Four days in Cornwall

Last week, Tom and I went to St Columb Major near Newquay in Cornwall with two friends for four nights (from Monday to Friday).  Sadly I can't say it was the best trip I've ever taken, and you'll probably notice I only have a few photos to show for my five days away due to a number of unfortunate factors.  Firstly it was rainy and overcast most of the time we were there (but hey, it's Cornwall, what do you expect?)  Secondly, one of our friends who came with us had unfortunately just had an operation so couldn't get out and about much... which would have been fine but the naughty boys went surfing every day! So we were stranded indoors with a stack of trashy magazines and a few DVDs for the majority of the holiday.  Suffice to say there is now nothing I don't know about 'Tulisa and Jack's split' or 'Jen and Justin's secret holiday photos'.  So it was a nice relaxing time but I didn't get to use my new camera I was desperate to try out much or explore much of the surrounding area (which was a shame as I really do love Cornwall).  Here are the few photos I did take...

Newquay headland
View over Padstow
Bodhi posing on the wall in Padstow with Tom
Bodhi getting bored of posing on the wall in Padstow

One thing I was really looking forward to with the trip which did happen however was going for lunch at Fifteen at Watergate Bay.  Fifteen was founded by Jamie Oliver and takes a group of apprentice chefs every year and trains them to work in the restaurant.  They use mainly local foods and the menu changes every day, with set and a la carte menus for lunch and dinner.  We had the set lunch menu and I had mackerel and potato salad, a slice of beef with lentils and salsa verde and strawberry and yoghurt meringue for dessert.  I have to say dessert was the best bit, but then I have simple tastes!

Lindsey and I at lunch at Fifteen

My main course
The journey home yesterday was a long one as, despite leaving in good time, we got stuck in loads of traffic and it took almost six hours (usually takes about four).  I have to say, I was over the moon to finally be home last night and treated myself to a long soak in the bath and some time tucked up in bed with my Kindle with a lovely One Stop Pamper Shop candle burning away.  I am going to have a little break from Cornwall for now, or if I go again, surfboards will be firmly banned! Have you been to Cornwall recently? What are your favourite places to go?  Feel free to also share tales of being a surf/skate/band/football/xbox widow to make me feel better!


My favourite corners | Fashion for Home

When we bought our house just over a year ago, decorating wasn't something we took on for fun, it was utterly unavoidable.  The only reason we were able to afford a three bedroom house in the area we were looking at was to buy something that needed a complete aesthetic overhaul.  Although there have been times when, after a long day at work, the thought of picking up a paintbrush or building furniture has been far from wished for, we are lucky in that it has meant we've been able to put our own stamp on the whole house (or the bits we've been able to do so far) and really have a vision of how we wanted things to look rather than living in a house full of someone else's tastes and designs.

My tastes in interior design are cosy but contemporary - modern with splashes of vintage and often, white walls with soft furnishings adding a splash of colour.  Because we live near the sea I also love anything vaguely nautical and I've tried to keep the seaside theme throughout the house.

Odd as it sounds, I've always had a thing about 'corners' in houses.  I think because I am a real homebody who loves comfort and cosiness I love nothing better than a snug little corner to curl up in with a good book.  I love houses with secluded corners with bookshelves and a comfy chair with a blanket thrown over the top of it.  With this in mind, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite corners of my house.

A few weeks ago, Fashion for Home contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in featuring their website and reviewing a product on my blog.  I hadn't heard of their website before but I found myself instantly bookmarking several of their gorgeous pieces of furniture and home accessories.  When searching out new bits for the house I find myself always turning to Ikea due to their affordability but it can be rather off-putting when you visit a friend's house and they have all the same furniture as you! The thing I like about Fashion for Home is they have lots of unique, designer-esque items but with extremely reasonable price-tags.  I'm not just saying that because they, very, very generously sent me the gorgeous lounge chair in the first photo - I'll definitely be buying from them in the future. (Plus the chair came within days of my ordering it - great customer service).

Their maitai lounge chair [£119] looks lovely in the corner of the living room and has had lots of admiring gazes (and bums!) from visitors.  Nestled under a much loved Ikea hanging light it's the perfect place to perch whilst watching TV or reading.

