Cheer up Tuesdays - Charlene

I have been so excited about the 'Cheer Up Tuesdays' I have lined up over the coming weeks so I was disappointed not to be able to post one last week due to my last minute trip down to Cornwall.  This week it's back with a vengeance however with one of the loveliest bloggers I know - Charlene, of Dainty Dresses. Charlene's blog was one of the first that I came across when I started blogging, and I was instantly drawn to her gorgeous dreamy photos and neat blog layout.  I got to know Charlene a little better when we were both involved in the loblography challenge (we was robbed!) and adore reading her blog, which for me is the perfect mix of fashion, photography, nail art and general loveliness.  Talking of nail art, Charlene even (clever little thing that she is) has started her own shop selling hand painted nails, which you can check out here.  Anyway, enough of my waffle, onto the cheer up-ness, and over to Charlene...

1. For those readers that don’t already know you, tell us a little bit about yourself...

Hello! I'm Charlene, a twenty-two year old graphic design graduate from a small town just outside Glasgow. I work part-time in a call centre to pay the bills and spend the rest of my time doing things I enjoy such as some freelance graphic design work and painting nails for my nail art shop. My blog, Dainty Dresses, is a mixture of fashion, nail art, with the occasional beauty product review and lots of photos of my day to day life.

2. Tell me five things that make you happy...

+ Receiving things in the post
+ Driving along an empty road with the music turned up, singing my heart out
+ Spending the afternoon painting nails
+ Strawberry milkshakes
+ Snuggling up under a duvet with a hot drink and watching my favourite film/tv show

3. If ever you do feel down, what song or songs do you put on to cheer yourself up?

Anyone who knows me will know I'm a massive fan of The Strokes so any song by them is guaranteed to cheer me up and even have me dancing around like a loon on occasion! The song 'This Modern Love' by Bloc Party has a special place in my heart and lots of lovely memories attached to it too, and you honestly cannot beat Florence & the Machine's version of 'You've Got the Love'. It's the perfect song to belt out at the top of your lungs to make yourself feel amazing!

4. What’s your happiest memory; a memory you think of that always makes you smile?

This is such a difficult question because I have SO MANY happy memories but the first one to pop into my head was the memory of a glue stick fight I had with my friend Paul in college. I have no idea how it started but I can still picture us chasing each around around an empty classroom, each armed with a Prit Stick, trying to cover the other person in as much glue as possible. Typing it out makes it seem like such a childish thing to do, but it was spontaneous and so much fun. I didn't enjoy Paul getting glue all over my beloved fringe though haha!

5. Describe your perfect day.

I'd start the morning off with a plate stacked high with pancakes, lots of fresh strawberries and a cup of tea. Naturally my day would be spent with a big group of my closest friends and the sun would be shining, allowing us to laze around on blankets in a big park all day eating BBQ food, listening to music and having a cheeky drink or two. There would be some late afternoon shopping, followed by dinner at my favourite restaurant (Bath St Pony in Glasgow) and a visit to the cinema. It's the simple things that make me happy!

6. How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

Over the past year it's been a real struggle to maintain a positive outlook on my life, mainly due to being unsuccessful in literally hundreds of job applications, but I don't think I've let things get to me too much. I find that finding things you enjoy that will keep you busy works best, such as diving into new hobbies and projects or learning new skills. Whenever something upsets me I allow myself a small amount of time to mope around, sob my heart out and get it out of my system before picking myself up, having a night of pampering and my favourite films and then it's back to thinking positive thoughts to cancel out the negatives.

Autumn window shopping

I want to start this post by saying thank you to everyone who left me kind messages after my last post, either on here or on Twitter.  It means so much to me to have people's support, and I've been so touched by the thoughtfulness I've been shown.

