Monday, 15 September 2014

{autumn} wardrobe

Is there anything better than an autumn wardrobe? I think the short answer is, "no". The long answer is as follows: no, of course not. What is better than not having to wear summery dresses everyday, waste hours, well maybe not hours, shaving your legs, only eating salads because you can't hide under layers and layers? Well, my friends, let me tell you. Nothing. Or to be more accurate, oversized jumpers, an abundance of tartan, boucle coats and a cosy pair of boots. After all, that is the perfect uniform for traipsing through piles of leaves and just generally being in the autumn.

one : Mango crepe blouse {link} If I was writing for a weekend paper magazine, I would encourage you all to buy a white blouse as part of your capsule wardrobe. But I'm not, and I don't necessarily believe in capsule wardrobes. After all, variety is the spice of life. Nonetheless, a simple white blouse really deserves a place in wardrobe. And the wonderful thing about white blouses is that they're not just for autumn.

two : Moto Jaime Black Jeans {link} The black Jaime jeans are the jeans of jeans. That's all.

three : Uniqlo flannel shirt {link} Autumn wouldn't be autumn without a spot of a checked shirt - they are practically an autumn essential. I love the colours of the Uniqlo shirt and is something that you can wear year after year after year.

four : M&S boucle cocoon coat {link} Everyone's favourite, M&S, has bought out a wonderful range of coats just in time for the cooler weather. The green boucle coat is perfect for keeping warm during autumn and the colour is pretty sensational.

five : H&M oversized jumper {link} a daily essential for hiding a slightly rounder tummy from too many stews, hunks of bread and glasses of red wine. Autumn wouldn't be autumn without an oversized knit, and teamed with some skinny jeans, life is good.

six : River Island tartan scarf {link} when it comes to tartan scarves, I think it's a case of the bigger the better. Plus, they double up as handy blankets when things get a little chilly.

seven : Nine West riding boots {link} As soon as it's cool enough, off go the ballet flats and on go the riding boots and don't come off until Spring. The Nine West version are such a beautiful style and would be worn for a long time to come.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

{autumn} to do list

I have made no secret of my love for autumn. In fact, far from it. You're probably bored of reading yet another of my odes to the third season. Since late August, publicly, I have been firmly living in autumn, even if the actual seasons were a little late to catch up. Privately, I have never really left autumn. Without a doubt, autumn is just the most magical of seasons, full of vibrant colours that are simply unbeatable. Years ago, when my mother would drive be back to University, we would pass by Westonbirt Arboretum, and its warming patchwork blanket of gold, yellow, red and orange leaves. I could wax lyrical about autumn all day, but I won't, that would be quite a long blog post, but instead, will turn my attention to a whimsical, autumn to do list.

: skip through a pile of autumn leaves when no-one is looking. Or actually, even when people are looking. You know that the inner child in everyone is desperate to do it, but the adults in us, are far too sensible for that. I'm not sure autumn should be a time to be sensible.

: collect conkers. When I was in infant school, I despised conker fights. In fact, I still do. Conkers are pretty perfect. Why would you want to destroy something so wonderful? Instead, like a squirrel (do squirrels collect conkers?), I would hoard my conkers, usually in my pencil case or at the bottom of my school bag, to look at and enjoy. In retrospect, I was probably quite an odd child.

: visit Richmond Park. The home of Benton the hound. Or was it Fenton? Nonetheless, I have lived in London for five years and have not yet found my way to Richmond Park and its herds of deer.  I think this is fairly unforgivable, and for someone who hates city life, I think its high time I visited a spot of countryside in the city.

: carve a Halloween pumpkin. Hardly groundbreaking this one, but I've fallen out with buying pumpkins for All Hallows Eve. Which is foolish because I adore Halloween. When the supermarkets start wheeling in crates of mass produced pumpkins in seemingly July, I quite rightly think, No. I am not buying my pumpkin now thank you Mr. Tesco. It will be ruined by the time it's 31st October. I am not falling for your mass hysteria of pumpkin shortages. And of course, come 31st October, there are no pumpkins to be had. Not even the spindly little ones. One year, this left to getting creative with a sharpie and a Melon. Pretty genius I might say.