Here are some more of my favourite corners in the house...

In the craft room my favourite books are lined up next to vintage cameras, fairy lights and some of my favourite art prints.

A corner of the living room houses vintage suitcases and (a new addition), an antique printer's tray, soon to be filled with trinkets and treasures!

One thing we don't have in this house in abundance unfortunately is storage.  I'd love a big dresser or sideboard to store things in as currently there's lots of things tucked away in suitcases and boxes that are tricky to get to.  I've been looking at Indian furniture as there's some beautiful ornate wood furniture around in stains that would look perfect in this corner!

I love the wallpaper in the spare bedroom and it took a long time to find the perfect lamp to fit the colour scheme!

Finally, another corner of the living room, and one that is currently hosting Tom's birthday cards! I love black and white photography and we have snaps of all of our loved ones in this frame.  Also lots of DVDs on the bookshelf and - of course - a throw draped over a comfy chair!

Do you have any favourite corners in your house?


Families and cake

I love these type of photo/catch-up posts, it feels like the internet version of getting you all over for a cup of tea, a malted milk and a natter.  Totally wish I could do that for realzz (though I'm not sure I have enough coasters).

This weekend was the boyfriend's birthday and we celebrated it with some friends on Saturday night with Chinese takeaway, wine and a gihugic birthday cake.  The birthday cake was designed for 20 people but there were only four us so, out of the kindness of my heart, I have taken on the challenge this week of making sure none of it goes to waste.  I am pretty sure my current genetic makeup is 50% ganache.  On Sunday we went to a National Trust house in Somerset called Barrington Court to meet up with Tom's family.  They had an event on called 'Jazz on the lawns' where you could bring a picnic and listen to a band play jazz in the sunshine all afternoon (what's not to like?) We also looked around the Tudor manor house, saw an Anthony Gormley exhibition and (my favourite bit) looked around the gardens.  They have a kitchen garden where they grow all the veggies for the restaurant but we skipped the restaurant and had a picnic on the grass.  Tom's Mum had made a huge homemade pork pie which was amazing, with peanut butter and chocolate cake for afters.  Yum.  Tom's sister brought Tom's adorable niece and nephew along, who you can see in a couple of the photos.  I'm really enjoying using my digital SLR again, so much so that I've sold it to another lovely blogger and upgraded to a slightly newer one using the insurance money from my bridge camera that got soggy.  Exciting!

Hope you're all having lovely weeks so far.  Mine has been a super busy week of work so my evenings have mostly involved baths, TV and pajamas.  I am saving my pennies this week as next week we're off to Cornwall for a little break and I want to have some money in the fish and chips/Cornish cream tea/Cornish cider fund.  However the sales are really tempting me, have you been snapping anything up? Let me know what you've been buying so I can live vicariously through you guys!

Tom and his nephew Milo


Buying clothes as gifts

Today I have a guest post from Argos Clothing which gives some great advice on that tricky issue of buying clothes as gifts.  You'll also find my four favourite picks from their website at the end of the post.

5 Rules for Buying Clothes as Gifts

Most people would tell you not to bother: buying clothes as a present for your loved one is a recipe for disaster and is only to be attempted if they’re a) the exact same size and shape as a mannequin or b) they’re under the age of 9.

Yes, they say, getting your son, daughter, niece or grandchild something is easy – simply choose something from the huge range of clothing at Argos, or a simple T-shirt that features a picture of their favourite cartoon. But getting your girlfriend, sister or daughter something is a different story, as there are so many variables when it comes to buying women’s clothes.

If you’re listening to the nay-saying, you might be missing out on a gift your loved one would treasure forever. Sure, it requires perhaps a bit more thought and planning than, say, a bottle of perfume or champagne – but that’s what makes it special. There’s no better way to prove that you know them inside-out. Whether it’s a soft, comfy pair of pyjamas or something in a gorgeously luxurious fabric, a funny t-shirt or a piece of exercise wear, they’ll understand that you’ve spent time pondering both what they like and what they like to wear.

