, (I used to rely on eBay and charity shops for most of my clothes, but it's been a struggle to find anything decent lately - not sure why, but I hope this is just a phase!) and there's nothing over £25.  Flex those debit cards!

1. Chunky Sandals, £11, New Look
2. Rose Floral Crown, £5, Boohoo
3. Fringed Cami, £8, New Look
4. Co-ord Halterneck Top, £16, and Matching Shorts, £19, ASOS Reclaimed Vintage
5. Round Sunglasses, £7.50, Accessorize
6. Gold Sandals, £10, New Look
7. Kaftan, £8, Monki
8. Nevada Backpack, £21, Accessorize
9. Levis Denim Shorts, £15, Rokit Recycled
10. Tile Print Smock Dress, £25, ASOS Reclaimed Vintage

Monday, 3 August 2015

pre-makeover lounge tour

Over the last few months we've been decluttering the house; if you've been reading for a while, you'll know that until recently I've been a pretty big collector of.... well, stuff. Vintage plates, retro china, milk jugs, fabrics, cushions, candles.... you name it, it was everywhere. When it got to the point that dusting took over an hour, I decided that enough was enough, and went on a huge clearing-out spree. I lost count of how many straining bin bags were sent to the charity shop, but one thing I do know is that it's wonderfully light and airy in our lounge now!

The room itself is pretty dark (I'm sitting here at 12.45pm and have the light on.... in August...), because the stairs cast a pretty big shadow, but I think it's still my favourite room. Now I've cleared everything out, it does need a bit of attention though; I love the fireplace behind the sofa (if you follow me on IG, you'll see this quite a lot!), but it needs painting, and so does the dining table and chairs. They were second-hand from Gumtree, and I think I'm going to paint the top and supports white or grey - they're in really good condition, but aren't very wipe-clean friendly, which is pretty important when you've got littluns dribbling chocolate and spaghetti hoops all over them. 

Even though I've just got rid of loads of stuff, there are a few things I'm looking for to cosy the room up a bit. I honestly think you can never have enough storage baskets; they're great for holding everything from toys to books and magazines, and I'm always on the look out for glass bottles to hold my beloved flowers. Blankets and cushions are also on the list, and I love how twinkly lanterns and tea-lights make the room look - I really want to create some sort of natural-ethnic-cosy-haven style room, ready for when the evenings start to get cooler. Although being a summer person, I'm totally in denial that Autumn is around the corner!

I've recently discovered the amazing Homesense, and it's one of those shops that I could quite happily go and live in; the sister store of TKMaxx, it's like the homewares section time a gazillion - full of little gems at bargain prices. I've created a little wishlist from their current ranges below, which coincidentally is full of things that would fit right in with our little lounge makeover. The shops themselves are designed to be explored rather than just 'shopped', so the best thing is that you'll probably come out with the one thing you wanted and a hundred things you didn't even know existed!

This is a collaborative post.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

a birthday and a bit of winchester

A few weeks ago it was Ali's 33rd (we might be in our thirties, but we were both saying the other day that we still feel like we're 24!) birthday, so we packed the kiddos off to their Grandparents and spent the morning wandering around Winchester on our own. We spend most weekends at the beach or the park, which I LOVE, but it's really nice to get out and go to places that you can't go with the littlies, and to eat lunch when you're hungry and not worry about leaky nappies. Aahhh, so relaxing!

We went to all our favourite shops (Consortium and The Hambledon - me, Games Workshop - him), pottered around the flower festival (which was too packed for any good photos), sat in the garden of tranquility and enjoyed the peace, and ate sandwiches lounging on the grass outside the Cathedral. Heavenly! (He had a birthday cake of course, but it came from Waitrose rather than the Kitchen of Vicky, so wasn't really worthy of a photo!)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

ethical summer bargains

Ali had some H&M vouchers for his birthday (most of which ended up being spent on the kiddos - you get so much more for your money when you're buying in miniature!), so last weekend we spent our Saturday in a real, live shopping centre. I usually buy everything second-hand, vintage or online, because I HATE the crowds, the pushing, the shoving and the whole disorganised chaos of high street shops - I'd much rather be in the garden with the plants or at the beach with the kiddos. Shopping is a much more enjoyable experience when you're sitting on your sofa in your pyjamas, with tea and biscuits to hand!

I did get to nip into Urban Outfitters though - I have a love / hate relationship with them as their ethical practises aren't great, but I do love their Urban Renewal range, which reinvents and upcycles old fabric and clothes into lovely, shiny new things. I found an amazing little kimono jacket for £25, and although I didn't buy it (I really have become such a penny pincher lately!), it made me think that perhaps it was time to do another ethical style post. People think that ethical and environmentally friendly clothes are either all beige hemp, or cost like £756232903846548 for a t-shirt, which is often true, but that's not always the case. Todays post is my roundup of the best ethical and vintage clothes and accessories for £50 and under. Bargain-tastic!