: talking of pumpkins and mass consumption, I think it's high time I indulged in one of Starbucks legendary Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. To be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure that you can get these on our little United Kingdom island. If not, New York seems an awfully long way to go just for a hot, sugary drink, but you know, I'm up for the challenge.

: make an apple pie. My childhood was full of homemade apple pies and crumbles after a full Sunday roast, and whilst I might have managed the crumble and the roast dinner, I've never, ever made my own apple pie. And what could be more autumnal a slab of warmed apple pie, with lashings of cream?

: have a jacket potato on Bonfire Night. After all, that's what they are made for surely? Perhaps followed with a toffee apple.

: read a ghost story. Ghost stories were made for autumn. When you're lying on a beach in the height of summer, it's relatively hard to be spooked by supernatural stories. If anyone has any recommendations, let me know. The spookier the better!

: find a pub with an open fire, and settle down for the day with a bottle of red wine. Or two.

: walk on the beach. Obviously, it is a little tricky to find a beach in London, but thankfully, Dan and I have a two weeks of holiday coming up, and without any concrete plans. A drive to a deserted beach for a bracing walk (and a cup of tea afterwards) sounds like the order of the day.

: mulled cider.

Monday, 8 September 2014

four and a half days in the west country

In August, Dan and I took a few days off from work, and headed on the next train to Exeter, to stay with his parents who hire a cottage every summer in Devon. We were only there for a few days, but it was perhaps the most relaxing and stress-free few days. in the fresh Devonian air, without the daily grind of London getting in the way. Needless to say, we returned a few stone heavier (a snapshot of my diet...cream teas, steaks, roast dinners, pasties, kit kats, chocolate fudge cake, cheese and get the idea), but a whole lot happier.

After a jumping competition on the trampoline with Dan's nephew, we headed into Exeter to see his grandparents for Italian food, before heading to Topsham. Is there anything better than watching boats?

Sunday saw a giant roast dinner, before a cup of tea on Exeter Quay.

The day of days. A trip to the Great British seaside. Needless to say, it rained. No. Actually. It hailed. But surely that's the point of the Great British seaside. After all, it did mean we got to warm up with fish and chips, fruit tea and gallons of tea on the sea front. On the way home, we jumped off the train to discover the most magical seaside village, Lympstone, where the sound of bagpipes played over the village. Slightly unusual, but we soon discovered its source. Two bagpipers, hidden under a cliff. Why ever not.

The final day and a half were spent exploring Exeter, walking through woods, drinking milkshakes, and wandering through the village where we were staying. Needless to say, a few weeks later, I think I am still suffering from post holiday blues. Can I go back please?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

five lovely things

one : new job nerves
First week in my new job done! Of course, not actually leaving my company, and really just changing desks certainly helps, but what a wonderful week it has been. I instantly feel about twenty times less stressed, and one hundred times more happier. It's remarkable what a change of scene can do.

two : spicy, autumn soup
Dan makes the best homemade soup. That's why I'm marrying him. And with autumn drawing in, we have been enjoying new batches of his delicious soup. There's not really a recipe. It's more of concoction of delicious root vegetables, with a touch of spice, blended together and served with chunks of buttered bread. Pretty much perfection.

three : falling leaves
The first autumn leaves are falling thick and fast, and soon, there will be piles of crisp leaves ready and waiting to be jumped into. Is there a more magical time of year?

four : the proposal
I am reading the most enchanting story at the moment. The Proposal by Tasmina Perry* is the story of two women, Amy and Georgia, and their lives, one in 1958, and one in 2012. I am halfway through at the moment, but needless to say, it is just delightful. Watch out for a full review in the future!

five : angel
Dan and I returned to our old neck of the woods on Saturday. Wandering through Highbury and Angel was certainly a trip down memory lane, and a really lovely one at that. But as lovely as it was, it did confirm what we both thought we already knew - London can't win our hearts back, and we're looking forward to moving to Buckinghamshire.