Because it’s such a personal gift, there aren’t that many universal rules: there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to buying clothes as presents. However, below are three rules you might want to bear in mind – whether you’re trawling for the perfect shawl or looking to get your lover some lovely lingerie.

1.     Keep the receipt: You might think it’s negative to prepare for the worst, but a receipt is an essential safety net when buying clothes as gifts. If it doesn’t fit or they don’t like it, they’ll be able to pick something they do like from the same shop. It means less pressure for everyone.

2.     Double, triple, quadruple check their size: Getting something too big or too small is the ultimate taboo, so you need to be ├╝ber-careful when it comes to sizing. Sizes often vary from shop to shop and your loved one might wear different sizes on their top and bottom, so try and find something they’ve bought from the place you’ve got in mind to get the right measurements.

3.     Think carefully about their style: You’re buying something for them, not for yourself; try to imagine what they’d want and not what you’d like to see them in. Think carefully about anything that’s very sexy, very cute, or very old-fashioned: is it something they’d enjoy wearing? Where and when do you think they’d wear it? If it’s difficult for you to answer these questions, you might find your gift’s recipient ends up offended: as clothes are closely linked with self-expression, it will appear like you’re trying to change them into something they’re not.

Of course, there’s always the straightforward option of getting something that’s practical and classic: a sumptuous cashmere jumper, say, or a pair of timeless gloves. Getting something that’s warm and nurturing is safer than something glamorous, because it’s as much about your caring instinct as their style.

Thanks Argos!  Here are my favourites from their website...

Girls' prom dress | Rayban wayfarers
Roxy makeup bag | Dangermouse lounge pants

Have you ever bought clothes as a gift? Do you have any advice to add?


Wear your wardrobe challenge

I was recently contacted by Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine from VoucherCodes.co.uk who kindly asked me if I wanted to be part of their research challenge, 'Wear Your Wardrobe'.  The Wear Your Wardrobe challenge came about as part of a report they commissioned to see how people are spending their money in these cash strapped times.  The report found that the average person in the UK has at least three unworn items in their wardrobe, usually totalling around £80 - enough for a whole new outfit.  The challenge was to pick out three unworn items from my wardrobe and, using a budget of £80, re-style them to give them a new lease of life and bring them out from where they've been hiding.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have a lot more than three unworn or barely worn items in my wardrobe.  The first item that came to mind was an H&M maxi dress I bought last summer and have never worn.  I didn't try it on and the halter-neck is just a little too low cut for me for to feel entirely comfortable.  Alongside this, I've always fancied trying the cropped top trend, but I really don't have the flat stomach to go with it.  This cropped top (£4, Primark) has meant my maxi dress has made its first outing from the wardrobe, and the straw hat (£4, Primark), gives it a festival-y feel.

Outfit additions: Salut t-shirt [£4]
and straw hat [£4], both Primark = £8

I have a lot of dresses in my wardrobe, many of which I haven't worn for at least six months.  The reason for several of these being pushed to the back of the wardrobe is that I just don't have the right thing to wear over the top of them.  There's nothing worse than getting dolled up, putting on a pretty dress and then having a black cardigan step in and steal all the pretty away! I knew a coloured blazer would solve this problem so I picked up this bargainous beauty from H&M for £19.99.  It looks perfect with my Missguided Aldara dress [£24.99] and I know it'll mean several more dresses can come out from their hiding place too.

Blazer: H&M - £19.99 = £19.99
Excited after my new coral blazer rode into my wardrobe on a proverbial white horse and relinquished an unloved dress from its slumber, I started to see the potential in other coloured blazers and picked up this cream blazer from Missguided to go with a dress I'd bought last year.  I bought this dress from boohoo.com last year for a wedding and ended up wearing something else and it's been sat in the wardrobe with the tags on ever since.  I love it with this blazer! 

Blazer: Missguided - £24.99 = £24.99
Although I enjoy the feeling of buying something new I rarely get a burst of excitement about a new item of clothing or pair of shoes.  However, I must admit that when I spotted these wedges in H&M I actually ran towards them.  I'd been after a pair of lace front wedges for such a long time and even as I sprinted towards them I was picturing how cute they'd look with this playsuit, bought from ASOS a few months ago and still bearing its price tags.

