Fox dress

Bonjourno! So, in a way this is a bit of a fail whale of an outfit post for several reasons.  I will explain:

1. I left my coat at work the night before, so I had to go to work coat-less (this kind of implies I only have one coat, I don't, I have about 20 coats, but none of them would have gone with this outfit like the one I left at work, obvs). Hence why I look slightly chilly.

2. You will have heard me whinging about my sprained ankle, which has meant wearing a tube grip bandage which is clearly visible under my tights (or at least I think so).

3. Re: tights.  I thought they were black tights, they are clearly blue tights.  Tom reassured me they were black before I left the house and then relented once I was already at work. In a meeting.

4. Couldn't really be bothered to straighten my hair innit.

5. Outfit post pose location = total disregard for the green cross code.

fox dress: asos £28 // necklace: nylon sky
boots: office [from last year]

What clearly is good about this outfit is that I'm wearing a dress with foxes on it, a big ol' sack of a dress that yields total comfort and is perfect for days when you don't fancy tight waistbands or constricting clothes (can we agree that that's every day, right?). Foxes are one of my favourite animals, behind badgers of course. Since buying this I have been alerted by Sarah that ASOS have added another amazing fox dress, so into my basket it went.  I wonder if I could spend winter only wearing clothes printed with woodland animals? That would be pretty awesome.

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The best of times

I left my last post about my trip to Wales at 'the proposal' as it didn't feel right to add anything else after that photo, but I wanted to share with you a few more bits from being away, especially the celebrations for my Mum's birthday and the holiday cottage we went onto after the yurt.

Just before I went away to Wales, Fat Face kindly sent me an early Christmas present (with a beautiful handwritten note) of this amazing Amy gilet from their Winter 13 collection.  It truly is a wonderful item of clothing; the fleece lining and duck down feather filling were perfect for keeping me toasty on our walks! It was rather windy too so I found some shelter in the fleece-y hood! I can tell this is going to be a wardrobe favourite over the coming months - I can't believe it's only £65, what a bargain. (I realise that the rest of my outfit isn't winning me any style points, but hey, it was a muddy country walk!)

gilet: fat face £65* // shirt: bellfield at asos £30
chinos: jack wills // walking shoes: quecha at decathlon (I know you really want those trendy things!)

These photos are from a walk Tom and I went on on the Thursday when we were in the Brecon Beacons, it was about five miles in the end but was amongst absolutely beautiful scenery, with breathtaking views.  We brought sandwiches and snacks with us and stopped for some time to sit on a bench and take in how picturesque it all was.  I love how being away from work and home allows you those moments of complete serenity and calm (you're certainly not worrying about your email inbox when you're gazing over rolling hills and watching clouds float by). Bodhi had the time of his life bounding up hills and through ferns - I love being able to take him on amazing walks like these; you can really see how happy and excited he is and it means a lot to be able to give him those experiences rather than the routine of his morning dog walks.

I must admit he was slightly unsure of the sheep however.  Don't you love his inquisitive ear - it always does that when he's a bit unsure of a situation or of what he's being asked to do. To be honest I'm not sure he was completely clear even on what they were, especially as some of the smaller sheep just look a bit like Bodhi! I think he wanted to play with them. Friends!

After staying at the yurt, we went on on the Friday to a holiday cottage in Brockweir, near Chepstow.  My Mum booked it through Wye Valley Holiday Cottages so that all of our family could get together to celebrate her 60th birthday.  Obviously by the time we got there we had two things to celebrate so much champagne was drunk over the course of the weekend! On the Friday night we presented Mum with a birthday cake and lots of presents - Tom and I have been waiting for an opportunity to buy this amazing 'Bob the Dog' cake from Waitrose so we were excited to unveil it (and scoff a slice or two too!)

The cottage itself was really pretty - we spent most of our time gathered around the log fire in the living room, catching up, watching films and playing board games.  The weather meant we were a little house-bound at times but it gave us the perfect excuse for lots of family time, more fizz consumption and some lolling on the sofas in our pajamas.  Unfortunately the log fire became very necessary when the boiler broke on the Sunday (discovered when my brother and I came back from a run in the morning - just what you need!) I've put the link to the website in a previous paragraph so you can see the other lovely properties they have but I wouldn't recommend this property in particular as the owner wasn't very helpful when we lost the heating and hot water.

We went for a walk at Symonds Yat on the Sunday - Tom and I had done this walk when we last visited the Wye Valley and we wanted to bring my family to see the wonderful views.

