Currently Coveting


 

I am just about clinging on this month so I need every materialistic comfort I can get my hands on to see me through. Surrounding myself with pretty things is just the ticket to beating these January blues and a good book (namely ‘Not That Kind Of Girl’) is also required, especially during this so-called ‘digital detox’ I’ve imposed upon myself. Luckily for me Lena Dunham’s witty writing style is perfect bedtime fodder and the make-do tea lights (more on those in a minute) are on point too in setting that sleepy-bye-byes mood.

 

A couple of things here are Christmas gifts from my Husband (that man truly gets me) but before I wax lyrical about my latest Mary Quant scarf let me draw your attention to the cute personalised stamps I acquired from NotOnTheHighStreet. I must confess, I’d never ordered anything from there before although I’ve always been intrigued by their wares. I’d intended to give out edible gifts at Christmastime (hence the stamp) but unfortunately due to my absolute self-confessed stupidity I listed the wrong postcode meaning it (along with the requisite cellophane bags) didn’t arrive in time. Ugh. Idiot. Thankfully I’ll still get good use out of them but I was infuriated (at myself) at the time.

 

Onto the scarf then. Another absolute beauty sourced online and given to me by my wonderful Husband… I adore Mary Quant and this colourful option is going to get so much wear during the summer. I’ve been playing around with different ways to style it although I think I’ll probably end up using it most as a headscarf. What can I say? J’adore.
 



 
The charm bracelet was a ridiculous (like, five quid ridiculous) bargain I found at a terrific vintage jeweller’s in Derry called The Whatnot. They have sooooo much incredible stuff in there, I could seriously spend hours browsing the shelves. We were actually on some official earring business (my Dad was buying my Mum’s Christmas gift) when I spied it out of the corner of my eye and knew I had to have it. I kind of feel like it’s an homage to our London days, even though it wasn’t actually bought in London. And I can’t deny, I did come over all nostalgic for those happy years we spent in the capital although I’m not sure how much fun it would be now. Rose tinted glasses, eh?

 

Herbal teas are where I’m at and Yogi is a fav brand of mine – this one was Sweet Chai and it has a real spicy kick to it. Sometimes I add a splash of soya milk and a teaspoon of agave but today I enjoyed it ‘au naturale’. I also love how each bag comes with a philosophical saying or quote. This one read:

 

In distant travel you learn about yourself

Too true.

 

Having just recently discovered my skin type is ‘dry’ (and what with this winter weather wreaking havoc with my skin) I was desperate to find a natural solution. I did some research (YouTube is a wondrous thing!) and Argan Oil came up a lot, so I knew I had to try it. I’ve been using it solidly since before Christmas (I apply it after removing my make-up in the evening) and now I’m a total 100% Argan Oil convert – it really does live up to the hype. Whereas before I was waking up in the morning with a tightness in my skin, it now feels soft and supple and totally hydrated. If, like me, you also suffer from dry skin then I honestly can’t recommend this stuff highly enough. The brand I went for was Dr.Organic, which can be purchased at Holland & Barrett. Go try it ! Now!

 

Oh, and those simple glass tealight holders once contained scented candles. All I did was wash them out and I must say I really am quite taken with them. That’s my kind of recycling! What are you currently coveting? Leave me comment below.

 

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Glimpses Of My Home

 

I like to think of this space as being a place for positivity. But seeing as it’s also a glimpse into my little world I can’t simply ignore events that are currently happening in my life – it would just be too weird for me to type away all chipper when the reality is quite the opposite. So, with that said, and as I sit in a hotel room in Belfast waiting for hospital visiting hours to come around again, it would only be fair for me to say that this is a bit of Debbie Downer post… you have been warned.

 

We all take our parents for granted, I’m sure, but none more so than me. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had a Mum and Dad that have totally doted on me (and my Sister) and who’ve always supported me no matter what the crazy whim may have been. I had a pretty idyllic childhood and even as an adult have only ever experienced love, kindness and patience from them both. Whilst my Sister and myself no longer live at home we continue to be incredibly close and for that I am thankful – once a team, always a team.

 

Alongside taking their general parental presence for granted, I’ve probably taken their guaranteed health for granted even more. Perhaps it’s something we all avoid thinking about until we have no choice but to confront it, like the four of us did last Wednesday when my Dad took a turn at work. I won’t go into details but suffice to say his surgery went well and although we are just at the beginning of his recovery process we are all positive my he will be back to his usual self in no time at all.