Yesterday we went to the Festibelly festival in the New Forest.  I'll have some photos I'll share later but since today has so far been all about pajamas, bubble baths, Chinese takeaway and online window shopping I thought I would share some of the items I've been lusting after from the comfort of my sofa this afternoon.  Where I work we receive our performance bonuses at the end of August and this is the first time I've been thinking of buying my Autumn wardrobe with a bit of mine (since the weather has been so bad I'm already in need of a new coat!) Flicking through the ASOS catalogue in the bath earlier gave me lots of inspiration for how I might spend my pennies, and I've also been nosing around the Boohoo website - their A/W range looks like it's going to have some lovely stuff - in particular I love this tweed patch quilted coat.

I made a little photo mish-mash of some of the things I'll be filling my basket with come payday - what do you think? Are you getting ready to splurge on your Autumn wardrobe too?

(The thumbnails at the bottom should take you to the items - it defaults to ASOS's US site for some reason but you can change it at the top of the page once you click through).

Rosie autumn wishlist


The soles of your shoes are all worn down

Although I like to think of my blog as a place for positivity and happy things, I'm afraid I make no excuses for the fact that this isn't going to be particularly uplifting read. I think I need the catharsis of reflecting on the last few days, so if you've come here for cupcakes, sunny gardens and bike rides, well, you might want to sit this one out.

Those who follow me on Twitter might have already worked out that my Grannie died on Tuesday night.  She had been suffering from the after-effects of a stroke for three months but the optimist in me was hoping she would get better, and so, though some may have seen it as inevitable, it still came as a bit of a shock.  Luckily my boss was understanding enough to let me take a few days off work to go down to Cornwall to be with my Mum and her stepfather (my Grannie's husband).  Those few days were filled with a great deal of sadness - the sorts of things that never occur to you would generate emotion, but do - seeing hairs on a comb, half used soaps, a toothbrush in a pot that will never be used again.  Whilst looking in a bathroom cupboard I found my Grannie's diary and found it terribly upsetting to see events jotted down in diary pages for dates that she would never see.  The photos in this post were taken when we went to the nursing home my Grannie spent the last few days of her life in to collect her things.  You can see the nursing home on top of the cliffs at Poldhu.  Sadly my Grannie died in hospital but my Mum felt it was such a perfect place for my Grannie to spend the last few days of her life.  

I know that I will remember my Grannie with warm thoughts forever, and will, for a long time feel sad for the mother that my mother has lost, and the wife that her stepfather lost (on their wedding anniversary).  Thank you to those of you that sent me lovely tweets this week, it has been a great comfort to know people are thinking of me.


Four day spare room project

When we moved into our house in May the spare bedroom was by far our least favourite room in the house. In theory it should have been the master bedroom but with textured walls, a grubby carbet, a horrid suite of pine furniture (with maroon paint behind it) we chose instead to shove all our junk in there and keep the door firmly shut. That is until earlier this week, when I offered to let one of my good friends come and stay for a couple of weeks before she emigrated to America.  In true Rosie style, we procrastinated until Wednesday when we went to Homebase and started stocking up on paint.  On Thursday we pulled up the carpet and started painting the walls, but with Tom working the nights and me working the days we had to wait until this weekend for the fun to really start - and so yesterday morning we cracked on with assembling some Ikea furniture, painting some other furniture and doing several coats of paint on the floorboards.

Without further ado, I bring you our new spare room....

Now my friend has arrived and we've assembled her (very fortunately white) Ikea bed, it looks even nicer.  Will post up some more photos at a later date.

I bought some Laura Ashley duck egg blue paint to try and make some things in the room a bit more matching and painted a table I bought at an auction a couple of months ago.  I got three tables for around £10 so here is my £3 table before, and with a new lick of paint.

Looks lovely huh? I am so proud of what we achieved in just a few days - it really shows how much you can achieve if you just put your mind to it!