Of course my parents brought Henry too so the dogs also enjoyed the walk - this is Tom, my Mum, my Dad, Bodhi and Henry (my Mum looks so much more stylish in her walk attire than I do doesn't she?)

... and this is the rest of the weekend attendees, my brother and his girlfriend Ellie.

Of course, as usual, Tom was the only one who could keep those naughty dogs in check! The dog whisperer strikes again....

On the final night we went out for a lovely meal to celebrate my Mum's birthday.  It was at a restaurant next to Tintern Abbey, which just looks stunning all illuminated at night.  It was nice to get all our gladrags on and go out for a proper celebration.  I guess this is the first photo of Tom and I as fiancĂ© and fiancĂ©e - how very exciting!

As always it was absolutely amazing to spend some quality time with my family - it was a truly blissful long weekend.  We arrived home last Monday and I went straight off onto a leadership training course (training to be a leadership trainer - complicated to describe!) As part of the course I sat two exams and had to deliver an observed training session but I passed them all so was really pleased to come home last Thursday with a new qualification too.

On Saturday we met up with my parents and took custody of Henry the dog for a few days whilst my parents are in Florence celebrating my Mum's birthday (again!) They have been having a whale of a time as usual.  I had to work from home this afternoon as my sprained ankle got really painful and I needed some painkillers, ice and to have it propped up.  The nurse at my Doctor's Surgery told me I'm to keep doing that and resting up until it gets better as I shouldn't really have been walking around on it or being as active as I have been the last few days which is why it's got worse rather than better.  Working from home is challenging though when these two cheeky faces decide to commandeer your office chair!

Luckily they decided to go off and play a prolonged and destructive game of 'eat Rosie's socks' to allow me to get some work done....

Phew - that was a long post, please congratulate yourself on getting this far with a hot drink of your choice
(which reminds me that I must go and buy some of the peanut butter hottie stuff from Sainsbury's that everyone is raving about....)
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The tartan dress

Are there people in the inhabited world that don't own this dress? I know it has been something of a blogger fave! I picked it up in Primark a couple of weeks ago and packed it for our trip to Herefordshire/Wales (we were right on the border of the two!) There's always something quite special about packing something new in your suitcase I think, especially if it's a tartan dress with peter pan collar and cap sleeves.

On seeing these photos I have decided it is a little unfair that I don't have a cornfield with stunning views on my doorstep for the purpose of outfit photos.  It's much easier to look brooding and thoughtful when you're gazing across a beautiful vista of rolling hills and countryside.

dress: primark £16 // ballet pumps: pretty ballerinas £84.99

I have lots more posts to share with you this week and I'm excited to show you the photos of the holiday cottage we stayed in last weekend as well as lots of treats that I was lucky enough to receive whilst I was away.  I had six parcels delivered to me from my office on Monday when I left for the course I was on last week and since then three more have arrived, it's felt like Christmas over the last few weeks (I don't pretend that some of them weren't gifts to myself mind you!) ... not to mention the wonderful cards and presents we've received from people sending their congratulations on our engagement.  I don't know why I've been so surprised and touched at how happy people are for us but it really does mean an awful lot - I think I've felt more emotional at the outpouring of love and affection we've received than I was at the actual proposal! And thankyou all for your lovely comments on my last post.  It feels so special to share this with all of my lovely blogging friends!

After being away for two weeks I can't describe how good it is to be home.  When I walked in the door on Thursday I just felt so happy and content and I realised how much I love unpacking my things and hanging all my clothes back in the wardrobe after being away.  I am such a home bird! Needless to say I have spent the last two days lighting candles, snuggling under the blanket on the sofa, catching up on TV and thoroughly enjoying being home.  My email inbox is rather a sight to behold however, as is my Bloglovin reading list! I have also spent quite a lot of time (naturally) looking on Pinterest for wedding inspiration, having a nose at venues and wasting time making wishlists and Christmas lists (I have developed a bit of an appetite for art online and am currently coveting lots of beautiful prints now we've found a great framers down the road from us).  I actually sprained my ankle running yesterday morning (I tripped over a tree root at Park Run!) so I've been able to do little else other than browse the interweb and read, which is suiting me fine! Hope you're all having lovely weekends where you are,

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A yurt holiday and some news

So much has happened since the rather rainy Wednesday morning that we set off for Herefordshire that I hardly know where to begin.  The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of celebrations, car journeys, champagne, hotels and suitcases, so much so that as I sit here looking through these photographs it almost feels like a lifetime ago - or at least a few months (must stop being so dramatic).