 

 

That’s us you see. Positive to a fault. Especially my Dad. As many, many, many people will attribute he’s a pretty special person and a bit of a legend in our little town of Derry – just try walking down any given street with him and he’s sure to be stopped at least a dozen times. ‘Liked’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. Not only that but from our own close, first-hand experience we can honestly say he is the most selfless man we know…. always asking about others – even when he’s just out of major surgery. For real.

 

So, yes. It’s been a tough week. Emotions have run high and we’re all still in a state of shock but we know we will get there in good time. I may have created a new home with my Husband in Cornwall but I also know that I will always have a home here in Derry with my parents and Sister… it’s a bond that will never be broken.

 

I’ll leave you then with a few glimpses of our new home in Mousehole (it’s not quite there decoratively speaking but we like it) just because my Dad was so excited to be visiting (they were due to holiday with us until all this craziness kicked off). I know it won’t be long before he’s sitting by that harbour watching the boats bob up and down just like we had planned, and when it eventually happens it definitely will be all the sweeter.

 

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Keep it Vegan

 

I wrote a book. That’s a surreal sentence for me to be typing. Even though I had always hoped my recipes would be published, I could never have imagine how quickly that dream would become a reality… and certainly not with such an awesome publisher. Now that it’s here and I’m holding it in my hands it still hasn’t fully sunk in. I wrote that? And that’s my mug on the cover? Seriously crazy stuff.

 

Anyway, I thought I’d give you a bit of sneak peek of what to expect from ‘Keep it Vegan’ (that’s the title and trust me when I tell you we went through many options before deciding on that one)  – I’ve obscured the actual recipes but you can get a good idea of the style, content and layout of the book, which features everything from one pot wonders to something a little more special. There are several raw recipes, as well as full on sugar-fest ones… an out-and-out health book this is not but there are still plenty of ‘healthy’ dishes in there too.

 

A handful have been featured here on the blog but have been updated and improved, however,  most are ones you will not have come across before – although they have been staples in my kitchen for a very long while. There are oodles of brand new ‘created specifically for the book’ recipes that I am as excited about making again as I hope you are. Yes, there are several salads but even more wholesome fodder such as soups and stews, as well as a whole section on breakfast and brunch… possibly my favourite meal of the day!

 

I like to think of this book as an introduction to Veganism (although there will be plenty to interest the seasoned vegan too) because I felt I had to start at the beginning of my own vegan journey and work my way from there. In it, I’ll take you through my story and offer up tips I wish I had known way back when, as well as keeping a simplicity to the dishes whilst also packing them full of flavour.

 

 

What I will say is that this book is a labour of love and one I toiled over for many months with lots of incredible support from Kyle Books. I honestly can’t wait to share it with you guys when it’s released in August but in the meantime if you’d like to pre-order a copy you can do so now on Amazon. I’ll be promoting the book all over Europe in the coming months and once it’s released in the States in February next year I’ll be heading over there for a small promotional tour too… fingers crossed.

 

This whole process has been one of the biggest learning curves of my life but it has also confirmed in my own mind that food is my future – and for me that is beyond exciting. I’m already thinking of the next book (it’s how my head works) and have a whole heap of new recipes lined up, ready to be put into print. For now though, I’m delighted to be debuting ‘Keep it Vegan’ and really hope that it floats your boat. Thanks, as ever, for being such loyal, wonderful readers because really I owe pretty much all of this to you. Mwah!

 

 

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Messy House, Messy Head

 

I’m definitely one of those people that can’t think straight when the space around me is cluttered and messy. Too bad then that our house is somewhat coming down around us at the minute as I hurry to finish my cookbook and begin to qualm the all too predictable nerves that accompany the release of such a thing… what will people think, say and (let’s face it) criticise? Yep, I already know there will be a few ‘haters’ (as the tinternets like to call them) but I hope there’ll also be more than few ‘lovers’ too (is this an internet term, and if not, why not?). All this worrying coupled with a recent facebook request asking what our favourite book is brought my rapidly depleting memory capcity back to an old classic I use to love – namely, the hilarious ‘Lucky Jim’ (written by the wickedly witty writer Kingsley Amis). Along with the title we were also encouraged to leave a quote from said book and this is where the planets suddenly aligned in my brain as I (bingo!) realised the world really hasn’t changed all that much in the 60 yrs since it was first published… in essence, we are still dealing with same s**t we always have been and probably always will. And in case you are wondering what the hell I am wittering on about, here is that exact (light bulb alert!) quote I am referring to…

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“Haven’t you noticed how we all specialise in what we hate most?”