1. Reclaimed Denim Dress, £19, ASOS Reclaimed Vintage
2. Nadya Hazbunova Hand Pendant, £35, Lowie
3. Straw Bag, £22, Rokit
4. Vintage Boho Trim T-shirt, £25, Urban Renewal at Urban Outfitters
5. Lace-Up Glitter Shoes, £20, Monki (They have a really good CSR policy, you can read it here)
6. Pink Heart Sunglasses, £9, Rokit
7. Sari Kimono, £45, Urban Renewal at Urban Outfitters 
8. Straw Bag, £20, Rokit (I love how the handles look like upside-down hearts!)

Monday, 20 July 2015

vintage chichester

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post; it's not even the summer holidays yet (two days to go, eeeep!) but I just haven't had the time to edit any pictures or write anything down. When the sun comes out, I struggle to do the work that pays, never mind blog - I can't ever see a day where I'd say, 'lets not go to the beach / park / lake / woods / cafe because I need to sit on the laptop'! (There are evenings I guess, but they're for getting the kiddos to bed, then collapsing onto the sofa to binge watch Tattoo Fixers / Daredevil / Orange is the New Black / TOWIE - I've got a bit of a thing about TV, not very blogger-like, but still!)

A few weeks ago we spent the afternoon in Chichester; we don't go there very often because it's mostly shops and cafes, which equal bored, fractious and short-tempered kiddos. Not fun for anyone. But I've been wanting to make more of our local area for ages, and while I was searching online I discovered that not only was there a cathedral that we'd not been to, but also a botanical gardens! Right there in Chichester! Who knew?!

The cathedral and surrounding cottages are amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful; we're talking little meandering pathways, walled gardens, houses drenched in climbing roses and rows and rows of flowers. The best thing was that there was no traffic at all in this bit of Chichester, so we didn't have to worry about holding the littlies hands as tightly as usual - they definitely enjoyed exploring the hidden corners while we raced to keep up!
(Also - don't Ben and Daisy look EXACTLY the same in those pictures above? They both have the same expression when I whip the camera out!)

I had a bit of a battle to keep hold of my Lines and Current sunglasses, which have become a bit of a summer staple. They're ethically designed and made, and 10% of the profits go to charity, and were sent to me by the lovely Rebekkah - there's a post coming up with more information, but you can check them out here. (They also do the most beautiful jewellery!)

Bishops Palace Gardens are tucked behind the cathedral, and are literally an oasis in an otherwise bustling city. There's LOADS of space, and some great hills for rolling down (the kiddos, obviously.... ahem....) and the most amazing amount of flowers. We spent way too long smelling the wall of roses, and I definitely took too many photos (this is just a small selection!), but it was just glorious! You can walk along the tops of the walls as well, which lets you see across the whole garden and some of the city, depending on which direction you're facing at the time. Although Ben and Daisy were way more interested in running ahead and hiding behind bits of the wall. Obvously!

Before we left for home, I popped into the Vintage and Very Nice market; I've been to this before and bought all sorts of things from accessories and clothes to kids toys and books - it's an absolute goldmine, reasonably priced and full of amazing things. I spent ages pondering over some vintage balls of string this time, but left them behind - I did come home with a small basket bag for Daisy, some vintage games cards and a load of Ladybird books (hurrah!). Oh, and the basket at the top was £5 from an antique shop - it was just sitting outside, like it was waiting for me to come along and rescue it. £5! I still can't believe it, weeks later!

I've got loads more posts to come; a couple on the garden, some of other local trips and one or two about some changes we've been making in the house, but when they'll be up I can't say. I'd just like to say a quick thank you for all my lovely readers who keep coming back despite my sporadic posting tendencies! You're very patient and wonderful, mwah!

PS: I also wanted to say a big thank you for all the lovely comments that you guys left on the Solstice post - it's always heartening to read that other people have had similar troubles!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I'm a bit of a hippy at heart; I love nature and the outdoors, and I've been getting more into celebrating the seasons with the kiddos recently, so I decided we'd do something to celebrate the solstice last week.

Traditionally, people used to celebrate the longest day of the year with candle-lit processions, gathering around open fires, staying up all night to watch the sun rise and generally thinking about what you've achieved, and what you hope to do in the coming months. We obviously didn't do that (although one of our lovely friends has just given us a tent, so it might be on the cards for next year!), but I did want to celebrate in some way, so I thought it'd be a good time to finally get round to making an amazing looking bundt cake that I saw in Chickpea magazine. And that was where things started to go wrong.

It's no secret that I'm a lousy cook (I mention it often enough on here!), but usually I can knock out a fairly decent cake, so I thought making a vegan one wouldn't really be any different. Me and the littlest whizzed up the ingredients, then popped it into the oven; I had visions of it coming out all fragrant and bundt-ish, then decorating it with flowers from the garden in some sort of Pinterest-worthy style.

So you can imagine my disappointment when we opened the oven and discovered this:

Pinterest it wasn't.

I honestly don't know what went wrong; I'm pretty sure I followed the recipe, and it had way longer than it was supposed to in the oven, but the middle was all raw and squidgey (urrghh). When I took it out it sank (a bit like my heart *violins*) almost straight away, and it had a weird sort of crust around the edge, which funnily enough was the only bit that was actually cooked.

So in the end, I decided to stick to what I know; we went around the garden with our little car-boot sale trug and gathered lots of flowers to take to my mum as a little solstice gift. I'm pretty sure they were appreciated way more than that cake would have been!

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