But back to that Wednesday.  We left in the morning, bound for our yurt in the Herefordshire countryside, just on the border to Wales in the Brecon Beacons.  We actually stopped in Bath for lunch to fill up on fishfinger sandwiches from Bill's and pick up some Lush treats and some supplies.  We were driving through wind and heavy rain for much of the journey but as we wound through the country lanes, climbing up into hills to reach the farm where the yurt is based, the sunlight began streaming through the trees, and rain gave way to blue skies.

trees brecon beacons

As we parked up and hopped out we met the welcoming committee (Moll), who let us down to our yurt. (By the way, the yurt is called Mimi's Tree Yurt if you're looking for a similar holiday!)

mimi's tree yurt
The setting was breathtaking - long grass swaying in the wind, beautiful blue flowers poking up through the throng of greenery, autumnal sunshine dappling the hills and nothing but trees and fields as far as the eye could see.  And our yurt, nestled in the middle of it all.

yurt holiday in wales

We let ourselves in and found that the interior was just as stunning.  A wooden kitchen complete with panoramic window with those wonderful views (certainly made washing up more enjoyable!)

Adjoined to the kitchen, an outdoor shower with a canopy of trees.

Of course, the yurt itself was the piece de resistance.  The family who own the yurts (there is another onsite) actually completed the majority of the handicraft themselves from ash and sweet chestnut trees on their land. I haven't included a photo but at the top of the yurt was a clear piece of sheeting bound with more wood and interlocking branches that the daughter designed.  It means you can lie in bed at night and stare up at the stars, which is quite an experience (it can also be opened in the summer).

You can see from the photographs just how wonderful the yurt was.  An incredibly comfy bed with sheepskin blanket and bamboo bedlinen, a wood burner and a huge copper bath.  The yurt has solar electricity (the family are very focussed on making it an eco-friendly place to stay).

I don't think I can quite describe quite how perfect it was to curl up on the sofa with a good book and a pot of tea and listen to the crackling of the fire - and then run a hot bath (with some Lush products!) and lay in there reading.  It was just... heaven, I don't think I've ever felt quite so relaxed!  We did think we'd lost Bodhi several times during the three days we stayed as he was far too similar to the sheepskin blanket!

In the evening on the Wednesday I went out into the kitchen to make another pot of tea (which takes some time as you have to heat up the water on the gas stove) and when I came back in, this is what I saw... 

The whole yurt was also filled with candles and you might have already guessed (or seen my excited tweets!) that Tom proposed, with a beautiful ring befitting of the amazing setting.  It was very romantic! We didn't have much phone signal and certainly no 3G or Wifi so we weren't able to tell people until the Friday when we arrived at a holiday cottage to stay with my family.  It felt almost quite nice though, that we had a little secret to ourselves for a couple of days!

Although there is more I could tell you about our stay in the yurt (we had an amazing walk in the Brecon Beacons where Bodhi met lots of sheep!) it feels a bit funny to move onto something different after lamenting the wonderful proposal so I think I will leave it there.  (You can be sure I will all be boring you with wedding plans from now on though - how exciting!)

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To-read pile

Question: How many books is it legitimate to take on a week's worth of holidays? (That sounds weird, we're just going away for a week to a few different places).  Actually, by the time you read this I'll already be back from holiday and the decision will have been made (and hopefully some of these will go onto the 'read' shelf!).  Whilst I write this however I am currently dithering over it  - I should probably just throw them all in the suitcase to be safe right? This is my current 'to-read pile', though if I counted all of the books on bookshelves I haven't yet read but have somehow got absorbed into my collection it would be much bigger.  These are just the new additions to my collection over the last couple of months that are being kept in my bedroom ready for when I finish a book. Isn't that an amazing feeling, when you close the final page of a book, have that feeling of complete satisfaction, and then can read for another and get stuck right in?