Sea air makes sleeping incredibly sweet

I feel like I have so much to blog about at the moment (as well as my drives home from work generating some new ideas for features and posts!), but not enough time to do it! The reason for all the busy-ness is that we are currently decorating our spare room.  So what? I hear you say.  Just pick up a paintbrush now and then in between lolling on the sofa - it won't take too long will it? Unfortunately, it is not that simple - firstly because our spare room currently looks like this:

And secondly because my friend is coming to stay with us on Sunday for the two weeks in between her leaving her flat and moving to America at the beginning of September. Eek.  Did I mention that I had this crazy idea that we'd pull up the carpet and sand and paint the floorboards that are lying beneath the lovely beige carpet? Our house was clearly decorated in the 70's and then basically left ever since so is full of such treats as pine cladding, textured wallpaper and - the remnants of which you can see in this room - a whole furniture suite with wardrobes, chests of drawers and overhead cupboards all attached to each other.  Nice.

In my spare time between painting and trying to sort out all the assorted junk that has been sat in the room since we moved in (about 10 boxes of the stuff - thank god we have a loft) I have been furiously pinning inspiration for the room.  I am thinking very 'chilled' - all white and lots of beach-themed bits, a little like these:

I just looked again at the top photo and got an instant stress headache.

Despite the busy-ness, I am committed to keeping some of the regular features on my blog going (check out Jennie's absolutely lovely interview for my Cheer Up Tuesday feature in the post below).  Also here are the blogs I've been having a nose at this week!

  • Blogger and careers columnist Penelope Trunk wrote an interesting post this week called 'Blueprint for a Woman's Life' which gives advice to women on what to do in life, and when.  It's definitely worth a read - would love to know what you guys think!
  • The lovely Victoria at Lily Loves Lola shared her photographs of a recent visit to Padstow and made me all nostalgic for my birth county of Cornwall again!
  • I recently discovered Donna's Deer Donna blog - not only is her blog an awesome read but she is having a 'blog party' at the moment where she features lots of crafty bloggers along with giveaways of some of their cute creations!
  • I have also recently become a little bit addicted to Kendi's 'Kendi Everyday' blog.  Not only are her outfits abso-frickin gorgeous but her writing style never fails to make me smile.
  • As someone who is always looking for new ideas for lunches to take to work I loved Sofia's post where she photographed five days of lunches.  (Now just need to stop myself being too lazy to make myself packed lunches!)
  • On a final note, I mentioned at the SW Bloggers Meet that my Mum had a blog recently, and some people were intrigued (or just being very polite!). Her blog is here and is usually full of the sorts of furniture makeovers and interior design gorgeousness I can only dream of one day being able to achieve.  Go Mum! 


Cheer up Tuesdays - Jennie

I am determined to keep my Cheer Up Tuesdays feature going and so I asked a handful of my favourite bloggy ladies recently if they'd like to be involved and was over the moon when Jennie replied.  Being a lover of all things nautical myself I was immediately drawn to Jennie's blog when I very first started blogging and behind her gorgeous marine-themed layout is an absolutely lovely blog full of gorgeous photographs infused with an eclectic mix of beauty reviews, lovely jewellery, and one of my favourite features of all the blogs I read, Jennie's brilliant Five Things I Love Fridays.  Not to mention her adorable rabbit Ralphie, whose appearances on Jennie's blog alone make it worth a visit!  I think I've gushed enough; over to you Jennie...

1. For those readers that don’t already know you, tell us a little bit about yourself... 

Hi, I’m Jennie and I’m twenty two years old. I just moved into a cute white countryside cottage from a busy seaside tourist town with my mama and we’re in love with the peace and quiet! I have a miniature lop bunny rabbit named Ralphie who is the only bunny in the world that doesn’t like carrots and he lives in his own two storey mansion in my bedroom. I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful boyfriend who now only lives a few houses away down the hill after almost three years of living 200 miles apart and although I'm not sure what I want to do in the future, I'm excited to see where my path will take me!

2. Tell me five things that make you happy...

Watching Ralphie hop around excitedly and groom his ears so carefully!
Writing & receiving hand written letters in the post - I'd love to have a penpal!
Taking photographs.
Snuggling up under a blanket on cold rainy days.