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In addition to this little epiphany and discovering a site that seems to specialise in slagging off successful bloggers (I have made a vow not to read it again – too much hate makes me ill), I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be people pointing out your flaws or trying to tear down your achievements. I’m not saying I don’t have negative thoughts now and then but I always try and focus my energy on the good in others and what they do -and anyway, doesn’t it make people unhappy being so critical all the time? So yeah, I’m not perfect, and what I do may not appeal to everyone but at least I know I’ve given my all, my everything, my best, and really, what more can I do?

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What I will say is ‘the more you give, the more you get’ so I’m determined to put out as much positivity as I can muster and hope that I can spread a little joy (as well as getting some back, ahem) in the process… c’mon, don’t lie, we all want to be loved and accepted! I’m pretty sure these chaotic mind bender moments really aren’t being helped by the stack of dishes in the sink, ramshackle bookshelves and unpacked suitcases – maybe the moral of the story is to keep the place tidy lest you (meaning me) risk falling into a pit of darkness and despair. If you’ll excuse me then, I’m off to sort my house and head out – and perhaps do a spot of really bad crocheting too. Yep, feel free to laugh yourself silly at that top pic because a knitter I am most definitely am not but as they say…  ‘God Loves a Trier’. Peace out x

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Holidays are comin’ and happenings are happenin’

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Cagney and Lacey is on the box. The tree lights are twinkling away in the corner. And we’re off to lovely Truro tonight to do a spot of Christmas shopping (can you spell disorganised?). These are the moments when you realise things ain’t all that bad. Okay, so I haven’t done an outfit post in an age and my blogging prowess is no longer a priority but I’m here to tell you – it’s all good! In fact, it’s better than good. I want to be able to drop in like this on a weekly basis and babble on about what’s happening in my part of the world… something most people call ‘finding a balance’ and something I have always struggled with.

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Work, play and all that good stuff in between can mean ones (my) life flies past without one (me) being able to actually appreciate it. Sure, we have to earn a crust and do the housework (does the laundry pile ever get any smaller?) but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time along the way? I am all about the good times and if you carefully dissect the last rambling paragraph and a bit you’ll know that what I’m trying to say is… I want all the good times, all the time. Unrealistic? Absolutely. Does that mean I’m going to stop striving for a better work/life balance that involves less stress and lots of smiles? Hell no! In fact, and between you and me, I’m closer than ever to that dream.

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Maybe now then would be a good time to let you in on a little secret. Over the last few months plans having been forming (and are slowly coming to fruition) regarding a forthcoming cookbook, which will be due out next summer. Yes, really. Now, even as I typed that I still almost didn’t believe it and I can’t help but think it’s not some horrible joke with the punchline not far off. Regardless, I’m simply reveling in the fact that a publisher wants my recipes and that is enough to fill my heart with joy – the icing on the cake will be if it actually becomes a success and I’m not even entertaining what the cherry might be until the thing is released (August 2014, put it in your diary now!). For once I’m adhering to my own advice and enjoying the moment without a thought for the future. Kinda. Well, old habits die hard and all that. Oh, and here’s an outfit post, just for Wintery, earmuff-clad good measure.

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what i’m wearing… top, coat, jeans and socks/h&m… shoes/marks&spencer… everything else/vintage

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Winter Blues

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Where to begin with this blog post, that is most definitely the question?! There are so many conflicting issues making their home in my head at the moment I honestly don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I guess I could start with the recurrent pangs for my (only recently left behind) London life – and yes, I am fully aware of the irony…. couldn’t wait to get out and now I’m practically screaming to get back.

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I probably did take way too many things for granted, all of which have become crushingly apparent since we’ve come to Cornwall. No impromtu coffee/cocktails for me (my nearest girlfriend lives an hour away and I don’t drive!) – and even though she was rarely home, I do actually miss my Sister and her bonafide crazy ways.

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And then there’s the work situation. Working from home has its perks for sure but I’m genuinely craving the company of others during the day – there’s a lot to be said for background noise that is not the television. I’m not exactly a talkative person in the office but I’m a keen listener, and for some reason it does seem to help my concentration when writing.

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Ugh, and how could I forget the fact I’m miles from an airport – or at least one with direct flights to Ireland, which is also beginning to make me jumpy. Is this what feeling homesick is like? I can’t say I’ve ever really experienced it but I’m certain this might be it. I still haven’t managed to sort out my passport since it was stolen in Barcelona (why do they make it so f**king hard, it’s not like it was my fault?!!!) which is irritating my Mother as much as it is me. Today though I took the bull by the horns and went into town to try and get the correct forms (I’ve given up on replacing my Irish one because it was borderline farcical) and all important photos.