The bottom two admittedly I ordered through work; the bottom, The Chimp Paradox, is a book that has been talked about a lot at work and so we got a few for our Learning Resource Centre.  The one above, Effective Leadership is related to the course I'll be on as you read this (scheduling posts gets really confusing!)  I picked up Dark Places in a charity shop after really enjoying Gone Girl, I am hoping it will be as equally thrilling (I love a good page-turner for holiday reading!) Love and Summer and Thinking Fast and Slow were actually both on my Christmas list last year upon receiving recommendations from friends for both of them, I must read the second as it keeps popping up everywhere, especially in things I'm reading up on at work - it sounds so interesting.  The Pleasures of Summer is another one sent to me by Penguin Ireland, it is not the sort of thing I would normally read but the reviews and blurb sound very intriguing! Five Quarters of the Orange and the book at the top of the pile, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, are both books I am reading as part of Alex's Blogging Good Read series - I'll be reading them both this month and reviewing them for Alex's blog post about them all (and my choice too!) Bring Up The Bodies was recommended to me by my Dad and I picked it up in Asda for a few quid, though I think I might need to read Wolf Hall first so I can understand the people and the history? That's another one that's tucked on a bookshelf somewhere! Me Before You was lent to me by a friend when she read it with her book club - I was a bit put off by the cover but she assures me that it's brilliant.  The final book, Be Awesome,  was one on my wishlist that Tom bought me for my birthday, again after lots of recommendations.  That's definitely getting taken with me, it looks brilliant!

Phew, that's a lot of books! What's on your to-read pile, or do you have any recommendations for things that should be added to mine?

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Smock Dress-orama

Sometimes I wonder why people ever post more than one outfit photo - I mean, do you really need to see one photo with me gazing into the camera wistfully and then another doing so but behind a section of fringe? Feels like a game of spot the difference sometimes.  I actually asked Tom to take a few of this outfit because I wanted to show my ankle boots but he is way too tall to capture the details of anything below the knee, so this is the best I can do.  I've mentioned them a few times already on here anyway (in my new shoes post) but smock dresses and cutout boots are my current favourite combination at the moment - is there anything better than a dress you can eat indecent amounts of cake in and nobody knows?

This Jack Wills dress is an old favourite, it was bought at the outlet in Kilver Court and now sits in my drawer awaiting any day where I have a last minute panic about what to wear; you can always rely on it for comfort and I must admit that stripey dress, cardigan and tights is a little bit of a Rosie classic ensemble!

striped smock dress
stripe smock dress
blogger outfit post
jack wills dress: [old] // cardigan: matalan [similar £12]
necklace: nylon sky, £25 // ankle boots: similar by clarks £49.99

Having invested in a few more smock dresses since I bought this number I'm now reaching some kind of level of obsession - Autumn is the time when I pack all my summer-y dresses away and hunt for dresses that will look great with tights and a cardigan or jumper.  Here's my current smock dress wishlist.  I may have already bought that rust, fox print number on the third row.  I have tinkered with this for about half an hour by the way and can't stop there only being two on the final row so please excuse the bad symmetry, trust me it is annoying me more than it is annoying you! :)

Are you a fan of smock dresses?

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Book Review: I Wished For You - Amy Huberman

I was recently, very kindly sent this book for review by Penguin Ireland.  As you know I am something of a bookworm and love nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a good book so I was pretty excited to receive a package recently with several books tucked inside.  On pulling out this particular one out I faced a bit of a dilemma, because it didn't really look like my kind of book.  I knew I wouldn't do a review justice, but luckily I was in the office at the time, and on reading out the blurb to my lovely friend Kate she said she'd love to review it for me.  What a gem.

A couple of weeks later an email dropped into my inbox with her review inside - now that's what I call good service!  Over to you Kate...

"Being close friends and sharing an office with Rosie means I get to see and hear about lots of the fun and exciting things she gets invited to and sent to review. So when she asked if I fancied reviewing a book that she had been sent, I was straight in there to grab a piece of blogging action!

Being a member of two book clubs (yes I know, I am a geek), I read a wide variety of books and unfortunately one of the side effects of this is that I have become super critical of ‘chick lit’. I used to love nothing more than losing myself in ‘girl meets boy, slight twist where girl loses boy and then the predictable happy ending’ type book but now I find myself questioning every detail and mentally giving the book a score out of ten. Then along came ‘I Wished For You’ by Amy Huberman.  It is the story of Grace who seems to have her relationship sorted with the lovely Robbie until he unexpectedly goes down on bended knee. Grace’s reaction results in their break-up and the rest of the book focuses on her trying to rebuild her life with the help of Verity, an ex-Hollywood costume lady and vintage clothing expert.