3. If ever you do feel down, what song or songs do you put on to cheer yourself up?

As strange as this is, I’m not hugely into music anymore and the artists I do like to listen to aren’t renowned for happy songs at all. Regardless of that though, they still make me happy and on my current favourite playlist are bands like Nirvana and Zero 7 & singers like Sia and Adele.

4. What’s your happiest memory; a memory you think of that always makes you smile?

I’m not sure I’ve had a single stand out happiest moment just yet, I always think that in the future those will be my wedding day and the birth of my children, should I be lucky enough to have those things happen to me in my lifetime. I have been blessed to have many happy moments in my life so far including meeting my wonderful boyfriend against all the odds, celebrating many birthdays with my family & the first time that Ralphie, my bunny rabbit bounded up to me and hopped on to my chest for our first cuddle.

5. Describe your perfect day.

I’d wake up in the late morning, get dressed, grab the family and bundle everyone in the car for a cute little drive through the countryside, snapping photographs along the way, in search of a quaint little cafĂ© for a yummy late breakfast/early lunch and a huge mug of hot chocolate. It’s be a sunny but chilly day, cold enough for a trench coat and boots but not snowy or rainy and the leaves would be golden in colour and just beginning to fall from the trees. Afterwards I’d pop into the local bakery to pick up something sweet for later & head home, perhaps popping into a few more shops along the way and coming across a super pretty dress for a bargain price! At home I’d change into comfy clothes and settle down for the afternoon with Ralphie and a good book before perhaps indulging in a short afternoon nap followed by a bubble bath. For dinner my boyfriend and I would nip into the city for sushi before coming home to the bakery treats I bought earlier in the day and snuggling down to watch a good film in front of the fire.

6. How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

I wouldn’t say I’m a hugely positive person (one of the parts of my personality I’m not so thrilled with!) so I’m not really sure how to answer this question. I do however think that there’s always a bigger picture and if anything negative is happening in life then something positive is sure to come out of it at some point. Never dwell on the bad things because things absolutely will be okay in the end!

South West Blogger Meet

L-R - Front row: Sian from My Street Chic , Leanne, Kate, Sammy, Kim, Lily, Gem, Laura, Me
Back row: Bee, Lyzi, Stephanie, Gina from My Street Chic.

Yesterday I went to Bristol to spend the day with some lovely ladies at the South West Blogger Meet.  I met the very lovely Laura (in the photo with me above) on the train at Christchurch after getting up at the un-godly hour of 6.45.  I hadn't been worried that Laura and I would have enough to chat about to fill a three hour train journey, and I was right not to as Laura and I yapped away about crazy tea-drinking old ladies and the various bumps and scrapes of her long-suffering car!

We met the other ladies (bar Lyzi, who was strategically positioned at Cabot Circus but then ended up having no-one to meet as everyone came by train!)  One thing we clearly had in common right from the start was a desire to eat, and so we descended on Frankie and Benny's (picking up Lyzi on the way) and stuffed ourselves with various yummy things from their lunch menu.  I was lucky enough to sit opposite Gem and Leanne and had so much fun finding out all about Gem's love of David Tennant and Leanne's wedding plans!

After scoffing our lunch we headed off for a mooch around the shops, hitting Primark, River Island, New Look, Topshop and H&M until we'd worn ourselves out and were in need of a well-deserved drink.  We headed to Start The Bus where we chatted and drank the afternoon away until it was time for our trains.

Bee had arranged for Gina and Sian from MyStreetChic to come and take our pictures, so they joined us for drinks and some outdoor snaps (avoiding the kebab shop and group of buskers!).  Was really interesting finding all about what they're doing with their website, which is like a fashion community where you can upload photos and become a fashion ambassador for your city.  At 7pm, Laura and I kidnapped Kim and we all taxi-ed it to the station and headed home, but not before stocking up on snacks for the journey!
Leanne, Kate and Lyzi
All in all it was such a fun day, and I owe Lyzi and Bee a huge thanks for organising it all. Next time I will definitely be booking a hotel so I can stay out longer and get to know people a little better (I want to see hangovers that rival the ones generated by the Birmingham Blogger Meet ladies!).  There was no awkwardness at all and it just felt like meeting up with a group of friends (lucky, as that's what most people told their friends and families they were doing, rather than saying 'peoplez I know off the internetzz!').  I really can't get over the fact that it's less than a year since I started my blog and I'm sat here writing about an awesome day with 11 lovely ladies I would never have met if I hadn't clicked on that little orange 'Create a blog' button last August.  Already looking forward to the Christmas meetup, it can't come soon enough!