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Going into town shouldn’t be a big deal, especially as we live smack bang in the middle of it, but dragging my ass out of the house is becoming increasingly difficult. The only thing that makes it bearable are the copious charity shops that line the main thoroughfare and the fact I can be back at the house in minutes should the situation become all too much. Sound insane – and ever so slightly agoraphobic? Just being honest folks (not always a good thing I’ve discovered) but hopefully this whole ‘we’ve made a terrible mistake’ situation will resolve itself soon. In the meantime, I shall console myself with pistachios – worked when I was a teen so it’s certainly worth a go now. Oh life.

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what i’m wearing… rust cords/anthropologie… polo neck/primark… striped blazer/topshop… blue scarf/charity shop… faux fur hat/vintage… faux patent boots/h&m… faux leather satchel/nica

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Instagram Moments

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HERE COMES HALLOWEEN

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Halloween is nearly upon us and I feel totally unprepared – yet again. Every year I swear I’m going to savour the run-up to this awesome holiday and every year it seems to crop up before I’ve had a chance to even think about costumes, carving or candy – arrrgghhh! The day will not go unmarked, however, and we will be getting gussied up and heading over to watch a batch of spooky shorts at a studio near our house on the night… film and fancy dress? Now, that’s my kind of party!

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BIRTHDAY CAKE BAKING

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In lieu of any new pictures I thought I’d offer up a little instagram collage, which is definitely overdue. Clearly I’m still totally obsessed with this uh-mazing picture app and spend way too much time on it than is healthy or normal. As you can see my faithful Halloween scarecrow is making his yearly outings and is sitting pride of place on my kitchen windowsill, and I’ve been getting my hands dirty with some birthday cake baking (Hubbie turned 34!) and unnecessary but delicious crumble assemblage. I feel like I’ve embraced Autumn eating a bit too much already – eek.

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REMEMBER TO SMILE!!!

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Things are looking up here and I’m sending positive weekend vibes to everyone who takes the time to read this little blog ‘o mine. Smiles all round.

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Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram – just click the button at the top!

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Fishes Out Of Water

OH BOY!

Let’s start this blog post like any good episode of Quantum Leap would end… with an almighty ‘Oh Boy!’. It’s been a testing time here as we struggle to get to grips with this new area, which has only been confounded by the distinct lack of internet (hence no blog updates) meaning I have had to make serial trips to the nearest coffee shop in order to do my work. Not that I have any problem hanging out, drinking coffee and writing but being the 100% home bird that I am, I’d much prefer to be in the comfort of my own place where I’m able to go to loo should I so wish without worrying about what to do with my laptop.

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It’s probably all these little things that are impacting the bigger picture and making it nigh impossible to settle into our new way of life… let’s just say, it’s far from what we expected and neither of us can deny we’ve both been questioning our recent happiness in this part of Cornwall. In a nutshell, it ain’t Penzance.

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I suppose it never occurred to us that we were so attached to that funny little pirating town of yore, which is why it’s so baffling we’ve ended up homesick for a place we haven’t technically lived in for two years – what is wrong with us? In an attempt to shake off these negative thoughts we made it our mission to explore Falmouth and the surrounding area this past weekend, and it may or may not have gone to plan. Okay, so it didn’t exactly go to plan. Fishes out of water might be the best way to describe it… we desperately want to be fishes in the water but it would seem we’re very picky about what water it is we want to be in. Give me PZ, Marazion, Sennen, St.Ives, Mousehole… even Newlyn. Just not here.

 

TOSSING ‘N’ TURNING

Yes, way dramatic and yet these are the thoughts that kept me awake until 3am this morning – no lie. Tossing and turning and yearning for a part of the country that just seems to have captured my heart. So, what’s to be done? Well, for the time being we are willing to give it a go here but firm in the knowledge that this is not our forever home, which (and ever since we both voiced it out loud) has actually made everything a bit easier. Knowing this is just an in-betweeny bit hopefully means we can enjoy it for what it is and has taken the pressure off somewhat – no need to panic when we have confirmed that our hearts do in fact lie way down south where the land meets the raging sea. Unending horizons and glorious Cornish sunsets are still in our future, hurrah!