To be fair, the start and ending of the story is quite predictable but the middle is a very humorous and honest look at how it feels to make a complete mistake and let the right man go. The frequent references to 1950’s Hollywood glamour adds a really interesting twist to the book and although it is completely unbelievable at times, it is one of the very few books I have read recently that has made me laugh out loud. There was lots to love about the book; the detailed descriptions of Grace’s outfits; the overbearing (and quite frankly scary) sister and the spot on observations of close friendships to name a few. Overall I would recommend this book if you want an easy read that gives you a bit more substance than the usual chick lit. In true book club style I feel the need to give the book a score... 8 out of 10."

Well, having read that review I'm now thinking I might have to steal it back from Kate! I guess it just shows you can't judge a book by its cover! If you want to find out more about the book you can do so here.

I recently popped another book in the post that wasn't quite right for me to a friend and blog follower, so keep an eye on my Twitter for any other books I might be sending out for review! And of course if you're a fellow bookworm don't forget to sign up to my Bloggers Book Swap.

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Two days where we live

We've just got back from a couple of days staying in a hotel not far from us in the New Forest.  It might seem strange to stay in a hotel just a few miles down the road but I was lucky enough to win some Red Letter Day vouchers in a competition a couple of months ago and they had New Forest hotel stays on offer so I thought I'd spend some of my voucher on a little local break for Tom and I.  Luckily the hotel (Moorhill House Hotel) is dog friendly so we could take Bodhi along for the ride too.

We picked this weekend because the town the hotel is in has a Cider Pressing Weekend on this weekend every year. We've been once before and it was so much fun - there's steam-driven cider pressers, cider stalls, a hog roast, a band and lots of yummy produce on sale.  We thought it would be great to be able to walk there from the hotel, but sadly the weather had other ideas.  After eating a hog roast in the pouring rain and sloshing cider everywhere from trying to hold the dog and an umbrella, we gave up and went back to the hotel.

Luckily the next day we awoke to beautiful sunshine.  I just love crisp, sunny, Autumnal mornings.  I wish I could wake up every day in the heart of a forest to the sound of birds singing.

After a big hotel breakfast (which I was dreaming about the night before, oh how I love a Full English!) we went for a long walk with Bodhi.  It really is beautiful where we live, we're so lucky to have so many lovely places to walk the dog.  Bodhi loves tramping around in the puddles, sniffing all the leaves and plants and chasing through the undergrowth after other dogs.  We usually do a similar stretch of this walk at the weekends so it was lovely to be out in the forest on a weekday, it was so calm and quiet.

Excuse no make-up in the last photo - a day spent walking the dog and mooching around in Hunter wellington boots is a good excuse not to have to put any on!  After the walk we went on to Lymington which is another few miles away. Lymington is really pretty with a lovely harbour and lots of boutique-y and nautical shops.  People were sat on the harbourside enjoying steaming piles of fish and chips and lots of expectant seagulls hovered overhead (along with some rather threatening looking clouds).

When we got back to the hotel the car park was full of piglets! They are released into the forest for a few months a year.  The pigs eat all of the green acorns that are poisonous to ponies and cattle (they also eat a whole host of other things including apples and sometimes people's flowerbeds apparently!) This is called the pannage season.  They are tagged and have rings through their noses to prevent the damage they cause from rooting around!

One of the owners of the pigs showed us that if you stroke the pig's belly they will roll onto their backs for more as they love it so much! This reminded me of Bodhi who does exactly the same.  The owner was there because sadly the Mummy pig had just been kicked by a horse and was limping so they were calling the Verderers (who protect and look after the New Forest) to come and see if the sow was okay.

After our time fussing the piglets we headed back into the hotel for Afternoon Tea, which I also bought as a treat with my vouchers.  I must admit it did take a while to come but when it arrived it was a nice selection, and lovely to look out on the garden whilst drinking our tea and tucking into cakes and sandwiches.

The Afternoon Tea perked up even more when the piglets decided to crash the party! They broke into the hotel garden and started hunting for acorns in the flowerbeds! I know it's a little mean but I was almost crying with laughter watching the hotel staff and some onlookers trying to herd pigs out of the garden.  Tom even got involved at one point and picked one of the pigs up, making it expel the most hilarous 'grunt-squeal' I've ever heard. It was chaos!

After a while they trotted out of their own accord and normal business was resumed.  We had a light dinner in the hotel that night and headed back this morning.  We're now lucky enough to be washing and re-packing, ready to head off to a yurt in Wales for a couple of days, and then a holiday cottage to celebrate my Mum's 60th.  I bought even more books to take with me, watch out world I'm ready for some relaxing time!  Can't wait to tell you all about that little trip too when I get back!

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