Two new dresses

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a lot to share over the next few days what with my lovely birthday presents, bits I've bought with my birthday money, a big ol' ELF haul and my holiday video.  I thought I'd go for some 'little and often' posts rather than flooding you all with it it one day.

Today's rather late post (due to my car breaking down in a car park in Lyndhurst and having to call the RAC) is to show you two new additions to my wardrobe.  The first is a lovely Joules dress I snapped up in their shop in Fowey after seeing it was on sale for £15.  It was a bit of a bargain for £15 as it's fully lined, and I wore it to work today with a vest underneath and a black cardigan (as you can see from my snaps).  It looked a lot nicer before it got all crumpled from being sat in the office all day....

The second dress I bought from Princes Vintage.  When I got it out of the packet when it arrived I was a bit overwhelmed by the print - I didn't remember it being so jazzy from the website! I was fairly convinced I would be returning it and only really tried it for a bit of a chuckle but actually, I kind of like it! What do you think? Keep or return?


Birthday weekend in Cornwall

Even though I've only been away for five days I feel like I have about ten blog posts worth of stuff to tell you. I will have to split things up into several posts, which will be good as I feel a little like I've lost my blogging mojo a little bit.  Hope you guys still enjoy reading this! (Nb. if you're not in a reading mood you can scroll-y scroll-y down to the pictures at the bottom, it's okay, I won't be mad).

On Thursday we left the house bound for Cornwall in Tom's campervan.  Our first stop was a campsite near Fowey where we camped for the evening (giving Tom a chance to try out his new awning).  We headed to Fowey for the evening (we got to go on a little car ferry there) and had dinner and a little explore.  It's such a lovely little town that we returned the next day so I could nose around some of the little shops I spent the evening making noseprints on the windows of!

The next day we visited Polperro, which is just beautiful.  It was a lovely sunny day and we ate pasties for lunch and gorged on Pic n Mix and explored the little streets and harbour.  After our trip back to Fowey we headed to our hotel in Mevagissey, where we were staying for the next three nights.

The next day we visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan - 200 acres of gardens, with a jungle, wildlife centre and Victorian gardens and vegetable patches.  We were one of the first in and most of the time we were walking around we barely saw another person; it was such a tranquil, peaceful place to explore and gave me loads of ideas for our garden.

Yesterday was my birthday, and Tom surprised me with the best present ever - a Lomo LC-A+.  I have wanted one of these ever since I was about 16 but never had the money to buy one so I was over the moon to finally add it to my collection! I spent Sunday clicking away so hopefully should have some snaps to show you by the end of the week.  I also got some lovely cards, Tom's very kind parents treated me to a subscription to Olive Magazine (the BBC Good Food magazine) and my parents' bought me some Hunter wellies, the Accessorize playsuit in my last post and some really nice John Lewis undies.  I spent some birthday money on two dresses from ASOS which I'll show you in a later post.

We were so exhausted from all our exploring that last night, instead of going for a birthday meal, we had a picnic in our hotel room, with scones, clotted cream and jam, popcorn, crisps and dip, chocolate fingers and wine! Was the perfect end to the weekend.

This morning we travelled back and arrived home (to some more lovely cards and an awesome package I'll also blog about in a later post!).  All in all an absolutely brilliant few days.  I took some videos on my camera whilst we are away so Tom is going to help me make it into a little Cornwall video diary (a la Gem Fatale's brilliant Scotland video diaries).  In the meantime, hope you enjoy my snaps of the trip...