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What i’m wearing… top and waistcoat/vintage… trench coat/debenhams… indigo jeans/gap… socks/tabio… sandals/peacocks… bag/nica

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Transitioning

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NEXT CHAPTER

As of Monday we have begun the transition into the next stage of our move. After waiting an age for the estate agents to come through, we finally got our hands on the keys to our new abode and have been doing our best to settle in… despite lacking most of the essentials. Not to worry though, we have booked the removals van for tomorrow, which means we can get our stuff out of storage and into our little house (I’ve been calling it a flat when in reality it isn’t – in fact I’ve taken to calling it Le Petite Palais) and begin the process of unpacking and all that other exciting stuff.

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CARPET WOES

There is a slight complication in that the carpet has not yet been laid, so we’re having to work around the fact we won’t be able to put any furniture in the bedroom for at least a week. I won’t bore you with the saga that transpired today but suffice to day the carpet that did arrive and could have been put down in a matter of hours was not, to my mind at least, any way near something I could live with for a week let alone a year. I’m not normally one for asserting myself but on this occasion I did the rare thing and put my foot down – no brown carpet for us, thank you very much!

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FOREVER RENTERS

Renting can be frustrating because it never entirely feels your own. Of course, we would love to put a deposit down on a house but working freelance (both of us, ahhh!) means getting a mortgage is nigh impossible. That’s not to say that we won’t be in a better position to nab ourselves a property in the future but for now we remain mere tenants.

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HOME IS…

With that said, that doesn’t mean I don’t always put my heart and soul into our rentals and I aim to do the same with this place. Before the serious stuff gets underway and I transform this little cottage from fine to fabulous I thought I would snatch a few shot of some of the things that are currently make me smile  in spite of having virtually none of the possessions that will eventually make it a home.

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MINT!

Oh, and did I mention we discovered we have a garden (it’s more like an overgrown patio but still) that has its very own mint bush? Let the veggie growing commence!

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Personal Style & Charity Shop Finds

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‘Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life’  Bill Cunningham

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Ever a man of wise words and even better photos, good old Bill has hit the nail on the proverbial head with this one. Personal style is something which I find to be endlessly fascinating – it’s the reason I scour magazines, blogs and the street for any nugget of inspiration, as well as a tiny glimpse into the person who dons whichever outfit I am currently coveting.

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Of course, fashion is often very far removed from that thing we called style and possibly even further removed again from how each of us chooses to present ourselves on a daily basis. I know for me it is an ever evolving thing that has elements of my teenage tastes whilst always reaching for the person I want to be… and that’s what makes it so exciting.

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To wake up in the morning and not put thought into what I’m wearing would almost feel like a crime. That’s not to say I get it right every time and even the outfit posts I present here on the blog are often not entirely indicative of my normal day to day style but it’s all a process in my eyes, so I’m not afraid to make mistakes or look back and think, ‘hmmm, not so keen on that one now, would probably wear that skirt/blouse/hat differently’. But hey, perfection is pretty much unattainable when you offer it up for public critique (particularly in the blogging world) so it makes no odds if one ensemble goes down like a lead balloon whilst another (usually the one I like least) gets a unanimous thumbs up.

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In the grand scheme of things, fashion may seem futile but everybody, whether they like it or not, has personal style – i’m always reminded of that ‘You think this has nothing to do with you’ scene in The Devil Wears Prada when anyone claims they’re not interested in clothes or ‘fashion’… it tickles me to think that people really believe they are making these choices freely without any influence or coercion from the fashionable powers that be. Not so, I’m ‘fraid and I certainly can’t boast to being entirely original either.

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Of course, I’ve always had a penchant for retro and vintage but that’s not to say I want to walk out my door looking like a fifties housewife or sixties siren everyday and nor do I derive to be too hipster, too twee or too ‘fashion’ – I simply want to look and feel like myself. Some days are definitely more retro derived than others and I would say there’s always a smattering of vintage (or at least vintage inspired pieces) amongst my daily wears. Practicality often comes into it too and this is only becoming prevalent since my move to the sticks. Currently it’s all about casual attire but that may change once we become townies again (secretly hoping) and everyday brings with it a new country bound challenge.

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When we had a brief jaunt into our nearest town the other day the first places I made a beeline for were the charity shops – Penzance has some great ones – and spent several hours trawling the rails and trying things on before settling on this vintage nude St.Michael’s polo neck and a sweet black and white striped number that will definitely come in handy – a girl can never have too many Breton’s, am I right? I could’ve bought way more than I came away with but I’ve learnt the art of being uber selective, which is another personal style note; pare down, pare down, pare down. That is my new mantra and I’m sticking to it. At least until I get the sudden urge to go all beehive and mini-skirts on you.

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what i’m wearing… vintage polo/scope… jacket/primark… trews/h&m… ankle socks/tabio… shoes/charity shop

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