Wedges: H&M - £24.99 = £24.99

So there you have it, a grand total of £78 spent and rather than blowing it on a new outfit I've actually released four long forgotten items of clothing from the wardrobe.  Plus, my new blazers, wedges and cropped top will actually go with a whole host more items and mean I can bring more things out into circulation.

How many items do you have hanging in your wardrobe because you just don't have the right thing to wear with them? Or what have you bought recently that's meant you can now wear lots of long forgotten outfits?

Finally, watch out on Twitter for the hashtag - #vcukwearyourwardrobe - that's what other bloggers will be using to post their restyled looks.  And if you want to have a wardobe audit and breathe new life into some of your old outfits you can use it too :)


Take the plan, spin it sideways

I quite often post outfits to show off one item I've bought, usually snapped in my bedroom or the garden before I add the obligatory cardigan, coat and bag (or umbrella/kagoul/all in one anti-rain suit in this weather), but since I wore something new to work today I thought I'd show you it as I wore it for a change.  I do love blogs like Jen's where you can see the whole outfit as it was worn, so I thought it would be nice to do the same for today's post.  Do you prefer outfit posts like this or are you more of a 'Just show me the dress!' type?  Thinking about it, I probably should have taken these photos at the beginning of the day before my make-up had rubbed off and my dress had experienced the crinkle-inducing routine of sitting in a car for two hours and sitting in an office for eight but considering this morning I managed to sleep in by half an hour and then knock an entire mug of tea over my dressing table I was not quite compus mentis enough to consider posing.  Also can I just add that I am still getting used to my fringe and cannot seem to make it look as nice as when it was originally cut.  In this photo it is positively verging on lego-esque!

Oh, and by the way, you can get 20% off this dress and other lovely things at sheinside.com by using the code Rosie20 until June 30!

dress: sheinside.com £20 | blazer and brogues: new look
satchel: H&M  | necklace: primark
some goofball
Can I just say, right now, that this weather is frankly not on.  Who do I complain to?  As you can see from the photos, I gave in and wore thick black tights to work today.  This, coupled with having to put the heating back on, is making me feel very grumpy about the fact that October seems to have descended on us when it is supposed to be June.  JUNE goddamit.  The weather is also responsible for the first photo being slightly blurry as I find it almost impossible to take outfit photos when it's so dark and grey outside, especially since my poor Panasonic camera has gone to camera heaven.  I mentioned in a previous post that the weather really affects my mood and it has made me feel rather glum being sat in the office or at home watching torrential rain fall outside.  It makes me want to retreat back into hibernation and hide in bed in my fleece-y pajamas with a stack of magazines and a mug of hot chocolate.  But that seems distinctly unfair to my collection of new summer-y dresses that are hanging, gathering dust in the wardrobe.  They are going to be so cross when they finally get released for what will probably be our week-long summer.  Le sigh.

In other news, I bought a car on Saturday! How exciting is that? It's a sporty little Volvo C30 and I cannot wait to nip around it and no longer have to endure my 50 mile daily commute in the Clio, which, whilst it will always have a special place in my heart, is now a little bit past its best.  I am excited for the small things, like having electric windows and a passenger door that's fitted properly.  Huzzah!


Rainy Sundays and James Bond style

One of my favourite Sunday afternoon activities when it's raining and cold outside, is to curl up on the sofa under a blanket, preferably with hot chocolate, a big bag of Maltesers and a good movie.  This activity is usually reserved for the winter months, but thanks to the terrible weather this is exactly the plan for this afternoon.  Our BT Vision box is well stocked with films that were released around 5-10 years ago so there is a high chance that this afternoon will involve a James Bond film, mainly because James Bond films are perfect for wiling away rainy afternoons (schedulers know this, that's why they always put them on at Christmas), but also because it's one of the few film series' Tom and I both agree on and enjoy!