Cornwall, wall art, and Alvin's introduction

Although payday came and went in a flurry of Direct Debits and utility bills last week I have this month not kept to my usual routine of treating myself to a little something, (or a few small little somethings) then followed by not spending anything on myself for the rest of the month.  This is mainly because August is set to be an expensive month for me - with our weekend away this weekend, birthday meal out with friends next weekend, and Festibelly festival (shortly followed in September by End of the Road).

We do, however (and I know it's very vulgar to talk about money, so apologies in advance) have a little pot of money for things for the house, which I delved into today to buy these two prints from maechevrette's shop on Etsy.

I have been wanting to finish just one room in our house so I can tick it off and have somewhere I can go that's been 'done', so I bought these in a step towards finishing our bedroom.  My Mum gave me a 'top tip' for styling the room, which was to take inspiration from an object in the room I really liked, and so I chose my much loved Ikea bedspread.  (You know how every range in Ikea has a 'name'? The bedspread is labelled as Alvine, so we affectionately name it Alvin - as in... "Let's get Alvin on the bed," or "Where have you put Alvin?")  Dorks, I know...

Anyway, I digress - so, since I took inspiration from Alvin I have been searching out some items that will bring the room together that fit with the same colour scheme, and these two pictures are just perfect.  Tom's only rule when choosing the decor is 'no flowers' so I've decided to go with a nautical theme (as you've probably already gathered from the prints), which will also be present throughout the house.  Tom and I met on a sailing trip and both have a passion for all things sea-y so it kind of makes sense, especially since we live a short walk from the seaside ourselves.

Talking of the seaside, on Thursday we are setting off in Scarlett the VW Campervan for Cornwall for a long weekend away for my birthday.  We are staying in a lovely hotel in Mevagissey for three nights, but we couldn't visit Cornwall in Scarlett without doing a little bit of camping so we'll be spending our first night on a campsite in Fowey - barbecuing and drinking fruity ciders under the stars! There is something very special about piling all our belongings into the van and setting out on the open road, especially when the destination is Cornwall - not only where I'll be celebrating my birthday, but where, 27 years ago, my Mum brought little me into the world!

I will leave you with a little snap I took in Daymer Bay in Cornwall a couple of years back.  Such a beautiful place.


I look like a dandelion, I feel like a wrecking ball

I had such a busy weekend this weekend; we crammed so much in that when I woke up on Sunday I thought it was Monday already (don't you love that feeling when you realise you have a whole extra day!) On Friday night we went down to Weymouth to have dinner with two of Tom's friends - they cooked an amazing three-course meal of parma ham and melon, chicken with tomato and olives (and roast potatoes!) and chocolate souffles and clotted cream for dessert.  As if that wasn't enough, we woke up the next day and found a greasy spoon in Dorchester for a giant fry-up.  Yum!  On Saturday night Tom and I had a bit of a date night, with popcorn and a DVD (Duplicity - which we abandoned in the end as it was really boring - even countless shots of Clive Owen in a suit couldn't maintain my attention!)

All the photos above are from Sunday - we woke up early and went to the garden centre, as you can see from my haul of goodies (some of which came from our brilliant 99p shop in town!).  We then went for a walk and an amazing lunch with my parents', brother and brother's girlfriend to celebrate my birthday, which is next weekend.  (Subliminal messaging, moi? Haha).  My parents' bought me the pair of Hunter wellies you may have spotted in a previous post, along with a gorgeous playsuit from Accessorize (in the snap from my phone below) and a really nice underwear set (not pictured, you nosy lot! :)  The photo at the bottom is of me and my lovely Mummy before our pizzas came.  Take a moment to admire the fact that my roots have disappeared, all courtesy of Tom, who slathered peroxide on my hair on Saturday night with a Robert Dyas paintbrush!

After they left we got busy in the garden and planted loads more plants and flowers, and also started some seeds germinating in some seed trays in our little greenhouse. We now have tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, carrots and rocket growing in the garden - exciting!

On a final note, I want to start sharing some of my favourite blog reads of the week on here - this week I have been....