However, it's easy to feel slightly slovenly and inadequate hiding under a blanket whilst watching Bond girls emerge from the sea or float around in gorgeous cocktail dresses.  Despite never having set foot in a casino I adore all the scenes in Bond films where swarthy James Bonds or an immaculate femme fatales play in a casino (casinos feature in almost all of them).  My vision of casinos, being entirely based on Bond movies, is of delicately gripped Martinis, men in sharp suits and women dripping with diamonds in backless dresses.  Anyone who has been in a casino, you'll have to let me know if this is really the case ;)  With this in mind I've made a little wishlist of dresses should Daniel Craig ever invite me to be part of a Texas Hold 'Em tournament in Montenegro...

Casino style

How will you be spending your Sunday afternoon?

*This post was written in collaboration

Sailor V

Ever since I read Treasure Island as a child I developed a great interest in the sea.  I always felt that it was so mysterious and poetic and devoured books about shipwrecks (as I still do now), pirates and battles at sea.  This was greatly assisted by the fact that my Dad was in the navy for all of my childhood, sailing off to foreign lands (like the Falklands, from where he sent me a cuddly penguin I still cherish).  To this day I still adore anything nautical, in fact I met my other half on a sailing trip and we both work for the same maritime organisation (him training operational staff, me, rather less excitingly, working in the Press Office).  It's strange to think that shipping incidents and people in distress at sea are now the things that wake me up in the middle of the night when I'm on call.  My love of nauticalia definitely extends to my fashion choices; from dresses with boat prints, to Breton tops, to anything that pairs navy and white together.  I had been lusting after this gorgeous Vero Moda Sailor Dress on Room 31 for some time, so when they contacted me to ask if I wanted to feature something from their website on my blog it was a very easy choice! I do feel like a little sailor in it!

Karoline Sailor Collar White Pleated Dress - Room31.co.uk - £48

I've raved on about how much I love Room 31 in a previous post so I won't do it again here but what I will say is that they are well worth a follow on Twitter, not only because they tweet about their lovely stock (and bloggers wearing it!) but also because, if you're lucky, they do tend to tweet some great discount codes! Their sales are also brilliant, picked up several lovely things in their last one.

On a final note, have you spotted my new haircut? I got it chopped on Thursday night, I do like it but I am still getting used to having a fringe! I've also spotted that my wrists look so bare in these photos - I'm usually found with several bracelets on at once but I'm currently hunting for the perfect charm bracelet as I have my eye on some items on Essence Charms - I love the little camera charm!


I'll be your Emmylou

As I mentioned in my last post, my beloved Panasonic camera, it transpires, does not like water, and so is potentially preparing himself for a trip to the great camera shop in the sky.  Because I cannot bear to be without a camera I have been playing around with my old Canon 350D SLR and trying to get to grips with the settings and using the two different lenses I have.  We were planting out lots of bits in the garden on Monday so in the brief interval where the sun came out I thought I'd take a few practice snaps.  The close-up of Bodhi really makes me laugh!

I am definitely enjoying my new organised wardrobe I showed you in my last post.  As Gillian commented,  it's really lovely having everything laid out neatly rather than having to rifle through mounds of things to find the one thing that you're looking for to go with an outfit.  I have a few new things to show you that I've bought over the last couple of weeks and it's just feels nicer having them hanging neatly on show rather than being shoved in a drawer.  I'm still loving my Oasap creepers I featured a couple of posts ago but I am struggling to know what to wear them with as I want to make them a bit more exciting than just pairing them with jeans all the time.  What would you style them with?

*Oasap Creepers - £26.12
I'm glad that, reading your comments on my last post, I'm not the only one who gets the blues during bouts of rain and cold.  I wish I was the sort of person who could write the day off, grab a blanket and settle down with a hot chocolate and a good film when the weather turns bad but the sad reality is that there is always so much to do in the house that it's rare I allow myself much time to just 'lay like broccoli'.  For the first time in ages I did exactly that on Monday night and snuggled down and watched Good Will Hunting, and I'm so glad I did, what an amazing film! I think one of the reasons I sometimes get quite stressed is that I always have a neverending to-do list which means I always feel intensely guilty when I'm stuck indoors but not taking the opportunity to tackle ironing mountain/eBay my pile of unwanted clothes/clean the house etc.  I am definitely going to make more time to do this over the next few weeks and months however.  All work and no play and all that....